THE FOLLOWING MAY CONTAIN CONTENT INAPPROPRIATE FOR CHILDREN
READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED. IT CONTAINS SUGGESTIVE THEMES.
RATED PG BY THE CENSORSHIP BOARD OF EQUESTRIA
"Wait, but what did I do?"
"Nothing personal, I hope you understand. We felt we needed to lay off some employees due to the current financial situation."
"Financial situation? What financial situation are you talking about? What, with the company still making millions every year you really call that a financial situation? It's because I'm a griffon isn't it? Man that is racist. I see you all giving me that evil look! Well if that's the way it's going to be fine. I'm leaving this place. I have places to be anyway." Gilda stormed off, kicking down a water cooler on her way out, spilling it all over the floor.
"Hey!" cried the pony at the front desk.
"What are you going to do? Fire me? Oh that's right, I'm already fired. Too bad." Gilda flipped the bird to the angry pony as she pushed her way through a couple of ponies who were entering the building.
"Well, I guess I'm jobless again." Gilda said to herself as she walked across the road to where her apartment was. It was a halfway decent place, certainly not a 1-Star roach motel, but then again not the most comfortable place to live.
Quickly she walked up the stairs and opened the door to her room. There on the dining table was the train ticket she had purchased for Ponyville, scheduled to leave in one hour. She thought about it for a minute, wondering if it really was a good idea to go, seeing the trouble she caused there last time. Would she really be accepted by those ponies to whom she had been such a jerk to last time?
All was quiet in Ponyville. Ponies going about their regular day to day activities on the streets, vendors selling their goods and children on their way to school. In the Sugarcube Corner, there was a lot of activity going on.
"Well, that should do for now." Dash said as she spread the last table cloth. "How are you doing over there Twilight?"
"I'm fine, don't worry about me." Twilight said.
"Great, so everything is ready I suppose?"
"Seems like it." Twilight walked around, looking at the simple decorations and modest setting. It was certainly not going to be a large occasion, just a few friends and some food. "Now we just need to wait for the other guests to arrive. I think Pinkie Pie is just finishing off that last bunch of cupcakes downstairs in the kitchen."
"Great. Everything is working out perfectly. So uh, Twilight, how exactly to ponies get married anyway? Just out of curiosity." Dash said.
"Well Rainbow Dash, the traditional way is the uniting of the heart stone. You can have them specially ordered from a jeweler, though they're quite expensive. Luckily, I already have one with me." Twilight said. "My mom and dad gave it to me a long time ago, and well, they told me to marry somepony special to me, somepony who I can live with and most importantly
somepony who I love." Twilight moved her face close to Dash. The pegasus hesitated for a split second before kissing Twilight on the nose.
"I love you Twilight."
"Oh Dash, this whole conversation is so cheesy." Twilight laughed, returning a kiss to Dash's cheek.
"Ah well, I guess this whole relationship business changes you
"Not too much I hope. I like you when you're just you." Twilight said, adjusting the tiara on her head.
"Do you think I'm being out of character?"
"Well if you ask me, kind of. But it's not that bad, you're still yourself for the most part. Look, don't worry about it." Twilight put a hoof around Dash. "Speaking of which, what time is your friend Gilda coming?"
"Oh darn, I better get to the train station." Dash looked up to the large clock in the corner of the room. "5 minutes? The train station is like 15 minutes away!"
"I can teleport us there, it'll be much faster than flying
" Twilight said.
"But, won't it affect you? You're like pregnant, won't there be any nasty side-effects?"
"Oh, and suddenly you're an expert in unicorn physiology huh? Don't worry, I wouldn't offer to if I knew it'd be dangerous for me. I'm not that careless. Anyway, just hold onto me." Twilight said, her horn beginning to glow.
"Whatever you say
" Dash said nervously. And with that, the two disappeared into a flash of bright pink light.
"I bet they went somewhere to kiss!" Pinkie Pie giggled to herself as she placed a hot tray of cupcakes and muffins on a table nearby.
Gilda looked out the window of the train. Around her were tall snow-capped mountains and rolling hills dotted with forest. Up ahead, she could see a tiny dot which was probably the Ponyville station.
As the train sped on, the land began to pan out, the mountains becoming further apart and the hills transitioning into grassy plains. Before she knew it, the train had stopped and the doors had slid open. Gilda was still unsure whether coming to Ponyville was a good idea. She felt bad for being such jerk and taking out the combined effects of the death of her mother and being alienated from her best friend Rainbow Dash for so long. It wasn't her fault she acted like that, her bad attitude was for the most part, an act of defiance in a world that truly scared her to the core. Putting on a tough face and playing a bad girl was all that really stopped her from going insane.
"Hey!" a distant voice broke Gilda out of her train of thought. She swung around to find the source of the voice.
"Hey!" The voice called out again. This time Gilda saw it, a cyan pegasus with an unmistakable rainbow mane. She quickened her pace to meet her.
"Gilda! I can't believe you're here! Welcome back to Ponyville. Heta bylo Geia sou aderfi." Dash said, speaking the language of her ponies with great fluency that you'd expect from a native of Cloudsdale.
" Gilda said, rather confused.
"What, you forget our language already? Oh that's right, all that time living in New Saddle has made you used to the simplified Equestrian." Dash laughed.
"No need to rub it in Dash." Gilda had the biggest pokerface on. Forgetting a language she had studied for many years at Cloudsdale Flight Academy? For shame.
"Ah don't take it personally Gee. What's important is you're here!" Dash put a hoof around Gilda.
"So uh, who's this? I think I remember her from last time I was in Ponyville
" Gilda said, looking at Twilight.
"Oh yeah, this is Twilight Sparkle. She's my marefriend." Dash said, moving to Twilight's side and both hooves around her.
"Ah that's nice
" Gilda said, scratching her head.
"Umm, it's uh nice to meet you personally." Twilight said.
"Hey umm, look. I uh, hope that that incident last time I was in Ponyville doesn't put a barrier between me and everybody, er, everypony else." Gilda said.
"Oh no, it's fine, isn't it Twilight." Dash said.
"Of course. I don't believe in holding grudges." Twilight nodded her head.
"Well thanks I guess, I was just going through a troublesome time then, I hope you understand. I guess it was wrong to take out that negative energy onto everypony there, it's just well, sometimes I can't help how I feel." Gilda said.
"It's fine Gilda, no need to look so depressed. Let's go, we've only got about 3 hours till the ceremony begins. Hopefully everything will be fine."
"Yeah, well with that out of the way, I just wanted to say I'm really happy for you. I know I've said it before but hey, it's worth mentioning again. I think you're very lucky Twilight Sparkle, you know back in our days at Cloudsdale Flight Academy in 1999, all the ponies were chasing after this here pegasus." Gilda said, patting Dash on the head playfully. "Both the colts AND the mares. It was pretty funny seeing all the love letter overflow out of her locker on Hearts and Hooves Day. "
" Dash blushed a bit. "Well, I guess I'm just that awesome."
"Man, how old were you then Dash? 11 or 12 I think." Gilda said.
"I was 11." Dash said.
"Oh yeah right. Imagine that? Oh man, kids these days." Gilda laughed.
"How old are you now Dash?" Twilight said.
"Oh, I never told you? Heh, that was a long time ago. I'm around 23 now, turning 24 in October 17. Gilda here is a 27. Isn't that right old timer?" Dash nudged Gilda in the shoulder.
"Yeah, yeah, laugh it off." Gilda mumbled.
"Well that's interesting. Well guys, I think we should get going, we can't stay here forever. I can't teleport back again or I might faint or something, that spell takes a lot of effort. We better start walking." Twilight said, already getting a head start.
"So Gilda," Dash said as the trio set off. "Why don't you tell me about life in New Saddle?"
" Gilda began to relate her life of monotony, high rent, and low pay as the sun began to shine brightly over Ponyville.
"Hello Pinkie, where's Twilight and Rainbow Dash." Rarity walked into the first floor of the Sugarcube Corner levitating 2 small cases.
"Oh I don't know
Twilight teleported out. Well, originally I thought they went out the back to kiss or something, but they're still not back so who knows." Pinkie shrugged.
"Well, I just got back from Applejack's." Rarity said, placing the two cases on a table. "These are from her. She's okay. Seemed very quiet and didn't speak much, said something about moving on, which is really good I think."
"Oh, what is it? And you shoulda told her to come!" Pinkie said.
"Well, it's apple cider. I know how you all like cider. On the other hand, I don't think she's quite ready to come into the open just yet. She looked so lonely, I feel quite bad for her." Rarity said, lowering her eyes.
"Oh, look who it is." Pinkie said, motioning to Twilight, Dash and an extra someone.
"Hi guys." Dash said. "You know Gilda right?"
"Of course!" Pinkie was the first to respond, and rather enthusiastically at that. "We had so much fun last time, didn't we?"
" Gilda was a bit lost for words.
"Oh, I remember Gilda. Nice to meet you again under better terms." Rarity nodded her head.
"Better terms?" Gilda repeated the words.
"Oh well you know, we were just having a bit of fun last time you were here because well, to put it simply, you just seemed so pent up. Well instead of reacting the way we thought you would you just seemed upset about everything and left on a bad note." Dash said. "It's not that anyone here hates you or anything, it's just that you took things the wrong way."
"Well I suppose
I was going through a difficult time and well, I wasn't particularly feeling in a joyous mood. Anyway, enough about me. I think the most important thing is, we're all here because Rainbow Dash is getting married and we're all real happy for her." Gilda said. The other ponies nodded in agreement.
"Shall we get started?" Rarity said.
"What do you think?" Dash said, putting a hoof around Twilight. "I'm totally ready whenever you are."
"Ok then. Let's start." Twilight levitated a small iron case from atop a nearby shelf. "Who has the key?"
"Oh, here it is darling." Rarity picked up a small silver key from underneath the counter nearby and levitated it over to Twilight.
"What is it?" Dash asked, rather naively.
"It's the heart stone. I bet you never seen one before have you?" Twilight said, placing the key into the hole.
don't worry. I'll show you what to do." The lid of the iron case opened to reveal two vibrant, glass-like stones. Along the split sides of both were tiny grooves that fit on the opposite piece. "Now Dash, hold this one on the left
" Dash carefully picked up the fragile stone. Twilight levitated the other half into the air.
"Today were gathered to witness two best friends get married. Marriage means the joining of two ponies in heart, symbolized by the unification of the two sides of the heart stone. There can be no higher form of love than marriage. So without further ado
" Rarity paused. "Rainbow Dash, do you love Twilight Sparkle without a single doubt in your mind?"
"Yes I do. I love her with everything that I am."
"And Twilight, do you love Rainbow Dash without a single doubt in your mind?"
I've loved her for a long time, even before this whole thing started. I'd never thought Rainbow Dash coud love a pony like me." Twilight said, once again trying to fight back a wave of tears.
"Well then, are you ready to join the heart stone?" the two ponies didn't speak, only nodding in agreement.
"Oh my gosh, aren't they just the best couple ever?" Pinkie said excitedly.
"Eh, I guess." Gilda said, still putting on a pokerface.
"Twilight, will you be mine?" Dash said.
"I'll be yours forever." The two poines joined the two pieces together, the grooves fitting perfectly into their opposite halves. For a moment there was silence, but then with a bright glow, the completed stone hovered by itself into the air before filling the room with a flash of warm pink light.
Applejack sat alone on the top of the hill. Here, she felt she could really be at peace as she stared out toward Ponyville. She wondered what she'd do now, now that Rainbow Dash was out of the question. She looked up for noticing something amiss. Over in the distance she could see the Sugarcube Corner but something seemed off. A bright light seemed to be emanating from the windows. Somehow looking at it made her feel a little bit better. She didn't quite understand what it was, but something about it gave her the impression that everything would be alright. It was almost like there was a warm presence all over her body, even though she was too far away to physically feel it. What she did know however, that whatever had caused the light from the Sugarcube Corner was something powerful, far reaching. Applejack closed her eyes once again. She knew what she had to do, all she needed was the courage to see herself through it.
The Sugarcube Corner was silent. The bright light from the heart stone had just began to fade.
"Ugh my eyes
what just happened?" Dash said, rubbing her eyes.
"Something incredible Dash
" Rarity said, still lying on the floor. "When you
when you join the heart stone it lets out pure energy, letting you 'see' your love as it were. You and Twilight must really love each other because I think you burnt out the heart stone."
" Dash looked down at the blackened heart stone which had shrunk to the size of a small pebble. "Twilight are you ok?"
"Yeah I'm fine." Twilight said, shaking her head.
"Guys that was the most sweetest thing I've ever seen
I'm so happy I feel like crying." Pinkie bit her lip and began to cry tears of joy, throwing her hooves over Gilda's back. The griffon said nothing, still putting on a pokerface as she patted Pinkie on the back.
"Well Dash I guess that's it eh? Finally married." Gilda finally spoke.
"Yeah, it's great isn't it?" Dash said confidently.
"So guys, what do you say we start eating? " Rarity said. "This food is not going to eat itself."
"Yeah, I'm starving." Dash said, grabbing a cupcake of the table. The rest of the ponies and Gilda joined in.
"I'm so happy we're finally married." Twilight said, moving in next to Dash.
"I couldn't be happier." Dash smiled, placing her muzzle under Twilight's neck.
"So Gilda, where do you live?" Pinkie said, prodding the griffon.
"Uh, I live in New Saddle in a charming little 6-storey apartment by the docks." Gilda said, rolling her eyes at how crappy her life there was.
"What did you do for a living?"
"Well, I used to work at a record company as an audio technician but they kicked me out because I know they hate me. They're all racists, I bet they only fired me because I'm different." Gilda frowned.
"That's so sad
" Pinkie said.
"And well, now that I'm out of work, conveniently the rent on my apartment is due when I return to New Saddle tomorrow and I can't pay it because I've got no job because I got fired. I'll probably have to go live in that raggedy community home now." Gilda sighed.
"Hey I'm really sorry about all that
" Pinkie said. "You know if you want
you can come and work here at 'Corner'. I mean, we're always looking for new talent to help around. I'm sure Mr. and Mrs Cake would love to have you."
"Wha, me? I don't think so
look, I appreciate the offer but
" Gilda gazed out at the afternoon sun.
"I'd hate to see you live so terribly." Pinkie said. "It's no fun at all. I'd feel terrible knowing somepony is suffering when I could have done something to help."
"But what have I done to deserve this?" Gilda said, looking back at the ponies mingling in the center of the room. Fluttershy had just burst in.
"Did I miss anything?" the pegasus said, looking around gingerly.
"I mean, we're not even friends
"Doesn't mean we can't be." Pinkie smiled, putting a hoof around Gilda. "I can tell you're a really nice inside, I just know it. Putting on such a display of roughness toward other ponies isn't going to win you any friends."
I've lived hard life. This whole world is confusing, depressing and painful. The only other person I've had to relate to is Rainbow Dash. Last time I was here I was really depressed, mostly because seemed like Rainbow Dash didn't want to be friends anymore. I'm real attached to her because she's put up with me for ages." Gilda sighed.
"You know what Gilda
" Pinkie said. "That's why you need to lighten up and learn to make some friends. It's the most totally awesome thing. Friends are there whenever you feel sad, lonely, hurt or just plain bad." Gilda looked down and thought about it
about what she had to lose if she went back to her old life.
what do you say? Will you accept my friendship?" Pinkie said, extending a hoof toward the griffon.
Gilda thought about it again, closing her eyes to concentrate. Without another word, she extended her hand and took the chance.