It all began on a sunny afternoon.
A pale colt strutted through the town of Ponyville. He had about him an air of absolutes smugness. He tilted his head back, taking a pompous pride in his pompadour. All around, fillies gazed at him, with wide eyes and open mouths, simply awestruck by the way his furry coat seemed to magically sparkle in the warm sunlight.
At least he liked to think they were looks of awe.
It would've shattered his fragile ego if he found out that the ponies staring at him were really asking themselves why that idiot covered himself with sequins.
In the local library, Twilight Sparkle was amusing herself with a Jeeves and Wooster novel to while away the last hour of work, before the library's closing time.
The door opened and the sparkly colt trotted in.
"Hello my dear." He said, in a smooth voice, tilting his head back, so that he could smile down his nose, at the lovely purple filly, "Is this the local library?"
Twilight resisted the urge to tell him that the shelves full of books before his very eyes and the sign outside that read "Library" should have been a dead giveaway. Although it was a very hard urge to resist.
"Yes. I take it you're new in town."
"Yes, my colleges and I have just moved in. I am interested in acquiring a library card. Am I correct in assuming that you are the librarian?"
"Indeed I am," she said as she trotted behind the counter to get the blank library cards "I'm Twilight Sparkle."
"Ah! We have the same first name! Surly it must be a sign!"
Now, she did agree with him on that point. Except while he was implying that it was a sign of the two of them lip-wrestling in the near future, she saw it as a sign of cheesy pick-up lines.
"Can I have your name and address, please?" she said, getting out a pen to fill out the library card information. The sooner she got this business dealt with, the sooner that glimmering fop would leave her alone.
"Of course. My friends and I are residing in the old Princess' Castle. And my name is Twilight Eclipse."
Twilight (Sparkle) looked up, with a raised eyebrow.
"The old Princess castle? The one in the Everfree forest?"
"That's the one. Would you like me to give you a tour?" his eyes looked hopeful.
"No. I just found it strange. What exactly are you doing in that castle?"
"You could say that we work in renovation. We're getting things ready for something truly spectacular."
Twilight (Sparkle) handed Twilight (Eclipse) his new library card.
"I'm sure. Now, is there anything else I can help you with?"
"Oh, I think that'll be all for now, my lavender beauty." He said with a wink.
To smile after hearing such a lame and pretentious line, (as is required in customer service) took every ounce of Twilight (Sparkle)'s acting abilities. In fact if she was voiced by an actress who didn't have Tara Strong's talent she'd be in a spot of bother.
The sparkly one (finally) left.
The purple unicorn returned to her book, safe in the knowledge that she'd soon get over being hit on by such a creep by reading about Bertie Wooster saying a few rounds of "What Ho!"
Unfortunately, her peace and quiet was once again shattered. In fact it was more than just shattered. It was shattered, had the pieces re-gathered and smashed into a fine powder at the sudden entrance Pinkie Pie, an electric pink earth pony with hair that looked like a maroon piece of popcorn.
"Twilight, Twilight, Twilight! Did you seem him? Huh, huh, huh?"
"If you mean the creepy guy, covered in sequins, then yes."
Twilight put her book away. No chance of any peaceful reading once Pinkie was on the scene.
"Oh my gosh, oh my gosh! New neighbours! I've got to throw a welcome party! Can we host it…?"
"Absolutely not!" Twilight snapped "You're not hosting it here!"
"You can make those Bambi eyes all you want Pinkie; you're not hosting the welcome party here!"
When Twilight had first moved to Ponyville, Pinkie had thrown a surprise welcome party for her. Now, at the time of her arrival, Twilight was dealing with something of a crisis and the last thing she needed when she got home was the sight of streamers and party poppers all over her floor when she had work to do. She probably wouldn't have minded if Pinkie had asked permission. Though, that would sort of the defeat the object of a surprise party, as Pinkie would be the first to point out.
But at least Pinkie actually did ask this time.
"But where can I host it?"
"Isn't your own house big enough?"
Pinkie gasped. A big gasp.
"Twilight, you're a genius!" And she dashed out of the library with the energy of someone who's just had a good idea and a very strong cup of coffee.
Closing time came at last to the Ponyville library. Twilight locked the door and put up the "closed" sign before engaging in a little tidying up. There, as always, assisting her with the library housekeeping, was Spike the Magic Dragon; Twilight's number one assistant, study-buddy, coffee-fetcher agony aunt and general dogsbody.
"Hey, Twilight, who was that guy you were talking to earlier? I've never seen him around town before."
Why, Twilight asked herself, did the conversation have to go back to that annoying newbie? You see readers; it's annoying her just as much as it's annoying you.
"Just someone who's working at that old castle in the Everfree forest."
"Oh. Like a builder?"
Twilight (Sparkle) wouldn't have thought so. Whereas Twilight (Eclipse) hit on her with very stupid pick-lines and cheesy pseudo-poetry, a builder probably would have just wolf-whistled, slapped her on the rump and said "Hey babe! What time do you get off work?"
They finished tidying up and sat down with a nice cup of tea. No better way to unwind when the day's work is over. Well there were of course video games but ponies couldn't really handle a control pad due to their lack of fingers.
"So," Spike went on, "I heard Pinkie's throwing a welcome party for the new guys."
"Ugh. I can see it now. That Sparkly unicorn hitting on every filly in the room, Pinkie bouncing all over the place and knocking everybody about on the dance floor. And don't get me started on the chaos that'll take off when Apple Jack brings out her home brew cider!"
They sipped their tea.
"Wouldn't miss it for the world though, would you?"
"Nope. AJ's cider is irresistible!"
That evening, when the sun was setting and Luna was getting ready for work, ponies herded into Sugarcube corner. Disco lights danced all over the room and the loudspeakers filled the air with a catchy 80's dance beat.
Twilight and Spike made their way over to the bar. Luckily they were able to get stools next to a friend of theirs; the rambunctious Rainbow Dash, who was speeding through a measure of vodka.
"Agh yeah!" she said coming up for air, after finishing the drink in one gulp.
"Another one, Rainbow?" the bar man offered.
"You got it! But this time, make it a double!"
The bar pony went about getting Rainbow's drink.
"You know, Vodka isn't the kind of drink you just guzzle down, Rainbow. It's meant to be savoured slowly. Or at least mixed with a soft drink."
"I know, Twilight, but you know me! Extreme! Bending rules and pushing limits!"
Twilight looked over the counter into the refrigerator.
"Hey! Why don't you try mixing some of that energy drink into it?"
Rainbow Dash looked over.
"Red Buffalo? Nah!"
"Why not? I thought that kind of drink would be right up your street."
"Because Red Buffalo is supposed to give you wings! I'm a Pegasus! I already have a pair!"
The unicorn suddenly felt a very strong and powerful urge to smack her hoof into her own forehead. It was too powerful to resist. She face hoofed so hard that the words "© 2011. Made in China." became imprinted on her forehead.
"Dash, it's just a slogan. It's not like that spell I used on Rarity."
"And even if it was," Spike joined in "If you can just about break the sound barrier with two wings, can you imagine how fast you'd fly with four?"
Rainbow's fuchsia eyes were wide saucers looking into a future where she could completely screw over the rules of nature and fly faster than light.
"Oh my gosh, that would be so…awesome! Hey pal! Make it a double vodka with Red Buffalo!"
The bar pony finished serving Rainbow and turned his attention to Twilight.
"Ah there you are! I was hoping you'd show up! Did you know there's actually a drink called Twilight?"
"Cool!" said Spike "You know you've made the big time when they name a beer after you!"
The unicorn felt a flush coming on.
"Actually it's just a coincidence." Said the bar pony "You take half a glass of real ale and top it up with lager. Mixing the two different beers makes a drink called Twilight. Because it's a combination of a dark beer and a light beer. So, would you like a glass?"
"No thanks." said Twilight (the unicorn, not the drink. Then again, that would be pretty obvious, as it's impossible for a glass of alcoholic fluid to talk. Unless you've already had several glasses of the stuff, in which case you should probably call it a night before the bar staff kick you out).
"Apple Jack's treating me to some of her cider later, and I've heard that if you drink both beer and cider, then you get something really sickly called Snake Bite."
"Yeah!" Rainbow Dash joined in "And Twilight has a lifelong fear of snakes! This one time in Appaloosa…!"
Twilight, her face burning red, buried it in her hooves and gave a high pitched moan.
"In Appaloosa, we saw a rattle snake in the road! She begged me to get rid of it…so I threw it in her face!" the Pegasus yelled before bursting into hysterical laughter.
Of course, it was an exaggeration. Rainbow did throw a snake in Twilight's face, but it was actually a harmless, non-venomous grass snake she'd brought along from Ponyville.
Come on now, did you really think Rainbow would pick up a deadly poisonous rattle snake and throw it in some pony's face? If she did, the snake would have bitten her before she could scare the living daylights out of bookish fillies.
"So, you're on the cider tonight?" the bar pony asked, after Rainbow felt the buzz of the Red Buffalo and was showing off on the dance floor.
"Yes please." Said Twilight, still a bit red.
"Here you go. And for you, Spike?"
"Can I try a glass of that drink called Twi…"
"Just a soda for him." Twilight interrupted handing over the correct money.
"Aw, come on!"
"No booze for you, young man! You're the designated driver!"
"We walked here."
"You still need to make sure we both get home alright."
"We live right next door."
"Spike, you can't drink until you're a young adult!"
At this point, Spike gave up. It didn't matter what kind of argument he threw at her, Twilight was just going to keep moving the goal posts.
The two left the bar to mingle with the other guests.
"You know it's funny." Said Spike. "I don't see Eclipse or those other two guys anywhere."
"That's a good point." Said Twilight "The sun's just gone down and they're still nowhere to be found."
In China, they have a saying- Speak of Cao Cao and he appears. You can see the similarity to our own "Speak of the Devil". The reason I bring up this rather useless piece of trivia is because either variation would have been appropriate at that exact moment, for Twilight Eclipse, his pompadour smelling to high heaven of hairspray, trotted into the building. But at least he wasn't sparkling anymore. It seemed he'd got the hint about the sequins. He was followed by two similarly pale, but larger and significantly less smug looking ponies. One, the biggest of the three was a huge, powerful looking Pegasus with a dark brown mane and eyes that seemed to be stuck in "frown" mode. The other was an earth pony with just about the most obviously bleached mane anyone had ether seen, which was styled back by what must have been an unimaginable amount of hair gel.
Twilight Sparkle watched as Pinkie bounced over to the three. Twilight Eclipse put on his smug face and, judging by the way Pinkie was laughing more hysterically than usual, tried a few pick up lines. The blonde earth pony that came with him just rolled his eyes.
Once Pinkie bounced away, the smug male unicorn spotted our dogged heroine.
Oh crap, he's seen me! She though to herself as he smugly trotted towards her.
"Well, well, well! We meet again, Miss Sparkle!"
"Might I say, you look simply stunning tonight?"
You just did, jackass.
Spike stepped out from behind Twilight (Sparkle). Twilight (Eclipse) yelled and hopped back.
"Agh! A Dragon!"
"Aw, you say that like it's a bad thing!" Spike laughed.
Seeing a safe heaven from being hit on by creepy newcomers, Twilight wrapped a foreleg around the dragon.
"Oh, you haven't been introduced! Eclipse, this is Spike!"
"Ah ha!" said the male unicorn, looking uncomfortably at the dragon "This is uncanny! We two Twilights now have two Spikes! Like a bull!"
Bulls don't have spikes, they have horns, you moron.
"As it happens, one of my associates is also called Spike!"
"Small world, huh?"
"So…um…is he your...um…"
Twilight's other foreleg wrapped around the increasing uncomfortable dragon.
"Oh, you know, friend, workmate, bodyguard, housemate, platonic life partner! The usual things!"
She gave Spike a huge kiss on the cheek. The look on Spike's face indicated that his brain had just exploded.
"I, um, see…" said Twilight (Eclipse) "Anyway, I'd better go and mingle. I'll, um…see you later!"
"Bye, bye!" Twilight (Sparkle) called, waving with one hoof, and cuddling the completely baffled Spike with the other. When the foppish unicorn was out of sight, she sighed with relief.
"What the heck was all that about?" Spike snapped, once he recovered from the shock.
"I'm sorry, Spike." She said, with utmost sincerity, "It's just that something about Eclipse just creeps me out. As long as you're around, he probably won't come anywhere near me."
The dragon just rolled his eyes.
"You know, Twi, you're not exactly the best judge of character. Remember when Pinkie told you what a colossal jerk Gilda was, and you automatically assumed that Pinkie was the one behaving badly?"
"In my defence, all I knew about the situation was Pinkie's strangely sugar-coated portrayal of events. All she told me was that Gilda was a meanie who popped her balloons. If she mentioned that the balloons in question happened to be holding her fifty feet in the air, when Gilda popped them, I might have been a bit more sympathetic."
"What about when we first moved her? You thought all the ponies here were crazy. Then those very same crazy ponies saved your tail several times and you ended up as superheroes for the night."
Twilight sighed and looked at her hoofs.
"I know. I've learned my lesson. But it isn't just that he gets on my nerves. There's something else about him. A sort of…well, a darkness."
"I think you've just been reading too many horror novels. Anyway, we're at a party! A Pinkie Pie party for that matter! Let's have some fun!"
Twilight's smile returned.
"You're right. We're here to enjoy ourselves. Come on! Let's dance!"
"Together? But what if Rarity sees us?"
"She'll see how good you are and might ask you for the next dance."
Spike's, red, grinning face was a telltale sign that this thought was very pleasing to him.
The party went on. Spike had just gone to the bathroom, so Twilight went to talk with Pinkie for a while. Luckily, the three newcomers were all sitting around a table, in conversation. What Twilight found strange was that they hardly touched any of the party food. Though, all three seemed to be eying the girls up. The huge Pegasus seemed to keep his eye trailing Fluttershy as she joined Rainbow Dash at the bar. It was sort of understandable. Fluttershy was after all, a very good looking Pegasus, at least by Equestrian standards. Pinkie was giving a monologue about how corn flakes look like badgers when all of a sudden, a very pale and uninteresting looking earth pony with a wide forehead pushed in between them.
"You two. You seem to know everyone here. Who are those three?" she pointed a hoof at the three pale newcomers.
"Not to be rude or anything, Sulky, but we were in the middle of…"
"Oh Twilight! Don't be such a grump!" said Pinkie ruffling her purple mane, playfully. Then she put a foreleg around the pale pony, whose name was Sulky Swan.
"Why are you touching me?"
"Oops! Sorry!" Pinkie removed her foreleg.
There was a pause.
"I didn't say take it off."
Typical of Sulky, she was on an endless crusade for stuff to be bitchy about, or in this case, loving the attention while pretending to hate it. She was unique among ponies in that her special talent was brooding, rather than something cool, like Fluttershy's empathy with animals, or finding jewels like Rarity.
Brooding, moping and sulking were her forte and that was why she had a frowny face for her cutie mark, or 'rump markings', as we call them in England.
Pinkie pointed to the table. Her hoof first indicated the Pegasus.
"The big guy is Fallen Angel. The blonde is Punch Spike."
Her hoof moved over again, to the foppish unicorn.
"And that, is Twilight Eclipse."
"Weird names." Said Sulky "The names grandparents have."
"Nah!" said Pinkie "They sound more like the names internet users have!"
Twilight (Sparkle) just laughed and went to find Spike, since Pinkie was just being Pinkie.
The evening passed and at long last, it was time to end the night. Twilight Eclipse, Fallen Angel and Punch Spike thanked Pinkie for the party and left just before the bar had closed. The bar pony had offered them one last drink but they declined. Punch Spike said something about getting a nightcap on the way home. Slowly but surely, ponies left the premises until only seven ponies and the dragon were left.
Apple Jack was helping the seventh pony, a portly and incredibly drunken horse (who somehow managed to hijack her precious cowboy hat) to the door. It was the least she could do. He bought so much of her home brew cider that Apple Jack had made enough money to buy a new plough, from this one customer.
His foreleg was wrapped around her broad shoulders as she led him to the door.
"You…are one fiiine lookin' filly, AJ…*burp*…If I wasn't…*hic* married and was ten…*hic* years younger, I'd…um…court you like that!"
Apple Jack just laughed. He was one of her family orchard's best customers, (his favourite product being quite obvious at the moment).
"That you kindly Beer Belly! Ah just hope the misses knows how lucky she is!"
"Oh! What have I…*burp* done!" he wailed bringing a hoof over his eyes "I've…*hic* been unfaithful to my wife! Please don't *hic* tell her!"
Apple Jack could hardly keep a straight face. It took all of her friend's willpower to stop themselves laughing too.
"Ah'll keep your secret, honey. As long as you give me my hat back."
Beer Belly picked up the hat, looked at it longingly and gave it a good-bye kiss.
"Farewell dear friend! You're lucky to be able to sit on the mane of a girl like her."
He placed in on the orange filly's head and left. Apple Jack waved goodbye then rejoined her friends.
"Well, now that that's out o'the way, what next?"
Spike was snoring into the table. A giggling Twilight picked him up and arched him over her back.
"I've got to go put my bodyguard here to bed. But after that, how about we all watch a movie?"
"Aw yeah!" said Rainbow Dash "Let's do an all-nighter!"
Rarity, the white unicorn gave an elegant yawn. "I'm afraid I'll have to decline. I'm simply exhausted."
"Id', um, rather just go bed too. Well, if that's okay with everybody." said Fluttershy in a quiet voice.
"Boy, you guys are real lightweights!" said Rainbow "I'm not even tired!"
"I'm not surprised with all the vodka red buffalos you've had tonight."
"Hey, you're the one who introduced me to it, Twilight. So it's really more your fault than it is mine!"
It was then decided that they'd do a double sleepover. Rarity and Fluttershy would stay with Pinkie at Sugarcube corner, while Rainbow and Apple Jack watched movies at the library with Twilight.
"Help!" a loud scream tore through the air. The six horses turned and Spike shot awake. More screaming sent shocks along the girl's bodies.
"That's Beer Belly!"
Apple Jack raced out of the door and Twilight followed hot foot.
"You guys wait here!" Rainbow said to the others before, zipping out to face the danger. The three stopped.
Their eyes bulged out of their sockets and their blood turned to ice at what they saw.