Part 1: Twilight Sparkle
The cup slowly rose into the musky air, surrounded by an aura of shimmering magical energies, fizzing bright purple like a carefully controlled firework. Twilight Sparkle kept her gaze fixed on the object, carefully lifting it higher and higher, the glow from her horn gently caressing the magical eddies that surrounded it.
"Carefully, carefully..." she whispered, quickly flicking through to the next page in her spell book and reading the incantations by the light of a nearby candle. "This time I've got it "
The cup exploded in a shower of porcelain and sparks. Twilight ducked, giving a scream of shock and frustration as several shards flew towards her, embedding themselves in the wall. The door flew open and a very grumpy small dragon marched in.
"Twilight!" Spike hissed, clutching a blanket to himself defensively. "It's gone midnight, can't you give it a rest, I'm trying to sleep." He blinked his weary eyes. "I'm sure all this studying can't be good for you and wait, is that ALL the crockery?"
Twilight stared back at Spike, wild-eyed amongst a sea of broken kitchenware. "It doesn't matter Spike! I'm so close! I just need to perfect the spell to turn a mug into a slug!" She gently prodded a broken handle. "Once I can do that, I'm one step closer to turning a jar into a car! I owe it to Princess Celestia to be the best in all Equestria at magic!"
Spike stood motionless for a moment, before slowly shaking his head. "Yeah Twilight, whatever. You're cleaning all this up remember. Just... don't overdo it, okay?"
As her faithful assistant left the room, Twilight was once more left alone by the light of a flickering candle. "Silly Spike" she whispered to herself, scrabbling to find the correct page in her book. "Now, where was I...?"
Twilight gently blinked open her eyes as the first rays of dawn broke through the window pane. She rolled over, snuggling her head into the pillow. "Mmm" she grinned. "Another day, another chance to learn more about magic!"
Stretching her hooves, she slowly rose to greet the dawn. But something was wrong. She felt oddly... lightheaded.
With a mounting sense of dread, Twilight clapped her hooves to her forehead. It was smooth.
Lying on her pillow was her horn, shrivelled and black.
Twilight's stomach turned upside down and churned. Her legs almost collapsed beneath her as she stared in dumbfounded horror. It had to be a joke. Or poison oak. Or a trick. Or...
She did the only thing she could think of. She started to cry.
"Okay girls..." Spike took a deep breath and got ready to open the door to Twilight's bedroom. "She's not in a great way but I think it'll do her good to see some friends. Now..." he leaned in towards the ponies that had gathered on the landing and started to whisper conspiratorially. "I'm not sure what happened but she probably messed up a spell or something..."
From inside the room there was a shrill shriek. "I did NOT mess up a spell!"
Spike winced as if expecting to be struck by an invisible brick, but then slowly straightened up. "Sure Twi, sure!" he shouted back. And then he opened the door.
Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rarity and Rainbow Dash slowly shuffled into the darkened room, unsure of what they would find. Twilight sat in bed, her face etched into a permanent display of misery. On her forehead was crudely taped a blackened horn.
"Oh Sugarcube!" Applejack's face fell in sorrow. "Did you mess up a spell again?"
Fluttershy moved in, her heart bursting with compassion, shaking her head sadly. "You're always messing up spells Twilight."
Twilight glared at her friends. "Than- wait, no! I've never messed up any spell! Name one! Where did I get this reputation from?"
Her friends stared back at her in silence. Then Rainbow Dash piped up. "Well, I guess it's kinda the sort of thing you'd do..."
"No no no." This time it was Rarity who spoke. "It's not Twilight messing up a spell. I'm afraid it's horn rot." She looked at Twilight with her big round eyes, tinged with sadness. "Oh Twilight, did they never teach you safe hex?"
"Horn... WHAT?" Twilight's mouth hung open. "Rarity what ARE you talking about?"
Rarity sighed. "Fillies these days... If a unicorn uses too much magic, staying out all night and binging on spells and curses, then their horn can rot and fall off."
Twilight's pupils shrunk and she pulled the bed sheets up as if to protect herself from this awful truth. "Nopony ever told ME!" she squeaked. "C-can anything be done?"
"Oh of course!" Rarity replied.
Twilight's face brightened in hope.
"You could always go for a strap on. They're quite the fashion accessory for the magic-less unicorn!"
Twilight's face crumpled, tears welling at the corner of her eyes. "No! No! I'm Princess Celestia's star pupil! I can't be without my magic, it's all I've got! It's what makes me me!"
Rainbow Dash moved in for a hug. "Don't be silly Twilight, we're still your friends and I'm sure Princess Celestia will understand..."
Twilight pulled back, a snarl on her face. "No! I'm not giving up so easily! There must be some way to get my magic back! Some ancient tome of forgotten secrets! I can't be without magic, what sort of useless pony would I be then?" She paused. "Not that you're all useless of course..."
An awkward silence followed.
"Applejack! Rainbow Dash! Come quick! I've got my magic back!"
Applejack jerked her head around to stare at the door to the library. Twilight's head bobbed out of it excitedly, a world away from the pit of misery and despair she had been in. Applejack gave a sly smile to Rainbow Dash. "See, ah said it wouldn't take her long to get better!"
The two ponies trotted inside to meet their friend. Twilight was bobbing about enthusiastically, rooting through a large wooden chest. She popped her head up, revealing a large purple paper horn stuck to her head in place of her shrivelled black one. "Look!" she chirped, holding up a battered book with her hooves. "I found this book! It means I can do magic again and still be Princess Celestia's star pupil!"
Applejack stared at the book cover. It read "101 Party Tricks To Impress Your Friends!" She narrowed her eyes. "Ah don't think..." she began slowly, but there was no stopping Twilight's exuberance.
"Rainbow, sit here!" She pushed some chairs in front of a table. "Applejack, you here. Now I'll show you my magic! I've still got it!" Twilight began to clumsily shuffle a pack of cards and held them out in front of Rainbow Dash. "Take a card, any card!"
Rainbow Dash stared at the fan of cards as if it were a live snake, and then slowly pulled up a card. On the underside was a large number four and a diamond. "It's..."
"No no, don't tell me!" Twilight placed a hoof on her head and concentrated hard. "Your card... your card is the six of clubs!"
Rainbow Dash sat shell shocked before breaking out into a grin, hiding the card. "Well done Twilight, you did it!"
Twilight's grin matched Rainbow Dash's. "Yes! I knew I could! I'm still the most magical pony in Ponyville! I'm still Princess Celestia's favourite! I still have self-worth! I'm still-"
"Wait a darned cotton pickin' minute!" Applejack snatched the card away from Rainbow Dash's hoof and glared at it. The colour drained from Rainbow Dash's face as she quickly shook her head. "Now look at that! Rainbow Dash only went an' got it wrong Twilight! This ain't the six of clubs!"
Rainbow Dash tried to grab the card back. "Yes it is!"
Applejack shook her head, completely missing the point in her quest for the truth. "No it ain't Rainbow, can't you count? See Twilight, see?" She held up the card to a crestfallen Twilight. "Rainbow gone read it wrong an'..." She trailed off as Twilight began to cry. "Ohhhhh..."
Twilight sunk to her haunches, her paper horn peeling from her head. Applejack slowly moved in to comfort her friend. "Don't worry Twilight. It ain't your magic who makes you what you are, it's you. Ponies ain't gonna stop liking or respecting you just 'cos you can't do fancy stuff no more. The Princess will still be your friend even if you can't do spells. You got your health, an' that's what matters!"
Twilight slowly sniffled, rising to her feet. "You know what Applejack..." she said softly. "You're right. I'm more than my magic, that was just a small part of the larger whole that is Twilight Sparkle! I can still help my friends and the Princess even without my magic. Spike!" she clopped her hooves together with newfound vigour. "Take a letter to the Princess!"
Obediently, Spike began to write.
Dear Princess Celestia.
Yesterday, a terrible thing happened. I lost my horn to horn rot. I lost my magic, but worst of all, I lost my self-respect. I thought that my magic was what defined me, but what really defines a pony is the friends they keep and how they act when all seems lost. Real friends are there for you because of who you are, not what you can do.
Your faithful student,
With a puff of magical energy, Spike sent the letter hurtling to its destination. Barely moments later, he coughed out a reply.
Dear Twilight Sparkle,
I am saddened to hear of your loss, you were such a gifted student, but I promise you will always remain dear in my heart. Do not worry I will take swift action to remedy your situation.
Twilight's eyes brimmed over. Rainbow Dash and Applejack both gave her a hug. "See!" Applejack smiled. "The Princess still loves you Twilight! And she says she's gonna help!" Twilight just nodded in reply.
With a clatter, Spike staggered back, choking as a large box materialised from his throat, a note attached to the top. "I-it's for you Twilight!" he croaked out.
Twilight looked at the box in wonderment, slowly unfurling the note. "It's from the palace..." she whispered. "Princess Celestia sure moves fast! I wonder what solution she's found?" Applejack and Rainbow Dash leaned over Twilight's shoulder, eager to read the note.
Dear Ms Sparkle,
It has come to our attention that you are unable to practise magic and as such are ineligible to continue to receive your lodgings and bursary from Celestia's School For Gifted Unicorns. You have 24 hours to vacate your premises. Please ensure that your assistant is placed back in his original packaging and returned to Canterlot. A stamped addressed parcel is enclosed for your convenience.
Chief Administrative Officer
As Twilight gape at the note, Spike rooted about in the box, lifting out several large pieces of eggshell. "Hey Twilight!" he called quizzically. "What do you want me to do with this?"
Twilight just continued to stare. Finally, she spoke.
Part 2: Rarity
"Oh that poor Twilight! Losing her horn and her magic and her house AND Spike!" Rairty sighed to herself, surrounded by a multitude of threads, scissors and needles that floated in a magical aura next to her head in an expert blaze of sorcerous sewing. "Still, this hat I'm making is sure to cheer her up!"
Sweetie Belle blinked at her big sister in confusion. "I don't understand. How will a hat make her better?"
She jumped back as Rarity turned around and almost snapped the little filly's head off. "It just will, Sweetie Belle. That's how it works. Nice clothes make everything better. Now, hooves off!" Shame-faced, Sweetie Belle dropped the bolt of fabric she had been playing with.
"But Rarity..." Sweetie Belle whispered. "What if I get horn rot?" Her large round eyes trembled. "I don't want to have to go crazy too!"
Rarity just shook her head and gave Sweetie Belle a nuzzle. "Don't worry Sweetie. Only unicorns that abuse their magic get horn rot. We're sensible unicorns who have been brought up correctly. Now!" she coughed. "Once I get this hat made, I've got to finish ten dresses for a large Canterlot order. And no..." she fixed Sweetie Belle with a stern gaze. "You can't help me, maybe when you're older. Go to bed."
As Sweetie Belle slunk upstairs, Rarity sighed, concentrating hard to carefully finish the crocheted horn which rested upon the top of the hat. "Superb, Rarity, superb!" she smiled to herself. "What a talented pony you are!"
Rarity awoke with a start, realising that she'd fallen asleep at the sewing machine. The material that was to form one of the dresses for her Canterlot order was now coated with drool. "Ew" she muttered, reaching out to magically lift a brush to wipe off the offending marks.
Wide eyed, Rarity turned sideways to stare straight into a full length mirror. Her horn was still on her head but it had turned black. "No!" she gasped, her throat drying up. "No, I was so careful! I just had to work hard to finish this order, I didn't mean to..." She gingerly tapped the horn. It fell off with a clatter.
Rarity shook her head, her heart starting to thump in her chest as it welled with panic. "No no no, this won't do at all!" Around her was scattered the beginnings of ten dresses that had to be finished fast. Without magic there was only one choice - she had to do it by hoof!
"Horn rot!" Sweetie Belle squeaked in horror, as she clasped her hooves to her mouth in shock and then quickly touched her head to make sure her own horn was still attached. She had happily trotted downstairs for breakfast to be greeted by the scene of her hornless bedraggled sister clutching a tattered piece of cloth and struggling to open a pair of scissors with her mouth.
"I... I can't do it without magic!" Rarity croaked, holding up a crudely stitched together loop of material.
"Um...." Sweetie Belle paused, thinking for a moment. "But that's a nice belt Rarity.
"It's a SOCK! It's supposed to be a SOCK!" Rarity leapt forwards to shake Sweetie Belle wildly. "How am I supposed to gently and expertly stitch beautiful garments with these marshmallows!" She held up her hooves in resignation. "I need magic. I need help." Slowly, she smiled invitingly at Sweetie Belle. "Say Sweetie Belle. How would you like you help your big sister?"
Sweetie Belle beamed proudly. This was the moment she'd been waiting for all her life. "Sure Rarity! I'll do anything!"
"Why these dresses are magnificent!" Hoity Toity dropped his shades to look over the craftsmanship. "You have really excelled yourself my dear! And using such an unusual technique too! It's genius!"
Rarity beamed proudly, nodding her head. "It's as they say Hoity Toity. There are no problems, only solutions!"
"Can I come down now?" Sweetie Belle squeaked. She was covered in duct tape, which looped around her body to bind her tightly to Rarity's head like a hat, her little horn in roughly the same position that Rarity's had been.
"Not yet Sweetie." Rarity tugged on a string that she had tied to Sweetie Belle's horn. A glow of magic lifted up a pair of scissors. "We have twenty more dresses to make this week for Mr Toity! And then two dozen hats for the Equestrian Civic Society. You did say you want to help, didn't you?"
Sweetie Belle sighed in resignation. "I guess..." She was sure Rarity would let her down at some point.
"Oh Sweetie Belle!" Rarity smiled. "I can see this as the beginning of a beautiful partnership. Forever and ever and ever!"
Part 3: Rainbow Dash
"One hundred Sonic Rainbooms? Really?" Twilight Sparkle peered up at the sky as blast after blast of rainbow energy filled the air, holding her hooves over her crocheted horn hat to block the light that threatened to blind her.
"It's a bit... vulgar" Rarity searched for the right words to be polite before giving up. There was a squeak of agreement from atop her head as Sweetie Belle craned her neck to try to see what was going on. Rarity gave Sweetie Belle a little tap on the head. "Go back to sleep Sweetie, it isn't sewing time!"
Twilight opened her mouth to say something, but then thought better of it, instead steering the subject back on course. "I mean, the first time was kinda cool, but after one hundred it's a bit... samey?"
Fluttershy glared at Twilight. "Oh no Twilight, I think it's wonderful! Go Dash go!" She clopped her hooves together as Rainbow Dash finally finished filling the sky with rainbows and gracefully landed on the grass in front of her friends.
"Did you see that?" Rainbow Dash squeaked in glee. "One hundred Sonic Rainbooms! That's one hundred times better than one Sonic Rainboom! I've got the magic touch!" She smirked, and then coughed apologetically in the direction of Twilight and Rarity. "Uh, I mean the pegasus touch..."
Twilight just rolled her eyes. "It's quality not quantity Rainbow. Like that week you went around saying everything was 'twenty percent cooler'. It just got annoying!"
"Twenty percent more annoying!" Rarity agreed. "Now Rainbow, that was all well and nice, but did you remember to tape your wings on before you did all that Rainbooming?"
Fluttershy rolled her eyes at Rarity. "Don't be silly Rarity, of course Rainbow Dash taped her wings on. Why wouldn't she?" Rainbow Dash just screwed up her face in confusion.
"Wait what?" Rainbow Dash looked between her three friends in puzzlement. "What they hay are you going on about?"
Three sets of mouths gaped open in shock before her. Twilight was the first to speak. "Y-you mean you don't tape your wings on before you go flying? What if they fall off?"
Rainbow Dash snorted. "Don't be ridiculous Twilight! That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Wings don't fall off if you don't tape them on!"
Fluttershy lifted up her wings to reveal a strip of duct tape across each one. "Yes they do Rainbow!" she gasped. "Every pony knows that!"
Sweetie Belle squeaked from on top of Rarity's head. "It's true! Even I know that! If a pegasus doesn't tape their wings on before they go flying, their wings could fall off!"
Rainbow Dash stomped her hoof in annoyance. "Come on girls! That's untrue and rather tasteless! Wings don't fall off! Look!" She flapped a wing in proof.
It fell off.
Taking a step backwards in shock, Rainbow Dash looked around in horror. "Nononono! My wing! At least..."
Her other wing fell off.
Rainbow Dash stood stock still, mortified. "But... what... that's not fair! I didn't know!" She glared at Twilight. "This is your fault Twilight! You messed up a spell didn't you?" she levelled accusingly.
Twilight rolled her eyes and pointed to the missing horn on her head. Rainbow Dash blushed.
"Rainbow Dash! That was brilliant!" From the sky swept a fiery yellow Pegasus clad in a blue uniform. It was Spitfire, the captain of the elite flying team the Wonderbolts. "One hundred Sonic Rainbooms, I counted them all! Incredible!" Spitfire landed beside Rainbow Dash. "Rainbow, for that incredible feat I would like to offer you a place in the Wonderbolts..."
She trailed off as she took in the two blue wings that lay on the ground beside Rainbow Dash. "Oh. Right. Wow. Awkward. You didn't do the tape thing, eh?" She flapped her wings to show a strip of duct tape on the underside of each of them.
Rainbow Dash's eyes watered and her mouth began to tremble. A silence descended upon the gathered ponies. Spitfire took a slow step back. "Well, I've got to fly I guess..." She trailed off again.
Rainbow Dash raised a quivering head towards Spitfire, trying to fight back the tears. "C-can I still b-be a W-won-"
"No." Spitfire cut Rainbow Dash off. "Let's stop that line of thinking right now. Goodness, is that the time?" Forcing her mouth into a smile, she quickly took off as fast as physically possible.
Rainbow Dash sunk to her haunches, a guttural sob echoing through her body, resting her head in her hooves as she lost herself to tears. "Oh Celestia! My wings! My beautiful wings!"
Twilight moved to hug Rainbow Dash. "Oh Rainbow" she smiled softly. "Remember what you told me? Stuff like magic and flying is just external. It's what's on the inside that really matters!"
Rainbow Dash slapped Twilight's hoof away. "Yeah, but this is different Twilight. This is about ME! Rainbow Dash! How can I be the best pony if I can't fly?"
Rolling onto her back, Rainbow Dash hugged her fallen wings and wept.
Rainbow Dash stood atop the rocky outcrop as lightning flashed overhead. On her back were tied two large leaves which flapped helplessly in the wind.
She looked down, gulping. "I'm nothing without my wings!" she called out to the elements. "The other ponies don't understand, but if I can't fly, I'd rather die! One last Sonic Rainboom!"
Leaning forwards, Rainbow Dash let herself tumble off the rocks, surrendering herself to the elements as her false wings tore themselves from her back as she fell.
"Ouch!" Rainbow Dash landed upside down on her head, the craggy top of the rocks an entire metre above her.
"Wow Rainbow Dash. I thought you were cool..." Rainbow Dash scrambled to her feet to be met with the sight of Scootaloo, standing on her scooter shaking her helmeted head in disapproval.
"Oh Scootaloo." Rainbow Dash sunk into the ground, sniffling. "I know, I'm pathetic, a pegasus without wings! I can't teach you to fly. But..." she gulped.
"...Can you teach me how to ride a scooter?"
Part 4: Fluttershy
Fluttershy yawned awake as the sun poured into her cottage. As she rose from her bed, she realised she felt lighter than usual. Something was missing.
Turning around, she noticed two yellow wings still lying on the mattress. She patted her back. It was smooth and wingless.
"Oh well" Fluttershy shrugged, picking up the wings in her mouth and trotting outside to her animal friends. "Angel bunny! I've got some nice new bedding for you!"
Part 5: Applejack
"Ah don't believe you!" Applejack turned to Granny Smith angrily. "That's just made up! Ah've never heard such rubbish before!"
Granny Smith simply tutted in response. "It's true young Applejack! If you talk to boys your legs will fall off!"
With a huff, Applejack strode to the door. "Ah've heard of horn rot an' I've heard of wing rot but ah ain't heard of leg rot. Ah talk to Big Mac every day. An' you were down talkin' to Doctor Whooves last week! You just want to stop me talkin' to Caramel! Well ah ain't fallin' for it!"
Granny Smith shook her head. "Mark my words Applejack! Mark my words!"
Applejack kicked the tree hard. Another shower of apples neatly fell into the baskets placed around the trunk. "Stupid Granny Smith!" she muttered to herself. "Makin' up crazy stuff!"
Applejack smiled as Caramel came into view, bundles of seeds tied to his back. "Just off down the fields Applejack. Wonderful day isn't it?"
With a nod, Applejack flashed a smile back. "Sure is Caramel, sure is!" As Caramel passed, she gave the tree an extra hard buck.
Nothing hit the tree. Something that resembled an orange marshmallow shot into the air in a graceful arc before crashing into the treetops. Applejack froze in alarm, her eyes fixed in disbelief, gazing at the gap where her left hind leg had been.
"...Mah leg! Help! Help" she cried out in panic, wobbling, trying desperately to maintain her balance.
"What's wrong?" Caramel came racing back, his face etched in panic.
"Mah leg fell off!" Appleback replied, hyperventilating. As she did, her right foreleg dropped to the floor. Applejack followed it with a crash.
"Applejack!" Caramel gasped out in horror at the two-legged Applejack which lay at the base of the tree.
Applejack looked up in alarm. "No Caramel! Ah can't talk to you! Mah legs will fall off!" At this response, her right hind leg detached and slowly rolled away.
Caramel screeched to a halt, looking about in a fluster. "What, you can't speak to me at all?"
"NO!" Applejack yelled back. Her left foreleg popped off. Applejack sighed in resignation. "Ah horseapples. Ah guess it don't matter no more..."
Big Mac, Caramel, Granny Smith and Apple Bloom all stared down in concern at Applejack. The orange Earth Pony had propped herself against a tree and was continually head-butting it, to little effect.
"Applejack, if y'all just...." Big Mac begun, but Applejack, turned her head angrily, her sausage-like body rolling over at the motion.
"Ah don't need no help! Ah can keep buckin' this orchard on mah own, even without no legs!"
Apple Bloom slowly trotted over to the tree. "No Applejack! We'll all help! That's what family is for!" She gave the tree a little kick. An apple fell from a branch.
Apple Bloom squealed. At the very moment the apple fell, a sparkling aura appeared on her rear and the image of an apple appeared. Her face at once turned from sadness to dazzling joy, and she began to hop about the orchard in happiness.
"Ah got it! Mah cutie mark! Ah got it!"
Granny Smith shook her head sadly. "Oh Apple Bloom. If ya'll show too much pride, your haunches will fall off."
Apple Bloom paused at Granny Smith's words. At that very moment, her haunches neatly fell off, taking her cutie mark with it. She hung her head in shame. "Aw what?!"
Part 6: Pinkie Pie
Mr and Mrs Cake sat at the table, tucking into their hearty dinner of steaming broccoli and swede mash. At the other end sat Pinkie Pie, merrily and noisily tucking into a plate of sugar mice and sherbet dip and chocolate sprinkles.
After several minutes of listening to the noisy munching, Mrs Cake sighed and looked across at Pinkie Pie. "Pinkie dear..." she cooed. "You know we respect your choices, but you can't eat sweets all the time. It's not good for you!"
Mr Cake nodded firmly. "You'll get head rot!"
Pinkie Pie slowly put down a liquorice lace and stared back, puzzled. "Head rot? I've heard of horn rot, and I've heard of wing rot, and I've heard of leg rot that's if Applejack talks to boys but I've not heard of head rot! You're making it up!"
Mrs Cake recoiled at this, taken aback at the accusation of dishonestly. "No Pinkie, if you eat too many sweets your head will fall off! That's just how it is!"
Pinkie Pie returned to munching her sickly hoard thoughtfully. "Oh, I see how it is. I see how it is..."
That night, Pinkie Pie lay in bed, thinking hard about what the Cakes had said. She knew many ponies, and they all liked sweets. They all had heads too! She slipped a Parma Violet into her mouth. "Silly Cakes..." she mumbled sleepily. "Don't know what they're talking about..."
Pinkie Pie awoke with a spring in her hooves as usual. "Time for another day" she chirped. But something was wrong. She felt different somehow, lightheaded. Slowly she patted her chest. Then her neck. Then upwards...
There was nothing there!
Pinkie Pie flailed around helplessly, finally staggering over to her bed, where she felt the shape of her head still resting on her pillow.
"Oh come on!" came a tiny squeak from her neck hole.
"Morning Mr Cake! Morning Mrs Cake!" Pinkie Pie stumbled blindly down the stairs, landing with a crash amongst a collection of pans. She stumbled to her feet and staggered across the room, smashing into a stack of carefully prepared confectionary.
Mrs Cake stared disapprovingly. "Pinkie!" She admonished. "Did you eat so many sweets that your head fell off?"
"No!" lied the headless pony. She continued to trot about the room in a circle before slowly and sadly sinking to the floor. "Oh I can't lie Mrs Cake! I did eat too many sweets and I got head rot and my head fell off! I thought maybe nopony would notice!"
"Oh Pinkie!" Mrs Cake hugged Pinkie Pie's neck. "We all make mistakes. But not having a head doesn't mean you can't live a full and happy life. Let's get some healthy food down you!" Mrs Cake carefully lowered a carrot down Pinkie Pie's neck hole. Pinkie Pie gulped it down gratefully.
"Thanks Mrs Cake, you're the best!" Pinkie Pie replied. "I would sniff and cry but my tear ducts are upstairs on my pillow."
Mrs Cake smiled lovingly. "Don't worry, I'll tell everypony what happened, I'm sure they'll be understanding. Why don't you hold a big party for all your friends? You could invite your friend Rarity, she's got two heads hasn't she? Maybe she can give you one of hers?"
Pinkie Pie sighed, her neck hole creasing into a sad arc. "She doesn't have two heads, but thanks Mrs Cake. I should hold a party though! I don't need a head to have a good time!"
"Thanks for inviting me to your party!" Twilight smiled nervously. Sugarcube Corner was a throng of ponies, all smiling and laughing. The decorations were not up to the usual standard: Pinkie Pie had demanded that she do them all herself. Banners were misshapen, food and drink was splayed out as if a cart had overturned, and most disturbingly, Pinkie Pie had sat in the middle of the room blowing up balloons using her neck hole.
"No problem Twilight!" Pinkie Pie chirped. "I realised that me losing my head was no different to you losing your magic or Fluttershy losing her wings!"
"I lost what?" Fluttershy perked up, and then looked at her sides. "Oh right. Yes. Sorry I keep forgetting. It's a nice party though Pinkie!"
"Indeed!" Rarity nodded. There was a squeal of protest from Sweetie Belle as the head-mounted filly was shaken up and down. "But darling, I'm not sure about the centrepiece..."
Pinkie Pie trotted over to the middle of the table and held up a melon baller. "It's a melon, silly, you're supposed to help yourself!" she announced, grasping the instrument and digging away at the object that took pride of place on the table.
Rainbow Dash winced and leaned close to Rarity. "Should... should we tell her that's actually her head?"
Rarity shook her head, eyes glazed open with horror as Pinkie Pie started to dish up her head into little bowls and ask some mortified ponies if they wanted cream with that. "N-no, we can just pretend we ate some. Let's not upset her more than necessary, not today..."
"Oh hey girls!" Rarity and Rainbow Dash leapt to the side in shock. Beneath them was what at first glance looked like a giant orange worm, but it was in fact Applejack, painfully dragging herself across the ground using only her chin. "Sorry ah couldn't get here sooner, ah came as fast as ah could!"
Twilight Sparkle just sighed heavily. "Oh Applejack, if only there was something we could... do..." She stared at the legless Applejack. She then stared at the headless Pinkie Pie. "This might be crazy..." she muttered. "But I've got the perfect plan..."
Moments later, Applejack trotted out of Sugarcube Corner, her limbless body taped to Pinkie Pie. "C'mon Pinkie!" she announced gleefully. "We've got work to do!"
The door to Princess Celestia's inner sanctum was kicked open by a small box from which tiny purple arms jutted out. Spike popped his angry little head out from the top, covered in egg shell and parcel tape. "Just what" he cried out in exasperation "is going on?"
In the middle of the chamber, the princess and her sister stood over a map of Equestria, moving little figurines across it. Celestia gave a hiccup and took another sip from a strong-smelling bottle.
"What... what if..." she trilled, slurring her words slightly. "What if a pony stands on a crack and their tail falls off?"
Luna fell backwards into a crate of empty wine bottles. There were a lot of bottles. Days worth in fact. "Bwahaha! But w-what if..." She climbed giddily to her hooves and took a drink of a suspiciously brightly coloured liquid. "W-what if when a sister is mean to her sister, her head turns into a gooseberry?"
Both ponies fell to floor in fits of giggles. Celestia rose shakily to her feet and peered into her now empty glass. "I don't know why we don't' do thish more often, it'sh fun..." She paused. "Don't like that gooseberry thing though, it'sh dumb!"
With a pop, Celestia's head turned into a tiny gooseberry. Both ponies collapsed again in laughter.
Spike simply stood in the doorway and sighed. "Oh. It's that time again."