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The Lost Element

By XD-385

Romance / Fantasy

A Newcomer in Equestria


You are probably wondering where I am writing this from. I could not honestly answer that, as even I do not know where I am. One moment I am in my home. The next, I’m stranded out in the wilderness somewhere. It happened without my knowing, probably when I blinked or closed my eyes during a sneeze. When I opened them, I was in a place I did not recognize. Plenty of trees and greenery with birds chirping. Not the slightest hint of human activity or automobile noises. There was an obvious path along the ground, leading me to believe that civilization was somewhere nearby. With nowhere else to go, I chose one direction of the path and took it.

  I probably walked for around ten minutes before something came into view. Up ahead, past a small bridge stretching over a brook seemed to be a humble village. Surrounding it were many hills and a great mountain to the northeast with what seemed to be a town or fortress jutting out of the side higher up. The buildings of the village ahead seemed to be of an older design, complete with hay or straw covering the rooftops. I also could not see or hear any modern technology, complete with a total lack of power lines spanning the structures. With no other possible location in mind, I suspected that I had somehow ended up in a remote area of Europe and that these locations were historically preserved towns. With some hope that I may be able to get back home, I headed for the bridge that led into town. But I had hardly crossed it when I froze in my tracks. Even from the outskirts of town, I could see enough into it to see the locals going about their business. However, I could see no people. Only……ponies.

  Yes, you read that right. There were no humans to be seen. Only many ponies. I had seen ponies and horses before, but never any so…….colorful. No two ponies looked alike. Their coats and manes were a variety of colors, from blues to reds to yellows to purples to gray. Some even had a single horn on their foreheads and others had a pair of feathered wings. Unicorns and pegasi. Each of these ponies had a unique tattoo-like image on their flanks with no two being alike. Is that the correct term for an equine’s hindquarters? Flank? If not, I apologize. I am not an expert on equine anatomy. Regardless, one had bubbles, another had a feather and book, and another had a pink six-pointed star. Do not ask me what the others were as there were too many to count. These unique appearances were strange enough, but what puzzled me more was that many appeared to be SPEAKING to each other. While I was too far away to make out any words, their jaws and lips were moving in ways that I had never seen an equine do before. What was more, some were making various movements with their forelegs in the same way one would make hand gestures to add emphasis to words. It was then that a thought occurred to me. Could these ponies be the inhabitants of this town and not mere work animals?

  As I had nowhere else to look for help, I wandered into town. The ponies almost immediately detected my presence, many of them staring while whispering to each other. I could feel myself become the center of attention, a position I admit to not being fond of. I became tense with nervousness as I felt the ponies staring and observing me. A thought came to mind as I suspected that the lack of humans in this town meant that humans are generally not welcome. I did not make eye contact and walked stiffly, fearing that I would be attacked soon with one of the unicorns gouging me on its horn. Rather than loiter for too long in town, I focused on making my way to the other side so I could merely pass through.

  A minute or two passed as I tried to pass through the town as quickly as possible. Along the way, I came across a pair of buildings that caught my eye. Actually, I am not certain if they qualified as real ‘buildings’. The first I saw looked as if it was nothing more than a large tree with a door at the base of the trunk. The trunk itself was very stout, bringing to mind a great redwood. As there were numerous windows carved into the woodwork and even a pair of balconies emerging from the branches, the tree could most certainly be converted into a house if it was hollowed out enough. There was an image of a candle on the door with a sign next to it showing an open book, leading me to believe this house may in fact be a library. I could have asked one of the ponies, though I was too apprehensive at the time to interact with either of them at all.

  The second oddly designed structure I found was like something out of a child’s fantasy. While the walls looked the same as the others, the roof looked like that of a gingerbread house baked in time for Christmas complete with icing. There was even a banner of a cupcake with pink icing hanging off the side, leading me to suspect that either this building was a bakery or just a product produced by the bakery the banner represented. The spire that rose out of the middle of the roof strongly resembled a pair of cupcakes stacked on top of each other with a trio of large candles sticking out of the top. However, the flames at the tips seemed to just be light bulbs. I can distinctly remember thinking “Looks good enough to eat…” as I stopped in front of the building. I was also tempted to laugh at the seemingly edible design, but restrained myself for fear of inciting an attack from the locals.

  “Excuse me, but you’re a human, aren’t you?”

  I froze while gritting my teeth in fear. The voice came directly from behind me and sounded like that of a young woman. (This is it… I’m in trouble.) I remember thinking as I slowly turned to face the source of the voice. I stared directly ahead, rooted to the spot.

  “Um… Down here.”

  I tilted my head down to see a unicorn looking up at me. I recognized her as the pony with the pink six-pointed star marking on her flanks I had seen minutes earlier. Her coat was a faded purple while her large intelligent eyes were a shade of violet. What surprised me was that her mane seemed to be styled into more of a human woman’s hairstyle instead of an ordinary mane. It was straight and well kempt and shared its coloration with her equally tidy dark blue, pink, and purple tail. I suppose she could sense my fascination and nervousness as she quickly gazed at me with a look of what I believed was concern.

  “Are you OK? Did you steal something and are afraid someone’s going to find out?”

  I was still too nervous and scared to say anything, so I simply shook my head. The unicorn then asked, “Well, why are you acting so uptight? Are all humans as shy as you? Or are you even a human at all?”

  Feeling that this unicorn was not a threat to me, I muttered softly in response, “I am… And I’m not a…thief.”

  The unicorn nodded with a slight smile in an effort to seemingly reassure me. “Then there’s nothing to worry about. I mean, it’s not like everyone here is going to skin you alive and eat you just because you’re not a pony…”

  I took a step back at her apparent joke. At least I was hoping that was a joke. “Is that…what you did to this town’s human population?”

  The unicorn seemed to understand that I mistook her attempt at humor as a subtle threat since she suddenly raised her forelegs and shook her hooves from side to side frantically with a nervous expression. “Oh, no! Of course not! It’s just that humans have never been seen around here before. I honestly thought that they only appeared in myth.”

  The fact that humans had never been seen in this town to the point that they were thought of as mythical beings caused me to fear the worst. I feared what I would hear if I asked the unicorn, but I felt I had to know. “Miss… Where am I?”

  The unicorn dropped back down on all fours and replied promptly, “You’re in Ponyville. It’s pretty much right in the middle of Equestria.”

  Equestria. Ponyville. They sounded like names out of a child’s storybook. And there was no way this could be Earth if humans have never once been encountered here.

  (I must be dreaming… But this feels too real to be a dream…) I tried pinching myself to see if I would wake up. But I still found myself in the middle of the town with many ponies of many colors watching me. (I guess it has to hurt more than this to work.)

  I gazed down at the unicorn and asked, “I don’t want to be any trouble, but could you please kick me?”

  The unicorn clearly did not expect my question since she took a step backwards with a somewhat shocked expression on her face. “Kick you? Really?! But won’t that hurt?”

  I nodded sincerely, understanding her concern. “I know it’s a…weird request. But I really need it.”

  Before the unicorn before me could even agree to carry out my request, we both jumped at the sound of someone yelling from above us. “LOOK OUT BELOW!!!”

  I did not even know what hit me as something crashed onto me from above, sending me chin-first into the ground. I will never know how my glasses escaped damage from that incident. I groaned in discomfort, the impact having inflicted more than enough pain to wake up anyone from an unpleasant dream. I heard the unicorn’s voice ask with both a hint of concern and annoyance. “Rainbow Dash! What was that for?!”

  The next voice I heard came from right next to my head. It was also the voice of a young woman, but had a much more boisterous tone to it while also sounding a bit grainy as well. “Sorry about that, Twilight. Tried out another trick just now. Didn’t work out at all. I didn’t get you, did I?”

  As I felt the weight of whomever fell on me shift, I could hear the jeering laughter of the other ponies around us. Apparently the sight of someone falling out of the sky and using me as a landing cushion was rather amusing to them. And in hindsight, I suppose it was funny to watch too. But it was no fun to experience. I heard the unicorn ask with a gentle genuinely concerned tone, “Are you OK? I’m sure Rainbow Dash meant no harm. You’re not hurt, are you?”

  The sympathetic words of the unicorn did nothing to help soothe my humiliation. Lost, afraid, nervous, and now embarrassed, I climbed to my feet and rushed inside the closest building I could find while holding back tears. Which happened to be the gingerbread house I was observing a moment ago. As I slammed the door behind me, I could hear the unicorn scolding ‘Rainbow Dash’ and everyone who had laughed. “That’s no way to welcome a new visitor! Be quiet!”

  I hardly looked around at my surroundings as I took a seat at a table in the corner of the room I had just entered. I took off my glasses, buried my face in my arms, and just let my frustration simmer. I did not want to move. Just sit there and brood. I tried to not make a sound since I did not want to draw attention to myself. A few minutes passed before I heard the door open again. The faint clopping of hooves approached me before the same voice of whoever fell on me spoke up, but in a much more reserved tone from before.

  “Hey… Uh… You all right after that? I didn’t have enough time to right myself before hitting the ground, so… I guess I should say thanks for breaking my fall… No hard feelings, right?”

  I was certain she was being sincere and I really did not have enough time to react at the time it occurred, so I did not really hold a grudge. But I was still feeling bitter and turned my head away from her. “No hard feelings…”

  The owner of the voice asked while letting out a sigh of relief, “Phew, I was a little worried you were gonna snap at me for that. You’re a good sport. Is there anything I can do to make it up to ya?”

  I was silently grateful for her willingness to help cheer me up, but my response to her was blunt and honest. “You can start by leaving me alone to rest.”

  She asked with a tone of concern in her voice, “You sure? I can get you a cupcake or something.”

  My only response was brief. “Not hungry…”

  I was not aware that some of my tears were leaking down the sides of my arms onto the table. She must have noticed because she then asked, “Oh man… Are you crying? Is there anything I can do?”

  By this point, I was too distressed to really say anything. All I could do was turn my head away and hope she would leave. I heard an audible sigh and the sound of hooves clopping followed by the sound of a door opening then closing.

  My moment of peace did not last very long as I heard the door open and close about five minutes later. I sighed, hoping it was not the same pony again. I then heard a bell ring, followed by a woman’s voice speaking in a motherly tone. “Oh, hello Fluttershy. What can I get you, dear?”

  The next voice I heard was vastly different from all other voices I had heard so far. It was a very quiet voice that was almost a whisper. I could sense great gentleness in the tone of the young woman it belonged to. “Oh, I’m not here to buy anything today, Mrs. Cake. I’m here to…um…give a pep talk to someone. Is there somepony here who isn’t having a good day?”

  I remained perfectly still, hoping ‘Mrs. Cake’ would not notice me or at least mistake me for a pile of clothes. My hopes were quickly dashed when she replied, “Is that him over there?”

  The sound of clopping hooves approached me while I held my breath, hoping she would overlook me. Soon, I felt something hard tap my leg. “Um… Excuse me, but are you OK?”

  I remained silent and still as stone in the hopes that she would think I was just an inanimate object. But I heard the sounds of her footsteps go past me followed by the chair beside me being pulled out. I braced myself for pain, expecting to be bashed over the head with it. Instead, I heard the chair squeak and creak slightly as if someone had just sat on it. “Um… I’m not going to bite. Can you tell me what’s wrong? I can at least lend an ear.”

  The voice sounded far too gentle to hint at even the slightest possibility of malice. Feeling some of my nervousness fade away, I cast my caution to the wind and turned my head to look at the owner of the voice. Like everyone else I had seen so far, she was a pony. But unlike the unicorn, she lacked a horn and had a pair of folded wings at her sides. Her coat was a pale yellow, possibly even a shade of gold, and her mane and tail were a pale pink. Her mane was draped mostly to her right with it parting in two large bangs that curled at the ends. Her tail was the same, being somewhat longer than most others with her mane even reaching past her knees. The markings on her flanks were a trio of butterflies with pink wings and turquoise bodies and antennae. She was somehow entirely seated on the chair without falling off, something I found surprising about the ponies of this land. Her strong cyan eyes gazed at me with great concern, but also with great shyness as well. I sighed and spoke after scanning her for a moment. “You’re…..cute.”

  The pegasus pony blushed deeply at my compliment, turning away with her eyes closed. “I…uh…I’m flattered…”

  Feeling that I may have offended her, I buried my face in my arms again. Perhaps she would go away. A moment of silence passed before I heard the pony speak up again in her quiet voice, “Wha…. What’s your name?”

  Without even looking at her, I replied, “James.”

  The pegasus pony probably smiled as she retorted with a slightly more upbeat tone, “James… That’s a unique name. I’m Fluttershy.”

  “I overheard.” I muttered bluntly, having heard the brief conversation she had with Mrs. Cake.

  “Oh, I’m sorry… I forgot you might have been listening…” Fluttershy whispered, seemingly embarrassed. After a moment of silence, she asked with a bit of hesitation in her tone, “So…James… Are you OK? Rainbow Dash told me you were crying… Did someone hurt you?”

  I replied bluntly once more, still feeling bitter. “So what if I was? Everyone cries at some point.”

  I believe I may have intimidated Fluttershy with my straightforward answer since she remained silent for a moment. She eventually asked, “Um… I hope I’m not interrupting anything… Should I leave you alone?”

  In my mind at the time, I truly wanted to be left alone. However, I found Fluttershy’s presence and gentle voice to be calming. After thinking my answer over in my head, I replied with as gentle a tone as I could manage considering my mood at the time. “I… Please stay… Your voice is soothing to hear.”

  While I could not see it, Fluttershy was blushing once again. “OK… I’ll stay. Um… So, what brings you to Ponyville? I never knew humans existed.”

  I answered frankly, “I don’t know. I closed my eyes and found myself on the outside of town. I don’t know how I got here, I’m lost, alone, afraid, and then I was humiliated just a little while ago when that ‘Rainbow Dash’ used me as a safety cushion. And no, this is not a dream. That impact hurt too much for me to still be asleep after that.”

  Fluttershy sighed deeply before speaking with a hint of contempt in her voice, “So that’s why everypony was laughing… How awful. Laughing at the misfortune of others…”

  I sighed before replying, “I don’t blame them. When I think about it, I probably would’ve laughed too if I saw it happen. I’m just glad my glasses were OK after that.”

  Fluttershy and I conversed for a few more minutes, lost in conversation. I never once raised my head to look at her again, although I felt Fluttershy gently rubbing my back with her hoof every now and then. Eventually, she asked, “You do sound like you’ve been through a lot today… Would a hug help you feel better?”

  Halfheartedly, I nodded. “Sure… If you want.”

  I suddenly felt two strong legs wrap around me and hold me in a gentle embrace. I raised my head and found Fluttershy embracing me with her forelegs while reared up on her hind legs. I can recall my vision becoming blurred as I began to tear up, as it was the first genuine act of kindness I had received since arriving in this strange land. In response, I draped my right arm across her back and held her close as I whispered softly, “Thanks…..”

  Fluttershy whispered quietly, “All better now?”

  I wiped my tears away and smiled slightly. “I don’t know about ‘all’, but I’m better now than I was a minute ago.”

  Fluttershy gave me a surprise nuzzle before letting go and dropping back down onto all fours. “I’m glad I could help. If you see me around, feel free to say hi.”

  I watched quietly as the pegasus pony left the bakery. Still feeling slightly down, I rested my head on my arms once again and muttered to myself without worrying if anyone heard me. “I think I just made my first friend…”

  Moments later, I heard the voice of Mrs. Cake humming a tune that was steadily getting closer. When it felt that she was right next to me, I looked to my left and found a pony setting three cupcakes on the table that were the size of my fist. Her coat was a light shade of blue while her mane and tail were two shades of pink. The combination of blue and pink brought to mind cotton candy. Her eyes were just as pink and the styling of her tail and mane brought to mind icing on a cake, a style befitting of her profession. The markings on her flanks showed three cupcakes, each with a cherry on top. When she noticed that I was looking her way, she gave me a reassuring, almost motherly, smile. “Oh, hello dear. Did Fluttershy help cheer you up?”

  No longer feeling nervous, I sat up and nodded. “Yes, ma’am.”

  Mrs. Cake smiled comfortingly, “That dear is just the sweetest little thing you’ll ever see in Ponyville. No one can match her kindness. But since you’re new in town, how about trying out some of Sugarcube Corner’s wares?” She motioned her hoof towards the three cupcakes. The cake was probably made of dark chocolate mix and the icing was white, probably vanilla.

  “Vanilla or cream cheese icing?” I asked, not having much of a taste for cream cheese.

  Mrs. Cake giggled and replied, “Neither. That icing is buttercream.”

  My eyes went wide at the mention of buttercream. “That sounds fantastic. How much? And do you take debit or credit?” The only form of money I had with me was my debit card. And I had no way of returning home to get paper money.

  “Oh, we only take cash, dear. Not many businesses in Ponyville accept credit. But don’t worry. Those three are on the house. Nothing cheers ponies up quite like Sugarcube Corner cupcakes!” Mrs. Cake gave me a pat on the back, trying to reassure me.

  “The only problem is that I’m not a pony… But thanks anyway.” I removed the wrapping from one and took a bite, chewing slowly to enjoy this new treat to the fullest. The flavor of the buttercream complimented the cake very well.

  “Fabulous…” It was all I could say as I enjoyed my first cupcake.

  “I expected nothing less, dear. Those are for you to enjoy at your leisure. But I recommend you finish them soon. They’re the last three from the first batch I made this morning. Wouldn’t want them to get stale now.” Mrs. Cake pushed the next one closer to me before heading back into the kitchen.

  Two cupcakes of that size is usually my limit as I was unable to start on the third. Deciding to hold onto it until later, I put my glasses back on and headed out the door with cupcake in hand. I immediately felt the eyes of the town’s ponies once again staring at me, though I did not feel as nervous as before. As I walked around the outside of Sugarcube Corner, I came across Fluttershy, the unicorn I first met, and another pegasus. The unicorn and pegasus seemed to be busy chatting with each other since they did not seem to notice my presence. I recognized the pegasus’ voice as the one who first entered the bakery to apologize to me, leading me to identify her as Rainbow Dash. Her name matched her appearance, as her tail and mane were rainbow-striped, both unkempt and wild in form. Her coat was a shade of cyan and her eyes rose-colored. The symbol on her flanks seemed to be a white cloud with a rainbow-colored lightning bolt being emitted from its underside. I remember muttering under my breath, “Wild woman, most likely…”

  As I observed the three ponies, I noticed that Fluttershy was not as immersed in the conversation as the other two. I lightly tapped her back to get her attention. When she turned to face me, I held out the spare cupcake to her.

  “F…for me?” Fluttershy asked with a blush on her face. I shyly nodded, knowing that many of the other bystanders were watching my every move. With a tiny grin, she whispered, “Thank you, James.” She then reached out with her forward right hoof facing up, allowing me to set the cupcake on it. Already starting to lose my nerve, I quickly waved farewell and headed in the opposite direction as quickly as I could.

  My nervousness began to resurface as the many ponies around me whispered to each other, likely gossiping about me. I was so focused on avoiding eye contact; I nearly did not notice a pony wander right into my path. I narrowly stopped myself from tripping over her at the last second. “Sorry.” I said promptly.

  The pony seemed to be rather curious about me as she gazed at me for a moment. Her big eyes were a dark blue while her coat was a bright pink. Her tail and mane were more of a magenta hue, but seemed to be abnormally…..poofy. I could find no better term to describe it. If I did not know better, I would have guessed they were full of air like balloons. My guess would likely have been supported by the symbols on her flanks, which consisted of three balloons with two blue and one yellow. Finding her constant stare awkward, I attempted to casually break the silence. “Um… Hi?”

  I was not prepared for her reaction. The pony jumped into the air and let out a loud gasp before dashing past me at speeds I never knew could be reached by an equine. When I turned around to see where she had went, she was already gone. “Um… Xenophobic, maybe?”

  I decided to explore outside of town, curious of what there was to see and wanting to get away from the prying eyes of Ponyville. My first discovery was what seemed to be a farm to the southwest. Upon drawing closer, I found a large red barn with a shiny purple roof that seemed to have been recently refurbished. I noticed some chickens milling about nearby and a few sheds in the distance. But more than anything, I saw apple trees. Hundreds of apple trees covering the hilly landscape. There were even various apple images all over the place, from a wood panel with an apple shape cut out hanging over the gate I passed through to a bright red apple weathervane on top of the barn. “Apple orchard… What else could it be?”

  Having had very few encounters with farms in my life, I decided to take a look around out of curiosity. But I had already reached the barn before a voice spoke up from behind me, “What brings ya ‘round these parts? And what are you? Yer way too big ta be a pony.”

I tensed up immediately and turned to face the owner of the voice. “A might funny-lookin’, ain’t ya? Never seen one of you ‘round before. Where ya from, pardner?” The owner of the voice was yet another pony. She spoke with a southern accent befitting a farm girl. Her coat was orange and her mane and tail were blond. She had a few freckles under her green eyes, a trait I found rather charming. A brown stetson hat rested atop her head. I also noticed that her mane and tail were tied at the ends with her mane hanging past her shoulders. Lastly, the symbols on her flanks consisted of three red apples.

  This pony seemed more curious than hostile to me, so I let myself relax somewhat. Remembering her question, I answered while trying to not seem suspicious in the slightest. “Um… Well, I’m not from around here. I’m a human. And I don’t think humans are native to Equestria.”

  The pony laughed upon hearing my response. “Human? Y’all are pullin’ my left hind leg! They’re just stuff from old ponytales! Now seriously, what are you?”

  I frowned at the farm pony’s stubbornness. “You asked an honest question and I gave you an honest answer. If you don’t believe me, I can’t help that.”

  The pony seemed to detect the slight amount of frustration in my voice since she stopped smirking immediately. “Oh… Didn’t mean ta strike a nerve. It’s just that humans only show up in old folklore and that sorta stuff. Ya don’t sound like yer lyin’ either, so sorry if I ticked ya off. Anyway, I’m forgettin’ my manners. The name’s Applejack. And this here lovely patch of red and green is Sweet Apple Acres. So, what’s yer name, pardner?”

  Relieved to find someone who was more hospitable than the majority of the ponies I had passed earlier, I smiled wholeheartedly as I spoke my reply. “The name’s James. And nice farm you got here, Miss Applejack.”

  Applejack chuckled and shook her hoof in a dismissive manner. “No need ta use the honorifics with me. Just keep it simple, if ya don’t mind.”

  I nodded at Applejack’s request, but my eyes once again fell upon the apple symbols on her flanks. “AJ, may I ask you something?”

  The farm pony smiled at my use of her initials in preference of her full name. “Now that’s keepin’ things simple! And sure! Whatcha need ta know?”

  I pointed at her flank and asked, “I’ve been seeing those markings on every pony I’ve come across today. And they’re all different. What are they? Tattoos?”

  Applejack glanced at her markings and laughed, “Oh, that?! That’s my cutie mark! Every pony gets one eventually.”

  I raised an eyebrow at the name of the markings I had seen so many times that day. Cutie mark. Yet another term that sounds like something out of a child’s storybook. “Cutie…? Seriously?”

  Applejack tried to keep a straight face, as she seemed to find my expression amusing. “What’s wrong? You got somethin’ against anythin’ cute? Even the men get ‘em! And it’s not a joke. Every cutie mark is unique. They show or represent the unique talents or gifts of the pony that wears ‘em.”

  I pondered Applejack’s explanation in my head for a moment. “They’re all different? And they show what a pony is really skilled at? If that’s the case, what does yours mean?”

  Applejack smirked at me. “Well, if you wanna keep it simple…” She then spoke rather proudly with her accent being slightly stronger than before, “Ah like apples!” I could not help laughing at her exclamation. She likes apples, she works with apples, and she even lives around apples. What else could her cutie mark be but apples? And if you ask me, I suspect she dreams apples.

  “Well, I better get back ta lunch. I’ve got a lotta apples ta harvest once I finish.” Applejack said as she walked over to an upside-down pail. A sandwich sat atop it.

  Seeing Applejack’s sandwich made me ponder what the diet of these ponies consists of. “AJ, what kind of sandwich is that?”

  The farm pony turned to face me after taking a bite. “It’s a grass and daisy sandwich. Good stuff! Wanna bite?”

  I was hardly surprised that even these ponies eat grass and flowers. “Sorry, but that doesn’t sound very appetizing to me. You got any meat?”

  My request for meat seemed to shock Applejack somewhat as she gasped and took one step away from me. “Meat?! Wait… Are you a…carnivore?”

  I rolled my eyes and frowned, “No. I’m an omnivore. Humans eat all sorts of foods from fruits to meats to veggies. And I have no desire for pony meat, if that’s what you think I’m getting at.”

  Applejack breathed a sigh of relief. “Phew. Ya had me goin’ there for a minute. Well, sorry. We ponies are strictly vegetarian.”

  I sighed with a lack of enthusiasm as I thought of having to survive on such a limited variety of food choices. Once Applejack finished her sandwich, she walked past me. “Well, I better get back ta work. See ya around, James.” I waved goodbye and left the way I came.

  Curious of what else there was to see around Ponyville, I headed east crossing over a small river that snaked through the town. On the outskirts of town, I came across a cluster of tents with designs that I would likely find in a Renaissance festival. However, there was also a house of sorts near them. It was quite cylindrical in shape with a spire that seemed to function as a second floor. The design was surprisingly elegant with large windows on the ground floor with pink and purple and azure and white colorations all over it. Above the doorway was what seemed to be an emblem depicting a carousel horse complete with the support bar standing vertically through it. “A carousel house?” I remember speaking aloud.

  “Not quite. Carousel Boutique.” A very refined woman’s voice spoke to me from behind. I turned to face the owner of the voice and found another pony that seemed to be wearing a pair of saddlebags. Like the first pony I spoke to, she was a unicorn. Her eyes were a beautiful shade of azure and she seemed to be wearing light blue eye shadow and had very feminine and elegantly styled eyelashes. Her coat was the purest shade of white I had seen all day and her mane and tail were an indigo hue. They were both styled in the same way with her hair being styled into a curl at the ends. Her cutie mark consisted of three light blue diamonds, leading me to suspect that this pony was of a very high social class.

  “Darling, I do believe you could use some sprucing up. That attire is so unsophisticated.” The unicorn spoke with a very noticeable upper-class accent that I found comparable to those used by film actresses from the 60s. But after closer examination, she then asked, “Wait a moment… What exactly are you? You seem rather bare for a pony.”

  I was feeling the calmest I had felt all day since meeting Fluttershy, as this unicorn pony seemed to be far from hostile or even aggressive at all. I answered her question calmly, “I’m not a pony at all, ma’am. I’m a human.”

  The unicorn looked just as shocked as almost everyone else I had said that to so far. “A human?! The creature of myth?!”

  I rolled my eyes at her exclamation and dryly replied, “Humans really aren’t all that special. I find you ponies to be more fascinating than humanity.”

  The pony seemed flattered by my admittance to being so fascinated with her kind as she blushed slightly. “Oh, you are too kind. And where are my manners? I am Rarity and the proprietor of this fine boutique.”

  Rarity’s display of manners to someone of a much lower social class like myself took me aback slightly. Someone of her grace and style being courteous of those below her without being conceited or snooty was truly, as her name implied, a rarity. “Rarity… That name suits you. My name is James.”

  I could see Rarity grin and giggle rather modestly at my compliment. “You are too kind, dear. But now that you’re here, allow me to craft something more fitting for you.” I had no time to refuse as she grabbed my wrist in her mouth and dragged me inside the house. But not without smashing my forehead into the top of the doorway, that is.

  “AUGH!!!” I hunkered over and clutched my forehead, gritting my teeth in sharp pain. Rarity let go of me the instant I yelled and looked back at me.

  “Oh my goodness, did I hurt you?!” Rarity asked with a hint of panic in her voice.

  “No… The dang doorway was too low.” I replied while trying to endure the pain however I could. “I think this will leave a lump…”

  Rarity shook her head while seemingly trying to think quickly. “Oh no, I shall not allow such a blemish to be left on your face! Wait right here. I know just what will do the trick.” I watched the unicorn pony run off through a doorway nearby that lacked a door.

  While I waited, my eyes scanned my surroundings. Much to my surprise, the building looked less like a house and more like an indoor studio. The room was also rather spacious. The walls were light pink with purple floral patterns. Various pony mannequins stood about, full-length mirrors hung on walls with very low dressers beneath them, and many dark pink curtains hung everywhere. I also noticed a flight of stairs leading upwards next to the hall Rarity went down that had a very barebones look to it with very dark indigo coloration. There were also numerous grid-based shelves containing various colored cloth and a sewing machine right beside me. “A seamstress?”

  Moments later, Rarity came trotting back with what seemed to be a first aid kit with it hanging from her mouth by its handle. But when she set it down, I stared in surprise as the box seemed to open on its own. “So sorry if I kept you waiting. Now dear, I need you to remove your hands from your head. Leave it all to me.”

  I was in too much pain to argue, so I did as I was told. But I jumped slightly when I saw bandages, ointment, and tape float out of the box. “Just hold still. This shouldn’t take long at all.” Rarity appeared to be merely staring at the medicinal tools and me while an unseen force began to make the bandages unravel. But as some ointment was squeezed from its tube, I noticed that Rarity’s white horn was engulfed in a billowing light blue aura while shimmering. The levitating medical supplies were also surrounded by a faint blue glow. I felt the cool touch of the ointment being applied to the bruised area of my forehead by invisible fingers. A cotton pad was then set over the area where the ointment had been applied before the bandages were wrapped tightly around my head. “Hmmmm… Oh, one last thing!” Rarity looked towards a desk as a draw slid open. Two marker pens floated out of the drawer, or were they highlighter pens? Regardless, they were red and green. The cap on the green one popped off before the tip was applied to my bandage. “Don’t move, James. I’ll make this as quick as possible.”

  The sound of scribbling markers reached my ears while I sat perfectly still, wondering what Rarity was doing to my bandages. After a minute or two, she swapped to the red marker. However, I only heard it being used on the center of my forehead for a brief moment. “There we are! Oh, you look quite dashing now. Functional and stylish in one package!” A hand….or should I say hoof mirror floated over to me to show my reflection. The bandages had been colored green, but a red star had been drawn right in the middle of them on the front. “Red and green go so well together, do they not?”

  I lightly touched the bandages, finding that the ink was already dry. At a glance, it seemed that I was wearing a headband. I turned to Rarity and nodded before replying, “Well, red and green are complimentary colors. Green’s even one of my favorite colors.”

  Rarity beamed as she ‘set’ the mirror down, “My choice of color was perfect as always. I settle for nothing but the best in my work. But truly, are you all right? I’m terribly sorry about that.”

  I nodded, impressed by how quickly and sincerely she treated my injury. “I’m fine now. I can hardly feel the pain at all. That ointment works fast. And now I know to always duck when I use a door here.”

  Rarity smiled with an uneasy grin, apparently being reminded that it was she who caused me to get hurt. “Not only is it a painkiller. It will also help the swelling recede. But I still feel I must make it up to you somehow. Perhaps I can weave you a new outfit to replace those old rags? I mean... Well, I really should do something! Not even five minutes since we've met and I've already caused you harm. Not the best way to introduce myself, was it?"

  That little personal insight got a very brief snicker out of me. I was about to turn down her offer, but I then remembered that the only clothes I had with me in Equestria were the ones on my back. “Well… All right, Miss Rarity. But please keep them casual.” As she jotted down a note, I asked, “Wait… Weave new clothes? You can do that?”

  With a giggle, Rarity faced me and smiled. “But of course! I am the leading fashion designer of Ponyville. I only use the finest materials and make everything to bring out the inner beauty of the pony who wears them….. Well, you’re not a pony, but you understand.”

  I smiled slightly, suspecting that Rarity had every right to boast. But I then asked, “But what is this place? Your home?”

  Rarity proudly explained to me, “As I said before, this is the Carousel Boutique. It is where I live and do my work. This room right here is where I conduct business and perform the bulk of my job. In the back is the kitchen and living room while the second story contains the bedroom and bathroom.”

  We conversed for a few minutes, I finding Rarity to be a very likeable host. “Rarity, how did you make those things float and work without touching them? Telekinesis?”

  The unicorn seemed baffled by my guess. “Teleki what now? Whatever it is, that is not what I did. I simply used magic. See?” Her horn once again began to shimmer as a billowing aura engulfed it. I suddenly felt myself float in the air for about two seconds before being set back down on the bench. “Every unicorn possesses magical abilities. Our horns contain and channel the energies for various uses.”

  I bowed my head in thought as I learned that the horn of a unicorn is not just for show. “Unicorns can use magic and pegasi can fly. You all have it easy compared to humans.”

  Minutes passed before I looked out the window. The sun was starting to get low in the sky as night began to draw near. “Rarity, is there a hotel or anything like that in Ponyville? I need to find a place to stay tonight.”

  The unicorn gaze me a slightly perplexed gaze. “Well... There are a couple, if memory serves. But even so, why would you ever need to find one? Don’t you have a place of your own?”

  I sighed, worried that I may have to camp in some bushes for the night. “I only just showed up in Equestria today and I have no idea how it happened. All I have are the clothes on my back, the glasses on my face, and the stuff in my pockets. Nothing else.”

  Rarity frowned, clearly showing sympathy for me. But she soon smiled and spoke jovially, “What a shame! No knowledge of how you arrived? And no way to return home? Then you need a new place to stay! By all means, stay here! My home is your home.”

  My eyes opened wide and my jaw nearly dropped. I could hardly believe a pony would allow me, a complete stranger, to reside in her house. “Well, what’s the rent? A hundred a month? Two hundred?”

  My question only prompted a giggle from Rarity as she replied, “No, I ask for no such thing. You may stay for as long as you need. Everyone needs a place to rest at night. And don’t try to change my mind! I won’t accept cash in return. You are welcome here, James. And that’s that.”

  I felt a complex mix of relief, gratitude, and guilt as I listened to Rarity voice her generosity. “…..Rarity…. I… I don’t know what to say… Just… Thank you.”

  Before we could speak longer, there was a knock at the door. “Hm? I seldom get visitors at this hour.” I heard Rarity mutter as she answered the door. The door was split into two halves, with Rarity only opening the top half. “No one here? Oh, wait.” Her horn glowed again before an envelope floated up into view. The envelope opened as the note inside was lifted out. I watched while Rarity read it in silence.

  “Oh, that Pinkie Pie. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.” Rarity chuckled before she crumpled up the note and flung it into a wastebasket.

  “Pinkie Pie? Something important?” I asked, not sure if the name I just heard was the name of another pony or some type of dessert.

  Rarity chuckled as she headed towards the front door and opened both halves with magic again. “It was nothing important. But I need to head into town for a little while. Make yourself at home, darling.” The door closed behind her, leaving me alone in the Carousel Boutique.

  Curious of what else there was to see, I decided to look down the hall where Rarity had retrieved her first aid kit. I found the kitchen on the right with the living room on the left. Both rooms were rather small, which was understandable considering the fairly small statures of ponies. The living room contained a sofa that was long enough for me to lie down on, an equally long table in front of it, an end table next to the sofa that held a desk lamp, and a small pile of various fashion magazines. With nothing else to do at the time, I picked them up and started to look through them. “Fashionista Monthly? Boutique le Chic? Fillies of Fashion? Equestria’s Finest…. Wait a minute…” At the bottom of the pile was a magazine that stood out from the rest. I read the title aloud. “Play…mare…” On the cover was a pure white stallion with a black mane and tail smirking whimsically. I snickered under my breath, “I guess even ponies have guilty pleasures at times.”

  I sat down on the sofa and began to look through Rarity’s newest copy of Equestria’s Finest to pass the time. “Short tails are in this year?” I flipped a page. “Uproar over Wonderbolt’s Spitfire on her new flight pattern. Original or Plagiarized?” Right as I read that, I heard a tapping on the window. Curious, I took a peek. When I looked outside, I saw a slab of cardboard floating in the air with an arrow painted on it pointing in the direction of the front door. “The heck…?”

  Thinking that it was just Rarity playing a prank on me, I opened the front door and spoke, “You have my attention, Miss Rarity…. Wait…. What?” Floating before me was another slab of cardboard. Written on it were the words ‘Follow Me’. The slab then began to float away from me. Not sure if I should leave Rarity’s home unattended, I held up my hand. “Just a moment.” I ran back inside and wrote a note for Rarity explaining that I had been called away by a floating sign. I know it sounds ridiculous, but if unicorns can use telekinesis-like magic with their horns, she would probably believe me.

  I ran back outside and closed the door behind me, finding the sign waiting patiently for me where I last saw it. As I approached, it floated away from me with the side with ‘Follow Me’ written on it constantly facing me. “Where exactly are you taking me?” I asked the sign. I suppose that was a pointless question since cardboard cannot speak. Even in Equestria. It led me back into the center of Ponyville, though there were not as many ponies out at these later hours. I remember hearing cicadas hissing all around me, even the occasional mournful cry of a Higurashi cicada. As the sun was beginning to descend over the horizon and night was starting to move in, the call of this particular cicada was all the more fitting for the moment.

  Before long, the delicious gingerbread roof of Sugarcube Corner came into view. “There?” I asked as my eyes trailed upwards. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed what I thought was a pony looking out of one of the second story windows. Whoever it was probably saw me since it suddenly ducked out of sight. Since the lighting was becoming poor, I could not make out the details of the body. However, I distinctly remember seeing a glowing horn on the head. “Was that Rarity? Or…someone else?”

  My gut instinct was beginning to tell me to walk away before it was too late. But since no one in Ponyville had tried to harm me during my first day there, I felt I had no reason to doubt them yet. Against my better judgment, I followed the cardboard sign to Sugarcube Corner’s front door. I could see through the window that there was only a lit candle resting on the main counter providing light in the shop. “Nobody’s even here. Why did you lead me here if the place has already closed for the night?” I turned to walk away, but the sign floated in front of me and rammed my chest a few times as if it was trying to tell me something. I turned to face the door again and watched as the sign tapped the door. It was then I noticed that this door did not even have a doorknob. “Are you kidding me? How am I supposed to…” I found that the door pushed inward when I nudged it. “How did I not remember how it… Oh. Right…” I remembered then how I was too distraught to really pay any attention to my surroundings at the time I first entered the bakery. I pushed the door open entirely and followed the sign inside, pleased that the doorway was barely high enough for me to not have to duck very much at all.

  The door swung shut behind me on its own once I was inside Sugarcube Corner. “OK, I’m here. Now what?” The sign turned around. On the other side was the word ‘Upstairs’. I looked around and saw a flight of stairs behind the counter. “I hope this isn’t a prank to get me arrested for trespassing…” The sign suddenly fell on the counter, apparently having fulfilled its use. I then stood at the bottom of the stairs and looked up. While the stairwell itself was slightly lit from the candle’s flame, the top was almost pitch-black. Now just as nervous as I was when I first arrived in Ponyville, I slowly climbed the stairs while being very careful to mind my head.

   I remember thinking to myself as I neared the top, (Something’s wrong here. It’s not that dark out just yet. Why can’t I see anything at all?) At the top of the stairs, I looked around and found I could not see the windows. (Are they covered?) I faced the wall on my right and felt along it for a light switch. I did not have to look for long as I found it right in front of me. But as soon as I flicked on the lights, several voices shouted behind me, “SURPRISE!!!”

  Scared out of my wits, I immediately turned off the lights without turning to face the owners of the voices. “S-sorry! I…uh… I didn’t see anything! Sorry for…um…walking in uninvited! I-I-I-I’ll just be going now.” However, I then froze as I heard the voices of several girls laughing. Before I could turn to face the stairs, something nudged my lower back.

  A young woman’s voice spoke from right behind me in a high-pitched energetic tone, “James, you silly! This is YOUR party!” I felt whoever was nudging me reach past me and flip the light switch on again. Once I could see again, I looked down and saw the very same pink pony who had run off at absurd speed earlier that day when I merely said ‘Hi’ to her.

  “A party? MY party?” I asked in bewilderment.

  The pink pony replied with an excited grin, “Yup! When someone new comes to Ponyville, we always make sure they get a warm welcome! Oh, and all your friends are here too!”

  I turned to my left and found five familiar ponies standing at the center of the room. “Rarity? Applejack? Fluttershy? Rainbow Dash? And…” My gaze fell upon the purple unicorn mare I had met earlier that day. “Um….. Twilight, was it?”

  The purple unicorn nodded and smiled at me while speaking her reply. “Twilight Sparkle, to be precise. And how’ve you been since we met? You feeling better by now?”

  I looked around the room before responding. There were many balloons and streamers hanging from an upper balcony, confetti was scattered everywhere, there was a wooden tub filled with water that seemed to have apples floating in it, and a table with a bowl of punch and an impressive cake that was more than half my size. I then faced my hosts and asked, “You did all this for me? You hardly even know me…”

  Rainbow Dash spoke up in her enthusiastic voice, “Yeah, we don’t know you all that well yet. But from what we’ve seen from you so far, you’re pretty cool. At least as far as shy guys get. And besides that, you seem like you’ve had a pretty rotten day. So think of this party as a way to cheer you up!”

  I took off my glasses as I honestly felt tears building up again. I was genuinely touched by this powerful show of unconditional hospitality. “Uh oh… Do you need a hug again?” Fluttershy asked in her adorably quiet voice. I was only able to nod as I rubbed my fingers against my closed eyes. I felt Fluttershy rear up on her hind legs and embrace me with her forelegs with her head resting against my ribs. I held her against me with my spare arm as the other five ponies let out an aww.

  “Ain’t that the cutest thing y’all ever saw, girls?” I heard Applejack speak up.

  “Cute? I would say they are simply DARLING.” Rarity’s accent made her voice instantly recognizable.

  Fluttershy eventually whispered, “Feel better, James?” I looked down at her and silently nodded with a smile.

  Once Fluttershy had released me from her embrace, I turned to face the five other ponies. “Girls… I really don’t know what to say to all this… When I ended up here today, I was scared, lost, and alone. And I am truly grateful you’ve given me your support.”

  Applejack chuckled with a humble smile. “Aw shucks, James… Just don’t forget ta thank Pinkie Pie. She set up the whole party herself.”

  I glanced around, finding the pink pony standing next to a phonograph. “Enough waiting! Everypony’s here now, so let’s PARTY!” She then nudged the needle with her muzzle, pushing it into place as music began to play.

  Right after kicking off the party, the pink pony ran right over to me and grinned while speaking with very brief pauses between each sentence. “Hi, James! I’m Pinkie Pie! I got this party set up just for you! Did we surprise you? Huh? Huh? Huh?”

  Pinkie Pie had reared herself up on her hind legs and pulled me close to her in a very chummy fashion, her left foreleg holding me around my waist. “Surprise me? I very near jumped outta my skin. Does that tell you anything?”

  Pinkie Pie then began to speak very VERY quickly to me. “It sure does! It means you were very surprised! Hey, what would happen if you DID jump out of your skin? Would you just be a skeleton? Would you walk around with your bones creaking like EEYEH or maybe CRRRECK? Ooh! That would be so awesome for Nightmare Night! You wouldn’t even need a costume! You’d just walk up to the door and they’d be like YAAAAHHHH!!! And then maybe they’d jump out of their skins too! You could lead a whole skeleton pony parade! Then maybe we’d join your parade as skeletons too! Cause now we’re your friends too! And friends do all sorts of fun things together!”

  Due to the very fast speed of Pinkie Pie’s chattering, I could hardly keep up with anything she said. Hoping someone knew what she said, I turned to the other five ponies and asked, “Um…. Translation?” Each of them burst into hysterical laughter, as did I.

  The party started without a hitch. Twilight and Pinkie Pie started by dancing to the music, though I never knew ponies could dance well at all and I am not certain exactly how to describe how quadrupeds dance at this moment. Rarity and Fluttershy started with friendly chatter while trying out the cake and punch. But what caught my eye the most was Rainbow Dash and Applejack bobbing for apples.

  The last time I ever saw bobbing for apples at a party was way back when I was either three or four years old, so I felt a significant nostalgia rush as I approached the two bobbers. Applejack dunked her head into the tub, and then pulled it out with an apple in her mouth, which she chomped down with a single bite. Rainbow Dash noticed me approach them and waved at me. “You up for bobbing for apples, James?”

  I took off my glasses and set them near the punch bowl. “I haven’t seen this at a party in ages, so sure thing.” I got down on my knees and gripped the sides of the tub for balance. I then dunked my face into the tub and felt around for anything to grab onto. After a few seconds, I felt something drift between my jaws and bit down on it. When I pulled myself out of the tub, a red apple was in my teeth.

  “Nice one, James! And on your first try too!” Rainbow Dash applauded me while I removed the apple from my jaws.

  “What’s wrong? Ya don’t want it?” Applejack asked, probably wanting it for herself since she…well…is all about apples.

  “Not really. Red apples always leave my mouth feeling dried out. You can have it, AJ.” I handed the apple to the farm pony, who chomped it down vigorously.

  “Found any of the special surprises in there yet?” Pinkie Pie asked as she came trotting over to check on us.

  At the mention of something special, I asked, “What kind of surprises you talking about?”

  The party animal pony merely giggled before replying, “I can’t tell you that, silly. It wouldn’t be a surprise if you knew!”

  I looked back at Applejack and Rainbow Dash, who then looked at each other and back at me. “You game?” Rainbow Dash asked me with a smirk.

  “Let’s do it.” I replied with a smirk of my own. In unison, the three of us dunked our heads into the tub. Rainbow Dash and Applejack both pulled out apples, but I was having trouble with whatever I ended up grabbing.

  Applejack noticed that I was pulling myself out of the tub too slowly and asked once my ears were above water, “Whatcha got there, pardner? A lead weight?”

  I groaned through my teeth the best I could. “I don’t know! But I’m not letting go!” I had no way of knowing that what I grabbed was a yellow apple (my favorite kind) with a spring stuck into it that had been glued to the bottom of the tub.

  Once the spring was visible to her, Rainbow Dash gulped nervously. “Uh, James? I think you better let this one go.”

  My only response to the pegasus pony was a growl as I struggled to pull it until it stopped pulling back. My efforts were drawing attention from the other ponies since they had stopped what they were doing to come over and watch. All the while, I had no real idea of what they were so fascinated by.

  “James, let it go! You’re not supposed to win when you get that one!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed with a hoof raised.

  I think the thing that was keeping the spring from pulling me back in was that I was using my arms on the tub for extra leverage. Eventually, I had pulled so far back, I was almost to a standing position and the spring was almost completely straightened out. At that point, the spring came loose and was suddenly yanked out of the apple and I was sent stumbling backwards and falling flat on my back without knowing what happened.

  “Oh dear, are you all right?!” Rarity asked as she and the other girls came to my side. I replied by removing the apple from my mouth and laughing.

  “Man, why didn’t you let that go?” Rainbow Dash asked with a baffled expression.

  “Why? Because golden delicious apples are my favorite, that’s why.” I chuckled before I took a bite. The ponies laughed in unison as well.

  Once I had eaten my apple, I turned to Pinkie Pie. “Any other surprises in there?”

  Pinkie Pie rolled her eyes mischievously while speaking in an annoyingly dismissive tone, “Maaaaaybe.”

  My first guess was that there were other fruit in the tub. I once again went to the apple tub and dunked my face in. But I was in for quite a surprise when I felt something soft clamp onto my face. (What the hell…?) I distinctly remember thinking at the strange feeling.

  I immediately pulled my head out of the tub and opened my eyes. But to my shock, I could see nothing. I turned around and tried to ask what was on my face, but my voice was heavily muffled. I could hear Rainbow Dash snickering under her breath, struggling to keep herself from bursting into laughter.

  Not getting a response from my friends, I tried feeling what was on my face. It felt wet, slightly slimy, and bumpy. I felt my blood chill as I immediately thought it was a piranha. I let out a muffled yell as I frantically tried to pull it off. My antics were clearly amusing to my friends since I could hear them all laughing at me. But when I began to have trouble breathing, I started to feel absolutely furious at Pinkie Pie for placing a live piranha in the tub.

  Pinkie Pie seemed to notice that I was starting to suffocate since she loudly called out, “OK, that’s enough! Let him go, Gummy!” Right at those words, whatever was clamped onto my face let go and fell at my feet. But when I looked down, I saw not a piranha, but a baby alligator.

  “A…..gator?” It was all I could say.

  Pinkie Pie giggled and grinned at me. “Don’t worry, James! That’s just my pet alligator, Gummy! He’s got no teeth! See?” The alligator suddenly started biting my legs repeatedly. But each time, his toothless fleshy gums inflicted no pain.

  “I think I’ve had enough applebobbing for today…” I said dazedly, slightly shell-shocked from the experience. I cut myself a slice of cake, poured myself a glass of punch, and took a seat while watching my friends enjoy themselves.

  While I enjoyed my cake and punch, I silently thought of a way to get back at Pinkie Pie for putting me through one of the biggest scares of my life. My eyes soon fell upon the cake and I smirked slyly. I finished my plate and waited for Pinkie Pie to approach the cake for another slice before putting my plan into action.

  “Hey, Pinkie Pie. I have something important to tell you.” I casually said while I approached her.

  “Important? Oki doki loki! What’s up?” Pinkie Pie asked in her happy-go-lucky manner.

  I smirked as I asked, “You sure love cake, don’t you?”

  The pink pony laughed once before replying, “I love to party! It’s what I live for! And you can’t have parties without cake!”

  I shook my head while not once losing my smirk. “Well then, you’ll love to hear this.” I then leaned forward and whispered into her ear, “The cake is a lie.”

  At my words, Pinkie Pie froze. She then muttered, “The cake is a lie?” I nodded in silence. Right then, her mane suddenly let out a strange deflating sound as it…well…deflated. Like a balloon. Yes, I am not joking. Her hair LITERALLY deflated like a balloon. Where it was all puffy and full, it was now long and straight. The same occurred to her bushy tail, which was now similar in form to Twilight’s. I also noticed that her coat had become a darker hue. She then sobbed lightly as if she was on the verge of having a nervous breakdown. “If the cake is a lie, the party is a lie. And if the party is a lie…” She then broke down into tears, literally crying a river of them. “My whole life has been a liiiihihiiiiiiieee!!!”

  Pinkie Pie’s wailing got everyone’s attention since they immediately came rushing to her side. “What’s the matter, sugarcube? Nopony likes ta cry at a party.” Applejack said in an attempt to try to lighten Pinkie’s spirits.

  “It’s all a lie… The cake is a lie… The cake I made… It’s not even really there! That big chocolate cake is all in my head! Heheheh… I’ve been living a lie all these years! Cakes don’t exist! So parties don’t exist either! They’re all just a bunch of sugary fluffy tasty nothings!” I steadily became increasingly intimidated by Pinkie’s rapid decline in mental stability.

  By the time Pinkie Pie had started to foam at the mouth, I had seen enough. I pulled her up to a sitting position and spoke in a loud tone, “Pinkie Pie. I was joking. It’s just a prank some people came up with back where I’m from.” When she still did not listen, I cut another slice of cake and jammed it into her mouth. “Tastes good, right?”

  Pinkie Pie’s tirade suddenly ended as she tasted the cake. “Can you feel it? Can you taste it? Can you EAT it? Then the cake is no lie.” I explained, hoping she would calm down.

  Once she swallowed the cake, Pinkie Pie smiled brightly as her mane and tail suddenly ‘inflated’ back to their previous forms. “You’re right! If I can touch it, taste it, and eat it, there’s no way it’s a lie! The cake’s not a lie! The cake is the truth! Long live the cake!” We all watched as the enlightened pony bowed before the cake in worship.

  Twilight turned to me and asked with a truly perplexed stare, “What did you…?”

  I shrugged my shoulders. “Don’t ask. Seriously. Don’t ask.” I then muttered under my breath, “Good grief, that girl is a roller coaster. She’s either on top of the world or at rock bottom. There’s no in-between with her!”

  “Later, girls! And love the headband, James! Looks awesome on ya!” Rainbow Dash called out before she flew off for home while mistaking my colored bandages for headwear. Or at least she would have if she had not suddenly stopped and came back as if she had forgotten something. After a full two hours, we decided it was late enough and decided to head home. But before we all parted ways for the night, I was subjected to my very first group hug when all six of my new friends gathered around me and embraced me all at once. It was an experience I simply could not describe. To have gone from a simple misfit vagabond in Ponyville to an honored guest in one evening was a momentous experience for me.

  Since I was staying with Rarity, the two of us walked back to the Carousel Boutique together. I was not familiar with Ponyville’s layout, so I let Rarity lead.

  “A stellar party, wouldn’t you say?” Rarity asked as she led me to her home.

  I nodded in agreement. “A great party, to say the least. And Pinkie Pie is truly a party animal.”

  Rarity giggled briefly before looking over her shoulder at me. “Oh, she’s been like that for most of her life. Don’t let it get to you.”

  I rolled my eyes while retorting, “Get to me? I’m not sure if I should be annoyed or entertained. Though I guess it’s never dull with her around.”

  The two of us continued to converse while we walked. Before I even knew it, we were at the Carousel Boutique’s front door. This time, I made sure to duck as I went inside.


  “Now then, let me show you where you will be staying. Come with me.” Rarity led me upstairs as I wondered if there was a guest room on the second floor. At the top of the stairs, we stepped into a short hallway. “On the right here is the bathroom. And at the end down here is…” We looked into the room on the left at the end of the hall. “This is your new bedroom! Fabulous, is it not?”

  The bedroom had an impressive canopy bed on one side befitting Rarity’s fancy tastes. There were also rolled up fabrics on shelves with a table holding a sewing machine next to it. There was also what seemed to be a drawing board with pins holding notes against it, probably orders from some of Rarity’s clients. But while I looked at the bed, I asked, “Wait… Where will you sleep?”

  Rarity smiled as she replied, “I will sleep on the sofa downstairs.”

  I could hardly believe that someone of Rarity’s standards would give up her own bed to someone she had only just met. I sighed in guilt before speaking, “Miss Rarity… I can’t let you do that. Don’t worry. I’ll sleep on the sofa. I’ve done it many times before, so it’s no trouble.”

  Despite my insistence, Rarity continued to try to persuade me to use her bed. After a moment of thought, I approached the bed and measured its width. “Miss Rarity, this bed is wide enough for both of us to sleep in at one time. Should we just share it?”

  Rarity’s response to my question was rather humorous as she suddenly began to fluster. “Together?! Well, I… I mean… It wouldn’t be…proper and…I have my…eh…reputation to think about… I mean…what would the others say?” I could tell that she was blushing. I am sure now that as much as she probably would not mind some company and probably would prefer her bed to her sofa, there would definitely be a lot of explaining to do if someone were to catch us sharing one bed.

  “I see your point. And I guess we shouldn’t. I wouldn’t want a scandal to mar your name.” I replied in agreement before Rarity giggled nervously while giving a few frantic nods. A scandal for someone of her class would likely be devastating if the paparazzi picked up on it. Assuming Equestria even has any, of course. I walked over to the unicorn and smiled reassuringly. “Really, the sofa downstairs will be enough. Do you have a blanket I could use?”

  Rarity sighed in defeat, “If that is what you want, I will respect that.” She then used her magic to levitate a quilt over to me that had floral patterns all over it. “This seems large enough. I made it myself.”

  I took the quilt in hand and smiled before letting out a yawn. “It’s lovely. Now, I’ll go wash up before bed.”

  Rarity smiled and nodded towards me. “Then I will see you tomorrow. Sweet dreams, James.”

  After taking the quilt downstairs and leaving it draped over the sofa, I made my way into the bathroom to bathe before bed. I was hardly surprised to find that the bathroom has a very elegant design that is reminiscent of bathrooms found in upper-class houses back home. Due to the limited space on the second floor, the bathroom is fairly small. Not wanting to wait any longer, I undressed and turned on the shower.

  Once I had finished, I left the bedroom with only a towel around my waist. Before heading downstairs, I peeked into Rarity’s bedroom. Tucked under the covers on the bed was the generous unicorn, fast asleep as the moonlight shone on her face. I whispered quietly, “Thank you, Rarity. Good night.” I think she may have heard me since I noticed a smile spread across her muzzle.

  Downstairs, I removed the towel and slipped my boxers back on. I then gathered a pair of pillows at one end of the sofa and rested my head on them. With Rarity’s hoof-made quilt covering me, (yes, I really said hoof-made) I closed my eyes as I tried to fall sleep.

  As I rested, I thought over all that had happened to me today. And now I am chronicling this day in a journal. My first arrival in Ponyville was initially stressful, but the ending was better than I could have ever hoped for. At first, I was worried if I would ever find a way to return home. But now I am starting to hope I will never have to leave. I wonder how long that feeling will last before I decide that I would prefer Earth to this world.

  This marks the end of my first day in Equestria. What will the next day have in store for me? I can only wait and see.

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