Friendship is Surreal Chapter 3: Unsanctioned Reunion, Part 1
Octavia had woken up earlier that morning with a headache, again. This time it was actually due to hitting her head on something (and not from drinking), judging by the bump she felt on her head. She assumed that it was from the adventure she'd had the last few days.
Yes, the adventure. As much as she hated to admit it, it was sort of fun. When they weren't galloping for their lives. But, overall, fun. In a weird, crazy way. She wondered if Lyra did things like that all the time, and why Everypony would always go with the flow. It wasn't the first time she was roped into something barely willingly, and she had a feeling it wasn't going to be the last time.
It was then that she realised she hadn't practised her craft for quite a while, what with the adventure, and before that, trying to get Vinyl to learn a proper instrument. So she had begun to get out her signature instrument, the double bass, when she heard a knocking on the front door. She sighed, expecting that it was probably Derpy delivering her the wrong mail, and trotted up to it. But when she opened the door, she could not have possibly expected what she saw.
An explosion of confetti erupted into Octavia's face, as well as streamers and all sorts of different party-related supplies. The noise alone was loud enough to stun her, and as the cloud of confetti cleared, all she could see for a few seconds was pink. Her vision improved, and she realised that there was a pink mare standing... no, bouncing, in her doorway. Before Octavia could speak, the vibrant pony began raving.
"Hi there! I wanted to throw a super duper special awesome party for your birthday party and spent all month trying to prepare it but when I went to get you you weren't there and you were somewhere else doing something else with somepony else. So I was sad but then I was happy when you came back so I set up another party!"
"My... birthday... party? Who-," was all Octavia managed to get out. How does she know about my birthday?
The very noisy disturbance continued, "It's all ready in Sugarcube Corner! You can come over now for your surprise party!"
Octavia snapped out of her confusion and put her hoof down. "Okay, I don't know who you are, but you'd better slow down and explain yourself! And you got confetti all over the inside my house," she added.
The pink pony seemed slightly discouraged, but continued, "Don't you remember who I am?"
Octavia looked intently at the pony until she noticed something. "Wait. Aren't you the pony who crashed the Gala? While I was in the middle of a performance?"
The pink pony nodded energetically. "Yes, but before that. C'mon, don't tell me you don't remember! I suppose it's been a long time, but still, you'd think you'd remember me! Guess Guess Guess!"
Octavia tried to remember, but she was drawing a blank. She stood there for a few more seconds, and began by saying, "I don't recollect-" but something clicked halfway through her sentence.
"I'm Pinkie Pie! It's been so long, sister!"
Memories flooded back to Octavia, that she felt she almost relived during those few seconds of paralysis after Pinkie spoke. Memories of moving rocks around and around for hours. Her two sisters, Pinkamena and Blinkana. Memories she thought she'd buried.
Octavia stood in silence for a few more seconds before she managed to speak. "P- Pinkamena?"
"Yup! That's me," Pinkie Pie responded. The energetic pink pony bounced around her to inspect her home. "This place is pretty boring. You should spice it up a little! Pinkie Pie style!"
Octavia didn't know what to say. Her sister lived here now? She remembered that she and her sister, Blinkana, had gone to Manehatten. Pinkame- no, Pinkie was her name now. Pinkie had decided that Manehatten was too dull, and proceeded to trot off to some other town. That town must have been Ponyville.
Octavia turned to see Pinkie staring intently at the wall. "Hmm... it's too bland. Oh well, we can do that later, time for your party! See you there," and with that, she bounded out the door.
She sighed. "Better get all this confetti cleaned up," she said to herself.
Octavia was almost to the building, 'Sugarcube Corner', where apparently Pinkie was holding her party. She had gotten odd looks when she asked some of the other ponies where it was, so she suspected that Pinkie was quite well-known. Not surprising, considering the spectacle she'd made herself out to be in her experience.
She also couldn't believe that she had forgotten her own birthday. Truth be told, the birthdays she'd had were getting less and less significant, as if all her parties in the first place were an overspill of Pinkie's endeavours in her youth. More recently she also had to deal with the stress of the performance, and then their adventure, so it was understandable that she'd forgotten.
She arrived, and pushed open the door, to the second explosion of noise and confetti that day. Thankfully she was expecting it, and brushed the streamers out of her mane as the ponies in the party called out in unison, "Happy birthday!"
The interior was a sensory overload of colours, most notably pink. It seemed that at least half the town had been crammed into the sweetshop with room to spare, as well as most of the food. A few moments later, Pinkie came out of the crowd and bounded up to her.
"Surprise! Do you like it?" Pinkie was looking expectantly at Octavia. The scene seemed slightly reminiscent of her first Pinkie-party at the farm. It had been quite a long time since she had been to a party like this, and Octavia put on a semi-real smile.
"Yes, Pinkie, it's wonderful. Uh..." she looked around at the crowd, and noticed her other friends, Vinyl, Lyra, Bon Bon and Derpy. She started to move towards them, but Pinkie followed her.
"Anyway, so when I came to this town I went straight to Sugarcube Corner and landed a job here! The owners, Mr and Mrs Cake were so nice; they even had a spare bedroom to give me! And I've been in Ponyville making friends and cupcakes ever since!"
Octavia made it to the group, where Derpy appeared to be explaining something to anypony that would listen.
"... and with that information, I bet I could prove that the moon is, in fact, made of cheese. All we need to do is get Celestia to send somepony to the moon so that- hey! Hi Octavia!"
Before Octavia could respond, Pinkie cut in. "Hey everypony! I'd like you to meet my sister, Octavia!"
"Pinkie, I've met them before," Octavia mumbled to her, as she heard a sharp intake of breath from her friends.
Vinyl spoke up, "Pinkie is your sister? How the hay did you get away from her?"
"With great difficulty," Octavia replied. "Yeah, she's my sister. We kind of went our separate ways when I went to Manehatten."
"It's a wonderful story! I've got to tell you guys someday," Pinkie said, thinking for a second before continuing, "actually, why not now? It's the perfect place for a discussion! It all started at the rock farm..."
Vinyl realised that there was no stopping Pinkie, and Octavia saw this as a perfect distraction. She moved over to Lyra and Bon Bon, who were talking by themselves. Bon Bon had only gotten back last night, and was not impressed. She still had that grumpy, sleep-deprived look on her face, but Lyra seemed oblivious to it as she talked all about her day. Bon Bon paid little interest as she sifted through the sweets. Lyra noticed Octavia and turned to face her.
"So, Pinkie is your sister, huh? I bet you never heard the end of her parties."
"Yeah," Octavia answered, "She didn't follow me and my sister to Manehatten. She thought the colours were too dull. It seems like she's taken to terrorizing this town, right?"
"Kind of. There seems to be a party every second day somewhere, and it's fun, but gets a bit old sometimes. Isn't that right, Bon Bon?"
Bon Bon heard her name and perked up for a second, before grunting and turning back to sifting through the confectionary.
Lyra turned back to Octavia and sighed. "She's been really grumpy ever since she got back. Doesn't she like having fun?"
Before Octavia could respond, Pinkie, apparently finished her rapid-fire explaining to Vinyl about her early life, bounced over to Octavia and chirped, "And now I've got to introduce you to my friends! Come over here," while pushing her head against Octavia in the direction of five different ponies that stood out from the crowd, especially a blue Pegasus with a rainbow-coloured mane. If that didn't scream 'everypony, look at me', then she didn't know what did.
"Hey everypony! Say hello to Octavia," Pinkie bounced over to them as they regarded the newcomer with mild curiosity.
The first to speak was a lavender-coloured unicorn. "Hello, Octavia. It appears Pinkie is here to welcome you to Ponyville, as always. My name is Twilight, and welcome," she held out a hoof, which Octavia politely accepted.
"Actually, I've been here for about a month, but thanks anyway," after she retracted her hoof, Octavia noticed that the faces of Twilight and her friends changed to surprise.
"A whole month before Pinkie threw you a welcome party? Why the delay? She threw a party for me the night I got here," Twilight inquired.
"Well, she might have wanted to time it with my birthday. Also I've been quite... busy for the past month."
"That's certainly out of character for her. Knowing her she'd throw a party when you get here, then a party for your 'settling down' day, then a party celebrating each day closer to your birthday." Twilight seemed confused, and Octavia didn't blame her.
"Well, she said she wanted to set up a particularly large party for me, but I kind of left before she could throw it. Celestia knows what she's left lying around in preparation."
Twilight appeared to make a connection. "You seem to know an awful lot about Pinkie Pie's habits."
Octavia nodded. She liked this pony. "That's because she's my-"
"SISTER!" Pinkie jumped in the conversation again. Another unicorn, with a purple, styled mane and a white coat, recoiled in shock.
"Pinkie is your sister? However did you manage to keep your mane straight?" the new unicorn asked.
"I'm not quite sure," she responded. This was obviously startling news, judging by the looks on all of their faces.
"You never told us you had a sister, Pinkie," the blue Pegasus added.
"You never asked, Dashie," Pinkie said, "I have two sisters!"
"Anyway, I should probably introduce you to my friends," Twilight cut in. "That's Rainbow Dash, the-"
The blue Pegasus interrupted, puffing out her chest, "Best and fastest young flier to come out of Cloudsdale!"
"... This is Rarity, she owns the boutique," she motioned to the unicorn who had spoken earlier, "Applejack, who helps run Sweet Apple Acres, and Flutter- hey, where'd she go?"
"Ah'm still at a loss as to how she manages to come to these here parties anyway without freaking out," Applejack mentioned. She looked through the crowd, then seemed to realise that she made a mistake, and looked behind her. "Fluttershy, c'mon out. You need to be polite."
A yellow Pegasus, presumably Fluttershy, hesitantly walked out from behind Applejack.
"Well, come on, I don't' bite," Octavia tried to inform her. To her dismay, the Pegasus let out a small cry and retreated.
Octavia asked, "Does this always happen?"
"More than you'd think," Twilight responded.
The party seemed to last the whole day, and it was the evening as the ponies began to leave. Octavia had tried to remain dignified throughout the whole night, but gave in to her sister's pleading, and played a few games, including the dreadfully undignified 'pin the tail on the pony'.
Octavia knew she was going to regret willingly asking Pinkie to talk about herself, but she also knew that as sisters they should really be closer, and so she trotted up to Pinkie. She started with "so, what have you been doing recently?"
"Plenty of stuff! There's been lots of cakes and cupcakes and sweets and friends everywhere now that I've been working at Sugarcube Corner! Anyway, what happened to Blinky? She never responded to any of my letters," Pinkie said.
"I was hoping you'd know," Octavia stated. After she said it, it sounded stupid, even to her. They'd barely communed much over the years, and neither of them had been able to get a hold of Blinkana. If she didn't know, then Pinkie definitely wouldn't.
"That's strange," Pinkie sat down, assuming a thoughtful pose, "when was the last time you saw her?"
"Uh..." now that Octavia thought about it, they had parted ways almost immediately. "I think the last I saw her was when I started auditioning for the professional schools. She still had no cutie mark, and I was more focused on my own life than anything else. She never made the initiative to contact me."
After a few more seconds of thinking, Pinkie jumped up with an audible springing sound. "I know! We'll go find her!"
Octavia started by saying "but we don't even-" before her brain started making connections with the last time somepony got ideas. Oh no, she thought, can't I just settle down here in Ponyville?
"C'mon, it'll be fun! We'll go to Manehatten and find Blinky and throw her a super duper ginormous enormous spectacular... saying 'hi again' party?" Pinkie was bouncing with even more excitement as she thought about what they'd do for the party.
Octavia knew that if she didn't do something, she'd get pulled into another little quest. "Pinkie, I just went on another trip for three days, and I haven't even been back that long!"
"Did you mares say you're going to Manehatten?"
Lyra had overheard their conversation, and was coming over. Before Octavia could deny, Pinkie jumped ahead of her.
"Yep! We're going to find our other sister, Blinky!"
"Oh, cool, can Bon Bon and I come?"
"Sure you-" Pinkie was cut off by Octavia's hoof being shoved in her mouth.
"We are not going to go to random places the moment somepony has the idea pop into their head! Blinkana is probably enjoying a successful life and what she doesn't need is for us to randomly stroll back into it," Octavia tried to explain to Pinkie.
Pinkie's hair deflated slightly. "But... wouldn't it be nice if we came to visit? Wouldn't you like it if I visited you?"
The question caught Octavia off guard. She'd all but disowned the surname 'Pie', trying to keep anypony from knowing that her sister was basically insane. Maybe she wasn't, but the way Pinkie acted around others would certainly impact her status in the world of... socially higher ponies.
She was in a dilemma. Saying that she liked Pinkie visiting would make Pinkie think that Blinkana would like it too. Saying she didn't, well, that would hurt the pink pony's feelings.
After a noticeable delay, Octavia responded, "I'll think about it," and left.
Octavia lay in her bed, thinking. Last night, after she got back home, she hadn't really thought about Pinkie's idea to find Blinkana. She thought that she should make a decision before facing Pinkie again.
Octavia had almost never thought about either her sisters after she moved to Manehatten. Pinkie was slightly more memorable, as Blinkana seemed to simply fade into the shadows. She had to admit that she was curious as to what their forgotten sister had gotten up to.
She wondered if anypony managed to stay in town for long before being whisked away on an adventure. And then there was Pinkie's reaction when she said they weren't going...
Heck with it. We're going.
Octavia arrived at Sugarcube Corner with her suitcase to find her five friends, Pinkie, and Pinkie's five friends. The first thing that struck her was that Pinkie, Lyra, Bon Bon, and Vinyl seemed to have already packed.
She nearly dropped her suitcase when she noticed this. "I thought I hadn't told you guys whether I decided yet!"
Lyra shuffled her hooves. "Well... we kinda thought you'd say yes, and there's no harm in being prepared, right? Besides, you are coming. Uh, right?"
"Yes, but that's not the point... never mind. True, I've decided to go. Who else is coming?"
"Well, Bon Bon and I have always wanted to go to Manehatten, 'cos they have all the cool stuff there, like big movie theatres and really tall buildings!" It was obvious that Lyra was the more enthusiastic of the two.
"I want to come too," Vinyl stepped forward. "I think I might be able to help you guys start off finding Blinky."
Octavia was curious. "And you'd know where to go because...?"
"When Pinkie talks, time seems to slow down."
"Ah," Octavia turned to Derpy and Doctor Whooves. "Do either of you want to come?"
The Doctor appeared to be thinking intently, and Octavia seemed to break his concentration. "Wha- oh, hey, you have a bow tie!"
Octavia glanced down at her accessory. "Uh... what does that have to do with anything?"
"I didn't know if- well, that's one thing I'm going to look out for. Anyway, no, I have a few things I need to take care of," Doctor Whooves insufficiently explained.
"Okay then. Derpy?" Octavia looked at the Pegasus.
"Oh, I'm hoping to try my hoof at other jobs around Ponyville. Being a mailmare is fun, and everypony keeps giving me muffins for some reason, but I haven't looked much at doing other stuff. Like farming. Hey, Applejack, I have an idea," The Pegasus turned to the orange earth pony.
Applejack seemed to sense disaster in whatever idea Derpy would possibly have. "Whoah, there, sugarcube. Ah don't need more help on the farm, and remember what happened last time?"
Octavia asked, "What happened last time?"
Applejack didn't seem to hear her, but ended up answering her question anyway. "Look, ah know you wanted to help an' all, but I thought it was obvious that you don't grow chickens by planting them in the ground!"
"It was an honest mistake... and besides, I kept seeing some other Pegasi in Cloudsdale burying a little orange Pegasus in the flight school cloudpit."
"Why would you think- oh, never mind," and the group resumed regular conversation.
Octavia asked, "Pinkie? Any of your friends coming?"
The pink pony replied happily, "oh, they'd be okay for a little while without their party-throwing party pony partier extraordinaire!"
"Well, that settles it, me, Pinkie, Bon Bon, Lyra and Vinyl are going to Manehatten. Uh... right now?" Octavia looked to Pinkie, and then realised that she shouldn't have directed that question at the party pony.
"Yup! Right now is correct! As correct as right now could be!" The pink ball of energy bounded out the door after saying a short goodbye, followed by Octavia, Vinyl, Lyra and Bon Bon. As they left, Octavia saw Doctor Whooves walking with purpose in the other direction, Derpy following.
The Pegasus asked, "Hey, Doctor, can I help you with anything?"
"Sure you can! Right after I find myself a new bow tie," he answered.
Well, here we are again, going on another adventure, Octavia thought. At least this time it has a point.
"... and then I said 'oatmeal, are you crazy?' Hey look, we're here. It's a good thing the writer skips the long walk sequences," Pinkie remarked.
They had just trotted over a hill, revealing the sprawling metropolis that was Manehatten. Octavia glanced at Pinkie. "What did you just say?"
"You know, the writer of this story?" Pinkie seemed confused herself. "Humans keep writing these-"
"HUMANS?" Lyra squealed as she broke away from the separate conversation she was having with Bon Bon. Bon Bon looked as if she were about to say something, before realizing that Lyra's short attention span had surfaced yet again, and closed her mouth with a huff. "You know about them too? Everypony keeps saying that I'm crazy for believing they exist!"
"Sure they exist," Pinkie replied, "there are billions of them! You aren't crazy!"
Vinyl cut in, whispering to Octavia and Bon Bon, "so, crazy pony A is assured by crazy pony B that she is, in fact, not crazy? Seems legit."
"Perhaps craziness is relative," Bon Bon said.
As Pinkie and Lyra launched into a discussion about sentient mythological beasts, Octavia, Bon Bon and Vinyl got a good look at Manehatten as the sun went down.
Octavia remarked, "beautiful, isn't it? I used to live here. So posh and elegant, and nothing like Ponyville. It's much more sensible here."
"Clearly you haven't seen much of it."
Octavia turned to look at Vinyl. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"Around the outside, maybe, but the closer you get to the centre... the buildings obscure your view to the outside, and everything gets shadier. Ponies included." Vinyl seemed to know what she was talking about.
"I still don't get what you're trying to say."
"There's just too much area to police, and as a result, you've got crime, gangs and ponies that are generally rotten to the core." Vinyl looked at Octavia. Or Octavia thought so, rather, since she still wore those shades. "And that's where we're going."
Octavia flinched slightly. "I'm guessing you've been there before?"
Vinyl nodded. "Worked in the clubs for a while, and once I believe I saw a pony that matched the description Pinkie told me."
Bon Bon stamped a hoof. "Well, are we going or not?"
While Lyra and Bon Bon had gone off to the more popular parts of Manehatten, Octavia, Pinkie and Vinyl had continued on towards the centre. Octavia had forgotten about what Vinyl said about the true nature of the city until the streets slowly grew more littered and less maintained. There was a polluted smell hanging over the area.
Vinyl moved with purpose ahead, going deeper into the city. "Come on, I know my way around this place," she called over her shoulder.
Octavia replied, "oh, yes, in a palace you couldn't tell up from down, but you feel right at home in the above-ground equivalent of a sewer."
Vinyl momentarily stopped, before continuing and responding, "And I suppose the fact that you've lived a sheltered, noble life automatically makes you superior to other ponies."
"Aw, c'mon, you don't have to be all meanie mean to each other all the time!" Pinkie bounced around as she listened to their banter.
Vinyl turned to look at Pinkie. "I think that that pink pony is going to bring us a lot of unwanted attention..."
"... and then they teleport to their world with him for some reason even though he tried to invade them with all the alien armies, and then the movie ends there! How could they do that?"
Bon Bon was only half listening to Lyra as she rattled on about one of the movies she'd seen recently. They had split off from the rest of the group, and were trotting down the shopping district of Manehatten as they looked for a nice place to eat.
"Anyway, so the sequel comes out next year and... wait. What's that?"
Bon Bon was suddenly alerted to the lack of Lyra by her side and looked over to see her standing up on her back hooves against a window. Bon Bon walked up to her and saw what was so interesting; the interior of the store was filled with what looked like DVD covers. But the films being played on the various didn't quite look like regular movies, as if somepony was actually controlling the characters on the screen it.
All Lyra could say was "oh my Celestia! It's a videogame store! I've always wanted a videogame!"
The cream-coated mare had heard of them before, and her impression of them was of an incredibly addictive machine that one could enter a world of fantasy in. Beyond that, she was slightly curious, but wanted to avert disaster.
"Lyra, I want to get something to eat. It's not going to trot up to us, you know," Bon Bon urged her, but Lyra was fixated on the screens inside.
"I want that game," Lyra called, and cantered inside. "Actually, I want that one and that one..." as she trailed off, Bon Bon shook her head and followed her inside.