The Dragon With The Sombrero
By: CmdrBrony, Serge, Moony, Still Apony, Matias, Metal Link, Ebrona, Kazuma, Lexie Sapphire, Clarity and Shades
Spike stepped down off the train, feeling the strong desert rays beat down on his scales. After the cold of the northern climes, seeing the sun's bright face was a welcome respite. However, it was not for pleasure that he had travelled so far south... but for vengeance!
He strode over the dusty boards, his spurs clinking with every step, the heatblast wind strangely refreshing on his face after the long ride. A bedraggled, yet freshly painted sign greeted him, reading: “Welcome to AAAAAAAPPLELOOSA!”
The first item on the agenda: nopony in Appleloosa could be allowed to know he was here. Spike had to find himself a disguise, and find it fast - if they knew he was coming, there was no way he'd last even a minute. He cast about, and soon found something that would hide his face.
The bush he chose to hide in was, luckily, not rooted in the ground very well, so he was able to sneak across the roads without people noticing too much. Unfortunately they did, but they didn't think to actually find out why that one bush was moving. Spike had gone unnoticed, or at least unseen, but he had to find a new disguise fast, and with all of the crazy people at the Salt Block, he decided to go there to try and sneak away with at least a moustache. Hopefully a hat and beard too. When he entered he saw a sight that he found quite familiar. There she stood, a pink pony, with a big smile and a silly cowboy outfit.
Pinkie Pie! But what could she be doing all the way down here? At the moment she was providing an excellent distraction hosting a magnificent party, as usual. Perhaps she could help Spike. Could she be trusted to keep his secret? Spike would have to get her attention with the utmost of subtlety. What luck! A pile of rocks just over there! Spike eagerly snatched one and gave it a good hurl.
The rock flew through the air and missed Pinkie Pie, instead accidentally hitting a cup and spilling its contents all over Pinkie Pie's outfit. When she saw the stain, her face became distraught, it was a new outfit after all. She was so upset that she galloped out of the Salt Block as quickly as she could. Spike hit himself in the forehead over his own stupidity, and followed her out.
Spike followed Pinkie Pie into the next room, expecting to find the pony crying on the floor. Instead, he found her merely changing into another, even sillier costume. On reflection, he wondered how he hadn't seen this coming.
"Oh, hey Spike!" Pinkie Pie chirped cheerily, turning around in something that had far too many frills. "Whatcha doin’ down here?"
"I could ask the same of you, but that isn't important right now," said Spike. "Since you like playing dress-up, I was wondering if you could let me borrow something of yours to disguise myself."
Pinkie gasped in a manner that would make most pass out from hyperventilation, "Is there a costume party somewhere around here?!?"
"Uh... sure," said Spike, knowing that trying to explain things in full would take far longer than he had, "Can I look through your costumes?"
"Oh, sure, knock yourself out! Don't actually do that though. That would kind of put a damper on things. Although that reminds me of that time when we were swinging on the chandelier and...."
Spike trundled the rambling pony out of the door and locked it, just to make sure. A quick glance through the rack revealed something nicely local, a poncho topped by a red sombrero.
“It's perfect," said Spike to himself as he grabbed the costume from the rack. "I bet nopony will even recognize me if I wear this getup. I'll blend right in to the crowd." Spike quickly slipped the garish poncho on and placed the red-banded, straw sombrero atop his head.
"... but then Apple Bloom got lost in the cake and we just couldn't find a baseball anywhere, I mean, we checked in the bathtub and in the punch bowl and in the...." Spike crept slowly past Pinkie Pie, who was still excitedly telling her story, and made his way out of the building.
"Yeesh, that Pinkie Pie sure can talk," he said softly to himself. "Now that nopony can recognize me, its time to get MY REVENGE!"
"Well hi there, Spike! What're ya' doin' all the way out in these here parts? And what's with that crazy costume a' yours? Have you been hangin' out with Pinkie Pie?" said Applejack, who had just happened to be walking by at the time.
So much for the disguise, Spike thought. Acting quickly, he tackled Applejack and dragged her into an alley between two buildings.
"What in tarnation?!"
"Sssshhh! I can’t let word get out that I’m here!" said Spike urgently, glancing out of the alleyway to see if anypony had noticed his rash move, "I've been tracking those dastardly Diamond Dogs for ages now, and if they know I'm in town they'll up and vamoose before I can collar them."
"What? Why would you want to track down those mangy mutts anyways?" asked Applejack, picking herself up off the ground and dusting off her beloved hat. Suddenly, it seemed as though a shadow was drawn over Spike's face. He turned away from Applejack and gazed out over the plain.
"The last time we encountered them, they stole something very dear to me. A keepsake that I meant to hold close to my heart until the day I die."
"And that is?" Applejack asked in a hushed tone.
"...The jewel that Rarity gave me."
"Aw, fer Pete's sake!"
"You're gettin’ all serious over a single jewel?!"
"It was given to me by the most beautiful pony in all of Equestria! The pony whose hoof I shall one day request in marriage, and I plan to have that selfsame jewel set in a ring as a symbol of our everlasting love!"
Applejack snorted heartily, "Yeah, well, good luck getting it back," she turned to leave.
"Get your hands off mah tail."
"Sorry. Applejack, you know a thing or two about the lands around here, don't you?"
"I guess so."
"Then you can help me find them! You must know a thing or two about tracking."
Applejack stared at Spike for a long while. His eager expression had a certain quality of dreadfulness to it.
"If I don't help you with this, you'll keep pesterin’ me ‘til ah do won’t ya?"
"...And that's why Rainbow Dash can't... Spike? Hellooooo! Spike, are you there?" Pinkie Pie was horribly confused. Spike was looking for a costume just a minute ago. Where could he possibly have gone? "Spiiiike, where are youuu?" said Pinkie Pie as she searched the costume rack for him. "I guess he just vanished... POOF!" she bellowed, knocking the costume rack over with one hoof while waving the other wildly in the air. "I better go look for him!" and with that, Pinkie bounced out of the room and on her way.
"Well, that's a mite odd...." exclaimed Applejack.
"What is it, what is it?" yelled Spike, a strange passion filling his voice. "Didja find the Diamond Dogs?"
"No, but this here is the exact spot where we found Rarity and the diamond dogs the first time and look, there isn't a hole in the ground! Everything's been all covered up again!" said Applejack, her eyes scanning the terrain around them. "In fact, I don't see a trace of the Diamond Dogs anywhere... maybe they just up and left."
Applejack frowned, "I can't track 'em any further, lover boy. Heck, I don't think anypony can!"
Spike was devastated, "But... Rarity's Jewel! The diamond dogs... I... I...."
"Luckily," Applejack grinned deviously, "Winona here's a dog, git on dem diamond dogs Winona, yeee haw!" Winona ran past them both and dashed around the loamy dirt field hunting for any signs of the diamond dogs, then suddenly she was still.
"What's the matter girl, didja find somethin'?" Applejack trotted over with Spike on her back. "Well, wouldja look at that," sitting by Winona's front right paw was a glistening, golden gemstone: the very same one that sat in the center of the diamond dog's collars!
"Finally, hot on their trail! Which way, Applejack? Let's ride!" Spike exclaimed, hopping on to Applejack.
"And just what do you think you're doing?" she said, giving Spike a well deserved glare.
"Fine, I'll walk... So where are we going anyways?"
"Winona here's pointin’ right at the old abandoned mine, looks like that's where we're headed."
"Did you say abandoned? Like... Haunted abandoned? Or... Zombie ghosts abandoned?!"
"Well, ya did want to find that gem, didn't ya? Let's move out!" Spike followed, feeling a bit less eager about his quest. After an awkward, silent trot, Applejack, Spike and Winona finally arrived at the mine entrance.
"Attagirl Winona," said Applejack, brushing the dog's stringy hair with her hoof, "Aw Winona, how'd you get all them apple tree sticks stuck in your fur?" the dog barked obliviously, but happily, in return, before running circles around her master's legs. Applejack giggled gently at her beloved pet and then turned to Spike, "Ya'll feelin’ ready there, Spike?"
"N-no...." replied the shivering Spike. "Listen, uh, Applejack. I just need some time. Could we wait a few minutes? P-please?"
Applejack was not amused, "Fine," she replied, frustration creeping into her voice, "But you better pony up quick. I got a whole lot a' apples that need buckin' back at the farm, and they ain't gonna buck themselves!"
"You gotta shaaaare, you gotta caaaare...."
Pinkie Pie was hopping in her typical, carefree manner down the main street of Appleloosa, singing her newest, most favoritest song as she went. She was getting strange looks from the Appleloosans, so she knew they must be loving it! Aw... thought Pinkie Pie to herself, That pony loves my singing so much that she's crying!
"Oooo! What's this?" Pinkie Pie said while suddenly looking down. "A STICK!” she gasped. “Oh, that reminds me of a song!" She was just about to belt our her favorite song about finding sticks on the ground when she happened to see another stick, "Oh lookie! Another stick! Oooo and this one has a leaf on it!" Pinkie Pie was ecstatic. She hadn't found two sticks just lying on the ground like that in at least an hour! "And what's this?" said Pinkie Pie, the ground again catching her attention, "A paw print?"
"Wow!" gasped Pinkie Pie, "Maybe it’s a turtle!" And with that, Pinkie Pie, in her casual hop, followed the paw prints out of Appleloosa.
"You ready yet Spike?" said an impatient Applejack. They had been waiting for what seemed like forever, and Spike had still not found the courage to enter the abandoned mine.
"But what if there are g-g-ghost zombie p-p-ponies in there?" he stammered.
"There ain't no such thing as a ghost zombie ponies ya scaredy dragon," said Applejack, "It was your idea to go chasin' after these here diamond dogs and now that we've almost found 'em, you've gone all chicken on me!"
"No... you're right," said Spike, puffing up with courage, "We need to get that Jewel back, for Rarity!"
"Right," replied Applejack sarcastically, "For Rarity," Applejack turned to Winona, who was looking up at her with those sweet doggy eyes, "Oh Winona, what have I gotten myself in to?"
"You gotta shaaaare... you gotta caaaaare...."
Applejack perked up at once and turned this way and that, "Uh... is something the matter Applejack?" said a puzzled Spike.
"I coulda sworn I just heard Pinkie Pie singing that awful song o' hers just now. I must be mistaken though. Didja hear anything Winona?" the dog looked up at Applejack with a worried look on its face, "What's the matter Winona?" said Applejack, "Is there somethin'-"
"Huh? What was tha-"
Pinkie Pie fell from the sky and landed on Applejack with a crash. "HIYA APPLEJACK! HIYA SPIKE! HIYA WINONA!"
"For Pete's sake, Pinkie Pie!" Spike cried aloud, shoving the errant pony off himself and Applejack, "We're trying to be quiet here!"
"Quiet?" Pinkie asked, cocking an eyebrow quizzically at Spike, as though he had just suggested that the sky was an odd shade of mauve-y russet, "But how can you have any fun being quiet?"
"Because we're not TRYING to have fun, we're-!" An idea suddenly hit Spike as hard as Derpy hit trees. "Oh, Pinkie, I've just remembered! There's a place that could really use your party-throwing skills."
The gasp she gave at this point made even Applejack cringe, "You mean it?!"
"Yes, now if-"
"As in, for real?"
"That's what I said, so-"
"For really real?!"
"Oh. Sorry," she giggled innocently.
"I've heard that there's a group of ponies in that dark cave there who really need some cheering up. We need you to go in there and, no matter WHAT you do, never stop trying to make them feel better, okay?"
"Okie-dokie-smokie-pokie!" and without a backward glance, Pinkie Pie pranced merrily down the rails leading into the murky depths of the mine.
"Now hold on just a cotton-pickin’ minute there," said Applejack sternly, approaching the diminutive dragon, "Jus’ what are you plannin’?"
"Well, remember how Rarity sent the dogs howling the first time by annoying them half to death?"
"We may not have Rarity (in all her glorious magnificence), but if I'm right in saying that Pinkie Pie is so annoying that she should be banned by international treaty, that shouldn't be a problem. They come running out with their tails between their legs, and when they do, you wrassle them up and I take back Rarity's jewel." Spike paused for effect, grinning toothily and fingering his sombrero.
Applejack gave Spike a funny look, Hm... I mean, it could work, she thought to herself, but can we really just lie to Pinkie about what's down there?
"What if Pinkie Pie gets hurt down there Spike?" said Applejack after a short, contemplative, silence, "What if them Diamond Dogs have, I don't know, earmuffs on this time? How're we gonna make sure that that silly pony doesn't get herself into a heap o' trouble?"
Spike didn't look concerned, "Well, if we don't hear from Pinkie Pie by sundown, we'll go in and look for her!" Spike sat down under the closest source of shade he could find; a small plant that sat at the foot of the mine entrance.
Winona growled softly and looked up at Applejack, "Yeah Winona, I'm not sure if I like this idea much either, but Pinkie Pie is definitely somepony who can take care a' herself," comforted Applejack softly, "But I don't plan on waitin' until sun down to run into them mines after her. Pinkie Pie is just one pony, and I learned the hard way once myself; one pony and a whole dang lot o' problems jus' don't add up!" said Applejack, taking a seat on the ground herself. Winona seemed satisfied with that answer, and the dog curled up comfortably at Applejack's side.
"Hellooo! Is anypony down here?" Pinkie Pie hopped ever deeper into the mine, oblivious to the spider webs and broken down mining equipment scattered all over. The mine was wide at the mouth, but had begun to narrow, and the smothering darkness of its depths was only occasionally interrupted by flickering candlelight, "This seems like an awfully spooky place for a party!" said Pinkie with no small amount of joy.
"Oooh! Maybe it’s a surprise party!" she said to herself in a hushed whisper, hopping just slightly more quietly than before. Pinkie Pie perked up suddenly. The candle ahead of her seemed to be shining quite a bit brighter than the last ones. Perhaps she had finally reached the party room! Pinky gasped loudly, "I can't wait to help with the party! Oooh, I bet there'll be cakes and cookies and cupcakes and candy and Canter Cola!"
Pinkie hopped twice as fast towards the light, but when she finally arrived, what she saw blew her away, "Omigosh... this doesn't look like a party!"
"Go ponies! Pull!" screamed the head Diamond Dog. "You ponies no make fools of Diamond Dogs eh heh heh." Pinkie Pie was looking down into a massive chamber, where the Diamond Dogs surrounded two carts full of gems. Two carts which were being pulled by Lyra and Bon-Bon!
"Oh no!" whispered Pinkie Pie to herself. "Those mean ol' Diamond Dogs crashed the party! And they're making those poor ponies haul gems around! And look!" Pinkie focused her vision in on the head Diamond Dog's necklace. "That looks like Spike's jewel!"
Pinkie Pie got quiet for a minute as she thought about what to do. "It looks like I'm going to have to get this party going again!" she giggled to herself, "Pinkie Pie style."
"This is the worst spa I've ever been to!" said Lyra to Bon-Bon, as they pulled their gem carts forward.
"Ugh, I know! Its like, so not therapeutic! I would much rather be at that dashing spa back in Ponyville," replied Bon-Bon miserably, as her cart wheel let loose a pained squeak.
"I mean, seriously, what kind of spa treatment involves hauling gems around?" Lyra exclaimed, "Hmph, I'm going to need such a long bubble bath after this. Care to join me Bon-Bon?"
"Oh that sounds like so much fun!"
Lyra giggled, "I can't wait!"
"NO TALK PONIES! YOU MUST PULL GEMS TO RELAX PONY LEGS!" screeched the head Diamond Dog, "TALKING MAKE PONY MANE VERY ITCHY!"
Applejack impatiently paced the entrance of the mine, occasionally peeking in, hoping to see a bouncing Pinkie exiting the darkness, "Ohh, I dunno 'bout this, Winona...." Applejack said, turning to the nearing sunset.
Winona whimpered, as if urging Applejack to brave the cave with her. Applejack sat down, a somber look painted on her face, "I'm mighty worried 'bout her too girl, but we can't go jus' yet," she said, settling down on a soft patch of grass, "It still ain't sundown, and we don't wanna waste our time and energy lookin' through a dark an' scary cave."
Winona growled in response, glaring at Applejack in disappointment, "Oh hush, I know what 'ah said, but a plan's a plan," Applejack said, getting comfortable, "an' I'm stickin' to it. Besides, I'd had lied to Spike if I went an' charged down that there cave like a bull at a rodeo instead a waitin' fer sundown like I agreed to! Besides, I'm sure Pinkie's jus' fine by her lonesome... Now if you don' mind, I've got some Z's ta' catch...."
Applejack's head was now laying on the grass, and slowly her eyes blinked her to sleep. Winona was furious, and she began to bark at her friend, attempting to wake her up. Applejack continued to snore, deeply asleep. Winona barked even louder, but to no avail. Finally she began to do everything in her power to wake her pony pal up: pushing, shaking, jumping, biting, slapping her face, opening her eyelids, and all other kinds of annoying tactics.
Unfortunately the pony did not skip a breath, though Winona was exhausted! Eventually she gave up and moved on to Spike for assistance. Barking could not wake the sleeping dragon, and Winona's recent routine certainly did not help either. Flustered and frustrated, she recklessly rushed into the cave in search of her pink friend.
Applejack started to fidget on the grass, "No... P... Pinkie, w-watch out!”
Applejack tossed and turned heavily in her sleep. Bad thoughts had clouded her dreams. All she could think about was the dangers Pinkie could be facing....
Meanwhile, Winona had found that the cave was getting darker and darker around her. She whimpered and whined quietly as she ventured further and further. Suddenly she jumped, startled, from a faint sound. It was the sound of loud voices echoing from deeper within the cavern. Little Winona was scared, but she finally knew she was getting close. She trudged on, fearing what she might find at the end of this dark cavern.
When she finally got to the end she saw it. Dogs yelling loudly as ponies trudged around heavy wagons. Wagons filled with gems! She hid amongst the shadows watching, horrified by what she saw, when all of a sudden she was interrupted by a loud and familiar voice.
"Well heya, Little Winona! Are you here to help with this super silly spa?"
"Pinkie! Come on, Spike! We gotta save 'er!" exclaimed Applejack. Staying just long enough to make sure Spike resigned himself to his fate, mumbling faint protests of ghost zombies, and began trudging into the mine before she herself rushed onward. At a gallop it was not long before she burst headlong into a well lit cavern filled with the sound of rusty wheels, angry denizens, and... party horns?
Applejack was struck dumb for a moment, as she took in the scene before her. Somehow streamers and balloons had been strung up at every available niche in the walls. Lyra and Bon-Bon, still attached to their gem carts and lying down on one side of the room while Winona and Pinkie faced down a mob of disgruntled Diamond Dogs on the other, looked just as confused. Winona barked fiercely as Pinkie Pie obliviously tooted a party horn, sure that the increasingly agitated mob would burst into dance at any moment.
"Hold on! I'll save ya’ll!" Applejack charged towards the dogs who had just noticed the new arrival.
"YEEHAWW!" Applejack exclaimed, forcefully leaping towards the head Diamond Dog in her reckless stupor.
Her battle cry only brought her charge to the lead Diamond Dog's attention. He turned his head in curiosity, and his confused eyes caught the air-borne pony as she was about to pounce. He casually stepped aside as Applejack realized her mistake.
"Wuh-oh," was all she could say before flying right past her target. She eyed an oncoming jewel cart, and, knowing the trauma she was about to face, braced for impact. "Awww, haystacks..." CLUNK! The farmhoof was down-and-out.
"What the?" muttered the jeweled Diamond Dog shortly before being interrupted.
"AJ! wait up!" a voice echoed from the depths of the cave, "Geez, you'd think at least she'd let me stretch my legs before running down all by herse-" Spike jumped and gasped at the sight of his arch-enemies. "It's YOU!" Spike exclaimed, not long before noticing a familiar object in the distance. "Is that... is that APPLEJACK!?" Spike quickly surveyed the room, "and what have you done with Pinkie Pie!?"
The hench-dogs were confused. "Duhhhh... boss, who are they?" asked a tall, gruff Diamond Dog. The alpha dog began to reply, "Uhh, I don't-" when suddenly, it struck him. His memory flashed back to the most humiliating moment of his life. The day that annoying pony walked away with all their gems. He remembered the smug look on the dragon's face as he gobbled down their precious jewels, while all of his little pony friends happily carried the cargo out of their dungeon, "It's the whining pony's pet!" he said.
"Pet?” Spike retorted proudly, “Hah, I'm more than just her pet!".
The chief canine was not amused, "I don't have tiiime for this! I've got loads of gems to recover after losing them to that stupid pony!" the leader began to grow impatient, "Kick him out of my spaaa, henchdogs!"
Noisy barking erupted from the cave's numerous tunnels, and Spike began to break into a nervous sweat. He looked for an exit, but all were filled with incoming henchdogs. Suddenly, something caught Spike's eye. It was the alpha dog's collar, and on it was a magnificent gem - a gem he recognized. "Hey, that's Rarity's gem! Give it back you mangy mutt!"
"You mean... THISSS?" the creature held up the jewel, taunting Spike by dangling it. Spike was baring his teeth in anger, "It was hanging from one of our tunnels, little dragon! Thiss... is mine!"
"Yours?!?" said Spike, becoming enraged. He glared down at the dog who spoke it, as the tunnels nearby swarmed with other, lower-ranked dogs.
"THIS. IS. EQUESTRIA!" He yelled, breaking a nearby iron rod off of a nearby mine cart and charging the dog who held his prize. Applejack could do nothing but watch the fight ensue as the head dog knocked the rod out of Spike's hands. However his weapon was only a distraction. Spike was able to get past the dog’s defenses, snatching the diamond as quickly as he could.
“No! Give me back my gemstone!" yelled the Diamond Dog, not realizing Spike’s plan until now.
"HA!" Spike yelled. "Tough luck!"
"Uh... Spike?" muttered Applejack, as she watched the soldier dogs surround him. Weaponless, and with his prize in hand, he was outnumbered and outmatched.
"Return the diamond to me now!" the dog yelled one last time, "or else!"
Spike stood there nervously for a moment. What could he do? There was no way he could get out of this alive, and with the gem. Taking a deep breath, he did the only thing he could think of. A loud belch could be heard as the diamond disappeared into a fiery mist, flying up and out of the cave.
"Dragon! What have you done?!? Get him!"
"If you kill me now, you'll never get it back!"
The soldiers hesitated, and waited for a response from the Diamond Dog. "Hmm... Fine! Take him to the dungeon!"
Spike then smiled as he was dragged off, at least the gemstone was safe.
"Check, one, two... hello out there!" the bubbly voice blasted through the dungeon, alerting the Diamond Dogs.
"Huh?! What is this?" exclaimed the lead canine.
Applejack slowly lifted her head, one eye slightly opened, "Is that...?"
"This is Pinkie Pie, coming to you LIVE from the spooky-underground-cave spa!"
Spike's eyes widened, "Pinkie?"
"Duuhhhh, Pinkie who?" asked the bigger dog. The leader became furious, and pulled his ears in a rage before screaming at his comrades, "You iiidiots! Who let her into our com-room?!?"
A short, furry dog appeared behind the head Diamond Dog, smiling, "Hey boss. That's the entertainment you ordered!"
The head dog, upon hearing this, snapped.
"WHAT?!? I didn't order any entertainment!"
"Uhh... you didn't?" replied the smaller dog.
"Now relax your hooves, or, uh... paws, and let's get ready for the best party this place has ever seen!"
"I LIKE parties!" the big, gruff dog said, not long before being slapped in the face by his boss.
"Shut up, dumb mutt!"
Lyra stopped, "Hey, did she say relax?"
"Well it's about time!" Bon-Bon replied. The pair kicked off their harnesses and prepared to get DOWN!
Pinkie Pie, in a room filled with all types of controls and gizmos, yelled into a microphone, "Are you all ready to have a super-good time?"
"Yeah! Woo!" Lyra and Bon-Bon hollered, cheering excitedly. The henchdogs looked at each other, puzzled, and grunted quizzically.
"Uh, yeah!" Spike cheered.
"Aaaalrighty then, let's get this fiesta started!" Pinkie yelled, pressing some controls nearby.
Music began to play through the dungeon and the cave's torches dimmed, "I don't like the looks of this...." growled the alpha dog.
Applejack finally stood up, though still a little wobbly, "Ugh... where am I?" she shook her head and looked around, puzzled. Hearing the music, she began to look even more confused, "Jus'... Just what in tarnation is going on here?"
Spike saw something moving up in the ceiling. He looked up, surprised to see that Pinkie was placing some kind of machines and mechanisms along an (apparently) newly installed catwalk.
He continued to watch Pinkie, dumbfounded, as she inserted some kind of big sparkling object in a black box. She turned around, catching Spike watching her. Spike gestured to her questioningly, but Pinkie just smiled and winked in response, promptly dashing out of sight. Spike thought for a moment, wondering what Pinkie could possibly be up to. After about three good chin-rubs, his eyes filled with excitement. He snapped in enlightenment and cheerfully raised his fist as if to say “Go Pinkie!”
For a few moments the Diamond Dogs stood dumbfounded at their dimming surroundings, few had ever actually realized there was a control room from which this could be done at all. The Alpha Diamond Dog didn't get to his position for slow wits, however, and noticed Pinkie Pie flitting about among the rafters he'd never noticed before.
"The pink one is up to something! Seize her!" he barked to his cohorts, who leapt to obey immediately. Back in the control room, Pinkie Pie, oblivious to the approaching danger as always, wore a huge smile of self satisfaction. Everything was in place and a single large red button would trigger the beginning the party. She slammed it unceremoniously.
Music blasted from the loudspeakers and carefully set up lights blinked to life, but that was not all. The centerpiece and crown jewel of her party descended slow from its perch within the black box, lit from dozens of different angles and multiple rainbows of color. The Diamond Dogs were stunned. It was the largest jewel they had ever seen; as big as Spike at least. Possibly the biggest in all of Equestria. It absorbed the light and shot it back out in a dazzling array, illuminating the cavern. The Dogs spared only a glance toward each other before they scrambled for it, greed having taken over their hearts at the sight of the jewel. They punched, kicked and jostled for any way the get closer to the jewel, hanging just out of reach in the center of the cavern. Soon every Dog was engaged in an all out brawl with each other.
"NO!" screamed the Alpha Diamond Dog as he leapt up and down in frustration. "GET THE PINK PONY!" but the other Diamond Dogs paid him no heed, and they continued to fight amongst themselves, scrambling to reach the magnificent jewel at the center of the party.
Applejack was stunned, "Spike..." she groaned, still dizzy from her recent head injury, "Just how long have I been out?"
"Oh, not long," replied the dancing dragon, "Maybe just a few minutes," Spike did a quick spin and shook his arms.
"Uh huh... Hey... HEY! There's that Head Diamond Dog!" said Applejack, coming suddenly to her senses, "But where did that there jewel go?"
"The jewel?" replied Spike as he unleashed some more poorly executed dance moves, "I took care of it."
At the heart of Canterlot, deep within the Palace of the Sun, Her Majesty, Bringer of the Sun, the Great and Honorable Princess Celestia, was reading a letter written to her by her dearest and most beloved pupil, Twilight Sparkle. "Dear Princess Celestia," the beautiful Princess read, her shimmering pastel rainbow mane rolling like the waves of Equestria's seas, "Today I learned that--"
A bright blue gemstone appeared suddenly out of thin air and dropped promptly to the ground with a loud CLUNK.
Celestia gave the jewel an odd look and couldn't help but feel like something was wrong....
"Yeaaah! Paaaar-teeeh!" yelled Lyra and Bon-Bon in unison as they danced together.
Applejack was not amused, "Spike, we should really get out of here 'fore somethin' bad happens! Them Diamond Dogs are still dangerous and who knows what other trouble is in these here mines? We need to get Pinkie Pie, get them two silly ponies dancin' over there, and get on out of here!"
"Lighten uuuup," said Spike, smiling as he twirled and wiggled to the beat, "We beat the Diamond Dogs and Pinkie Pie's got this sweet party going on! What could possibly go wrong?"
The Alpha Diamond Dog was furious. Despite his yelling and protesting, his companions were not paying any attention to him. His blue jewel was gone. His fake spa was a mess. And worst of all, he couldn't do anything about it. He looked up at the control booth and saw the Pink Pony dancing by herself. He looked at this Diamond Dogs, still trying desperately to fight one another for the jewel. He saw the pet dragon and the orange pony arguing to themselves and he saw the two dumb spa ponies dancing with each other. He knew what he had to do, "GRRRR! If other Diamond Dogs don't want to help, I'll get pink pony by myself!" he murmured maniacally.
"Oh, there you are Winona!" said Pinkie Pie as the dog squeezed its way into the control booth, "How are yah?" The dog looked up at Pinkie and gave a short bark. "Awww, that's great!" the oblivious pony giggled.
Winona started to run in a circle around Pinkie Pie, suddenly leaping up and catching the tip of the pony's tail with her teeth. "Ooooh, do you want to play, Winona?" Pinkie Pie giggled, but Winona just started to carefully tug at the fluffy tail and tried to slowly pull Pinkie Pie out of the booth. With a grin Pinkie Pie picked up Applejack's pet dog. "Oh, I see! You need to go for a walk! Well, let's hurry then, it's not my style to leave in the middle of a party just like that!" Pinkie Pie looked over the control board of the speakers and with her nose tip turned up the volume a bit more, the rhythmic music becoming so loud it could be heard in the entire cavern by now. Letting Winona back down to the rocky floor, Pinkie Pie quickly followed the canine who squeezed her way out of the booth and hurried along the winding tunnel.
The leader of the Diamond Dogs gnashed his teeth angrily as he left his quarreling friends behind him, running on all fours up the tunnel to where he knew the control booth was. He ran so fast he didn't notice somepony was coming down from the opposite direction. He gasped as a small brown dog ran right through his mangy legs. He turned his head in surprise, not seeing the pink pony that came prancing down the tunnel after her until it was already too late. With a loud bang they collided.
His back aching, the Diamond Dog found himself sprawled out on the floor. After a few moments he slowly opened his eyes, shaking his head to clear the cobwebs when he suddenly became aware of the grinning face of the pony who was standing above him.
"Did you hurt yourself? Do you need a hoof?"
The dog's face turned into a grimace of anger as he picked himself up slowly, "GRRRRRR... POOOONYYY!" he howled in anger, making Pinkie Pie back against the wall for a moment, her face riddled with surprise. He lowered himself, ready to leap at her when suddenly he felt a sharp sting in his back "Owwwww..." he whimpered, "my back!”.
Pinkie Pie giggled happily, "Does your back hurt? I'll be right back to help you, I just need to go walkies with Winona! Geddit?" With a chortle she started leaping after the small canine who was waiting for her, only to start running again once she saw her pony friend approaching.
"I'll get you, pony!" the Diamond Dog snarled while rubbing his back, shaking his fist angrily after Pinkie Pie, "Just you wait ‘til I can walk again!"
Leap after leap Pinkie Pie followed Winona back into the larger cavern where the other Diamond Dogs were quarreling and shouting and pinching and shoving and bumping into each other in the desperate attempt to get to the incredible large jewel. Looking around she grinned, "They sure are having a great time, don't you think Winona? Let's hurry so we can party along with them!" Only then did she catch a glimpse of Bon-Bon and Lyra, dancing frantically to the music blasting from the speakers.
Lyra and Bon-Bon were lost in the trance of the music moving in rhythm with the sweet melody of the tune.
“Woohoo, party time!” said the hyperactive pink pony as she joined the other two.
Winona growled and barked at Pinkie Pie in an attempt to get her attention to no avail. Pinkie Pie was lost to the music as with the two ponies. Winona wasn’t dumb; she knew that she had to save her master and the master’s friends. Winona pointed her small wet black nose to the floor and started sniffing for her master. She followed the scent trail of apples all through the winding tunnels that were vibrated with the bass of the music.
Winona stopped in silence as her ears picked up sounds coming her way, the sounds did not sound like hooves but more like paws on hind legs, there were three of them.
Winona jumped behind a rock which hid her perfectly as she waited for the paws-on-hind-legs to appear. Winona peeked her head outside the rock just enough to see the paw-on-hind-legs. These creatures had the appearance of dogs but had the shape of a gorilla and stood on their hind legs. The first dog was the tallest and the bulkiest, the second dog was middle sized and was holding his back in pain, the last dog was very short and pudgy.
While clenching his teeth the middle sized dog said “When I find that pink pony I’m going to…”
“Throw it a party?” asked the large dog.
“Make her our DJ?” asked the smaller dog.
“No!” yelled middle sized dog in pain.
With a huff he said, “I’m going to...” his voice became harder to hear as they got walked farther away from Winona.
Winona continued her scent trail for her master.
“No… more… PARTY!” yelled the leader of the Diamond Dogs. He was furious. None of his minions would obey his orders to get the pink pony standing right next to them. The music was so loud that he wasn’t sure they could even hear him. Not only that, but the orange pony had run off into the maze of tunnels weaving through the mines. They had gone after her, but weren’t able to find her again, “I said STOOOOP!” the Alpha Dog yelled again. They continued to ignore him. In a huff, and still cradling his sore back, he began heading back up to the control booth. He would put a stop to this stupid pony party once and for all.
Applejack had been searching the tunnels for a way out. The tunnel they had entered from was now blocked by a pile of Diamond Dogs, so she had started searching the others. It turned out that the mines were much more windy than she had expected, and she had gotten lost almost immediately. After what seemed like ages she finally managed to find the main chamber again, much in the same condition it was in before. She shook her head as she noticed that Pinkie Pie had started dancing with the others. She quickly walked over to try and talk some sense into the three ponies and small dragon that had started forming a conga line in front of her.
“Now come on y’all!” She hollered over the music, “I think we’ve had enough ‘fun’! Let’s get goin’ before somethin’ bad happens!”
“Relax Applejack! Seriously!” Spike insisted.
“Yeah!” agreed Pinkie Pie, “You can never have enough fun. Grab my shoulders! We’re like a train! Choo-choo!”
“Why did you even come to a spa if you weren’t planning on enjoying yourself?” asked Bon-Bon, rolling her eyes.
“Consarn it!” yelled Applejack, searching the cavern for an exit. There were several other tunnels she hadn’t explored that lead off into the darkness, but she didn’t have a clue where they went, so that wasn’t helpful. If only the music weren’t so loud she might be might be able to think clearly!
Suddenly, the music stopped.
“Awwww,” sighed the collective conga line in unison. Applejack looked up toward the control room to see what had happened and spotted the leader of the diamond dogs at the controls. At that exact same moment he looked directly down at them.
“Uh-oh,” said Applejack, as the angry dog’s voice blasted over the speakers.
“EVERYONE GET THOSE PONIES!” he yelled, causing an unpleasant wave of feedback to reverberate off the cavern walls. Only after everypony uncovered their ears did they notice an ominous rumbling coming from somewhere off in the distance.
“Alright, now it’s definitely time to go!” said Applejack, grabbing onto Spike’s hand at the front of the conga line and dragging the rest of them along.
“Where are we going?” asked Spike, who was having trouble keeping up with Applejack’s quick trot.
“Away from here’s all I know. Now come on!”
“What about Winona?”
“Don’t you worry yerself about Winona. She’ll find us just fine. Right now we need to worry about getting out of here before this whole place comes down on us!”
Gazing down the tunnels as far as she could, Applejack picked the one that seemed to be leading up toward the surface the most. She made a sharp turn, causing the group to swerve suddenly.
“Woo! Crack the whip!” yelled Pinkie Pie.
As the group ran down the tunnel, Applejack heard the sounds of Diamond Dogs from behind them. She hoped against hope that this tunnel lead somewhere good.
The Diamond Dogs were quickly approaching, and with each passing moment the tunnel gradually became brighter, "Hurry, we're almost through!" yelled Applejack, over the rumbling and crumbling of the cave's interior. Pinkie, running with her hind legs, was holding fast to Applejack's tail, and Spike was sprinting behind by just a small length.
"Whoa!" cried Spike, almost being hit by one of the many falling boulders.
Pinkie, regardless of the situation, gasped and said, "Hey! This kinda reminds me of that one ti-"
"Not now, Pinkie!" interrupted Applejack.
"But I remember I sang for Princess Celestia and-"
"Not now, sugarcube!"
"It's a funny story-"
The Diamond Dogs were beginning to catch up to Spike, who was slowly trailing farther and farther behind. They swiped at him, barely missing as he bent forwards to dodge.
"Uh, guys?" Spike was beginning to fret, and began gritting his teeth in anxiety, hoping to get out of the caves unburied. Another Diamond Dog grabbed his tail, "Hey, watch your paws, bub!" Spike quickly smacked the paw away and continued running. The Diamond Dogs were almost surrounding him at this point, and his decreasing speed showed his exhaustion. Pinkie turned around, noticing Spike's dilemma.
"Applejack!" Pinkie gasped, trying to gain her friend's attention.
"Pinkie, I already told ya'! I ain't in a mood for stories!"
Pinkie decided to stay quiet. She watched Spike falling behind in the tunnel, distraught. She had to find a way to help Spike before the falling rocks blocked any hope of escaping! "Hmmm..." Pinkie's eyes opened wide and a smile appeared on her face. An idea! She hopped onto Applejack and started searching through her tail.
"Ugh! What in the hay are you doing, Pinkie?" asked Applejack, beginning to get annoyed with her friend's antics at such an inappropriate time.
"Don't worry, you keep running! I just need a bungee rope!"
"A... a what? Bungee rope?" said Applejack, completely confused.
Spike, now in complete fear of the mob of angry looking jewel hunters, wore a face of intense anxiety, "GUUUUUYS! HEEEEEELP!" he screamed.
Pinkie hollered back, "Spiiiiiike! Alright, Applejack, switch places with me!"
"Are you out of your mind?!"
"I need you to ride on my back!"
"Pinkie, you're as crazy as a sack a' ferrets if you think I'm gonna-”
"We need to save spike!"
"HEEEELP!" Spike was crying out from behind, kicking and fighting back the swarm of furry behemoths, "I'm not gonna make it, guys!" he cried, nearing exhaustion.
Applejack was aghast, "Al... Alright. I'm gonna trust ya on this one, but it better not be anything that's gonna put all of us in danger".
Pinkie nodded, "I promise! Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a cupcake in my-"
"GUYS!!!" Spike was huffing and puffing, panting and sweating; he was on his very last legs.
"Okay Applejack, now!" the pair switched positions, Applejack riding Pinkie's back, "Okay, take my bungee cord...."
Spike glanced forwards, catching sight of an incoming rubber object, "What the?" said Spike, puzzled. The extended rubber hose wrapped swiftly around him, tying his arms together and lifting him off the ground.
"WHOOOAAA!" the stretchy elastic dangled him above the dogs. As they suddenly noticing the small dragon hovering above them, they tried one final grasp, missing by only millimeters as he was pulled around a corner at incredible speeds.
"You did it!" cheered Pinkie, high-hoofing her passenger. Unfortunately, one problem remained. The crumbling cave. Rocks fell even more frequently among them now, almost hitting the group.
Applejack continued to pull in Spike, flinging him around to dodge the incoming boulders.
"Whoa... whoa! WHOOAAAA!" he was almost grazing by the falling objects. His face became greener with each swing, slowly succumbing to the movements of the bungee cord until he declared, welling up, "I think I'm gonna-ugh-puke."
The pair continued onwards, finally seeing the end of the tunnel. "We made it!" said Pinkie. However the diamond dog's leader was still inside the comm room, his dungeon falling all around him.
"Muahahahaha! The little dragon and pink one are doomed!" he pressed a button on the nearby control pad. BEEP!
"You think you are smarter than the Diamond Dogs?!? Think again, dumb pony!" he cackled, pressing another button. A secret passageway was revealed in the back of the room, and he slowly limped out, holding his back.
The gang was just about a half-mile away from the bright exit to the tunnel. Applejack hopped off of Pinkie, with Spike now riding Applejack.
"Phew... I'm so glad you guys saved me, it was awful back there! I mean seriously, have you smelled those guys?"
Suddenly a large object began looming over the horizon, making a racket, "Uh oh, looks like we ain't outta the woods yet!" said Applejack. A large gate now completely blocked the exit.
Still running, Pinkie began to panic. "There's no way out!"
Spike yelled, frustrated. "AW COME ON!"
Applejack tried to stay calm. "Uh... Pinkie, sugar... ya have any more a' those crazy plans on ya? It looks like we're gonna need one!"
Applejack surveyed their surroundings for any means of escape. It appeared the pursuing dogs had disbanded when they finally realized the tunnel was coming down, scrambling over one another in search of any exit. Pinkie Pie frantically searched her bag of party tricks for anything useful, in the process littering the floor with all sorts of odd contraptions of varying sizes and colors. Spike paced about half-heartedly, mumbling to himself about the kinds of messes he seemed prone to getting into. His scales seemed to sparkle every time time he turned around. Almost as if he were….
Applejack studied the ceiling. Yes, that was definitely sunlight, they must be very close to the surface. As the mine collapse progressed the holes continued to grow, letting in more and more light, soon you could fit a whole pony through them.
“Pinkie, you still got that bungee rope?”
This would be close. The cavern could come down before the cracks were even big enough, but with some proper rope work they might just have a chance.
Meanwhile Winona had followed her master’s scent for as long as she could, but it was soon covered by the smell of fleeing paws-on-hind-legs and dust thrown up by the collapse. She would have to find her own way out. The paws-on-hind-legs were avid diggers, perhaps they had fashioned their own way out in a hurry. Winona began to track the strongest scent trail she could find.
...an odd minty smell. Like a bar of soap, or a piece of candy, or a basket of herbs...
With all the dust floating around in the air, it was the best Winona could do. As she ran, Winona made a careful note of her surroundings. The tunnel was nearly unlit, save for some beaten up, iron lanterns each producing only a leg's length of light. The shaking had started to get more severe as she fled, dark dusty boulders occasionally snapping the rotting wooden supports or knocked down the lamps, shrouding the path ahead in darkness. But the scent was growing stronger. It was so close, the smell so strong that Winona could almost taste it. There! Right around the corner. Winona was sure of it. Her sense had never betrayed her before and they weren't about to now. And there seemed to be light... not just the sickly, yellow glow of the trembling lamps, but actual sunlight! Winona wagged her tail, panting as she sidestepped a collapsing wall. She was going to make it.
"EEP!" screamed Lyra as she hopped up and down in disgust, "SOMETHING WET JUST TOUCHED MY FLANK! EWWWW!" Bon-Bon looked at her best friend and quickly saw what she was yelling about.
"Why, it’s that apple pony's dog! The apple-dog!" she exclaimed as she bent down to look at the startled, panting creature.
Winona cringed. In her excitement at escaping the mine, she had turned the corner too quickly and had accidentally planted her tongue firmly on Lyra's flank. But at least she had found the source of the curious minty scent.
"Who's a good doggie? You are! Yes you are!" cooed Bon-Bon as Lyra continued her dramatic gibbering.
Winona paid the two silly ponies no heed and attempted to survey her new surroundings. Lyra and Bon-Bon had escaped the mine, but had found themselves stranded on a small, rocky overhang that overlooked a massive, apple tree filled valley. The way down was steep, and with the mine behind them still rattling, the valley slope was trembling enough that climbing down it was out of the question. Winona looked up at the sky. Though she had seen sunlight while coming out of the mine, it had appeared much brighter due to how long she had been running in almost total darkness. Dusk was approaching, and the sky was draped in great swatches of crimson and violet, tiny dots of light spanning that marvelous, swirling tapestry as the stars began to appear in preparation for Luna's carefully crafted night.
Winona sighed gently and looked back out at the valley. She might be stuck on a ledge with two crazy ponies and a collapsing mine behind her, but at least she was safe.
"Who's a silly doggy? Who's a silly doggy? Who is? YOU IS! Apple-dog!" giggled Bon-Bon as she poked Winona's side with one hoof.
"Aw... you're soooo cute! You're soooo cute! What a good apple-doggy!" guffawed Lyra as she poked Winona from the other side.
Winona looked back up the sky and whimpered, wondering what trouble her master had gotten herself into and hoping to Celestia that she was alright.
"Why sure I do!" said Pinkie Pie, holding the rope up with one hoof.
"Great! Pass it to me. I think we can use that there rope and git' out of here before this whole cave comes a' crashin' down on top of us!" replied Applejack hastily.
As if to emphasize her point, the ceiling chose that very moment to tear open further, rocks tumbling violently down the sides of the opening. Pinkie Pie ducked, and Applejack jumped to cover Spike who was lying on the ground, still shocked and exhausted from his narrow escape earlier.
When the dust cleared, the ponies found themselves in the warm glow of the setting sun, the mine still shaking around them as other parts of it collapsed. The glow was oddly reassuring; a moment's serenity that broke the chaos that erupted around them.
Applejack quickly snapped back into action, "Pinkie Pie! The rope!" she shouted, getting off of Spike and turning to face the chipper pony.
"Here! And hurry!" Pinkie Pie shouted back, tossing the rope towards Applejack.
Without missing a beat, Applejack tied the rope into a make shift lasso and tossed the ring skywards. "Shoot!" she said as the lasso fell back down, "It's too high! I can't get a hold of anything!" Applejack tossed the rope again, but once more the lasso could not reach the cave ceiling. "Pinkie Pie, do you have any more bungee rope? The lasso just isn't reaching!" Applejack stammered as she scanned the cave for another means of escape.
“No! That's the last of it! I don't have anymore!" came the exasperated reply. The mine began to shake again, but this time with tremendous force.
“Oh gosh!" yelled Applejack as she tried futilely tossing the lasso again, "The whole darn mine is collapsing! We're gonna be trapped down here!"
Spike lay on the ground, groaned loudly and shivered. He turned to look up at the hole in the ceiling. Though the cavern around him quaked and rattled, threatening with each oscillation to bury them, Spike felt oddly content. He looked up through the hole in the ceiling and saw the last glimmers of sunlight peaking in.
Twilight, he thought to himself. Spike smiled, still staring up at the hole, and look, it’s Twilight during twilight. Though his vision swam about him and the cavern shook wildly, he thought he could make out the figure of his good friend Twilight Sparkle in the foreground of the setting sun.
"Twilight..." he said to himself quietly.
Suddenly, Spike returned to his senses, "TWILIGHT! HELP US! DOWN HERE TWILIGHT!!!"
Applejack looked at Spike and then quickly turned her head towards the hole, "Twilight!" she gasped. Pinkie Pie needed no other cue, "TWILIIIIGHT!" she bellowed. "TWILIGHT WE'RE IN THIS CAVE AND WE NEED YOUR HEEEELP!"
Twilight pricked her ears. For a moment she thought she had heard the voice of Spike. Slowly she moved closer to the hole that opened up before her, small yet big enough to fit a big sized pony through. She stooped down, almost crawling towards the opening.
Suddenly, another voice! Pinkie Pie! Her heart gave a jump of relief and joy as she realized her friends were down there, "They’re here, Big Macintosh, they’re down there!" her friends below could faintly hear her voice, "Spike! Pinkie Pie! Are you alright?" she called down into the gloomy cave. She squinted her eyes to see better.
"Twilight, the cave's gonna collapse any darn moment! Help us!" Applejack shouted, already hearing the sounds of the approaching Diamond Dogs in the distance, slowly catching up to them.
Pinkie Pie had the biggest part of the bungee rope wrapped around her hoof, she took one end into her mouth and tried to toss it up towards Twilight but it only came fluttering back down to the ground.
"Lemme handle that, sugar cube!" Applejack said. She quickly took the rope off Pinkie's hoof and picked up an end with her tail tip. Pinkie Pie ooooh'ed, impressed as Applejack handled the length of rope with ease, using it like a stretchy lasso and tossing the loop up towards Twilight with much vigor.
Twilight nickered in surprise as the loop landed right around her head. She was peeking down as it dropped down to her shoulders, tightening itself around her neck as Applejack gave it a good tug.
"Yeehaw! I think I tossed it right over some rock spur. Sit tight! now we can all climb right on up."
Pinkie Pie started hopping and bouncing around her friend out of sheer joy. "Well done, AJ! We better climb up quickly, I hear them coming!"
Twilight felt herself being slowly pulled closer to the edge of the hole, feeling the hoop like a noose around her neck, robbing her of breath. She winced, digging her hooves into the dusty ground to struggle against the weight she suddenly felt pulling even stronger from the other end. She thought she would lose consciousness any moment when the face of a gentle giant appeared before her. Big Macintosh picked up the rope with his strong teeth and started to pull it upwards, releasing the tension of the loop around Twilight's neck. Able to think clearly again, Twilight's horn started to glow in a bright light for just a moment before the loop was cut in two. With a deep sigh of relieve Twilight scampered away from the hole, rubbing her bruised neck. "That... that was close, thanks Big Macintosh."
The red pony only smiled at her while still holding the bungee rope between his teeth. Slowly he moved backwards, pulling up the rope and the trio that was holding on to it tightly. Step after step his heavy hooves dug into the dry soil, finding just enough grip to keep moving. Twilight was surprised at the strength of Big Macintosh. After recovering a few more moments she got up and got a mouth full of rope as well, helping Applejack's brother. After a good minute of toil, the sun having almost set and casting long shadows over the ground, Pinkie Pie's mane came into view. Up she bounced and out of the hole, landing on all fours.
"Hi Twilight! Hi Big Macintosh!" she exclaimed with a grin before she too picked up the rope with her teeth and helped them.
Soon all of the ponies were safely on the surface, and not a moment too soon. There was a thunderous BOOM as the ground shifted beneath them, then everything went silent. Applejack shook the bits of rubble from her mane and coughed the dust out of her lungs before getting back to business, “Alright everypony, we may be out of the woods, so to speak, but Winona’s still missin’, not to mention Bon-Bon and Lyra. Let’s spread out and get searchin’. Spike and Pinkie, you search over there. Twilight and I will search over there, Big Mac can-”
Suddenly Spike started laughing and fell back onto the grass. Applejack gave him a look, but he ignored her. Soon Pinkie Pie joined in. It seemed her laughter was contagious, because Twilight and Big Macintosh followed suit as well.
“Now what is so darn funny?” asked Applejack.
As Spike looked up at the sky, which seamlessly went form a dark blue to a fiery orange, a wave of relief washed over him. He was alive. Not only that, but Rarity’s gem was safe. He took a deep breath of crisp air and laughed some more. Suddenly Pinkie Pie flopped down next to him, rolling around a little to flatten down the grass blades.
“Spike, what are you doing out here?” asked Twilight as she walked over to join them, “And why are you in such a good mood?”
“Because we won!” Spike exclaimed.
“And we had a super fun party!” added Pinkie Pie, pulling Twilight to the ground. Big Mac walked over as well. Spike gave him a bro hoof before he sat down next to the group.
“Come on Applejack!” called Pinkie, “the ground is suuuper comfy over here!”
“Now come on y'all,” insisted Applejack, “We can’t be wastin’ time…” her words trailed off. No matter how she tried to fight it, she couldn’t help but feel like things were going to be alright. Today had been quite an adventure. Maybe a little rest wouldn’t be too bad of a thing after all. As she walked over to her friends, they cheered her on. She rolled over on to her back next to her big brother and looked up at the approaching night sky, “Hey look!” she exclaimed, “A shootin’ star! Everypony make a wish.”
Everypony in the group squeezed their eyes closed and made a wish as the star passed. Spike wished for a date with Rarity, Pinkie wished for balloons, Twilight wished for more books for her collection, Big Mac also wished for a date with Rarity, and Applejack wished that this adventure would have a happy ending. After they were done they opened their eyes, but were surprised to see that the star was still there, a thing streak of white against the dark sky.
“Um… do we still get our wishes?” Spike asked.
“I, well I’m not sure,” replied Applejack, scratching her head in confusion, “Umm... does anypony else hear screaming?”
As the group craned their necks and listened, they picked up on a high pitched squeal that did indeed sound like screaming. As it got louder, Applejack noticed the star getting bigger. Not knowing what was going on, she hopped to her feet.
“Everypony get ready!” she said, “Whatever that thing is, it’s coming right for us!” as everypony got to their feet the star continued on its path at blinding speeds. There was a sudden explosion of light as it landed, and something crashed into Applejack, sending her rolling across the ground. It took her a moment to realize what it was.
“Winona?!? What… how’d you get here?”
Winona barked excitedly as she hopped off of Applejack and ran toward a small crater that hadn’t been there a moment before. Applejack followed her over. When she reached the edge she stopped in surprise.
“Hello Applejack,” said a familiar voice, “I came as quickly as I could when I realized that something was wrong. I’m sorry it took so long to find you.”
“Oh! Why, it’s n-no problem at all P-p-pr-”
“Please,” said the majestic white pony as she climbed out of the depression in the ground and dropped a disoriented Lyra and Bonbon from her back, “call me Celestia.”
Shock is usually a pony’s first reaction upon seeing Celestia, not out of hatred or anything mind you, more from the sheer brilliance and beauty that is the Princess of the Sun. "Is there something wrong, my subjects? Why so quiet?"
Twilight was the first to react, her eyes going wide with surprise but soon overtaken by the joy of seeing her beloved mentor. While everypony began to bow Twilight ran forward "Princess Celestia!" she declared as the teacher and mentor began some most excellent mother daughter love and cuddling.
As beautiful as the scene was it got cut short by Applejack who still had at least some grasp of the situation at hand, they didn't have all the time in the world and who knew when the Diamond Dogs could reappear? "Ah hate to interrupt Twi, but we still got a probl-"
Applejack was cut short as Spike finally came to his senses and began quizzing the Princess. "Did you get my gem I sent?!?"
"Indeed I did, Spike. It is being kept in the palace as we speak." The Princess spoke softly and the words were kind but it was clear that it slightly agitated Spike.
"But... but Princess... what if somepony makes it explode while you're away?"
It was extremely rare for Celestia to be surprised, even in situations filled with huge danger, however this was one of those rare occasions, and her face conveyed it.
"I mean... it could, y'know... explode twice!" Spike was babbling on now and Applejack was beginning to lose her patience, they still had the Diamond Dogs on their manes and if they weren't careful it could be more trouble then it was worth.
Just as Spike and Celestia were going to begin into what many philosophers would consider a 'Philosophical debate on the nature of natural combustion' Applejack cleared her voice and began yammering orders.
"LIKE. AH. WAS. SAYING. Princess, the Diamond Dogs didn't look very happy when we went and took their gem so ah reckon we should be getting a move on, y'all can continue your discussion later."
The ponies all looked at each other and nodded, aside from Celestia who had a strange look in her eye after being ordered, and the group began to get a move on. Applejack was right. They should probably get moving in case-
The day seemed to be in a state of 'TOOT YOU PONIES' as the ground around them literally began to shrink, as if it was being dug out an..Uh oh.
"WHERE'S THE GEM, DRAGON?"
Applejack facehoofed and couldn't help but feel a sense of “Ah told y'all so.”
All heads turned to face the Diamond Dog infantry as it ascended from the soil. All around, and more rapidly than ever before, the ground began to collapse around them in chunks, shattering like glass and collapsing into the void leaving nothing behind but a cloud of dust. The dynamite normally used for mining operations was now being used to carve all but an elevated piece of land in the middle into a dangerous abyss. The arena in the middle was all that stood; there was no room for attempting an escape. The largest Diamond Dog they had encountered yet stood in front of them, countless numbers of his cronies lined up behind him awaiting further orders.
“Well well well, here we thought we would have to go after you, and you showed up right at our door like a pizza, Princess.” said the lead Diamond Dog. His voice was a cross between a hiss and a growl and was unfittingly high pitched for his tall, muscular figure. A scar across his left eye showed that he meant business.
Applejack dug her hooves into the ground menacingly and glared at the enemy. “Y’all don’t know what yer’ getting’ into!” she shouted, hoping that if she sounded imposing, they would leave her alone. Twilight glanced at her, shaking her head and mouthing, “no” to suggest that this wasn’t the best of ideas, but Applejack didn’t notice. “The Princess knows a thing or two about combat, so you’d best turn yer’ tails back the way y’all came.”
Spike marched up to the feet of the goliath canine and pointed angrily up at his fangs, “Yeah! You better not mess with us. If you mess with Celestia, she messes you up. Go on, Princess, show these goofs who raises the sun!”
He looked eagerly in Celestia’s direction, whose face looked completely unfazed by this request and looked anything but battle ready.
“It would be unfair to involve myself in such a conflict,” she calmly replied, “I think you’re perfectly prepared to get out of this sort of situation, my little ponies. Whenever I read the letters telling about your fantastic exploits I wish I could be there to see them, and now I finally have that chance. I’d hate to deny you an opportunity to prove yourself and grow as an Equestrian.” She tilted her head slightly to one side, closed her eyes and gave a big smile. “I’ve been watching you, Twilight Sparkle. Bringing you here was the right decision, and I think the friendship between you ponies is strong enough that you can handle this little issue with ease.”
Twilight’s heart pounded and her horn trembled with fear as she heard this. For the first time since she came to Ponyville, she felt… overwhelmed. Nothing in her books had prepared her for this kind of confrontation, and even the conflict with the Ursa Minor seemed tame in comparison. She knew deep inside that Celestia would never let anything bad happen to them, but at the moment that didn’t bring much comfort.
She was about to shed a tear when she felt a hoof on her shoulder.
She looked up to see Applejack standing by her side, giving her a confident nod. “I’m here for ya, sugarcube. We can do this. We’ve picked bigger apples than this before.”
She felt a similar sensation on her other side and turned her head to see Pinkie Pie, bouncing up and down as always and smiling bigger than ever, even at a time like this. “Don’t be silly,” she laughed, “of course we can do this. We’ll just pretend that it’s a diamond dog defeating party!”
Big Mac nodded., “Ah-yup.”
Twilight took a deep breath, nodded at each of her friends, and closed her eyes. “You’re right, everypony,” she said, “I learned this lesson a long time ago. With friendship, anything is possible. Now…” When she opened her eyes, they, as well as her horn, were glowing in preparation of the battle to come, “…it’s show time.”
The lead Diamond Dog growled as he signaled the others to move in. Armored guard dogs approached the group from all sides. Lyra and Bon-bon, just coming to their senses let out frightened squeals as they were levitated upwards, and brought to hover near Celestia above the coming battle.
As the Diamond Dogs came closer Winona's growling began to drown out their own. Several of the Diamond dog's stopped their advance to cover their ears.
"Ummm, Twilight, what's happening?" Asked Pinkie. What was supposed to be a whisper bombed outwards, making several of the Diamond Dogs yelp in pain.
"A new spell I learned" She replied, holding her concentration, "Now Pinkie, we need a song, a loud one!"
Pinkie Pie was ecstatic, "My pleasure, Twilight!" her voice caused a feedback, and all nearby diamond dogs whimpered and barked at the pain of these constant sonic attacks, "Hmm... Okay, I got one!" exclaimed Pinkie, causing more whimpers and a slight rumble.
Applejack whispered, "Winona... Ya might wanna cover your ears," Winona nodded and hit the deck, using her paws to tightly press her ears closed.
Pinkie cleared her throat and smiled, surveying her crowd. She closed her eyes and held her hoof out, in a style reminiscent of MacBeth.
Pinkie winked and readied herself...
"We all want things that are hard to get! You want a jewel and so does our pet!”
"Hey!” Spike said, offended.
“If you work hard, then you will achieve, but please don’t steal, lie, or deceive!”
“Taking stuff will lead to trouble, like having your cave turned into rubble-e-e...”
The dogs howled and trembled under her cheery voice, "Henchdogs, stop whining! Get the piiink one!" the dogs didn't listen, and some started to dig underground. Twilight smiled and cheered her friend on while retaining her concentration.
"Good job Pinkie! You get 'em, girl!" hooted Applejack.
Pinkie jumped around to each of the diamond dogs, singing to each one of them as they huddled in fear.
"Iiiiiiiii-t's best to work for what you waaaant, It's that much better when you’re a go-getter!”
"S...Stop her!" yelled the Alpha dog, holding his ears. Pinkie danced and bounced around, leaping over and dodging the dogs as they attempted to tackle her to the ground.
“It's best to work for what you waaaant, you shouldn't take, or amends you'll maake,”
Applejack started clapping along with the beat while Winona stuck her head in the ground to muffle Pinkie's singing.
“It's best to work for what you waaaant,” as Pinkies song reached a crescendo, the diamond dogs began running away, some digging into the ground, some scrambling over each other.
“Cause being greedy makes you a big meenie!” Celestia giggled and began clapping along, as well as Lyra and Bon-Bon.
“It's best to work for what you waaaaant... everypony sing it with me now!"
All the rest of the ponies present joined in Pinkie's song. Even Winona barked happily along. Twilight was surprised that her mentor was also singing, and even more surprised by how beautiful her voice was... that is, behind Twilight's magic.
In front of the spell-wall Twilight had created, the sound of their singing was amplified to unimaginable levels. The Diamond Dogs routed in hordes, clutching their clawed paws to their ears, but to no avail. Not only had Twilight amplified the volume, but also the range of pitch, so that the Dogs's very bodies were shaking with the subsonic rumble and their heads splitting with the dog-whistle whine.
"Uh... sugarcube?" said Applejack, practically right into Twilight's ear so that she could be heard over the singing, "I think that'll probably do the trick."
Twilight nodded and let the magic fade away, the singing naturally following suit. They only wanted to discourage the dogs from attacking, not give them permanent ear-damage. She and Spike approached the Alpha Dog.
"I hope you don't need any more 'encouragement'," said Spike, grinning from ear to ear.
"WHAAAAT?!" said the Alpha, obviously still stunned by the sonic onslaught. Twilight's horn gleamed momentarily, restoring the Alpha's hearing.
"We trust that you'll call off your minions," said Twilight, "or else Pinkie might have to make up another verse..."
"NO! Please, we promise to go away and never come back!" the Alpha pleaded, grovelling on the ground in front of Twilight, "Please just don't let the pink one sing again!"
"What?!? But I thought everypony liked my singing!" Pinkie Pie whispered.
"Of course they do, sugarcube," replied Applejack with a smile.
"But what guarantee do we have that you won't ever try anything again?" said Spike, leering over the Alpha. He was clearly relishing every moment of this victory, already composing an epic ballad of how he defeated the Diamond Dogs in his head to recite later to Rarity.
"Uh..." the Alpha looked around at his surroundings for inspiration. All that met his eyes were the slumped forms of his unconscious soldiers, "I don't know...."
"Well, what about Pinkie's song?" Applejack suggested, "If they want gemstones so much, I'm sure nopony would mind if they worked for them. I know for a fact I could use a couple extra hoofs around Sweet Apple Acres. Paws, I should say."
"Would that be a problem, Princess?" asked Twilight, turning to Celestia.
"Of course not. It's a much better solution than simply throwing them out," said the Princess smoothly, "But we can hardly force them into work they don't want...."
Spike drifted off from the conversation, as usual, and began looking into space. He daydreamed of Rarity, and her reaction to his heroic retrieval of the jewel she had once bestowed upon him.
Rarity, formally dressed as a princess (for Spike would prefer no other), cried silent tears beside her bedroom window. "How could you lose my gem, Spike?" she said, wiping her wet cheeks, "I thought you loved me!" she hid her face in her arms, her make-up running.
"RARITY!" Spike exclaimed with a bang as he burst through Rarity's door. His rippling abs were glistening as they reflected incoming sunlight, his smile matching his perfectly chiseled chin. Rarity turned around in surprise, shocked and pleased that her knight had arrived, whatever the cause.
He zipped to her side and kneeled. Spike spoke as he opened a wonderfully crafted case, "My lady, I have retrieved your precious jewel in hopes that you would..." Rarity was awed, and her mouth became a smile agape in excitement as the jewel's light reflected brightly into her eyes.
"My dear Rarity. Will you... go out with me?"
"OH YES, YES, YEEEES!" she replied excitedly, bouncing up and down in joy. Spike stood and took her hand as they walked out of the room....
Spike hopped backwards in shock, falling on his back, "Pinkie, you almost gave me a heart attack!" said Spike, rubbing his head as he winced in slight pain.
"Well, you didn't say anything when we called your name, silly!" Pinkie Pie chortled and bounced away, giggling.
"Hey wait!" said Spike as he chased after her.
"Hey Pinkie, I wanted to say you did a great job back there," Spike said, walking over to Pinkie as the others spoke with the Diamond Dogs.
"Why thank you Spike," she replied with a smile.
"But there's something I wanna ask you..." he said, looking up at Pinkie Pie. "Where did you get all that stuff you used to make that party anyway?"
Pinkie Pie giggled and replied, "From hammerspace of course!" before hopping over to the others, leaving Spike with a confused look on his face before he laughed and followed behind her.
"PLEASE PONY!" the Alpha dog interrupted, shivering uncontrollably as he scratched at the dirt by Twilight's hooves, "Diamond Dogs only want gems. We work for gems, then we can go?" he said, looking up at the ponies with dazed eyes. Twilight scanned the valley. The Diamond Dogs lay scattered about, some still clutching their ears and squealing, while others were rolling around on the floor in auditory shock. Some appeared to have entirely fainted, twitching as they lay unconscious upon the cold ground. After a moment's contemplation, Twilight delivered her verdict.
"It's not my place to decide," she said with conviction, "Applejack, Spike, I think you two should make the decision."
"Why thank ye' kindly Twilight!" said Applejack as she turned to Spike, "Looks like the two of us got some thinkin' to do Spike! Let's huddle."
"Guards, have you seen my dear sister anywhere? Its getting awfully late and sun hasn’t set yet! I can't bring out the moon if Celestia hasn't taken the sun out of the sky..." Luna’s voice tapered off as she gave the two throne room guards a coy smile. The unicorn guards bowed low for the princess of the moon.
"Her majesty, the wise and beautiful Princess Celestia, is away from Canterlot on important business, your highness," said the guard to Luna's right without looking up.
Luna spoke softly, a mischievous tone creeping into her voice, "Did she mention what business she was on, sir guard?" the guard she had addressed looked up from his bow.
"No, your highness. Her majesty did not mention what business she was attending to."
"Thank you for your help then, guards" the Princess said as she turned to leave, "I guess I'll go check my sister's personal quarters," Luna trotted towards Celestia's bedroom, "Perhaps she's left a note for me!"
"So, Applejack, what's your take on the Diamond Dogs coming to work for you?" Spike whispered as he gave a threatening, but unseen, glance to the Alpha dog.
"I could always use some help around Sweet Apple Acres, but apple-bucking season's long over and I'm not sure what I'd do with so many of them Diamond Dogs runnin' around," said Applejack raising her voice gently to regain Spike's attention, "Spike, are you okay? You've been staring at that Diamond Dog over there awful angry like. Would you like to talk about it?" Spike turned his eyes back to Applejack.
"I'm just steamed that those awful Diamond Dogs were making those poor ponies do their dirty work for them. And that one Diamond Dog stole my precious gem! I still kind of want to get him back for what he did."
Applejack gave Spike a tiny look of disappointment, "Wasn't beatin' 'em, gettin' your gem back, and saving Lyra and Bon-Bon good enough for you? Why do you need revenge Spike?" Spike began to speak, but Applejack continued just as he opened his mouth, "Sometimes you need to learn how to forgive and forget Spike. Those Diamond Dogs might have hurt you sugar cube, but y'all need to let it go!" Spike looked at the lead Diamond Dog, who was still groveling at Twilight and Celestia's hooves. Even though Spike was angry, he could tell the Diamond Dog was truly repentant.
"Fine..." groaned Spike, "Maybe we should just let them go."
Applejack gave Spike a sunny smile, "That's the spirit Spike! Sometimes you just need to show a little kindness."
Princess Luna carefully opened the door to Celestia's bedroom, "Celestiaaa? Sister? Are you in here?" she said cheerily. Around the massive room, she saw the magical fire, kept eternally lit by the warmth of the sun. It flickered gently from the fireplace, casting an ambient glow across the ornate, pink designs that danced elegantly about the purple room. She saw the stained glass window by her sister's bed that was full of twinkling stars, and the bed itself. A round, purple mattress that sat in the middle of the floor with a large, yellow cushion sitting at its head. On a small cushioned seat not far from the door, Princess Luna saw a bright blue jewel.
"What is this?" she said, picking up the sparkling gem with her magic, "A jewel? But whatever for?" a glint of sunlight caught Luna's eye from a corner of the gem. Turning towards the window, Luna gasped, "The sun is still up! And it’s almost night! Maybe this gem is enchanted? Perhaps my sister is giving me the honor of lowering the sun tonight?" Luna giggled and flushed with excitement, it was exactly what she had hoped for. This evening, Equestria would witness the most beautiful sunset ever at the hands of their beloved Princess Luna.
"Twilight..." Applejack said proudly as she and Spike walked back towards the purple pony and the shivering Diamond Dog at her hooves, "Spike and I have reached a decision, haven't we Spike?" the little purple dragon looked at Applejack, then to Twilight, then to the Princess, and then finally to the Alpha Diamond Dog. He paused a moment for dramatic effect and puffed up his chest.
Pinkie Pie could no longer stand to wait, "Oooh! Are you going to throw them a PARTY??" she yelled as balloons and streamers suddenly exploded out of the ground below her. Lyra and Bon-Bon, still in disbelief over being rescued by Princess Celestia, not to mention the sudden appearance of balloons and streamers, found this to be an acceptable conclusion to what they both assumed was just a very strange dream they were having, and thus both got up and began to dance, the coincidence only reinforcing that notion in their minds, "PARTY!!!" yelled Pinkie Pie, as music manifested suddenly out of no where. Pinkie joined Lyra and Bon-Bon in their dance as the music played on. Winona slowly slinked away from the three silly ponies and crawled back towards Applejack. She was having no part in this silliness.
Spike stared at the scene with some contempt. He had been hoping to build some dramatic momentum, but it had been entirely lost thanks to Pinkie Pie. "Forgive and forget..." he said to himself, "love and tolerate..." Spike felt a lot better. He looked up at Celestia and Twilight, both of whom were shocked at what they had just witnessed, and cleared his throat with a loud AHEM. Twilight and Celestia turned their attention back to Spike, who spoke quickly while he had their attention, "Twilight, your Majesty, Applejack and I have decided to let the Diamond Dogs to go free, no strings attached, provided they are truly sorry and agree to be more considerate in the future," the Alpha Diamond Dog, still groveling, looked at Spike with glistening eyes.
"Diamond Dogs... free to go? No work? Keep gems and just go?" he said, his voice getting quieter.
"Yes," replied Spike curtly.
"But we make ponies work, and we take pretty blue jewel. Little dragon not mad?" the Alpha Dog continued.
"I am mad, I'm really mad! But you look like you're truly sorry. A good friend of mine taught me that if somepony is really sorry, the best thing you can do is forgive and forget."
The Alpha Dog felt something swelling up from within him. His eyes glistened, swollen with tears, as he said, more quietly now than ever, "Thank you for your kindness little dragon. You are... a friend to Diamond Dogs."
Spike smiled and hugged the filthy Diamond Dog, "Just remember your promise okay?"
"Um... Rainbow Dash, I don't think this is a good idea."
With Twilight, Pinkie Pie, Applejack and Spike apparently missing; Fluttershy, Rarity and Rainbow Dash had been having a nice and quiet day. For Rainbow Dash, however, it was too quiet.
"Don't you go doubting me, Fluttershy! This is the pony that pulled off the Sonic Rainboom, remember? With a little help from Rarity's magic, I bet I'll touch the moon this time for sure!" Fluttershy squeaked and looked away. Rainbow Dash had gotten bored and was attempting to fly fast enough and far enough to touch the moon. So far, she hadn't had much luck, but with Rarity's magic boosting her speed beyond a normal pony's limits, Fluttershy was afraid that Rainbow would hurt herself.
"Maybe Fluttershy is right Rainbow Dash..." exclaimed Rarity, as she charged Rainbow Dash with her magic, "perhaps you should think this through a little bit?"
Rainbow Dash did a few practice loops with her new found, magically charged speed, "Don't worry Rarity. I've got this all under control." Rainbow Dash smiled proudly as she dug in and prepared to take off as quickly as she could, "Just look for the Rainbow streak across the moon."
The jewel was not enchanted after all, but with magic as powerful as Princess Luna's, it seemed that such things were not necessary. Although difficult, Luna managed to pull the sun to its resting place beneath the horizon and prepared the arduous task of lifting the moon. Her magical powers straining, Luna flew brilliantly across the night sky, her incredible speed betraying what appeared to be a the moon lurching ever so slowly across the night sky, "Almost there...” she thought to herself, “just a little further and the moon will be all set to continue on its own until sunrise."
"Just... a little... further..." Rainbow Dash flew straight upwards, her wings propelling her to a blistering level of speed. The moon was growing bigger and bigger in the night sky. Soon, Rainbow Dash thought, she'd be able to touch that moon and maybe leave her initials on it somewhere. Wouldn't that be exciting?
Lost in thought, Rainbow Dash never saw the collision coming. She crashed into Princess Luna and the two of them fell, tumbling down towards Equestria, the moon slipping, fortunately, into its designated course just in time. Shocked by the sudden impact, Luna accidentally released the blue jewel, allowing it fall out of her reach and downwards. Rainbow Dash was dazed by the collision, but Princess Luna, though startled, still had her wits about her. A Princess of Equestria would never allow herself to be taken out of commission so easily. Even as the two fell downwards towards the ever approaching ground, Princess Luna summoned what magic she could to cushion their fall. She felt them slowing, but it was as if some other magic had been cast to increase their speed.
The Alpha Diamond Dog returned Spike's hug and left without another word to round up his fellow diamond dogs and share the good news. One by one, the Diamond Dogs left the valley, most still dazed, but all smiling at the kindness that had been shown to them.
"I'm proud of you Spike," Applejack said, "You did the right thing by forgiving those Diamond Dogs," just then, a whistling sound could be heard in the air around them.
Looking up, Celestia gave a gentle grin, "Just on time..." she said to herself as she moved Twilight, Applejack, Spike, and Winona away from the whistling. Pinkie, Lyra and Bon-Bon didn't seem to notice what was happening. "PAAAAARTY!" they shouted in unison to the pink pony's mysterious music.
Princess Luna and Rainbow Dash fell from the sky and landed directly on top of the party, kicking up a mighty cloud of dust as they did. As the dust cleared, a spectacular sight presented itself. Princess Luna lay in the center of the pile, with Rainbow Dash lying on top of her, the two of them dizzy and disoriented from the collision and fall. Lyra and Bon-Bon lay together in their own heap off to the right, neither entirely understanding what was happening to them. Pinkie was the only pony left standing. "WOO! WOO!" she cheered in a siren like manner. "That was sooo fun!"
Luna came to her senses quickly and looked at Celestia with some surprise. "Sister!" she exclaimed angrily, "This pony, Rainbow Dash, almost stopped me from bringing up the moon!"
Still hurt and disoriented, all poor Rainbow Dash could offer was a barely whispered, "Sorry... I'm so sorry..." Luna, however, was furious.
"I can't believe this! What would the ponies of Equestria have done if the moon didn't rise tonight? I'm so angry I could..." Celestia cut off her sister's tirade.
"My dear Sister, it sounds like you could use some advice on the magic of friendship," the beautiful princess of the sun turned to her star pupil, Twilight Sparkle, "Twilight, would you care to give me your report on the magic of friendship face to face? And loudly please, so that everypony can hear it!" Twilight gave a quick look at Spike, then to Applejack, then to Luna and Rainbow Dash, and then finally back to Celestia.
"With pleasure Princess!" Twilight turned to face Luna, "I've learned that sometimes, the best thing a friend can do is forgive and forget. There are times when everypony makes bad decisions, but if they are truly sorry, then forgiving them and forgetting that they hurt you can help heal both of you, and may even help you find new friends!"
Princess Luna looked at Rainbow Dash, who could still hardly speak or move, and sighed, "You're right Twilight. Thank you for sharing what you've learned with me..." Luna then turned her head to face her sister, "Celestia... I... took the blue jewel you had in your room because I thought it would help me move the sun, and, well, during the collision, I might have dropped it," Celestia did not look concerned, but Spike looked devastated.
"My... my jewel... that blue gemstone must have been my jewel" he said, looking down at the ground. "After all this effort, I won't even get to keep the jewel Rarity gave me." He looked around them to see if the gem had fallen nearby, but was shocked to find, instead, that the Alpha Diamond Dog was running back towards them.
"Little Dragon!" he yelled from a distance, "Little Dragon!"
"Huh..." said a confused Spike, "It’s the lead Diamond Dog. I wonder what he's doing back here?" The Diamond Dog stopped abruptly in front of Spike.
"Blue jewel fall out of sky, land next to me. It is your jewel, so I bring it back because we are friends!" spoke the Dog in his broken tongue. Spike took the jewel and gave it a hug.
"Oh Rarity..." he said very softly to himself, "My heart belongs to you," he looked back up at the Diamond Dog and gave him a hug, "Thanks my friend, you're alright after all," Applejack gave a cheer. Everything seemed to work out in the end.
And of course it would, Princess Celestia thought to herself with a knowing smile. Of course it would.