MLP: FML

by Maniac92

First published

An insane parody of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

An insane and illogical parody of your favorite ponies.

Are you looking for a story about the magic of friendship or how great it is to be alive? Too bad! What you're getting is a story about a bitter bookworm named Twilight Sparkle who just got booted out of Canterlot and is forced to go to a little backwater town named Ponyville in order to get some sort of social life.

Will she enjoy it? No. Not at all.

Rated Teen for strong language, cartoonish violence, immature humor, and god-awful jokes.
Sex tag is for repeated mentions of sex, sexual activities, and Rainbow Dash. Just...Rainbow Dash in general.

Cover Image by the very talented Wadusher0.

Now on TV Tropes!

Kicked Out of Canterlot

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A purple unicorn laid down under a tree, pulled a book out of her bag, and started to read:

In the beginning, there were two immortal sisters who ruled over the land of Equestria. The older raised the sun and while the younger raised the moon. They both loved their subjects and ruled in harmony.

"LUUUUUNAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" screamed a voice.

The younger princess sighed as she lifted herself off her bed. She crossed her room and opened the door for her frantic older sister.

"LUNA!" screamed Princess Celestia.

"What is it, dear sister?" asked an annoyed Princess Luna.

"It's horrible! It's terrible! It's...it's..." Celestia paused for a moment to think of a word to accurately describe her horror, "It's almost Cupcakes-level bad!"

"That bad?!" asked a now horrified Luna.

"WORSE!" screamed Celestia.

"Then what is it?! Did Discord get free? Are the Changelings attacking?"

"No! It's...it's our subjects!" said Celestia.

"Oh no!" exclaimed Luna. "Is it an outbreak of Cutie Pox? Are they trying to set up a democracy again?"

"No! They're just talking!" screamed Celestia.

"Say it isn't so! Not tal-" Luna paused as her brain registered what her sister just said. "Wait. Talking? Why is talking so bad?"

"Because! They're...they're talking...to me!" Celestia said dramatically. "They just go on and on about their problems and they all expect me to actually care about them! Why do I have to fix their problems?!"

"Um..." began Luna, "that's sort of what a princess does."

"WHAT?!" yelled Celestia. "If I had known that, I would have just let Discord keep being in charge. Or at the very least, I'd have saddled you with dealing with all of their stupid problems."

"Well, you didn't." said Luna, who was back to being annoyed. "And listening to the subjects' complaints is what a responsible ruler does."

"But I don't want to be responsible!" whined the older princess.

"Tough. If you didn't want to deal with it, you shouldn't have insisted on being in charge." said Luna. "And besides, the sooner you listen to the common ponies' problems, the sooner they'll leave you alone."

"Fine! I'll go and listen to their stupid-dumb-stupidly dumb problems." Celestia turned and walked away. She mumbled under her breath, "I never get to do what I want to do..."

Over time, however, the younger sister began to grow resentful of the fact that everypony seemed to love her older sister more than her.

Princess Luna was in her room; playing her Pony-Station. Princess Celestia poked her head in and asked, "What are you playing?"

"Oh, hello sister!" said Luna cheerfully. "I'm just playing Hoof-Life 2. You play as Gordon Freepony and-"

"Yeah, great." said Celestia. "Look, I have some good news. I'm cancelling production of all video games franchises except Call of Pony!"

"W-what?" asked a horrified Luna.

"I know! Isn't it great?" asked a blissfully unaware Celestia. "Anyway, I've gotta go. I'm heading to a party held in my honor! Try not to go crazy from jealousy while I'm gone, 'kay? Kisses!"

Princess Celestia left the room while Princess Luna stared after her in horror.

Eventually, the younger sister went insane from jealousy and became...NIGHTMARE MOON!

As the sky grew dark, Nightmare Moon flew into the air and screamed at the terrified citizens of Equestria, "THIS WOULDN'T HAVE HAPPENED IF YOU JUST GAVE ME HOOF-LIFE 2: EPISODE THREE!"

With no other option, the older princess was forced to use the Elements of Harmony to banish Nightmare Moon to the moon. Feeling great regret, the older sister hid the elements and vowed never to use them again.

"Well this sucks." grumbled Celestia. "First Luna goes coo-coo for Coco Puffs, and now I have to hide away the Elements. And Call of Pony: Modern Warmare was sold out!"

Celestia looked up at the moon in the sky and sighed. "Well, at least Nightmare Moon's gone. Maybe a year on the moon will calm her down." Celestia paused and thought for a moment. "Wait...did I set that banishment spell for one year or a thousand years?"

And so, peace reigned in Equestria. And Nightmare Moon will never ever EVER be back to bother anypony ever again...we think.

The purple unicorn shut her book and scoffed, "Elements of Harmony? Please. I've never even heard of these 'Elements of Harmony'." She put the book in her bag and started walking towards the her apartment. "What a load of..."

"Oh, Twilight!" said a voice. "There you are!"

Twilight stopped mumbling to herself and looked up to see three ponies in front of her.

"We've been looking everywhere for you!" said one. "Moondancer is having a party in the West Castle Courtyard! There's going to be music and dancing and stallions and drugs and..."

"As fun as that sounds," interrupted Twilight, "I'm afraid I'm going to be spending the evening studying with my one true love!"

"Twilight, are you talking about that portrait of Starswirl the Bearded?" asked the other pony.

"That sexy beard..." Twilight mumbled to herself. Noticing that the three ponies were staring at her, she quickly (and unconvincingly) lied, "NO! I meant...Spike?"

"Your pet dragon?"

"I mean, Shining Armor!"

"Your brother?"

"I...I mean...Princess Celestia?"

"The Princess?" said the other pony skeptically.

"Um...yes?" said a nervous Twilight.

"...Nice." said the gullible other pony. "Well, have fun with your date with the Princess, Twilight!"

"And you have fun at Moondancer's party..." Twilight racked her brains in an attempt to remember the pony's name, "...you!"

"See ya!" waved the other pony as she walked away.

"...My God, I hope the Princess doesn't find out I called her my 'one true love'." Murmured Twilight to herself as she started to run away. "Though in the right light, Celestia does look kind of-" Twilight shook her head and yelled to herself, "FOCUS! Elements of Harmony! Need to find out if they're real or not!"

"Twilight!" yelled a pony as Twilight ran past, "It's me, Lyra!"

"I DON'T CARE!" Twilight yelled back. "I have books to read and a portrait to fondle!"

"Ok, see you later!" yelled back Lyra cheerfully.

Twilight eventually reached her home and threw open the doors. "SPIKE!" she yelled, "SPIIIIIIIIIIKE!"

"Ow." said a voice.

Twilight looked down on the floor where a dazed little dragon was laying in a pain-induced stupor. "Spike! What are you doing on the floor?"

"It's a long story." groaned Spike.

5 seconds earlier

Spike walked towards the door with a present in his claws. He noticed how perfect the weather seemed today and how excited he was for Moondancer's party. He started whistling a cheery tune and briefly felt a sense of accomplishment due to the fact that he had conquered his fear of the front door swinging open and smacking him in the face.

Spike reached for the handle to the front door. Before he even touched it, the door swung open and smacked him in the face.

Now

"Spike, that wasn't a long story at all." said Twilight as she was going upstairs. "Now stop laying around and look for anything relating to something called the Elements of Harmony!"

Spike rubbed his head and walked upstairs to Twilight's personal library. "Try Prophecies and Predictions."

Twilight glared at Spike and growled, "Excuse me. Who is Princess Celestia's student and who is the assistant to Princess Celestia's student?"

Spike rolled his eyes and said, "Fine. What book do you want to look at?"

Twilight thought for a moment and said begrudgingly, "Try Prophecies and Predictions."

"Brillant idea." said Spike sarcastically. "Crazy purple psychopath..." he mumbled under his breath.

Twilight used her magic to grab several books. "Let's see...Plots of the Rich and Famous? No. Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Math But Were Afraid to Ask? No... Fancypants: The Man, The Myth, The Legend? NO!" She turned and yelled, "SPIKE!"

"I found it!" yelled Spike as he held the book up.

"GIVE IT TO ME!" Yelled Twilight as she used magic to grab the book and bring it closer to her. Unfortunately, she also dragged Spike with it and he fell face-first to the floor.

"Oh...hello floor." said Spike weakly. "It's good to see you again..."

Twilight flipped through the pages in the book. "Let's see...Elements...Elements...AH-HA!" She exclaimed in triumph. "Elements of Harmony! Let's see...Elements of Harmony: See Mare in the Moon."

"Mare in the Moon?" asked Spike from the floor. "Isn't that that old legend?"

"Yeah." said Twilight. "But what do the Elements of Harmony have to do with that?" She flipped some more pages in her book, "Let's see...ah, here we go. Mare in the Moon! Blah blah blah...Elements of Harmony used to banish Nightmare Moon to the moon...blah blah...Nightmare Moon probably going to return on the longest day of the thousandth year...blah...World will end in 2012...blah blah blah." Twilight gasped and said, "Spike! Do you know what this means?"

"Um...I actually wasn't paying attention." said Spike. "Who are we talking about again?"

"Spike! Nightmare Moon! Longest day! Thousandth Year!" She handed him a scroll. "You. Write stuff. NOW."

"Fine, fine." said Spike as he grabbed a quill. "What am I writing?"

"How about Dear Princess Celestia, in my studies into pony magic, culture, and history, I have discovered an utter catastrophe that may occur the day after tomorrow! An ancient foe that you yourself banished a millennia ago, Nightmare Moon, is about to return and reap her vengeance! You must take action to ensure that she cannot return, or at least prepare to banish her again to minimize that damage she will undoubtedly cause. So..." She turned to Spike, "Got all that?"

Spike shrugged and said, "I just wrote, Yo, Princess C! Bad mammajamma Nightmare Moon is rollin' back to da hood to lay a beatdown on all 'a ya'll. You best get yo' shiz together and boot her booty back to da moon! From Twilight. How's that?" Spike asked Twilight with a big smile on his face.

"...Whatever." mumbled Twilight. "Just send the stupid letter."

"Hang on!" Spike wrote some more on the letter. "P.S. Spike says hi!" He rolled the letter up, took a deep breath, and blew green fire on it. The letter dissolved into smoke and drifted out the window. "Isn't the Princess really busy with her whole Summer Sun Festival thing?"

"Spike, this is much more important than some stupid festival! Our lives may be at an end! We have to stop Nightmare Moon from returning!" said Twilight.

Spike was about to argue further, but he belched instead. Smoke was blown from Spike's mouth, swirled, and transformed into another letter.

Twilight smirked and said, "I knew the Princess would want to listen to me! There's no way she wouldn't listen to me!"

Spike grabbed the letter and began to read, "Dear Twilight Sparkle, I'm not listening to you."

"SAY WHAT?!" Twilight yelled. "Why not?"

Spike read on, "You need to get out of your library and go make some friends. REAL friends. You can't spend your life indoors all the time, even if you do have a portrait of Starswirl the Bearded to keep you company. So, I'm giving you a special job."

"A job?" asked Twilight. "What does she want me to do?"

Spike continued, " I want you to go to Ponyville and make sure that all the preparations for my festival are in order. This is of the utmost importance. Seriously. I will flip a bitch if even one thing is wrong at my party. You'll need to a place to stay, so I bought you a library. Which sort of contradicts that whole 'making friends that are not books' thing that I wanted you to do, but what can you do? From Her Royal Awesomeness, Princess Celestia. P.S. We are not dating. Please stop telling ponies that we are. P.P.S. Hi, Spike! "

Twilight stared at the letter in horror. "I have to make friends? With other ponies?"

Spike nodded. "Looks that way."

"Well this is gonna suck." predicted Twilight.

Meeting the Loco Locals

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"I was right! This SUCKS!" yelled Twilight. She and Spike were riding in a chariot and were making their way towards Ponyville. "I mean, I find out that an ancient evil is coming, and instead of being all 'Oh, thank you for bringing that to my attention Twilight', Princess Celestia's reaction was basically 'Shut up and check on my party'."

"Well yeah...but at least she gave you a library to stay at." said Spike. He looked out at the horizon, "And at least the view's nice."

"That it is, Spike." said Twilight. Instead of looking at the horizon, she was staring at the backsides of the two guards that were pulling the chariot. "That. It. Is." Slightly drooling, Twilight shook her head and turned her attention back to Spike, "I can use that library to find some proof that I'm right and that Nightmare Moon is returning." She looked into the distance and saw that they were approaching Ponyville.

"But what about that whole 'You need to get out of the library and make some friends' thing that the Princess wants you to do?" asked Spike.

"Hey!" yelled Twilight. She glared at Spike. "Who's in charge here?"

"Uh...you?" guessed Spike.

"Right! So I'll be deciding what we do and what we should be worrying about." said Twilight authoritatively, "Besides, saving all life as we know it is a bit more important than making friends, don't you think?"

Before Spike could answer, the chariot landed in the middle of town. Twilight hopped out and walked over to the guards. "Thank you for the ride, sirs."

The two guards stood up proudly. "THANK YOU MISS!" bellowed one. "HAPPY TO SERVE!"

"Calm down," said Spike as he hopped out, "You two are pretty much glorified cab drivers."

"WE ARE NOT!" the guard continued to shout. He paused and turned to the guard next to him, "...ARE WE?" he shouted with uncertainty.

"...We kinda are..." said the other morosely. He hung his head in shame.

"DAMN IT!" hollered the first guard.

"Spike, come on." said Twilight as she started to walk away, "The sooner we check on these stupid preparations, the sooner I can go to the library and research Nightmare Moon."

Spike caught up with Twilight and said, "Look, I know this isn't something you want to do, but maybe you can actually learn something from the ponies that live here."

Twilight was silent for a few moments. "...Well..." she said hesitantly, "I do like learning things..."

"There you go!" cheered Spike. "Maybe the ponies here like learning things too!"

"You're right!" said a suddenly cheerful Twilight. "Maybe this won't be so bad after all!"

"That's the spirit! Look," said Spike as he pointed to an approaching pony, "Maybe she'll have something in common with you."

Twilight looked at the pony that was walking towards the two of them. She was a pink pony with balloons as her Cutie Mark and was cheerfully humming something. She stopped in front of Spike and looked at both of them with curiosity.

"Try talking to her!" Spike advised.

Twilight smiled nervously and said, "H-hello. My name is-"

The pink pony's eyes bulged out of her sockets. She gasped and leapt into the air as her head started to spin around. She then landed back on the ground and ran off.

"...Spike?" asked Twilight.

"Um..." said a confused Spike.

"I changed my mind. I want to go home." said Twilight with finality.

"Me too." agreed Spike. "But we can't. We have to check on the festival stuff."

Twilight groaned. "Fine, what's first?" she asked.

Spike pulled a scroll out from...somewhere...and looked at it. "Let's look at The Summer Sun Celebration for Dummies." He paused and read the checklist. "It says that the first thing we need to do is check the banquet preparations at Sweet Apple Acres."

"How are we supposed to know where this 'Sweet Apple Acres' is?" asked Twilight.

One convenient scene transition later...

"Wow." said Spike. He and Twilight were standing at the gate of a huge apple orchard. "That was convenient."

"YEEHAW!" shouted a voice.

Spike and Twilight watched as an orange pony with a cowboy hat run up and kick a tree right in its trunk. Apples fell from the tree into several baskets that were set up around the trunk.

Twilight sighed and walked over to her, "Hello, my name is-"

The orange pony glared at Twilight and said fiercely, "Ah told ya before, we don't need any of yer fancy-pants in-sure-ance! Here at Sweet Apple Acres, we kin take care of ourselves!"

"Sis." said a large red stallion as he walked past. "The barn's on fire again."

The orange pony sighed and asked, "Caramel?"

The red stallion nodded, "Caramel."

"I jUsT DoN'T knOW wHAT went WRonG!" screeched an insane looking tan stallion as he walked past.

Twilight was silent for a few moments before saying nervously, "I-I'm not here to sell insurance. My name is Twilight Sparkle and I'm here to check on the banquet for the festival."

The orange pony gripped Twilight's leg and shook it furiously. "Well, why didn't ya say so? Mah name's Applejack! Good ta meet ya!"

"P-P-Please let goooooooo..." asked Twilight as her voice shook with her leg.

"Say!" said Applejack, finally letting go of Twilight, "How's about you sample some of our dishes?"

"Sure." said Twilight. "So long as it doesn't take too long-"

"BRING OUT EVERYTHIN'!" Yelled Applejack. "WE GOT A HUNGRY ONE HERE!"

The next thing Twilight knew, she was in front of a table while what seemed like hundreds of ponies surrounded her. Each of them came up and laid a plate of food on the table, while Applejack introduced them all.

"Well, let's see. There's Apple Fritter, Apple Bumpkin, Red Gala, Red Delicious, Gold Delicious, Caramel Apple, Apple Strudel, Apple Tart, Baked Apple, Apple Brioche, Apple Cinnamon Crisp," Applejack had to take a breath at this point, "Big Macintosh," she pointed to the red stallion from before, "Apple Bloom," She pointed to a small filly who was balancing a large cake on her back, "And Granny Smith." Applejack turned Twilight towards an old green pony who was asleep in her rocking chair.

Granny Smith woke up at the sound of her name, glared at the whole Apple family and said, "If any of ya try and put me in a home, I'll write the whole lot of ya outta my will!"

Applejack grimaced and pointed to the crazy-looking tan stallion from before, "And then there's Caramel, who 'helps' out from time to time."

"The VOiceS tEll mE to BURN EVERYTHING!" Yelled Caramel.

"W-Well..." said Twilight. "It looks like you have the food situation well in hoof here. I'll just be-"

"A-Aren't ya gonna stay for brunch?" said a voice.

Twilight looked down to find herself staring into the pleading eyes of Apple Bloom. "Uh...no, no...you see, I don't much like apples so..."

The entire Apple family froze and stared at Twilight.

"What did ya'll say?" growled Applejack.

"I...I don't like apples?" repeated Twilight.

"Oh really?" said Applejack as she walked closer to Twilight. "Well then, what do ya like?" She glared at Twilight.

"Uh...uh...pears?" suggested Twilight.

The Apple family gasped and a few ponies fainted.

"Pears, huh?" said Applejack. She came even closer to Twilight. "Do ya'll know what we do to pear-lovers 'round here?"

"Yes. Do you?" asked a brown stallion that appeared to have come out of nowhere. He had an hourglass as a Cutie Mark and was glaring at Twilight.

"Doc?" asked Applejack, pausing her glare at Twilight to look quizzically at the brown stallion. "What're you doin' here?"

"I was walking by when I heard somepony," At this, the Doctor glared at Twilight, "say the P-word."

"Parsnips?" asked Spike.

"Yes, parsni- NO!" yelled the Doctor. "Pears, you daft dragon! P-E-A-R-S! By the way," he turned to Applejack, "I found an apple in that dressing gown I borrowed."

"Sorry, partner." said Applejack. "That's Big Mac's old robe."

"He keeps apples in his dressing gown?"

"Did I say I like pears?!" Twilight nervously interrupted. "I meant, that I love...apples?"

"Oh! Then why didn't ya say so?" said Applejack. The heavy mood that had set over the Apple family disappeared, and they started smiling again. Applejack grabbed Twilight and brought her over to the table. "Now, how's about you try some of these dishes..."

2 hours later

"Man, Twilight," said Spike, "I can't believe you ate 20 pounds of apple-based entrées."

Twilight, green in the face, put a hoof to the newly acquired paunch in her stomach. "Don't remind me..."

Having left Sweet Apple Acres and the pear-despising Apple family, Twilight and Spike were walking towards the town center to check on the next preparation.

"Let's see..." said Spike as he checked the list, "The next thing we need to check is the weather situation. There should be a pegasus pony named Rainbow Dash clearing the skies of clouds."

Twilight looked up into the sky, only to find that there was an overabundance of clouds and a severe shortage of pegasi clearing said clouds. "God, can't anypony do their jobs around here? Where is this Rainbow Da-"

Twilight's complaints were cut short when a blue pegasus with a rainbow mane and a cloud with a rainbow colored lightning bolt as a Cutie Mark zoomed out of the sky and crashed into her. Both of the ponies landed into a puddle of mud. The pegasus stood up and shouted, "DID SOMEPONY SAY 'RAINBOW DASH'!?!"

Twilight lifted her head out of the mud and asked, "What the hell?"

"Aw, yeah! That was awesome!" cheered Rainbow Dash. "Who's the mare?! WHO'S THE MARE?!"

"Um...you?" ventured Spike.

"You've got that right, little guy!" exclaimed the pegasus. "I'm the best! I'm amazing! I'm-" Rainbow Dash finally caught a glimpse of Twilight, who was still laying in the mud, "...Oh dear God, please don't sue me. I already have three other lawsuits to deal with."

Twilight lifted herself off of the ground and sighed. "No, I'm not gong to sue you. Could you please just-"

"Wait! Wait one second!" cried a desperate Rainbow Dash. "I can fix this!" She flew off, grabbed a dark cloud, and put it over Twilight. "Just one sec!" said Rainbow Dash as she landed on top of the cloud. She proceeded to jump up and down on it, which released a shower of rain onto Twilight. "There!" said Rainbow Dash. "All better!"

"Not quite." said Spike as he pointed to Twilight. The purple unicorn was now soaked and sitting in an even wetter puddle of mud.

"Crap!" said Rainbow Dash. "Don't worry, I can fix this!"

"I'm not going to sue-" began Twilight.

"RAINBOW SPIN!" yelled Rainbow Dash, as she started flying around Twilight. Spike could only watch as what looked like a rainbow tornado enveloped Twilight.

Rainbow Dash stopped flying around Twilight and landed next to her. "There, all better!"

"Not quite." growled Twilight. Her normally straight man was now curly and windblown.

Rainbow Dash was struggling with keeping a straight face. "I-heeheehee-I'm s-s-sorr-HAHAHA!" She fell to the ground in a fit of laughter.

Spike was not faring any better. "N-no, Twilight. Th-that's a real-really good look for...for...HAHAHA!" He fell backwards in a fit of manly giggles.

"That's it." grumbled Twilight. "I'm suing."

"Aw, don't be like that." said Rainbow Dash. She picked herself up off the ground and flew into the air. "I'm Rainbow Dash, and I'm Ponyville's best flier!"

"Oh really?" asked Twilight. "Then why are there still clouds in the sky?"

"Clouds in the what now?" asked Rainbow Dash. Twilight pointed upwards and Rainbow Dash turned her head and saw the clouds. "Oh those. Don't worry." said a confident Rainbow Dash. "I don't have to clear the clouds until the poor loser who checks the preparations gets here."

Twilight, eye twitching, cleared her throat and said, "Hello, I'm Twilight Sparkle. And I am the poor loser who checks the festival preparations."

"Oh...whoops..." Rainbow Dash said sheepishly. "Uh...don't worry! I'll clear the skies in a sec. I just need to practice some more..."

"Practice?" parroted Twilight. "Practice for what?"

"THE WONDERBOLTS!" yelled Rainbow Dash.

"Oh...I see...who?" asked Twilight.

"Come on, Twilight." said Spike. "They're that pegasus stunt team, remember?"

"Hmmm..." Twilight mused.

3 years ago

A younger Twilight was reading in Canterlot's library when a pony wandered in.

"Twilight!" said the pony. "The Wonderbolts are performing! Do you want to go?"

"Are the Wonderbolts books?" asked Twilight.

"Um...no."

"Not interested."

Now

"The Wonderbolts are only the best, fastest, sexiest, and amazing flying team EVER!" exclaimed Rainbow Dash. "And they're coming tomorrow to perform! I'm going to show them my moves, and then they'll have to put me on the team!"

"Well...I see a small problem with that." said Twilight, an evil plan forming in her head.

"What? What problem?" asked Rainbow Dash.

"Why would the Wonderbolts, the most elite flying team in Equestria, want a nobody pegasus who can't even keep the skies clear for one day?" asked/insulted Twilight.

"You." Rainbow Dash glared at Twilight. "Shut the face."

"I guess I'll just have to find a more competent pegasus to do this job."

"I'm competent! Really!"

"No, I think I'll just go and find somepony else."

"Oh, yeah! Well, I'll be able to clear this up in no time! In ten seconds flat."

"Prove it." challenged Twilight with a smirk.

Rainbow Dash took off and started kicking poor innocent clouds into oblivion. After about ten seconds, she landed in front of Twilight and said, "HA! Ten seconds flat!"

"Um..." said Spike. He held a stopwatch in his hand. "It was actually 10.0000000000000001 seconds. Not ten seconds flat."

"..." Rainbow Dash stared at the stopwatch for a few moments. Then she grabbed the stopwatch and trampled it. "TEN. SECONDS. FLAT. GOT IT?!" she growled at Spike.

Spike gulped. "G-got it...."

"Good!" said Rainbow Dash, cheering up instantly. "I'd hate for a certain dragon," she said as she pointed at Spike, "To suffer a horrific accident."

"Horrific accident?" questioned Spike. "How horrific?"

"Horrific as in 'fatal'." explained Rainbow Dash.

"WELL, WE BETTER GO CHECK THE NEXT THING ON THE LIST!" yelled Spike. "LET US DEPART, TWILIGHT!"

"We can stay for a minute if you want to." said Twilight.

"NO NO NO NO NO NO! WE NEED TO GO NOW!" screamed a panicky Spike. He ran off towards the Town Hall. Twilight ran after him. As they entered the building, Spike pulled out the checklist and said, "We need to check on decorations next. A unicorn named Rarity should be in charge."

Twilight looked around the building and saw that it was decorated beautifully. "Well, this looks nice."

"So pretty..." said Spike.

"So neat and organized!" said Twilight as she looked around the room.

"So sexy..." moaned Spike.

"Yes! It's very...sexy?" repeated Twilight in confusion. "Spike what are you talking about?"

"Her..." said Spike as he pointed.

Twilight looked and saw a white unicorn with a purple mane with three gems as a Cutie Mark. The unicorn was grabbing ribbons with her magic and mumbling to herself.

"Yellow? No, too tacky. Blue? Too dismal. Green? God, am I the only one in this town that's not colorblind? Give me colors that I can work with!" she complained dramatically.

"Twilight!" whispered Spike desperately. "How do I look? Do my scales look ok?"

Twilight looked him over and said, "I'd be more concerned about your tail there, Stiffy."

"What's wrong with my-" Spike looked at his tail, which had gone rigid and stiff. "Oh God..." he said in mortification, "Twilight? Do you know a 'Cold Shower' spell, or something?"

Twilight rolled her eyes and approached the other unicorn. "Good afternoon!"

"Shush!" shushed the other. "I'm in the zone!" She used her magic to tie a ribbon to a support beam. "There! Red, bright, and sparkly! Not my first choice, but given the fact that nopony seems to know what colors are actually pleasing to the eye, I'll take what I can get." She turned to Twilight and said, "How can I help y- OH DEAR GOD!" she screamed as she spotted Twilight's still curly mane. "Did you get mugged on the way here, or something?"

Twilight thought back to Rainbow Dash's attempts to "help" her. "Pretty much."

"Oh you poor dear!" said the unicorn. "Allow me to help you with that!"

"Um...that's ok." said Twilight quickly. "I really don't need-"

"Darling." said the unicorn fiercely. "You need a makeover. NOW." And with that, she dragged Twilight away, and Spike, still struggling with his stiff tail followed.

A couple of minutes later

"I'm Rarity, by the way." said the unicorn as she pushed Twilight into a brightly colored building. "Now, you just stay right here, I'll be back with some outfits for you to try."

"Outfits?!" questioned Twilight. "I thought you were just doing my mane!"

"What's the big deal, Twilight?" asked Spike, who had succeeded in calming his tail down. "It's just a few outfits. I mean, how many clothes could she possibly have?"

"Ok, I think this should be enough outfits to start out with." said Rarity. Twilight and Spike turned to see her using her magic to lift an enormous pile of clothes.

"Oh..." said Spike.

"Crap." finished Twilight.

3 hours later

"So...where exactly did you say you where from, dear?" asked Rarity as she tightened the straps on a gaudy looking saddle.

"I...I don't think I can breathe in this thing..." murmured Twilight, whose purple face was turning an even darker shade of purple.

"Oh nonsense." Rarity dismissively waved her hoof, "I hear saddles like this are all the rage in Canterlot."

"Well...I'm from...Canterlot..." gasped Twilight. "And I...don't...remember seeing these...types of-"

"YOU'RE FROM CANTERLOT?!" screamed Rarity. She stopped tugging on the straps and said, "Oh, I've always wanted to live there! The glamour, the fame, the filthy rich clientele!" She walked up to Twilight, "Finally, I have a rich friend to mooch off of!" Rarity realized what she had said, and attempted to backpedal, "I-I mean, to chat and socialize with! Right. That's what I meant!"

"I have money!" shouted Spike. "Hang out with me!"

"Oh my! Twilight, you appear to have some little lizard thing following you around!" said Rarity, who was looking at Spike in alarm.

Twilight paused in trying to get the torture device AKA saddle off of her. "Oh, that's Spike. He's a dragon and he's my assistant."

"Uh...Spike, was it?" asked Rarity.

"Yes?" asked Spike breathlessly.

"Is your tail supposed to be that way?"

Spike looked towards his tail, which was, once again, stiff. "Uh...I get excited around..." Spike looked around the room, trying to come up with a good excuse, "...fashion?"

"Really. You get 'excited' around fashion." repeated Rarity.

"Um...sure?" Spike nervously said.

Rarity was silent for a moment before saying happily, "Oh, I know exactly how you feel, darling!"

Spike couldn't believe what he was hearing, "You...you do?"

"Oh, yes!" said Rarity. "Why, the number of times I had to have a little 'alone time' after looking at the latest fashion magazines..."

"What." said Twilight.

"What?" asked a slightly drooling Spike.

"Oh, it is so fabulous to meet another pony...well, dragon in your case...who loves fashion as much as I do! We have so many things to talk about!" Rarity paused and looked at Spike. "What is your opinion on lingerie? I can model some for you."

"I can honestly say," said Spike with certainty, "that that is the best idea I've ever heard."

"BUT UNFORTUNATELY," shouted Twilight, who had managed to get the straight-jacket/saddle off of her, "WE HAVE TO GO!"

"No we don't!" shouted Spike.

"YES WE DO!" Twilight yelled at him.

"Yes we do..." Spike meekly agreed.

"Oh...well, alright then!" said a cheerful Rarity. Twilight dragged Spike out of Rarity's house. "Feel free to stop by anytime!"

A few minutes later

As Twilight and Spike were walking on a path, Spike was getting lectured by Twilight.

"...And I don't even know why you'd find a pony in underwear attractive!" Twilight continued her rant. "We don't normally wear clothes anyway!"

Spike shook his head and said, "You just don't understand, Twilight."

Twilight put her hoof to her forehead. "Just..." she sighed, "Just tell me what's next on the stupid list."

Spike pulled out the checklist and said, "Looks like the last thing to check is music."

"Oh, finally!" said Twilight. "Then I can head to the library and find out if Seaponies really exist!"

"...You mean 'try and find out if Nightmare Moon is really coming back', right?" asked Spike.

"Right! What'd I say?"

Spike opened his mouth to answer, but the sounds of birds singing cut him off. Twilight and Spike looked around and spotted a yellow pegasus with a pink mane and three butterflies as a Cutie Mark leading a flock of birds like a conductor.

The birds were singing well. At least, until a blue jay opened his beak and sang:

"Ra Ha ringtone pick up ya phone
Ra Ha ringtone pick up ya phone"

The yellow pegasus blinked and said in a soft voice, "Oh, Mr. Blue Jay, please stop."

A raccoon appeared out of nowhere and sang with the blue jay:

"Ra Ha ringtone pick up the phone
Ra Ha ringtone pick up ya phone!"

The pegasus said, in a slightly louder voice, "Mr. Blue Jay? Mr. Raccoon? Please stop."

The blue jay and raccoon started to yell their lyrics:

"RA HA RINGTONE PICK UP THE PHONE!
TING TING TING TING TING TING TING BEEP BEEP BEEP BOOP
PICK UP YA TELEPHONE BECAUSE YA HEAR YA RINGTONE!"

The yellow pegasus snapped and screamed, "SHUT UP OR YOU'RE FIRED!"

"Alright! Jeez..." mumbled the blue jay as the raccoon ran away.

"Ok!" said the pegasus, slipping back into her quiet voice, "Let's try that again, ok? A-one, A-two, A-one-two-three-"

"LOUD NOISES!" screamed Twilight.

The pegasus squeaked in fear as her birds flew off. She looked down to see Twilight looking up at her.

"Oh...sorry. I just didn't want to hear that 'ringtone' song again." said Twilight, sheepishly.

"I don't know, Twilight." said Spike. "I kind of liked it."

The blue jay, flying above all three of them, yelled, "Yeah-yuh!"

"Anyway," said Twilight, "My name is Twilight Sparkle. I'm just here to make sure that your birds are ready for the festival! What's your name?"

"Um...I'm Fluttershy." said the quiet pegasus.

"Sorry? What was that?" asked Twilight.

"I'm Fluttershy." repeated the pegasus.

"One more time." said Twilight. "Let 'em hear you in the cheap seats!"

"I SAID, 'I'M FLUTTERSHY', YOU DEAF BITCH!" screamed Fluttershy. She realized that she was yelling, and instantly said, "Oh my goodness, I'm so sorry!"

"WHAT?!" Yelled Twilight as she rubbed her ears. "ALL I HEAR IS THIS RINGING NOISE! WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?"

"Oh, um...are you ok?" asked Fluttershy.

"AM I GAY?" Twilight yelled, "LOOK LADY, I JUST MET YOU ALRIGHT? AT LEAST ROMANCE ME A LITTLE FIRST!"

"N-no!" said Fluttershy. "I just asked if you were alright!"

"CAN I BITE?!" asked Twilight, mishearing again, "LOOK, I DON'T KNOW WHAT KIND OF STUFF YOU'RE INTO, BUT I'M NOT INTERESTED IN YOUR DOMINATRIX FETISH, ALRIGHT!"

"NO!" yelled Fluttershy. "I JUST ASKED IF YOU WERE OK!"

"Oh, of course I'm ok." said Twilight, getting her hearing back. "You don't have to yell, for God's sake." Twilight looked into the tree and saw that most of the birds had returned. "It looks like your birds are back! It sounds like they're ready to sing at the Summer Sun Celebration, so I guess we'll just get out of your mane."

"We?" asked Fluttershy quietly. "Who's 'we'?"

"Twilight!" cried Spike as he came closer to the two ponies. "Your yelling hurt my ears!"

"You don't have ears!" argued Twilight. "You just have those weird fin things on the side of your head!"

"Oh yeah." said Spike. He felt the weird fin things on the side of his head. "What the heck are these things, anyway?"

"A BABY DRAGON!?" yelled Fluttershy. She came closer to Spike.

"Please, girl." said Spike. "This dragon is all man!"

"Aw!" cooed Fluttershy. "He's soooooo cute!"

"I prefer ruggishly handsome." said Spike.

Fluttershy laughed. "Alright," she said, playing along. "He's so ruggishly handsome!"

"Ha!" said Spike, as he looked over at Twilight. "I'm a stud! All the ladies want Spike!"

"Fine, Casa-no-duh." said Twilight. "Let's get going." Twilight and Spike started walking away.

Fluttershy flew after them and asked, "So, your name is Spike?"

"Yep!" said Spike. "What's yours?"

"My name is Fluttershy! So...I'm curious. What do dragons talk about?"

Spike thought for a moment. "Well...let me tell you about what we dragons call 'Flame Farts'..."

Several minutes later

Spike, Twilight, and Fluttershy had finally reached Ponyville's library. Spike was talking about his experience with Rarity.

"So there I was, about to get treated to a hot girl wearing nothing but a thong, when Twilight says 'Oh, we've got stuff to do', and I'm all like 'Girl please, I got more than enough time for this', but then Twilight was all up in my face like, 'If you don't leave right now, I'll break your face'. So I decided that it was in my best interest to leave." Spike finished.

"Oh my!" said Fluttershy. "I never knew dragons were attracted to ponies! This is so fascinating! I've always wanted to learn about dragons but I'm actually a little afraid of-"

"OK! HERE WE ARE!" Interrupted Twilight. She stopped in front of the library's entrance and turned to Fluttershy. "So sorry, but we've got a lot to do, moving in and such, so I'm afraid that we'll just have to say 'Goodbye'!" She paused for a second before opening the door and kicking Spike inside. "Goodbye!" she said to Fluttershy as she slammed the door in her face.

In the darkness inside, Spike looked over to where he thought Twilight was and said, "What was that all about?"

Twilight rolled her eyes in the direction that she thought Spike was in. "Well, I'm soooo sorry. I'm still a little concerned about that whole 'Everypony is going to die horrible deaths if I don't stop Nightmare Moon' thing, so pardon me if I'm a little rude!"

"Still," said Spike. "You could be a little more friendly."

"Ha!" scoffed Twilight. "'Friendly'. Spike, I'll be honest with you. If I have to talk to one more pony today, I think I'll have a heart attack!"

All of a sudden, the lights flicked on to reveal that the whole town was in the library. "SURPRISE!" they all yelled.

Spike looked over to see Twilight clutching her chest. "Are you seriously having a heart attack?" he asked.

"Pretty damn close..." mumbled Twilight.

The pink pony from before walked up to Twilight and said, "SURPRISE!"

"The others already said that." observed Twilight.

"I know! I just wanted to be different!" said the pink pony happily. "I'm Pinkie Pie! I threw this party just for you! Are you happy!?"

"No." said Twilight.

"I know! You must be super-duper-extra happy!" said Pinkie Pie.

"But...but..." Twilight struggled to find a complaint. "Libraries are supposed to be quiet."

"What's a library?" asked Pinkie in happy confusion. Twilight shook her head and wandered away. Pinkie followed her and was bouncing slightly. "I saw you when you first got here, remember! You were like 'Hi', and I was like 'GASP, EYE BULGE, HEAD SPIN, which in all honesty doesn't seem to be physically possible, but I guess when you're in a parody fic you just have to sort of go along with it."

Twilight rubbed her forehead, feeling another headache coming on. "I need a freaking drink."

"Oh! Then it's a good thing you got here before Berry did!" said Pinkie. "There's some drinks on the table over there! Anyway, I thought you'd be lonely after moving to a new place, and all you had with you was some little lizard guy, so I said to myself, 'Pinkie, you can't just let her not have a party when she's new! You better go to her library and break the lock and sneak in to set up a party'!"

Twilight poured herself a drink, noticing that Spike, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, and Fluttershy had gathered around Pinkie Pie. Sighing...again...Twilight started to sip her drink.

"So I did!" continued Pinkie. "I broke into your new house and set up a party! By the way, do you know that you're drinking hot sauce! I noticed, but I thought you meant to pour yourself hot sauce so I didn't want to say anything. Usually I would comment on you drinking straight hot sauce, but Maniac92's kind of trying to keep this in line with the original episode which involved me not telling you that you were drinking hot sauce. By the way, hot sauce is sure a fun word to say! Hot sauce! HOT sauce! HOT! SAUCE!"

Twilight put her drink down and stared at Pinkie. "So..." she said, "What are you trying to say?"

"Oh for God's sake, Twilight!" said Spike in exasperation. "You are drinking motherfucking hot sauce!"

"Oooooooh." said Twilight. "That explains that intense burning sensation in my mouth, doesn't it?"

"Pretty much." said Spike.

"Ok." Twilight's face grew a little red. "Um...excuse me." She then promptly burst into flames and ran upstairs.

"Wait!" said Pinkie suddenly. She turned to the others. "What was she drinking again?"

Hours later

Twilight, attempting to ignore that the whole town was downstairs, was trying and failing to get some sleep. She looked at the clock and saw that it was close to dawn.

Spike came upstairs, wearing a lampshade on his head and a bra on his body. "Twilight!" he said, "It's almost time to head over to the Town Hall to watch the Princess raise the sun!"

Twilight sighed and said, "I'll be down in a minute, Spike." As Spike left, Twilight walked over to the window and looked up at the moon. "Things," she said, "Cannot get much worse."

To Be Continued In Chapter 3: Things Get Worse

Things Get Worse

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Inside of Town Hall, Twilight and Spike waited with the rest of Ponyville for Princess Celestia to raise the sun.

"Spike?" asked Twilight.

"Yeah?" responded Spike.

"We are all going to die." stated Twilight matter-of-factly.

"...Oh. Ok then." said Spike.

"Spike! Aren't you even a little concerned that Nightmare Moon will return?" asked Twilight. "What if she returns and Equestria is plunged into eternal darkness?"

"...Will there still be gems when Equestria is plunged into eternal darkness?" asked Spike.

Twilight glared at him and asked, "Why am I even talking to you?"

"HEY!" Screamed Pinkie Pie right in Twilight's ear. "Are you SUPER excited for this?! I'm SUPER DUPER EXCITED! I've never been this excited! Not since I saw you come into town and I was like 'GASP EYE BULGE HEAD SPIN', but this is even more exciting than that!"

Twilight rubbed her ear and mumbled, "What is with these ponies and their volume issues?"

"Oh, you silly!" said Pinkie. "We hold just as much water as you do!"

"What the fu-"

The bird choir that Fluttershy had trained started to sing, cutting Twilight off. The spotlight turned on and shone on a pony with glasses and a gray mane.

"Fillies and Gentlecolts," she said to the crowd, "As your Mayor for Life..."

"Life?" repeated several ponies in confusion.

"You've gotta read those ballots, people!" said Mayor Mare. "Anyway, it's my great pleasure to announce the start of the Summer Sun Celebration!"

Most of the ponies in the room cheered.

"Bitchin'!" screamed Rainbow Dash.

"Yes, it is indeed bitchin'." agreed Mayor Mare. "Our town will witness Princess Celestia use her magic to raise the sun!"

"I love witnessing things!" yelled a pony from the crowd.

"Let's cheer again!" yelled another pony.

And so, the ponies started to cheer again.

"It is my great honor to introduce a pony who needs no introduction, but for some reason we decided to give her one anyway: Princess Celestia!"

The spotlight swung upwards, onto a balcony where Rarity was standing.

"HEY! THAT'S NOT THE PRINCESS!" screamed a teal-colored pony with a harp as a Cutie Mark.

"Let's get her!" yelled a cream colored pony with navy blue mane with a pink stripe in it.

"I'm just here to pull the curtains back, you slack-jawed idiots!" yelled Rarity. She pulled on a rope, which opened the curtains to reveal...nothing. The Princess was nowhere to be seen.

As the ponies around them began to panic, Spike looked to Twilight and asked, "Uh, Twilight?"

"Hmm?" asked Twilight calmly. "What is it, Spike?"

"Aren't you going to...you know...freak out?"

Twilight rolled her eyes. "Spike, you know as well as I do that the Princess loves to be 'fashionably late'."

One year and some change earlier

The nobles of Canterlot were panicking inside the Princess's throne room.

"WHERE IS THE PRINCESS!?" yelled one.

The door opened to reveal Princess Celestia. She walked in and said, "Yo! Your Princess is in the house! Get ready for some sun-raising action!"

"But...but Princess!" said a younger Twilight. "You were supposed to raise the sun four hours ago!"

Now

"I'm sure that this is just a stupid publicity stunt that the Princess is pulling." said Twilight with certainty.

A dark blue mist started to form on the balcony. It vanished to reveal a black colored pony with a unicorn's horn, pegasus wings, and a blue, magically flowing mane. She spread her wings and glared at everypony.

"Hey, Twilight." said Spike. "Do you want me to get you a fork?"

"A fork?" asked Twilight. "For what?"

"So you can eat your words."

"LYRA! BON BON!" screamed Rarity from the balcony. "NOW YOU CAN YELL!"

"Oh yeah." said Lyra in realization. She cleared her throat and yelled, "HEY! THAT'S NOT THE PRINCESS!"

"LET'S GET HER!" yelled Bon Bon.

"That's where you are wrong, my little simpletons." said the evil-looking Alicorn. "I am a Princess." she smirked and said, "And I have returned to seize my rightful place as Ruler of Equestria!"

"What did you do with the Princess?!" yelled/asked Rainbow Dash.

"Nothing fatal." said Nightmare Moon. "I just sent her on a little 'vacation'."

Meanwhile, on the moon

Princess Celestia looked around at the barren landscape and shouted, "GODDAMNIT LUNA!"

Back in Ponyville

"IT'S CLOBBERIN' TIME!" screamed Rainbow Dash. She attempted to attack Nightmare Moon, but was held back by Applejack.

"Oh please." said Nightmare Moon. "Don't you know who I am?"

"Well, duh!" said Pinkie Pie. "The narration already mentioned your name like six lines ago."

"..." Nightmare Moon was silent for a moment as she stared at Pinkie in confusion. She shook her head and decided to ignore her. "I suppose it is understandable that you don't recognize me." She said as she walked over to Fluttershy, who cringed in fear. "After all it has been a thousand years since I was unjustly imprisoned." She walked over to Rarity and grabbed her by the chin with her mane.

"I need an adult..." whimpered Rarity.

"But you know," continued Nightmare Moon, "There was a legend that detailed my return. Does nopony remember it?"

"I did!" yelled Twilight. "And I know who you are! You're Nightmare Moon!"

The ponies around the room gasped.

"AW SNAP SON!" Yelled Pinkie.

"Well, aren't you the studious one? I should give you an A+." said Nightmare Moon mockingly.

"Am...am I getting graded on this?" asked Twilight.

"Since you know who I am, you must know what I am here to do." continued Nightmare Moon. "But let me fill in everypony else." Nightmare Moon flashed a smirk and addressed the room, "Did all of you enjoy your day today? Did you enjoy the warm sunlight?"

"Sure did!" said Pinkie Pie.

"Well good." responded Nightmare Moon. "Because you will never see the sun again! Starting tonight, night will reign eternal and I will rule forever!" She started laughing maniacally.

"Spike!" said Twilight as she turned to her dragon companion. "We need to-"

"NAPTIME!" yelled Spike as he keeled over backwards.

"For the love of Celestia..." murmured Twilight.

"Get her!" yelled the Mayor. "She's the only one who knows where the Princess is!"

"CHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGE!" Yelled one of the Royal Guards. He flew at Nightmare Moon.

"This can't end well..." said the other Royal Guard pessimistically. He flew after his comrade.

Nightmare Moon noticed the guards flying at her and asked, "You're kidding, right?" She used her magic to strike the two guards with lightning.

"I was right...that didn't end well..." mumbled the depressed Guard.

"THAT WAS SHOCKING!" yelled the gung-ho Guard.

"Somepony please kill me..." replied the depressed Guard.

"Well that was boring." said Nightmare Moon. "I'm outta here." She transformed into smoke and left the building.

"OH NO, BITCH!" Screamed Rainbow Dash. She rocketed out of the building and gave chase to Nightmare Moon. She paused and watched as the smoke flew towards the Everfree Forest. "Aw, crap." Rainbow Dash looked down at the ground to see Twilight run back to the library with Spike on her back. "What the-?"

A quick run to the library later

Twilight threw Spike into his basket/bed. He mumbled something that sounded like "Just like that, girl" in his sleep.

"Sorry, Spike." said Twilight. "But you need your sleep. You are a baby dragon after all."

"I'm only a few years younger than you, you purple bitch..." mumbled Spike in his sleep.

Twilight walked downstairs and started throwing books off the shelves. "Come on, come on!" She looked at several books, "Age of Discord? No. Celestia's Greatest Trolling Moments? No. Spike: Greatest Lover in Canterlot? Dear God, no!" yelled Twilight as she threw the book in the trash. "How am I supposed to stop Nightmare Moon without the Elements of Harmony!?"

"RAINBOW DASH, ALL UP IN YO' FACE!" Yelled Rainbow Dash, who appeared out of nowhere and was all up in Twilight's face. "Elements of Harmony, huh? That sounds like some sort of weapon!"

"With the word 'Harmony' in the name?" asked Twilight.

"Don't try to confuse me with your logic!" yelled Rainbow Dash. "Are you some sort of spy?"

"Calm down, spaz." said Applejack as she, Fluttershy, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie walked into the room. "Ah don't think she's a spy. But she does know what's goin' on. Don't ya, Twilight?"

"Duh!" yelled Twilight. "I read all about Nightmare Moon and how she was coming back. I wanted to find out more about her, but somepony," she glared at Pinkie Pie, "Threw a party in my library, so I couldn't!"

"That pony sounds like an idiot!" said an oblivious Pinkie.

"I know, right?" replied Twilight. "Anyway," she continued, "The only way to stop Nightmare Moon is to find these artifacts called the 'Elements of Harmony'. The only problem is that I have no idea what the hell they actually are, what they do, or what they even look like!"

"The Elements of Harmony: What The Hell They Are, What They Do, And What They Look Like." read Pinkie Pie, who was looking at a book on a shelf.

"WHAT?!" screamed Twilight. "How did you find that?"

"It was in the 'Important to the Story' section!" said Pinkie.

Twilight blinked and said, "Oh..." She used her magic to grab the book and flip through the pages. "Let's see...'Out of the six Elements, only five are known: Kindness, Laughter, Generosity, Honesty, and Loyalty. The six Element is a mystery, so good luck trying to find it suckers! It says that the last known location of the Elements was in the ancient castle of the Royal Pony Sisters."

"Well, that doesn't sound so bad..." said Fluttershy quietly.

"What was that, darling?" asked Rarity.

"Well...now we know where to start looking." Fluttershy explained. "And since it's in a castle used by the Princesses, it can't be anywhere that's too scary..."

"It says that the Ancient Castle is located in what is now known as the Everfree Forest." read Twilight.

"THE EVERFREE FOREST?!" repeated the others.

"ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?!" Screamed Fluttershy.

A Stroll Through the Forest of Death

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The six ponies reluctantly left the library and walked to the edge of the Everfree Forest. They stopped and looked at the dark forest in front of them. Strange noises could be heard coming from within.

"Well!" said Pinkie Pie cheerfully. "What are we waiting for? Let's go!" She started walking towards the darkness.

"Not so fast, Deathwish." said Twilight. Everypony stopped and looked at her. "Look, I appreciate you girls trying to help me, but I'd really rather do this on my own."

"But...why?" asked Pinkie.

"Honestly? I don't really like any of you." said Twilight. "So if you could all leave me alone, I may actually be able to get the Elements of Harmony, beat Nightmare Moon, and save Equestria before dying alone and scared in a pitch-black forest."

Applejack shook her head, "No way Sugarcube! There's no way we're lettin' a friend go in there alone! We're gonna stick to you like Caramel to his medication!"

"I DoN'T WanT to TAke ThE PilLS!" Screamed Caramel in the distance. "ThEY Make mE UNHAPPY!!!"

"But...but...you guys aren't my friends!" yelled Twilight. "I don't like any of you!"

The rest of the ponies, not paying attention, started chatting with themselves as they walked in the Everfree Forest. Pinkie stopped and looked at Twilight.

"We're all gonna die! This is gonna be awesome!" cheered the happy earth pony.

"So awesome..." sighed Twilight as she walked into the forest. She caught up to the rest of the ponies and asked nervously, "So...have any of you ever been in here before?"

"Good god, no!" said Rarity. "I mean, look around! Dirt...bugs...dirty bugs! This is not a place for a sophisticated pony like me!" Rarity turned her head and said snobbishly, "Though I suppose a pony like Applejack would feel right at home here..."

"Excuse me?" asked Applejack, glaring at Rarity. "What exactly do you mean by that?"

"Oh nothing, darling, nothing!" said Rarity with false cheer in her voice. "I just meant that you'd be used to the dirt and the bugs seeing how you probably never bathe and are probably infested with lice."

"Hey, I took a bath two days ago!" said Applejack as she glared at Rarity.

"This place...doesn't seem right..." said Twilight, interrupting the oncoming argument.

"They say that it don't work the same here as it does in Equestria." said Applejack nervously.

"What do you mean?" asked Twilight.

"Nopony knows!" said Rainbow Dash in a spooky voice. "They say that there are no dresses or fashion magazines..."

"No!" gasped Rarity.

"They say that the animals gather food and can take care of themselves..." continued Rainbow Dash.

"No!" whimpered Fluttershy.

"They say...that there are no parties...EVER!" said Rainbow Dash.

"OH MY GOD!" screamed Pinkie Pie.

"Wait a second," said Twilight. "If nopony knows what goes on in here, then how do you know all of that?"

"Um..." faltered Rainbow Dash. "...Lucky guess?"

"More like you were just tryin' to scare everypony." said Applejack.

Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes and said, "I'm just trying to lighten the mood! You all act like something bad will happen any-"

Before she could finish her sentence, the cliff that the ponies were standing on crumbled, and Rarity, Pinkie, Applejack, and Twilight started falling down the slope. Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy were able to fly up into the air and avoid the debris from the collapsing cliff. They looked at the others slipping away.

"Um..." said Fluttershy as she looked at Rainbow Dash.

"Not. One. Word." growled Dash as she flew after the others. She grabbed Pinkie and took her to safety, while Fluttershy did the same for Rarity. Only Applejack and Twilight were still slipping down the slope.

Applejack grabbed a branch and managed to stop herself, but Twilight screamed as she slid closer to the edge of the cliff. She managed to grab a hold of the edge to stop herself from falling into the ravine below.

Applejack let go of the branch and started to slowly slide towards Twilight. "Hang on! I'm comin'!"

"That's what she said!" yelled Pinkie and Rainbow Dash.

"Applejack!" said Twilight as Applejack grabbed her legs and attempted to haul her to safety. "What do I do?"

"Well...ya could start by exercisin' more..." grunted Applejack as she struggled to keep Twilight from falling. "But...in the meantime...ya need to let go."

Twilight laughed nervously. "Good one, Applejack. For a second I thought you said I should let go!"

"Um..." said Applejack, "Ah did."

"...ARE YOU INSANE?!" screamed Twilight. "In case you haven't noticed, the only thing keeping me from falling to my death is the fact that I'm not letting go!"

"Look, you'll be fine!" said Applejack.

"Are you even paying attention?!" shrieked Twilight. "I'M HANGING FROM A FUCKING PRECIPICE!"

"Ah know!" said Applejack. "But HONESTLY, I'm being completely HONEST here. If ya let go, you'll be perfectly safe! HONEST!"

Twilight looked into Applejack's eyes for a moment. Then she muttered, "Screw it." and let go of the cliff. She screamed as she started to plummet to her death...only to stop falling.

Twilight opened her eyes and saw that Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy had managed to fly down and catch her. Twilight sighed in relief.

"Damn, girl!" grunted Dash. "You do need to exercise more!"

"Um...if you want, I can show you how to make healthy salads if you want to lose a few pounds..." said Fluttershy quietly.

"Just shut up and put me on the ground." snarled Twilight.

The two pegasi gently lowered Twilight onto the ground below, where Rarity and Pinkie were waiting. Applejack managed to find a way down and the six ponies were off again.

Several minutes later

"...So then, I swooped down and grabbed Pinkie from certain death! I could have easily grabbed Rarity too, but I decided to let Fluttershy get a chance to save somepony. So I let her grab Rarity and pull her to safety."

The six ponies had managed to find the path again and were walking in the direction they thought the Ancient Castle was in. Along the way, Rainbow Dash had decided to pass the time by telling the group the story about how she saved them from falling to their deaths.

"And then, we saw you falling after Applejack convinced you to commit suicide." Continued Dash. "We took off, looped the loop around, and WHAM! Saved you right in the nick of time!"

"Ok. One, Applejack did not convince me to commit suicide." said an annoyed Twilight, "Second, all of this literally happened six minutes ago. We don't need to be reminded of it!"

"Reminded of what?" asked Pinkie.

"...Ok. Maybe Pinkie does need to be reminded, but the rest of us don't." said Twilight. "And third...thank you."

"Hmmm?" said Rainbow Dash, feigning deafness. "What was that?"

"I said, 'thank you'." said Twilight.

"Say 'Oh, thank you for saving my nerdy self from death, Rainbow Dash! You're so awesome!'" ordered Rainbow Dash.

"...I'm not saying that." said Twilight.

"Do it." said Dash

"No." said Twilight

"Do it."

"No!"

"Do it."

"NO!"

"Doooooo iiiiiiiit!"

"FINE! OH, THANK YOU FOR SAVING MY NERDY SELF FROM DEATH, RAINBOW DASH! YOU'RE SOOOO AWESOME!" yelled a fed up Twilight.

"Um...excuse me?" said Fluttershy timidly, "I really don't think you should yell, who knows what kind of animals are in this forest."

"WHAT WAS THAT?" yelled Twilight. "I CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER HOW AWESOME RAINBOW DASH IS!"

"I said, you should keep your voice down!" said Fluttershy. "You may attract a dangerous animal!"

"WHAT KIND OF ANIMAL?" yelled Pinkie Pie. "IS IT A PARTY ANIMAL? THOSE ARE THE BEST KIND!"

"AN ANIMAL?!" screamed Rarity. "WILD ANIMALS ARE FILTHY!"

"NOW HOLD ON, YA'LL!" hollered Applejack. "AH THINK WE SHOULD DO AS FLUTTERSHY SAID AND KEEP OUR VOICES DOWN!"

"WHAT SHOULD WE KEEP DOWN?!" asked Rainbow Dash.

"OUR VOICES!!!" answered Applejack.

"FOR THE LOVE OF CELESTIA, WOULD YOU ALL KINDLY SHUT THE FUCK UP!?!" screamed Fluttershy.

All of a sudden, a giant creature jumped out of the trees and roared at the ponies.

"...Way to go, Fluttershy." said Rainbow Dash. "Your yelling attracted a monster."

"You really should be more careful." said Twilight.

"B-b-but-" stuttered Fluttershy.

"What the hell is it anyway?" asked Rainbow Dash, ignoring Fluttershy.

The monster had a lion's head and body, bat-like wings, and a scorpion's tail. It roared again, this time with slight indignation at not being recognized.

"It's a manticore!" said Twilight. "But...shouldn't it have a human's head?"

"Uh, no." said Rainbow Dash. "Everypony knows that manticore's have lion heads."

"Is this really important right now?" asked Rarity. The manticore, hearing Rarity's voice, lunged towards her and tried to swipe her head. Rarity ducked and kicked the manticore right in the face. "Ha! You're nothing compared to Opalescence!" Partly from pain and partly from being compared to a housecat, the manticore roared in Rarity's face. As a result, Rarity's mane turned curly and frizzy.

"GODDAMN IT!" screamed Rarity as she felt her hair. "I SPENT 3 HOURS MAKING SURE THAT MY MANE WAS PERFECT!"

In a rage, Rarity kicked the manticore right in the crotch. The manticore squeaked in pain and decided to attack something a little less troublesome.

"Wait!" said Fluttershy.

Applejack, paying no attention to Fluttershy, jumped on top of the manticore's head. "Alright! Ah jumped on the thing's head!" Applejack paused and thought for a moment. "Wait...how was this supposed ta stop it, again?"

The manticore threw Applejack off of its head and she was launched towards Rainbow Dash.

"That was your big plan?" asked Rainbow Dash. "At least Rarity kicked it in the nuts."

"Shut up and go attack the damn thing." growled Applejack as she flew by.

"Wait!" repeated Fluttershy.

Not hearing (or caring) what Fluttershy said, Rainbow took off and started to fly around the manticore, engulfing it in a rainbow-colored tornado. The manticore growled and used his tail to smack Rainbow Dash, who was launched towards the rest of the ponies.

"Are you alright?" asked Twilight.

"Did you see that?!" said a frantic Rainbow Dash. "That tail just bitch-slapped me!"

The manticore growled at the ponies for calling his tail a bitch. The ponies, in turn, glared at the manticore and started to charge at him.

"WAIT, YOU BUNCH OF DUMBASSES!" yelled Fluttershy at the rest of the ponies. Everyone, including the manticore, stopped what they were doing and stared at Fluttershy.

Fluttershy smiled at the manticore and walked up to him.

"Ah can't watch!" said Applejack as she covered her eyes.

"I can!" said Pinkie as she munched on popcorn.

"It's okay." said Fluttershy as she nuzzled the manticore's paw. "Just show me where it hurts."

The manticore paused and held out a paw. Embedded in the paw was the tiniest thorn that anyone present had ever seen. Fluttershy plucked it out and then smiled sweetly at the manticore.

"Seriously?" asked Twilight. "All of that roaring and growling over a tiny little thorn?"

"Well, yes." said the manticore in an upper-crust accent. "It was quite painful. But I suppose I should apologize to you ponies for my ghastly behavior."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hang on a sec." said Rainbow Dash. "You could talk this whole time?"

"Well...yes." said the manticore.

"And you've just been roaring and attacking us without saying what was wrong with you?" asked Twilight. "Why didn't you say something before?"

The manticore pointed to the thorn. "That thing really fucking hurt." He turned to Fluttershy. "I must thank you for pulling it out, my dear."

"Oh, it's no problem." said Fluttershy. "After all, a little KINDNESS goes a long way."

"What do you mean?" asked the manticore.

"All I'm saying is that it's KIND of nice to be KIND, as KINDNESS is KIND of like the most important thing ever."

The ponies said their goodbyes to the manticore and trotted off down the path. The manticore waved them goodbye, took a step, and immediately stepped on the thorn again.

"SON OF A-" yelled the manticore.

A few minutes later

"Ugh..." groaned Rarity. She glanced around at the wilderness. "All this nature stuff is a real eyesore. My eyes need a break from all this icky muck..."

As the ponies continued down the path, the trees overhead blocked out the moonlight, leaving them in almost complete darkness.

"Ya had ta say it, didn't ya?" said Applejack.

"Shut up." replied Rarity.

"Geez, it's dark." observed Twilight. "We could run right into the Ancient Castle and not even know it."

"I think if we actually ran into the castle, we'd know it." said Pinkie. "Running face-first into stone masonry is hard to miss."

"That's not what I mean." said Twilight.

"EEP!" squeaked Fluttershy. "Um...Rarity? Please back up. Your horn is right up my..."

"Oh! I'm so sorry, darling." said Rarity. "I can't see a thing in this darkness."

"Hey! Whose hooves are on my butt?" asked Rainbow Dash.

"Oh, sorry Rainbow." said Applejack.

"I didn't say to let go..."

"Aw crap!" muttered Applejack. "Ah think Ah just stepped in somethin'."

Fluttershy screamed.

"Ah know it's gross, but I think it's just mud." said Applejack. "At least, Ah hope it's just mud..."

"It's not that..." murmured Fluttershy.

"Then what?" asked Applejack. She turned and came face-to-face with a horrible looking face. "OH MAH GOD!" she screamed as she jumped back.

The ponies looked around them and saw that they were surrounded by horrific looking monsters. They all screamed in fear...except for Pinkie Pie, who just started laughing and making strange faces at the monsters.

"Pinkie! Are you crazy?!" yelled Twilight.

"LIKE A FOX!" yelled Pinkie Pie. "Now shut up and listen to my song!"

"A song?" asked Fluttershy.

"When I was a little filly
and the sun was going dooooooowwwn"

"Are you serious right now?" asked Twilight.

Ignoring her, Pinkie continued singing,

"The darkness and the shadows,
They would always made me froooooooowwwwwwn"

"I think she's serious right now." said Rarity.

"Apparently." agreed Twilight.

"I'd hide under my pillow
From what I thought I saw,
But Granny Pie said that that wasn't the way
To deal with fears at all!"

"I don't think 'saw' and 'all' really rhyme." said Rainbow Dash.

"She said, Pinkie,
If you don't get out of this bed,
You going to wish that
The monsters made you dead.

So just laugh at all your fears
While I crack open a few beers

Even when they eat your liver
Never let them see you shiver

Even when your friends are killed one by one
At least you'll still be around to have some fun..."

"WHOA, WHOA, WHOA!" yelled Twilight. "The fuck was that?"

"Hmm?" said Pinkie. "Oh, that was just Maniac92 trying his best to parody Giggle at the Ghostly. Unfortunately, his 'best' is what most people would call 'mediocre'."

"I don't know who Maniac92 is or what Giggle at the Ghostly is!" said Twilight.

"Oh. Well, the main point is that you have to laugh at the things that scare you. To be able to recognize that your fears are getting taken way out of proportion and laugh at how ridiculous they are." explained Pinkie.

"Oh." The ponies said in unison. They laughed and the 'horrible monsters' turned back into trees.

"See?" asked Pinkie. "LAUGHTER is the best medicine! When you LAUGH, the world LAUGHS with you. Blah blah blah LAUGHTER."

Still laughing, the ponies, with Pinkie in the lead, continued down the path...

Several minutes later

"Twi...Ah...Ah can't stop laughin'..." laughed Applejack as the group, still being led by Pinkie Pie, continued down the path.

"Me neither..." giggled Twilight in worry.

"I...I...can't breathe!" chortled Rainbow Dash.

Pinkie suddenly came to a stop and the rest of the group ran into her.

"Pinkie!" said Twilight, having stopped laughing, "Why did you stop?"

"I think it may have something to do with the giant river that's in front of us." said Rarity.

And indeed, the six ponies had reached the bank of a gigantic raging river. The water was violent and churning and would sweep away the ponies if they tried to swim to the other side.

"Now what?" asked Applejack.

"Oh my stars!" screamed an effeminate voice.

"What was that?" asked Twilight.

The ponies headed up the bank and saw a large purple sea serpent sobbing and splashing the waves. He had orange hair and half of a bushy orange mustache.

"This is just super unfabulous!" said the serpent. "Why? Dear Celestia, WHY?!"

"Um...excuse me?" asked Twilight. "Why are you crying?"

"Um, helloooo!" The serpent pointed at his damaged facial hair. "Can you not see that someone has committed a crime against all fabulousity?! Here I was, looking all sorts of gorgeous, when all of a sudden this little cloud of blue smoke blew by and sliced my moustache clean off my face! And now, I'm just hideous! I mean, I can deal with a chipped claw, or a missing scale, but this?! Oh, what a world!" The serpent threw himself backwards and landed in the water with a large splash, which completely soaked the six ponies.

"Are you serious?" asked a drenched Dash.

"That's what all this bitchin' is about?" asked an equally soaked Applejack.

"Oh, isn't that the most horrible thing you've ever heard?" asked Rarity.

"No." answered the others.

"Are all of you blind?" asked an outraged Rarity. "I mean, just look at him!" She walked over to the serpent. "Such lovely scales!"

"I know!" agreed the serpent.

"Such an expertly styled hairdo!" continued Rarity.

"Do you have any idea how hard it is to have a perfect hairdo when you spend all of your time in the water?" asked the serpent. "It's almost impossible!" He was starting to cheer up a little.

"Your perfect manicure!" praised Rarity.

"Testify, sister!" said the serpent.

"And all of it means nothing without your moustache!" said Rarity.

"I know! I'm hideous! Don't look at me!" said the serpent, as he tried to hide himself from view.

"AW, HELL NAW!" said Rarity. She ran up to the serpent and plucked a scale off his body.

"YEEEEEEOOOOW!" said the serpent. "What the fu-"

"SILENCE!" ordered Rarity. "I AM DOING WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE!" She grabbed the scale with her teeth and brandished it like a sword.

"Rarity?" asked Twilight. "What're you-?"

There was a slicing sound.

A couple of minutes later

"I simply can't believe you cut your tail and used it as a substitute for my moustache!" said the serpent.

Rarity smiled and said, "Oh, it's no problem at all! It's easy to make these kind of sacrifices when you're GENEROUS!"

"But Rarity, what about your tail?" asked Twilight.

Rarity looked back at her now shortened tail. "Oh, it's alright dear. The stallions like a girl that shows a little flank."

"Good thing Spike's not here..." murmured Twilight.

Back at the library

Spike snorted in his sleep and mumbled something along the lines of, "Sexy senses...tingling..."

Back to the others

"Allow me to help you ladies across!" said the serpent. He used his body as a bridge over the river.

The ponies crossed and waved to the serpent. "Thank you for the help!" said Rarity.

"Thank you for the wonderful moustache! My girlfriend will love it!" said the serpent.

"Wait...you have a girlfriend?" asked Rainbow Dash. "I thought you were..."

Before she could finish, however, the serpent swam away. The ponies continued down the path, drawing ever closer to the castle.

"I thought he was gay!" said Rainbow Dash.

"Me too." said Fluttershy.

"So does the large majority of the fandom!" said Pinkie Pie.

"Hey!" said Twilight. She pointed across a ravine. "There's the ruins! We're almost there!"

"One thing though," said Applejack, "The bridge is down and there's no way across."

"Relax!" said Rainbow Dash. "I'll just go and fix the bridge." Rainbow flew down the cliff and grabbed the broken end of the bridge. She flew to the other side of the gorge and was about to tie the rope of the bridge to the post.

"Raaaaaaainbow..." said a voice.

Rainbow set the rope on the ground and asked, "Who's there?"

"Rainbow..." repeated the voice.

"Come out here!" said Rainbow Dash. "I'm not afraid of you!"

A fog rolled in and the voice continued, "We've been waiting for the best flier in Equestria...and we think that's you!"

"Well, duh!" said Rainbow Dash. "Tell me something I don't know."

Three pegasi in dark uniforms walked out of the fog and stopped in front of Dash. "We want you to join us!"

"Ok. I'm gonna stop you right there." said Rainbow Dash.

"Say what?" said one of the pegasi.

"I know that you're just one of Nightmare Moon's tricks to get me to abandon my friends." said Rainbow. "And let me tell you, there's nothing you can say that will make me leave them behind."

"But-"

Rainbow tied the rope to the post and glared at the trio. "I don't want to hear your lies. Get bent, losers!" She flew back to the others.

A white furred pegasus with a blue mane turned to a yellow furred pegasus with an orange mane and said, "I told you these new uniforms were a bad idea, Spitfire."

Spitfire put a hoof to her face and said, "Shut up, Soarin'."

Rainbow Dash flew back to the others, who cheered when they saw her.

"You did it!" cheered Twilight.

"Duh! I never let people down! I'm LOYAL like that!" said Rainbow Dash.

"Wait...wait. Why do you guys keep putting so much emphasis on words?" asked Twilight.

"What do ya mean?" asked Applejack.

"You know, like you with 'HONESTY' or Rainbow Dash with 'LOYALTY'."

"I have no idea what you're talking about, Twilight." said Rarity. "But the castle is right up ahead. Let's go so we can get back to Ponyville."

"I'm so confused." said Twilight as the group crossed the bridge and headed into the ruins.

Twilight Sparkle vs The Moon

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The six ponies entered the ruined castle and looked around. The castle was...desolate. It was...empty. IT...WAS...

"BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING!" yelled Pinkie Pie. "Where's all the booze?"

"Sugarcube...we're looking for the Elements." pointed out Applejack.

"Potato, potahto." said Pinkie dismissively.

"My God, what an eyesore!" said Rarity. She was pointed to a stone statue in the center of the room. The statue had five stone orbs resting on pedestals. "I can understand why the Princess doesn't want to live here anymore with decorations this ugly."

"Rarity focus!" said Twilight. "We need...to find...the...Elements?" said Twilight as she stared at the orbs. "The Elements! We've found them!"

Rainbow Dash stared at them. "They're rocks."

"No." said Twilight. "They're the Elements of Harmony."

"Uh...darling? I've seen rocks before and these are definitely rocks." said Rarity.

"No! They're the Elements!" yelled Twilight.

Fluttershy flew up and grabbed an orb. Testing its weight, she put it down and said, "Yeah, they're rocks."

"...Just bring the stupid things down to the floor." muttered Twilight.

Rainbow and Fluttershy grabbed the five orbs and set them down on the floor.

"Wait...there's only five?" asked Pinkie. "What a rip-off!"

"Yeah," agreed Rainbow Dash, "Where's the sixth one?"

Twilight knelt down and said, "The book said that when the five Elements were brought together, a spark would cause the sixth one to be revealed."

"What the hell does that mean?" asked Applejack. "Are we supposed ta make a fire or somethin'?"

"I'M ON IT!" yelled Fluttershy as she whipped out a tank of gasoline and a book of matches.

"Wait!" yelled Twilight. "Let me try something!" She put her head closer to the Elements. "I don't really know what will happen, so you guys better stay back." She started to charge her magic through her horn and tried to channel it to the Elements. She started gasping and moaning at the effort it took.

When Twilight let out a particularly long moan, Rainbow looked at the others and said, "I feel kinda weird watching this."

"I do as well." said Rarity.

"Should we give her some privacy?" asked Fluttershy.

"Come on, ya'll." said Applejack. "She's just usin' her magic. Don't make this weird for every-"

"OH SWEET CELESTIA, YES!" screamed Twilight in bliss.

"...Nevermind. Let's give her some privacy." said Applejack. She led the others out the door, leaving Twilight alone with the Elements.

A blue trail of magical smoke shot out of a dark corner and started to circle the Elements. As it enveloped the Elements in a cyclone of magic, Twilight opened her eyes and saw what was happening. She screamed in fear.

Outside, the other ponies heard Twilight's scream. "Wow." said Rainbow Dash. "I didn't know that magic could be that...satisfying."

"Oh, you don't know what you're missing darling. Magic can do such wonderful things." said a knowledgeable Rarity. "Why, I remember last Saturday night-"

"HELP ME, YOU IDIOTS!" yelled Twilight from inside the ruins. "IT'S NIGHTMARE MOON!"

"Oh!" said the others in realization. They ran back inside the castle.

Twilight stared in horror as the Elements were swept into the blue tornado. "No! The Elements!" she yelled. She then glared at the tornado and yelled, "NOT ON MY WATCH, BITCH!"

The others watched as Twilight jumped into the tornado, which disappeared along with the Elements and Twilight.

"Shit." said Pinkie. She and the others began to search around the room for any sign of the purple-haired friend.

"TWILIGHT-DOO!" yelled Applejack. "WHERE ARE YOU!?"

"Look!" said Rarity. She was at one of the windows and was looking at a nearby tower. Flashing lights could be seen through the towers windows and doors.

"A rave!" said Pinkie happily. "Maybe the ponies there have seen Twilight!"

"That's gotta be where she is!" said Applejack, ignoring Pinkie. "Come on!" The five ponies ran out of the room and headed towards the tower.

Meanwhile, inside the tower

Twilight crashed to the floor in a puff of smoke. She started to cough loudly. "I knew all of that smoking would come back to haunt me..." she choked out. She looked up and gasped.

Nightmare Moon was standing by the window and the Elements were floating beside her. She started laughing evilly.

Twilight glared at Nightmare Moon and prepared to run at her.

"Are you serious right now?" asked Nightmare Moon.

Twilight charged towards her and her horn started to glow with magic.

"Fine. Whatevs." said Nightmare Moon. "I'll play along. God knows I haven't done anything like this since that Jenkins fellow tried the same thing a thousand years ago." She ran at Twilight and prepared to impale her on her horn.

Rather than allow Twilight to get skewered, Twilight's horn let out a burst of magic and she teleported to the Elements.

Twilight looked around in confusion and said groggily, "That's new..." She shook her head and looked at the Elements. "Just one spark..." she put her head down and started charging her magic. The Elements began to glow.

"Yeah, no." said Nightmare Moon as she turned into smoke and appeared in front of Twilight. She watched as the Elements zapped Twilight with her own magic and sent her flying across the room. Nightmare Moon looked down at the sparking Elements and said, "No!"

Almost as if they were taking orders from the evil Alicorn, the Elements returned to their normal non-sparking state.

"What?!" said Twilight as she got up from the floor. "Where's the sixth Element?"

Nightmare Moon laughed maniacally and stomped the floor. Twilight could only watch in horror as the five Elements shattered into pieces.

"So, did you really think you could stop me?" asked Nightmare Moon. "Because I thought you were just trying to be funny. I mean, you, a fucking librarian, stopping me, an immortal princess of the night? It's just too funny for words. Unless, of course, you were actually serious." She paused and looked at Twilight's shocked expression. "Oh my god! You were, weren't you?" She started laughing again. "I can't decide whether that's extremely hilarious or extremely insulting." She lifted Twilight with her magic and threw her across the room. "You know what?" she asked as she started walking towards Twilight. "Let's just stick with insulted, shall we?" Her horn started to glow. "It's going to make slowly killing you much more satisfying."

"TWILIGHT!" screamed several voices.

Twilight turned her head towards the stairs, where she saw the shadows of the others. Suddenly, a crazy idea popped into her head. She turned towards Nightmare Moon and smirked. "You think you can destroy the Elements of Harmony that easily?"

"Uh, duh." said Nightmare Moon. "I just did."

"Well, you're wrong!" said Twilight as Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, and Rarity stood by her. "Because the spirits of the Elements of Harmony are right here!"

"SAY WHAT?!" yelled Nightmare Moon.

"Applejack, who convinced me that I'd live after falling off a cliff represents HONESTY!" Some of the shattered pieces of the Elements began to circle around Applejack. "Fluttershy, who pulled a thorn out of the paw of a wuss manticore, represents KINDNESS!" Pieces of the Elements circled Fluttershy. "Pinkie Pie, who taught us that we were idiots for being scared of trees, represents LAUGHTER!" Shattered pieces circled Pinkie. "Rarity, who helped a sea serpent with his stupid mustache problems, represents GENEROSITY!" Blah blah pieces blah blah Rarity. "And Rainbow Dash, who told the Wonderbolts where to stuff it, represents LOYALTY!"

"THOSE WERE THE WONDERBOLTS?!" screamed Rainbow Dash as the last of the Element pieces started to circle her.

"We made it through every challenge you threw at us!" said a smug Twilight to Nightmare Moon.

"Well, congratulations." said Nightmare Moon sarcastically. "But you still don't have the sixth element! Your spark didn't work."

"Have you even been paying attention?" asked Twilight. "The spark isn't magic! It's friendship! And for some reason, I consider these bunch of psychopaths to be my friends!"

"Meaning?" asked Nightmare Moon.

"You're screwed, bitch." said Twilight. There was a bright flash of light and a sixth stone orb appeared out of nowhere. It hovered above Twilight. "When the five Elements react to the spark of friendship, the sixth Element appears! The Element of...of..." Twilight paused for a moment. "What the hell is the sixth Element? The book didn't say..."

"MAGIC!" yelled Pinkie Pie.

"Oh! I thought it was FRIENDSHIP..." said Twilight. "Anyway, the sixth Element is MAGIC!"

There was a bright flash of light. The pieces floating around Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, and Rarity became necklaces, while the stone orb floating above Twilight became a tiara. A rainbow colored beam of magic shot out of the jewelry and hit Nightmare Moon.

"Aw crap..." said Nightmare Moon as she was enveloped by the multicolored magic.

There was another bright flash of light and the six ponies collapsed.

"Ow...what happened?" asked Rainbow Dash.

"Ah feel like Ah drank too much cider..." said Applejack as she rubbed her head. "Everypony okay?"

"Well, I'm not okay!" said Rarity. "I'm gorgeous!" She looked back at her tail, which had grown back to its original length.

"And we have bling now!" said Pinkie as she looked down at her necklace. The others looked down at their own necklaces (or up at her tiara/crown thing in Twilight's case), which had pendants shaped like their Cutie Marks.

"Ah thought you were just spoutin' a load of bullshit, Twilight," said Applejack, "But ah guess we really do represent the Elements of Harmony."

"Actually, I was just spouting a load of bullshit." said Twilight. "But it's nice to know that I was right."

"Indeed, you were." said a voice. Outside, the sun started to rise and Princess Celestia appeared in front of the ponies.

As the others bowed to the Princess, Twilight ran up to her and said "Princess Celestia! You're okay!"

"Yeah I am!" said the Princess. "Good work, Twilight! I knew you could do it!"

"Whoa, whoa. Hold up." said Twilight. "You knew that this would happen?"

"Uh, duh!" said Celestia. "Of course I knew. I'm motherfuckin' Princess Celestia, how could I not know?"

"You knew that Nightmare Moon would return?"

"Sure did." said the Princess.

"You knew that she'd take her revenge and put you on the moon?" asked Twilight.

"Well..." faltered the Princess. "That was more of an unforeseen consequence...but yeah, I did see the rest of this coming."

"You told me that Nightmare Moon was just an old legend!" said Twilight.

"Uh, no. I told you to get off your butt and go make some friends." said Celestia. "Jesus Twilight, I thought you were introverted, not illiterate. Maybe I should send you back to Magic Kindergarten..." She sighed and continued, "Anyway, I knew you could kick Nightmare Moon's tuchus all along, you just needed some friends to back you up. Or to sacrifice while you saved yourself, whatever worked for you." Celestia looked to the front of the room. "Speaking of..."

She walked over to where Nightmare Moon was hit by the Elements. In her place was a small blue Alicorn with a moon for a Cutie Mark. "Princess Luna."

Luna opened her eyes and gasped.

"So...how've you been?" asked Celestia.

"...I get possessed by dark magic, go on a rampage, sent to the moon for a thousand years, and the first thing you ask me is 'How have you been'?" asked Luna.

"...Yes?" answered Celestia.

"Oh. Well, I've been better. How are you?" asked Luna.

"Oh I'm fine." said Celestia. "You know, just raising the sun and moon for a thousand years, got a new student, drew some dicks on Discord's statue every once in a while. You know, the usual."

"Ah." said Luna. "Hey, am I in trouble?"

Celestia waved her hoof dismissively. "Nah. Let's just go home."

Luna got up and popped her back. "Well, it beats hanging around here. I forgot how ugly the decorations here are."

"I know, right?" said Celestia. She looked at Luna for a moment. "Hey...come here for a sec."

"Hmm?" said Luna. "What's the matter?" She walked towards Celestia.

Princess Celestia grabbed her sister and pulled her into a hug. "I'm glad you're back, little sister."

Luna hugged Celestia back and said, "It's good too be back." She paused and asked, "So...how's work on Hoof-Life 3 coming along?"

"Uh..." faltered Celestia.

Luna sighed and said, "They haven't even came out with Hoof-Life 2: Episode Three, have they?"

"Nope." said Celestia.

"Goddammit." muttered Luna.

"Hey!" yelled Pinkie Pie.

"What is it?" asked Celestia.

"PARTY!" screamed Pinkie.

"PARTY!" agreed Celestia.

A couple of hours later...

The party was in full swing. Confetti rained down from the sky as the two Princesses arrived in a chariot pulled by the Royal Guards.

"WE'RE BACK, BITCHES!" yelled the Gung-Ho Guard.

"Whoo-hoo." said the Depressed Guard.

"Twilight!" yelled Spike as he rushed out of the crowd to hug her. "You're back!"

"Spike!" said Twilight as she hugged him back. "...Did you clean up the mess in the library."

"As far as you know!" said Spike happily.

"Good...good..." said Twilight distractedly. She hung her head in sadness.

"Hey," said Princess Celestia as she walked towards Twilight, "What's up? You just saved Equestria. You should be enjoying the party with your friends."

"But that's just it!" said Twilight. "Now I'll have to go back to Canterlot and never ever see them again. Ever."

"Spike! Take a note!" said Celestia.

"Do you ponies think I carry a paper and and quill wherever I go?" asked Spike.

"Spike..." said Celestia.

"I mean, I do." said Spike as he whipped out a paper and quill. "It's just ridiculous that everyone assumes I do..."

"Spike, just shut up and write this down." ordered Celestia. "'I, Princess Celestia, decree that Twilight Sparkle shall stay in Ponyville and learn about friendship'."

"Got it!" said Spike as he finished writing.

"Crap." muttered Twilight.

"You secretly wanted to go back to Canterlot, didn't you?" asked Celestia with a grin on her face.

"A little." said Twilight.

"Too bad." said Celestia. "Now, let's party!"

"That's my line!" yelled Pinkie Pie.

Stick It To Ticket

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After the party, Twilight resolved to take her studies of Friendship seriously. She decided to help her new friends with whatever inane task they needed help with. Twilight would help her friends no matter what!

Which explains why she and Spike woke up at the ass-crack of dawn to help Applejack harvest some apples.

"Thank ya fer doin' this, Twilight." said Applejack as she and Twilight lugged baskets of apples to her barn.

"Yeah, thanks Twilight..." muttered Spike as he stifled a yawn. He hopped on Twilight's back and said, "I don't know why I had to wake up early too..."

"If I have to wake up at 4 o'clock in the morning to help harvest apples, so do you." said Twilight. "Not that you've actually been any help."

"Hey!" said Spike as he started rifling through a basket Twilight was carrying. "I helped!"

"How?" asked Twilight.

"I was supervising!" said Spike.

"Taking a nap under a tree does not count as supervising." said Twilight.

"Anyway," said Applejack, cutting off Spike's retort, "Ah bet Big Macintosh that Ah could get all these apples into the barn by noon. If Ah win, he has ta walk down Stirrup Street in Granny Smith's sequin G-string." She started laughing maniacally.

"Yeah...that...that's real funny." said Twilight, laughing weakly. Trying not to imagine Big Mac in an old woman's sparkly thong, she continued, "It's no problem, Applejack. I'm glad that we're almost done though. I'm pretty hungry."

"Me too." said Spike. "I missed breakfast because of this!"

"Spike, you had breakfast." pointed out Twilight.

"I had one, yes." said Spike. "What about second breakfast?" He pulled out a shiny red apple from the basket. "Oh my God." said Spike.

"That looks delicious!" said Twilight.

"It's amazing!" said Spike.

"I'd value it above your life!" said Twilight.

"Me too!" agreed Spike. "...Wait, what?"

"Nothing." said Twilight quickly. "So...you gonna share that or..."

"NOPE!" yelled Spike as he wolfed down the apple.

Twilight watched in horror as apple debris flew from Spike's mouth as he scarfed down the apple. Tears welled up in her eyes.

Spike burped and looked at Twilight. "...What?"

"...You're fired." said Twilight.

Spike burped again, but instead of disgusting apple pieces, a letter flew out of his mouth. He grabbed it and started reading, "Hear ye, hear ye. Princess Celestia formally invites you to the Grand Galloping Gala. The Gala will be held in the capital city of Canterlot on the day the day the author of this story parodies the Season 1 finale. You, insert name here, are invited to the Gala and are allowed to bring one guest. Sucks if you have more than one than one friend!"

"The Grand Galloping Gala?" said both Twilight and Applejack.

"Did I stutter?" asked Spike. He burped again and two tickets flew out of his mouth.

"This is great!" said Twilight. "I've never been to the Gala! Have you, Spike?"

"Boy, have I!" answered Spike. He paused and thought out loud, "...Have I?"

One year ago

"-And then, I was like, 'Bitch, get yer own goddamn dictionary'!" slurred Spike, as he wobbled drunkenly. Empty bottles surrounded him and his drinking buddy.

"Wut...wut shee do then?" asked an equally intoxicated Princess Celestia.

"Ya know Twi..." said Spike. "She started crying, which made me start crying, a-and...and..." Spike sat down, clutched his knees, and started rocking back and forth. "God, I'm a horrible assistant!" He started to cry hysterically.

"I know wut ya mean, bro..." slurred Celestia. She awkwardly patted Spike on the back and said, "I remember when I put Loona on da moon. Cried fer days..." She thought for a moment. "Or was I crying cause I chipped a hoof? I can't really 'member too well..." She cheered up and said, "Hey!"

"Wut?" asked Spike.

"There was these sexy girls at the bar...let's go hook up with 'em!"

"Yeah!" said Spike, cheering up instantly. "Wait...aren't you a girl? Don't you like stalli-stall-st-dudes?"

"Pssh!" Scoffed the Princess. She got up and stumbled to the bar. "I'm Princess Celestia. I don't even give a fuck..."

Now

"I have no memory of the event in question." said Spike mechanically as his eyes darted back and forth. He cleared his throat and said with false bravado, "Like I would ever go to such a girly event! Hahaha..."

"Oh, come on Spike!" said Twilight. "A dance would be nice!"

"Nice?" interrupted Applejack. "It's a lot more than just nice! Ah'd sacrifice Apple Bloom fer a chance ta go!"

"What would you do there?" asked Twilight.

"Ah'd set up a food stand ta get more business fer the farm! With all the extra cash, we could replace the roof for the farm! Or replace that rusty old plow! Or fix Granny's hip! Or get enough money ta get Caramel lobotomized!"

"OvEr yoUR DEAD BodY!" yelled Caramel.

"Wow, it sounds like you really want to go." said Twilight.

"Ya think?" said Applejack.

"Well, if you want to go so bad, I could just give you the tic-"

Twilight's offer was cut off by a familiar voice yelling, "AW, CRAP!" Something blue fell from above and crashed into Applejack and Twilight. As the dust cleared, Spike saw that Rainbow Dash was sitting on Applejack and Twilight with a dazed look on her face.

"Whoa!" said Spike. "You okay, Dash?"

"Of course I'm okay. I'm the goddamn Rainbow Dash!" said Rainbow as she got off the others. "But enough about that!" She turned to Twilight and asked, "Are you guys talking about the Grand Galloping Gala!?"

"Rainbow Dash?!" yelled an outraged Applejack. "You told me that you were too busy ta help harvest apples!"

"Oh yeah." said Dash. "I lied." She flew towards Twilight, "Anyway, I overheard that you have an extra ticket to the Gala!"

"Well...yeah, but-"

Rainbow Dash flew into the air and cheered, "WHOO! THIS IS AWESOME!" She landed near Twilight and explained, "The Wonderbolts perform at the Gala every year! Ah, I can see it now! The Wonderbolts performing, everyone's eyes will be on them, but all of a sudden, Rainbow Dash would-"

"Uh, Twilight? Can Ah talk to ya fer a sec?" asked Applejack.

"Blah, blah, Wonderbolts." continued an oblivious Dash. "Blah blah me me me..."

"What's up?" asked Twilight.

"Ah thought you were takin' me!"

"Well, I-"

"Hold the phone!" said Rainbow Dash, breaking out of her fantasies. "You have to take me!"

"Ah asked first!" said Applejack.

"I didn't hear Twilight say that she'd give you the ticket. It's fair game!"

"Alright then," said Applejack, "Ah guess we're gonna fight fer it."

Rainbow Dash narrowed her eyes. "I guess we are!" She launched herself at Applejack.

"Whoo-hoo!" cheered Spike as the two ponies began to brawl. "Chick fight!"

"Psst, Spike!" whispered Twilight. "Let's get out of here!"

"But...chick fight?" said Spike as he gestured towards Applejack and Rainbow Dash.

"No chick fight!" said Twilight as she trotted away.

"Damn it." muttered Spike. He ran after Twilight.

"THAT'S IT!" yelled Applejack as she pinned Rainbow. "Twilight, ya'll need ta decide who's...who's..." She noticed that Twilight and Spike were gone. "Goddammit..."

"Nice job, Farmer Fatass." groaned Dash as she tried to get Applejack off of her. "Now what?"

Applejack shrugged and said, "What else? We're gonna chase her down and make decide which one of us is gettin' that damn ticket."

A few minutes later

Twilight walked back into Ponyville and looked around for somewhere to eat. Spike examined the tickets in his hands and asked, "So, who are you giving the ticket to?"

Twilight sighed and said, "I don't even know. But I can't deal with this crap on an empty stomach. Let's grab some grub."

Just as Twilight walked in front of Sugar Cube Corner, Pinkie Pie came flying out of the door and crashed into Twilight and Spike. Spike let go of the tickets and they floated down onto Pinkie's nose.

She shot up and screamed, "AAAAAAAAH! BATS! BATS ON MY FACE!"

"Pinkie," said Twilight as she got up from the ground, "There are no bats on your face."

"Oh!" said Pinkie, calming down instantly. "Alright then." She looked down at the tickets and said, "Are we doing a Willy Wonka crossover or something?"

"No Pinkie. Those are tickets to the Grand Galloping Gala." said Twilight.

"THE GRAND GALLOPING GALA?!" yelled Pinkie.

"Oh God, why did I just tell you that?" asked Twilight as Spike bent down to grab the tickets.

Pinkie ignored Twilight and said, "I love the Gala well I've actually never gone to the Gala but I heard that it's the best party in the entire world or at least in Equestria I've don't know about the rest of the world but I'm sure that it's the best! I even wrote a song about it!"

"NO!" yelled Twilight. "No singing! Ever!"

"But-"

"EVER!" screamed Twilight. She sighed and said, "Look, I'm sensing that the reason you want to go is because you think it will be a super fun party. Correct?"

"YES!" yelled Pinkie. "Can I go? Can I? Can I? Can I? Can I? Can I? Can I? Can I? Can I? Can I? Can I?"

"Actually-" began Twilight, but a shriek of surprise cut her off. Twilight turned to see Rarity pointing her hoof at the tickets in Spike's hands.

"Are these what I think they are?" asked Rarity.

"No!" said Twilight.

"YES!" screamed Pinkie.

"DAMMIT PINKIE!" yelled Twilight.

"Twilight has tickets to the Grand Galloping Gala! And she's taking me!" cheered Pinkie.

"The Gala?" asked Rarity. "I design dresses and suits for the Gala every year, but I've never had a chance to go!" She sighed as she imagined the Gala. "Ah, the society! The glamour! The chance to get the hell out of this dump!" She turned to the others and explained, "For you see, the Gala is where I'd meet...him!"

"Him?" asked Twilight.

"HIM?!" screamed Spike.

"Him!" repeated Rarity dreamily. "I can see it now! I'd stroll through the Gala in my sexiest dress, ponies heads would turn, and everypony would wonder 'Who is that mare and how do I get a chance to sleep with her?' Even Princess Celestia would want to sleep with me! But once I gently turn her down, she'd introduce me to...him! Her nephew, Prince Blueblood!" Rarity paused in imaginings to blissfully sigh. "Our eyes would meet, our hearts would melt, he would gain a boner so hard it could shatter diamonds! He would ask for my hoof in marriage, and I would of course say 'Yes'! Then, after our honeymoon that would consist of nothing but sex, I would become Princess! Can you imagine? Princess Rarity! Rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

"Um..." said Twilight.

"Twilight, darling!" pleaded Rarity. "You have to take me!"

"Well...I-"

"Back the bitch truck up!" said Pinkie Pie. "Twilight's taking me!"

"Girls, if you could just-"

"Oh please," said Rarity, "You just want to party. I'm trying to get married and become royalty!"

"Girls!" said Twilight.

"You're already a royal pain." said Pinkie.

"What did you just say?!"

As Spike watched the two bickering mares, he felt something grab the tickets from him. "Hey!" he yelled. He turned and saw a white bunny run off with the tickets.

"Oh my..." said a familiar voice. "What are those, Angel?"

"Look you two," said Twilight, "I haven't decided who I'm giving the tickets to."

"WHAT?!" screamed Pinkie.

"YES!" yelled Rarity.

"Um...Twilight?" asked a soft voice.

Twilight turned to find Fluttershy standing with the white bunny, who had the tickets in his mouth.

"If you don't mind...maybe, you could take me to the Gala?" said Fluttershy.

"Fluttershy?" asked Rarity. "You want to go the Gala? But...why?"

"To see the animals in the Royal Garden!" said Fluttershy. "I-I think..." She looked at the bunny in fear. "Is that alright with you Angel?"

The bunny rolled his eyes and gave Fluttershy a look that said, "I guess."

Fluttershy smiled and hugged the bunny. "Oh, thank you Angel! You're so good to me!"

Angel kicked her in the face and glared at her.

"O-oh I'm so sorry!" said Fluttershy. "I-I forgot about that 'not hugging you in public' rule. P-please don't hate me!"

"Uh...Fluttershy?" asked Twilight. She shook her head and decided not to comment on the bunny's abuse. "That sounds nice and all, but-"

"WAIT JUST ONE SECOND!" yelled a voice.

Twilight turned and saw Rainbow Dash standing on a roof. "Rainbow Dash? I thought you were getting beat up by Applejack?"

"IT WAS A DRAW!" lied Dash as she jumped off the roof and landed on the ground.

"Wait..." said Twilight. "Were you spying on me?!"

"No!" said Dash. "I was just following you and listening to your private conversations!"

"I can't believe this!" said an outraged Twilight.

"You know what I can't believe?" asked Rainbow Dash. "That you'd give that ticket to somepony else even though I asked first!"

"You asked first?!" yelled Applejack as she came running up to the others.

"See?" said Rainbow Dash. "Even Applejack agrees with me."

"Ah asked first!" said Applejack. "Crazy bitches tryin' ta steal mah ticket..."

"Uh...no." said Pinkie Pie. "Twilight's taking me!"

"Let me guess," said Applejack, "Ya wanna go cause ya wanna party?"

"Yeah!"

"Well, Ah wanna go to get business fer the farm!"

"Yeah, well I need to go to get into the Wonderbolts!" said Rainbow Dash.

"I want to see the animals..." muttered Fluttershy.

"Spike!" said Twilight. "What should I do?"

"Spike," said Rarity seductively, "Going to the Gala would make me so happy..."

"You should take Rarity!" yelled Spike.

"Yes!" cheered Rarity. "Then I'll meet Prince Blueblood and have wild, passionate sex with him!"

"DON'T TAKE RARITY! DON'T TAKE RARITY!" screamed Spike.

Everyone started to argue and yell at each other, while Twilight just watched in horrified confusion. It was only after Rainbow Dash's seventh comment about another mare's mother that Twilight finally decided to take action.

"WOULD YOU ALL SHUT THE FUCK UP?!" screamed Twilight.

Everyone stopped yelling...except for Pinkie.

"And then I said, 'Glass? In where?! Are you crazy?'" She noticed that everyone was staring at her. "Oh! This is awkward..."

"Look girls," said Twilight, "I can't make a decision with all of you yelling at me!"

"But Twilight-" began Rarity.

"BITCH, WHAT PART OF BEING QUIET DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND?!" yelled Twilight.

Rarity squeaked in fear and backed away.

"These are my tickets." explained Twilight. "This is my decision. And I'll make it when I'm good and ready!" Her stomach growled in hunger. "And I need lunch before I make it! So get out of here!" All of the others walked away, mumbling to themselves.

"Bye Twilight..." said Spike sadly.

"Not you, Spike!" said Twilight as she put a hoof to her forehead.

Spike smiled and walked back to Twilight. "Do you think the others will be okay with waiting?" he asked.

"Please Spike. They're grown mares, they'll be okay with waiting."

Applejack looked back at Twilight and muttered, "That ticket-"

Rainbow glared at Twilight and said, "Is going-"

Rarity looked at the retreating unicorn, "To-"

Fluttershy looked away from Angel and growled, "Be-"

Pinkie bounced away and giggled, "Spatula! Oh wait, I mean...MINE!"

Favor Fervor

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Twilight and Spike were sitting at an outside restaurant and were waiting to get served. Twilight looked up from the menu and spotted the waiter serving a pink earth pony and Bon Bon a few tables away.

"Hey, Bon Bon." said the pink pony. "You know what's nice?"

"What is it, Daisy?" sighed Bon Bon.

"Getting food! It's soooo nice when you're hungry and there's somepony ready to give you food!" said Daisy.

"Miss, if you would like to order?" said the waiter.

"In a sec." said Daisy, waving the waiter off. She kept blabbing to Bon Bon. "How rude, right? I'm having a private conversation and that waiter thinks he can just interrupt! It's rude!"

"Miss-" began the waiter.

"HEY!" She shouted at him. "Let me finish!"

"Goddammit, Daisy." groaned Bon Bon. "Just order!"

"But first let me-"

"FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! JUST ORDER!" screamed Twilight. Everyone in the restaurant turned to stare at her. Twilight smiled sheepishly and said, "Um, sorry."

As the other ponies went back to their food, Spike stared at Daisy and Bon Bon. "I thought Lyra and Bon Bon were a thing? Why's Bon Bon with Daisy?"

"Spike! Focus!" said Twilight.

"I know, I know." said Spike tiredly. "You're hungry, you don't know who to give the ticket to, you're a nerd, blah blah blah." He sat up straighter and asked, "Why don't you just pick someone to give it to?"

"What the hell do you think I've been doing?!" asked Twilight. "I don't want to disappoint anypony!"

The waiter walked over to their table. "Have you made your decision?" he asked.

"I CAN'T CHOOSE, DAMN IT!" yelled Twilight.

"Well, we do have a list of specials on the front of the menu..." said the waiter.

"He just wants your order, Spaz." said Spike.

"Oh...sorry." said Twilight. She looked over the menu. "I'll have a daffodil and daisy sandwich."

"My God," said Spike. He was staring at Daisy and Bon Bon again. "Can you imagine Lyra in the middle of a Bon Bon and Daisy sandwich?" He drooled slightly. "That's hot..."

"I agree, sir, but what would you like to eat?" asked the waiter.

"Hell, I'd-" began Spike.

"I meant your order, sir." said the waiter.

"Oh! Uh..." Spike looked over the menu again. "Do you have anything with gems?"

"I'm not allowed to say what's in the food." said the waiter.

Spike sighed and said, "Fine. I'll have the hay fries. Extra crispy, please."

"I'll do you one better," said the waiter, "How do burnt fries sound to you?"

"Why are they burnt?" asked Twilight.

The waiter sucked in his breath and said, "Welllllll..."

Inside the restaurant's kitchen:

"Derpy!" yelled another waiter. He glared at the cook and asked, "How the hell do you burn a milkshake?!"

A grey, wall-eyed Pegasus glared at the waiter and yelled, "Look! If they don't want their food on fire, then write it on the ticket! Write it on the ticket!"

Back outside:

As the waiter walked away with their orders, Twilight turned to Spike and asked, "What do you think I should do, Spike?"

"I think you should get ready to douse your sandwich." said Spike.

"I mean about the ticket!" said Twilight.

"Oh!" Spike thought for a minute. "Which one is the blue one again? I think you should take him."

Twilight stared at Spike and said, "Spike, that's Rainbow Dash. And she's a girl."

"Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight." said Spike in disbelief. "Sure he is."

"Your food." said the waiter as he dropped the extra burned fries and the still on fire sandwich on the table.

Twilight looked at her enflamed entree and said hesitantly, "Uh...thanks?"

"Show your appreciation with a tip!" said the waiter as he walked away.

"Ok, ok!" said Twilight cheerfully. As soon as the waiter was gone, she mumbled, "Not likely..."

"I don't know what you're complaining about." said Spike as he shoveled the blackened fries into his mouth. "These are delicious!"

Before Twilight could retort, a stampede of ponies ran by their table. "What's that all about?" she asked.

Spike looked around nervously and said, "Sorry, that might of been me. Fries give me gas."

"I don't think it's that, Spike." said Twilight. "Although that does explain the smell..."

"Uh, miss?" came the waiter's voice. Twilight and Spike looked towards the entrance to the restaurant, where the waiter was poking his head out of the door. "Are you going to eat your food in the rain?"

"What rain?" asked Twilight.

"I think he means that rain." said Spike as he pointed a claw.

Twilight looked and saw that it was raining a couple of feet away from them. In fact, she saw that it was raining everywhere except the area around their table.

"What the hell?" asked Twilight.

"I think God wants us to keep eating." said Spike. He grabbed more of his fries. "And I for one say we do as the Good Lord wishes!"

"Hey!" yelled a voice from above.

Spike fell to his knees. "Oh my God, it's God!" He whipped out a small book. "I wonder if I can get his autograph..."

"What?" said the voice. "I-I mean..." The voice got deeper and said, "Spike! I command thee to never brush your teeth and to masturbate daily!"

"Ha!" said Spike. "Already doin' it!"

"Wait a sec." said Twilight. "Who-?" Twilight looked up and saw a familiar blue face. "Rainbow Dash?"

The blue Pegasus poked her head out of a hole in the overcast sky. "Hey super-best-friend-who-I'd-totally-murder-in-order-to-get-that-ticket! Enjoying the sunny day?"

"Rainbow?" asked Twilight suspiciously. "What are you doing?"

"Definitely not trying to bribe you in order to get that ticket, that's for sure!" Rainbow Dash said. She laughed nervously and asked, "Speaking of which..."

"Shut your face!" yelled Twilight. "And while you're at it, shut that hole in the clouds!"

"Fine, fine, I'm going already." said Dash in defeat. She closed the hole in the clouds and the rain instantly poured down on Twilight and Spike.

"Oh well..." said Twilight. "At least my sandwich is..." She was surprised as she looked at her lunch. "...Still on fire? How is that possible?"

Inside the kitchen:

"HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?!" screamed a waiter as he stared at the inferno that used to be the kitchen. "DERPY! WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO?!"

"I don't know!" yelled Derpy. "I just used my special secret ingredient!"

"What ingredient?!" asked the waiter.

"Gasoline." said Derpy.

Back outside:

"Twilight?" said another voice. Twilight and Spike turned to see Rarity. The unicorn had an umbrella attached to a saddle and was staring at Twilight. "Are you aware that it's raining?"

"No." said Twilight sarcastically. "I had no idea that I was sitting in this freezing rain. Thank you ever so much for telling me, Rarity."

"It's no trouble at all, dear." said Rarity. "But you must get out of this rain! Follow me!"

"Do I have to?" muttered Twilight.

Rarity didn't bother to respond. She just grabbed Twilight and headed for Carousel Boutique. Spike grabbed Twilight's sandwich, stuffed it in his mouth, and ran after them.

Once the two ponies and the dragon were inside Rarity's home, Twilight shook herself like a dog to dry herself off. She smiled and turned towards Rarity...who was now sopping wet. "Uh...sorry?" said Twilight.

Rarity forced her face into in unpleasant looking grin. "Oh it's no problem. After all, we are friends, right?"

"Um...yes?" said Twilight.

"And..." began Rarity, "Of course you know..." Her voice took on a seductive tone as she stepped closer to Twilight, "What friends do to each other, don't you?"

Twilight stared at Rarity in shock. "N-no..."

Spike looked at Rarity lustfully. "Yes."

Rarity fluttered her eyelashes. "They..."

"Yes?" asked Twilight nervously.

"Yes!" said Spike.

"They..." Rarity's voice was now a breathless whisper.

"Y-yes?" squeaked Twilight.

"YES!" yelled Spike

"They give each other makeovers!" cheered Rarity.

"Wait...what?" asked Twilight.

"GODDAMMIT!" said Spike.

Rarity used her magic to grab a curtain, blocking her and Twilight from Spike's view. Spike waited and listened to the commotion that was happening behind the curtain.

"Really, dear, this is the best color for you..."

"Wait a second, Rarity!"

"No, no. This is all wrong."

"Eep! Your hooves are cold!"

Rarity moved the curtain back and Spike saw that Twilight was now dressed in a fashionable looking saddle. "Perfect!" exclaimed Rarity. "Fits you perfectly, darling."

Twilight looked at her outfit and shrugged. "It is kinda pretty isn't it?"

"Women and their clothes..." muttered Spike as he rolled his eyes. "You would never catch me going ga-ga over some stupid..."

"And of course," said Rarity, "We need to make an outfit for Spike as well."

"Oh my God, clothes!" squealed Spike excitedly. He realized what he said, and backtracked, "I-I mean, I don't want an outfit! I don't even want to go to this stupid Gala thing."

"Nonsense!" said Rarity. "I have a dandy outfit for my dashing little dragon!" She used her magic to drag the curtain again. Twilight could only hear snippets of what was happening.

"Ow! My tail!"

"Just have to adjust this...straighten that..."

"Is that a wig? What the fu-"

"Hat! This outfit is just dying for a matching hat!"

The curtain moved back once again, and Twilight looked at her assistant and tried to stifle her giggles. Spike was now dressed in a blue outfit with a yellow sash, a blonde wig, and a black sombrero.

"I look like I belong in a gay Mariachi band!" said Spike as he looked at himself in a mirror.

"Oh, you look so handsome!" cooed Rarity. "Don't you think, Twilight?"

"Very dashing!" said Twilight with a straight face. She couldn't hold it, however, and exploded into a fit of giggles.

"I'm headed back to the library..." muttered Spike, whose face was beet red. "I have to reassert my masculinity by thinking about girls and football and-"

"La Cucaracha?" supplied Twilight, who promptly burst into laughter again.

Spike's only response was to strip out of his outfit and run out the door.

"Oh...oh well." said Rarity. "I don't really mind that he doesn't like it. After all, this is all about you, Twilight!"

"You're right!" said Twilight as she looked at herself in a mirror. "This is all about me!"

"Yes!" agreed Rarity. "It's all about you, me, and the Grand Galloping Gala!"

"Right!" said Twilight. "Me, you, and..." Twilight paused. She looked at Rarity suspiciously. "The Grand Galloping Gala?"

"Oh! And would you look at this!" said Rarity. She went over to a mannequin that was wearing the exact same clothes as Twilight. "I even have an outfit that matches yours perfectly! How bizarre!"

"Yes." said Twilight. "Because it's not like you're the one who made them."

"We'd be the belles of the ball! The apples of many ponies eyes! The sluts of the spotlight!" continued Rarity.

"Uh..." began Twilight.

"Everyone would want to know us! Everyone would want to know me!" Rarity's eyes widened and she quickly backtracked. "Us! Everyone would want to know us! Not me. Us."

"Ok," said Twilight, finally catching on, "You wanted to bribe me with a fancy outfit so I'd give you the ticket, right?"

"No! No, of course not!" lied Rarity. "How could you even think-"

Twilight glared at her.

"...Ok. Maybe I tried to bribe you a little." admitted Rarity. "Is it working?"

Twilight pulled off her outfit and said, "No. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go get some lunch."

"Did somepony say 'lunch'?" asked a familiar voice. Applejack burst through the door of the boutique and grabbed Twilight.

"What is happening?!" screamed Twilight.

"Hush you." said Applejack as she threw Twilight outside.

Twilight pulled her face out of the dirt and looked up to see a cart loaded with food. "Seriously?" asked Twilight.

"Seriously." said Applejack. "Ah've got apple-"

"I DON'T CARE!" yelled Twilight. "ALL THESE FAVORS AREN'T HELPING ME DECIDE WHO GETS THE TICKET!" She ran away, yelling, "I HATE DECISIONS!"

Applejack stared after Twilight in confusion. Rarity trotted out of the building and asked, "You didn't have any luck trying to get the ticket either, huh?"

Applejack shook her head and said, "Ah was just givin' her lunch! Mah bribe was gonna be to have Big Macintosh sleep with her."

"You'd whore out your own brother just to get that ticket?" asked a shocked Rarity.

"Um...yeah." said Applejack.

"...Nice." said Rarity.

A minute later:

Twilight slowed to a walk as she approached the library. "Crazy ponies trying to get my ticket..." she muttered to herself, "I just need a few minutes alone to think about who to give it to." Twilight smiled as she opened the door to the library. "Luckily, my library is the one place where I can be all alo-"

"Through the fire and the flames!" sang a soft voice.

"...No..." said Twilight slowly as she looked around the library. Animals and birds scurried and flew around the library, sweeping dust off the shelves and putting away books. Twilight spotted Fluttershy, who was singing and dusting Twilight's Starswirl the Bearded portrait.

"This war is ours!" sang Fluttershy.

"HOOVES OFF MY MAN, WHORE!" screamed Twilight, running towards the portrait.

Fluttershy squeaked in fear and spun around to see the purple unicorn running at her. "Tw-Twilight! You're here! And you're...you're...making out with a painting?"

Twilight pulled her lips away from Starswirl's painted ones and said, "We're just friends, I swear!"

Fluttershy (and her animals) stared at Twilight for a moment. "On second thought," said Fluttershy, "You can keep the ticket, Twilight. I'll just be...somewhere else..." Fluttershy and her animals slowly backed out of the library, leaving Twilight alone with the portrait.

"...That was awkward." said Twilight. She turned to the painting and said, "Don't look at me like that! I had to say we we're just friends to keep up appearances!"

Starswirl, being a painting, said nothing.

"Giving me the silent treatment, huh?" said Twilight. "That's okay. I like it when you're mad. It makes you more..." she started rubbing her hoof on the painted Starswirl's chest, "...dangerous..."

"Wow." said another familiar voice. "That's messed up."

"You're telling me." said Spike's voice. "I remember one night I walked downstairs and Twilight was wearing-"

"Spike! Stop telling other ponies my fetishes!" screamed Twilight. She turned to see Spike and Pinkie Pie staring at her. "Oh. Hello, Pinkie." said Twilight sheepishly.

"Hi!" said Pinkie as she waved frantically. She held out her hoof and said, "Ticket, please!"

"Sure!" said Twilight.

"Really?!" asked Pinkie.

"NO!" screamed Twilight. "Like I've told every-goddamn-pony else, I will give someone the ticket when I am good and ready!"

"Oh..." said Pinkie in realization. She was silent for a few moments before asking, "...Are you good and ready now?"

Twilight put her hoof to her forehead and said weakly, "No. No, I'm not."

"Ok!" said Pinkie. She headed to the door and opened it. "See you later!" She walked out and shut the door.

"...That was surprisingly easy." said Twilight. She turned to Spike and said, "Now, let's get some-"

The door opened and Pinkie stuck her head in. "Oh, Twilight?" she asked. "What am I supposed to tell the ponies at the party?"

"Party?" asked Twilight. She walked over to the door and looked out. "What party?"

Loud dubstep music played as nearly all of Ponyville partied on the lawn of the library. A blue-maned mare with sunglasses was the DJ, and was scratching disks and mixing music and a purple pony with fruit as her Cutie Mark was supplying drinks to the partying ponies.

As Twilight and Spike wandered out of the library, Pinkie smiled at Twilight and said, "What do you think?"

"What do I think?!" yelled Twilight.

"That's what I'm asking you, silly!" Pinkie yelled, trying to be heard over the loud music. "Do I get the ticket?"

"Pinkie, I'm not giving you the ticket." said Twilight.

"What!?" yelled Pinkie. "I can't hear you!" The music seemed to increase in volume.

"I said, 'I'm not giving you the ticket'!" yelled Twilight.

"What ticket!?" asked Pinkie Pie. The song ended abruptly.

Not realizing that the music had stopped, Twilight yelled, "THE TICKET TO THE GRAND GALLOPING GALA!"

Everyone at the party stared at Twilight. "Did she say 'Grand Galloping Gala'?" someone asked.

"...Shit." said Twilight. The ponies started to slowly advance towards Twilight.

"TIME TO GO!" yelled Spike as he grabbed Twilight's leg and started to run.

"GET HER!" Yelled the ponies in unison. They all ran after Twilight and Spike, several of them yelling the favors that they could do if they were given the ticket.

Several minutes of running around later:

Twilight and Spike were hiding behind the garbage cans in the back of Sugarcube Corner. "Spike!" whispered Twilight. "Go see if they're gone!" She pushed Spike out into the open.

Spike nervously looked around. Seeing nothing, he whispered, "I think they're gone!"

"You think who's gone?" asked another voice.

Spike spun around and came face-to-face with Lyra and Bon Bon. "Oh! Hey, ladies!" said Spike nervously. "How's it hangin'?"

"Cut the crap, Spike." said Lyra. "Where's Twilight?"

"Yeah, where's Twilight?" asked Bon Bon.

"Oh. She...uh...died." lied Spike.

"She died?" repeated Bon Bon in disbelief. "Why should we believe you?"

"Because...because...because Bon Bon has been seeing Daisy behind your back, Lyra!" Spike yelled.

"What?!" yelled Lyra.

"Wait, I can explain!" pleaded Bon Bon. "We're just friends!"

"How could you do this to me?!" asked Lyra.

"Don't act like you're innocent!" yelled Bon Bon. "Remember that time I caught you with Octavia?"

"That was a professional relationship and you know it!" yelled Lyra.

The two mares started to bicker and left. Twilight walked out from behind the garbage and said, "Spike, I'm rehiring you."

Spike sighed and said, "There goes my vacation to New Mexicolt..." He looked around and asked, "Hey...were all these ponies here before?"

Twilight looked around and found, to her horror, that several ponies had surrounded them. "Oh crap." she said.

"Ticket!" said the ponies. They slowly advanced on Twilight. "Tiiiiiiiiiiiiickeeeeeeeet..."

"Twilight!" yelled Spike as he clutched her leg, "We need to get out of here! This reminds me too much of The Trotting Dead!"

"Tiiiiiiiickeeeeeeeet..." moaned the ponies. "Tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiickeeeeeeeeeet..."

"TWILIGHT! DO SOMETHING!" screamed Spike.

"Spike." said Twilight. "I'm going to do something that I've only done once."

"You're...gonna...pay me?" asked Spike.

"What?" asked Twilight. "Don't be ridiculous. I meant that I'm going to do...THIS!" Twilight's horn glowed and she and Spike disappeared in a flash of light.

The crowd of ponies stopped and stared at where Twilight and Spike used to be. "...Well that sucks." said one.

At the library:

A bright flash of light lit the darkened library as Twilight and Spike reappeared. Twilight clutched her head and moaned while an extremely burnt Spike covered his eyes.

"DEAR GOD, I THINK I'M BLIND!" screamed Spike.

Twilight shook her head and said, "I didn't even need Nightmare Moon to teleport this time! I'm getting better at controlling it!" She turned towards Spike and said happily, "Isn't it great, Spike?"

"IT BURNS!" shrieked Spike as he rubbed his eyes.

"And we're all alone! This is great!" cheered Twilight.

"Uh...not exactly..." said a voice.

Twilight froze. Her smile disappeared as she turned slowly around. Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, and Rarity were all standing by the window. Pinkie waved at Twilight and said, "Hi!"

"...Ha...Haha...Hahahahahahahahahaha..." Twilight started laughing as she felt her mind break. "Hahahahahahaha!"

"Is she alright?" asked Rarity.

"I'm guessing...no." said Rainbow Dash.

"HAHAHAHAHAHA-AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" Twilight's laughter turned to horrified screams as she threw herself on the floor. "I'M SORRY I'M SORRY I'M SORRY! I JUST CAN'T DECIDE WHO TO GIVE THE TICKET TO! I WANTED TO CHOOSE BUT IT'S IMPORTANT TO ALL OF YOU AND YOU ALL GAVE ME FAVORS AND GIFTS AND ALL I WANTED WAS SOME FUCKING LUNCH! I JUST WANTED LUNCH GODDAMMIT AND YOU ARE ALL MY FRIENDS AND I WANT ALL OF YOU TO BE HAPPY AND FLUTTERSHY AND PINKIE SAW ME MAKE OUT WITH A PAINTING AND DON'T HATE ME DON'T HATE ME DON'T HATE ME DON'T-"

"TWILIGHT!" yelled Applejack. "AH'M SORRY!"

"...What?" asked Twilight.

"Ah said...'Ah'm sorry'." repeated Applejack. "Ah didn't mean to make ya feel this stressed out about that stupid ticket. In fact, Ah don't even want it anymore. Give it to one of the others."

"Me too." said Fluttershy, flying over to Twilight. "I don't even care about your creepy crush on that painting."

"I'm sorry too!" said Pinkie. "About the ticket thing and about watching you flirt with a painting of a dead guy!"

"Twilight, I apologize." chimed in Rarity. "I should never have tried to bribe you. Although that outfit was stunning on you, darling, I really should give it to you."

"YES!" cheered Rainbow Dash. "I'M GETTING THE TICKET! IN YOUR FACE, BITCHES!"

Everyone but Twilight glared at Dash. Applejack cleared her throat loudly.

"Oh, uh, I'm sorry about the ticket thing too, I guess..." said Rainbow Dash.

"We all got a little carried away," said Applejack. "We're sorry."

"...Spike?" asked Twilight. "Can you write a letter?"

"Yeah, you know I can. I write your letters all the time." said Spike.

"I mean, can you write a letter right now?" asked Twilight.

"Yeah. I mean, my wrist has been cramping up lately, but it's nothing that can stop me from-"

"Spike! Grab a quill and some paper and start writing!" ordered Twilight.

"Oh!" said Spike. He grabbed his quill and a roll of parchment. "Why didn't you say so?"

"For the love of- just write what I'm about to say, alright?" Twilight cleared her throat and said, "Dear Princess Celestia...I'm sending back these tickets because everypony has been driving me crazy all day! I mean, two tickets? For the six bearers of the Elements of Harmony? Plus an assistant? Are you kidding? What kind of an idiot sends two tickets for six ponies and one dragon? It's ridiculous! Signed, your faithful student, Twilight Sparkle."

Spike finished the signature with a flourish. "Done!"

Twilight used her magic to put the two tickets inside the scroll. "Send it!"

As Spike used his fire to send the letter, Applejack turned to Twilight and said, "What do ya think the Princess will do?"

Spike belched out a letter, and he caught and opened it. "We're about to find out." He began to read, "My Faithful Student, Twilight Sparkle. Sorry for the mix-up, I entrusted the Royal Mail Department to send out all of the invitations and tickets, and I thought that I could trust them to send the right amount of tickets. Clearly, I was wrong. So I'm having them all executed. See you at the Gala!" Spike pulled out seven tickets. "Hey!" he said, "There's enough tickets for everyone!"

"Yay!" said Twilight. "Now we can all go!"

The ponies cheered and Twilight used her magic to grab the tickets and give them to everyone. "Now," said Twilight, "Let's go get some dinner! I'm so hungry I could eat a horse!"

Everyone gasped and stared at Twilight.

"Relax!" Twilight said. "I'm just kidding." Everyone started laughing. "But seriously," said Twilight, "If I don't get some food I'm going to kill and eat all of you."

The Mother#$@king Applebucking Season

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"So run that by me again..." said Applejack. "Ya hurt yer what doin' what?"

It had been a few days since the tickets arrived and almost all of the ponies could not stop thinking about the Gala. Almost all of them, that is, except for Applejack. She couldn't simply stop focusing on work just cause of some fancy frou-frou Gala! She had apples to buck! And it was the start of the busiest time at Sweet Apple Acres: Applebuck season. All of the trees would be loaded down with apples and it was her job to harvest all of them. Fortunately, Applejack would normally have her big brother, Big Macintosh, to help her out. Unfortunately...

"Ah told ya." said Big Mac, "Ah broke three ribs when that branch fell on me the other day, my appendix has ruptured, and I'm bleedin' from the eyes."

"But that's never stopped ya before!" said Applejack.

"And Ah think Ah pulled something when Ah I had ta prance around in Granny's thong." Big Mac said as he glared at his little sister.

"Hey, Ah won our little bet fair and square." said Applejack. "Besides, you're the one that insisted that you had ta wear it if ya lost." Applejack paused and looked at her brother in confusion. "Why did you insist that you had ta wear it if ya lost?"

Big Mac shrugged and said, "Sometimes a man has just gotta feel pretty. And if he has ta wear a sparkly G-string ta do it, then by damn, he's gonna wear a sparkly G-string."

"Ah'm gonna pretend like Ah didn't hear that." said Applejack. She looked at the massive orchard and said, "Well, it looks like Ah got mah work cut out for me. I best get started."

"Hang on," said Big Mac, "That's way too much work for one pony."

"ARE YOU SAYIN' THAT AH CAN'T DO IT?!" screamed Applejack.

"No!" said Big Macintosh. "Well...yeah."

"AH'LL SHOW YOU! AH'LL BUCK THESE APPLES BETTER THAN YOU EVER COULD!" Applejack ran off and yelled back, "YOU'LL SEE!"

Big Macintosh stared after his little sister for a moment. Then he shrugged and walked off, saying, "Ah think I need ta go feel pretty again. Where's Granny's old cocktail dress?"

Applejack muttered to herself as she walked over to a tree. "Stupid crossdressin' know-it-all...What does he know? Ah can get all these apples down in no time!"

"And don't forget to take Winona for a walk!" yelled Big Mac.

"Why do Ah always have to take her for a walk?!" screamed back Applejack.

"Don't sass me! Just do it!" hollered Big Mac.

"...Dammit..." muttered Applejack.

Meanwhile

A rumbling noise could be heard all throughout Ponyville as the ground began to shake. Rainbow Dash, having been woken from her third mid-morning nap, flew up into the air to see what the deal was.

"This better be important..." she muttered to herself. "I was having that dream where the entire Wonderbolts team arrives in my bedroom and we all-"

"Rainbow Dash!" yelled Twilight from the ground. "What do your Pegasus eyes see?"

"The orcs are taking the hobbits to Isengard!" shouted Rainbow Dash.

"...Really?"

"No, not really! I can't see anything!" Rainbow Dash squinted and tried to spot what was causing the ground to shake. "It's just the same old, same old. The same trees, the same fields, the same giant dust cloud, the same strip joint..."

"Wait, what?!" asked Twilight.

"Yeah, it's called Stripsie's. It's a decent place, but I always get kinda shit-faced whenever I go there..."

"NO!" yelled Twilight. "What about the giant dust cloud?"

"Oh!" said Rainbow Dash. "There's a giant dust cloud headed right for us. It's probably a stampede." Dash was silent for a few moments. "...A stampede's bad, right?"

"STAMPEDE!" yelled Twilight.

Rainbow Dash squinted her eyes and said, "I think it's a bunch of cows."

"COW STAMPEDE!" yelled Twilight.

The ponies of Ponyville began to panic and started to do what they normally do in times of crisis: Run home, rush upstairs, and dive under the bed until the crisis is over.

Pinkie Pie, oblivious to the panicking ponies surrounding her, said, "I haven't felt shaking this hard since Mr. and Mrs. Cake had their anniversary."

"Pinkie," began Twilight, "What are you talking about?"

"Well, it was late at night and Mr. Cake was like, 'If the room starts rockin', don't come a-knockin'.' and then he grabbed the whipped cream and headed upstairs and-"

"I get it!" yelled Twilight.

The Mayor walked into the center of town and shouted, "Everyone remain calm! This is no time to panic!"

Rarity walked up to the Mayor and asked, "What should we do, Mayor?"

"I don't know! I'm panicking!" shouted the Mayor.

"LOOK!" Shouted Rainbow Dash.

"WHAT, WHAT IS IT?" Yelled the Mayor.

"...The quills and sofas place is having a 'Buy One, Get One Free' sale." said Rainbow Dash. "Oh yeah, and Applejack is running with the cows."

"She what?" asked everyone as they turned to look.

Applejack and her dog Winona were running side-by-side with the stampede. Applejack shouted, "Look at that bull over there!"

The cows suddenly stopped and looked around for the imaginary bull.

"That was anticlimactic." observed Pinkie Pie.

"What in the name of Alan Jackson's mustache are you idiots doin'?!" Applejack yelled at the cows.

One of the cows cleared her throat and said, "Sorry Applejack, but we saw a snake!" The other cows nodded in agreement.

"A snake." repeated Applejack. "A snake made you start a stampede."

"It was scary!" said the cow. "It was just lying there, without a head, and spitting water at us!"

"...Are ya sure it wasn't a garden hose?" asked Applejack.

"Oh..." said the cow in realization. "Oops."

"Just git outta here." said Applejack.

"Ok, ok." said the cow. "Come on, girls! Let's head to that McDonald's place! I have a hankering for another hamburger!" She paused and said, "I wonder what those are made out of?"

"Maybe we'll track down Mootilda." said another cow. "No one's seen her since we went there last week."

As the cows went off to unknowingly become cannibals, Applejack headed back to Sweet Apple Acres.

"That was awesome!" said Pinkie Pie. "We should give Applejack a prize!"

"That's not a bad idea." said the Mayor.

"We should have her become mayor!" continued Pinkie Pie.

"That is a bad idea and you should never suggest that EVER again!" replied the Mayor. "But what can we do to show Applejack our gratitude?"

"I know!" said Pinkie.

"A party?" asked Rainbow Dash.

"I was going to say 'cash prizes', but sure, I guess a party could work." said Pinkie.

About a week later

Town Hall was decked out in streamers, balloons, and various other party decorations. Twilight and Spike walked over to Rarity, who was tying a ribbon on a tree.

"We done?" asked Twilight.

"What do you mean, 'we'?" asked Rarity. "You have been lounging in the shade, while I've been doing all the work!"

"So?" asked Twilight.

"So it's supposed to be me who's lounging in the shade!" Rarity sighed dramatically. "Oh, is an artist's work never done? Am I to slave my life away for the gratification of others without giving thought to my own desires? Am I-"

"Rarity, are you done with decorating for the party?" Twilight interrupted.

"Oh! I still have one more thing." said Rarity. She used her magic to lift a banner up and hang it from Town Hall. "What do you think?" she asked.

Twilight looked at the banner and read the words on it, "'Congratulations, It's A Boy'?"

"It was the only banner I could find." explained Rarity.

"Oh well." said Twilight. "Is Applejack here?"

"I don't know." said Rarity. "Ask Rainbow Dash."

"DID SOMEBODY SAY 'RAINBOW DASH'?!" yelled Dash as she knocked Rarity aside.

"Have you seen Applejack?" asked Twilight.

"I actually haven't seen her all week." admitted Rainbow Dash. "But don't worry, Applejack is never late!"

Two hours later

"WHERE THE FUCK IS APPLEJACK?!" screamed Rainbow Dash. She paced back and forth.

"We could look for her at Sweet Apple Acres..." suggested Fluttershy.

"Hey hey hey!" said Rainbow Dash. "Who's in charge here?"

"Y-you are sir! I mean ma'am!"

"We don't have time to go all the way to Sweet Apple Acres!" Rainbow Dash turned around and pointed a hoof at Town Hall, where most of Ponyville had gathered. "Twilight's going to start her speech soon!"

"So what should we do?" asked Fluttershy.

"I guess we wait and see if Applejack shows up during the speech." said Rainbow Dash. The two Pegasi flew back into the crowd of ponies and watched as Twilight got on stage.

Twilight, once she reached the podium, used her magic to grab a stack of note cards. She cleared her throat and said, "Welcome everypony! We are gathered here today to witness the union of two ponies in the bonds of holy matrimony-"

Spike ran across the stage and whispered in Twilight's ear.

"What do you mean, it's not a wedding?" said Twilight.

"It's the speech about Applejack." explained Spike.

"Oh. Well, alright then." Twilight cleared her throat and started over, "We are here today to honor a pony we can always count on! That pony is, of course, Applej-"

"APPLEJACK IS AWESOME!" yelled Rainbow Dash. She flew up to the stage and pushed Twilight out of the way. "She's gonna help me with my stunts and it's...gonna be...SO AWESOME!" Rainbow Dash pushed her cheeks together and puckered her lips.

"Rainbow Dash?" asked Twilight. "What the hell is with your face?"

"I...can't...stop..." said Dash. "I think...my face...is...frozen."

"Great." said Twilight as she kicked Rainbow Dash off the stage. "Now then, Applejack is-"

"I get to run Sugar Cube Corner for the first time!" interrupted Pinkie Pie.

"Pinkie, what the hell does that have to do with Applejack?" asked Twilight.

"Who?" asked Pinkie. "Oh yeah! Applejack is going to help me! She is the best baker in Ponyville."

"BULLSHIT!" screamed Mrs. Cake from the crowd.

"Everything Applejack makes is great!" continued Pinkie. "Free samples for everyone!"

The crowd cheered as Mr. Cake shouted, "That's right! It's free...with a payment of 15 bits!"

"That is fantastic." said Twilight as she slammed Pinkie's face into the podium and threw her back into the crowd. "Now, does anyone have anymore stupid, inane announcements?"

"Excuse me? Twilight?" came a soft voice. Fluttershy slunk over to the podium and stared up at Twilight.

Twilight sighed and said, "Make it quick."

"Sorry, but Applejack is also helping me!" said Fluttershy. "She's helping me with the Bunny Census this week."

"Ok, you're done." said Twilight, approaching Fluttershy.

"Bitch, you try to throw me off stage and I will fucking cut you." growled Fluttershy. She walked offstage.

"Ok, anyone else?" asked Twilight. No one rushed up on stage. "Anyone? How 'bout you, Rarity? You keep eyeballing me. Is Applejack helping you sew apples on your dresses?"

"Oh, darling!" laughed Rarity. "Bananas are what's in this season. Apples were so 2 months ago."

"Ok. Great. Fantastic. Now..." Twilight looked over her notes. "We are here today-"

"YOU'RE DONE!!!" screamed the Mayor. She ran up and smacked Twilight in the face and threw her off stage. The Mayor adjusted her glasses, cleared her throat, and said, "Without further ado, it is my privilege to present this giant trophy to our guest of honor! Ponyville's most dependable, reliable, slightly smelly friend: Applejack!"

There was silence as Ponyville waited for Applejack to come up on stage.

"Applejack!" repeated the Mayor.

More silence.

"Where the hell is she?" asked the Mayor.

"Ah'm here!" yelled a voice. Ponyville's collective heads turned to see a very tired looking Applejack stumble her way to the stage. "Hi, Mayor!" greeted Applejack as she reached the podium. She grabbed the Mayor's face and kissed her. She broke the kiss and said, "It's always good to see ya." She stumbled over to the trophy and said, "Thanks for this award thing. It's bitchin'!" She yawned and pressed her face against the trophy. "Ah'm gonna marry this thing and make little trophy babies."

"I don't think that marriage is legal in this town." whispered Spike to Twilight.

"It's so bright and shiny..." said a loopy Applejack. She looked at the trophy and screamed, "AHH, MONSTER!" She blinked and took a closer look. "Oh, it's just me! God, Ah look weird in this thing! It's like...like...like..." She tried to think of a word to describe her reflection. "...Aw, fuck it. Watch me everyone!" She moved her head back and forth. "Whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo..."

Pinkie came up on stage and copied Applejack. "Whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo!"

Applejack looked over at Pinkie and said, "Whoo."

Pinkie replied, "Whoo."

"Whoo?" asked Applejack.

"Whoo!" answered Pinkie Pie.

The two mares turned back to the trophy and started moving their heads back and forth in unison. "Whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo!"

Twilight shook her head and walked up to Applejack. "Thanks for saving us from the stampede, Applejack."

Applejack yawned and said, "Thanks, Rarity. Ah like helpin' folks out with their bullshit."

"I'm Twilight." said Twilight Sparkle.

"That's nice." yawned Applejack. She walked over the trophy and said, "Now, Ah'm just gonna take this trophy and back home. Later sluts!" She grabbed the trophy's handle and dragged it offstage.

"What the hell is wrong with Applejack?" asked Twilight.

"I don't know, Rarity." replied Pinkie.

"I'M TWILIGHT!" yelled "Rarity".

Applejack Destroys Ponyville

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"Hey!" yelled Applejack. She was back at Sweet Apple Acres and was glaring at something. "Ah'm sick and tired of yer bullshit! Ah oughta kick yer ass!" She glared at what was making her angry. "That's it! Yer goin' down!" She kicked out and hit the annoyance. "That'll show ya, bitch!"

Twilight walked over to Applejack and asked, "Applejack, you know you're yelling at a tree, right?"

Applejack rolled her eyes and moved on to another tree. "Well, of course, Ah'm yellin' at the trees, Twilight. They've been freeloadin' here fer years!"

"Applejack, they're trees. They can't move." explained Twilight.

"Don't give me some sob story about how they just moved and just got attached to the place." said a woozy Applejack. "If they don't have the rent money, that's their problem." She kicked another innocent tree right in its knothole.

"But...they...nevermind." groaned Twilight as she facehoofed. "What the hell are you doing anyway?"

"Uh, what does it look like Ah'm doin'?" asked Applejack. "Ah'm applebuckin'."

Twilight's eyes widened as she looked at Applejack. "I-I'm sorry?"

"Ah'm applebuckin'."

Twilight's face turned green. "Oh my God, that's disgusting!"

"What?" asked Applejack. "It's just applebuckin'."

"How....why? Why?" asked Twilight.

"Cuz it's Applebuck Season!" replied Applejack.

"You have a whole season devoted to that?!" asked Twilight.

"Well when else are we supposed ta applebuck?" asked Applejack.

"That's just-" Twilight's eyes widened in understanding. "Wait, are you saying applebucking?"

"Yeah, what did ya think Ah said?" asked Applejack.

"Uh...nothing." lied Twilight. "So what is Applef- I mean, Applebuck Season?"

"It's what we call harvestin' time." explained Applejack. "We take all the apples and sell 'em so we don't starve or have to cannibalize each other."

"Oh." said Twilight. "Wait, why are you doing this all alone? Where's your family?"

"Well, Big Mac got hurt, Granny's older than dirt, and...uh...let's just say that we had a bad experience with Apple Bloom last year..."

Last Year

Sweet Apple Acres was in flames. From the safety of a nearby hill, the entire Apple family turned to glare at Apple Bloom.

"Um...Caramel did it?"

"BuLlSHIt!" yelled Caramel.

Now

"Wait, what about all the others?" asked Twilight. "The ones you introduced to me when I met you?"

Applejack yawned and said, "They was just here for the Apple family reunion. All except Braeburn. The lazy good-for-nothin'..." Applejack shook her head and continued, "Anyway, Ah'm on my own, and Ah should really get back to work."

"But..."

"The only 'but' I want to see is yours leaving." said Applejack.

"Fine, fine." said Twilight. "Just let me know if you need help, okay?"

"Sure!" said Applejack. She started muttering, "Stuck up bookworm thinks she can come here and tell me how to do my job..."

"Applejack, I'm still here." said Twilight.

"Yeah, Ah know." Applejack started to walk away. "Now, excuse me, but Ah got apples to buck."

"That still sounds weird." said Twilight.

One Day Later

Rainbow Dash was pacing back and forth with a pissed off expression on her face. She heard hoofsteps behind her and turned to see Applejack running towards her.

"It's about time!" yelled Rainbow Dash.

"Sorry, Ah was-"

"NO TIME!" Screamed Dash. "STUNTS NOW!" She grabbed Applejack and turned her around. "See that?" she said as she pointed at a catapult. "Ok, I'm going to stand on one end of the launcher, you'll climb on top of that platform," she pointed at a platform placed near the catapult, "You jump down onto the opposite end, and I'll be launched straight into stardom!"

"How?" asked Applejack.

"What?"

"How will this contraption 'launch ya into stardom'?" asked Applejack.

"Well, duh Applejack! Launch? Catapult? It's simple math! I think..."

"If you say so..." said Applejack. "But isn't that a little dangerous?"

"No, no, no." said Rainbow Dash. "You don't have to worry at all about me getting hurt. All you have to do is remember that one teensy-tiny little mistake could be fatal for me, you, and all of Equestria." Dash smiled at Applejack, "So no pressure."

"Great..." mumbled Applejack. She trotted over to the ladder and climbed up to the top of the platform.

"Ready?" asked Rainbow.

"No." said Applejack. She took a deep breath and jumped off the platform...and landed face-first into the ground. Once she peeled her face from the ground, she said to Dash, "Sorry, sorry. Let me try that again."

Several minutes of faceplants later...

"Ok. Applejack, what the hell is going on?" asked Rainbow Dash when Applejack had failed to launch her for the fifteenth time. "I mean, I went to all this trouble to build this thing," she pointed to the catapult, "And you can't even land on it!"

"Ah know, Ah know!" yelled Applejack. She thought for a few moments. "Hang on, I got an idea..." She walked off to get what she needed.

A couple of minutes later...

"Ready!" yelled Applejack. She was up on the platform, but this time she was not alone. This time she was joined by a massive boulder.

"Uh...Applejack?" said Rainbow Dash. "I don't think this is such a good idea. Maybe we should go-"

"Go?" said Applejack. "Go!" she pushed the boulder off the platform. The boulder hit the target, but launched Rainbow Dash into the air so quickly, she didn't have any time to prepare herself. She flew through the air, screaming, "SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!" at the top of her lungs.

Applejack watched as Rainbow Dash was shot through the air. "Nothin' like a job well done!" she said happily.

Meanwhile, at the library...

Twilight decided to read a book out on the balcony. She heard Spike working inside. "Hey Twilight?" he yelled. "Where do you want your collection of glass figurines?"

"Put it by the fine china!" yelled Twilight. Her ears twitched. She looked around in confusion. That's weird, she thought, That sounded like screaming... Twilight looked and saw a blue blur heading straight for her.

"OUT OF THE WAY!" screamed Rainbow Dash as she came closer.

Twilight ducked and Dash flew straight into the library. She heard a crash, Spike swearing, and the sound of her plates and glass figures shattering. Twilight stood up, closed her book, and sighed, "Why do I have a feeling that this has something to do with Applejack?"

"Because it does!" yelled Dash from inside.

"My leg!" groaned Spike.

"Pansy." said Rainbow Dash.

A few minutes later...

Applejack kicked a tree and started to gather the apples that fell from it. She grabbed one with her teeth and lifted her head...only to smash her head against a tree branch. In pain, she lurched violently and smashed her head into another tree branch. Rubbing her head, she turned to see Twilight staring at her.

"Applejack? Can we talk?" asked Twilight.

Due to her head trauma, all Applejack heard was, "Applejack? Can we clop?"

Applejack's eyes widened as she stuttered, "L-look Twilight, yer a pretty mare and all, but Ah only like you as a friend."

"Wh-No!" said Twilight. "I said, 'Can we talk?'"

Applejack heard, "Can we stalk?"

"What?!" asked Applejack. "Stalk who? Is it Pinkie Pie? Ah heard rumors about you two..."

"CAN WE TALK!?" screamed Twilight.

"Of course we can talk!" said Applejack. "We're talkin' right now, Twilight. What made ya think we couldn't?"

"You know what?" said Twilight. "Fuck this, fuck you, you need help."

"NO HELP!" yelled Applejack. "EVER!" She ran away.

"Whelp, I tried." said Twilight.

Later, at Sugarcube Corner...

"Now Pinkie," began Mrs. Cake, "are you sure you can handle things here?"

"Sure can't!" said Pinkie happily.

"What?" asked Mrs. Cake.

"Sorry, sorry." said Pinkie. "I meant, 'Sure can'. Damn autocorrect..."

Mr. Cake shook his head as he grabbed boxes, "Thank God Applejack's here..."

Applejack nodded her head and said woozily, "That's right. I am here."

Pinkie bounced in place as she said, "That's right! You two have nothing to worry about because Applejack is here with me! She's the best baker in all of Ponyville!"

"BULLSHIT!" screamed Mrs. Cake. "I-uh-I mean, I'm sure we have nothing to worry about. Even though me and Carrot Cake won't be here, you'll at least have Ponyville's second-best baker to help you." Her eye twitched as she whispered to herself, "I'm the best I'm the best I'm the best I'm the best I'm the best..."

"Should we go, dear?" asked Mr. Cake.

Mrs. Cake turned to her husband and growled, "Don't tell me what to do, sperm bank." She stomped out of the bakery, mumbling to herself.

Mr. Cake gulped nervously, said, "Yes, dear", and followed her out of the building.

As soon as the Cakes left, Pinkie screamed, "KITCHEN!" She picked up Applejack and threw her into the kitchen. Pinkie walked in and said, "While I get the sugar, eggs, and MSG, you can get the chocolate chips."

"Sure, sure." said Applejack with a yawn. "What kind of chips?" she asked.

Pinkie repeated what she had just said, but to Applejack it seemed like she said, "Poker Chips." Shrugging, Applejack went back to Sweet Apple Acres and grabbed Granny Smith's poker chips. She ran back to Sugarcube Corner and dropped them into the bowl. "What's next?" she asked.

"Baking soda!" said Pinkie, who noticed Applejack putting poker chips into the bowl but didn't say anything out of fear that she'd ruin the chapter.

"Soda? Okay..." Applejack looked in the fridge for soda. She came back and said, "I couldn't find any soda, but will these energy drinks work?"

"Yep!" said Pinkie, who was now interested to see what else Applejack would put into the bowl. As Applejack poured five cans of energy drink into the mix, Pinkie said, "A cup of flour."

"A cup of hour?" repeated Applejack. She grabbed a clock and shoved into the bowl. "Weird..."

"...The last ingredient is wheat germ." said Pinkie.

Applejack glared at Pinkie and said, "Now look Pinkie, Ah may tired and out of it right now, but there's no way I'm putting worms into the muffins."

"You're right Applejack." said Pinkie. "What was I thinking? The last ingredient is cyanide."

"That's better." said Applejack. She went to go get some cyanide.

"I can't believe that worked." said Pinkie Pie with a grin. This was going to be fun.

Later...

"So...what exactly happened, Pinkie?" asked Twilight as she stared at the sick ponies around her. She, Pinkie Pie, and Spike (who had a cast on his broken leg) were all standing in an emergency medical tent, with sick ponies all around them.

"I don't know Twilight!" lied Pinkie Pie. "I thought Applejack baked baked goods, not baked bads."

Twilight sighed and said, "I'll go talk to her." She turned to Spike and said, "Stay here and help Nurse Redheart, Spike." She walked out of the tent and headed towards Sweet Apple Acres.

Pinkie sighed and mumbled, "Once Applejack learned what she did, she'll have to accept help from everyone. Then we can move on to the next chapter."

"What's that, Pinkie?" asked Spike.

"Oh, nothing!" answered Pinkie. "Go help out Nurse Redheart."

"You're here to help?" asked a nurse with white fur and a pink mane. "Great! You can start by cleaning the used bedpans. Follow me."

"Sure!" said Spike. He hobbled to where Nurse Redheart was walking to. "What are bedpans?"

Back at Sweet Apple Acres...

Applejack woke with a start. She looked around and discovered, much to her frustration, that she had fallen asleep while harvesting apples. She growled in anger and pulled the cart she was using to gather the apples towards a bucket. She dumped the apples, but was lifted up into the air when the cart tipped over. "Goddammit..." she muttered.

"Applejack, you got some 'splainin' to do!" yelled Twilight as she walked over to her.

"Twilight?" asked Applejack, who got an upside down view of her friend. "Look, those ponies were sick when Ah got there! No one can prove otherwise!"

"I call 'bullshit' on you, madam." said Twilight. "But we'll deal with that later. I want to tell you something. Something very important."

"What is it?" asked Applejack.

Twilight shushed her. "What I'm about to tell you will change your life forever. Are you ready?"

"What is it?" whispered Applejack. "Ah can take it!"

Twilight leaned closer and whispered, "Ok, this is the message." Twilight cleared her throat and yelled, "YOU NEED HELP YOU FREAKIN' IDIOT!"

"No!" yelled Applejack. She struggled to get right side up, to no avail. "Um...a little help?" she asked sheepishly.

Twilight sighed and used her magic to put Applejack and the cart right side up.

"Thanks." said Applejack. "Anyway, like I was sayin'..." She cleared her throat and yelled, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" She ran away, leaving Twilight alone again.

"That pony is as stubborn as a mule." said Twilight. She turned around to see a mule looking at her with tears in his eyes. "Oooh..."

"Nice." said the mule, his voice breaking. He started crying, ran away, and screamed, "REAL NICE!"

"Now I have two people mad at me..." said Twilight.

Hours Later...

Fluttershy, Applejack, and Winona stood in a clearing, surrounded by bunnies. "Thank you so much for helping me, Applejack." said Fluttershy.

Applejack rolled her eyes and asked, "Why are we doin' this?"

"Well, there's a lot of baby bunnies that have been born." Fluttershy explained. "You know rabbits. They love to..." She smiled a creepy grin, "...mate." She closed her eyes and went, "Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm..."

Applejack stared at Fluttershy for a few moments before clearing her throat loudly.

"Oh!" Fluttershy said, getting broken out of her thoughts. "Um...I need your herding skills in order to count them...please?"

"Fine." groaned Applejack. "Let's get this shit over with..."

"Just remember that these are baby bunnies." said Fluttershy. "They scare easily."

"WINONA! SIC 'EM!" yelled Applejack. The dog sprang into action and began chasing the bunnies. "I'll grab the shotgun!"

"Wait!" said Fluttershy. "We just need to count them!"

"They'll be easier to count..." began Applejack, putting her face closer to one of the bunny's. "...When they're dead." she growled.

Back in Ponyville...

"Spike? Why are you buying so much soap?" asked Rainbow Dash.

Spike (still wearing his cast), carrying at least 10 bottles of hand soap, muttered, "Never be clean, never be clean, never be clean..."

There was a rumbling noise and the ground started to shake. Rainbow Dash flew up into the air and yelled, "OH MY GOD!"

"What?!" screamed Spike, staring up at Rainbow Dash in horror.

"THE VIEW IS FUCKING GORGEOUS UP HERE!" hollered Rainbow Dash. "Oh yeah, and there's another stampede." she added calmly.

"Is it the cows again?!" asked Spike.

"No, it's...it's...BUNNIES!" yelled Dash.

As the ponies around him began to panic, Spike spotted the swarm of bunnies charging into Ponyville. "No! NO!" he yelled as he attempted to hobble away. Due to his leg, however, Spike was not able to get away in time and was lost amongst the sea of charging bunnies.

Minutes Later...

Twilight stared at Ponyville in shock. Bunnies were everywhere, eating flowers and jumping up and down on Spike's broken body.

"What-?" she began.

"THE HORROR! THE HORROR!" screamed a cream colored pony with a red mane.

"Rose?" asked Twilight. "What happened?"

"It was awful!" screamed Daisy. "Wasn't it, Lily?"

"A stampede of bunnies charged through Ponyville!" screamed Lily.

Twilight spotted Fluttershy trying to round up the rabbits. She walked over to her and asked, "What happened?"

Fluttershy slowly turned her head towards Twilight and growled, "Talk to Applejack. Now."

"Ok!" squeaked Twilight in fear.

Back at Sweet Apple...blah blah blah...

Applejack was underneath a tree, dazing as she kicked it. "Stupid...trees..." she panted. "Why do we have so many off them?"

"Applejack!" yelled Twilight. "Enough is enough! You launched Rainbow Dash into my glass figures, poisoned half of Ponyville, and made a bunch of bunnies attack the town! YOU! NEED! HELP!"

Applejack kicked the tree one last time and all of the apples on the tree fell into her baskets. "Haha!" laughed Applejack triumphantly. "Who needs help now?"

Big Macintosh, dressed in a sexy black dress and wearing lipstick, walked over to her. "Ah think you do. You've only bucked 15 trees."

"What?" asked Applejack. Big Mac pointed a hoof and Applejack turned to see hundreds of trees laden with apples. "Guh...Buh...FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!" Applejack's eyes rolled back in her head and she collapsed on the ground, twitching slightly.

"Is she okay?" asked Twilight.

"Oh, she does this every year." said Big Mac. "She says that she can do it all herself, but always ends up overworked. She'll be fine in a few days."

"Ok. I guess the rest of us girls should help with the harvest, huh?"

"If ya'll wouldn't mind. Ah'd do it myself, but Ah'm still hurt."

Twilight nodded and said, "Okay." She started walking away, but turned her head and said, "Oh, and Big Mac?"

"Hmm?"

"That lipstick is not your color."

"Girl, yer just jealous."

One day later:

Twilight, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, and Fluttershy worked in the apple orchard, while Applejack was sitting in a chair, watching them.

"Ah hate Applebuck Season." she grumbled.

Spike, in a full body cast and in a wheelchair, rolled up beside her. "Tell me about it."

Partners in Pranking

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Rainbow Dash flew pell-mell through the sky, almost reaching Sonic-Rainboom levels of speed. She narrowly dodged two other Pegasi in her mad rush. She looked down at the ground and searched frantically for a place to hide. She spotted an alley between two buildings, and flew down to land inside it. Chest heaving, Rainbow panted heavily as she tried to catch her breath. She had done it. She was safe.

"Rainbow Dash..."

Dash's eyes widened as she looked towards the entrance to the alleyway where a dark figure was standing. The figure slowly started walking towards her.

"Rainbow Dash..." said the figure.

Rainbow Dash, no longer having the energy to fly, stumbled her way down to the other side of the alley. Unfortunately, the opposite side was fenced off, leaving Dash trapped. Too tired to climb over the fence, Dash turned around to see that the figure was coming even closer.

"Rainbow Dash..." repeated the figure. "Time for CUPCAKES!"

Curling up in a ball, Dash cowered and waited for the inevitable.

"Dashie!" said the figure. "You said you'd make cupcakes with me!"

Rainbow Dash opened her eyes. Pinkie Pie was in front of her, pouting like a child. Rainbow Dash sighed and got up. "I'm not really interested in baking, Pinkie."

"Okay..." said Pinkie Pie. She thought for a few moments. "How about cards?"

"No." answered Rainbow Dash.

"Board games?"

"No."

"Reading?"

"Ew."

"Sex?"

"...Maybe."

"Pranks?"

"N-Wait. Did you just say pranks?" asked Dash with interest.

"Sure did!" said Pinkie Pie. "I'm a Prank Master!" She smiled deviously. "And I have the perfect prank..."

Later...

Spike walked out of the library, struggling to carry a mountain of scrolls. He had been in a creative mood lately, and had written several pieces of pornographic short stories under the penname "E. Jack Ulation". Feeling proud of his pile of porno, Spike was on his way to a publishing house by the name of FINFiction. He was hoping that his saucy scribblings would get headlined in FINFiction's featured publications.

Spike breathed in the morning air, reshuffled the erotica in his hands, and took a step.

"NOW DASHIE!" screamed a voice.

Spike doubled over as a familiar blue Pegasus punched in square in the gut. As the wind rushed out of Spike, he accidentally activated his fire breath and sent his porn off packing to Princess Celestia.

"God damn it..." wheezed Spike as he collapsed.

Meanwhile, at Canterlot...

"God, I'm sooooooooo bored." said Celestia as she sat on her bed. "I feel like I'm spending time with Luna." She got off her bed and yawned. "Maybe I should start a war with the Changelings. That'd liven things up around here."

There was a flash of green as a scroll appeared. Celestia grabbed it with her magic and groaned. "Something from Twilight? It's probably another research paper about dust or something." She read the name on the scroll. "E. Jack Ulation? Who is that?" Her curiosity piqued, Celestia opened the scroll and read some of the lines:

"The alabaster mare wiggled her luscious hips suggestively and moaned to her lover, 'Come on! Hurry up and fu-'"

Blushing slightly, Celestia watched as a massive pile of scrolls appeared in her room and hit the floor with a loud thud. Hearing the noise, the guards outside rushed into the bedroom. "YOUR HIGHNESS!" yelled one. "WHAT'S HAPPENING?!"

Still blushing, Celestia cleared her throat and said, "No need for alarm. I just received some interesting correspondence from one of my subjects."

The other guard looked at the large pile of lewd material and groaned, "I guess we should get all of that out of your bedroom, your highness..."

"NO!" yelled Celestia. Her blush seemed to increase as she looked at the mountain of raunchy reading. "Mr. Ulation went to all the trouble to send me all of this. I should personally read all of them..." She bit her lip and said breathlessly, "Thoroughly".

Back in Ponyville...

Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie laughed as the ran away from the unconscious body of Spike. "That was AWESOME!" yelled Rainbow Dash. She looked over at Pinkie with newfound respect. "I didn't take you for a prankster, Pinkie Pie."

"How did you take me?" asked Pinkie in confusion.

"Wha- No!" said Rainbow Dash. "I meant that I didn't expect you to be a prankster."

"You should of known me when I worked on my families rock farm!" said Pinkie. "I used to tell Blinkie that the rocks were actually rock candy. She broke all her teeth when she tried to eat a boulder!"

Rainbow Dash laughed. She looked at Pinkie and said, "We need to do this again! Who should we prank next?"

Pinkie smiled and said, "I've got an idea..."

Later that night...

Rainbow Dash and Pinkie hid in the bushes outside Carousel Boutique. The windows were dark and there were no signs of life inside. "Is she asleep?" whispered Pinkie.

Rainbow Dash flew up to the highest window and peeked in. Rarity was in her bed, fast asleep. Rainbow Dash smirked, flew back down to Pinkie and said, "She's asleep. Did you bring it?"

Pinkie Pie smiled as she pulled up an electric hair clipper. She turned it on and it started to buzz.

The next morning

Rarity yawned as she got out of bed. She felt strange and a cool breeze was tickling her scalp for some reason. Confused, she made her way to the bathroom in order to shower and get ready. As she passed a mirror, she froze and was horror-struck by what she saw.

Her beautiful purple mane was gone. It had been shaved off, aside from some small purple tufts that were missed. As Rarity gazed at her new hairstyle, she did the only thing she could think of.

She screamed.

Outside the Boutique...

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

The two pranksters outside burst out laughing at Rarity's scream and ran away from the Boutique. "That was soooo much fun!" said Pinkie Pie. "Who should we prank next?"

Rainbow Dash smirked and said, "I think I now the perfect pony..."

Later...

Twilight Sparkle turned to Rainbow Dash and asked, "Are you serious?"

"I'm dead serious, Twilight!" said Rainbow Dash. "This will help you understand friendship a whole lot better! Isn't that right, Pinkie?"

"It's true as blue, Twilight!" said Pinkie Pie. "Everypony loves celebrates their half-birthdays!"

"But still, hair clippers?" asked Twilight as she stared at the object in her hooves. "Why would Rarity want this?"

"Just trust us. You know how Rarity is with her makeovers." said Rainbow. "We already uh...gave Rarity our gift. All you have to do is go knock on the door and tell Rarity that you hope she liked her present."

"Well...okay..." said Twilight. She picked the clippers up with her magic and walked to the door of Carousel Boutique. She knocked and waited for Rarity to answer. The front door opened a crack and a voice growled out, "What?!"

Taken aback, Twilight smiled nervously and held out the hair clippers. "I hope you liked your present Rarity!"

"IT WAS YOU?!" screamed Rarity. She threw open the door to glare at the purple unicorn. Twilight was shocked to see Rarity's mostly shaved head. "YOU DID THIS TO ME?!"

Twilight thought back to Rainbow Dash's and Pinkie Pie's wide grins when they handed her the hair clippers and told her that Rarity would love her present. "Those motherfuckers..." groaned Twilight.

Rarity dove at Twilight and knocked her to the ground.

Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie giggled as Rarity began beating the tar out of Twilight. "Who else should we prank?" asked Pinkie.

"Hmm..." thought Dash. Her eyes lit up as inspiration struck her. "I know! Follow me!" She flew off and Pinkie followed, leaving the two fighting unicorns.

At Sweet Apple Acres

"THE BARN'S ON FIRE AGAIN?!" screamed Applejack as she and the rest of the Apple family tried to put out the fire. "DAMN IT, CARAMEL!"

"I BlaME the INterNET!" yelled Caramel.

"Awww..." moaned Rainbow Dash as she watched the barn burn. "Caramel beat us to it, Pinkie."

"Mmmmph mmmph." said Pinkie Pie. She was dressed in a red jumpsuit, had a gas mask on, and was waving around a flamethrower.

"Pinkie, I didn't understand a word you just said." said Rainbow Dash. "I have a better pranking idea anyway. Follow me!"

At the lake...

"Here you are Mrs. Flounder." said Fluttershy as she fed the fish and animals in the lake. "And there you go Mr. Mallard. Enjoy your food."

"Do you have any pizza?" asked a turtle as he crawled up onto the bank.

"I'm so sorry, Mr. Turtle, but I don't have any pizza." said Fluttershy.

"Bogus." said the turtle.

Another turtle pulled up to the shore, only this one was...different. It had buttons for eyes, squeaked, and had a rope connected to it.

Fluttershy raised her eyebrows at the "turtle" and said, "Um...hello?" The turtle sprayed water in her face. "Wh-why would you do that?" asked Fluttershy with tears in her eyes.

In the bushes near the shore, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie started quietly laughing to themselves. "Spray her again, Pinkie!"

Pinkie laughed and nodded.

"Mr. Turtle?" asked Fluttershy.

"Yo!" said the turtle.

"Do you recognize him?"

Mr. Turtle looked at the other "turtle" and said, "Well, he's not Raph, he's not Leo, and he only has a passing resemblance to Donnie. I don't recognize him."

Fluttershy turned back to the "turtle" and was sprayed in the face again. "Please stop spraying water in my face." She was sprayed again. "Stop, please!" She was sprayed again. "Stop!" pleaded Fluttershy.

"One more time Pinkie!" said Rainbow Dash. "I think Fluttershy is about to cry!"

The fake turtle sprayed Fluttershy in the face again.

Fluttershy glared at the turtle. "I...said...STOP!" she screamed. Fluttershy grabbed the fake turtle and started to punch it. "YOU GONNA SPRAY ME AGAIN YOU LITTLE BITCH?! ARE YOU?!"

Mr. Turtle watched Fluttershy's beatdown of the fake turtle and said to himself, "And I thought Shredder was scary..."

In the bushes, Rainbow and Pinkie could only stare in horror as their fake turtle was torn apart by Fluttershy. "Well..." said Pinkie Pie. "That was unexpected."

Rainbow Dash shrugged and the two ponies started walking back to town. "Aw well..." said Rainbow Dash. "That wasn't the best prank anyway."

"Oh!" said Pinkie Pie. "I just remembered that I'm late for work! Bye Dashie!" Pinkie Pie ran off, leaving Rainbow all alone.

Rainbow Dash watched as Pinkie Pie ran back to town. "Well, great. Now what should I do all day?" she asked.

"Hello Dash." said a voice.

Rainbow Dash looked up and her eyes widened. "Gilda?"

Author's Note

That FINFiction joke had nothing to do with the fine folks at FIMFiction. I swear.

New B**** on the Block

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The day had been going rather normally for Twilight. She got out of bed at 6 AM, as usual. She kicked Spike out of his basket and listened to him whine about child labor laws, as usual. She ignored Spike’s complaining and forced him to make her breakfast, as usual. After breakfast, she opened her library and waited for somebody to come and check out a book, as usual. Nobody came, as usual.

Until her, that is.

“TWILIGHT, TWILIGHT, TWILIGHT!” Screamed Pinkie Pie. “SOMEONE’S BEING MEAN TO ME!” She dashed around the room, crying loudly.

“Can I give them a medal?” asked Twilight, her eye twitching as Pinkie knocked over a stack of books.

“No! I need you to beat her up!” cried Pinkie. “She’s mean and grouchy and smelly and she stole my Rainbow Dash from me!”

“…Applejack?” asked Twilight.

“No, her name’s Gilda!” Pinkie grabbed Twilight and threw her at a nearby chair. “Here’s what happened…”

“Would you look at the time?” asked Twilight. She started to rise out of the chair and said, “I’ve got to go organize the words in my dictionary…”

Pinkie pushed Twilight back into the seat and continued. “Here’s what happened…”

Earlier that day:

Pinkie Pie walked down the road and smiled as she took in the beautiful morning. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, Berry Punch was stumbling out of a bar and cussing out any children that crossed her path.

Pinkie was excited. She was more excited than a kid on Christmas morning, more excited than a homeless person winning the lottery, and more excited than a widow that had taken out a huge life insurance policy on her husband. Pinkie was going to hang out with Rainbow Dash again today! She had already thought of some pranks they could pull on the unsuspecting populace of Ponyville. She wasn’t sure if some of them were legal (most of them were not), but she was sure everyone would get a good laugh out of it (they would not).

Pinkie looked up in the sky and saw Rainbow Dash’s cloud house. “Rainbow Dash!” yelled Pinkie Pie. “Are you awake?!”

Silence.

“Hmmm…how can I wake Rainbow up?” asked Pinkie to herself. She gasped and said, “I know!” She pulled out a boom box and turned the volume up high.

Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so call me maybe-”

“FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, TURN THAT SHIT OFF!” screamed a voice that definitely was not Rainbow Dash.

“Who was that?” asked Pinkie. She gasped. “Maybe it’s a burglar! No, maybe it’s a kidnapper!” Pinkie Pie swooned and said, “Oh the humanity!” She fell to the ground in a dead faint.

“Humanity!” cried a voice. Lyra ran over to Pinkie Pie and said, “Where are the humans?!”

Pinkie cracked open an eye and said, “It’s just a figure of speech Lyra.”

Lyra hung her head and walked away sadly. “It’s always a figure of speech…”

Pinkie closed her eye and muttered, “Crazy bitch…”

“Hey!” yelled the Not-Rainbow Dash voice. “Who’s down there?” A feathered head looked over the side of the cloud.

Pinkie and the eagle-headed stranger looked at each other for a moment before saying in unison, “Who the fuck are you?”

“What’s with all the noise?!” yelled another, more familiar voice. Rainbow Dash walked out of her cloud house with a sour expression on her face. “Can’t a girl pee in peace anymore?”

“Sorry Dash,” said the bird-like stranger, “Some pink bitch is down there.”

Rainbow looked over the side and said, “Don’t worry. I know that pink bitch.” She flew down from the cloud and landed in front of Pinkie. “How’s your hammer hangin’?” greeted Rainbow Dash.

“It’s hangin’.” said Pinkie. “Who’s that?” she pointed at the half-eagle half-lion stranger as she landed by the two ponies.

“Oh, that’s Gilda. She’s a griffon. You know, half-eagle half-lion?”

“I know what a griffon is, Dashie.” said Pinkie Pie as she rolled her eyes. “The narration already explained it.”

“…Right…” said Rainbow Dash. “Anyway…Gilda’s my best friend from Flight Camp. We even ended up going to the same high school.” She turned to the griffon and smiled. “Do you remember those days, Gilda?”

Gilda shuddered and said, “Unfortunately. Let’s talk about something else.”

“Remember the Flight Camp chant?”

“Fuck no.” said Gilda.

“Me neither.” said Rainbow Dash.

“Sooooo…” began Pinkie Pie, “Do you two want to prank some ponies with me? I’ve got this idea where we glue a beehive to…”

“Fuck all that noise.” said Gilda. “Come on, Dash. You said we could go flying today.”

“I did?” asked Rainbow Dash.

“Sure, why not?” Gilda flew into the air. “See ya later, Stink Eye.”

“Um…it’s Pinkie Pie.” corrected Pinkie.

“Whatever you say.” Gilda flew away with Rainbow Dash flying after her.

Now:

“So she didn’t want to hang out with you?” asked Twilight. “So what? I don’t want to hang out with you usually.”

“Yeah,” agreed Pinkie, “But you’re an introverted nerd who would rather talk to books than people and the little social interaction you actually get is only because we force you to hang out with us.”

“…Good point.” conceded Twilight. “Continue.”

Earlier, but not as earlier as the last time:

Rainbow Dash and Gilda panted as they landed on a cloud. “I…totally…beat you…” panted Gilda.

“Please…I just let you win so you wouldn’t feel bad…” denied Rainbow Dash.

“Bullshit…” muttered Gilda.

“Guys!” said a voice.

“…Did you hear something?” asked Gilda.

“Guys, it’s me!” said the voice.

“Oh god…the voices are back!” screamed Rainbow Dash as she got into the fetal position.

“Down here!” yelled the voice.

Rainbow Dash and Gilda looked down at the cloud…which now had Pinkie Pie’s head sticking out of it.

“Hiiiiiiiii…” said Pinkie.

“Pinkie, how are you doing that?” asked Rainbow Dash, poking Pinkie in the face.

“Ok, ow.” said Pinkie Pie, wincing as Rainbow Dash poked her hard in the nose. “I used a trampoline to get up here, but I guess clouds are more solid than I thought because now I’m stuck.”

Gilda glared at Pinkie and said, “Let me help you.” Making a fist, she slammed it down on Pinkie Pie’s head, sending her crashing down to the ground.

“Thanks Gilda…” she groaned.

Gilda huffed and said venomously, “Trampolines are stupid.”

Back to the present:

“I see…” said Twilight nodding. “You’re mad at Gilda because she hit you in the head and made you fall.”

Pinkie looked at Twilight in confusion. “What are you talking about? I’m mad because she said trampolines were stupid.”

Twilight closed her eyes, trying to will away the headache that was pounding in her skull. “Of course you are…”

Earlier, but not as early…but later than…than…I’m confused:

“You okay, Pinkie?” asked Rainbow Dash as she looked at the ground.

Pinkie peeled her face off the dirt and said, “Never better!”

Gilda growled and looked at Rainbow Dash. “Hey Dash,” she said, feigning happiness, “Why don’t you show me some of your new moves?”

“Awesome!” said Rainbow, flying into the air. “I’ve got this one that people around here call ‘Holy Shit This Cray-Cray Bitch Is Gonna Kill Us All’! It involves…”

As Dash rambled on about her new trick, Gilda flew down to where Pinkie was. “Hey, Pinkie?” she asked. “Can I talk to you?”

“Sure!” said Pinkie, trotting over to Gilda. “What do you want to talk abo-URK!” Pinkie gasped as Gilda squeezed her throat.

“Now listen up.” growled Gilda. “I want to spend time with Rainbow Dash alone. I’m her oldest friend, her pal, her hetero-life partner, her slightly homo-life partner! I don’t need some pink pinheaded pony mucking up my time with her. So here’s some advice: Stay away from her or else.” Gilda’s grip tightened on Pinkie’s throat. “Got it?”

“ACK!” said Pinkie, unable to say much else with Gilda strangling her.

“…I’m going to take that as a ‘yes’.” said Gilda. She let Pinkie go and flew back up to the cloud.

No more transitions. Please? I’ll pay you in backrubs:

“Pinkie,” began Twilight, “It sounds like she’s jealous of you.”

“So that gives her the right to bogart Rainbow Dash?” asked Pinkie incredulously. “I need my Dashie time too.”

“I’m not saying it gives her the right.” denied Twilight. “I’m just explaining her reasons. You think she’s jealous, right Spike?”

Spike nodded and said, “Aw yeah. Bitch be jelly.”

“…Have you been listening to rap again?” asked Twilight.

“Well, great.” said Pinkie Pie. “Gilda’s jealous so she gets Rainbow Dash all to herself. What do I get?”

“Well…” began Twilight. “You could stay here and check out a book.”

Pinkie started laughing. Hard. “Silly Twilight,” she said between giggles. “Books are for people without friends.” Still chortling, Pinkie Pie left the library.

“…I know…” muttered Twilight sadly.

Pinkie, once she was away from the library, stopped laughing and turned serious. “How am I supposed to spend time with my friend if her friend will disembowel me if I try?”

As Pinkie was lost in her pity party, she unknowingly wandered into the Ponyville marketplace. She heard laughter up above her and saw Rainbow Dash and Gilda flying by.

“I’ve gotta go do some weather stuff,” said Rainbow, “I’ll catch up with you in a bit.”

Gilda landed and watched Rainbow Dash fly off. Then she turned to the marketplace with an evil grin and-

“WHICH ONE OF YOU FOTHERMUCKERS DID THIS?!” screamed a voice.

All heads turned to see a very angry Fluttershy storm into the marketplace holding the fake turtle that Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash made. She glared ferociously at everyone and started going up to random ponies.

“Did you do this, Bon Bon?” asked Fluttershy to the terrified Earth pony. “Cause if you did, I’ll slit your throat. How about you Shoeshine?” She turned and glared at the mare. “Did you do this, you freaking slut? And how about you-” She turned and found herself face-to-face with Gilda.

Pinkie was about to go over to the two in order to defend Fluttershy, when something very strange happened.

Gilda looked at Fluttershy and her eyes went wide. “Y-you?” she whispered.

Fluttershy’s rage left her as she looked at the griffon. “Gilda?” she asked.

“N-no, no!” screamed Gilda as she backed away. “Y-you can’t be here!”

“Gilda, please calm down.” said a concerned Fluttershy.

“Stay away from me!” yelled Gilda as she took off and flew away. Pinkie Pie watched the griffon disappear before walking over to Fluttershy.

“What was all that about?” she asked. “Why’s Gilda so scared of you?”

Fluttershy hung her head, saddened. “It’s a long story…”

The Fluttershy Forgiveness Party

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A Few Years Ago:

It was a typical school day at Featherflight High School. Students barely paid attention in class as their teachers lectured, thinking thoughts like “Why doesn’t Coach put me on the team?” or “When will Brad notice me?” or “I’m 35, why am I still in high school?”

When the lunch bell rang, most of the students ran out of class, eager to get some food. One student remained in a classroom. She was small. So small in fact, that people often mistook her for a middle school student. She stood up from her desk and grabbed her backpack, in which she crammed her heavy textbooks. She adjusted her glasses and walked out of the classroom.

“Gilda!” said a voice.

Gilda turned and saw Rainbow Dash coming towards her. Rainbow was dressed completely in Wonderbolts merchandise as usual. She stopped in front of the griffon and rubbed her head. “How’s it going, small fry?”

Gilda glared up at her friend. “Stop calling me small fry.” she demanded as she fixed the feathers on her head. “It’s bad enough that everyone else does it.”

“Sorry.” said Rainbow sheepishly. She cleared her throat and said, “So how was your egghead class today? Anyone start a fire in AP Chemistry?”

“No,” said Gilda, adjusting her glasses, “Just the usual nervous breakdowns and crying. It’s no big deal. How was gym?”

“Awesome!” said Rainbow. “We played dodge ball, and I nailed Thunderlane in the face with a ball! I think I dislocated his jaw! It was awesome!”

Gilda cringed as she imagined it. “Thanks Dash,” she said sarcastically, “That’s just what I wanted to think about right before lunch.”

“No problem!” said Dash, happily ignoring the sarcasm. Her eyes widened as she remembered something. “Oh, hang on for a sec. I forgot something in my gym locker.” She raced down the hallway, leaving Gilda alone.

“Well, well, well.” said a horribly familiar voice. “If it isn’t the chicken.”

Gilda froze. She knew that voice. Everyone knew that voice. “Cutter…” she muttered as she turned around.

Cutter was not a bully. She was an absolute monster. Almost everyone was afraid of her, and the few that weren’t didn’t make a habit of talking to her. Everyone knew her terrifying teal eyes, bloodshot with rage. Everyone knew that it was time to run when they saw her pink mane,. Everyone learned to fear that terrifying Cutie Mark of three butterflies.

Gilda shook as Cutter came closer and closer. “Where’s your little girlfriend, Chicken?” asked Cutter. “Did she run away with her Wonderbolts band wagon?”

“She’s not here. And we’re not officially going out or anything.” said Gilda. “How was your Zoology class today?”

Cutter smiled happily and said in a soft voice, “Oh, it was wonderful! We talked about bunnies today and-” Cutter’s eyes opened wide as she realized what she was saying. She glared at Gilda and spoke again in her harsh voice, “It’s none of your fucking business how my class was. Now, let’s see how much money you’ve got. I need lunch and veggie burgers don’t come cheap.”

“Veggie burgers?” asked Gilda, raising an eyebrow. “I didn’t know you were a vegetarian.”

“I’m a pony, you dumb bitch.” growled Cutter. “Of course I’m a vegetarian.” Her gaze softened as she spoke in a quiet voice again. “Although, even if I wasn’t a pony, I still couldn’t eat meat. I don’t like thinking about my little animal friends being food.” She growled as she realized what she was doing. Her glare and voice became harsh once again. “Now stop talking and start forking over cash.” She grabbed one of Gilda’s wings and started squeezing it. “Or I might have Chicken wings for lunch. Understand?”

“HEY!” yelled a voice. Both Gilda and Cutter looked down the hall to see Rainbow Dash running towards them. “Get off of her!”

Cutter let Gilda go and turned towards Rainbow. “Or what?” she asked. “You’re going to blind me with that gaudy Wonderbolts crap?”

“…Bitch,” said Rainbow Dash, “Nobody, and I mean nobody, talks shit about the Wonderbolts.”

“Whatever.” said Cutter. She turned and walked away. “I’m not wasting anymore of my lunch with you losers. Have fun with your little girlfriend, Rainbow Crash.”

“Have fun fucking animals, Fluttershy.” shot back Rainbow.

Cutter spun around, a murderous look on her face. “Don’t. Call. Me. That.” she growled. She stomped off, muttering, “I won’t forget this.”

Rainbow smirked and turned back to Gilda. “Soooo…” she began. “Rescue sex?”

Gilda rolled her eyes and said, “Don’t push it, Dash.” She started walking away, before looking back and saying, “But yes. Rescue sex.”

Now:

“I never forgot how Rainbow stood up for Gilda.” said Fluttershy. “I decided to constantly bully and torment Gilda. I wanted to hurt her in order to hurt Dash.” She looked down at the library floor.

“No wonder she’s so scared of you.” said Twilight. “It sounds like you were a monster to her.”

“I was.” said Fluttershy, holding her face in her hooves. “I wish I could tell her that I’m sorry for it. But how can I do that without her running away from me?”

“So…” said Spike. “Let me get this straight. Rainbow Dash and Gilda are lesbians?” He grinned. “That’s hot.”

Twilight glared at him. “Were you paying any attention to the story at all?”

“Only the important parts.” said Spike.

“I paid attention to the story too.” said Pinkie suddenly. She grinned. “I’ve got the perfect solution! A party!”

Twilight’s glare shifted to Pinkie Pie. “This is serious, Pinkie! We need to find a way for Fluttershy to apologize!”

“This is a way for her to apologize!” argued Pinkie. “We invite Gilda to the party, she comes, and she starts having a good time. Fluttershy will be at the party too and she’ll be able to get close to Gilda. She’ll apologize and everything will work out!”

“That’s…” began Twilight. She paused as she thought it over. “…That’s actually not a bad idea.”

“Whoo!” cheered Pinkie. She ran out of the library yelling, “It’s party time!”

Twilight turned back to Fluttershy and asked, “So how come you don’t act like Cutter now?”

Fluttershy looked up and answered, “I was forced to go to therapy after graduation. Why do you think I’m so much more stable than the rest of you girls?” She grabbed a nearby book and, without blinking, ripped it in half.

The Next Day:

Ponies wandered into Sugarcube Corner, having been enticed by free cake, social interaction, and the possibility that someone brought some sick blow.

Rarity looked at Applejack and asked, “Why are we here again?”

Applejack shrugged and said, “Pinkie said somethin’ about a hippogriff causin’ trouble or somethin’, Ah don’t even know. Ah’m sure we’ll figure out eventually. But in the meantime,” Applejack looked towards the drink table, “Ah see some Jack D that’s just beggin’ to get butt chugged.”

“Applejack, I am disgusted. And yet, intrigued. Show me more.” said Rarity as she followed the farmer.

Twilight watched the two walk to the booze before looking at Fluttershy. “Are you sure you can do this?” she asked.

“I’ve got to.” answered Fluttershy. “I can’t have Gilda thinking that I’m still a monster.”

At that moment, a pony wandered by. He slipped and splashed Fluttershy with his drink. Fluttershy grabbed him by the throat and threw him out a nearby window.

“I mean,” continued Fluttershy as though nothing had happened, “I won’t be able to live with myself if people were afraid of me.”

“Uh huh…” said Twilight as she backed away in fear.

“Yo!” yelled a voice. Everyone’s heads turned to the entrance. Gilda and Rainbow Dash walked into the building, looking around. “Where the butts at?!” yelled Rainbow Dash as she flew into the crowd of soon-to be fondled ponies.

“Gilda!” greeted Pinkie Pie as she bounced to the griffon. “I’m so happy you decided to come!”

“That’s what she said!” yelled Rainbow Dash from the crowd.

“Are you super happy to be here!?” asked Pinkie, ignoring Dash.

Gilda glared at Pinkie and asked, “Why are you talking to me when I made it clear yesterday that I don’t want you to talk to me?”

“That’s fine if you don’t want to talk to me…” said Pinkie as she pushed Gilda to the back of the building. “But there is someone who wants to talk to you.” She pushed Gilda hard and sent her stumbling forward.

Gilda spun around to stare daggers at Pinkie. “You little-”

“Hi Gilda.” said a quiet voice.

Gilda froze and slowly turned back around. Fluttershy was standing behind her with a sad smile on her face.

“Can we talk?” asked Fluttershy.

“I-I don’t have anything to say to you.” said Gilda shakily.

“Then please just listen.” begged Fluttershy. She took a deep breath. “I’m sorry for the way I treated you in high school. I had no right to torment you like I did, and I regret that I did so. You didn’t deserve it.”

Gilda stared at Fluttershy for a long time. Finally she said, “You did a lot of things to me in high school. A lot of awful things.”

“I know.” said Fluttershy. “I’m sorry for taking your money. I’m sorry for calling you ‘Chicken’ all the time. I’m sorry for tar and feathering you, which in retrospect was pretty pointless considering you already were covered in feathers. I’m sorry for spraying you with barbeque sauce and setting my bear friends after you. I’m sorry for trying to get you deported. I’m sorry for-”

“Okay! Okay!” interrupted Gilda. “You’re sorry, I get it!”

Fluttershy offered another small smile and offered her hoof. “Can we start over?” she asked.

Gilda stared at the hoof, and then at Fluttershy. She slowly reached out her hand and said, “Sure, Cutter. I guess so.”

The Pegasus smiled and said, “Call me Fluttershy.”

The two former enemies shook hoofs/talons.

“Sooo…” began Fluttershy, “Forgiveness sex?”

Gilda rolled her eyes and walked away. “Don’t push it, Fluttershy.” She stopped and turned around to smile. “But yes. Forgiveness sex.”

“Oh my god!” slurred a voice. The two turned their heads to see Rainbow Dash, decorated with a lampshade on her head and two mares in her arms, glaring at them…or in their general direction, in any rate. “Are you cheating on me?!” yelled Dash. “You…you…”

Gilda rubbed her forehead and muttered, “Oh god, not again.”

“I can’t believe you’d…betray my trust like…like…like thissss!” slurred Dash.

“Rainbow,” began Gilda, “You literally have two girls around you. You shouldn’t talk.”

“Is not the same!” bawled Dash. “You knew how I was when we started this whole thing!” She paused and took a drink from a nearby bottle. “You know what?” she asked, glaring at Gilda. “Pack yer shit. Yer outta here forever!”

“Uh huh.” said a bored sounding Gilda. She flew up in the air and looked at Dash. “So,” she began, “You wanted angry sex?”

“Fuck yes, angry sex.” slurred Rainbow. “See you tonight.”

Gilda looked at Fluttershy and said, “Don’t worry, she does this type of thing all the time.” She flew to the door, yelling, “Later losers!”

Twilight and Pinkie watched Gilda leave and then walked over to Fluttershy. “Wait, what just happened?” asked Twilight.

“Short version?” asked Fluttershy. “Gilda forgave me, we agreed to have sex, Dash started yelling at us which turned out to be a drunken ploy for sex, and Gilda left.”

“…But she did forgive you?” asked Pinkie.

“Yes.”

“Whoo-hoo!” cheered Pinkie Pie. “I throw the best forgiveness parties ever!”

“Guys, guys, guys!” said Rainbow Dash as she flew towards them. “Guess who’s drunk?!”

Twilight stared at Rainbow. “You ar-”

“I AM!” yelled Rainbow Dash as she dumped a bottle of booze on her face.

1200 Years Ago: Vows of Vengeance

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1200 Years Ago:

“Luna!” said Princess Celestia as she landed by her sister. Her golden armor gleamed in the sunlight as she asked, “How is the battle going?”

Princess Luna, dressed in equally shiny black armor, watched as a Pegasus soldier flew by and promptly burst into flames. “…Could be better.” she answered.

Celestia growled as she stomped her hoof, “This battle has gone on for too long. I’ve already missed Survivor: Crystal Empire! If I miss Equestrian Idol, I am so going to flip a bitc-”

An explosion rocked the two sisters and sent them flying.

“HAHAHAHAHA! FOOLS!” came a voice. “YOU’LL NEVER STOP ME!”

“I hate that king…” said Luna, her face buried in the dirt.

“You said it.” said Celestia, pulling herself out of a tree. “I get first dibs on making him cry like a bitch.”

The two got up and looked at the battle. Their soldiers were fighting against the enemy army. The enemy poured out of the castle in droves, paying no mind to the fireballs raining down from the top of the tallest tower.

“BURN FOOLS!” came a shout from the tower.

“I think it’s time we end this.” said Celestia. She flew off towards the tower with Luna close behind her.

The unicorn on the tower smiled as he watched the two princesses fly towards him. The dark orange king threw back his head and laughed. “You can’t stop me!” he shouted. He used his magic to toss more fireballs at the two princesses.

Luna rolled her eyes and used her own magic to destroy the incoming fireballs. “Ha!” she laughed. “Do you honestly think your balls can hurt me?”

“Damn!” cursed the unicorn on the tower. “She destroyed my balls!”

“Luna!” yelled Celestia as the flew closer to the tower. “You should’ve let me handle those balls! I can deal with balls much better than you can!”

“…You’re not talking about fireballs anymore, are you?” asked Luna.

“No I am not.” answered Celestia.

“It doesn’t matter if you can counter my balls!” screamed the king. “With this,” he pointed a hoof to a chain around his neck, which had a pendant hanging from it, “I’ll be unstoppable!”

“What are you pointing at?” asked Celestia, squinting her eyes. “I can’t see it from here.”

“Right here!” said the king, rattling the chain.

“Right where?” asked Luna.

“Here!”

“Where?!” asked Celestia.

“HERE!” screamed the king. “Uh, hang on for one sec.” He walked to the edge of the tower and stuck his head over the side. “Can you see it now?”

“Hold on,” answered Celestia, “Let me get closer.”

Celestia flew forward and stopped when she was right in front of the orange unicorn. She touched the pendant and examined it. It had a red jewel in the middle of it that was giving off an unearthly glow. A small metal alicorn seemed to glare at Celestia as she stared at it.

“With this amulet, I will be able to rule everything! It amplifies my magic tenfold!” gloated the unicorn. He smirked at Celestia. “And guess what? Only I can remove it! There’s no way you to stop me!”

“It doesn’t come off?” asked Celestia with a raised eyebrow. “Seriously?”

“Seriously.” answered the evil unicorn.

“For realsies?”

“For really realsies. Give it a tug if you don’t believe me.”

“Ok dumbass!” said Celestia as she pulled down hard on the amulet.

The king, caught off guard, flipped head over heels over the edge of the tower. He screamed as he fell to the ground below. In desperation, he rolled around in midair until he was staring up at Celestia and Luna. He shot a beam of red light at the two princesses…which missed completely.

The two princesses watched as the unicorn slammed into the ground and then looked up to see the red light shoot into the distance, where it hit a mountain.

“Huh.” said Luna. “You’d think he’d conjure up some wings or something rather than try to shoot magic at us.”

“The guy was evil, not smart.” answered Celestia. “Now I guess we should stop his army from killing our guys and grab that amulet before someone else does.”

Before the princesses could move, they saw a bright light coming from the dead king’s amulet…which promptly exploded, taking out the corpse, the amulet, and both armies.

“Well…” said Celestia, looking at the carnage below her, “That solves that problem.”

“Everyone in our army just got killed.” said Luna. “How does that solve our problem?”

“You can’t make an omelet without blowing up a few eggs.” said Celestia. “At least we don’t have to worry about that king anymore.”

Meanwhile:

On a nearby mountain, a blue unicorn watched as the two princesses flew off. She growled as she went back to a bundle of blankets behind her.

“Those princesses have killed the king,” she said as she approached the bundle, “But this is not over. That beam of light wasn’t meant to kill those fools. It was meant to transfer the king’s magic.” The unicorn used her magic to pick up the bundle. She moved away part of the blankets to reveal the face of a baby. “And it worked. The king has chosen our baby to be his successor.” She glared at the distant forms of Celestia and Luna. “I, Queen Trixis, vow that our family will have revenge on you so-called ‘princesses’! Even if it takes twelve hundred years!”

Moustache Magic

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“I’m not doing this.” said Twilight.

“But why?” asked Spike. “It’ll be a challenge for your magic!”

“No. It will be stupid, pointless, and a waste of my time.” Twilight turned back to her books.

Spike rushed across the room to stand in front of her. “Please Twilight! I never ask you for anything!”

Twilight raised an eyebrow. “Oh really? What about last week when you asked me for that video game? The one that kept you up for three days?”

“It was a game about Slenderpony!” said Spike. “How could I sleep with him out to get me?!”

“Or the week before that when you wanted that so-called time machine?” continued Twilight.

“The Time Helmet really works!” said Spike. “You put it on and travel through time one second at a time!”

“Or,” continued Twilight, ignoring Spike, “What about yesterday, when you needed bail money?!”

“That cop had it out for me!” yelled Spike. “He arrested me just because I’m a dragon!”

The point,” said Twilight, “Is that you ask for a lot of stupid things, Spike, and I’m putting an end to it!”

“But Twilight!” whined Spike. “I really really need this! Can’t you do me this one favor? Please? I won’t bother you for the rest of the day, I swear!”

Twilight paused as she did some quick mental calculations:

Spike + Whatever Idiotic Thing He Wants = No Spike For The Rest Of The Day.

Spike - Whatever Idiotic Thing He Wants = Spike Bitching For The Rest Of The Day.

Twilight eyed her assistant suspiciously. “You won’t talk to me for the rest of the day? No whining, no complaining, no waxing poetic or erotic about Rarity?”

Spike nodded and said, “I promise.”

Sighing Twilight pointed her horn at Spike and cast the spell. She opened her eyes to see a large, bushy mustache on her assistant’s face.

“Whoo!” cheered Spike, stroking his mustache. “This is awesome!”

“Why did you want a moustache anyway?” asked Twilight. “You look like a dragon version of the Monopoly guy.”

Spike, admiring himself in a nearby mirror, answered, “Chicks dig guys with facial hair. If I show this bad boy off to Rarity, she’ll be all over me like…like…something all over something.” Spike walked towards the front door. “I’ll be over at Rarity’s. Expect me back tomorrow morning!”

“Uh huh.” said Twilight, turning back to her books. “Maybe now I can actually get some reading done.”

The front door was thrown open as Pinkie and two colts ran in. “SPIKE! CATCH!” yelled Pinkie as she threw an electric razor at Spike.

Spike screamed and fell over as the razor hit him in the face, shaving off his moustache.

“Of course…” mumbled Twilight as she shut her book. She looked over at Pinkie and asked, “What do you want, Pinkie?”

“TWILIGHT TWILIGHT TWILIGHT TWILIGHT TWILIGHT TWILIGHT TWILIGHT-” yelled Pinkie as she bounced up and down.

“WHAT?!” screamed Twilight in annoyance.

“Hi!” said Pinkie as she waved.

Twilight sighed and said, “Hello Pinkie. Was there a reason for this visit, or should I just assume it’s something stupid?”

“Yes and yes!” said Pinkie. “Me, Snips, and Snails were walking and saw that someone set up a stage in the middle of town. We thought you and Spike would want to come check it out with us.”

“I’m in.” said Spike morosely as he got back up. “I don’t any plans since somebody,” he glared at Pinkie, “Shaved off my moustache.”

“Well count me out.” said Twilight. “I’ve got a lot of reading to do and-”

“Miss Twilight?” asked Snips.

“What?”

Snips pointed his hoof behind Twilight and said, “Your books are on fire.”

Twilight turned around and noticed the alarmingly large fire behind her. “So they are.” she observed. She turned back to Snips and asked calmly, “Why are my books on fire?”

“Sorry Miss Twilight…” said Snails, hanging his head in shame. “I’m not very good at controlling my magic yet…”

Twilight sighed as she watched Spike grab a fire extinguisher and rush towards the blaze. “It’s fine. Let’s just go see what the deal is with that stage so I can come back here and cry myself to sleep. Again.”

Spike wiped the sweat from his brow as he looked at the smoldering ashes of what used to be Twilight’s books. “At least the fire’s out.”

“Twilight?” asked Pinkie. “Why is your bookcase on fire?”

“God damn it, Snails!”

Sometime after two more fires:

Twilight, Spike, Pinkie, Snips, and Snails arrived at the town square to find most of Ponyville eagerly watching the stage. They made their way to the front of the crowd, where Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Applejack, and Rarity were standing.

“Rarity, what’s going on?” asked Twilight.

“I don’t know.” said Rarity. “I was in my shop, thinking about my dream stallion when I heard that there was a stage here.” Rarity looked down at Spike and said, “You know what I love in a man, Spike? Facial hair. I would love a man with a thick moustache.”

“Really?” said a depressed Spike. “Well, that…doesn’t make me feel like killing myself at all…”

“That reminds me.” said Twilight. She turned towards Pinkie and asked, “Why did you throw an electric razor at Spike’s moustache?”

Pinkie laughed and patted Twilight on the head. “Oh Twilight, you can’t always expect my usual brand of randomness. I gotta keep you little fuckers on your toes.”

“…Pinkie, I don’t have toes.” said Twilight, lifting her hoof.

“That,” answered Pinkie, “is why you fail.”

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!” Shouted a voice from the speakers on the stage. “Prepare yourselves for the amazing feats of magic that you are about to see! You marveled at her in Manehatten. You cheered for her in Canterlot! She blew your mind in Las Pegasus and made you shit your pants in Trottingham! Introducing the great! The powerful! TRIXIE!”

Smoke flooded the stage and a mare wearing a purple hat and cloak suddenly appeared with a bright flash. She smiled as the crowd ooh’d and awe’d.

The mare shouted, “I am the great and powerful Trixie! I have graced your town with my presence and out of the goodness of my heart, I have decided to show you amazing magical feats absolutely free!”

“Free?” yelled someone in the crowd. “I paid 60 bits to be here!”

“I paid a hundred!” yelled someone else.

Trixie quickly kicked a bag of bits behind the stage curtain. “Let’s not get hung up on the details.” She cleared her throat and continued, “Trixie has spent years traveling across Equestria, honing her magic! Now, prepare your simple minds as I show you the results of my studies!” She posed as fireworks went off behind her.

The crowd cheered wildly.

“Wow! Real magic!” said someone.

“I know, right?” said someone else. “It’s not like 1/3 of our race can do it, or anything!”

“Wow.” said Rarity. “And here I thought Rainbow Dash had an ego.”

“Oh yeah, Rarity?!” said Rainbow Dash, swaying slightly. “Well…your ego has…you…fuck you.” She laughed as she put an arm around Applejack. “Got her there, the stupid biznitch!” She grabbed a bottle next to her and drank from it.

“Dash…are you drunk?” asked Applejack.

“…If I said yes, will you be disappointed in me?”

“Yes.”

“Then no!” said Rainbow as she took another swig from her bottle.

Applejack shrugged Rainbow Dash off of her. Rainbow stumbled and fell over.

“Oh god, the world is spinning again…” mumbled Rainbow as she curled up in the fetal position.

“She’s been like this since Gilda’s party.” explained Fluttershy. “She hasn’t got her angry sex yet.”

“Oh yeah?” challenged Rainbow from the ground. “I bet you haven’t got your forgiveness sex yet.”

Fluttershy blushed and mumbled, “I wouldn’t say that…”

Applejack rolled her eyes before turning back to Twilight and the others. “Ignorin’ Rainbow for now, Ah’d have to say that Ah agree with Rarity.” She looked up on stage where Trixie was desperately trying to put out a curtain that had gotten ignited by one of the fireworks. “This gal seems like she loves to show off.”

“Just because she’s good at something doesn’t mean she’s better than everyone else.” explained Rarity.

“…But Rainbow Dash does that all the time.” pointed out Twilight.

“True…” said Rainbow as she clumsily got back up. “But unlike her, I am better than everyone else. I’ll prove it too!” Rainbow Dash pulled herself on to the stage and pointed a wobbly hoof at Trixie. “Alright you! Let’s do this shit!”

Trixie paused in trying to beat out the flames of the curtain with her hat. “Can Trixie help you?”

Rainbow Dash paused. “Why am I up here again?!” she yelled at the others.

“I think you were going to challenge her to something stupid.” supplied Spike.

“Right, right!” Rainbow turned back to Trixie. “I challenge you to something stupid!”

Trixie stared at her for a moment. “…Such as?” she asked.

“Oh shit, son.” said Dash. She turned back to the others and asked, “What should I challenge her to?”

“Challenge her to flying, ya dumbass!” yelled Applejack.

“Got it!” Rainbow turned to Trixie again. “I challenge you to flying, ya dumbass!”

“…You are aware that Trixie doesn’t have wings, right?” asked Trixie.

“That sounds like a personal problem!” said Dash. She grabbed another bottle and took a drink from it. “One for the road!” said Dash as she tossed the bottle away.

“Are you sure you’re alright to fly?” asked Twilight, nervously watching her friend from the crowd.

“Don’t worry nerd!” said Rainbow as she got ready to take off. “I drunk better when I’m fly!”

And with that, Rainbow Dash took off from the stage and flew up in the air…

…And promptly crashed back onto the stage.

The others watched as Rainbow’s face turned an unpleasant shade of green. “Oh god…” she muttered as she put a hoof to her mouth. “Oh god…oh god…OH MY GO-” The crowd cringed as Dash lost her lunch all over the side of the stage.

“Ew…” said Spike. “She even barfs in rainbow colors…”

“Um…” said Trixie, nervously looking at Rainbow Dash. She cleared her throat, smiled triumphantly, and said, “You see? The great and powerful Trixie has used her magic to make this Pegasus sick!”

“Wow!” said Snails.

“That’s amazing!” said Snips.

“Um…I’m pretty sure the beer had something to do with it…” yelled someone from the crowd.

“Don’t believe me?” asked Trixie. “Then someone else come forward with a challenge! I’ll prove to you that Trixie is the most powerful pony in Equestria!”

“Alright,” said Applejack as she got up on stage, “Ah’ll give it a shot!” Applejack turned back to the crowd and shouted, “APPLE BLOOM! GET MAH ROPE!”

Apple Bloom walked towards the stage, dragging a rope. She threw the rope up into the air and yelled, “Catch!”

Applejack tried to spot the rope, but the sun was in her eyes. “Ah can’t see it!” she yelled, covering her eyes. The rope landed on her and she panicked, flailing around wildly. In a few moments, Applejack was tied up in her own rope.

“Damn it, Apple Bloom!” said Applejack as she struggled to get free.

“…” Trixie stared at Applejack for a few seconds before turning to the crowd and laughing victoriously. “You see? Trixie has moved the sun in order to make this pony fail! Trixie’s magic rivals even Princess Celestia’s!”

“Her magic is so strong!” said Snips.

“She should rule Equestria!” said Snails.

“The sun didn’t move any…” said someone in crowd.

“That does it!” said Rarity. She got up on stage and said, “No one makes my friends look like idiots unless I can look better by comparison! I challenge you to…a dress-off!”

“We have to take off dresses?” asked Trixie. “Trixie only did that to pay for her college tuition…”

Rarity muttered something that sounded like “Fucking idiot” under her breath and said to Trixie, “No darling, we must create dresses.” Rarity’s horn started to glow as she activated her magic. “Like so…”

Everyone watched as Rarity took one of the curtains from the stage and made herself an elegant dress from it.

“Well Trixie?” asked Rarity, modeling her dress. “What do you say to that?”

“…You picked the curtain that was on fire.” said Trixie.

Rarity looked at the back of her dress, which was currently on fire. “So I did.” she said calmly. “Please excuse me.” Rarity walked off stage and walked away. The crowd watched as she disappeared behind a nearby building.

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH! SOMEBODY HELP ME GET THIS DRESS OFF!”

Spike and several others in the audience ran off, each saying, “I’m on it!”

Trixie laughed uproariously. “Trixie knew that she would get challenged to a dress-making competition! She purposely ignited her own curtain just in case!” Trixie continued to lie to the crowd, “Trixie has a plan for everything! Even if you brought an Ursa Major to confront her, she would still find a way to beat it!”

“We love you Trixie!” yelled Snips.

“You’re the best!” agreed Snails.

“Yeah right.” said someone in the crowd. “This is stupid.”

“There’s no way she could beat an Ursa Major!” said another heckler.

“I took off Rarity’s dress!” said Spike cheerfully as he walked back to the crowd.

“Spike,” began Fluttershy, “We don’t normally wear clothes anyway.”

“I know!” said Spike. “It’s awesome!”

“Is there anyone else that wants to challenge me?!” asked Trixie. “I’ll be more than happy to humiliate someone else.”

“We’ve got someone to challenge you alright!” said Spike. “And she’ll beat you too! And her name is Twilight-” Spike turned around and noticed that Twilight was no longer there. “Sparkle?”

“Um…she left awhile ago.” said Pinkie. “She said she had some reading to do.”

“What!?” asked Spike. He ran off towards the library.

With no other challengers, the crowd began to disperse. Trixie heard several passing ponies mutter insults at her.

“Fools.” said Trixie. “They’ll see soon enough! Trixie is the most powerful pony in Equestria!” She huffed and left the stage.

Snails watched as Trixie disappeared behind the curtain. “Snips,” he began slowly, “No one believes that Trixie is good at magic. We should help her prove that she’s the best in Equestria!”

“Yeah!” agreed Snips. “…How?”

“Hmm…” said Snails as he thought for a moment. “I think I have an idea…”

A Bear of a Problem

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“Twilight!” Spike shouted as he threw open the library door. He spotted her sitting by the window, a massive book next to her. He ran over to her. “Twilight, what was that about?!” he yelled. “Why didn’t you challenge Trixie? There’s no way she could’ve beat you!”

“I know that, Spike.” said Twilight as she set her book down. She turned her assistant with a frown on her face. “I have the Element of Magic, remember? I could beat Trixie with three hooves tied behind my back.”

“Then…then why didn’t you?!” asked Spike.

“Why should I?” countered Twilight. “I already know that I’m better at magic than she is. It’d just be a waste of time. Time that I could be using to either study or read or figure out how to Pinkie-proof the library.”

“But you can’t just let Trixie get away with embarrassing our friends!” said Spike. “Plus, she’s a total asshole!”

“So is Rainbow Dash, but you don’t see me trying to show her up, do you?” Twilight turned back to her book and opened it. “Besides, I’m sure Trixie won’t stay in Ponyville for too long. The crowd didn’t seem to be all that impressed by her.”

“Yeah, but-”

“You know something?” interrupted Twilight. She turned back to Spike. “I seem to recall a certain dragon promising that if I gave him a moustache, he wouldn’t bother me for the rest of the day.”

“…I have no memory of the event in question.” denied Spike.

“Oh really?” asked Twilight. She cleared her throat and said in Spike’s voice, “But Twilight! I really really need this! Can’t you do me this one favor? Please? I won’t bother you for the rest of the day, I swear!” She looked at Spike and said in her own voice. “Remember now?”

“…No.”

“You’re an idiot.” said Twilight. “Fortunately, I do remember that promise. I don’t want you to bother me for the rest of the day, alright?”

Spike sighed and said, “Fine.” Defeated, Spike left Twilight to her books and went upstairs.

Everfree Forest- A Few Hours Later:

“Snails?” asked Snips as he nervously looked around at the dark trees around them. “A-are you sure we should do this?”

Snails nodded as he led the way. “Nobody believes that Trixie did the things she said. We just have to prove that she can.”

“Yeah, but isn’t there a better way?” asked Snips. “The Everfree forest gives me the creeps.”

Snails stopped and shushed his companion. “We’re here.” he whispered.

Snips and Snails were in front of a dark cave. A loud rumbling sound could be heard inside of it. The two colts gathered their courage and headed inside. Almost instantly, the darkness of the cave smothered the two.

“Snails, I can’t see anything.” whispered Snips.

“Me neither.” agreed Snails. “Hang on.” A bright red glow came from Snails’ horn, lighting up the cave.

“Good job!” said Snips. “Now let’s find that Ursa-”

A low growl came from behind them.

“Major?” finished Snips slowly.

The two colts turned around to see a hellish red eye staring at them.

“Found it!” said Snails happily as Snips ran for the cave’s entrance.

Ponyville- A Few Minutes Later:

Spike trudged down one of Ponyville’s dirt roads and moodily kicked a pebble. “God, this day sucks.” he whined. “I lost my moustache, I saw rainbow-colored puke, and Twilight won’t fight Trixie.” Spike stopped walking for a moment and sighed. “At least I got to take off Rarity’s dress. That was a plus.”

“AAAAHHHH!” screamed a high-pitched voice.

Spike jumped. “It’s not a big deal!” he shouted. “You ponies don’t wear any clothes anyway!”

“AAAAAAAAAAAAOHMYGOD!” screamed the voice again. Spike looked down the road to see that Snips and Snails were running towards him.

“Hey guys!” greeted Spike as he waved at them. “Where’s the fire?”

A massive blue bear suddenly burst through the trees and let out an earth-shaking roar. It glared at the retreating ponies and gave chase.

“Oh…” said Spike, eyes widening. He promptly turned tail and ran towards the library.

Snips and Snails ran to Trixie’s cart and pounded their hooves on the door. The door opened and Trixie stuck her head out, glaring at the two. “What do you idiots want?” she asked.

“Hello Trixie!” said Snails happily.

Trixie sighed and said, “Hello. What do you want?”

“Okay,” said Snips, “Remember when you said that if someone brought an Ursa Major to fight you, you’d find a way to beat it?”

Trixie stared at the two for a moment before sighing and closing her eyes. “Please tell me you didn’t-”

“We found an Ursa Major for you to beat!” said Snails as he pointed at the patiently waiting bear, which raised a paw and waved at Trixie.

“…Well fuck.” said Trixie, stepping out of her cart. The monster bear growled and picked up Trixie’s now empty cart and threw it. Trixie watched as her home flew into the distance. “Double fuck.” she said.

“What do we do, Trixie?” asked Snails.

“Trixie has a cunning plan!” said the showmare.

“Which is?” asked Snips.

The bear growled and took a step closer.

“RUN!” screamed Trixie. The three ponies ran away, the bear in close pursuit.

Meanwhile:

Spike rushed into the library and slammed the door shut. “TWILIGHT!” he screamed.

Twilight growled and looked up from her book. “Spike, quiet!” she scolded. “I’m just getting to the good part!”

Spike looked at the title of the book and raised an eyebrow. “You’re reading a book named after you?”

Twilight huffed. “Sure, it’s named after me. Whatever.” She went back to her book and mumbled, “Edward. Just turn Bella into a vampire and fuck her brains out already, you big pussy…”

“Twilight!” said Spike. “You need to come outside! There’s-”

“I’m sure whatever’s out there can wait, Spike.” interrupted Twilight. “I just want to finish-”

“We will be finished if you don’t-”

“If you’d let me just read-”

“There’s no time! You need to-”

“I told you not to bother-”

“I’m only bothering you because-”

“I thought you would keep your promise, but I guess-”

“TWILIGHT!” screamed Spike. “THERE IS A BIG BLUE BEAR OUTSIDE THAT WILL DESTROY THE TOWN IF YOU DON’T MOVE YOUR NERDY ASS NOW!”

“…Run that by me again?” asked Twilight.

A loud roar shook the library, and Spike and Twilight rushed to the window. Outside, the Ursa was rampaging through town as panicked ponies ran for the relative safety of the hills.

“We have to get out there!” said Twilight. She turned to Spike and said, “Why didn’t you tell me?

Spike glared at her and sighed. “It’s not even worth it…” said Spike as he walked outside.

Meanwhile…Again…

“Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shits shit…” repeated Trixie as the Ursa stomped towards her and the two colts.

“So what’s your plan of attack, Trixie?” asked Snips.

Trixie’s eye twitched. “Besides run away and hope the Ursa is too busy eating you to notice?”

“You can do it, Trixie!” said Snails. “You’re the most powerful unicorn in Equestria!”

Trixie gulped and turned back to Ursa. “I hope you’re right…” she whispered. She stepped forward and yelled, “Prepare yourself, monster! I am the great and powerful Trixie! The most skilled and powerful unicorn in all of Equestria!”

The Ursa yawned, entirely unconcerned with the loud unicorn in front of it.

“Don’t believe me?” asked Trixie, glaring at the Ursa. “Then have a taste of my magic!” Trixie horn gave off a bright flash. The Ursa put its paws over its eyes, roaring in pain.

“You blinded it!” said Snails.

“I did?” asked Trixie in disbelief. “I-I mean of course I did!” She turned around and bragged, “Did you think a big stupid bear could possibly defeat the great and powerful-”

Ahem.”

Trixie turned back around, her eyes widening. The Ursa was no longer staggering around in pain and was glaring at Trixie with red, watery eyes.

“Um…” said a suddenly meek Trixie. “What do you say we call it a tie?”

The Ursa responded with opening its maw and letting out another roar. Trixie closed her eyes and prepared for the end.

“Not so fast!” yelled a voice.

Trixie opened her eyes just in time to see a massive rock smash against the Ursa’s face. The Ursa stumbled and smashed its head against a nearby building. “What the-” said Trixie. She turned around to see Twilight running towards them with Spike on her back.

“Miss Twilight?” asked Snips. “You saved us!”

“Yeah.” said Twilight as she came to a halt. “I bet that attack rocked his world, huh? Get it? ‘Rocked’ his world?”

Trixie, Snips, and Snails just stared at her.

“That was so bad it hurt.” said Spike as he hopped off Twilight’s back. “Stop making bad jokes and just kill the damn thing already.”

“No!” said Snails suddenly. “We brought that Ursa Major here for Trixie to fight, not Twilight!”

You brought this here?!” yelled Twilight. “You idiots! Do have any idea what could have happened? You could’ve killed us all!”

“Guys?” asked Spike suddenly. He pointed at the Ursa, which was getting back up. “Can we yell at them after we kill this thing?!”

Trixie looked at the Ursa and said to Twilight, “I hope you know how to stop this thing, because I have no idea.”

“I kinda hoped the rock would finish it off, to tell you the truth.” whispered Twilight.

The Ursa stood up growled fiercely. It opened its mouth and let out another loud roar.

“JUNIOR!” yelled a voice.

The Ursa’s eyes widened and he muttered, “Oh fuck me…”

If the ponies in Ponyville thought the first bear was big, it was nothing compared to this one. The massive purple Ursa towered above the blue one, and was glaring at it.

“I turn my back for one minute and you sneak out of the forest!” said the purple Ursa. “Not only that, but you terrorized these poor ponies!”

“But Mom…” began the smaller Ursa.

“No buts!” interrupted the huge Ursa. “You’re grounded, young man! And don’t think your father won’t hear about this! Now…” She reached out a paw and grabbed her son’s ear. “Apologize to these ponies for the trouble you’ve caused.”

“But they…”

“Now!”

The younger Ursa grimaced and turned to the ponies. “I’m sorry.” he said with a voice that heavily implied that he was not sorry.

“Good enough.” said his mother. “Now,” she started pulling her son by his ear, “Let’s go back to the forest so you can think about what you’ve done.”

“Aw, Mom…” groaned the younger Ursa as he was dragged away.

Twilight and the others watched the two monster bears walk away. “…What just happened?” asked Twilight.

“I think the mama bear just saved our asses.” said Spike.

A loud cheer made both Spike and Twilight turn around. Rainbow Dash flew towards them with most of Ponyville after her. “That was awesome Twilight!” said Rainbow. “You stopped the Ursa Major!”

“Ursa Minor.” said Twilight. “And his mom did more to stop him than I did.”

“Yeah, but you hit him in the face with a rock!” said Rainbow. “That took balls!”

“I…don’t have any.” said Twilight. “And it would have been a lot worse if Trixie didn’t distract him.”

“Hey…” said Spike, looking around. “Where is Trixie?”

“And where’s Snails?” asked Snips.

Canterlot- Hours later:

“What did Twilight’s letter say, sister?” asked Luna as she walked into her sister’s bedroom.

Celestia looked away from the window and sighed. “It looks like Trixis’ descendant showed up in Ponyville. From what Twilight wrote, it seems like she didn’t receive any of her ancestor’s power.” Celestia walked towards Luna. “Twelve hundred years ago, we stopped Trixis’ husband, King Snailovitch, from invading Equestria. As he died, his power was transferred into his newborn foal. Since then, every time we kill the one who inherited Snailovitch’s power, it gets transferred into a child from that family.”

“Then that child shows massive magical ability, showing up when they get their Cutie Mark.” finished Luna. “I already know this, Celestia.”

“I know you do.” said Celestia. “But tell me this. If this Trixie didn’t receive any of Snailovitch’s power, then who did?”

Hours Earlier- Outskirts of Ponyville:

Trixie sighed as she looked over the wreckage of her cart. She spotted her hat and cape laying among the debris. She picked up her hat and dusted it off before jamming it on her head.

“‘The Great and Powerful Trixie…’” she muttered. “Yeah right…”

“Trixie!” yelled a voice.

Trixie turned around and saw Snails standing a little ways away from her. “Hello Snails…” she said sadly.

“I’m sorry, Trixie.” said Snails. “This was all my fault.”

“It’s not all your fault. Your pudgy blue friend played a part in it too.” said Trixie scathingly. She grabbed her cape and threw it on.

“…Sorry…” muttered Snails. “I just wanted to prove that you were the best unicorn in Equestria.”

Trixie stared at the ground before saying bitterly, “I knew it was a mistake to come back here.”

“Trixie,” began Snails, “Why don’t you stay?”

“No.” said Trixie, walking away from her destroyed cart. “Mom and Dad would never take me back in. I told them I was going to become the strongest unicorn in Equestria and I will. No matter what.” She started to walk down the path leading out of Ponyville before turning back to Snails. “Thanks for trying to help, little brother.”

Snails smiled sadly as he watched Trixie walk away. “See you around, sis.”

An Unexpected Problem

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It had been some time since the whole “Trixie” incident. In the several months of unproductiveness from certain authors, Ponyville had been repaired of all Ursa-related damages and normalcy had returned to everyday life.

“WILL YOU DUMB MOTHERFUCKERS PLEASE SHARE YOUR FOOD WITH EACH OTHER?!”

…More or less.

In a cottage by the woods lived a Pegasus. It was not a dirty, messy cottage. It was not a dry, barren cottage. It was a Pegasus cottage and that meant…something or other.

This particular cottage was owned by a Pegasus named Fluttershy. She was a quiet sort (unless you got her angry, which happened often) who would rather stay home and take care of her animals than go on an adventure.

Unfortunately for Fluttershy, she would soon find herself on a terrifying adventure, fraught with dangers, horrors, and death.

But, for the moment, she was simply taking care of her animals with her…unique techniques.

“You see these fish?” growled Fluttershy. She pointed at a pile of dead fish that she had placed in front of a terrified family of ferrets. “They disrespected me. And I,” she glared at the furry creatures, “Do not like to be disrespected. Got it?”

The ferrets nodded in fear.

“Good.” said Fluttershy. She grabbed some worms and flew up to a nest of birds. “Do you want these worms?” she asked.

The birds nodded.

In response, Fluttershy smacked one of them with a worm. “Well, he asked for it, now didn't he?" she said in response to the other birds' shocked expressions. "Now stop singing off-key, ok? It’s really wrecking my morning.” She smiled as the birds immediately started singing perfectly. “Good. Now-”

She heard a loud thumping noise coming from below. Fluttershy’s eyes widened as she dashed to the ground. “I-I’m so sorry Angel!” she cried. “I got held up by the birds! I had to-”

The glare she received from the bunny was surprisingly threatening.

Fluttershy held up a carrot with shaky hooves. “H-here’s your dinner…” she squeaked. Angel hopped over and forcefully snatched the carrot out of her hooves. Once he had taken a few bites, Fluttershy nervously asked, “Is it okay?”

Angel paused his eating and looked at the carrot. After a few moments he shrugged and shook his paw as if to say “It’s so-so”.

Fluttershy smiled. “I’m so glad that-”

With an evil smirk, Angel picked up the carrot and threw at the Pegasus. It bounced off of Fluttershy’s forehead and she curled up in fear, covering her face with her hooves.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” she wailed. “I’ll do better next time! I swear!”

Angel picked up the remains of the carrot and prepared to toss it with more force. Before he could, a cloud of black smoke drifted in front of his face. The bunny dropped the carrot and clutched his throat, coughing harshly.

“Angel?” asked Fluttershy as she uncovered her face. She got back up and hurried to the rabbit’s side. “What’s wrong?”

Angel, still coughing, waved her off. He pulled a cigarette out from behind him and lit it. Taking a deep drag of it, he blew out a ring of smoke and sighed.

“What happened Angel?” asked Fluttershy. “Why did you start coughing?” She watched as Angel looked and pointed upwards. Following his lead, Fluttershy looked up and saw clouds of black smoke.

“Oh no!” said Fluttershy. “I better tell everyone!” She dashed off…only to return a few seconds later. “Is that okay with you, Angel?” she asked timidly.

Angel puffed on his cigarette and made a shooing motion with his paw.

“Thank you!” said Fluttershy, picking the rabbit up and hugging him. “You’re always so nice to me!” She barely flinched as the bunny pressed the lit end of the cigarette against her arm.

A few minutes later, Fluttershy arrived in one of Ponyville’s parks. There were plenty of ponies there, all blissfully unaware the smoke in the sky.

“Help!” said Fluttershy. She ran from pony to pony and said, “There’s a lot of smoke in the sky! Someone should do something.”

“I tot’lly agree witsh yoo.” slurred Berry Punch, stumbling over. “We shood doo sumthin’!”

“Oh thank you!” said Fluttershy. “So what should we do?”

“Fuck if I know.” said Berry Punch as she pulled out a bottle and drank from it.

“But-” began-

“Fluttershy!” called out Rainbow Dash, interrupting an amazing narration. The blue Pegasus was bouncing a ball on her head. “Look how good I am at this! I should charge money just to let people watch me!”

“T-that’s very nice Rainbow, but-” began Fluttershy.

“Aw yeah!” interrupted Rainbow Dash again. “I am the best at handling balls!” She smirked at a stunned group of stallions. “Wanna find out, boys?”

“Silly Dashie!” said Pinkie Pie, appearing out of nowhere. “This story’s rated Teen for…” She pulled out a note card and read it out loud, “‘Strong language, cartoonish violence, immature humor, and god-awful jokes’! We can’t show clop!”

“Once again Pinkie, nothing you say makes any sense.” said Rainbow Dash with disdain. “Now excuse me while I try to seduce people by bouncing a rubber ball on my head.”

Fluttershy walked over to Pinkie and said, “Pinkie, for fuck’s sake, we have to do something! Where there’s smoke there’s fire!”

Pinkie laughed and patted Fluttershy’s head. “Silly Fluttershy! Where there’s Smoke, there’s Mortal Kombat!”

“What?” asked a confused Fluttershy.

“Everyone! Can I have your attention, please!” came a voice.

“That sounds like Twilight!” said Fluttershy. She raced off to where the other ponies were gathering, leaving Pinkie alone.

“Oh well.” said Pinkie. She turned around and addressed the figure behind her. “Sorry Smoke. She didn’t get the reference.”

A ninja with flowing gray hair stepped out of the shadow of a nearby tree and said, “That’s okay Pinkie. I should really be looking for Sub-Zero anyway. Last time I left him alone, he got turned into a cyborg.”

“Okay!” said Pinkie. “Tell him I said hi!” She started to walk away, but stopped. “Oh, I almost forgot!” She turned and waved to someone behind Smoke. “Bye Sindel!”

“What?” said Smoke as he turned around.

CRACK

Meanwhile, the rest of the ponies gathered around Twilight and Spike as they stood on a bridge. Twilight cleared her throat and said, “Smoke is starting to cover Equestria. If it keeps up, we’ll all be in trouble.”

“What kind of trouble?” asked Bon Bon.

“The ‘We Won’t Be Able to Breathe’ kind of trouble.” explained Twilight.

“Jesus!” said Rainbow Dash, still bouncing the ball on her head. “Why didn’t anyone notice the smoke before!”

“That-I-You-” spluttered Fluttershy in indignation. “I tried to tell you dumbasses, but you kept ignoring me!”

“I’m sorry, what was that Fluttershy? I wasn’t listening.” said Rainbow as she looked towards her friend.

“Never mind.” said a defeated Fluttershy.

“So…” continued Twilight slowly. “I have good news from Princess Celestia…”

“Hooray!” cheered the ponies.

“Aaaaaaand some bad news from the same Princess.” finished Twilight.

“WE’RE DEAD!” screamed all the ponies.

“CALM DOWN!” yelled Twilight. “I haven’t told you anything yet!” Once the gathered ponies calmed down, she continued, “So good news! This smoke isn’t caused by a fire!”

“Hooray!” cheered the ponies.

“Yeah! No fire!” cheered Colgate. Then she paused for a few moments while everyone else kept cheering. “Wait, wait.” she said, and everyone stopped cheering to listen to her. “Then what is causing all this smoke?”

“W-well…” began Twilight nervously. “That’s sort of the bad news. You see…the thing that’s causing this smoke…it might be a…teeny…tiny…little…insignificant…

“It’s a dragon.” said Spike.

“Spike!” scolded Twilight as the ponies began to panic.

“What?” asked Spike. “It’s like removing a band-aid! Just rip it off and hope for the best.”

Twilight rolled her eyes and said, “Don’t worry everyone! Princess Celestia has entrusted several ponies with the task of stopping the dragon. Those ponies are me, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Rarity-”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa.” said Noteworthy. “We’re supposed to relax because a librarian, a weather pony, a party planner, a farmer, and a dress maker are going to stop a bloodthirsty dragon?”

“Relax.” said Twilight. “The five of us are going to make sure that the sixth pony gets to the dragon safely. Once there, that pony will talk to the dragon and calm it down.”

Fluttershy sighed and said to herself, “I’d hate to be that pony. I pity the poor sap who has to calm down a full-grown dragon.”

“And that pony,” continued Twilight, “is Fluttershy.”

The crowd of ponies was silent. They all turned simultaneously and stared at Fluttershy, who started to hyperventilate.

Rainbow Dash, still bouncing the ball, blinked and looked around at all the ponies staring where she and Fluttershy were standing. “Wait, what’s going on? I wasn’t paying attention.”

Preparations, Plans, and Twilight's Bush

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“No.” said Fluttershy.

“Come on Fluttershy!” begged Twilight. “We need you to do this!” She gestured to the other ponies standing around the library. “Everyone else agreed to help.”

“Yes, they did.” admitted Fluttershy. “But everyone else doesn’t have to convince a huge, fire-breathing dragon to leave and not come back.”

“That’s somethin’ that’s been botherin’ me.” interjected Applejack. “Why is there a dragon in Equestria in the first place? They’re mean, vicious, and are generally a bunch of assholes.”

“No kidding.” agreed Rainbow Dash. “Fuck dragons. They suck.”

Spike glared at the two ponies and said, “Nice.” He threw down the bags he had packed for Twilight and stomped off. “REAL NICE!” he hollered at them.

Applejack looked guilty. “Should we go say sorry?”

“He’ll get over it.” said Rainbow Dash. She winced and added, “…Hopefully.”

Twilight walked over to her bags and checked their contents. “The dragon could be here for any number of reasons. It could have gotten lost from other dragons, it could be claiming territory for itself, it could be gathering its hoard…”

Rainbow Dash snickered. “Whored.”

Twilight shot a glare at the laughing pony. “Anyway,” she continued as she turned to Fluttershy, “I just need you to talk to him. Like you do with any animal.”

“B-but-” began Fluttershy.

“Oh, come on!” said an exasperated Rainbow Dash. “You’ll have us there to protect you from it! I mean, true, the dragon probably has razor-sharp teeth and claws…”

“Teeth?” asked Fluttershy, her eyes widening. “Claws?”

“And, sure, it’s probably big enough to crush all of us with one foot…” continued Rainbow.

“Air.” wheezed Fluttershy, heading towards the exit. “I need air.”

“And its fire is likely hot enough to fry us in seconds.” finished Rainbow. “But aside from that, what’s there to be scared of?”

Fluttershy considered it for a moment. “No.” she replied before promptly fainting.

“…That was not my fault!” said Rainbow Dash.

Twilight sighed as she walked over to the fallen Pegasus. “Look,” she said to the others, “while I try to convince Fluttershy to do this, you girls go and get supplies.”

“What kind of supplies?” asked Applejack.

“I don’t know.” said Twilight as she tried in vain to slap Fluttershy awake. “Bring things you think will help fight a dragon.”

One Hour Later:

“APPLES, BALLOONS, GEMS, AND AUTOGRAPHED PICTURES OF YOURSELF ARE NOT GOING TO HELP FIGHT A DRAGON!” screamed Twilight at the others as they stood outside the library.

“Now hold up just a minute!” replied Applejack as she set her bags down. She pulled out a delicious looking red apple. “These ain’t regular apples.”

Twilight stared at the apple in her friend’s hooves. “It looks like a regular apple.”

Applejack smirked. She looked around and spotted a dead tree a few feet away from them. She aimed and hurled the apple right at the tree. The apple smashed through the tree, causing splintered wood to fly everywhere.

“H-how did…?” asked Twilight as the wrecked tree fell.

“These apples were harvested by Apple Bloom.” explained Applejack.

“What did she do to them?” asked Twilight.

“We don’t know, Sugarcube.” said Applejack sadly. “We don’t know.”

Twilight turned to Pinkie and asked, “What will your balloons do for us?”

“In case things go bad,” began Pinkie, “we can tie the balloons around ourselves and float away!”

Twilight sighed. “Pinkie, a pony is too heavy to be lifted up by a few balloons.”

“Oh really?” asked Pinkie as she pointed to the sky.

Twilight looked up and saw an orange Pegasus filly with a purple mane high up in the air. Three balloons were tied around her waist and she looked terrified. “HELP ME!” she screamed as she floated away.

“…Huh.” said Twilight as she decided to pretend like that didn’t happen. “Anyway…” she turned towards Rarity. “Gems?”

“Dragons love to add things to their hoard, correct?” asked Rarity. “I brought my best jewels with me. If things don’t work out, I can always try to bribe the beast into letting us go.”

Twilight nodded. “Ok. That makes sense.”

“And if that doesn’t work…” continued Rarity as she rummaged through her bags. She pulled out a large knife and grinned wickedly. “We can always convince him to go away.” She started chuckling in a low tone.

Twilight slowly backed away from Rarity. She turned towards Rainbow Dash and asked, “So what can your pictures do to help with the dragon?”

Rainbow Dash shrugged. “I don’t know.” She pulled out one of her pictures from her bag. “I just like to look at myself.”

Twilight sighed and closed her eyes, feeling a massive headache coming on. She turned to the rest of the ponies and cleared her throat. “Okay everyone. I’ve mapped out the fastest route to the dragon. However, we do need to keep a good pace if we want to make it up the mountain by nightfall.” She gazed solemnly at the assembled ponies. “I won’t lie to you. Some of you probably won’t make it back. That’s why I had Spike prepare your last will and testaments while you were getting supplies.”

Spike came forward with six documents and a quill in his hands. “Who do you girls want to leave all of your possessions to?”

“Oooh!” said Pinkie, bouncing in place. “I want to leave all my stuff to Twilight!”

“But what if I die too?” asked Twilight.

“Good point.” agreed Pinkie. “In that case, I leave all my stuff to Applejack.”

“Aw, that’s sweet of ya.” said Applejack. “I leave the farm to Rainbow Dash.”

“And I’ll leave all of my stuff to Rarity!” said Rainbow Dash.

“And I’ll leave all of my things to Pinkie.” said Rarity.

“No!” said Twilight. “We could all die here, you guys! We need to leave it with somebody who isn’t coming.”

“I know!” said Pinkie. “We could all give our stuff to Fluttershy!”

Twilight pressed a hoof to her head. “Pinkie. Fluttershy is coming with us and could die too.”

“She’s coming with us?” asked Pinkie. She looked around. “She’s not here. Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m sur-” Twilight paused and looked around. “…Where is Fluttershy?”

“Um…Twilight?” asked Spike. He pointed towards the bushes by the library. “Has that bush always had eyes?”

Twilight looked over and saw two blue eyes peering out from the bushes. “Fluttershy! Get out of my bush!”

Fluttershy slowly stuck her head out of the bush and said, “Um…I’m fine staying in here. Really. Your untrimmed bush is a perfect place to hide in, Twilight.”

“Twilight has an untrimmed bush!” laughed Rainbow Dash.

Pinkie started laughing too. “It’s funny because it’s about pubes!”

Twilight growled. She looked back into her bush and said, “Fluttershy, we need you to do this.”

“But what about Angel?” asked Fluttershy from the darkness of Twilight’s bush. “He needs someone to look after him!”

“Spike can take care of that!” said Twilight. She pointed at Spike, who was staring at Angel.

The bunny and the dragon stared at each other for a long moment.

“…”

“…”

“…Want to get some blow?” asked Spike.

Angel nodded and the two went inside the library.

“See!” said Twilight to Fluttershy. “Angel will be in good hands…more or less.”

“I don’t know…” said Fluttershy. “What if-”

“NOW GIRLS!” said Twilight. The other ponies plunged into Twilight’s bush and dragged a stunned Fluttershy out. They held her over their heads and charged towards the mountain.

Meanwhile:

Deep underground, a dog-like creature wearing a tattered red vest ran down tunnels and paths. He had to reach his boss in order to tell him the good news.

The dog came to a large door. Pushing it open, he made his way inside. “Boss Pitt! Boss Pitt!” he called out. “I have news!”

A massive Pitbull looked up from his throne. “What is it?”

Rover stopped and bowed before the monstrous dog. “There’s a dragon in the mountains, boss! Its probably got a lot of jewels in its hoard! I thought we could-”

You thought?!” said Boss Pitt as he got up from his throne. “Let me tell you what you thought, boy.” He reached down and grabbed Rover by the back of his vest. “You thought jack shit! I’m the one who does the thinking around here!” Spit flew from Boss Pitt’s mouth and landed on Rover’s face. “GOT IT?!”

Rover whimpered. “Yes Boss. Sorry Boss.”

Boss Pitt dropped Rover to the cavern floor. “Let me tell you what I’m thinking. I’m thinking that this dragon has to have a hoard. And this hoard will have all the gold and jewels we’ll ever need. So,” He stomped over to where Rover was cowering on the floor and kneeled down so he could look him in the eyes, “I’m thinking that we go up that mountain, find that dragon, and take that hoard for ourselves. Sound good?”

Rover gulped and said, “S-sounds good, Boss.”

Boss Pitt showed his fangs, giving Rover a feral smile. “Good boy. Now,” He straightened up and raised his voice, “Get the rest of the pack moving! We going to get my treasure and nothin’s gonna stop us!”

Puddles, Pitfalls, and Ponies

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After a couple of hours of walking/making sure Fluttershy didn’t run, the ponies finally came to the foot of the mountain. The area around the mountain was peacefully quiet. The only sounds were the chirps of the birds, the rush of a nearby waterfall, and the gentle rustle of the trees on the side of the path.

A loud noise ripped through the peaceful silence, shattering it like a baseball bat through a car window.

Rarity pulled out a fan and waved it behind her. “So sorry, darlings. Those burritos I had for lunch didn’t quite agree with me.”

“Ok,” said Twilight, “First off, gross. Second, I don’t think that was you.” She pointed upwards to the highest peak of the mountain, where the smoke trail could be seen. “I think that was our dragon.”

Fluttershy peeked out from behind Applejack, who was in charge of guarding her. “We have to climb all the way up there? Isn’t it a little…” she gulped, “High?”

“Speaking of high…” began Twilight, “I wonder how Spike is doing?”

Back in Ponyville:

The library’s interior was enveloped in a smoky haze. Spike, sprawled on the couch, looked at Angel with bloodshot eyes. “I mean, like, I try to be a good assistant.” He said sadly. “But sometimes I just make mistakes, you know? Like this one time Twilight wanted me to bring her 1001 Spells for Beginners and I brought her 1001 Spells for Dinner.” Spike sighed and put his head in his hands. “God, I’m a horrible assistant…” He sobbed.

Angel nodded and took another hit from his bong.

Back with the others:

“You guys know I have wings, right?” said Rainbow Dash. “I could just fly up there and kick that dragon’s ass. We wouldn’t need to climb.”

“And what makes ya think you could handle a dragon on your own?” asked Applejack.

Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes. “Applejack, my name is Rainbow D. Dash. Do you know what the ‘D’ stands for?”

“Dorothy.” said Fluttershy at once.

Rainbow Dash blushed and shook her head. “N-no! The ‘D’ stands for ‘Dragon’! As in ‘Dragon Slayer’!” She started to fly upwards. “I’ll take care of your dragon before you can say-”

“There’s no place like home?” asked Pinkie.

“Ye-NO!” said Rainbow Dash, her face turning red. “You know what?” she landed back on the ground and folded her wings against her sides. “Just for that, I’m not going to slay your dragon. I’m gonna watch all of you fail, and then I’ll slay your dragon!”

“Well,” said Twilight, “We need to get to the dragon first. We better start climbing.”

“Good idea.” said Rarity. “Maybe if we convince this beast to leave, I can persuade him to part with a few of his jewels.”

“Jewels?” asked Applejack. “Who said anything ‘bout jewels?”

“Just the Diamond Dogs trying to hide in those trees.” said Pinkie, pointing to the side.

Everyone looked to the side of the path, but couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary. “Very funny, Pinkie Pie.” said Rarity. “But now is not the time for one of your jokes.”

“But-” began Pinkie.

“But nothin’.” interrupted Applejack. “Save the pranks for when we get rid of this dragon, Sugarcube.” She turned back towards Rarity. “You were sayin’?”

“I read that dragons hoard jewels and gold for their nests.” explained Rarity. “If that’s true, then surely he wouldn’t mind giving up a few.”

“Yeah,” said Rainbow Dash, rolling her eyes, “I’m sure he’s nice and friendly.”

“Really?” asked Fluttershy, a hopeful look on her face.

“No.”

“Shit.”

Meanwhile, in the trees:

The pack of Diamond Dogs watched as the group of ponies started to walk towards the mountain.

“Guess we ain’t the only ones trying to get to this dragon.” said Boss Pitt, attempting to hide his large frame behind a sapling.

“Boss,” began Rover, “Maybe we should let these ponies get to the dragon.”

“What?!” growled Pitt as he grabbed Rover by the throat. “Are you sayin’ we should let them make off with my treasure?!”

“No!” wheezed Rover. “While they get killed by the dragon, we can sneak in and steal the jewels.”

Pitt dropped Rover and rubbed his chin. “Now that ain’t a bad idea…” he muttered. He turned to the rest of the pack and said, “Boys, I’ve just had an idea! We’re gonna wait and let these ponies reach the dragon. While the dragon’s busy frying them, we’re gonna sneak in and get my treasure! Any questions?”

Another dog raised his hand. Pitt grabbed the hand and twisted it until he heard a cracking noise. The dog collapsed on the ground, whimpering and cradling his hand.

“Any other questions?” growled Boss Pitt to his frightened followers.

Back with the ponies:

The ponies began climbing up the slope of the mountain. Most of them, anyway.

“Come on, Fluttershy!” yelled Rainbow Dash. She glared at the cowering Pegasus they had left at the foot of the mountain. “What, do you want us to carry you up the mountain?”

“Thank goodness you offered, Rainbow!” said Rarity. She leaped into Rainbow Dash’s arms. “My hooves were getting tired.”

Rainbow rolled her eyes and dropped Rarity, who tumbled down the mountain and landed by Fluttershy.

“It’s so steep…” said Fluttershy as she gazed at the slope. “I’m not sure if I can climb up it.”

“Gee, really?” asked Rainbow Dash. “Gosh, that’s too bad. It’s not like you can FLY OR ANYTHING!” she screamed.

“Oh…yeah.” said Fluttershy. She opened her wings and prepared to take off.

Another loud roar from up above made her freeze. She stiffened and fell over next to Rarity, who began to stir.

Rarity moaned as she regain consciousness. “When did it start raining?” she asked groggily.

“It’s not raining.” said Twilight as she looked up at the sky.

Rarity raised an eyebrow. “Then why is there a puddle?” She gazed down at the ground and then looked over at the fear-stricken Fluttershy. “…” Rarity turned green and ran into a nearby bush. The other ponies heard the noise of her retching and winced.

Applejack sighed and looked at Twilight. “Look. Ah’ll take her around the mountain another way. The rest of you keep climbin’. We’ll catch up.”

Twilight nodded. She looked up the mountain and pointed to a ledge. “That’s probably the only way Fluttershy will make it up the mountain. We’ll wait for you up there, ok?”

Applejack nodded and went back down the slope. Rarity came out of the bushes, still looking a bit green. Applejack opened her mouth to say something, but Rarity held up a hoof and said, “Not. One. Word.”

Sometime Later:

Pinkie put her hand down and smirked. “Full house!” she said. “Now take ‘em off!”

Rarity looked at Pinkie in confusion. “We’re playing Phase 10. And why would we play strip poker if none of us normally wear clothes?”

Pinkie shook her head sympathetically at Rarity. “Do you even read some of the stories on this website?”

“What?” asked Rarity.

“GAH!” groaned Rainbow Dash. She looked at Twilight and said, “This is taking too long!”

“I know.” said Twilight. “But we need to wait until they get here before we move on.”

“But we’re waiting on Applejack!” said Rainbow Dash. “Applejack! She probably got distracted because she passed an apple tree or something!”

“Ah…heard that…” panted Applejack as she rounded the corner of the ledge. She dragged Fluttershy behind her. “Ah’ll make sure to remember that little comment, Rainbow.”

“Yeah yeah.” said Rainbow, dismissively waving a hoof at Applejack. “Let’s just get going!” She took off, leaving the other ponies to scramble after her.

The ponies walked along the ledge, taking turns to push Fluttershy along. They soon came to a cliff. They could see the other side across from them.

Rainbow Dash jumped across, making it with ease. Twilight, Rarity, Applejack, and Pinkie followed her and made it as well. They all turned to look expectantly at Fluttershy.

Fluttershy gulped and said, “Do I have to-?

“YES!” yelled the other ponies at her.

“I don’t know…” moaned Fluttershy as she looked down at ground below.

“Come on, Fluttershy!” said Pinkie eagerly. “It’s just a leap, dash, and dive! Wait…” she said, her brow furrowed in thought. “That doesn’t sound right. Maybe a run, pass, and save? No. Stop, drop, and roll? No…”

Fluttershy stood up and said shakily, “I’m going to try!” She jumped the gap. And promptly plummeted to the ground below.

“Huh.” said Twilight. “I swear that gap was smaller when we jumped.”

“I got it!” said Pinkie suddenly. “It’s just a hop, skip, and…” She looked around. “Where’d Fluttershy go?”

Rainbow sighed and spread her wings. “I’m on it.” She dove down to catch Fluttershy.

Super Happy Time Passage:

The six ponies were walking on a ledge to get to the dragon’s lair. The cliff wall loomed above them as they quietly walked along.

Twilight looked at the cliff wall above them and whispered, “Make sure to keep it down.”

Rainbow Dash nodded and turned to Applejack. “Make sure to wear a frown.” she whispered.

Applejack nodded and turned to Rarity. “Make sure to stare at a clown.” she whispered.

Rarity nodded and turned to Pinkie. “Make sure to screw around.” she whispered.

Pinkie nodded and turned to Fluttershy. “Make sure to be extra loud.” she whispered.

“Are you sure?” whispered Fluttershy.

Pinkie nodded.

“WHY DO WE HAVE TO BE EXTRA LOUD?!” screamed Fluttershy.

The cliff shook as rock after rock came crashing down onto the ponies. They tried to flee and avoid the rocks.

After a few moments, the avalanche stopped. The ponies collapsed on the ground and panted.

“Everyone ok?” asked Twilight.

“I’m fine.” said Applejack.

“A little dirty, but I’ll live.” replied Rarity.

“My sister would have loved that!” said Pinkie excitedly. “I’ll have to tell her about it the next time I see her!”

“Where’s Rainbow Dash?” asked Fluttershy. The other ponies looked around, not seeing their colorful friend.

“Do you think she’s…?” Rarity trailed off as she looked at the rocks behind her.

The other ponies were silent. They shut their eyes and mourned their lost friend.

“Jesus, that scared the shit out of me!” said a voice. The five ponies looked up and saw Rainbow Dash flying in the air.

“Rainbow!” said Pinkie, jumping up to hug her friend. “We thought you were dead!”

“Yeah!” said Applejack, throwing a hoof around Rainbow’s shoulders when she landed. “You alright?”

“I’m fine.” said Rainbow Dash. She frowned. “You know what else I am?” She turned and glared at Fluttershy. “I’m sick of having to play baby-sitter.” She stomped towards a shaking Fluttershy. “You have made this whole thing a lot harder than it needs to be, Fluttershy. If you don’t want to be here, then maybe you should save us all the trouble and turn around and go home.”

“Rainbow Dash!” said Applejack.

“What?!” said Rainbow, turning her glare on Applejack. “We’re all thinking it! She’s been nothing but trouble the second we got here!”

“I…I…” began Fluttershy. She looked at the ground, tears welling in her eyes.

Rarity sighed and looked at Rainbow Dash. “You can’t really blame her for being scared. We are walking towards a giant fire-breathing monster, after all.”

“Yeah!” said Pinkie, hugging Fluttershy. “You can’t blame her for that, Dashie!”

“We still need Fluttershy to reason with the dragon, Rainbow.” said Twilight.

Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes. “Fine. I can see that I’m alone here.” she shot a glare towards Fluttershy. “One more chance, Fluttershy. That’s it.” She huffed and flew ahead.

The rest of the ponies shot sympathetic glances at Fluttershy before walking away. Sighing, Fluttershy stared at the ground and began to walk after them.

A Few Minutes Later:

The ponies stopped and stared. They were standing in front of an entrance to a massive cave. Smoke drifted out of the cave and into the air, leaving little doubt about what was inside.

Twilight turned towards Rainbow Dash and said, “See if you can stop this smoke.” The Pegasus nodded and shot up into the air. Twilight turned towards Rarity and Pinkie. “I need you two to get ready to create a diversion in case things get hairy in their.”

Rarity pulled out her knife with a sadistic grin. Pinkie Pie pulled out a razor and shaving cream.

“Not that kind of hairy!” snapped Twilight. She sighed and turned towards Applejack. “You get ready with your apples in case the dragon attacks.”

Applejack grinned and pulled out two apples. She dropped them on the ground, where they made two small craters.

“And Fluttershy will talk to him first in order to make him leave.” said Twilight. “We’ll talk with the dragon and make him see reason.”

Rainbow landed back on the ground and coughed violently. “Sorry, Twilight.” she said between coughs. “There’s too much-koff-smoke. It’s-koff-like a Las Pegasus casino up there.”

Twilight groaned. “Then it looks like it’s up to me and you, Fluttershy. Are you ready?”

She only heard silence.

“Fluttershy?” she asked. She looked to where she saw Fluttershy last and only saw hoof prints going back the way they came. She ran back to the path and saw Fluttershy walking down it. “Fluttershy! Wait!” She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw Fluttershy stop. “Come on! We need you to do this!”

“I can’t!” yelled Fluttershy.

Twilight froze. “B-but you have to! Equestria is depending-”

“Depending on us, I know!” said Fluttershy.

“Then you need to nut up and get in there!” said a voice. Twilight turned and saw Rainbow Dash glaring at Fluttershy. “You can’t just leave us now!”

Fluttershy turned and glared at Rainbow Dash. “Watch me.”

“B-but-” began Rainbow.

“I’m sorry, Rainbow, but you were right. I should just go home.” said Fluttershy. “I’ll just mess up again.”

“I didn’t mean-” said Rainbow Dash. Her voice fell on deaf ears as Fluttershy turned around and headed back down the path.

Twilight and Rainbow Dash stared after her for a few moments, before turning and dejectedly walked back to the others.

The other three ponies were surprised to only see two ponies walking towards them. “Where’s Fluttershy?” asked Applejack.

“She…” began Twilight. “She went home. She’s done.”

“But…” began Rarity, “Who’s going to convince the dragon to leave now?”

The ponies were silent for a few moments.

“I will.” said Rainbow Dash, heading towards the cave.

Applejack rushed forward and cut her off. “Now hold on. I know you want to kick this dragon’s ass, but-”

“This isn’t about that!” said Rainbow. “Fuck…” she cursed as she kicked the ground. She sighed and looked at Applejack. “Look. I’m the reason Fluttershy left, okay? I should be the one to try to get rid of this dragon.”

Applejack stared at Rainbow Dash before saying, “You know that attacking it probably won’t make it leave, right?”

“I know.” nodded Rainbow. She pushed past Applejack and headed into the cave. “That’s why I’m going to do things Fluttershy’s way. I’m going to go talk to the dragon.” She entered the cave, leaving four stunned ponies in her wake.

Rainbow Dash walked through the dark cave, with only the dim light of the sun outside showing her where to go. She saw an orange light coming from the back of the cave and strode towards it.

She stopped and stared at the sight in front of her. A large red dragon was curled up on massive piles of gold and treasure. She huffed and glared at the dragon. “Wake up, asshole!” she said.

The dragon snorted and opened one orange eye. He stared at the blue pony coming towards him and huffed. “Who are you to command me, little pony? I am the Storm of the West, I am He who destroys kingdoms, I am-”

“Save for drama class, Shakespeare!” said Rainbow, cutting him off. She punched his nose. She gripped her hoof as pain shot through it. Punching the dragon was like punching a brick wall. She held in her cry of pain and glared at the dragon. “I’m here to tell you to get the fuck out of Equestria!”

The dragon glared at the pony and sat up, the scales on his head scraping against the roof of the cave. “Whelp! Do you understand what I am?! I could eat you in ten seconds flat!”

“Funny.” said Rainbow. “That’s what I said to your mother last night.”

From outside the cave, the others heard the dragon’s enraged roar. Rainbow shot out of the cave and landed in front of them.

“So…” she began as the mountain shook. “Talking with the dragon didn’t work out so good.”

The dragon roared as he rushed out of the cave. He breathed fire at the ponies, who were forced to back up into a large rock. “FOOLS!” he roared. “I AM A DRAGON! EATER OF PONIES! BUTCHER OF GRIFFONS! RULER OF GODS! I AM-”

“IN SO MUCH TROUBLE, MISTER!” yelled a voice. The other ponies were shocked to see Fluttershy fly towards the dragon.

“WHO DARES-” began the dragon. He was cut off when Fluttershy landed on his face and punched him in the eye.

“I DARE!” Fluttershy screamed as the dragon howled. “THOSE ARE MY FRIENDS YOU’RE YELLING AT! YOU NEVER YELL AT MY FRIENDS! EVER!”

“But-” began the dragon. He was silenced with another punch to the eye.

“BUT NOTHING!” yelled Fluttershy. She took a deep breath and said, “Let me explain to you how things are going to go. You are going to stop yelling at my friends, you’re going to get your things, and you’re going to move somewhere else so you don’t cover Equestria in smoke. Understand?!”

“Ok, ok!” said the dragon. “I’ll do whatever you want! Just don’t hit me again!”

The dragon headed back into the cave, his tail between his legs.

Meanwhile:

Boss Pitt smiled at the massive piles of gold and gems. “Alright, boys!” He turned and faced the tunnel the Diamond Dogs had made in the cave wall. “Get my treasure!”

The rest of the pack moved and started grabbing as much treasure as they could carry. Boss Pitt smirked and looked around. He spotted a massive ruby on top of a large pile of gold. He made his way towards it, kicking coins aside as he walked. He grabbed the ruby and was starting to make his way down.

“Um…Boss?” said Rover as he watched Pitt slid down the pile of gold. “Shouldn’t we make sure the dragon’s gone? What if he comes back?”

Boss Pitt glared at Rover. “If that miserable dragon comes back, I’ll feed you to him for being so annoying! Now keep collecting my treasure, before I decide to-”

“YOUR TREASURE?!” roared a voice. Boss Pitt looked around and saw the dragon glaring at him. “THIS IS MY TREASURE!”

Boss Pitt looked at the dragon with wide eyes. “ROVER!” he screamed, looking around. “Help me!” He spotted the rest of the pack running into the tunnels.

Rover stood at the entrance to the tunnel, watching his former boss panic. “Sorry Boss. But I’m the one making the decisions now.” And with that, Rover turned walked down the tunnel.

Pitt looked from the tunnel to the massive dragon in front of him. “That son of a-” he began. The dragon roared and sent a massive wall of fire at the dog.

Back Outside:

The ponies watched as the dragon flew away, his treasure trove in his claws. Gold coins fell from the claws to the forest floor below.

“I can’t believe you managed to scare away a dragon!” said Twilight as she looked at Fluttershy.

Rainbow Dash walked over to Fluttershy and said, “I’m sorry for what I said before. I didn’t mean to make you leave. You’re my friend and I should have realized that you were scared.”

Fluttershy smiled. “Don’t worry, Rainbow Dash.” she said as she hugged her friend. “I was fine once I put your name in my Revenge Journal.”

“In your what?” asked Rainbow.

“Nothing, nothing.” said Fluttershy quickly.

“Yes, well done Fluttershy.” said Rarity. She walked towards the cave.

“Where are you going?” asked Twilight.

“That dragon couldn’t have taken every piece of treasure in this cave.” said Rarity over her shoulder. “He must have left a jewel or two behind.”

Meanwhile, Rover was making his way back up the tunnel. The pack had seen the dragon fly away and, as the newly appointed leader, Rover was going to see if any treasure had been left behind. He reached the entrance to the tunnel and stopped when he heard a voice.

“It smells like burnt hair in here.” said the voice. A white pony walked into the cave and looked around. The cave was devoid of any treasure. She frowned. Her horn started to glow and she pointed her head to the side.

Rover watched as the pony made her way to the smoking corpse of Boss Pitt. “Ew.” he heard her say. Her horn glowed again and she lifted up the ruby that Boss Pitt had died for. “Thank goodness for my magic.” said the pony to herself. She put the ruby into the bag on her side. “I would never be able to find any jewels if I wasn’t able to use my magic to find them.”

Rover watched as the pony left the cave. He rubbed his chin and said, “Interesting…”

Hours Later, at Canterlot Castle:

Princess Luna strode out onto the balcony. “It seems as though your student was able to stop the dragon.”

“Uh huh.” said Princess Celestia as she gazed into her telescope. “I figured she’d be able to.”

“I am curious,” said Luna, “Why didn’t you send the guards to deal with this dragon? Isn’t it still their job to protect Equestria from threats?”

Celestia looked up from her telescope. “Kind of…”

Luna looked expectantly at her sister. “And you didn’t send them because…?”

Celestia looked around nervously. “Because…I might have…kind of…set up the Captain of the Guard to go on a blind date. With Princess Cadance.”

“…” Luna stared at her sister. “And that’s more important than Equestria’s safety?”

Celestia shook her head. “No! But…but…they’re just so perfect together!”

Luna sighed and rubbed her eyes. She looked towards the telescope. “I suppose you were watching the date like some sort of voyeur?”

Celestia looked at the ground guiltily. “Maybe…”

“Well,” said Luna, “It could be worse. At least you weren’t masturbating while you were watching, right?”

Celestia was silent as she looked at the ground.

“…Are you fucking serious?” asked Luna.

A Steamy Storm

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The day started out perfect. The sun, with no smoke to obscure it, was shining. What clouds were in the sky were white and puffy and added to the serene scenery that was the atmosphere. A gentle breeze blew across Ponyville, creating a quiet, peaceful mood to the town.

Rainbow Dash was paying attention to none of this as she pushed clouds across the sky. Instead, she was thinking of what her night had in store.

I’m gonna get some sex, gonna get some sex, gonna gonna get some SEX! She thought as she pressed clouds together.

“Um…Rainbow?” asked a white Pegasus mare with a blue mane. “Are you sure you should be putting the clouds together like that?”

Rainbow Dash shook her head and looked at the clouds she had smashed together. Instead of being white like the other clouds around, the ones Rainbow had pushed together were turning a dull gray. “Uh…of course I’m sure?” she said uncertainly. She cleared her throat and said more authoritatively, “I mean, of course I’m sure! Jesus, Lightning Bolt, do you think I was put in charge of the weather team by accident?”

“…Didn’t you threaten the mayor’s life if she didn’t put you in charge?” asked Lightning.

“Details, details.” Rainbow Dash said dismissively. She pointed at the gray mass of clouds. “Since I clearly meant to do this on purpose, I want the rest of you to make these kinds of clouds.”

“But Rainbow,” said Lightning Bolt, “If every Pegasus on the weather team makes these types of clouds it’s going to make a really big storm!”

Rainbow squinted her eyes at the other pony. “Isn’t your name ‘Lightning Bolt’?” she asked. “A really big storm is probably a wet dream come true for you.”

“…How’d you know?” asked Lightning Bolt.

And so, the weather ponies all pushed the clouds together and, soon enough, a large black cloud was hanging over Ponyville. In response, the Mayor had ordered everyone to prepare for the storm of the century.

“I thought this was the ‘Look Before You Sleep’ parody?” asked Pinkie Pie as she was locking Sugarcube Corner.

I said Storm of the century, not Swarm.

“Oh!” said Pinkie as she locked trapped customers in the cellar.

Meanwhile, at the library, Twilight was helping Spike pack.

“And don’t forget to brush your teeth, change your underwear, and don’t get in any vans with strange men.” lectured Twilight as Spike shut his suitcase.

“Ok,” said Spike, “I’ll do the teeth thing, but I don’t wear clothes and what if the man has candy?”

The two heard Pinkie shouting in the distance, “GO FOR THE CANDY!”

“No!” said Twilight. “Not even if they have candy!”

“Aww…” they heard Pinkie say.

“Fine, fine.” said Spike as he picked up his suitcase. “I’m just going to take care of some Royal Business anyway.”

“I know, but…” Twilight eyes started to fill with tears. “You’re just growing up so fast. I…I…OH SPIKE!” She grabbed him and pulled him into a hug, sobbing loudly.

“Did I mention that you had new books arrive today?” said Spike, his face pressed against Twilight’s shoulder.

“NEW BOOKS?!” shouted Twilight. She pushed Spike down and looked around. She spotted a large box in the corner and rushed towards it. She tore it open and started to examine the books inside.

Spike picked up his suitcase again and looked outside. He saw the Royal Chariot land on the grass. “Looks like my ride’s here. I’m going.”

Twilight casually waved a hoof in Spike’s general direction. “Yeah, yeah.” she said, still distracted by books.

Spike went outside and walked over to the chariot.

“HELLO, SMALL LIZARD MAN!” shouted Gung-ho Guard, as Spike tossed his suitcase in the chariot.

“Hey.” greeted Spike. “You two still in this story, then?”

“For now…” said Depressed Guard, hanging his head.

“Cool.” said Spike. “…You guys don’t charge a fare, right?”

“FOR THE LAST TIME,” yelled Gung-ho Guard, “WE ARE NOT A TAXI SERVICE!”

Back inside the library, Twilight was reading some of the titles of her new books. “King Sombra’s Guide to Slavery, I Sent My Sister To The Moon & So Can You, Flash Sentry’s How I Survived Being Hated Just For Existing…” She smiled happily as she continued to pull out book after book. “This is great!”

Meanwhile, throughout Ponyville, ponies were pulling loose branches off of trees so they wouldn’t be blown off during the storm.

“Can you get that Derpy?” asked an orange-maned mare as she watched Derpy struggle with a branch.

“I’ve got it Carrot Top!” said Derpy as she gave the branch a strong tug. It popped off with a snap. Her wall-eyes narrowed as her voice took on a low tone. “It’s just like ripping off an arm. Just got to get a good grip and pull.”

“Oh, ok.” said Carrot as she walked away. She paused and came walking back. “Wait, what did you say?”

“Nothing!” said Derpy happily, a friendly smile on her face.

A little ways away, Rarity was using her magic to fix a fallen branch back onto a tree. She looked up and frowned. “This still needs a little something…” She thought for a moment before saying happily, “I’ve got it!” Her horn glowed as she used her magic on the branch. She stood back and admired her handiwork.

SHOP AT RARITY’S were the words she had made out of the leaves on the branch.

“Perfect!” said Rarity happily.

“Perfectly retarded!” said a voice. A lasso was thrown and snared the branch. The lasso was given a sharp tug, snapping the branch and sending it, and Rarity’s free advertising, to the ground.

Rarity gasped and looked up to see a pair of angry green eyes staring at her. “Would ya just take these damn branches down, Rarity?” said Applejack. “Don’t ya think that’s a little more important than shameless self-promotion?”

Rarity took a step back and glared at Applejack. She waved a hoof in front of her face. “Please don’t stand so close to me, Darling.” she growled. “I can smell you just fine from over there.”

Applejack narrowed her eyes at Rarity. “Ah’m gonna ignore that little comment. How’s about we just git back to work and take care of these fucking branches so they don’t kill no one?”

“I believe the proper word is ‘anybody’.” corrected Rarity. “But you’re right. We should take care of these branches before the storm hits.” She sighed as she looked up at the dark clouds. “God knows what Rainbow Dash was thinking, scheduling a storm as big as this.”

Meanwhile:

“Sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex sex, sexy sex!” chanted Rainbow Dash as she flew across the sky.

Back With the Other Two:

Rain started to fall on the two ponies. Rarity groaned. “Great. Now my mane and makeup will be ruined.”

Applejack rolled her eyes and said sarcastically, “Yeah. That’s a real shame.” She gave Rarity a scolding glare. “If you just did what you supposed to, we would be done already.”

“Dear,” said Rarity, meeting Applejack’s glare with a glare of her own, “Do us a favor and shut up, hmm? Help me look for a place to stay dry.”

“Help yerself.” growled Applejack. “It’s yer own fault that you’re out here.” She turned and walk towards a nearby picnic table.

“Where are you going?” asked Rarity.

“Someplace dry.” said Applejack. She crawled underneath the table. “Look, it’s dry down here…aside from a little mud. You can hunker down right here.”

“Hunker down. In the mud.” Rarity laughed mockingly. “Do you know who I am?”

“Unfortunately.” said Applejack, crawling back out from under the table.

“I am not going to ‘hunker down’ in the mud.” said Rarity with an air of finality. “I mean, I’m sure it’s fine for a pony like you, but-”

“Now hold on just a second!” interrupted Applejack, glaring at Rarity. “What do ya mean, ‘a pony like me’?”

“You know…” began Rarity, “A dirty, smelly, hayseed like you.”

“You wanna say that again?” asked Applejack. “Because Ah would really love it if you did.”

“Why?” asked Rarity smugly. “Was I going too fast for you?”

“No.” said Applejack, cracking her neck. “Ah just want to make sure Ah heard ya correctly before Ah make ya cry like the prissy, stuck-up, little bitch that you are.”

The two ponies glared at each other with such intensity that they were unfazed by the lightning that struck uncomfortably close to them.

“Applejack! Rarity!” yelled a voice.

“Did you just hear something?” asked Rarity, looking around.

“Was it the sound of you whinin’?” asked Applejack. “‘Cause that’s nothin’ new.”

“No, you simpleton!” said Rarity. She peered around through the torrent of rain. “I heard someone calling us.”

“Applejack! Rarity!” came the voice again.

The two looked and saw Twilight waving from her library. “Get inside, you fucking morons!” she yelled.

Rarity and Applejack ran towards the library. Rarity ran inside, but Applejack stopped just shy of the entrance. “Is inside a tree the safest place to be in a lightning storm?”

Twilight rolled her eyes. “All the illogical and stupid shit that happens in this story and that’s what you question?”

“It seems pretty relevant!” Applejack said, defending herself.

“Look, I have a magical lightning rod that protects my house, ok?” explained Twilight. She laughed. “Spike got electrocuted a few times when he was setting it up. It was hilarious!”

“Speaking of,” said Rarity, looking around, “Where is Spike?”

“He’s off in Canterlot.” explained Twilight. “He has to take care of some ‘Royal Business’ for the Princess.”

“Royal Business?” asked Applejack, still standing at the entrance.

Twilight shrugged. “He’s never explained it.”

Meanwhile, in Canterlot Castle:

Princess Celestia laid on the couch and said, “I mean, I just don’t get it. I mean, sure, I might of sent her to the moon for a thousand years. That doesn’t make me a bad sister, does it?” She looked to the individual sitting in the arm chair beside the couch. “What do you think, Doctor?”

Spike peered at Celestia through his glasses and stroked his fake moustache. “I think we need to go deeper. Tell me about your childhood.”

Back in Ponyville:

“Look, the storm’s raging outside.” said Twilight. She grimaced. “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but…how would you like to stay here for tonight?”

Rarity smiled. “Thank you for your offer, Twilight. I’d love to stay here for the night.”

“Sounds fine to me. Thanks for the hospitality.” said Applejack. She started walking inside, but was stopped by Rarity. “What?”

Rarity pointed to Applejack’s hooves, which were covered in mud. “You can’t just walk in here and dirty Twilight’s home!” She smirked. “I know you were raised in a barn, Applejack, but come on.”

“Fine.” growled Applejack. She looked around and spotted a hose laying by the side of the house. “Then Ah’ll go wash mah hooves off.”

“I better go with you.” said Rarity, sticking her nose in the air. “Given the way you smell, I assume you don’t know how to clean yourself very well.” She walked outside.

Applejack growled, but followed Rarity regardless.

“Yikes.” said Twilight once they had gone. “What’s gotten into those two?” She looked at the big box still sitting in the corner, books lying all around it. “I better clean this up while they’re gone.”

She put the books back into the box. She paused as she grabbed the last book. “I don’t think I read the cover of this one yet.” she said. She glanced at the title. “How to Get Your Two Bickering Friends Together: Sleepover Edition by Princess Cadance.” Twilight stared at the book. “Why would anyone read this?” she asked. She paused. “Two bickering friends, huh?”

She looked towards the window. Applejack and Rarity were bickering as Rarity washed off Applejack’s hooves. Applejack ground her teeth and grabbed the hose from Rarity. She pointed it at Rarity’s face, spraying her with water.

“Then again,” said Twilight, looking at the book, “If I don’t do something, these two will probably kill each other by the end of the night. Maybe this thing could at least help them be friends?”

Rarity and Applejack walked back inside, yelling at each other.

“And if you ever spray me with water again,” hollered Rarity, “I will personally shove that hose right up your-”

“Girls!” said Twilight. “I found a book with all sorts of fun things to do at a slumber party! We should totally try it!”

The two ponies stared at Twilight.

“Um…can we not?” asked Rarity. “I think it would be best if we just go to bed.”

“Yeah.” agreed Applejack. “The sooner we hit the hay, the sooner tomorrow comes, and the sooner tomorrow comes, the sooner Ah kin git away from Rarity.”

“Please?” pleaded Twilight, desperate to get the two to cooperate. “I’ve never had a slumber party before! I just wanted to spend time with my friends…” She forced herself not to blink, causing tears to appear in her eyes.

“Well…” said Rarity. “I…suppose I could give it a try…”

“Ah guess…” agreed Applejack. “Ah don’t want Twilight to feel bad or nothin’…”

“Or ‘anything’.” corrected Rarity.

Applejack growled. “Rainbow Dash,” she muttered, “You better be havin’ as miserable a night as Ah am…”

Meanwhile:

Rainbow Dash broke the kiss and leaned back in bed. “Damn.” she said. “You’ve still got it, Gilda.”

Gilda laughed as she adjusted her glasses. “I missed doing this the last time I was here. Got to make up for lost time.”

Rainbow pointed towards the glasses. “I haven’t seen you wear those since high school.”

Gilda smiled and held up her hands. “Do you know how much effort it takes to put in contact lens with talons? Sometimes it’s just not worth it.”

“You look good with them.” came a voice. Rainbow Dash and Gilda looked down at Fluttershy, who was cuddling with Gilda’s chest.

“I know how much you like them.” said Gilda. “I remember the last night I spent here.” She laughed at Fluttershy’s red face and wrapped her arms around her.

“Um…” said a voice. Rainbow looked over at Lightning Bolt, who was lying next to her. “Why am I here, again?”

Rainbow shrugged and pulled Lightning closer to her. “‘Cause you were super horny when the storm started. That, and I think you have a nice ass.”

“Also…” began Lightning. “Why is there a rabbit with a video camera here?”

All eyes went to Angel, who was at the foot of the bed and was recording them with a camera.

Fluttershy shrugged. “He likes to watch.” She looked at the other three and smiled. “Ready for Round 2?”

Slumber Brawl

View Online

“Ah’m not doin’ this.” said Applejack with a frown.

“Oh, come on.” said Rarity. Her face was covered with a green mud mask. She pointed to a bowl that was sitting by her. “This mask will moisturize and exfoliate your skin. Heaven knows you need it.”

“Look, if Ah wanted to get mah face ‘moisturized’,” began Applejack, “Ah’d have just stayed outside and let the rain get mah face wet. And Ah don’t even know what ex-foly-eightin’ even is.”

“I’m not surprised…” muttered Rarity. She cleared her throat and looked over at Twilight. “Makeovers are an essential part of slumber parties. It says so in your book, right Twilight?”

Twilight, also wearing a mud mask, looked down at the open book:

Have one friend offer to give a makeover to the friend she’s mad at. Suggest that she give a massage to the other friend. This will relax both of them and possibly lead to romantic situations. Or sexy ones. Why, I remember one time in Cloudsdale, when I-

Twilight looked up, trying to shake the image of her former babysitter getting “massaged” out of her head. “Rarity’s right. It’s in the book!” She said to Applejack, her eyes darting nervously around the room.

Applejack sighed and said, “Screw it. Just do it.”

Rarity started applying the mud mask on Applejack’s face. “I, for one, think this will be good for you, Applejack. You’ll feel refreshed and relaxed once we take these off.” Rarity finished applying the mask and stood back to admire her work. “Perfect!” she exclaimed. “Well,” she added, “As perfect as I can get it, anyway.”

Applejack, with green mud on her face, glared at Rarity. “What do ya mean?”

“Wellllll…,” began Rarity, “The mud mask can only do so much, Darling. I mean, it won’t fix your bad breath, unibrow, and shockingly bad overbite, but it will refresh your face.”

Twilight watched as Applejack glared at Rarity. Hoping to defuse the figurative time bomb, she turned to Rarity and said, “Doesn’t Applejack look tense, Rarity? Maybe you should give her a massage.”

“Ah got a better idea.” said Applejack, getting up and walking over to Rarity. “How’s about Ah give Rarity a massage?”

“That’s perfect!” said Twilight happily. “You know, for a second I thought you were going to hurt Rarity for saying those things about you!”

“Oh Twilight,” began Applejack, “Ah would never do that.” She wrapped her hooves around Rarity’s throat and began strangling her.

“Ahhplljck!” choked Rarity, clawing at Applejack’s arms.

“Just massagin’ yer neck, Sugarcube.” growled Applejack as her grip tightened. Rarity’s face turned blue as she tried to get Applejack off of her.

Twilight quickly used her magic and pried Applejack off Rarity, who began coughing and rubbing her throat.

“Ok…” began Twilight. “I think we’re done with massages. Let’s see what’s next…” She looked at the next chapter of the book:

In order to get your two friends closer together, tell ghost stories. The two friends will be scared and seek comfort in each other’s arms. It reminds me of the time I lost my virgi-

Twilight quickly closed the book. “Let’s tell ghost stories!”

Rarity frowned. “Ghost stories? I’m not sure if I know any-”

“Ah got one!” said Applejack happily. “Mah family always tells this one whenever we go campin’. It’s called No More Apples!”

Rarity stared at Applejack. “Is it about a farm that runs out of apples?”

“You know it?” asked Applejack.

“It wasn’t that hard to figure out.” said Rarity. She groaned. “Can’t you go ten seconds without mentioning apples?”

“Can’t you go ten seconds without being annoying?” shot back Applejack. “What’s yer idea of a scary story? Bein’ out in public without make-up on?”

“Don’t even joke about something like that!” shrieked Rarity.

“Girls!” shouted Twilight, cutting of their argument. “I’ve got a scary story to tell!”

“Is it about books?” asked Rarity.

“Or checklists?” added Applejack.

“No.” said Twilight. She turned off the lights in the library and pulled out a flashlight. She turned it on and pointed it under her face. “It’s the story of a creature called ‘Slender Man’…”

Five Minutes Later:

“…And they were never seen again.” finished Twilight.

Applejack and Rarity hugged each other tightly, both of them shaking. “Th-that wasn’t so scary…” said Applejack with chattering teeth.

“Yes…it was very…not scary…” said Rarity, her face somehow whiter than usual.

Twilight looked outside the window. “Who’s that guy with the suit out there?”

Applejack and Rarity screamed. They ran upstairs, leaving Twilight alone in the dark room.

Twilight chuckled to herself. “Finally, I get a few moments to think.” She turned the lights back on and picked up the book. “Now, I don’t really care if they end up fucking each other; I just want them to stop bickering.” She gazed outside the window at the raging storm. “I think Rainbow Dash might have overdone it with the storm. I wonder what she’s up to…”

Meanwhile:

“…Pinkie.” said Rainbow Dash. “How’d you get here?”

“Blame my parents, Dashie!” said Pinkie as she jumped onto the bed.

“Um…” began Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash’s arms around her, “I think what she’s asking is how did you get to my house when there’s a storm outside?”

“There’s a storm outside?!” asked Pinkie. She wedged herself in-between Lightning Bolt and Gilda. Lightning Bolt huffed as Pinkie nuzzled into Gilda’s chest.

“Didn’t you walk here during the storm?” asked Gilda, her arms full of pink pony. “How did you not notice?”

Pinkie shrugged. “I don’t really pay attention to a lot of things.” She looked at Gilda for a moment. “Have you always been a griffon?”

Back to the others:

Twilight had managed to convince Rarity and Applejack to come back downstairs, and the three were cooking s’mores…kind of.

“No you simpleton!” said Rarity. “The marshmallow needs to go on top of the chocolate. It’s imperative for the overall design and consistency of the s’more.”

“Ah know yer a fashion designer and all,” said Applejack as she rolled her eyes, “But Ah’m not enterin’ this damn thing in a contest. Ah’m just gonna eat it, so what does it matter?”

Rarity shook her head in disbelief. “Haven’t you ever seen a perfectly designed s’more before?”

“Nah.” said Applejack. She pointed her hoof at Rarity’s stomach and said, “But somethin’ tells me you’ve seen plenty.”

“…Are you implying that I’m fat?” asked Rarity as she narrowed her eyes.

“Nope.” replied Applejack. “Ah’m insinuating that you’re fat. Because you’re fat.”

“OK!” yelled Twilight, getting in-between the two. “How about we move on from making s’mores?” She gazed down at the book, where Princess Cadance described how foodplay could lead to sexy shenanigans, and hurriedly flipped the pages.

The chapter Twilight flipped to said:

To spice things up, offer a game of Truth or Dare. Dare your friends to do sexy things like kiss each other or go streaking. Although, come to think of it, ponies don’t normally wear clothes anyway, so why would streaking be sexy to us? I suppose it’s because-

Twilight shut the book and said, “How about Truth or Dare?”

“Fine.” said Rarity. “I dare Applejack to go fuck herself.”

Applejack glared at Rarity. “And Ah dare Rarity to stop being such a cu-”

“Um, girls?” asked Twilight. “I think you should try actual dares. Like…streaking or…making out with each other?”

The other two ponies stared at Twilight.

“…Just a suggestion." Twilight added hastily.

“Ah have an idea.” said Applejack evilly. “Ah dare Rarity to go outside, jump in a mud puddle, and use that hose out there to get clean.”

Rarity stared at Applejack in horror. “What kind of monster are you?”

“The one who’s gonna be laughin’ her ass off.” replied Applejack. “Now get goin’!”

Rarity mumbled obscenities under her breath as she opened the door and walked outside. After several minutes, she walked back in. She was soaked and shivering.

“O-okay!” she growled, her teeth chattering. “I-I dare Ap-Ap-Applejack to dress up in the girliest, frilliest, prettiest dress she can find.”

“What?!” yelled Applejack, her smug smile replaced by a look of horror. “Ah’m not doin’ that!”

“Tough.” said Rarity as she smirked. “You have to.”

Applejack groaned and went upstairs for a few minutes. When she came back down, she was wearing a sparkly, frilly princess outfit. “Happy?”

Rarity lifted up a cell phone and took a picture. “Now I am. By the way,” she began, looking at Applejack’s outfit, “Where did you get that?”

“It was just upstairs.” said Applejack. “In…Twilight’s closet…”

The two ponies stared at Twilight.

“…It’s Spike’s, I swear.” said Twilight, blushing. “L-let’s move on to something else.” She opened the book and looked at the next chapter.

A pillow fight is a good way for your friends to work out their aggression in a harmless way. They’ll have fun hitting each other with pillows and this will often lead to their aggression being turned into lust for each other. At least, that’s what happened one night in my sorority. We were-

“How about a pillow fight?” suggested Twilight, closing the book.

“A pillow fight?” repeated Rarity. “That seems rather childish. Are you sure that was in the bo-” She was cut off when Applejack hit her in the face with a pillow.

“Anything that lets me hit Rarity is fine by me.” said Applejack happily.

Rarity growled and picked up the pillow. She swung it like a baseball bat and hit Applejack right in the face. A tooth flew from Applejack’s mouth and sailed across the room.

“I changed my mind!” exclaimed Rarity. “I fucking love pillow fights.”

Applejack picked up another pillow and dived on top of Rarity, repeatedly smacking her.

“…Um…Maybe we should just call it a night?” suggested Twilight. A stray pillow flew past her and crashed through the window. “I hope Spike is having a better time than I am.”

Meanwhile:

Spike stroked his fake moustache and said, “Go on.”

“Well, it’s not like I hate her or anything.” explained Princess Luna as she sat on the couch. “I mean, I’m not even mad about her not making Hoof-Life 3 yet. I just want a little respect. And Hoof-Life 3. Is that too much to ask?”

“Apparently.” replied Spike. He wrote something down on his clipboard and muttered to himself, “I hope Twilight doesn’t mess with my princess outfit.”

“What was that?” asked Luna.

“Nothing!” said Spike hastily.

Back in Ponyville:

Twilight had convinced Rarity and Applejack to stop attacking each other and go to bed. Twilight was in her own bed and was asleep. Rarity and Applejack, however, were sleeping on the guest bed and were wide awake.

“Do be a dear and keep your filthy body on your side of the bed.” whispered Rarity.

“So long as you keep on your side we won’t have a problem.” replied Applejack.

Rarity huffed. “I wish Twilight had another bed.”

Applejack rolled around and looked at Rarity curiously. “Did Twilight seem…anxious to get us in the same bed?”

“What do you mean?” asked Rarity.

“Well, remember when Ah offered to bunk on the couch? She freaked out and practically begged me to sleep up here.”

“Well…yes…” said Rarity slowly. “I just thought she wanted to be a good host.”

“Maybe.” said Applejack. “But she seems to be lookin’ at that book more and more as the night goes on.”

“Well, you know Twilight.” said Rarity. “She’s probably checking and doubling checking that book so she doesn’t make a mistake.”

“…Yeah. You’re probably right.” Applejack looked out the window. Rain was still pattering against the glass and lightning would occasionally flash. “Ah think Rainbow and the others overdid it with the storm.”

“I know.” said Rarity as she rolled over to look. “I wonder where she is? She couldn’t very well fly home in this weather.”

Meanwhile:

“Holy shit, Pinkie!” panted Rainbow Dash as she lay back on the bed. “If I knew you were this good, I would’ve invited you!”

“That’s fine, Dashie!” said Pinkie as she wrapped her arms around Rainbow. “I just wish everyone else could keep up.”

The two ponies looked over to Gilda, Fluttershy, and Lightning Bolt, who were all sprawled across the bed, exhausted. Angel Bunny was pressing his face into Fluttershy’s chest and was sobbing loudly.

“Lightweights.” said Rainbow. She smiled at Pinkie. “Ready for Round 15?”

Back at the library:

Rarity shivered. She grabbed the covers and wrapped herself up in them. Unfortunately, this caused the covers to slip off of Applejack, leaving her exposed to the cold.

Applejack’s eyes shot open. She glared at Rarity and grabbed the covers back from her.

Rarity glared back at Applejack and kicked her off the bed.

Applejack got to her hooves, jumped into the air, and landed elbow-first on Rarity.

Rarity, in response, grabbed her pillow and attempted to smother Applejack.

Twilight continued to sleep, despite the noise.

Applejack got her face free from under the pillow. She grabbed Rarity’s head and slammed it into the headboard.

Rarity shook her head and glared at Applejack. She used her magic to grab Applejack’s tail and throw her against the wall.

Applejack got back up and charged at Rarity. She grabbed the unicorn, picked her up, and threw her down the stairs.

Rarity ran back up the stairs, carrying two books. She came up to Applejack, her hooves spread wide. She slammed the books together like cymbals against the sides of Applejack’s head.

Applejack grabbed Rarity’s throat with her hooves and squeezed. Rarity did the same to Applejack.

Twilight murmured in her sleep.

Rarity and Applejack froze, their hooves wrapped around each other’s neck. They watched as Twilight wiggled in her sleep, before sighing and laying still again.

“She sure is a heavy sleeper.” said Applejack quietly.

“You said it.” whispered Rarity.

“WHO’S MAKING ALL THE NOISE?!” yelled Twilight as she shot out of bed. She looked around the room. The guest bed was all but destroyed; its legs were broken, the mattress was torn apart, and the headboard was smashed. There was a pony-shaped dent in the wall. And there were two books that were ripped in half on the floor. “W-what have you done?” asked Twilight quietly.

“Twilight…” began Applejack apologetically.

“We didn’t mean to-” began Rarity.

“My book!” said Twilight, going up to one of books. “This was my signed copy of Harry Trotter and the Pony of Azkaban! Do you know what I went through to get this?”

“Um, dear?” asked Rarity hesitantly. She pointed to the other book. “That one looks like a photo album of your family. Aren’t you upset about that one?”

“Who cares about that?” asked Twilight hysterically. She groaned. “What else could go wrong?!”

Proving that Mother Nature is a cold, heartless bitch, a bolt of lightning struck a nearby tree outside and caused it to fall right into Twilight’s bedroom.

“And then there’s this asshole!” shouted Twilight as she pointed at the tree.

Applejack spat out the leaves that landed in her mouth. “What should we do, Twilight?” she asked.

“I don’t know!” said Twilight. She began to frantically search her bookcases. “Help me find Lumberjacking for Dummies!”

“For the love of-” groaned Applejack. She looked at the fallen tree. “How am Ah supposed to do this? Ah need help, but the only ones that are here are Twilight and-” Applejack paused before gritting her teeth. “Ah’m gonna regret this, but…RARITY!”

Rarity paused as she was putting books back on their shelves. “I’m right here, there’s no need to sho-”

“Save it, woman!” yelled Applejack. “We need to get rid of this tree!”

“Obviously.” said Rarity. She sighed and asked, “What did you have in mind?”

“We can gather up all the pieces of the tree,” began Applejack, “And push them somewhere else!”

“…Or, I could use my magic while you get rid of the bigger pieces.” suggested Rarity.

“That works too.”

Rarity’s horn lit up and she destroyed the smaller parts of the tree. As she did that, Applejack gathered the pieces of the trunk and kicked them outside. It took several minutes, but the two eventually managed to clear the bedroom.

“We did it!” cheered Applejack. She looked at Rarity and her smile turned into a frown. “Um…Rarity? Ah got somethin’ to say.”

“Me too.” said Rarity.

“Ah’m/I’m sorry!” said the two.

“Ah’m sorry a called you a stuck-up, prissy, little bitch.” said Applejack.

“I’m sorry I called you a dirty, smelly hayseed.” said Rarity. “And for saying you had herpes.”

“You’ve never said Ah had herpes.” said Applejack, confused.

“Don’t worry,” said Rarity, “It was only behind your back.”

“Girls! I found it!” said Twilight. She ran into the room with a copy of Lumberjacking For Dummies. “Now we can get rid of…” She trailed off as she looked around the room. “Did I miss something?” she asked.

“Me and Rarity got rid of the tree and are friends again.” said Applejack.

“Just friends?” asked Twilight.

“What do you mean?” asked Rarity.

“Nothing.” said Twilight. She grabbed the copy of How to Get Your Two Bickering Friends Together: Sleepover Edition. “I’m just going to throw this useless thing away.” She walked out of the room, leaving the two confused ponies.

After that, the three started their sleepover over again, doing all the things they had tried to do earlier only without the threat of a pony killing the other.

The next morning was sunny and warm, with almost no trace of the storm from last night. Rarity and Applejack said their goodbyes to Twilight and walked out of the library. They greeted Spike as he walked inside, pulling a fake moustache off his face.

“So…” said Applejack as she and Rarity stood outside the library.

“So what?” asked Rarity.

“What do you think was in that book? It’s not like Twilight to throw a book away.”

Rarity pointed to a garbage can by the entrance to the library and said, “I think that’s it right there.”

The two walked over to the garbage can and Applejack read the title aloud, “How to Get Your Two Bickering Friends Together: Sleepover Edition?” She started to laugh. “So that’s why she had us do all that stuff. She was tryin’ to get us together!”

Rarity laughed. “What a ridiculous idea! The two of us as a couple! Why that would be…” she trailed off.

“Weird?” suggested Applejack.

“Really weird!” said Rarity.

The two looked at each other, an awkward silence settling in.

“Hey Twilight!” came Spike’s voice from an open window. “Listen to this CD the Princess gave me.”

Music flowed out of the open window:

Say you, say me,
Say it for always, that’s the way it should be,

Rarity and Applejack moved closer to each other, not breaking eye contact. They slowly pressed their lips together. A moment passed. And another one passed.

The two broke apart, their faces red.

“Well…” began Rarity.

“That was…um…” began Applejack.

“Awkward?” suggested Rarity.

“Right! Awkward.” said Applejack. “That’s what I was going to say.”

The two were silent for a long moment.

Applejack opened her mouth and gave a loud, but obviously fake, yawn. “Well, we didn’t get much sleep last night. We better get to bed.” She blinked and hastily added, “Our beds. Separate. Not…uh…not together.”

“I knew what you meant, darling.” said Rarity. “I’m sure that was just a slip of the tongue.” Rarity blinked slowly. “…Tongue…” She shook her head, her face red. “W-well, I suppose we better get going. Home. To our own homes, I mean.” She cleared her throat.

“R-right.” said Applejack.

The two of them stood around for a second before going their separate ways.

“Hey Twilight?” asked Spike’s voice from the open window. “Did you ever feel like you missed something amazing?”

“Not really.” replied Twilight’s voice. “Why?”

“No reason.” said Spike’s voice.

Meanwhile:

“WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU USED MY HOUSE FOR THE STORM?!” yelled Rainbow Dash as she and Lightning Bolt walked out of Fluttershy’s house.

“You said to use every cloud for the storm.” explained Lightning Bolt. “And last I checked, your house was a cloud.”

“Emphasis on was.” said Rainbow Dash. “I’m going to have to build another cloud house.” She groaned. “That’s gonna take forever!”

“Well…” said Lightning slowly. “You could always stay with somebody until your house is built.”

“Oh yeah?” said Rainbow with interest.

“Maybe someone who’s on the weather team?” suggested Lightning. “Someone who’s right next to you?”

“Sounds good to me.” said Rainbow, pulling Lightning closer.

“Should I give you a tour when we get there?” asked Lightning.

“Sure.” said Rainbow. “Start with the bedroom.”

Strange Stripes

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The sun shone brightly as Twilight and Spike walked down the path to Ponyville. The storm of the week before was a thing of the past, as the sky was clear and the breeze was warm.

“I don’t like this.” said Twilight, frowning.

“Don’t like what?” asked Spike as he picked his teeth.

“This!” Twilight waved a hoof at the sky. “It’s nice out here!”

“And…that’s a bad thing?” asked Spike.

“Not in itself, no.” answered Twilight. “But it means that everyone will be outside today!”

“…And?” asked Spike, confused.

And that means that it’s only a matter of time before someone has a problem or something happens that they’ll want me to fix!” exclaimed Twilight. “I mean, just look at our track record. First, we have to stop a fallen princess from causing eternal night. Second, Applejack goes crazy during her Applefucking season-”

“I think that’s Applebucking.” interrupted Spike.

“THIRD,” yelled Twilight, ignoring Spike, “Rainbow Dash’s friend comes into town and acts like a jerk to Pinkie Pie and then gets really scared of Fluttershy. Fourth, Trixie came into town and the Snaps and Trails-”

“Snips and Snails.” corrected Spike.

“Bring a giant bear into town for her to fight!” continued Twilight.

“Have you noticed something weird about Snails?” asked Spike suddenly. “I know you say that he just doesn’t have good control of his magic, but he’s started five fires in the last month.”

“Those were just accidents, Spike.” said Twilight. “Why, when I was little, I turned Mom and Dad into plants and hatched you.”

“…Why do you say that like it’s a bad thing?” asked Spike.

“Anyway,” continued Twilight, “Fifth, a dragon appears and nearly covers Equestria in smoke. And finally, a massive storm hits and I spend a whole evening trying to get Applejack and Rarity to fuck each other.”

“Say what now?” asked Spike, his interest piqued.

“So, I’m expecting that, once we get to town, we’re going to be besieged by whiny ponies who want us-”

“Us?” asked Spike.

“Mainly me, to fix their problems.” finished Twilight. She and Spike walked into town and started passing a few shops.

“I think you’re overreacting.” said Spike as they headed into the town square. “I bet nothing’s gonna happen. Hell, for all we know, Ponyville could be completely-” He walked into Twilight, who had stopped and was staring wide-eyed at the town square.

“Deserted.” she said as she looked around. There was no one around and the town was silent. “Where is everyone?” asked Twilight as a lone tumbleweed blew past.

“There’s someone!” said Spike, pointing.

Twilight looked and saw a pink filly standing on her doorstep.

“Ruby!” came a voice. Berry Punch opened the front door and said, “What are you doing outside?”

“Mom,” said Ruby, “Twilight Sparkle and Spike are still outside! Should we invite them in?”

“Do they have booze?” asked Berry.

“I don’t think so.” answered Ruby.

“Then fuck all that Bolshevik.”

“Don’t you mean ‘bullshit’”?”

“Watch your language little missy!” said Berry. She grabbed her daughter. “I’m gonna have to wash your mouth out with Jack Daniels again.” She went back inside with Ruby, slamming the door as she did.

“Why don’t you ever let me wash my mouth out with Jack Daniels?” asked Spike.

“Because bleach works better.” answered Twilight. She looked around. “This is weird.”

“Is it some sort of holiday? Like Christmas? Or Opposite Day?” asked Spike as he got on Twilight’s back.

Twilight started walking. “Spike, Opposite Day isn’t a holiday.”

“But if it was Opposite Day, then that would mean that it is a holiday.” pointed out Spike.

“It’s not Opposite Day and it’s not another holiday.” said Twilight.

“But if it was Opposite Day-”

“Spike!” growled Twilight.

“Sorry.” said Spike timidly. “Please don’t bleach me.” Spike was silent for a moment before gasping. “What if it’s zombies?!”

Twilight stopped walking. “…The undead kind or the voodoo kind?”

“Either!”

“Then it’s a good thing we have a zombie apocalypse survival plan.” replied Twilight. “Remember, we shoot anyone on sight, don’t investigate strange noises, and, if supplies get low, you let me eat you.”

“Psst!” hissed a voice. “Twilight! Spike!”

The two turned their heads towards Sugarcube Corner, which was dark and empty.

“Let’s investigate!” said Twilight, running towards the building.

“But Twilight!” said Spike. “What about our plan? Don’t investigate strange noises?”

Twilight stopped. “You’re right Spike.” She said, smiling at the dragon. “I almost lost my head for a minute. I shouldn’t investigate strange noises.”

“Good.” said Spike as he smiled. “I would hate for you-”

“That’s why you are going to investigate for me!” said Twilight. She used her magic and threw Spike inside the bakery. Twilight waited for a few moments, but heard nothing. “Oh well,” she said, turning around, “Time to hire a new assistant, I guess.”

A blue glow surrounded Twilight and she was lifted into Sugarcube Corner, the door slamming shut behind her. Twilight strained her eyes, but could see nothing. Two scaly arms wrapped around her neck and something landed on her back.

“I’m sorry Zombie Spike!” said Twilight. “You can still be my assistant!”

A light shone in Twilight’s face. She rubbed her eyes and saw Pinkie Pie holding a flashlight.

“Pinkie!” said Twilight. “You’re not a zombie?”

“No, silly!” giggled Pinkie. “How could I be a zombie? I don’t even watch TV.”

Twilight turned her head and looked at her back, where Spike hanging on to her neck, his eyes shut tight. “Spike! You’re alive!”

“I am?” asked Spike. He looked down. “I am!” He sighed in relief. “I guess there aren’t any zombies after all!”

A long tongue shot out of the darkness and wrapped around Spike’s neck. It dragged him off of Twilight and across the room. Spike looked up to see a zombie with tumors all over its body staring down at him.

Pinkie grabbed a broom and whacked the zombie with it. “No! Bad Mr. Smoker!” She kept hitting the zombie. “Get back in your own universe!”

The zombie mumbled a garbled apology and let Spike go. He turned around and left out the back door.

“Are you ok, Spike?” asked Pinkie, looking down at the dragon.

Spike rubbed his throat and made his way back to Twilight. “I liked Dead Rising better.”

“Pinkie,” said Twilight, “What are you doing here, alone in the dark? And why did you drag me in here with magic?” She paused. “Wait, you don’t have magic…”

“No, but I do!” boasted a voice. Twilight turned around to see Rarity. She looked around and saw that Applejack, Apple Bloom, Fluttershy, and Rainbow Dash were standing behind her.

“Why are all of you in here?” asked Twilight. She sniffed the air. “And why is their an overpowering aroma of urine?”

“It’s because of her!” said Applejack, pointing towards the window. She drew back the curtain and beckoned Twilight to come closer.

Twilight looked outside and saw a lone figure in a brown cloak standing in the middle of the square. The figure was pawing at the ground. Suddenly, the figure’s head turned and looked right at Twilight, causing the other ponies to gasp and cower.

“That urine smell just got stronger.” observed Twilight as she kept watching. “Who is that?”

“Her name’s Zecora!” said Apple Bloom.

The ponies, except Twilight, gasped in fear.

“Didn’t Ah tell ya not to say that name?!” yelled Applejack.

“Who are we talking about again?” asked Pinkie.

“Zecora!” said Apple Bloom.

The ponies, aside from Twilight, gasped in fear.

“Apple Bloom!” yelled Applejack.

“What?!” asked Apple Bloom. “That’s her name!”

“Who’s name?” asked Spike.

“Zecora’s!” answered Apple Bloom.

The ponies, minus Twilight, gasped in fear. Fluttershy fainted.

“Goddamn it.” muttered Applejack.

“Look,” said Twilight, “What is going on? She only looked this way and all of you freaked out.”

“Because she’s evil!” said Pinkie Pie.

“Ah was protectin’ mah sister!” said Applejack, grabbing Apple Bloom and holding her in a headlock. “Family is the most important thing in the world.” Her grip tightened on Apple Bloom’s neck. “Ah would never let nothin’ hurt Apple Bloom!”

“Ah…can’t…breathe…” choked Apple Bloom, her face turning blue.

“As soon as she saw Zecora-”

The ponies, aside from Twilight, gasped in fear.

“-she started shakin’ like a leaf! Ah brought her here as quick as Ah could!”

“Didn’t you come charging in here, shaking like a leaf?” asked Rainbow Dash. “Apple Bloom walked in a few minutes later she looked fine.”

“She was fine because her sister showed her a safe way to go!” shot back Applejack. “And who are you to talk about bein’ scared? You charged in here like Tirek himself was after ya.”

“Did not!” denied Rainbow Dash. “I, uh…I was showing Zecora-”

The ponies, except for Twilight, gasped.

“That there was no way she could keep up with me!”

“And the five minutes you spent curled up in a corner, cryin’?” asked Applejack.

Rainbow Dash blushed. “Th-those were my breathing exercises! They only make me sound like I’m crying!”

“I’ll be honest,” said Fluttershy, “Zecora-” She paused and let everyone, aside from Twilight, gasp, “Scares the hell out of me.”

“And me!” said Pinkie. She paused for a moment. “Wait, who are we talking about again.”

“Zecora.” said Twilight. She rolled her eyes as the others gasped. She turned back to the window to watch Zecora. The others crowded behind her to get a glimpse as well.

The figure in the brown cloak reached for its hood. It pulled it down, revealing a mohawk with white and black stripes.

The ponies gasped.

“Can you see why we fear her now, Twilight?” asked Rarity. “Anybody who would willingly ruin their mane with stripes is-”

“She’s a zebra.” said Twilight. “She’s supposed to look like that. She was born with those stripes.”

“She was?!” said Rarity. “That’s disgusting!”

“Born where?” asked Applejack. “There are only good, honest pony folk in these parts. Aside from…her.” She shuddered.

“She probably wasn’t born in Equestria.” explained Twilight. “There were zebra ambassadors that came to Canterlot once. They came from a faraway land.”

“Then…then…maybe she should just go back to that faraway land and leave us ponies alone!” said Fluttershy.

Twilight looked at the others. “What’s wrong with all of you? Why do you care if she’s a zebra or not?”

“There’s always problems when zebras move into the neighborhood!” said Rainbow Dash.

“They spend all their time rapping or taking our jobs!” said Rarity.

Twilight sighed. “None of you knew what a zebra even was before I told you a minute ago. And from the sounds of things, Zecora-” She waited for everyone to gasp, “Is the only zebra you’ve ever seen.”

“We don’t need to see any more zebras!” said Applejack. “We can see how one of them acts and base our opinions on the rest of their kind off of that example.”

“Look,” said Twilight, “Why don’t you just go and talk to her? I’m sure she-”

“Talk?” said Pinkie. “To her? Look Twilight, we don’t need to know anything about her other than that she looks different.”

“What’s wrong with you?” asked Twilight. “Why are you acting so racist?”

Rarity laughed. “Oh, Twilight! We’re not racist. We’re just judging someone that we know nothing about, based on the fact that she looks and acts differently than we do.”

“That’s the definition of racism!” said Twilight.

Pinkie laughed and patted Twilight’s head. “That’s not the definition of racism, Twilight. That’s the definition of prejudice!”

“Same thing!” said Twilight.

“Look, she lives in the Everfree forest, alright?” said Applejack. “We’ve been there. Nothing natural lives in that forest. Aside from the plants. And the animals. But other than that, nothing!”

“And Zecora lives there!” Pinkie said as the other ponies (except for Twilight, of course) gasped. “She’s so evil, I wrote a song about her!” Pinkie cleared her throat and began to sing.

Apple Bloom watched everyone but Twilight cower as Pinkie sang. Sighing, she simply walked outside and slowly walked over to where Zecora was.

So watch out!” finished Pinkie.

“…You done? Or is there a second verse?” asked Twilight.

“No second verse yet.” said Pinkie. “It’s a work in progress.”

“What exactly has Zecora-” Twilight rolled her eyes when everyone gasped, “Done?”

“Once a month, she comes into Ponyville…” began Rainbow Dash.

“Scary.” said Twilight dryly.

“Then, she lurks by the stores!” continued Rarity.

“Jeepers.” said Twilight dismissively.

“And then, she digs at the ground!” finished Fluttershy.

“Well, let’s just get our torches and pitchforks and drive her out.” said Twilight.

“Good idea!” said Pinkie. “I’ve got some in the back!”

“I was kidding!” yelled Twilight. “How is any of this bad? She could come to Ponyville to visit, or buy something from one of the stores.”

“And digging at the ground?” asked Rainbow Dash. “What possible reason could she have for doing that?”

“I don’t know.” admitted Twilight, “But answer me this. What harm could come from digging at the ground? Maybe it’s just a nervous tic, or something. If anyone here had any backbone at all, they could go over and ask her.”

Meanwhile:

Apple Bloom stealthily made her way to Zecora. She hid behind the corner of a store and watched the zebra make her way out of Ponyville. “Ah gotta ask her what she’s doing.” whispered Apple Bloom to herself. “Maybe if Ah find out and tell Applejack, the others wouldn’t be afraid of her.”

Apple Bloom watched Zecora head towards the Everfree Forest. Apple Bloom gazed up at the trees and gulped. “Maybe Ah should’ve told Applejack where Ah was goin’.” She paused and said, “Nah. Ah’m sure she doesn’t even know Ah’m gone.”

Back at Sugarcube Corner:

“WHERE THE FUCK IS APPLE BLOOM?!” hollered Applejack as she frantically searched for her sister.

“The door’s open!” said Fluttershy.

“She must have gone outside…” began Rarity.

“Where Zecora is!” finished Rainbow Dash.

“HANG ON APPLE BLOOM!” Yelled Applejack as she ran out the door. “BIG SIS IS COMIN’!”

The others ran after her, leaving Twilight and Spike alone.

“Spike!” said Twilight. “Get on my back, we’ve got to catch up!”

Spike raised an eyebrow. “Shouldn’t I stay here in case Apple Bloom comes back?”

“Spike, when have I ever steered you wrong?” asked Twilight.

“There was that time when-”

“That was rhetorical, Spike.” said Twilight. She bent down to let him climb up onto her back and ran out the door.

Meanwhile:

Apple Bloom followed Zecora down the forest path. She looked to the side of the path to see a field of blue flowers. She turned her head again. She was getting closer and closer to Zec-

“Apple Bloom?!” yelled a voice.

Zecora turned her head and gazed at the little filly. Apple Bloom gulped and looked behind her.

Applejack glared at her little sister as she, the other ponies, and Spike stood in the field of blue flowers. “You get back here right now! You’re in so much trouble!”

“Get away from her, you black and white ruffian!” yelled Rarity.

Zecora threw back her hood and her eyes widened in alarm. “Do not step in the flowers!” she yelled. “You do not know their powers!”

Rarity looked down and sighed. “We’re probably standing in her weed. Zebras love to spend all their time smoking weed.”

“For the last time,” said Twilight, “You had no idea what a zebra even was until I told you!”

Applejack walked forward and put Apple Bloom on her back. “You just stay away from Ponyville, you hear?!” she shouted at Zecora. “We don’t want you there. And stay away from my sister!”

Zecora shook her head. “No harm befell the child this day, because from the path she did not stray.” She turned and walked away, leaving the others alone.

Applejack turned her head to glare at Apple Bloom. “Didn’t Ah tell ya not to go chasin’ after Zecora?”

Everyone, except Twilight and Apple Bloom, gasped.

“No, ya didn’t.” answered Apple Bloom.

“Oh.” said Applejack. She was silent for a few moments before shaking her head. “Ah didn’t think Ah would have to tell you! She could’ve put a curse on you!”

“Applejack, there’s no such thing as curses.” said Twilight.

“Says the unicorn who uses magic for everything.” said Rainbow Dash under her breath.

“And as a unicorn who uses magic for everything,” continued Twilight, shooting a glare at Rainbow, “You can trust me to tell you that curses are made up.”

“That sounds logical.” said Applejack. “But Ah’m going to ignore that and tell ya that zebras are always putting curses on things.”

“For the last time, none of you knew what a zebra was until I told you!” yelled Twilight. She sighed. “Let’s just get back to Ponyville, ok?”

Everyone turned and started heading out of the forest. Spike ran up to Twilight and asked, “There’s no such thing as curses…right?”

“Right.” said Twilight. She let Spike clamber up onto her back. “Just wait, Spike. By tomorrow morning, this whole thing will be forgotten.”

The Next Morning:

Twilight moaned as she opened her eyes. The morning sun poured in from the window. Yawning, Twilight got up out of bed and said, “Wake up, Spike! It’s morning.”

“Yeah, yeah. I’m awake.” answered Spike’s voice. Twilight looked and saw that his whole body was hidden by blankets.

Twilight walked over to a mirror and looked at her reflection. Her mane was messy and sticking up all over the place, hiding her horn from view. She grabbed a brush and began to comb her hair.

She straightened her mane and looked at the mirror again. And froze.

“What the fuck?!” she screamed. Her horn was limp, wobbly, and had blue spots all over it.

“Hey, Twilight?” came Spike’s voice. “I feel kind of funny.”

Twilight looked behind her and saw a small purple dog with green ears looking up at her.

“Did you get taller?” asked the dog in Spike’s voice.

Twilight fainted.

Meanwhile:

Deep in the Everfree Forest, a bright light flashed. A stranger appeared in the forest, wearing a dark shirt and glasses.

The human took a look around and said to himself, “Finally! I made it to Equestria!” He squinted in an attempt to see through the darkness. “Now, which way to Ponyville?”

Curses! Zebra'd Again!

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The library was a mess. Books were scattered everywhere as Twilight frantically searched for a cure for her and Spike.

“None of these stupid things have anything useful in them!” yelled Twilight.

Spike flipped the page he was reading with his paw. “I found a recipe for quiche, but I don’t think that’s what you’re looking for.”

“…Can it fix my horn or turn you back into a dragon?” asked Twilight.

“The book doesn’t say, but I’m assuming the answer is no.” said Spike.

Twilight groaned and touched her limp horn. “There has to be a reason for this! A allergy or an illness…” She trailed off, poking her horn with her hoof.

Spike looked up and said, “Could you please not play with your horn? It’s freaking me out.”

Twilight glared at Spike, but stopped poking her horn. “This can’t be a curse. It has to be something real.”

Ppppfftt.

Spike looked at Twilight and asked, “Do you have to use the bathroom?”

“That wasn’t me!” said Twilight.

“Yeah, yeah.” said an unconvinced Spike. “You know what they say, ‘Whoever denied it supplied it’.”

Ppppfffttttt.

“At least open a window, Twilight.” said Spike as he went back to his cookbook.

Twilight turned around to see Pinkie standing by the door. Her tongue was sticking out of her mouth. It looked swollen, and had blue dots all over it.

“Pinkie?” asked Twilight. “What happened?”

“Pppphhffttt!” spluttered Pinkie, spraying spit everywhere.

Twilight wiped her face. “I’m going to guess that you’re dealing with the same thing we are.”

Pinkie nodded. She thought back to the night before.

The Night Before:

Pinkie looked at the episode script and sighed. “I know Zecora’s-” She paused as she heard a distant gasp, “Not evil. But treating her like this is the only way everyone else will know she’s not evil. If the others confront her and accuse her of cursing them, Zecora…” She heard another gasp and continued, “Will cure them and they can tell everyone how nice she is.”

She sighed as she looked at her pet. “What do you think, Gummy?”

The tiny, toothless crocodile blinked at her.

“You’re right.” said Pinkie. “It’s not fair to Zecora…” she heard a scream of terror, “If I keep letting everyone call her evil. I’m going to go down to Twilight’s tomorrow and tell everyone that she’s good! Nothing’s going to stop me!”

Pinkie’s tongue chose that moment to swell up and flop out of her mouth, rendering her unable to speak clearly.

“Thit.” spluttered Pinkie.

Now:

Pinkie blinked and spluttered again, spraying Twilight and Spike in saliva.

“Well, judging from how long you stared off into space, I’m guessing whatever happened was pretty bad.” said Twilight as Spike shook himself dry.

There was a loud thud. The three looked towards the window to see Rainbow Dash hit the glass over and over again. She smashed through the window and crashed against the wall.

“Am I dead?” said Rainbow woozily.

“What’s wrong with you?” asked Twilight as she tried to clean up the broken glass with her magic. Her horn sparked and flopped, and her magic failed. Twilight growled in frustration and turned back to Rainbow Dash, who was getting up.

“This!” said Rainbow, pointing at her wings, which were upside-down. “It’s like I’m flying with inverted controls! I think Zecora,” Pinkie and Spike gasped, “cursed us!”

“I agree, darling.” said a voice. The others turned and saw Rarity standing by the door. Or, at least, they assumed it was Rarity. The normally well-groomed mare was covered in thick strands of hair. It was like every bit of fur on her body had suddenly decided to become dreadlocks.

“Oh Christ! You’re hideous!” yelled Spike as he covered his eyes with his paws. “I-I mean you’re…hideously beautiful?”

“Ah told ya, Twilight!” came a squeaky voice. “Ah told ya that zebras are always puttin’ curses on things!”

The ponies looked to see a tiny Applejack standing on Apple Bloom’s back.

Apple Bloom smiled and said, “Don’t mind her. She’s always had a short fuse.”

Applejack glared at her sister and said, “When Ah get big again, Ah’m gonna kick yer smart little ass.”

“This can’t be a curse!” said Twilight desperately. She looked to the front door, where Fluttershy was walking in. “See? Fluttershy doesn’t look any different than what she normally does.”

The others stared at Fluttershy, who was silent.

“It’s true.” said Rarity. “She looks normal to me.” She blew hair out of her eyes and added, “Not that I can see much, mind you.”

Fluttershy was still silent.

“You…uh…are you ok, Fluttershy?” asked Twilight.

Fluttershy shook her head.

“What’s the matter?” asked Rainbow Dash.

Fluttershy pointed to her throat.

“Are you choking?” asked Spike.

Fluttershy shook her head. She raised a hoof high into the air.

“Tall?” suggested Applejack.

Fluttershy shook her head and kept holding her hoof in the air.

“High?” asked Twilight.

Fluttershy nodded happily. Then she dropped her hoof to the ground and pointed at her throat.

“Low?” asked Twilight. She frowned when Fluttershy shook her head.

“Ground?” asked Rainbow Dash. Fluttershy shook her head.

“Falling?” suggested Rarity.

“Deep?” asked Spike.

Fluttershy nodded at Spike and pointed to her throat.

“You…are in deep trouble?” asked Rarity.

“Yer in deep shit?” asked Applejack.

“You’re deep underground?” asked Twilight.

Fluttershy sighed. A deep baritone voice came out of her mouth as she said, “No, you dumb motherfuckers. I have a deep voice!”

“Oh!” said the gathered ponies in understanding.

“And you, Twilight,” began Rarity, “You have…uh…” She looked at Twilight’s wobbly horn. “…horn problems?”

“They make a pill for that, you know.” said Rainbow Dash.

“And then we have Spike,” continued Rarity as she turned to the dog/dragon, “Who is…” she trailed off as she got a good look at Spike. “Completely adorable!”

“I am?” asked Spike.

Fluttershy picked him up and nuzzled him. “I just want to put you on my bed and cuddle with you all night!” she said in her deep voice.

“That…would be so much better without that voice.” said Spike.

Rarity grabbed Spike from Fluttershy and held him close. “I wish I had a purse to put you in, so I could carry you around!”

Spike pointed to Fluttershy and said, “Don’t you want to use her suggestion? To cuddle with me all night?”

Before Rarity could respond, Rainbow Dash grabbed Spike from her. “Spike, this is awesome!” she exclaimed, setting him down. “You can be my loyal canine sidekick!” Rainbow smiled as she looked at Spike. “You need a catchphrase, though. Got any?”

“Um…” Spike thought for a minute. “Da-da-da-da-dada Puppy Power?”

Rainbow Dash stared at Spike for a minute. She walked away with a sigh. “You just ruined it.”

Applejack climbed up Spike and stood on his head. “Pay her no mind, Sugarcube. Ah think ya look great as a dog.” She paused. “Ya know Ah’ve got Winona, right? What’re yer thoughts on havin’ puppies?”

“…Can I name one Spike Jr.?” asked Spike.

Before Applejack could respond, Pinkie grabbed Spike and spluttered in his face.

Spike got down on the floor and wiped his face with his paw. “I didn’t even understand that, but given the way these questions are going, I’m sure I didn’t like it.”

“You know,” said Rainbow Dash suddenly, “We probably could find a cure for this curse at Zecora’s-” She paused as the others gasped, “place.”

“Ah agree with Dash.” said Applejack. She looked up at the others and said, “We need to go back into the forest and tell that good-for-nothin’ zebra to fix this.”

“This isn’t a curse!” said Twilight firmly. “And you all just want to blame Zecora-” There were more gasps, “Because you’re afraid of her.”

“And we’re afraid of her because she did this!” said Applejack, pointing to her shrunken body.

“Yeah!” said Rainbow Dash. She pointed at Twilight’s horn. “Or do you like having erectile dysfunction on your forehead?”

Apple Bloom watched as the other ponies started to yell at each other. “This is mah fault.” she said with a sigh. She turned around and looked at the door. “Ah gotta fix this.” She walked out of the library, not noticing something small jump into her tail.

Rainbow Dash said loudly, “Look! We need to go and fight Zecora!” The others gasped. “I don’t care what you say, Twilight! Anyone who has a multi-colored mane has to be an asshole!”

Twilight stared. “Rainbow Dash, you have a multicolored mane. I have a multi-colored mane! Does that make us assholes?”

“Have you even been paying attention to some of the things we do or say to each other, Twilight?” asked Rainbow.

Twilight paused. “…Damn. That’s actually not a bad counter-argument.”

“Thanks.” said Rainbow Dash. “Look, sitting here won’t get us anywhere! We need to go and do something. Am I right, Applejack?”

No one answered.

Rainbow Dash looked around. “Right, Applejack?”

There was more silence.

“Say nothing if you agree, Applejack.”

No one made a sound.

“Applejack agrees with me.” said Rainbow smugly.

“Maybe someone stepped on her?” suggested Rarity.

Everyone in the room checked their hooves/paws, but found no trace of the tiny pony.

Twilight’s eyes widened as she thought of something. “Maybe someone sat on her! Everyone check your butts!”

Everyone did so…except for Rarity.

“I can’t see a thing with this hair in my face!” she exclaimed as she blew purple strands out of her face. “Can someone check for me?”

“I WILL!” Shouted Spike.

Twilight quickly grabbed Spike and held him still. “Fluttershy, can you check Rarity?”

“Cockblocker.” muttered Spike.

Fluttershy looked at Rarity’s rear end and said, “I can’t see Applejack, but I do see a lot of purple hair between your legs, Rarity.”

Spike’s eyes widened. “Her carpet matches her drapes!” he whispered in awe.

“Apple Bloom’s gone too!” said Twilight, ignoring Spike.

“They probably went after Zecora.” said Rainbow Dash, ignoring the gasps.

“Then we should go find them.” said Twilight. “Or at least meet them at Zecora’s.” Everyone gasped again.

“Gee, that’s a good idea.” said Rainbow Dash. “Why does it sound familiar?” She pretended to think for a minute. “Oh yeah. I’VE BEEN SAYING IT FOR THE PAST TEN MINUTES!”

Twilight watched as Rainbow Dash attempted to fly, only for her to crash into the opposite wall. “Why don’t you just walk? You don’t have to fly.”

“Look,” said Rainbow angrily, “I didn’t spend five hours trying to fly here, hitting every single fucking thing as I did so, just to give up and start walking.” She got up and flew out the door.

Twilight ran after her. The others heard a shriek and a mare yelled, “What’s wrong with you? There are children out here!” Twilight grumbled as she walked back inside and went upstairs.

After a few minutes, Twilight came back down, a pair of tighty-whities on her head. “Shut up!” she growled at the others as they laughed.

Meanwhile:

Apple Bloom ran into the Everfree Forest, determined to find Zecora and convince her to help the others.

“Hold it right there, little lady!” said a tiny voice.

Apple Bloom stopped and looked around, but saw no one. “Who said that?” Her eyes widened and she gasped. “Are you mah conscience?”

“The hell Ah-” began the voice. There was the sound of a throat clearing. “Ah mean, yes. Ah’m yer conscience. You need to get on home. Right now. Leave that psycho zebra alone before she curses you too.”

“Sorry Mr. Conscience!” said Apple Bloom. “But Ah gotta get Zecora-” There was a tiny gasp. “To help the others.”

“No ya don’t!” argued the “conscience”. “Ya need to…Did you just call me a Mister?!”

“Wait…” said Apple Bloom. “I know that gravelly voice anywhere.” She reached in her mane and pulled out Applejack. “Applejack!”

“Yeah, it’s me.” admitted the tiny pony. “What do ya mean, my voice is gravelly?”

“Why are you here?” asked Apple Bloom.

“To get you to go home!” said Applejack. “What if Zecora…” She paused and waited for Apple Bloom to gasp. “…Ain’t ya gonna gasp?”

“Nope.” said Apple Bloom firmly.

“Fine. What if Zecora-” Applejack interrupted herself by letting out a loud gasp. “Does to you what she did to us? Ah don’t want mah baby sister to be cursed.”

Apple Bloom frowned and put Applejack on a nearby tree branch. “And Ah don’t want you to be tiny forever. Ah’ll be back with Zecora to turn ya back to normal in no time!” She ran off, leaving Applejack alone.

“Wow.” said Applejack, impressed. “What a brave kid. Why, if she pulls this off, Ah’m gonna-” The tree branch started cracking. Applejack looked back at the crack and then down at the ground. “KILL HER FOR LEAVING ME HERE!” yelled Applejack. The branch broke completely, making the tiny farm pony plummet to the forest floor.

Meanwhile:

The other ponies and Spike ran into the forest, desperate for a glimpse of Apple Bloom or Applejack.

“Come on!” said Twilight. “We need to head to Zecora’s!” She kept talking, ignoring everyone’s gasps. “Maybe we’ll find Apple Bloom there!”

“Maybe?” asked Spike as he ran alongside Twilight.

“Assuming the manticores, cliffs, terrifying trees, and surprisingly straight sea serpents don’t kill her first.” added Twilight.

Rainbow Dash was behind everyone, flying erratically. “Stupid fucking wings!” she growled as she spun through the air. “Why won’t you work?!” She looked ahead to see a large tree directly in her path. “Of course.” she said in a resigned tone. She braced for impact.

Rainbow slammed into the tree and hit the ground face first. Dazed, she rolled over onto her back and watched as the other girls ran past her. “Fucking bitches.” she muttered. She smacked her lips. “…Why do I taste apples?”

Suddenly, she felt something work its way back up her throat. She choked and gagged. The thing in her throat climbed up into her mouth and forced Rainbow to open her mouth.

“Get a Tic-Tac, Sugarcube.” said Applejack. She took off her hat and shook it, sending drops of rainbow-colored saliva everywhere. “Everything about ya is rainbow-colored, isn’t it?”

“Yeah.” said Rainbow Dash, coughing and massaging her throat. “You should see it when I go to the bathroom.”

“Ah‘ve already seen enough of you today, seein’ how Ah was just in yer stomach.” said Applejack. She hopped on Rainbow’s belly. “We need to get to Zecora’s.” Rainbow Dash coughed again. “Start flyin’.”

“I’m not sure if you noticed,” said Rainbow Dash, “But I’m flying more crooked than Derpy when she has vertigo. How am I supposed to get us to Zecora’s?”

Applejack didn’t bother to gasp, and thought for a moment. “Yer wings are upside-down, right?”

“Yeah? And you’re tiny, Pinkie’s tongue’s huge, Fluttershy’s has a man’s voice, Rarity looks like a sheep dog, Spike is a dog, and Twilight needs a Viagra. What’s your point?”

“Why don’t you just fly upside-down?” suggested Applejack.

“…I can do that?” asked Rainbow Dash.

Meanwhile, deeper in the forest:

The other girls and Spike arrived at Zecora’s house. Much like Twilight, she lived in a tree. Unlike Twilight, she had decorated the tree with eerie masks, bottles, and bags. A door to the inside was on the trunk of the tree, and two windows were on either side of the door.

“God, what an eyesore.” said Rarity. “What kind of psychopath lives inside a tree?”

“I do.” said Twilight.

“…You’re different.” said Rarity after a pause. “You’re our psychopath.”

“Thanks.” said Twilight dryly. She stealthily walked over to the window and peered inside.

“Well,” said Rarity, eyeing the masks, bottles, and jars that were on the walls and shelves inside the tree, “Somebody shopped early for Nightmare Night, didn’t she?”

The backdoor opened and Zecora walked into the room. The ponies (and dragon) ducked underneath the window to avoid being seen. After a few moments, they raised their heads to see Zecora pour herbs into a large cauldron.

Zecora smiled down at the mixture and began chanting. “I put a spell on you, and now you’re mine! You can’t stop the things I do, I ain’t lyin’!

“My God!” said Rarity quietly. She turned to Twilight. “We told you she was evil! We just heard her gloating about it!”

“Relax Rarity.” whispered Twilight. “For all we know, that…could be from a movie?” Seeing Rarity’s unconvinced look, Twilight looked behind her to the others. “What do you guys think?”

Pinkie, Spike, and Fluttershy were paying no attention to what was going on. Instead, they were a little ways away from Twilight and Rarity. Pinkie and Spike were looking at Fluttershy with glee on the faces.

“Now say, ‘I’m the mare your mare could smell like’!” prompted Spike gleefully.

Fluttershy smiled. “Look at your mare,” she said in her deep voice, “Now back to me. Now back at your mare. Now back to me. Sadly, she isn’t me, but if she stopped using stallion-scented body wash and switched to New Nice, she could smell like me. Anything is possible when your mare smells like New Nice and not a stallion.” She got onto Pinkie’s back. “I’m on a horse. Yay.”

Spike and Pinkie burst out laughing.

Rarity’s eye twitched. “Is this what it feels like to be surrounded by idiots?” She looked at Twilight apologetically. “Is this how you feel whenever we do something stupid?”

“Pretty much.” said Twilight, adjusting the underwear on her head.

“I’m so sorry, dear.” said Rarity sincerely.

They heard Zecora mutter something inside. Twilight and Rarity looked back into the room to see the zebra taste the mixture in the pot.

“This should be ready for those ponies soon.” said Zecora. “To make sure, I must go get Apple Bloom.”

“Oh shit.” said Twilight.

“Twilight?” asked Rarity, moving her hair away from her ear. “Do you hear a whistling sound?”

Twilight and Rarity looked up to see a blue blur headed right for the door. It crashed through the wood, leaving a pony shaped hole. They looked back inside to see Rainbow Dash and Applejack glaring at Zecora.

“Alright, you ugly zebra mother-fucker.” said Applejack. She hopped onto Rainbow Dash’s back and grabbed her throat. “One false move and the pegasus gets it!”

“Wait…” said Zecora. “What?”

“Wait, what?!” yelled Rainbow Dash. She turned around to glare at Applejack. “Why the fuck would she care what happens to me?! I’m on your side!”

“Shh!” hushed Applejack. “Don’t give away our plan.”

“What plan?!” yelled Rainbow Dash. “You just had me break through her front door! You didn’t say anything about a plan!”

Twilight and the others ran into the room. Twilight looked at Zecora and said, “What have you done with Apple Groom?”

Fluttershy whispered in Twilight’s ear.

Twilight shook her head and asked, “What have you done with Apple Bloom?!”

“What are you guys doin’?” asked Apple Bloom as she walked in from the backdoor.

“Not now, Apple Bloom!” said Applejack. “We’re tryin’ to find out what happened to-” Applejack stared at her sister for moment before jumping off Rainbow Dash and running towards the filly. “Apple Bloom! Are ya alright? Did this damn, dirty zebra do anythin’ to ya?”

“I’m sure this situation can be amended,” said Zecora, “But I’m beginning to feel a bit offended.”

“Who, Zecora?” asked Apple Bloom. “She didn’t do nothin’. She just had me go out on my own, in a dark forest filled with dangerous creatures, and find plants that may or may not be toxic.”

“Yer…not makin’ me feel better about this, Sugarcube.” said Applejack.

“Zecora’s tryin’ to help ya’ll.” said Apple Bloom. She pointed to the cauldron. “That’s gonna make you better.”

“But what about the curse?” asked Spike. He pointed to himself. “I suppose you’re going to tell me that this much raw dragon machismo was turned into a dog by, I don’t know, a flower or something?”

“Ya were turned into a dog by a flower or somethin’!” said Apple Bloom. “Remember those blue flowers from yesterday?”

“You mean the zebra’s weed?” asked Rarity.

“Seriously, I don’t want to nitpick,” said Zecora, “But why are you acting like such a dick?”

“Those blue flowers are called Poison Joke.” explained Apple Bloom. “It’s effects are like a practical joke.”

“Are you saying that this,” began Twilight as she pulled off the underwear on her head and pointed to her horn, “Is some sort of joke?!”

Zecora looked uncomfortable at Twilight’s…situation. “I was wondering about the underwear, but I didn’t need to see what was under there.”

Apple Bloom pointed at the cauldron again. “Like Ah said, that’s meant to make ya’ll get better. It’s basically a big bubble bath.”

“The bath remedy is my niche, but a more simple solution would be to make a quiche.” said Zecora.

Spike shot Twilight a smug look.

“Fine.” said Twilight. “You were right. Don’t rub it in.”

“Ok, ok.” said Rarity. “I’ll buy that. But what about the chanting she was doing?”

“I know that this won’t sound groovy, but that was from my favorite movie.” explained Zecora.

Twilight shot Rarity a smug look.

“Fine, darling.” sighed Rarity. “You were right. Don’t rub it in.”

“Well, now that that’s settled,” said Apple Bloom. “Let’s get all of ya in this bath!” She frowned. “Where will we find a big enough tub?”

Rarity smiled. “I know the perfect place, dear! Follow me!” She ran for the door, but hit the wall next to it instead. Dazed, Rarity lifted the hair out of her eyes and said, with less enthusiasm, “Follow me.”

The ponies, former dragons, and a zebra walked out of the house, unaware that something was following them back to Ponyville.

Later, back in Ponyville:

Rainbow Dash punched Daisy in the face. “Zecora’s-” She waited for Daisy to stop gasping, “Not evil after all, alright. Stop saying that she is!”

“B-but Rainbow Dash, you, Applejack, Rarity, Fluttershy, and Pinkie were the ones saying she was evil!” pointed out Daisy.

Rainbow Dash head butted Daisy, sending her to the ground. She looked at Roseluck and Lily and asked, “Who’s next?”

Later, in the Ponyville Spa:

“Where did you go, Rainbow?” asked Fluttershy as the other pegasus entered the spa.

“Just to talk to some ponies.” said Rainbow Dash, casually wiping blood off her hooves.

The two hopped into a large hot tub in the center of the room. Rarity and Twilight were already inside, the effects of the Poison Joke cured.

“I’m so glad my mane is back to normal.” said Rarity as she sighed in contentment.

“And my horn.” said Twilight, tapping her horn with her hoof.

“Able to get it up again, huh?” asked Rainbow Dash as she got into the water. There was a horrible cracking noise as her wings flipped right-side up.

“Didn’t that hurt?” asked Fluttershy, her voice back to normal.

“Excruciatingly.” replied Rainbow Dash.

Pinkie’s head popped up out of the water, her tongue back inside her mouth. “OH MY GOD YOU GUYS I CAN TALK AGAIN DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH I HAVE WANTED TO TALK IN THIS CHAPTER AND HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO I MEAN REALLY IT SUCKED ALL KINDS OF DICK!” she yelled, happy to be able to talk again.

Spike, back in dragon form, relax with his back against the edge of the hot tub. “You know, I think I’m going to miss being a dog. Chasing the mailman, having fleas, peeing wherever you want without being judged…”

“Spike?” asked Twilight. “Why is the water warmer next to you?”

“Sure am gonna miss it.” continued Spike. He laughed. “I mean, it’s not like it’s going to happen again, right?”

Applejack burst out of the water at the far end of the hot tub. “Jesus Christ on a Christmas tree!” she yelled. She glared at the others. “What were you thinkin’ puttin’ me in the big tub with ya’ll? Ah could’ve drowned!”

Zecora walked up to the tub. Twilight got out and stood before her. “The girls and Spike have something they want to say to you Zecora.”

The others, still in the tub, said in unison, “We’re sorry we hated and feared you because you’re a different species than us.”

Zecora smiled and waved her hoof dismissively. “I thank you for your words and apologize for calling you turds.”

“You see guys?” said Twilight. “Just because someone looks or acts different, it doesn’t mean that they should be hated and feared. We need to all be a little more acceptable and tolerant of each other’s differences. I think-”

The door opened and the human from the forest came in. He smiled as he looked at the gathered ponies. “Finally, I caught up with you guys. I’m can’t believe I’m in Ponyville! My name is-”

A blast of purple magic hit the human in the chest. The magic punched a hole right through his body. The human’s face was frozen in shock as his body fell backward onto the floor, smoke rising from his fatal wound.

Everyone stared at Twilight, shocked.

Twilight looked back at them, her horn smoking. “What?” she asked defensively. “He scared me.”

Bugging Out

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Fluttershy hummed to herself as she picked flowers. She was carrying a basket on her back that was filled with flowers.

She felt a tug on her tail. She looked down and saw a squirrel holding up and dandelion. It pointed to the dandelion and chattered excitedly.

Fluttershy laughed and patted the squirrel’s head. “Ain’t that cute?” She took a deep breath and yelled, “BUT IT’S WRONG!”

The squirrel held on desperately to the dandelion, the fuzz flying of it.

“Look,” said an exasperated Fluttershy, “These flowers aren’t just for anyone. They are from Princess Celestia. Do you know who that is?”

The squirrel chattered.

“Well, she’s the one who raises the sun each and every day. She’s kind of a big deal. AND YOU,” she growled, pointing a hoof at the rodent, “WANT TO GIVE HER A DANDELION?!”

The squirrel nodded fearfully.

“Ok, just go find a new one then.” said Fluttershy sweetly. She turned and walked away.

The squirrel curled into the fetal position and started crying.

Fluttershy walked over to a big basket of apples and set her basket of flowers down next to it. She heard something chatter behind her. She turned and came face-to-face with a pair of big green eyes.

Fluttershy backed up and said, “Hello Applejack.”

Applejack smiled and said, “Hey Sugarcube. What’re ya doin’?”

Fluttershy pointed to her basket of flowers. “Getting these for Princess Celestia’s visit. What are you doing out here?”

Applejack proudly pointed to her basket of apples. “Ah’m doin’ the same thing, only with apples.”

“But…” began Fluttershy. “What if Princess Celestia doesn’t like apples?”

Applejack narrowed her eyes at Fluttershy. “Pardon?”

“I said, what if Princess Celestia doesn’t like appples?” repeated Fluttershy.

Applejack glared. She grabbed Fluttershy’s neck and pulled her closer. Applejack put her face close to the pegasus. “Everyone. Loves. Apples.”

“O-of course they do…” agreed a meek Fluttershy.

Applejack smiled and let Fluttershy go. “Ah’m glad you came to yer senses. Ah would of hated to have had to beat the shit outta ya.” She looked at her basket and frowned. “Ah still got to get more apples.” Her gaze went back to Fluttershy. “Can you watch mah basket, Sugarcube? Ah won’t be gone long.”

“Sure,” said Fluttershy, “That’s no problem.”

“Oh good.” said Applejack. “Ah’m glad yer up for it.” She glared at the other pony again. “Because if anything happens to mah apples, Ah’ll kick yer little yellow ass right into next winter. Understand?”

“Got it.” said Fluttershy nervously. She watched Applejack walk away. Once the farmer was gone, Fluttershy leaned against a small rock and sighed in relief.

Until the rock chirped, and Fluttershy threw herself back in fear. “I’m sorry! Nothing has happened to your apples, I swear!” she cried, throwing her hooves over her head in fear.

Finding the lack of an angry southern drawl suspicious, Fluttershy peeked out from under her hooves. A small, blue insect looked up at her. It blinked its huge green eyes and chirped.

“Well, hello little guy!” cooed Fluttershy. She held out her hoof and the bug landed on it. “I’ve never seen anything like you before.” Fluttershy frowned slightly. “I should probably be worried about that, but you are just too cute!”

The bug chirped happily and flew over to the basket of apples. It sniffed one and its stomach growled.

“You must be hungry!” said Fluttershy. She looked at the basket of apples, conflicted. “Well…I’m sure Applejack won’t miss one measly little apple.” She grabbed an apple and held it out for the bug. It chirped happily and opened its mouth. Several fangs retracted from its gums and the bug’s eyes turned red. It threw itself at the apple, roaring loudly. After several moments of fruit-based carnage, the apple was devoured.

“Wow!” said Fluttershy, staring at the bug. “You were hungry!”

The bug chirped happily and its stomach growled again.

“You’re still hungry?” asked Fluttershy. She stared at the basket again. “…I’m sure two apples won’t be missed.” She grabbed another apple and the bug quickly ate it. Its stomach growled again. “Three. Applejack definitely won’t miss three apples.” reasoned Fluttershy as she, once again, grabbed an apple out of the basket.

This went on for several minutes. Eventually, Fluttershy reached into the basket and hit its wooden bottom. Fluttershy stared at the basket, worry showing on her features. “Oh no! I better go tell-” The bug chirped happily and nuzzled Fluttershy. It wrapped itself in Fluttershy’s hair and closed its eyes. “…The others that I found the most adorable little bug ever!” she continued happily. She started walking back into town, leaving the empty basket on the ground.

Meanwhile:

“Hurry, Spike, hurry!” yelled Twilight as she dashed around the library. She hastily threw fallen books back onto the shelves. “The Princess will be here any minute.”

“She’s coming tomorrow.” said Spike. He walked over to the bookshelves and properly put the books back. “We have plenty of time.”

“We don’t have any time!” yelled Twilight as she wiped lipstick marks off of her portrait of Starswirl the Bearded. “Do you understand how much we have to do? Ponyville needs to be perfect!”

“And…you can make it perfect in just one day?” asked Spike skeptically.

“No.” admitted Twilight as she dusted Spike off with a feather duster. “But I can make it look perfect long enough to fool Princess Celestia.”

“Just relax for a second!” said Spike. “This is just a casual little visit. It’s not official Princess stuff.”

“Spike,” began Twilight, rolling her eyes, “Do you think the Princess would do anything without taking it completely serious?”

Meanwhile, in Canterlot:

“Your Majesty,” said the noble, bowing down in front of the two Princesses, “I have a request. I-” He paused and looked up at Princess Celestia’s throne in confusion.

Princess Celestia was sitting backwards on the throne. Her backside was up in the air, her crown resting on top of it. “Well,” said the Princess, waving her butt in the air, “You have the attention of Princess Butt-lestia. Ass-k your questions!”

Luna stared at her sister’s rear end and sighed. “How old are you again?”

Back in Ponyville:

“This place needs to be spotless!” said Twilight, waving her hooves around. Her gaze rested on the corner of the room and she sighed. “And get that ridiculous thing out of here.”

“Oh come on, Twilight!” said Spike as he walked over to where she was pointing. He looked up at the decoration and smiled. “It really ties the room together.” He fondly patted the leg on the decoration and added, “Besides, he was just going to go to waste anyway. And Stuffy Stitches really did a good job!”

Twilight sighed. Spike was leaning on the stuffed body of the human that had burst into the spa. Its arms were up and its mouth was open, making it look like the human was roaring. The hole in its chest was still there, letting Twilight see the library wall behind it.

“Do I even want to know how or why you know a taxidermist?” asked Twilight.

“Probably not.” said Spike. He hugged the stuffed human’s leg. “I call him Mr. Miggins!”

Shaking her head, Twilight turned back to the messy library. “This place needs to be spotless.” She repeated. “It’s going to take a lot of hard work, dedication, and-”

“You’re going to leave, aren’t you?” asked Spike.

Twilight was taken aback. “Was it that obvious?”

“A little.” said Spike as he picked up the feather duster. “Just go do what you need to do. I’ll take care of this.”

“Thanks Spike!” said Twilight, giving her assistant a hug.

Spike hugged her back. “…So I can keep Mr. Miggins, right?”

“Fine.” said Twilight as she broke the hug. “But put some sunglasses on him, or something.” She shuddered. “It’s creepy the way his eyes follow you around the room.”

Twilight left the library and started walking down the path to town. Ribbons and flowers were everywhere, as the townsfolk prepared for their immature monarch to arrive.

“How’s it going, Colgate?” asked Twilight as she passed the blue unicorn.

“My name is Minuette, and it’s going fine.” replied the pony tersely.

“Thanks for the update, Colgate.” said Twilight happily. She ignored Minuette’s frustrated growl and continued walking. She came across Carrot Top and Berry Punch, who were putting up a banner. “Good job, you two!” said Twilight. “You really-” She frowned as she noticed what was on the banner. “…Carrot Top.”

“Yes, Twilight?” asked the earth pony.

“What is on the banner?” asked Twilight, trying not to yell.

“Welcome Princess Celestia.” said Carrot Top. “That’s what I told Berry to put on there.”

“Come and read this.” said Twilight.

Carrot Top looked up at the banner and read out loud, “Sorry About the Herpes?” She looked at Berry Punch and said, “You told me that you could handle this, Berry!”

Berry Punch glared at Twilight and Carrot Top. “And the doctor told me I was clean! Turns out we’re all getting lied to, aren’t we?”

“Ok…” said Twilight, backing up slowly as the two ponies started to yell at each other. “I’ll just let you two handle this, ok?” She quickly walked away.

Seeing Bon Bon watering some flowers, Twilight went over to talk to her. “Wow, these look great! Good job, Bon Bon.”

Bon Bon smiled and said, “Thanks, Twilight. It’s nice that someone appreciates the hard work I-”

“Hey! Hey, Twilight!” yelled a voice. Twilight and Bon Bon looked over to see Lyra furiously waving by another bed of flowers. “Come and look at my flowers! They’re so much better than those flowers.”

As Twilight went over to examine Lyra’s flowers, Bon Bon sighed and asked, “What are you doing, Lyra?”

Twilight gasped. “Wow, these flowers are even more beautiful than the ones Bon Bon had.”

Lyra smirked and said, “I’m just proving that you aren’t as great as you think you are. And that anyone can do what you do and be better at it.”

“Oh, you are so lucky I’m sleeping with you!” yelled Bon Bon.

“Not anymore!” shouted Lyra. “You can sleep on the couch!”

“Good!” yelled Bon Bon. “There’s no snoring and less crying about how no one likes the lyre!”

“Fuck you!”

“No, fuck you!”

The two ponies stopped yelling and were breathing heavy, their faces red.

“…God, are you as turned on as I am?” asked Lyra.

“Why don’t I show you?” asked Bon Bon, suggestively. “Let’s go home.”

“Fuck that!” said Lyra. She patted the flower bed. “Let’s just do it right here!”

“Um…” began Twilight. She watched as Bon Bon sauntered over to Lyra. “I-I’m just gonna go…” She blushed as she ran away, Lyra and Bon Bon moaning behind her.

Meanwhile:

Back at the library, Spike looked up at Mr. Miggins and said, “There it is again! That feeling like I’m missing something amazing.”

Being stuffed, but now rocking a pair of sick shades, Mr. Miggins said nothing.

Meanwhile:

Twilight ran into Sugarcube Corner, her face bright red. Mrs. Cake looked up from rolling dough and asked, “Are you alright, dear?”

Twilight stuttered for a few moments. “B-Bon Bon…Lyra…sex…flowers…”

“…I’m just going to ignore that, ok honey?” said Mrs. Cake as she continued rolling the dough.

Twilight took a deep breath and calmed herself. After a few moments, she looked up and asked, “How’s the banquet coming?”

“Not so good.” said Mrs. Cake. She looked at the table and called to the back, “Carrot? We need more cake!”

Mr. Cake rushed out of the kitchen with a cake on his back. He carefully set it down on the table before looking at Mrs. Cake. “Hey, hon? Do you think I could help customers for a change rather than staying in the back.”

Mrs. Cake laughed. “Oh, honey. You know what they say! A stallion’s place is in the kitchen.”

“Oh…ok.” said Mr. Cake morosely. “I’m going to just start making a back-up cake.” He sighed. “Again…”

“What’s going on?” asked Twilight. She looked around the table of desserts and her eyes widened. There were bite marks on almost all of the food. “Why does everything look half-eaten?”

A pink blur dove onto the cake Mr. Cake just brought out. In a horrifying display, the blur devoured that cake, splattering frosting everywhere. When it all was over, Pinkie Pie laid on the table and burped.

“Excuse me.” she giggled.

“Pinkie…” began Twilight. “…Why? Just…just why?”

“I’m the Royal Poison Checker!” said Pinkie happily as she licked frosting off her hooves. “I’m making sure that all these tasty treats are safe for the Princess to eat!”

“B-but…you just ate a whole cake!” said Twilight, pointing to the dessert debris.

“And I can safely say that it did not have poison in it!” said Pinkie. She smiled. “I’m good at this, huh?”

As Twilight was debating to either scold Pinkie or blast her with magic, an excited voice yelled, “Twilight! Pinkie! You’re never going to believe what I found!” The two ponies turned to see Fluttershy run into the store, a happy grin on her face.

“What did you find?” asked Pinkie, chewing on some donuts she took from a nearby plate.

“This!” said Fluttershy. She dug through her mane and pulled out the bug. It chirped happily and batted its big eyes.

Pinkie dropped her donut. “Oh goddamn it.” she muttered. “We’re at this episode, aren’t we?”

Twilight ignored Pinkie and went forward to examine the bug. “I’ve never seen anything like it!” she said as she poked the bug, who let out another happy chirp. “What is it?”

“I don’t know.” said Fluttershy. “I was hoping that you knew.” Just then, two more bugs flew out of Fluttershy’s mane. “I swear I only picked up one.”

“Well,” said Twilight, “I’ll take one from you.” She grabbed the one flying closest to her, a yellow one, and held it to her chest. “It’s so cute! It reminds me of Spike, back in the good old days when he didn’t talk back.”

Fluttershy smiled and turned to Pinkie. “Do you want one, Pinkie?”

Pinkie looked at the bug that was flying close to her donuts. She growled and punched it, sending it flying out the window. “There is no way in hell that I want a Parasprite.” She stomped to the door, ignoring the other two ponies’ shocked looks. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get a goddamn trombone.”

“A trombone?” asked Twilight. “Pinkie, what’re you-”

“Look, Twilight.” interrupted Pinkie. “I know you have a lot of questions, but I need you to trust me on this. I have a lot of instruments to get and not a whole lot of time to get them.”

Mrs. Cake held out the plate of donuts. “Do you want the rest of these for the road, dear?” she asked.

Pinkie stared at her. “Mrs. Cake. Sometimes there are more important things than donuts.” And with that, she strode out of Sugarcube Corner.

Mrs. Cake, Twilight, and Fluttershy’s jaws dropped open. The plate slid out of Mrs. Cake’s hooves and shattered on the floor, sending donuts everywhere.

“D-did that just happen?” asked Fluttershy. “Did Pinkie just turn down dessert?”

“I…guess so?” said a stunned Twilight. “I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about. In the meantime,” She gazed at her Parasprite, “I’m going to go show this thing off!”

Meanwhile:

Rarity stuck a pin in the outfit in front of her. “Ugly, garish, and not at all stylish.” she muttered. “Good thing my outfit makes you look better, Rainbow.”

Rainbow Dash winced as she pulled the pin out of her leg. She was wearing a large powdered wig, a red suit, and gold shoes. “Rarity, I look ridiculous. There is not a chance in fuck that I’m wearing this stupid thing to meet the Princess.”

“I know it doesn’t look like much,” said Rarity as she stuck another pin into Rainbow Dash’s side, “But trust me. This is what all the aristocrats are wearing these days.”

“Um, no.” said Twilight, as she walked into Rarity’s boutique. “Rarity, I’ve lived in Canterlot for most of my life and I can tell you that nobody wears that. Or anything even remotely like it.”

“Told you.” said Rainbow Dash, pulling the pin out of her side.

“Yes, well…” began Rarity. “I just want to make sure everyone looks nice to meet the Princess. Is that so wrong?!” She stuck a pin onto Rainbow’s flank.

“Would you stop that?!” yelled Rainbow as she ripped the pin out.

There was a chirping sound from Twilight’s tail. Her Parasprite popped out, along with two more.

“What are those little things?” asked Rarity. She stuck five pins into Rainbow Dash’s side. “They’re positively adorable!”

“According to Pinkie, they’re called Parasprites.” said Twilight. “Fluttershy found them by the forest.” She frowned as she looked at the two new bugs. “But I only had one a minute ago. I don’t know where these other ones came from.”

“Aw, who cares?” asked Rainbow, ignoring the pins in her side. “This little guys look badass.” She grabbed one from Twilight.

“I’ll take one as well.” said Rarity. “They’re adorable!”

“Adorably evil!” said a voice. The three ponies looked to the entrance, where Pinkie was standing and glaring at the bugs. “Now, I’ll only ask this one time. Does anyone know where I can find an accordion around here?”

Twilight, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash blinked and were silent for a moment. Then they went back to cooing over the Parasprites.

One of the Parasprites flew over to Pinkie. Its eyes turned red and it bared its fangs, growling menacingly.

“Do you think you scare me, buster?” asked Pinkie. She glared and leaned in close to the snarling Parasprite. “Take a note for you and your little friends. I know what you are, what you're capable of, and how to stop you. Your days are numbered.”

Insecticide

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Later that night, Twilight took her Parasprite back to the library.

“How come when I bring bugs in, it’s a bad thing?” asked Spike as he crawled into his basket.

“Because you bring in fleas.” said Twilight as she got into bed. “Good job with the library, though.” She had been surprised to find the library spotless. “And thanks for putting sunglasses on the stuffed human.” She shuddered. “I can still feel him watching me…”

Spike yawned as he leaned back onto his pillow. “So, is everything ready for the Princess tomorrow?”

“I guess.” said Twilight. “I mean, these little guys,” she rubbed the Parasprite’s head as it sat on her dresser, “Distracted Pinkie, so I assume the Cakes can make dessert without anyone eating it.”

Meanwhile:

“Dear?” asked Mr. Cake as he walked up the stairs. “Shouldn’t we be making dessert now that Pinkie is too busy to eat it?”

Mrs. Cake laughed as she walked behind her husband. “Oh, sweetheart. That sounded like you were talking to me. What do I always say?”

Mr. Cake sighed. “Husbands are for loving, not for talking.”

“Exactly.” said Mrs. Cake. She slapped her husband’s behind. “Now get upstairs. We have a lot of lovin’ to do.”

Back at the library:

The Parasprite flew off of the dresser and landed on a sleeping Spike’s head. It closed its eyes and fell asleep.

Twilight smiled and rested her head on her pillow. “Pinkie’s crazy.” she yawned as she closed her eyes. “How could those little guys be anything but adorable?” She relaxed and, in a few minutes, she was asleep.

Hours later:

Twilight opened her eyes and yawned. She had a great sleep and she felt completely recharged. She did, however, notice something odd.

“My blanket’s really heavy.” she observed. She looked down and saw at least twenty Parasprites sleeping on her bed.

Twilight blinked and stared for a few moments. “…I could’ve sworn I only had one of you.” she said at last. As she got out of bed, she woke the Parasprites up. They all fluttered around the room, chirping happily.

“Twilight!” said Spike. Twilight looked over to her scaly assistant and gasped. Spike was covered from head to toe in Parasprites. “Help…me…” he groaned, reaching out his bug covered hand.

Several Parasprites started knocking books off the shelves. Twilight pushed the bug covered Spike away and yelled, “My books!” She ran and attempted to stop the Parasprites, but it only made them make a bigger mess.

More Parasprites swarmed Spike. A small purple hand reached up out of the pile of bugs, only to be pulled back down.

Meanwhile:

Rainbow Dash was fast asleep in her new cloud house. Her Parasprite poked its head out of the clouds with an inquisitive chirp.

Rainbow opened her eyes and smiled at her new pet. “Good morning, Dash 2.0.” she greeted. “What are you doing up so early?”

There was another chirp and another Parasprite landed on her nose. “Another one?” said Dash. She thought for a moment and then shrugged. “Ok, I guess. I’ll call you Dash 3.0.”

Another Parasprite popped its head out of the clouds.

“Dash 4.0?” suggested Rainbow Dash.

Another Parasprite flew by her head. “5.0?” she asked, getting up. She turned her head to see a whole swarm of Parasprites staring at her.

“…I’m gonna need you all to stand still so I can count you.” said Rainbow. The Parasprites chirped and nuzzled her. “Dashes 6.0 through 25.0, please get off!” said Rainbow. She flew into the air, the Parasprites flying after her. “Leave me alone already!” she yelled.

The Parasprites chirped and landed on Rainbow Dash, forming a makeshift bug bikini.

“Hey!” yelled Rainbow. She used her hooves to try and pry the bugs away from her crotch. “I let a lot of people touch that specific area, but I draw the line at bugs going there!”

The Parasprites chirped happily and refused to budge.

Rainbow sighed. “At least buy me dinner first…”

Meanwhile:

Rarity smiled as she observed the scene taking place in her store. The Parasprites were working hard, doing things like moving fabric and sewing.

“You all are so useful!” said Rarity. “I admit that I was surprised to find that my one Parasprite somehow turned into fifty, but you’re all proving your worth. You’re much better than my sister. She doesn’t split into fifty versions of herself and she’s always whining like, ‘Rarity! I can’t help you run your store, it would violate child labor laws’.” She cheerfully rubbed the chin of one of the Parasprites. “And you’re so adorable! I could just eat you up!”

The Parasprite started choking. It’s eyes turned red as it coughed up a slimy hairball. The hairball hit the floor. Then it started to move and wings popped out of it. Soon enough, the hairball had changed into a brand new Parasprite, which chirped enthusiastically.

Rarity stared at the new Parasprite for a moment. Her face turned green and she quickly brought a hoof to her mouth. She ran for the bathroom, where the Parasprites could hear her retch.

After losing her breakfast, Rarity quickly used her magic (as she refused to actually touch one of the Parasprites again) to pack the bugs into bags. She put the bags on her back and quickly strode out of the boutique, nearly running into Pinkie as she did so.

“Rarity!” said Pinkie. “Applejack lent me a harmonica! Isn’t it great?”

“Fantastic.” grumbled Rarity. She pointed to her bags and said, “I’m a little busy here Pinkie. I’ll listen to whatever music you’re making later.”

“But it’s not music!” said Pinkie. She thought for a moment. “…Well, I guess it is music, but it will help drive-”

“Pinkie!” interrupted Rarity. “I’ve got to get this taken care of, ok?” She pushed past the pink pony. “Tell me later.”

“But what I can tell you will help you!” Pinkie shouted after her. Rarity ignored Pinkie and continued walking.

Rarity rolled her eyes. Pinkie could never take anything seriously. Here she was, with a real emergency on her hooves and all that pony could think about was instruments. How could instruments possibly help her?

Rarity heard hoof steps and looked up. Twilight was walking towards her, carrying bug-laden bags of her own.

“These little assholes bugging you too?” asked Twilight.

“No.” said Rarity. “I found out how they reproduce.” Rarity shuddered, trying not to think about it.

“You guys!” said Rainbow Dash as she flew towards them. Twilight and Rarity raised their eyebrows at the sight of the Parasprite bikini. “Get these things off of me!”

Rarity examined the bug bikini. “You know something, Rainbow? If I wasn’t disgusted by the fact that they reproduce by spitting their offspring out of their mouths, I might be interested in this.” She gaze at Rainbow’s head. “Now all you need is a powdered wig…”

“I hate to interrupt,” lied Twilight as her bag of Parasprites buzzed, “But let’s get to Fluttershy’s. She found these things; she might know how to get rid of them.”

The three ponies ran to Fluttershy’s house. Twilight raised a hoof to open the door, when it burst open and hundreds of Parasprites flew out. A few of them had Angel Bunny in their grasp and were flying away with him.

Ignoring Angel’s plight, the three ponies ran inside Fluttershy’s house.

“Fluttershy!” said Twilight. “You can’t stop them either?”

Fluttershy paused, a butterfly net in her hooves. She gestured to the bugs that swarmed her home. “What the fuck do you fucking think?” she asked. She swung the net, but missed. “I’ve tried asking, I’ve tried ordering, I’ve tried bribing, I’ve even tried seducing! Nothing works!”

“We need to think of something!” said Twilight desperately. “Can you imagine what the Princess would say if she got here and these bugs were flying around?” Her eyes widened as she imagined the situation:

Inside Twilight’s Imagination:

“Twilight!” said Princess Celestia as she got off her chariot. “It’s good to see-” Suddenly, without warning, she was swarmed by thousands of Parasprites.

Twilight could only watch in horror as her mentor was carried off, screaming, “Back to magic kindergarten! Magic kindergarten for everybody! FOREVER!”

Back in reality:

Rainbow waved a hoof in front of Twilight’s face. “I think she’s broken, you guys.”

Twilight screamed. Loudly. “WE NEED TO GET THESE BUGS OUT OF HERE FAST!” she ordered.

“And how are we going to do that?” asked Rarity. A Parasprite flew close to her and regurgitated an offspring. Rarity turned green and ran for the bushes.

“Hey girls!” said a voice over Rarity’s puking. Applejack walked over to them, dragging a wagon full of apples behind her. “Ah got enough apples for the Princess!” The Parasprites swarmed, their eyes flashing red and their sharp fangs bared. They devoured the apples and flew off.

Applejack blinked and looked at her empty wagon. “…Oh well.” she said with forced calm. “At least Ah’ve still got that basket of apples that Fluttershy was watchin’ over.”

Fluttershy laughed nervously. “Right…about that…”

Twilight gasped. “APPLEJACK! You can help us with this!”

“She can?” asked Fluttershy.

“Ah can?” asked Applejack.

“Yes!” confirmed Twilight. “With your herding abilities we can gather up all the bugs and drive them back to the forest.”

“Alright,” said Applejack, “But Ah’ll need all of ya’ll to help me.” She started to explain her plan to the ponies.

A few minutes later, and the plan was in place. Rarity and Twilight waited by the forest, while Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy waited in the air. Applejack charged at the Parasprites, forcing them to bunch together. A few of them tried to escape either by flying away or into the forest, but one of the other ponies was there to stop them. Soon enough, the ponies had a giant ball of bugs.

Applejack reared up and kicked the ball. It went sailing into the forest, where it bounced away and was soon out of sight.

“And that solves that.” said a smug Applejack.

“Except for this!” said Rainbow Dash, pointing down to her Parasprite bikini. “Why won’t they just get off?!”

“Girls!” said Pinkie, running up to the group. “Have you seen-”

“Shut up, Pinkie!” yelled Twilight. “We took care of the Parasprite problem without your help. You’ve done nothing to help us today!”

“Yeah!” said Rainbow Dash, getting up in Pinkie’s face. “I might still be wearing a bikini made of bugs, which itches in all the wrong places, but at least Applejack got rid of most of them.”

“Fine.” said Pinkie, throwing her hooves up in the air in surrender. “I’ll go find a didgeridoo on my own then.” She started walking away, but spun around. “And Fluttershy has more Parasprites hidden in her house!” She stormed off, looking annoyed.

“What the fuck, Fluttershy?” asked Rainbow, looking at the other pegasus.

“What the fuck, Pinkie?!” yelled Fluttershy to Pinkie’s retreating figure.

Twilight sighed. “How many more do you have, Fluttershy?”

Fluttershy sighed in defeat and opened her door. Thousands of Parasprites came flooding out, spreading in different directions.

The other ponies glared at Fluttershy, too angry to speak.

“Oops?” offered Fluttershy.

“‘Oops’? ‘OOPS’?!” yelled Twilight. “The Princess will be here any minute Fluttershy! Why the good goddamn fuck did you keep them?”

“They’re cute?” offered Fluttershy, holding one up.

Twilight’s eye twitched. “Remind me to kill you later.” she snarled as she turned towards the others. “Now what?” she asked.

“I have an idea!” said Rainbow Dash, strapping on a pair of goggles.

“Does it involve sex?” asked Twilight tiredly.

“Not until after.” said Rainbow. She flew up in the air and whistled. Dozens of pegasus ponies appeared, all stopping before Dash and saluting.

“What’s with the swimsuit?” asked a black stallion with a blue Mohawk.

“You want to know?” asked Rainbow. “Well, it goes like this…” She leaned in close and yelled in the stallion’s ear, “SHUT THE FUCK UP THUNDERLANE!” As Thunderlane screamed and grabbed his ear, Rainbow Dash looked to the others. “Tornado! Now!”

The pegasi saluted and started to fly in a circle formation. They flew faster and faster, until a mini tornado formed. It sucked in all of the Parasprites and started heading towards the forest.

“Hey guys!” said Pinkie, walking close to the tornado. She held up a conical shaped instrument. “I found a didgeridoo!”

From inside the tornado, Thunderlane looked at Rainbow Dash and asked, “What’s a didgeridoo?”

Rainbow, distracted, looked down at Pinkie. As she did, she ran right into another pegasus, sending them both flying and hitting the others. Soon, all of the pegasi were thrown from the tornado and the Parasprites were freed. The bugs, panicked, flew towards Ponyville.

“PINKIE!” screamed Twilight. “You-”

“I know, I know.” said Pinkie, resignedly. “I fucked up.” She walked away, blowing on her didgeridoo.

Applejack groaned. “Come on, girls. We gotta go get those bugs outta Ponyville!”

Meanwhile:

The Parasprites flew into Ponyville, much to the delight of the townsfolk.

“They’re so cute!” said Carrot Top. She smirked as she looked over at Berry Punch. “How’s the herpes treating you?”

“Did I say I had herpes?” asked Berry. “What I meant to say was that I had a child out of wedlock.”

“Love you Mom!” said Ruby, hugging her mother.

“I love you too.” said Berry, hugging her back. “Now get Mommy another beer.”

From a nearby café, Bon Bon and Lyra watched as a Parasprite flew towards their table.

“Aw,” cooed Bon Bon, “What a cute little guy.”

“Yeah!” said Lyra. She grabbed a fork and stabbed a small piece of cake from the plate in front of her. “Let’s see if he’s hungry.”

The Parasprite sniffed the cake and smiled sweetly. Its eyes turned blood red as it jumped onto the table and wolfed down the whole cake. It flew away, leaving a stunned Lyra and Bon Bon behind it.

“Oh well.” said Lyra cheerfully. She looked at the fork she was holding. “At least I still have the cake that’s on here!”

The Parasprite flew back and ate the cake on the fork. It flew away again.

Lyra stared at her empty fork in horror. She set it down on the table before putting her head in her hooves. “I feel dead inside.” she muttered.

The Parasprites began devouring crops, gardens, and food from market stalls.

Applejack, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, and Twilight ran into town just in time to see it overrun.

“They’re eating everything!” yelled Rainbow.

“Well,” said Rarity, “It’s a good thing none of us grow food for a living.”

“Yeah.” laughed Applejack. After several seconds, her eyes widened. “Oh shit.” She ran off towards Sweet Apple Acres, leaving the other four ponies.

Twilight groaned. “There’s got to be something I can do to stop them. But what?” She gasped. “I know! I’ll cast a spell to stop them from eating all the food!”

“You’re sure that won’t backfire?” asked Rarity.

“How could it possibly backfire?” replied Twilight. Her horn glowed and purple rings of magic shot out and hit the Parasprites.

At first, the bugs froze.

Then they started eating everything that wasn’t food. Signs, houses, and light posts were all devoured by the fanged, red-eyed little monstrosities.

Rarity looked at Twilight and opened her mouth.

“Not. One. Word.” warned Twilight.

Rainbow gazed down at her bug bikini. “Why the hell are you all still sticking to me?! Go eat something and leave me alone!”

“It’s a good thing none of us sell things for a living.” said Fluttershy.

“Yeah.” said both Twilight and Rarity. Their eyes widened. “Oh shit.” they said in unison. They both ran in opposite directions.

Rarity rushed into her boutique and, if possible, her face grew even whiter. The Parasprites were eating every single outfit in the store. They swarmed the mannequins and ate the clothes off of them, leaving them bare. They ate the clothes off the racks and then proceeded to eat the racks.

Needless to say, it was all too much for Rarity. She grabbed her special fainting couch and prepared to flop down on it, only for the Parasprites to eat it as she was in mid-fall. Rarity’s head hit the floor and she passed out.

Meanwhile:

Applejack, Big Macintosh, Caramel, and Granny Smith set up the defenses for the orchard.

“No one’s going to eat the Apple Family’s crop!” said Applejack as she and the others prepared to beat back the bugs.

There was a crunch and all eyes looked at Apple Bloom, who was eating an apple. Applejack smacked the apple out of her hooves and picked up Apple Bloom. She brought the filly to the defenses and dropped her. “No one,” she growled, glaring at her sister, “Is going to eat our crop! Understand?!”

“Uh-huh…” said Apple Bloom fearfully.

The family heard a buzzing noise. Applejack yelled, “Here they come!” All five of them prepared to defend the orchard.

They did not expect the swarm to bypass the orchard entirely and devour their barn instead.

“…What?” said Applejack. “Why did they eat the barn and not the apples?”

“CaN yOU blamE tHEm?” asked Caramel. He held up a piece of wood and took a huge bite out of it. “ThIS STuff iS fucKING deLICious!” he said with his mouth full.

Meanwhile:

Twilight ran into her library and her jaw dropped open. Every single book was gone. The Parasprites had completely consumed every page, spine, and cover.

“I know this looks bad!” said Spike. “But on the plus side, the library is finally clean enough for the Princess’s visit.”

“M-my books!” whimpered Twilight.

“How do you think I feel?” asked Spike tearfully. He held up a pair of sunglasses. “They ate Mr. Miggins!”

“And Starswirl?!” asked Twilight, looking at her portrait.

“Uh, no.” said Spike, confused. “They keep looking at it and shuddering like something disgusting happened to it. Do you know-”

“YES!” cheered Twilight. “My lover is safe!” She noticed Spike’s disturbed look. “I-I mean…who knows?”

Spike slowly backed away until he got to the door, at which point he turned and ran as fast as he could.

Twilight groaned. “This is getting us nowhere. We need somebody who has experience with the forest and everything in it. Somebody we know. Somebody we met a couple of weeks ago.” She paused and shrugged. “I got nothing.”

“GO SEE ZECORA, YOU HALF-WIT!” yelled Spike’s voice.

“Oh yeah!” said Twilight. She grabbed a Parasprite and ran to the Everfree Forest.

Later:

Zecora was looking at a magazine with a blush on her face. “Oh Lexington Stallion, it may be sick, but I wish to feel your huge-”

Twilight threw the door open and ran inside. “Zecora! I need your help!”

Zecora sighed and threw the magazine behind her. “Though the door I did not lock, I wish you ponies knew how to knock.”

“Zecora!” yelled Twilight. “Bug, Ponyville, eat, Princess! You! Must! Help!” She threw the Parasprite at the zebra.

“Oh monster of so little size, is that a Parasprite before my eyes?” asked Zecora as she stared at the bug. “With tales of crops and harvests consumed, Ponyville is, in short, doomed.”

“Damn it!” said Twilight. “How do we stop them?”

“Fuck if I know.” said Zecora, pushing Twilight out and shutting the door. She turned back to the fallen magazine with a grin on her face. “Now, where were we?”

Twilight growled at the closed door. She punched the Parasprite away from her and ran back to Ponyville. She gazed up at Canterlot and breathed a sigh of relief when she didn’t see any chairots flying towards Ponyville.

“Hello, Twilight. What’s got you all worked up?” said a voice from behind her.

Twilight froze and slowly turned around, expecting her teacher’s disappointed glare.

What she did not expect was her Princess’s ass right in her face.

“It is I, Princess Butt-lestia!” said the Princess, her crown atop her Royal Rear. “I have come to-” Princess Celestia froze as she looked around. She got up and put her crown back on her head. “What the good googly fuck happened here?” She pointed at Ponyville.

The town definitely had seen better days. Parts of roofs were missing, the market stalls were in pieces, and the populace was in a panic.

Twilight sighed. “I’m so sorry, Princess. These little things,” she pointed to the Parasprites floating above them, “Were eating all the food, so I cast a spell, and then they weren’t eating food, they were eating everything but food, and-”

“Hey.” said Princess Celestia. She put a hoof on Twilight’s shoulder. “It’s alright. These things are called Parasprites. I’ve seen them before.”

“You have?” questioned Twilight. “When?”

535 Years Ago:

Princess Celestia hummed quietly to herself as she made her way to the Royal Kitchen. She threw open the doors and said, “I’m ready for my-”

“Cake!” yelled the head chef, “Keep them away from the cake!”

Celestia stared at the scene before her. The head chef and the others were rushing around the kitchen, trying to catch what looked like several small bugs.

Celestia shrugged and used her magic to bring a small plate of cake to her. All of a sudden, one of the bugs swooped in and ate the cake in one bite.

Celestia stared at her empty plate for a second. Then she fell to the floor and yelled, “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

Now:

Princess Celestia shuddered. “I don’t like to talk about it.” She sniffed. “It’s just too painful…” She wiped tears from her eyes and cleared her throat. “They’re a pest, but, luckily, there’s an easy way to deal with them.”

“There is?” asked Twilight. “What?”

“Well, it’s-” began Princess Celestia. She was cut off by loud music.

The two looked over to see Pinkie Pie simultaneously playing an odd assortment of instruments as she walked through town. The Parasprites roared as they dove at Pinkie, but stopped when they heard the music. They shuddered and exploded, sending green bug guts everywhere.

“That’s how you kill them?” asked Twilight. “With music?!” She paused. “I guess Pinkie really did know what she was talking about.”

Princess Celestia nodded and gazed at Pinkie Pie. “I knew I made the right choice in choosing her…” she said softly to herself.

“What do you mean?” asked Twilight.

Princess Celestia’s eyes widened. She laughed nervously and patted Twilight’s shoulder. “Oh nothing! Just thinking out loud!” She watched as Pinkie continued playing her murderous musical melody and making the Parasprites explode. “I actually could use your friend, Twilight. Apparently, these little bastards are everywhere in Equestria. I would like her to come with me to get rid of them.”

Twilight smiled. “I’m sure that’d be fine with her. Can I talk to her for a second?”

Princess Celestia nodded. “Sure. Go ahead.”

Twilight walked over to Pinkie and tapped her on the shoulder. Pinkie paused in her playing and looked at Twilight.

“Pinkie. I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you. You really did know how to stop these things.” said Twilight.

Pinkie smiled and said, “It’s ok. I probably should’ve explained why I needed all those instruments anyway. I just assumed you read the script!”

“…Right…” said Twilight. She shook her head. “The Princess would like your help to get rid of all the Parasprites in Equestria. Is that okay?”

Pinkie thought for a moment. “Make an entire species extinct?” She smiled. “Sure! We can even have a party for it when I get back!”

"Hello!" said Rainbow Dash, flying towards the two. She pointed down at her Parasprite bikini. "Can you do something about this?!"

Pinkie blew a note on the didgeridoo. The Parasprites all exploded, leaving Dash covered in their guts.

"Hooray!" said Rainbow as the slime dripped off her.

Fluttershy flew over to Twilight, carefully avoiding any piles of green guts. “Normally, I would be concerned that an entire species is going to be hunted down,” she said, “But these things are assholes.”

“No kidding.” said Applejack as she walked over to them. “They just ate mah barn! And all the apples Ah got for the Princess.” She sighed and looked over to Fluttershy. “Ah’m bettin’ that they ate the basket Ah asked ya to watch yesterday, huh Sugarcube?”

“Well…” began Fluttershy. Her eyes darted around, determined not to look at Applejack. “Kind of?”

Applejack frowned. “What do ya mean, kind of?”

“Well…” said Fluttershy slowly. “He did eat your apples…”

“But?” said Applejack, her eyes narrowing.

“He only ate them…after I fed him…” said Fluttershy.

Applejack sighed. “Do me a favor,” she said to the pegasus, “And turn around.”

“Ok?” said Fluttershy, confused. She turned around and asked, “What am I-”

Applejack spun around and kicked out with her hind legs. She kicked Fluttershy right in her backside, sending the mare flying.

The wind whipped past Fluttershy as she went faster and faster and faster. Colors blurred, noises became louder and incomprehensible, and Fluttershy’s vision went dark.

Soon enough, it was over, and Fluttershy landed in snow. She pulled her head up and looked around. She was still in Ponyville, only now it looked like it was the middle of winter.

“Fluttershy!” said a voice. Fluttershy turned her head to see Twilight, wrapped in a scarf, coming towards her. “I haven’t seen you since the Parasprite incident in summer. How are you? Are you excited for tomorrow?”

“Wh-what’s tomorrow?” asked Fluttershy, her teeth chattering.

Twilight smiled. “Tomorrow’s the Winter Wrap Up!”

A Chilly Town Meeting

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The snow storm blew, the whistling wind whipping through the night air.

Twilight and Spike were fast asleep inside the library, safe from the snow outside. They had worked hard all day, and they looked forward to a good night’s sl-

The alarm clock started ringing, as if the universe wanted to deny one handsome narrator’s claims. Twilight shot up in bed and smiled. “Today’s the day!” she yelled. She hopped out of bed and ran to Spike’s basket. “Wake up, Spike!” she said, shaking her assistant. “Today is a very important day!”

“Is it Leif Erikson Day?” asked Spike groggily.

“That’s not a real holiday, Spike.” said Twilight.

“My birthday?” asked Spike, hopefully.

“Spike.” said Twilight, patting his head. “I said it was an important day.”

“…Can I have a hint?” asked Spike.

Twilight groaned. “Winter Wrap Up, Spike. I-It’s Win-” She shook her head and walked away.

“What’s so important about this, again?” grumbled Spike as he rolled out of his basket.

“Because,” said Twilight as she went downstairs and turned on the lights, “Today is the last day of winter. All of Ponyville will be out clearing all the snow so spring can come.”

“Wouldn’t it be easier if we just let the sun melt all the snow?” asked Spike.

“Oh sure, Spike.” said Twilight, rolling her eyes. “And maybe the sun and moon can move themselves, ponies aren’t able to talk, and hairless pink apes can take over the planet!”

“…I miss Mr. Miggins.” said Spike sadly.

“I miss him too.” said Twilight. “He was quiet.” She looked meaningfully at Spike. “Hint hint.” she said helpfully.

“I don’t get it.” said Spike. “Why don’t they just use magic?”

“Because…because…” said Twilight slowly. She paused. “…Why don’t they just use magic?” She thought for a moment and shrugged. “I’ll just ask Applejack today.” Her eyes widened and she turned back to Spike. “By the way, what time is it? I don’t want to be late for the town meeting.”

Spike checked the clock on the wall and turned back to Twilight. “It’s 12:01 AM.”

“Hmm…” mused Twilight. “The town meeting’s not until 7...” She smiled. “I guess we’ll just have to wait!”

“I’m going back to bed.” said Spike, climbing the stairs and yawning.

Twilight used her magic to grab Spike and bring him to her. “I said,” she growled, “I guess we will have to wait.” She grabbed Spike and pulled him close to her, preventing him from running off.

“I have to pee.” said Spike, his speech muffled as his face was pressed against Twilight’s side.

“WE WAIT!” yelled Twilight.

Six Hours and Fifty Nine Minutes Later:

“Time to go!” said Twilight happily.

“No kidding…” moaned Spike as he ran for the bathroom.

One Whiz Later:

Twilight, with Spike on her back, ran to the Town Hall, where all the other citizens of Ponyville were gathered.

“Look Spike!” said Twilight excitedly. She pointed at a group of ponies that were wearing vests. “Those must be the vests that Rarity-”

“WHERE?!” asked Spike, looking around wildly.

“…Designed.” sighed Twilight. She looked closely at the vests. “Blue is for the Weather Team, green is for the Plant Team, and tan for the Animal Team.”

“So…” began Spike. “Let me get this straight. Pegasus and Earth ponies can use their natural abilities of flight, growing stuff, and dealing with animals, but Unicorns can’t use magic?”

“…Apparently?” answered Twilight. “I’m going to have to check with Applejack on that one.” She thought for a moment. “I wonder which one I’ll get?”

She and Spike joined the crowd in front of the Town Hall, where the Mayor was speaking.

“I want to thank all of you for coming here bright and early!” said the Mayor.

“You threw a rock through my window!” said Lemon Hearts.

“You’re holding the Cake family hostage!” yelled Pinkie Pie.

“Moving on,” said the Mayor, “We need all of your help to end winter and bring in spring. All of you have your vests…”

“I don’t!” Twilight yelled from the back of the crowd.

“And have been assigned to your teams.” continued the Mayor.

“I haven’t!” yelled an ignored Twilight.

“So let’s beat last year’s time and have the quickest Winter Wrap Up ever!” said the Mayor. “I mean, seriously. I’m sick of having to shovel my fucking driveway every morning. And why do we even have driveways? We don’t have cars.”

As the Mayor continued rambling, Twilight looked at Spike and said, “This is so exciting!”

Spike raised an eyebrow. “I got up at midnight for this shit?”

“Yes,” said Twilight, nodding, “Yes you did.”

“Ok, everyone.” said the Mayor. “Find your team leaders. For the Weather Team, you have Rainbow Dash-”

Rainbow Dash flew up on stage and yelled, “DID SOMEBODY SAY ‘RAINBOW D-’”

The Mayor pushed her off stage and continued, “For the Animal Team, your team leader is Fluttershy-”

“ACHOO!” came a powerful sneeze. All eyes turned towards Fluttershy, who sniffed. “Sorry…I have a bit of a…a…ACHOO!”

The Mayor politely threw a box of tissues at Fluttershy, hitting her in the head. “And for our last team leader, we have…” The Mayor sighed dreamily. “Applejack.”

Applejack waved as ponies cheered.

The Mayor drooled slightly. “God, I’d love to get a taste of those apple Cutie Marks. I would-” The Mayor’s aide quietly whispered into her ear. “What do you mean, ‘The microphone is still on’?” Her eyes widened as she noticed the crowd staring at her. “I-I mean…get to your tasks! Now!” She blushed and quickly ran off stage.

The crowd started to disperse, and Twilight quickly ran over to Applejack.

“Hey Twilight!” greeted Applejack happily. “Ya comin’ to join the Plant Team?”

“Maybe.” said Twilight. “I want to help everyone!”

“You do?” asked both Applejack and Spike in surprise.

“Well…yeah.” said Twilight.

“That’s…a little out of character for you.” said Spike slowly.

“I know.” said Twilight. She sighed. “Look, ever since I came to Ponyville, I’ve been unhappy and wanting to go back to Canterlot. But you guys,” she pointed to Applejack, “Have been my friends regardless.” She blushed slightly. “I just figured, maybe I should be a good friend and help you guys without you asking me to.”

“Aw.” said Applejack. She pulled Twilight in for a hug. “That’s sweet of ya, Sugarcube. Ah’m proud of ya.”

“Thanks.” said Twilight with a smile. She frowned slightly. “Hey, Applejack? I wanted to ask you something.”

“Shoot.” said Applejack.

“Why do you guys not use magic to clear up winter?” asked Twilight. “I mean, you let Pegasus and Earth ponies use their natural abilities. Why not Unicorns?”

Applejack’s friendly demeanor vanished. She glared at Twilight and growled, “Do ya really want to know why?”

“Um…” said Twilight, backing away. She hit something and turned around, coming face-to-face with every Earth and Pegasus pony in Ponyville. They all looked very unhappy. “…Sure?” she replied, turning back towards Applejack.

Rainbow Dash flew close to Twilight and flicked her horn. “It’s because you Unicorns use your magic for everything! And rub it in the face of everyone else!”

“What?!” came a voice. Everyone looked to see Rarity and the other Unicorns of Ponyville glaring at the crowd.

Rarity walked up and said, “I assure you, we definitely do not use our magic for everything.”

“Yeah!” said the other Unicorns.

“Really?” asked Rainbow Dash. She flew off and came back a few seconds later. She set down a jar of pickles in front of Rarity. “Prove it. Open that jar with just your hooves.”

“Please,” said Rarity, rolling her eyes, “Give me something challenging.” She wrapped her hooves around the jar and attempted to pry the lid off. “Hold on.” she said as she struggled. Her hooves slipped, throwing her off balance and falling face-first into the snow. She got up and stared at her hooves. “How do you use these things?!” she exclaimed.

“I’ve got this.” said Lyra. She attempted to use both hooves to lift the lid, but failed. "This never would have happened if I had hands..." she said sadly.

“Out of my way!” said Vinyl Scratch as she adjusted her sunglasses. She rubbed her hoof in a circle on the lid, which did nothing. “Weird.” She said as she looked at the jar. “That always works when I’m using records.” She frowned and tapped her chin. “Come to think of it, I always use magic to put them on…”

Twilight grabbed the jar and dropped it onto a rock. The glass shattered and pickles went everywhere. “Ha!” she said, pointing at the pickles. “The jar is open and I didn’t even use magic!”

The Unicorns cheered while the Pegasus and Earth ponies shook their heads in disbelief.

“This is gonna be a long day…” muttered Rainbow Dash.

Twilight's Snow Jobs

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“Ok, chumps!” said Rainbow Dash as she zoomed in front of a group of Pegasus ponies. “I don’t have to explain the situation to you. You all know why we’re here.”

“Right!” said Thunderlane. He paused. “But maybe you can go over it one more time?” he asked.

Rainbow Dash sighed. “You,” she pointed at Thunderlane, “Are going to go,” she flapped her wings, “And find the birds,” she whistled, “so they can be back in time for spring. Understand?” she asked.

Thunderlane stared at her. “…One more time?”

Rainbow Dash snarled. “GET THOSE FUCKING BIRDS NOW!” she screamed, scattering the other ponies.

“Um…Rainbow?” said a voice.

Rainbow Dash turned around and saw Twilight right behind her. “…I don’t have any more pickle jars.”

“That’s not why I’m here.” said Twilight. “I want to help you! How about I clear the clouds?”

Rainbow Dash stared at Twilight. “…You know you need wings to get up in the sky to clear clouds, right?”

Twilight looked at her wingless body and sighed. “Oh yeah. I forgot.”

“Can you imagine if you did have wings?” snickered Rainbow Dash. “People would freak out.”

“Yeah.” said Twilight with a smile. “They’d probably think adding a couple of wings to my body would change my personality or make me act high and mighty. Hell, they might even start judging me before they even had a chance to see how I acted with my new wings.”

“And don’t forget the toys.” said Rainbow. “People would complain that you only got wings to boost toy sales, even if the show you originated from was designed to sale toys to little girls, but somehow gained popularity with adult males who proceed to think that they are the target demographic even though, as I’ve said, the show was designed for little girls.”

Twilight laughed. “It’s a good thing that will never happen.”

Pinkie, who was walking by, started to laugh hysterically.

Rainbow put a hoof on Twilight’s shoulder and said, “Look, I know you want to help out. Maybe you should try helping on the ground and leave the skies for the Pegasus ponies.”

“…You realize that what you just said spits in the face of the whole ‘Unicorns are the only type of pony that shows off their natural abilities’ argument, right?” asked Twilight.

“I never said that Unicorns were the only type of pony to show off their natural abilities.” said Rainbow Dash as she flew into the air. “I just meant that it was fucking annoying that Unicorns were rubbing it in and taking attention away from Pegasus ponies.”

“Hypocrite.” muttered Twilight as she watched Rainbow Dash fly away.

“I thought that was her friend, Gilda.” said Spike as he yawned.

“You’re thinking of a hippogriff.” corrected Twilight. She turned around and looked at her assistant. “And Gilda was a griffon.”

“Potato potahto.” said Spike as he crawled into a nearby bush. “I’m going back to bed.”

“Like hell you are.” said Twilight. Her horn glowed and Spike was lifted out of the bush and onto her back. “We’ve got to help clean up winter. And besides,” said Twilight, smirking, “You’re going to like where we go next.”

“Oh yeah?” said Spike with a yawn. “Where?”

A Few Minutes Later:

Rarity was standing at a table outside of her boutique. Pieces of straw, ribbons, and glitter littered the table as Rarity was putting the finishing touches on the bird nest in front of her.

“And…” said Rarity as she tied the ribbon around the nest. “Perfect!”

“Hi Rarity!” said Spike as he walked over to the Unicorn.

“Hello Spike.” said Rarity brightly as she started working on a new nest. “What are you doing here?”

“Twilight wanted to see if there was anything she could do to help you.” said Spike.

“She did?” asked Rarity. She looked around, not seeing Twilight anywhere. “Then where is she?”

“Spike!” yelled Twilight as she ran towards them. She stopped, breathing heavily.

“Jesus, Twilight.” said Spike with a frown. “What took you so long?”

“You ran off the second I said we where going to Rarity’s.” growled Twilight. “We could’ve walked!”

“Romance waits for no dragon!” yelled Spike. Noticing Rarity’s stare, he blushed and stammered, “I-I mean…fashion waits for no dragon!”

“A sad but true fact of life, I’m afraid.” said an oblivious Rarity. She smiled at Twilight. “Spike tells me you want to help with the nests?”

“Nests?” asked Twilight, peering at all the straw on the table.

“Yes.” nodded Rarity. “The Weather Team goes to find the birds and lead them back north, they’ll need a place to live and lay their eggs.”

“Wait.” said Spike, holding up his hands. “You’re telling me you don’t even let the birds build their own nests? Why? I’m sure they can handle it.”

Rarity laughed and put her arm around Spike. “Oh Spike.” she said cheerfully. Her gaze hardened and her voice lowered ominously. “That sounds like heresy.”

Spike smiled goofily as Rarity stared down at him with fury. “You have beautiful eyes…” he murmured.

“Well,” said Twilight as she pointed at the completed nest, bringing Rarity’s attention back onto her, “This one looks amazing.”

Rarity smiled and let Spike go. “Why thank you!” she said as she walked towards Twilight. “Would you like to try?”

“Sure!” said Twilight, her horn glowing as she gathered her magic.

“No no, dear.” said Rarity quickly. “We can’t use magic remember?”

“Oh…yeah.” said Twilight. She stared at the nest on the table and gulped. “Maybe I’ll just go somewhere else…”

“Nonsense!” said Rarity, pushing a basket full of straw and ribbons toward Twilight. “We need to prove that us Unicorns can do anything the Pegasus and Earth ponies can.” Noticing that Twilight still looked nervous, she smiled and spoke gently. “Don’t worry, Twilight. It’s not that hard. Why, I’ll bet you make a truly beautiful nest in no time at all.”

In No Time At All:

“YOU ARE THE WORST NEST BUILDER EVER!” screamed Rarity, who had straw in her hair. She pointed to what could only be described as a ball of straw, twigs, and ribbon that had been painted black and had a picture of a skull and crossbones on it. It was also on fire. “How on God’s Earth did you manage to fuck this up?!”

“I-I’m sorry, Rarity!” stammered Twilight, who had a stick in her hair and bits of straw glued to her face. “I can fix it!”

“No!” yelled Rarity. “There’s only one way to fix this…abomination now.” She pulled out a revolver and shot the nest. It shrieked and thrashed around for a second. Rarity shot it again. The faux nest flopped onto its back and whined softly before breaking into pieces.

Rarity wiped her eyes as she put the revolver down. “I hate it when they scream.”

Twilight stared at the pieces of nest in horror. “Rarity, I’m so sorry. Give me some more straw, I’ll-”

“Just stop.” said Rarity mournfully as she held up a hoof. “Just…just go. I need to be alone.”

Twilight winced and said softly, “Ok.” She stared walking away. “Come on, Spike.” she called.

Spike sadly saluted the broken nest and ran after Twilight. “So…now what?” he asked as he caught up to her.

A Few Moments Later:

Twilight and Spike stopped in front of a frozen lake.

“Hi guys!” greeted Pinkie as she slid around the ice on skates. She jumped and spun around before landing perfectly back on the ice. “How did the whole nest making thing go?”

Twilight looked at the ground in shame, while Spike glared at Pinkie. “Satisfied?” he asked.

“I’m never satisfied!” yelled Pinkie as she skated around. “It’s a curse!”

Twilight looked up and said, “You’re a good skater, Pinkie.”

“Thanks!” said Pinkie as she skidded to a stop in front of Twilight and Spike. “I’ve been doing this since I was young! Which doesn’t really make sense considering that I grew up on a rock farm, but maybe there was a lake nearby or something.”

“Um…ok?” said Twilight hesitantly.

“ANYWAY!” Yelled Pinkie. “I’m the lake scorer! I cut lines in the lake, so when the Weather Team comes to break the ice, it will be super easy!”

“Seriously?” asked Spike. “Why don’t you just let the sun melt the ice?”

Pinkie laughed. “Beats me, but skating around all day seems like a lot more fun than doing actual work!”

“Good point!” said Spike. He hopped onto the lake and started to slide around.

Pinkie smiled at Twilight. “Do you want to help? It’ll be fun!”

“Sure!” said Twilight happily. She held out her hooves and Pinkie handed her a pair of ice skates. Quickly putting them on, Twilight hopped onto the ice…and promptly fell face first. “Ow…” she muttered.

“Come on, Twilight!” cheered Pinkie. “You can do it!”

“Yeah!” said Spike. “Practice makes perfect!”

Twilight got up and began to slowly skate around. “I’m…I’m doing it! I’m doing it!” she exclaimed happily.

“Good job!” said Spike.

“Way to go, Twilight!” cheered Pinkie.

Twilight’s confidence rose and she started to skate faster. “This is easy!” she said happily. She shut her eyes. “I could do this with my eyes closed!”

“Twilight!” yelled Pinkie. “Watch out for that-”

Twilight slid off the ice and smacked right into a tree trunk. The tree branches shook with the impact of the crash, knocking loose all the snow they collected and dropping it all onto Twilight’s dazed form.

“Tree.” finished Pinkie with a wince.

“At least it can’t get any worse.” said Spike confidently.

The tree trunk cracked and splintered, making the tree fall on top of Twilight with a crash.

“…I’m okay!” said Twilight’s muffled voice. “Mostly…”

One Tree Removal Later:

Twilight winced as she hobbled along the path. “Fuck ice skating.” She said to Spike, who was walking alongside her. “We’re going to go see Fluttershy. I bet she’s doing something nice and safe and easy.”

“Why did you just tempt fate?” asked Spike.

The sound of a powerful sneeze cut Twilight off. They both looked to see Fluttershy blowing her red nose with the tissues the Mayor had thrown at her.

“Hi Fluttershy.” greeted Twilight. “Are you okay?

Fluttershy blew her nose loudly. “No.” she said. “I have a cold.” She sniffed. “Apparently sleeping outside in the snow isn’t the best for your health.”

“Why were you sleeping outside?” asked Spike.

“Because I…I…ACHOO!” sneezed Fluttershy. She sniffed. “I think I might have dropped my keys when Applejack kicked me into the future. And all of my animals left my house to find more food.” She sneezed again. “I couldn’t even find Angel.”

“…Now that you’ve mentioned it,” began Twilight, “I haven’t seen Angel Bunny since that whole Parasprite thing that happened near the end of summer.”

“So I volunteered to lead the Animal Team,” explained Fluttershy as she coughed, “In order to see if I could find him or any of my animals.”

“We’ll help you!” said Twilight.

“You will?” asked Fluttershy.

“We will?” asked Spike.

“We will.” repeated Twilight. “And we’ll do it without magic!” She ran off, determined.

After a couple of minutes, Twilight came back. “…What is it you’re supposed to be doing again?”

“Right now,” said Fluttershy as she sniffed again, “We’re supposed to wake all the animals up from hibernation.”

“Ok.” said Spike suddenly. “The nests were weird, the ice was kind of understandable, but now you’re telling us that the animals can’t even wake up on their own?!”

“Spike.” said Fluttershy angrily. “My head feels like it’s being crushed and I feel like I’m going to barf. Just do what I fucking tell you to do, alright?!” She grabbed a bell and handed it to Twilight. “Use that to wake the animals up.”

Twilight looked disgusted as she held out the bell. “Can I get one without your sick germs all over it.”

“Deal with it, bitch.” said Fluttershy, coughing harshly.

“Spike,” said Twilight, “Hold this thing.”

“No way,” said Spike, “I’m not getting sick and missing out on the first day of spring. You hold it.”

“Fine!” groaned Twilight. She walked over to a nearby den and shook the bell. “Time to get up!”

The den crumbled as a massive snake with fierce yellow eyes burst out of the ground. It hissed angrily and wrapped its tail around Twilight, causing her to choke.

“Aww,” said a disappointed Fluttershy, “I wanted to wake up the Basilisk.”

The Basilisk started whacking its tail against the ground, pummeling Twilight. It then threw her high into the air, launching Twilight far away.

“…Do you think I should’ve handled that one?” asked Fluttershy as she watched Twilight soar off into the distance.

“Probably.” said Spike. He ran off in the direction Twilight was thrown.

One Terrifying Flight Later:

Twilight grunted as she hit the ground. She laid there for several minutes, dazed and wracked with pain. She saw Spike running towards her and said, “I fucking hate Winter Wrap Up.”

“Then why don’t you just use magic?” asked Spike as he helped Twilight up. “It would make things a lot easier on yourself.”

“I can’t!” said Twilight as she got up on her wobbly legs. “You heard Applejack, there’s no magic allowed at all. I’m going to have to do this the old-fashioned way.” She took a step and fell flat on her face.

“Speaking of Applejack,” said Spike, “I think we’re near where the Plant Team is at. Do you want to see if you can ‘help’?”

Twilight got up and glared at Spike. “Why do I get the feeling that you put the word help into air quotes?”

“Probably because I did.” said Spike.

Twilight rolled her eyes and the two of them started walking. Soon enough, the came upon the Plant Team, who were busy clearing up snow. They saw Applejack on top of a hill and standing by a cliff that was covered in snow. She was observing the rest of the team and shouting orders.

“Keep pushin’ Caramel!” she yelled.

“ONe oF TheSE DaYs, woMAN, ONe oF TheSE DaYs, POW! RigHT In tHE KiSSER!” yelled Caramel.

“Applejack!” said Twilight as she approached the farm pony. “Got anything for me to do?”

Applejack stared. “Ya know Ah appreciate somebody who’s willin’ ta work, but…”

“But?” asked Twilight.

“But…this is more on the hard physical labor type of work. Ah need ponies with muscle and you…well…”

“Are fat.” finished Spike.

“Ah didn’t say that!” said Applejack.

“You were going to!” yelled Twilight.

“…Maybe?” said Applejack.

Twilight snarled. She went over to an empty plow and started pushing. To Applejack and Spike’s surprise, the plow started moving with her, and started clearing the snow.

“See?!” yelled Twilight. “I can do this job! Even without magic!”

“Wow! Great job, Twilight!” yelled Applejack with a smile. “Yer doin’ it!”

“DAMN RIGHT!” screamed Twilight. She pushed faster and faster, gathering more and more snow.

“Um…Sugarcube?” said Applejack. “Ya might want to slow down. Those plows aren’t exactly new.”

“It’s fine!” said Twilight as she kept pushing. The plow, weighted down by the snow in front of it, slowed to a stop and refused to move. Twilight struggled and pushed, but couldn't move forward.

“Maybe you could use yer magic to move the snow?” suggested Applejack slowly. “Ah won’t mind. Honest.”

“No…way!” said Twilight, struggling to move the plow. There was a cracking noise. Everyone else on the farm stared as Twilight kept pushing.

“Twilight! Use your magic to move the plow!” shouted Spike.

“NO!” yelled Twilight, pushing even harder. There was another loud cracking sound. “FUCK THIS STUPID THING!” she yelled as she pushed more. The front of the plow broke and a metal screw flew towards Spike and Applejack.

The two dove for the ground as the screw flew past them and hit the cliff that was right behind them. The cliff shook and an avalanche began, sending snow all over the spots on the fame that had been cleared already.

Twilight, Applejack, and Spike popped their heads out of the snow.

“Damn it, Twilight!” screamed Applejack. “Why didn’t ya just use magic?!”

“You told me not to!” yelled Twilight. “The only reason I didn’t use magic to move the snow was because you told me that I couldn’t!”

“Hold on!” yelled a blue stallion as he walked over. “You mean this avalanche happened because Applejack didn’t let you use magic?”

“For yer information, Noteworthy, Ah did tell her ta use magic.” said Applejack. “She didn’t listen.”

“Only because you said at the beginning that Unicorns used their magic for everything! Of course she was going to try and prove you wrong!” said a grey stallion. “And now we have to start all over again!”

“Shut yer damn mouth, Lucky!” yelled Applejack. “If Ah remember right, you agreed that Unicorns used their magic for everything!”

“Well…yeah!” said Lucky. “But I’m not about to blame myself! Not when I can easily blame others.”

As the three ponies started to argue with each other, Twilight slowly got up out of the snow and walked away.

Spike crawled out of the snow and ran after her. “What’s wrong, Twilight?”

“What’s wrong?!” shouted Twilight. “I fucked everything up! Even without magic!” She started walking away.

“Where are you going?!” Spike called after her.

“I’m going home.” said Twilight sadly. “I ruined Winter Wrap Up.”

Back From the Future

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“Twilight,” said Spike tiredly, “You cannot stay in a bush for the rest of your life.”

The bush shook, sending snow falling to the ground. “The hell I can’t!” said Twilight as she remained hidden. “I ruined Winter Wrap Up!”

“You didn’t mess everything up.” said Spike. “All you did was cause one itsy-bitsy little avalanche, making the overworked ponies have even more work to do, and delaying the completion of Winter Wrap Up by several hours.”

“Is that supposed to make me feel better?” asked Twilight from the bush.

“I doubt it.” said Spike. “You did ruin Winter Wrap Up, after all.”

“Rainbow Dash!” yelled a voice.

Spike turned to see Applejack glaring at the blue-furred Pegasus. “You and the Weather Team need to melt the snow right now!”

Rainbow Dash winced and rubbed her ears. “I’m standing right here, do you really need to yell at me?”

“YES AH DO!” screamed Applejack.

“Alright, alright!” hollered Rainbow Dash as she rubbed both of her ears. She turned and came face-to-face with Fluttershy.

“You can’t!” exclaimed Fluttershy. She paused for a moment to cough violently. “All the dens and warrens will get flooded if the snow melts too fast. I still need to find my animals.”

“Hang on!” shouted Applejack as she pushed Rainbow Dash out of her way. “Ah got a whole field full of snow that needs melted. Ah can’t wait for you. Do Ah have to remind you that the Mayor wants this Winter Wrap Up to be done quickly?”

Fluttershy glared at Applejack. “And do I have to remind you that the only reason I have to look for my animals is because they all left when I was kicked several months into the future?”

Applejack narrowed her eyes and moved closer to Fluttershy. “Ah wouldn’t have kicked ya into the future if you hadn’t fucked with mah apples.”

Fluttershy snorted and moved closer to Applejack. Their faces were inches apart. “Oh, I’m so sorry, Applejack.” Fluttershy said sarcastically. “I should’ve realized those apples meant so much to you. It’s not like you have an ENTIRE FUCKING ORCHARD FULL OF THEM!”

The two ponies glared at each other, neither blinking or moving. Nothing could distract them from their hatred for each other. It would take a miracle or-

“ACHOO!” sneezed Fluttershy, spraying Applejack.

…Something disgusting.

Applejack gagged and started spitting on the ground. “God, Ah got it in mah mouth!” she yelled, her face turning green.

Fluttershy sniffed. “Does anyone have a hanky?” she asked.

The Mayor ran forward, tossing another box of tissues at Fluttershy’s head. She turned to Applejack and said, “Are you alright, Applejack? Do you need anything? Mouth-to-mouth?”

Applejack spit on the ground again. “Ah’m fine, Mayor.” she said, the green in her face lessening.

“Are you sure?” asked the Mayor. “I can give you mouth-to-mouth.”

“Ah’m alright.” said Applejack.

“Damn it.” muttered the Mayor. She turned and glared at Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy. “Why are all of you arguing? This is why we were late with Winter Wrap Up last year. And the year before that. And the year before that. And the year…”

“So we were a little late last year.” said Rainbow. “What’s the big deal?”

The Mayor glared at Rainbow Dash. “Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is to be the only mayor whose town is late for spring?” She pulled out a cell phone and pressed a button. Loud laughter was heard.

“Who is that?” asked Fluttershy.

“Who is that?” repeated the Mayor. “Oh, it’s no one really. Just the Mayor of Manehattan.” She pressed another button and even louder laughter was heard. “And the Mayor of Trottingham.” She pressed another button and an orgasmic moan was heard. “And Princess Celestia herself!”

Twilight poked her head out of the bush and looked at Spike. “Spike, did you hear that?”

“Yeah!” said Spike. “Why am I sending letters to the Princess if she has a cell phone? You could just call her to talk to her.”

“Not that.” said Twilight. “They’ve been late for Winter Wrap Up for years!”

“We’re going to be late again!” yelled the Mayor. “I mean, just look at this clusterfuck!” She pulled out a clipboard and looked over the list of problems. “The ice scorer’s are busy trying to get a tree off the ice, the nest designer is in her store crying, clouds are still in the sky, there’s a singing ice man in the Town Square…”

Meanwhile, in the Town Square:

A man who looked like he was made out of ice danced around the Town Square, singing, “They call me Snow Miser! Whatever I touch, turns to snow in my clutch!” He tipped his hat to the ponies that were watching him. “I’m too much.”

Back with the others:

The Mayor threw her clipboard behind her and sobbed, “We’re fucked! Again!”

Applejack patted the Mayor’s back comfortingly. “It’s not all bad.” she said. “Mah team is plantin’ the seeds for all the vegetables as we speak.”

Big Macintosh walked forward, wearing a woman’s parka. “Um, A.J…about the seed…

“…Ya left Caramel in charge of it, didn’t ya?” asked Applejack.

“I SpILLed My sEEd eVERywheRE!” yelled Caramel. “On tHe GrOuND, IN tHe SnoW, EveN IN NoTEWorthy!”

Big Mac sighed. “Why did we hire him, again?”

A purple-furred Pegasus mare landed by Rainbow Dash. “Um…Rainbow?”

“Yes, Rainbowshine?” asked Rainbow Dash.

“You know how you told me to go get the southern birds?” asked Rainbowshine tentatively.

“If I recall correctly,” began Rainbow Dash, glaring at the other Pegasus, “I told you that if you fucked it up, you could kiss your job goodbye.”

“Well…” said Rainbowshine slowly, “I might have delegated that job to Derpy. Who then proceeded to go north instead of south.”

Meanwhile, In the Frozen North:

Derpy Hooves looked around the icy tundra. “…Oh shit. I went the wrong way, didn’t I”

Back in Ponyville:

Rainbow glared at Rainbowshine. “Yeah, you’re fired.”

Ponies started coming up to the Mayor and complaining about their jobs not being done. Spike and Twilight watched as the Mayor started to yell at the ponies to get their jobs done.

“Spike,” said Twilight, hopping out of the bush. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

“I am.” said Spike. “But how will we ever manage to find enough chocolate?”

“…Just…just get me my checklist, Spike.”

“Alright.” said Spike. He thought for a moment. “Your checklist is inside the library, right?”

“Yes…” said Twilight hesitantly.

“Good.” replied Spike. “That means I have a chance to get warm.” He shivered. “I swear, I’m gonna catch my death from cold out here…” He walked away, muttering to himself.

Twilight watched him go, then turned back to the group of bickering ponies. “Excuse me?” she asked. “If I could have your attention please!”

The group ignored her and kept arguing.

“Hello?” asked Twilight loudly. “I need you guys to listen!”

The group continued to ignore her.

“Can’t anyone hear me?” yelled Twilight.

Caramel looked from Twilight to the group. He cleared his throat and yelled, “QUIET!”

The crowd stopped talking and looked at Caramel. Applejack opened her mouth to say something, but Caramel glared at her pointedly until she shut it.

“Thanks.” said Twilight.

“No PRobleM!” said Caramel. “NoW tO Go PuT MoRE SEED IN NotEWorTHY!” The crazy stallion ran off, leaving Twilight with the group’s full attention.

“Look,” began Twilight, “I know you all want to complete your jobs on time, but arguing about it won’t solve anything. All you guys need is a little organization.”

“Orgasmiz-what?” asked Rainbow Dash.

“Organization.” repeated Twilight.

“Or…Or…Organize?” said Applejack hesitantly.

“It sounds like witchcraft!” yelled Fluttershy.

“Calm down, everyone!” yelled the Mayor. She walked up to Twilight and said, “Show us more about this ‘organization’.”

Several Minutes Later:

Twilight and Spike watched as the ponies left to do their jobs. Rarity had, finally, worked up the nerve to build nests again and was now helped by several other ponies.

“Did they really expect one pony to build hundreds of nests?” asked Spike.

“Apparently.” replied Twilight. “Let’s go check on how the ice is doing.”

The two walked to one of the frozen lakes. Pinkie Pie was standing on the hill overlooking the lake, waiting for them.

“Twilight!” said Pinkie excitedly. She pulled out a black coat and put it on. She pulled the hood over her head so her face was shrouded in darkness. “I’m part of the Organization now! Got it memorized?”

“It’s not that kind of organization, Pinkie.” explained Twilight. “Organization means doing things in a rational, calm manner.”

“You lost me.” said Pinkie. “Can I still wear the coat, or what?”

“Go ahead.” sighed Twilight.

Pinkie smiled and ran down to the ice, where the other ponies were waiting for her to get started. They all began to skate, making sure to stay in a straight line.

Satisfied that Pinkie had this well in hand, Twilight and Spike walked to the fields where the Plant Team was working. Along the way, they spotted the singing ice man getting chased by a man who looked like he was on fire. The fire man was singing, “They call me Heat Miser. Whatever I touch, starts to melt in my clutch!” He bowed to Twilight and Spike as he passed them and said, “I’m too much.”

Choosing not to comment on that, Twilight and Spike made their way to the fields. Applejack was overlooking the ponies that were clearing the snow. When she spotted Twilight, Applejack’s eyes widened and she asked nervously, “Yer not gonna try to help, are ya?”

Twilight shook her head. “I’m just supervising.”

Applejack breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank God for that.”

“I wasn’t that bad!” yelled Twilight.

“Yes you were.” said Spike and Applejack in unison.

“Fine!” said Twilight. She turned and walked away. Spike ran after her and they both went to where Fluttershy was waking up animals.

Fluttershy was pulling a rope when they approached her. Several bells that had been tied together rang, waking up all the animals.

“How’s it going, Fluttershy?” asked Spike.

“Not so good.” said Fluttershy sadly. She sneezed, and said, “I still can’t find Angel or all of my other animals.”

“They’ll turn up.” said Twilight comfortingly. She and Spike left Fluttershy and started to walk back towards the Town Square. Above them, Rainbow Dash and the other Pegasus ponies were clearing the clouds, letting the sun shine down on Ponyville.

Soon enough, everything was finished and spring was in full effect. The snow had melted, the birds were back, and all the snowmen died screaming as they melted.

Everyone gathered to bask in the sunshine. The Mayor approached Twilight and said, “I can’t believe we did it! Spring is here, on time!” She pulled out her cell phone and pressed a button. “Hey Bill!” she said into the phone. “I’m just calling to let you know how nice it is that Ponyville is in spring! How’s that Trottingham winter working for you?” Loud sobbing was heard on the phone. The Mayor laughed triumphantly as she slammed the phone shut. “Twilight Sparkle, you have single-handedly saved our collective asses! If I wasn’t saving myself for Applejack, I’d throw you to the ground right now and make you call me Mistress.”

“Um…thanks?” said Twilight hesitantly. “Honestly, I’m just happy everything worked out in the end. Right, Spike?” She waited for her assistant to respond. “Spike?” she asked again. She looked around, but could not see any sign of the dragon. “Where is he?”

“There he is!” said Applejack. She pointed to the lake, where Spike was sleeping on the last remaining piece of ice in the middle of the lake. “Boy, that ice is melting fast.”

“He’ll be fine.” said Rainbow Dash confidently. “Dragons can swim, right?”

Later:

The casket was lowered into the newly made grave. Twilight sobbed as her deceased assistant was buried under six feet of dirt.

“Apparently not.” said Applejack sadly. She and the other girls were standing by Twilight, each of them somber.

“This sucks.” said Rainbow Dash. “I could have saved him when I saw that he was out there.”

Rarity sniffed. “It’s not your fault, dear. How were you to know that Spike would hit his head on a rock, get hit with lightning, catch Swine Flu, and drown all at once?”

“And don’t forget exploding.” said Fluttershy quietly. “He exploded once he hit the water. Twice.”

Pinkie, her mane flat, said, “If only we could go back in time to save him.”

Twilight gasped and shot up from were she was crying. “We can go back in time to save him! Or,” she said as she turned around to stare at Fluttershy, “At least one of us can.”

“What?” asked Fluttershy. “Why is it only me?”

“You are the only one who has traveled through time before!” explained Twilight. “Remember when Applejack kicked you into the future? If I’m right, if Applejack kicks you in the opposite direction that she did before, you should be able to go back in time to save Spike! You might even find your animals!”

Fluttershy took a deep breath, steeling her nerves. “Ok, I’ll do it.” She faced west as she prepared to get kicked.

Applejack walked over behind her and raised her back legs. She kicked out, sending Fluttershy flying.

The five ponies watched as Fluttershy disappeared from view.

“So,” began Rarity, “What happens to us?”

“There are a couple of things that could happen.” explained Twilight. “One is that we just continue on without Spike or Fluttershy, creating a divergent timeline from the one Fluttershy will now live.”

“What’s the other thing that could happen?” asked Rainbow Dash.

“Oh, that’s nothing to worry about.” said Twilight. “There is a theory that, since Fluttershy is changing the timeline, we will cease to exist.” Twilight laughed. “But really, what are the odds?”

Right as she said that, the universe vanished with a pop.

Meanwhile:

Fluttershy flew through the time stream, and was having a similar experience as the last time. Colors blurred, noises began loud and undecipherable, and a flying blue police box passed her and crashed into a flying DeLorean.

Soon enough, Fluttershy dropped from the time stream and landed on the ground in front of her house. She looked up and squinted as the summer sun hit her eyes.

“Ow!” said Fluttershy as she got up. She rubbed her eyes and then paused. She noticed something strange. “My cold’s gone! I guess since I’m back in the past, I never got sick in the first place. Or…wait…but if I got sent into the past with my cold, then I should still have the cold, right?”

Fluttershy was interrupted from her mental discussion on the healing properties of time travel by a familiar voice shouting, “Here she is!”

Fluttershy looked to see Twilight and Spike walking towards her. “Fluttershy!” said Twilight. “I haven’t seen you since that Parasprite thing a couple of weeks ago. Where’ve you been?”

Fluttershy quickly got up and picked up Spike. “Spike! You’re alive!” she shouted as she nuzzled him.

“You’re damn right I’m alive!” said Spike happily. He paused. “Why do you sound so surprised?”

Fluttershy put him down and patted his head. “Never mind that.” she said. She walked back to her house, leaving Twilight and Spike behind her. “I’m just glad to be home.”

As she approached the house, she noticed that all of her animals were gathered on the front yard. She looked and saw Angel Bunny standing on a stump, wearing a Parasprite skull. He had green Parasprite blood smeared over his chest and face like war paint.

“Angel?” she asked. “What are you doing?”

Angel’s eyes widened in surprise as he noticed Fluttershy. He pointed at his growling stomach and then back towards the forest.

“You couldn’t get in the house to find food, so you were going to lead all the animals into the forest to get some?” guessed Fluttershy.

Angel nodded.

Fluttershy walked over to the welcome mat and flipped it over, revealing a key. “Why didn’t you just use the spare key?” she asked. She paused and muttered, “Come to think of it, why didn’t I use the spare key?” She shook her head and unlocked the door, letting her animals back inside.

Angel paused as he got near Fluttershy. He took off the Parasprite skull and threw it behind him. He looked at Fluttershy and, with what seemed like great reluctance, quickly hugged her leg. He let go and shuddered before hopping back inside.

Fluttershy smiled. “It’s good to be back.”

New School, New Problems

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Summer eventually made its way to fall and children everywhere were dreading their first day back to school.

“But Ah don’t wanna go to school!” whined Applejack as she pounded her hooves against the floor.

“Yer not goin’ to school ya halfwit!” yelled Granny Smith. “Yer takin’ Apple Bloom to school.”

“Who?” asked Applejack, getting up.

“That was funny the first twenty times, Sis,” said Apple Bloom as she grabbed her bag. “Now it’s just gotten annoying.”

“Seriously, who are you again?” asked Applejack.

And so, Applejack led Apple Bloom to Ponyville’s school building. After affectionately saying goodbye to her little sister-

“Ah’ll ask ya one more time,” growled Applejack, “Who the hell are you?”

Apple Bloom sighed and said, “Ah’ll see ya after school Applejack.” She went inside the classroom.

“How do ya know mah name?!” Applejack yelled after her. “WHO ARE YOU?!”

Apple Bloom walked to a nearby desk and sat down. More students piled into the classroom, chatting with each other.

When the bell rang, a purple-furred mare walked into the room. “Alright, get your hooves off each other, it’s time for class.” She walked to the front of the room and looked at the class. “Scootaloo, there’s no smoking in the school building.”

An orange-furred filly, wearing a leather jacket and sunglasses, pulled the cigarette out of her mouth. “Have you ever stared into the face of death?” she asked the teacher. “I have. I called him a pussy.” Scootaloo pressed the lit end of the cigarette against her own arm. She had a satisfied smile on her face as her skin burned.

“…Ok…” said the teacher. She shook her head and pointed to herself. “I am-”

The door slammed open and a small white-furred filly jumped into the room. She was dressed in black armor and had a mace in her hands. “Cower fools!” she yelled, her voice squeaking. “I am your new lord and master! Together we shall overthrow Princess Celestia and take Equestria for me!”

The teacher chuckled. “You kids and your active imaginations.”

The filly looked shocked. “Why are you not cowering? I’m evil!”

The teacher smiled. “Sure you are, Sweetie Belle.” She grabbed the mace from the armored filly. “I’m afraid I can’t let you have your toy in class. You’ll get it back at recess. Now take your seat please.”

“But-” squeaked a shocked Sweetie Belle. When the teacher put her mace into one of her desk drawers, Sweetie sighed and hung her head. She dejectedly walked to an empty seat.

“Ok, class!” resumed the teacher. “I am Miss Cheerilee, and I’ll be your teacher for the rest of your lives. Now, let’s get started on today’s lesson.” She turned around and presented her rear to the class. “Can anyone tell me what this is?”

“Big?” answered a filly.

“Round?” answered another.

“My first erection?” answered a colt from the back of the class.

“Not that!” said Cheerilee, rolling her eyes. She pointed at what she wanted the class to see. “This!”

“A tramp stamp?” someone asked.

“NO!” shouted Cheerilee. She turned her head to look. “I’m pointing at…oh. That is a tramp stamp. Sorry.” She moved her hoof and pointed at the three flowers on the side of her rear.

“Oh! Your cutie mark!” said a red-headed filly with glasses.

“Good work, Twist!” said Cheerilee. She turned around and faced the class. “Now, like all ponies, I wasn’t born with my Cutie Mark. When I was younger my flank was blank.”

“Sorry,” said a pink-furred filly with a large tiara on her head, “Could you say that again?”

“My flank was blank,” repeated Cheerilee.

“One more time?” asked a grey-furred filly with glasses.

“My flank was blank! I was a blank flank, ok?” said Cheerilee.

The two fillies smirked and muttered, “Childish nickname acquired!”

“Anyway,” continued Cheerilee, “When I was about your age, I found that my Cutie Mark appeared.”

“Wow…” muttered Twist. “I wonder what it was like when Cheerilee was our age.”

Cheerilee stared off into the distance as her memories came flooding back.

In a more radical time:

Five ponies stood in front of their teacher’s desk.

“Mr. Vernon,” began a younger Cheerilee, “We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for what Caramel did wrong…”

“Which is bullshit!” yelled a younger Caramel.

“But,” continued Cheerilee, “We think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us. In the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain…

A younger Big Macintosh, wearing a letterman jacket, stepped forward. “And an athlete…”

A younger Pinkie Pie, her grin wide, bounced forward. “And a basket case. By the way, why are we called the Breakfast Club if we don’t go out for breakfast?”

A younger Rarity ignored the question and stepped forward. “And a princess.”

Finally, Caramel, wearing a leather jacket, stepped forward. “And a criminal.”

Cheerilee looked towards Mr. Vernon and asked, “Does that answer your question?” She turned to the others and they nodded. They all began to leave, except for Caramel.

“You guys go on ahead!” he called after them. He pulled a knife out of his pocket and grinned psychotically at Mr. Vernon. “I’lL bE rIGht THEre…”

As the four others walked down the hall, ignoring their teacher’s screams, a song came on the P.A. system.

“Don’t you…Forget about me…”

Back in the present:

Cheerilee blinked and said, “Those were better days…” She shook her head and said, “Anyway, I decided to become a teacher. And these flowers represent my hope that I can help future students grow and…”

“Boring!” yelled the colt from the back of the class.

“And you can stay after class for detention, Rumble,” finished Cheerilee.

“Crap,” said Rumble.

“Now,” continued Cheerilee, “Can anyone tell me when ponies get their Cutie Marks? Raise your hand if you know the answer.”

Twist raised her hoof and said, “When they discover what makes them special.”

Cheerilee glared at Twist. “I didn’t call on you yet. And I said to raise your hand not your hoof.”

Twist looked at her hooves and said, “But I don’t have hands…”

“Excuses, excuses,” said Cheerilee. “Maybe some time in detention will help you come up with better ones. But you’re right. A pony’s Cutie Mark…”

Apple Bloom was listening to Cheerilee when she heard someone go “Psst!” She turned her head and saw the tiara-wearing pony try to get her attention. She pulled out a note and handed it to Apple Bloom.

“Pass that to Silver Spoon, ok?” whispered the pink filly.

Apple Bloom reached out to grab the note when-

“Diamond Tiara! Apple Bloom! Are you two passing notes?” asked Cheerilee. She came over to the two and glared at them. “What is so important it can’t wait until after class?” She picked up the note and looked at it. “It’s…blank?”

“JUST LIKE APPLE BLOOM’S FLANK!” laughed Diamond Tiara. “I AM SO CLEVER!” She laughed wildly.

Silver Spoon laughed weakly. “Good one, Diamond!”

“SHUT UP!” screamed Diamond Tiara. “DON’T RUIN MY MOMENT!”

“Ok…” whimpered Silver Spoon.

“Diamond Tiara!” shouted Cheerilee. “I am very disappointed in you! I’m going to have a talk with your father about this, young lady.”

“Ok,” said Diamond Tiara, smirking, “But first thing’s first. Can you tell you the name of this school?”

“The…name?” asked Cheerilee.

“Yes,” Diamond Tiara confirmed, “The name.”

Cheerilee sighed and said, “The Filthy Rich School for Filthy Rich’s Daughter…and others.”

“That’s right!” said Diamond. “Now, can you tell me who signs your paychecks?”

“…Your father?” said Cheerilee.

“Very good!” said Diamond. “It would be a shame if something happened that made my father lower your pay.”

“You can’t do that!” begged Cheerilee. “I’m a teacher! I barely make ends meet as it is!”

“Father might even be upset enough to fire you and replace you with someone he feels is better suited towards teaching,” said Diamond with a grin. She looked at Cheerilee with a satisfied smile on her face, “But don’t let me stop you. What time do you want to meet with my father again?”

Cheerilee grit her teeth. “That won’t be necessary. Just don’t do it again, alright?” She shot Apple Bloom a sympathetic look and went back to the front of the room.

Apple Bloom looked over at Diamond Tiara, who was smirking evilly at her. She held up a note that read, “WELCOME TO HELL”.

“…Well shit.” Apple Bloom muttered. This was going to be a long school year.

Taking a Stand (And Ruining Its Business)

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The school bell finally rang and Apple Bloom couldn’t be more relieved. Cheerilee had, perhaps to make up for not doing anything against Diamond Tiara, let Twist off from her detention so Apple Bloom could walk home with her.

Diamond Tiara had been relentless all day. She had spent the day mocking Apple Bloom, sending her notes that said “Blank Flank” on them, and had clicked her pen over and over again during class. The last one wasn’t that bad, Apple Bloom reasoned, but it was still annoying to listen to.

Apple Bloom sighed as she walked down the road with Twist. “Well…” she said, “Today sucked.”

“You know what else sucks?” said Twist. She reached into her bag and pulled out some peppermints. “You when you try my homemade candy.”

Apple Bloom stared at Twist. “Applejack always said not to take candy from strange ponies.”

“But it’s from me!” said Twist.

“Uh-huh…” replied Apple Bloom, slowly backing away.

“I don’t know why we had to sit through a lecture about Cutie Marks!” said a voice from behind them.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake…” muttered Apple Bloom. She turned around and saw Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon walking towards them.

“I mean,” said Diamond loudly, “It’s not like we don’t have our Cutie Marks! Can you imagine, Silver? Not having our Cutie Marks? I think I would just kill myself, wouldn’t you?”

“But Diamond, we…” began Silver Spoon. She was silenced by Diamond’s glare. “I mean, yes! That would be a waste of an existence!”

Twist rolled her eyes. “Oh please. You two didn’t have your Cutie Marks last week.”

“That’s true,” admitted Diamond, “But the point, Napoleon Dynamite, is that we have them now. Unlike you and Apple Blank.”

Apple Bloom raised an eyebrow. “Apple Blank? That’s the best you’ve got? Really?”

“SHUT UP, I’M HIGHLY ORIGINAL!” screamed Diamond Tiara, her eye twitching wildly. She cleared her throat and continued, “But don’t worry. You two are still invited to my Cute-Ceañera this weekend.”

“You’re a Hispanic fifteen-year-old?” asked Twist.

“What?” asked Diamond Tiara. “No! A Cute-Ceañera is a celebration when a pony gets their Cutie Mark!”

“Ah thought that was called a Bar Mark-zvah?” asked Apple Bloom.

“It is a Cute-Ceañera,” growled Diamond Tiara. “You know what, why am I wasting time with you? Let’s go, Silver.” The two ponies turned and walked back the way they came.

“Wait!” called Apple Bloom. “You live in the opposite direction? What, did you walk all this way just to make fun of us?”

“Wha-NO!” denied Diamond Tiara. “I mean, what? Do you think I need to pick on other ponies because it fills the void in my life? Do you think making fun of you makes me feel better about my own insecurities because I can laugh at everyone else instead of crying about my faults?”

“Well…no…?” said Apple Bloom hesitantly. “Not until now, anyway…”

“I HAVE A LIFE OUTSIDE OF YOU!” screamed Diamond. She and Silver Spoon ran away, leaving Apple Bloom and Twist alone.

“You know something feels weird about those two…” muttered Twist.

“Ya think?” asked Apple Bloom sarcastically.

“No, no. I meant about their Cutie Marks.” Twist sighed. “I guess it’s not important.” She turned to Apple Bloom and asked, “What are you going to do?”

Apple Bloom thought for a moment. “Ah think Ah need some advice. Ah need to talk to someone smart and confident. Someone with tons of life experience and is willing to share it.”

“ME!” yelled a voice. Rainbow Dash landed right in front of the two fillies. “Don’t worry girls! I’m here to-”

“Um…actually, Rainbow Dash?” interrupted Apple Bloom. “Ah think Ah’m just gonna talk to mah sister.”

Rainbow Dash narrowed her eyes at Apple Bloom. “You’ll be back. They all come back.” She slowly flew back into the air and disappeared into the trees.

“…Ah’m going to pretend like that never happened,” said Apple Bloom. She said goodbye to Twist and walked back home.

She found Applejack harvesting apples. “Applejack?” she asked. Suddenly, Apple Bloom found herself pinned to a tree, Applejack’s arm pushing into her throat.

“Back again, huh?” asked Applejack, wielding an apple threateningly. “Ah knew Ah hadn’t seen the last of ya, but to attack me in mah own home…” She glared at Apple Bloom. “Ya got a lot of guts, Ah’ll admit that. Now let’s see what they look like out in the open…” She raised the apple menacingly.

“Applejack! It’s me! Apple Bloom!” the filly choked out.

“Oh,” said Applejack. She released her sister and dropped the apple. “Why didn’t ya just say so?”

Apple Bloom coughed and rubbed her throat. “Ah need to talk to you,” she said when she finally got her voice back.

“Ah figured this was comin’ sooner or later,” said Applejack. “Ya see, when two ponies love each other very much-”

“Not that talk!” said Apple Bloom quickly. “Ah want to talk to you about mah Cutie Mark.”

“Oh!” said Applejack. She looked at her sister’s flank. “Ya don’t have one.”

Apple Bloom sighed. “Ah know Ah don’t have one. What can Ah do to get one?”

“Everyone gets theirs eventually,” said Applejack as she tossed apples into a basket.

“Really?” asked Apple Bloom.

“Well, almost everyone…” said Applejack thoughtfully. “Ah heard this story about a pony in Manehattan who never got his Cutie Mark. The city thought he was a freak of nature and chased him out of town. He eventually died out in the wilderness, scared and alone.”

“…What. The. Fuck?” asked Apple Bloom.

Applejack sighed, “God, you kids nowadays wouldn’t know a joke if it bit you on the ass. And left a mark. A Cutie Mark.” She looked towards Apple Bloom expectantly.

“…Was that another joke?” asked Apple Bloom.

“Goddammit Apple Bloom,” muttered Applejack.

“Stop with the jokes!” said Apple Bloom. “Ah need a Cutie Mark for Diamond Tiara’s Cute-Ceañera party!”

“Ah thought those were called Bar Mark-zvahs?” asked Applejack.

“Who cares?!” shouted Apple Bloom. “Ah need yer help!”

“Look,” said Applejack, turning to face her sister, “Ah know what yer goin’ through. Ah was the last pony in mah class to get a Cutie Mark, but it was all worth it.” She pointed to her flank, where three apples were proudly displayed. “Ah knew mah future was to run Sweet Apple Acres, and, once Ah got these, it proved it.” She moved so her rear was in Apple Bloom’s face. “Touch ‘em.”

“Um…” began Apple Bloom, trying not to look at her sister’s butt. “Ah’d rather not.”

“Come on, what are ya so afraid of?” asked Applejack, wiggling her rear. “Give ‘em a poke. A smack. Lick ‘em for all Ah care.”

Rainbow Dash poked her head out of the trees and watched the scene with interest.

“Look,” said Apple Bloom, moving away from Applejack’s ass, “Can’t Ah just go with you today and help you run the stand at the market?”

Applejack glared at her little sister. “Remember the last time you came with me to run the stand?”

Two Months Ago:

Zombie ponies shuffled down the street, biting anyone foolish enough to get in their path.

Applejack turned towards Apple Bloom, who sheepishly said, “Whoops.”

A zombie groaned and lurched forward, sinking its teeth into Applejack’s neck.

Now:

“Yer lucky Twilight came up with a cure for zombification in time!” said Applejack.

“Ah know, Ah know!” said Apple Bloom. “Look, Ah promise not to raise the dead, ok? Can you please take me with you?”

Applejack sighed. “Fine. But you better not raise the dead, or Ah’ll…” Applejack froze. She stuck her arms out and moaned, “Brains…braaaaaaaaains…”

Apple Bloom screamed and ran away.

Applejack lowered her arms and sighed. “That girl just doesn’t have a sense of humor.”

Later:

Ponyville’s market was a crowded place. Ponies came to pick up items, sell items, and sell their families to the black market.

The Apple Family stand was set up in the middle of all this chaos, and Applejack was yelling at ponies left and right.

“Get yer delicious, nutritious apples here! Please don’t go to our currently unguarded farm and just take them for free!” She pointed at Apple Bloom and said, “And if you buy now, we’ll give you a chance to win fabulous prizes! Shoot the apple off mah assistant’s head and we’ll give you three apples for the price of three apples!”

“Applejack?” asked Apple Bloom in a shaky voice. A green apple was resting on her head and she was standing in front of a bull’s-eye. “How is this gonna help me get mah Cutie Mark?”

“Ah don’t know about that,” admitted Applejack, “But look at how many apples we’re selling!” She pointed to a long line of ponies. “Seems like a lot of people want to take a shot at ya! Ah’ll kill two birds with one arrow!”

“What was that?” asked Apple Bloom as an arrow embedded itself into the target behind her.

“Stone! Ah meant stone.” Applejack turned back to the crowd and handed a blue Pegasus filly a bow and arrow. “Here you go, Blue Scootaloo!”

“My name is Archer!” said Blue Scootaloo indignantly. She walked forward and aimed at Apple Bloom. Blue Scootaloo pulled on a green hood and said, “Apple Bloom! You have failed this city!”

Apple Bloom saw a passing stallion and ran after him. The recently-released arrow struck the spot where she had been standing.

“Goddammit!” said Blue Scootaloo.

“Excuse me, sir?” Apple Bloom said. The stallion turned around, adjusting his fez. “Would you like to buy some apples?”

The stallion raised an eyebrow. “Sorry, I’m not crazy about apples. Do you have fish fingers and custard?”

“Um…no?” said Apple Bloom.

“Then no.” said the stallion. He turned to his companion, a mare with a red-mane. “Come along, Pond.” The two walked away.

“Damn it!” said Apple Bloom.

“Apple Bloom!” said Applejack running up to her. “You’re supposed to be mah target! I mean, assistant!”

“Don’t worry!” said Apple Bloom. “Ah’ll help the next customer!” She spotted Berry Punch looking at the apples. “Hey! These apples go great with Crystal Skull vodka!”

“Ha!” said Berry Punch. “I wouldn’t drink that even if Ghostbusters was getting another sequel!”

“Um…” began Apple Bloom, “It is getting another sequel.”

“Whatever,” said Berry Punch darkly, “Bill Murray’s not getting my money.”

“Don’t you mean Dan Aykroyd?” asked Apple Bloom.

“Potato potahto,” said Berry Punch. “Which, ironically, brings us back to vodka.”

“I’m not sure if this is irony or not…” said Apple Bloom.

Berry Punch sighed and took a drink from a flask. “You damn kids…” she muttered as she walked away.

“Apple Bloom!” yelled Applejack. “What did I tell you about bringing up Ghostbusters? You know Walter Peck is a town hero!”

Apple Bloom wasn’t paying attention, as she was too busy putting apples in a pony’s bag. “That will be four bits please,” she said, holding out a hoof.

Bon Bon looked at the apples in her bag and glared at Apple Bloom. “I didn’t put those in my bag!” she argued in an odd voice.

“W-what’s the matter with your voice?” asked Apple Bloom.

Bon Bon’s eyes welled with tears and she started to cry. Loudly. “I broke up with Lyra and she used her magic to mess with my voice!”

“Oh…um…sorry?” said Apple Bloom. “Maybe you could talk with her and see if she’ll take the spell off. You could use those apples as a gift.”

Bon Bon brightened. “Really? You think that will work?”

“Ah know it!” said Apple Bloom. “You can even take them for free!”

“WHAT?!” yelled Applejack.

“Thank you so much!” said Bon Bon. She turned and ran in the opposite direction.

Apple Bloom happily walked back to Applejack, not noticing the death glare her sister was giving her. “Did Ah do good?” she asked excitedly.

Applejack grabbed Apple Bloom, turned her around, and kicked her. As Apple Bloom sailed through the air, Applejack hollered after her, “YOU’RE FIRED!”

Apple Bloom landed in front of Twist’s house. The bespectacled filly looked out of her door and asked, “Um…are you ok?”

With her face in the dirt, Apple Bloom’s response was slightly muffled. “Do Ah have a Cutie Mark?”

Twist looked. “Does a footprint count as a Cutie Mark?”

“No.”

“Then no,” said Twist. “Oh, but speaking of Cutie Marks, look at this!” Twist opened the door, revealing two candy canes on her flank. “I just got mine like, two seconds ago! Isn’t that great?”

Apple Bloom stared at the mark in horror. “You’re dead to me!” she sobbed, tears falling from her eyes. She turned and ran, screaming, “You’re dead to me!”

Twist watched as Apple Bloom ran away. “Does that mean you like it?” she called after her.

Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon ran out of Twist’s house, pointing and laughing at Apple Bloom. “Ha!” laughed Diamond Tiara. “She’s gonna be the only one at my party without a Cutie Mark! Isn’t that sad, Silver?”

“Unbelievably sad!” agreed Silver Spoon. “Right, Twist?”

Twist stared at the two. “How long have you two been in my house?”

“Since yesterday,” answered Diamond. “Why do you ask?”

Twist simply stared at her.

“I DON’T HAVE A PROBLEM, OK?!” screamed Diamond.

Silver Spoon nervously laughed and said, “Of course you don’t…” She leaned in close to Twist and whispered, “Whatever you do, for the love of God, don’t look her in the eyes.”

The Bar Mark-zvah

View Online

Apple Bloom collapsed near a well and sighed. “Ah need someone to show me how to get mah Cutie Mark,” she muttered to herself.

A blue blur crashed into the ground, causing dirt to fly everywhere. Apple Bloom coughed and watched as the dust cleared and revealed Rainbow Dash, her face in the dirt.

“Um…” began Apple Bloom. “Are you ok?”

Rainbow pulled her face off the ground and said woozily, “Never better!” She smiled, revealing that she had lost several teeth. She shook her head, regaining her senses, and said, “Look, do you want to earn your Cutie Mark?”

“Yes!” said Apple Bloom. “Can you help me?”

“Can I?!” said Rainbow Dash excitedly. “I’ll have you know that I was the first in my class to get a Cutie Mark.”

“Really? How?” asked Apple Bloom.

“When I was your age, I-” began Rainbow Dash.

Pinkie Pie appeared out of nowhere and tackled Rainbow Dash to the ground. “Save that for later in the season!” she yelled. She got off of Rainbow and walked away.

“…What was that about?” asked Apple Bloom.

Rainbow Dash curled up in the fetal position. “I don’t know, but I’m too traumatized to find out.”

“Ok,” said Apple Bloom. She looked at Rainbow Dash in concern. “Should Ah just go?”

Rainbow pulled herself up. “Nah,” she replied, “It’s nothing an obscene amount of alcohol won’t fix. Let’s go get you those breast implants.” She started to walk away.

“You mean mah Cutie Mark?” asked Apple Bloom, running to catch up.

“Right! What’d I say?”

And so, Apple Bloom’s training had begun. Her first, easily accomplishable task was to…

“Move the Earth?!” exclaimed Apple Bloom. “Ah can’t do that!”

“That sounds like quitter talk!” yelled Rainbow Dash. “If you want to get your Cutie Mark, you have to be prepared to do the impossible!”

Apple Bloom sighed and started to do push-ups. “Ah’m not sure if this will work.” She pointed out.

“Good point,” admitted Rainbow Dash. “How about you just try a bunch of random crap and see if you get your Cutie Mark?” She flew away and came back with a basket of red rubber balls. “First, go stand in front of that wall over there.” She pointed at a nearby barn.

Apple Bloom nodded and stood close to the wall of the barn. “Now what?” she asked, as Rainbow grabbed a ball from the basket.

“The first thing we’re going to try is dodgeball!” said Rainbow Dash. She chucked the ball as hard as she could.

Apple Bloom ducked to the ground as the ball crashed against the barn. She rolled away as another ball impacted into the ground where she was laying. “Um…Rainbow Dash?” she asked nervously.

Rainbow pulled out a wrench. “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!” she screamed as she threw it.

As Apple Bloom watched the wrench come closer, Applejack came around the corner of the barn and walked up to her. “There ya are, Apple Bloom. Look, Ah think Ah was too harsh on ya before. How about ya come back to the stand and-”

There was a thud as the wrench hit Applejack in the head. She fell to the ground, unconscious.

Apple Bloom and Rainbow Dash stared in horror.

“Um…” began Apple Bloom.

“No talking!” yelled Rainbow Dash. She quickly picked up Apple Bloom and flew as fast as she could. “Let’s try something else! Something far, far away from here!” She spotted a cliff and smiled. “That’ll do!” She landed on the cliff and put Apple Bloom down near the edge. “Part 2! Flying!”

“But Ah can’t-” began Apple Bloom. She was cut off as Rainbow Dash shoved her off the cliff.

Rainbow Dash watched the screaming filly as she fell. “…Probably should’ve given her a hang glider or something.”

Much later, after Apple Bloom had been released from the hospital, Rainbow Dash took her to the local dojo.

“Since when did Ponyville have a dojo?” asked Apple Bloom.

“Never mind that!” said Rainbow Dash. She pushed Apple Bloom towards a massive trophy case. “I want you to polish all of my trophies! Remember, ‘wax on, wax off’! It’ll teach you Karate!” She held up a rag.

Apple Bloom stared at the rag with a frown on her face. “No it won’t.” she said.

“No, it won’t.” admitted Rainbow Dash. “But…maybe you’ll get a Cutie Mark in trophy polishing?”

Apple Bloom sighed and leaned against the trophy case. “Ah’ll never get mah Cutie Mark…”

Rainbow gave the filly a comforting smile. “Hey, don’t worry! With me here, you’ll get a Cutie Mark in no time. I swear I will not stop, I will not rest, until you have your Cutie Mark.”

“Really?” said Apple Bloom. In her excitement, she bumped against the trophy case, which fell to the floor. The glass shattered on impact as trophies and ribbons went everywhere. The two ponies stared at the mess for a long while.

“Get out,” growled Rainbow Dash.

Apple Bloom quickly left the dojo. Once outside, she sighed sadly. “Ah blew it.” She muttered.

“Oh my God, Diamond! Your new outfit is perfect for the party!” came a familiar voice.

Apple Bloom turned to see Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon walking towards her. She quickly hid in some nearby bushes.

“I know it!” said Diamond Tiara smugly. “It will show off my Cutie Mark to everyone!”

“But Diamond…” began Silver Spoon, a frown appearing on her face. “What if ponies find out that-”

Diamond quickly pushed Silver up against the dojo, her arm pressing against the other filly’s throat. From inside the bushes, Apple Bloom watched as Diamond glared at Silver.

“No one is going to find out about you-know-what if a certain someone keeps their fat mouth shut.” She growled. She let go of Silver Spoon, who slid to the ground, coughing. “Now come on! I have my daddy’s credit card and it’s just begging to be used.”

Silver Spoon got back up, still rubbing her throat. “O-ok D-Diamond! Sounds good!” She laughed shakily. She quietly whimpered and ran after the other filly.

Apple Bloom walked out of the bushes. “That was weird. Ah wonder what they were talking about…”

“I can tell you what they weren’t talking about!” came a voice from behind her.

Apple Bloom quickly turned around to see Pinkie Pie smiling at her.

“They weren’t talking about how good my cupcakes are!” continued Pinkie. “Wanna come try some?”

Apple Bloom smiled sadly. “Thanks Pinkie, but Ah need to try and find mah Cutie Mark before Diamond Tiara’s party.”

“Well…” said Pinkie, thinking. “What if you helped me make the cupcakes? You might get a Cutie Mark in baking!”

Apple Bloom shrugged. “Worth a shot, Ah guess.” She blinked and looked around. They were inside Sugarcube Corner’s kitchen. “Um…weren’t we just outside?” she asked, confused.

“Yep!” said Pinkie Pie. “But Maniac92 was just going to use a transition anyway.”

Was not.

“Bullshit!” said Pinkie happily.

You win this round.

“Ok…” said Apple Bloom slowly. Desperate to change the topic, she looked around the kitchen. “So…where should we start?”

Pinkie took a deep breath.

Soon:

Apple Bloom mechanically poured flour into a bowl. “All you have to do is take a cup of flour, add it to the mix,” she said monotonously. She grabbed a bunch of candy and shoved them into the bowl. “Now just take a little something sweet, not sour, a bit of salt just a pinch.” She grabbed a salt shaker and threw it in to the bowl.

“Oh…” said Pinkie in understanding as she watched the brainwashed Apple Bloom work and sing. “That’s why I’m not allowed to sing that anymore.” She walked over to Apple Bloom.

“Cupcakes, so sweet and tasty, cupcakes…” droned Apple Bloom.

Pinkie Pie clapped her hooves together loudly.

Apple Bloom blinked. “What happened?” she asked. “Where am Ah?” She looked around the kitchen. There were mountains of cupcakes everywhere. “And what’s with all the cupcakes?” She twitched. “So s-sweet and…” She shook her head. “That was weird…”

“You baked all of them!” said Pinkie happily.

“Ah did?!” asked Apple Bloom. She looked at her flank excitedly. Her face fell when she saw it was still blank.

“Oh…” said Pinkie. “I guess it doesn’t count if I have to brainwash you…” She frowned and looked around the kitchen. “On the plus side…” she began, changing the subject, “You baked all the cupcakes we need for the party!” She looked at the clock. “Which is in about ten minutes.”

“Ten minutes!” screamed Apple Bloom. She ran for the door. “Ah need to get mah-” She ran into something and fell to the ground. She looked up to see Twilight holding her head in pain. “Sorry Twilight.” She said.

“That’s ok…” muttered Twilight. “I wanted a concussion anyway.” She shook her head and looked at the filly. “What are you running for, anyway?”

“Ah need to get mah Cutie Mark before Diamond Tiara’s party!” explained Apple Bloom. “And Ah’ve only got ten minutes!”

“Nine minutes,” said Pinkie Pie, watching the clock.

“NINE MINUTES!” screamed Apple Bloom. “Ah can’t get a Cutie Mark in nine minutes! Ah’d need a miracle or…” she trailed off, looking at Twilight. “Or magic!”

“Whoa whoa!” said Twilight. “I can’t just cast a spell and make your Cutie Mark appear. No one can. If somebody did, they’d be the most powerful Unicorn in…” Twilight’s eyes widened as she realized what she was saying. “The most powerful Unicorn in all of Equestria…” She began to laugh slowly, and, after a few moments, began cackling madly.

“Um…Twilight?” asked Apple Bloom, slightly scared.

“I’m going to help you!” said Twilight happily. “Once I prove that I can make a pony’s Cutie Mark appear, I’ll be the most powerful magic user ever! I’ll be on par with Princess Celestia!”

“I didn’t know she played golf,” said Pinkie Pie, still watching the clock. “Five minutes, by the way.”

“Hurry Twilight!” said Apple Bloom, turning to the side.

Twilight smiled and pointed her horn at Apple Bloom’s flank. A purple light enveloped her horn.

Nothing happened.

“W-why didn’t it work?” asked Twilight.

Suddenly, a large purple book appeared in front of Twilight. On its cover were the words, “DA RULES”. The book flipped open in front of Twilight.

“According to the rules, a pony cannot grant a Cutie Mark by magic,” read Twilight. She slammed the book in a rage. “Damn it! I thought I got rid of these rules when my goldfish stopped granting me wishes!”

“Um…what?” asked Apple Bloom.

Twilight threw herself on the ground and started pounding her hooves against the tile. “It’s not fair! I want to be the world’s most powerful Unicorn!” She started sobbing angrily.

Apple Bloom awkwardly patted Twilight’s head. “Ah’m sure you’ll be the world’s most powerful Unicorn someday.”

Twilight only increased her crying.

“Um…” began Apple Bloom, looking at the clock, “Ah’m just gonna go to the party, ok?” She slowly backed out of the kitchen and into Sugarcube Corner’s dining area.

The party was in full swing. Ponies from all over Ponyville had arrived to congratulate Diamond Tiara on her Cutie Mark.

“Hey, Rarity?” began Rainbow Dash. “Why do we care if some kid got her Cutie Mark? We don’t even know her.”

“Because her daddy controls most of the businesses in Ponyville, dear,” answered Rarity. “He controls our lives.”

“Oh, that’s right,” said Rainbow. She looked around. “So where’s the booze?”

“This is a party for children,” explained Rarity. “There is no booze.” She held up her glass. “See? Root Beer.”

“God, I hate kids,” grumbled Rainbow Dash. “And do you feel like you’re being watched?”

“Not at all,” said Rarity.

A few feet away, Scootaloo was staring at Rainbow Dash. She took out her cigarette and said, “Soon.”

Apple Bloom stood in the corner of the room. “Why am Ah even here?” she asked as she watched Diamond Tiara show off her Cutie Mark. She sighed and looked towards the exit. “Ah should just go.”

Applejack stumbled into the party, holding her head. “When Ah find that dumbass Pegasus…” she growled. She spotted Apple Bloom from across the room and waved. “Apple Bloom! Have you seen Rainbow Dash anywhere, Apple Bloom?” She started to yell. “Apple Bloom! Why aren’t you answering me, Apple Bloom?! APPLE BLOOM!”

“Hello, Apple Bloom,” came Diamond Tiara’s voice.

Apple Bloom sighed. “Goddammit, Applejack.” She turned around and saw both Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon smirking at her.

“Nice Cutie Mark, Apple Bloom,” said Diamond Tiara. She pretended to wince. “Oh, that’s right. You don’t have one, do you?” She laughed. “Isn’t it funny that she doesn’t have one, Silver?”

“Um…” began Silver Spoon nervously. “Am I supposed to laugh or…?”

Diamond Tiara rolled her eyes. “God, you’re dumb.” She glared at Apple Bloom. “I can’t believe that a blank flank like you would dare show up for my party!”

As Diamond began to yell, the other ponies in the room stopped to watch the scene.

“Um…Applejack?” asked Fluttershy. “Shouldn’t you help?”

Applejack had Rainbow Dash in a chokehold. “Ah will in a minute. Ah have to teach a certain someone about throwin’ wrenches around willy-nilly.”

“I said I’m sorry!” coughed Rainbow Dash as her face turned a darker shade of blue.

Diamond Tiara continued her tirade. “Blank Flanks like you make me sick! If a pony doesn’t know what their special talent is, then what good are they?! If I was in charge I would-”

“HEY!” yelled Scootaloo. She took out her cigarette and crushed it in her hooves. “What the fuck’s your problem?”

“Yes,” said Sweetie Belle as she walked over to Apple Bloom. She help up a knife and pointed it at Diamond Tiara. “Tell us what you have against blank flanks.”

“Why do the two of you care?” asked Silver Spoon.

Scootaloo walked over to Apple Bloom and took off her leather jacket. On Apple Bloom’s other side, Sweetie Belle took off her black armor. They both turned and showed sides, revealing that both of them didn’t have a Cutie Mark.

“Not having a Cutie Mark means that we have a lot of potential,” said Sweetie Belle. “We don’t know what our talents will be, which means they could be anything.”

“Unlike you,” added Scootaloo, “Whose Cutie Mark is a fucking crown.”

“It. Is. A. Tiara,” growled Diamond. She cleared her throat and said, “You know what? This is my party. I don’t have to listen to this bullshit. Come on Silver.” She turned around and began to walk away.

“Um…Diamond?” said Silver Spoon nervously.

“What, you simpleton?!” yelled Diamond Tiara.

Silver Spoon pointed a shaky hoof at the floor, where a pink piece of paper with a tiara on it was laying.

Diamond Tiara’s eyes went wide and looked at her flank, where there was nothing but pink fur.

“You’re a blank flank too?!” asked Apple Bloom.

A piece of grey paper fell off of Silver Spoon, taking her Cutie Mark with it.

“Both of you?!” said Sweetie Belle.

Scootaloo smirked. “You were right, Diamond Tiara. This is your party.” She pointed to the crowded room. “And it looks like the whole town just saw your little secret.”

Diamond Tiara looked around the room. She gulped and quickly ran out of the building, Silver Spoon right behind her.

Apple Bloom picked up the paper with Diamond Tiara’s fake Cutie Mark on it. “Ah can’t believe she did all of that when she didn’t even have a Mark.” She turned to the other two fillies. “Thanks guys.”

Scootaloo lit up another cigarette. “Yeah, yeah. What are friends for?”

“Are we friends?” asked Apple Bloom.

“Of course!” roared Sweetie Belle. “I need all the allies I can get in overthrowing my parents!”

“What’s a parent?” asked both Scootaloo and Apple Bloom in unison.

Apple Bloom thought for a moment. “Maybe we should all work together to try and get our Cutie Marks. What do you think?”

“Yes!” said Sweetie Belle. “A secret society dedicated to showing the world that I, Sweetie Belle, am destined to conquer all!”

Scootaloo blew out some smoke. “I don’t know about that, but getting our Cutie Marks could work.”

“We need a name though,” said Apple Bloom. “How about the Cutie Mark Crusaders?”

“That is foolish!” said Sweetie Belle.

“You have a better idea?” asked Scootaloo, lowering her sunglasses so she could peer at the other filly.

“…Cutie Mark Crusaders it is,” agreed Sweetie Belle.

Scootaloo smiled. “How about we talk over some cupcakes?”

Apple Bloom’s eyes widened. “Add a little more and you count to four, and you never get your fill-a…” she droned. “Cupcakes…”

I Am Iron Pony

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At Sweet Apple Acres, the peaceful quiet-

“YES!” cheered a voice. “IN YOUR FACE!”

Was shattered.

Rainbow Dash and Applejack were playing horseshoes near the barn. Rainbow Dash had just thrown her horseshoe. It sailed through the air and landed several feet past the stake.

“Let’s see you beat that!” challenged Rainbow.

“Um, Sugarcube?” began Applejack. She pointed at the stake. “You know the goal of this game is to throw your horseshoe at the stake, not past it, right?”

Rainbow Dash looked at the stake and then back to Applejack. “Well…shit.”

Applejack picked up a horseshoe and was about to toss it.

“DON’T MISS!” screamed Rainbow Dash.

Applejack flinched as she threw her horseshoe. It sailed through the air and landed several feet in front of the stake. Applejack turned and glared at Rainbow.

“What?” Rainbow shrugged. “I told you not to miss.” She picked up another horseshoe. “Now, watch the master at work!” She chucked the horseshoe as hard as she could.

Granny Smith hobbled around the corner. “Applejack!” she yelled. “Ah told ya to stop playin’ with yer friends and-” The horseshoe Rainbow Dash threw smacked Granny Smith in the face, knocking her over. “Mah hip!”

Applejack and Rainbow Dash stared at the pained old mare.

“Let’s play somethin’ else,” said Applejack.

“Good thinking,” agreed Rainbow Dash. She paused for a moment. “Hey, what if we had a competition? An Iron Pony competition!”

The two heard the sound of rockets and the music of ACDC and looked up. A figure in a suit of high-tech armor was hovering above them.

“I am Iron Pony!” he shouted.

“Not you, Pony Stark,” said Rainbow Dash.

“Aw,” said Iron Pony. He flew away in shame.

“Anyway…” said Rainbow Dash, turning back to Applejack. “A series of events to prove who the best athlete is!”

“Ah don’t know…” said Applejack. “Ah should probably spend time with mah family and work on the farm.”

The two ponies looked at each other and promptly burst out laughing.

The next day, Applejack brought Rainbow Dash, Twilight Sparkle, and Spike to an empty area in the orchard.

“So…you two are doing sports?” asked Twilight.

“Yep!” said Applejack.

“Physical activity?” continued Twilight.

“Yes,” replied Rainbow Dash as she began stretching.

“I see…” said Twilight. “Then why the hell am I here?”

“We need someone to referee,” explained Applejack.

“But I don’t know anything about refereeing!” argued Twilight.

“We know,” said Rainbow, who had started to do pelvic thrusts. “That’s why we’re giving you…” She stopped and out a book, “This!”

Twilight took the book and read the cover. “An Egghead’s Guide to Refereeing?”

Applejack nodded. “We know the book’s pretty big, and you’ll probably need time to-”

“Done!” said Twilight happily as she closed the book.

“…You read all of that that quick?” asked a shocked Rainbow Dash.

“Uh-huh!” nodded Twilight.

Spike looked at Applejack and Rainbow Dash’s shocked expressions and smirked. “You don’t know her very well, do you?”
Soon, an entire competition area was set up in the middle of the apple orchard. Areas for the events, stands for the audience, and even a large scoreboard were set up for the Iron Pony competition.

“Hello everyone!” yelled Spike, wielding a stick.

“What the hell are you doing?” asked Twilight as she walked up to him.

Spike turned and whispered, “I’m the announcer for the Iron Pony competition. I’m going to provide commentary.”

“…And you’re using a stick?” asked Twilight.

Spike glared at her. “If I got paid more, maybe I could afford a real microphone.”

Twilight burst out laughing. “You? Paid?” She walked off, howling with laughter.

Spike held up the stick and continued, “It’s a beautiful day at Sweet Apple Acres as the first ever Iron Pony competition is about to begin! Today’s competition is sponsored by Twilight’s A Bitch! Yes, Twilight’s A Bitch, bringing you bitchiness since episode 1.”

“I heard that!” yelled Twilight.

“Good, you were supposed to!” hollered Spike. He turned and said, “And it looks like the audience is finally showing up!”

Rarity, Fluttershy, and Pinkie Pie all walked into the area, looking confused.

“What’s going on?” asked Rarity.

“It looks like a sports thing!” said Pinkie Pie.

Fluttershy paled. “Oh God…”

“What?” asked Rarity.

Fluttershy sighed. “It’s a sports thing. A sports thing that Rainbow Dash is apparently part of.” She pointed at the blue Pegasus, who was scratching herself. “Rainbow doesn’t really do well in competitions. She might get a little-”

“Hey Applejack!” yelled Rainbow Dash. “Looks like I get to embarrass you in front of everyone! Promise you won’t cry too much after I beat you!” She put her hooves to her eyes and pretended to cry. “Boo-hoo! I couldn’t keep up with Rainbow Dash! She’s the best athlete that’s ever existed! I sure wish I was as amazingly wonderfully talented as her!”

“…Competitive,” finished Fluttershy.

As Twilight held Applejack back, Spike held up the stick and yelled, “Let the games begin! And may the odds be ever in your favor!”

“Why do I feel like killing people?” asked Fluttershy.

“That’s how you always feel!” said Pinkie cheerfully.

“Oh yeah,” said Fluttershy.

Everyone went over to the first event, where a long stretch of dirt ended with a finish line, which had a whole bunch of barrels stacked together. Fluttershy was awkwardly standing by the barrels, looking confused.

“Hang on,” said Applejack. “Aren’t those barrels supposed to be on the track for us to go around?”

“It was!” said Spike. “But our test audiences found that a little boring.”

“Test audiences?” asked Rainbow Dash as everyone looked at Spike in confusion.

“Pinkie,” explained Spike.

“I demand entertainment!” yelled Pinkie Pie.

“So,” continued Spike, “I tweaked this event a little! Just run to the finish line without getting hit by a barrel!”

“Uh, ok?” said Applejack uncertainly. “It’s gonna be pretty easy with no barrels on the track.”

“Ready?” asked Twilight, a timer in her hooves. “Set? GO!”

Applejack took off like a shot, blazing down the track.

“Fluttershy!” yelled Spike. “Applejack said that you’re fat!”

Fluttershy’s eyes widened. A lone tear dripped down her face before her sad look was replaced by one of pure anger. “I WILL DEEESTROOOY YOUUUUUU!” she screamed. She grabbed a barrel and threw it at Applejack.

“Oh shit!” yelled Applejack. She narrowly dodged the barrel, which broke apart on the track. She kept running as Fluttershy threw barrel after barrel at her.

“You think you’re stronger than Shy?” asked Fluttershy. “SHY STRONGEST THERE IS!” She chucked two barrels at Applejack.

The barrels hit Applejack, causing her to fall on the track.

Twilight winced and said, “Applejack’s out! She did not finish.” She turned to Rainbow Dash and said, “Good luck.”

Rainbow Dash scoffed and took her position on the starting line. “I’ve got this.”

“Ready?” asked Twilight nervously. “Set? Go!”

Rainbow Dash took off, running down the track faster than Applejack did.

“Fluttershy!” yelled Spike. “Rainbow Dash said you fart all the time!”

“Damn it Dash!” yelled Fluttershy, grabbing a barrel. “I told you about my irritable bowels in confidence!” She hurled the barrel at the running Pegasus.

Rainbow Dash put on a burst of speed, avoiding every barrel Fluttershy threw.

Applejack crawled out of the debris of the barrels that hit her and watched as Rainbow Dash ran past her.

“Gotta go fast!” yelled Rainbow Dash, sprinting past the Earth pony.

“Rainbow!” yelled Applejack, before she was hit by another barrel.

“Faster, faster, f-f-f-faster!” yelled Rainbow Dash as she sped past the finish line. “Yes!” She yelled, pumping her hoof in the air. “I’m awesome!”

“FLUTTERS TOO STRONG!” yelled Fluttershy as she dove on Rainbow Dash.

“Get her off me!” screamed Rainbow as she was pummeled.

“On to the next event!” said Spike cheerfully.

“Hey,” said Twilight, pointing at the gates, “It looks like more ponies are coming to watch.”

Several of the townsfolk wandered into the area, looking around at all the events that were set up.

“Where are all my barrels?” asked one. “Some purple dinosaur stole all the barrels I had!”

“Next event!” said Spike quickly, taking off at a run. He stopped in front of a tall test-your-strength game, like you’d find at a carnival. “Ok, for this next event,” he pointed at a target at the bottom of the game, “You guys will kick the target, which will move this weight,” he pointed to a weight that was resting on the target, “Which will shoot up depending on how hard you kick.” He pointed to a bell at the top of the game. “The goal is to try and hit the bell. Who wants to go-”

“ME!” yelled Rainbow Dash, running forward. She kicked out and hit Spike, who was slammed back into the target. The weight shot up and hit the bell. “YES!”

“Very good…” wheezed Spike. He attempted to get back up. “Now, as soon as I get out of the way, Applejack can-”

“Shit, that’s nothin’ Rainbow!” said Applejack, walking forward. “Watch this!” She turned around and kicked out, hitting Spike in the chest. Spike slammed into the target so hard, the weight shot up and knocked the bell clean off.

Applejack turned to a shocked Rainbow Dash and said smugly, “Years of Applebucking.”

“Damn it!” yelled Rainbow Dash.

“Onto the next event!” said Twilight happily. The crowd followed her, leaving Spike slumped against the target.

“I taste blood…” he moaned.

Twilight ran back to Spike and picked him up with her magic. “We need you for the next event Spike!”

“Lucky me…” moaned Spike.

Twilight ran inside a fenced off area where Applejack was waiting. Twilight walked towards Applejack and put Spike on her back and a cowboy hat on Spike’s head.

Applejack turned to grin at Spike. “Make sure you get a good grip, Sugarcube. You’re about to go for a ride!”

Spike blushed and said, “I can’t tell whether to be scared or aroused by that comment.” He grabbed Applejack’s flanks.

Applejack moaned, a blush on her face. “Don’t grab so low…”

“Definitely aroused,” said Spike, moving his hands up.

“Ready?” asked Twilight. “Go!”

Applejack bucked, causing Spike to flail around on her back. After several seconds, Spike flew off her back, and landed hard on the ground.

“And now I’m in pain,” he moaned. “Definitely in pain.”

Rainbow Dash stepped forward, standing above Spike. She turned around and bent over. “Come on, Spike! Hop on!”

Spike’s face went red again. “You mean on your back, right?”

Rainbow Dash looked back at Spike with half-lidded eyes and a small smirk. “Whatever works for you, stud.”

Spike blushed harder and climbed on Rainbow’s back.

“How does it feel being on top?” asked Rainbow Dash.

“Would you stop?!” asked Spike desperately. “I know you like girls!”

Rainbow laughed. “Oh, Spike. I’m Rainbow Dash. Everybody is fair game.” She turned and licked her lips. “Even if they’re a dragon.”

Spike’s jaw dropped.

“GO!” yelled Twilight.

Rainbow Dash bucked once. In Spike’s distracted state, he easily slid off her back.

“Rainbow Dash wins!” said Twilight.

Spike groaned from the ground. “Did you say that just so you would win?”

Rainbow Dash smirked and stood over Spike. She put her face centimeters from his. “How about we find out after this thing is over?” she whispered. “My place or yours?”

Spike’s eyes rolled back in his head and he passed out.

As Spike took a very cold shower, the events continued. The competitions ranged from lassoing, to bouncing balls on their heads, to throwing hay bales, to arm wrestling, to mud wrestling-

“Wait,” asked Spike from the shower, “What was that last one?”

Mud wrestling.

“I thought so,” said the dragon as he turned the water temperature even colder.

Throughout each of the events, the crowd grew larger and larger until it was time for the last event.

The last event was so grueling, so painful, so jaw-droppingly amazing that Spike couldn’t just spend it in the shower.

“I can’t?” asked Spike.

NO! Spike had to hurry if he wanted to watch the most amazing thing that has ever happened in his young life!

“…Did you not pay attention when I was getting hit on?” asked Spike.

It’s even better than that.

“Fine, I’ll go,” said Spike, turning off the shower. He grabbed a towel and dried himself off. “But it better not be anything stupid like-”

Moments later:

“TUG-OF-WAR!” announced Twilight as Applejack and Rainbow Dash stood on opposite ends of a large mud puddle.

“I hurried for this?” asked Spike. He sighed and looked down at himself. “Well, at least that shower got me clean.”

Pinkie Pie pushed Spike, yelling, “Isn’t this fun, Spike?”

The dragon lost his balance and fell in the mud. He glared at Pinkie before sighing. “Yeah, that figures.”

“Go!” yelled Twilight.

Applejack and Rainbow Dash both grabbed the ends of the rope and started to tug. Each of them gave it their all to pull the other into the mud.

Applejack gave a mighty tug.

Rainbow Dash’s eyes widened as she was pulled forward. She would have fallen into the mud for sure…only she began flying at the last second. She flew upwards, lifting Applejack up over the mud.

Applejack’s eyes widened as she suddenly found herself in the air. She opened her mouth in surprise, letting go of the rope…and falling into the mud.

“Yes!” said Rainbow Dash as the crowd cheered. “I won! I’m the best I’m the best I’m the best!”

“Hold on!” yelled Applejack, getting out of the mud. “That wasn’t fair! You can’t just use your wings to win!”

“Uh, duh,” said Rainbow Dash, “I just did.”

“That’s cheating!” said Applejack. She turned to Twilight and asked, “Isn’t it against the rules?”

Twilight pulled out An Egghead’s Guide to Refereeing. “I know there was a chapter on Pegasus and Earth pony competitions…” She flipped to the back of the book. “Ah! Here it is!” She began to read, “If a Pegasus pony and an Earth pony are playing tug-of-war and the Pegasus uses their wings to win, then this is definitely, absolutely, without a doubt…” Twilight paused, flipping the page. She stared at the book in horror. “The last page is gone!”

“What?!” asked Applejack.

Twilight held out the book, which appeared to have had a page ripped out of it.

Applejack turned back to Rainbow Dash, who had a page in her hooves. Applejack was able to get a glimpse of the words, “Against the rules” before Rainbow opened her mouth and shoved the page inside.

“You tore out the page!” yelled Applejack. “You knew you were cheating.”

Rainbow swallowed the page. “I don’t know what you’re talking-” She coughed suddenly and clutched her throat. “I think I have paper cuts in my esophagus.”

“If you didn’t have those wings, you wouldn’t have won!” said Applejack.

“Bullshit!” yelled Rainbow Dash. “I could beat you with my wings tied behind my back!”

“Fine,” said Applejack.

“Fine what?” asked Rainbow.

“Tomorrow’s the annual Running of the Leaves,” explained Applejack. “I challenge you to a race! And you can’t use your wings at all!”

“Ha! Easy!” said Rainbow. “You’re on!”

Applejack smiled and walked away.

Twilight walked over to Rainbow Dash and asked, “Are you sure about this, Rainbow?”

Rainbow laughed. “Don’t worry, Twilight! With my wings, I’m sure to win!”

“…But you just agreed not to use your wings. At all,” pointed out Twilight.

Rainbow Dash’s eyes widened. “Oh fuck…”

Starting Line Standoff

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“Spike!” called Twilight as she opened the front door. “Hurry up! We need to head to the race!”

“Um…just a second!” came Spike’s voice from upstairs.

“What could you possibly be doing that is so important?” asked Twilight.

“Uh…” began Spike’s voice. “It’s not so much of what I’m doing. It’s more like who I’m doing.”

“What? What do you-” Twilight thought for a moment and frowned. “Rainbow Dash, get down here!”

After a few seconds, Rainbow Dash walked down the stairs. “Hey!” she greeted. “Where’s breakfast?”

Twilight pointed out the open door. “Get out of here!”

Rainbow rolled her eyes. “Fine, fine. See you at the race.” She flew out the door as Spike walked down the stairs.

“Not cool, Twilight!” said Spike. “We were just getting started!”

Twilight sighed. “I really need to invest in some locks for this place. Now are you coming?”

“I didn’t get a chance to-” began Spike.

“I meant to the race!” yelled Twilight. She let Spike climb on her back. “Seriously, Spike. I thought you liked Rarity.”

“I do!” said Spike. “But I can’t help it if everyone wants a piece of me!”

“Spike, Rainbow Dash wanted you,” said Twilight. “Rainbow Dash. She’s literally tried to seduce everyone in Ponyville.”

A few days ago:

Twilight walked up to Applejack’s home and knocked on the front door. “Applejack?” she called. “Are you home?”

The front door swung open and Rainbow Dash walked out. “Thanks for the good time, Granny Smith!” she called.

Granny Smith poked her head out the window and smiled toothlessly at Rainbow Dash. “Yer gonna call me after this right?”

“Of course!” laughed Rainbow. She turned to Twilight and mouthed “No”.

Now:

“Look,” said Spike, “I don’t judge you about your creepy painting fetish.”

“It is not a ‘creepy painting fetish’!” yelled Twilight. “What I do with Star Swirl’s portrait on my Friday nights are none of your business!”

“Fine, fine,” said Spike. “It’s a perfectly normal relationship between a mare and a painting of a dead guy. Now let’s go to the race already!”

As Twilight exited the library and walked to the race, she asked, “Why are you excited about this? It’s a race for ponies only.”

“Hah!” laughed Spike. “Like I want to run around like a sweaty idiot!”

Twilight glared at Spike. “You do know I’m competing in this thing?”

“Uh…I meant a sweaty…genius?” said Spike.

Twilight smiled, her anger disappearing. “Oh, ok!”

Spike breathed a sigh of relief and continued, “What I really want to do is announce again! Watch this shit!” Spike pulled out the same stick he had been talking into yesterday.

“…Where were you keeping that?” asked Twilight.

“I don’t want to say,” began Spike, “But I should probably wash my hands after touching this thing.” He cleared his throat, opened his mouth, and-

“Welcome to the annual Running of the Leaves!” said a familiar voice.

“Wow Spike!” said Twilight, impressed. “That’s one hell of a Pinkie impression!”

“That wasn’t me!” said Spike. He pointed up in the sky. “Look!”

Twilight looked up and saw a hot air balloon in the sky. “Is that Pinkie up there?” she asked.

Sure enough, the pink pony was in the balloon’s basket, speaking into a megaphone. “This is Pinkie Pie! I’ll be your announcer for this year’s race!”

“That bitch stole my job!” yelled Spike. “I will have vengeance!”

“And here to help me…” began Pinkie. She reached behind her and pulled Spike out of nowhere. “Is Spike the Dragon!”

“What the hell?!” asked Spike, suddenly finding himself in the basket.

“What the hell?!” asked Twilight, looking at her back. Her assistant had seemingly just teleported off of her.

“What the hell…” began Pinkie. She poked Spike’s nose. “Were you thinking, Spike? Of course I wasn’t about to take your job! I want you to be an announcer with me!”

Spike blinked, then smiled. “Wow Pinkie, thanks!”

“No problem!” said Pinkie. She spoke into the megaphone. “As everyone knows, the Running of the Leaves is a very important tradition! I mean, how else would the autumn leaves fall off the trees?” She waited for a moment. “Spike! I’m asking you a question!”

“Oh!” said Spike, surprised. “Um, they would fall off on their own?”

Pinkie, Twilight, and every other pony on the ground burst out laughing.

“No,” laughed Pinkie, wiping the tears out of her eyes, “Come on. Let’s get serious.” Still chuckling, she turned back to the megaphone. “Everyone get ready! The Run begins in five minutes!”

Several ponies walked towards the starting line, numbers on their sides. Every pony in Ponyville gathered around to watch the competitors get ready.

Applejack, with a number 8 on her side, began stretching. She gazed at the orange, red, and yellow leaves on the trees and breathed in the crisp autumn air. She could win this. She just had to concen-

“APPLEJACK!” yelled a voice.

Startled, Applejack jumped. She turned to see Rainbow Dash flying towards her. “Ready to lose?” She landed, and Applejack saw a number 11 on her side.

“Ah’m ready to win a good, clean race,” said Applejack. “Speakin’ of…” She grabbed a nearby rope and tied Rainbow Dash’s wings to her sides. “There!”

Rainbow Dash stared at the rope around her, and then smirked. “Why Applejack, I didn’t know you were into this sort of thing.”

“W-what?” asked Applejack.

“I mean,” began Rainbow, “I’d certainly enjoy being tied up by you, but we can do that tonight if you really want to.”

Applejack blushed a deep red. “Sh-shut up! Ah did that to stop ya from cheatin’ during the race!”

“Whatever you say,” said Rainbow. “Just remember there are kids watching this.”

Applejack put her hat over her red face. “Goddammit, Dash.”

“Racers!” came Pinkie’s voice over her megaphone. “Please take your positions.”

Rainbow grinned at Applejack. “She doesn’t mean those kind of positions, if that’s what you’re thinking.”

Applejack threw her hat at Rainbow. “Shut up!”

“Hey girls!” said Twilight, walking over to them. She had the number 42 on her sides. “Ready to race?”

“You?” asked Applejack.

“You’re going to race?” said Rainbow incredulously.

“Yeah!” said Twilight. She pointed to her side. “See? 42! It’s the answer to-”

“If you make a Hitchhiker’s Guide quote, I’m quitting!” yelled Spike over the megaphone.

“Fine!” huffed Twilight.

“But you’re not an athlete!” said Rainbow Dash. “You’re an egghead!”

“…You know I’m going to win this thing, right?” asked Twilight.

“How do you reckon?” asked Applejack, putting her hat back on her head.

“Uh, hello?” asked Twilight. “Main character? There’s no way I can lose!”

“Oh yeah?” asked Rainbow. “I’m just as much of a main character as you!”

“Me too!” said Applejack.

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, ok AJ?” said Rainbow Dash. She turned back to Twilight, ignoring Applejack’s glare. “Look, you’re not a racer, you’re not a runner, you don’t even walk half the time! You just teleport everywhere!”

“Name one time!” challenged Twilight.

Two Days Ago:

Twilight was reading in the library. “God, I could go for some cider,” she said. Her horn flashed and she vanished.

At Sweet Apple Acres, Applejack was surprised to see Twilight suddenly appear in the kitchen and grab a mug of apple cider. “Hi Applejack!” said Twilight. Her horn flashed and she disappeared.

She reappeared in the library, flipped a page from her book, and took a sip of cider.

Four Days Ago:

“Hey look!” said Rainbow Dash, looking away from the other girls and down the path, where a familiar purple Unicorn was standing. “Hey Twilight!”

There was a flash and Twilight was standing in front of them. “Hey girls!”

A Week Ago:

Twilight paused as she was stocking the bookshelves in her library. “I’ve got to use the bathroom,” she said, holding her stomach. There was a flash and she disappeared.

From inside the bathroom, Spike shrieked and yelled, “A little privacy, please?!”

Now:

“I said one time!” yelled Twilight. “Look, I promise I won’t teleport during the race, ok?”

“Well…ok,” said Rainbow.

Applejack smiled. “So you won’t teleport, Rainbow won’t fly, so we’ll all just run a nice friendly race! Good luck to both of ya!”

“Yeah, good luck!” said Twilight, smiling.

“Good luck!” repeated Rainbow. She smirked. “You bitches are gonna need it!”

“Ok, everyone! Are you ready to RUMBLE!” asked Pinkie.

“What?” asked a small Pegasus colt from the crowd.

“Not you, Rumble,” explained Spike. He turned to the megaphone. “Get set!”

The racers all got ready to run and the crowd went silent with anticipation.

“GO!” yelled both Pinkie and Spike.

The runners took off, leaving a trail of dust in their wake…aside from Rainbow Dash, who was sweating nervously.

“Ok…I can’t fly…no big deal!” she said to herself. “Now…” She looked down at her legs. “How do I use these things again?”

Things Are Getting A Little Racey, Aren't They?

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The beautiful autumn leaves fell off the trees as the racing ponies thundered past. Several were going all out in their attempt to win the race.

“Hello everyone!” said Pinkie from up in her hot air balloon. She spoke into a megaphone that was attached to the balloon’s basket. “Welcome to the official coverage of this year’s Running of the Leaves!”

“That’s right, Pinkie!” said Spike, standing by Pinkie with a microphone in his hands. “You know, despite the name, the leaves don’t do any of the running.”

Pinkie glared at Spike. “Don’t steal my material, kid,” she growled.

“Oh…sorry?” said Spike. “Anyway, it’s the running of the ponies that causes the autumn leaves to fall.”

“It’s true!” said Pinkie. “But this year, the Run is about more than the weather. It’s about the rivalry between Applejack and Rainbow Dash.”

“I know!” agreed Spike. “Those two have been at each other’s throats for a long time. Like…since yesterday!”

Pinkie squinted down at the racers. “I see Applejack in front of everyone, but where is…”

“OK, I’M RUNNING!” yelled a voice. Pinkie and Spike looked down to see a rainbow-colored blur blaze past everyone.

Applejack looked to her side to see Rainbow Dash running alongside her with a panicked look on her face. “Um…you ok there, Sugarcube?”

“I’m fine, I’m fine!” said Rainbow Dash. She whispered, “How do I stop running?”

Applejack smiled and put on a burst of speed. “Ah’ll tell ya when ya reach the finish line!”

“No! Tell me now!” yelled Rainbow Dash, running after her. “I just barely figured out how to use these things!”

From up in the balloon, Spike spoke into the microphone, “They’re neck-and-neck, but the rest of the racers aren’t far behind! Clearly, this is anyone’s race!”

“Isn’t Twilight racing too?” asked Pinkie. “She could win!”

Spike burst out laughing. “Come on,” he said, trying to get his breath back, “Let’s be a little serious here.”

Back on the ground, Applejack and Rainbow Dash were fighting for first place. Every time one of them got ahead of the other, the other would catch up to them.

“You alright there, Rainbow?” asked Applejack. “You’re looking a little blue in the face.”

“Oh yeah?” asked Dash as she tried to get ahead. “Well…you…you look a little orange in the face!” She paused. “That doesn’t make sense. That doesn’t…Goddammit…” She looked around. “Ok…time to fight a little dirty.” She stuck her hoof out.

Applejack tripped over Rainbow’s hoof and crashed into the ground. She groaned as she picked herself up, watching every other race run by her.

“Hey,” said Daisy, “I think Applejack’s hurt! Should we stop?”

“Fuck that bitch!” yelled Berry Punch, taking a sip from a bottle of beer.

“I don’t-” began Applejack.

A blonde young man with an orange jumpsuit appeared out of nowhere and yelled, “BELIEVE IT!” Noticing Applejack stare at him, he gave her a thumbs up and said, “Read Naru-”

A bolt of purple magic hit the loudmouth ninja, making him disappear.

“Nobody reads Naruto,” said Twilight as she walked up to Applejack. “Not even Naruto.”

“Forget the cameos and references, Twilight!” said Applejack. “Rainbow Dash just tripped me!”

“…Are you sure you didn’t just trip over a rock?” asked Twilight.

“Only if that rock was shaped like Rainbow’s leg!” said Applejack, running off.

“You should go slower!” yelled Twilight. “Like me!” She looked around, seeing nobody around her. “Yep. Last place. Just me…” She frowned. “Fuck, I’m not gonna win.”

Back at the front of the race, Rainbow Dash was panting as she sprinted down the track. “So…tired…gonna…hurl…” she moaned. She looked behind her, but saw no one. She looked down at her legs. “Ok…I’m going to try to slow down…” She closed her eyes and gritted her teeth. She slowed from a full-on sprint to a dead stop. She opened her eyes and smiled. “Ha!” She lifted one of her legs and looked at it. “These things are great! Why did I never notice them before?”

“Because you use your wings for everything!” yelled Applejack as she ran by.

“Oh shit!” said Rainbow Dash, watching Applejack run by.

“I don’t believe it!” said Spike from the balloon. “After being tripped up by Rainbow Dash, Applejack is back in first place! Isn’t this exciting, Pinkie?”

Pinkie looked up from her handheld video game and said, “Oh yeah, super exciting.” She looked back down at her game. “So there’s like…13 Xehanorts running around? I don’t understand what’s happening…”

“It looks like Rainbow Dash is having a hard time starting again!” said Spike.

Back on the ground, Rainbow Dash was busy cautiously putting on hoof forward. “Ok…it’s just like last time, Dash. Just one hoof in front of the other…” She lightly pressed her hoof into the ground.

Rainbow took off like a shot, screaming all the way.

Rainbow Dash easily caught back up with Applejack. “Is this thing over yet?!” sobbed Dash. “I don’t like running!”

“Ah can help ya with that!” said Applejack, an evil grin on her face. She stuck her hoof out. “One cheatin’ turn deserves another!”

Rainbow tripped over Applejack’s hoof and fell to the ground hard. The other racers thundered past Dash as she was on the ground.

“I think Rainbow Dash is hurt!” said Bon Bon. “Should we stop?”

“OvER YouR dEAD BOdy!” yelled Caramel.

The racers ran past, leaving Dash all alone. She got up and said, “Fuck! I can’t believe Applejack tripped me! I mean, I know I did it to her…but it’s still rude!”

Rainbow Dash heard loud panting and turned around. Twilight was slowly walking towards her, clutching her chest.

“Um…are you okay?” asked Rainbow Dash, concerned.

Twilight shook her head, still panting heavily. “I…think…I’m…having a….heart attack…” She hobbled past Dash.

Rainbow Dash shook her head. “Anyway…Applejack thinks she can cheat? Just because I cheated? Well, two can play at that game!” She began to laugh evilly.

“Um…Rainbow?” said Spike from up in the balloon. “Shouldn’t you catch up to Applejack?”

“I Mayo may not,” said Rainbow, running off.

Pinkie Pie paused her game and looked up at the sky. “Did you just make a pun about condiments? Really?”

You know you relish it.

Pinkie Pie just stared at the sky with a frown on her face.

SHUT UP, I AM EXTREMELY FUNNY!

Pinkie sighed and said, “Let’s just get back to the race.”

“It looks like Rainbow’s trying to ketchup to the leaders!” said Spike.

Pinkie frowned at the sky.

“It looks like Rainbow Dash is overtaking Applejack!” said Spike excitedly.

Sure enough, the blue Pegasus had caught up to the Earth pony, and was making her way forward. As they kept running, they entered a large forest.

“It looks like the racers are entering the Whitetail Wood!” said Spike. “And it looks like Rainbow is back in the lead.”

Rainbow looked behind her at Applejack. She smirked and looked forward, seeing a low hanging branch. “Perfect!” she said. She grabbed the branch as she ran past, pulling it back. She let go and it shot back to its original position.

Applejack suddenly found herself on the ground, a stinging pain in her face. She quickly got back up and glared at Rainbow Dash. “So that’s how she wants this race to go, huh?” she growled. She pulled the branch back and sat on it. It sprang back, launching Applejack forward.

Meanwhile, Rainbow Dash was laughing to herself. “That slowpoke will never-” She was cut off as Applejack soared by her. “Hey!” yelled Rainbow. “I thought we said no flying!”

Applejack looked back as she sailed through the air. “Ah never said no flying. Ah said no wings!” She hit the ground at a run and kept going. She smirked as she saw a beehive in a fast-approaching tree. She kicked the tree, sending the beehive falling towards Rainbow Dash.

“NO!” yelled Rainbow. “NOT THE BEES!” She dodged the beehive, which hit the ground. A swarm of angry bees came out of the hive and chased after Rainbow.

Applejack heard horrible screaming as Rainbow Dash ran past her, with the bees hot on her trail. “THEY’RE IN MY EYES! NO!!!” screamed Rainbow.

Rainbow looked around desperately. She saw a nearby bush and jumped in. The bees paused in front of the bush.

“Oi,” said one, “Where’d that slag run off to?”

“Fuck if I know,” said another bee.

“Bugger this!” said another. “Let’s just hit the pub.”

“You always want to hit the pub!” said another.

“So you don’t want to go?”

“I never said that,” said the bee. The swarm flew off, leaving Rainbow alone.

Rainbow Dash sighed as she walked out of the bush. “Trapped in a bush,” she began, “Just another Friday for Rainbow…hey…” she looked at a nearby sign that had been set up for the racers. It pointed to the path on the right. Rainbow flipped the sign so it pointed to the path on the left, which led into the mountains. She then hid back in the bushes.

Applejack ran by, looked at the sign, and paused. “Damn,” she said, “Ah wish Ah could read.” She ran down the path on the right.

“What?!” said Rainbow, getting out of the bushes. “No!” she ran after Applejack.

“I’ve gotta say Spike,” said Pinkie from her balloon. “This has been the most interesting Running of the Leaves yet!”

“Because of all the cheating?” asked Spike.

“Because I beat the last Kingdom Hearts game!” said Pinkie happily. “But, yeah, I guess the cheating is fun too. I mean, look! Applejack and Rainbow are stuck in tree sap!”

Pinkie was right.

“Duh!” said Pinkie.

Applejack had knocked over a bucket of tree sap, hoping to get Rainbow stuck. Unfortunately, the sap hit her as well, resulting in the two ponies getting stuck.

“Damn it, Applejack!” yelled Rainbow Dash as she attempted to get free. “Look where your cheating got us!”

Mah cheating?!” said Applejack. She gave Rainbow a shove. “Ah only cheated because you stared to cheat!”

“Oh yeah?!” said Rainbow. “Well, I only cheated because…because…” She thought about it for a moment. “It’s fun?”

Applejack sighed and tore herself free of the sap. She ran off, leaving Rainbow alone.

Rainbow Dash growled and pressed forward. She finally got free of the sap and ran after Applejack. It wasn’t long before the two of them were neck-and-neck.

After a few minutes of running, the two ponies spotted the finish line in the distance. Rainbow Dash and Applejack started shoving each other as they ran towards their goal.

“You know what?” growled Rainbow Dash after a fierce shove by Applejack. “Fuck it!” She spread her wings, snapping the ropes that held them down. She took off, flying towards the finish line.

“FUCK THAT!” yelled Applejack. She dove at Rainbow Dash, sending both ponies to the ground.

“Oh God!” yelled Spike in horror.

“It looks like Applejack and Rainbow’s rivalry has devolved into a brawl!” said Pinkie.

The two ponies on the ground just started to fight each other. Applejack punched Rainbow in the throat, while Rainbow managed to bite Applejack’s ear.

“Oh, I haven’t seen that move since the Bite of ’87!” said Pinkie.

“Applejack’s going for the chair!” said Spike.

Applejack had grabbed a folding chair and was beating Rainbow Dash with it. Reeling, Rainbow Dash grabbed the chair and slammed it into Applejack’s face.

“How long do you think these two are going to keep fighting?!” asked Spike.

“Probably until they realize they both lost the race,” said Pinkie.

The two fighting ponies froze. “WHAT?!” they yelled, looking up at the balloon.

“Yeah,” said Spike, “While you two were having your little fight, the others crossed the finish line.”

“But…but who won?” asked Rainbow.

“Hi girls!” said Twilight. She walked up to them holding a massive trophy. “Guess who won!”

“YOU?!” said Applejack. “But…”

“How?!” yelled Rainbow.

“Oh, it was nothing,” said Twilight. “Just pacing myself, dedication, and some discreet freezing spells.”

“Freezin’ spells?” asked Applejack, turning to look.

Three racers were stuck on the track, ice covering their bodies.

“Lyra!” cried Bon Bon, frozen in ice. “Help me out of this!”

“Don’t worry!” said Lyra. “I’ll just lick the ice. It’ll be like a Bon Bon flavored Popsicle!” She smirked. “And I know just where to start.” She moved behind Bon Bon.

Bon Bon blushed. “Lyra! We’re in public!”

Caramel, who was starting to thaw a little, looked over to Applejack and yelled, “I Was FROZen ToDAY!”

Meanwhile, Ruby Pinch had walked over to her frozen mother. “Are you alright, Mom? I’ll go get a chisel to get you out.”

“A chisel?” asked Berry Punch. She nodded to her hoof, which was surprisingly unfrozen and unsurprisingly had a bottle of beer in it. “Twilight chilled my drink for me! Go get Mommy a bendy straw!”

“You two were so busy with your brawl and cartoon shenanigans to notice the race running right past you,” said Twilight.

“B-but…you cheated too!” yelled Rainbow.

“Of course she did,” said a new voice.

The three ponies turned to look at who had spoken. “Princess Celestia?” asked Rainbow Dash and Applejack.

Celestia smiled at Twilight. “Good work, my faithful student! I see you’ve taken my lessons about competitions to heart!”

“Lessons?” asked Applejack.

“Yeah,” said Celestia. “If you’re going to cheat…

“Make sure you don’t get caught!” finished Twilight happily.

“…It seems...a little unethical…” said Rainbow Dash.

“You know who has ethics?” asked Celestia. “Losers. Losers and people who don’t want to win. Since you two don’t seem to understand, I invite you to play a board game with me and Twilight. We’ll show you.”

Hours Later:

“Princess?” asked Nurse Redheart, looking at the X-rays. “How did you get a Monopoly hotel up your nose?”

Princess Celestia, her leg in a cast and squinting out of a black eye, smiled. “They learned their lesson.”

Rarity's (Self-Imposed) Fashion Challenge

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Rarity smiled at the picture in front of her. “Yes! This is fantastic! I will be sure to impress at the Gala now. This is the BEST DRESS DESIGN-”

Opalescence, her cat, meowed.

“What was that?” asked Rarity, turning to look at the cat.

Opal meowed again.

“Really?” asked Rarity. She grabbed her glasses off the table and put them on. She looked closely at the picture. “Oh, you’re right! This is a page out of a coloring book.” She crumpled the paper and threw it behind her. She looked at her desk and grabbed a picture of a dress. “Ok, where was I?”

Opal meowed.

“Right.” She cleared her throat. “This is the BEST DRESS DESIGN EVER!” She turned and looked at her room. Designs, fabrics, and parts of dresses were everywhere. Rarity couldn’t even see the floor with how much junk was covering it. “Hmm…perhaps I should clean at some point…” She paused, then shrugged. “Oh well, I’ll make Sweetie Belle do it the next time she visits.”

She glanced at her design and sighed. “It’s going to take a while to make this dress…If only Sweetie Belle was here now! I’d make her work on it.” She frowned. “But according to that police officer, child labor is now ‘illegal’.” She sighed. “Where are we, Communist Russia?” Rarity glanced at Opal and grinned. “Animal labor, however…” She cleared her throat. “Oh, Opal-Wopal! Mommy needs you!”

Opal hissed at Rarity and took a swipe at her. Rarity quickly jumped back to avoid the cat’s claws.

“Ha!” laughed the unicorn. “Better luck next time!” Blood started squirting out of Rarity’s neck. She stared at the cuts on her body and turned to glare at Opal. “Touché,” she said, before passing out.

One trip to the hospital later:

“Ok!” said Rarity, who had bandages around her neck. “This dress is going to get made!” She grabbed a needle and thread and moved towards the fabric she had placed on a mannequin. She slowly moved the needle close to the fabric. “Carefully…carefully…” She muttered.

The door slammed open, causing Rarity to stab herself in the arm with the needle.

“RARITY!” yelled Applejack as she and Twilight walked inside.

“Applejack?” asked Twilight, who was wearing saddlebags. “Is it really ok for you to barge in like this?”

“Of course!” said the earth pony. “Rarity and Ah kissed before and Granny says that means we’re married! And would you doubt the wisdom of Granny Smith?”

Meanwhile:

Back on Sweet Apple Acres, Granny Smith was staring at her pills, confused. “Now, how much do Ah have to take again?” She shrugged and grabbed a handful of pills. “Ah bet if Ah take this many, Ah’ll get better ten times as fast!”

Back at the Boutique:

Rarity grabbed the needle and pulled it out of her arm, making blood squirt out. “Applejack, how many times have I told you not to make me stab myself?”

“Um…none,” answered Applejack.

“I shouldn’t have to tell you!” yelled Rarity, flailing her arms.

“Rarity,” interrupted Twilight, “What are you working on?”

Rarity smiled and said, “I’m making a dress for the Gala.”

Twilight stared at Rarity. “…The what?”

“The Gala,” repeated Rarity. “You know, the Grand Galloping Gala?”

“Oh yeah!” said Twilight. She smiled sheepishly. “Sorry, that hasn’t been mentioned since that episode with the tickets so I forgot all about it.” She gasped suddenly. “Hey! Can you do me a favor?”

“Um…” began Rarity, “I don’t know…I mean, I am pretty busy with this dress, so-”

“Great!” said Twilight. She reached into her bag and threw something brown at Rarity. “Could you fix that for me?”

Rarity looked at what Twilight tossed at her. “…You want me to fix a burlap sack?” she asked.

Twilight laughed. “Oh, it’s not a burlap sack! It’s a traditional dress for students of the Princess. Celestia herself gave it to me.”

Meanwhile, in Canterlot:

Celestia laughed as she leaned back in her throne. “And then there was that one time I gave Twilight a burlap sack to wear! I told her it was some traditional garment, and she believed me! What a ditz!”

Luna looked up at Celestia, confused. She pointed at the burlap sack she was wearing, “Wait, so you mean this isn’t fashionable anymore?”

Back in the Boutique:

“Tell you what,” said Rarity, casually tossing the sack into the garbage, “I’ll make you a brand-new dress for the Gala!” She smiled at Applejack. “I’ll make you one too, Applejack.”

“Dress?” asked Applejack.

“Yes, dress!” said Rarity impatiently. “What, were you just going to go naked?”

“Uh, Ah mean, we do walk around naked,” said Applejack.

“Then it’s settled!” said Rarity, ignoring Applejack.

“It is?” asked the earth pony.

“INCOMING, MOTHERFUCKERS!” yelled a voice. Rainbow Dash crashed through the ceiling and landed on several mannequins. “Ow…” she muttered.

“Rainbow Dash!” yelled Rarity. “How many times have I told you to stop crashing through my ceiling?”

“The ceiling?” asked Rainbow, sitting up. She was wrapped in fabric and had a bucket on her head. “Never. You have yelled at me for crashing through windows, doors, trees, innocent bystanders, but never ceilings.”

Rarity sighed. “Forget it. Since you’re here, I’m going to make you a dress for the Gala as well.”

“A dress?!” asked Rainbow Dash incredulously. “I wouldn’t be caught dead in a dress! Those are for girls!”

“Um, dear?” asked Rarity. “You are a girl.”

“I am?” asked Rainbow. She looked down in between her legs. “Holy shit, how’d that happen?” She looked back up. “Fine, I’ll take your dress.”

“Great!” squealed Rarity. “I’ll make one for Pinkie and Fluttershy as well! And I’ll hold my own fashion show!”

“Are you sure you can handle it?” asked Twilight. “I mean, making dresses for six ponies?”

“Oh please!” said Rarity. “What on earth makes you think I can’t handle it?”

“You’re bleeding,” pointed out Twilight. “A lot.”

Rarity looked at her arm, which still had blood dripping down it. She shook her head and smiled at the others. “Details! This will be a great boost for business!”

“How do you make money, anyway?” asked Applejack. “No one in this town wears clothes.”

“AND it will be fun!” shouted Rarity, pointedly ignoring Applejack.

“I like fun!” said Rainbow Dash.

“Great!” said Rarity. “So you agree to stand still for hours while I measure you, see how you look in various colors, and make your dresses?”

“Yeah!” said Rainbow. Her eyes widened as she considered what was just said. “Wait, no!”

“Too late, you agreed!” said Rarity happily.

“Goddammit,” muttered the three other ponies.

Rarity's Rejects

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“And…done!” said Rarity as she finished the last dress. She went to her bedroom door and unlocked it. She opened it a crack and said, “They’re ready!”

Twilight, Rainbow, Applejack, Pinkie, and Fluttershy all walked into the room.

“Were…were you singing while you made the dresses?” asked Twilight.

“No!” said Rarity, her eyes darting around.

“Really?” asked Rainbow Dash, who still had Rarity’s bucket on her head. “Then what was all that ‘It’s the art of the dress’ stuff?”

Anyway,” said Rarity as she ignored the question. She led the others over to the other side of the room. “Here’s your new dresses!”

The girls' jaws dropped as they stared at what Rarity had made.

Applejack’s dress was a mix of green and browns, with a brand new hat and boots. Twilight’s dress was blue and had stars decorated on it. Fluttershy’s dress was green and had flowers decorated on it. Rainbow Dash’s dress was rainbow colored and had golden laurels as an accessory. Pinkie’s dress was a mix of pink, white, and blue, and had a small hat to go with it.

“What do you think?” asked Rarity. “Applejack?”

“Um…they’re…good?” said Applejack, unable to look Rarity in the eye.

“Oh…well, alright!” said Rarity. “What about you Twilight?”

“…Well…it doesn’t look like a burlap sack,” observed Twilight quietly.

“N-no…no, it doesn’t…” said Rarity slowly. “Rainbow?”

“Yeah, it’s a great start Rarity,” said Rainbow, “But when are the real ones going to be made?”

“These…um…these are the real ones,” Rarity said quietly.

Rainbow Dash simply pushed the bucket on her head down so it covered her face.

“Fluttershy?” asked Rarity desperately.

“Well…” said Fluttershy, “It definitely doesn’t make me want to vomit if that’s what your thinking!”

“I wasn’t,” muttered Rarity.

“Neither was I!” said Fluttershy quickly.

Rarity sighed. She turned to Pinkie and said, “Go ahead.”

“My dress sucks all sorts of ass!” said Pinkie happily.

Rarity took in a deep breath. She calmly walked over to the wall and punched a hole through it. Removing her hoof, Rarity turned back to the others. She bared her teeth, attempting to smile. “So…what exactly is wrong with them?”

“Nothing!” said Twilight.

“Not a thing!” claimed Applejack.

“I can’t get this bucket off!” cried Rainbow Dash, attempting to remove the bucket.

“It’s…nice!” lied Fluttershy.

“We expected something better!” said Pinkie happily.

“And cooler!” said Rainbow Dash, still trying to get the bucket off.

Pinkie pointed at the dresses. “These are bad and you should feel bad!”

Rarity grabbed a pillow off of her bed and tore it in half. Taking a deep breath, she calmly said, “Not to worry, girls. I’ll just redo the dresses.”

“Oh,” began Fluttershy, “You don’t have to-”

“I want to!” said Rarity, grabbing the dresses and tossing them in the garbage. “I mean, God forbid that you have to wear something that your friend, out of the goodness of her heart, made for you for free. And it’s not like she’s the only pony you know who has a clue about what looks good or not! And it’s not like she makes dresses for a living, has been doing it for years, and hoped that her friends would just shut the FUCK up for once and accept the dresses she made, once again out of the goodness of her goddamn heart and not bitch and moan about minor flaws that you think exist because you don’t have enough fashion sense to-”

“Um, Rarity?” asked Applejack. Everyone was staring at her with wide eyes.

Rarity blinked. “Oh.” She cleared her throat. “Like I said, it’s no problem. But,” she said as she turned to the others, “I’ll need you girls to tell me exactly what you want. Ok?”

The others nodded.

“I SAID ‘OK’?!” screeched Rarity.

“OK!” yelled the others, fearfully.

“Good,” said Rarity. She used her magic to throw everyone except Fluttershy out of the room. “Let’s start with you, Fluttershy. What do you want to wear?”

“Oh…I’ll wear anything you make, Rarity,” said Fluttershy. “Really it’s no trouble.”

“Really?” asked Rarity with narrowed eyes. She used her magic to grab Fluttershy’s rejected dress out of the garbage. “What about this? Would you wear this?”

“Well…” began Flutteshy. “I’d prefer not to…”

“Really?” asked Rarity. She shoved the now-smelly dress into Fluttershy’s face. “Why’s that? What’s wrong with it?”

“It smells?” replied Fluttershy.

“Not that!” yelled Rarity. “Why else do you not want to wear this?”

Fluttershy took a deep breath and started listing the flaws that she saw in Rarity’s design. There were a lot of them.

“…The collar doesn’t go with the shawl lapel, the hands are clearly machine-stitched, the pleats are uneven, the fabric looks like toile, you used a backstitch here, and the overall design is not true French haute couture,” Fluttershy finished.

Rarity stared at Fluttershy. “And if I fixed all of that, how would it make the dress any better?”

Fluttershy blinked. “U-um…”

Rarity sighed. “That’s what I thought.” She gestured over to her sketchbook. “Here, draw what you think looks good.”

Later:

“Now, the stars on the dress need to be accurate,” said Twilight as she paced the room. Her horn glowed and several heavy books landed on Rarity’s desk. “I’ve taken the liberty of bringing these books on the positions of constellations and-”

“Twilight,” interrupted Rarity, “I just used the stars as a decoration for your dress. Does it really matter if they’re accurate?”

“Of course!” said Twilight. “What if we’re at the Gala and a famous astrologist arrives? They’ll refuse to talk to me because of my shoddy star formations!”

Rarity closed her eyes and sighed. She used her magic to grab the nearest book and started reading.

Later:

“Um…Pinkie?” asked Rarity as she stood outside of her room. “Are you sure you don’t want me to draw your sketch for you?”

“I’ve got it!” said Pinkie. She was sitting on Rarity’s bed, the sketchbook in her lap. “Now,” she said quietly, “I’ve got to make sure to draw Rarity’s original dress. That way, she’ll be happy and I can just claim that I changed my mind about it.”

She grabbed a pencil and started drawing. “Speaking of changing minds, I wonder if I should’ve had a cupcake for breakfast rather than cereal...” She looked down at the sketchbook and gasped. While she had been thinking about cupcakes, she had drawn them all over her dress design. “Oh crud! I need to pay more attention.” She began drawing again. “Pay…” she muttered. She gasped. “Pay! I need to pay for those streamers I got from the store!” She looked back down and saw that she drew streamers on her dress design. “Oh no…” she said.

Later:

“Galoshes,” said Applejack.

Rarity blinked. “What.”

“Rarity, what if it rains?” asked Applejack.

“What?” repeated Rarity.

“It’s best to be prepared,” said Applejack. She watched Rarity start walking away. “Where are ya goin’?”

“To my liquor cabinet,” explained Rarity. “I have a feeling I’m going to need it.”

Later:

“How in the hell do you still have that bucket on your head?!” asked Rarity as she stared at Rainbow Dash.

Rainbow Dash clawed at the bucket. “You try getting a good grip on something when you don’t have fingers!” She attempted to pry the bucket off again, only to have her hooves slip off it.

Rarity sighed and used her magic to pull the bucket off of Rainbow.

Rainbow smiled and said, “Thanks Rarity! Do you have any idea how ridiculous I’d look with a bucket on my head?” She laughed as she grabbed the bucket. “I mean-” She gasped suddenly. She ran over to the nearest mannequin and put the bucket on its head. “Bam!” She turned and smiled at Rarity.

Rarity stared at the mannequin. “…What am I looking at here?”

“Duh!” said Rainbow. “A helmet! I want a helmet with my dress. No! I want battle armor!”

“…Had a 300 marathon, did you?” asked Rarity.

“I actually just read a lot of Wonder Woman,” admitted Rainbow Dash. “But I still want armor!”

Rarity sighed and grabbed a nearby bottle of beer. Taking a long draught, she put it down and said, “Fuck it, I don’t even care anymore.”

“Great!” said Rainbow Dash. “Oh, and Rarity?”

“What?”

“20% cooler!” said Rainbow Dash, winking at the camera.

“…How long was that bucket on your head?” asked Rarity.

“Four hours,” replied Rainbow Dash.

“Not a whole lot of oxygen with it on your head, was there?”

“No, there was not,” admitted Rainbow Dash. “I may have some minor brain damage.”

“Wonderful.”

Later…Again:

“Alright girls,” said a haggard-looking Rarity as she stood in the main room of her shop. The new dresses were behind her. “Let me know what you really think.”

“Um…Rarity?” asked Applejack. “What’s that stain on the floor?”

“Vomit,” answered Rarity. “I’m sorry…I just have a hard time looking at one of these dresses, let alone all six of them.”

“What are you talking about?” asked Twilight excitedly. “These look great!”

“You’re kidding,” Rarity said.

“No way!” said Rainbow Dash. “It looks kickass!”

“You’re kidding,” repeated Rarity.

“Nope!” said Applejack with a smile, “They look fine to me!” She turned to Fluttershy. “What do you think?”

“I can’t wait to wear it!” said Fluttershy excitedly. She turned to Pinkie. “What about…Pinkie? Why are you banging your head against the wall?”

Pinkie was slamming her head into the wall over and over again. She paused and shot a sympathetic look towards Rarity. “It’s exactly what I drew,” she explained. She went back to banging her head against the wall. “Stupid, stupid, stupid…” she muttered.

The front door opened and Spike ran inside. “You guys won’t believe this!” he said excitedly. “I managed to contact Hoity Toity, one of the biggest fashion designers in Canterlot, and convinced him to come here for Rarity’s fashion show!”

The girls cheered.

“You’re kidding,” said Rarity, her eye twitching.

“How did you manage to do that, Spike?” asked Twilight. “I didn’t know you knew Hoity Toity!”

“Oh yeah!” said Spike. “It all happened a few years ago…”

A few years ago:

Spike was at a Chinese restaurant in Canterlot. He was sitting at an outside table, about to dig into his lo mein, when he heard a loud sigh. Spike looked at the table next to his, where a grey stallion with sunglasses was slumped in his seat.

“I don’t know what to do with my life…” muttered the stallion. “To think, my brother and sisters know what they want to do but I just…don’t.”

“Hey,” said Spike. “Cheer up, man! You’ll figure it out.” He handed the stallion his fortune cookie. “Take this.”

The stallion laughed. “These don’t really mean anything, you know?” Regardless, he broke the cookie in half and read the fortune inside. “You will become a famous fashion designer.” The stallion stood up and cheered excitedly. “Yes! This is exactly what I’ll do with my life!” He shook Spike’s hand. “I’m Hoity Toity!”

“Spike,” replied Spike.

“Spike, you just helped me decide what I want to do! If you need anything, anything at all, you let me know!” said Hoity.

“Really?” asked Spike. “What if, years from now, I meet an attractive unicorn mare and, to impress her, I invited you down to Ponyville for a fashion show that she might put on?”

“That’s…oddly specific,” said Hoity. “But you know what? Sure. If that happens, I’ll gladly go to Ponyville for you!”

Now:

“…And that’s why I eat Chinese every single night,” finished Spike.

“…Spike, you realize none of us could see your flashback, right?” asked Twilight.

“I could!” said Pinkie.

“Just think, Rarity!” said Spike. “Once Hoity Toity sees these dresses, he’ll buy a ton off of you! Your business will take off!”

“You’re kidding,” said Rarity, her eye twitching rapidly.

“Um…Rarity?” asked Spike.

“You’re kidding,” repeated Rarity.

“I think she’s broken,” said Pinkie.

“You’re kidding,” repeated Rarity.

Fashion Disasters

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Later that night, a runway was set up outside of Rarity’s boutique. Ponies from all over Ponyville came to watch as the models got ready to strut their stuff. Inside the shop, Rarity was still in a dazed trance.

“You’re kidding,” droned Rarity, a string of drool hanging from her mouth.

Opal sighed and batted her owner on the head.

“Ow!” cried Rarity. She blinked. “Wait! Hoity Toity! Here! Watching! Dresses! Ugly! Pain! Humiliation! Must! Keep! Talking! Like! This!”

She looked at the entrance to her store, where a large curtain had been set up. Taking a deep breath, Rarity began to walk towards it. “Maybe I’m overreacting,” she said calmly, “There can’t possibly be that many ponies out there…” She poked her head out.

The whole population of Ponyville saw Rarity and gave her a wave.

“Oh fuck…” she muttered. Her eyes scanned the crowd. Rarity let out a gasp. “There he is!”

A grey-furred pony with a white mane was standing at the end of the runway. His eyes were hidden behind dark sunglasses.

“Oh God…” muttered Rarity. “It’s Hoity Toity! I bet he’s already judging me…”

Hoity let out a snore.

“Mr. Toity?” asked a mare. “Are you asleep?”

Hoity Toity let out a snort as he jerked awake. “Asleep? Me? That’s ridiculous! I was just…uh…resting my eyes! We in the fashion business need plenty of rest for our eyes. We can’t strain them before looking at someone’s new…” The mare kept staring at him. “…Alright, you got me. I was asleep.”

“You always did love naptime,” said a voice.

Hoity Toity’s jaw dropped. He turned and faced the speaker. “Vinyl?”

Vinyl Scratch pushed her sunglasses up and smirked at the stallion. “How’s it going, brother?”

Hoity shut his mouth and cleared his throat. “Fine, it’s going fine. Being a success and all that. How’s your ‘music career’?”

Vinyl glared at him. “You just put quotes around ‘music career’, didn’t you?”

Hoity shrugged. “It’s not a big deal, Vinyl. Money isn’t everything, after all. If you want to spend your life with your little DJ hobby-”

“I make plenty of money with my DJ job, thank you very much,” said Vinyl. “God, ever since you got that fortune cookie, you’ve been nothing but an arrogant prick. You didn’t even show up for Dad’s birthday.”

“I was at a show in Manehattan and I sent Father a lovely gift!” said Hoity, “I don’t recall you or Neon visiting Mother on Mother's day.”

“We had a gig and we sent her a card!” growled Vinyl. “Besides, neither you or Photo were there for my birth!”

“For the last time,” yelled Hoity, “We didn’t show up because you are the oldest! We weren’t even born yet!”

“Your mother!” yelled Vinyl.

“My mother is your mother, you idiot!” yelled Hoity.

While this sibling spat continued, Rarity was in the fetal position inside her shop. “Ok…just calm down…” she told herself. “The others liked the dresses…maybe he will too?”

“Not a chance, Rarity!” Rarity argued with herself. “He’s a famous fashion expert! He’ll tear those things apart.”

“You don’t know that, Rarity!” replied Rarity. “He could like them!”

“Only if he was blind!” argued Rarity.

“Girls, girls!” yelled Rarity to Rarity and Rarity. “Arguing isn’t going to solve anything.”

“You stay out of this!” yelled Rarity and Rarity to Rarity.

“Um…Rarity?” asked Spike, tapping her on the shoulder.

“WHAT?!” yelled the frantic unicorn, her eye twitching.

“I hate to interrupt you yelling at yourself,” began Spike, “But the show’s about to start.”

“Oh good…” moaned Rarity. She looked at the dragon. “Spike, if I told you to just kill me now, would you?”

“I have a poorly concealed crush on you,” said Spike, “So no.”

“What was that?” asked Rarity.

“I said, the show’s starting!” lied Spike, his face red. “The girls are all ready to go!”

The lights outside dimmed.

“Well,” said Hoity Toity, “As horrible as this little family reunion has been, some of us have to work.”

“You’re telling me!” said Vinyl happily. “I’m needed on stage.”

You’re providing the music?” asked Hoity skeptically.

“Yep!” said Vinyl. “And I’ve even got the perfect song for this thing!” She ran up on stage, where her equipment was waiting for her. She pulled out a record and smiled. “This is gonna be good!” She placed the record and it started to play; the singer’s voice coming out of the speakers:

I’m too sexy for my shirt, too sexy for my shirt,
So sexy it hurts.”

“This song is a classic!” said a stallion in the crowd.

Another one patted him on the back. “Right said, Fred.”

The spotlight shone down on the runway, where Spike was standing with a microphone in hand. He cleared his throat and said, “Ladies and gentlemen. Carousel Boutique proudly presents this free show-”

“Free?!” said Lyra. “I paid thirty bits to be here!”

“I paid fifty!” said Colgate.

“Let’s not stress over the details!” said Spike nervously, hiding a large bag of bits behind him. “A-anyway…let’s hear it for these breath-taking designs by Ponyville’s own Rarity!”

The curtains opened to reveal Twilight, Fluttershy, Pinkie, Applejack, and Rainbow Dash. Each of the girls were wearing the dresses they designed.

Twilight’s dress was dark purple and had constellations all over it. Several sticks with stars were sticking up out of her mane. As Twilight walked forward, she stepped on the hem of her dress and almost stumbled. Regaining her balance, she walked down the runway.

Applejack’s dress had an almost argyle-pattern of white, yellow, orange, and green. A large red hat was on her head and her galoshes made squeaking noises as she moved down the catwalk.

Fluttershy’s dress was a light green with pink flowers adorning it. Fuzzy green slippers were on her hooves, red and yellow flowers hung on her neck, and a bird nest was on her head. As she walked down the catwalk, one of the eggs in the nest cracked open and a bird flew out.

Rainbow Dash’s battle armor gleamed in the spotlight as she stomped down the runway. With her golden boots, metal helm, and cape, she looked ready for war rather than a dance.

Pinkie’s dress was a hodge-podge of all the things she thought about when she was designing it. A large cupcake was on her head, balloons were tied to her tail, a large bowtie was around her neck, and a large blue tutu was around her body. She looked down at herself and giggled. “I look ridiculous!” she said happily. Smiling, she bounced down the catwalk.

“…I…I don’t understand,” said Lyra as she watched the five walk, “Where are the real dresses?”

“I think those are the real dresses,” whispered Bon Bon.

“…Jesus…” replied Lyra.

The five ponies walked to the end of the runway, which started to spin, letting everyone see their dresses. The crowd started to murmur and mumble in a disgusted fashion.

“Why is everyone lookin’ at us like that?” asked Applejack.

“I don’t know,” replied Twilight. She looked and saw Dizzy Twister vomit into a barf bag. “It’s like they’re looking at a freak show! But there’s nothing wrong with-” Twilight looked down at her dress and then up at the stars in her mane. “…Oh no…”

“Suddenly, I think this armor, while kickass, probably isn’t the best for a Gala,” said Rainbow Dash.

“Well,” said Applejack, “At least Ah look fine.” She looked down at her galoshes and then looked back up. “…Shit.”

“Ok,” said Hoity Toity loudly. “I’ve seen enough. Cut the music.”

Vinyl turned the volume up.

“Cut the music, or I’ll tell everybody what your natural hair color is!” yelled Hoity.

The music cut off suddenly.

“Thank you,” said Hoity. He turned back to the five ponies. “I’ll say this as gentle as I can.” He took a deep breath. “Those dresses are the worst…the absolute worst things I’ve ever seen. I want to tear out my eyeballs and step on them in order to get the image of those dresses out of my head. I want to tear each and every one of those dresses up, bury the pieces in the desert, and then nuke the area where I buried them.”

That was gentle?” asked Spike incredulously.

“Believe me, Spike,” said Hoity Toity. “That is literally the nicest thing I can say about those dresses.” He turned to Applejack. “Aside from the galoshes. That was a stroke of brilliance.” He shook his head. “Who is responsible for these…these trash heaps?”

Rarity quietly walked out onto the catwalk. “I am," she said sadly.

Hoity sighed. “My dear, you are not a designer. You’re not an artist. A true artist doesn’t just throw shit at a wall and hope it sticks. A true artist throws shit at a wall and convinces everyone else that that shit’s gold.” He peered at Rarity from behind his glasses. “This shit isn’t gold. It’s shit.”

“I’m confused,” said Rainbow Dash. “Did she make our dresses out of shit?”

“The point is,” continued Hoity Toity, “You’re obviously not cut out for this business.”

Rarity looked at the ground, tears in her eyes.

Hoity sighed. “I’ve cut you up enough. Go back inside.”

Rarity sniffed and nodded. She turned around and ran back inside the boutique, not saying a word.

“…Seriously,” continued Rainbow Dash, “Are we wearing shit?”

Rarity's Redemption

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Loud sobs could be heard behind the bedroom door.

“How long has she been in there?” asked Twilight to the others.

“Two days,” answered Applejack. “We need to get her out of there pronto.”

“You’re right,” agreed Twilight, “But we need to be tactful. Rarity’s upset and we don’t want to say anything-”

“Rarity!” called Pinkie, knocking on the door. “Come on out! Sure the dresses were hideous, but it’s not like you sell them for a living or anything!”

Rarity’s crying increased in volume.

“…Stupid…” finished Twilight. She grabbed Pinkie with her magic and threw her down the hallway. “Rarity?” she called. “We just want to talk to you. Will you come out?”

“No!” cried Rarity from inside her bedroom. “My life is ruined! I’m never coming out, ever!”

“You can’t just stay in there!” replied Twilight. “At the very least, you’ll have to use the bathroom at some point.”

“Says you!” said Rarity. “I have one of Opal’s litterboxes in here! I will be just fine!”

“Gross,” said Twilight. She shook her head. “Listen you need-”

“Do you understand my plight?” asked Rarity. “I had it all! Talent! Natural good looks! Humility! I was the complete package! And then I decided to be nice and let some morons design their own dresses!”

“Rarity?” called Applejack. “Ya know we can hear you, right?”

“My mistake dear,” replied Rarity. “I decided to be nice and let some dumb motherfucking morons design their own dresses!”

“Those guys sound like idiots!” said Pinkie Pie, bouncing back over to the girls.

“They are,” agreed Rarity wholeheartedly. She sighed wistfully. “I used to make beautiful dresses! And now I’m the laughingstock of Ponyville!”

“That’s not true!” said Rainbow Dash. “Spike’s still here.”

Rarity ignored Rainbow and continued sobbing. “I could have been somebody! I coulda been a contender!”

“Ooh!” said Pinkie. “I love Cinderella Man!”

“I think that was Rocky,” said Rainbow Dash.

“Why are you still there?!” yelled Rarity from her bedroom. “Go talk to someone who isn’t a sad, pathetic, fat, ugly shell of a mare!”

“Don’t talk like that,” said Fluttershy.

“Oh…you’re right, dear,” said Rarity from the bedroom. “I should think more positively. I know! How about I focus on the fact that MY LIFE IS RUINED!” She started to cry again.

Twilight looked at the others and whispered, “We can’t just leave her in there alone. Somebody should go talk to her.”

“Who did you have in mind?” asked Fluttershy.

“It needs to be somebody reasonable,” said Twilight. “Someone calm and willing to put themselves aside for others.”

“Got it!” said Rainbow Dash, flying into the bedroom. “I need to ask her about making a new set of battle armor anyway.”

“What?!” said Twilight in alarm. “Wait!”

She was too late, Rainbow Dash had flown into the bedroom and slammed the door shut. “Rarity!” the others heard her call. “I need-”

There was a bestial roar followed by a blood-curdling shriek. The door was thrown open and Rainbow Dash was hurled out of the room. As she crashed into the wall, a blue glow enveloped the door and slammed it shut.

Rainbow Dash huddled up in the fetal position. “I…I don’t think s-she’s in the mood to talk…” she muttered, rocking back and forth.

Fluttershy sighed and walked over to Rainbow Dash, gently pulling her back on her hooves. “To think this all started because we wanted those awful dresses…”

“Ah know, Sugarcube,” said Applejack. “If only there was some way to make it up to Rarity…”

“If only there was a way to let her know that we care about her designs…” said Twilight.

“If only…” said Pinkie with a grin. She walked over to Fluttershy and put her hooves on the side of the pegasus’s head. She slowly turned Fluttershy’s head over to Rainbow Dash. “If only there was something to help us!” said Pinkie, smiling widely.

Fluttershy frowned as she looked at Rainbow. “What’s that in your mane?”

“Huh?” asked Rainbow Dash. She reached up and felt a rolled up piece of paper in her hair. She grabbed it and looked at it. “Looks like a dress design. I must have picked it up while I was getting thrown out.”

“That’s it!” said Twilight, grabbing the design. “If we make this, we can use the dress to apologize to Rarity!” She blinked. She glanced at Pinkie. “How did you know this was in Rainbow Dash’s hair?”

Pinkie shrugged nonchalantly. “Pinkie’s intuition.” Her eyes darted around nervously.

“Hmm…” said Twilight suspiciously. She shook her head. “Well, let’s get started on this dress!”

The others cheered and started walking back downstairs. Twilight stared at Pinkie as she walked away. “This requires further study…” muttered Twilight.

Later:

Rarity threw an empty bottle at the wall. The bottle shattered on impact, sending glass everywhere. Rarity sighed and got up out of bed. She grabbed another beer bottle and drunkenly stumbled to her mirror. “Look at you!” she said to herself. “Look at what you’ve been reduced to! A formerly talented mare now in hiding, drinking the days away!”

“Come now, Rarity,” she imagined her reflection saying, “You can’t just lock yourself away! It was only one little fashion show!”

“Yes,” agreed Rarity, “Only a little fashion show...” She shook her head. “You’re right! I can’t let that stop me! I need to-” She looked at a newspaper next to the bed. The headline “Rarity Sucks at Design” was printed in big bold letters.

Rarity looked back to her reflection, an eyebrow raised.

“Um…” faltered the mirror Rarity. “I…I’ve got nothing. You’re fucked.”

“Thanks for that assessment,” said Rarity morosely. She drained the bottle of beer and threw it behind her. “Opal?” she called. “Go get Mommy another beer!”

There was silence.

“Hmm…” said Rarity, turning around. “Usually she would have hissed at me for that…” She began to look around the room. “Opal? Where are you?”

There was a meow from outside.

Rarity went over to the window and opened it. Looking around, she saw Opal clinging to a nearby tree branch for dear life.

“How did you get up there?!” Rarity yelled. “Not to worry! Mommy’s coming!”

Rarity backed up. She took a deep breath and ran for the window. She jumped out of it, soaring through the air.

“Hmm…” said Rarity as she looked at the ground beneath her. “I just remembered that I can’t fly…” She blinked and winced. “This is going to hurt.”

She fell, crashing on the ground. She pulled her face from the dirt and said woozily, “Don’t worry Opal…Mommy’s just got a minor concussion…” She looked up to where Opal was and gasped.

Rainbow Dash was in the tree, smiling down at Rarity. In her hooves was Opal, who was purring.

“Rainbow Dash!” yelled Rarity, pulling herself up. “You unhand my pussy this instant!”

“I’m not even going to comment on that one,” said Rainbow. She flew down to the ground and gently set Opal down. She turned and pointed. “We wanted to show you this!”

Rarity looked to where Rainbow Dash was pointing and her jaw dropped. Twilight, Applejack, Fluttershy, and Pinkie were all standing around one of Rarity’s mannequins. The mannequin was wearing a beautiful pink dress. On its head was a golden tiara.

Rarity was speechless.

“We finished your dress for you!” said Pinkie happily.

Rarity was silent.

“Thanks to Fluttershy’s sewing skills!” said Applejack.

“It was nothing, really,” said Fluttershy. She gave a manic grin. “I just stabbed with the needle over and over and over…”

Rarity was still silent.

“Um…Rarity?” asked Twilight. “Are you ok?”

“I-If you don’t like it we can-” began Fluttershy.

Rarity opened her mouth and let out a loud squeal of delight. The rest of the ponies covered their ears and grimaced in pain. The windows of the boutique shattered.

“I love it I love it I love it I LOVE IT!” screamed Rarity. She used her magic to gather all five of the others to her. She wrapped her arms around them and gave them a bone-crunching hug. “Thank you thank you thank you! What can I do to repay all of you?”

“Not killing us?” wheezed Rainbow Dash, her face turning a darker shade of blue.

“Really,” coughed Pinkie, tears running down her face, “It was no problem.”

Twilight’s horn glowed purple. She teleported herself and the others out of Rarity’s grasp. She took a deep breath and wheezed, “We wanted to make up for the fashion show. We should’ve accepted the dresses you made at the beginning. They were perfect.”

“We’re awful sorry,” said Applejack.

“I still say my armor is kickass,” said Rainbow Dash, “But I’m sorry these other bozos messed up your show.”

Applejack glared at Rainbow. “Because armor is so perfect for a dance.”

“Better than your galoshes!” shot back Rainbow.

“I’m glad you’re sorry, and I forgive you,” said Rarity, “But my career is still in the shitter! No one will want to buy dresses from me because of that fashion show.” She froze. A devious smile was on her face as she looked at Twilight. “Unless…”

Later:

“Thanks for giving Rarity another shot, Hoity,” said Spike as he and Hoity Toity walked into the boutique. “It means a lot to her.”

“I’m curious to see if she can change my mind about her,” said Hoity. He and Spike walked into the showroom, where another runway had been set up. “Besides, it was either this or help Vinyl pick up more blue hair dye.”

“What is her natural hair color anyway?” asked Spike.

“It’s actually-”

Hoity Toity was cut off as the lights shut off. A blue light glowed from Rarity’s horn as she walked on the catwalk wearing her new dress. There was a bright flash from her horn and Twilight, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, and Fluttershy walked onto the catwalk, each wearing their original dresses.

Twilight took a sniff of herself and grimaced. “Did you really have to pull these out of the garbage?” she whispered to Rarity.

“Do you want my forgiveness or not?” hissed Rarity. She looked at Hoity Toity, who had no readable expression on his face.

“Um…Hoity?” asked Spike.

The designer raised his hoof in the air for silence. Getting up, he took off his glasses and stared at Rarity.

Rarity gulped nervously.

“I told you before, didn’t I?” said the stallion seriously. “A true artist doesn’t throw shit at a wall and hopes it will stick. A true artist throws shit at a wall and convinces everyone that that shit is gold.” He stared into Rarity’s eyes. “I told you that, correct?”

Rarity had a bead of sweat going down her face. “Um…yes?”

Hoity was silent.

Then he smiled and said, “My dear, this shit is gold.”

“It…it is?” squeaked Rarity.

Hoity smiled and climbed up onto the catwalk. “It is. You, my dear, are a true artist.”

“I…I…” began Rarity. She took a deep breath. Then she let out an even bigger squeal than she did when she first saw her dress. Everyone quickly covered their ears. The sunglasses that Hoity Toity had left at the bottom of the catwalk shattered.

Hoity uncovered his ears and smiled at Rarity. “Would you allow me to feature your dresses in my boutique in Canterlot?”

Rarity opened her mouth to squeal again. Hoity quickly clapped his hoof over her mouth. “You can just nod,” he said.

Rarity nodded frantically.

Hoity uncovered Rarity’s mouth and said, “Great! In that case, I need you to make a dozen of each dress by next Tuesday, ok? Oh! And don’t forget to include a pair of galoshes with each one! That was brilliant!” He turned around and left the boutique.

“Well, our work here is done!” said Rainbow Dash.

A blue glow surrounded the front door and slammed it shut. Everyone turned and stared at Rarity, whose eye was twitching.

“Sorry everyone,” she said, using her magic to lock the door, “But I need just one more thing from you before you’re truly forgiven.” She smiled and used her magic to give everyone a spool of thread and a needle. “I need your help to make 72 dresses by next Tuesday! Won’t that be fun?”

“No!” said everyone else.

“Great!” said Rarity, ignoring them. “Let’s get started!”

Pinkie Predictions

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“So…” said Spike. “Any particular reason I have a rock on my head?”

He was standing outside. In his hand was a stick, on his neck was a ring of leaves, and on his head was a rock.

“Well,” said Twilight, “We girls have our dresses for the Gala, but we still need to get you a suit.”

“I see,” said Spike. “…Any particular reason you couldn’t just ask Rarity for one?”

“Because I just wasted my weekend making dresses for Rarity,” explained Twilight. “I’ve seen enough of her boutique to last me a lifetime.” She pointed her horn at Spike. It began to glow, along with the rock, leaves, and stick.

Spike looked nervously at Twilight’s horn. “You’ve…you’ve done this before right?”

“Of course!” said Twilight. “Don’t worry, there’s only a slight chance that this will result in an explosion!”

“Really?” asked Spike. “How slight?”

“Only a solid 57% chance of explosions,” said Twilight nonchalantly. “Now hold still.”

Spike grimaced and prepared for the inevitable explosion. To his surprise, the leaves turned into a suit jacket, the stick into a fancy walking stick, and the rock into a top hat.

The glow in Twilight’s horn died as she stopped concentrating. She panted and said, “See? Nothing to worry about!”

“Yeah!” said Spike, eyeing his new suit. “I can’t believe you did-”

Spike’s suit exploded, consuming the dragon in a fireball.

“…Huh,” said Twilight. “Maybe next time.”

“You’re lucky I’m fireproof,” said Spike as he put out the flames. He sighed and said, “Listen, I’ll just go over to Rarity’s and-” He paused, frowning. “What’s Pinkie Pie doing?”

Twilight turned around and saw Pinkie ducking behind a tree. She poked her head out and looked up nervously. She ran underneath a nearby house’s porch and repeated the motion. She dashed to a rock near Twilight and Spike hid underneath it.

“…I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about,” said Twilight.

“Really?” asked Spike, pointing at the ground beneath Twilight.

Twilight looked down and saw Pinkie cowering underneath her. “Twitchy-twitch!” she moaned.

Twilight sighed and said, “Pinkie, what are you doing?”

“It’s my tail!” said Pinkie. She put her rear in the air, right next to Twilight’s face. “See?”

Twilight backed up. “Please don’t shove your butt in my face, ok?” She glanced at Pinkie’s tail, which was twitching madly. “Are you cold?”

“No!” said Pinkie, putting her rump down. “It’s twitching! You know what that means!”

“You have that Michael J. Fox thing?” guessed Twilight.

“No!” said Pinkie Pie. “I don’t even have a DeLorean. It means that something stuff is going to start falling! You should duck for cover!”

“Pinkie,” said Twilight exasperatedly, “Nothing’s going to fall. Hell, it’s not even going to rain today. See?” She pointed to the sky. “Not a cloud in the-”

A frog fell from nowhere and landed on Twilight’s face.

“Frog,” she finished. She used her magic to lift the frog off of her. “Where the fuck did this come from?”

“I’m so sorry!” said a voice.

Everyone looked up to see Fluttershy, who was carrying a basket of frogs and had was pulling a wagon of frogs behind her.

“Are you okay?” she asked, tears in her eyes.

“I’m fine,” said Twilight, smiling. “Thank you for-”

“Not you.” Fluttershy swooped down and grabbed the floating frog. “Are you ok, Michigan?”

“Hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime gal!” sang the frog.

“Yeah, you’re fine,” said Fluttershy, stuffing the frog back into the basket.

“Why do you have all those frogs?” asked Spike.

“Oh…uh…” said Fluttershy. She looked around nervously. “No reason…”

Meanwhile:

Cheerilee sighed as she stood in front of the class. “Bad news kids,” she said, “Fluttershy stole all the frogs we were going to dissect today, so we’re going to take a pop quiz.”

The class groaned.

“I will now plot my revenge!” squeaked Sweetie Belle, brandishing a battle ax.

“Count me in, sister,” growled Scootaloo, grinding a lit cigarette into her desk.

Back with the others:

“I’m going to fly as many as these guys as I can to Froggy Bottom Bog!” said Fluttershy happily.

“Good,” growled Twilight. “Great. Good for you. Get the fuck out of here, already.”

“I’d smack you for your attitude,” growled Fluttershy, “But I don’t want to drop any more frogs.” She huffed and fly away.

“That was a little harsh,” said Pinkie.

“Oh shut up,” said Twilight. “I just got hit in the face with a frog.”

“Did it get you hopping mad?” asked Spike with a grin.

Twilight glared at Spike. “Do you really want me to make you explode again?”

“Uh…” began Spike nervously.

“You know what? Never mind,” said Twilight. “Let’s just try making you a suit again.” She walked away.

Spike ran after her. “You’ve got to admit that was pretty cool though. Pinkie Pie knew something would fall and-”

“And nothing,” said Twilight. “It was just a coincidence Spike.”

“You know what’s not a coincidence?” asked Pinkie, running up to them. She turned around and raised her rear in the air. “My tail’s twitching again!”

Twilight backed away again. “Pinkie, stop putting your butt in my face.”

“I’m not complaining!” Spike said, slightly drooling.

“Something else is going to fall!” said Pinkie.

“Pinkie, please,” said Twilight, walking away. “Nothing is going to-” Twilight’s words turned into a scream as she fell into a ditch. “Ow…” she moaned.

“You were right again!” said Spike.

“I know!” said Pinkie.

“Coincidence!” yelled Twilight as she climbed out of the ditch.

“Apples!” yelled Applejack as she walked over.

Everyone stared at her.

She blushed. “Sorry…Ah just wanted to be included.”

“Applejack!” said Spike. “Pinkie Pie predicted-”

“She didn’t predict anything!” yelled Twilight. “Two coincidences in a row does not mean that Pinkie’s twitchy tail can predict the future. Right, Applejack?” Twilight turned, but Applejack had disappeared. “Where did she go?”

Spike pointed. Twilight looked to see Applejack hiding under a produce stand. “Seriously?” she asked, frowning.

“It’s ok!” called Spike. “Her prediction already happened.”

“Thank God,” said Applejack, crawling out from under the stand.

“What is wrong with you two?!” yelled Twilight.

“Ah know this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” began Applejack, “But trust me, if Pinkie Pie predicts somethin’, you’d be better off listenin’ to her.”

“My ears are flopping!” yelled Pinkie, whose ears were whacking her in the face.

“Ok…” said Spike, looking around. “What does that mean?”

Pinkie winced and looked at Twilight. “I’ll draw you a bath.”

“What?” asked Twilight.

A cart rolled by, splashing Twilight with mud. At the same time, a pegasus flew by and dropped a large chocolate cake on Twilight.

“Look out!” yelled a pony. “That manure cart’s lost control!”

Twilight looked at the oncoming cart and her eyes widened. “Mommy…” she muttered.

The cart overturned, spilling its…contents on Twilight.

The once clean unicorn sighed and looked over at Pinkie. “I’ll take that bath now,” she said.

Pinkie dropped the pencil she was using and held up a sketch of a bathtub. “I told you I’d draw you a bath!” she said happily.

Twilight’s eye twitched. “…I fucking hate all of you.”

Pinkie's Powers

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Twilight sighed as she leaned back in the bathtub, looking clean once more.

“I can’t believe I had to take three baths just to get all that crap off me,” muttered Twilight as she closed her eyes. “And I can’t believe that Pinkie just somehow knows what’s going to happen.”

“Why not?” asked a familiar voice.

“Because it doesn’t make any sen-” Twilight paused and opened her eyes. Pinkie was by the bathtub, staring at her.

“Hi!” greeted Pinkie.

Twilight shrieked and covered herself. “Pinkie! I’m taking a bath!”

“Oh relax,” said Pinkie offhandedly, “We don’t wear anything anyway.”

“Oh yeah…” said Twilight as she calmed down.

“Anywhoo!” began Pinkie. “I bet you’re wondering how my Pinkie Sense works!”

“Not really,” replied Twilight, “I’m more or less denying that it even exists.”

“I’m glad you asked!” continued Pinkie, ignoring Twilight. “You see, I get all these different little feelings that let me know when things are going to happen.”

“Ok,” said Twilight, nodding her head, “So you have a sort of limited precognition. I could believe-”

“And I have this!” said Pinkie. She pulled out a binder that was labeled MLP: FML Script.

Twilight looked at the label. “…What does FML mean?”

“No one knows, it isn’t funny,” answered Pinkie. “With this, I can know what everyone is doing, what problems are going to happen, and what god awful jokes are going to be made.” She flipped the script open. “I even know what you did with your Star Swirl the Bearded portrait last Friday night!” She held the book open for Twilight to see. “There’s even pictures!”

Twilight blushed as she looked at her…private time with the painting. She used her magic to grab the pictures. “Pinkie! Those are private!”

“It’s ok,” said Pinkie consolingly, “I’ve already made copies. We hand them out to everyone who comes to Sugarcube Corner! It makes ponies so happy! They just look at the pictures and laugh for so long!”

Twilight hid her blushing face. “Perfect…”

“Hmm…” said Pinkie, rubbing her shoulder. “My shoulder hurts a little…” She smiled. “You know what that means!”

Twilight stared at her. “Um…no?”

Pinkie stepped forward and put her front hooves in the tub. “Let’s see…” she muttered as she felt around. “Where are you? Is…this you?”

Twilight moaned. “P-Pinkie…” she said with a blush, “Watch where you’re touching!”

“Oops!” said Pinkie, her own face turning red. “Sorry!” She searched around again, before she felt something else. “Aha!” she exclaimed, a grin on her face. “Got you this time!”

She pulled what she had grabbed out of the water. A small green alligator was in her hooves, its purple eyes unfocused and staring in different directions.

Twilight shrieked and hopped out of the tub. “Why is there an alligator in the tub?!”

“He doesn’t like showers,” answered Pinkie. She held the reptile up and said, “This is Gummy! Say hello to Twilight, Gummy!”

The alligator slowly blinked its eyes one at a time. He opened his jaws, and Twilight saw that he had no teeth.

“He likes you!” said Pinkie happily.

Twilight breathed a sigh of relief. “I guess I had nothing to worry about, huh? He doesn’t even have teeth!”

Pinkie raised her eyebrow. “Of course he has teeth Twilight.” She lifted Gummy up. “Watch what happens when I do this!”

She gave the alligator a squeeze and sharp fangs shot out of his gums. He made snapping motions at Twilight, who froze.

“See?” said Pinkie. “I thought about calling him Toothless at first, but I don’t want to be sued by Dreamworks and-” She looked at Twilight, who hadn’t moved. “Um…are you ok?”

Twilight screamed. Loudly. She took off, crashing through the bathroom door and hurling herself downstairs.

“Twilight, wait!” yelled Pinkie, setting Gummy down. She ran after the unicorn, leaving Gummy all alone.

The tiny alligator’s fangs retracted, leaving him toothless once more. He waddled back to the tub and climbed in, letting out a sigh as he sank into the water.

Outside Sugarcube Corner, Twilight was leaning against a lamppost, getting her breath back.

“Are you alright?” asked Pinkie.

“Shut up,” muttered Twilight. She got off the lamppost and sighed. “Look, I still don’t believe that you have a magic script that tells you everything. And I don’t believe that you can just do the things you do without having magic.”

“‘The things I do’?” repeated Pinkie. “Like what?”

“Like popping up in random places, pulling random things out of God knows where, and shouting up at the sky,” explained Twilight.

“I only do that when Maniac92 makes a terrible joke,” explained Pinkie.

…Bitch.

“You know you love me!” shouted Pinkie up to the sky.

“See?” said Twilight. “You did it again!”

She started it!

“He started it!” said Pinkie, pointing at the sky.

Anyway,” continued Twilight, “You either have someone with magic helping you, or…” Twilight paused, the gears in her head turning. She gasped and said excitedly, “Or you have an entirely new type of magic that lets you do all these things!” Her horn glowed and she used her magic to pick Pinkie up and carry her off.

“Twilight?” asked the floating pink pony. “Where are we going?”

“To the library!” said Twilight happily. “I’ve got some studying to do!” She gave Pinkie an unsettling grin. “And you are going to help me!”

“Do…do I have a say in the matter?” asked Pinkie.

“Nope!” answered Twilight happily.

A Few Minutes Later:

Pinkie Pie was strapped to a chair. She was wearing a metal helmet with lights and buttons on it. Her eyes were being held open and she was forced to watch as Twilight walked around taking notes.

“Twilight?” she asked. “What are you doing?”

Twilight plugged something into the helmet, making it light up and beep. A nearby machine was busy writing jagged lines on a roll of paper. “I’m going to see if you use magic to do the things you do, Pinkie,” explained Twilight. “If you do something impossible, this machine will read it and let me know what type of magic you’re using, if any.”

“Ok…” said Pinkie slowly. “…Was it necessary to hold my eyes open?”

“No,” answered Twilight, “But I read it in a book once.” She used her magic to hold a bowl of fruit in front of Pinkie. “Orange?”

“Twilight…is this legal?” asked Pinkie.

Twilight laughed. “Oh Pinkie...” She paused and considered the question. “…Probably not.”

There was a ding from the machine. Twilight ran over and checked the findings. She grabbed the results and started to read them. As she read, a frown appeared on her face and got bigger the longer she kept reading.

“This…this doesn’t make sense!” said Twilight. “According to this, you do have a field of magic around you. But it’s nothing I’ve ever seen before! It’s not unicorn magic, pegasus magic, Alicorn magic, or even earth pony magic!” She threw down the paper in frustration. She sighed and closed her eyes. “Ok…ok...calm down. She may not have any recognizable form of magic, but she does have magic. You just need to study her a little bit longer in order to find out what it actually is.”

Twilight took a deep breath and turned back to Pinkie. “Ok Pinkie! Are you ready for a long and painful series of tests?”

There was no answer.

Twilight opened her eyes and saw that Pinkie had disappeared. “What?!” she yelled. She checked the chair, but none of the straps were broken. “How did she…” Twilight growled and yelled, “SPIKE!”

The door opened and Spike ran into the room. “What? What is it?” he asked.

Twilight’s horn glowed. A nearby cabinet opened, revealing a tranquilizer gun and darts. “Get ready,” growled Twilight. She grabbed the gun and loaded the darts into it. “We’re going to go study.”

A Study in Pink

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Fluttershy landed at Froggy Bottom Bog and put the basket of frogs down. The amphibians hopped out and left, aside from one.

“Hi, Ho! Kermit the Frog here!” said the last frog as he hopped out. He turned and looked at Fluttershy. “Thank you for getting us all out of that school!”

Fluttershy smiled. “No problem. I’m just glad you guys are safe!” She paused for a moment. “Um…if it’s not too much to ask…can you sing a song?”

“Sure!” said the frog. He pulled out a banjo and started strumming it. He opened his mouth and sang, “Why are there so many songs about rainbows, and what’s on the other side…”

Meanwhile:

Pinkie giggled to herself as she bounced around one of Ponyville’s fountains. Unbeknownst to her, a nearby bush was moving closer and closer to her.

“And the hunter spots her prey,” muttered Twilight as she aimed the tranquilizer gun at Pinkie. A pith helmet was on her head and binoculars were around her neck.

“Um…Twilight?” asked Spike, casting a worried look at the unicorn. “Aren’t you taking this a little too far?”

Twilight laughed and patted Spike on his head. “Oh Spike. Is it ‘taking things too far’ if you tranquilize a friend, drag them off to your secret lab, and perform painful experiments on them?”

“…Yes,” answered Spike.

“Oh, what do you know?” replied Twilight, leveling the gun at Pinkie again.

“Quite a lot considering you give me encyclopedias every year for my birthday,” replied Spike.

Twilight ignored that and watched Pinkie bounce away. “She’s on the move!” she said. Twilight picked up the bush and followed the pink party pony.

Pinkie stopped at the schoolhouse and started playing on the playground. Twilight quickly set the bush down and watched from a distance.

In the schoolhouse, Apple Bloom took a break from her pop quiz and looked out the window. “Is that Pinkie Pie?” she whispered to Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo.

Scootaloo gasped and looked around. “Oh God, where?!”

“Outside,” answered Apple Bloom. She raised an eyebrow at Scootaloo. “What’s wrong?”

Scootaloo took off her sunglasses and wiped her sweaty brow with a shaking hoof. “You don’t know man!" she sobbed. "You just don’t know!”

Outside, Twilight was aiming her gun at Pinkie. “Carefully…” she muttered. “Carefully…” She started to squeeze the trigger.

“How will you squeeze the trigger without fingers?” asked Spike suddenly.

Twilight jumped and fired wildly. The tranquilizer dart sailed past Pinkie’s head and struck a nearby beehive.

An angry swarm of bees came buzzing out of their hive.

“What’s all this then?” asked one.

“Some bastard shot a bloody dart at our hive!” reported another bee.

“Is it that rainbow tart again?” asked the first bee.

“Hang on…” said the other. He looked and spotted Twilight. “It’s some purple bastard that done it!”

“Let’s give her hell, lads!” yelled the first bee.

The swarm buzzed angrily and made a beeline for Twilight.

“They look kind of angry at us, huh Spike?” asked Twilight worriedly. She turned around, but Spike had disappeared. “That little-”

The bees dove at Twilight and completely covered her.

Later:

Twilight winced as she aimed the gun at Pinkie, large band-aides covering her body.

“What would Pinkie be doing at Sweet Apple Acres?” asked Spike, having hidden himself next to Twilight.

“From what I can tell,” said Twilight, her gun resting on the hay bale she and Spike were behind, “She’s smelling a flower.”

“Really?” asked Spike. “I would have thought she would have come here to see Applejack or something. I mean, we passed literal fields of flowers on our way over here; what makes that particular one so special?”

“Spike,” began Twilight, gazing through the scope of the gun, “I already have enough questions about Pinkie, ok? I don’t need you adding more.” She paused to aim her gun. “I…I can’t get a good shot from here!” She started backing up, not taking her eye off of Pinkie. “Come on…come on…”

“Twilight, maybe you should look where you’re going,” suggested Spike.

“Spike,” said Twilight, “I’m trying to concentrate.”

She kept backing up, but because she wasn’t looking, she fell into an open cellar. Screaming, she fell down the stairs. Spike ran to the cellar and heard Applejack’s voice.

“Twilight!” said Applejack’s voice. “Ah didn’t know you were comin’ over to see mah new cellar! That’s mighty kind of-” She paused. “Is yer leg supposed ta bend like that?”

“No…” muttered Twilight’s voice. “No, it is not.”

One hospital trip later:

Twilight and Spike hid behind a park bench. Twilight’s front legs were in casts and she was sitting in a wheelchair.

Spike looked at her worriedly. “Um…are you sure you don’t want to stop?”

Twilight growled and did her best to aim the gun. “No! I’m going to study Pinkie if it kills me!”

“It is killing you!” yelled Spike.

“Shut up, Spike!” said Twilight. She struggled to lift the gun. “I can still do this!”

“Ok…” sighed Spike. He walked to a safe distance. “I’ll just be over here, calling the paramedics.”

“Spike,” said Twilight, “I do not need the fucking-” She paused and looked at Pinkie. “Is…is her tail twitching again?”

Suddenly, a flower pot shattered against Twilight’s head. Then an anvil crashed on her, shattering her wheelchair. Then a wagon full of hay bales smashed her into the ground, snapping the tranquilizer gun in half. Then a grand piano fell from the sky and hit her.

“Ow…” she whimpered from the wreckage.

Up in the sky, a team of five pegasus ponies were in the process of moving somebody’s belongings. Four of them were glaring at their fifth member.

“Derpy!” yelled a mare with yellow fur and a turquoise mane. “Why do you keep dropping things?!”

“Sorry Raindrops!” said Derpy. “It won’t happen again!” She grabbed another box. “Say, are these kitchen knives sharp?”

“Yeah,” answered Raindrops, “Why?”

Derpy laughed, her wall-eyes shifting around. “No reason!” A twisted grin appeared on her face as she opened the box and turned it upside-down. Knives, cleavers, and a battle-axe fell out of the box. As Twilight screamed, Derpy laughed softly and said, “No reason at all.”

Much later:

Pinkie waved at Applejack, who was walking towards her with a large basket of apples on her back. “Hey!” greeted the pink pony. “What are you doing?”

“Takin’ these apples to mah brand new apple cellar!” said Applejack happily. “What about you?”

“Running from Twilight and her attempts to drug and kidnap me so she can perform all sorts of inhumane and crazy experiments on me because I have a type of magic she doesn’t understand,” said Pinkie in one breath. “I’ve been letting her follow me and letting her ruin her own plans in extremely humiliating ways.”

“Ah…see?” said Applejack, confused. “How’s that workin’ for ya?”

Pinkie pointed behind the farmer. Applejack turned around and saw Spike wheeling Twilight, who was in a new wheelchair and in a full-body cast, up to them.

“Seems to be going well so far!” said Pinkie happily. She smiled at Twilight. “Done trying to kidnap me?”

Twilight’s screams of rage were muffled by her cast. Her horn, the only part of her not covered by the cast, glowed. A pencil and notepad floated up into the air. The pencil scribbled something onto the notepad, which flew into Spike’s grasp.

“What does it say?” asked Pinkie excitedly.

The color drained from Spike’s face as he read the note. He crumbled up the note and threw it behind him. “Trust me, you don’t want to know.” He turned to Twilight and said, “And I don’t think that’s physically possible. That battle-axe would never fit.”

Twilight’s horn glowed and the words I’ll Make It Fit appeared above her head.

Pinkie laughed out loud. “Oh Twilight, you’re so much fun! I wish Fluttershy was here.” She wiped a tear out of her eye. “It’s too bad she’s too busy being in mortal danger. I think she’d love to see this.”

The others stared at her.

“Can you repeat that last part, Sugarcube?” asked Applejack.

Meanwhile, back in Froggy Bottom Bog:

The lovers, the dreamers, and me,” finished Kermit.

Fluttershy clapped her hooves. “Bravo!” she cheered.

Kermit bowed, his banjo in hand. “Thank you for listening. It’s not everyday someone asks to hear me sing. It’s not easy being green, you know.”

Unbeknownst to the two of them, something large rose up out of the water some distance away. Its eyes narrowed at the sight of Fluttershy and its jaws opened, showing jagged, razor sharp teeth.

Hail Hydra

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Applejack, Pinkie, and Twilight were running into down the road, heading for the woods. Spike was clinging to Twilight’s back as she sped up.

“I thought you were trying to catch Pinkie?” said Spike.

“I was,” replied Twilight, “But it might be better for my health if I stick to observing her rather than capture her. Besides, I’m still not sure if my data was even accurate. My machine might have been broken when it said Pinkie had a new type of magic around her. For all I know, all of her guesses and predictions could have been flukes.”

“…Despite her being right about pretty much everything?” asked Spike.

“What was that Spike?” said Twilight loudly. “I can’t hear you!”

“I said-” began Spike. His jaw glowed purple and snapped shut.

The glow in Twilight’s horn faded and she smirked. “Didn’t quite catch that.”

The three ponies ran into the forest and headed off the path. They slowed to a walk and Spike hopped off of Twilight’s back. He walked up to Applejack and asked, “What do you think is happening with Fluttershy? Do you think something attacked her?”

Applejack scoffed. “Hon, it’s Fluttershy. Ah think we ought to worry about her attacking something else.”

“Yeah…but what if whatever she attacked is strong enough to fight back?” asked Spike.

Applejack paled. “Ah really don’t want to imagine that. Ah don’t want to live in a world where somethin’ like that even exists.”

“Me too…” said Spike. He was silent for a moment. “But what if she exploded!”

“Ponies don’t just explode,” informed Twilight.

“Says the pony that makes exploding suits,” accused Spike.

“Are you still complaining about that?” asked Twilight. “It didn’t even hurt you. Besides, things don’t just explode for no reason.”

“Yeah,” said Pinkie, “It’s not a Michael Bay movie.”

Spike turned green in the face. “I don’t even want to imagine that.”

“Let’s just focus, alright?” said Applejack. “Froggy Bottom Bog ain’t too far from here.”

“Applejack’s right,” said Twilight. “Besides, I’m sure Fluttershy’s fine.”

Meanwhile:

Fluttershy dodged as a huge claw made a swipe at her. “I am not fine!” she screamed as she stared at the creature in front of her.

A giant brown snake-like creature was narrowing its glowing green eyes at her. It opened its maw, revealing its sharp fangs. It roared loudly and shot its head towards Fluttershy, attempting to chomp down on her.

Fluttershy quickly dove into the muddy bog water just as the monster’s head slammed into the ground. “That’s it…” she muttered. “Just keep trying to eat me…Just get your head stuck in the mud and I can-”

“FLUTTERSHY!” yelled Applejack as she and the others ran out of the woods.

“What the hell is that thing?!” yelled Spike, pointing at the monster, who growled in response.

“I’ve got this!” yelled Twilight. Her horn glowed and a battle-axe appeared.

“Wait…you kept that thing?” asked Spike.

“I told you I would make it fit!” yelled Twilight. She used her magic to send the axe spinning towards the monster.

“No, no wait!” yelled Fluttershy, her eyes wide.

The axe struck the monster in the neck. Green blood splattered everywhere as the axe decapitated the creature. Its severed head landed in the mud with a splash and its headless body collapsed.

“You did it!” cheered Spike.

“Way to go, Twilight!” congratulated Applejack.

“No big deal,” said Twilight with a smile. She turned to Fluttershy, who was pulling herself out of the water. “Are you ok, Fluttershy?”

“Am I OK?!” yelled Fluttershy. “Do you know what you just did?!”

“If I recall correctly,” said Twilight smugly, “I just saved your ass.”

“You saved jack shit!” yelled the pegasus. “Do you know what that thing is?! It’s a Hydra! And do you know what Hydras do?”

“Work with Nazis?” asked Spike.

“Infiltrate government organizations?” suggested Twilight.

“Get up after being decapitated?” guessed Pinkie, pointing.

They all turned around and watched as the headless body of the Hydra got back up. The stump of its neck bulged and suddenly three heads burst out of it. The heads smiled viciously at each other, before turning their gaze to the ponies.

“Fluttershy,” said Applejack nervously, “Yer the expert here; what should we do?”

“Well…” began Fluttershy softly, “I suggest we all…RUN FOR OUR LIVES!” She turned tail and ran down the bog.

“Good idea!” yelled Spike, taking off after her.

The other three began running, with Twilight throwing the battle-axe at the Hydra. It struck one of its necks and cut off one of the heads, but two more took its place.

“Would you stop with the head-slicing thing?!” yelled Spike.

The Hydra roared after them and rose from the water. Its two clawed feet stomped through the mud as it chased after the group.

Applejack looked around at the others and noticed something was missing. “Where’s Pinkie?” she asked.

Twilight looked around, but couldn’t see the pink party pony. “I don’t know!” She looked around to see the Hydra gaining on them. She looked forward and came to a halt. A steep hill was in front of them. “Climb!” she shouted.

“Um, Twilight?” came Spike’s voice. Twilight turned to see Spike stuck in the mud behind them, the Hydra almost upon him. “HELP!”

“Goddammit Spike!” screamed Twilight. She ran over and used her magic to pull him out of the mud.

“Wow,” said Spike, floating, “Thanks for coming back for me, that’s really-”

“Applejack, catch!” yelled Twilight. She hurled Spike towards the hill, where Applejack grabbed him.

“Boo-yah!” yelled Applejack, jumping up and throwing Spike to the ground. She blinked and smiled sheepishly. “Sorry, Sugarcube.”

“The pain…” moaned Spike.

Twilight looked up to see the Hydra right above her. One of the heads roared and shot down at her. She screamed and threw herself forward, narrowly avoiding the monster’s open jaws. She turned her dive into a roll and towards the hill.

“That was badass!” said Spike.

Twilight used her magic to grab him. “Less talky! More runny!”

The ponies ran up the hill and stopped. They were at the edge of a cliff. The only way to the other side was to jump on small pillars that were in-between cliffs.

“We have to jump!” said Twilight.

“Um…do you have any other plans?” asked Spike nervously.

“Oh come on, it’ll be fun!” Twilight reassured. “It’ll be like a video game like…uh…like Jak and Daxter.”

“Ooh!” said Spike excitedly. “Can I be Jak?”

Twilight rolled her eyes. “Please. You’re obviously Daxter.” She pointed to the pillar in front of them. “Now start jumping!”

Spike walked to the edge of the cliff and looked down at the ground below. “Yeah…I don’t see that happening.”

Twilight sighed. “Spike, these pillars are probably thousands, if not millions, of years old. If they’ve been around this long, there’s very little chance that they’ll collapse if we jump on them.”

A bird tweeted and flew from one of the trees behind them. It landed on one of the pillars. There was a cracking noise as the pillar broke and tipped forwards, hitting and breaking the one in front of it. The pattern continued until the last pillar fell to the ground below.

“You were saying?” asked Spike.

“We’re dead,” replied Twilight.

The Hydra roared as it struggled to climb the hill behind them.

“What would Rainbow Dash do at a time like this?” asked Twilight to herself. She thought about it and imagined that the blue pegasus was next to her.

“Have you got any booze?” asked Imaginary Rainbow Dash.

“No!” said Twilight. She pointed at the approaching monster. “What am I supposed to do?”

“Get up on the Hydra’s back!” yelled Imaginary Rainbow Dash.

“I don’t think that would help,” said Twilight.

“What if I yell it over and over again until you do? Would that help?” asked Imaginary Rainbow Dash.

Twilight sighed and concentrated. The imaginary pegasus disappeared.

“What would Rarity do?” asked Fluttershy.

Twilight imagined the fussy unicorn being next to her.

Imaginary Rarity turned around and looked at the Hydra. “God, that’s ugly. It would have been better purple.”

“Focus!” yelled Twilight. “How would you stop it?”

“Fuck if I know, dear,” said Imaginary Rarity with a shrug. “All I can do is suggest a design for your coffins.”

Twilight growled and Imaginary Rarity disappeared.

“What would Pinkie do?” asked Spike.

Twilight concentrated again and an imaginary version of Pinkie appeared next to her. Imaginary Pinkie opened her mouth and-

“I’m BAAACK!” yelled the real Pinkie Pie as she walked out of the forest. “Is the Hydra still here?”

“Pinkie!” yelled everyone.

“Where did ya go?” asked Applejack.

“Well,” began Pinkie, “The Hydra started chasing us and I thought, ‘Wow, I really don’t want to do this’, so I walked back to Ponyville.”

“You walked back to Ponyville?” repeated Twilight. She smiled. “Great! So, where’s everybody?”

“…Everybody?” asked Pinkie, raising an eyebrow.

“Yeah,” said Twilight. “You know, the help you got? The rescuers? More ponies to help fight the Hydra? Ponies you obviously went back to Ponyville to get?”

“I didn’t bring anyone,” said Pinkie.

“That’s fine,” said Fluttershy with a soft smile. “Then you went to my house and got my Emergency Hydra Kit?”

“Nope!” said Pinkie happily.

“Did ya at least get mah rope?” asked Applejack.

“Uh-uh,” said Pinkie, shaking her head.

“Then why did you go back to Ponyville?!” yelled Spike.

“For snacks!” said Pinkie, holding up a bag of Gummy Bears. “I can’t run from a Hydra on an empty stomach!” She held the bag out. “Want some?”

Imaginary Pinkie grinned and stepped forward. Grabbing some bears, she disappeared with a pop.

Everyone stared at Pinkie.

“…What?” she asked.

“Are you telling me,” said Twilight slowly, “That you, knowing that we were being chased by a murderous monster and could use all the help we could get, walked all the way back to Ponyville, had numerous opportunities to ask ponies for help, ignored a supply kit that an animal expert prepared for this exact situation, forgot about something that one of use could have used as a tool, all so you could go back to Sugarcube Corner, get a snack, and come back here without ANYTHING USEFUL?!” Twilight’s eyes turned red as she screamed.

“Don’t be silly,” said Pinkie. “I didn't go to Sugarcube Corner to get a snack. I went to the library and got a snack.”

The Hydra finally made it to the top of the hill and roared. It began charging toward the group, its mouths opened wide.

Literal steam rushed out of Twilight’s ears. Her fur blazed and turned white-hot, her burning red eyes started to glow brightly, and her mane and tail were engulfed in flame. She turned and pointed her horn at the approaching Hydra.

Fuego,” she muttered angrily.

Her horn glowed bright orange and white-hot flames shot out towards the Hydra. The fire went into each of the Hydra’s mouths, scorching and blistering their tongues. The Hydra’s eyes widened in fear as it burst into flames. The fire burst out of the monster’s chest, scorching the ground as it collapsed. In a few moments, the Hydra was nothing more than a charred skeleton.

Twilight let out a sigh, her eyes, fur, and mane going back to normal. “You know what?” she asked. “Fuck it. Let’s just go home.”

Spike blinked. “Um…what about Pinkie? Are you going to try to capture her again?”

Twilight lifted Spike up and put him on her back. “Spike, if this experience has taught me anything, it’s that Pinkie Pie is random and trying to explain that will only result in a massive headache. From here on out, I officially don’t give a shit.”

“I see…” said Spike. “One more thing?”

“Shoot.”

“Have you always been a Rapidash?” asked Spike. “If so, can I trade you? Princess Celestia has a Lapras that I want.”

“No and no,” said Twilight.

“Too late!” said Spike, breathing on a letter. It turned into smoke and vanished.

There was a whistling noise and Princess Celestia crashed into the ground, creating a crater. She tossed a red and white ball at Spike and used her magic to pick Twilight up. “Thanks for the Rapidash, Spike! I’m going to trade her to Luna for her Magmar!”

“Don’t I get a say in this?” screamed Twilight as Princess Celestia took off with her.

Spike bounced his new Pokémon in his hands. He opened his mouth and started to sing, “I’m gonna be the very best…”

Toothpricks

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“Look, I’ll be completely honest with you,” said Rainbow Dash. She paced in front of her audience. “We may have beaten an evil princess, chased off a giant dragon, falsely accused somebody of witchcraft, survived a swarm of omnivorous bugs, and wore ugly dresses, but this…this will be the most difficult thing we’ve ever done.”

She glanced up at the sky and sighed. “Look, you might be nervous. I understand that. Luckily for the both of us, I don’t get nervous. I know what it takes to deal with this sort of thing. So I need you to listen to what I say and follow my every order. I need you to pull up your big girl panties and get this done.” She looked at her audience and grinned. “Are you ready to do this? Are you ready to throw caution to the wind? Are you ready to look Equestria in the face and say, ‘Bite the pillow, pansy, I’m going in dry’?”

Fluttershy blinked. “Rainbow? You know I’m just going to cheer for you, right?”

Rainbow glared at her. “What was that?”

“Oh,” said Fluttershy. “Um…bite the pillow, pansy, I’m going in dry?”

“Stop with the foreplay, Fluttershy,” said Rainbow Dash. “Let me hear your cheer.”

Fluttershy took a deep breath. “Yay,” she cheered with a whisper.

Rainbow Dash slapped her across the face. “Louder!”

“Yay?” asked Fluttershy.

“Louder!” yelled Rainbow.

“Yay,” whispered Fluttershy.

“LOUDER!” screamed Rainbow Dash.

“SHUT UP!” screamed Colgate as she opened her front door. “Some of us are trying to get some sleep!”

“Sorry Colgate!” said Fluttershy.

“It’s Minuette!” hollered Colgate, slamming her door.

Fluttershy turned towards Rainbow Dash. “Why are we doing this in the middle of the night, anyway?”

Rainbow Dash sighed angrily and poked Fluttershy in the chest. “Because you need all the help you can get. That cheer was pathetic!” She frowned and said, “Look, I really didn’t want to do this, but maybe Twilight has a booo-” She gagged.

“A boo?” asked Fluttershy.

“A boololo…” choked Rainbow Dash.

“Um…”

“A book!” said Rainbow Dash. She shuddered. “Maybe Twilight has a...book...on cheering for you.”

“That’d be nice,” said Fluttershy gently, “But the library won’t open for a few more hours.”

“Then we’ll wait!” said Rainbow Dash. “And while we’re waiting, I’ll devote every minute…no! Every second to practicing and perfecting my skills and techniques. I’ll become the best flier ever! And then, at the ass-crack of dawn, you and I will head over to the library!”

“That sounds great, Rainbow!” said Fluttershy. “I can’t wait to see you-”

She blinked. Rainbow Dash had fallen on her back. Her eyes were shut and her mouth was wide open.

“Rainbow?” asked Fluttershy.

Rainbow Dash let out a loud snore.

Hours later:

Rainbow Dash snorted and she shot up off the ground. “Pancakes?” she asked groggily.

“Good morning, Rainbow!” said Fluttershy happily as she got up from the ground.

Rainbow groaned and rubbed her eyes. “What time is it?” she yawned.

“12:30 P.M.” answered Fluttershy.

“W-What?!” shouted Rainbow, her eyes widening. “The library opened two hours ago! Why didn’t you wake me?!”

“I thought that’d be rude,” said Fluttershy.

Rainbow Dash groaned and rolled her eyes. She spread her wings, grabbed Fluttershy, and took off for the library.

Meanwhile:

“Almost…” muttered Twilight, sweat dripping from her brow. Her horn glowed purple as she concentrated. “Almost…”

A toothpick was floating in the air in front of her. It floated down towards an impressive model of Canterlot Castle, made entirely out of toothpicks. The floating toothpick was gently placed on the model’s roof.

Twilight exhaled and backed away. “Finally!” she cheered. “I’ve been working on that all week!” She looked up and smiled. “Thanks for helping me, you guys.”

Rarity, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, and Spike were all standing around the model. Pinkie slowly reached out a hoof-

“PINKIE!” yelled Twilight. “No touching my model! I need to find a spell to stick all the toothpicks together so it won’t break apart. In the meantime, no one touch the model. It’s extremely fragile and-

A blue and yellow blur burst into the room and crashed into the model, causing toothpicks to fly everywhere.

“Ow…” muttered Rainbow Dash, who was laying on the table where the model formerly was.

“Ow…” murmured Fluttershy from where her head was stuck in one of the bookshelves.

“Ok, ow,” said Spike. He had toothpicks embedded in his face and body.

Rarity winced as she looked at Spike. “Are you alright darling?”

Spike idly pulled one of the toothpicks from his face. “I’m fine. Thick scales.” He sighed and pulled another one off his body. “It’s gonna take forever to get all of them out, though.”

“Guys?” asked Rainbow Dash with a wince. “I know I say this a lot, but what’s poking me in the butt?” She got off the table and turned around. Toothpicks were embedded in her rear.

Twilight sighed. A force field of purple magic was in front of her face, and had several toothpicks impaled in it. The glow in her horn faded and the force field disappeared. With nothing to hold them, the toothpicks dropped to the floor. Twilight glared at the toothpicks and said, “This is why I can’t have nice things.”

“Oh sure,” said Pinkie, “Rainbow Dash can touch the model, but God help us if I want to do it.” She huffed and stuck her nose in the air.

“Um…” began Applejack. She pulled a toothpick out of her hat and looked over at Twilight, whose glare hadn’t disappeared. “Maybe you should wait to complain about this, Pinkie.”

Twilight sighed and walked over to Rainbow Dash. Her horn glowed and a purple glow surrounded the toothpicks in Rainbow’s rump. “Why are you two here anyway?” she asked as she began pulling the toothpicks out.

Rainbow Dash winced as the pieces of wood were none-too-gently pulled out of her ass. “Me and…ow…Fluttershy were…fuck…hoping that you had a book on cheering!” She rubbed her sore rear.

Twilight blinked, her rage disappearing. “Cheering? Why?”

“The Best Young Flier competition is taking place in Cloudsdale,” said Fluttershy as she pulled her head out of the bookshelf.

“Yeah,” said Rainbow. She took off and started flying around the room. “The best fliers from all over Equestria are coming to perform in front of Cloudsdale and, more importantly, the Wonderbolts!” She flew to the center of the room and pointed at herself. “I’m going to compete and win the whole enchilada!” Her stomach growled and she put a hoof in front of it. “Speaking of which, do you have any food? I didn’t eat breakfast.”

“But why a book on cheering?” asked Twilight.

“Oh!” said Rainbow. She pointed at Fluttershy. “Silence McWhispers over there is going to be my cheering squad and, to put it gently, she’s fucking terrible.”

That was gentle?” asked Fluttershy.

“I tell it like it is!” replied Rainbow Dash.

“It sounds cool!” said Pinkie. “We should totally go!”

“Yeah!” said Applejack. “Ah’ll bet you win the whole thing!”

“Unless you guys can stay on clouds without falling and splattering against the ground, I think you’re boned,” said Rainbow.

Everyone turned to Twilight expectantly.

“Guys,” she said in response to their looks, “Just because I’m the Element of Magic doesn’t mean that I have a spell for every single-” She gasped. “I totally have a spell for this! Hang on!” She ran off towards the bookshelves.

“Which means she’ll be too busy to use her magic to get this shit out,” said Spike, gesturing down to the toothpicks in his body. “Which means I’m going to have to stay and get them out myself.” He sighed and walked over to the stairs. “I think we have some tweezers in the bathroom…”

“Ooh!” said Pinkie excitedly. “Maybe we’ll get to see you use the Sonic Rainboom! That’d be really-”

Rainbow Dash dove at Pinkie and pressed her against the wall. She grabbed Pinkie’s throat and started squeezing. “How do you know about that?! That’s top secret!”

Applejack raised an eyebrow. “What’s a Sonic-”

Rainbow Dash rushed over to Applejack and put her hoof over her mouth. “Ssh!” she shushed. She ran over to the windows and door and made sure they were shut and locked. “The Sonic Rainboom,” she whispered as she walked to the middle of the room, “Is my top secret weapon. My ultimate technique. My own Kamehameha. My Expelliarmus. My Hadoken! My-”

“We get it!” said Rarity. “Go on!”

“I’ve only ever done it once…” said Rainbow Dash. “But if I do it at the competition, there’s no way I can lose!”

“Why do ya want to win so badly?” asked Applejack.

“Well,” began Rainbow, “Besides being able to rub it in everyone’s face, the grand prize is an entire day with the Wonderbolts!” She started shaking Rarity. “Can you imagine?! Me being able to hang out with the Wonderbolts?! We could go flying! I show them my moves! They’ll be so impressed with me, they’ll ask me to join them right on the spot!”

“It sounds lovely, dear,” said Rarity. She gently pried Rainbow off of her. “Just remember that there’s no need for you to be nervous.”

“Nervous? Me?!” asked Rainbow Dash. She scoffed. “Only amateurs get nervous, Rarity. I’ll be fine. In fact,” she walked over and grabbed Fluttershy. “C’mon you! We’re going to rest up before the competition!”

“…We’re going drinking, aren’t we?” asked Fluttershy.

Rainbow Dash squeezed her and said, “You know me so well!” She spread her wings and took off, Fluttershy in her arms. They burst through one of the windows, sending broken glass everywhere.

“Found it!” said Twilight. She ran back to the group, a book levitating by her side. “I’ve got the spell!” She frowned as she eyed the broken glass. “…Rainbow?” she asked.

“Rainbow,” answered Applejack.

Twilight sighed and opened the book. “This spell will let us fly for three days. More than enough time for the competition. Now, this spell is a little difficult, but it’s nothing I can’t handle...hopefully. Who wants to volunteer?”

“I volunteer…” said Pinkie. She pushed Rarity forward. “Rarity to be the one you test the spell on.”

“Um…” said Rarity as Twilight pointed her horn at her. “Can we talk about-” Twilight’s horn glowed and Rarity felt magic around her body. “This…this won’t hurt, right?” She waited for an answer. “…Twilight?” Blue swirls surrounded her body, and she found herself lifted up off the ground. “If I die from this, Pinkie is not invited to my funeral!”

There was a zapping noise, a bright flash, and everything was silent.

Winging It

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Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy were flying high in the air. Rainbow sighed as she looked over at Fluttershy. “Listen, you’ve got to get better at cheering. You need to be more assertive.”

Fluttershy flew close to Rainbow Dash and poked her ear with her hoof. “Beep beep.”

“I said assertive, not insertive!” yelled Rainbow Dash, flying away from Fluttershy. “You have to speak up!”

“Oh! Ok,” said Fluttershy, “In that case, I think you drink too much.”

Rainbow Dash’s lower lip quivered. “You’re a monster!” she screamed. She took off crying.

Fluttershy sighed and sped up. She could make out Cloudsdale in the distance, and spotted Rainbow Dash fly into the city. As Fluttershy followed, pegasus ponies of all kinds were flying around, each of them talking about the upcoming competition.

“Man, this thing is going to be cool!” said Rainbowshine. She looked over to her companion. “Aren’t you excited Derpy?”

“Hmm?” asked the wall-eyed Pegasus. “About what?”

“About the Best Young Flier competition!” said Rainbowshine.

“Oh!” said Derpy. She was silent for a moment. “…What is that again?”

Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy landed on a cloud. Rainbow Dash stretched and smiled at Fluttershy. “Man, being back here brings back memories! Why did I ever leave?”

“Well, well, well, if it isn’t Rainbow Crash!” said a voice.

Rainbow frowned. “Oh, right…” She turned around, her eyes narrowing.

Three stallions were walking up to them. One had brown fur and a cream-colored mane, one was orange-furred and had a brown mane, and the other had grey fur and a black mane. They were all sneering at Rainbow Dash.

“Get kicked out of any flight schools lately?” said the one with brown fur.

“Hello Dumbbell,” said Rainbow Dash politely. “Suck any cock lately?”

“Well yesterday he-” began the stallion with orange-fur.

“Shut the fuck up, Hoops!” growled Dumbbell. He turned to Rainbow Dash. “If it weren’t for your little griffon slut helping you, you wouldn’t have even graduated high school!”

“Yeah!” said Hoops. “All you had was your little story about your Sonic Rainboom! Like that was even true!”

“You guys were all there when I did that,” said Rainbow Dash. She smiled and said, “Speaking of high school, you remember Fluttershy, right?”

Fluttershy waved at the three stallions. “Hello boys! It’s good to see you again.”

The stallions shrieked in terror.

“I-It’s Cutter!” yelled Hoops.

“Run for your lives!” yelled Dumbbell.

“Hang on!” said Fluttershy. “I’ve changed since high school! I’m not-”

A pony bumped into her, cutting her off. “Oh! I’m so sorry Miss, I-”

Fluttershy grabbed the pony by the throat and pulled her close. “I. Was. Talking,” she growled. She picked the pony up and threw her off the cloud. Fluttershy cleared her throat and turned back to the others. “Now,” she said happily, “What were we-” She blinked and looked around, but the three stallions disappeared. “Where’d they go?”

“They flew off crying for their mommies,” said Rainbow Dash. She puffed her chest. “I’ll show those three. I’ll do my Sonic Rainboom at the competition and win for sure!”

“Rainbow?” asked Fluttershy. “Have…have you done a Sonic Rainboom before?”

“Of course!” said Rainbow. “Once. Years ago. Without knowing how I did it. Why?”

“Aren’t you worried that you won’t be able to do it again?” asked Fluttershy.

Rainbow Dash started laughing. “Oh, Fluttershy…” She paused, her eyes widening. “…Oh shit…what if I can’t do it?”

“Um…” began Fluttershy.

“What if I fail?” asked Rainbow Dash. “What if everyone laughs at me? What if the Wonderbolts laugh at me?”

“Rainbow?” asked Fluttershy.

“I’ll never be able to show my face again!” continued Rainbow. “Everywhere I go, ponies will point and laugh and say, ‘There goes Rainbow Dash, the pony that humiliated herself in front of thousands of ponies’!”

“Rainbow Dash,” said Fluttershy.

“I’m gonna puke,” said Rainbow Dash, holding her stomach. “I’m literally going to puke.” She started hyperventilating. “Air…getting…thin! Hard to…breathe!” She grabbed Fluttershy and started shaking her, “Fluttershy! Which arm hurts when you’re about to have a heart attack?!”

“Rainbow Dash!” yelled Fluttershy. She raised a hoof and smacked the other pegasus in the face. “Snap out of it!”

Rainbow Dash didn’t react to the slap. She only tightened her grip on Fluttershy. “Fluttershy,” she began calmly, “I am in the middle of a nervous breakdown. What could you possibly tell me that would let me, and I quote, ‘Snap out of it’?”

Fluttershy lifted her arm and pointed. “Rarity!”

“Rarity?” asked Rainbow Dash. “I mean…I know she’s our friend, and I have fantasized about her every now and again, but how is she supposed to-”

Fluttershy grabbed Rainbow Dash’s head and made her turn around.

Rainbow Dash’s jaw dropped.

Rarity smiled down at her. Two transparent, shimmering butterfly wings were on her back and were fluttering in the breeze. “Cat got your tongue, dear?” she asked. She flew closer to the two pegasus ponies. “Don’t they look lovely? Twilight made them for me! Now we can come and cheer for you!”

“We?” questioned Fluttershy.

As if on cue, a hot air balloon burst through the clouds. In the basket underneath it, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, and Twilight were smiling at Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy.

“Whoa!” said Rainbow Dash, her earlier panic forgotten. “Where’d you get a balloon?”

“I know a guy,” said Twilight smugly.

“Really?” asked Rainbow, her eyebrow raised.

Twilight sighed. “Ok…Spike knows a guy.”

Fluttershy looked at the basket. “Where is Spike anyway?”

Back in Ponyville:

Spike grabbed one of the toothpicks in his face with the tweezers. He pulled it out, hissing as he did so. He dropped the toothpick in the bathroom sink, where it joined dozens of others.

“134…” counted Spike as he grabbed another toothpick with the tweezers.

Back in Cloudsdale:

Pinkie, Applejack, and Twilight hopped out of the basket and landed on the cloud.

Rainbow Dash looked at them, confused. “Wait, you three don’t have wings. How are you able to walk on the cloud?”

Twilight smiled proudly. “That spell on Rarity takes a lot of energy, so I found another spell that lets us walk on clouds.”

“Oh!” said Fluttershy. “And you cast it on Applejack, Pinkie, and yourself?”

“Actually,” began Twilight, “I only cast it on me and Applejack. I don’t know how Pinkie is walking on clouds.”

Everyone turned to look at Pinkie, who smiled and said, “I’m full of helium!”

“Wait,” said Rainbow, “That doesn’t make any-”

Twilight quickly put her hoof over Rainbow’s mouth. “For the love of God,” she hissed, “Don’t question it!” She cast a fearful gaze up at the sky. “There’s no anvils falling, are there?”

Rainbow grabbed Twilight’s hoof and lowered it. “Well, I’m glad you guys are here.”

“Feelin’ nervous?” guessed Applejack.

Rainbow sputtered. “N-No! I-I was just thinking it would be nice for you guys to see how awesome I am when I do the Sonic Rainboom, that’s all.”

Fluttershy giggled. “Yeah, you definitely weren’t freaking out or anything.”

“SO!” yelled Rainbow, blushing slightly. “How about Fluttershy and I show you around Cloudsdale?”

“What was that about you freaking out?” asked Pinkie.

Rainbow Dash went behind her and pushed her forward. “What’s that, Pinkie?” she asked loudly. “I can’t hear you! We’ve got a lot of Cloudsdale to see!”

Fluttershy rolled her eyes and smiled. She gestured to the others to follow her as she walked after Rainbow.

As they walked, the six ponies found themselves entering the main part of Cloudsdale. Buildings made out of cloud were all around them, each elaborately decorated and fancy looking.

“Yeah,” chuckled Rainbow as she looked at the other’s shocked expressions. “It’s easy to get a fancy house when you can just make it out of a cloud. That’s why I live in a mansion.”

Rarity flew above them, giggling as she soared through the air. “I must say Rainbow Dash,” she called, “I see why you like flying so much! It’s exhilarating!” She passed by a mirror and posed in front of it. “Not to mention I look damn good while doing it.”

“Um…ok?” said Rainbow Dash. She looked over at Applejack and whispered, “I'm not that obnoxious when I fly, am I?”

Applejack frowned at her. “You did use your wings to win a tug-of-war game.”

Rainbow Dash sighed, “You’re never going to let me live that down, are you?”

“Probably not,” answered Applejack.

Rainbow Dash groaned. “Let’s just continue with the tour, huh?” She led the others further into the city. “Some of the greatest pegasi in history came from Cloudsdale!”

“I know!” said Twilight. “We had a whole class on the history of Cloudsdale back when I was learning under Celestia.”

Rainbow Dash turned to her. “Ok, two things. One, I love the thought of you learning under Celestia,” she smirked at Twilight’s blush, “And two, you don’t need a test to teach you who’s great and who’s not.”

“Really?” asked Twilight. “So if you had to take a test, you could pass it no problem?”

“With flying colors!” said Rainbow Dash.

Pinkie burst out laughing.

“Speaking of flying!” said Rarity. She fluttered her wings and followed the others. “Wait for me!”

As Rarity flew back to the others, three construction workers stopped working to look at her.

“Hey gorgeous!” called one. “Get those sexy wings over here and see what a real stallion’s like!”

Rarity smiled at him and batted her eyelashes. “Sure,” she said, “Just let me know when you find one, ok boys?”

The stallion’s jaw dropped.

“Ooh!” said his coworkers.

“Gonna need some water for that burn!” said one.

“...Shut the fuck up Bill,” said the construction worker.

Rarity smirked and started doing loops and spins in the air.

“Careful with those, Rarity!” called Twilight. “They’re fragile. They’re meant to let you get up to Cloudsdale, not help you show off.”

“Oh, Twilight,” said Rarity, “Loosen up a little. It’s not like I’m going to be entering the competition with Rainbow or anything. I’m just having fun.”

Seeing Twilight frown at Rarity, Applejack cleared her throat and said, “Maybe we should go see where the weather’s made. It could be…educational?”

Twilight gasped. “Educational!” She bounced up and down. “We have to go, we have to go, we have to go!”

“Ok, ok,” said Rainbow Dash. “We’ll go to the Weather Factory. It’s close to where the competition will be anyway.” She stated walking and the others followed her.

They walked for a long time, filling the silence with idle chatter.

“Hey,” said Applejack, “How will we know when we’re gettin' close to-”

A loud clap of thunder made everyone aside from Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash jump.

Rainbow turned to smirk at Applejack, who was shaking slightly. “Does that answer your question?”

As they walked down the road, the Weather Factory came into view. The cloud building had dark storm clouds surrounding it and rainbows poured out of the building like waterfalls. Rainbow Dash led them to the entryway.

“Ok,” said Fluttershy, “Before we go inside we need to put on some protection.” She spotted Rainbow opening her mouth. “Not that type of protection, Rainbow.”

“Buzzkill,” muttered Rainbow Dash. She groaned, “Do we really have to put lab coats and shit on? Nothing’s going to happen.”

There was a scream and a pegasus was launched out of one of the windows.

Fluttershy turned to Rainbow, who sighed. “Yeah, ok. I’ll put it on.”

The ponies pulled on lab coats and put on hard hats. Twilight paused and looked at herself in a nearby mirror. “Something about a lab coat just feels right, you know?” She turned to the others. “What do you girls think?”

“I think you’d look better with some glasses too,” said Rarity.

Twilight laughed. “My eyes aren’t that bad.” She paused and looked her reflection again. “Then again…”

Once fully dressed, Rainbow led the ponies into the building. The temperature dropped as they walked inside and the ponies saw icicles hanging from the ceiling. “Here’s where they make the snowflakes,” she whispered. She pointed to a mare who was using a magnifying glass to look at a snowflake. “Each one is hoofmade and unique. It takes hours to do.”

“Every Who down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot,” said the mare as she made a note on her checklist. “But The Grinch, who lived just north of Whoville, did-”

“Hi!” said Pinkie, slamming her hooves down on the snowflake. “I’m Pinkie! What are you doing?” She paused. “Did you just hear thousands of tiny voices screaming?”

The mare looked horrified as she looked at the broken remains of the snowflake. “Oh God, why?”

“Moving on!” said Rainbow Dash quickly. She grabbed Pinkie and flew to the next room. The others hurried after her, leaving the sobbing mare alone.

The room they ran into had a rainbow coming in through the ceiling. It poured into the room, turning into liquid that filled various pools around the room. Pegasi were all around the pools, stirring them.

“Here’s my favorite room!” said Rainbow Dash. “Where they make the rainbows!”

“Wow,” said Twilight, looking around the room. Her eyes rested on a sign that was next to the door. “Please do not swim in the rainbow pools,” she read, “Doing so can cause mutations that can carry over to your foals.”

“Who would be dumb enough to do somethin’ like that?” asked Applejack.

“I don’t know,” said Twilight, “But if they went to the trouble having to put a sign, then someone must have done it.”

Years Ago:

“Hey Blaze,” said a stallion, “How’s life with that new wife of yours?”

Blaze, who was a pegasus with blue-fur and a white mane, grinned. “We’re doing good. She’s starting to talk about wanting a kid. And you know what that means!”

“Um…no?” said the other stallion.

“It means I’m going to get laid over and over again!” laughed Blaze.

The other stallion laughed. “If you do have a kid, I’m leaving Cloudsdale. I can’t handle two ponies that act like you.” He headed for the door. “I’m off man! You gonna be good being all alone?”

“Yeah,” said Blaze. He gestured to one of the rainbow pools. “I just gotta stir this bitch and then I’m done.” He waved goodbye as the other stallion left the room.

Soon, Blaze yawned. “Man,” he said to himself. “I wish I was home. Our pool’s finally ready and I wanted to test it out.” Blaze looked around. The room was completely empty save for him. “I wonder…” he said. He looked down at the rainbow pool. “Fuck it!” he said with a shrug. He dove into the pool and swam to the bottom.

He came back up for air and said, “This is awesome!” He spent a few minutes swimming around in the liquid rainbow.

“Alright,” he said, “Better get out before the boss comes by.” He climbed out of the pool and shook himself off. Blaze’s eyes went to a mirror that was by the door. “Better make sure I don’t have any rainbow on me.”

He walked over to the mirror and looked at himself. His jaw dropped. His once-white mane was now rainbow-colored.

“Huh…” he said. “…Wonder if this is the reason we’re not supposed to swim in the rainbow pools.”

Back in the present:

“Pinkie!” yelled Rainbow Dash, her multi-colored mane swishing as she turned to her friend. “No dipping in the pools!”

Pinkie pulled her hoof out of the pool and said, “Please Dashie, what’s the worst that could happen?” She looked at her hoof, which was covered in liquid rainbow. “Hmm…I wonder…” She stuck her hoof in her mouth. When she pulled it out, the liquid was completely gone. “Not bad,” Pinkie said, licking her lips.

“…Did you really just eat that?” asked Rainbow.

“Yeah,” said Pinkie. She sighed and wiped her brow, which had gotten sweaty, “Why?”

“3…2…1…” counted Fluttershy and Rainbow in unison.

Pinkie’s head promptly burst into flames.

“Yeah…” said Rainbow Dash. “That’s why we don’t drink the rainbows.”

“Really?” asked Pinkie, her face covered in soot. “Why?”

“Never mind,” said Rainbow. She looked around. “Hey, has anyone seen Rarity?”

“Whoa!” said a voice. “Where did you get those amazing wings!?”

“Oh for fuck’s sake,” said Rainbow Dash. She turned and saw Rarity flying in the air, Dumbbell, Hoops, and Score following her. She stomped over to them.

“I want a pair!” said Dumbbell.

“Yeah, I can see you need a pair,” said Rainbow, glaring at him.

“…You’re not talking about wings, are you?” asked Dumbbell.

“Nope,” answered Rainbow.

“Whatever, Rainbow Crash,” said the stallion. “We weren’t talking to you anyway.”

“I’m so hurt by that,” said Rainbow sarcastically. She looked up at Rarity. “Come on Rarity, let’s go.”

“Don’t be so rude, Rainbow,” said Rarity. “These boys were just admiring my wings.”

“Maybe you should get wings like those, Rainbow Crash,” said Hoops. “They might help you not make an ass of yourself at the competition!” The three stallions took off laughing.

“Fuckers,” said Rainbow, her eyes downcast.

“Don’t pay attention to them,” said Fluttershy. “With the Sonic Rainboom, you’ll win for sure!”

“But what if I can’t do the Sonic Rainboom?” asked Rainbow. She sighed. “Come on, let’s…let’s just get this fucking tour over with…”

Rainbow solemnly walked away, Rarity flying after her. Fluttershy, Applejack, and Twilight all looked at each other before catching up to them. Meanwhile, Pinkie dipped her hoof into the rainbow pool again. She licked her hoof, causing her mane to burst into flames. “It’s really an acquired taste,” she said. Sucking on her hoof, she ran after the others.

The next room had large vents that steam was pouring out of. Pegasi would carry buckets of water over to the vents and pour them in, causing an eruption of steam.

Rainbow Dash sighed. “This is where we make the-”

Ponies rushed past her, each of them oohing and ahhing. They flocked to Rarity, who was proudly fluttering her wings.

“Clouds…” growled Rainbow, a vein appearing on her forehead.

Twilight saw Rainbow’s eye twitch. She slowly made her way to Rarity and whispered, “Hey. We’re here for Rainbow Dash, remember? Put away your wings and-”

“Put away my wings?” gasped Rarity. “Never! Look how happy it makes everyone!” She pointed to the ponies around her, who were taking pictures of her wings. “Besides, how can I put something away that I was born with?”

“You weren’t born with ‘em!” hissed Applejack. “Ya have those wings because of Twilight!”

“Details!” said Rarity. She launched herself into the sky and hovered in front of the sun, making her wings shimmer down on everyone else.

“Um…Rainbow?” questioned Twilight. The blue pegasus turned towards her, her eye twitching wildly. “Are you…ok?”

“Oh sure,” said Rainbow. “Everyone’s in love with Rarity and her pretty wings! Now they won’t watch me eat shit during the Best Young Flier’s competition.” She sighed and relaxed. “Well…at least I know Rarity won’t…”

“You should enter the Best Young Flier’s competition!” said somebody in the crowd.

The crowd cheered and chanted, “Enter! Enter! Enter!”

Rarity laughed and said, “For you, my public, I will not just enter the competition! I’m going to win the competition!”

The crowd went nuts with their cheers.

Rainbow Dash stared at Rarity in shock.

Pinkie Pie, her mane completely burned away, walked over to Rainbow. “What did I miss?” she asked, still licking her hoof.

Rarity Burns Up

View Online

Cloudsdale Coliseum was buzzing with activity. Pegasi from all over were pouring into the stands, desperate to watch the brave, confident young flyers as they soar through the air without a care in the world.

Rainbow Dash was hyperventilating into a brown paper bag that she held to her face. She had the number two posted at her side.

“Nervous?” asked Derpy, the number fifteen posted on her side.

“Gee, how’d you guess?” asked Rainbow dryly.

Derpy laughed nervously. “Um…Mare’s intuition?” Her eyes briefly lined up together, before drifting into different directions.

Rainbow sighed. “Why are you even here, Derpy?”

“I figured I’d give this ‘Young Flier’ thing a shot,” explained Derpy. “I may not win, but at least I can tell Dinky about it.” She looked at Rainbow. “Why are you so jittery? You’re the best flier I know.”

Rainbow pointed to one of the dressing room doors, where Rarity was standing. A group of pegasi was around her, admiring her wings.

“Why yes, they are lovely, aren’t they?” said Rarity to the crowd, fluttering her shimmering wings. “Of course, I wouldn’t have wings that were anything less. I always strive to look good. That’s why I’m in the fashion business, you know. You should come by my shop sometime; I have the perfect-”

“Ok, now I get it,” said Derpy to Rainbow Dash.

There was the sound of fanfare.

“We’re up!” said Derpy happily. She trotted off.

“Hooray…” murmured Rainbow Dash. She turned to the dressing room and said, “Come on, Rarity.”

“Go on ahead, darling!” called the winged unicorn. The crowd around her began to disperse. “I need a few minutes!” She walked into the room and shut the door.

Rainbow rolled her eyes and walked over to the entrance to the arena. She poked her head out and her jaw dropped. Thousands of pegasi were in the stands, chatting amongst themselves as they waited for the event to start. Rainbow could make out Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie, and Twilight across the arena.

“You guys want to hear a joke?” asked Pinkie. “Do you know what type of cave a homosexual man lives in?” She waited expectantly.

“…No?” said Twilight.

“A gayve!” said Pinkie.

The others frowned at her.

“Get out,” said Fluttershy, “Just…just get out of the Coliseum.”

Rainbow Dash could also make out Hoops, Score, and Dumbbell sitting on a cloud a few feet away from the girls.

“And I said, ‘Rainbow Crash’!” laughed Hoops.

Dumbbell sighed. “We know, Hoops. We were there, remember?”

Score blinked. “Oh!” he said. “I get it! Rainbow Crash sounds like Rainbow Dash!” He started laughing hysterically.

Dumbbell slapped his own forehead. “I need new friends…” he muttered.

“Fillies and gentlecolts!” said the announcer. He was standing on a cloud in the middle of the arena, speaking into a microphone on his headset. “Please rise and join me in welcoming our beloved Princess Celestia!”

Rainbow Dash gasped as she watched Princess Celestia, flanked by two guards, land on her own personal cloud.

“STILL HERE, BITCHES!” yelled Gung-Ho Guard.

“Unfortunately…” muttered Depressed Guard.

The crowd cheered wildly. After a few moments, the noise faded. Eventually, only Twilight was still clapping and cheering.

“Princess Celestia!” she cheered. “Woo-woo!”

“Twilight? Twilight? Bring it down a notch,” said Celestia.

“Woo…” said Twilight, quieting herself.

“And please welcome our celebrity judges for the Best Young Flier Competition!” yelled the announcer. “The Wonderbolts!”

Six ponies in blue and yellow jumpsuits zoomed into the stadium. As they blazed through the air, they left a trail of dark clouds. They rose in the air, high above the crowd. They came together and broke apart, creating an explosion.

The crowd went nuts, cheering and screaming wildly. Even in her nervous state, Rainbow Dash smiled and cheered with them, excited at seeing her heroes in action.

As the Wonderbolts flew to their seats next to Princess Celestia, the leader, Spitfire, leaned towards the Princess and said, “Are you excited Princess?”

“Oh yes!” said Celestia laughing. A frown appeared on her face and she glared at Spitfire. “Don’t ever steal my spotlight again,” she growled. “Got it?”

Spitfire gulped. “Y-yes ma’am!” She saluted nervously.

The announcer cleared his throat and continued. “And now, let’s find out who will win the prize as this year’s BEST YOUNG FLIER!”

“Contestant number one?” asked a voice behind Rainbow. She turned her head and saw an older mare with orange hair reading off of a checklist. “Contestant number one? You’re up!”

As the pegasus walked out into the Coliseum, Rainbow took a look at her own number. “Number two?” she gulped. She took a look around and crept towards a stallion. He had the number five on his side. She carefully pulled the five off his side and took off her two. After sticking the five on her side, Rainbow forcefully smacked the stallion’s flank, putting her two on him.

The stallion looked back, confused. “Did…did you just spank me?”

“Um…” began Rainbow. “…Good game?”

“Thanks…I guess?” said the stallion. He looked at his new number and walked out into the arena. Soon after him, another pegasus with the number three on her side followed.

“Number four?” asked the mare with the checklist.

The door to the dressing room opened and Rarity stuck her head out. She had her hair in curls and a beauty mask on her face. “I need another minute please!”

“I’ll go!” yelled a stallion. He charged out of the room.

Rainbow looked down at her number. Gulping, she looked around desperately. She spotted Derpy and made her way over to her. “Derpy! Derpy!” she hissed.

Derpy looked at her. “What?” she asked.

“Can I have your number?” asked Rainbow.

Derpy blinked, then blushed. “U-Um…I…I mean…you’re really pretty Rainbow, but I’d prefer if we just stayed friends.”

Rainbow groaned. “Not your phone number. I want your position number.” She poked Derpy’s side for emphasis. “Please? I’m really nervous…”

“Oh!” said Derpy. She pulled her fifteen off. “Sure, no problem.” They swapped numbers, Derpy getting Rainbow’s five and Rainbow getting Derpy’s fifteen.

Meanwhile, in the stands, the other girls were watching the competitors fly.

“I like number seven!” said Twilight. “Doing fifteen barrel rolls in a row can’t be easy!”

Number Seven flew by, a rabbit on his back.

“Do a barrel roll!” said the rabbit.

“I KNOW PEPPY, SHUT THE FUCK UP!” yelled Number Seven.

“My favorite is number ten,” said Fluttershy. “She looks like such a nice pony.”

Number Ten flew past Number Seven, knocking the rabbit off his back.

“Thank you!” said the grateful Number Seven. Suddenly, a frog appeared on his back.

“AAAHHH!” screamed the frog. He grabbed Number Seven’s neck. “I’M HIT! I’M HIT!”

“GODDAMMIT SLIPPY!” screamed the stallion as he and the frog crashed into the stands.

“Ah wonder why we haven’t seen Rainbow Dash or Rarity yet?” asked Applejack.

“I don’t know,” answered Twilight. She turned to Pinkie, and grinned. “Hey Pinkie, what kind of cave does a homosexual man live in?”

Pinkie turned and frowned. “Twilight, don’t be offensive.”

Back inside the waiting room, Rainbow Dash was curled in a corner crying.

“Oh God…oh God…I can’t do this,” she muttered. “Maybe I just won’t go. I’ll just say I had to go to a funeral or something. My hopes and dreams are dying, after all…” She started rocking back and forth, sobbing.

“Um…” said the mare with the checklist. “Number fifteen? It’s your turn.”

Rainbow Dash responded by crying harder.

“…Just go whenever you feel up to it, ok?” asked the mare.

Suddenly, the door to the dressing room was thrown open.

“Ready!” sang Rarity as she stepped out. She had on a headband with pink feathers in it, pink earrings, a blue and green boa around her neck, and bright red lipstick.

“…Are…are you sure you’re ready?” asked the mare. “I know this place is a little run down, but those dressing rooms do have mirrors, right?”

“Don’t I look amazing?” asked Rarity.

The mare chose not to comment. “Look ladies,” she said instead, “We only have time for one more performance. If you want to go, you’ll both have to perform together.”

“What a splendid idea!” said Rarity. “Shall we go, Rainbow?”

Rainbow Dash squeaked in fear.

“Wonderful!” said Rarity, misunderstanding. She picked up Rainbow Dash and threw her out into the arena.

Rainbow tumbled through the air for a moment before regaining her balance. She looked up at the cheering crowd.

“Huh,” she said to herself, “Maybe I was getting nervous for noth-”

Rarity pushed Rainbow aside and lifted herself into the air, spreading her wings. “I’m here everyone! Rarity, owner of Carousel Boutique in Ponyville, is here to show you how fabulous I am!”

The crowd cheered wildly.

“Why does Rarity look like a clown?” asked Pinkie, who was shushed by the other girls.

Rarity flew over to Rainbow Dash and said, “Good luck Rainbow! May be the best pony win!”

“Y-yeah…” said Rainbow, gulping. “The best pony…”

Rarity smiled and flew away from her. She began to do flips and twirls in the air.

Rainbow Dash sucked in her breath. “Come on Rainbow,” she said to herself. “You’ve done this thousands of times. All you have to do is remember your routine!” She looked in front of her, seeing pillar-like clouds lined up down the arena. She smiled and took off.

“Rainbow! Look at me, darling!” called Rarity. She spun in the air. “I’m like a ballerina!”

Rainbow, weaving through the clouds, looked at Rarity and said, “I’m trying to concentrate!” She looked back at the clouds, but, due to being distracted, she found herself crashing into one.

“Ha!” laughed Dumbbell. He nudged the others. “This is our cue, guys.”

“For what?” asked Hoops and Score.

Dumbbell groaned. “Just call her Rainbow Crash, alright?”

Rainbow ignored the stallions and said to herself, “Time for phase two.” She flew high above the Coliseum and started spinning around clouds. As she left each cloud, they started spinning on their own.

“Rainbow!” called Rarity. “How do you do that Rainboom thing? I want to try it!”

“Shut up Rarity!” yelled Rainbow Dash, attempting to focus. “I’m busy!”

A piece of cloud flew out and smacked Rainbow in the face. She was thrown off-balance and the cloud she was spinning shot towards the stands.

“Peanuts!” called a vendor in the stand. “Crackerjacks!”

Princess Celestia grabbed a bag of peanuts and said happily, “I don’t care if I ever go back!”

The out of control cloud hit Celestia, causing her to drop her bag. “No!” she screamed. “My nuts!”

“THE PRINCESS’S NUTS ARE IN DANGER!” shouted Gung-Ho Guard. “GRAB THE PRINCESS’S NUTS!”

“We always have to grab her nuts…” whined Depressed Guard.

Rainbow Dash winced as she watched the scene. She slowly flew away, whistling innocently.

Meanwhile, Rarity had stopped her twirls. “Forget the Rainboom thing,” she said. “I’ll do something original! I’ll fly up to the sun and use the sunlight to beam my wings over Cloudsdale! Everyone will remember me for that!” She took off, high in the sky, headed towards the sun.

Princess Celestia shivered, her fur dripping slightly. “God, that cloud was freezing!” She looked around. “…I’m sure no one will notice if I make the sun a little warmer.” Her horn glowed.

Rainbow groaned to herself. “Fuck, I’ll never win now…” She sighed. “There’s only one chance. I’ve got to do a Rainboom.” She flew up into the sky, not far behind Rarity.

Rarity panted as she flew closer and closer to the sun. “God, was it always this warm?” she asked, sweating slightly. She placed herself in front of the sun and looked down at the Coliseum. “Look upon me! I am Rarity, owner of Carousel Boutique! My fabulous wings are only matched by my fabulous dresses, which are only matched by my fabulous prices! Come and see me in Ponyvillle!” She spread her wings. The sunlight hit her wings and created a rainbow of colors that shone down on the Coliseum.

The crowd gasped at the sight, transfixed.

“I should buy dresses from her,” said a mare.

“Me too,” said another.

“Me too!” said a stallion.

Rarity’s wings started smoking. Rarity blinked and sniffed the air. “Something’s burning,” she muttered.

Her wings burst into flames and were quickly destroyed. Rarity watched as the ashes blew away in the breeze.

“…Well…” she said. She looked down and saw Equestria far below her. “…Shit.”

Rarity began falling and she screamed on her way down.

“Her wings! They’ve evaporated!” said Twilight.

“If only there were pegasi around to help her!” said Fluttershy.

Pinkie looked around at all the pegasi who were watching Rarity fall. “…If only,” she said.

As the crowd gasped, the Wonderbolts took off after the falling unicorn. The dove after Rarity, coming close to her.

“Quick!” shouted Spitfire. “Give us your-”

Rarity’s flailing arms and legs smacked the three Wonderbolts in the face.

“Hhoooveesss….” slurred Spitfire as she passed out.

Rainbow Dash was still flying up in the air. “Ok, I can win if I just-” She blinked as she heard screaming. “What the fuck is that? It sounds like someone’s torturing a cat!” She looked behind her and saw Rarity and the Wonderbolts falling. “Oh,” she said nonchalantly, “It’s just Rarity falling to her death.” She turned her head back and focused on gaining altitude. Her eyes widened and she looked back again. “Oh shit! Rarity’s falling to her death! With the Wonderbolts! That lucky bitch…” She stopped flying up and turned around. “I’m a-comin’!” she yelled, diving after the group of falling ponies.

As Rainbow Dash’s speed increased, the air in front of her compressed into a cone. Rainbow Dash burst through the cone, making waves of color appear around her. A rainbow trailed after her as she blazed through the air.

“Did she just make-” began Twilight.

“A SONIC RAINBOOM!” cheered Fluttershy wildly. She grabbed Pinkie and gave her a headbutt. As Pinkie fell backwards, dazed, Fluttershy started jumping up and down. “FUCK YES! I KNEW SHE COULD FUCKING DO IT!”

The ground was approaching quickly, but Rainbow Dash grabbed all four falling ponies seconds before they splattered against it. She shot upwards, and looped around the Coliseum, creating a rainbow above it.

As Rainbow flew back into the arena, various pegasi grabbed the three Wonderbolts and Rarity from her. Rainbow sighed and landed on the cloud the Coliseum was resting on. She looked up and saw that the crowd was staring at her, completely silent.

“Um…” she said. “Ta da?”

The crowd starting cheering wildly. Confetti was tossed around. Ponies shot T-Shirts with Rainbow’s face on them into the crowd. A beach ball appeared and was bounced around in the stands.

“Did I win?” asked Rainbow.

“You did!” said Rarity happily as she was carried by two pegasi. “Thanks for saving me.”

“No problem,” said Rainbow. “But why did you want to enter this thing anyway?”

“Well…” said Rarity. “That whole ‘Hoity Toity’ thing hasn’t really worked as well as I thought it would. I figured if I won the competition, or at least participated in it, I could advertise my store.”

“And you figured crushing my hopes was worth that?” asked Rainbow.

“Well…um…” faltered Rarity.

“I’m just fucking with you!” said Rainbow, giving Rarity a smile. “Besides, now everyone knows you were saved by the Best Young Flier! You’re sure to get some name recognition out of that!”

An hour later:

Rarity, who was in the hot-air balloon, sighed as she was handed a photo by a pegasus. In the photo, Rainbow Dash was grabbing her right before she hit the ground. She was crying and screaming, her face frozen in an unflattering expression of fear.

Rarity frowned and signed the photo. “Here,” she said, shoving it back at the pegasus.

“Great!” said the stallion. “I heard this photo is going to be on the front page of tomorrow’s paper! Everyone will know who you are!”

“See?” said Rainbow happily. “I told you you’d get some name recognition out of this!”

“Wonderful,” moaned Rarity. She grabbed a brown paper bag and put it over her head.

“Hey,” said a voice.

Rainbow turned around and saw the Wonderbolts behind her. Spitfire held an ice-pack to her head as she smiled at Rainbow Dash.

“Those were some pretty nice moves out there,” she said. “Thanks for saving our lives!”

“Oh…um…n-no problem!” said Rainbow, a giant smile forming on her face.

“Sorry about that, by the way,” said Rarity.

“Don’t worry!” laughed Spitfire. “Our legal team is already drafting a restraining order for you!”

“Great…” groaned Rarity.

Twilight looked over and saw Princess Celestia walking towards them. “Princess!” she called.

“Hello Twilight!” greeted Celestia. She looked over at Rarity. “Well, I hope you learned a lesson. Unicorns are meant to stay on the ground, and Pegasi are meant to be the only ponies that fly. It’s the way God intended.” She spread her wings and hovered above everyone else. “Except for me! Alicorn, bitches!” She flew off, cackling madly.

“Hey,” said Dumbbell, walking over to Rainbow. “Sorry we-”

“FUCK YOU!” said Rainbow, punching Dumbbell in the jaw.

Spitfire laughed as she watched the stallion fall to the floor. She winced and held her head. “God, that hurts! After all this, I could use a drink…” She looked at Rainbow and smiled. “What do you say?”

“I knew you guys were my heroes for a reason,” said Rainbow Dash, throwing an arm around her. She and Spitfire flew off, the other Wonderbolts right behind them.

“…Did Rainbow just ditch us?” asked Fluttershy.

“Apparently,” answered Applejack.

Sweetie's Sleepover Situation

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Rarity was rummaging around in her room. “Where the hell did I put that?” she muttered to herself. She stuck her head under her bed. “Not under here…”

The door burst open and slammed against the wall. Shocked, Rarity jumped and banged her head against her bed. Sweetie Bell stormed into the room, looking around. “Rarity!” she called. “Where is the one called Opal? I wish to make a sacrifice to the demon lords!”

Rarity rubbed the bump on her head as she turned to regard her little sister. “I’m sorry Sweetie, but Opal’s with Fluttershy today. She can’t be a part of your little game of pretend.”

Sweetie looked offended. “Pretend?! Once I contact Lord Diablo, I will be able to burn Ponyville to the ground! All will tremble in fear at my-”

“That’s nice, Sweetie,” said Rarity distractedly. She continued looking around her room.

Sweetie huffed. “What are you looking for that’s so important, anyway?”

“I have a special order to fill!” said Rarity, her head in her closet. “I need to find a special fabric in order to make it.” She pulled her head out and looked at Sweetie Belle. “I’d go get more, but ever since that damn picture appeared in the paper, I can’t show my face in public.”

“You mean the picture where Rainbow Dash saved you?” asked Sweetie. She giggled. “You looked so freaked out. You were crying and there was even a little snot coming out of your nose.”

Rarity glared at Sweetie Belle. “Quite,” she said irritably. She sighed and started opening some drawers on her dresser. “Where is that fabric?”

Sweetie walked over to Rarity. She pointed at the bottom drawer and said, “Maybe it’s in there.” She reached for the drawer.

Rarity’s eyes widened and she quickly grabbed Sweetie’s arm. “Nope, it’s definitely not in there. Why don’t you look somewhere else?”

“Are you sure?” asked Sweetie. She reached out her other arm and pulled the drawer open. Before she could look inside, however, Rarity used her magic to slam the drawer shut.

A faint buzzing could be heard coming from the drawer.

“What is that?” asked Sweetie.

Rarity blushed. “Boy, those bees outside sure are loud!” she said loudly.

“But the buzzing’s coming from the drawer,” replied Sweetie.

“What’s that, Sweetie?” asked Rarity desperately. “You want to go look in the closet for my fabric?”

“I didn’t-” began Sweetie Belle, before Rarity pushed her towards the closet.

Rarity sighed and opened the drawer. She reached inside and the buzzing stopped. “I should really put a lock on this drawer,” she said, shutting it. She looked at her hoof and grimaced. “I should also think about getting some hoof sanitizer in here.”

The doorbell rang.

Rarity looked at Sweetie and said, “Could you get that? I’m going to go wash my hooves.”

“I hope it’s my Weapon of the Month!” said Sweetie excitedly. “Last month was a claymore!”

“The sword or the mine?” asked Rarity.

“Both!” said Sweetie.

Rarity chuckled. “You kids and your imaginations.” She walked into her bathroom.

Sweetie Belle ran for the front door and opened it.

“Hello Sweetie,” greeted Fluttershy kindly. She held up Opal, who meowed. “I’m here to-”

Sweetie Belle slammed the door shut. “That wasn’t my weapon…” she grumbled. She walked back into Rarity’s room.

“Who was at the door?” asked Rarity, stepping out of the bathroom.

“No one important,” huffed Sweetie, a pout on her face.

There was a crashing noise. Fluttershy stomped into the room and glared at Sweetie. “That. Wasn’t. NICE.”

“Oh, hello dear!” greeted Rarity. “Do you have my Opal with you?”

Fluttershy stopped glaring at Sweetie Belle and smiled gently at Rarity. She set Opal down and said, “Here she is! All cleaned and groomed!”

“And declawed?” asked Rarity hopefully.

Fluttershy grabbed Rarity’s neck and brought her close. “You. Don’t. DO THAT.” She dropped Rarity and said, “That’d be like cutting off your fingers.”

“What are fingers?” asked Rarity, looking at her hooves. She shook her head. “Still, I don’t know how you manage with Opal. Did…” Rarity looked around nervously before leaning in close to Fluttershy, “Did you use…The Stare?”

“No!” exclaimed Fluttershy. “I’d never use The Stare on something like that! I only use it when animals are out of control, or when SOMEBODY,” she screamed, glaring at Sweetie, “Shuts the door on me.”

Sweetie Belle ignored Fluttershy and smiled evilly at Opalescence. “At last! The sacrifice has been brought before me! Now, we can begin!”

Opal hissed and swiped at Sweetie.

The small filly blinked and looked at her arm. Opal’s claws left a tiny scratch on her. The small cut bled slightly.

Sweetie whimpered, her lower lip trembling. “Rarity!” she sobbed, tears in her eyes. “Opal scratched me again!” She hugged Rarity’s leg and buried her face into it.

Rarity sighed and patted Sweetie on the head. “I’ll get you a bandage. Do you want a Xenomorph one or the one with that ugly bear?”

“The Freddy Fazbear one, please…” sniffed Sweetie.

Rarity used her magic to put the bandage on Sweetie’s scratch. She looked over at Fluttershy and said, “I’d have you stay and chat, but I really have to get back to work.”

“Do people want more T-Shirts with that photo on them?” asked Fluttershy.

Rarity’s eye twitched. “No. I have an actual order for robes.”

“Can I have one?” asked Sweetie.

“Sweetie, you already have a robe, remember?” said Rarity. “When you pretended to be a Sith Lord?”

“I know, but I burned a hole through it,” replied Sweetie. “Those lightsabers are hard to control.”

“Maybe after this order, ok?” offered Rarity. She sighed. “I’ve got to focus on this first. I’m supposed to make twenty robes and ship them off to Trottingham by tomorrow morning.” Rarity looked around. “Now if only I could find that gold silk I was going to use…”

“How are you going to manage to make twenty robes by tonight?” asked Fluttershy. “Do you want me to get the rest of the girls and help you again?”

Rarity stared off into the distance. Memories of ugly dresses and public ridicule came to her mind. She shuddered violently.

“Bad idea,” said Fluttershy quickly. “Sorry I mentioned it.”

Rarity shook her head and smiled at Fluttershy. “I can manage. It shouldn’t be too hard to do when I find my gold silk. That was the real challenge. It took me hours to make.”

“Well,” said Fluttershy, headed for the door, “I’ll get out of your hair then. I don’t want to distract you.”

Before Fluttershy could reach the front door, it opened and two blurs came racing into the store. It stopped in front of Sweetie Belle, revealing Apple Bloom and Scootaloo.

“Hi Sweetie!” said Apple Bloom.

“Hey,” greeted Scootaloo, adjusting her sunglasses.

“Ah!” said Sweetie. “My minions! Are you here to plot the downfall of Celestia’s regime?”

“Um…close?” said Apple Bloom. “We’re having a sleep over to plan how to get our Cutie Marks, remember?”

“Oh yeah,” said Sweetie. “Sorry, I kind of fade out for anything other than world domination.”

“That’s fair,” said Scootaloo, “I do the same thing, but for anything other than Rainbow Dash.”

“We might go all night!” said Apple Bloom. “Are you ready, Scootaloo?”

“I’m ready to plan,” said Scootaloo. “Are you ready to plan, Sweetie?”

“I’m ready to pa-lan,” said Sweetie. “Are you ready to pa-lan, Apple Bloom?”

“Ah’m ready to plan!” said Apple Bloom. “Are you ready to-”

Pinkie burst into the room. “WE GET IT, IT’S A SPONGEBOB REFERENCE! MOVE ON ALREADY!” Huffing, she turned and stormed out of the boutique.

The others stared after her.

“So does that make her Pearl?” asked Fluttershy.

They heard Pinkie scream from outside.

Apple Bloom smiled at Rarity and said, “It was nice of ya to let us sleep over tonight, Miss Rarity.”

“I did what now?” asked Rarity, confused.

“Yes,” said Sweetie, “You agreed to let us have a sleep over, remember?”

Yesterday:

Rarity was leaning over the desk in her room, looking over designs. “Gold fabric!” she muttered. “That’d be perfect.”

Sweetie Belle stuck her head in the room. “Hey Rarity?” she asked. “Can my friends spend the night tomorrow?”

“Uh huh…” muttered Rarity, distracted.

“Thanks!” said Sweetie.

Now:

“Remember?” asked Sweetie.

“Remember what?” asked Rarity. “You just said ‘remember’ and started staring into the distance.”

“Oh…” said Sweetie. “I guess you can’t see my flashbacks, huh?”

“Nope.”

“Oh well…” said Sweetie.

“Please, Miss Rarity?” asked Apple Bloom. “We’ve been plannin’ this for a while!” She pulled out a cape and said, “We’ve even made capes to show that we’re the Cutie Mark Crusaders!”

“Does…does that mean you’re going to sack Jerusalem?” asked Rarity.

“I wish!” said Sweetie.

“It’s something we formed so we can all get our Cutie Marks together,” explained Scootaloo. She straightened her leather jacket and adjusted her sunglasses. “We’re on a mission from God.”

“You’re too young to know what that’s from,” said Rarity. “Anyway, how did you make your capes?”

“I lined them with a special gold silk!” said Sweetie.

Rarity froze. “…Gold silk?”

“Yeah,” said Scootaloo. “Isn’t it great? Sweetie just found some lying around one day.”

“Really?” asked Rarity, her eye twitching. She glared at Sweetie. “And you wouldn’t have happened to find it in my room, would you?”

“Yeah!” said Sweetie. “How’d you guess?”

Rarity took a deep breath and said, “Sweetie. Do you have any idea in that little brain of yours what you’ve done?”

“I know,” said Sweetie. “I wanted blood red or black, but the girls thought gold really-”

Rarity placed her hoof over Sweetie’s mouth. “Shh…” she shushed. “That was my gold silk. Gold silk that took several hours to make. Gold silk that I will now have to make again, which means I’ll have to go outside, where a bunch of simpletons will wave that ugly photo around, in order to get supplies to make more gold silk.” Rarity took a breath. “Sweetie, I am going to have to work all night now. Which means no sleepover.”

“What?!” gasped Apple Bloom.

“You can’t!” said Scootaloo.

“But you said I could!” argued Sweetie.

“That was before YOU USED MY SILK!” screamed Rarity.

“But-” began Apple Bloom.

“The only ‘but’ I want to see is yours heading back home,” said Rarity. “Now.”

“Applejack was right about you!” yelled Apple Bloom.

“What did that bitch say about me?!” yelled Rarity.

“I’m glad I sold that photo to the newspaper!” yelled Scootaloo.

“THAT WAS YOU?!” yelled Rarity.

“Um…Rarity?” said Fluttershy, a bit disturbed by the foam appearing around Rarity’s mouth. “I can take the girls for the night."

“I don’t want to spend the night with you!” yelled Scootaloo. “You ruined Dissection Day at school! We had to take a test because of you!”

“Oh,” said Rarity, an evil grin appearing on her face. “You don’t want to go? Well, that’s fine.”

“Really?” asked Scootaloo.

“NO!” yelled Rarity. She picked up Scootaloo and threw her at Fluttershy, who caught her. “Take them! They can have a sleepover at your house!”

“NOOOO!” yelled Scootaloo.

“I’ll take it,” said Sweetie, happy that she was having a sleep over at all.

“Yay! Sleep over at Fluttershy’s!” cheered Apple Bloom.

Fluttershy led the girls out of the room, carrying the screaming Scootaloo.

Rarity watched them go and sighed. She used her magic to grab a brown paper bag. She put the bag over her face and said, “Well, time to go get more supplies. I just hope Fluttershy can handle those three…” She thought about it and laughed. “Oh, of course she can. What’s the worst that could happen?”

One Night at Fluttershy's

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“This’ll be so much fun!” said Fluttershy, still carrying Scootaloo. She and the girls were walking through town, making their way to Fluttershy’s cottage. “We can have a tea party or braid each other’s tails or paint each other’s hooves or strip down to our underwear and have a pillow fight…”

“Wait, what?” asked Apple Bloom.

Fluttershy blinked. “Oh, sorry,” she said with a blush, “That’s what I did with my roommates in college. What do you girls want to do?”

“Get our Cutie Marks!” said Apple Bloom.

“Take over Equestria!” shouted Sweetie Belle.

“Vomit…” groaned Scootaloo, flopping her head back so she was looking upside-down.

Apple Bloom walked close to Scootaloo and whispered, “Maybe you could be a little nicer? Fluttershy is letting us have our sleepover at her house. Ah know she made us have a test when she stole those frogs, but she’s not all bad. We might have a good time.”

“Please,” said Scootaloo. “It’s Fluttershy’s house. Do you have any idea how boring that’s going to be? She probably has bubble wrap over everything or pictures of cats everywhere. This night’s gonna suck…”

Fluttershy saw Twilight walking down the street. “Hi Twilight,” she greeted.

“Hi Fluttershy,” said Twilight. She raised her eyebrow at the Cutie Mark Crusaders. “Do you have kids?”

“Twilight,” said Apple Bloom, “It’s me! Apple Bloom!”

“Who?” asked Twilight.

Apple Bloom sighed. “Applejack’s sister.”

“Who?” repeated Twilight.

“Rarity’s busy, so she’s having the girls stay at my house tonight,” explained Fluttershy. “What are you up to?”

“I’m headed into the Everfree Forest in order to have tea with Zecora,” explained Twilight.

“…Seems like a bit of a risk to take just for tea,” said Fluttershy.

“Come on,” said Twilight, “Sure there’s monsters and true, I did fall off a cliff that one time, but I’ll be fine.”

“Well…if you say so…” said Fluttershy. She turned to the girls and said, “Come on, let’s head to my house.”

“Oh joy,” droned Scootaloo. “What excitement will await us there?”

A few minutes later:

A tiger roared in Scootaloo’s face. She quickly backed away from the cage and yelled, “Holy shit!”

“Hobbes!” scolded Fluttershy. “That is not how we treat guests! Your sledding privileges have been revoked mister!”

Hobbes mumbled to himself as he backed away from the bars of his cage.

Fluttershy’s frown disappeared as she turned back to the Cutie Mark Crusaders. “Let’s keep moving girls.” She gestured down the path towards her home. Cages of all sizes were littered around the house, each housing a different animal.

“Uh…ok?” said Apple Bloom. “You sure got a lot of animals, Fluttershy.”

“I know!” said Fluttershy happily. “Isn’t it great!” She pointed at several cages and began listing the animals. “There are pandas, grizzlies, lions, ligers, narwhals, Cthulhu, wildcats, orangutans…”

“Why are they all in cages?” asked Sweetie Belle, looking into the Cthulhu cage. A slimy green tentacle slid out of the cage. Sweetie pulled out an autograph book and a pen. The tentacle took the pen and scrawled a signature on the pages of the book.

“I keep the more dangerous animals in cages,” explained Fluttershy. “We wouldn’t want them to go on a rampage through Ponyville, would we?”

“Yes,” answered Sweetie Belle. She closed the autograph book and waved at Cthulhu before catching up with the others.

Scootaloo pointed towards a fenced-off area near the back of the house. “What’s over there, Fluttershy?”

“I’ll show you,” answered Fluttershy. She led the others off the path and towards the fence. “This area houses the rarest animal I’ve ever cared for. Its status is legendary among collectors and they say to own one is to own God himself!”

“Wow!” said Scootaloo. She eagerly climbed the fence and looked inside. “I can’t believe you own…a…” She frowned and took off her sunglasses. She squinted her eyes, trying to make sure she was seeing what she thought she was seeing. “A chicken?”

A chicken with snow-white feathers blinked at Scootaloo and clucked.

“I call her Elizabeak!” said Fluttershy happily.

Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle climbed up to where Scootaloo was.

“Um…is…is this your ‘rare’ animal?” asked Apple Bloom.

“Yep!” answered Fluttershy.

“But it’s a chicken,” observed Sweetie Belle.

“Yep!” repeated Fluttershy. “I paid a fortune for her. If anything were to happen to her…” Her face turned dark. She picked up a large rock and started squeezing it. Cracks appeared on the rock and it eventually broke into pieces. “I’d kill the bastard…” she growled. Fluttershy quickly shook her head and smiled at the girls. “But never mind that, let’s go inside!” She turned and started walking towards her home.

“She’s my hero…” said Sweetie Belle as she followed the pegasus.

Apple Bloom hopped off the fence and began to follow, but looked back towards Scootaloo. The orange filly was looking at the chicken with a thoughtful expression on her face. “Hey,” called Apple Bloom. “Let’s head inside.”

“Hm?” asked Scootaloo. She turned and looked at Apple Bloom. “Oh yeah, I’m coming.” She put her sunglasses back on and walked past the other filly.

Apple Bloom raised an eyebrow at the triumphant looking smirk on Scootaloo’s face, but decided not to ask. She ran to check up with the others.

Once inside, the Cutie Mark Crusaders looked around at all the playgrounds, cages, and beds for Fluttershy’s smaller animals.

“This place is like a pet store,” said Apple Bloom. She walked over to where Angel Bunny was sleeping and went to poke him.

“No!” said Fluttershy quickly. “Don’t touch Angel, he-”

Apple Bloom poked Angel.

The rabbit’s soulless black eyes shot open. He glared at the filly, who froze in fear.

“Angel…” said Fluttershy quietly. “This is Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo. They’re going to be staying here tonight…if that’s ok?”

Angel blinked at Fluttershy. He frowned and sighed. He hopped out of his bed and stomped towards the kitchen. The ponies heard the refrigerator open and slam shut. Angel walked back out, a can of beer in his paws. He hopped back on his bed and opened the beer. He took a swig and looked at Fluttershy. He gave her a dismissive wave of his paw.

Fluttershy’s face broke into a smile. “Thank you, Angel. You’re so nice!”

Angel rolled his eyes and quietly drank his beer.

Fluttershy turned to the girls and asked, “Ok girls, what should we do first?”

A few hours later:

Fluttershy looked at the cards in her hand, a bead of sweat rolling down her forehead.

Sweetie Belle chewed her lip, gazing at the others.

Scootaloo was stoic, her eyes hidden behind her sunglasses and a lit cigarette in her mouth.

Apple Bloom was holding her cards upside-down.

“Ah got nothin’,” she complained. She put her cards down. “Just a bunch of arms and legs and some jackass named Exodia.”

“Goddammit...” muttered the others.

“How do you keep winning?” asked Scootaloo. “You don’t even know how to play!”

“You thought we were playing Magic until a few minutes ago!” chimed in Sweetie Belle, looking at Apple Bloom incredulously.

“This is why I usually stick with Pokemon…” muttered Fluttershy.

“If we had played Cards Against Ponymanity like Ah wanted, maybe you’d have a better chance!” said Apple Bloom.

“God, this sucks anyway,” said Scootaloo, throwing down her cards. She glanced out the window. “You know what would be cool?” she asked, gazing at the dark forest outside. “If we went to go check out the Everfree Forest!”

“Absolutely not!” said Fluttershy. “The forest is too dangerous at night.”

“You let Twilight go by herself,” argued Scootaloo.

“Twilight is a grown mare that can look after herself,” said Fluttershy. She glanced at the clock. “And you are three fillies that have stayed up way past their bedtimes. Come on, let’s hit the hay.”

“I’d like to hit something…” muttered Scootaloo as Sweetie and Apple Bloom groaned. The three reluctantly followed Fluttershy upstairs.

Meanwhile:

Twilight yawned as she walked down the path, a bag of tea hovering magically beside her. “I didn’t think Zecora would talk for so long,” she said to herself. She paused and looked up at the moon. “And all in rhyme! I thought she’d mess up for sure when she said ‘orange’, but she…” Twilight paused.

Some bushes were rustling at the side of the path.

“Hello?” asked Twilight. She stepped closer to the bushes. “Is someone there?”

The rustling stopped suddenly.

Twilight stared at the bushes for a moment, before shaking her head. “Come on, Twilight…” she muttered to herself. “It was just an animal or something…no need to get nervous…” She took a step backward, keeping an eye on the bush. She sighed and turned around, ready to head back to Ponyville.

As she turned around, her vision was filled with something bright yellow.

Twilight’s screams broke the silence of the forest, only to be quickly cut off.

Scootaloo's Prank

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The Cutie Mark Crusaders were all in Fluttershy’s bed, wide awake. Fluttershy had brought them upstairs and then headed back down to sleep on her couch.

“I can’t believe we were told to go to bed this early,” grumbled Scootaloo.

I can’t believe Fluttershy didn’t let me play my lullaby,” said Sweetie Belle. “I can’t go to sleep without it.”

“Ah don’t think the Imperial March is really a lullaby, Sweetie,” said Apple Bloom.

Sweetie rolled her eyes. “I suppose next you’ll tell me Hellfire isn’t a lullaby either.”

“Well…”

“Ok, fuck this,” said Scootaloo, hopping out of bed. She grabbed her sunglasses and put them on.

“Where are you going?” asked Apple Bloom.

“Out.” Scootaloo walked to the window and opened it. She took a few steps back, and then ran for the window. She jumped out into the night air, her wings flapping wildly. “Forgot I can’t fly yet!” she yelled as she plummeted to the ground.

Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom got out of bed and carefully climbed out the window. Once they reached the ground, they saw Scootaloo head towards the fenced off area in the back of Fluttershy’s house.

“What are ya doin’?” asked Apple Bloom, catching up to Scootaloo. “You’re up to somethin’, aren’t you?”

“What makes you say that?” asked Scootaloo.

“That impressive evil grin on your face for starters,” said Sweetie Belle.

“That, and the fact that you looked mighty pleased with yourself when you saw Fluttershy’s chicken before,” pointed out Apple Bloom.

“I’m not gonna do anything,” said Scootaloo. “I just want to see Fluttershy’s animals.”

“Then you can wait for the mornin’,” said Apple Bloom.

“But we’re already here,” said Scootaloo, coming to a stop by the fence. “Just a quick look at her chicken and we’ll go back inside, I promise.”

Apple Bloom sighed. “Fine. One look and we’re done. Get to it.”

“Gladly,” said Scootaloo. She walked over to the fence’s gate and opened it. She walked inside.

“Why didn’t she climb over the fence?” asked Sweetie Belle.

“Because she’s up to somethin’,” explained Apple Bloom. “I just hope she doesn’t-”

Elizabeak, Fluttershy’s chicken, came running out of the pen. She clucked wildly as she took off down the path.

“-lose Fluttershy’s chicken…” finished Apple Bloom.

Scootaloo was laughing as she walked back out. “Ok,” she said, still giggling, “We can head back in now.”

“What the hell was that?!” asked Apple Bloom. “You made the chicken run away!”

“Look how fast it’s going!” said Sweetie Belle, her eyes on the chicken as it ran away.

“Fluttershy took our frogs, I took her chicken,” explained Scootaloo. “It’s a fair trade.”

“No it ain’t!” yelled Apple Bloom. “Fluttershy said she paid a fortune for that chicken, and you just-”

“Would you relax, Apple Buzzkill?” said Scootaloo, rolling her eyes. “The chicken will find its way back eventually. It’s not like it’s-”

“It’s headed into the Everfree Forest!” said Sweetie Belle.

Apple Bloom glared at Scootaloo, who gulped.

“Fuck.”

Some Minutes Later:

Fluttershy yawned as she quietly snuck into her room. “I know I left some spare blankets in my closet…” she muttered. “This cold air is a-” She paused and looked at the scene in front of her.

The blankets on the bed were messy and the window was open, blowing cool night air into the room. The bed was empty and the three fillies were nowhere to be found.

“-bitch…” muttered Fluttershy, feeling wide awake. She moved to the window and looked down at the ground below. Something caught her eye.

“Is that…” she muttered. She quickly flew down to the ground and picked up the object.

It was a single orange feather.

“Scootaloo…” said Fluttershy. She looked down at the ground, where three sets of hoofprints headed towards Elizabeak’s pen. She quickly flew over, taking note of the open gate. The hoofprints stopped by the gate and then continued into the forest.

“Perfect,” groaned Fluttershy.

Meanwhile:

“Perfect,” groaned Scootaloo.

The three Crusaders walked down the forest path, having seen no sign of Elizabeak. The only source of light came from the moon above. An owl hooted and took off towards Ponyville.

Scootaloo glared at Apple Bloom. “So, Fearless Leader, how are we supposed to find the chicken in this forest?”

“You could start by shuttin’ your trap and lookin’ for her,” growled Apple Bloom.

“Guys, guys!” called Sweetie Belle. “We need to focus! We’re not going to find the chicken by arguing.”

“Maybe we’ll get a Cutie Mark in arguing,” said Scootaloo dryly. “Ever think of that?”

“So we’ll be lawyers?” asked Apple Bloom.

Sweetie Belle shuddered. “Please. I’m evil, but I’m not that evil.”

Meanwhile:

Fluttershy was walking through the forest. “Girls?” she called. “Girls!” She sighed. “Where the hell could they have gone?”

There was a rustle in the bushes.

“Girls?” asked Fluttershy. She cautiously stepped near the bushes. “Is that you?”

The rustling stopped.

Fluttershy waited for a response for a minute. “Damn it…” she muttered. “I thought that-”

Something huge burst out of the bushes and knocked Fluttershy over. A loud roar filled her ears, and Fluttershy winced. The huge thing held her to the ground and-

“Fluttershy?” asked a voice with an upper crust accent. “Is that you, my dear?”

Fluttershy opened her eyes to see a Manticore standing above her. “Manny?” she asked. “I haven’t seen you since that whole Nightmare Moon thing. What’s going on?”

Manny the Manticore helped Fluttershy up. “I’m afraid I have terrible news. Something evil just moved into the forest. I don’t know what it is, but it’s got everyone on edge.”

“I’ll see if I can get the girls to help,” said Fluttershy, “But right now I need to get three kids out of here. Have you seen them?”

“I haven’t seen any kids,” admitted Manny, “But I did see another pony in here earlier. A unicorn. She was purple and looked like she hadn’t used a gym in a long time.”

“That’s Twilight!” said Fluttershy. “Is she still here?”

“I don’t know,” said Manny. “The last time I saw her, she was back there.” The monster jutted his thumb to the forest behind him.

“I’ve got to see if I can find her,” said Fluttershy. “She can help me find the girls.” She smiled at Manny and said, “Thanks for your help.”

“It’s no trouble at all, my dear. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m getting the good holy fuck out of here before that thing finds me…” And with that, Manny ran off, disappearing into the trees.

Fluttershy quickly took off into the forest. She strained her eyes to see any sign of Twilight or the Cutie Mark Crusaders.

Finally, Fluttershy broke through the line of trees and found herself in a clearing. She gasped as she saw a pony standing in the middle of the clearing, perfectly still.

“Twilight!” she called. She rushed forward. “I’m so glad I found you! The girls are lost in the forest and there’s some evil thing in here. We need to find them, now!”

Twilight didn’t respond.

Fluttershy laughed nervously. “Ok, Twilight. I know you’re pretty busy what with standing here for no reason and all, but I’m serious. We need to get those girls out of here!”

Twilight still didn’t respond.

Fluttershy paused. “…Twilight?”

The clouds in front of the moon passed, illuminating the clearing in a silver glow. And Fluttershy could see why Twilight hadn’t been answering her.

Twilight’s body had turned to stone. She was a statue, with a look of complete horror frozen on her face.

“Stone?” asked Fluttershy. “But…but the only thing that could do that is…” Her eyes widened. “Oh no…” she whispered.

There were three loud screams. Three loud, very familiar screams.

Fluttershy took off, leaving Twilight’s body behind. “Girls!” she yelled as she flew.

Stony Shy Stare Down

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“Girls!” shouted Fluttershy as she flew towards the sounds of the screams. The longer she flew, the louder the screams seemed to get.

Suddenly the screams stopped. “Girls!” shrieked Fluttershy, fearing the worst.

“Fluttershy?!” yelled Scootaloo’s voice. “Down here!”

Fluttershy looked down to see Scootaloo waving up at her. The yellow pegasus breathed a sigh of relief as she flew towards the filly. Scootaloo looked fine.

She landed in front of Scootaloo. Fluttershy could see her reflection in the filly’s sunglasses as she walked up to her. “There you girls are,” said Fluttershy. “I was worried that-”

“Fluttershy!” exclaimed Scootaloo in a panicked voice. “We were just-”

“We have to get the hell out of here, now!” said Fluttershy, cutting Scootaloo off. “There’s something dangerous that’s-”

“I know,” interrupted Scootaloo, “It-”

“It’s called a Cockatrice,” said Fluttershy. “It’s a very dangerous creature. We can’t take the chance that it will find us. We need to get back to Ponyville and warn everyone.”

“Fluttershy?” asked Scootaloo.

“Yes?”

“Did this creature look like a mix of a chicken and a dragon?” asked Scootaloo. “And can it turn ponies to stone?”

“Yeah,” answered Fluttershy. “Why?”

“Because you just missed it,” said Scootaloo shakily. She pointed to her left.

Fluttershy turned her head and gasped at the scene before her.

Most of Apple Bloom’s body had been turned to stone. Only her head was left unaffected. She smiled nervously at Fluttershy and said, “There’s no need to tell Applejack about this, right?”

Sweetie Belle moaned. She was crouched on the ground, her hooves over her eyes. “What happened?”

“Are you girls alright?” asked Fluttershy, rushing towards them.

Apple Bloom looked down at her rocky body. “…Ah’ve been better.”

“My eyes hurt…” moaned Sweetie Belle. She moved her hooves away from her face and Fluttershy gasped. Sweetie Belle’s eyes had been turned to stone.

“Why’s it so dark?” asked Sweetie, looking around. “Are we in a cave or something?”

Fluttershy looked at Scootaloo. “What happened?” she asked seriously.

Scootaloo gulped at Fluttershy’s tone and said, “We were looking for your chicken when we heard something in the bushes…” She gestured towards Sweetie. “Sweetie went to check it out, but she fell backwards clutching at her face. The monster rushed out and hissed at me and Apple Bloom. Apple Bloom went to go help Sweetie Belle, but the monster turned her body to stone.”

“What about you?” asked Fluttershy.

Scootaloo gulped. “I-it walked towards me and hissed. It stared at me, but, before it could do anything, you started yelling. It ran away after that.” She pointed to her right and said, “We found your chicken, by the way…”

Fluttershy turned her head and saw the stony form of Elizabeak lying a few feet away. She frowned and turned back to Scootaloo. “What was she doing out, anyway?”

Scootaloo looked at the ground and mumbled something.

“What was she doing out?” repeated Fluttershy forcefully.

Scootaloo pawed the ground with her hoof. “I…sort of…let her out? As a joke…”

Fluttershy inhaled sharply and closed her eyes. “Scootaloo. Do you know why I have a chicken? And why I keep it so close to the Everfree Forest?” She continued before Scootaloo could answer. “It’s because a chicken’s crowing is the only thing that can kill a Cockatrice. I keep Elizabeak close to the Forest in order to ward them away from Ponyville.”

“Oh…really?” asked Scootaloo, feeling guilty. “I-I didn’t-”

“Obviously,” said Fluttershy. “Do you know how lucky you are? A Cockatrice needs direct eye contact in order to turn ponies to stone. Your glasses are the only reason you’re fine.” She gestured towards Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle. “The others weren’t so lucky. Your ‘little joke’ turned them to stone.”

Scootaloo kept looking at the ground. “I...I didn’t…”

Fluttershy sighed. “I know.” She spread her wings and flew towards Apple Bloom. She picked the mostly petrified filly up in her arms and turned to Scootaloo. “Follow me and bring Sweetie Belle with you. We need to get away from here.”

A few minutes later, Fluttershy set Apple Bloom down next to Twilight’s stony body. “There…now we’re all in one place…”

Scootaloo led Sweetie Belle near Apple Bloom. “Just stay put, Sweetie,” she said, letting go of the other filly’s hoof.

“Roger!” said Sweetie Belle, saluting. She swung her hoof out and smacked Apple Bloom in the face.

“Ok, ow…” muttered Apple Bloom, tearing up slightly.

Scootaloo looked at Twilight’s body. “Twilight too…”

Fluttershy sighed. “Yeah…Twilight too.” She closed her eyes for a moment before opening them again. “Look…we need to stop that Cockatrice.”

“We do?” asked Scootaloo.

“We can’t let it escape into Ponyville,” said Fluttershy. “Who knows how many ponies it will turn to stone?”

“Man, it would suck getting turned to stone,” said Sweetie Belle, rubbing her petrified eyes. “Are we in another cave, by the way?”

“Give me your sunglasses,” said Fluttershy.

“Ok?” said Scootaloo as she handed them over. “But why?”

Fluttershy put the glasses on and stared down at Scootaloo. Scootaloo gazed into the lenses and saw her own scared visage. “Because I’m going to hunt down that Cockatrice,” said Fluttershy with finality.

You?!” asked Scootaloo incredulously. “But-”

Fluttershy patted the smaller pegasus on the head and smiled. “Don’t worry, with your sunglasses, I’ll be fine. You stay here and guard the others, ok? I’ll be back.”

Scootaloo watched as Fluttershy turned and walked back into the forest. “Shit!” she muttered.

“What?” asked Apple Bloom.

“This is my fault…” said Scootaloo, her gaze dropping to the ground. “Fluttershy has to go fight that thing because of me.” She looked up, a determined expression on her face. “I’m going to go help her!”

“Hang on,” said Apple Bloom. “There’s no way Ah’m lettin’ one of my friends go fight a dangerous monster!”

Scootaloo regarded Apple Bloom. “No offense, but how are you going to stop me? Most of your body’s stone.” And with that, she turned and ran after Fluttershy.

“Ha!” said Sweetie Belle pointing at the direction she thought Apple Bloom was in. “She sure told you!”

Apple Bloom frowned at the back of Sweetie’s head. “Sweetie Belle. Yer pointin’ at a tree.”

Meanwhile:

Fluttershy strode down the forest path, Scootaloo’s glasses covering her eyes. “Alright, you little bastard…” she muttered. “Where are you? Too chicken to fight me?”

“You tell him, Fluttershy!” said a voice to her left.

“Thanks, Scootaloo,” said Fluttershy distractedly. She froze and turned her head.

Scootaloo smiled up at her. She raised her hoof and waved. “Hi!” she greeted.

“Scootaloo?!” yelled Fluttershy. “What the fuck are you doing here?! I told you to watch the others!”

“I want to help you!” said Scootaloo. “I want to make up for all this.”

Fluttershy sighed. “Look, I’m glad you realized your mistake and I’m glad you want to fix it, but that Cockatrice could show up at any...” She trailed off.

The bushes behind Scootaloo started rustling. A long, serpentine body slithered out from the bushes. It rose up, its back facing the ponies. It slowly turned around, revealing that the creature had a chicken’s head with glowing yellow eyes. It opened its beak, revealing its sharp fangs. It hissed at Fluttershy.

Fluttershy looked at Scootaloo and said, “Whatever you do, don’t look.”

Scootaloo nodded and shut her eyes.

Fluttershy strode past Scootaloo and glared at the Cockatrice. “Give it your best shot, asshole.”

The Cockatrice suddenly swung its tail at Fluttershy. The scaly appendage whistled through the air as it came closer to the pony.

Fluttershy quickly caught the tail in her hooves and smirked. “Damn, I’m good,” she said confidently. She spread her wings and rushed towards the monster and slammed into its chest. The Cockatrice flew backwards, the wind getting knocked out of it. Fluttershy quickly yanked on the tail, making the monster stop and slam its back into the ground.

The Cockatrice hissed as it got back up and spread its own scaly wings. It took off high into the air, before diving at Fluttershy.

Fluttershy smiled and ducked.

The Cockatrice’s yellow eyes widened and it tried to pull out of its dive. Its efforts were in vain; it sailed past Fluttershy’s crouched form and slammed into the ground head first. Its head was buried deep in the ground and it tried to pull itself free.

Fluttershy gazed at the monster and smirked. She strode forward, until she was right behind it. She suddenly did the splits and punched the monster right in-between its legs.

The Cockatrice squawked as its head shot up from the dirt. Tears ran down its face as its legs buckled, sending the monster sprawling in the dirt.

“Thank you and goodnight,” said Fluttershy with a smile.

“Holy shit!” said a voice.

Fluttershy looked behind her to see Scootaloo gazing at her in awe.

“That was so cool!” said the filly.

“Scootaloo! I told you to not-” began Fluttershy.

The Cockatrice hissed and swung its tail again. Fluttershy was smacked across the face, the sunglasses flying off of her. The glasses sailed through the air before shattering against a tree trunk.

“Fluttershy!” gasped Scootaloo, gazing at the fallen pegasus. She rushed forward and began shaking her. “Get up!”

The Cockatrice hissed menacingly as it strode forward. It wrapped its tail around Scootaloo’s head and forced her to look up.

Scootaloo shut her eyes quickly. The Cockatrice squeezed her head tightly. It brought its face close to hers and hissed.

Scootaloo whimpered in pain and fear as she felt the monster’s breath on her face. She cracked an eye open and she found herself face-to-face with the monster. She gasped as she lost feeling in her legs. She glanced down to see her body turning to stone.

The Cockatrice’s eyes narrowed as the filly’s body continued to petrify. It wouldn’t be long before she was completely turned to stone.

A yellow hoof shot out and slammed against the monster’s face.

The Cockatrice fell to the ground, letting go off Scootaloo. The orange filly, the lower half of her body petrified, fell to the grass. She glanced up, seeing Fluttershy stomp towards the downed monster.

“Are you fucking kidding me?!” she screamed. “First you turn one of my friends to stone, then my chicken, then two of the girls I was watching, and now the other girl I was watching?! What kind of sick, demented bastard does that?”

The Cockatrice glared at Fluttershy, its eyes glowing yellow. Scootaloo gasped as Fluttershy’s legs started turning to stone.

Fluttershy scoffed and punched the Cockatrice in the face. “You think that fucking scares me?! That you can look at me and I’ll be petrified? Do you think that I give a fuck?!” She punched it again.

The Cockatrice hissed and prepared to finish turning the pony to stone. But as it looked into Fluttershy’s eyes to finish the job, it froze in terror. The pony’s eyes were changing. Her pupils were expanding, turning her eyes completely black. The glow in the Cockatrice’s eyes disappeared, and they widened in terror.

Fluttershy raised a hoof and pressed it down on the monster’s throat. “I should kill you,” she growled. “But I’m guessing you can turn everyone back to normal, correct?”

The Cockatrice nodded fearfully.

“Do it,” growled Fluttershy, putting more pressure on the monster’s throat.

The Cockatrice choked. Its eyes flashed red.

Scootaloo gasped as the stone on her lower body shattered, freeing her. She watched as the stone on Fluttershy’s body shattered as well.

“Did you free everyone?” growled Fluttershy.

The Cockatrice quickly nodded.

Everyone?!” growled Fluttershy, putting more pressure on its throat.

The monster had tears running down its face. It nodded faster than before.

“And you’re never going to do this again, right?!” asked Fluttershy.

The Cockatrice shook its head.

Fluttershy took her foot off its throat. “Good. Now get the fuck out of here.”

The monster did not need telling twice. It quickly got up and scurried away, leaving Fluttershy and Scootaloo alone.

Fluttershy blinked, her eyes turning back to their usual color. She looked at Scootaloo and asked, “Are you alright?”

“Y-yeah…” said Scootaloo. “What did you do?”

“I call it the Stare,” explained Fluttershy. “I use it on my more rowdy animals. Maybe I should start using it on my more rowdy houseguests.” She looked pointedly at Scootaloo.

Scootaloo laughed nervously. “There’s no need for that!” She frowned and looked at the ground. “I’m sorry for what I’ve done. I promise I’ll be good for the rest of this sleepover.”

Fluttershy smiled and walked over to Scootaloo. “Don’t worry about it. Everyone should be back to normal by now. No harm no…fowl!” She grinned at Scootaloo.

“…What?” asked Scootaloo.

“Never mind,” grumbled Fluttershy. “I’m leaving the jokes to Pinkie.” She looked over at the broken glasses. “Sorry about your sunglasses by the way. I’ll get you some new ones tomorrow, ok?”

“Don’t worry about it,” said Scootaloo. She opened her leather jacket and pulled out another pair of sunglasses. She put them on and said, “I’ve got like, a thousand of these things, it’s no big deal.”

Fluttershy stared at her. “…And you didn’t put on another pair earlier because…?”

“…I forgot?” said Scootaloo sheepishly.

Fluttershy sighed. “Let’s just get the others and get the hell out of here.”

A few minutes later:

“I was blind?!” shrieked Sweetie Belle. “Why didn’t anyone say anything?!”

Scootaloo stared at Apple Bloom, who was scratching her nose with gusto. “Um, are you ok?”

Apple Bloom paused in her scratching. “Ah’ve had to scratch mah nose since Ah got turned into stone. Let me have this.” She went back to her scratching.

They were back in the clearing with the others, who were shaking off the effects of being petrified.

Twilight winced as she looked at the bag of tea in her hooves. “I’m never drinking this shit again,” she proclaimed. She threw it into the forest. “It’s good, but it’s not worth getting turned to stone over.” She turned and smiled at Fluttershy. “I can’t believe you managed to deal with three monsters.”

“Three?” asked Fluttershy. She turned away from Elizabeak and looked at Twilight. “I only beat one Cockatrice.”

“Not that,” said Twilight, “I was talking about the kids. But yeah, good job with the Cockatrice.” She frowned. “But I’m not sure about you scaring it away. What if it comes back?”

Meanwhile:

The Cockatrice stumbled into the forest clearing, panting harshly. It turned and hissed at the forest behind it, silently cursing the yellow pony it had encountered within.

“Excuse me, dear fellow,” said an upper-crust accent.

The Cockatrice turned.

Manny the Manticore was standing in front of the Cockatrice. Packs of Timberwolves surrounded him and growled at the Cockatrice.

“You seem to be a bit confused,” said Manny. He grinned, showing his fangs. “This is our forest. You aren’t welcome here.”

The Cockatrice had enough time to gulp before the Timberwolves charged him, their fangs bared.

Talent Trouble

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Apple Bloom yawned as she flopped on her bed. “School’s going to be boring compared to last night…”

“Tell me about it,” said Scootaloo, rubbing her eyes. “Adventuring through a forest, fighting a monster…”

“Don’t worry,” said Sweetie Belle, “We still have Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon at school.”

Scootaloo rolled her eyes. “I’d rather deal with the Cockatrice again. At least that monster didn’t talk.”

“Well, that’s tomorrow,” said Apple Bloom, shutting her eyes. “All Ah want to do today is re-”

“Girls!” called Applejack. “Ah got somethin’ to show ya!”

“-Lax…” finished Apple Bloom. She got out of bed with a groan. The three fillies left Apple Bloom’s room and headed downstairs.

“What do you think your sister wants to show us?” asked Scootaloo.

“Who knows?” said Apple Bloom. “The last time she did this, she gave me her list of chores and headed off to fight a dragon.”

“Well, I’ve had enough monsters for one weekend,” groaned Scootaloo.

“A dragon?!” said Sweetie excitedly. “Rarity didn’t tell me she fought a dragon! Maybe she knows how to tame one…”

“You could always ask Spike,” said Scootaloo with a smirk. “I’m sure you’d be happy to tame him.”

Sweetie Belle blushed. “Sh-shut up! I’m only interested in what he can do for me as a minion is all.”

“Yeah,” said Apple Bloom with a smirk as they reached the bottom of the stairs. “Those sharp claws, strong scales…”

“Powerful jaws…” continued Sweetie Belle. “Cute smile…gorgeous green eyes…” She noticed Apple Bloom and Scootaloo laughing. “Oh, screw you guys.”

The Crusaders exited the house and stopped in front of Applejack, who was waiting patiently.

“Holy shit, it’s about time ya got outside!” said Applejack. “God, you’d think your legs were made outta stone or somethin’.”

Scootaloo looked at Apple Bloom and whispered, “Should we-?”

“We’re gettin' yelled at for takin’ too long to get out of the house,” hissed Apple Bloom. “Ah don’t want to see what happens for almost gettin' killed.”

“What was that?” asked Applejack.

“Nothin’!” said Apple Bloom. “What did ya want to show us?”

Applejack turned and started walking into the orchard. “Follow me,” she ordered. The Crusaders followed her, each one curious as to what she was leading them to.

“I wonder what she’s leading us to,” said Sweetie. “I would almost say I’m curious.”

“I think I’ve heard about something like this,” said Scootaloo. “Family members lead old, tired ponies into the woods and…” She mimed pointing a gun at something and pulling the trigger.

“Nah,” said Apple Bloom. “If that were the case, she’d be leading Granny Smith off. And Applejack wouldn’t do that.”

“Because she loves your grandma?” asked Sweetie Belle.

“Because Granny’s got her own gun,” answered Apple Bloom.

There was a loud gunshot.

“Damn it, Caramel!” yelled Granny Smith’s voice. “Hold still and take it like a stallion!” There was another gunshot.

“MiSseD AGAin, yOU oLd slUT! BeTTer TrY AGAin!” yelled Caramel’s voice. There was another gunshot. “OH SHIT, I DIDN’T MEAN IT!”

After a few minutes of walking, Applejack stopped. “Here we are!” she said proudly.

The three fillies stopped and stared.

“What-” said Apple Bloom.

“The-” said Sweetie Belle.

“Fuck?” finished Scootaloo.

Applejack had lead them to an old apple tree. Resting in the tree’s branches was a small, broken down treehouse. Its windows were broken, the door was hanging off its hinges, and the whole thing looked like it was a stiff breeze away from collapsing.

“This was mah clubhouse when Ah was yer age!” said Applejack. She started walking up the ramp. There was a cracking noise and Applejack suddenly broke through the ramp. She suddenly stopped mid-fall, stuck in the middle of the ramp. “Um…” she began sheepishly, “Ah was a little smaller back then…”

“Applejack, this thing is fallin’ apart!” complained Apple Bloom.

Applejack struggled to get free of the hole, but couldn’t. “All it needs is a little home improvement!”

“So let me get this straight,” said Scootaloo. “Your gift to us is a broken down house that we have to repair by ourselves?”

“You can play with Big Mac’s power tools,” said Applejack. “He’s got a band saw!”

“…Fuck it, we’re in.” said Scootaloo.

A Few Minutes Later:

Twilight sipped her coffee and sighed in contentment. “Spike, is there any better way to spend a Sunday afternoon?”

“We could be watching hoofball on TV,” said Spike, who was restocking the bookshelves.

“The hell is hoofball?” asked Twilight.

“It’s a sport,” answered Spike.

“The hell’s a sport?” asked Twilight.

“…Oh look,” said Spike monotonously, “A new book. Maybe you should read it and leave me alone.” He gave the book to Twilight and went back to his chores.

Twilight picked the book up and examined it. “Clubhouse Building for Dummies? There’s actually a book for-”

Scootaloo, riding her scooter and wearing a backpack, crashed through the window. She landed in the middle of the room and glared at Twilight. She ran forward and grabbed the book from the shocked unicorn. “Mine!” she yelled. She got back on her scooter and jumped out the window.

Twilight and Spike stared at the broken window.

“So…what just happened?” asked Spike.

“…I’m not sure,” said Twilight hesitantly, “But suddenly I don’t feel like reading anymore. Let’s go watch this hoofball thing.” She got out of her chair and smiled at Spike. “Who knows? Maybe I’ll like it!”

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” said Spike.

Meanwhile, Scootaloo was headed towards Sweet Apple Acres, the book in her bag. She rushed past pony after pony and, soon enough, she found herself darting past apple trees. She ducked a low-hanging branch and jumped over another.

“Yes!” she cheered, landing back on her scooter. “I’m aweso-”

“Scootaloo, watch out!” yelled a voice.

“Huh?” asked Scootaloo. She opened her eyes in time to see Apple Bloom’s terrified face close to her own. She crashed into the other filly, sending them both sprawling to the ground.

Dazed, Scootaloo shook her head and looked down to see Apple Bloom underneath her. She smiled woozily and put her face next to Apple Bloom’s. “You have beautiful eyes…” she muttered.

“Get off me…” groaned Apple Bloom.

Scootaloo rolled off of Apple Bloom and shakily stood up. “I got the book,” she said proudly, taking her backpack off. She took out the book and handed it to Apple Bloom.

“Thanks…” said Apple Bloom. She walked over to a nearby picnic table and set the book down. “Yer pretty good on that scooter, but Ah think ya need to work on brakin’.”

“Brakes?” asked Scootaloo. “I don’t need brakes!”

“Then you won’t mind workin’ on the club house with me all day?” asked Apple Bloom, flipping through the pages of the book.

Scootaloo grimaced. “Actually, getting here was a lot of work. If I could actually have a break now, that’d be-” She glanced up at the tree house and her jaw dropped.

The formerly ruined tree house was fully repaired and looked good as new. The windows were fixed, the holes in the ceiling and walls were repaired, and the door was back on its hinges. The house was also repainted, making it a reddish-brown color.

“Holy shit, did you do all this yourself?” asked Scootaloo in awe.

“Ah did most of the repairs,” explained Apple Bloom. “Sweetie Belle repainted the house with a bucket of red paint.” She paused. “She laughed when Ah called it ‘paint’…”

“Cool,” said Scootaloo. She blinked. “Wait, then why did you have me get this book from the library?”

“Because Ah need to figure out how to get Applejack out of the walkway,” explained Apple Bloom.

Scootaloo turned around and saw Applejack fast asleep in the hole she created.

“Apples…” Applejack murmured in her sleep. She grimaced and said, “No…pears…stay away! Take Apple Bloom instead!”

“Oh, great,” said Apple Bloom, shutting the book. “She’s havin’ the pear dream again.”

“Where’s Sweetie Belle now?” asked Scootaloo, wanting to change the subject.

“Good question,” replied Apple Bloom. She closed her eyes.

“Um…” began Scootaloo. “What are you-?”

“Shh,” shushed Apple Bloom, putting a hoof to Scootaloo’s lips. “Listen…”

The two fillies stayed silent. Soon, they heard singing breaking the silence of the orchard.

Hammer pounding in my heart, I think it’s gonna burst,
Spring unwinding in my head, I don’t know which is worse…”

“She’s this way!” said Apple Bloom. She and Scootaloo followed the sound of Sweetie Belle’s singing. They eventually found Sweetie dusting a table with her tail.

Stay calm, don’t be alarmed,” sang Sweetie, “It’s just a holiday, back at the funny farm.”

“Hey Sweetie!” said Apple Bloom. She turned to Scootaloo and said, “Ah knew Ah could find her!”

Scootaloo raised an eyebrow at Sweetie Belle. “How did you sing like that? You sounded like you had a gravelly man voice.”

“Oh!” squeaked Sweetie Belle. “I can use my voice to sound like anyone.” She cleared her throat and started speaking in a voice that sounded uncannily like Rarity’s, “Rarity says it’s a gift, darling.”

“That’s cool!” said Scootaloo. “You could sing anything like that!”

“Yeah, but who cares about singing?” asked Sweetie Belle. “It’s just a silly hobby. I need to focus on the important things.”

“Like Spike?” suggested Apple Bloom with a smirk.

“Spike…” sighed Sweetie Belle wistfully. She blushed and shook her head. “N-No! I meant world domination!”

“Uh huh,” said Scootaloo. “Well now, thanks to Apple Bloom, we have a place to hang out. Let’s head back to the tree house!”

The three fillies walked back to their new club house. When they got there, they noticed that Applejack was awake and staring at the tree house in awe.

“Well, Ah’ll be…” she muttered. She looked at the approaching fillies. “Ah can’t believe you three repaired my old tree house! Now Ah can hang out and think about ways to get mah Cutie Mark!”

“Um…you mean we can hang out and think about ways to get our Cutie Marks?” asked Apple Bloom.

Applejack blinked. “Oh…yeah. Sorry. Got caught up in the moment. You girls go enjoy yer new tree house.”

The girls cheered and darted up the walkway, past Applejack.

“And maybe you can figure out a way to get me outta here?” called Applejack. “It’s gettin’ kind of late…Ah’m gettin' a little tired of bein’ stuck…” She waited, but all she could hear was the chatter of the three excited Crusaders. “…Mah butt has splinters in it…” she whined.

Hours Later:

Back at the library, Twilight was cheering on the couch. She was wearing a blue and white jersey and had her face painted the same colors. “Yes! Go guys!” she yelled at the TV. “Take it to the hoop!”

Spike, wearing the same color jersey rolled his eyes, but smiled. “That’s the wrong sport, but I’m glad you like this. I’m a little surprised.”

“Well, I like the science behind the sport,” explained Twilight. “The aerodynamic design of the ball, the way it’s thrown, the physics behind the force of each tackle…this thing is really intellectually stimula-” She glanced at the TV and started screaming, “YOU STUPID CHUMP! HOW DID YOU NOT SEE THAT TACKLE COMING?!” As she waved her hooves around and accidently knocked a drink to the floor. “Oh…damn it…” she muttered.

“I’ll get you a new one,” said Spike, hopping down from the couch. “I needed a refill anyway.” He looked over at the other pony on the couch. “What about you Cheerilee?”

“I’m good, Spike, thank you,” said the teacher, also dressed in a white and blue jersey. She watched Spike head into the kitchen and slouched on the couch. “There’s nothing like a day of watching hoofball after a stressful work week.”

“The kids that bad?” asked Twilight, turning her head away from the TV so she could see the earth pony.

“Nah,” said Cheerilee, scratching her belly. “I’m used to the kids. It’s just that I have to put together a talent show for the school. I still need to convince a few more kids to take part.”

“I remember the talent show I took part in when I was in school,” said Twilight, grabbing a bag of chips.

“Oh yeah?” asked Cheerilee, sipping at her soda. “What did you do?”

“I used my magic to make the competition disappear,” explained Twilight. “I got an automatic first place! And a lifetime ban from any other talent shows!”

“Wow,” said Cheerilee. “What happened to the other kids?”

“I don’t know,” said Twilight cheerfully. “But I was the only one left in my class. Automatic Valedictorian!”

“Um…Twilight?” asked Spike, poking his head out of the kitchen. “Can you come in here please? Now?”

Twilight and Cheerilee got up and headed for the kitchen.

“Ok Spike,” said Twilight as they entered the room. “What’s the prob…” She trailed off, her mouth hanging open as she gazed at the scene before her.

There was a mountain of junk food on the kitchen table. Scraps of paper with scribbled out notes and designs littered the floor. Several used cigarettes were resting in an ashtray on the table. Apple Bloom and Scootaloo were sitting by each other, muttering to one another as they examined a paper. Sweetie Belle was sitting by them, but wasn’t paying attention to the paper. Instead, she was gazing at Spike with a smile and a blush on her face.

Spike turned to face Twilight. He gestured at the mess around the kitchen and said, “I’m not cleaning this.”

Twilight frowned. She cleared her throat loudly.

The three fillies jumped at the noise and looked at Twilight.

“What’s on your face?” asked Scootaloo.

“I have a better question. What are you three doing?” asked Twilight, trying to stay calm.

Apple Bloom gestured to the scattered papers around the room. “We’re tryin’ to come up with ways to find our Cutie Marks.”

“Ok, that’s fine,” replied Twilight. “But why are you doing it in my house?”

“Pinkie said you have the best candy,” said Sweetie Belle, shrugging.

Twilight sighed. “Of course she did…” She walked forward and picked up one of the rejected papers. “What have you all come up with?”

“Demolition experts, brain surgeons, Mandalorian bounty hunters,” listed Scootaloo.

“Starship captains, superheroes, princesses,” continued Apple Bloom.

“Spanish Conquistadors, Outworld Emperors, Rulers of Hell, waitresses…” said Sweetie Belle.

“Ok, stop,” said Twilight, holding up a hoof for silence. “Look girls, these ideas are great. It’s just that most of them seem a little…”

“Impossible?” supplied Spike.

“Unrealistic,” said Twilight. “Instead of focusing on things you don’t have any experience in, why don’t you focus on things you actually like and are good at?”

“Like what?” asked Apple Bloom. “And how will we know if what we’re good at is any good?”

“Yeah,” said Scootaloo, “It’s not like there’s a show specifically designed to show off ponies’ talents.”

Cheerilee’s eyes went a wide. A massive smile grew on her face as she approached the three Crusaders. “Girls, we have a talent show taking place at the school later this week! You three can combine your talents and show them off in front of the whole school. It’ll be a good experience for all of you.”

“That could work!” said Apple Bloom. “We’ll enter the talent show!”

“Yeah!” cheered Scootaloo. “We’ll be sure to get our Cutie Marks if we win!”

“You’ll come and watch, right Spike?” said Sweetie Belle, fluttering her eyelashes at the dragon.

“Hmmm?” asked Spike. “Oh. Sure, I guess. I don’t have anything better to do.”

Sweetie giggled and went back to chatting excitedly with the other fillies.

“Are you sure about this?” whispered Twilight to Cheerilee.

Cheerilee gave the unicorn a grin. “If by that you mean, ‘Are you sure you want to be done with setting up this stupid talent show that you have to put together without getting any overtime’, then yes, yes I am.” She gestured to the three fillies at the kitchen table. “Besides, what could go wrong?”

Talentless Show

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“EVERYTHING IS GOING WRONG!” screeched Rarity as she ran around her store. “Where the hell is that fabric?! I have an important order tonight and need to find-” She stopped suddenly and squinted. Posted on the wall was a note. Rarity walked forward and began to read it aloud.

"Dear Rarity, the girls and I are going to enter a talent show in order to find our Cutie Marks. Unfortunately, Ms. Cheerilee said we can’t slaughter the masses as our talent. Darn. I had just sharpened my sword last night. Shut up Scootaloo, that doesn’t mean penis. Sorry Rarity, I didn’t mean to write that. Anyway, we needed costumes so I borrowed some fabric, LOL. Love, Sweetie Belle, your future overlord.”

Rarity blinked. “Aw,” she cooed, “She said ‘loved’.” She turned and walked away.

A few seconds later, she ran back to the note. “Wait, what did she do with my fabric?” She reread the paper.

Meanwhile:

“SWEETIE BELLE!” screamed a voice from far away.

Sweetie looked around. “Did you guys hear that?”

Scootaloo looked up from the paper she was writing. “I just heard a high-pitched whining noise. I’m sure it’s nothing.”

Apple Bloom walked into the tree house, panting a little. “Ok girls, Ah got all the wood, paint, and nails outside. How’s it going in here?”

“Well,” said Sweetie Belle, “I got some fabric from Rarity…”

An angry growling noise could be heard from far away.

“And I’ve been writing lyrics!” said Scootaloo proudly. “Listen to this!” She cleared her throat and sang, “I want you to want me. And I need you to need me. I’d love you to love me-”

“Um, Scootaloo?” asked Apple Bloom. “Ah don’t want to stifle yer creativity, but...is that what you want us to sing at the talent show?

“What?” asked Scootaloo. She looked down at her paper and groaned. “Oh…I’m sorry guys. That’s my song for Rainbow Dash.” She looked down at the floor and picked up another paper. “This is what I want us to sing for the talent show.” She held the paper out so the other two fillies could read it.

“That’s good!” said Sweetie, looking it over.

“We’ll win for sure!” said Apple Bloom. “And get our Cutie Marks!”

“Right?!” said Scootaloo excitedly. She then held up the previous paper. “Now do you think this will get Rainbow Dash to love me?”

“Oh boy, I need to get working on these costumes!” said Sweetie Belle quickly, as she turned towards the rolls of fabric against the wall.

“And Ah need to start working on the stuff outside!” added Apple Bloom, avoiding Scootaloo’s eyes. She quickly went back outside.

Scootaloo looked at what she had written and started at it.

“…Needs more sex,” she determined. She grabbed a pencil in her mouth and started writing.

A few days later:

It was the night of the talent show, and ponies gathered at the school in order to harshly critique children. They all poured into the auditorium and started sitting down.

“Seriously, do we really not have anything better to do?” complained Rainbow Dash as she slouched in her seat. “We don’t even have kids! Why the hell are we here?”

“Don’t you want to support these kids?” asked Fluttershy, who was sitting next to her. “I’m sure they all worked hard on their performances.”

“Whatever,” said Rainbow, rolling her eyes. “Applejack’s not here and her own sister is in this. Why should we care?”

“Speaking of,” said Twilight as she took the seat on Rainbow’s other side, “Has anyone even seen Applejack lately? She just sort of disappeared.”

Meanwhile:

Applejack looked around at the dark orchard around her. She was still stuck in the middle of the walkway for the treehouse. “Hello?” she called. “Been out here for a few days…Anyone lookin’ for me?” She waited. “…Anyone?”

She waited for a few more seconds.

“…Mah nose itches…” she whined.

Back at the school:

The show had started and Snips and Snails were up on stage.

“Our talent is magic!” proclaimed Snips, who had a top hat on his head. “Prepare yourselves for the best trick you will ever see!” He gestured at the table that had been set up between him and Snails. On the table was an ordinary brown bunny.

Snails set his own top hat over the bunny, hiding it from view. His horn started glowing red and he pointed it at the hat. “Presto change-o!” he said.

There was a black puff of smoke. When it cleared, a demonic looking bunny with blood-red fur and sharp fangs was tearing apart the hat. It noticed the audience staring at it and hissed. It jumped off the table and ran for the exit.

“Why does that always happen?” asked Snails slowly. His horn flashed red and the table burst into flames.

As Cheerilee hurried up to the stage with a fire extinguisher, Fluttershy turned to Twilight and said, “Remind me to catch that bunny when this is over.”

“Because it’s dangerous?” asked Twilight.

“Because it’s cute!” squealed Fluttershy. “I wonder if it’d get along with Angel?”

Back on stage, the fire had been extinguished and Cheerilee wiped the sweat off her forehead. She quickly shooed Snips and Snails off the stage and turned to the audience, a forced looking smile on her face. “Let’s move on to our next act, shall we? Give a round of applause for Diamond Tiara and her…um…talent.”

She walked off stage as Diamond walked out from behind the curtain. She proudly walked to the center of the stage and turned so her side was showing. She pointed at her Cutie Mark, which looked suspiciously like it had been drawn with permanent marker.

“Ta-da!” she said triumphantly.

The ponies in the audience were silent.

Somebody quietly coughed.

“What am I looking at here?” asked Rainbow Dash.

“My Cutie Mark!” said Diamond Tiara happily. “It’s better than all of yours in every way!”

There was loud clapping from the front row. A stallion with slicked back hair and a necktie with a dollar sign was applauding, a proud look on his face.

“That’s my girl!” cheered Filthy Rich. He wiped a tear from his eye. “I’ve never been prouder!”

Diamond smiled and said, “Thank you, daddy!” She turned and walked backstage.

Cheerilee walked up, a confused look on her face. “O…kay…” She cleared her throat. “Anyway, our next act are Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo with a musical performance.”

The audience clapped politely as Cheerilee walked off the stage.

“I hope they do alright!” said Fluttershy over the crowd.

“I hope I don’t die of boredom,” muttered Rainbow, who winced when Fluttershy and Twilight both elbowed her.

“I hope Sweetie didn’t waste my fabric on something stupid,” growled Rarity from Fluttershy’s opposite side.

“I hope those bits were worth these seats,” said Spike from Twilight’s opposite side.

Twilight looked at him strangely. “Spike, this thing was free. You didn’t have to pay for seats.”

Spike slapped his forehead. “Damn it! I could have used those bits to help my pen pal! He’s an exiled prince from Neighgeria and needs some cash.”

“…We need to have a talk,” said Twilight.

The crowd quieted as the curtains raised. The stage was dark, making it impossible to see where the girls were.

Suddenly, there was the sound of hooves stomping on wood. Then there was the sound of three sets of hooves clapping together.

The sound repeated several times. The audience slowly started to do it as well, filling the auditorium with noise.

Suddenly, Sweetie Belle stepped out of the darkness. She was wearing a pink and green jumpsuit. She had pink makeup around her eyes and her hair was in a messy style. The noise from the audience faltered for a second, but they continued the pattern of stomping twice and clapping.

Sweetie Belle walked to the center of the stage, a microphone in her hoof. She raised it to her mouth and started singing.

Filly, you’re a girl,
In a mean world
Playin’ in the street,
Gonna be a big pony some day!
Your flank is blank
You big disgrace
Kickin’ your can all over the place.
Singin’…”

From the darkness, two other voices joined in:

We are,
We are,
The C.M.C.!
We are,
We are,
The C.M.C.!”

As the last line was sung, Apple Bloom stepped out of the darkness. She was wearing a black jumpsuit that was decorated with stars and a bandana on her head that had skulls on it. She walked to Sweetie Belle, who passed her the mike. Apple Bloom looked out into the audience and started singing:

Pony, you’re a young mare,
Hard mare,
Shoutin’ in the street gonna
Take on the world one day,
But your flank’s still blank,
You big disgrace
Wavin’ that banner all over the place
Singin’…”

Like before, a voice joined in from the darkness as Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle both started singing into the mike:

We are,
We are,
The C.M.C.!
Singin’ we are,
We are,
The C.M.C.!”

Scootaloo finally walked out from the darkness. Like the others, she was wearing a jumpsuit, but hers was purple with blue and pink stripes. She had purple make-up around her eyes, and her hair was spiked up. She grabbed the mike from Apple Bloom and sang:

Pony, you’re an old mare,
Poor mare,
Pleadin’ with your eyes,
Gonna make you some peace some day,
Your flank’s still blank,
Big disgrace!
Somebody’s gonna put you back into your place.”

Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle got on either side of Scootaloo and sang with her:

We are,
We are,
The C.M.C.!
Singin’ we are,
We are,
The C.M.C.!”

Scootaloo looked out into the audience and yelled, “Everybody!”

The ponies in the audience grinned and started singing with the three fillies:

We are,
We are,
The C.M.C.!
We are,
We are,
The C.M.C.!”

Diamond Tiara looked out at the audience singing and gasped. “I deserve to win this!” she growled. “Not those miserable Blank Flanks!” She watched as the other fillies sang and noticed something. “No way…” she said in disbelief.

Something was happening to the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Each of their sides started glowing, the light shining through their jumpsuits.

“They’re getting their Cutie Marks?” gasped Diamond. She growled and looked around. “Not before me they’re not!”

She quickly looked around the backstage, trying to find something to stop the Cutie Mark Crusaders. She grinned wickedly as she saw the audio equipment for the microphones. She quickly picked up a wrench and went over to the equipment. She swung the wrench at the machinery.

The lights in the auditorium dimmed and the song was suddenly silenced. The audience and the Cutie Mark Crusaders looked around in confusion as the music stopped. The light glowing on the fillies’ sides faded and died.

A horrible screeching mixed with a loud zapping noise was heard from backstage. Diamond Tiara was launched onto the stage, electricity surging through her body.

Twitching, she looked out into the audience and said, “Ta-da…”

The audience, as one, blinked.

Then they all applauded and broke out into wild cheers.

Cheerilee walked up on stage, clapping her hands. “Why Diamond!” she said. “I didn’t realize you were working with Apple Bloom and the others!”

“W-what?” wheezed Diamond.

“What?” asked the Cutie Mark Crusaders in unison.

“Yeah,” said Cheerilee. “It was a brilliant act too! First, Diamond warmed the crowd up by showing off her Cutie Mark and showing how shallow it is to judge someone simply by it. And then you girls sang your song about not having your Cutie Mark and how society kicks you around for it! It was a brilliant commentary on our expectations of young ponies!”

“It was?” asked all four fillies.

“And then Diamond puts on her light show, providing you girls with a grand finale!” continued Cheerilee. “I’m so glad you girls were able to put your differences behind you in order to create an amazing act!” She eyed Diamond’s smoking form. “Although, you should have told me about the light show. Stuff like that can be dangerous.”

“No shit…” muttered Diamond, coughing up smoke.

Cheerilee turned towards the audience and said, “By what seems to be a unanimous decision, I have decided to give first place to Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and Diamond Tiara for their amazing act.”

“Do we get a trophy?” asked Scootaloo.

“Better!” said Cheerilee. “You get gold star stickers!” She walked to each of the Cutie Mark Crusaders and put a sticker on their jumpsuits. She then walked over to the twitching form of Diamond Tiara and placed a sticker on her forehead.

Scootaloo looked down at her jumpsuit and then back at Cheerilee. “…Seriously, what about a trophy?”

“That was fun!” said Sweetie Belle. She looked at her side sadly. “Sucks we didn’t get our Cutie Marks though…”

“Ah just wish Applejack was here to see us,” said Apple Bloom.

“Ah am here!” said a voice.

Apple Bloom turned to see Applejack standing at the side of the stage. “Applejack?” she asked. “How’d you get out of the walkway?”

Applejack rolled her eyes. “Please, Apple Bloom. You know yer big sister’s one of the smartest-”

“Big Mac got you out with his power tools, didn’t he?” asked Apple Bloom.

Applejack sighed. “Yeah. He did. Got me out just in time to see you perform.”

“Really?” asked Apple Bloom excitedly. “Did you like it?”

“Yeah!” said Applejack. She pulled Apple Bloom in for a hug. “Ah couldn’t be prouder of ya!” She paused for a minute. “Yer not gonna practice yer music in the house are ya? If ya are, let me stop by the store and pick up some ear plugs, because you know Ah got sensitive ears and-”

“Practice music?” asked Apple Bloom. “Why would we do that?”

“Yeah,” said Scootaloo. “We’re not trying this again.”

“…What?” asked Applejack flatly.

“What do you mean, darling?” asked Rarity, as she came up on stage with Twilight and the others. “You girls were amazing.”

“Well, we only sang a song to try and get our Cutie Marks,” explained Sweetie. “Now that we know that it won’t work, why would we try again?”

“B-But…” began Twilight. “Maybe if you girls try again, you could get your Cutie Marks.”

The three fillies thought for a moment.

“…Nah, fuck that,” said Scootaloo. She turned to the others. “Wanna go see if we can get a Cutie Mark in explosions?”

“Yeah!” cheered the other two. They all ran out of the auditorium.

“…Should we be worried?” asked Rarity.

As if on cue, there was a loud explosion from outside.

“Never mind,” said Rarity tiredly.

Sapphire Sales

View Online

Rarity hummed a gentle tune as she walked around her store, her horn a glow. A large chest was hovering in the air, following her wherever she went.

Rarity stopped in front of a drawn curtain. She pulled it back and looked at what was behind it. “Ah, here we are…” she muttered, the glow in her horn disappearing. The chest dropped out of the air and landed with a loud thud, shaking the whole store. Rarity opened the chest and her horn glowed again. A massive cluster of gems rose from the chest, and Rarity moved them so they were in front of her.

“Just got to aim this right…” she muttered, shutting one eye. She used her magic to shoot the gems all at once towards the object behind the curtain. There was a loud yowl. Opal shot out from behind the curtain, hissing.

“Mommy’s sorry!” called Rarity after the feline. “But you know better than to sleep on my projects. Speaking of…” Rarity took a close look at the object. “Perfect!” She drew the curtains again, hiding the object from view.

The door to the shop burst open and a pony wearing an expensive-looking white dress and a matching white hat strode into the store.

Rarity’s jaw dropped. “S-Sapphire Shores?! The Pony of Pop?!”

“The one and only!” said Sapphire as she walked towards Rarity. “And you must be Miss Rarity. Hoity Toity told me all about you. He said you were responsible for his new fall fashions. As soon as I saw those galoshes, I knew I had to come to your store and see what you have to offer.”

“Ah…yes…” said Rarity, grimacing. “The galoshes…” She quickly shook her head. “So…what do you have in mind, Miss Shores?”

“Oh please, call me Sapphire,” said the other pony. “Or better yet, the Artist Formerly Known as Sapphire!”

“…Can I just call you Sapphire for short?” asked Rarity.

“The Artist Formerly Known as Sapphire will allow this,” said Sapphire. “Anyway, I’m touring all over Equestria with my latest concert: Sapphire Shores: The Evolution! With my new single: Like a Stallion! So I need something sensational!”

“I have just the thing!” said Rarity. She walked over to the drawn curtain and pulled it back.

Sapphire’s eyes widened as she saw what was behind the curtain. The outfit was a pristine white suit with a popped collar. Rarity’s gems were decorated all over it, shining in the light.

“I used every gem I had one this one outfit!” said Rarity. She looked at the outfit and grimaced. “Don’t…don’t mind the cat blood. It washes right out.”

“Shh!” said Sapphire, pressing her hoof to Rarity’s lips. “Don’t mess up this good thing. I have a burning desire to buy this dress!”

“Really?” asked Rarity. She winced as she thought of something. “You didn’t happen to see that picture of me at the Young Flier’s Tryouts, did you?”

“Hmm?” asked Sapphire. “Oh, of course I did. Everyone has.” Noticing Rarity’s downcast expression, she smiled and added, “But don’t let it get you down. Everyone important gets caught in an embarrassing situation by the paparazzi every now and again. Why, I remember that time I got caught in the dressing room with my manager and my sister’s husband…” She shook her head, getting back on track. “I don’t care about your picture. All I care about is that you can do your job and clearly,” she pointed to the outfit, “You can. I’ll buy it.”

“Wow…um…” said Rarity, touched. “I-I don’t know what to say. Of course I’ll sell it to you!”

“Great!” said Sapphire. “And I’ll take five more. Each with different jewels.”

Rarity blinked. “…What?”

“Well, I need my backup dancers to look good too,” explained Sapphire. She leaned in close and whispered, “Just make sure you don’t put in too much effort on their outfits. I’m the star of the show, so I should look the best.”

Rarity looked at her empty chest and regretted putting so many jewels on one outfit. She sighed and said, “I’ll need some time to make some more. I need to collect more gems.”

“That’s fine, hon!” said Sapphire. “I’ll be in town for a few days anyway. I’ve got to visit a friend of mine.”

“Oh really?” asked Rarity politely.

“Yes! He’s a dragon, you know,” said Sapphire.

Rarity blinked. “Do you mean…are you talking about Spike?!”

“You know him?” asked Sapphire. “We met a couple of years ago. He helped me out when I was in a tight spot.”

A couple of years ago:

Sapphire was idly flipping through an entertainment magazine when a sweaty Spike walked up to her.

“Ok, Miss Shores,” panted Spike. “I finally managed to get your couch into your new apartment.”

“Sensational!” cheered Sapphire. She looked up and looked at the couch. “Hmm…I think it’s a little too far right…”

“Too far right?” repeated Spike, looking at the couch. “Do you want me to move it to the left?”

“Yes,” said Sapphire. “To the left! To the left!”

Now:

“Wow,” said an honestly surprised Rarity. “I didn’t know Spike knew so many famous ponies.”

“Are you kidding?” asked Sapphire. “Everyone wants to get to know a dragon. They’re fascinating creatures. Did you know that their fire is hot enough to melt a giant piece of ice? Or that their claws never break or dull? Or that they’re great at digging?”

“…Great at digging?” repeated Rarity. She smiled as an idea came to her mind. “You don’t say…”

About an hour later:

“So…” started Spike casually, “What are we doing out here?”

He and Rarity were walking through a rocky wasteland that was about a mile from Ponyville. Spike was pulling a wagon behind him, and he watched as Rarity kept her head close to the ground, her horn glowing.

“I mean,” said Spike, “I like spending time with you Rarity, but I kind of haven’t seen Sapphire for a while and I do consider her a friend, so…”

“It’ll be fine, Spike,” said Rarity. “I just need your help to get some gems for Sapphire’s dresses. It shouldn’t take too long. Besides, I’m sure Twilight’s keeping Sapphire company.”

Back in Ponyville:

Twilight and Sapphire were sitting in armchairs in the library. They stared at each other as the clock on the wall ticked.

“So…” said Sapphire. “Have you heard any good songs lately?”

“Sorry,” said Twilight, “I’m…I’m not that big into music.”

“Oh,” said Sapphire.

They were quiet for a few moments.

“Have…uh…” began Twilight, “Have you read any good books lately?”

“Sorry,” replied Sapphire with a grimace, “I don’t really have time for reading with my schedule.”

“Oh…that’s fine, I guess…” said Twilight.

They sat in uncomfortable silence as the clock seemed to tick louder.

Back in the wasteland:

“I guess,” said Spike, doubting it immensely.

“I must admit,” said Rarity, “I was surprised to learn that you knew her. You seem to know a lot of famous ponies.”

“Well…” said Spike. “While Twilight was studying under Celestia, I would just go walk around Canterlot. I met a few ponies that way.” Spike’s eyes darted around nervously. “Don’t tell Twilight. She thinks I spent my time cleaning or organizing her books. Or worse, she thinks I actually spent my time reading her books.”

“How is that worse?” asked Rarity, curious.

“Have you seen some of the stuff Twilight reads?” asked Spike. “I wanted a bedtime story once and she gave me a book called Defensive Magical Theory.”

“That doesn’t sound-”

“Volumes 1 through 12,” finished Spike. “It’s like living with a college professor.”

“Count yourself lucky,” said Rarity. “I always had to read to Sweetie Belle when she was younger. I’ve never met another child who wanted to hear about H.P. Lovecraft.” The glow in Rarity’s horn pulsed. “Ah! I’ve found some!” She walked a few feet forward and marked the ground with an X.

Spike walked forward and started digging. Soon enough, he shouted, “I found them!” He reached into the dirt and pulled out a handful of jewels.

“Perfect!” said Rarity, watching as Spike dumped them into the wagon.

Spike frowned at the pile of gems. “I can’t believe you’re just going to stick those on clothes.”

Rarity raised an eyebrow. “What else would I do with them?”

“Eat them!” said Spike. He licked his lips as he eyed the pile. “They look delicious…”

“Dragons eat gems?” asked Rarity, subtly moving the wagon away from Spike.

“Of course,” said Spike, drooling slightly. “Gems are like candy to me.”

Rarity laughed at the hungry look on Spike’s face. “I’ll give you some gems after we’re done, ok? But we need to collect more first.”

Spike blinked and wiped the drool from his face. “What are we waiting for?” He and Rarity walked off to find more jewels.

The figure watching them from the rocks smiled to himself as he watched the two dig for gems. He grinned, showing off his canine-like teeth. “Finally. Now we’ve got you, pony,” he muttered. He turned and started walking towards a large hole in the ground.

Spike's Story

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“So let me get this straight,” said Applejack, “Spike and Rarity dropped Sapphire Shores off at the library while they went to look for gems?”

“Yeah,” said Twilight. She and the other girls were sitting in the shade of a tree outside the Mayor’s office. “She’s so annoying too. All she wants to talk about is her shitty music.”

A throat was cleared. Loudly.

“Excuse me,” said Sapphire Shores, who was sitting next to and glaring at Twilight. “I can hear you.”

“Yeah, I know,” said Twilight bluntly. She turned back to Applejack and the other girls. “See what I mean about that whole ‘annoying’ thing?”

“What do you guys think Spike and Rarity are doing right now?” asked Fluttershy.

Rainbow Dash opened her mouth.

“Don’t say ‘each other’,” interrupted Fluttershy.

“I wasn’t!” whined Rainbow. She looked around at everyone’s skeptical faces. “…Ok, maybe I was. Am I that obvious?”

“Yes,” said everyone, including Sapphire, in unison.

Twilight shook her head at Rainbow and turned to Fluttershy. “As far as I know, they were just getting more gems. They should be back pretty so-”

“TWILIGHT!” screamed a voice.

Everybody turned and watched as Spike sprinted towards them, tears running down his face.

“Twilight, I need your help!” sobbed Spike. “I was finding gems with Rarity and…she…I…oh God…” he put his head in his hands.

Twilight quickly got up and hugged Spike, “It’s ok, Spike. You don’t have to cry. Just tell me what’s wrong.”

Spike pushed Twilight away and cleared his throat, a blush appearing on his face. “First off, I’m not crying. I-I just have allergies…that make me sound like I’m crying.”

“Makes sense,” nodded Pinkie.

“And second,” continued Spike. “Rarity’s…Rarity…Rari-” Spike put his head back in his hands and started sobbing uncontrollably.

Fluttershy sighed and got up. She walked over to Spike and slapped him hard across the face.

“T-thanks…” sniffed Spike, rubbing his sore face. “These allergies are killing me…”

“Of course they are,” said Fluttershy soothingly. “Now, what happened to Rarity?”

“She...t-there were these really weird guys…and they kidnapped her!” said Spike. “We had just finished finding all the gems….”

Thirty minutes ago:

“We’ve finished finding all the gems!” said Rarity excitedly as she gazed at the small mountain of jewels in the wagon. “Oh, Spike! I love gems so much! So hard…so firm…so much girth!” She rubbed her cheek against the gems in the cart, before casting a lustful gaze at Spike. “Gems like these can really excite and satisfy a girl, you know?”

“R-really?” asked Spike, trying to keep his mind out of the gutter.

“Oh yes…” moaned Rarity, laying back against the gems. “Speaking of satisfying…” she grinned seductively at Spike. “Take me.”

Now:

“D-did that really happen?” asked Twilight.

Spike grumbled and kicked the dirt. “It should’ve…” he growled.

Thirty minutes ago (reality):

“Hi Spike,” said Rarity in a goofy, high-pitched voice. She was bobbing a blue gem up and down in front of Spike’s face. “I’m Mr. Sapphire, here to reward you for being such a good boy in helping Rarity today! Take me, take me!”

Spike frowned at Rarity. “You know, even though I’m a baby dragon, it doesn’t mean I’m an actual baby. I’m only a few years younger than Twilight.”

“Take me, take me, TAKE ME!” screeched Rarity, waving the sapphire around.

“Alright, alright!” said Spike, grabbing the jewel. “Calm down.”

“Very good,” said Rarity. “Now we can-” Her horn glowed, cutting her off. “Another gem?” she asked. She looked around and started walking towards a large tree.

“Where is it?” asked Spike, putting the sapphire back into the wagon.

“This is bizarre…” said Rarity. “It’s in the tree for some reason.” She looked up and blinked. “And it’s attached to some ugly dog-like creature. How odd.”

The ugly dog-like creature dropped down to the ground, glaring at Rarity. “I am a Diamond Dog, thank you very much. The name’s Rover.”

“Ah…I see…” said Rarity nervously, backing up a little. “Well...I am Rarity and this is my friend Spike.”

Spike waved sheepishly. He blinked as a large shadow came over him.

Rover smirked. “How rude of me. Let me introduce my friends, Spot and Fido.”

Spike felt a large hand grab him by the back of the neck. He was lifted up into the air and found himself staring face-to-face with a large Diamond Dog, who grinned evilly.

“I’m Fido,” said the grey-furred dog.

A smaller brown-furred dog walked out from behind Fido and smirked. “And I’m Spot.”

“And we,” said Rarity, “are leaving. Please put my friend down and we’ll get out of your fur.”

“Yeah…” said Rover with a smirk, “That’s not happening. We need you to come with us. We need you to find some gems.”

“And…if I refuse?” asked Rarity politely.

“It ain’t a request,” answered Fido.

“Hmm...” mused Rarity, thinking it over. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to refuse.”

Her horn glowed and a rock was lifted from the ground. Rarity turned and used her magic to shoot the rock at Spot. The brown-furred dog wheezed as the rock hit him in the stomach, knocking him over.

“What the-?” began Fido.

Spike inhaled and opened his mouth. He exhaled suddenly, causing green flames to shoot forth into Fido’s face.

“Fuck!” screamed the large dog, dropping Spike and holding his smoking face.

Spike landed on his feet and turned back towards Rarity. “Look out!” he yelled, before getting tackled from behind by Spot.

Rarity turned and saw Rover running towards her. She gasped and tried to gather her magic, but Rover was too quick. He flicked Rarity’s horn, causing her horn to stop glowing. Rarity winced in pain, holding her horn. While she was distracted, Rover quickly grabbed her and picked her up.

“We’re leaving!” he called to Spot and Fido.

Spot let go of Spike and followed after Rover. The two dogs started running towards a large hole in the ground, Rarity struggling in Rover’s arms.

“R-Rarity!” said Spike as he tried to get up.

A large grey foot swung out and caught Spike in the stomach. Spike wheezed and dropped to the ground. He looked up and saw Fido glaring at him, the fur on his face smoking.

“Fido!” called Rover. “We’re done. Come on!”

Fido growled and stomped off, leaving a winded Spike curled up on the ground.

“W-wait…” mumbled Spike, trying to get up. He watched as the three dogs disappeared into the ground, a captive Rarity in their grasp.

Now:

“We need to rescue Rarity now!” yelled Spike, shaking Twilight.

“You’re right Spike,” said Twilight, pulling away from his grasp. She turned to the others. “Come on, girls! We’re going on a rescue mission!” She turned back towards Spike. “And stop crying, please.”

Spike sniffed and wiped his nose on his arm. “It’s allergies, I swear!”

“Aw yeah!” said Pinkie. She grabbed Spike and said, “You know what time it is?”

“Um…2:30?” guessed Spike.

“ADVENTURE TIME!” screamed Pinkie, running off with Spike in her arms.

“Wait Pinkie,” called Twilight as she and the others ran after her. “It’s the other way!”

Sapphire blinked as she watched everyone leave. She stood up and called after them, “She did get my gems, right?!” She waited for a response. "...Hello?"

Operation: Rarity Rescue

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Twilight ran into the wasteland with Spike on her back and the others following her close behind.

“Is this the spot, Spike?” asked Twilight as they slowed to a stop.

“Y-yeah…I think so?” said Spike as he hopped off Twilight’s back. He looked around and said, “Look, there’s the wagon! This is the right spot!”

Twilight frowned as Spike ran off to the gem-laden wagon.

“Somethin’ on your mind, sugarcube?” asked Applejack.

“This doesn’t make sense…” said Twilight. “In all the books I’ve read, Diamond Dogs love gems. Why would they leave the wagon behind?”

“Maybe they just wanted to get out of here before Spike brought help back with him?” guessed Pinkie.

Twilight stared at Pinkie. “That…actually makes sense.”

“Cents?” asked Pinkie. “Nah, I hate change.”

“And we’re back,” said Twilight with a sigh. She shook her head and turned to the others. “Ok, spread out. All we need to do is find the hole the Diamond Dogs took Rarity into. It’ll be easy.”

“Um…are you sure?” asked Fluttershy, pointing.

Twilight looked to where Fluttershy was pointing and her jaw dropped. Instead of one hole in the ground, there were hundreds.

“They must have done this to throw off intruders,” said Twilight. “We’ll just have to search and hope for the best.”

Rainbow Dash opened her mouth.

“And if you say anything about how putting your face near holes is typical for you, you can just go home!” interrupted Twilight.

“…Spoilsport…” mumbled Rainbow.

Everyone spread out to a different hole and peered inside.

Twilight squinted her eyes and tried to see through the darkness of the hole. “Hello?” she called. A second later she choked as a mountain of dirt hit her in the face. She moved her head away from the hole, coughing and tearing up as the dirt filled her mouth and blinded her. From the way the others were coughing, she guessed that the same thing had happened to them.

Once Twilight had blinked the dirt out of her eyes, she looked around. All the holes had been filled with dirt, making it impossible to get into them.

“Well shit,” cursed Twilight. “Now what do we do?”

“Beats me,” began Rainbow Dash, “But how do you think Rarity’s handling all this dirt?”

“Well…” began Twilight, “Considering how she reacted to the library last week…”

Last Week:

Rarity frowned as she looked at the empty bookshelf. She used her magic to lift a rag and drag it across the shelf. She looked at the rag and frowned.

“What’s wrong, Rarity?” asked Twilight.

Rarity swung around and glared at Twilight. “Look at this!” she yelled. She shoved the slightly dusty rag in Twilight’s face. “You call this clean?”

“I don’t-” began Twilight.

Rarity picked up a book entitled, Good Manners, Good Ponies, and slapped Twilight across the face with it. “YOU FOOL!” she screeched.

Now:

Twilight shuddered. “She’s probably not handling it well. Between that and the Diamond Dogs, she could be in real trouble.”

“Tell me about it,” said Applejack. “Rarity’s not the bravest pony I know. Why, just the other day…”

Just the other day:

There was a loud shriek coming from Carousel Boutique.

“Oh, Applejack,” said Rarity dramatically, “It’s horrible! It’s the most disgusting monstrosity I’ve ever seen!”

Applejack raised an eyebrow at Rarity. “It was just a tiny little spider, Rarity. It can’t hurt ya even if it wanted to.”

Rarity huffed and looked at her dresser. She let out a loud scream and wrapped her hooves around Applejack’s neck. “There it is! KillitkillitkillitKILLIT!”

Now:

Applejack rubbed her neck and winced. “Ah think Ah still have the bruises…”

Rainbow Dash kicked a mound of dirt, “So what are we supposed to do? Those dogs will just keep filling the holes if we try to go in them.”

Spike sighed and looked around. He stared at an unfilled hole for a second before his eyes widened. “Hang on!” he said, running back to the wagon. “I have an idea!”

“That’s my boy!” said Twilight proudly as she watched him go. “I can’t believe you came up with an idea to…to…” She squinted her eyes. “Are you eating gems?”

Spike froze, an emerald half out of his mouth. “…No?” he mumbled. He quickly spat the emerald out. “Don’t worry, I have another idea!” He grabbed the sapphire Rarity was going to give him and ran back to the others. “Does anyone have a fishing rod I can borrow?”

“Here you go!” said Pinkie, pulling a fishing rod out from behind her back.

Everyone stared at her.

“Why do you have that?” asked Twilight.

Pinkie chuckled and patted Twilight’s head affectionately. “Oh Twilight, that answer is so obvious, I’m not going to insult your intelligence by explaining it to you.”

Spike grabbed the fishing rod from Pinkie and tied the sapphire to the line. He slowly lowered the gem into the hole and sat back against a mound of dirt, waiting for a bite.

“So…you’re going to lure a Diamond Dog with that gem?” asked Twilight. “How do you know how to fish, anyway?”

“Please,” said Spike, rolling his eyes. “With all the fishing trips your dad made me and Shining go on? He’d be ashamed if I didn’t know how to fish.”

“Man, this reminds me of my first time fishing,” said Rainbow, sitting down next to Spike. “I caught a fish this big!” She stretched her arms out wide.

“No,” said Fluttershy, frowning. “You caught the class’s pet goldfish during math. You were bragging to Gilda about it and I overheard.”

“Oh yeah…” muttered Rainbow. “You got really mad at us for it too.”

“It is the reason why I started bullying you guys in particular,” said Fluttershy. “But it’s ok now. I’ve forgiven you for it and moved on with my life.”

“Fluttershy?” wheezed Rainbow as Fluttershy’s hooves pressed down on her throat. “Please stop choking me.”

As Fluttershy apologized to Rainbow, Spike’s mind began to wander…

Inside Spike’s Imagination:

There was a loud stomping sound echoing throughout the underground caves. Fido looked around, his eyes wide with panic.

“Dr. Rover!” he yelled. “The enemy is here! What should we do?”

Rover, dressed in a top hat and a black cape, stroked his thin, curly mustache. “You must stop him, Canine Commander! We can’t let him get to the prisoner!” At this, he gestured towards Rarity, who was dressed in a pink dress and had a crown on her head.

“You fiends!” she yelled, struggling against the ropes that bound her to a small section of train track. “My hero will save me!” She paused. “By the way, why am I tied to a train track when we’re in an underground cave?”

“Bitch, don’t question my methods!” yelled Rover.

The door flew off its hinges as it was kicked open. A tall, muscular figure wearing a red cape strode confidently into the room. The figure dropped an unconscious Spot, who was dressed in a black ninja outfit, to the floor.

“Ninja Spot!” yelled Rover in horror. “You will pay for that, you god-like figure you!”

Spike, his muscles bulging, pointed a giant lance at Rover and said, “Unhand Lady Rarity, you monster!”

“Never!” yelled Rover. “Commander Canine, attack!”

Fido dove at Spike, who simply laughed. He puffed out his chest and made his pecs bounce up and down. Fido hit Spike’s pecs and bounced off, smacking into the cave wall.

“Those were some massive pecs…” wheezed Fido before he passed out.

“Damn!” cursed Rover. He grabbed a nearby dog whistle and blew it. “Hounds! Intruder!”

Dozens of huge, armor-plated dogs dropped out of the tunnels and piled onto Spike. The dragon soon disappeared from sight.

“Ha!” laughed Rover. He turned towards the immobile Rarity. “It looks like your hero has-”

Someone cleared their throat. Rover looked around and his eyes grew wide with shock.

Spike glared at Rover. All around him were the unconscious forms of the armor-plated Diamond Dogs. “As I was saying,” said Spike, striding forward, “Let Lady Rarity go.”

Rover snarled and charged Spike, who yawned unconcernedly. He held out his hand, pressing against the dog’s forehead and stopping him in his tracks. Spike grabbed Rover’s top hat and brought it down over the dog’s head. Rover cursed and attempted to swing wildly at Spike, but the heroic dragon simply sidestepped him. Rover, unaware that his target had moved, moved forward with his assault, but tripped over the fallen form of Spot. Rover fell and smacked his head against the floor, making him pass out.

Spike scoffed at the unconscious foes before making his way to Rarity. He smiled at her and used his claws to cut the ropes binding her and the dress she was wearing.

As Spike helped Rarity up, she blushed and said, “Sir Spike! You seem to have ruined my dress…I-I’m not wearing a thing.”

Spike smiled at Rarity and said, “Don’t worry, Lady Rarity. You look better without anything on.”

Rarity blushed and giggled. “Oh, Sir Spike…”

“Oh,” said Spike, “Lady Rarity…”

“Oh, Sir Spike…”

“Oh, Lady Rarity!”

Rarity grabbed Spike by the shoulders. “Kiss me, you fool!” she said, puckering her lips.

Spike smiled and pressed his lips against hers. It was everything he dreamed about. Her soft lips, her excited gasps, her sweet apple taste…

Wait…apples?

Back to life, back to reality:

Spike opened his eyes and found a pair of wide green eyes staring at him. Panicked, Spike quickly broke the kiss. “A-Applejack, I’m so sorry!” he said quickly.

Applejack blinked. Her face grew red as she awkwardly cleared her throat. “Um…I-it’s no problem, Sugar. Cube. Sugarcube.”

“I swear I didn’t mean to kiss you,” explained Spike. “N-not that it was a bad kiss or anything…I mean…you’re a nice kisser…”

Applejack blushed harder. “Y-you…uh…you’re not so bad yourself, hon…”

They heard giggling behind them and turned around. Twilight, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie were all watching them with grins on their faces. Pinkie had a camera in her hooves.

“I knew it was a good idea to bring my camera along,” said Pinkie.

Spike and Applejack’s faces turned bright red and they both started to stammer out excuses. Suddenly, the line on the fishing rod became taut. Spike had to quickly grip the rod so it didn’t fly out of his hands.

“I’ve got something!” he yelled. He tried pulling back, but he found himself getting dragged closer and closer to the hole.

“Ah’ve got you, stud! SPIKE! AH MEANT SPIKE!” yelled Applejack as she ran forward. She grabbed Spike’s tail and attempted to hold on, but she started getting dragged as well.

Twilight, Rainbow Dash, and Fluttershy all ran forward to help. Each of them grabbed the tail of the pony in front of them, but found that even their combined strength wasn’t enough. All six of them were pulled into the hole and disappeared from sight.

Pinkie put her camera around her neck, shrugged, and cannon-balled into the hole. “Whee!” she yelled as she followed her friends into the darkness.

Nitpicky Prisoner

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“THIS WAS THE WORST IDEA EVER!” screamed Spike as he and the ponies slid through a dark underground tunnel. He gripped the fishing rod tighter and yelled, “Who came up with this plan?!”

“You did!” yelled Twilight from behind him.

“Well, why did you guys listen to me?” asked Spike desperately. He screamed as he fell into a hole in the tunnel, dragging the others with him.

Spike dropped out of the hole and slammed into the dirt ground. He cracked his eyes open and looked around. “Huh,” he said, getting up and brushing himself off, “That wasn’t so b-”

Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Twilight, and Pinkie dropped out of the hole and landed right on top of Spike.

Once her head stopped spinning, Twilight got up and looked around. “We must be deep in the Diamond Dogs’ tunnels…” She muttered, gesturing to the holes and tunnels all around them. “Judging by all the entrances and tunnels around us, we must be right in the middle of their den.”

“Great…” mumbled Rainbow Dash, getting up and cracking her neck. “So…which way do we go to save Rarity?”

“I don’t know,” admitted Twilight. “It looks like these dogs have been living here for years. We could spend days searching and not find her.”

“Do you know how to find her, Pinkie?” asked Fluttershy as she helped Applejack get up on her hooves.

“Nope!” said Pinkie happily. “I’m not so good with directions. Or orders. Or abandonment.”

“What was that last one?” asked Applejack.

“O-orders?” stammered Pinkie. “Hey! Maybe Spike will have an idea about where to find Rarity!” She looked around the dark cavern, but couldn’t see the dragon anywhere. “Where’d he go?”

“Um…Pinkie?” said Twilight, pointing downwards.

Pinkie looked down at where she was sitting. “Spike!” she said, getting up quickly. Spike started coughing as he rolled over and got on his knees. “What were you doing under my butt, silly?”

“Suffocating…” choked Spike. “It was like two pink pillows were smothering me.”

“Sorry!” said Pinkie. She turned to Applejack. “And sorry to you too. I didn’t mean to make a move on your man.”

Applejack’s face grew red as she spluttered, “H-he…we…he ain’t mah man!”

“Girls, we need to focus!” said Twilight. She frowned at all the tunnels around them. “We can’t just search all of these things…there has to be a way to narrow it down…”

“Gems…” said Spike quietly, getting to his feet.

“Are you hungry again?” asked Rainbow.

“No…well, yeah, but that’s not the point,” said Spike. He walked to the entrance of a tunnel and said, “Those Diamond Dogs love gems, right? Maybe they took Rarity down a tunnel so she could find more for them.”

“How the hell are we supposed to know which tunnel has the most gems?” asked Rainbow.

Spike looked at Twilight pointedly.

“Oh Spike,” laughed Twilight, “You couldn’t possibly expect me to use my magic to find the tunnel. That would take vast concentration and years of study to possibly-”

“You know the spell Rarity uses, don’t you?” asked Spike.

Twilight sighed. “Can’t you people let me toot my own horn sometimes?”

Applejack pushed Twilight near one of the tunnels. “Toot on your own time, missy! Go on and find Rarity!”

Speaking of

Rarity let out a tired sigh and leaned against the cave’s stone wall. “Can’t you assholes just let me go?”

“Not a chance!” said Spot as he, Rover, and Fido advanced on her. “We need you to do something for us.”

“What you need,” said Rarity, her nose wrinkling in disgust as she looked around, “Is an interior designer. And proper lighting instead of those torches. And some decorations.” She sniffed and gagged. “And a bath.”

You try getting a decent shower when you’re miles underground!” said Fido.

“Shut up, Fido,” said Rover. He turned his gaze to Rarity and said, “What we need, little pony, is your help in finding a very special gem. A gem of great importance to us.”

Rarity rolled her eyes and got off the wall. “Fine,” she said, “But you should know that I charge by the hour. And I expect a tip when I’m finished.” She wandered around the cave, her horn glowing as she searched.

Rover nodded. “Fine. Spot, go get Fido’s piggy bank.”

“What?!” screamed Fido. “That’s completely unfair!”

“Fine,” said Rover tiredly, “Fido, you go get your piggy bank.”

Fido nodded, satisfied. “That’s more like it.”

“Aha!” exclaimed Rarity. She pointed to the ground. “There are some gems right there!” She turned and smiled at the Diamond Dogs, who stared at her. Rarity’s smile faded as she looked at the three in confusion.

Minutes passed.

Rover cleared his throat awkwardly. “…Um…aren’t you going to…?” He made a scooping motion with his paws.

Rarity pawed the ground lightly with her hooves. She looked back up and shrugged. “Doesn’t appear to be working. Maybe one of you wastes of space could do something, hmm?”

“You little...” growled Fido, moving forward.

“Fido, stop,” said Rover. “Let’s just dig up the gems, ok? The sooner we do, the sooner we can see if she found it.”

Fido snarled at Rover. “You’re too soft! This is why most of the pack left when the Boss died! If I was in charge-”

“You’re not, though!” yelled Spot. “Rover’s trying to-”

“Excuse me, boys?” said Rarity. “I’d like to go somewhere that doesn’t smell like a zoo. So if you wouldn’t mind shutting the fuck up and digging so I can move on with my life, that’d be just peachy.”

“Fine,” said Rover. “We’ll dig for you. But…” He snapped his fingers.

Spot and Fido grinned as they walked away. They came back with a wagon and a collar.

“If we’re paying you by the hour, you could at least earn it, don’t you think?” said Rover.

“Can’t I just stand around and look pretty?” asked Rarity, fluttering her eyelashes.

“No,” said Rover. He snapped his fingers again and Fido dropped the wagon behind Rarity. Spot hooked the collar onto the wagon and then put it around Rarity’s neck.

“You do know that I could choke myself on this?” asked Rarity.

“Wouldn’t that be a shame…” said Rover. He and the other dogs walked over to the spot Rarity indicated and began digging.

“Ooh!” said Rarity, looking at what they dug up. “A ruby. And a sapphire!” She gasped. “And a garnet! Aren’t you lucky?” She pointed to the collar around her neck. “Now…how about letting me go?”

Rover walked over and dropped the gems into the wagon. “Unfortunately for all of us, those aren’t quite what we’re looking for.” He smirked at Rarity. “But don’t worry. We have all the time in the world to find it.”

“Hooray…” muttered Rarity. Her horn glowed as she picked up a nearby stick. She began marking the walls where she sensed gems were hiding. Once she was done, she tossed the stick aside and said, “There. Go crazy.”

Rover whistled and armor-clad dogs began digging the walls and floor.

Rarity began pulling the cart around the room as the dogs dropped gems into the wagon. “You know,” she began idly, “This reminds me of my first job.”

“Oh yeah?” asked Rover, bored. “What job was that?”

“I used to work at this dress shop,” began Rarity. “I would go around the dressing rooms picking up clothes that the customers threw on the floor…”

An hour later:

“…And I said, ‘Suri, you stupid bitch, of course that dress makes your ass look big…”

Another hour later:

“…I was cleared on all charges of course, but they never did find who put the body in the ceiling…”

Another hour later:

“…So,” continued Rarity, “I decided to open my own boutique in Ponyville. It really is a lovely place…aside from the spiders. Luckily my good friend Applejack is quite proficient in killing those little bastards. Have I told you about Applejack? She-”

“Picks apples for a living, we know!” yelled Rover. He looked around the room desperately. Spot was in the fetal positon on the floor, his eye twitching. Fido was banging his head against the wall. The rest of the dogs were simply staring straight ahead, as though remembering some great, horrible tragedy.

“Oh, I did tell you about her then?” asked Rarity. “Well this one time she-” Rarity suddenly coughed. “Does anyone have a glass of water?”

The armor-clad dogs pushed one another out of the cave, desperate to get away from the chatty unicorn.

“Alone at last,” said Rarity casually.

“What do you-?” began Rover, turning to face her.

Rarity’s horn glowed and her collar popped off. She swung around and kicked Rover in the stomach before making a beeline for the cave’s exit.

“Stop her!” wheezed Rover. “We still need to find that gem!”

Spot and Fido chased after the fleeing unicorn and tackled her. They held the struggling Rarity down on the ground.

“Stop…fidgeting!” yelled Fido. A white hoof swung out and smashed against his nose, causing blood to spurt out. “Goddammit, why do you people keep hurting my face? What is wrong with my face?!”

“Well those burns for one thing, but if you really want to get into it…” began Spot.

“Shut up!” yelled Fido. Together, the two Diamond Dogs got Rarity back up and over to the wagon, hooking her back up.

Rover strode forwards and put a metal ring around Rarity’s horn. “There! That’ll stop you from using magic.”

Rarity looked down at her dirty coat and said, “Look what at what you brutes did! I have dirt and nose blood on me!”

“Well, sorry!” yelled Fido, holding his possibly broken nose. “Next time we’ll just let you escape!”

“I would appreciate that, yes,” said Rarity.

“Enough!” yelled Rover. “Stop talking and find our gem!” He slapped Rarity’s rear. “Go!”

Rarity laughed. “Is that the best you can do? My grandmother slaps harder!” She raised her rear and said, “Do it again!”

Rover growled and slapped Rarity’s rear again.

“Again!” yelled Rarity.

Slap

“Harder!” screamed Rarity.

SLAP

“Now pull my mane as you do it…” said Rarity breathlessly, a blush on her face.

“I…what?” asked Rover.

“Pull my mane and spank me like you mean it!” yelled Rarity.

“I…I don’t want to anymore…” said Rover. “I feel dirty…”

“DO IT!” screamed Rarity. “I’ve been a naughty filly! Spank me!”

“No!” said Rover, backing away. He turned tail and ran.

Rarity chased after him, dragging the wagon with her and screaming, “Spank me again, you son of a bitch!”

“Leave my mother out of this!” yelled Rover as the crazy pony chased him around the room.

Spot and Fido watched as their leader ran for his life.

“Should we help?” asked Spot.

“Listen,” said Fido, holding his nose, “In the course of one day, I’ve had my face set on fire and my nose broken. I’m fucking done.”

Meanwhile:

“God…” panted Rainbow as she and the others ran down the tunnel. “How far does this thing go? It feels like we’ve been running for hours!”

“We’re getting close!” said Twilight.

“How can you tell?” asked Fluttershy.

“GET BACK HERE!” yelled a familiar voice.

“That was Rarity!” said Spike.

“That’s how,” answered Twilight.

The ponies and Spike all walked into a large cavern. At the end of it was a large metal door with a lock on it.

“That’s gotta be where they’re keepin’ her!” said Applejack.

Suddenly, a large group of armor-clad Diamond Dogs dropped out of the tunnels. “Intruders!” one yelled.

“Aw yeah!” said Rainbow, getting low to the ground. “Time for some-”

“Oh God!” screamed one of the dogs. “It’s more ponies! Run before they tell more stories!”

The dogs all scrambled back into their holes, whining and whimpering as they did so.

“…Action?” finished Rainbow, getting back up. “What the hell just happened?”

“Who cares?!” said Spike, hopping off Twilight’s back. He ran to the metal door and used his flame breath to melt the lock. He kicked the door open and charged inside, screaming, “Rarity, I’m coming to save-”

“SAVE ME!” yelled a voice.

Spike found himself getting bowled over by Rover as he ran out of the room. “You…” he said woozily as he got back up.

“Spike!” said Rarity, walking over to him. “And everyone else! You’re here!”

Twilight used her magic to get rid of Rarity’s collar and ring. “Rarity…why was that Diamond Dog running away from you?”

“Because he hits like a little girl!” yelled Rarity at Rover, who yipped and hid behind Rainbow Dash.

Rainbow Dash snarled and spun around. She grabbed Rover and put him in a headlock. “Alright, asshole!” she yelled. “What’s the big idea kidnapping our friend?!”

“W-we just wanted her to find the gemstone our boss hid from us!” said Rover. “That’s all we wanted!”

Rarity’s horn glowed and she jumped. “Oh! Spike, I need your help.” She pointed at the wall.

Spike walked over and dug into the wall. He pulled out a clear, glass-like gem. He narrowed his eyes at it. “Is…is that a key in the middle of it?”

“Let me have it! Please!” begged Rover.

Spike shrugged and gave it to Rover…who smashed it on the ground.

The Diamond Dog dropped to his knees and grabbed the key out of the pile of shards. “Yes! Now we can open our bank again!”

“…What?” asked Rarity.

“Our bank! Diamond Dog International,” explained Rover. “Our boss stole and hid the key from us so we would mine gems for him. But now that we’ve got it back, we can go back to Canterlot and reopen!”

“Why did he bury it?” asked Fluttershy.

Rover looked at her like she was an idiot. “Um…hello? Dogs? We bury things all the time!”

“Ok…” said Spike. “But why didn’t you just call a locksmith or something to open the door of your bank for you?”

Rover blinked. He slapped his forehead and said, “Fuck.”

Later:

The ponies and Spike were traveling back to Ponyville. Each of the girls was dragging a heavy wagon of gems behind them.

“It was nice of those Diamond Dogs to give you their gems while they headed back to Canterlot, Rarity,” said Twilight.

“I can’t believe you held your own against those guys!” said Rainbow.

“Rarity, why’s your butt so red?” asked Pinkie.

Rarity coughed loudly, a blush appearing on her face. “…It was no trouble at all. Nothing I couldn’t handle.”

Spike ran up to Rarity, dragging his red wagon behind him. “Well, now you’ve got more than enough gems for Sapphire Shores.”

“Yes,” said Rarity. She smiled at Spike. “I still need to give you your reward, don’t I?” Her horn glowed. The sapphire she tried to give Spike earlier floated in front of him. “There you go. And you can have as many of the leftover gems after I make those dresses.”

“Thanks, Rarity,” said Spike, grabbing the sapphire. He stopped to look at it. As he gazed at the blue jewel, it began to glow. “What?” muttered Spike, looking at it.

“Spike?” asked Twilight.

Spike looked up and noticed that the girls were walking away from him. “Keep up!” said Twilight.

“Y-yeah…” said Spike. He looked back at the sapphire. To his surprise, it wasn’t glowing anymore. “What’s with this gem?” he asked. He stared at it for a moment, but the glow didn’t return. “I better hold on to this…” he said. He gripped the sapphire tight and ran after the girls.

Rarity's Steamy Scheme

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The door to Ponyville’s spa burst open and Rarity ran inside, a blue and green feathered hat on her head.

“I’m so sorry, Fluttershy dear,” she said as she made her way into the lobby. Lotus ran forward, a glass of water in her hooves. Rarity grabbed the glass and took a sip of water. She swished it around in her mouth before spitting it out. Aloe dove out from behind the counter with a spittoon in her hooves. She caught Rarity’s spit in the spittoon and closed it. She and Lotus bowed and backed away. Rarity smiled and walked towards to where Fluttershy was sitting. “I hate being late for our little get-togethers.”

Fluttershy smiled and said, “It’s fine Rarity. I’ll just assume it has something to do with the peacock on your head.”

Rarity laughed. “Oh, Fluttershy…” She grabbed the hat off her head. “This is a very fancy and very expensive hat that I bought with Sapphire Shores’ money. It’s not-”

The peacock squawked at Rarity and pecked her in the head. Rarity shrieked and dropped it, allowing the bird to escape out into Ponyville.

“Are you alright?” asked Fluttershy.

“Yes…” muttered Rarity, rubbing her sore forehead. “Though I am going to demand my money back from that store. Stupid F&F Brothers Headwear…” Rarity turned to Lotus, who was holding a tray with a first aid kit on it. “I’m fine, dear. We just need the usual, if you would be so kind.”

“Of course,” said Lotus, bowing. She gestured for the two ponies to follow her as she started walking away.

Soon, Rarity and Fluttershy were sitting in the spa’s sauna and wearing robes. Lotus poured water on some hot rocks, causing steam to fill the room. She bowed again and quickly exited the sauna.

Rarity sighed and relaxed. “After spending all that time in those tunnels the other day, I definitely needed this.”

Fluttershy opened her mouth to speak, but Rarity squealed loudly.

“You would not believe what just happened to me!” exclaimed Rarity, bouncing up and down like a child. “Go on, guess!”

“You-” began Fluttershy.

“Photo Finish stopped and talked to me!” squealed Rarity. “THE Photo Finish! The most famous fashion photographer in Equestria stopped me on the street and said that my hat was marvelous!”

“You mean the peacock?” asked Fluttershy.

“She was so impressed,” continued Rarity, blatantly ignoring Fluttershy, “That she wants to come to my shop and have models wear my clothes! Can you believe it?!”

“I-” began Fluttershy.

“Do you know what this could mean for my fashion career?” asked Rarity.

“I suppose-” tried Fluttershy.

“But I need someone fabulous to model for me…” said Rarity. “Someone graceful…with beautiful flowing hair…pretty eyes…a demure personality…” She looked at Fluttershy pointedly.

“…Rainbow?” suggested Fluttershy.

Rarity gagged. “Please don’t joke about that horrid…lovely Rainbow Dash dirtying…wearing my clothes.” She shuddered and then smiled at Fluttershy. “I was thinking about you, Fluttershy.”

Fluttershy’s eyes grew wide. “M-me? I don’t know Rarity…”

“Please?” begged Rarity, her lower lip sticking out. “It would mean so much to me…” She scooted closer to Fluttershy. “And I would be very grateful…”

“Y-you would?” asked Fluttershy, suddenly aware of how little space was between her and the other pony.

“Oh yes…” purred Rarity, fluttering her eyelashes. She scooted even closer to Fluttershy. “I would do anything to get you to say yes…”

Fluttershy swallowed, her throat feeling dry. “R-really?”

“Mm-hmm…” said Rarity, her hoof rubbing Fluttershy’s leg. “Why…I would even…”

“Yes?” asked Fluttershy breathlessly.

“I would…” whispered Rarity, her lips moving closer to Fluttershy.

“Y-yes?” squeaked Fluttershy.

“Give you a discount at the boutique!” said Rarity happily. “And let you watch Opal for a couple days. I know how much you like taking care of her.”

“Oh!” said Fluttershy, feeling disappointed and relieved at the same time. “Well…that is tempting, but…Can I have some time to think about it?”

There was a knock on the sauna door. Aloe poked her head in and said, “Miss Rarity? The full body makeover is ready for Miss Fluttershy.”

Fluttershy glared at Rarity, who smiled sheepishly. “Um…surprise?” said Rarity. “I might have…sort of…told Photo Finish that you already agreed to model my clothes before I asked you.”

Fluttershy sighed. “Fuck it, I’ll do it.”

Rarity shrieked happily and pulled Fluttershy into a bone-crushing hug. “Thank you thank you thank you!” She pulled away from Fluttershy and said, “Now, go with Aloe. She’ll make sure that you look amazing for Photo Finish!”

A few minutes later:

Fluttershy stared at her reflection. “…I look exactly the same.”

“Oh nonsense,” said Rarity, getting off of the waiting room’s seats. She walked over and looked at Fluttershy. “They did an amazing job. No more unsightly blemishes or wrinkles. Oh, and they even got rid of your five o’clock shadow.” She smiled at the other pony. “You don’t look nearly as hideous as you did before your makeover.”

Fluttershy’s eye twitched. “Thank you, Rarity,” she said through her gritted teeth. She shook her head and said, “So…when is that photo shoot?”

“In a few minutes,” said Rarity. “We need to get back to the boutique quickly.”

“Alright,” said Fluttershy. She lifted a hoof off the ground.

“STOP!” yelled Rarity, making Fluttershy shriek and freeze. “Don’t move a muscle! We need you to look perfect for the photos and I can’t have you trudging through this filthy town.”

“Ok…” said Fluttershy. “Then what if I fly-”

“No flying!” yelled Rarity. “Your wings have been preened and styled just right! We can’t have a single feather out of place!”

“Then how the fuck am I supposed to get to the boutique?” asked Fluttershy impatiently.

“Don’t fret, my dear,” said Rarity confidently, “I’ve got a ride.” She clapped her hooves together.

The door of the spa opened and Spike walked in. “Wow,” he said, looking at Fluttershy, “You look amazing! They sure do a good job here. They even got rid of your stubble!”

Both of Fluttershy’s eyes twitched this time. She looked at Rarity and asked, “How is Spike supposed to help us get back to your store?”

“Easy,” said Rarity. “He’ll carry you.”

“He what?” asked Fluttershy.

“I’ll what?” asked Spike.

“But he can’t do it with dirty claws,” continued Rarity. She used her magic and pulled Spike over to her. “I need you to wash your hands. With bleach. Can you do that?”

“No problem,” said Spike. “Twilight makes me do that whenever we have to put new books on the shelves, so I’m used to it.” He walked off to the restroom.

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” asked Fluttershy.

Rarity laughed. “Fluttershy, when have I ever had a bad idea?”

“You literally just told Spike to go wash his hands with bleach,” pointed out Fluttershy.

“Done!” announced Spike as he stepped back into the waiting room.

“Fantastic!” said Rarity. “Alright Spike, you get in front of Fluttershy and hold your arms out.”

Spike did what Rarity commanded and got into position. Rarity’s horn glowed and Fluttershy found herself being magically lifted up. She was moved over Spike’s arms and dropped. Spike huffed as Fluttershy hit his arms, but he managed to hang onto her. Spike adjusted his arms so he was carrying Fluttershy bridal style.

“You know,” said Spike to the pony in his arms, “You’re not as heavy as you look.”

Fluttershy’s eyes twitched violently.

“Onward!” said Rarity, holding the spa doors open. “We need to get to the boutique!”

Photo Shoot

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Rarity strolled into Carousel Boutique and smiled. “Good. She’s not here yet…” She turned and yelled. “Come on, Spike! We don’t have all day.”

Spike huffed as he walked into the store, Fluttershy in his arms. “Wait…” he panted. “Why did I have to carry Fluttershy? You could have used your magic.”

Rarity giggled. “Oh Spike, you naïve little boy, I was too busy deciding what outfit to have Fluttershy wear.”

Spike’s knees started shaking as he struggled to hold Fluttershy up. “Can I let her go now?”

“Just drop her anywhere, Spike,” said Rarity as she perused her racks of clothing.

Spike sighed and dropped Fluttershy, who fell to the floor with a thud. “Finally! I thought my arms would snap in half under the weight.”

“I’m going to kill all of you,” snarled Fluttershy from the floor.

“It’s about time you all got here!” said Twilight as she walked into the room. “Pinkie and I are ready to help, Rarity.”

“Fantastic!” said the other unicorn. She grimaced and said carefully, “Just…just leave the designs to me. Please.”

“Are you sure?” asked Pinkie, bouncing into the room. “We can-”

“NO!” screamed Rarity. She blinked and awkwardly cleared her throat. “I-I mean no thank you, Pinkie Pie. I can handle it.” She quickly went over to her racks of clothes and began searching for an outfit for Fluttershy.

Spike looked at Twilight, “What are you doing here? I didn’t think fashion was your thing.”

“It’s not,” agreed Twilight. “But Rarity needed us to help.”

“And you agreed?” asked Spike suspiciously. “Just like that?”

Earlier:

“That sounds all well and good, Rarity,” said Twilight as she idly flipped a page in the book she was reading, “But fashion’s really your thing. Besides, I’m much too busy with-”

“Oh that’s just a shame, darling!” interrupted Rarity. She used her magic to open the bag she was carrying. She magically pulled a magazine out of the bag. “And here I was, prepared to give you the newest issue of Playcolt. And look! It’s the annual Princess edition issue.”

“Princess edition?” asked Twilight, glancing at the magazine floating in front of her.

“Oh yes,” said Rarity, grabbing the magazine and flipping through it. “It’s full of Princess Celestia in sexy poses…” She gasped as she looked at the centerfold. “Why would you look at this image of her lying on her bed…and she’s looking lustfully at a picture of a unicorn…” She put her hoof to her lip in mock thought. “That unicorn in the picture sure looks familiar…who do we know who has purple fur?”

Twilight blushed. She coughed quietly and said, “W-well…as Princess Celestia’s student, it’s my job to read and examine anything she might appear in. I suppose I’ll help you out in order to look at that magazine…f-for research, you understand.”

“Oh, of course dear…” said Rarity with a smirk. “Just try not to get the pages all sticky, ok?”

Now:

“Right…” said Twilight slowly. “Just like that…”

“…I don’t believe you,” said Spike. He turned to Pinkie Pie. “And how did Rarity convince you?”

“I remember it like it was yesterday…” said Pinkie as she looked off into the distance.

Yesterday:

“Pinkie,” began Rarity, “Do you know where Fluttershy is? I need to ask her to model some dresses for me.”

Pinkie yawned as she sat up in her bed. She rubbed her eyes and said, “She’s probably asleep in her house, Rarity. It is three in the morning after all…”

“Oh yeah…” said Rarity, wincing as she looked at the moon through Pinkie’s window. “Sorry I woke you up. I guess I was just a little overzealous.”

“Aw, that’s ok,” said Pinkie, leaning back against the dozens of pillows on her bed. “Fluttershy’s gonna be your model, huh?”

“Yes,” said Rarity. She sighed. “This is going to be a lot of work…everything needs to be perfect. I could use some help.” Her eyes widened as an idea popped into her head. “Hey, can you help me out? I’d really appreciate it.”

“Sure!” said Pinkie happily. She raised the covers of her bed. “Now hop in bed with me so we can cuddle!”

“…Ok…um…why?” asked Rarity. She slowly climbed into Pinkie’s bed.

“Mainly to tease the shipping community,” shrugged Pinkie. She wrapped her arms around Rarity and held her close. “And Spike when I tell him.”

Now:

“And then what happened?!” asked Spike as he drooled slightly.

Pinkie giggled and said, “That’s for me to know and you to fantasize about, silly!”

“Done!” said Spike, running off to the bathroom.

“Found it!” called Rarity. She walked towards Fluttershy with an outfit floating next to her. “Here, try this on.”

Fluttershy pulled the outfit on and turned to look at herself in the mirror. The outfit was a black sequined dress with a pink saddle and a matching hat with pink feathers.

“What do you think?” asked Rarity.

“I look like a Las Pegasus hooker,” replied Fluttershy.

“That was actually my grandmother’s dress,” Rarity said as she glared at Fluttershy.

“Oh! Um…” faltered Fluttershy. “I’m sure she was a classy hooker?”

“The classiest,” nodded Rarity. She frowned and examined the lower part of the dress. “Oh…that hem is completely off…”

A flushing toilet was heard as Spike entered the room. “What did I miss?” he asked.

“Spike! You came at the perfect time!” said Rarity.

“NO I DIDN’T I SWEAR!” shouted Spike, his eyes wide.

“Yes you did!” said Rarity. “You came back to the room just in time to help me with Fluttershy’s dress!”

“Oh!” said Spike. He laughed nervously and wiped his forehead. “Right…of course I did!” He walked over to Rarity. “How can I help?”

“I need you to be my pincushion,” said Rarity. “Is that alright with you?”

“Um…sure, I guess,” answered Spike. “It shouldn’t hurt.”

“Great!” cheered Rarity. “I’m going to go get my supplies. Fluttershy, could you be a dear and poke long, sharp needles into Spike?”

Fluttershy grinned sadistically at the dragon. “It would be my pleasure.”

“I’ll be back!” said Rarity as she headed for the stairs.

Fluttershy cracked her neck. “What was that about me looking heavy?” She grabbed a needle and held it threateningly at Spike.

“Just that you look heavy,” answered Spike, unaware of the danger he was now in. “You know, with your love handles and big butt and all.”

Fluttershy grabbed another needle and dove at Spike, letting loose a loud scream in the process.

Pinkie winced as she watched Fluttershy stick needle after needle into Spike’s back. “S-should we stop this?” she asked.

“It’s fine,” answered Twilight indifferently. “Spike’s scales are so tough, he’s practically invulnerable.”

“That would explain why the chainsaw isn’t working,” said Pinkie, watching as the teeth on Fluttershy’s chainsaw broke as they hit Spike’s scales.

“I’m back!” said Rarity, a sewing kit floating next to her. She dropped the kit next to Fluttershy and used her magic to pull a few needles out of Spike. “Now hold still for a moment, Fluttershy…”

Spike idly pulled out a piece of Fluttershy’s chainsaw as he walked over to Pinkie and Twilight. “Well, that was fun.”

Twilight sighed. “We need to talk about what you should and should not do for Rarity. Like get stabbed multiple times by needles, for example.”

“I can’t help it!” said Spike. He looked at Rarity and sighed wistfully. “I’d do anything for her…” He blinked and turned back to the others. “Can I tell you guys a secret?” he whispered.

“You are in love with Rarity,” answered Twilight and Pinkie simultaneously.

“What?” yelped Spike. “How did you guys know? I thought I was being subtle.”

“You literally just asked me this morning if you could get a tattoo that said ‘I <3 Rarity',” answered Twilight.

“Every time she’s in the room, you drop what you’re doing to help her!” answered Pinkie. “And there was that one time I caught you in the tree outside with binoculars…”

“And besides,” continued Twilight, “Everyone in Ponyville knows you have a crush on her…besides Rarity of course.”

“That’s ridiculous,” said Spike. “No one else knows I love Rarity.”

Twilight frowned and went to the front door. She opened it and stuck her head outside. “Derpy! Could you come here, please?” She stood back and let the cross-eyed pegasus enter the boutique. “Can you answer this question? Who does Spike have a crush on?”

Derpy looked at Spike, both eyes focusing on him. She stared at him for a moment before looking towards Rarity and Fluttershy. “Her. Not the pegasus with the big butt, but the unicorn fixing her dress.”

As Spike spluttered in surprise, Twilight smiled and said, “Thanks Derpy! That’s all I wanted.”

“No problem Twit-lit!” replied Derpy happily.

“It’s Twilight,” corrected Twilight.

“Of course it is!” laughed Derpy, patting Twilight’s head. She looked at Spike and Pinkie and spun her hoof in a circle by the side of her head.

“I can see you, you know,” growled Twilight.

“Of course you can,” said Derpy sympathetically. She patted Twilight’s head again and left the store.

Spike looked at Pinkie and Twilight. “You two have to promise not to say anything to anyone about this, okay? I don’t want Rarity hearing about my feelings for her.”

“Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye!” said Pinkie.

“Don’t you mean, ‘stick a needle in your eye’?” asked Twilight.

“Who would stick a needle in their eye?” asked Pinkie. “What are you, crazy?!” She winced. “Oh…” She patted Twilight’s head. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it.”

“I AM NOT CRAZY!” yelled Twilight. She cleared her throat and looked at Spike. “I promise I won’t say anything, ok? You can tell Rarity when you’re ready.”

Spike smiled gratefully at the two ponies. “Thanks guys.”

The door to the shop swung open and a blue earth pony with sunglasses walked inside. She was wearing a black dress with white and purple stripes and a purple scarf. She brushed her white mane out of her eyes and gazed around the shop.

“I, Photo Finish, have arrived!” she said, striking a pose.

Rarity strode forward, smiling at the newcomer. “I must say, this is quite the honor-”

“Yes, it is! For you,” said Photo. She pressed her hoof against Rarity’s face and pushed her out of the way. She whistled and a brown-furred mare wearing a green jumpsuit set up a camera in front of Fluttershy. “Now…” She faltered as she looked at Fluttershy.

“I-Is something the matter?” asked Rarity.

“…No,” said Photo. “I must apologize. I wasn’t expecting someone of your level of talent to find a model as beautiful as this.”

Fluttershy blushed and quietly said, “Oh…t-thank you…”

“Oh, I see…” said Rarity, nodding. She blinked. “What do you mean my level of talent?”

“No time for questions!” yelled Photo Finish, standing behind her camera. “Now…we begin!” She started taking picture after picture, the camera flashing over and over again. “Give me pouty! Now make it sexy! More sexy! Too much! It’s too much sexy!”

Fluttershy raised an eyebrow. “I haven’t even moved.”

“Perfect!” said Photo, taking another picture. “Just like that! Sassy but sweet! Tantalizing yet timid! Daring but demure! Now get naughty! Flirty!”

“I…I don’t think I want too…” mumbled Fluttershy, looking at the ground.

“Holy shit!” yelled Photo as she kept taking pictures. “This is incredible!” She stopped taking pictures and clapped her hooves. Her assistant walked forward and packed the camera away.

“Are you done?” asked Rarity.

“Yes!” said Photo. “I’ve found the next fashion star of Equestria! And since we all saw the same thing, I feel no need to tell you who that is! There is a photo shoot tomorrow in the park. And now…I must go!” She walked out of the store, her assistant following her.

Rarity watched her go and then turned to address the room. “Did you hear that? Photo Finish loved that design and wants me to go to the park tomorrow with a new outfit!”

Fluttershy let out a breath. “I’m so relieved! I thought I wasn’t good enough.”

“Oh, you were perfect!” said Rarity. “My dress perfectly complimented your…unique body type.”

“…What do you mean unique body type?” asked Fluttershy.

“Can’t talk!” said Rarity, running to her racks of dresses. “I need to find the perfect outfit for tomorrow! Photo Finish is counting on me!”

Photo Shy

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Rarity panted as she pushed a rack full of dresses to the middle of Ponyville’s park. “Thank you for helping me today too, Fluttershy.”

Fluttershy paused in pulling the rack and said, “It’s no problem at all. Angel’s agreed to watch the house for me today.”

Meanwhile:

The demonic-looking bunny roared at its prey. It opened its mouth, revealing its fangs, and-

Angel grabbed the red-furred bunny by the throat and started slapping it in the face. Then he threw the demon to the ground and started kicking it in the stomach.

Back in the park:

“He’s such a good little bunny,” said Fluttershy. She and Rarity pulled the rack of dresses behind a curtain that had been set up.

“Let’s see…” said Rarity, perusing her outfits. “Ah, here we are!” She handed Fluttershy the clothes. “Put this on!”

Fluttershy pulled on the outfit, which was a white jumpsuit with blue diamonds all over it. She moved and winced.

“Does the underwear have diamonds in it too?” asked Fluttershy. “I swear, I feel one poking me right in the-”

“There’s Photo Finish!” said Rarity, pointing at the approaching photographer.

Photo was getting carried by two pegasus stallions, who were holding a platform for her to stand on. The two pegasus stallions were getting carried by two unicorn stallions, who were getting carried by two earth pony stallions.

“This is fine,” said Photo, hopping off the platform. She gracefully landed on the ground.

The stallions collapsed in a heap behind her.

Photo Finish turned to regard the pile of stallions. “And that is why you make less than minimum wage.” She turned to look at Rarity and Fluttershy. “Now that I’m here, we can-” She took a look at Fluttershy and asked, “What are you wearing?”

“Do you like it?” asked Rarity. “I made it by-”

“No, no, no!” said Photo. “The model must be in something simple! Those flashy outfits may wow ponies like Sapphire Shores and my foolish brother, but I am a bit more select when it comes to my work.” She took a look around the park. “How about something inspired by nature?”

“Um…” said Rarity, looking at the rack of dresses she had brought with her. Each had flashy gems decorated on them. “Let me see if I have something back at my shop to-”

“That will not be necessary,” said Photo. “I had my own designer whip something up.”

“…What?” asked Rarity. “But…how will I be the next fashion star if you don’t use my outfits?”

“I wasn’t talking about you!” said Photo Finish. “I was talking about the most beautiful pony in the room.”

Rarity blinked. “…And?”

Photo took off her sunglasses and rubbed her eyes. “I was talking about your model, you simpleton!”

“Fluttershy?!” asked Rarity.

Fluttershy?!” repeated Fluttershy.

“Yes!” said Photo. “Flootershy! She’s going to be Equestria’s next top model!”

“Miss Finish, wait!” said Fluttershy. “I only agreed to model to help Rarity out. I don’t really-”

Photo shushed her as she put her hoof to Fluttershy’s lips. “Shh! Shut those full, kissable lips and listen! I see a beautiful mare that the whole world needs to see! I’ll be damned if I rob Equestria of the chance to see real beauty! Now,” she smiled as she cupped Fluttershy’s face in her hooves, “Let’s get you out of that jumpsuit and into something a little more comfortable, shall we?” She grabbed Fluttershy and led her away.

Rarity watched as Photo’s assistants helped Fluttershy into her new dress. It was a green, see-through outfit with blue flowers on the sides. They gave Fluttershy a headband with flowers decorating it.

Once they were done, Fluttershy came over and handed Rarity her jumpsuit. “I can’t do this, Rarity. I’m no model.”

Rarity sighed, but smiled at Fluttershy. “Yes you are. Photo’s offering you the chance of a lifetime and you’d be foolish to pass it up.”

“But-”

“No buts, ok?” said Rarity. “You can do this. I believe in you.”

“Wow…” said Fluttershy, touched. “Rarity…I…”

“Flootershy!” called Photo Finish. “It is time to make the magics!”

“It’s time,” said Rarity. She gently pushed Fluttershy forward. “Good luck!”

Photo smiled as Fluttershy walked over to her. “Ah, Flootershy. You look like a delicate flower blooming in the sunlight and just waiting to be fuc-plucked! I meant plucked.”

Rarity watched as Fluttershy was led towards the cameras. Sighing, she put her jumpsuit back on the rack and began pushing it back to the boutique.

Later:

Pinkie Pie, Spike, and Twilight walked into Rarity’s bedroom. “Rarity!” called Pinkie. “How’d it go?”

Rarity sniffed as she continued sewing the dress she was working on. “Tell me, do you think this dress is a good color?”

Twilight raised an eyebrow at the outfit Rarity was working on. “It’s all black? That’s not like you.”

“Really?” sniffled Rarity. “Don’t worry, dear. It’s just because…” She spun in her seat to face the others. Her eyes were red and mascara was running down her face. “MY DREAMS ARE DEAD!” she shrieked. She started sobbing. “Photo Finish wanted to work with Fluttershy, not me.”

“I’m sorry about that, Rarity,” said Twilight sympathetically. “Is there anything we can do?”

Rarity sniffed and then snorted. “No…I’ll be fine. I just want to be alone on my bed for a while.”

“Alright,” said Spike. He started pushing Pinkie and Twilight out of the room. “You heard the lady. She wants lay on her bed alone for a while.” He pushed the two ponies out of the room and shut the door. He then turned and hopped on Rarity’s bed and patted the space next to him.

Rarity’s door opened and Twilight strode in. She picked Spike up by the scruff of his next and brought him outside. She closed the door behind her and dropped Spike on the floor.

“Twilight! You ruined the mood!” complained Spike.

“Oh no, how will I ever go on?” asked Twilight. “I guess next time I’ll just let you take advantage of Rarity’s fragile emotional state in order for you to seduce her.”

Spike nodded. “Thank you.”

Pinkie slapped Spike upside the head and looked at Twilight. “I can’t believe Fluttershy agreed to model for Photo Finish. How do you think she’s doing now?”

Twilight stared at her. “How should I know?”

Pinkie sighed and looked up at the ceiling. “Transition the scene already, you lazy bastard.”

Meanwhile:

Photo Finish examined Fluttershy closely. Fluttershy’s hair had been styled and she had on a blue and green dress. Blush had been applied to her face, leaving her cheeks a rosy pink.

“Too much blush!” said Photo. She watched as one of her assistants wiped Fluttershy’s face clean. “No! You’re doing it all wrong!” She took the rag from her assistant and slowly wiped Fluttershy’s face. “You’ve got to go gentle…so very gentle…”

“Um…Miss Finish?” said Fluttershy.

“Please…call me Photo,” said Photo Finish. She leaned in close and whispered, “You can call me anything you want…”

Fluttershy laughed nervously and backed up. “I appreciate all you’ve done for me. The new outfits are nice, the drinks were good, and that bath you insisted we took together was relaxing…albeit a bit unnecessary. But…”

Photo put her hoof to Fluttershy’s lips. “Shh! Now is not the time for words! Now is the time for action! The crowd is out there waiting for you!”

“But-” began Fluttershy.

“No buts!” said Photo, pushing Fluttershy towards the exit. “Except for your shapely one moving down the runway! Now go!”

Fluttershy sighed as she exited the dressing room and walked out onto the runway. The crowd cheered as she nervously looked around. The cameras flashed as she turned and quickly made her way back up the catwalk.

“Needs galoshes,” said Hoity Toity, but his words were lost in the crowd’s loud cheers.

Two weeks later:

Rarity and Spike were walking down the street. Everywhere they looked, Fluttershy’s face was on posters, banners, and newspapers.

“I hear Fluttershy’s going to do another show this week!” said a passing pony.

“I hear her friend with the rainbow mane got drunk and crashed an important party for her,” said another.

“I have pictures of Fluttershy exiting a carriage without any underwear on!” said one teenage colt.

“We don’t wear clothes usually, why should we care?” asked another.

“So you don’t want to see them?” asked the first.

“Let’s not get crazy!” said the other.

“Oh Spike,” sighed Rarity. “I wish it was me getting gossiped about and getting scandalous photos taken of me.”

“I would love to take scandalous photos of you, Rarity,” said Spike quickly.

Rarity smiled and patted his head. “Such a sweet boy. But it wouldn’t be the same.”

As Rarity and Spike walked down the street, Fluttershy poked her head out from behind a building. She quietly attempted to cross the street.

“There’s Fluttershy!” screamed a random pony.

Suddenly, Fluttershy found herself surrounded by fans and paparazzi. Cameras flashed as autograph books were shoved in front of her.

“Fluttershy, is it true that you were spotted in a Las Pegasus bathroom passed out on the floor?” asked a reporter.

“Fluttershy, any word on whether the rumors about you in a threesome with Princess Celestia and Luna are true?” asked another.

“Miss Fluttershy?” asked a little filly. “My mommy says you’re a major whorebag. What does that mean?”

“I…” began Fluttershy.

“Miss Fluttershy?” said a stallion with a blue cap, a red bow tie, and an apron. “Can I get you to endorse my cherry stand?”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” said Fluttershy. “But I don’t really like cherries too much. I prefer apples.”

There was a gasp throughout the crowd.

“This just in!” said a reporter. “Fluttershy hates cherries!”

“Fluttershy says cherries are the pits!” said another.

“Apple stocks soar as cherry stocks plummet!” said another reporter.

“I’M RUINED!” cried the stallion as he ran away from the crowd.

“Wait!” said Fluttershy. “I didn’t-” She gagged as an apple was shoved into her mouth.

“That’s right, y’all!” said Applejack as she put an arm around Fluttershy. “Mah close personal friend Fluttershy comes to Sweet Apple Acres all the time. That’s Sweet Apple Acres. Run by the Apple Family, who are close personal friends of Fluttershy.”

Rarity and Spike watched as the crowd cheered and began asking Fluttershy more and more questions.

“Damn,” whistled Spike. “I didn’t think she’d get that popular.”

Rarity sighed and said, “I’m so…happy for her.” She hung her head and walked away.

Later:

Photo Finish paced the room, her assistants and Fluttershy watching her.

“We’re doing well with Flootershy’s marketing campaign,” she said. “Even with that disastrous incident with the cherries.” She turned and smiled at Fluttershy. “We have you to thank for that. Your popularity with the apple-eating market is through the roof!”

“What should we do now, Miss Finish?” asked one of her assistants.

Photo thought for a moment. “Her next show is in a few days…we need to get more ponies talking about her. Let’s do another round of photos that we can ‘leak’ to the press.” She turned and regarded the guest in the room. “Thank you for agreeing to act drunk at that party by the way. A little controversy is a good attention grabber.”

Rainbow Dash smiled as she picked up a massive bag of bits. “Who said anything about acting? I’m getting tanked tonight!” She left the room, whistling happily.

“Let’s make some more magics!” yelled Photo. Everyone followed her to another room, which had been made to look like a hotel room. A large bed was in the middle of the room and various cameras surrounded it.

“Flootershy! I need you on the bed!” said Photo Finish.

Fluttershy sighed and crawled into the bed.

“And now we’ll have Mr. Soarin be in bed with you,” said Photo.

Soarin walked into the room and crawled into bed on Fluttershy’s opposite side. Fluttershy blushed with the stallion so close to her.

“Ok, we’re going to spread a rumor that Flootershy and Soarin are in a secret love affair. I need you two to kiss to we can leak these images to the press,” said Photo.

“K-kiss?” squeaked Fluttershy, her face growing red.

“Hey,” said Soarin gently. “It’s alright. We’re just pretending. Just one quick kiss and that’s it, ok?”

“O-ok…” muttered Fluttershy. She gasped as Soarin pulled her close and pressed his lips against hers.

Photo took several pictures and said, “Great! That was beautiful!”

Soarin pulled away from Fluttershy and smiled, “See? Not so bad, right?”

Fluttershy panted as she laid back on the bed. “R-right….”

The stallion smiled and got out of bed. “That was all you needed me for, right Miss Finish?”

“Yes,” said Photo. “Your pies are out on the table outside, Mr. Soarin.”

The Wonderbolt left the room and Fluttershy sighed. “Am I done too, Photo?”

“Not yet,” said Photo. “We going to spread another rumor that you’re having another affair behind Soarin’s back. And I conveniently couldn’t find any other volunteers so I guess I will be that pony!” She quickly threw her dress off and jumped into bed with Fluttershy. “Oh…” she said, cuddling up against Fluttershy. “An affair with your photographer? How naughty of you, Flootershy!”

“I’m not-” began Fluttershy.

Photo cut her off by pressing her lips against Fluttershy’s. Cameras flashed as Photo kept kissing her.

After several seconds after the cameras had stopped flashing, Photo pulled away. “Beautiful! Now we need a follow up rumor. How about that you and I have decided to adopt a young zebra baby? That will work! I’m brilliant! And I think we need another set of pictures of us kissing. For reference, you know?”

Fluttershy groaned and pressed her face against the pillows.

Model Behavior

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Twilight walked up to the spa’s hot tub and said, “Rarity, you can’t wallow in there forever.”

“The hell I can’t!” said Rarity, who was neck-deep in the steaming water. “I don’t have photoshoots and paparazzi and affairs with my photographer to worry about after all.”

“You’ve been in there for three hours,” said Twilight. “I’m not sure if it’s healthy to be in a hot tub that long…”

“And who does Fluttershy think she is?!” continued Rarity. “I bet she thinks she’s too busy to hang out with her best friend!”

“Rainbow Dash?” asked Twilight.

ME!” screeched Rarity, her flailing hooves splashing the warm water. “The one who introduced her to Photo Finish in the first place!”

“I’m sure she’s just busy, Rarity,” said Twilight patiently.

“Oh, of course she’s busy,” seethed Rarity. “It takes a lot of work to destroy another pony’s hopes and dreams after all! Maybe next she’ll kick a puppy! Wouldn’t that be something?!”

“…Jesus…” said a stunned Twilight.

Rarity sighed. “Look, I really do want to be happy for Fluttershy, ok? But I just feel jealous.” She looked at Twilight and said, “Don’t tell her I feel like this. I don’t want to ruin this for her just because I’m like this.”

“Fine,” said Twilight. “I’ll give you my word. Losing a friend’s trust is the fastest way to lose a friend-”

“FOREVER!” yelled Pinkie Pie as she stuck her head out of a bucket of sponges.

Twilight jumped. “Pinkie!” she shrieked. “What are you doing?!”

Pinkie held up a sponge. “Trying to find a sponge. I’ve got a pineapple under the sea that I’m dying to sell to someone.”

Twilight stared at Pinkie for a few seconds. She put her hoof on top of Pinkie’s head and pushed her back down into the sponges.

Rarity flopped out of the hot tub and fell to the floor. “I can’t feel my legs,” she groaned.

Twilight picked her up with magic and put her back on her hooves. “I told you that you were in there too long.”

Rarity’s legs wobbled as she attempted to stay up right. “I know, I know.” She winced as she walked unsteadily towards the door. “I think my legs have fallen asleep…” She walked out of the room, leaving Twilight alone.

Twilight sighed as she hopped into the hot tub. “Finally…” she muttered. “Now I can rel-”

The door on the opposite side of the room opened and Fluttershy flew into the room. “Rarity?” she called. “Are you still here?”

“…ax,” finished Twilight. She sat up in the water and said, “Rarity just left, Fluttershy.”

“Shit,” swore Fluttershy as she landed. “I need to talk to her. Hell, I need to talk to someone.”

“What’s wrong?” asked Twilight.

Fluttershy flew up and looked Twilight in the eye. “You need to promise not to tell Rarity.”

“God, another promise?” groaned Twilight. “I swear I won’t tell Rarity.”

Fluttershy looked around, as if to see if Rarity was still in the room. “I…I don’t like being a model. Strike that, I fucking hate being a model. Cameras everywhere, being watched all the time, all the attention…”

“Well…” said Twilight slowly, “Why don’t you just quit?”

“I CAN’T!” yelled Fluttershy, grabbing Twilight and shaking her. “If I do that, I’ll disappoint Rarity and if I disappoint Rarity, she’ll say something like…” She cleared her throat and spoke in a voice eerily similar to Rarity, “Oh darling, I can’t believe you pussed out and threw away my dream. I’ll hate you forever!” Fluttershy sighed and started speaking with her normal voice again. “Then she’ll probably pull out a gun and shoot me or something.”

Twilight pushed away from Fluttershy and said, “Isn’t that sort of a worst case scenario? Rarity’s not that dramatic.”

Meanwhile, at Carousel Boutique:

Rarity eyed her empty freezer. “Sweetie?” she yelled. “Did you eat my ice cream?!”

“No!” yelled Sweetie Belle from upstairs. “Scootaloo did!”

“Why do you buy the cheap ice cream?” yelled Scootaloo.

“YOU’RE ALL DEAD TO ME!” shrieked Rarity as she slammed the freezer shut.

Back at the spa:

“Fluttershy,” said Twilight, “I’m sure Rarity wouldn’t mind if you quit. As a matter of fact, she was just saying-”

“HEY!” yelled Pinkie as she popped out of the sponges, making the other two ponies jump. She glared at the two of them for a second. Then she smiled and asked, “Do either of you have a big rock? My pink starfish needs it!”

Twilight’s eye twitched. “Um…”

Pinkie held up a starfish wearing green trunks and said, “See? I need a house for this guy.”

“Oh thank god,” said a relieved Twilight. “I-I mean, we don’t have any rocks in here Pinkie. Try checking outside.”

“Ok!” said Pinkie. She glared at Twilight. “Don’t be telling any secrets now. Got it?” She raised her hoof and pounded it into her other one.

“Um…g-got it?” stuttered Twilight.

Pinkie smiled at her. “Good girl! Bye!” She hopped out of the room, leaving Twilight and Fluttershy alone.

“…Fluttershy?” asked Twilight.

“Yes?”

“Go tell Aloe and Lotus that the hot tub needs cleaning.”

Later:

After Twilight apologized to the spa workers, she and Fluttershy decided to walk through town.

“Do you really need the hat and sunglasses?” asked Twilight.

Fluttershy pulled down the brim of her large sunhat and hissed, “Don’t make direct eye contact with me! I don’t want ponies to know who I am.”

“You’ve literally covered nothing but your eyes and the top of your head,” pointed out Twilight. “Everyone can tell it’s you.”

“Hi Twilight!” greeted Daisy as she walked by. “Who’s that mysterious pony with you?”

Fluttershy smirked at Twilight.

“Fine, you win,” said Twilight. The two of them kept walking down the road, with no one bothering them.

“If only there was a way to stop ponies from liking me so much,” said Fluttershy. “If that happened, Photo Finish would have to find a new model.”

“What’s going on between you two anyway?” asked Twilight. “All the articles about you are talking about an affair you’re having with her.”

“Oh, that’s just for publicity,” explained Fluttershy. “She’s actually very professional when the cameras are gone.”

“Really?” asked Twilight.

“Oh yeah,” said Fluttershy. “She makes sure all my outfits are fitted and match each other. She even makes me wear designer underwear…which is a little odd because I’ve never modeled it to anybody but her.”

“Um…” said Twilight.

“Then she’s always rubbing my shoulders and giving me massages,” continued Fluttershy. “She brings wine and champagne that we drink when no one else is around and she’s always inviting me to have sleepovers with her.”

“Sleepovers?” asked Twilight.

“Yeah,” said Fluttershy. “I keep turning her down because I want to check on Angel and the others, but Photo’s always saying how we should sleep in the same bed.”

Twilight stared at Fluttershy. “...Let’s tackle one issue at a time, ok?” she said, breaking an awkward silence. “I think I’ve got an idea to help you out on the whole model thing...”

Later, at Sugarcube Corner:

“And that’s when I’ll use my magic to make Fluttershy do something unattractive! That way, no one will want her to model ever again and we can make sure she gets out of that creepy relationship with Photo Finish!” said Twilight excitedly.

Pinkie stared at her, a tube of frosting in her hooves. “…Why exactly are you telling me this? Wouldn’t it be better if you told Fluttershy?” She walked over to a bunch of cupcakes and began frosting them.

“I did tell Fluttershy,” replied Twilight. She grimaced. “…Kind of. She knows that I’ll use her magic to help her during her next show.” She smiled again. “This is perfect! I help Fluttershy end her career, which will make things right with Rarity, and I won’t have to keep secrets anymore! Speaking of…” She glared at Pinkie. “You better not tell anyone about this, got it?” She lifted her hoof and pounded it.

Pinkie laughed. “Oh, Twilight. That’d be intimidating if I thought you could actually hurt me!”

“I can hurt you!” said Twilight.

Pinkie rolled her eyes and put down the tube of frosting. “Ok then…” She stood in front of Twilight and said, “Hit me.”

“What?” asked Twilight. “I’m not going to-”

“Come on,” insisted Pinkie. “It won’t hurt. Hit me!”

“Pinkie, I-”

“Hit me! I want you to do it!” yelled Pinkie. “Hit me! HIT ME!”

Twilight punched Pinkie in the jaw.

Pinkie’s lip quivered and tears came to her eyes. “Twilight, you monster!” she sobbed.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” yelled Twilight frantically. “I didn’t mean to-”

Pinkie laughed, her tears disappearing. “Just kidding! It didn’t hurt at all! That was like getting hit with a sack of pudding!”

Twilight’s eye twitched as she pulled her arm back and punched Pinkie again.

The next evening:

Ponies gathered around the runway as the filled the room. The spotlight was on the curtain, ready for Fluttershy to strut out in her latest dress. Photo Finish stood by the bottom of the runway, a camera in her hooves and a trail of drool at the side of her mouth.

Backstage, Fluttershy was pacing nervously in her blue and green dress. “Are you sure this is going to work?” she asked.

Twilight smiled as she stood by Fluttershy’s mirror. “Of course it will work! I’ll use my magic to make you do weird, unattractive stuff and they’ll toss you out like yesterday’s garbage!”

“But today’s trash day,” said Fluttershy, confused.

Twilight sighed. “Look…just…just go out on stage already.”

Fluttershy gulped, but nodded her head. She strode out onto the runway and squinted as the spotlights hit her.

Meanwhile, Rarity entered the room, muttering to herself. “Ok, Rarity. You’re here to be a good friend and support Fluttershy. Don’t let your petty jealousy, or the fact that that Scootaloo urchin ate all your ice cream, get in the way of your friendship.” She looked at Fluttershy and smiled. “Besides, look at her. She’s beautiful in that dress. Not to mention that she looks confident, poised, graceful…Did she just faceplant?”

Indeed, Fluttershy appeared to have tripped and smacked her face against the runway. The ponies in the room gasped as she got back up, a trail of blood dripping from her nose.

“Ok,” muttered Rarity, “So she’s tripped. That’s fine. She can walk it off and…what the fuck is she doing?!”

Fluttershy was making random movements on the runway. She went from lying on her belly, to doing the worm, to flipping over and flying upside down.

“Alright,” said Rarity, “so what if she’s picking her nose. Or scratching herself like a dog. Or doing the Dougie. It’s still Fluttershy and you want to support…why in god’s name is she doing armpit farts?”

The crowd starting booing as Fluttershy continued her embarrassing acts.

“Get her off the stage!” yelled a pony.

“She’s an embarrassment to all things fashion!” yelled another.

“Do more armpit farts!” yelled a young colt. “They were funny!”

“Why is she doing this?” asked Rarity. “It’s like she doesn’t want to be a mod-” She froze and thought about what she was about to say. Then she smiled to herself. “Of course.” She started stamping her hooves on the ground. “Bravo! Bravo!”

The ponies around the room blinked.

“Who’s saying that?” asked one pony.

“It’s her!” said another, pointing at Rarity.

“Is…is that the mare that designed Sapphire Shores’ outfits?”

“I think she’s the one who designed the new Hoity Toity line as well!” said another. “Clearly she knows all about fashion!”

“So…are we just going to follow her example like sheep?” asked another pony.

“I take offense to that,” said the lone sheep in the room, “But yes, we are!” She started stamping the ground.

The rest of the room shrugged and started to cheer and stamp their hooves on the ground.

Fluttershy looked around at the cheering ponies and sighed. “We were so close…” she muttered.

Later:

Fluttershy was pacing around her dressing room. “This is awful! They like me now more than ever!”

“We’ll think of something else, Fluttershy,” said Twilight. “Don’t worry.”

“But how can I quit now?” asked Fluttershy. “Now that I know Rarity supports me, I’ll never be able to quit. What can I do?”

“You could start by telling Rarity that you don’t want to be a model,” said a voice.

Fluttershy and Twilight turned around in shock as Rarity walked into the dressing room.

“Can we talk?” asked Rarity.

“O-of course!” said Fluttershy nervously.

The two ponies looked at Twilight expectantly.

“I’m fine with you two talking,” said Twilight.

Rarity cleared her throat and gestured to the door.

“Oh!” said Twilight. “My bad.” She walked out of the room, shutting the door behind her.

Rarity sighed and looked at Fluttershy, “I need to apologize to you, Fluttershy. I’ve been jealous of all the attention you’ve been getting ever since that day in the park.”

“I don’t want this attention, Rarity,” said Fluttershy. “I never did. I…I just didn’t want to let you down.”

“I figured you didn’t when you started doing all those things out there,” said Rarity. “I may have been jealous of you, but I didn’t want you to get laughed off stage. That’s why I started cheering for you. I want you to quit on your own terms rather than being thrown out of the modeling business.”

“Thanks,” said Fluttershy, “But I still need to break the news to-”

“FLOOTERSHY!” yelled Photo Finish, bursting into the room. Twilight, who had been listening at the door, fell face-first into the room. “You were brilliant! Everyone is talking about you now and I already have more photo shoots lined up! This is a great moment in your career! Kiss me!”

“Actually, Photo,” said Fluttershy, “We need to talk.”

The smile on Photo Finish’s face disappeared. “W-what about?” she asked nervously.

“This has been fun,” began Fluttershy, “But I’m just not ready for this kind of life. I’m a simple mare, I don’t want lights and cameras following me everywhere. It’s not you…it’s me.”

“Oh…I…I see,” said Photo, her lip quivering.

“This is hard on both of us,” said Fluttershy. “But that doesn’t mean we don’t have to see each other again. We can still be friends. Would you like that?”

Photo Finish sniffed. “That would be nice. I’d love to stay friends with you. But I’ll do my best to win you back one day!” She sobbed and ran out of the room.

Fluttershy smiled. “She’ll be okay. She just has to accept that I don’t want to be a model anymore.”

“Dear…” said Rarity slowly, “You did know that Photo Finish was in lo-”

Twilight put her hoof against Rarity’s lips. “Let’s just let her believe what she wants, ok?”

Tired Tree Train

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The desert sun was setting as a train rushed down the tracks. A group of stallions had ropes tied to collars around their necks and were pulling the train down the tracks.

“Wouldn’t it be easier just to use steam to move the train?” asked one.

“Do you really want another tar and featherin’, Clyde?” asked the leader.

Meanwhile, in the caboose of the train, a certain farm pony was reading from a book.

“When Treebeard had got a few arrows in him, he began to warm up, to get positively ‘hasty’, as he would say,” read Applejack softly. “He let out a great hoom-hom, and a dozen more Ents came stridin’ up. An angry Ent is terrifying. Their-”

“Um…Applejack?” asked Rarity in a concerned manner. “You do know you’re reading Tolkien to an apple tree, right?”

Applejack looked away from the apple tree on the bed and turned towards Rarity. “Ah know, Ah know. But Ah left The Giving Tree at home and this is Bloomberg’s favorite part of-”

“Applejack!” whined Rarity. “You got a private sleeper car for a tree! Meanwhile, I have to share a car with everyone else! How am I supposed to get my beauty sleep with Pinkie’s antics or Rainbow Dash’s farts keeping me up all night?”

“Are you forgettin’ that Bloomberg’s the whole reason we’re makin’ this trip?” asked Applejack. “He needs to be nice and rested for mah relatives in Appaloosa!”

Rarity stared at her. “Applejack…it is a tree. It’s not a person.”

Applejack gasped and ran over to Bloomberg. “It’s ok…” she soothed, stroking the tree’s leaves. “Rarity’s a tired old mare is all. She can’t help but act like a whiny little bitch.”

“Who are you calling old?!” screamed Rarity.

“Bloomberg doesn’t want to speak to you,” said Applejack. “And neither do Ah. Good day to you, ma’am.”

“Fine!” huffed Rarity. “I hope your tree gets termites!” Smiling at Applejack’s horrified expression, Rarity turned and walked back into the other car.

The other ponies and Spike were resting on their own beds and chatting as Rarity walked in.

“How’s Applejack doing?” asked Twilight.

“She’s going crazy and reading her tree The Lord of the Rings,” groused Rarity as she used her magic to put curlers in her tail.

“Which book?” asked Twilight eargerly. “My favorite is Return of the King, but the others have their own-”

“NERD!” yelled Rainbow Dash. She grabbed some popcorn from a bag on her bed. “Reading is lame.”

“Maybe you haven’t found the right book,” suggested Twilight. “I can think of a couple that you’d-”

“NERD!” yelled Rainbow, throwing pieces of popcorn at Twilight.

Rarity finished putting curlers in her hair and climbed up to her bed. “Can you girls try to keep it down? I’m going to bed.” She pulled the curtains around her bed, hiding her from view.

“Me too,” yawned Spike, resting his head on his pillow. “I was up early making all those snacks you guys are eating.”

“Couldn’t Twilight have helped?” asked Fluttershy.

Spike glared at Twilight. “Not unless we want a fire in the library again.”

“Like I told you,” said Twilight, annoyed, “I was doing an experiment to see if I could make water into a flammable fluid. It worked, didn’t it?”

“Yes, it did,” agreed Spike. “If by worked, you mean it burst into flames the second you poured it into a cup.”

“Wait,” said Pinkie, grinning, “Does that mean that Twilight started a fire…by pouring herself a glass of water?”

Twilight blushed. “It was an experiment in magic!” she yelled.

“And it is also why you are no longer allowed in my kitchen,” said Spike, pulling the covers over himself.

Rainbow Dash groaned as she looked at the scenery outside. “We are we in a train?” she asked. “I could have been their hours ago if I flew!”

“I’m glad that we’ll be out of town for a few days,” said Fluttershy. “I’m still waiting for that model stuff to die down.”

“We’ll be there tomorrow morning,” said Twilight. She yawned. “For now, let’s just get some shut-eye.” She reached over and turned out the lights in the car.

After a few minutes, Rainbow Dash hissed, “Pinkie? Are you still awake?”

“Yep!” whispered Pinkie Pie. “Are you?”

“…Are you an idiot?” asked Rainbow Dash.

“Yep!” whispered Pinkie. “Are you?”

Rainbow Dash sighed and lit a candle, letting her see Pinkie’s face. “Look, do you think we’ll have to lug that heavy tree all the way to the orchard?”

Pinkie gasped. “Rainbow, don’t say that so loud! Applejack told me Bloomberg’s sensitive about his weight!”

“Pinkie,” said Rainbow Dash, “It’s just a tree.”

“Who?” asked Pinkie. “Bloomberg?”

Rainbow rolled her eyes. “No, I meant Fluttershy,” she said sarcastically.

Pinkie furrowed her brow in confusion. “But…Fluttershy’s not a tree.”

Twilight yawned as she stepped up to the two. “What are you girls doing? You should get some sleep.”

“Rainbow thinks Fluttershy’s a tree!” said Pinkie.

“No, I don’t!” denied the pegasus. “I only said she was a tree!”

Twilight looked at Rainbow in concern. “And…exactly how long have you thought she was a tree?”

“Listen,” said Rainbow, rubbing her eyes. “I know Fluttershy’s not a tree, ok?”

“I’d like to be a tree,” said Fluttershy, coming into the light.

“Why?” asked Pinkie. “Do you have a crush on Groot?”

“N-no!” said Fluttershy, her eyes darting around. “I…have a crush on…Rocket?”

Rainbow nodded. “Makes sense.”

“But how can you resist Groot’s deep voice?” asked Twilight.

“Bitch, you better stop talking about my man,” growled Fluttershy.

“For fuck’s sake!” yelled Spike as he got out of bed. He stomped to the end of the car and threw open the door. He walked into Bloomberg’s car, slamming the door behind him.

“…Must be a Drax kind of guy,” deduced Rainbow.

A blue glow surrounded the candle and it was lifted out of Rainbow’s grasp. The group turned to see Rarity glaring at them with bloodshot eyes, a green mud mask dripping from her face.

Be. Quiet.” Rarity snarled. She blew out the candle.

“…What was with the green stuff on her face?” whispered Pinkie.

“Gamora cosplay,” whispered Rainbow Dash.

“SHUT UP!” screeched Rarity.

Meanwhile, Spike was looking around Bloomberg’s car, which was surprisingly empty.

“Where the hell is Applejack?” he whispered to himself. He quietly made his way over to Bloomberg’s bed and crawled in. He rested his head on the pillow and closed his eyes.

The door to the car opened, and Applejack stumbled in. “Bloomberg? Honey?” she whispered as she staggered over to the bed. “Mama’s had a few drinks in the dining car…do you mind if she sleeps with you?”

Spike’s eyes opened just in time to see Applejack climb on top of him. She laid down and rested her head on Spike’s chest.

“Mmm…” she moaned, her eyes drooping. “I don’t remember these beds being so warm…and scaly…” She yawned and shut her eyes. In a few seconds, she was snoring softly.

Spike looked down at the sleeping pony and gulped. He looked at Bloomberg and whispered, “She’s going to kill me when she wakes up, isn’t she?”

Bloomberg, being a tree, said nothing.

Welcome to Appaloosa

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The sun rose as the train continued down the tracks. The stallions pulling the locomotive yawned.

“Look alive, boys!” yelled the leader. “We can rest once we hit Appaloosa!” He paused as he heard snoring. “Clyde! Get your big ass up!”

The large brown stallion jerked awake, causing the train to shake a bit. “What happened?!” he said.

“Goddamn it, Clyde!” yelled the leader. “You’ve shook the whole train! You better hope no one noticed that!”

Meanwhile:

Applejack groaned as she rubbed her head. “How the hell did Ah wind up on the floor?” she asked herself. She grimaced and hissed in pain. “And why the hell did Ah drink so much last night?” She got up and cracked her back as she turned back towards the bed. She smiled as she saw Bloomberg’s prone form on the mattress. “Mama’s little angel,” she muttered. She turned and walked out of the car, failing to notice a purple hand clawing at Bloomberg’s trunk and the muffled screams coming from underneath the tree.

Applejack stepped into the car with the others and hollered, “Mornin’ ya’ll!”

The other ponies jumped, screamed, rolled out of bed, smacked their head on the underside of the bunk above them, and gently opened their eyes.

“Applejack!” said Rarity, struggling to get out of her tangled blankets. “Why?!”

“That was scary,” muttered Fluttershy as she rubbed her sore throat.

Rainbow Dash pulled her face off the floor and glared at the earth pony. “Why did you wake us up this early?!”

Twilight groaned as she rubbed her sore head.

Pinkie smiled at Applejack and casually got out of bed. “Morning, Jacky!” she greeted.

“Mornin’!” replied Applejack. She looked at Rainbow. “What are you complain’ for? This is late compared to when we wake up on the farm.”

“It’s six in the morning!” complained Twilight.

“Already?” asked Applejack. “Damn, Ah must’ve overslept.”

“Good for you,” yawned Rainbow, climbing back into her bed. “But us normal ponies are going back to bed.” She crawled under her covers.

Something hit the train, causing it to jerk to one side. Rainbow Dash tumbled out of her bed and hit the floor again.

“I hate my life,” she muttered as she picked herself up.

Twilight ran over to the window to see what was happening. She gasped and said, “Girls, come look!”

The other ponies ran forward and stared at what was happening outside. A herd of buffalo were charging next to the train and running into it.

“What the hell are they doin’?” asked Applejack.

Meanwhile:

“What the hell are you doin’?” yelled the stallions’ leader as he was pushed.

“We need you to stop this train,” growled the buffalo next to him, slamming into him again.

“What you need is to kiss mah ass!” yelled the leader, pushing the buffalo back. He turned to the other stallions and yelled, “Double time, boys! We need to move!”

“Just my luuuuUUUCK!” yelled Clyde as he was pulled forward by the others.

Meanwhile, inside the train:

“What they doing now?” asked Twilight. The group watched as two buffalos stacked up. A female buffalo ran forward and jumped onto the back of the stacked buffalo and quickly jumped on top of the train.

“What is she doing?” asked Rarity as they heard the cow move down the train.

“I don’t know,” said Rainbow, flaring her wings, “But these fucks messed up my morning. I’m gonna go mess up their life.” And with that, she opened the window and flew outside.

Rainbow flew high up into the air and looked down at the train. The female buffalo was making her way to the caboose. Growling, Rainbow dove and landed in front of her.

“Where do you think you’re going?” she yelled.

The charging cow narrowed her eyes and picked up speed. Rainbow swore and quickly flew up to avoid being run down. The buffalo ran past her.

“You know,” said Rainbow, flying up beside her, “You’re pretty quick for a fat broad.”

The buffalo growled and kept running, but Rainbow Dash kept following her.

“This is a train, you know,” yelled Rainbow, closing in on the buffalo. “If you want to ride, you’re going to need a ticket!” She dove at the buffalo and knocked her on her back. Rainbow panted as she stood over the fallen cow. “Got you now!”

The buffalo smirked and said, “You’re pretty quick for someone not aware of their surroundings. Look behind you.”

“The fuck does that mean?” asked Rainbow, looking behind her.

A low hanging sign with the words Welcome to Appaloosa was coming towards Rainbow very quickly. Rainbow cried out as the sign hit her in the face, knocking her off the buffalo and off the train.

The cow quickly got up and made her way to the back of the train. She unhooked the caboose from the rest of the train and watched as it grew farther away. She then put her hoof to her mouth and whistled. The other buffalos circled back to grab the caboose and carried it back the opposite way.

The rest of the ponies ran to the back of the train and watched the caboose disappear.

“They’ve got Bloomberg!” yelled Applejack.

“And Spike!” yelled Twilight.

“Spike?” said Applejack, looking at Twilight. “What do you mean, ‘Spike’?”

“Spike went to Bloomberg’s car last night,” explained Fluttershy. “We didn’t see him with you this morning, so he’s probably still in there.”

“Wait…Spike was sleeping in Bloomberg’s bed?” asked Applejack. “But…that would mean…” She trailed off, a blush appearing on her face.

“Are you ok?” asked Pinkie. “Your face got all red.”

“Ah am never drinkin’ again,” muttered Applejack. She shook her head and said, “We gotta get them back!”

“How?” asked Rarity. “Rainbow Dash is missing too. We can’t fly after them.”

“I could fly after them,” said Fluttershy.

“Do you really want to track them down and fight them all off to rescue Spike?” asked Twilight.

“…Maybe we better wait for Rainbow Dash,” decided Fluttershy.

“Yeah, but it could take a while for her to catch back up,” said Applejack. “Besides, if Ah know Rainbow, she ain’t gonna just sit back and let them go. She’ll follow them.”

“So what do we do?” asked Twilight.

“We need to reach Appaloosa,” said Applejack. “We can get help from the ponies there.” She looked down the track. “Ah just hope Rainbow doesn’t do anything too crazy.”

Meanwhile:

Rainbow groaned as she got back up, rubbing her sore head. “Fuck…” she muttered. She looked up to see the buffalo escaping further down the track. “You’re not getting away…” She spread her wings and attempted to fly, only to get dizzy and fall to the ground. “Shit…” she muttered. She tried taking off again, only slower. Shaking her head, Rainbow slowly flew down the track, keeping an eye on the shrinking train car.

Minutes later:

The train pulled into Appaloosa and came to screeching halt. The five remaining ponies ran off the train.

“Ok girls,” said Applejack, running forward, “The first thing we need to do is find mah cousin, Braebu-” She grunted as she ran into someone.

“Well hey there, cousin Applejack!” said the stallion. He had yellow fur, a dirty-blond mane, and was wearing a brown cowboy hat and a brown vest. “God, it’s been forever since I’ve seen you. How are ya?”

“I’m fine, Braeburn,” said Applejack. “But-”

“And Big Mac? He’s good?” asked Braeburn.

“He’s fine, just-”

“Little Apple Bloom?”

“She’s doing alright-”

“Granny?”

“Yes,” said Applejack, “Granny’s ok, Braeburn. We’re all ok. But Ah-”

“Mah god,” said Braeburn, walking over to the others. “Ah didn’t know you were bringing all your friends with you!” He tipped his hat. “Ah’m Braeburn. Welcome to Appaloosa!”

“Mr. Braeburn,” said Twilight, stepping forward. “We need-”

“Well, you must be Twilight Sparkle!” said Braeburn. “Applejack mentioned that you had a take-charge attitude. Ah respect that.”

“W-well…thank you,” faltered Twilight. “But-”

“AJ mentioned how smart you are too!” continued the stallion. “So you got it all! Drive, smarts, looks…the stallions must be trippin’ over themselves to talk to you.”

Twilight blushed. “I…I wouldn’t say tripping…”

“And you must be Miss Fluttershy!” said Braeburn, continuing on to Fluttershy. “Ah recognize ya from all them fancy fashion magazines. They don’t do ya justice. You’re much prettier in real life.”

Fluttershy’s face was tinted pink as she let out a small squeak.

“And of course, Ah hear you got that job because of Miss Rarity!” said Braeburn, walking over to Rarity. “Wow…you must really be generous to give your friend a job with the most famous fashion photographer in Equestria. Ah bet you helped with her looks too. It would be easy for a beautiful mare like you.”

“Well…” laughed Rarity, as she batted her eyelashes, “A lady must look out for those closest to her after all.”

“And-” began Braeburn. He was cut off when Pinkie gave him a huge hug.

“You’re Applejack’s cousin? Oh my god, you’re waaaaay too pretty to be a boy!” said Pinkie.

“Thanks, I’ve been told that before,” said Braeburn once Pinkie released him. “And you look like you could be a showgirl at a saloon.”

“Really?!” said Pinkie excitedly.

“Of course!” replied Braeburn. “You’re cute, fun, and look like you know how to have a good time.”

“I know!” said Pinkie. She smiled and rubbed Braeburn’s chest. “How about we go somewhere private and I show you just how good a time I can throw?”

“Ok, that's enough!” yelled Applejack, pushing the two apart. “Braeburn, we need you to bring us to the sheriff’s office, right now!”

“Really?” asked Braeburn. “Are you sure you don’t want me to take you to the saloon? Or the apple orchard?”

“You can take us anywhere,” said Rarity lustfully.

“Anywhere you want…” agreed Twilight.

“No!” said Applejack. “Those buffalo took the tree we brought for your orchard and our friend too!”

Braeburn sighed, “Ah was afraid this would happen. Those buffalo don’t want us settler ponies planting any new trees for our orchard.”

“Do you know where we can find those buffalo?” asked Twilight.

Braeburn pointed out to the desert. “They live a few miles away from town. We tried talking to them before, but they just don’t want to listen.”

“That must be where they have Spike,” said Rarity.

“And where Rainbow Dash must’ve have followed them to,” added Applejack. She sighed. “We’re gonna have to go out and get them back.” She paused and looked around. “…Where’d Pinkie get to?”

“Why do mah lips taste like frosting?” asked Braeburn, who had pink lipstick on his face and a note on his chest.

Applejack grabbed the note and began reading:

Dear girls,

That’s silly. You’re ponies. Not deer. Anyway, I went to go help Rainbow get Spike back! Just wait until we get back!

P.S. Braeburn’s lips are suuuper soft! Like pillows! Sweet…sweet pillows…

XOXO,
Pinkie!

“That crazy mare has gone after Rainbow!” said Applejack when she was done reading.

“Should we go after her?” asked Fluttershy.

Applejack frowned. “…No,” she said after a long pause. “Pinkie’s usually right about stuff. We’ll give her a chance to get Rainbow Dash and Spike back.”

“You…you are aware you’re counting on Pinkie, right dear?” asked Rarity.

“Ah know,” said Applejack. “It’s fuckin’ terrifying.” She walked away with Braeburn as the stallion wiped the lipstick off his face.

The three other ponies watched them leave.

“We are definitely keeping Braeburn away from Rainbow Dash when she gets back,” said Twilight. “At least until after we’ve all had a turn with him.”

“Yeah,” agreed Fluttershy.

“Oh yeah,” agreed Rarity.

Rescue and Reunions

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Rainbow Dash silently moved out from behind the rock and dove behind another. The tracks on the ground were fresh and she was certain she was going to catch up with the buffalo herd very soon. All she had to do was keep quiet and-

“Hi Dashie!” said Pinkie, who was lounging against the rock next to Rainbow.

Rainbow jumped, causing her chin to smack against the rock. “Pinkie?!” she hissed, rubbing her jaw and wincing, “What the fuck are you doing here? And how the fuck did you get here? And when the fuck did you get here?”

“Well,” began Pinkie, “We all got off the train and met Applejack’s hunky cousin and we told him about the buffalo and he talked about the buffalo and I kissed him and he tastes like apples, do you think Applejack does too? Anyway, he mentioned where the buffalo were, so I figured that’s where you would be, so I walked out of town and went through the desert and saw you and scared you and that’s when you asked ‘What the fuck are you doing here’, and I said-”

Rainbow Dash shoved her hoof in Pinkie’s mouth, silencing her. “Never mind,” she said firmly. She poked her head out from behind the rock and looked around. “Doesn’t look like anyone heard us…”

“Speaking of ‘herd’,” said Pinkie, “What do you think this buffalo herd around us wants?”

Rainbow Dash spun around and saw dozens of buffalo surrounding her and Pinkie. She sighed and stood up.

“Alright, ladies,” she said, cracking her neck. She glared at the group and snarled, “Who’s first?”

“Stop!” yelled a familiar voice.

The buffalo stepped aside and Rainbow was able to see the speaker. “Spike?” she asked.

Spike stepped out from the buffalo’s side and moved in front of Rainbow Dash. “Don’t worry guys,” he said, addressing the buffalo, “I know them. They’re cool.”

“Are you sure?” asked one of the buffalo. “The blue one looked ready to rip someone’s head off.”

“Oh, I’m more than ready,” growled Rainbow.

Spike quickly turned around and whispered, “Relax, I’ve got this.” He spun back around and addressed the buffalo. “She’s alright. She wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

“I’d murder a fly’s parents,” said Rainbow. “And then paralyze the fly.”

“Rainbow, you’re not helping,” whispered Spike.

“I’m not trying to,” replied Rainbow. “I want some payback.”

Spike sighed and turned back towards the buffalo. “Look, I’m sure once we hear from the chief, she’ll calm down.”

“…Ok, I guess…” said the buffalo. “But what about the pink one?”

Spike and Rainbow turned to look at Pinkie, who was unwrapping a chocolate bar. She shoved the chocolate in her mouth and threw the wrapper behind her. The wrapper landed in front of a buffalo, who stared at it in horror. He looked up at Pinkie, and a single tear ran down his cheek.

Spike turned back to the other buffalo. “Just…just don’t make eye contact with that one.”

Later that night:

Coyotes howled at the moon as Spike, Pinkie, and Rainbow sat around a campfire. Various buffalo walked to and from their teepees and eyed the two ponies with suspicion.

“…And that’s what happened,” said Spike. “They meant to steal the tree, but got me along with it. They like dragons though, so it’s cool.”

“Here’s your food,” said a buffalo, setting bowls down in front of Pinkie and Rainbow Dash. He looked at Rainbow and whispered, “You monster.”

“They don’t much like ponies, though…” said Spike. “Except for Jonto!”

“Who?” asked Rainbow Dash, pushing her bowl away.

“Jonto,” repeated Spike. “He’s some random pony who thinks he’s a buffalo.”

The brown-furred pony, wearing a stuffed bird on his head and white paint on his face, walked past. “Hello Kemosabe,” he said to Spike.

“Hi Jonto,” said Spike. He sighed as the pony walked away. “He’s a little crazy. The tribe keeps him around because they think he’s funny.”

“Fascinating,” said Rainbow Dash as she got up, “I don’t trust any of them. What if they’re luring us in and getting us comfy before they attack us?” She walked over to a teepee and looked at the empty desert behind it. “I say we make a break for it before-”

“Mr. Spike?” said a voice. “I brought you some gemstones to eat.”

Pinkie and Spike looked around to see the female buffalo from the train setting a bowl full of turquoise down.

“Thanks,” said Spike. He turned to Pinkie and said, “This is Little Strongheart. She’s the chief’s daughter.”

“Nice to meet you!” said Pinkie.

“Yeah, whatever,” muttered Rainbow Dash, turning to briefly look at Strongheart. She turned her head back towards the desert. Her eyes widened and she turned back towards the buffalo. “You?!”

Strongheart narrowed her eyes. “You.”

Rainbow growled and turned to face the buffalo. “I hope you’re ready for a rematch, because there’s no signs to save you now.”

“You really want to embarrass yourself again?” asked Strongheart. “Look, I don’t want to hurt you. I didn’t even want to last time. I just needed to get the tree.”

“Why is the tree so important anyway?” asked Pinkie.

“Those settler ponies planted their orchard all over our traditional stampeding grounds,” said Strongheart. “We took the tree so they-”

“Look,” said Rainbow, rolling her eyes, “I’m sure this stupid bullshit is fascinating, but we do have places to be. How about I just give you a mild ass-kicking rather than outright murdering you?”

“You know,” said Strongheart, glaring at Rainbow, “Maybe you’ll listen better once I knock the teeth out of that big mouth of yours.”

“I’d like to see you try,” said Rainbow.

“Done,” said Strongheart. She began to stomp towards Rainbow Dash.

“Enough!” commanded a deep voice. Everyone turned to look as a massive buffalo wearing a headdress stepped into the light of the campfire. He looked at Rainbow and said, “While you are my guests, you will not harm any member of my herd.” He stared at Strongheart. “And you, daughter, should know better than to rise to her challenge.”

“Sorry Father…” muttered Strongheart.

Spike nudged Rainbow and whispered, “That’s Chief Thunderhooves. He’s the leader of the buffalo.”

The chief turned to regard Spike and the two ponies. “We have a long, stampeding trail that we’ve run upon for generations. In the time of my ancestor, Chief M. Bison…”

Hours Later:

“…where my father, Chief Liquid Snake, saved our tribe from extinction by finding another water source,” continued Thunderhooves. “And it is where I traveled for forty days and forty nights on a spiritual journey to-”

“Ok, I get it! This trail’s super important to you!” yelled Rainbow. “But what’s the big deal if some trees our on it?”

“They didn’t ask our permission,” said Strongheart. “It’s our land and they just waltzed in and planted an orchard.”

“Did you try talking to them?” asked Pinkie.

“We did,” said Thunderhooves, “But they refused to listen. They only asked us if we’d be opening a casino and if they could use our likeness for their hoofball team.”

“You mean the Appaloosa Buffalos?” asked Spike. “But they’re the bottom of the league!”

“I know,” said Thunderhooves. “We watch it on the big screen every Sunday. Those settler ponies can’t even play hoofball right.”

Rainbow Dash was silent for a few moments, then sighed and said, “I guess I’ll help.”

“What?” asked Strongheart, Spike, and Pinkie.

“We’ll gladly accept your aid in this matter,” said Thunderhooves. “Long have I searched for an answer to our plight. I have asked the plants, but the plants offer nothing. The plants have asked the rocks, but the rocks offer nothing. Even the rocks offer nothing.”

“You...um…talk to rocks?” asked Spike.

“Hey! My sister does that too!” said Pinkie. “She’s so nutty! I can’t wait until she shows up in Season 4!”

Spike stared at Pinkie. “…Are you sure that your sister is the nutty one?”

“Don’t worry Chief!” said Rainbow confidently. “I’ve got a plan! We’ll go and talk with the Appaloosians. Once they see that other ponies are supporting you guys, they’ll have to listen to us.”

Thunderhooves nodded. “Take Strongheart with you. She’ll negotiate with the Appaloosians in my place.” He turned to his daughter. “It will be good practice for when you become the next chief.”

“I won’t let you down, Father,” said Strongheart. She turned to Rainbow Dash. “I am sorry that you were hurt in our last encounter. I’m grateful for your help.”

“Don’t sweat it,” said Rainbow, waving her hoof indifferently, “You only kidnapped a tree and Spike. Nothing major.”

“Yeah!” agreed Spike. He paused for a moment. “…Hey…”

The next day:

“Alright,” said Applejack, squinting as she stared out into the desert, “We’ve given Pinkie a day and she ain’t back with Spike or Rainbow yet. We gonna have to trek across the desert, head into buffalo territory, and rescue ‘em. Are ya’ll ready for this?”

There was no response. Confused, Applejack turned around. “Ah said…” Her jaw dropped as she stared at the scene in front of her.

Twilight and Rarity were standing in front of Braeburn, but facing the opposite direction, with their rears slightly raised into the air.

“Braeburn, darling, could you be a gentleman and tighten my bag please?” asked Rarity, indicating the pink saddlebag around her side.

“I bet you could do both of us at once,” said Twilight, gesturing at the purple saddlebag on her side. “I bet you’re not even tired after doing Fluttershy’s.”

Fluttershy, who was standing beside Braeburn, blushed. “You did such a good job with mine. It was nice and tight…”

Braeburn smiled cheerfully. “Well gosh ladies, it’s mah pleasure to help out pretty mares in need. But Ah might need to press up against ya in order to get you both. But don’t you worry, Ah’m good with mah hooves.”

“I bet you are…” purred Rarity.

“Just come closer and show us…” said Twilight breathlessly.

Applejack stomped over and grabbed the straps of Twilight and Rarity’s bags. She yanked on them, causing the two mares to wheeze and fall to the ground.

“There ya are,” said Applejack smugly. “Nice and tight, just how you wanted.”

“Thank you…” coughed Twilight.

“Yer welcome. Now stop foolin’ around.” Applejack turned and looked out into the desert. “We need to find-”

“Pinkie, Spike, and Rainbow Dash!” said Fluttershy, pointing.

Everyone looked and saw the two ponies and Spike making their way towards them. They quickly ran over to meet them.

“We’re back!” said Pinkie. She rushed over to Braeburn and batted her eyelashes. “Did you miss me?”

“Well sure, Miss Pinkie,” said Braeburn. “Everyone was real worried about you.”

“Yeah great,” said Pinkie, hearts in her eyes. “But tell me more about how you missed me.”

“Spike!” said Twilight, pulling him into a hug. “You’re safe! Did you eat? Did they hurt you? And for the love of god, did you take notes on the differences and similarities between buffalo and pony culture?”

“Hi Twilight,” said Spike, returning Twilight’s hug. “I ate, they didn’t hurt me, and…” He pulled out a notepad. “What kind of chump assistant do you take me for? Of course I took notes.”

Twilight choked. She squeezed Spike tighter and tears came to her eyes. “I have never loved you as much as I do right now,” she sobbed.

“Rainbow!” said Applejack, running up to the pegasus. “What the hell were you thinkin’ going off on your own like that?” She gasped as she looked at Rainbow’s face. “Look at that bruise from that sign! It’s turning blue!”

“That’s my fur, Applejack,” said Rainbow. “Look, I appreciate the warm welcome, but…” She frowned and looked over at Braeburn, who was being fawned over by Pinkie, Fluttershy, and Rarity. “…Who the hell is that guy?”

“Oh, that’s mah cousin Braeburn,” said Applejack. “He lives in Appaloosa.”

Rainbow Dash’s eyes narrowed. “Oh really? We need to talk with him, then.”

“We?” repeated Applejack. “Who’s ‘we’?”

Rainbow Dash whistled and Little Strongheart stepped out from behind a nearby rock.

“Um…hello,” Strongheart said. She gave an awkward wave.

“And just why is that heartless treenapper here?” asked Applejack, glaring at the buffalo.

“Because,” said Rainbow, stepping in front of Applejack, “This whole thing is a misunderstanding. The buffalo just want to give their side of the story. They just want the apple trees moved off their land.”

“Oh yeah?” asked Applejack. “Well, let’s let Braeburn explain why the trees should stay.” She turned and said, “Braeburn! Ah need ya over here!”

Braeburn gently pried himself out of Rarity, Pinkie, and Fluttershy’s clutches. “What can Ah do for ya, cousin?” he asked, walking over.

Applejack stepped aside so he could see Little Strongheart. “Explain to the buffalo why those trees should stay where they are.”

Braeburn’s jaw dropped when he saw Strongheart. “W-well…” he said, a blush growing on his face, “Maybe we could talk about-”

“Strongheart!” said Rainbow. “Tell Applejack’s cousin why those lands are yours!”

Strongheart’s face grew red as she eyed Braeburn. She gulped and said, “I-I think Mr. Braeburn and I can-”

“What do you expect them to do?” asked Applejack. “They can’t move the trees somewhere else. That land is the only flatland around.”

“The buffalos had it first!” said Rainbow Dash. “They had no right to take it for themselves.”

“No right?!” repeated Applejack. “They need that land to fuckin’ survive out here!”

Twilight loudly cleared her throat. “Look,” she said to everyone, “It’s obvious that arguing isn’t getting us anywhere. We need to find a way to get the buffalo and ponies to compromise…”

“I’ve got an idea!” said Pinkie. She grabbed Braeburn. “Come on, cutie! We need to get back to town!”

“B-but…” said Braeburn, looking at Strongheart. “Ah think Ah should get to know Strongheart a little bett-”

“Great!” said Pinkie, picking him up and running off with him.

“Get your hooves off my man!” yelled Rarity, running after them.

“Your what?!” yelled Spike, running after Rarity.

“I saw him first!” hollered Twilight, running beside Spike.

“Can’t you all see we were meant to be together?” pleaded Fluttershy as she flew after the group.

Applejack sighed and walked after the group. “Ah better go rescue Braeburn…again…”

Rainbow Dash and Little Strongheart were left alone. Rainbow sighed and said, “That didn’t work out as well as I thought it would.”

“It’s a complicated issue,” said Strongheart. “It won’t be solved overnight.”

“I guess…” said Rainbow. Suddenly, she smirked at the buffalo. “Although…the longer this issue goes on, the longer you’ll be able to see Applejack’s cousin, right?”

Strongheart blushed and stammered, “W-what do you mean?”

“I saw you looking him over,” said Rainbow. “You couldn’t take your eyes off him.”

“I-I…” faltered Strongheart. She cleared her throat and said, “I was just making sure he wasn’t a threat and creating a plan to take him down if he was.”

Rainbow laughed. “Yeah, I bet you wanted to ‘take him down’.” She chortled to herself as she walked away, leaving a flustered Strongheart to stammer denials behind her.

Pinkie Pulverizes Peace

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“Trust me guys,” said Pinkie as she rummaged through a chest full of costumes, “This will totally work!”

“Let me get this straight…” said Twilight. “Your plan is to sing a song about sharing and caring to the settler ponies and the buffalo in order for them to compromise?”

“Yep!” said Pinkie.

“And you’ve invited both groups to town in order to sing said song to them?” asked Rarity.

“Uh-huh!” replied Pinkie, pulling a clown wig out of the chest and tossing it behind her.

“Well that’s stupid,” said Rainbow Dash. “You won’t even have any music!”

“That’s where I come in!” said Spike, who was wearing a bowler hat. He looked at Pinkie and said, “The piano’s all set up, Pinkie.”

“Piano?” asked Twilight. “When did you learn how to play a piano?”

“Don’t you remember?” asked Spike.

Years ago:

Twilight was laying on her bed, flipping through her newest book. “This is what those high-school kids were complaining about?” she scoffed. “Calculus is easy.” She turned and smiled at the small baby dragon that was sitting on the floor. “I think I should move on to something more challenging. What do you think, Spike?”

Spike grabbed one of his blocks and started hitting it against another. “Bababa…” he gibbered.

Twilight sighed. “You’re cute, Spike, but you’re not one for stimulating conversation, are you?”

“Twilight!” called a voice. “It’s time for your piano lessons!”

The filly groaned and shut the textbook. “I hate piano lessons…” she muttered. “If only someone else could…” She looked at Spike and her eyes widened. She pointed her horn at Spike and used her magic. A wig that looked identical to Twilight’s mane appeared in the air above Spike, before falling and landing on his head. Twilight quickly got up and crawled under her bed.

“Twilight!” called the voice again. Twilight’s father, Night Light, walked into the room. He spotted Spike wearing the wig. “There you are! Come on, time for your lesson.” Night Light’s horn glowed and Spike was lifted into the air. Night Light walked out of the bedroom, taking Spike with him.

Back in the present:

“Oh yeah,” said Twilight. She began laughing, “To think I was ever interested in an easy subject like calculus!”

“Yep,” said Spike, casually walking over to Rarity, “Back in Canterlot, they call me Spike “Magic Fingers” Dragon.”

“Really?” asked Rarity.

“Well…” said Spike slowly, “Most of the time it’s “That Little Lizard Bastard”, but I feel like they mean the same thing, you know?”

“Hey!” said Pinkie. “The show’s about to start!” She walked over to the others and began pushing them off the stage. “You guys better get a good seat!”

Fluttershy walked to the edge of the stage and looked out. “Wow, there’s a lot of buffalo out there.”

“Oh yeah?” asked Rainbow. She walked over and looked. “Oh yeah…even the Chief’s here. And Little Strongheart. Man…she’s really into the conversation she’s having with Braeburn…”

“What?” asked the other girls.

“Yeah…” said Rainbow. “Braeburn’s chatting with Little Strongheart.”

“We’ve got to get out there before she steals him away!” said Rarity. She, Fluttershy, and Twilight ran out into the crowd. Rainbow Dash shrugged and followed them at a slower pace.

Pinkie frowned. “Hmm…” she said. “Spike…I think we should change the act a bit…”

“Really?” asked Spike. “How?”

Pinkie smiled deviously and went back to the chest of costumes.

Meanwhile, the other girls ran to the front of the stage, where Braeburn and Strongheart were. Before they could get to them, Applejack stepped in front of them, directly in the girl’s path.

“Applejack?” said Rarity. She attempted to move past the earth pony, but Applejack moved so she was blocking her again. “What are you doing?”

“Stoppin’ ya’ll from droolin’ over mah cousin,” said Applejack fiercely. “He wants to spend time with Miss Strongheart, and Ah ain’t lettin’ ya ruin that.”

“Good idea,” said Rainbow Dash, squeezing in-between Applejack and the others. “Besides, we have more important things to worry about than Applejack’s cousin.”

“Um…thank you, Rainbow,” said a confused Applejack. “Ah’m surprised that you’re not after him too, to be honest.”

“Well, I-”

Rainbow was cut off as Spike walked out from behind the curtain. He looked nervously at the crowd and sighed as he made his way over to the piano on the stage.

Chief Thunderhooves watched as Spike sat down and said, “What is this? I thought we were invited to discuss what to do about the trees.”

“Those trees are stayin’ right where they are, buffalo,” said a voice.

Thunderhooves looked to his side and saw a pony with thick mustache and a silver sheriff’s badge pinned to his vest. “Sheriff Silverstar, I’ve told you again and again that that land belongs to my people.”

Silverstar peered out at the Chief from underneath his black cowboy hat. “And Ah’ve told you again and again that we need that land to survive out here.” He looked at Spike disdainfully. “And no silly song and dance is gonna change anything.”

“Perhaps we should give the pink one a chance,” said Thunderhooves. “It’d be more than you gave my tribe.”

Silverstar’s eyes narrowed. “You wanna repeat that?”

Before Thunderhooves could answer, Spike began playing the piano. The stage’s curtain opened revealing Pinkie, who was dressed in a purple dress. She cleared her throat and began to sing.

“Dearest friends, dear gentlemen,
Listen to my song.
Life out here’s been hard for you,
Life has made you strong.
Let me lift the mood,
With my attitude…”

“This song seems familiar…” said Applejack.

“I know, I love Ratatouille,” said Rainbow Dash as Pinkie continued singing.

Hey fellas,
The time is right!
Get ready!
Tonight’s the night!
Boys, what you’re hoping for will come true,
Let me be good to you!”

Pinkie pointed at Braeburn, who wasn’t paying attention. He was staring into Little Strongheart’s eyes and saying, “…We’ve built a lot for this town this past year. Ah could show ya around if you’d like.”

“I’d love to,” said Strongheart.

Pinkie frowned, but continued singing.

You tough guys,
You’re feelin’ all alone.
You rough guys,
The best of you cowboys and bums,
All of my chums.”

“I don’t get it,” said Thunderhooves. “Are we the bums?”

“Obviously,” muttered Silverstar.

So dream on,
And drink your beer,
Get cozy,
Your baby’s here!
You won’t be misunderstood,
Let me be good to you!”

Pinkie grabbed her dress and pulled it off, revealing that she was wearing a black leotard underneath. The stallions in the crowd began cheering, while the buffalos looked confused.

“Why are you all getting excited?” asked a buffalo. “You don’t wear clothes, anyway.”

“You’ll never understand,” said the stallion next to him. “It’s a pony thing.”

Pinkie threw the dress at Braeburn, which hit him in the face and slid down to the ground. Braeburn didn’t even blink, as he was too absorbed in his conversation with Strongheart.

“After you show me your town,” said Strongheart, “Perhaps I could take you back to our camp?”

“Sounds great,” replied Braeburn, smiling.

Pinkie growled and took off one of the heels she was wearing. “Braeburn!” she yelled, throwing the shoe at the oblivious stallion. “Braeburn!”

Thunderhooves watched the display with a frown on his face. “Is the song over?”

“If there’s a God in heaven, Ah hope so,” said Sheriff Silverstar, looking disdainfully at the cheering stallions around him.

“Good,” said Thunderhooves. “Then perhaps we can discuss the removal of your apple trees.”

“Ain’t nothin’ to discuss,” replied Silverstar. “The trees stay and you stampede somewhere else.”

Chief Thunderhooves sighed. “I can see that talking isn’t getting us anywhere.” He looked the Sheriff dead in the face. “If you do not agree to our terms, than I will be forced to take action against this town.”

“What kind of action?” asked the sheriff, his eyes narrowed.

“War,” said Thunderhooves simply. “I don’t want to spill innocent blood, but I have my people to think about.”

“And Ah have mine,” replied Silverstar, frowning. “War it is.”

Thunderhooves stared at the sheriff, and then sighed. “Our stampede will begin at high noon tomorrow. If that orchard is still there, we will flatten it…and your town.”

Silverstar didn’t blink at the chief’s threat. “If you attack this town, we’ll won’t back down. We’ll fight to our last man. We will die with this town, if we have to.”

The chief nodded sadly. “I wouldn’t expect anything less, Sheriff.” He looked over at Strongheart and said, “Come. We must prepare for battle.”

Strongheart sighed and said, “Yes, Father…” With one last, regretful look at Braeburn, she followed her father and her tribe back to their camp.

“Appaloosians!” yelled Silverstar. “We need to split into groups. One group will work on fortifying the town. The other group will focus on creating weapons for tomorrow. Let’s get to work!”

Most of the ponies in the audience left, leaving Braeburn, the girls, and Spike alone by the stage.

“Ah gotta go talk some sense into the sheriff,” said Braeburn.

“Ah’ll go with ya,” said Applejack. She and Braeburn headed off towards the middle of town.

“What just happened?” asked Pinkie.

Spike walked over to her and said, “You threw away your song about sharing and caring to sing some song from The Secret of NIMH so you could try to seduce Applejack’s cousin. Now everyone’s going to die.”

“Oh…” said Pinkie. She smiled sheepishly. “Oops?”

“Oops is right,” said Twilight. “Pinkie, you, Rainbow, and Spike know where the buffalo camp is. You three go to convince the chief to stop. The rest of us will stay here and try to calm things down.”

“Gotcha,” said Rainbow. She grabbed Pinkie and flew off into the desert.

“Hey!” yelled Spike, running after them. “Wait for me!”

Twilight, Rarity, and Fluttershy headed back into the town, where the Appaloosians were in an uproar. Windows were being nailed shut, supplies were being carted to and fro, and everyone was running around.

Applejack was standing by the railroad tracks, waiting for them. “Where are Pinkie, Spike, and Rainbow?” she asked as the three girls walked up to her.

“They’re going to try and talk to the buffalo,” said Fluttershy.

Applejack sighed, “Ah hope they have better luck than us.” She pointed to where Braeburn and Sheriff Silverstar were talking.

“Sheriff, you need to listen!” said Braeburn. “We don’t have to go to war with the buffalo. We can find another way.”

The sheriff sighed. “Ah don’t have time for another way, Braeburn. Those buffalo will flatten Appaloosa if we’re not ready.”

“But…” began Braeburn.

“Look,” said Silverstar, turning around, “You’re a dreamer, Braeburn. Ah get it. It’s what Ah like about ya. Ah remember when Ah first met you. Ah thought to mahself, ‘Mah god, Ah want to put that boy in a cell, lock us both in, and throw away the key’.”

“Um…” said Braeburn slowly. “…Ok…?”

“But Ah didn’t act on it,” continued the sheriff. “No matter how much you look at me with those beautiful green eyes, mah duty to the town comes first. It’s the same here. I’d like to find a way make peace with the buffalo, but Ah gotta protect this town by preparing it for war. I’m sorry, son.”

The sheriff walked off, leaving a dejected Braeburn behind.

“Well, maybe when the buffalo see how well-armed the Appaloosians are, they’ll surrender?” suggested Rarity hopefully.

“They’re planning on throwing pies at the buffalo,” said Applejack.

“…My god, they are all going to fucking die,” said Rarity.

“Yep,” agreed Applejack.

Meanwhile:

At the buffalo camp, two buffalo charged into each other and headbutted each other.

“Wow!” said Pinkie as they separated. “Doesn’t that hurt?”

The two buffalo looked at each other and then back at Pinkie. “Excruciatingly,” they said in unison. The two of them fell over, unconscious.

A little ways away, another buffalo was heading towards a grindstone in order to sharpen his horns. He paused as he saw Spike using the stone to sharpen his claws.

Spike looked at the buffalo and said, “Wait your turn, I’m gonna be a minute.”

The buffalo grumbled and fell in line behind Spike.

In the middle of the camp, Rainbow Dash and Little Strongheart were sitting next to Chief Thunderhooves.

“I know you don’t want to do this,” said Rainbow Dash.

“What else can I do?” asked the chief. “They have taken our land and refuse to listen to reason.”

“But what good will going to war do?” asked Strongheart. “We need to find another way.”

Thunderhooves sighed. “It’s too late.” He stood up, but looked at Strongheart. “You must rest, daughter. We will need your strength for tomorrow.”

Strongheart looked at the ground and nodded. The chief sighed and walked away, leaving Strongheart and Rainbow Dash alone.

The next day, 11:58 A.M.:

The Appaloosians watched as the buffalo tribe stood on the ridge overlooking the town.

“Goddamn it,” muttered Rainbow Dash as she walked back into town. “We need to find a way to stop this from happening!”

“I could try singing again!” said Pinkie.

“NO!” yelled Spike and Rainbow Dash.

The three of them met up with the others, who were standing by the train tracks.

“Any luck?” asked Twilight.

“Just shitty,” said Rainbow. “The chief won’t even try to find another way.”

“Same here with the sheriff,” said Applejack. “Braeburn tried convincin’ him, but couldn’t.”

“Uh guys?” said Spike, pointing at the clock tower. They looked and saw that it was seconds away from noon. They were out of time.

The buffalo roared and charged down the hillside. The ponies grabbed the pie and prepared to throw it at the oncoming stampede.

“WAIT!” yelled Pinkie, running out into the area between the ponies and the buffalo.

“What?!” said Thunderhooves, stopping his charge. The rest of the buffalo skidded to a halt beside him.

“What the hell?” asked Silverstar, keeping a hold of the pie he was about to throw.

“Didn’t you guys hear?” said Pinkie. “It’s Daylight Savings! We need to set the clock back one hour!”

“I thought that ended last week?” said Braeburn.

“Nope!” said Pinkie, her eyes back and forth. “It is definitely today.”

“Huh…” said Thunderhooves. “Well…I did say we had to wait until high noon.” He sighed and turned around to address the tribe. “Ok guys, we’re going to wait for one hour. Then we’ll stampede the town.” He eyed Strongheart. “And if someone were to come up with another idea in that time, well…”

“That’s right,” said the Silverstar, looking at Braeburn. “If only someone would use this time to find a way to stop this war.”

“Good idea!” said Pinkie. She grabbed Little Strongheart and carried her into town. She dropped her at Braeburn’s side and then gestured for the others to come over.

“Good work, Pinkie!” said Applejack. “Ya bought us an hour to figure out what to do!”

“Yeah, but…” began Rainbow. She gestured to the waiting buffalo outside the town. “What can we do?”

Little Strongheart sighed. “This is stupid. It’s not like we need that much space. We just want enough room for our whole tribe to run.”

“And it’s not like we need that many trees,” added Braeburn. “We’ve already got more apples than we know what to do with. It’s why we’re so eager to throw pies at you.”

“This would be a lot easier if you could just make a path right in the middle of the orchard so the buffalo could run through it,” said Rainbow.

Braeburn and Little Strongheart stared at Rainbow, their jaws dropping.

“…Really?” asked Rainbow. “Nobody thought of that?”

Later:

The Appaloosians cut down several of their trees in the middle of the orchard, creating a path for the buffalo to stampede down.

“Good job, Rainbow,” said Twilight as she, Rainbow, Pinkie, Applejack, and Spike watched the buffalo stampede through the orchard. “You saved the day!”

“What about me?” asked Pinkie.

“Good job, Pinkie,” said Twilight. “You gave us time to fix the situation you made a hundred times worse!”

“Hooray!” cheered Pinkie.

Fluttershy and Rarity sobbed as they walked up to the others. Rarity threw herself on Spike, crying into his shoulder.

“What’s wrong?” asked Applejack.

“W-w-we saw Braeburn and Little Strongheart...” cried Fluttershy.

Kissing!” wailed Rarity. “Braeburn’s taken!” She sobbed and hugged Spike tighter.

“Oh no, what a shame…” said Spike insincerely as he patted Rarity’s back.

Rainbow rolled her eyes as Applejack looked at Pinkie. “Aren’t you upset?” she asked.

“Meh,” shrugged Pinkie. “You know what they say: If you cause a war trying to seduce a guy, he’s not worth it.”

“…No one has ever said that,” said Rainbow. She looked to see Twilight sobbing into a tissue. “How pathetic.”

“Why weren’t you after mah cousin?” asked Applejack.

Rainbow shrugged. “I could tell Strongheart was after him. And I have rules, you know. You don’t steal someone’s significant other. You wait until they’re comfortable enough with their relationship to invite you into a threesome.”

“…Was that why you were at Sugarcube Corner the other day?” asked Pinkie.

Before Rainbow Dash could answer, Braeburn walked over to them.

“Ah just want to thank you girls for helping us out,” he said with a smile. He looked at Applejack and said, “Strongheart wanted to thank you too. She even gave us Bloomberg back!”

“Great!” said Applejack. She looked out into the orchard. “So where are ya gonna plant mah baby?”

“Plant?” asked Braeburn. “We just need a tree to chop down into firewood! We can’t use one of ours.”

Applejack’s eyes widened in horror. Her lip quivered as tears came to her eyes. She threw herself to the ground and started sobbing with the others.

“Was it somethin’ Ah said?” asked Braeburn.

“Yes,” replied Spike, Pinkie, and Rainbow.

Party with the Princess

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Fluttershy set a tiny wheelchair on the living room floor. She gently picked up a mouse with a cast on its leg and set it in the wheelchair.

“There you go, Ralph,” Fluttershy said. “I hope this teaches you a thing or two about motorcycles.”

“Yeah,” squeaked Ralph, “Helmets are for pussies!”

“N-no, Ralph,” said Fluttershy. “That helmet was the only reason you survived the crash.”

“You don’t know nothin’!” yelled Ralph. He wheeled himself into the mouse hole in the wall. Fluttershy heard something crash. “Oh god, my head!” yelled Ralph from inside the hole.

“Told you so,” said Fluttershy smugly.

Someone loudly cleared their throat.

Fluttershy turned to see Angel tapping his foot behind her. He pointed at the watch he was carrying and then pointed towards the door.

Fluttershy stared at him. “Angel, you know I hate charades.”

Angel sighed and smacked his face with his paw. He hopped over to an end table and picked up the book that was lying on it. He hopped back over to Fluttershy and opened the book, crossed his eyes, stuck out his tongue, and pretended to read.

“Twilight Sparkle,” said Fluttershy.

Angel nodded. He pointed at the book and then at the watch.

“Twilight…” muttered Fluttershy, thinking it over. “Late…Late…Twilight…the late Twilight Sparkle?” She gasped and grabbed the sides of her head. “Oh my god, Twilight’s dead?!”

Angel stared at Fluttershy with a dumbfounded expression on his face. He took a calming breath. Then he grabbed Fluttershy by the neck and dragged her over to the window. Slamming her face against it, Angel pointed a paw towards Ponyville’s clock tower.

“12 o’clock?” asked Fluttershy. She gasped and pulled her face away from the window, making Angel fall to the floor. “I’m late for the brunch for Princess Celestia!”

From the floor, Angel rolled his eyes in a mocking manner.

“I’m late!” muttered Fluttershy, pacing. “Maybe I just shouldn’t go…but that would be rude…but does Princess Celestia even know who I am, really? Would she even care if I wasn’t there? Twilight would care…and she’d freak out if I wasn’t there. And when Twilight freaks out…” Fluttershy shuddered. “I better get going. If I hurry, I won’t be too late.” She suddenly gasped. “But what if I got the date wrong?! What if it’s tomorrow?! What do you think, An…gel?

Fluttershy noticed that she had somehow moved to the front door, which was open. Looking down, she saw that Angel had picked her up and was carrying her over his head. With a grunt, Angel tossed Fluttershy out of the house and slammed the door shut.

“That was a little rude,” said Fluttershy, as she got up off the front lawn. “I should have a talk with Angel about-”

She heard the front door’s lock click.

“…Or maybe I could just go to the brunch,” continued Fluttershy. She turned and headed down the path leading into Ponyville.

Meanwhile:

Outside of Sugarcube Corner, two royal guards were standing watch over the entrance.

…Or trying to, at least.

“Look,” said Rainbow Dash, leaning against one of the guards, “I’m not saying your guys’ job isn't hard, I’m just saying that the Wonderbolts might have it tougher.”

“AND I’M SAYING,” replied Gung-Ho Guard, “IS THAT WE ARE MUCH BETTER IN EMERGENCIES! THE WONDERBOLTS WOULD GET TRAPPED IN A WATER TOWER OR SOMETHING!”

“Didn’t you guys get zapped by Nightmare Moon in, like, two seconds?” asked Rainbow.

“She’s right…” muttered Depressed Guard. “God…we’re pathetic…”

“Don’t be like that,” said Rainbow, patting Depressed Guard on his shoulder. “You guys make great cannon-fodder.”

“YES!” cheered Gung-Ho Guard. “CANNON-FODDER!”

“That means we die almost immediately in a combat situation,” said Depressed Guard.

“DAMN IT!” hollered Gung-Ho Guard.

Rainbow Dash patted the two on the shoulders and went inside. A few seconds later, Fluttershy landed in front of the two.

“Whew…made it!” she panted. She walked forward, about to step into the bakery.

The guards’ wings shot out, blocking the entrance.

“HALT, CRIMINAL SCUM!” yelled Gung-Ho Guard. “YOU VIOLATED MY MOTHER!”

“I what?!” asked Fluttershy.

“SORRY. PANICKED,” shouted the guard. “WHO ARE YOU?”

“Nobody! Sorry!” squeaked Fluttershy, alarmed by all the yelling.

Depressed Guard checked the list. “I don’t see a ‘Nobody’ on here…”

“IF YOU AREN’T ON THE LIST, YOU NEED TO LEAVE!” shouted Gung-Ho Guard.

“Guys…” said Twilight, walking out of Sugarcube Corner, “She is on the list. Her name’s Fluttershy.”

“She said her name was Nobody…” said Depressed Guard.

“So?” asked Twilight. “You let Rainbow Dash in when she said ‘Your Mother’.”

“DUH!” yelled Gung-Ho Guard. “I’M NOT ABOUT TO TURN MY OWN MOTHER AWAY!”

“We’re not monsters,” said Depressed Guard.

“No, just idiots…” muttered Twilight. She beckoned Fluttershy to follow her and she walked back inside the bakery.

Fluttershy walked inside and smiled at Twilight, “Thanks for helping me out back there. That was really-”

“Where have you been?!” hissed Twilight. She pointed at the clock. “The brunch was scheduled at 12 P.M. sharp! It’s 12:03 P.M.! You’re three minutes late!” She grabbed a paper bag and started puffing into it.

“T-Twilight…” said Fluttershy. “It’s not that bad…”

“You’re right…you’re right…” said Twilight, lowering the bag. “It’s just that Princess Celestia, ruler of Equestria and mover of the goddamn sun, is in the dining area. But it’s no big deal…it’s not like she has the power to banish us all to the sun if she’s offended or anything!” Twilight laughed nervously and continued puffing into her bag.

“If who’s offended?” asked Princess Celestia as she and Rarity walked through the entrance.

Princess?!” shrieked Twilight. “You’re supposed to be in the dining area!”

“Oh Twilight,” laughed Celestia, “I was never in there. I just had my guards stand watch outside while I waited.”

“Waited?” asked Fluttershy. “For what?”

“To be fashionably late, of course!” said Rarity. She smiled at Celestia. “Five minutes late is the perfect time to show up to a party, don’t you agree Princess?”

Celestia scoffed. “Five? I can do ten easy.”

Rarity laughed and she said, with a hint of challenge in her tone, “I suppose ten is fine…for an amateur. I usually like to show up fifteen minutes late.”

Princess Celestia’s eye twitched. “Twenty. I’ll show up twenty minutes late.”

“I can wait as long as you can,” challenged Rarity.

Celestia huffed. “You wanna take this outside?” She asked, poking Rarity in the chest. “Fine, let’s take this outside!” She and Rarity turned to exit the bakery.

“No, no, no!” yelled Twilight, running in front of them and blocking the entrance. “You two are late enough! You both need to stay!”

“But Twilight…” whined Celestia and Rarity.

Twilight glared at the two of them. The two ponies sighed and turned, walking into the dining area.

“…I think you may want to relax a little,” said Fluttershy.

“I’ll relax when I’m dead,” said Twilight.

Inside the kitchen, Spike was wearing a chef’s hat and an apron. He had a tube of frosting in his hands and a plate of cupcakes next to him. He quickly iced all the cupcakes and rang a bell next to him. “Cupcakes are done, Mrs. Cake!” he called.

Mrs. Cake walked into the kitchen and smiled at Spike. “Fantastic! Thanks for helping out, Spike.” She batted her eyelashes and said, “I do so love a boy who’s good with his icing…” She gave him a wink, picked up the plate, and walked back into the dining area.

“…Was that a compliment or a pick up line?” asked Spike.

“Both!” said Mr. Cake, putting a pie in the oven. “You should consider yourself lucky, son. I know I do! Cup Cake tells me how lucky I am to have her every day! Isn’t she wonderful?”

“Uh…sure…” said Spike. He shook his head. “Shouldn’t we be out where the party is?”

Mr. Cake laughed and patted Spike’s head. “Son, we’re men! Cup always says a man’s place is in the kitchen.” He gasped. “That reminds me, I need to go make her a sandwich! I don’t want to make her unhappy!”

“…Of course not?” said Spike uncertainly.

Out in the dining area, Mrs. Cake laid down the plate of cupcakes down in front of Princess Celestia. “Here you go, your Highness!” she said, bowing and backing away.

“Oh my god…” said Princess Celestia. She picked up a cupcake and stared at it. “They put cake…in cups?!” She laughed and put it down. “Technology these days…”

“Hey, Twilight,” said Fluttershy as they walked to where the Princess was sitting, “If Princess Celestia is here, then who’s ruling things in Canterlot?”

“The Princess said she left Princess Luna in charge,” said Twilight.

Meanwhile, in Canterlot:

“Princess Luna!” cried a Canterlot noble. “My eyes hurt and I don’t know why!”

Luna stared at the stallion. “…Blink.”

The noble blinked. “Hey, I feel better! Thank you, Princess!” He turned and walked out of the throne room.

Luna watched him leave. “Captain Armor…” she began, “How many more subjects are waiting to speak with me?”

The white stallion at the bottom of the throne checked his list. “Around two hundred and fifty, Your Majesty.”

“Please get one of your men to go get me something to drink,” asked Luna. She watched as a squinty-eyed noble stumbled in, his eyeglasses on top of his head. “…Something strong, please. I’m going to need it.”

Back in Ponyville:

“I hope everything goes okay today…” said Twilight. “I don’t want one of our…adventures happening while the Princess is here. Or our friends being...our friends around the Princess.”

“I’m sure it will be fine,” soothed Fluttershy. “Besides, our friends know how to behave themselves. Just look at Rarity!” She pointed to their friend, who was chatting with Celestia. “She’s doing fine.”

Twilight looked at Rarity and chuckled quietly. “Yeah…you’re right, Fluttershy. Sorry for acting like that. I was just worried over nothing.” She strode towards the Princess and Rarity, a confident smile on her face.

“No, I’m not really sure what Blueblood’s penis is like, Miss Rarity,” said Celestia casually.

Twilight’s smile disappeared from her face as she gazed at Rarity in horror.

“Really?” asked Rarity desperately. “What about what he sees in a mare? Is he single? What about fetishes?”

Twilight rushed forward and clapped a hoof over Rarity’s mouth. “Please excuse us, Princess,” she said, a forced smile on her face.

“Of course, Twilight,” said Celestia. She sipped from her tea and grabbed the cupcake again, examining it.

Twilight pulled Rarity away from the table and let her go. “For fuck’s sake, Rarity!” she hissed. “Did you seriously ask Princess Celestia what her nephew’s penis is like?”

Rarity sniffed. “Well,” she said, “If I’m going to woo him at the Gala, I need to know what I’m getting into, don’t I?”

“Rarity,” said Twilight, “You can’t just-” She paused when she heard loud sobbing coming from behind her. “What now?!” she asked as she turned around.

Applejack was sitting by Celestia, crying. “And then they chopped him up into firewood!” she sobbed. She threw her arms around Celestia and buried her face into her shoulder. “Firewood!”

Celestia rubbed Applejack’s back sympathetically. “It’s ok. I’m sure Bloomberg is in a better place now.”

Twilight pointed her horn at Applejack and lifted her up into the air. She tossed Applejack behind her and said to herself, “Ok…no big deal…the others know how to act around royalty. Nothing else will-”

“Hey Princess Celly!” said a familiar voice.

“Oh god, why?!” asked Twilight. She turned around and saw Pinkie sitting on the table in front of Celestia.

“Hello Pinkie,” said Celestia.

“Princess,” said Pinkie seriously. “Do you like seafood?”

Celestia thought for a moment. “…Why, yes. Yes, I do like seafood.”

Pinkie quickly put a cookie in her mouth and chewed it. She opened her mouth and showed Celestia the mushy remains of the cookie. “See?” she asked. “Food!”

The princess chuckled. “That’s nothing,” she said. She held out her hoof. “Pull my hoof.”

Pinkie reached out to yank on Celestia’s hoof, but Twilight quickly ran over and grabbed her. Twilight ran back to where she was standing before and dropped Pinkie to the floor.

“Pinkie!” she hissed. “You can’t just do that seafood joke in front of the Princess!”

“Really?” asked Pinkie. “Why?”

“Partly because it’s disgusting,” said Twilight, “And partly because that joke’s probably older than she is.”

Pinkie shrugged. “In all fairness, she wanted me to do the old “Pull my hoof and I’ll fart” joke.”

“True,” said Twilight, “But she’s the Princess. If she makes a lame, old joke, you’re supposed to laugh and tell her how funny she is.”

“Speaking of funny,” said Pinkie, pointing back to Celestia, “It looks like Rainbow Dash is telling the Princess a funny story.”

Twilight spun around and saw Princess Celestia laughing at something Rainbow Dash had said.

“And then,” said Rainbow, flying in place by Celestia, “Fluttershy and Rarity came by and said that Braeburn and Strongheart got together and Twilight started crying! It was hilarious!”

“Oh…” chuckled Celestia. “She’s always been sensitive about that stuff. I remember when there was a big dance in Canterlot and Twilight was trying to find a date. I remember that she had this big zit and-”

“Rainbow!” said Twilight loudly as she came up and grabbed the pegasus. She pulled Rainbow down to the floor and said, “You look hungry! Do you want some pie?”

“Actually, I had a pretty big breakfast so-” began Rainbow.

“Great! Have some pie!” yelled Twilight. She grabbed a pie off the table and slammed it into Rainbow Dash’s face. “Oh no!” she gasped dramatically. “You’ve got pie everywhere! You better go wash off and not listen to any embarrassing stories or anything like that!” She used her magic to lift Rainbow Dash and toss her away from Celestia, who was still talking.

“Once we finally got the fire extinguished, it still took us three days to get Twilight’s head out of that toilet…” prattled Celestia. She blinked and looked around. “Where’d Rainbow Dash go?”

“Oh you know Rainbow,” laughed Twilight, wiping her hooves clean of pie. “She had to go be fifteen percent hipper or something.” She frantically gestured for Fluttershy to come over. “Have you met Fluttershy yet?”

“Not yet,” said Celestia, smiling at Fluttershy when she approached. “But I’ve heard all about you from Twilight. She says you’re good with animals.”

“I love taking care of animals,” said Fluttershy. “And it really makes me happy to see ponies taking care of and appreciating their pets, you know?”

“I get what you’re saying,” said Celestia. “In fact, I brought my pet with me today!” She gestured to the birdcage beside her.

“…Was…was that here this whole time?” asked Twilight. “Why didn’t we notice that?”

There was a hacking cough from the cage, and an ugly, pink-feathered bird flapped pathetically into view.

“Ah! Philomena!” said Celestia. “You’re finally awake! Say hello to Fluttershy!”

The bird looked at Fluttershy. She opened her beak and moaned, “Kill me…”

Celestia laughed. “Oh, Philomena! You kidder…”

Fluttershy covered her mouth to hide her horrified expression. “I’ve…never seen anything like her…”

“She’s pretty special, alright!” said Celestia happily, oblivious to the tears welling up in Fluttershy’s eyes.

Depressed Guard walked into the room and whispered into Celestia’s ear.

“Really?” asked the Princess. “Now?”

Depressed Guard shrugged helplessly.

Celestia rolled her eyes and got up. “Excuse me guys,” she said to the room, which grew silent, “But I need to go meet with the Mayor. Apparently she has something really ‘important’ to discuss with me.”

The ponies in the room bowed as Celestia strode out of the room.

“Ok,” called Mrs. Cake. “Now that the princess is gone, we’re going back to charging you for what you eat.”

Everyone made a mad dash for the exit.

“Why do they always do that?!” shouted Mrs. Cake. She walked back into the kitchen, not seeing that there was one pony left in the room.

Fluttershy watched Mrs. Cake leave, and then turned her attention back to Philomena. She frowned and got up, moving towards the birdcage.

“Don’t worry,” she said soothingly as she opened the cage. “I won’t let that nasty Princess Celestia ignore you anymore. Let’s get you out of here…”

Meanwhile:

Celestia sighed as she stood in front of the Mayor’s desk. “For the last time, I do not like Manehattan better than Ponyville. I like all of you the same amount.”

The Mayor sniffled as she hid underneath the desk. “No you don’t!” she sobbed. “You’ve always liked the mayor of Manehattan better than me, haven’t you?!”

“Well…” said Celestia with a shrug. “He doesn’t call me into his office to stroke his ego.”

“I KNEW IT!” screamed the Mayor. "YOU DO LIKE HIM MORE!"

Worst Aid

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Angel flipped through the newspaper as he sat on the living room couch. As he perused the finance section, he gently grabbed a tiny teacup and took a sip. He swallowed the warm chamomile tea and sighed in contentment. He brought the cup to his lips and took another drink.

The front door was knocked off its hinges as Fluttershy ran in, cradling Philomena in her arms. “ANGEL!” she screamed. “We have an emergency!”

Angel spit out the tea, completely ruining the newspaper. He took a look at the soggy brown paper and angrily threw his teacup on the floor, where it shattered. He hopped off the couch and stomped over to the gaping hole in the wall that used to be the front door. Angel violently pulled off a tiny brown coat and hat from a small coat rack, shot an angry glance at Fluttershy, and stormed out of the house.

“Huh,” said Fluttershy. “Wonder what has him so upset?” Shrugging, she moved over to the couch and gently propped Philomena up against the cushions. “Don’t worry, Philomena,” cooed Fluttershy. “We’ll get you feeling better again and then we’ll have a nice, long talk about proper pet care with that monster, Princess Celestia.”

Philomena looked beadily at Fluttershy before letting out a wheezing cough.

“BED REST!” yelled Fluttershy, picking up the ill-looking bird. She walked over to the corner of the living room and set Philomena down on a small bed. “I’m sure Angel won’t mind that you’re borrowing his bed,” said Fluttershy, tucking the bird in. “He’s so understanding.”

Meanwhile, in a bar:

Berry Punch watched from behind the counter as the rabbit downed another glass of whiskey. “Maybe you better slow down, kid,” she warned as she wiped a glass with a rag. “That’s your third in the last…” She checked the time. “Five minutes.”

Angel growled and chucked the empty glass at the bartender, who had to duck quickly to avoid it.

“Or maybe you’d like another?” guessed Berry as she slowly got back up.

Back at Fluttershy’s:

Fluttershy pulled out a thermometer and stuck it in Philomena’s beak. “Don’t worry,” she said to the sick bird, “I’m using the right thermometer.” She chuckled to herself. “I’ve learned from that mistake.”

The mercury in the thermometer rose rapidly as smoke started rising from Philomena’s forehead.

“Oh no!” said Fluttershy. She quickly took out the thermometer and put a cool rag on Philomena’s head. “You must feel dreadful. I can’t believe Princess Celestia hasn’t noticed that you’re sick. I wonder if she even notices that you’re gone…”

Meanwhile, in the Mayor’s office:

“NOTICE ME, SENPAI!” yelled Mayor Mare as she dove at Celestia with her arms spread wide.

Celestia sighed as her horn glowed. Mayor Mare stopped midair and floated in place as Celestia’s magic held her.

“I refuse,” said Celestia, magically putting the Mayor back into her seat. “Now Mary, I can’t just favor Ponyville over-” She paused as Depressed Guard, who had walked into the office, whispered into her ear. Celestia's eyes widened. “…Philomena’s what?!” She quickly got up and followed him out of the room.

“Who’s Philomena?!” called Mayor Mare after the princess. “Is she a new mayor? Are you replacing me with her?!” When she didn’t get a response, she sniffled. “I can do mayor things too, you know…”

“Ms. Mayor?” said a voice on the intercom on the Mayor’s desk. “You need to look over and approve Ponyville’s budget.”

The Mayor stared at the intercom. “…What the fuck is a ‘budget’?”

Back at Fluttershy’s:

Fluttershy set a plate down on a small table in front of Philomena. “Here we are,” she said, “One comically oversized pill to make you feel better.”

Philomena looked at the pill and gagged.

Fluttershy ripped open a large bag of bird seed and dumped it on the plate, completely covering the pill. “How about now?” she asked.

Philomena grabbed the plate with her wings and dumped its contents into her mouth.

“Always works!” said Fluttershy smugly.

Philomena choked and clutched at her throat, where a distinctly pill-shaped object was lodged.

“Oh shit!” yelled Fluttershy. She quickly ran behind Philomena and wrapped her arms around her. Fluttershy began squeezing the bird tightly. Philomena coughed and the pill shot out of her mouth and sailed out the open window.

“…Ok…” said Fluttershy, putting Philomena down. “No more pills. I’ve got something better! Soup!” She ran into the kitchen and ran back out with a steaming bowl of soup.

Philomena looked at the soup, then at the clock on the wall. She turned her gaze to Fluttershy and raised an eyebrow.

“Oh, I have bowls of soup all over Ponyville,” explained Fluttershy. “In case of soup-related emergencies.”

“That’s my girl!” yelled Pinkie from far away.

Philomena leaned forward and sipped some of the soup.

“Do you like it?” asked Fluttershy. “It’s my special homemade tomato soup.”

Philomena’s eyes went wide. She pulled away from the soup and started gagging. Her face began puffing up and tears came to her eyes.

“Oh no!” said Fluttershy. “What’s wrong?!”

Meanwhile, at Sugarcube Corner:

Princess Celestia examined the empty birdcage with a frown on her face. “Hmmm…”

“WE’LL FIND HER,” yelled Gung-Ho Guard. “WE’LL FIND HER IF WE HAVE TO BURN DOWN ALL OF PONYVILLE!”

“Let’s try not to kill the citizens, ok?” asked Celestia. “Philomena’s been known to wander off before. How about we try asking ponies if they’ve seen her?”

“We have to talk? To others?” moaned Depressed Guard. “Can’t we just burn the place down?”

“No burning!” ordered Celestia. She turned her gaze back to the cage. “I just hope Philomena doesn’t eat anything tomato-based. She’s allergic to tomatoes.”

“…A real allergy?” asked Depressed Guard. “Or is it like your bean 'allergy’?”

“That is a real allergy!” yelled Celestia. “Why do you guys keep doubting me?!”

Back at Fluttershy’s:

“Ok!” said Fluttershy as she wiped her forehead with her hoof. “No more soup. Ever. How about I get you some company instead?”

Philomena, her face back to normal, let out a miserable croak.

Fluttershy walked over to the window and whistled. A small, green-feathered hummingbird zipped into the house and landed on Fluttershy’s arm.

Fluttershy smiled and walked back to Philomena. “This is Hummingway,” informed Fluttershy. “He was sick once too, but after some electro-shock therapy-”

Philomena vomited all over herself.

Fluttershy and Hummingway stared at her in horror. Fluttershy turned to the hummingbird and said, “I’m sorry you had to see that.” Hummingway shuddered and quickly flew back out the window, making gagging noises as he did so.

Fluttershy gently picked up Philomena and brought her to the bathroom. “Let’s get you all cleaned up,” she said, setting the bird down in the bathtub. She turned the water on and closed her eyes with a sigh. “How about some steam to help you relax?” she asked. She opened her eyes and shrieked.

Philomena was underwater and not moving. Fluttershy quickly grabbed her and got her out of the water. She squeezed Philomena, and the bird spat water as she coughed violently.

“Ok…” said Fluttershy, holding the bird close and blinking tears out of her eyes, “L-let’s try something else, huh? Like staying still in the living room and keeping you away from things that could hurt you. Like soup. Or pills. Or water.”

Fluttershy walked back out into the living room, Philomena perched on her arm, and suddenly froze.

“Fluttershy?” called Twilight as she walked into the house. Her horn glowed and she lifted the front door back into position. “Sorry to barge in, I just wanted to make sure you were ok.” She turned to face Fluttershy and continued, “I heard Angel was causing trouble at the bar and I thought-” She blinked. “Oh cool,” she said, “Celestia let you watch her pet while she talked with the Mayor.”

“Um…” said Fluttershy nervously, “Not exactly…”

“Oh,” said Twilight. She smiled at Fluttershy and said, “Then one of the Royal Guards must have had you take the bird.”

“Not exactly…” said Fluttershy.

Twilight raised an eyebrow. “Then why do you have Celestia’s bird? I mean,” she started laughing, “It’s not like you stole her or anything!”

Fluttershy looked down at the ground guiltily.

Twilight’s chuckles ceased. “Fluttershy? You didn’t steal the bird…right?”

“No…” said Fluttershy slowly. “I didn’t steal Philomena. I am borrowing her in order to make her feel better.”

Twilight took a deep breath. She quickly walked over to the couch and grabbed one of the cushions. Twilight pressed it to her face, opened her mouth, and let out a long scream.

Fluttershy looked over at Philomena and smiled. “She’s taking this much better than I thought she would.”

Philomena rolled her eyes and let out a raspy cough.

Fluttershy Gives Princess Celestia the Bird

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“Fluttershy…dearest Fluttershy,” said Twilight calmly. “Why…oh why did you steal Princess Celestia’s precious and probably very important pet?”

“Well…” wheezed Fluttershy, “I could tell you, but…first…could you stop choking me?”

Twilight nodded and got off of Fluttershy, removing her hooves from the pegasus’s neck in the process.

Fluttershy got up off the floor, taking deep breaths as she did so. “I…couldn’t just…leave her there…” she panted. “She needed my help.”

Your help? Hmm…” said Twilight. “Tell me, do you know what type of bird Philomena is?”

“Um…no…” answered Fluttershy.

“I see.” Twilight nodded. “Then surely you must know what treatment to use for her illness?”

“I tried soup,” said Fluttershy. “That didn’t really work out so well…”

“Interesting,” said Twilight. “So you, without any knowledge about your...‘patient’…or any applicable medical knowledge about her illness, decided simply spirit her away and hope that you could somehow magically cure her, correct?”

“Well, it’s not like I could have just left her there!” shot back Fluttershy.

Twilight stared at her. “Yes, you could have!” she shrieked. “She doesn’t belong to you! What if you hurt her on accident? What if you killed her?” Twilight’s eyes widened and she nervously put her hoof to her mouth. “Oh god, what if you killed her?”

Twilight’s Imagination:

Princess Celestia glared down at Fluttershy, who was cowering in terror. Philomena was lying on a table several feet away from Fluttershy, her eyes closed and her body motionless.

“Fluttershy,” said Princess Celestia. “For the crime of killing my bird, I sentence you to one thousand years in a black hole with no possibility of parole.” Her horn started glowing and she pointed it at Fluttershy.

A golden glow surrounded Fluttershy. “Well tits,” she said before disappearing with a pop.

Celestia turned her gaze to Twilight, who was shivering in fear.

“Twilight Sparkle,” said Princess Celestia, her eyes narrowing. “For allowing this to happen, I sentence you to life as my new pet.” Her horn glowed again and she pointed it at her former student.

There was a cloud of smoke and, when it disappeared, Twilight saw that she was trapped in a large bird cage. “B-but…” she stammered, “But Princess, I-”

Good pets,” growled Celestia, “Do not speak unless given permission.” She smiled and gestured to the door. “Now, let me introduce my new student…”

The door swung open, revealing Pinkie Pie.

“Hi Twilight!” she said, waving. “I’m in your nightmares!” She turned to Celestia and said, “Let’s have a party!” She threw her hooves up in the air, and white confetti rained down from the ceiling.

“Wow!” said Celestia. “Where’d all this confetti come from?”

“Oh,” laughed Pinkie. “I shredded all of the books in Twilight’s library. She won’t need them anymore. Now let’s party!”

A disco ball came down from the ceiling and Celestia and Pinkie started to dance. Twilight, who was watching in horror, opened her mouth and let out a long scream…

Reality:

Twilight choked as water splashed onto her face. “Wh-what?!” she yelled. “What’s happening?”

Fluttershy put down the empty bucket she was holding and looked at Twilight with concern. “You started screaming and yelling about confetti,” she explained, “Then you passed out for a few minutes.”

“Oh thank god…” said Twilight. She stood up and looked at Philomena, who was breathing heavily on one of Fluttershy’s tables. “Look,” she said, “You’ve got to return the Princess’s pet. Right now!”

“Ok, ok,” said Fluttershy. “You’re right. Clearly I don’t know how to make Philomena better. I’ll return her and give the Princess my apologies.”

“Right. Apologies.” Twilight nodded, before her eyes widened in horror. “You can’t let the Princess know you stole her pet!” she shrieked. “She can never know! She’ll never forgive me! I mean, you! She’ll never forgive you!” She ran to Fluttershy’s closet.

“Um…what are you-?” asked Fluttershy.

“Found it!” said Twilight. She pulled a large basket out of the closet and ran back to Fluttershy. Along the way, she grabbed Philomena by the neck, not paying attention to the bird’s indignant squawk. She set the basket onto Fluttershy’s back, took the lid off of it, and stuffed Philomena inside. “Perfect!” she said happily, as she put the lid back onto the basket. “Now, follow me!” She ran for the front door and pulled it open.

The two royal guards stood in front of her. One was holding an open scroll.

“Good evening sir or madam…” read Depressed Guard.

“Guys,” said Twilight, “It’s me. Twilight Sparkle?”

The two guards stared at her.

Depressed Guard looked back at the scroll. “Good evening sir or madam,” he repeated. “We are here to ask if you have seen the royal pet. She has gone missing and we are getting forced to look for her.”

“WE ARE GETTING OVERTIME FOR THIS!” yelled Gung-Ho Guard.

“No we’re not,” replied Depressed Guard.

“DAMN IT!” yelled Gung-Ho Guard.

“Oh no!” gasped Twilight. She looked back at Fluttershy. “Well, we certainly don’t have her, do we?”

“Yes we do,” replied Fluttershy. At Twilight’s panicked glare, Fluttershy added, “I mean, no we do not?”

Twilight gave the two guards an extremely forced smile. “See? We haven’t seen the royal pet anywhere around here.”

“TOLD YOU,” said Gung-Ho Guard. “TWILIGHT’S USELESS.”

“Um…hurtful…” said Twilight.

“You know what’s useless?” asked Depressed Guard. “Our own meaningless lives. Sometimes I wish I would just die in my sleep, you know?”

Everyone stared at him in horror.

“Jesus Christ, dude,” said Gung-Ho Guard. He put a hoof on his comrade’s shoulder. “Let’s go grab a drink and talk about it, ok?”

“Ok…” muttered Depressed Guard. He allowed himself to be led away by his fellow guard.

Twilight shut the door and turned back to Fluttershy.

“That was sad,” observed Fluttershy.

“Yes it was,” agreed Twilight. She shook her head. “But we can’t focus on that now! We can’t just return Philomena now that the Princess knows she’s missing!”

Fluttershy set the basket on her back down. “What if you help me get her feeling better? That way the Princess will understand why we took her.”

Twilight nodded. “Good idea. She can’t be mad if the bird’s feeling better…” She walked towards the basket and opened it. “Do you have any pills she could take?”

“Twilight, don’t say ‘pills’!” warned Fluttershy. “She had a bad experience with one earlier!”

Philomena leapt into the air with a shriek and dove at Twilight. Twilight screamed and ran around the house, the angry bird pecking her head as she did so.

“Why is she only attacking me?!” yelled Twilight as she ran.

“I don’t know,” said Fluttershy, standing to the side and watching the mayhem. “Maybe she just doesn’t like you? You did shove her into a basket after all.”

Philomena squawked angrily at Twilight and dove out the open window.

“Philomena!” yelled Fluttershy, running to the front door. She opened it and chased after the fleeing bird. “Come back!”

Twilight woozily walked out of the house. “I’m coming…” she said. She took a step and fell onto her side. “…Eventually…”

Eventually:

“Wow,” said Fluttershy, screeching to a halt, “That sure was one wacky chase scene that happened just now. And now here we are, in the middle of Ponyville, trying to catch Philomena.”

“Why are you saying all that?” panted Twilight as she plopped to the ground beside Fluttershy. “I already know where we are and what we’ve been doing. It’s like you’re talking to some invisible audience or something.” She paused. “…Why do I hear Pinkie laughing?”

The two of them turned around to see Applejack, Pinkie, Rainbow, and Rarity walking towards them.

“Were the two of you just racing?” asked Rainbow. She smiled at Fluttershy. “Good hustle, Fluttershy! I knew you could win!” She looked at Twilight. “…Maybe it’s time for you to join a gym, Tubby.”

“Shut up, Rainbow,” said Twilight, getting back up. “Have any of you heard?”

“Heard what?” asked Rarity.

“About the bird!” said Twilight.

Pinkie smiled and began singing, “A-well-a everybody’s heard about the bird-”

Applejack quickly covered Pinkie’s mouth. “Please don’t sing that, Sugarcube. It took me weeks to get it out of mah head the last time.”

Fluttershy looked up. “B-b-b-bird, bird, bird!” she shouted as she pointed upwards.

Everyone looked to where she was pointing. Philomena, who was almost completely featherless, was perched on top of a statue. Her last feather fell off and she choked. Grabbing her throat, she fell off the statue.

“PHILOMENA!” shrieked Fluttershy. She ran forward and dove with her arms outstretched.

Philomena suddenly burst into flames as she fell, burning to a crisp.

Fluttershy’s lower lip quivered as Philomena’s ashes fell into her hooves.

“Wow,” said Rainbow. “What were the odds of that happening?”

“About 14,723 to 1,” said Twilight.

“…Really?” asked Rarity. “How did you know that?”

“My mind automatically starts doing math whenever something horrible happens,” explained Twilight. “It’s a coping mechanism.”

“And this was stressful?” asked Applejack.

“Considering that pile of ash was Princess Celestia’s pet bird,” said Twilight, “I would say that this was very stressful. Would you like to know what the odds are that Fluttershy and I will survive whatever Celestia will punish us with? About 12,300,322,499 to 1.”

“Are…are you ok?” asked Pinkie.

Twilight’s eye twitched. “3.141592653589…” she droned.

Princess Celestia walked out of Sugarcube Corner with Ms. Cake. “No, I’m serious, Cup!” she said. “Stallions can vote and run businesses on their own now. It’s been that way since-” She noticed everyone standing around. “Hey everyone!” she greeted, walking over to the group. “What’s going-”

“…626433832…” continued Twilight.

Celestia looked worriedly at Twilight and then turned to address everyone else. “Ok…what happened?”

“Your bird burst into flames,” supplied Rainbow Dash.

“Rainbow!” hissed Applejack.

“Well, it did!” said Rainbow.

Fluttershy sniffled as she approached the princess. “I’m so sorry, your Highness…I just saw your bird looking sick and you left her all alone in Sugarcube Corner, so I took her and tried to make her better, but…but…but…” She started sobbing.

“Oh, is that all?” asked Celestia. She breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank goodness. I thought she ran off again.” She chuckled. “You know, the last time she did that, she ended up at some school for wizards. They totally thought she was a boy! They kept calling her Fawkes and-”

“Um, Princess?” interrupted Fluttershy. “You’re…not upset with me?”

“Upset?” asked Celestia. “This happens every hundred years or so. Nothing to cry about.”

“Your pets burst into flames every hundred years?” asked Applejack.

“Jesus,” said Rainbow, “Have you thought about getting a pet rock or something?”

Celestia walked over to the pile of ashes that used to be Philomena. “Hey,” she said, nudging it with her hoof, “Wake up already.”

Red and gold wings suddenly burst out of the ashes. They flapped once, blowing the ash away and revealing a bright, majestic looking bird. She flew in the air, flames trailing behind her.

“Philomena’s alive?” asked Fluttershy.

“Pythagorean Theorem states that-” droned Twilight. Pinkie elbowed her in the side. “Ow!” she cried. “What the fuck are you-” She noticed Philomena flying around. “…Buh?” she asked intelligently.

“Philomena’s a phoenix, Fluttershy,” explained Celestia. She held out her arm and Philomena landed on it. “Whenever she bites it, she sheds all her feathers and bursts into flames. Then she’s reborn in her own ashes…which is a little morbid when you stop to think about it…” She shook her head and glared at Philomena. “It looks like Philomena’s been playing a joke on you this whole time, Fluttershy. Can you forgive-”

“Shh!” shushed Fluttershy, who was scribbling something down on a piece of paper. “Let’s see…loses feathers…bursts into flame…reborn in ashes…” She squealed happily. “This will be perfect to add to my journals about all the different animals in the world!” She walked over to Philomena and said, “I’d like to ask you a few questions. What do you eat? What’s your wingspan? Boxers or briefs? Do you lay eggs? Are there boy phoenixes? Do you have parents?”

Philomena looked helplessly at Celestia.

“Don’t look at me,” said the princess. “I told you over and over again to burn up before the party, but you said no. And you can consider this your punishment for making everyone worry. Honestly,” Celestia rolled her eyes, “Where did you learn to be so dramatic?”

1100 Years Ago:

Philomena was roused from her slumber when Luna burst into the bedroom.

“Celestia!” she yelled. “You need to get up and rule!”

“But Luuunaaaa,” whined Celestia, who was hidden underneath the blankets on her bed, “My throat feels funny…you rule instead…”

Luna sighed and used her magic to pull Celestia out of bed. “You are not faking sick again! You wanted to be the ruler of Equestria, and you are going to do it!”

Celestia kicked her legs fruitlessly. “But I don’t want to!”

Philomena watched as her owner was carried out of the bedroom. Sighing to herself, she shut her eyes and went back to sleep.

Now:

“Wait,” said Twilight. She walked up to Celestia as Fluttershy continued to ask Philomena questions. “So…we’re not in trouble?”

“No!” said Celestia. “Fluttershy was just trying to help Philomena, and you were helping Fluttershy. Right?”

“Right!” said Twilight, laughing nervously. “It definitely wasn’t so you wouldn’t replace me with Pinkie, if that’s what you’re thinking!”

“Ooh, I don’t think so,” said Pinkie. She looked at her sides. “I don’t think I’d look good with wings…”

“What?” asked Twilight.

“Nothing!” said Pinkie happily.

“Speaking of replacements,” said Celestia, “I wonder how Luna’s doing back in Canterlot?”

Back in Canterlot:

Fancypants walked into the throne room, wearing a fashionable looking suit. “Your Majesty,” he said, bowing, “I’ve come to-”

“Heeey, it’s Fancy!” slurred Luna as she leaned back in the throne. Various empty bottles surrounded her and she took a deep drink of the one she was holding. “How’s your hammer hangin’?”

“Uh…fine?” replied Fancypants. “But I actually wanted to tell you that-”

“You know what?” asked Luna. “I wanna see for myself. From this moment on, you are no longer allowed to wear pants. It’ll be funny! You’ll be Fancypants…minus the pants! I’m a genius!”

“Walk around without pants?” asked Fancypants. He looked down at his freshly pressed pants. “I haven’t done that since college…” He smiled and shrugged. “Oh well, you’re the Princess!”

Luna watched as Fancypants removed his trousers. “I love this job…” she muttered, taking another drink.

Apples to Oranges

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“This is gonna be awesome!” yelled Scootaloo, adjusting the purple helmet on her head.

Sweetie Belle, who was wearing a green helmet, looked down at the ground. “I’m beginning to have second thoughts…”

Beginnin’ to?!” asked Apple Bloom as she strapped on a blue helmet. “Ah’ve been sayin’ this was a bad idea since Scootaloo brought it up!”

The three Cutie Mark Crusaders were standing on a wooden platform that had been built near the top of a tall tree. A rope had been tied to the tree, and it stretched all the way to a tree far off in the distance.

“You keep complaining,” said Scootaloo, connecting a metal hook to the rope, “And yet you’re the one who built all this.” She checked the hook, which was attached to the harness she was wearing.

“Guys?” asked Sweetie Belle. “Do you remember how we even got up here? Apple Bloom didn’t build a ladder or anything…”

“Ah thought you were joking!” yelled Apple Bloom, ignoring Sweetie Belle. “Ah didn’t think you’d be crazy enough to actually try zip-linin’!”

“Would you relax?” asked Scootaloo, putting on her sunglasses. “Spike told me this was awesome!”

“Spike said that?” asked Sweetie. She cleared her throat and turned to Apple Bloom. “Clearly, Scootaloo put a lot of thought into this. We should at least try it out.”

“You’re both crazy,” said Apple Bloom. “There’s no way Ah’m doin’ this.”

Scootaloo rolled her eyes and walked behind Apple Bloom. She reached out and pushed the other filly off the platform.

“AH’LL KILL YA FOR THIS!” screamed Apple Bloom as she went zipping down the rope.

“Man,” said Sweetie Belle, “That was devious.” She smiled at Scootaloo. “I’m proud of you.”

“Thanks,” said the pegasus filly.

“One thing, though,” said Sweetie. She pulled on a cord that was sticking out of her harness. “Aren’t these all connected to each other?”

Scootaloo blinked behind her sunglasses. She looked down at her own harness, where the cord that was connected to Apple Bloom was getting taut. “…Oh yeah…” said Scootaloo.

The cord stretched to its limit and Scootaloo was pulled off the platform, dragging Sweetie Belle with her.

Meanwhile, Apple Bloom slowed to a stop when she reached the other tree. “Huh,” she said. She started laughing. “That actually wasn’t so-”

“LOOK OUT!” yelled Scootaloo’s voice.

Apple Bloom turned her head just in time to see the other two fillies crash into her. The rope snapped, causing all three of them to tumble through the tree tops and crash on the forest floor below.

“See anything?” moaned Apple Bloom.

“Pain,” mumbled Scootaloo, face down in the dirt. “All I see is pain…”

Ah mean, do we have Cutie Marks?” said Apple Bloom, wincing as she got up. She grimaced as she felt sticky tree sap all over her body.

Scootaloo got up and looked at her flank, which was as blank as ever. “I got nothing,” she said. “How about you?”

Apple Bloom looked at her flank. “Nope. Sweetie?”

“If you two didn’t get one, what makes you think I would?” asked Sweetie, getting up and pulling off her helmet.

“Wishful thinking?” supplied Scootaloo.

“Fair enough,” said Sweetie. She looked at her flank, and wasn’t surprised by what she saw. “No Cutie Mark.”

“Damn it,” muttered Scootaloo, throwing her helmet on the ground. “We’re never going to get our Cutie Marks.”

Apple Bloom pulled three buckets full of soapy water from behind a nearby tree. At Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle’s odd looks, she simply said, “Ah figured we’d end up makin’ a mess…again.”

“When have we ever made a mess of anything?” asked Scootaloo, taking off her sunglasses in order to wash her face.

“That time you thought we’d get our Cutie Marks in blowing up beehives?” supplied Sweetie.

“Or the time we tried being professional paintball players?” added Apple Bloom.

“Or the time we tried real-life Splatoon…” said Sweetie.

“Ok, I get it!” cried Scootaloo.

“Look,” said Apple Bloom, “There’s tons of ponies in town who have their Cutie Marks. Let’s ask one of them how they did it.”

“Ooh!” said Scootaloo. “We can start with the coolest pony in Ponyville!”

“Applejack!” said Apple Bloom.

“Rarity!” said Sweetie.

Scootaloo frowned. “Guys. I said cool.”

“…Pinkie Pie?” guessed the other two.

Scootaloo shuddered. “Please…please don’t joke like that…” she muttered. She shook her head and said, “I’m talking about Rainbow Dash!”

“Oh yeah…the cheater,” said Apple Bloom, rolling her eyes. “That’d be perfect…”

Scootaloo glared at Apple Bloom. “What was that?” she growled.

“Oh nothin’,” said Apple Bloom. “Ah just don’t know why you’d want to talk to a pony who can’t even play fair at tug-of-war is all.”

“Um…girls?” asked Sweetie.

“Well maybe she wouldn’t have had to use her wings if your sister just admitted Rainbow Dash was the better pony!” said Scootaloo.

“What, you want mah sister to lie?” asked Apple Bloom.

Scootaloo opened her mouth to retort, but Sweetie cut her off. “Look, why don’t we just talk to all of them? Applejack, Rainbow, and Rarity?”

Scootaloo looked like she desperately wanted to keep arguing. “…Fine,” she muttered.

Apple Bloom nodded. “Fine by me.”

“Great!” said Sweetie. “Now…let’s head back to my chariot of darkness!”

“You mean the wagon?” asked Apple Bloom.

“Don’t ruin this for me!” yelled Sweetie.

The three fillies walked back to the tree with the wooden platform on it. Resting against the trunk was Scootaloo’s scooter, which had a red wagon hooked on to it.

Scootaloo walked towards the scooter as Sweetie Belle hopped into the wagon. “How come I always have to pull you guys?” she asked, stepping onto the scooter.

Apple Bloom glared at her. “You obviously don’t see anything wrong with using your wings for every little thing. Like a game of tug-of-war, for example.”

Scootaloo returned Apple Bloom’s glare with one of her own. “Sweetie?” she called. “Are you in the wagon?”

“Um…yeah?” answered Sweetie Belle.

“Good,” said Scootaloo. She kicked off from the ground and her wings started buzzing, causing the scooter to shoot forward. “See ya, Apple Bloom!” she called as she left the other filly behind.

“Hey!” yelled Apple Bloom, as the scooter disappeared down the path. She started running after it. “Come back!”

Scootaloo laughed as she got further and further from the other filly. “Did you see her face, Sweetie Belle?!” she asked, turning to look at the pony in the wagon. “That’s what she gets for defending-”

“Applejack!” yelled Sweetie Belle.

“Right!” said Scootaloo, nodding. “For defending Applejack!”

“No!” said Sweetie, pointing. “Applejack!”

Scootaloo faced forwards and saw that Applejack was directly in front of them. She attempted to brake, but slammed into the older pony, sending her and Sweetie crashing to the ground.

“Ha!” panted Apple Bloom as she finally caught up. “That’s what you get for leavin’ me…” She paused and looked at the scene in front of her. “Applejack?”

“Apple Bloom…” muttered Applejack, getting back on her hooves. “Why did your friend just crash into me?”

“Hard not to, you fat-” began Scootaloo. She was cut off by Sweetie Belle putting her hoof over her mouth.

“We actually wanted to ask you somethin’!” said Apple Bloom. “How’d you get your Cutie Mark?”

Applejack raised an eyebrow at her. “Have Ah never told you that?”

“You might’ve,” said Apple Bloom. “Ah tune you out a lot. Everything you say just comes back to apples after a while.”

“Oh really?” asked Applejack. “What if Ah told ya’ll that there was a time that Ah didn’t want to deal with apples? And what if Ah said Ah was sick of this old apple farm?”

The three fillies gasped dramatically.

“Who are you and what have you done with Applejack?” asked Apple Bloom.

Applejack smiled. “Let’s see…it all started a long time ago. Back when you were just a baby, Apple Bloom…”

Years ago:

“Are you really gonna leave, AJ?” asked Little Mac, his loose-fitting collar around his scrawny neck.

Applejack tied the pouch with all of the things she needed to a stick. “Yup,” she said with a nod. “Ah don’t want to waste mah life on this apple farm.” She turned and faced the path in front of her.

“But-” began Mac.

“Let her go, boy,” said Granny Smith, walking over to them. “A mare’s gotta find her place in the world, after all.”

“Granny…” hissed Mac. “She’s only ten.”

“Back in mah day,” began Granny Smith, “We got sent to war when we turned ten! And we had to walk fifteen miles to the nearest drafting office and-”

Mac shook his head and looked at Applejack. “Did you at least say goodbye to Apple Bloom?”

“Ah tried,” said Applejack, “But she just kept babblin’ and droolin’ at me. That girl don’t make a lick of sense.”

“Applejack,” said Mac, “She’s only one.”

“Back in mah day…” began Applejack.

“Fifteen miles, Ah get it,” said Mac. He walked forward and gave Applejack a hug. “Ah’ll miss you.”

Applejack nuzzled her older brother. “Ah’ll miss you too. Ah’ll write once Ah get to Aunt and Uncle Orange’s place.” She pulled away from Mac and began walking down the path, leaving her brother, grandmother, and home behind.

Now:

“Holy shit,” said Apple Bloom. “You left?”

Applejack nodded. “Ah wanted a sophisticated life in the city. Ah traveled for days before Ah reached Manehattan…”

Years Ago:

“So…hungry…” whined Applejack as she crawled on the sidewalk. “Probably…should’ve brought food…didn’t plan ahead…mah bad…”

“Mommy, why is that girl crawling on the sidewalk?” asked a colt.

“Don’t make eye contact, honey. It’ll go away if you ignore it,” said an older mare as she pulled the colt away.

“Bitch…” muttered Applejack. She got up and walked over to a nearby building. “This is the place…” she said to herself. She walked inside and headed down the hallway, stopping when she came across a door with a picture of an orange on it. She raised her hoof and knocked on the door.

The door opened and an orange-furred stallion with a green mane stared down at her. He looked back into the apartment and said, “Honey? I think the girl scouts are here again!”

“I’ll get the shotgun, don’t worry!” said a feminine voice.

“Uncle Orange!” said Applejack. “It’s me! Applejack!”

“…Do I owe you money?” asked Uncle Orange.

“Ah’m your niece!” said Applejack. She ran forward and hugged his legs.

“Oh! Applejack!” said Uncle Orange. He looked back into the apartment and said, “Never mind on the girl scout thing, babe! It’s just our relative!”

“…It’s not either of our mothers, is it?” asked the voice. “I don’t want to put the shotgun away if it is.”

“No, it’s your brother’s kid,” said Uncle Orange, stepping back into the apartment with Applejack still clutching his legs.

“Applejack?!” asked the voice. There was a clatter and an older mare with an orange mane ran forward. She grabbed Applejack and hugged her. “Honey, what are you doing here? Does your Granny know you’re here?”

“Mmhmm!” said Applejack happily. She threw her arms around Aunt Orange’s neck and hugged her. “She said if Ah didn’t want to live on the farm, Ah should travel the world!”

“…She knows you’re only ten, right?” asked Aunt Orange.

“Yep!” said Applejack. “Back in her day-”

Aunt Orange quickly covered Applejack’s mouth. “Sweetie, I’ve already heard that enough when I was living with her, ok? I don’t need to hear it again.” She looked at her husband. “Maybe we should take her back…”

“What?!” said Applejack. “But Ah want to stay here with you!”

“Oh, honey, I don’t know if…” began Aunt Orange.

“Please?” begged Applejack.

“Yeah, please?” said Uncle Orange, picking Applejack up. “All of my friends have kids! I’ll finally be cool again!”

Aunt Orange sighed. “I guess you can stay. I’ll set up the guest bedroom.”

“We have a guest bedroom?” asked Uncle Orange.

“It’s where you keep all your dolls and comic books,” explained Aunt Orange.

“They aren’t dolls, they’re action figures!” yelled Uncle Orange, dropping Applejack and running after his wife.

Now:

“How long did you stay with Aunt and Uncle Orange?” asked Apple Bloom.

“For a couple of months,” said Applejack. “Wasn’t long before Ah was actin’ and talkin’ like a true Manehattan pony.”

“What made you come back?” asked Sweetie Belle.

Years Ago:

“Oranges?” asked Applejack as she sat at the dinner table. “Again?”

“Yep!” said Uncle Orange as he set down plates of orange-based dishes. “We’ve got orange pie, orange soda, orange juice, orange ice-cream, chocolate oranges, orange chocolate-”

“THAT’S IT!” yelled Applejack, standing up from the table. “Ah’m sick and tired of eatin’ oranges every single day! Ah need mah apples back!” With that, she ran out of the apartment.

“Huh…” said Uncle Orange. He shrugged and said, “More for us, right babe?”

Aunt Orange looked at all the orange dishes and then back at her husband. “…I really hate oranges. I always have.”

Uncle Orange sighed. “Me too. Wanna go get some apples?”

Now:

“So Ah ran all the way back to Ponyville,” explained Applejack. “Once Ah reached Sweet Apple Acres, I realized Ah had gotten mah Cutie Mark. Ah’ve been workin’ on the farm ever since.”

“That sounds stupid,” said Scootaloo petulantly. “Are we really supposed to believe that you spent months in some fancy city?”

Applejack stared at her for a moment, before opening her mouth. “I should hope so, darling,” she said in a posh accent. “I’m a tad hurt that you would insinuate that I would lie about it.” She smirked at the shocked expressions of the three fillies. “What? I told you I learned to speak like a proper Manehattan pony.”

“But…what?” asked Apple Bloom. She shook her head. “Why don’t you normally talk like that?”

Applejack laughed. “Because it ain’t how Ah like to talk,” she spoke in her normal voice. “Talkin’ like that makes me sound like some frou-frou asshole.” She looked around and then whispered, “Don’t tell Rarity about this. She wouldn’t leave me alone if she knew.”

“Rarity!” said Sweetie Belle suddenly. She ran over and climbed into the wagon. “We need to find Rarity and have her explain how she got her Cutie Mark.”

“And Rainbow Dash!” said Scootaloo as she ran for her scooter.

“Yeah!” said Apple Bloom, quickly climbing into the wagon. “We can have her explain why she cheats all the time! That’ll be fun!”

“You know what, Apple Bloom?” asked Scootaloo as she kicked off from the ground. “You can just go fu-”

“Bye girls!” waved Applejack as the three fillies zoomed down the road. Once they were out of view, she sighed. “I thought they’d never leave,” she muttered in her posh accent. “It gets so tiring keeping up that hillbilly façade.”

“Did you say somethin’, sis?” asked Big Mac as he walked towards her.

“Nothing at all, Macintosh,” said Applejack in her posh accent. Her eyes widened as she realized what she said.

“What?” asked Big Mac.

“Ah said, ‘nothin’ at all, Big Mac’!” replied Applejack in her normal voice. Her eyes darted around. "Nothin' at all..."

Fluttershy Falls, Rarity Rocks

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“Do we really have to talk to Rarity?” whined Scootaloo as the three Crusaders rolled down the road. “I don’t think she’s forgiven me for taking that picture of her.”

“She hasn’t,” said Sweetie. “Don’t worry, though. She’ll forget all about it when we ask her to talk about how she got her Cutie Mark.”

“Yay…” droned Scootaloo. “We get to listen to Rarity go on and on about herself.”

“Yeah,” said Apple Bloom as she rolled her eyes. “Ah’m sure listenin’ to Rainbow Dash go on and on about herself will be really exciting.”

Scootaloo turned her head and glared at Apple Bloom. “I know you’re only saying that to piss me off.”

“Is it workin’?” asked Apple Bloom.

“Yes,” answered Scootaloo. “Knock it off.”

“Scootaloo!” yelled Sweetie Belle suddenly. “Fluttershy!”

Scootaloo quickly looked at the road and saw Fluttershy walking in front of them. Scootaloo quickly braked, stopping centimeters in front of Fluttershy.

“Whew!” said Scootaloo, wiping her brow. “That was a close-” She was cut off when two yellow hooves wrapped around her throat.

Fluttershy lifted Scootaloo by her neck and held her at eye-level. “Are you after my ducks?” she growled.

“What ducks?” asked Apple Bloom. She suddenly found herself choking as Fluttershy took a hoof off of Scootaloo and grabbed her.

“These ducks!” shouted Fluttershy, moving the two fillies so they could see a line of yellow ducks crossing the road.

A black-feathered duck was at the end of the line. It looked up at Apple Bloom and Scootaloo and said, “You’re despicable.”

“Wow, Fluttershy!” said Sweetie Belle, hopping out of the wagon. “You’re really strong! Would you like to be my muscle when I conquer Equestria?”

Fluttershy laughed, “Oh, Sweetie. That flies in the face of my peaceful nature.” She suddenly frowned. “You three should be more careful. Someone could get hurt!”

Apple Bloom and Scootaloo gagged, their faces turning blue.

“Where were you three headed off to, anyway?” asked Fluttershy, putting the two fillies down.

“We’re trying…to find…Rarity or Rainbow Dash,” coughed Scootaloo. She took a deep breath and continued, “We wanted to know how they got their Cutie Marks.”

“Really?” asked Fluttershy. “I’m sure that’d be interesting. I know I wouldn’t have gotten my Cutie Mark without Rainbow.”

“Really?!” asked Scootaloo excitedly.

“Yeah,” said Fluttershy, “It was at Summer Flight Camp in Cloudsdale…”

Years ago:

A small, skinny, yellow-furred pegasus screamed as she crashed into a cloud. Groaning, she pulled her head out of the cloud, with pieces of the white fluff sticking to her pink mane.

“Fluttershy!” yelled the coach as the other pegasus kids laughed. “What part of flying do you not understand?!”

“Um…” said Fluttershy. “The actual flying part?”

“Are you sassin’ me?!” yelled the coach.

“N-no!” replied Fluttershy quickly. “I just-”

“You damn kids…” muttered the coach. She shook her head and said, “You watch how the other kids fly, alright? I’ll be in my office with a bottle of booze. I mean, scotch! I mean whiskey! I mean juice! Juice!” She quickly took off, flying towards her office and leaving Fluttershy alone.

For a second, at least.

“Good going Klutzershy!” laughed Dumbbell as he and Hoops walked up. “That was your best crash yet!”

“Yeah,” said Hoops. “My baby sister flies better than you!”

“Hoops…” said Dumbbell. “You don’t have a baby sister.”

“Then who was that baby I threw off the clouds yesterday?” asked Hoops. “It was orange and had purple hair.”

“Beats me,” said Dumbbell. “Probably nobody important.”

A rainbow-colored blur shot through the clouds and stopped in front of the three ponies. A small, blue-furred, messy-haired pegasus glared at the two colts. “Leave her alone!”

“Ooh,” said Hoops. “I didn’t realize we were messing with your girlfriend, Rainbow Crash.”

“Keep making fun of her and I’ll mess with yours,” said Rainbow, pointing at Dumbbell.

“Hey…” said the brown-furred colt.

“He’s not my girlfriend,” denied Hoops. “We haven’t reached that level of commitment yet!”

“Hey!” shouted Dumbbell. He pointed at Rainbow Dash. “You think you’re tough? Let’s see how tough you are!”

“What do you have in mind?” asked Rainbow.

Minutes later, the three ponies were on top of a cloud and getting into positions to take off. Fluttershy stood on a small cloud in front of them, holding a checkered flag in her mouth. Fluttershy waved the flag and Rainbow, Hoops, and Dumbbell raced off.

As the three sped past Fluttershy, Rainbow accidently nudged her. Fluttershy screamed as she fell off her cloud and plummeted to the ground.

Back in the present:

“Whoa!” said Scootaloo.

“Did you die?” asked Apple Bloom.

“Yes,” nodded Fluttershy.

The three fillies gasped.

“Oh wait,” said Fluttershy. “I meant, no. No, I didn’t die.”

Years ago:

A cloud of butterflies appeared just as Fluttershy was about to splatter all over the ground. They caught her and lifted her into the air.

“Is it over?” sobbed Fluttershy, her arms in front of her face.

“Child,” said a butterfly, “Why do you cry?”

“Huh?” asked Fluttershy. She looked down and saw the cloud of butterflies beneath her. “O-oh my…you’re so pretty.”

“Thank you,” said the lead butterfly, “But why do you cry?”

“W-well…” sniffled Fluttershy. She pointed up to the clouds. “I sort of just fell to my death and nobody seemed to give a shit about it.”

“What about your parents?” asked the lead butterfly.

Meanwhile:

A yellow-furred stallion with a grey mane looked at his wife over the top of his newspaper. “Honey?” he asked. “Didn’t we have a daughter at some point?”

His wife, a pink-furred mare with a yellow mane, looked at him. “Hmmm…I don’t think so…but we have a son, apparently.”

“We do?!” asked her husband. “Since when?”

“You’re using him as a footstool right now,” said his wife, pointing down at the ground.

“I’m down here, Dad!” said a voice.

“…Footstools are supposed to be quiet,” said the stallion, kicking the colt underneath the table.

“Sorry Dad!” said the voice.

Back with Fluttershy:

“…I don’t think they’d care too much,” said Fluttershy.

“Disgraceful,” said the lead butterfly.

“It’s ok,” said Fluttershy quickly. “They have a lot to do, what with training the new footstool and all-”

“I was talking about you,” said the butterfly.

“W-what do you mean?” asked Fluttershy.

The lead butterfly flew up until he was looking Fluttershy square in the eyes. “My dear, you are the most spineless creature I have ever seen.”

“I am?” asked Fluttershy. She hung her head. “If you say so…”

“No!” said the butterfly. “You’re supposed to argue with me! Get angry with me!”

“I couldn’t do that!” said Fluttershy. “That’d be rude.”

“No,” said the butterfly, “It’d be standing up for yourself.”

“It would?” asked Fluttershy.

“Of course!” said the butterfly. “There’s nothing wrong with that! You’ve got to look after yourself, right?”

“I guess so…” said Fluttershy.

“Good!” said the butterfly. “You can’t let those ponies push you around forever, right?”

“Right!” said Fluttershy.

“That’s the spirit!” cheered the butterfly. “Now, try it with me!” He glared at Fluttershy and said, “You are the most worthless pony imaginable.”

“O-oh…” said Fluttershy sadly, her ears drooping. “I…I guess…”

“No, child!” said the butterfly. “You’re supposed to stand up for yourself, remember?”

“Oh yeah,” said Fluttershy. She took a deep breath and said, “I’m not worthless.”

“Yes, you are,” argued the butterfly. “You can’t even fly! If it wasn’t for us, you’d be a stain on the ground.”

“I would have saved mys