"Are you feeling better, Twilight Sparkle?" the Princess of the night asked.
"A little bit, Princess, thank you," Twilight allowed, taking a long sip from her glass of water before softly setting it back on the table.
At a glance, it appeared little had changed in the appearance of the group in the twenty minutes since Princess Luna had finished relating Twilight's mishap from the night before. However, closer inspection would reveal an empty plate that once held a sandwich in front of Big Macintosh and bowls of salad ranging from partially eaten to just a few leaves remaining at Fluttershy, Rarity, and Luna's places. As for the others, they had opted for refills for their glasses of water, except for Pinkie, whose face remained submerged in her bowl. Twilight was convinced that the pink pony was somehow breathing through her ears.
"So who wants to go next and tell us their side of what happened last night?" Twilight asked.
"Ladies first," Macintosh said quickly; a little too quickly it seemed to Applejack. She subtly narrowed her eyes at him, a gaze which he avoided.
Rarity dabbed a napkin to her lips. "Very well, then. I shall do my best to recount last night's events with myself, Rainbow, and Pinkie Pie."
"Oh joy," the pegasus groused.
"Now, now, Rainbow dear, you will be relieved to know that your experience last night was not as, ah
colorful as Twilight's."
Said unicorn grumbled.
"Now then, where do I begin? Hmm
I was carrying Rainbow back to her home with Pinkie Pie, however I forgot one eensy-teensy little detail
Rarity gazed up at Rainbow Dash's cloud house, floating a good thirty feet above the ground.
I can't fly, can I?" She sighed morosely, "Oh how I miss those marvelous wings."
Pinkie Pie stumbled to a stop alongside Rarity, her eyes bleary as she blinked hard to clear them.
"How come w-we
" She yawned hugely. "How come we've stopped?"
Rarity nodded upward. "Well, we were going to drop Rainbow off at her house."
Pinkie looked up at the house through half-lidded eyes. "I don't think you can reach that high."
"I know that, dear," she said with a roll of her eyes, "I would need quite the boost to get up there."
Pinkie pursed her lips in hard thought for a moment before speaking again with a supportive smile, "You are a good person and ponies say nice things about you."
"I didn't mean a morale boost, Pinkie, I meant a physical one."
"Oh." The pink pony glanced back up at the house. "I don't think I'm tall enough either."
Rarity shook her head in amusement. "Pinkie, dear, I do believe that the alcohol is not allowing you to think straight."
"Thinking straight is boring; thinking sideways is much more fun!" Pinkie smiled widely before once again yawning. "But I do get sleepy when I drink and it makes me go through phases. Like in the first phase I'm tired, but in the second phase I'm tired and forgetful, third phase I'm back to being just tired
and I think the fourth phase is sleep, but I haven't figured that out yet. I always wake up before I can."
Rarity nodded, more out of habit than actual understanding, and returned her gaze to Dash's house.
"Well, if we can't get her up there, then I suppose we'll have to find another place for her to stay for the night."
"Ooo! She can stay at my place! I've got enough space in my room for her and I know the Cakes won't mind!"
Rarity cast Pinkie a thoughtful look. "Hmm
Well, with Sweetie Belle staying with me this week, I don't have a spare bedroom for Rainbow to use anyway. Thank you, Pinkie Pie, that is most kind of you."
Pinkie tilted her head in confusion. "What is?"
"Letting Rainbow stay with you, of course."
She gasped excitedly, "Rainbow's staying with me?! That's super fantabulous
whatever's going on."
Rarity stared at her flatly. "This is your 'Phase Two', isn't it?"
"Yup! This is whatever it is that you just said."
"And you're going to be like this for how long?"
"Be like what?"
"Be in Phase Two."
"Who's in Phase Two?"
"You are and it's affecting your memory."
"What's affecting my memory?"
Rarity's patience was steadily wearing thin and she regretted not having one more drink. "I can see we're not going to get anywhere fast this way."
Pinkie giggled, "We can't get anywhere fast when we're standing still oh wow we're at Rainbow's house!"
A frustrated sigh escaped the unicorn as she rubbed her temples to stave off a headache. "Let's just get you two to Sugar Cube Corner, shall we?"
"Okie dokie lokie!"
Pinkie bounced away in the direction of the confectionary shop and Rarity followed close behind, a very much unconscious Rainbow Dash in her gentle telekinetic grip. Pinkie suddenly stopped and turned around, a cheerful smile on her face.
"Hi, Rarity! When did you get here?"
Celestia, give me strength."
"Ok, I was wondering why you guys took me to Pinkie's place," Dash commented, her eyes now mostly open but quite bloodshot. "That was a huge shock to me this morning when-"
"Rainbow, don't interrupt," Rarity chided, "You'll ruin the narrative timeline."
Pinkie's head suddenly jolted up out of the bowl, catching everyone's attention.
"'Timeline'? Time doesn't travel in lines, it travels in circles and that's why clocks are round."
She smiled in self-satisfaction for a moment before face-planting into the bowl once again, splashing the table with water.
"Anyway," Rarity said after an awkward moment of silence, "To continue
"Hi there, Ditzy!"
"That's your mail box, darling," Rarity said wearily as they finally made to the Sugar Cube Corner.
The trek from Dash's house to the sweets shop seemed like an eternity for Rarity since Pinkie kept stopping every thirty seconds to either say hi or ask where they were supposed to be going. The occasional stop for a conversation with the random lamp post or bush hadn't helped either. It was a great relief to know that as soon as she deposited Dash and Pinkie she could go home and get some much needed sleep. She was further relieved when Pinkie pull out her key without any prompting.
"Phase Three, Pinkie?" she asked hopefully.
The earth pony responded with a yawn. "Is it? Guess I forgot Phase Two. We better get inside before Phase Four starts."
They made their way inside and headed up the stairs to Pinkie's bedroom. As they neared the top of the stairs, Rarity felt a cold chill run down her spine. She stopped, Dash floating next to her as she scanned the darkness. They hadn't turned on any lights for fear of waking Mister and Missus Cake or the twins and the ambient moonlight through the windows allowed them to see well enough to not worry about tripping over anything. Darkness could still play its tricks, however: shadows seemed to move and waver and everyday objects took on an ethereal appearance. She swore she saw a figure move out the corner of her eye.
Rarity knew there was nothing to worry about, it was just shadows and tricks of the light. There certainly wasn't hideous, glowing-eyed monster hiding around the corner waiting to gobble them up. Nope, nothing at all.
Still, a little extra light never hurt anything. A soft glow emanated from the tip of her horn, casting just enough light for her to make out objects clearly. She peered around the corner at the top of the stairs
a pair of glowing eyes stared back. Her throat constricted, choking off a scream. She froze in terror, the glowing eyes never leaving hers.
"Gummi!" Pinkie bounced past Rarity and picked up the apparition in a hug. "He came out to meet us! Isn't that sweet?"
It took a moment, but the unicorn finally recognized the tamed reptilian in the dim light. She leaned against the corner, heaving a sigh of relief.
Rarity winced; she had relaxed a little too much. Turning to look, she saw Dash's crumpled form resting against the wall at the bottom of the stairs, still unconscious.
The trio plus Gummi managed to avoid anymore mishaps over the next few minutes as they finally made it to Pinkie's bedroom. With the aid of proper lighting, Pinkie and Gummi climbed into their respective beds while Rarity lifted Dash onto the couch. A few blanket tucks and pillow fluffs later, the pegasus was sleeping comfortably. She trotted over to Pinkie's bed to bid her good night.
"How are you, Pinkie? Do you need anything?"
"Nopie lopie!" she yawned. "I've got everything I need. Thanks for helping me get home."
minimally difficult, dear, think nothing of it," Rarity said with a smile.
"I just wish I knew how to confirm Phase Four." She frowned. "I can't seem to find a way to figure out whether or not Phase Four is really-"
Out like a light.
Rarity chuckled softly headed out of the room, pausing by the door.
"Sweet dreams, Rainbow and Pinkie."
She turned off the light and shut the door, quietly making her way downstairs. She made sure the door to the shop locked behind her as she left and she finally headed to her own home, smiling in satisfaction at a job well done at getting her charges home safe and (relatively) sound.
"What is it with all the abuse towards me?" Dash asked nopony in particular. "Rarity dropped me down the stairs and before that Macintosh shoved me out of my chair!"
"I didn't shove you," the stallion responded indignantly. "I nudged you."
"And don't even get me started on what happened this morning," she groused.
Silence reigned at the table. It took her a moment to notice all the expectant stares and smiles directed at her. She sighed in annoyance.
"And now you guys want me to tell you what happened this morning, don't you?"
"If you did not wish to tell us, then you should not have made mention of it," Luna said, herself wearing the biggest smile at the table.
'She's enjoying this way more than she should,' Dash thought. "Fine
The morning sun lit up Pinkie's bedroom, bathing its contents in a soft, warm glow. As the ambient light in the room increased, a blanket-covered lump on the couch began to stir. Dash stretched in an attempt to wake her sleepy muscles, which resulted in a pained groan and ended in her smacking her lips out of habit. She blanched.
gives a whole new meaning to 'cottonmouth'."
Try as she may to open her eyes, her brain would rebel and clench them shut to keep out the invasive sunlight. Finally, after a concerted effort, she managed to crack them open. Everything was fuzzy as she looked around the room to figure out where she was. A pink blob entered her field of vision and she was forced to squint and lean forward to see it clearly.
Pinkie? Hey, Pinks, uh, I guess that means I slept at your place last night. Thanks."
Her eyes snapped open at the strange groan. Pinkie stood before her, mouth agape, eyes vacant and glazed, and a hoof slowly reaching out for her.
It was then that Dash saw the green mass attached to the side of her friend's head. Due to her extensive knowledge of sci-fi and horror movies, she recognized the creature immediately.
She tried to get away, but in her hazy mental state, she got tangled in the blanket and fell off the side of the couch, her head hitting the floor, followed by the rest of her, with a resounding thump. She groaned, her headache - now exacerbated by the light, excitement, and introduction to the floor was threatening to split her head wide open. Her eyes opened a crack once again to behold Pinkie standing over her.
" she croaked.
The "brain slug" dropped off her head to the floor next to Dash's head. It regarded her with the same vacant stare as it always did. There was only one thing Dash could think to say.
"I hate you so much, reptile."
"So yeah, that was my morning," Dash finished. "Oh, and I threw up for, like, an hour after that before we came over here."
"Aw, I'm sure Gummi didn't mean to scare you, Dashie," Pinkie said, finally finished with her bowl of water. "He was actually massaging my head because I had a headache and he's really good at getting rid of them. I wasn't thinking too good when I woke up, either, so that's probably why I sounded like a zombie not that I'd actually turn into a zombie. Nope! Not at all." Her eyes shifted side to side, avoiding contact with the others.
Luna was too busy giggling to notice as she wrote down the narratives. The others, both too tired and already used to her strange antics, paid it no mind.
"Wow, RD, no wonder ya said you felt like you were bein' abused," Applejack intoned.
"And I have the bruises to prove it, too!"
The farm pony chuckled and cast a warning glare towards her brother. "I got treated nice and gentle-like last night
Macintosh could only grin sheepishly under her glare.