On a Cross and Arrow
By Conner Cogwork
Twilight and her five friends are transported during a botched spell, across dimensions to... Ponyville, Equestria? But not the same one that they knew. Sitting on a bench is Harpsy and Babar. The Doctoress avoids apples from an aspiring Applebuck. And in a library across town, six stallions join their forces as they try to decipher the appearance of filly look-alikes of themselves around Ponyville!
Image credit to Stellarina! Thanks SO much!
In my Beautiful Balloon
Rainbow Dash yawned in a bored manner. True, this was at least ten times better than staying inside the cramped quarters of the HEDGE... but it was still boring work. She had no idea how those royal bodyguards did it.
The pegasus was nestled deep in the clump of bushes that made up their hideout's roof. Guard duty was something they had all agreed on the first thing that morning. The majority of them were convinced that Dusk was going to try again today, and it was Rainbow's job to watch out for him, giving the mares inside ample time to barricade the entrance before he got close enough to do any serious probing.
So far though, the day had been uneventful. Nothing but birds, trees, and the occasional rabbit which Dash still hid from, in the off-chance that said rabbit was Angel. Or Angelica. Whichever.
"This is getting old." she muttered to herself, her hooves idly waving in the air. "I'm gonna fall asleep at this rate... hmmm... maybe I should have Fluttershy take a turn. Yeah, she could watch, and I'll grab a quick nap before taking over again. That sounds like a plan."
The pegasus righted herself, giving a lazy stretch to all her limbs, before giving another glance across the surrounding area. Nothing but grass and greenery for miles arou-
A speck of color caught her eye, coming from the direction of Ponyville. Her wings shot up in alert, her eyes concentrating on the spot. It was coming closer.
She dug herself deeper into the bushes, secluding her body as best she could. Soon, she could make out the shape of the approaching form. It was a pony alright. And it was.... bouncing?
Her eyes kept their watch. The pony's course was not changing in the slightest, it looked like they were going to pass within a few yards of the HEDGE. She began to realize that as the equine approached, its colors were becoming more distinct. Bit by bit, Dash's face began to devolve into an expression of anguish as she realized that coat was not a lavender hue... but a bright shade of bubblegum pink.
She was also chagrined to find that as the form became clearer, her wings began to stiffen, deploying themselves against her will.
Celestia dammit! she thought. Why do want?!
There was a yipe from a yellow pony as their watchmare suddenly exploded into the HEDGE.
"Fillies." she started, her face wide and panicked, but her voice oddly even and calm. "We've got a situation on our hooves."
Instantly, Twilight and Applejack rushed to her side, Rarity hanging back and watching from a distance. Fluttershy cowered behind her, while Pinkie remained undisturbed, a bubble issuing from her snout as she snoozed.
"Dusk?" the magician flinched as she said the name. "I-is he back?"
"It's not Dusk!" Dash shook her head, before refocusing on Twilight. "It's WORSE."
"Worse?" The apple farmer briefly removed her hat to skritch her mane. "What 'kin be worse than a stallion who can't help pokin' his nose 'round where it don't belong?"
"Here, riddle me this." The pegasus was apparently trying to make light of this situation, though her expression said it was anything but. "What's bouncy, bubbly, makes cupcakes for a living, more than likely has a pet alligator, is at least six kinds of pink, is known for being COMPLETELY unpredictable, and hasn't met his female self yet?"
All eyes directed themselves towards the back, where a party pony napped peacefully. A split-second later, Rainbow, Applejack, and Twilight crammed themselves around the cave's entrance, their pupils shrinking into specks as the intruder bounced closer.
"Sweet Celestia's Mane." the student swore. She would have to apologize to her mentor later.
The colt was built almost as lightly as a filly, though his squared-off snout left little doubt that he was male, despite his bright-pink coat and curled cherry do. On his flank was a familiar trio of blue and yellow balloons. He had his eyes closed, bouncing along quite happily, humming a song to himself. For all intents and purposes, he had no idea of the group of fillies nearby who were scared to death of his existence.
He was not going to pass too far off. As far as they knew, he was on his way to meet the local version of Zecora. Or maybe he was going to pick berries. Who could tell? This was Pinkie Pie's male reflection they were dealing with.
They grew very very quiet as the pony hopped along in front of them. For a second, it looked like he was going to pass, and they could all relax...
... right up until his eyes popped open in surprise, orbs as blue as his double's. He stopped in mid-air, dropped to the ground and stood still, staring into space for a second...
...and then his hindlegs kicked out behind him, seemingly held in place by an invisible force, before they began rotating madly, wheels of pink spinning in the air.
The three watching mares heard the shriek behind them, and turned their heads just in time to see Pinkie Pie jolted awake, her body shooting itself to her feet. Her bright blue eyes widened in surprise as her hindlegs kicked themselves out, before performing windmills at record speed.
"No... No! Nononononono!" Twilight panicked, her eyes as big as dinner plates. "There CAN'T be! Sweet Celestia there CAN'T be a Pinkie Sense for that!!"
The stallion's hindhooves ceased their spinning. He waited for a second, before his forehooves repeated the process, stretching out in front of him, rapidly turning in place like a stroke-swimming pony on coffee.
Pinkie's look of detached confusion continued as her own front limbs began swinging in the air as well, accidentally knocking an apple off the table. "Oops!" she called out. "Sorry about that!"
He found himself standing on all fours again. Blinking, he began looking back and fourth, trying to see if-
Suddenly, his entire body bounced off the ground, before he began spinning in place, a tornado in miniature forming quickly, his mane and tail coloring the vortex a deep pink.
Fluttershy and Rarity had backed themselves up against the other three, as their pink friend became a pony-sized dust-devil, blankets and tablecloths whipping about in the wind.
Applejack's look of pure terror remained as she kept glancing back and forth between the convulsing pony outside, and the convulsing pony inside. A long-time believer of the twitchy-tail, this display of pinkie sense of this size was painting a brand new stripe of respect and fear for her perpetually cheerful friend into the farmer's mind. Who woulda known she'd have a Doozy of THIS magnitude in her?!
"Pinkie!" Dash was calling out to her. "Pinkie, STOP! You're gonna give us away!"
"She can't help it!" Twilight replied, voice filled with despair. "This is it! This is the end of us all!!"
Just as suddenly as it started, the stallion's body screeched to a halt in mid-air. Slowly, he descended like a feather, hooves alighting on the ground with nary a scratch.
He stood there for a full thirty seconds, eyes wide and blinking, waiting to see if anything else would happen. When nothing did, he finally opened his mouth.
"WOW." he said, voice as fizzy as cherry cola. "THAT was a new one!"
"WOW." Pinkie stated, as her feet touched the floor, the area surrounding her a scene of only minor devastation. "I've never felt THAT one before!"
She then 'awp'ed as she found herself the target of an impromptu pony-pile, all five fillies stacking themselves on top of her, restraining her as best they could.
"Pinkie, stay quiet!" Rarity whispered harshly. "One of them is out there!"
"Oh?" The pink pony's ears perked. "I don't hear Spines complaining. Is it somepony else?"
"Y'all could say that." Applejack replied, her hooves wrapped around a bubblegum hindleg. "Just keep yerself still 'n quiet. If we're lucky, he'll go 'way!"
"Who will?" The pie's eyes were wide and curious, apparently not minding being held motionless.
Twilight opened her mouth as if to answer, but somepony else spoke instead.
"Hel-lOOOOOOOoooooo~?" came a singsong voice from the entrance of the HEDGE. Instantly, everypony in the cave stayed very, very still.
"There anypony in there? I mean, If there isn't anypony in there, I understand, but y'see, my Berry Sense just kinda, freaked out right about now, and it usually doesn't do that unless something's about to happen. And I thought I heard somepony yelling over here, and usually whenever my Berry-Sense goes off, and there's yelling closeby, that usually means there's another pony somewhere around here, so I was just curious to know if anypony was around here yelling and stuff, but if there's not then that's TOTALLY absolutely posilutely okay!"
Wow! Pinkie found herself thinking. If I'd been alone and had that Pinkie-sense happen to me, that's what I would have said!
"Hey, hey! If there IS some yelling pony in there, wanna come with me to Ponyville and have a party? I know every pony in Ponyville and if you're a new pony that means you're new and I've never seen you before! And I always throw a 'Welcome new pony to Ponyville!' party whenever we have a new pony in Ponyville!"
The pink filly's eyes had begun to sparkle. "Don't listen to him, Pinkie!" Twilight whispered furiously. "Fluttershy, grab her ears!"
"Oh, by the way, my name is Berry Bubble! Usually ponies call me 'Berry' or "Bubbly' or 'Random', though I don't know why they call me that last one, I mean, it's not even in my name! If you ask my folks, they'll tell you my name's Berriswainer DaVinci Bubble, but that's kinda long and boring, ain't it? I've never known another pony to have gotten such a long and boring name like mine."
OHMIGOSH ME NEITHER! Pinkemena Diane Pie practically shouted in her skull, loud enough for Rarity to give her a funny look.
"But hey, enough about boring ol' Berry-me!" the stallion continued speaking to the shrubbery, completely ignorant to the trio of bunnies that had gathered to watch him, wondering if the pink pony had lost his sanity. "If there IS somepony in there, won'tcha come out and say hi? I've got a lot of friends I'd like you to meet! Oh, and we can have a party to say HI to you!"
"Re-really?" Pinkie quietly asked, a grin on her face. Instantly, her friends pressed down harder on her.
"We can eat cake and cupcakes and muffins and meringue and have lots and lots of PIE~"
The grin creeped wider across her mouth, as those eyes began to shrink in excitement.
"We can drink sugartea and sugar soda and have sugar canes with sundaes and sunrays and SARSPARILLA!"
"He's going on like the Gala!" Twilight realized, before glancing down at her party friend's rapidly expanding smile. "No Pinkie, you can't! You'll doom us all if you do!" she pleaded.
"And we'll have games, like Piñatas and Spin the Bottle and Twister..."
The frizzy-maned pony's face hurt, that grinning expression reaching from ear-to-ear.
"And my most favoritest of favorite fun games~!"
Pinkie's eyes began to cross, as she giddily awaited the words she knew she was going to hear.
"...PIN THE TAIL ON THE PONY!!"
The five mares weren't exactly sure what happened. They hadn't even blinked. One second, they had had their impulsively perky friend thoroughly restrained at every limb. The second after that? They all went 'oof' as they fell into the space that had been previously occupied by a party-loving pony.
Berry was caught quite by surprise as a pink fluffy-haired filly suddenly leapt out of the clump of bushes that he had been talking to, screaming "PIN THE TAIL ON THE PONY?! MINE TOO!!"
He stared at her, taking her in as she landed. She kept a goofy smile on her face before his presence finally registered in her brain, her expression suddenly taking on a mirror-image look of surprise.
There was a scuffle inside the HEDGE as everypony clamored to get a good look at what was going outside. Dash made a motion to dive out there and drag Pinkie back in, but was restrained with a tail-tug from Applejack at the last minute.
"We don't want t' make things any worse!" she whispered.
"WORSE?! There's TWO PINKIE PIES out there, we've already REACHED that point!" the pegasus argued.
"Shush!" Twilight hissed, her eyes focused on the pair as they regarded each other.
Berry blinked. Pinkie blinked back.
They zoomed in to each other, honking noses, trading soul-searching gazes.
They craned their heads to the side, looking at each other's cutiemark, before looking back at their own, and then back again, recognizing the resemblance.
They zoomed in circles, looking at each other's tails. In synchronous motions, they twitched their tails side-to-side.
They backed up into each other, their manes compressing as the backs of their heads met. Each one reached a hoof back to poke at each other's hair.
They assumed a very compromising position, ying-yang style with Pinkie laying on her back as she inspected her double's hindquarters, Berry standing above her as his eyes examined her own haunches.
Finally, they resumed their original poses, standing in front of each other, blinking, with surprised looks on their faces.
They held this for a few seconds, before they reared up, smiles blossoming on both their faces as they spoke in stereo.
"HI! My name's-"
They both stopped, before breaking out into giggles. Pinkie waved a hoof at him. "You go!"
He did. "Hi! My name's Berry Bubble, and I love to throw parties!"
"Hi Berry Bubble!" she cheered. "My name's Pinkie Pie, and I love to throw parties too!"
"Hi Pinkie Pie! Ohmygosh, REALLY? Me too! I especially love all the candy and the streamers and the dance music-"
"-and the fruit punch and the decorations and the party games! Those are all always so awesome-saucsome!" she finished his exclamation herself.
They pointed hooves at each other as they once more spoke at the same time. "Hey! Can I call you Berry/Pinkie? Sure you can!"
"So!" the colt proclaimed, giving a hopeful look to his female half. "You wanna go have a PARTY?"
"I'd LOVE to go have a party!" Pinkie exclaimed, hooves waving in the air. "Where at? Oh! Wanna go to Sugarcube Corner?"
"Are you kidding, I practically LIVE there! Actually, I do live there, cause I work for the Cakes too y'know, and they're really super-nice ponies for letting me do so, I mean, I get to help make cupcakes and croissants and cakes and crumbles and did I already mention cupcakes? I think it's the PERFECT place for a party! Yeah, let's go to Sugarcube Corner!"
"Ohmygosh, REALLY? Me too! Let's go to Sugarcube Corner!"
And with that, Berry turned around and began to hop in the opposite direction, back towards Ponyville. Only this time, he was accompanied by a new friend, a bubblegum mare that alternated bounce right behind him, as full of energy and cheer as himself.
And that's how Equestria was unmade.
"WE'VE GOT TO DO SOMETHING!!"
"I KNOW WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING!!"
"WHY AREN'T WE DOING SOMETHING?!"
"BECAUSE WE'RE YELLING!!"
"WHY ARE WE YELLING?!"
"GIRLS!" Twilight interjected herself between Applejack and Rainbow Dash, hooves pushing the quarreling ponies apart. "Get a hold of yourselves! This is no time to panic!"
"Twilight, you're one to talk!" Rarity shrieked. "If there ever was a time to panic, THIS is IT!"
"Um, excuse me, but..."
"We've done gone unleashed the Ponyocalypse on Equestria!" the farmer cried out, the sheer amount of terror in her voice drowning out her accent. "TWO Pinkie Pies!! We could barely handle ONE! What're THEY gonna do with TWO of them?!"
"I-I should be able to get her back!" Dash suggested weakly. "Nothing big! Just zoom out there, scoop her up, and high-tail it back here! I'll get it done in Ten-"
"No Rainbow!" the violet unicorn yelled, blocking the pegasus' path. "We can't have you flying in broad daylight, ponies will see you, and then we'll have an incident like the day before last!"
"Uhm... Twilight... if you'd-"
"Well, somepony has to go out there!" Rarity exclaimed, eyes looking furtively back and forth between the exit, and her friends. "I-I mean, I'd be more than willing to go, but I don't know if-"
"Nah-ah." was the response she got. "Don't think I forgot about yesterday. You're staying put. End of discussion."
"END. OF. DISCUSSION."
"Then that leaves just me n' Fluttershy!" Applejack brayed, her stance suddenly taking on a determined set. "We kin' do this, sugarcube! Ah'll head 'em off at th' pass and git Pinkie lassoed up 'n hogtied, y'just keep her coltfriend busy while ah drag 'er back-"
A voice rarely heard raised, tended to get noticed. Everypony quieted down as they directed their attention towards the yellow pony.
"Um... yes, Fluttershy?"
She looked down, cheeks tinted at her outburst. "Um... Not that the... that the situation with Pinkie isn't bad... but we've also... got another problem..." She looked to the white rabbit sitting by her side as she bit her lip-
wait. The white rab-
"For Pete's sake!" Rainbow cried out, facehoofing.
"Everypony, I'd like for you to meet Angela. She slipped in here during all the confusion, and she's, well, she's rather adamant about going back out there and telling Butterscotch about us, so..."
The white mare rolled her eyes, her horn lit as she probed in her saddlebags to see if she'd packed a cage. "Not that I don't blame the little darling, but could she wait until later? Now's really not the best time."
"Uhm, that's what I've been trying to tell her... b-but- eep!" Fluttershy winced as the lapine tapped her with an impatient hind leg. "Sh-she just won't listen to reason..."
Twilight had had enough of these horseapples. Her horn lit up, and Applejack had to jump as their makeshift pantry suddenly shapeshifted into a hutch. Without ceremony, Angela was levitated, tossed into the enclosure, and locked in. The bunny gave her a glare full of daggers in return.
"That's another day gone, thanks to that." the unicorn grumped, head throbbing from the exertion. Or frustration. She couldn't tell at this point, and she didn't care. "Fluttershy, I charge you with guard duty. Applejack..." she turned away from a shocked pegasus, towards the earth pony. "Gear up. You're going after Pinkie Pie. Every minute we wait is another minute where she's free to do as much damage to this world as she wants, without even realizing it!"
"Ah'm on it, Twilight!" The orange equine reared up as she tilted her hat forward, stomping towards the HEDGE exit. "Ah'll have 'er back in two shakes of ah pony's tail-!"
"And where do you think you're going, dressed like that?" Rarity interjected herself in front of Applejack, blocking her path. "You're well aware that before you even step foot outside, we must have you adorned in a disguise, correct?"
The applebucker sputtered, before glaring in consternation. "Dis-GAUI-ses?! We ain't got no time fer dis-gaui-ses, Rarity! If ah'm t' make any time t' catch them two a'fore they blow up Ponyville, ah need t' make like a tree an' drop apples!"
"While I agree with you on principle, Rarity, I have to side with Applejack with this one." Twilight looked from behind the blonde pony, giving the dressmaker a look. "We simply don't have the time to properly guise her up on the level we would do for a shopping excursion!"
"Oh, don't worry my dears!" the white mare beamed a smile at her compatriots, before casting her eyes on a folded dress in a corner. "What I have in mind won't take long at all!"
It's a beautiful day in Ponyville today, Elusive thought to himself. Though I must admit, every day will seem grey and cloudy now, that SHE is no longer in my life!
He had been on his way to the Luxury Lotus spa, for his usual meet-up with Butterscotch. He really needed it today, he felt. Having your soulmate wrested away from you after only a single day of togetherness had worn on him hard. And according to the words *however wild they sounded* of his friends, his pegasus friend had recently undergone a similar ordeal. Today, he would cover the cost of both his and his friend's sessions. Nevermind that they were already given discounts for being about the only males in town who openly visited the establishment.
Ponies say what they will about the two colts, he would hear none of it. The Spa was a wonderful place to relax, and Alex and Lexi were always such joys to be around. And he had to admit, the masseur that usually gave his special, Quakehoof, had a certain charm about them...
"Hi Elusive! Bye Elusive!"
The stallion had to bring himself up short as a pink colt bounced right into his path, and then right back out, his constant cheerful manner bubbling as always. It took a second for his heart to recover itself, a relieved smile spread across his muzzle as he reminded himself that it was just Berry, being Berry, as he was usually want to do-
"Hi Pony-who-looks-just-like-my-best-friend-Rarity! Bye Pony-who-looks-just-like-my-best-friend-Rarity!"
His heart DID stop this time, as a filly-flavored afterimage of his friend landed right in front of him, before continuing on, following close behind the original. The two of them were bouncing towards Sugarcube Corner.
"B... B-bu..." the suitmaker stammered, Dusk's words from last night now resurfacing in his head. "T... Two? Two B-Berry Bubbles?! Oh... Ohh my goodness... oh, Oh my stars... OoooOOOOH Sweet Solaris!"
With a hoof to his forehead, Elusive's eyes rolled back as he fainted dead away right there on the street.
A jangle of the door sounded behind 'Mrs' Cake as she put the last of the carrot and raisin muffins into the display case, a cross-eyed customer watching the scene with rapt attention. "Oh, hello!" she greeted loudly, her eyes not really directed towards the newcomer.
"Hi Mrs Cake!" came the cheerful reply. Her eyes simply smiled as she recognized the voice, its pink source bouncing past her into the kitchen.
"Welcome home dear!" she called out.
"Hi Mrs Cake!" came yet another cheerful reply, noticeably higher-pitched than the first, its pink source bouncing past her into the kitchen.
"Welcome, dearie~" she automatically replied, closing the door to the display counter and turning to pick up a tray of meringue cookies, when her eyes shot open in realization. Did I just greet Berry twice?
There was a clop of hooves as the bright yellow pony galloped to the kitchen door. As she looked inside, she had to restrain from letting her jaw hit the floor. For inside of her store, there were a pair of pink ponies that were happily hopping about on the floor, following each other in circles, for no apparent reason other than for the pure sake of hopping. Two ponies that seemed neigh indistinguishable from each other in terms of color and energy, save that one was obviously a mare.
"B-Berry!" Mrs Cake gaped, trying to wrap her mind around it. "W-w-who's this? D-did you find a new friend?"
The colt and filly ceased their antics, as they faced the shop owner with a smile. "Hi Mrs Cake!" Berry bubbled, earlier greeting apparently forgotten. "Yes indeedily I did! This is Pinkie Pie, Mrs Cake, and she's my newest and bestest friend in Ponyville!"
"Hi Mrs Cake!" the strange filly greeted, leaping into the air in a manner disturbingly similar to Berry's. "I've heard a lot about Sugarcube Coner and I've always wanted to come visit, but I've been busy being kept in a cave, so I haven't had a chance until now to visit! I'm so glad to finally see the place, even if it may be like I HAVE seen it all before, but that would be silly, it's not like I fell out of a dimension that's just like this one, save that everypony's genders are opposite, right?"
Pinkie was aware that she should be holding her existence a secret. She was trying. It just wasn't working very well. She had forgotten to Pinkie-Pie swear on it after all.
"R-r-right..." the baker stammered, eyes quickly flicking from one pink pony to the other.
"She's a new Pony in Ponyville, so I'm gonna throw her one of my special Berryriffic Berry Bubble Bashes, to give her a proper welcome! It's going to be SUPER SPECTACULAR!" The colt was waving his hooves in the air.
"WOW, now that I think of it, I've NEVER had a Welcome-new-pony-to-Ponyville party thrown JUST for li'l ol' Pinkie-me!" his double gushed. "OH! I bet we could combine your Berryriffic Berry Bubble Bash with my patent pending Pinkielicious Pinkie Pie PARTY! It'd be SUPER DUPER SPECTACULAR!!"
"*Gaaaaaaaasp* WHAT A GREAT IDEA!!" Berry cried out, grabbing his new friend's hooves and dancing in-place with her. "It'll be AMAZING! The most AMAZINGLY Amazingest Mazey maze that ever amazed!"
The duo then brought their heads together, as their curled manes pressed up against each other. The following left their mouth in stereo.
"It'll be the BIGGEST, BESTEST and most AMAZINGLYEST Party in ALL of EQUESTRIA!!"
Slowly, 'Mrs' Cake backed up through the door, her eyes not leaving the scene of the twin plotting party ponies as they continued animatedly chatting to one another. "I'll get the balloons!" Pinkie was offering enthusiastically.
"And I'll get the streamers!" the bubblegum colt returned, his face matching Pinkie's grin.
"I'll get the food!"
"I'll get the hot sauce!"
"I'll get the invitations!"
"I'll get the games!"
The elderly mare pressed herself up against the wall next to the door with panicked eyes, as their list went on.
"I'll get the cupcakes!"
"I'll get the ribbons!"
"I'll get the punch!"
"I'll get the live band!"
"And I'll get the alligators!"
"Great! It's not a party without Gummy!"
"Is that everything we need?"
"Hmm, I think so. Though you can never tell! Let's add anything else we can think of along the way!"
There was a mess of giggling that made 'Mrs' Cake want to run her hooves through her red mane. She then proceeded to yipe as Berry leapt out of the kitchen in his usual bouncing manner, Pinkie right behind him.
"See ya Mrs Cake! Me and Pinkie're gonna go shopping for our party! OH! We need to remember the piñatas!" the stallion gushed, turning back to look at his femme self.
"Yeah!" She bubbled happily. "And the sugarcubes and sugarcanes, and the Sundaes and sunrays-"
"-AND SARSPARILLA!!" they bonked their heads together as they sang that last part in harmony. At this point, the Corner's few present patrons were openly staring as the shocking, not to mention frightening, display of pink.
"We'll be back soon Mrs Cake!" the frizzy-maned mare turned to the baker, and fixed her blue eyes on the perplexed pony. "When we get back, we're gonna have a Party soooooo big, EVERYPONY in Ponyville'll be invited! See ya soon!!"
With that, the two ponies bounced their way out the door unimpeded. "Heya Pony-who-looks-like Miss Linky! Oh hi Pony-who-looks-like-Ditzy-Doo! Be safe delivering the mail today!"
A silence followed after their departure, nopony making any movements for a full minute, waiting to see if they would return. At length, the blonde-haired pegasus colt that had been single-eying the muffins before, slowly turned to the store proprietor.
"Should... Should I cull the Mayo?" he asked, crossed oculars both displaying looks of worry.
"N-not yet, Derpy. I-I mean... Berry's always been a kind soul..." 'Mrs' Cake tried to sound more reassuring than she actually felt. "It's just that... sweet honeybuns with icing, that filly he found! She's an absolute match to him! If she's his new fillyfriend... " both the grey stallion and yellow mare shared a shiver. "Then may Solaris help us all!"
Derpy looked back at the door for a few seconds, brows knitted in thought, before his eyes snapped open. Apparently, the scene with the pink equines had distracted him enough to forget the purpose of his visit. Turning to the baker again, he simply stated. "Muffins."
"Oh... o-oh, yes! Sorry about that dear. I'll get them right out to you."
She grabbed a pair of tongs and lifted out one of those freshly-baked pastries, the customer's golden eyes alight with reverence as the thing was held aloft over a bag-
The door jingled again.
Apparently, her nerves were shot, as the tongs slipped out of her lips, muffin sent flying through the air. Disaster was averted however. Derpy hadn't become Mid-air Snacker Champion of Trottingham for nothing.
"O-oh, ah'm sorry." came a voice from the door. "Ah didn't mean t' disturb y'alls."
"It's alright." 'Mrs' Cake soothed, collecting her wits as she made it back around the counter. "Hello, and welcome to Sugarcube Corner! What can I get for... oh hey! I remember you! Hello again!"
"H'lo~" the orange traveling earth-pony drawled. The elderly mare wasn't sure, but there seemed to be a tint of nervousness to her voice. She was also certain that the bright yellow sun-dress that the freckled horse was wearing, was a new addition as well.
"Decided to come back, eh?" The baker found herself relaxing as she spoke. "Care for another cup of coffee? I've got a pot brewing in the back, it'll be a minute still."
"Thank ya fer th' offer, but that's not what ah'm here fer." the farmer spoke, a hoof going up and rubbing the back of her head. "Ma'am, Ah... ah've got a mighty unusual question..."
A curious look. "Go ahead dear, let's hear it."
"Y'all wouldn't 'ave happen'd t' have seen mah friend around here, wouldja? She kindah got 'way from me, and ah've been lookin' all over Ponyville fer her!"
"O-oh?" The store owner felt a suspicion bubbling in the back of her mind. "Can you describe her? I mean, we did see somepony new today, but... well you know, just to be sure..."
The traveler's green eyes gave her a flat look. "She's pink."
"Oh THANK Solaris." Everypony in the store let out a whoosh of breath they didn't know they'd been holding.
"We saw her!" a blue stallion with a curly do stated. "She was with Berry! Freakiest thing I've ever seen!"
"Berry Bubble is an employee of ours." 'Mrs' Cake explained. "He's a good soul, but has way too much energy in his body. And your friend... Pinkie Pie, right?" There was a nod. "She looks and acts essentially like a filly version of our Berry, from what we've seen! It was all I could do to keep from calling for help the instant they entered the Corner together!"
"Dagnabbit, Pinkie!" the blonde pony muttered under her breath. Out-loud, she continued questioning. "Where're they now? Ah think ah kin' save Equestria from a party o' apocalyptic per'portions, if ah kin' find 'em in time!"
"They bent to the store!" Derpy exclaimed. "Dropping for hearty surprise!"
"Thank'yah Ditzy-! er, ah mean, uhm, thank'yah, mister!" The traveling equine appeared to be tripping over her own tongue, cheeks blushing in frustration. "Sorry fer not buyin' anythin', but ah need tah run! Thank y'all Mister-! Agh, Misses Cake!"
"Don't worry about it, hon!" the baker replied, waving a hoof. "Good luck! We're counting on you!" she added as the gaily-dressed pony turned around and galloped out the door, bell jingling as it closed.
Another pause of silence came and went, before the proprietor narrowed her eyes, dug her head back into the display case, and sat the tray full of muffins back on the counter.
"I decree today to be Free Muffins Dooms-Day. Everypony dig in. We may not have a lot of time left before they return."
"MUFFINS!" Derpy Doo cried out joyously, as he leapt into the air for a swan-dive, the question of why he had been called 'Ditzy' twice having completely slipped his mind.
To Be Continued...
ON THE NEXT CROSS AND ARROW
"It's a MYSTERYYYYY~!" Pinkie offered, bouncing up between the two orange ones, Berry in step behind her. "And one that you're going to have to WAIT for!"
The farming colt gave Pinkie a look that said she'd just claimed she was a moon-pony. "Really? How d'y'all figure THAT?"
"Be-CAAAAuuuUSE my HOOVES are itchy!" she sang, shuffling her feet in the dirt. Instantly, Applejack's ears perked, as she began scanning the ponies on the street. "And that means you're gonna have'tah CHASE US!!"
"Pinkie!" the blond mare gaped, looking warily about with panic in her eyes. "He don't know anythin' bout yer Sense, why cain't yah keep yer pie-hole shut and let it all-"
Dusk Shine suddenly rounded about from behind a building's corner, Spines on his back. His expression had been calm and content, at least up to when he spied the open-doored state of the Joke shop. His purple eyes cast about the crowd...
... and instantly zoned in on her own green ones.