“I freaking hate the train, man.”
“Dude, chill out. Most train rides aren’t exactly thrilling during a weekday.”
“We could have just spent that kind of money on burgers instead coming all the way out here to Unicorn’s Lane.”
“Hey, all I see are unicorns in this place! It’s a more fitting name!”
The anthropomorphic bluejay sighed, shaking his head with exasperation as he led his reluctant raccoon for a best friend through the cobblestone streets of Canterlot. Truth be told by the indifferent tone of the raccoon known as Rigby, the train ride was not exactly one of their finest this time around. They had to make at least two emergency stops, terrible service by a steward who was most likely trying to get himself fired on purpose, and worst of all the children. Rambunctious children, running amok through each station wagon which resorted in one of them pouring cough syrup into Rigby’s glass of soda.
Despite the negative impact the duo had endured those long hours before they finally reached Equestria, Mordecai knew it was worth it and he would go through such an ordeal a hundred times if it meant arrival in Canterlot.
Just for her.
The bluejay stopped in his tracks and gazed up at the glorious building that reigned upon its city. Such a sight nearly could compete with the Empire State Building or even the Taj Mahal.
“Well, here’s the castle,” Mordecai breathed in relief, feeling the tips of his finger-like feathers tingle for some odd reason.
Rigby took note of his best friend gazing at the structure and just rolled his eyes, scoffing rather loudly.
“Can we just find your girlfriend and get this over with?”
Mordecai immediately snapped out of his daze and wheeled toward him, mentally cursing himself for having feathers of blue that contrasted greatly with the redness that emerged across his beak.
“She’s not my girlfriend!” He retorted, his tone nearly cracking.
“You wish she was...” Rigby snarked, folding his arms.
As they neared the castle entrance, they quickly halted in front of two of the Royal Guards that stood between each other, both sporting the seal of the Sun.
Rigby appeared slightly intimidated by them. Given his record and a number of faults he was responsible for the many times he had visited Canterlot, he had a reason to fear them, especially the captain himself. However, Mordecai was much more relaxed, a cool, confident smile traced across his beak as he shifted his gaze from one guard to the other.
“Yo, Tuck, Roll,” he greeted smoothly. “Kill the ‘Queen’s Men’ posture! It’s us, remember?”
As soon as he spoke, the two guards immediately faltered, their high-strung poses resorted to more relaxing stature as they breathed out heavily. They smiled at Mordecai and Rigby.
“S’up, Mordecai!” One guard greeted. “S’up, Rigs!”
The bluejay just nodded as the two unicorns combined their magic and had the draw bridge slowly ease down. Mordecai’s smile enlarged as he and Rigby began crossing it.
“Later, man!” One of the guards called out as the duo disappeared through the entrance walls.
“We really need to throw a party in here,” Rigby commented as they trailed through the glittering throne room.
“We had one like a month ago,” Mordecai reminded him. “Remember? The coronation?”
“Oh, yeah, I forgot,” Rigby pondered, “I’m still trying to get used to the fact that we can’t call her a unicorn anymore.” He shuddered a bit. “And now we have to call her ‘Princess’ and ‘Your Majesty’ and more likely ‘Your Eternal Greatness’...”
Mordecai ignored him as his eyes remained focused on the massive room surrounding them, determination somewhat bubbling within him and hoping he could find her.
“Oh, hello, you two!”
Rigby let out a terrified gasp before he unexpectedly found himself clinging to Mordecai’s waist, his best friend eyeing him in confusion.
They heard an amused chuckle before they noticed a glittering mane emerge from behind a corner, a white muzzle with violet eyes joining it as hooves clacked against the marble floors.
“Princess Celestia,” Mordecai immediately bent down on one knee and bowed.
When Rigby just stood beside him, simply watching the solar princess with a dull expression, the bluejay had to smack him from behind to follow his action. The princess herself simply laughed as the raccoon begrudgingly bent on one knee and bowed as well.
“What brings you both to the castle?” Princess Celestia asked with a smile.
“Well, uh...” Mordecai began nervously as he and Rigby got up. “I was wondering...”
Rigby rolled his eyes. “Is Twilight here?”
“Yeah, is she?” Mordecai asked hopefully.
The solar princess’ smile faded a bit, her expression appearing more apologetic.
“Oh, I’m sorry, boys,” she answered, “but Twilight is gone right now.”
Mordecai felt his heart plummet a bit, but he kept his expression as placid as possible in Her Majesty’s presence.
“Gone?” He asked, his voice nearly cracking. “W-where?”
Twilight tucked her wings back and held her gaze at the clear road in front of her.
New York state. Yet they were far from the tall buildings and bustling streets by now after walking out of the train station that brought them all the way from Marzipan City. Now it felt like they were in a whole new place that completely differed from the Big Apple itself.
One minute they were pushing their way through busy crowds of business people, vendors, and even vagrants. The next they were completely out in the open with the sounds of the city far behind them.
It both surprised and thrilled the newest princess to no end.
As soon as Mung Daal pointed the whereabouts in which his dessert needed to be delivered, Twilight had immediately jumped at the chance and offered that she would personally deliver it. To discover a new place, meet new people, it would be like the first time she arrived in Ponyville all over again.
It felt good to be out of Canterlot for a while, away from all the self-stress and striking fear in her subjects’ eyes just because she was a princess now. No guards present, no upper-class ponies kissing her flank, no self-proclaimed princess duties whatsoever.
Alongside her for the new journey was her dear Earth pony friend Pinkie Pie; she was the only one of her friends with an open schedule today to join her on the new adventure. As soon as Twilight had called her from Marzipan City and asked if she would tag along, followed by the mention of delivering a special dish, Pinkie literally jumped at the chance; one minute she was in Canterlot, the next Twilight was able to meet her at the NY train station where they now began their current travel.
They weren’t the only ones on the new journey. Rocky had tagged along as well, just as intrigued as Twilight was to experience a new place and hopefully make new friends. School bag in tow, the girl was more than ready.
The other who had joined the little group was no other than Florentine, a child resident of Marzipan City and good friends with Mung Daal and his company. Murky blue fur and even much more midnight blue that was her hair, the feline minor was longing for some excitement today that she was grateful she dropped by Mung’s kitchen at a good time to overhear Twilight’s plans and begged to join that would take her away from the slowness that the market was bringing right now.
Now here they were. All four of them, two kids and two adults, traveling who knows where. With Pinkie Pie hauling the tiny wagon which held Mung’s dessert behind her.
“Oh, it smells so good!” She squealed happily. “I hope the person who ordered it will share!”
“Are we really going to a wedding?” Florentine asked.
“Well, according to Mung, the wedding is still in preparation,” Twilight explained, not breaking her gaze from the road. “From what’s been said, there’s still some difficulty going on.”
“Oh, no!” Pinkie Pie gasped dramatically. “It’s not going to be like Shining Armor and Princess Cadence’s wedding, is it? With the drama and the invasion and all the fighting-”
“I highly doubt it would go in that direction,” Twilight cut in sharply. “Like Mung said, the bride could be going through some stress right now.”
“Like you were the past couple of weeks?” Florentine snorted.
Twilight tried not to blush with embarrassment as she led them on.
“Hey, if you were a princess, you’d be going through the same phase as well,” Rocky snapped at her feline equivalent. Her expression softened as she turned back in Twilight’s direction. “Now that Twilight’s out of Canterlot, away from the princess duties and such, everything is going to be okay.”
“Much like what your hat and shirt say?” Florentine pointed out as she eyed her friend’s new attire for the occasion.
Rocky puffed in her cheeks, turning away from her for a moment.
Rocky’s outfit usually consisted of a pink sun dress with orange design followed by her hair held back with her favorite foreign pink headband. But oddly she changed her entire apparel with a thick green sweater and skirt, completed with a matching cap that was draped over her pulled back hair. Both sweater and cap displaying the logo saying ‘OK’.
The blue-haired cat raised an eyebrow at the single word before cocking her head at Rocky in question.
“What’s with the OK?” She asked curiously. “You secretly joined a college fraternity that allows kids?”
Rocky scoffed and rolled her eyes. “First of all,” she began blandly, “a fraternity consist of boys only. Second, no.” She smiled, tipping her cap in approval. “I just like the word. It provides a more positive outlook, which is perfect for when we arrive at this place called Dillydale.”
“Which actually seems to work,” Florentine snickered, “because since you’re green, and Dillydale sounds like a type of pickle, they’ll favor you immediately.”
The young Filipino girl chose to ignore her sass as she adjusted her backpack, hoping they were near the mysterious city.
Twilight stopped in her tracks, halting the other three behind her. Eyes rose to a massive sign that stood off to the other side where they were.
In bold, green letters, the sign said: Welcome to Dillydale.
The four gazed past the sign and witnessed a mass city before them, however, it was nothing like New York in particular as it possessed its own originality.
True, the buildings were tall, shops at every corner, beautiful scenery. But it wasn’t a 24/7 busy city like New York, and the citizens were nothing of rude.
The citizens...they were quite a sight to see.
All shapes and sizes, colors exceeding beyond what even a rainbow could progress, hair or no hair.
Every individual provided him or her a fair greeting followed by the tip of a hat, cars sped past every street, the sounds of selling items coursing through the sidewalks, and various smells from produce to baked goods to fragrances filled the air like a newly opened container of potpourri.
Twilight was so astounded by such a discovery, her wings had opened wider than her jaw that nearly hit the ground. Not even Canterlot had such beauty and exhilaration like this! And the former unicorn hadn’t even stepped foot in the city just yet!
“We found it!” Rocky exclaimed happily.
“Awesome,” Pinkie Pie bounced a bit while trying not to rock the dessert right off the wagon she was hauling. “Let’s go! The sooner we find the client, the sooner we can eat!”
“Way ahead of you,” Florentine chuckled as the four proceeded toward the lively city known as Dillydale.
Hooves and feet went from common ground to smooth asphalt as each of them took closer regard to the breathtaking structure of their surroundings.
“Wow,” Rocky murmured, her brown eyes widening as she lifted the flap of her cap to gain a better view. “This is beyond okay.”
“Yeah, save the movie reference, sweetheart,” Florentine murmured, just as mesmerized as her friend was, feline eyes expanding as well.
The group ventured further down the street, basically Twilight leading them on. Although the ex-unicorn had no idea where exactly she was going.
The streets were just so lovely, and every direction she would turn would lead to a lovely, peaceful sight. Where they would find their client, the new princess wasn’t sure; but she wasn’t too concerned, her violet eyes drinking in the newfound place.
“Oh, crooked cucumbers...”
The voice startled Twilight and her friends before each of them turned toward the source. Across the street, not too far from them, there stood a man of dark blue skin. His physical appearance consisted of a full, rectangular-shaped body followed by an oval-shaped green nose and a crooked green hat. One such feature the girls found completely conspicuous about him was his single eyebrow that rode above his serious expression.
There was a slightly shorter person beside him, his body shaped that of a circle and orange skin that immediately reminded Florentine of fruit her guardian would sell back in the Marzipan City market. He wore a small bowler hat which he slightly tipped to the visitors of his city.
However, his friend did no greeting of such, hands on his rectangular waist as he shook his head.
“Just what we need...Tourists!” He muttered. “I’m guessing they’ll be wanting the VIP treatment, huh?”
Twilight was slightly taken aback by such attitude. He certainly seemed quite the serious man, his single brow deepening upon his gruffly eyes and furthered frown.
He sure was grumpy.
He did remind her of Cranky Doodle Donkey back in Ponyville, though Equestria was blessed with a citizen who had his limits to his grouchiness and would succumb to relaxation and show the least bit of a smile every now and then.
This person, however, appeared like a smile from him would be quite rare.
But the orange individual beside him did most of the smiling, his big, innocent eyes affectionate and shining more positivity in the uncomfortable situation. Twilight knew she immediately liked him.
However, she was taken by surprise when she noticed his arms stretching.
“VIP treatment?” He said excitedly. “Then they deserve very important tickles!”
His arms were stretched out like a squid’s, his fingers squirming like worms in mud as they appeared to reach out toward them.
“What the fudge?” Florentine exclaimed with surprise, taking a few steps back, her body slightly trembling at the unusual sight.
Twilight’s eyes widened and her appeasement immediately vanished as she took a step back, her wings popping out from the surprise. Pinkie Pie, however, just stood by, her blue eyes widening in fascination by the long arms and wiggly fingers. Rocky, much like Twilight, eased back, sidling closer to the former unicorn.
The rectangular citizen sighed and rolled his eyes, which looked quite funny with that single eyebrow of his.
“For goodness’ sake, Mr. Tickle,” he scolded. “There are children with them! Last thing we want is to traumatize the children.”
The other known as Mr. Tickle retracted his arms, appearing as normal as how they were first seen. The orange man’s smile disappeared.
“But children love tickles!” He whined.
Pinkie Pie couldn’t suppress a snort, causing the two to look at her in question.
“He’s called Mr. Tickle,” her snorts were followed by giggles before she finally let out a humorous laugh. “Mr. Tickle!”
She nearly fell back, her guffaws too much for her to take as one hoof clutched her aching belly. The rectangular man just raised an eyebrow, not one to have a humorous side. However, Mr. Tickle himself smiled, satisfied enough that he was making someone laugh. Although, he sure wish he could tickle someone...
Pinkie finally kept herself under control as she breathed out, a few tiny snorts and petite giggles emerging from her mouth through and through.
“Say, you there!” She beamed, waving a hoof at him. “I’ll take a tickle!”
The other three gasped with horror, while the two oddly-shaped characters regarded her with surprise, Mr. Tickle’s smile growing just as wide as hers as his little boy eyes sparkled.
“Really?” He gasped excitedly. He nudged his friend. “Did you hear that, Mr. Grumpy? She wants a tickle!”
Mr. Grumpy...Twilight was not surprised. However, the newfound information was the last thing on her mind as her eyes darted from the two back to the Element of Laughter, who stood waiting for those stretchy arms of his to do the work.
“Pinkie, no!” Twilight snapped.
Mr. Tickle’s arms immediately held back when he and Mr. Grumpy were nearly blinded by a blazing aura of magenta color that quickly nabbed the pink pony by the tail. Pinkie Pie let out a surprised squeak as she was being dragged down the street, Twilight’s hooves pumping up faster than a ‘Running of the Leaves’ race as she and the kids, Florentine now having to drag the wagon herself, dashed away from the two unusual characters.
Mr. Grumpy’s expression remained unfazed as he and a disappointed Mr. Tickle simply watched them run.
“They must be from California,” He grumbled.
As soon as they were a good few yards away from them, Twilight and the girls decreased their speed, breathing heavily as they took regard to the street before them. The princess didn’t bother retracting her wings, which were splayed out on her sides like gloves tossed carelessly after use. She allowed little Rocky to lean against her for temporary support as the former unicorn’s weight guided her burning feet to continue walking.
Florentine held an unamused yet curious expression as she gazed over her shoulder, continuously pulling the wagon. “Did that orange dude ever go to jail?”
She whipped her head around when she heard Pinkie Pie stifle a giggle.
“Oh, Flora, please!” She snickered. “You can’t arrest someone for giving tickles! It’s an act of helping one smile!”
“Yeah, that’s probably why Cranky Doodle Donkey didn’t actually call a restraining order against you...” The feline minor muttered under her breath, not even close to being impressed.
Rocky shifted her gaze from the other two back to Twilight, the royal keeping her eyes on the streets as she led them who knew where.
“They seemed nice...” Rocky commented, trying to make some positivity out of the awkward situation they had just run away from. “Maybe too nice...” She shuddered a bit. “Yeah, they’re okay...” She crossed a finger over the logo of her green sweater, trying to indicate her point.
The little girl gave a mental sigh of relief when the former unicorn’s expression broke into a small smile, her purple eyes meeting her brown ones.
“It’s not like we haven’t met weirder.”
The princess’ eyes immediately darted toward Pinkie Pie before they came back to Rocky. She laughed, Rocky’s giggles joining her.
While the group made their way in hopes of coming across their client, a Mr. Man and two Little Misses stood high above one of the taller buildings of Dillydale, Beside them was a scaffold, various cleaning tools cluttering its platform.
“Uh, are you sure you can handle controlling the ropes while Miss Calamity and I clean windows, Miss Whoops?” Mr. Bump asked nervously.
“Relax,” his sister’s monotone voice droning with confidence. “I’m a trained professional.”
“Of course you are...” Her brother gulped as he and Miss Calamity cautiously entered the scaffold and secured themselves.
“We’re ready,” the orange, rectangularly-curved Little Miss with long, brunette hair known as Calamity called out, giving the thumbs up to Miss Whoops.
The blue Little Miss winked before she eyed the machine before her carefully, scratching her head before adjusting her glasses.
“Now how did this work again?” She murmured to herself. “Oh, yeah!”
Without another thought, she jabbed a bright, red button in the center of the control panel.
In a split second, the scaffold dropped, its passengers screaming in terror as it began sliding down the tall, lengthy building at rapid speed.
“Whoops...” The Little Miss of such a name muttered before she pressed another button.
The scaffold came to an immediate halt, shaking abruptly as its passengers clung to it feverishly.
Mr. Bump panted heavily, feeling the bandages about fall right off his body as he gazed down at the street below them. They were still excruciatingly high.
Miss Calamity moaned, feeling quite dizzy after the impact.
“What a calamity...” She held back the urge to spew her lunch as she rubbed her aching head.
The blue Mr. Man slowly stood back up on his still shaking legs as he broke his gaze away from the terrifying sight.
“W-well...” He gulped. “Let’s clean those windows.”
The brunette Little Miss nodded before handing him a squeegee and the two proceeded their work.
Back on the rooftop, Miss Whoops still had trouble, shifting her eyes from the manual back to the controls.
“So I press this one?” She questioned herself, carelessly pressing another button without her notice.
What the self-proclaimed ‘professional’ didn’t realize was that the button was responsible for allowing the scaffold to re-fold after usage...
Mr. Bump screamed as the platform began to shift in motion, shaking and wriggling, nearly throwing him and Miss Calamity right off the 100th floor.
“Oh my!” Miss Calamity wailed, clinging to the rails for dear life as all their tools and supplies spilled out. “What a calamity! What a calamity!”
“Miss Whoops!” Mr. Bump shouted, grasping to the side of the scaffold. “Turn it off!”
His sister broke concentration away from her manual at the sound of his voice. She peered down at the workers below and her eyes widened.
“Whoops!” She cried before she reached over and pressed whatever button she hoped her gut told her was the right one.
Fortunately, the next one she pressed brought the scaffold to an abrupt stop.
Unfortunately, while Miss Calamity was able to continue clinging to the rail, the sudden motion threw Mr. Bump right off the platform.
“Mr. Bump!” Miss Calamity cried as her friend began plummeting.
“Oh, poopity-poop!” The blue Mr. Man shrieked, his bandages fluttering across his body as the speed of wind continuously hit him as he was falling down.
Twilight’s ears perked up at the sound of someone screaming. She immediately looked up and her eyes widened in horror as she witnessed another citizen falling straight down from one of the higher buildings of Dillydale right in front of where she stood.
“Twilight?” Rocky questioned, wondering what was bothering the former unicorn. She and the others quickly looked in her direction and were just horrified.
“He’s going to crash!” Pinkie Pie cried.
“We need someone to fly up there and catch him!” Florentine exclaimed.
The word ‘fly’ rang in Twilight’s ears as the newest princess took immediate sight of her wings which wriggled with anticipation. She bit her lip, feelings of doubt nearly entrapping her will to extend them.
That poor guy needed help and fast. And while Twilight was nothing as of close to her ‘speed of light’ friend Rainbow Dash, she could fly fast.
Twilight stood her ground, hooves splayed out in front of her, wings outstretched like a plane’s stabilizers.
In one swift motion, she took off.
She nearly stumbled but she quickly got the hang of it and soared up, scaling the side of the building in which the victim was plummeting from.
Mr. Bump’s was nearly losing his breath from all the screaming, but it was all he could do to try and distract himself from the fact he was going to hit face-first into asphalt. It wasn’t the first time...
Twilight gasped, and she furiously flapped her wings to gain more speed, praying to all things good and honorable that she would make it and save him.
“Please, don’t worry!” She begged aloud, violet eyes nearly seeping tears as wind rushed past her face, nearly blowing her teeth right off as she gritted them with determination. It hurt, but she did her best to ignore it.
Mr. Bump’s screaming ceased for the moment, wondering who on Earth he had just heard. Surely, no one else had fallen off the building as well-
“Huh?” The Mr. Men’s eyes widened in surprise when a winged pony, an expression of both fear and dire hope clear across her face, flew at him.
Mr. Bump just gazed at her in confusion. And fascination.
True, his city had visitors from time to time. Some were pale-skinned, some were animals in clothing, others basically just lost and desperate to get the hey out of here. So when he saw a pony heading straight for him, the only thing that mesmerized him was her wings. What did they call those kinds of ponies, again? Oh, yeah, pegasus...
Well, Mr. Bump couldn’t call her a pegasus on account of the horn that was completely noticeable atop her head; he had no idea what such ‘horned and winged’ creatures were referred to. All he could think of was that she was a unicorn with wings.
But despite unable to figure out such a name, the blue Mr. Man was completely awed by such a sight.
She looked so majestic, so incredibly fascinating...
So out of control as her expression turned from concern to horror as she tried to halt herself in mid-air, her wings becoming crooked from her lack of guiding them.
“Oh, dear!” She cried as her fore-hooves flailed.
Mr. Bump’s serene thoughts immediately vanished before he realized he was falling and that the pony with both wings a horn wasn’t going to make it any better.
“Look out!” He cried, but it was too late.
“Twilight!” Rocky cried as she and her friends, followed by a few citizens, witnessed the terrible outcome.
Mr. Bump let out a groan, rubbing his head after the impact he received. Thank goodness it wasn’t her horn...
He suddenly realized that he wasn’t plummeting downwards, more like sideways as the wind struck his backside...as well as feathers?
He gazed down and gasped as he finally noticed the flying being’s head lying across his chest. She was completely knocked out from the collision.
“Oh, no!” Mr. Bump cried, not realizing his arms were wrapped around her neck as her unconscious body continued pressing against him. “Hey...hey...!” Despite falling in a different direction, he tried his best to awaken her.
It was no use, she was completely out. Mr. Bump, unable to do anything else, let out another terrified scream, knowing both him and his supposed heroine were going to crash.
Clinging to her protectively as best he could, Mr. Bump’s eyes shut tightly as he continued screaming, knowing they were near hard asphalt.
They landed...but it was definitely not hard asphalt.
Mr. Bump’s weight shook a bit, pressing further against the unconscious form he held before he quickly opened his eyes.
Beneath them was a giant mattress.
“Whoa, hey!” He turned around and took sight of a red-skinned Mr. Man with an upside-down triangular physique.
“Mr. Strong!” Mr. Bump exclaimed happily. Thank goodness he was on mattress-delivering duty for the week!
“Are you alright, Mr. Bump?” Mr. Strong asked worriedly. “And...” His eyes fell on the winged pony Mr. Bump still held protectively to. “Is she alright?”
“Oh, uh...” Mr. Bump felt a bit embarrassed at how long he held her, hands unable to leave her neck as his concern grew. She still wasn’t waking up.
“Twilight!” Three new voices he never heard before shouted.
Both he and Mr. Strong turned and took notice of three newcomers: another pony, though no wings and especially no horn; a little girl of a supposed differed ethnicity; and another little girl who was of a supposed differed species.
“Twilight!” Rocky cried. “Is she...is she okay?”
Mr. Bump quickly realized that she was referring to the pony in his arms and he turned his attention back to her. He nearly flinched when she began to stir.
“Miss!” He exclaimed, feeling relieved. “Miss, can you hear me?”
Twilight did her best to fully-regain consciousness as she tried to open her eyes. She was able to crack them a bit, though her vision was blurry, the light of day enhancing such pain she was feeling after the impact. Her wings ached, and her head was throbbing with agonistic pressure from the crash.
However, for a few moments, her vision cleared. And she temporarily took sight of the person she had tried to rescue.
Wide, concerned eyes gazed into hers. Wrapped in bandages was the most astounding variation of blue skin she had seen, like mixing midnight with the ocean. Blue was such a favored color of hers...True, Mr. Grumpy himself was colored blue, but she most definitely favored the variation this guy possessed.
“Don’t worry...” His voiced echoed as her hearing began to fade due to her consciousness dropping once more.
The way he looked at her, Twilight did her best to at least crack a smile, assuring him she was alright and that it was he who should be fussed over.
However, her smile slowly faded as darkness claimed her once more. The last thing she heard was a frantic ‘Please be alright!’ from him before she finally blacked out.