Princess for a Day starring those magical ponies from Friendship is Magic
"How are those cupcakes coming along, Pinkie?" Twilight poked her head into Sugarcube Corner from the street.
Pinkie Pie was puffing as she carried out a tray of cupcakes and placed them on a bench to cool. She wiped her forehead. "They're almost finished, Twilight! This was the last batch… phew! I'm a pooped little Pinkie!"
"Augh!" muttered Spike, his little purple scaly head appearing under Twilight's. "How in Equestria did everything get so messy in here, Pinkie Pie?"
The inside of the bakery was a scene of confectionary cataclysm. Multi-coloured frosting coated the walls, icing sugar and flour floated about in little clouds, and the baker herself was covered in batter.
The little pink pony looked chagrined. "Well, there's frosting everywhere because I had a problem getting all the frosting into the pastry bag and there was a little teeny-weeny explosion. And then the flour and confectionary sugar went everywhere while I was trying to tidy that up…"
Twilight trotted inside with Spike following close behind.
"What about the batter?" asked Spike.
"Oh, that!" Pinkie looked embarrassed. "Weeeeell, I just wanted to check how sweet the batter was and I took the teeniest-tiniest taste of it – and then I had to double check to make sure I'd tasted it right the first time, and then I had to triple check just to be absolutely super-sure! And then somehow all the batter was gone and I had to make some more…"
Twilight's rolled her eyes. "You… didn't accidentally eat the star, right?"
Pinkie shook her head. "Nope!" She turned and surveyed all the ranks of muffins cooling in their trays. "It's in their somewhere…" She gazed at the cupcakes, her forehead furrowing in concentration.
"Uh, Pinkie Pie? What are you doing?" Spike asked. Glaring at cupcakes was pretty odd, even for Pinkie!
"Oh, I thought that maybe if I squinted hard enough I might develop X-ray vision!" she replied.
"Did it work?" asked Spike, staring at the cupcakes himself.
"Uh-uh!" Pinkie shook her head.
"That's no big surprise…" Twilight sighed.
Spike's face meanwhile had taken on sudden malice as he looked at the cupcakes. "I don't know why only girls get to go in the competition," he muttered. "It just doesn't seem fair!"
"Oh Spike," laughed Twilight. "Choosing the Mare of Misrule isn't a competition – it's a tradition! And besides, Equestria has Princesses rather than Prin… uh, whatever the male version of a Princess would be." Twilight made a mental note to look it up in the biggest dictionary she could find. "Anyway…" She lifted her muzzle into the air as she always did when she began to recite something she'd read from memory. "Every year, on the first day of the fourth month, in celebration of the beauty of spring, a single mare is chosen by fortune to be the Mare of Misrule. Princess Celestia bestows upon that lucky individual the powers of a Princess – to be only used within the confines of her own town or village, of course, and only for a single day."
"But what has that got to do with baking all these cupcakes?" demanded Spike. "And why can't I try just one?"
Pinkie slapped his hand as it made its ways involuntarily towards a particularly delicious looking cupcake with vanilla frosting and sprinkles. "No! Bad lil' draggie!" she scolded him with an affectionate smile. "These are pony food, not dragon food! Besides, there are a pile of stale old muffins lying out the back and I'll give them to you if you promise not to steal any of these cupcakes! They're very important, Spikey!" Pinkie began to hop up and down as jaunty music started up from some unseen corner of the bakery. "Oh, don't you know?"
"Uh Pinkie, where's the music…?" Spike began to ask, but he stopped when Twilight looked at him sternly and shook her head 'no'.
"Anypony might find the star,
It makes no difference who you are!
(Well, actually, that's a mistake -
It's only girls who get a cake!)
Just give it a bite and soon you'll know
Whether the answer's yes or no,
Is there a star? Or is there none?
(The star will tell you if you've won!)
And then you'll know, and then you'll say,
That you'll be princess for a day!
"That was actually a pretty catchy song, Pinkie!" said Spike, clapping.
"Well, it's better than 'Evil Enchantress' at least," agreed Twilight.
"So is it a real star in the cupcake, Pinkie?" Spike asked.
"Oh Spike!" laughed Pinkie. "You're so silly! Why, if it was a real star the cupcake would have to be the size of a watermelon! Have you ever seen a star? Those things are big!"
"It's just a little star made of gold, Spike," explained Twilight. "It symbolises your right to rule."
"And everypony has to take teeny-tiny bites so that they don't break a tooth on the star," added Pinkie, miming with an invisible cupcake. "Like this! Nom nom nom nom…"
"And if you find the star in your cupcake, you get to be Princess for a day?" asked Spike.
"Uh-huh!" nodded Pinkie. "And you get to do whatever you want for an entire day!"
"Whatever you like within reason," Twilight corrected. "And anyway, all the magic you've done gets reversed as soon as the sun sets."
The unicorn pony's eyes grew wide and glistened. "Oh, I do hope I'm the one to find the star this year! And if I do-" Her face turned suddenly dark and forboding. "-there's going to be a few changes around here!"
Spike and Pinkie looked at each nervously. And then the little dragon coughed and asked "Uhhh... hey Pinkie – what are you going to do if you find the star?"
"Oh, the baker doesn't get to play the game, Spike," Pinkie replied. "It just wouldn't be fair. I mean, they might try all sorts of tricky-dick tricks to make sure they got the cupcake with the star in it."
"Don't you find that just a bit disappointing?" asked Twilight.
"Oh no!" Pinkie chuckled. "Princess Celestia makes it up to us bakers in different ways."
"What kind of ways?" asked Twilight, her eyes narrowing in suspicion.
Pinkie tapped her muzzle with a hoof. "That's a patented Pinkie Pie secret, I'm afraid Twilight!" She leaned down and whispered to Spike "And if I told either of you I'd have to....skkkkrrrtt!" She drew a hoof across her neck and Spike gulped.
"Y'know, Pinkie," the little purple dragon muttered. "Sometimes you genuinely scare me!"
"Me? Scary?" Pinkie giggled. "Oh Spike, don't be so silly!"
Early the next morning, around an hour before sunrise, Twilight's alarm clock went off. She blindly groped for it to switch it off, but then she remembered what day it was and leaped out of bed, leaving it ringing in her excitement.
"C'mon, Spike! Get up! It's the first of the fourth!" she cried, nuzzling at the little dragon shaped lump in the basket at the base of her bed.
"Wha? The wha- of the wha-, now?" muttered the lump sleepily, turning over.
But Twilight swept Spike up onto her back and trotted straight out the door of the Library and into the grey dawn. Her horn glowed brightly to light their path, and soon they found themselves joined by other ponies carrying lanterns and torches as they all made their way towards the Ponyville Town Square.
When they arrived, Fluttershy was already there with Angel sitting at her feet. Her mane was tangled and matted into a bird's nest, and her blue-green eyes were sleepy under half-hooded lids.
"Good morning Fluttershy!" said Twilight chirpily as they trotted up beside her.
"Goo.....Goo..oooooahhhh!" Fluttershy yawned hugely. "Oh, please excuse me. Good mooooaaaaaahhhhhning Twilight Sparkkklzzzzzzz." Her head slipped down as she nodded off again- but Angel peevishly pushed her chin back up, chattering with annoyance.
Applejack was the next to arrive. "Mornin'y'all!" she said, a skip in her step.
"Good morning AJ," replied Twilight. "You look especially cheerful this morning. Excited?"
"You bet!" laughed Applejack. "Ah jus' know that Ah'm going to get the star this year! Ah mean, Ah'm totally due for it." She nudged Twilight in the ribs. "Ah hope ya'll have a hankerin' fer some apples, Twi!" She waved a hoof across the air before them. "Apples! Apples everywhere!"
Rarity trotted up behind her. The unicorn pony's hair was formally styled, her face was exsquisitely made up and she was dressed in a gorgeous formal diamante dress-blanket. "I'm sorry, Applejack darling," she said. "But that star is MINE! I can just FEEL it!"
Spike groggily lifted his head from where he had been laying it on Twilight's back and asked "What are you going to do if you get to be Princess for the day, Rarity?"
Rarity's eyes flew wide open and glittered with intensity. "Oh, Spike my dear! The THINGS I will do!" She laughed. "Of course, I already do my OWN small part to try and lift the general MALAISE of life in Ponyville every day with my EXQUISITE fashion advice and CHIC make-overs, but if I get the chance to be PRINCESS for a day... well!" She threw her hooves out wide and laughed maniacally. "Let us just say that you will ALL live to understand what the word FABULOSITY really means!"
"Fabulosity ain't even a real word," mutter Applejack, who then turned to Twilight and asked "Er, is it Twi?"
Twilight shook her head. And at that very moment Rainbow Dash came plummeting out of the sky, landing next to her in a dusty heap.
"I totally slept in!" the rainbow-maned Pegasus pony cried out in a panic. "Did I miss it? Did I miss it?"
"What?" asked Twilight. "The Mayor's speech?" She shook her head. "No - you're just in time for it." The Mayor had just stepped out of the Town Hall and was shuffling the papers on the lectern and clearing her throat.
Dash groaned. "Oh, not the Mayor's speech! I meant the CUPCAKES!"
"DID SOMEPONY SAY CUPCAKES?!?!?!" Pinkie suddenly burst into the crowd carrying a tray of gaily-frosted cupcakes, and a small army of stallion helpers appeared behind her, each carrying their own tray.
"Uh, excuse me everypony. Uh, Pinkie Pie..." said the Mayor, trying to desperately regain the attention of the crowd. "It's not yet time for the cup-" But as she looked across the boiling sea of ponies already jostling and grabbing at the treats with rabid excitement, she smiled affectionately and sighed, stepping down from the dais to receive her own.
"Aww man!" Rainbow Dash had been one of the first to grab a cupcake, and a quick and messy bite had revealed that the star wasn't to be found inside. "I never win these things." She shrugged and started to eat the rest.
Rarity had nibbled at her own cupcake excitedly, then tiring of being unable to make her way to the centre in a ladylike manner, she had angrily torn it apart with her hooves. Inside she found...
"Nothing! NOTHING!" she wailed. "Another year of abject DISAPPOINTMENT!" She galloped away in tears.
Applejack sighed as she finished her own cupcake. "Nothin' again this year fer me, neither. I jus' knew I wouldn't be princess this year..."
"But AJ," protested Spike. "Earlier you said..."
Applejack glared at Spike fiercely, and the little purple dragon stepped backwards against Twilight, grabbing her coat. "Uhh, Twilight?"
The unicorn pony didn't reply. She was staring down at the cupcake in her hooves.
"What.. what is it, Twilight?" asked Spike. "Is it...?"
Applejack and Rainbow Dash both scrambled forwards to look.
"What is it, Twi?" asked Applejack, eagerly. "It's not the star is it?"
"IS IT!?" demanded Rainbow Dash.
Twilight screamed and threw the remains of the cupcake into the air. "It's vanilla-frosting NOTHING!" she cried as crumbs of the sweet cake showered down around her. She stormed off in a huff, muttering dark words about being betrayed by her so-called dearest teacher.
"Then, that must mean..." Spike came up to where Fluttershy was fast asleep. Angel had pulled the cupcake apart and was throwing pieces of it up into the Pegasus pony's mane. Spike pushed the little rabbit to the ground and scrabbled through the cupcake... but there was no star there either.
"That's so strange!" the little purple dragon muttered as he came back over to where Rainbow Dash and Applejack were looking about them to see if they could find the winner. "I was SURE it would be one of you guys. I mean, every single time something exciting happens in Ponyville, it usually revolves around at least ONE of you!"
"What're you talkin' about, Spike?" asked Applejack. "Plenty of stuff happens here that ain't got nothin' to do with us!"
Spike shook his head. "Maybe - but I never hear about it."
The sky in the east was steadily brightening now as the sunrise approached, and murmurs of discontent had begun spreading through the crowd of disappointed ponies. It was clear that nopony had found the star.
"Maybe somepony swallowed it?" suggested Applejack.
"Whatever," muttered Dash. "Well, this has been one huge blowout!" She leaped up into the air and was about to fly away when she suddenly stopped dead, hovering, and pointed to the east with a trembling hoof.
"The... the... the...the...!" she babbled.
"What th' horseapples are yer babblin' about, Dash?" grumbled Applejack. "If yer don' start talkin' sense, we'll have ta take ya round the back of the barn an'...."
"The... the sun!" the rainbow-maned Pegasus cried. "It's … it's...it's...!"
Spike looked to the east. The sun had risen over the horizon now - but it wasn't the sun that he remembered. No... it was strangely shaped - fluffy at the top like a cloud, but with a short, fat cylinder beneath it. In fact, it looked to Spike for all the world just like a gigantic...
High above the crowd, as the light from the gargantuan glowing muffin that was rising into the sky spread over the little town of Ponyville, Derpy Hooves the MailMare flew in gleeful loop-de-loops and barrel rolls. She was huge now: her mighty wings glowed with a divine light, and in the centre of her forehead a great horn reared, sparking with magical energy.
"MUFFIN!" came the wall-eyed Pegasus pony's voice a second time, and it echoed all the way across the valley, from Dragon Mountain to the Whitetail Woods, shaking the earth and making the still-sleepy birds explode from the trees.
"Run!" screamed the Mayor, looking around herself desperately. "Everypony run for your lives!" She pushed her way through the crowd, knocking Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo to the ground in her haste to escape.
Pinkie raced across the square, shouting hysterically. "Somepony lock up all the sporks! Oh great sparkling sarsaparilla, somepony lock up the sporks!"
Applejack looked down at Spike as panicked ponies fled madly away in every direction. "It's time fer us to get outa here, Spike." she said grimly, grabbing his tail in her mouth and tossing him onto her back. "We should be able ta wait out this muffin-storm in my new apple cellar back on th' farm... jus' so long as Big McIntosh's kept it supplied with apples like Ah told 'im to..."
As they galloped away up the hill towards Sweet Apple Acres, Spike looked back over his shoulder. Fluttershy was still there in the center of the now deserted square, and she was still fast asleep!
"AJ, Fluttershy's still there!" shouted Spike. "We've got to go back for her!"
AJ shook her head. "Ah'm sorry Spike - she's a gonner. But don' worry - she'll be with Celestia soon. We did all we could..." She sighed. "Besides, there's only gonna be enough apples in the apple cellar fer the three of us..."
"Enough apples?" spluttered Spike. "But we're only going to be hiding out for a day, aren't we? When night falls, Derpy Hoove's reign of terror will be at an end, right?"
Applejack nodded. "In jus' under twelves hours or so, Ah reckon."
"Then why do we need so many apples?" demanded the little dragon.
Applejack laughed. "Oh Spike, ain't you ever seen how many apples me an' McIntosh can eat?"