The Party Hasn't Ended Part 8 starring Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie and the rest of the cast of Friendship is Magic
Applejack, an affectionate smile on her face, had been watching Twilight and Big McIntosh and listening to their conversation the whole time. She turned to Rarity and said "Naw don' those two jus' make the most adorable couple?"
Rarity looked at them and beamed. "Oh, most ASSUREDLY Applejack. They're like a dream come true!"
Twilight's eyes flicked open. A dream come true. A dream? Where had she heard that before? Somepony had said something about a dream, and for her to be careful. But who had it been? Suddenly she heard Zecora's voice echo in her head.
"Hear my advice and heed it well, lest the dream should draw you under its spell; Do not forget that all you see is shaped from the dreamer's memory."
"This.... this is all wrong!" Twilight said, her voice tinged with horror. She pulled out of Big McIntosh's embrace. "Everything is perfect
Big McIntosh looked at her in hurt confusion. "Twi', what's wrong with things bein' perfect?"
But... aren't you happier here, Twilight? Aren't you so much happier here, where your dreams can come true? Was that her own heart she could hear? But she shook herself out of it.
"I'm sorry Mac," Twilight said as she moved away from him. "I want to be happy... but not like this." She grabbed Pinkie by the shoulders. "We have to go now, Pinkie," she said, looking deep into the pink pony's big blue eyes.
"But where are we going to go, Twilight?" asked Pinkie, blinking. "The party hasn't ended yet!"
"Don't you see, Pinkie?" Twilight shook her until her pink hair was flopping all over the place. "The party's never going to end. Look at the clock!"
She drew Pinkie's gaze up at the clock on the wall. Both its hands were spinning wildly, and instead of numbers, at every increment around its face the same thing was written: PARTY TIME.
"But... but what does it mean?" asked Pinkie, scratching her head with a hoof.
"This is all a dream and you're trapped here," explained Twilight. "And the dream is going to keep going until the real 'you' dies and the real Dash as well!"
Dash looked at Twilight through narrowed eyes. "I'm going to die? But... I feel totally fine!"
Rarity arched her eyebrows over her bottle of sarsaparilla. "Oh no, Twilight darling. Not ANOTHER of your off-colour jokes?"
Confusion had spread across Pinkie's face. "But Twilight, what do you mean 'the real Dash'?"
Twilight breathed in. This was the final gamble, and if it didn't pay off she knew she wouldn't get another chance. "Yes, Pinkie. The real Dash. The one that helped you clean up after our surprise party. The one you confessed to that you loved her and who didn't return your love."
Pinkie's eyes went wide, and then they closed in pain as she started to remember. "I think... I think I remember." Her eyes flicked open again and she grabbed Twilight around the shoulders. "Is Dash really going to die?"
Twilight nodded. "Zecora found you at the bottom of the ravine in the Everfree Forest. You and Dash were attacked by somepony or something called Night..."
But before Twilight could finish her sentence, the black-maned pony who had greeted her earlier was suddenly standing in between her and the bewildered Pinkie. She turned to Twilight, her pale green eyes flickering, and said "I'm afraid you're going to have to leave, Twilight Sparkle. You're simply not getting into the spirit of Pinkie's party!" She waved a hoof at the ranks of smiling ponies that surrounded them. "I mean, how could this party be any more perfect? Pinkie Pie, you've outdone yourself this time, my dear. And you'll never, ever have another chance to enjoy a party like this one!" The mare smiled at the little pink pony, who beamed back at her.
Dash came up and embraced Pinkie from behind. "Whatever-her-name-is is so totally right, Pinkie Pie. This IS the greatest party ever and I hope it never ends!" She kissed Pinkie on the cheek, and the earth pony giggled uncontrollably and blushed.
"It IS the bestest party ever, isn't it?" agreed Pinkie. She turned to Twilight, a look of disappointment on her face. "Oh Twilight do you have to be such a serious frowny miss grumpy-pants all the time? Can't you just relax and enjoy yourself?"
Twilight looked around her. All the party goers were looking at her in disapproval and muttering among themselves. Things were getting ugly. There was only one option left open to her. She struggled away from Pinkie and Dash, and pushed and shoved her way through the crowd of ponies that surrounded her.
At last she reached her goal: DJ Scratch's table. The stripy-maned unicorn pony was in mid-song, and when she approached her she looked up at her in alarm. "Hey Twilight. Is everything OK?"
"You better get out of the way, Scratch!" Twilight warned him. "'Cause this party is over!" She turned around and gave the table an almighty kick with both her back legs, and it tumbled over with a cataclysmic crash of smashing plastic and scratched vinyl. Scratch had leapt away at the last minute and was scrambling as fast as she could from the total devastation that Twilight had wrought.
"Man, that unicorn is totally out of control!" she shouted. "Somepony stop her!"
With the music so brutally cut short everypony's eyes were again on Twilight but she stood her ground. She snorted, and pawing the floor she launched herself next at the snack table. Ponies jumped aside in panic as she shoulder-barged it and sent it careening over, a wave of muffins and cakes and baked bads flying everywhere.
But Twilight was not finished yet. Her horn started to glow purple and suddenly all the bottles of sarsaparilla and hot sauce on the drinks table floated upwards as a body. A flick of her head and the bottles flew in every direction, smashing against the walls and coating unlucky nearby party-goers with black and red stickiness.
"My coat, my PRISTINE white coat!" squealed Rarity. She had received the onslaught full force and was dripping in syrupy liquid. "It's... it's been VIOLATED!!!" She galloped up to Twilight and slapped her. "You've ruined EVERYTHING, Twilight Sparkle! You should just go away and NEVER come back!"
"Gladly," said Twilight, touching a hoof to the red mark on her cheek. "And I'm taking Pinkie Pie with me."
Pinkie stood in the middle of the room. Around her, the party had fallen into ruins. As she surveyed the devastation she seemed to be seeing things for the first time. She frowned as her memories came flooding back.
Dash came up to her and took a hoof in her own. "Pinkie, are you OK? Look, I know everything's been totally smashed, but..."
Pinkie took her hoof out of Dash's. "You're not the real Rainbow Dash... are you?" she whispered, her eyes misty.
Dash looked at her in confusion. "Of course I am, Pinkie! Look at me. Awesome multicoloured mane, totally bitching wings, boyish good looks!" She smiled and went to hug her, but Pinkie stepped back and pushed her away.
The black-maned pony came forward now. She seemed somehow larger than before, her mane blacker. "But this is what you always wanted, Pinkie!" she said. "The party doesn't ever have to end for you. You can have anything you want!"
The veil had been lifted from Pinkie's eyes now. Anger shadowed her face as she turned on her unwelcome guest. "I remember you. I met you in the Everfree Forest. I was... sitting and crying looking down into that ravine, the place where... where I first fell in love with Rainbow Dash." Tears welled in the corners of her big blue eyes.
Twilight jaw dropped in surprise. The ravine? When they'd been on their first adventure to find the Elements of Harmony? Oh, she remembered now! Rainbow Dash had saved Pinkie from falling into it when the rope bridge had collapsed. But... had that really been the start of all?
Pinkie continued. She was crying now. "And you... you told me that you could make everything right and better. And that you could make me happy again that there was a way you could make it so that the party inside me never ended never, ever! And I... believed you!" She hit herself on the head with a hoof. "Oh Pinkie Pie, you silly, silly, silly little pony! This is all your fault!"
Twilight grabbed Pinkie's hoof. "Pinkie, it's time to go. The real Rainbow Dash is waiting for us. We still have time to save her but we need to find her and snap her out of her dream as well!"
Pinkie nodded. "Let's go, Twilight." But first she turned to the black-maned mare who had been watching them in silence the whole time, her green eyes unfathomable. "You told me you were the Lady Morava, exiled from Canterlot to the Everfree Forest. But I know who you really are, now." She pointed a trembling hoof. "You're... you're... Black Snooty!"
The mare blinked, and then a thin smile populated by a row of sharp pointed teeth split across her face. "I gave you happiness eternal, and this is how you repay my kindness?" Her body seemed to be melting now, dripping away from her like ink. "If bliss is not enough for you, let me show you the depths of true despair then, PINKIE PIE!"
A heartbeat later there was nothing left of the Lady Morava, and the tall, lank form of Nightmare reared up in her place. It turned its face towards Twilight, and its voice rustled and creaked as it spoke. "And you... Twilight Sparkle. You little meddler! I'll trap you here as well. And your pain and loneliness will know no respite!"
Twilight lifted her face towards the shadowy horror... and then she chuckled. "You know, Nightmare - you talk a lot like one of my teachers back in Canterlot. SHE thought she was scary as well. But you know what we called her behind her back? We called her 'the old black nag' and I think that name would suit you as well!" She turned away, pulling Pinkie with her. "Goodbye, old black nag!"
But Nightmare immediately melted once more into the rainbow of darkness, and arching over them in a flood of broiling shadow she again stood towering in their way.
"You're not going anywhere, Twilight Sparkle," Nightmare hissed. "You may have broken the spell over Pinkie, but there's no way I will allow you to find Rainbow Dash. She is mine now!"
"Then we'll stop you," said Twilight simply. "We've defeated you before. We can do it again."
"With two of the Elements of Harmony?" laughed Nightmare. "Where are the others? Should I expect them to suddenly appear out of nowhere as well? I hope they do. Perhaps I will offer Rarity limitless fame and glory! And how about Fluttershy? What if I promise her that dearest dream she keeps secret from everypony? And Applejack I shall grant her her heart's DARKEST desire!"
Suddenly Pinkie pulled free of Twilight's grip and walked up to the looming shadow. Her face was red and her hooves trembled at her sides. "Oh, be quiet .... you... you... big meaniepants!" She took another step forwards, her chest heaving and her eyes flashing. "You keep my friends out of this!"
All this time the party-goers in Sugarcube Corner had been watching in horrified silence. But at the sight of the little pink pony walking towards the towering figure of Nightmare, the spell was suddenly broken and Rarity and Applejack, with Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash hovering above them, rushed to Pinkie's side and Twilight galloped forward to join them.
"We heard what ya were sayin' bout us!" said Applejack, her face flushed. "Well, not about US per say, but about the REAL 'us'es! An' we ain't gonna stand fer it!"
"I must concur with Applejack here," said Rarity. She had wiped as much of the hot-sauce and sarsaparilla mixture off herself as she could, and she again walked with her characteristic haughtiness. "Such rudeness! Speaking about us as if we weren't important, just because we happen to be DREAMS!" Her azure eyes flashed with fury. "Why, it's simply OUTRAGEOUS!"
"Yeah, ya big ugly monster!" added Dash. "Creeping around in ponies' dreams and trying to turn them against their friends! Let's see how you like some dream-hooves in that ugly face of yours!" She moved to fly at Nightmare, but Applejack managed to leap up and grab her tail in her mouth in time and pulled her back.
Nightmare strode forward. "You foals! Without the real ponies, and the real Elements of Harmony, you can do nothing. Only the power of the rainbow is a match for the rainbow of darkness!"
"Actually, Nightmare, that's not precisely true." A wide smile broke onto Twilight's face. "The old legends say that nightmares can be dispelled by an older magic, even older than rainbow magic."
"Older than rainbow magic?" Nightmare snorted in derision. "There's no such thing!"
"Oh, but there is," Twilight turned to Pinkie. "Remember that song Grannie Pie used to sing to you when you were a little filly, Pinkie?"
Pinkie eyes grew wide. "Remember? Of course I remember!!"
Dash groaned. "How could ANY of us forget?"
Nightmare hesitated but then it strode forwards again. "Enough of this.... this ridiculous nonsense! Come at me, little ponies but be warned: today ALL dreams die!"
Pinkie Pie was doubled over, her hooves pressed up against her mouth and for a moment Nightmare thought that she was crying, and its cruel smile lengthened across its face. But it wasn't tears Pinkie was holding back it was laughter.
Pinkie snorted in between a fit of giggles. "Oh, oh! I just realised what it is you remind me of, Black Snooty," she chuckled. "You look like... like a huge swirl of liquorice! And you know the thing about liquorice? It's always the LAST candy anypony chooses!"
"What... what are you talking about?" said Nightmare. Throughout Sugarcube Corner, a few of the ponies had started to giggle, and somewhere a pony laughed out loud.
Rarity stepped forward. She looked Nightmare up and down, and a supercilious smile appeared on her face.
"I can see what Pinkie Pie means but I'm afraid things are much, MUCH worse than that, darling! Why on EARTH would you come to Pinkie's party wearing black?" She stifled a laugh. "My dear, black might be appropriate at a formal event, but at a casual party such as this it is MOST definitely a faux pas!" She shook her head in pity.
"And lookit them skinny legs on ya!" added Applejack, a grin breaking onto her face. "There ain't an ounce o' muscle on 'em. I reckon you ain't done an honest hour o' work in yer whole immortal existence, have ya?"
Dash started to chuckle. "Yeah, you do look pretty lame. But the way you talk is even lamer!" The Pegasus flew right up to Nightmare's face and said "'Eternal despair' this, 'endless horror' that. Don't you realise you're scaring nopony with all that gloomy stuff?"
And now everypony was looking at Fluttershy. She looked down left and right and bit her lip in concentration. "Oh... ah.... um.... You... you..." Her eyes suddenly flashed in inspiration and she leapt forward and shouted: "You're... a big meanie and... and... a gate-crasher
I'm very, VERY disappointed in you!"
There was widespread giggling throughout the crowd now and patches of outright laughter. Spike had both his claws held up against his mouth, but even then the laughter was escaping from him in the form of loud snorts from his nose. And at last he couldn't hold it in anymore and he started to guffaw. And the sight of the ridiculous little purple dragon doubled over triggered a tidal wave throughout the crowd
and soon everypony was laughing. Deep, full-bodied laughs that resonated throughout the room, high-pitched titters that echoed off the walls and all of it directed towards Nightmare. The dark figure shied away from the crowd, its shadowy forefeet held up against its ears, and with every step back it began to lose its imposing shape. And at last it stumbled and fell to its knees, the little form it had left steadily dissolving away like ink poured into water.
Pinkie was laughing so much that her face was red from a lack of breath. But she managed to say between fits of giggles "So you ARE just a big ghostie, after all! Nothing but a silly old shadow! And to think anypony was every scared of you!"
Nightmare was now little more than a black pool on the ground, and from it emanated a low voice that was more like a feeling in the air than a sound: "You may have this power here, Pinkie Pie but it will make no difference in Rainbow Dash's dream. You'll be able to do nothing there but watch as she begs me to take her body! And all thanks to you and your pathetic, laughable love!" And then even that feeling was gone as the shadow passed away.
Pinkie turned to Twilight and all her friends. "Sorry everypony, but the party's over. Thank you all so much for coming! I had such a wonderfully awesome time here with you all." Her eyes became suddenly sad. "But this was never, ever real
and the real Dash needs my help. I'm sooooo sorry for causing so much trouble."
The dream Dash came up to her and hugged her close. "Don't sweat it, Pinkie Pie! I wouldn't change my time with you here for ANYTHING. Not even if I was offered membership with the Wonderbolts!"
"Really really?" asked Pinkie, her eyes wide in surprise.
Dash nodded. "Really really." Then she sighed. "I know I'm just a dream made up of all your feelings and memories and stuff about the real Rainbow Dash, but I do love you, Pinkie Pie." She looked up at Pinkie with tears in her rose-coloured eyes. "With all my heart even if it is only a dream's heart. And if I know the real Dash, I bet she loves you just as much as me. But you've got to go and find her, and find out how she truly feels about you." She kissed Pinkie on the cheek. "But whatever she says, remember that I'LL always be waiting for you here at the party that never ends." And then the dream of Dash turned and fled, tears spilling from her eyes, disappearing into the crowd of assembled ponies.
Twilight came up to the now crestfallen Pinkie. "I'm sorry Pinkie, but we're running out of time. Do you have any idea where we'll find the real Dash?"
Pinkie managed a little smile. She was still looking into the part of the crowd where Dash had fled. "I know where to find her, Twilight." She tapped her chest with a hoof. "The answer's in here. It was all tangled up and twisted before, but I know where she is now."
The unicorn pony nodded. "Then let's go."
Rarity came forward to Twilight. She was dabbing her eyes with a handkerchief. "I'm so TERRIBLY sorry for slapping you, darling. I'm afraid I was caught up in the emotion of the whole thing. Can you EVER forgive me?"
Twilight smiled. "Oh, what's a dream-slap between friends? Besides, it doesn't hurt anymore." She went to feel her cheek with a hoof, but as she did she noticed that her hoof and entire foreleg had become translucent and that she could see right through them at the ponies milling around nearby.
"Hey Twi, yer fading away!" said Applejack, shocked.
"Applejack, you are too!" cried Fluttershy. And she was right. The colour of everypony's coat was draining away, just as if night was fast approaching and the light of the sun no longer lent its rainbow of colours to the world. And everything was becoming misty and losing its form.
A sad smile slipped onto Twilight's face. "It's the dream it's been broken, and so it's fading away," she said. "And I guess I was always part of it as well." Only Pinkie kept her full form and colour now, while all around her the party and its guests her friends, the decorations, the ruined tables and the huge banner that read Welcome to Your Surprise Party Rainbow Dash! everypony and everything was dwindling away into shadow.
Twilight moved to hug Pinkie one final time but her forefeet passed right through her. And her own voice was barely audible now, little more than a whisper: "Go find Dash, Pinkie. But be careful not to forget who you are!"
"I won't!" replied Pinkie with a nod, and she turned to leave. But she looked back one final time on the party that she had wanted to go on forever, and as it melted away she shouted: "Nopony has to worry. I'll never, EVER forget that I'm Pinkie Pie, Ponyville's premiere party pony and that's a Pinkie promise!" Her face set with sudden determination. "And now it's time for some payback Pinkie Pie style!"
Twilight watched as the little pink pony hopped away into the gathering darkness and cried out "We'll be waiting for you, Pinkie Pie!" and a heartbeat later she was gone.
"Darling, you're awake!" Rarity's surprised face filled Twilight's entire vision as she woke up. "Did it work?"
Applejack's voice came from somewhere nearby. "Didya manage ta find Pinkie Pie?"
Twilight nodded. Her mouth was dry and her neck ached, but she seemed to be OK. "Pinkie went ahead to find Dash in her own dream," she replied. "Oh and I met Nightmare."
Spike helped her to sit up. "What was he like, Twilight?"
"Well, he was a 'she' and she loved the sound of her own voice," explained Twilight. She still felt groggy and she looked around herself blearily but when she saw Zecora, relief washed over her. She couldn't still be dreaming if Zecora was here!
"Yer looked so strange, Twi'," said Applejack, bringing over a glass of water. "We we're concerned somethin' had gone wrong."
"It WAS a bit hairy in there for a while. How did I look?" asked Twilight.
well, I dunno," replied Applejack. "Kinda blissful. Like you weren't never gonna wake up."
Twilight sighed. She didn't want to lie to her friends, but she knew there were some things she would never be able to tell them about what she had experienced. She took a sip of water and looked down at Pinkie and Dash lying on the floor next to her but what she saw made her drop the glass.
"Their faces! What's wrong with their faces?" yelped Twilight.
"Oh darling! You noticed!" Rarity's eyes glittered in pleasure. "Well, Pinkie and Dash both looked so
DISHEVELLED and well, we had NOTHING else to do so Applejack and I decided to give them a makeover!"
"What d'ya think, Twi'?" asked Applejack. "Rarity let me do Pinkie's
Twilight looked at Pinkie Pie. The earth pony's face was caked with so much makeup that she looked like she was wearing clown paint. "Well, perhaps you went a BIT overboard with the foundation," she said with an uncertain smile.
"Maybe yer right," agreed Applejack. "But Pinkie was jus' a practice-run."
"Oh yes," added Rarity. "You did a MUCH better job with Twilight, Applejack dear!"
Twilight's eyes bugged out, and she raised a trembling forefoot to her face. A smear of foundation came off onto her hoof and she screamed.
"Oh darling!" tutted Rarity. "Such drama! You never let me do your makeup, so of COURSE I had to take the opportunity when it presented itself."
Spike was doubled over in laughter and even Zecora herself was chuckling. "I do admire you pony folk!" she said. "At times like this you still can joke!"
Twilight sighed. "Well, I guess reality IS better than the dream world in some respects though I can't really think of any right now," She looked down at Pinkie and Dash. Even under the makeup, the look of pain and sorrow on Dash's face was obvious, while Pinkie's expression was one of calm determination.
"D'ya think Pinkie'll be able ta deal with that Nightmare feller?" asked Applejack.
Twilight smiled and nodded. "The thing Nightmare seemed to be most frightened of was laughter," she said. "And that means we just sent in our big guns!"
TO BE CONTINUED