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(A collaborative effort between Sparkler and Quill)


The other ponies finally had Pinkie Pie's surprise birthday party all set up in Applejack's barn. After they got rid of Pinkie so they could finish setting up the decorations, they hadn't seen her for the rest of the day -- this was odd, considering how desperately Pinkie wanted to know what was going on around Ponyville. Normally, she didn't give up quite that easily. Rainbow Dash got picked to go find Pinkie, since she was by far the fastest of the ponies. Rainbow Dash decided to start at the most likely place to find Pinkie Pie -- her room. She knocked on the door, and it swung open, revealing a disturbing sight. She had a small party set up at a table, and seated at the table with her were her guests of honor -- a pile of rocks, a bag of flour, a ball of lint, and a bucket of turnips. Normally, anywhere you found Pinkie Pie was always bright, energetic, cheery... instead, Rainbow Dash couldn't help but pick up a thoroughly creepy vibe from the scene. Even Pinkie herself looked very much out of sorts. Her usually perky, curly mane and tail hung flat, drooping down listlessly. Rainbow Dash cautiously walked inside.

         "Hey there, Pinkie Pie... sorry about earlier, but I had someplace to be, you know how it goes, right?" Rainbow Dash asked with a nervous chuckle. Pinkie Pie glared at her.

         "Oh, I know how it goes, all right," she muttered angrily through clenched teeth.

         "Uh... right. Say, you should come on down to Sweet Apple Acres with me!" Rainbow Dash said, abruptly changing the subject.

         "No thanks. I'm having a party here. With my REAL friends," she added bitterly. "Isn't that right, Madame LeFlour?" she asked, turning to face the bag of flour. "Oui, Madame, that is correct!" Pinkie Pie said in an awful impression of Fluttershy's voice, not even trying to hide the fact she was pretending to make an inanimate object speak. Rainbow Dash stared incredulously.

         "Uh, Pinkie Pie..." she started, but was interrupted as Gummy bounced by on top of a balloon, startling her. "Listen," Rainbow Dash said as she walked towards Pinkie Pie, "what do you say we get out of Creepytown here, and head on over to Applejack's..." Rainbow Dash was cut off by the stool holding Mr. Turnip, the bucket of turnips, being slid over to block her path.

         "She's not going anywhere," Pinkie Pie said in a different voice, this one in a forced southern accent to imitate Applejack. She ran back to the other side of the table, where she was standing before. "That's right," she said in her normal voice, "I most certainly am not! I'm having a wonderful time right here!"

         "I really think you should come with me," Rainbow Dash said insistently, walking forward once again. This time, the stool holding Rocky, the pile of rocks, was slid in Rainbow Dash's way.

         "You heard the lady! She ain't goin' nowheres, chump!" said Pinkie, mimicking Rainbow Dash's own voice.

         "Who are you callin' a chump, CHUMP?!" Rainbow Dash retorted angrily. She forcibly shoved Rocky back, causing it to break apart and tumble to the floor.  Pinkie looked shocked at first, but then gave Rainbow Dash an angry leer. She ran over to the dust clump she had named Sir Lintcelot, and shook its stool.

         "Gasp! Why darling, that pony ruffian knocked Rocky over!" said Pinkie, mimicking Rarity's voice. She quickly switched over to Mr. Turnip across the table. "Golly, she's so ungrateful. She didn't even try the cake!" Pinkie finally popped up behind the table, across from Rainbow Dash. "Yeah, Dash! You didn't even try the cake!" yelled Pinkie in her own voice. Rainbow Dash looked around nervously at Pinkie's "friends" and backed away slowly, her wings cautiously unfurling.

         "Uh... yeah, cake," muttered Rainbow Dash. "Really, I think we should go now, Pinkie. We've got a surprise for you out at Sweet Apple Acres!" she said as she nodded over towards the door with a worried smile. An angry, distressed Pinkie was desperately trying to get Rocky back together.


         Pinkie Pie's face twitched noticeably, contorting briefly with insanity and a completely blank, far-off look complete with small pupils and huge irises washed over her face. Rainbow Dash suddenly found herself grabbed from across the room and planted squarely onto the stool where "Rocky" was originally sitting. She was used to Pinkie's randomness, but everything was happening too fast. Pinkie grabbed and squeezed Rainbow Dash's cheeks in a cartoon-ish fashion as she spoke with a playfully demented tone of voice.

         "Would you like some cake, Rocky?" Pinkie asked no one in particular. "Why yes, Pinkie," she answered herself in the Rocky voice, "I would like some cake!" She glared at Rainbow Dash and switched back to her own voice, a rising crescendo of anger. "I WOULD LIKE SOME CAKE!" Rainbow Dash was too confused by Pinkie's randomness to fight back -- she never realized Pinkie might have been more off the deep end than she anticipated, until...


         Rainbow Dash was clocked in the noggin by a slice of cake... with a large piece of Rocky inside. The room swam, her vision blurred, and she fell to the ground. Little gray, wall-eyed pegasus ponies flew around her head, and one last thought went through her mind before her eyes closed and her consciousness slipped away: "I've gotta get out of here!"


         "IT'S SOON!" yelled Pinkie as she shoved her face up against Rainbow Dash's. "You said soon, and now it's soon!" Rainbow Dash's eyes fluttered open as she regained consciousness. Her vision was still blurry, but the field of pink that took up most of her vision was quite blatantly Pinkie. Dash could smell the sugary smell of sweets wafted through the air followed by the overwhelming taste of caramel from the candy apple used to gag her. She blinked, and as things started to come back into focus, she could make out other things past Pinkie. Dash could see candy-making ingredients and large machines designed for the making of confections -- she realized it had to be a candy factory somewhere at or near Sugarcube Corner. Memories of what transpired not long ago suddenly played back in Rainbow Dash's mind. She tried to struggle free, but found her wings and forelegs were tied against her body with colorful party streamers. Even though they were made from simple, thin tissue paper, there were so many layers that it made quite effective rope. Rainbow Dash's feet dangled helplessly a few feet from the ground. She had been hung from the ceiling. With no leverage, Rainbow Dash was trapped for the time being.

         "Mmmph?! Phhh-kph phh! Hnnng!" Rainbow Dash tried to call for help but found that the sticky caramel apple shoved into her mouth quite easily prevented that. The apple was too large for Rainbow Dash to spit out or bite into, so for the moment, it wasn't going anywhere. "Is this some kind of crazy Pinkie prank?" She wondered silently to herself. If it was, it certainly wasn't very funny at all. Pinkie popped out of view suddenly, before popping back into Rainbow Dash's sight from above.

         "It's time for a PARTY!" yelled Pinkie as she disappeared and popped back into view at Dash's side. "Because you're my very very very best friend and I said soon, and you said 'See you later party gator!'" said Pinkie as she waved goodbye mockingly. She quickly disappeared and popped in below her Dash time, briefly lifting her up onto Pinkie's head. Rainbow Dash's eyes spun briefly from whipping around, trying to follow Pinkie's erratic movements. "And, and, and..."


         "YOU LIED TO ME!" growled Pinkie as she popped out of view one last time, leaving Rainbow Dash hanging and spinning around slowly. Rainbow Dash's eyes widened in terror as her ears folded back against her head. She renewed her struggles, but they only made her spin around faster.  

         "Oh, pony feathers!" Rainbow Dash thought to herself. "Pinkie's really lost it! I hope the others notice I'm not back soon. But... will they even be able to find me?" As Rainbow Dash spun slowly, she caught a glance at her refection in a mirror across the room, Rainbow Dash shrieked at the sight. Her beautiful rainbow mane and tail were white. Bleached bone white! Before she could look any more, she was quickly grabbed and spun around back towards Pinkie, where a familiar scene was set up. It was the creepy party of inanimate objects from before, except Rainbow Dash was hanging over the stool where the pile of rocks had sat before. Pinkie dashed over to the stool where the dust clump in a party hat was sat.

         "Why, darling!" said Pinkie, badly imitating Rarity's voice as she shook the stool. "Why didn't you just tell anyone your hair color was just some ugh... gaudy rainbow dye! Really, darling... RAIN-bow?" Rainbow Dash's mind raced as she tried to take in everything that was happening, unable to decide whether to be furious or terrified. Thanks to the fiasco with her mane, she settled on furious, and began struggling again. She noticed the stool underneath her -- if she could just get a hoof on that, she thought, she'd have a chance! She kept on flailing wildly and screaming in rage through the apple -- given what she was trying to shout, it was probably a good thing that the apple was there.

         As Rainbow Dash struggled, Pinkie was behind the flour bag across the table. Her voice did a bad imitation of Fluttershy's.

         "Oh, that pony is despicable! She's being such a rude party guest!"


         The flour sack suddenly went limp, and slowly drooped over the side of the table. A plastic cake knife was stabbed into its back, a trail of flour pouring out of the wound. Rainbow Dash screamed through the apple once again, her mane and tail standing on end. "Now now, Fluttershy!" said Pinkie. "Dashie just wants to PARTY!" Pinkie gestured happily, throwing confetti into the air. Rainbow Dash's eyes grew to the size of dinner plates.

         "Oh my goshomigoshomigosh," Rainbow Dash thought to herself in a panic. "Okay, okay... stay cool, Rainbow Dash, you can get out of this still, just... you have to play it cool. Pinkie wants to party so maybe if I humor her..." she thought. Pinkie glanced over at her, and she smiled as best as she could through the apple, beginning to "dance" in the air by shaking her hips and waving her hooves around, trying to look happy for Pinkie... despite how scared she actually was. Pinkie grinned at this.

         "Ooh, that's my tune coming on!" Like so many other times when she randomly broke into song and dance, she began dancing to a song only she could hear. Plastic cake knife in hoof, Pinkie giggled dementedly as she spun around...


         She stopped just as suddenly as she started, and her expression changed dramatically, now looking extremely angry and annoyed. Her teeth gnashed as she talked in a strained voice. "What's. So. Funny. Dash?" growled Pinkie. Rainbow Dash squealed through the apple as Pinkie yelled at her, and quickly stopped dancing, pulling her legs up. If she had been on the ground, she would have been curled up in a fetal position.

         "Ypph! Mm rrph ur phhmphs phhkh!" muttered Rainbow Dash helplessly as she frantically pointed towards Pinkie with one of her hooves. Suddenly, Rainbow Dash found Pinkie right in her face with the same furious expression, her nose pushed up against her own, eyeball to eyeball. Pinkie Pie reached up, and...


         Pinkie hastily pulled the caramel apple from Rainbow Dash's mouth, smiling happily once again. "Oh, silly! You can't talk with your mouth full!" giggled Pinkie. "Fluttershy here didn't have any manners either, and now she has a plastic cake knife in her back!" said Pinkie with a certain insane glee in her voice. Her expression and tone quickly swapped back to being stern and forced. "That's. What. Happens. When. You. Don't. Have. MANNERS. Okie dokie, DASHIE?"

         Rainbow Dash had to choke back a cough from the sickly sweet caramel that still lingered in her mouth. She swallowed hard.

         "I... no! I mean, yes! I mean... Pinkie, your parties are the best! You know I love your parties... right?" Rainbow Dash blurted out, desperately. Pinkie's eyes leered at Rainbow Dash accusingly. Rainbow Dash could see her reflection in them clearly as Pinkie's face housed a growing look of distrust... then a smile.

         "Okie dokie, Dashie! Hey, you want some cake?" she asked. Rainbow Dash was quickly presented with a slice of wonderfully decorated, creamy, fluffy cake, held right under her nose. "Do you want a bite?!" shouted Pinkie. Rainbow Dash hesitated for a moment. Was the cake poisoned? Was it safe? It looked and smelled okay, she thought, but there was no way of telling for sure... especially with how "off" Pinkie Pie was. But Rainbow Dash also knew that if she didn't act fast, it might prompt Pinkie to do something even worse. She put on the biggest smile she could muster at the moment.

         "I'd love some of your cake, Pinkie Pie. You always make the most delicious cakes!" She stretched her head out to try and take a bite of the cake Pinkie was holding up...


         "Silly!" shouted Pinkie. "That's Rarity's cake!"


         Rainbow Dash got the plate of cake pushed right into her face, scrounging up her nose. Rainbow Dash coughed and choked, trying to clear the cake from her nostrils.

         "HERE, RARITY!" yelled Pinkie madly. She took what was left of the cake that wasn't splattered over Rainbow Dash's face and the floor nearby and stood menacingly over "Rarity", hyperventilating with a grimace. She smashed the plate over the stool, breaking it, and flattening the party hat "Rarity" was wearing. Rainbow Dash paled almost to the same white as her now-bleached mane and tail at the sight of Pinkie standing maniacally over the crushed inanimate friend. Pinkie was too unbalanced. Rainbow Dash knew she had to think of SOMETHING to keep Pinkie busy -- as long as Pinkie was distracted, she was safe...  safe-ish, anyway.

         "Ahahaha..." said Rainbow Dash with a small cough. "That was... good cake, Pinkie, very good cake... yeah." Pinkie's face fell, and she dropped to her knees, putting her face into her hooves. She made her way shakily to her feet, sitting upon the table dejectedly.

         "No, that cake was awful. That was the worst cake I've ever made!" cried Pinkie. "I can't ever make a good cake EVER AGAIN. I won't have any friends anymore to make cake for, and to throw parties for..." Pinkie sobbed quietly. Rainbow Dash was quiet, unsure of whether she should say anything. Pinkie was in a delicate state, and saying anything could make Rainbow Dash's own situation go from awful to horrible for her. Pinkie looked towards Rainbow Dash, her eyes watering. "Fluttershy abandoned me. Rarity, too. You're all going to leave me eventually! Wahhhhh!" Pinkie jumped down from the table and stood at Rainbow Dash's hooves, reaching up for her, almost pleadingly. "You won't leave me, will you, Dashie?"

         "I..." Rainbow Dash started, but Pinkie didn't stop talking for long enough to let her continue.

         "You won't stop letting me visit you every night with my flying machine to stare through your windows at you, will you? I mean..."


         "...RARITY OVER THERE" -- she pointed accusingly at the splatter of cake, broken plate, wood, and the crushed party hat that was "Rarity," or what remained of her -- "she told me all about your hair not really being rainbow colored, and she told me I should bleach it! Oh, that silly Rarity! And now she's gone."

         Rainbow Dash was taken aback at Pinkie's delusions. "Not really rainbow colored?!" she thought angrily. Just what did she think her mane and tail looked like when she was a filly? Rainbow Dash normally wouldn't have been able to bite her tongue for so long, but she was occupied in thought with other things Pinkie had blurted out. Pinkie's revelation about staring at her DID explain why Rainbow Dash had that creepy-yet-distinct feeling she was being watched for the last few months. Rainbow Dash couldn't afford to let her anger get the better of her – she had to keep Pinkie busy.

         "Yeah, silly Rarity. Ha, ha, ha," she said, trying to fake enthusiasm. "Good thing I won't leave you, right Pinkie? Right?" said Rainbow Dash.

         "Oh, I know you won't leave, silly!" replied Pinkie matter-of-factly in a happy tone once more. "You're all tied up!" she giggled as her eyes slowly drifted apart. Pinkie zipped under the table to shake the stool that the bucket of turnips sat on. "Y'all are tied up like some wild cowpony!" she said, doing a terrible impression of Applejack's voice.

         "Yeah, I sure am. Ha, ha, ha," grumbled Rainbow Dash, this time unable to fake anywhere near as much enthusiasm. She discretely tugged against the streamers, but they held fast. "Man, was Pinkie in the filly scouts or something?" she wondered to herself. How long had they been here together? The others had to have noticed something was wrong by this point, they had to be looking for her... right? Rainbow Dash had no problem depending on her friends, but she couldn't take the chance of being here with Pinkie any longer. Rainbow Dash looked around, then got an idea. "Say, uh, Pinkie. How am I supposed to play party games if I'm all tied up like this, huh? C'mon, let me down and lets go have some fun!" Rainbow Dash said as she forced a squeamish smile. "We can play pin the tail on the pony, or we could bob for apples, or something fun like that?"

         "Ooh!" Pinkie clopped her hoofs together happily. "I LOVE party games!" She gave Rainbow Dash a sideways glance, nodding with a wink. "...and those two are my faaaaaavorites!" said Pinkie, trailing off. Rainbow Dash grinned inwardly. "Rainbow Dash, you sly pony, you," she thought to herself. "Pinkie's GOT to let you free to play games. And then I'm out of here as quick as a flash so I can get help before she loses it! Loses it more than she has already. Or before I lose anything..." she thought, grimly.

         "I'll go get ready!" clamored Pinkie. "Oh! Oh! Let's go bobbing for apples first! I know!" Pinkie skipped off and, just as quickly, dragged back a huge metal pail already filled with water out of nowhere. "Remember this from my party, Dashie? Oh I know you remember THAT. You looked so silly, Dashie! I just wanted to laugh and..."


         "...LAUGH!" shouted Pinkie, her voice suddenly switching to an angry tone. Rainbow Dash swallowed hard – it seemed Pinkie was getting more and more fickle and prone to these angry fits as time went by. But she had to hang in there.

         "Oh yeah, I totally remember that, and Gummy eating my face..."

         "Wish he'd eaten your face ALL RIGHT," snarled Pinkie through clenched teeth.


         "Time to bob for apples!" gleefully shouted Pinkie. She ran back to the table and grabbed the bucket of turnips that was standing in for Applejack, and shook all the turnips into the water. Her expression was still wall-eyed and gleefully insane as the turnips splashed into the pail. "Ooh, Dashie, can you bob for Applejack before she drowns? Come on, Dashie! Save her like you saved Rarity. Oh. That's right. You DIDN'T save Rarity!" With reality-bending speed, Pinkie popped up under Rainbow Dash. Just as quickly, Pinkie grabbed her and pulled her towards the pail. The knot tightened around Rainbow Dash's chest causing her to howl in pain and giving her trouble breathing, until the sheer force of Pinkie's pulling snapped the streamers that were holding Rainbow Dash to the ceiling. Rainbow Dash panted; the streamers suddenly tightening around her chest knocked the wind out of her. Before she had a chance to catch her breath, Pinkie shrieked madly. "SAVE HER, DASHIE!" yelled Pinkie as she pinned Rainbow Dash to the side of the pail, forcibly dunking her head into the water. "Do a sonic rainboom, Dashie!" she shouted, laughing maniacally. Rainbow Dash thrashed around, trying to get free, but Pinkie had her at a disadvantage. Water sloshed over the edge of the pail, drenching the streamers tying Rainbow Dash's forelegs together. Once they were wet, Rainbow Dash's flailing managed to snap them quite easily. It didn't help her free herself from Pinkie at all, though, but after what seemed like an eternity, she pulled Rainbow Dash's head back up. Rainbow Dash coughed up water, and took quick panicked, raspy breaths.

         "Pinkie!" Rainbow Dash cried between coughs and ragged breaths. "What the hay are you doing, trying to kill me?! Are you crazy?" Of course, Rainbow Dash realized that pretty much went without saying right now. Pinkie briefly looked shocked and offended, but seconds later she dunked Rainbow Dash's head back underwater. Rainbow Dash was ill-prepared for a second dunk underwater, but Pinkie held her under firmly, with a dissonantly serene smile on her face.

         "Oh, Dashie, I think we lost Applejack too. Now all the guests are gone and it's just you, and me..." She pulled Rainbow Dash's head back up, with Gummy again snapped onto her face. "...and Gummy!" Even though Rainbow Dash's head was out of the water, she found she still couldn't breathe with the toothless alligator clinging to her face. She shook her head as hard as she could to get Gummy off. Finally dislodging him, the little gator bounced to the floor and ran off. Rainbow Dash coughed, gasping for precious air. She reached her breaking point. Rainbow Dash was furious.

         "This has gone FAR ENOUGH! Pinkie Pie, you are crazy! I mean off the deep end, 120 percent insane! This isn't a party! This is nuts! You're nuts!"


         "This... isn't a party? THIS ISN'T A PARTY?" Pinkie growled menacingly. Rainbow Dash cringed as she realized her outburst might have caught her an even worse fate, and her ears flattened against the side of her head. "Oh... I get it. You don't want to party. You want to PAR-TAY!" Pinkie shouted in glee. She let go of Rainbow Dash and hopped happily over to the table. Rainbow Dash sighed. Thankfully, it seemed that Pinkie wasn't quite finished with her yet. Without hesitation, Pinkie buried her face into the cake and dug around, making "nom"ing sounds before popping out again. Her face was covered in cake and she was holding a very large, very not-plastic, and very not-filly-safe cutting knife in her mouth. She squirmed under the table, and crawled out again, now with a purple pony tail tied to the handle of the knife. "Let's play pin the tail on the pony, Dashie! That always makes for a good party!" This was perfect, Rainbow Dash thought to herself!  No matter what was about to happen, she won. If Rainbow Dash had to pin the tail on the pony, that meant she got the knife – which meant she called the shots from there on out. If Pinkie was going to play, she would be blindfolded – giving Rainbow Dash the perfect chance to trip her up and grab the knife, going back to plan A. Rainbow Dash grinned. "Y-yeah, Pinkie, that's your favorite game too, isn't it? Let's play!" said Rainbow Dash with a self-assured smile. Pinkie hastily put on a blindfold, but there was a hole for one eye. "Guess who the pony is!" she said, staring right at Rainbow Dash.

         "Aw, horse apples." Rainbow Dash turned tail and ran. She was at a disadvantage by not knowing the layout of the candy shop as well as Pinkie did, but if she sat still, she was a goner. She was fast if nothing else, and with her life on the line, she was even faster. Rainbow Dash was hardly more than a blur, taking off at full gallop and throwing the door open. She ran down hallways, and slammed doors behind her as she tried to find the exit which would lead to her freedom. She ended up in a rather large storage room full of shelves and cupboards, collapsing against a cupboard-covered wall for a moment to get her bearings and take in her surroundings.


         With a flash, the knife swished by, missing her left cheek by a few inches. Rainbow Dash squealed like a little filly; Pinkie Pie was right behind her, sticking out from one of the cupboards. "Rainbow Dash, wait!" Rainbow Dash slammed the cupboard door in Pinkie's face, turning tail and running again. She tried to keep track of where she had been and where she was going, but she was terrified and she couldn't focus on anything but escaping Pinkie. After running through more rooms and down more hallways, Rainbow Dash ended up in a small office-like area. She flopped down on a nearby stool and began to gnaw at the streamers that were binding her wings. If she could free her wings, she thought, she could be that much faster and once she found the door, she'd be safe in the clouds. As she worked, Rainbow Dash's eyes darted around in a panic, ready to bolt again at the sight of anything pink.


         Rainbow Dash shrieked as the knife popped up in front of her from below, stopping inches from her nose. The stool rose into the air -- it and Rainbow Dash were balanced on Pinkie Pie's head as she swung around wildly. "Why won't you listen to me!" she screeched.

         "BECAUSE ALL I HEAR FROM YOU IS CRAZY!" screamed Rainbow Dash. Pinkie continued to thrash around, and Rainbow Dash lost her balance, falling to the ground behind Pinkie. In a flash, she was back on her feet and running again. More hallways and more rooms passed by as Rainbow Dash ran at top speed through them, finally ending up in what looked like a bedroom. "What in Equestria is a bedroom doing in a candy-making factory?" Rainbow Dash wondered to herself. A small mirror sat on a nearby dresser, and Rainbow Dash looked around. It almost seemed deserted. Maybe there was something she could find to use to defend herself, she wondered? Out of the corner of her eye, Rainbow Dash suddenly noticed movement. She whipped her head around to look at the door. "Pinkie?" she asked, tentatively. She was met with silence in reply. She sighed. "Ugh. I'm starting to lose it," she murmured to herself.

         "Oh, Rainbow Daaaaa-aaaaash!" echoed Pinkie's sing-song voice from behind her. Rainbow Dash shrieked and spun around. Pinkie's menacing reflection was staring at her from the mirror on the dresser. Rainbow Dash's eyes went wide and she spun around again... but saw nopony behind her. She panted hard, trying to catch her breath and clear her head.

         "Relax, Rainbow Dash, just relax..."

         "Oh, Rainbow DAAAAA-AAAAASH!" came Pinkie's voice from behind Rainbow Dash once more, this time with a distinct note of rage. Rainbow Dash spun around once again to find Pinkie now sitting atop the dresser in front of the same mirror, hunched over and leering at her with frustration and the knife held in her mouth.

         "OMIGOSHPINKIE!" squealed Rainbow Dash, and she was running off again, practically with a puff of cartoon-ish smoke left in her wake.

         Rainbow Dash was sure where she was going this time. As she turned a corner, she saw a door at the end of the hallway. "This is it!" she thought. "That's just GOT to be the way out of here!" Rainbow Dash charged through the door, expecting to be greeted by sunlight... and promptly slipped on a pile of cake that was laying on the floor. Hitting the cake at full speed, Rainbow Dash skidded forward a few feet before tripping over a stool and falling flat on her back, dazed. She wasn't outside... she was back in the room where she first started! Rainbow Dash groaned -- half in pain, half in frustration. Pinkie ominously came through the door, closing and locking it behind her. "Alright, Dashie," frowned Pinkie. "You're not being a party pony anymore! We're gonna finish this game NOW!" She stepped forward, but her hoof slipped on the same slice of cake that knocked Rainbow Dash over. As Pinkie Pie hit the ground, the knife slipped from her grip and flew through the air... directly towards Rainbow Dash!

         Rainbow Dash screamed as the lost knife flew threw the air, plummeting down towards her. She tried to get away, but the wind was knocked out of her from the fall, and her panicked efforts to get up were thwarted as she kept slipping on the cake-covered floor. She closed her eyes, and braced herself...



         ...but she felt nothing. She opened an eye tentatively and found that not only had the knife missed her, it had grazed and cut into the streamers tying her wings, severing a few of them. Reinvigorated by this sudden turn of events, she grabbed the handle of the knife in her mouth and quickly got to her feet. Flexing her wings as hard as she could, the remaining layers of streamers broke away with a resounding SNAP as her wings flew open to their fullest! She was free!

         Rainbow Dash glared at Pinkie as the pink pony struggled to get back on four legs. The streamers weren't the only thing that had snapped moments ago. Knife in mouth, Rainbow Dash slowly approached Pinkie Pie, fully prepared to get her revenge. Before Pinkie could get to her feet, Rainbow Dash flung herself at Pinkie, pinning her to the ground and bringing the knife a few inches from her neck.

         "So, Pinkie Pie," Rainbow Dash growled through the knife, "I came over to invite you to a surprise party for you! For your OWN BIRTHDAY which you forgot all about, and THIS is the thanks I get? Well, GUESS WHAT?! I've got a little PRESENT of my OWN for you, Pinkie Pie... meet my friend Mr. Stabby!" Rainbow Dash lowered the knife with the purple pony tail until the point pressed against Pinkie Pie's throat... but Pinkie just blinked, seemingly oblivious to the whole situation. The insane and murderous look had vanished from her face into one of thoughtful surprise.

         "Wait. You mean... all that was for..." Her hair ballooned with a squeak, regaining its volume and its vibrant pink hue. " surprise birthday party! Oh! How could I forget my own birthday! Oh, Dashie!" Pinkie Pie gave Rainbow Dash a tight, suffocating hug and effortlessly slipped away between her legs. "Silly Dashie!" chirped Pinkie as she started hopping in a circle around Rainbow Dash. "Why didn't you just say so from the start! Let's go, Dashie, let's go-go-go! We don't want to be late!" She hopped towards the door, but paused and gave Rainbow Dash a sideways glance and a wink. "But you might wanna take a bath first, Dashie. You're a mess!" With that, Pinkie giggled and hopped right out the door.

         Even though Pinkie had already gone, Rainbow Dash stood as still as stone in place for several minutes. She barely moved, barely even breathed. If she had been able to speak at that moment, it wouldn't have been coherent -- her thoughts, if any, certainly weren't. If was only after a while longer had passed that Rainbow Dash clutched the knife even more tightly in her mouth, her eyes twitching, her face contorted with the same insanity Pinkie's did earlier...