Late morning, Ponyville. The air was golden with the sounds and scents of springtime. Fillies and colts ran around playing with nothing but joy and cheer on their faces. It was shaping up to be a perfect day for the Grand Galloping Gala, an event that Starlight and her friends had been looking forward to. Mostly.
Fluttershy was still not fully convinced on the gala. She had never really been to a wide scale party of this level before and with all the fancy dresses, fancy speak, and even fancier ponies she found it all a bit overbearing. Still, she had made a promise to Starlight to go and the food was just tempting enough to keep her from ducking out early. Pinkie however was excited. She had managed to score a deal to fund an entire fountain of Cherry Rosé, the newest and most special of wines made by lovers, for lovers. It was sure to bring a kick to the party and provide quite some level of advertising at that for the Cherry Pie without it being too… On the nose.
Starlight had woke up only recently. She spent some time lazing about in the shower, in the kitchen and on the sofa just getting ready for the no doubt all night long party soon to come. Stretching her legs out and she glanced to the clock for the third time that hour. It was time she felt to go get her dress picked up. The trip to Canterlot after all would take some hours and it was always smart to come early. Pulling herself up she shook the laziness from her body like so much heavy fluff and headed for the door wearing just a grin.
“Sup Stary.” Rainbow greeted just outside her house.
“Sup. You were waiting for me?” Starlight asked as they started walking together.
“Thought it would be more fun to go together, besides it was you who convinced us all to go so you might as well lead us on up to the place.” Rainbow replied.
“I think Pinkie might have something to say about that, I heard she got us some kind of carriage.” Starlight said with a smirk.
As the pair reached the tailor’s store they found Rarity and Twilight already waiting for them although Twilight was so focused on her paperwork and notes that she did not notice them as they walked inside.
“Sup, you seen the others?” Rainbow asked.
“Fluttershy and Applejack are in the back.” Rarity replied.
“And Pinkie?” Rainbow then asked.
“I saw her earlier today, she mentioned getting something ready.” Rarity answered.
“That fits, Starlight did mention her sorting out some kind of big carriage.” Rainbow said as she moved on across the shop and into the backrooms.
Inside the private dressing rooms they were met with the comical sight of Applejack and Spike trying their best to get Fluttershy ready for the Gala. She was not fighting them but her refusal to stand still for even a moment only made it all the harder to get everything to sit on her just right. The soft green fabric with design notes of nature and the everfree, such as vines and butterflies, did look incredibly nice on her though.
“If you think this is hard wait until we gotta straighten her hair.” Spike remarked.
“Good luck, I gotta get myself ready first.” Applejack replied with a smirk as she finished off the flowery collar. Giving a nod to the others she headed over to get her dress from the rack. Starlight smiled back and made her horn glow. Picking up a dozen tools from the mirrored desks they danced around Fluttershy in a storm of beauty products. Within minutes her fluffy rat’s nest of a mane had been made neat, soft, and decorated with several flowers. Fluttershy was surprised as she looked at herself in one of the mirrors but a part of her did almost like it. At least others would not be staring at her as much.
“Thanks Starlight, I have been trying to get her ready all day.” Spike said.
“Least I can do. I want this night to be perfect.” Starlight replied.
As Applejack got her own dress sorted out Starlight and Rainbow went to get their hair done up first. As they did Rarity and Twilight finished whatever they were doing in the front and joined everypony at the back. The night was finally on its way to getting sorted, all they needed to do was find Pinkie and take the carriage up to Canterlot.
Spike sat looking over the girls as they all got dressed. Fluttershy was wearing a green dress all done up in the styles of nature. Rainbow was of course wearing a silk rainbow with gold shoes and a matching gold laurel headdress. Applejack was going rustic as ever with a tasteful leather dress all done with apple shaped decorations. Rarity had gone with silk and see through leggings but the amount of gems on the dress itself bordered on being too flashy. Lastly Twilight and Starlight had gone with similar designs as Twilight’s dress used blue and stars much like the night sky while Starlight had gone with a surprisingly beautiful mixture of black and purple. Spike’s tuxedo in comparison seemed almost quaint but he did not mind, being able to watch them all getting dressed was quite fun as well. With a few touches of makeup to really polish up everything they headed out to find Pinkie waiting for them just outside the store, oddly wearing sunglasses and a black dress that barely hung down to the knees.
“Sup.” Pinkie greeted. “You ready to crash a Gala?” She asked with a wide grin before whistling loud into the warm spring air. Before they could say anything the ground began to rumble and a huge carriage as long as three houses came barreling down the roadway. Being pulled by six muscled stallions all wearing black and bowties it came to a sharp stop. The entire group was slack jawed and bug eyed but when Pinkie opened up the double doors they nearly fainted. The inside was decked out in pink and gold. A wine fountain, hot tub, stallion servant and mini-dressing room was only a few of the luxury additions waiting for them. “Canterlot is several hours away, so I don’t think you lot will mind getting dressed again right?” Pinkie asked.
Rushing inside they were amazed with how much room they had to move around, in fact it seemed like it was bigger on the inside than the outside. While Starlight had some explanations of illusion enchantments nobody was paying her attention. Rainbow instantly crashed on a plush leather seat with a wide mini-bar full of things to try out, to which both Fluttershy and Applejack quickly joined her. Rarity and spike was quick to hop in the hottub together for a bit of rest and relaxation before the big night. Pinkie sat down as cool as ever next to their stallion servant of the night, which everypony expected. This just left Starlight and Twilight to find something to do. Between Twilight’s difficulty in having fun and Starlight’s awkwardness however they ended up sitting next to each other away from the others. It was quieter and they preferred that.
“How much do you think something like this costs?” Starlight asked as she sat looking around.
“More than I make I feel… Trust Pinkie to know how to spend a night.” Twilight replied.
The private party within the carriage bounced on for hours until they had lost track of time but with the sun dropping low in the sky and the roadways becoming lined with bricks they knew it would soon be over.
The Gala was well known across equestria for being a truly royal party. It was as VIP as you could get as various royals, nobles, millionaires and ponies with all types of power would meet up and rub elbows until the sun rose. The food was the best in the country, the music provided by only the most talented. Everything was luxury, everything was wealthy. Even Celestia, and now Luna, would make an appearance. In this golden ocean of power and money Pinkie’s entrance still stood out. When the carriage rolled up everybody stopped to stare. A crowd quickly formed to see what kind pony could afford such an insanely lavish contraption and when the group came forward the crowd was surprised. Sure, there was the star pupil of Celestia, the owner of the Bejewelled Bridle and of course the Cherry Queen herself but the rest they had never even heard of.
Heading down the polished pathway they entered into the grand gardens of the Canterlot castle just as the wonderbolts flew over head in skillful tumbles and patterns. A flash and bang of fireworks went off soon after. In the center of the gardens they found another surprise. A giant fountain of sweet smelling pink juice. Pinkie’s grin told them much.
“Surprise, the Cherry’s pie very own Cherry Rosé! It was a rush and half to get the mixture right but well worth it. I want you all to be the first to take a test.” She explained as she waved off the waiter that was looking after it. With eight crystal wine glasses filled with the bubbling pink liquid Pinkie stood up on the edge of the fountain and raised hers upwards. “To the best night ever!” She called out. All at once they put it to their lips to find a smooth, fruity and surprisingly powerful drink that made their entire body feel light merely seconds later. Things spun a little, hooves feeling strangely tingly. Starlight laughed.
Sunlight. Birds. Starlight rolled over with a groan as her head felt like a lead anvil being pounded by a dragon. Sitting up she coughed violently and pulled apart her sticky eyes to find herself in a large bed. Lifting up a hoof she found it wet. And then she realized the bed was inside of a pool. She sat with no clue how she got here for a moment before pulling open the other eye. Slowly she turned to the other pony who was laying next to her. She swallowed the bitter lump in her throat as she was met with the seductive half lidded eyes of Pinkie, who then wiggled her eyebrows for effect.
“Please, oh Celestia no…” Starlight whispered with a dry cracked mouth.
“Hmm not what you was saying last night.” Pinkie replied with a wink.
Starlight’s eyes looked all over the pink mare laying next to her. She could not believe it, so she chose not to. Quickly she got out of bed but in doing so she fell into the pool with a great splash. Now much more awake she paddled over to the pool’s edge to find it only half filled. Pouring magic into her horn her head painfully shook and the magic escaped her. Swimming over to the ladder she climbed out to find herself not even in the castle. It seemed like they were in some random mansion’s backyard.
“Starlight, hey. Hey, over here. Fun party!” A blue mare called out from the back of a huge inflatable swan that was slowly circling around the pool. Starlight for a moment did not even know who she was but then she noticed the wings and horn. Princess Luna?!
“How did I get here?!” Starlight shouted before another retching cough caught her.
“I have no idea!” Luna replied before giggling herself crosseyed.
In a staggered stupor Starlight trotted around the large marble pool and up to the mansion that had all the backdoors wide open. Heading inside she found a long trail of blue petals all over the floor and the walls were covered in some kind of pink paint, or goo. Ignoring the goo for now she followed the trail across the kitchen, down the hallways and into the living room where she found Applejack wearing Celestia’s crown. She was asleep on what appeared to be several thousand bits piled up into a massive heap. There was even some gems and other treasures scattered about. Starlight wished so much that she knew how this happened but nothing came to mind for this situation either.
Climbing up the pile of bits she gave Applejack a shake. Slowly she opened her eyes. With a yawn she shook her head and several more bits came flying out. Gazing to Starlight with empty eyes she looked down to the bits and then up to the luxurious mansion all around her.
“Please tell me you know what is going on here.” Starlight said as Applejack rolled to her hooves. She said not a word and instead started to walk. “I just woke up in what I think is princess Luna’s bed, with Pinkie, and I just got no idea how I go there you know?” Starlight continued. “I don’t think anything really happened but the fact I don’t remember anything of yesterday just really is a bit worrying you know?” Starlight kept talking.
Applejack did not seem to pay her any attention and continued to trot all the way down to the kitchen where in she began to open up each cupboard and drawer in search of a blender. Finding one she began to take a little of this, a little of that, and more than a touch of liquor to fill it. With a whir that drilled painful vibrations into her brain she poured out several shots of it into small glasses and slid one to Starlight. Starlight gave her a look and found Applejack downing one already. Curious she did so herself. For a moment it felt like someone had just smashed the back of her head with an entire fruit tree but then it cleared, no pain, no blur in her eyes.
“Better. And no, I don’t remember a thing either.” Applejack said.
“That better be your Ambrosia, AJ, because my head has not hurt this much since highschool.” Pinkie spoke up as her and a giggly Luna entered into the kitchen.
“Help yourself… Any idea why Luna is here, or why I am wearing this crown?” Applejack asked.
“I got no idea.” Pinkie replied as she took a shot of the mix with a wince.
“Ah so you don’t remember anything either!” Starlight said with a squint.
“Oh I remember some things alright.” Pinkie said with a smirk.
“Sure you do, like us waking up together. I am sure that happened, next you will tell me that Applejack was crowned the next princess of Equestria and that Luna has become a stripper.” Starlight spoke.
“Stripper?” Applejack asked as she rose an eyebrow.
“The outfit.” Starlight said as she pointed out that Luna was indeed wearing a pair of slightly torn stockings.
“Huh, I don’t know how I missed that. Looking good Luna.” Applejack replied causing Luna to giggle all the more in reply. Sliding Pinkie another shot she helped Luna to drink it between the crazed giggling. As soon as managed to get it down her she stopped giggling. Her fuzzy eyes looking around the room before sliding onto Applejack. Suddenly they went wide.
“Celestia!” She called out so loud that Starlight felt it in her bones. “Oh heavens how did I get swept up in that chaos, we have to find Celestia.” Luna said.
“What is wrong, what happened last night?” Starlight asked.
“I can not remember everything but my annoying sister disappeared sometime during the eventide. I tried to find her but the pannychis swept me up in its madness. Alass, I think I broke the sun as well…” Luna explained much to the stares of the others.
“What do you mean, you broke the sun?” Starlight asked now worried. Looking outside they did indeed notice that the sun and moon were both hanging up in the middle of the sky. Looking to Luna she let out a huff.
“The sun was as heavy as my sister and I feel that I used all my magic to raise it as much as I did. So much so that I have naught the strength to move even my moon.” Luna explained.
“Damn, never had a party get so good that I lost a princess and broke the sky before.” Pinkie remarked.
“Yes yes we are all impressed but we gotta find Celestia. Applejack, you got her crown so do you know anything?” Starlight asked but AJ shook her head. “There has to be something, how did we get here? Where even is here?” Starlight then asked.
“I believe this is the lowly home of one of the so called nobles. It is on the edge of Canterlot.” Luna said.
“Great, we so somehow dragged your bed several miles through one of the most busy cities in Equestria before dumping it in a half filled pool… And I don’t even know how Applejack got here or where she got all the bits from.” Starlight sighed.
“You did what to my bed?” Luna said with a glare.
“W-well someone must have seen us do that, and I have Celestia’s crown so I must have been with her at one point. We just need to retrace our steps.” Applejack said while ignoring Luna’s cold stare on her.
“Everypony spread out and look for clues, there has to be something else around here.” Starlight spoke up as Luna trotted outside to find her bed sinking into the pool. The others decided to leave her alone lest she throw them into the sun, or eat their souls. Upstairs Starlight found little outside of a few trashed rooms and a giant bathtub filled with whipped cream and some stray pink and purple hairs. Retreating she decided to help the others check downstairs.
With Applejack quickly taking a shower the rest searched every room of the impressively large home. There was luxury and things to see all over but hardly any clues to what had happened last night or where they had gone to, that is until they reached the 3rd bathroom. Starlight got quite surprised as she flung open the door to find herself face to face with an incredibly large snake. It coiled around the entire bathroom despite the room itself being impressively large and while Starlight was understandingly scared at first it did little but flick its tongue at her lazily. She closed the door quietly.
“Hey Starlight, found something? You look pale.” Pinkie asked.
“Snake.” Starlight replied.
“Snake?” Pinkie asked. Raising an eyebrow Pinkie opened the door a crack, peered inside, and then slowly closed the door. “Snake.” She repeated with a blink.
“Canterlot has a zoo right? We must have done something.” Starlight pointed out.
“Not the worst idea.” Pinkie agreed with a nod.
Once Applejack had finished cleaning herself up from last night and Luna had changed they set out together into the city. The cold iron gates just outside of the mansion were not unscathed either as a multicolored stream of confetti and ribbons hung all over the entrance. Puddles of what they could only hope was alcohol also dotted the road forward. With Pinkie giving a smirk about the irony of the situation they began to follow the scattered trail back into the city.
Every step they took revealed to them the same scene. Passed out pegasi, drunken unicorns and dazed earth ponies strewn all over the streets. With each they still were holding, or rather cradelling, various kinds of wines, spirits and booze. Some were wearing torn dresses and tuxedos while others had strange costumes as if they had been mixing and matching half of a party shop. The once beautifully maintained white marble that Canterlot was built on had stained every color of the rainbow and every house or shop seemed to have been met with the same fate. It made Starlight all the more worried as they travelled, if a city as large and as organized as Canterlot had been trashed so completely then what could have happened to Celestia. Was anyone injured? What else did they do last night? Such questions would continue to haunt her all the way up to the zoo where they found broken gates and many animals still running about all painted in green and yellow.
“That paint is Fluttershy’s all right.” Applejack spoke up as she stepped in a puddle of it.
“We can not say for sure, I mean… Um… Why would Fluttershy break into a zoo?” Starlight asked but then sighed. “Don’t answer that.”
The zookeepers were quite glad to see help arrive and although none of the group were animal experts Starlight’s ability to teleport loose creatures or fix broken cages both proved to be useful. As they searched for more clues they eventually ran into an odd scene. The Cragadile’s pits were studded with gem and crystal formations and one of the beasts was even wearing lipstick.
“I think Rarity helped out Fluttershy.” Pinkie said.
“Because of the lipstick?” Starlight asked.
“No, but yes.” Pinkie replied with a point of her hoof. Following it Starlight noticed that the Cragadile had ‘Spike 01’ written on its side. Rubbing her face with her hoof she groaned at the mess they had left.
“You know, I am going to blame you for this. What was even in that wine of yours?” Starlight asked.
“It is Cherry Rosé and it should not have had this kind of effect, well, unless that in the push to get it ready on time the vintner and the alchemist got one of the ingredients mixed up.” Pinkie said.
“Why does a rosé need an alchemist?” Starlight then asked.
“You think award winning drinks known all over Equestria can be made without one?” Pinkie replied with a grin.
After a bit of clean up and the last of the animals returned they ended up standing next to a large metal pipe that went far up and into the mountains above. Several areas had been painted and various bottles left all over but more oddly was that a large panel had been removed allowing anyone to see inside. Starlight did just that and found that there was a shallow amount of water running down underground towards Canterlot.
“Excuse me, I am here to repair that.” A young stallion with grey fur and a crooked wrench cutie mark spoke up.
“Oh, sorry. We are trying to work out what happened last night.” Starlight replied.
“I do not know your personal lives but if I had to guess, you went down the pipe.” He said.
“Down the pipe?” Starlight asked.
“Down the pipe. As a professional and licensed engineer I have to state that doing so is a dangerous idea that could contaminate the water supply…” He said but he had a look to his strong blue eyes that made Starlight pause.
“But?” She asked in an attempt to get him to say more.
“As a young engineer who is not being recorded, going down the pipe is like wicked awesome and you can shred all the way down to the city centre in minutes. Totally a rush.” He explained with a thick accent before coughing. “Now I need you to move so I can repair the pipe.”
“Yeah Starlight, we should move.” Pinkie said as she threw a hoof around Starlight’s neck.
“You better not.” Starlight said with a glare.
“Do what?” Pinkie replied innocently.
“Go down that pipe.” Starlight said.
“That sounds fun, thanks for suggesting it.” Pinkie said before all but tossing Starlight into the water with a wide smile. Giving a nod to Applejack and Luna she jumped in herself. With an echoing chorus of screams and giggles echoing all the way down the two left behind gave a look to each other.
“It is most unbecoming of a princess to do such things.” Luna muttered.
“Can not be any worse than what you did last night.” Applejack replied as she put her head into the pipe.
“What do you mean, do you remember something?” Luna asked.
“Maybe.” Applejack replied just as she jumped into the water and was swept off at speed. Luna stomped her hooves and let out a groan at the annoyance but then sighed. Stepping closer to the pipe she stopped to look at the engineer. “You saw nothing.” She spoke before hopping into the water herself.
They tumbled and slid at great speed down the dark pipe, over and under it would twist causing some of them to laugh joyfully while others would let out loud and echoing screams. The ride however only lasted so many minutes until they were thrown back into the sunlight of Canterlot. Starlight and Pinkie both landed in a huge pool of water and once they had swam back up to the surface found themselves confused. The roads and buildings around the city centre had all been barricaded by rock and crystal, and the central area flooded in order to turn it into a giant swimming pool!
Using her magic Starlight created a floating platform out of ice for Pinkie and herself to walk on. Looking around they noticed that this was not just a pool but the remains of a large pool party. There was even large tables still floating about with food and drink from the previous night. Spotting Rarity on the back of what appeared to be a green pool toy Starlight used her magic to form an icy bridge over the large pool area towards her, just as Applejack and Luna came out of the pipe themselves. Using a shot of Applejack’s hangover cure, which she had apparently took with her when they left the mansion,
“Is that Princess Luna?” She asked still groggy as she sat up.
“Long story, turns out Pinkie’s special fountain was a bit too special and Celestia has disappeared due to whatever crazy events happened last night but nobody can remember anything.” Starlight explained.
Rarity yawned and stretched out her legs which caused the pool toy she was sitting on to move and shudder. They realized it was not in fact a pool toy but rather an escaped Cragadile from the zoo. As it raised its head up they could see it was wearing lipstick and had a ‘Spike 03’ written across its forehead as well.
“Don’t worry about um, Spike here, he is very friendly.” Rarity said while giving him a pat on the back. “Oh and there is the other Spike.” She added with a glance across the pool.
Sure enough, they watched as the real Spike came out of a top floor window to one of the shops and hopped from one table to another over to where Rarity was floating. On one hand he deftly balanced a tray with breakfast and coffee, not a single drop out of place as he bounced over to them.
“Morning Starlight, was wondering where you girls went last night.” Spike said.
“Ah so you remember what we did?” Starlight asked. Spike took a look over to Rarity and then slowly turned his head back towards the others. He coughed.
“Nope, I was not with you all for most of the night…” He said quickly as he put the tray down for Rarity.
“Dang, have you seen the others where any of the others are at least?” Starlight asked.
“I saw a bunch of guards running down towards the embassy, something about escaped animals?” Spike explained after thinking.
“Ooo looks like Fluttershy knows how to party after all.” Pinkie added with a grin.
“Before that though, can you do anything about all this water?” Starlight asked. Rarity looked around and gave a slow nod. Focusing her magic she took hold of the rocks and crystals build up around the city centre and slowly let them sink back into the ground. Bit by bit the water drained away, rushing down the streets and into every drain they could find. Eventually all that was left of the pool party was heaps of chairs and tables or piles of soggy and yet blackened debris. The local tavern as well seemed to be missing several windows while the woodwork was charred in several places. “Was there a fire?”
“Yes.” Rarity replied.
“And that is why you made a pool?” Starlight asked.
“Yes.” Rarity repeated.
“Who started the fire.” Starlight then asked.
“I don’t know.” Rarity said.
Starlight sighed and gave a wave for the others to follow. It would be wise to keep moving before the guards came after all and they still had to find Celestia before too many woke up and realized the sky was broken. Heading out of the city centre they moved in the direction of both the royal castle and the embassy in search of what they believed to be Fluttershy.
The sudden rush of water had cleared away so much of the party debis while also helping many of those passed out to wake up, be it in a direct and none too comfortable way. Apart from repainting several places of the town and fixing some broken pipes or furniture it seemed like the party would have no long lasting effects at all. That was what Starlight, Luna and some of the others hoped at least.
About halfway to the embassy however they were stopped as a long line of young colts and fillies were crossing the street. The group waited as they crossed and did not think anything of it.
“Don’t you think this is strange?” Applejack asked.
“What do you mean?” Starlight replied. “They are just going to school.”
“Except for the tiny little fact that the Grand Galloping Gala was on Saturday. So either we partied for two days straight or it is still Sunday.” Applejack said.
“We should take a look.” Starlight said with a nod as she started to follow the last of the line. The long group headed around several buildings and over a bridge before looping back to the Canterlot School for Gifted Unicorns. While many were going through the back and side doors, others were teleporting back inside using magic or simply floating themselves up to windows.
“Well, that is odd.” Starlight said.
“We should go take a look, maybe we did something last night.” Pinkie added.
“Pinkie, Rarity and I will go take a look. You lot continue up to the embassy and see what is going on.” Starlight said. Split into two groups Starlight’s now smaller party headed around to the side of the building. Keeping quiet they snuck along the bushes and gardens before stopping next to a window. Using her magic to get a bit more height she peered inside to find little more than an empty classroom without even the lights on. Continuing they repeated the actions and in every classroom found nothing but dark rooms with nopony in sight. Just before they were about to give up and head back they caught the sound of music drifting out of an open window on the second floor. Looking to Rarity she used her magic to cut a circle out of the ground and lift it up to take a look.
Inside they found a large recreational area filled with young colts and fillies on the verge of their teenage years all hanging out and having what seemed to be a simple party of all of their own. Despite it being early morning there was still juice and pizza being served and sitting at the back, surrounded by a dozen of the young ponies, was Rainbow Dash. She lay on a huge bean bag talking to the crowd but Starlight was unable to make out what she was saying.
“Um excuse me, can you get Rainbow for me please?” Starlight asked a young colt who nearly jumped off the floor in surprise. He looked over to Rainbow and then back again. Shrugging he trotted over. After exchanging a few words Rainbow perked up and caught sight of her friends. Waving she got up and staggered over.
“Ay, what are you girls doing here?” Rainbow asked.
“Was about to ask you the same thing.” Starlight replied.
“Oh well. I woke up a while ago and I was apparently in the middle of reading to a class on the metaphysical nature of magical botany which is how I met all of these nice foals. They keep saying that I was the most fun they have had in years but refuse to actually tell me what happened last night, which I figure is because they find it funny that I don’t know how I got here. So anyway, after throwing a bucket of ice over my head and waking up I found that I had promised them to have more fun tomorrow too because ‘the rainbow train does not stop’ or something so I had to set up all of this.” Rainbow explained with a nod to the party going on behind her. “To be honest, apart from the chewing gum stuck to my tail and leading a hundred foals across town so we can set up a party back at the school it has been a great time.”
“Somehow I am not surprised, at least you did not break anything.” Starlight said with a sigh.
“Where were you reading the book if you had to lead them across town?” Pinkie asked causing Starlight to give a confused look to Rainbow.
“Oh, we were in the sewers. There was this little hidden base set up down there, I think, it was pretty trashed when I woke up.” Rainbow explained.
“Wait, so you woke up in a sewer, reading an advanced magical textbook on plants, to a hundred foals, in the early hours of the morning?” Starlight asked amazed.
“Yeah, weird right.” Rainbow said as she climbed through the window. “Have you seen the others around?”
“Eh, well, Spike, Luna and Applejack went to the embassy to see what Fluttershy is up to.” Starlight explained.
“And you call my adventures strange.” Rainbow said with a cheeky smile.
“She has you on that one.” Pinkie added just as amused.
“Listen up class!” Rainbow called out causing all the foals to turn her way. “My time with you is at an end but fear not for the rainbow train is everlasting. We will meet again at a different station I am sure. Until then, you stay awesome.” Rainbow said causing cheers and passionate replies to echo back. As Rarity lowered them down to the ground many rushed to the window to bid her farewell. “Ah I will miss them.” Rainbow added as they left the school.
“You could visit them next year, what are their names?” Starlight asked.
“I have no idea.” Rainbow said causing Pinkie to start laughing.
Moving on and with Rainbow Dash in tow they headed back down to the main street and up towards the embassy to join up with the others. As they approached however they found a wide ring of Canterlot guards and armored carriages surrounding the outside. Even from a distance they could tell that the building had been fortified with windows barricaded using furniture and doors sealed off allowing only the front entrance to be used. In the gloomy cracks of the windows tiny little eyes glinting in the darkness could be seen watching everything.
“Are you Starlight?” A guard wearing different colors asked as they approached.
“Um… Yes?” Starlight replied after glancing to the others.
“Princess Luna told us to let you all pass if you wish but before you do, could you go inside and look for her? She has not returned for some time.” The guard explained.
“Will do Sir.” Starlight replied as she put on a smile and led the others through the blockade of guards. Once they stood at the entrance however she let her smile drop. “This is really starting to worry me a bit.” She said to the others.
“What is the worst that can happen?” Pinkie replied.
“There could be a swarm of vicious demonic hedgehogs that trap us inside and in the panic and rush cause a fire that will trap us at the top of the building, giving us three painful ways out but no way to survive.” Rainbow replied. Starlight shot her a baffled look, Pinkie’s muzzled twisted into amusement and Rarity just blinked.
Inside of the embassy they found the large entrance room to be in complete disarray and the large marble topped desk to be tossed against the back wall. With the lights not working as well they only had the light of small fires that had been set up in various metal bins, and Starlight’s magic, to see. Creeping deeper into the large tower of heavy bricks and soft, fancy furnishings they found not a peep of life. No unicorns, no pegasi, not even a stray mouse. It was all deafeningly quiet.
Suddenly they heard something, the slight rustle of fallen paperwork. Bringing the ball of light she had summoned around they found nothing save for a few pieces of paper blowing slightly in some unseen draft. Continuing they headed upstairs to the second floor where they continued to find knocked down paintings and heaps of furniture forming little blockades across the hallways. It was on the third floor they started to find some sign of life. An ominous stomping sort of noise and faint murmurs could be heard blowing in from down the hallway.
As they got closer the noises got louder and louder until they were face to face with a set of large double doors. Opening it a crack they looked inside to find a tired looking Fluttershy laying sideways on a throne made up of a couch, desks and many tablecloths. Several other clothes were strung up and along the ceiling to give half the room an almost royal like appearance. In the middle of the room was a roaring fire fueled by stacks of paperwork where city vermin and exotic animals both danced and cheered without a care in the world. Starlight and Pinkie then both noticed the cage to the right of the room. Make shift but well guarded it has several noble looking ponies inside, including Princess Luna and the rest of their friends.
Not sure what to do they backed away from the door only to realize that they were surrounded by large cats wearing green bandanas. Not wanting to start fight they let the cats lead them inside.
“Been waiting for you.” Fluttershy said to Starlight, Pinkie, Rainbow and Rarity.
“Morning, um, what is going on?” Starlight asked.
“Base camp. A hoofstep in the heart of the city where we may strike back against the enemy.” Fluttershy replied simply.
“Uh huh. Rarity, can you do something about this?” Starlight asked and Rarity nodded. Stepping forward she thought for a moment and then shrugged.
“Hello. Can you please stop?” Rarity asked causing Starlight to facepalm.
“We would like to but it is out of our control.” Fluttershy replied.
“Wait, what do you mean?” Starlight then asked interested by the phrasing.
“My animals friends do not know everything about yesterday, and we can not remember much ourselves but the facts are clear. The Prince of Canterlot has waged war on us all.” Fluttershy explained. Starlight paused as she heard this and thought long for a moment.
“But Canterlot does not have a Prince. The Princesses, Luna and Celestia are the only direct royalty of the city and all the other alicorns are female.” Starlight explained. Fluttershy raised an eyebrow at her words and with a beat of her wings leapt off her throne.
“Are you sure of this?” She asked.
“Completely. You can trust us Fluttershy, whatever chaos we have caused can be fixed.” Starlight reassured. Fluttershy stood thinking for a moment, and then another, before calling out something to the animals around her. They all stopped to listen to her and with a chorus of animalistic noises she spoke to them for a few minutes until heads were nodded, fur shook and hoofs stomped. As if by some magical force they scattered, fires put out, lights coming back on and furniture being put back in order. The damage to the walls and floor would take much more to fix, and the vast paperwork that had been destroyed would no doubt be a massive headache to fix but at least they were trying to make things right.
“We trust our friends.” Fluttershy said with a nod. Looking to the cage several giant rats undid a few ropes and they entire thing fell apart. The nobles scattered as quick as their podgy bodies would carry them, while the others gave sighs of relief.
“I should have thee exiled from our fair city but Celestia would only nag me until I turned a deeper shade of blue, so for today I shall be forgiving.” Luna spoke with head kept high.
“Thank you Princess.” Starlight said with a slight bow of her head. “And I would hate to ask, but could you help us out here? If there really is some noble or Prince causing trouble then we will need your help.”
“I shall help thee but not because you asked. I quite simply refuse to have my seat taken by some so called Prince who thinks he can do whatever he likes simply because the throne is empty for a day.” Luna said with a huff.
Returning to the outside the guards moved in towards Fluttershy but Luna stopped them. After explaining about the mix up, and the possibility of a coup the guards snapped to attention and were sent out to find this so called Prince of Canterlot and put a stop to whatever he was doing. In the meantime the group took a moment to talk between each other to see if they could work out anything of the night before. Alass memories seemed to still be scattered like so many leaves on the wind. Whatever small fragments they could put together only made it more confusing as well. From a great fire in the city centre, and the flooding of it to put it out, to Fluttershy leading some kind of crazy attack on the zoo in order to bolster her army against Canterlot. Nopony could work out how they got here, or where it had all gone so wrong. The only connection they had, the one agreement that they all share in this time of madness. Was to blame Pinkie.
After some talk and the realization that they still could not work out anything about the events of last night they were about to head up to the castle when the guards suddenly returned with a unicorn. He had pure white fur and golden hair but was covered in various bandages and scrapes, the tattered remains of his white suit as well looked like he had gone through a warzone.
“Princess, we have found the one claiming to be Prince.” One guard said with a salute.
“Ah finally, one with some real status.” He said with a haughty tone. “I have several complaints and…” He paused as he caught sight of Fluttershy standing behind the princess. Leaping behind a guard he pointed to her in fear. “That one! I demand her exile for assaulting a member of the royal family!” He screamed.
“My family, for better or worse, is my dear sister Celestia. Prey, state your name.” Luna demanded.
“Oh where are my manners. I am Prince Blueblood of Maresbury, the first born son of…”
“Duke.” The guard interrupted. “Duke Blueblood.”
“Prince, Duke, a title of equal meaning I am sure you would agree.” Blueblood scoffed.
“No, I don’t.” Luna replied. “And pretending to be part of the royalty is a serious offence.”
“Oh come now, every year the fellow nobles of Canterlot come up with a new title or subtitle if you do not mind a bit of friendly banter.” He said as the guard moved out of his way.
“Enough! Tell us what happened last night.” Fluttershy interrupted loudly, causing him to cower slightly.
“Such a brute.” Blueblood huffed as he turned his nose up to her. Fluttershy let out a growl but Applejack and Starlight kept her from moving towards him. “I shall tell my story of woes only so the Princess may pass her wonderful and wise judgement on you.”
“I am honored, now speak.” Luna said.
“I remember it like it was yesterday. I was busy informing the so called ‘Equestria renowned chef’ that the so called hors d'oeuvre was lackluster at best, quite befitting the drab party. I do say, for being the elite of the Canterlot orchestra those musicians have no taste in the classics as well…” He began to drone on when Luna gave him a glare. “Anyway. I was taking a walk through the royal gardens, enjoying what must have no doubt been the efforts of the life giving mares of the heavens themselves, when I came upon the most curious sight. A yellow pegasus in a delightfully droll dress. She sat in the midst of several of the royal garden’s exotic animals such as the sun bears but their golden markings had nothing on her rich fur. Ah the way it shone all bathed in silver moonlight, those rich blue eyes as vast as the sea itself. Such beauty, such charm. The way she sat tearing an entire roast apart… Ah it set my heart on fire! I had never seen such a mare as her. The strong and protective legs, that well defined neck and those powerful, commanding eyes. I felt like a young schoolboy again…”
“I feel like I am going to throw up.” Rainbow whispered to Pinkie causing her to snicker.
“I felt hot and weak, like a fragile flower wilting under the fierce summer sun but still I knew I had to say something to this rugged mare…” Blueblood continued.
“Can you speed this up a bit.” Fluttershy said causing him to sigh.
“Fine, it is not a flaw to be a romantic you know. Ahem. We sat under the moonlight talking for what seemed like hours. My young fragile heart beating so loud to whatever few, stoic, words she would say. I was so enamored that I let all my defences fall and then before I knew it she had whisked me off across Canterlot. Raving about animals and liberation as she all but threw me across the rooftops! It was the most undignified moment of my life.” Blueblood explained.
“And that is why you, eh, ‘waged war’ on her?” Starlight asked.
“Oh no, that is because she took advantage of me!” Blueblood called out.
“What?” The entire group said in unison.
“My mother always said to be wary of strange mares, they only have one thing on their mind she said, but I was a fool and had eyes full of gold fur that night.” Blueblood continued. Several looked to Fluttershy who gave a confused look back, and a shrug.
“He is… Not our type?” She said. For a moment Starlight’s eyes flicked to Rarity.
“I can believe that.” Starlight said.
“Well it does not matter what any of you peasants believe. By the time I knew what was happening I woke up in the zoo, ah my injuries alone should be proof enough of her savagery.” Blueblood said with his nose up high.
“I have seen Fluttershy do some crazy things, but she does not have claws.” Pinkie said with a point to the scratch marks on his leg.
“Waking up in a zoo would indicate an animal attack. Dreams can be nonsensical but often have mixed elements to do with emotional and physical stress. I believe his attractions and mauling made him having an odd dream.” Rarity stated flatly. Several snicked, Pinkie barely able to not laugh out loud at the idea.
“This is ridiculous, how do you explain the yellow fur that I found on my person? Fluttershy was the only golden mare that I was with that night.” Blueblood then said and Fluttershy’s eyes fell to a squint. Something clicked. Trotting over he tried to step back away from her but she closed the gap quickly. Pulling his head around she whispered something into his ear that caused him to stop his wiggling and listen. A long moment passed as his face grew redder and his jaw fell open before she let him go. “We will never speak of this again.” He said before turning and walking away.
“Guards, as temporary Princess while my sister is… indisposed I want you take Blueblood to the prison so that I may sort out his certain royal claims later.” Luna ordered. The two guards gave a salute and marched off.
With Twilight and Celestia being the last pieces to put together they all turned their eyes towards the royal castle and began the last stretch of the journey. The second they passed through the front gates and moved through the gardens they could see the effects of the party. Trash, destruction, passed out nobles and peasants alike. There was nothing royal about these gardens anymore and the further they went the worse it got. While there were many maids and servants trying to restore some kind of order to the gilded halls the group could tell that most of them were just as tired or hungover.
“So where should we start?” Starlight asked.
“Splitting up would be mighty smart.” Applejack suggested.
“Aw but we just got back together.” Pinkie smirked as she pulled Rainbow and Applejack closer.
“It’s not a bad idea though… Oh, is that Twilight?” Starlight asked as she caught a glimpse of the purple unicorn heading from one room to the next down the far hallway.
“You girls go after her. I shall start to look for Celestia.” Luna said.
Agreeing they split up and the main group went after Twilight. Running down the hallways they stopped at a four way crossroads where in they caught sight of her tail going around a corner off to the right. Following it they only managed to catch a glimpse of her purple going into a door at the very end of the hallway. They were about to continue following when Spike pointed out that she was also up on top of the balcony.
“Is she teleporting?” Starlight asked as they tried to track her down from one random location to another.
“Twilight, using magic?” Spike replied.
“Fair point.” Starlight agreed.
Left and right, up and down. They chased Twilight from one room to another, from one hallway to the next. Everytime they thought they were getting close she would seemingly disappear and pop up in another place. From one end of the giant castle to the other they ran after her until finally they found her walking out of a room and were able to sprint down to catch her. With a resulting crash of nearly a dozen bodies colliding they had finally got her.
“Twilight! The fuck is going on?” Applejack asked.
“Oh hey girls.” She replied with a yawn.
“I was getting worried, we have been chasing you all over the place!” Starlight said.
“Sorry about that.” Twilight said as she looked the group up and down. “I like your collar Starlight.” She complimented.
“Wha?” She said as put a hoof over her neck to find she was wearing Pinkie’s choker. Blushing heavy she fell back and began to pull at it with her magic. “How long was I wearing this?!” She called out causing Pinkie to snicker.
“I thought it looked cute on you.” Pinkie said, now causing Rainbow to crack a grin.
“I see you two had some fun last.” Twilight mused. “Ah, try not to panic but I need you to go in there.” Twilight said nodding to the room she had left.
“Why, what is in there?” Starlight asked.
“Answers.” Twilight said before letting out another yawn. “Better hurry.” She added before giving a smile and disappearing suddenly in a poof of purple dust. The girls sat surprised and after looking between each of them stood up. Grasping the handle with her magic Starlight threw open the door to find it was a ruined bedroom. The use of blacks and blues, the decorational crescent moons, it was Luna’s bedroom. The entire place was in shambles and half of the far wall had been demolished, the giant hole in the wall giving a great view of the Canterlot cliffs and in the distance they could see the mansion they had woken up in. All of this would be fine. If there was not a dozen Twilights lazing about.
“Oh hey girls.” Several of them said in unison.
“What the…” Starlight muttered. Applejack’s jaw hung loose, Pinkie had a crazed smile and Rainbow was barely able to control herself over the ideas rushing into her mind.
“Before you ask. Because I know you are going to ask. No, I have no idea why there are so many of us. I do not know if it was magic, science or that wine but none of us can remember anything about yesterday or who the real one of us is.” One Twilight nearest to them explained.
“It seems to have a time limit though so we are waiting to see who poofs.” Another added just as another Twilight did indeed poof.
“This could be handy. Can you help us find Celestia?” Starlight asked to the clones.
“Sure thing, we should go to the main hall and search each floor from there.” The Twilights said.
A dozen Twilights now found they headed back down to the main hall as another one of them poofed into dust. As they reached the grand hall, complete with giant double staircase, they found Luna waiting for them.
“Good news, I have found… Twilight.” Luna said as she caught sight of the many others.
“Don’t ask.” Starlight sighed.
Together they began the search. The hoard of Twilights rushed out to check every room, every secret hatch, every tiny closet, while the others went out to search the ground and upper levels for any trace of Princesses Celestia. As time ticked on the Twilights slowly poofed, one by one, turning to dust. When they had all decided to meet back up at the main hall there were only a few of her left now. Worrying they had yet to find any sign of Celestia.
“Maybe she is not here?” Fluttershy said with a sigh.
“Luna was with us so it is possible, but where in Canterlot do we go?” Starlight asked.
“My sister is not one to leave the castle for small matters, and she is far too… Robust to let any wine impair her judgement enough to say otherwise.” Luna replied as the Twilight’s faded away.
“Maybe we are missing something?” One of the two Twilights said to the other.
“This clone spell does seem to be of alicorn level magic, Celestia must have used it on me. But why?” The other Twilight said just as she poofed.
“Heh that reminds me of something. A fuzzy little memory I have about… Oh. I know where she is!” Twilight said all excited, just as she poofed.
The others stood in shock. There was no Twilight. No answers. Starlight felt a heat spread up through her and she threw her hooves down onto the ground enough to let out an echoing crash ring out.
“What is going on!?” She shouted now angry. “Twilight, Celestia, where are you!?” Starlight shouted louder. Letting her head drop forward she felt a comforting hoof on her shoulder.
“I promised not to say but Mythril Lily once said that a promise that hurts others is not a good promise.” Rarity said softly. “I know where she is.”
“What, a promise?” Starlight asked.
“Yeah, Twilight made me promise not to say where she was going last night.” Rarity explained.
“So you remember last night?!” Starlight called out as the others gasped. “Why did you not say anything?”
“You never asked.” Rarity said flatly. The others groaned, throwing their hooves over their faces.
“A-ah. Ok, ok, we are not mad. Rarity, if you can be so kind, we need to find the princess. Can you show us where she is?” Starlight softly asked. Rarity nodded.
She led them downstairs to the older, more rustic kitchens, where a lot of produce were stored and prepared before being moved up to the more fancy kitchen above. It was here that she dragged a hoof across the old stone walls of the basement, and pressed one in, causing the entire wall to magically unfold to reveal a doorway.
“I had no knowledge of this.” Luna said amazed.
Heading inside they went down a flight of roughly cut stone steps to a large secret room in the very depths of the mountain. It was here that they found Twilight and Celestia. The pair of them were sleeping soundly in a giant pool filled with what appeared to be tons of cake, cream, batter and other baked goods. The chains on the wall seemed to imply an old dungeon of sorts, or at least that is what Luna hoped it was. She breathed a sigh of relief at finding her sister once more.
Luna and Celestia were left to sort out royal duties and to get the town back in order. Twilight, Starlight, Spike, and their friends departed down to the coffee shop near the train station for a bit of peace before the long ride home. They had much to talk about, and Rarity had much to tell them about the events of last night although she was not present for everything and many spots of that night would truly be lost to time. They all shared a laugh as the events unfolded. How Applejack had won Celestia’s crown in a card game. How Applejack and Rainbow had sent the tavern on fire, and Rarity flooded the place to fix. Fluttershy’s animal liberation across the city. Pinkie and Starlight’s crazed parting that blew through the entire city for hours and hours on end.
Celestia was not even mad at all of this. While it was not something she could admit to the public, she did let it slip that she liked when the normally boring high class parties she was forced to attend turned to the wilder and crazy side of things. The Princess also had respect for her sister Luna, as she had yet to be reformed and the fact that she did not take over in her absence was a great step forward for her.
The train came and it was time for them to go home, to unwind, to clean up, to get ready for work in a few days. They all took their seats, some like Applejack and Rainbow raiding the food cart while others like Twilight and Spike sat down to take it nice and easy. For Pinkie, she sat in the back corner of the first class wagon stretched out on the seat.
“You don’t remember anything, do you.” Starlight said as she sat down across from her.
“Sorry if I wound you up.” Pinkie said with a soft chuckle. “I could not resist seeing your expression when I made up that bit about us.” Starlight laughed as well, a soft, reflective laughter before turning to look out of the window.
“Did… Did you mean it, when you said that I look cute in that collar?” Starlight asked, blushing.
“Of course. You are simply adorable. “Pinkie mused with a grin but seeing Starlight’s look when she turned back to face her it fell. There was a deep pain behind Starlight’s eyes, something she had been hiding. “Starlight?” Pinkie asked.
“The others remember little glimpses of last night, with Rarity’s descriptions they are made much clearer… I remember a few things myself.” Starlight quietly spoke. She raised her head. Eyes staring deep into Pinkie. “It was not a joke. At the time I did not want to believe it, so I simply chose not to. To push it away, to ignore it. To deny it. But… It happened.” She said.
“Starlight… I am, sorry?” Pinkie said, but Starlight shook her head.
“It was not your idea.” Starlight admitted. “They say, alcohol can not make you do things you don’t want to do. It just makes you more freely open to doing what you have always wanted to do.” Starlight stood up. She sighed. Using her magic to straighten her hair before giving a look to Pinkie. “I need time.”
“As much as you need. I am here for you if you need anything.” Pinkie said as her teeth began to chatter and a nervous drop of sweat ran down her back.
“Thank you.” Starlight said as she gave her one last smile before walking away.