MY FIRST PARTY
Chapter 3: Healing
MLP:FiM Fan Fiction
By: Scy Storm
"This will make things a LOT easier!"
Pinkie held up the parchment before her eyes, grinning widely as she scanned over the words written on it. Nearby, Dash was finishing getting her saddlebags in order. She glanced over at the nearby Pie family, tilting her head. "What's that, Pinks?"
"Where my sisters live!" the excited pink pony answered.
Roxanne turned her attention to Dash. "Our daughters write us letters every month. I've given you their addresses so you may find them easier."
Dash blinked a few times. "Ooh... Why didn't I think of that? Of course you two would know."
Roxy chuckled softly and nodded. Pinkie bounced in place on her rump, before rolling up the scroll and shoving it into her own saddlebag. "I can't wait to see them again! ... I hope they don't hate me or anything..."
"Perish the thought, dear. Your sisters miss you terribly. They're going to be so overjoyed to see you," Roxy stated matter-of-factly.
Pinkie smiled widely and nodded several times, before noticing her father drop a small bag at her hooves. It landed on the wooden floor with the obvious metallic sound of a bunch of coins. "Take these as well," the large stallion spoke.
"Bits? Daddy, I don't need any money..."
"Think nothing of it. We have plenty."
Roxy nodded in agreement, smiling at her daughter. "Besides, you are visiting Margaret, after all. I believe you're going to need some extra funds for her."
Pinkie raised an eyeridge. "Huh? Why would I need extra for her?"
The two elders simply chuckled. "You will see, dear," her mother replied.
Rainbow Dash walked up next to Pinkie, her saddlebags hanging over her sides. "Don't argue with free money, Pinkie. Gives us more fun funds!"
Pinkie turned to look at the pegasus briefly and giggled loudly. "Kay!"
She swiftly swept up the money bag and stuffed it into one of her saddlebags. Her parents smiled to each other as the pink pony slipped the saddlebags on. "This has been a wonderful few days, hasn't it?" Roxy asked, to nopony in particular.
"Yep yep yep! I almost don't want to leave, but if I didn't leave then I'd never see my sisters or Ponyville again and that would be soooo sad! I really want to see you two again but- OOOOHHH!"
Pinkie leapt in the air with a huge gasp and seemed to hang there for a moment. The other three ponies stared at her. "Uh, what is it, Pinkie?" Dash asked.
"A party, Dashie! A PARTY! I can get my parents and my sisters together in Ponyville for one of my super awesome parties! It'd be the best party EVER because my whole family would be there just like in my first party ever!! We gotta do it, we gotta do it!"
Pinkie bounced up and down as she shouted her intentions. Roxy and Clyde looked at each other, sad expressions gradually appearing on their faces. Pinkie noticed, and started bouncing much more slowly. They turned their attention to her. "We're... sorry, dear, but I don't think we can do that," Roxy stated.
The pink pony stopped bouncing and regarded them with an utterly confused expression. "Huh? But why?"
"We're getting up in years, my dear. Travel just isn't kind to us anymore. And don't you think about holding that party here in boring ol' Maresburg," her father explained.
Pinkie looked down at the floor sadly, causing Rainbow to compulsively reach over and stroke a hoof down her back. "We're sorry, dear. Really. But you should definitely get your sisters together and hold them a party. They've wanted another of your parties for so long," Roxy said.
The pink mare raised her head and returned to her usual smile, nodding softly. "Well, okay... but I'm going to write to you now. Every month, just like my sisters do! I'll tell you all about my trip and also about my parties and my friends and just... Everything! I promise!"
Her parents smiled brightly. "We'll eagerly await those letters, Pinkie," Clyde said.
Pinkie gasped loudly again, her eyes wide. "... What did you say, Daddy?"
Clyde chuckled a little, apparently having expected that reaction. "That's what you prefer, right? You always have. Me and my stubborn self... I could get used to saying it."
"And I will be sure to reply to your letters, my darling Pinkie," Roxy added.
Pinkie stood there stunned for a few quiet moments, before quivering and leaping forward, latching her forelegs around her parents necks. "Ohhhh I love you so much! I'm so, sooo happy I came back!!"
The two elder ponies reeled briefly from the forceful hug of their daughter, before each closing their legs around her, returning the hug. "So are we, dear. So are we," Roxy replied.
The three remained there hugging silently for several moments. Rainbow observed quietly, a wide smile on her face, the feeling deep in her chest as warm as Celestia's sun. Pinkie eventually pulled away, the brightest of smiles on her face. She reached up and wiped her cheeks of a few happy tears. "Have a safe trip, Pinkie," Clyde remarked.
Rainbow opened the front door of the home, noticing Pinkie wasn't immediately following, just staring at her parents with a wide grin. "Come on, Pinkie, how about we not miss the train?"
"I love you! I'll write to you right after my trip is done!"
Her parents merely nodded, and observed as Dash walked up and forcibly pushed Pinkie toward the door with her head, the pink mare sliding backward on her rump and waving. "They get it, Pinkie, now... come... on!"
The two elder ponies laughed softly, waving back to their departing daughter as Rainbow's tail grasped the door and shut it behind her.
The train lurched its way down the tracks with a gentle swaying as the two mares entered the bedding car, once again devoid of anyone but them. Dash sighed, slipping her saddlebags off and unceremoniously tossing them on one of the beds. "What an emotional roller coaster," she remarked aloud.
Pinkie's saddlebags dropped on the bed as well, and almost immediately Dash felt herself tackled onto one of the other beds. The pegasus cried out in shock, ending up shoved face-down in the sheets. She was quickly turned around somewhat, just able to visually register the pink pony above her before their lips met. Pinkie kissed Dash's muzzle only briefly, pulling away to pepper the rainbow mare's face with little kisses. Rainbow couldn't help but squirm and blush red. "Gaah, Pinkie!"
The pink mare let off, raising her head up and giggling. "Oh Dashie, I'm just so HAPPY!" she yelled, bouncing up and down a little on top of the pegasus.
Rainbow grunted and shifted. "That's nice, but I'm kind of in pain right now!"
Pinkie blinked, and then noted Dash's somewhat twisted position. She slipped off the blue mare and grinned sheepishly. "Oh... Sorry!"
Dash rolled herself back to her stomach and smirked. Pinkie's eyes were misty, her grin as wide as Dash had ever seen it. She quickly settled herself next to the pegasus and nuzzled into her neck incessantly, her body practically quivering with energy and emotion. Rainbow continued to blush, a goofy smile on her face as she just accepted the nuzzling. "I'm really glad to see you like this, Pinks."
Pinkie giggled a little, her body leaning as close to Dash as she could. "Everything went so perfect! They even called me Pinkie! I'm just... Just so..."
Amazingly, the normally rambling pony seemed lost for words. She simply giggled again in sheer happiness, turning her face so she could kiss Dash's neck. Rainbow lifted her chin a little, her chest rumbling with a gentle noise of pleasure. "Well as long as you keep doing this, I'm fine with this mood of yours," she said, grinning after.
Pinkie pulled away a bit, smirking at the pegasus. "You're naughty!"
They both shared a laugh before their muzzles met again, kissing for a few moments. Pinkie slipped out of the kiss, resting her face back against Dash's neck and sighing, finally appearing to gain some composure. Dash rested her chin down on the pink pony's poofy mane, smiling gingerly, going quiet while simply enjoying the closeness. Her eyes stared out the nearby window at the passing scenery, feeling the earthpony's cheek gently sliding up and down against her cyan pelt. In more ways than one, the trip to the parent's house went way better than Dash could have expected. She's not sure what she had really expected, other than she knew the Pie parents would be happy. She definitely didn't expect the morning conversation with Clyde. She learned a lot about Pinkie's life and history over that time, as well, from both Pinkie and her parents... Though, now that she thought about it, some details were missing.
"Mmmnnnyes?" the earthpony mumbled out from the pegasus' pelt.
Dash stifled a giggle. That was cute. "I was wondering about something."
"You never mentioned how you got to Ponyville."
Pinkie went quiet for a moment. She lifted her head away from Rainbow's, eyes rolled back in thought. "... Nnnope! I didn't!"
Rainbow raised an eyeridge. "Uhh, any reason why?"
Pinkie thought for another few seconds before shaking her head, grinning. "Not really. I just forgot!"
Dash groaned and pressed a hoof to her forehead. "That seemed like an important detail to me, Pinks!"
"Weeellll, no one asked! I guess. I didn't walk all the way to Ponyville or anything."
Dash lowered her leg and stared at the party pony. "Well then what did you do?"
Pinkie turned her eyes to look out the window, going quiet in thought once more. Dash became worried momentarily that she asked a bad question, but Pinkie softly smiled. "I took the train."
"The train? How?"
"It was late at night, and cold. No one was out in the town, so I just walked to the train station and managed to get into one of the trains. It wasn't even locked or anything! I went to one of the cars with all the seats where I thought it'd be easy to hide, then curled up in my blanket in one of the seats and slept."
"So you didn't get caught?"
Pinkie shook her head. "Not quite. Somepony did find me, but by that time it was already the next day and the train was moving."
"How'd you get out of that one?"
"He was one of the workers, and he asked me why I was alone and where my parents were. I panicked and asked what the next stop was and he said Ponyville. I let out this biiiiig sigh and said that's where my parents were, I was on a trip back home from my granny's house. I thanked him over and over for waking me up so I didn't miss my stop!"
Dash let out a hearty laugh. "He actually bought it?"
"Yep! ... Thankfully. I'm... not sure I want to know what would have happened if he didn't," Pinkie noted, looking a little forlorn suddenly.
Rainbow winced a bit. "Yeah, I guess so... So then you just got off the train in Ponyville and moved on?"
Pinkie nodded a few times. "Yep. Packed up my blanket and wandered Ponyville. Eventually I found Sugarcube Corner, the best place in all of Equestria! And, well, you know the story from there."
Dash smiled. "For the most part, I guess I do... I'm learning a lot of things about you lately, Pinkie."
"Hehehe, I guess you are, huh?" Pinkie smiled brightly at Dash, until a thought came over her, causing the smile to fade. "... Have I not been very open to you, Dashie?"
She looked at the pegasus with a bit of concern. Dash shook her head and smiled. "I guess you haven't been, but I think we're both guilty of that."
Pinkie tilted her head. "What do you mean?"
Dash rubbed the back of her head. "We've been friends for a while, but I never really thought about asking you about your past, and you haven't really asked me about mine. Then, ever since this whole... relationship thing started, you and I have mostly just been having more fun together than before. I knew a few things about your past, and that was about it. It's... actually pretty nice to learn more about you, Pinks."
The pink pony giggled softly, resting her cheek against the pegasus' own. "I'm happy to share, Dashie."
Dash flicked her tail and nuzzled cheeks with the earthpony, going quiet for a bit before changing the subject. "Well, we got a bit of a journey until our next stop."
Pinkie pulled away a bit and grinned widely. "Soooo more cuddles then?"
Dash laughed a little. "Sure... But I'm on top this time, Piggy Pie."
"Ooooh, okay~" Pinkie cooed, flexing her brows.
Dash blinked a few times, then reddened in the cheeks. "Oh, and you call ME naughty!"
Pinkie started giggling incessantly and flopped herself over. Dash smirked and promptly hopped atop the pink pony, cuddling up while laughing alongside her.
"I'm getting deja vu again."
The two brightly colored mares trotted down the main street of Trottingham, their saddlebags gently bumping against their sides. "Well I hope you're not expecting Braeburn to pop out again, Dashie!"
"Actually, I'm expecting another you to pop out and start welcoming us to the town."
Pinkie giggled. "Oh, that's silly, you silly! There's only one me."
Trottingham did look a lot like Ponyville, to be sure. The architecture was different on the buildings, but otherwise, it was a little more than a small town in Equestria, possibly the same size overall as Ponyville. Various ponies trotted their way down the streets, happily chatting with each other and going about their business. None of them seemed to regard the new visitors immediately. One thing the two did notice was a prevalence of spotted earth ponies amongst the populace. "Ooh, pinto ponies. Lots of them!" Pinkie exclaimed.
"Well that little colt in Ponyville did say he was from here, didn't he?" Dash noted.
Pinkie nodded a few times, then leaned her head over to her saddlebag, swiftly yanking her parent's scroll out of the pocket and unrolling it with her hooves. "Okay! So we need to find where Bellamina lives. Where is Caballus Street?"
"Uh, why are you asking me, Pinkie? I've never been here either."
Pinkie didn't reply, tapping her chin with a hoof while looking around the immediate area. Eventually, something clicked, and she rushed right in front of an unsuspecting pinto pony, who stopped dead in his tracks. "Hi, I'm Pinkie! I'm new in town, can you tell me where this place is?" she asked, holding the scroll up in front of him with one hoof pointed to the address.
The pony regained his composure, looking over the address briefly, before chuckling. "Well of course, that's Belle's Bakery! Everypony knows where that is!" He remarked.
Pinkie blinked a few times in surprise. Rainbow trotted up to the pair. "It's a... bakery?" she asked.
The stallion nodded, turning his head and motioning toward the west with a hoof. "Caballus Street is right over there. Just follow it and you'll spot the place. It's pretty impossible to miss."
Pinkie put the scroll back in her bag, then grasped the pony's raised hoof in her own and shook it several times. "Thanks a lot, mister! Come on, Dashie!" she said, before breaking into a canter in the pointed direction.
Dash shook her head in annoyance and followed after her quickly, leaving the confused stallion behind. She quickly caught up to the pink pony, smirking at her. "You're really eager."
"Of course I am, Dashie! I get to see my sister again!"
"Really? You're not nervous this time?"
Pinkie blinked a few times, and suddenly slowed her walking speed, her smile fading. "... Well now that you mention it..."
Rainbow slowed down as well, chuckling and bumping her nose against the earthmare. "Don't sweat it, Pinks. Everything will be fine. Let's just find out what building it is."
Pinkie's smile quickly returned, and she nodded at her marefriend. The two trotted their way calmly down the street, observing the buildings they passed, until one building in the distance proved to stand out from the rest. It was three stories high, and adorned with a large, well-made sign. The sign featured picture of a large golden bell, flanked by the words "Belle's Bakery" in stylized lettering. The two stared at it for a moment, as Dash smirked. "Well, that guy wasn't lying."
She turned toward the pink pony, who regarded her with a nervous smile. Dash smiled reassuringly, and the two made their way through the bakery doors. The opening of the doors triggered a big golden bell, and also blasted the two with the scent of fresh bread and other assorted goodies. Many different types of bread could be seen for sale on the shelves, as well as an entire plethora of cookies, brownies, and other baked goods under the cover of glass counters. Several menu-like signs detailed special bakery items that could be made on request, like cakes. On a different day, Dash knew that Pinkie would be absolutely losing her mind in a place like this. The two stepped into the middle of the shop foyer, glancing around at the many items for sale, Pinkie taking in deep breaths to absorb the scents as much as she could. Eventually, they heard the sound of a pony approaching.
A male earthpony emerged from the doorway behind the counter, likely leading to the kitchen area. His coat was tan-colored, and his mane and tail a rich brown. He wore an apron around his body, bearing the bell logo of the bakery. The apron came just short of covering up his cutie mark, a loaf of dark brown bread. He smiled brightly and regarded the visitors with his hazel eyes. "Welcome to Belle's Bakery! What can I interest you in?" he asked, cheerily.
The two mares looked on in confusion, having expected a completely different pony to be greeting them. Dash said something she almost immediately regretted. "You don't look like Belle."
The stallion chuckled heartily and shook his head. "Not even close. My name's Rye Flour. You two are new in town, I take it."
"Ooh? How'd you know that?" Pinkie asked.
"Although it is growing, Trottingham is a still a small town, by most pony's standards. We're the only bakery in town, so as far as I know, everypony visits us at least once a week. I've never seen you two before, so I made an assumption."
"Yep, that makes sense to me," Rainbow remarked.
Pinkie nodded, and smiled nervously at the stallion. "We are new, yes. We came here to see Bellamina, actually."
Rye looked at the pink pony and blinked in surprise. "Bellamina? It's... not often somepony calls her by her full name. Are you two friends of hers? I don't recall seeing you at the wedding, let alone in this store before."
Dash blinked and raised an eyeridge. Pinkie just shook her head. "Actually, I'm, um... her sister."
The stallion looked even more confused. "Her sister? But, you don't look anything like Marg-" he said, cutting himself off as a realization hit him, his eyes going wide.
Pinkie noticeably twitched, knowing immediately that Rye knew the Pie family history. She looked down at the floor, scraping her hoof across it nervously. "Y-Yeah... I'm THAT sister..."
An awkward silence befell the room for a few moments. Pinkie eventually turned her eyes back up to meet the stallion's. Rye seemed to be shaking a little, eventually clearing his throat and adjusting his apron. "This... will be interesting then," he remarked.
Rainbow turned her gaze toward Pinkie, keeping her distance for the moment, much like she did at the rock farm. "Hang in there, Pinks," she said quietly.
Pinkie nodded, raising her posture up and waiting. Rye walked back toward the doorway leading to the back area, sticking his upper body through. "Belle dear? You have... visitors here for you," he stated with a raised voice, stepping aside from the doorway afterward.
"Oh? Give me just a moment!" came a female voice from the back.
The pink mare gasped and shuddered a little at the sound of her littlest sister's voice, now older, but still recognizable. After a minute or two, she came into view from the kitchen. The grayish-blue coat Pinkie remembered had shifted to a more rich blue color with adulthood. Her long gray mane was stylized into a bun above her head, fitting for a baker. She wore the same apron as Rye, but adorned on her flank was the image of three multi-colored candy-dotted cookies. She entered the room with a bright smile, which quickly became a look of intense shock toward the pony her hazel-colored eyes laid upon. Her gasp was so sharp it was almost unheard, instead sounding like a sharp inhale of breath. "P... Pinkie..." she stammered out quietly.
Pinkie stared at her grown baby sister, pushing a smile across her face, her body lightly shaking. "H-Hi Belle..." she stated, calmly.
Belle stared in absolute shock for a few moments, before showing what must be the trademark Pie family speed, zipping around the counter and latching her forelegs onto her older sister. She squeezed tightly for a moment, soon leaning backward, staring at the pink pony and prodding her with her hooves. "It's you! It's really you!!" she practically screamed, tears flowing down her cheeks.
"Y-Yes, Belle, it's me- grk!"
The youngest Pie sister squeezed tightly around the pink mare, burying her face into her chest, sobbing loudly. "I... I thought you were dead! I thought I'd never see you again! Oh Pinkie!!"
Pinkie felt the urge to lose herself, just like she did when she finally saw her parents again. The flood of emotion didn't come. Instead, it was Belle herself that had lost all control, squeezing desperately to her long lost sister, spilling more tears than Pinkie even did. Somehow, Pinkie remained composed, gently wrapping her forelegs around the blue pony, resting her chin on her bunned-up mane. "I-It's okay, Bella... I'm here now. I missed you so much, little sis..." she spoke softly, gentle tears dripping from her eyes.
Her sister said nothing, instead staying desperately clung to the pink mare, letting years of emotion flow out of her. Pinkie stayed quiet as well, content to hold her sister close until her condition ran its course. Rainbow Dash stared at the sisters, a bit stunned at how well Pinkie was keeping her composure, especially after what she witnessed back at the rock farm. She took a passing glance at Rye, who remained behind the counter, misty eyed and with a large smile on his face.
The smell of lavender tea filled the air of the kitchen, mostly overcome by the smell of baking goods. Belle sipped from her cup, finally calmed down from her long emotional spell. The tea helped matters. The three mares sat at a kitchen table situated near the stairs, away from the larger kitchen area where all the baking happened. Rye Flour himself kept busy, checking the goods and occasionally leaving to the foyer to answer a ringing bell. "I'm so sorry about my behavior. I... I completely lost it," Belle proclaimed.
Pinkie giggled a little bit. "Don't sweat it, sis. I probably would have done the same thing in your position!"
"I'm surprised you didn't in your current position," Rainbow idly remarked, staring at her cup of tea, never having been much of a fan of the drink.
Bellamina hrmed in thought. "Who is your companion, Pinkie?"
Dash glanced upward briefly, while Pinkie just smiled. "This is my... friend, Rainbow Dash. She's helping me on my adventure!"
"Yep! An adventure to see all of my family again. We came here from Maresburg."
Belle gasped. "You saw mother and father? I hope that went well..."
Pinkie nodded and sighed wistfully. "Better than I could have ever hoped."
Belle sighed as well. "That's such a relief... I mean, Dad changed so much after you left. I'm not sure why I was worried just now."
The two sisters sipped from their cups, Pinkie's poofy mane bouncing a little as she shifted in her chair. "They told us about what happened. How you got to go to a real school and get your cutie marks and everything. I was so happy!"
The blue mare giggled softly. "It was definitely a positive change. One I really needed... That was actually how I met Rye originally. He lived in Maresburg too, went to the school."
Rainbow raised her head up, recalling something she heard earlier. "That reminds me. Didn't he mention something about a wedding?" the pegasus asked.
Belle blushed only slightly, a wistful smile crossing her face. "Oh. Yes. Rye is my husband."
Pinkie gasped in shock. Dash wasn't surprised at all. "Yeah, I figured that. Married a childhood crush then?"
The earthmare blushed a little deeper, and giggled. "We were too young for that back then! We met up again long after school was over with."
Her smile faded when she glanced over at Pinkie, who looked rather forlorn. Dash turned her glance and noticed it as well. "Uh, Pinks? What's wrong?" she asked.
"My little sister got married and I wasn't there to see it..." Pinkie replied, sadly.
Belle bit her bottom lip a little, leaning over slightly and rubbing her hoof on her sister's. "It's okay, Pinkie. Don't be sad. ... If it makes you feel better, Margaret isn't married yet..." she noted, fishing for anything to cheer Pinkie up.
Pinkie pondered for a moment, before perking up suddenly with a bright smile. "You're right! What am I doing? I should be happy that my baby sister found looooove~"
Belle leaned back again, her blush and smile returning. "Y-Yeah, that works, I guess."
She gasped in surprise as Rye appeared next to her, kissing her on the cheek and chuckling at her jumpiness. "Why don't you tell them how you got your cutie mark, dear? That'll explain how we met," he suggested.
The bell rang in the store front, causing Rye to excuse himself. Belle shifted in her seat and smiled brightly. "Alright, I can share that story... It was pretty much his fault that I got this ol' thing," she said, referring to the batch of cookies on her flank.
"So it was at the school in Maresburg?" Dash asked, finally sipping some of her tea afterward, wincing a little at the taste.
Belle nodded. "One passion I carried over from my foal days was all the baking we used to watch Granny Pie do. So as a schoolfilly, I frequented the baking class at school to try and learn how to do it myself. That's where I met Rye. He was my best friend, outside of Maggie. We tried out a lot of neat stuff in the baking class... and made a lot of messes too."
Pinkie giggled. "Sounds like me in my early days at Sugarcube Corner!"
Dash smirked at her. "Sounds like you nowadays too."
Pinkie stuck her tongue out at the pegasus as Bellamina continued. "One day, Rye came into class with these big loaves of bread that he said he baked himself at home, based off of techniques he picked up from his father. The bread was just amazing! Some of us put butter on it, others made sandwiches with it, and all that stuff. As he watched us all enjoy it, his cutie mark appeared, right in front of everypony! I knew right then that I needed to do the same thing. I had to floor everypony in the class with my baking skills too! And I knew exactly what to make..."
Her sister gasped and perked up with a bright smile. "Granny Pie's Super Special Candy Cookies!" the pink pony yelled excitedly.
Belle bounced in her seat and grinned widely. "That's right, sis! ... Only problem was, Mom lost the recipe. She remembered what she could, and I had to fill in the rest myself. I totally winged it... but it was like magic, Pinkie! Not only did I recreate Granny's recipe, but I made it even better! I brought them to school and floored the whole class, including Rye himself. It was perfect... and there it appeared. My cutie mark. Now Belle Pie's Super Special Candy Cookies are the top selling item of this bakery."
Pinkie clopped her forehooves together and cheered as Belle raised her chin up proudly, with Dash rolling her eyes at the cheesiness of the display. The jittery Belle gasped again when Rye made another unexpected appearance, nuzzling under her raised chin. "And it was those cookies that brought me back to you, don't forget," he noted.
Dash and Pinkie glanced at each other, then back at the couple. "What's that mean?" Dash asked.
Belle rubbed a hoof over her blushing face, smiling meekly. "Well... Rye's family moved away to Fillydelphia some time after I got my mark. A few years later, once I was done with school and Mom & Dad hit it rich, I decided to move there was well. I figured I could try and find my best friend again."
"Unfortunately, my family and I had already moved to Manehatten by then," Rye interjected.
Belle nodded a little, continuing. "I got a job at a baking company there anyway, and made a name for myself. Eventually they decided to relocate me to here in Trottingham. They purchased this bakery we're in now from the retiring owners. They felt I was talented enough to run it on my own. Which I did, for a good while, though not without my fair share of troubles."
Pinkie tilted her head a bit. "What kind of trouble?"
Rye looked at Belle with a hint of concern, as she went silent for a moment, before waving the comment off with a hoof. "Nothing important. Really. What is important is that this dashing stallion came back into my life," she said, prodding at him with her hoof.
Rye chuckled softly and pushed her hoof away. "I got tired of the big cities and decided to move somewhere smaller. I ended up here in Trottingham and went looking for its bakery. When I got here, what else did I smell but... her cookies. She made them a few times before I moved out of Maresburg, and I never forgot the scent," he said, pressing his nose against one of her earbases.
Belle blushed and flicked her ear a little, her smile wide. "All of my problems seemed to wash away when my best friend came back into my life. I helped him get hired by my parent company, and he immediately brought his amazing skills to the bakery here. Somehow, despite already being the only bakery in town, we got even more popular."
Rye nodded slightly. "Our repeat customers came by almost constantly, and we even took orders from out of town!"
"We became so successful, that we were actually able to purchase the property from our parent company and start running the place ourselves, complete with a nice bit of redecorating. And along the way, well... We sort of fell hopelessly in love..."
She blushed and leaned her head back into Rye's chest. Pinkie watched them, misty-eyed, her forehooves pressed together. "That's... so... ROMANTIC!" she squealed.
Dash rolled her eyes so hard she thought they would fall right out of her head. Pinkie managed to notice without glancing over, Dash grunting when one of the pink pony's hindlegs bumped her chair. Rye kissed his wife on the head before heading back to the ovens to check on some baking bread loaves. Belle sighed dreamily and turned her attention toward Pinkie. "What ever happened to you, sis? Where did you end up?"
Pinkie slurped the bottom of her empty cup and set it back on the table, licking her lips. "I live in Ponyville now! I got there when I was a filly and shacked up at this totally cool place called Sugarcube Corner! Mr. and Mrs. Cake are the best bakers in aaaall Equestria!" She blinked a few times and grinned in embarrassment when she realized what she said. "Um... No offense."
Belle couldn't help but laugh. "None taken. But, does that mean you're a baker too, Pinkie?"
Pinkie nodded several times. "Yep! Personal apprentice to the Cake family!" She then let out a loud gasp. "Ohmigosh! We're both bakers now! We can toootally bake things together!"
Bellamina was taken aback by the pink pony's excitement, but only for a moment. The idea hadn't occured to her either until Pinkie said it. She slowly smiled widely and slipped out of her chair to all four hooves. "That sounds like a great idea!"
Rainbow Dash audibly groaned and dropped her chin to the table. "More baking? Didn't you make enough of a mess at your parent's house?"
Pinkie zipped right next to Dash wearing a floppy chef hat. "There's always time to make a mess, Dashie!" she stated, plopping another chef hat onto Dash's head.
Dash blinked and raised her head up, eyes looking up at the hat on her head. Where did she even GET these things? "Oh no, Pinkie, you're not dragging me into this! I can barely make toast!"
The pegasus then felt her forelegs grabbed by both Pie sisters, pulling her out of the chair and toward the large kitchen area. "I'm sure you'll do fine, Ms. Dash~!" Belle cooed.
Rye could be heard laughing nearby. Rainbow went limp with a heavy sigh, hindlegs dragging across the floor. "Why did I come on this trip again?"
"Come on, sis! Where are we going? Tell me tell me tell me!"
Pinkie hopped circles around Rainbow and Bellamina as the three mares made their way down one of the roads of Trottingham. Belle had her hair down, the long gray mane swaying a little as she walked. It reminded Dash of Pinkie's mane when she was sad. "It's a surprise, Pinkie! You're the big party pony, I thought you liked surprises!" Belle replied to her sister.
The pink mare stopped bouncing and walked alongside her. "Well duuuuh, I love surprises! But this is different, cause you're my baby sister and I'm just so eager, I wanna know so bad!"
Dash grumbled in annoyance. "She's not telling, Pinks, so just wait."
"Ohhh, okay, Dashie, but only cause you said it!"
Pinkie skipped alongside her sister then, humming a tune, as Dash quietly thanked Celestia that actually worked. The rainbow mare glanced around the street as they walked, listening to most of the ponies they passed give a greeting to Bellamina. She responded in kind, even knowing the names of most of them. "You sure are popular here," Dash remarked.
"Well, small town, one bakery... and we did get more attention than we thought we would. I don't mind it too much. The ponies in this town are wonderful."
Rainbow glanced in her direction. "You sure Rye can handle it by himself?"
"He'll have no problem, Ms. Dash. It's a bit of a slow day today anyway. He'll probably join us later."
"I'm surprised the kitchen survived the Pinkie Pie tornado yesterday," Dash said with a smirk.
Pinkie bounced right next to Dash suddenly and hip-bumped into her. "You were part of it too, Dashie!"
Dash frowned and shoved her hip right back at the pink pony. "Only because you dragged me into it! It took me a while to get that dough out of my tail, you know."
Belle couldn't help but giggle. "Don't fight about it, girls. It was the most fun I've had in my bakery in long time! Even if it did require a lot of clean up..."
Pinkie giggled and hip-bumped Dash once more before bouncing to her sister's side, Dash grumbling a little, but privately smirking. She opened her mouth to say something, but got cut off by a sharp Pinkie gasp. "Whoa, that place is big!" the pink mare stated.
Rainbow glanced ahead, seeing the road they were on lead right toward a large complex, possibly the largest building in the small town. Big letters on the outside of the building read "Trottingham Event Center." Belle grinned widely. "We're here!"
"An... event center? Something special going on?" Dash asked.
"There's always something special going on here. What they have set up right now, though... I just had to bring Pinkie to see it."
"I can't wait I can't wait I can't wait!" Pinkie rambled, as the three mares approached the entrance.
Dash herself was very curious by that point. After a quick trip through the opening halls of the event center, the three ponies made their way through doors leading to one of the main event areas. Pinkie's resulting gasp was one of the loudest Dash had ever heard. "AN ICE SKATING RINK?!" the pink pony screamed.
In front of the threesome was indeed a large, indoor ice skating rink, surrounded by a modest crowd of ponies enjoying some carnival games and concession stands that were dotted around the rink. The rink itself had a dozen or so ponies on it, happily skating in circles and talking, some doing tricks. Dash stared in silence for a moment. "Ice skating in the summer?" she eventually asked.
Belle nodded. "Yep! Lots of events get set up here all year, and during the hot months, the ice skating rink goes up. I try to come down here when I can. I have skates back at home, but I didn't bring them, cause I didn't want to spoil the surprise."
Dash pondered for a moment, a memory returning to her. "Oh yeah. Pinkie mentioned she ice skated a lot with her sisters. She does it in Ponyville during the winter."
"Yes, I figured she still has a passion for it..." Belle remarked, glancing over at her sister, who had to pry her jaw off the floor.
"OooooOOOOHHH THIS IS GREAT! Let's go skating, let's go skating!!" Pinkie yelled, running circles around the two mares.
Dash raised her hoof briefly, before suddenly stomping it down on Pinkie's tail, causing her to stop dead and flop on her stomach. "Go ahead, Pinkie, but you're not dragging me into this one."
The pegasus moved her hoof and let Pinkie stand, the party pony immediately pouting. "Well what are you going to do, Dashie? What's better than skating?"
"A lot of things..." Rainbow flicked her tail and glanced toward the pony crowd. "I'll try some games or something. I'm no skater. Why are you worrying about it, anyway? Go skate with your sister!"
Belle tugged on Pinkie's poofy tail excitedly. "Yeah, come on, big sis! There's a place where we can rent skates."
"Skates! Yes! Let's do it!" Pinkie yelled, zipping off with her sister in tow.
Dash watched them go, and sighed heavily. A little peace, for once. She loved Pinkie more than anything, but it got a little grating sometimes, especially with a long lost sister hanging around. She actually didn't want to play any of the carnival games that were setup like she had told Pinkie. She was perfectly content with relaxing and watching the two sisters skate. She had watched Pinkie do some skating before the last Winter Wrap Up, and it was actually somewhat entertaining, not that she'd ever admit it out loud.
The pegasus made her way to a seating area largely ignored by the other ponies, and sat down, eyes on the ice rink. Within a few minutes, the two sisters made their appearance, skating onto the rink with some scarves on their necks, likely also borrowed from the skate rental area. They joined the circle of ponies making laps around the rink, wide grins plastered on their faces. Jeez, I bet I could see those grins from space, Dash thought to herself.
After several minutes of happy skating, Pinkie noticed a few ponies doing tricks near the middle of the rink, and she said something to her sister. The two moved away from the skating line and into the middle area, facing each other, staring down the other with determined looks. Dash perked up a bit. Oooh... Sisterly challenge? This should be fun...
"Looks like I got here just in time."
Dash turned her head in surprise, seeing Rye Flour approaching her with a smile. "Oh! Hey, Rye. Closed up shop for the day?"
The stallion sat down next to the pegasus, nodding. "Yeah. We close early sometimes if it's a slow day, or if we have plans. No one ever complains."
Dash nodded, the two turning their attention to the skating rink, where Pinkie and Belle had begun to take turns doing tricks. They began with simple skating movements, waving their hoofs in and out of each other, eventually resorting to doing spins. After a few moments of silence, Rye chuckled. "I don't think Pinkie is gonna win this," he remarked.
Rainbow smirked. "Yeah. She only does her skating in the winter. It sounds to me like Belle comes here a lot."
"Not a whole lot, really, but she tries to get some practice in at least every other week. She'll skate for hours. Managed to get me on the ice a few times. I felt like a putz."
Dash grinned at him. "Guess that's why you're not out there right now, huh?"
Rye laughed softly. "Well, sure, but mainly I wanted her to have some time with her sister. Just the two of them... not counting the other ponies on the ice."
The two Pie sisters had managed to attract a bit of a crowd with their tricks. Most of the ponies skating on the ice had stopped to watch, forming a wide circle to give the two space to work. The sisters had begun to take to more complex tricks, skating around in circles doing balance acts, and occasionally gaining speed for jumping spins. They started to get attention from other ponies around the rink as well. "Ms. Dash? May I ask you something?" Rye suddenly spoke.
Dash glanced toward him, and chuckled. "You can call me Rainbow. I don't mind."
"Oh! Right, sorry..." Rye rubbed his head a little. "I remembered hearing all the conversation yesterday, while you girls were baking. I was wondering why you came along with Pinkie on this trip."
Rainbow turned her attention to the skating pie sisters, briefly pondering what she was going to say to answer that. "Well... Actually, I was the one that got her to do this. She... wanted me to come with her, so she didn't have to do it alone."
Rye went quiet for a moment in thought. "What prompted you to make her do this?"
Dash pondered briefly if she should tell Rye what happened. She turned her glance back toward him. He was looking at her with a caring, curious look in his eyes. Something told her that it would be alright. "Well... When I found her on that day, she was really sad. Like, crying her eyes out sad. Pinkie never gets sad. I... got her to tell me why. Memories of her family, and all that. She was a mess, and had been for a while. So... I knew she had to go out and see them again, to fix her up. I never want to see her like that again."
Rye stared at her for a moment, before turning his glance downward. "That... sounds familiar."
Dash looked at him with confusion. "What does that mean?"
The stallion turned his gaze up to the ice rink, where he witnessed Bellamina do a crazy flipping move through the air, landing on her skates perfectly and leaving Pinkie absolutely floored. The pony crowd around them cheered. "Belle kept herself from talking about it yesterday after you two arrived. I guess she didn't want to worry her big sister who just came back to her life."
"Talk about what? Rye... What's wrong?"
Rye sighed deeply. "Belle was... really torn apart by the loss of her sister. She was such a little foal when their grandmother died, I guess it affected her too much emotionally. She looked up to her oldest sister so much. When Pinkie left, she was hit the hardest."
Dash winced a little. "That doesn't sound good."
Rye nodded just slightly, eyes still on the ice rink. "Her other sister, Margaret, had to step in and help keep her together. Then, once they got into school, Belle became friends with me. We were sort of her pillars of strength. I never would have known that at the time, of course. I learned about all this history later. I was sad to leave her when I moved away, but I figured it would be okay." He sighed wistfully. "When I found her again, all those years later, I was so happy. Turns out, I was really lucky too."
"Really lucky? How?"
"Belle had been living alone, working the business for quite some time. She kept in contact with her family with letters, and her parents even visited her a few times. But... Without Margaret or me there, she started to... fall apart, emotionally. She missed us. She missed Pinkie. It was affecting her state of mind, her work ethic. Her boss had to come down and get her to see a therapist here in Trottingham to deal with it. It worked, for the most part, but she was still in bad shape. Then I showed up..."
Rye leaned back a little bit as some cheers erupted from the ponies on the ice. Dash turned her gaze that way, seeing the sisters happily skating together, doing tricks and partner moves to the delight of the audience. "We were so happy to see each other, and couldn't wait to get me working at that bakery. Everything was going fine until I was exposed to her fragile emotional state for the first time. She skipped some therapy sessions to work with me, and I eventually made her go back to them..." A gentle smile crossed his face for the briefest of moments. "As it turned out, though, falling in love with her was the best thing I could have done. I was her pillar of strength again, a little light in her heart that kept her going every day. It's kind of a scary thought, I guess, but I was happy to do be in the position. Once we got married, I thought everything would be okay..."
Dash quietly wondered why Rye was telling her such... personal details. She was basically a stranger. She also felt his last words there were rather ominous. "Well... um... was everything okay?"
Rye closed his eyes. "The wedding was the happiest day of our lives. It was also the first time Bellamina had been with her family together in one place since she and Margaret moved away from Maresburg. But, there was one piece missing."
Dash bit her lower lip slightly. "Pinkie..."
The stallion nodded and opened his eyes again, Dash turning her gaze toward him. "Being with her family again made her realize that Pinkie still wasn't there in her life. All of those memories she had been repressing in her happy times with me came rushing back. I loved her, Margaret loved her, but Pinkie... Pinkie still wasn't there. She had to start doing therapy again. Some nights, she would just lay against me and cry herself to sleep. Eventually, we drifted away from therapy again, and those sad nights got few and far between... but they still happened occasionally. All I could do was hold her close and tell her it'd all be okay..."
He went quiet for a spell, Dash continuing to stare at him, wondering how she could possibly respond to all this. Then, slowly, a smile crept across his face. He turned his gaze to the pegasus and motioned his head toward the ice rink. "Look."
They both looked at the ice. Pinkie and Belle were finishing their partner skate with a surprisingly well-choreographed routine, which came to a close with the two spinning like tops for a moment, followed by striking a double pose. The ponies around them erupted into applause. The two sisters stared in awe at all the attention, before letting loose fits of happy giggles and hugging each other. A huge smile stretched across Dash's face at the scene. "Wow."
"I think it will change now, Rainbow. Yesterday, when you two came into the store, and I realized it was Pinkie... My heart almost seized. I called Belle into the room... and I watched her cry. She cried so hard right there, hugged up against her long lost sister. It was the hardest I'd heard her cry in a long time, but they were all happy tears. Beautiful, happy tears. I felt like I'd been waiting my whole life just to see that happen, right in front of me. With her biggest sister back in her life... I think... I think she can finally heal, Rainbow."
Dash stared almost unblinkingly at the ice. The crowd had dispersed to go back to enjoy skating, and the two sisters skated tiredly side by side, bright smiles on their faces, talking about something the pegasus couldn't hear. What she did hear, however, was a sniffling noise. She turned her glance toward Rye, who also stared at the ice, with gentle tears dripping down his cheeks and a bright smile on his face. After a moment, he turned toward her. "Thank you, Rainbow, for bringing Pinkie back into my wife's life. Thank you so much."
Rainbow stared at him in stunned, emotional silence. After a moment, her lower lip quivered as she extended it into a smile, a tear falling down her cheek as she did. The two turned their smiling faces back toward the ice rink, and Dash heaved out a warm sigh, eyes fixed on the happy faces of the two sisters.
TO BE CONTINUED...
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Characters/Locations used without permission