The music has died, you're ready to run
But you don't have a clue
This party hasn't ended yet not for me and you
Now you're just pretending
You're hiding from yourself
Yes you are, yes you are
Like golden rays of sun in the cloud
We're meant to be one, I know we are
If I am the sky then you are my star
Pinkie Pie stood in the middle of Sugarcube Corner and surveyed her handiwork.
"Pinkie Pie," she said to herself. "I know I say this to you... or do I mean 'me'?... every month, but you've gone and outdone yourself..." She cocked her head in thought. "Or do I mean 'myself'? Oh, I can never work that out!"
The bakery was a riot of streamers and ribbons and crepe-paper and confetti, and brightly-coloured balloons floated up to the ceiling in bunches. The tables were covered with white cloths and party snacks - cookies and muffins and sugar cubes and potato chips and soda and punch and sarsaparilla and vanilla lemon drops and hot dogs and cream cakes and hot sauce. And there were party poppers and sparklers and party horns and party hats - everything that a successful Pinkie Pie-party demanded, and not a single element forgotten!
Every month, Mr and Mrs Cake would leave Pinkie in charge of Sugarcube Corner while they went on a short trip to Fillydelphia to buy ingredients for the bakery, and Pinkie would put up a sign outside the window saying "Sorry! Closed for Cleaning! (But open again super-soon - and that's a Pinkie-promise!)"
But the truth was she wasn't really cleaning. She'd busy herself all morning baking and cooking and stirring and pouring and kneading, until she turned into a ghost of flour and confectioner's sugar, and knobs of butter and chocolate spotted her curly pink hair.
And then she'd get to work on the decorations, painting the banner and blowing up all the balloons, until her pink face went red with puffing. She'd put out all the punch and the sarsaparilla and the cakes and the other baked goods, and of course her very own super-favourite hot sauce. And then she would go and clean the kitchen and take a bath and pretty herself up, curling her hair - Gummy the alligator never seemed to mind helping her do this, and he was so much better at it than a silly-old curling iron! - and she'd put on her super-most-favouritest party dress. And then she'd come out and look over all the preparations, making sure that everything was absolutely perfect for her super-special guest. And last of all she'd stand in the middle of Sugarcube Corner like a queen surveying her empire, and her eyes would settle on the banner, and as she read the pink words painted there on a field of all the colours of the rainbow, she'd smile and say it to herself so she could hear what was written there as well:
"Welcome to Your Surprise Party, Rainbow Dash!"
It happened the same way every month, and today was no exception.
Pinkie looked at the locked door and the shuttered windows, checking that there was no way that any pony could be spying on her. Then she cantered up to the locked door and putting on her brightest, most brilliant and beamingest, most powerful and perky Pinkie Pie smile, she suddenly shouted "SURPRISE!"
Taking the imaginary hoof of an imaginary Rainbow Dash in her own, she said, "I'm so pleased that you decided to come!" and she lead her into the centre of the room and showed her all of the party's preparations with a sweep of a hoof.
"I hope you like it!" she asked. "It was SUPER difficult to try and remember all the colours of the rainbow - and the order they come in! I mean, there's JUST SO MANY - red, orange, yellow, blue, yellow, red, yellow... and I'm SURE there's an indigo or violet or something in there as well!""
She nodded in response to an imaginary question. "It WAS a lot of work, but it was SO totally worth it to see the smile on your face, Rainbow Dash!"
"Other guests? Oh no! This is a special private party. Only Pinkie and Dash! And what's the occasion? Well, it's... um, well... a surprise!"
"And what's the surprise?" she asked, repeating the question that imaginary Rainbow Dash would inevitably ask. "Well, the surprise is that there's something I..." Pinkie's heart was beating fast, and she felt as though she was going to explode. Maybe even twice! "Well, there's something I want to tell you..."
Pinkie always hesitated at this point. Even though Rainbow Dash wasn't really there, in Pinkie's heart she felt as though she truly was. And the embarrassment and nervousness that Pinkie felt was almost too much for the little pink pony to bear!
"The truth is... you see, what I'm trying to say is... the thing about it is... well, actually, I... aaaaaaaaaahhhhh!" Pinkie leapt forward and hugged the air, and even though Dash wasn't there, tears were rolling down her cheeks as she cried out:
"I LOVE YOU RAINBOW DASH!"
And every month it would happen the same way. She'd fall onto the floor, covering her sopping eyes with her hooves, and she'd sob her heart out, until it seemed as though she couldn't remember what laughter was, and her whole universe was a broken dream of her broken heart.
Twilight Sparkle was on her way home to the library with Spike and Rainbow Dash. As they passed by Sugarcube Corner the pegasus pony was swooping about them in little dives, showing off her latest trick.
"And so then I pull in my wings to reduce wind resistance, and I just TOTALLY go for it..."
Suddenly, there was an eruption of noise from inside Sugarcube Corner. There was the sound of ripping material, of balloons popping, glass breaking, and pots and pans clashing and clanging together.
"What in Equestria is going on in there?" asked Twilight, as great white clouds of flour and confectioner's sugar billowed out of the chimney and covered the roof like snow.
Spike frowned. "It sounds like somepony's getting the beat down!"
Rainbow Dash laughed. "Oh, don't mind THAT. It's just Pinkie Pie cleaning! She does it every month..." She flew up to them and hovered close by as she whispered, "But don't bother offering to help her. She'll just say "Oh, Rainbow Dash! Thanks for being such a SUPER KIND friend! But this is something I have to do ALL by my Pinkie-self!"
Spike laughed. "That Pinkie Pie - she's so random!" But as they walked away, Rainbow Dash turned back, a frown on her face. An eerie silence had suddenly settled over Sugarcube Corner and she thought she could hear the soft sounds of somepony... crying?
"Nah. Couldn't be," she thought to herself. "I mean, Pinkie's the only one in there. And Pinkie Pie... crying?" She burst out laughing at the thought, then she turned and flew after Twilight and Spike, and the laughter of the three of them after she told them what she'd imagined rang throughout the whole Town Square.
A week later, Pinkie Pie was on her delivery run for the Cakes. They'd just come back from Fillydelphia with all sorts of new flavours of frosting and sprinkles and sugar-decorations, and Pinkie had spent the previous evening taste-testing them all.
"Oh Pinkie Pie!" Mrs Cake had chuckled tolerantly as the little pink pony devoured a bag of star-shaped sugar-decorations. She and Mr Cake were always careful to bring back twice as much as they needed, knowing full well that Pinkie's "testing" would make a sizeable hole in their stock. "You always seem so hungry when we come back from our little trip!"
Mr Cake was stirring a pot of batter, and he dropped the wooden spoon from his mouth to say, "Now, Pinkie - don't eat too quickly, or else you'll give yourself a stomach ache!"
Pinkie looked up from the bag, her cheeks puffed out and full of treats. She looked chagrined, and she nodded.
"Ih bwon't..." she'd said in a voice muffled with candy.
But she had eaten too quickly, and the next morning she had woken up with a tummy-ache just as Mr Cake had warned her. As she trotted along the cobbled streets of Ponyville with the delivery basket in her mouth, her stomach grumbled in annoyance.
"I'm reeeeally sorry, tummy!" she thought, "But with YOU aching, I can't feel that other part ache as much!"
The morning's deliveries went by quickly. First she had a chocolate roulade to deliver to Bon-Bon, and some blueberry tarts for Lyra, and she found the two of them lounging around in the park as usual.
"Say - the two of you haven't seen Fluttershy today, have you?" asked Pinkie as she handed over the baked goods. "She usually orders a carrot cake for Angel Bunny, but it's not on my list today..."
Lyra shook her head. "I haven't seen her." She turned to her earth pony friend. "Have you seen her, Bon-Bon?"
"Of course I haven't, Lyra!" Bon-Bon replied in exasperation. "And you know I haven't! You've been here with me the whole morning! Just like every other morning..." she muttered under her breath.
"Thanks anyway!" said Pinkie, but as she turned to leave, she said, "You know - you two make SUCH an ADORABLE couple!" and chuckled.
Lyra and Bon Bon looked at each other in surprise as Pinkie trotted away, whistling to herself.
"Did she say... 'couple'?" asked Bon Bon, eyes wide.
Lyra nodded. "I think so," she replied. Her eyes sparkled. Had... had the moment finally come? After so many years of waiting?
Bon-Bon laughed loudly. "Oh that Pinkie Pie! What a ridiculous thing to say!"
Lyra nodded, but then her bottom lip started to quiver and she turned away so that Bon-Bon couldn't see the tears welling in her eyes.
Next on Pinkie's list was:
"A vanilla lemon meringue for Cloud Kicker!"
Cloud Kicker was with the rest of the Weather Control Squad in the middle of their training regime, flying circuits around Froggy Bottom Bog. But where was Rainbow Dash? As the commander of the squad she was usually in the lead shouting and egging them all on. But today she was nowhere to be seen! Pinkie sighed. Where WERE all her friends this morning?
The rest of the morning went by quickly. Pinkie delivered liqueur-filled chocolate éclairs for Berry Bright, the overprotective parent pony, and of course a teeny-tiny cupcake for her super-cute little foal who was always hiding behind her flank!
And for Ponyville's mail pony -
"Muffins!" said Derpy in delight as she took them from Pinkie and put them in her saddlebag.
"Say, Derpy," asked Pinkie, "Have you seen Twilight Sparkle today? You usually have some packages for her from Canterlot..."
Derpy shook her head.
"Oh well... enjoy the muffins, Derpy!" said Pinkie as she trotted away.
"Muffins!" Derpy nodded enthusiastically, then flew away.
Finally, Pinkie reached the end of her list: a special delivery for Caramel out in the fields at Sweet Apple Acres.
The brown-maned pony was helping the Apple family with the sowing, and he looked left and right to make sure Big Macintosh was nowhere in sight as he took his favourite caramel tarts from Pinkie.
"Thanks Pinkie Pie!" he said. "I'm sorry to do this all so secretively, but Big Macintosh wouldn't be happy if he knew my secret..."
"Secret?" asked Pinkie Pie.
Caramel whispered in her ear. "I HATE apples. And that's all they ever give us for lunch here on the farm. Apple strudel, apple pie, apple... bumpkin," He stuck out his tongue in disgust. "I don't even like caramel apples!"
Pinkie laughed. "Your secret is totally safe with me, Caramel. I won't tell anypony!" She looked suddenly serious. "I mean, secrets are no laughing matter, are they?" She looked around at the ponies in the distance working in the fields, ploughing and sowing. "Hey Caramel, have you seen Applejack around?"
Caramel shook his head. "Nope, sorry. I think she went out this morning - she said she had to do something important."
"Oh, okay. Thanks anyway!" replied Pinkie, as she waved goodbye.
Oh, how she wished she'd been able to run into one of her friends on her deliveries this morning! Even her tummy ache couldn't distract her from those silly black thoughts that were buzzing around her like horse-flies! She sighed again.
"Oh no! That's FIVE sighs already today!" she exclaimed. "That's a new Pinkie Pie record!" She hadn't sighed that many times since... well, since she'd been a little Twinkie Pie, frightened by those ghosties outside her window at night! Something was definitely wrong with her. Usually, the secret party she prepared for Rainbow Dash every month made her feel a bit better, once she'd cried out all those bad feelings... but this time things were different.
"Maybe..." She shook her head. No, it couldn't be! "Maybe the party inside me has... ended?" But her twitches hadn't predicted a doozy, and those twitches were never, EVER wrong!
As she was standing in the middle of the street that led back into the centre of Ponyville, thinking over everything that had happened, Spike came running up. The little purple dragon was out of breath when he reached her, and he leaned up against a street light to catch it.
Pinkie was overjoyed to see him. "Spike! I'm so pleased to see you!"
Spike started to reply, but nothing came out except for panting and puffing.
"What's the matter?"
"Puh... Puh... Puh..." gasped Spike.
"Ooooooh! A guessing game!" Pinkie stamped her hooves in joy. "So you're thinking of a word... and it starts with a `P'?"
"Puh... Puh..." Spike repeated, pressing a claw against his chest.
"Puh... puh... pains?" guessed Pinkie. "Chest pains? You're suffering from chest pains?"
Spike nodded, but then shook his head. "Nuh... nuh..."
Pinkie looked at him quizzically. "Oh? It starts with an 'N'? ...NOT chest pains?"
Sweat poured down Spike's face, and he put a claw up to tell Pinkie to stop.
"Oh," the pink pony replied in disappointment. "I only get two guesses? Doesn't everypony get three guesses in a guessing game?"
"It's not a guessing game, Pinkie Pie!" shouted Spike at last. He wiped the sweat from his face and took hold of one of Pinkie's forelegs. "You've got to come with me! Something big is happening!"
Pinkie's eyes grew wide. "A doozy?!" she cried.
Spike nodded. "The dooziest of ALL doozies!"