"Pinkie Pie. Rainbow Dash. I'm so glad you guys could make it! Here, come on in."

"You know we'd never pass up a chance to hang out with one of our bestest friends!" Pinkie Pie bounced through the door to Twilight's library.

"Yeah, what's up?" Rainbow Dash said, trotting in. "There some kinda emergency? 'cause it's been kinda boring lately, and an emergency might be kinda cool. Y'know, saving the day, elements of harmony, all that cool stuff."

"No emergencies today, girls." Twilight said, and pushed the door shut. Very purposefully, she locked the deadbolt and turned the library's sign to 'closed.'

"Well, that's good!" Pinkie Pie beamed. "Well, except that Rainbow Dash is bored now- oooh, maybe we could make an emergency! That'd be great! It wouldn't even have to be a parasprite infestation or an angry dragon or anything- we could just have a party emergency! It'd be the best emergency ever!"

"Wouldn't it be easier just to have a party, Pinkie Pie?" Rainbow dash scratched at her head.

"Oh! That's an even better idea! You're so smart, Rainbow Dash! Tell you what, I'll start making a cake, and you can drop the invitations from the sky, and-"

"Girls." Twilight said, clearing her throat, "let's not get sidetracked. There's something I want to show you." Twilight levitated a plain brown box out of her closet. "I got a package today. From Princess Celestia."

"A package? Neat!" Pinkie Pie leaned in, eagerly stepping from hoof to hoof. "What is it? Is is a birthday present?" suddenly, she gasped in horror. "Oh my gosh! I forgot your birthday! I'm the worst friend ever!"

"Wait, when is Twilight's birthday anyway?" Rainbow Dash said.

"See! We all forgot! This is a party emergency!" Pinkie Pie began to run frantic circles around the room. "I'm so so sorry Twilight! We'll make it up to you, I promise! We'll get Rarity to make everyone super neato party hats, and then Fluttershy can bring in a dancing bear, and-"

"Pinkie Pie, it's not my birthday." Twilight said. This stopped the pink pony in her tracks.

"Oh?" Pinkie Pie said, "Why didn't you say so? I was getting worried!"

"So if it's not your birthday, why's Princess Celestia sending you stuff?" Rainbow Dash said.

"I don't know. That's why I invited you two over- maybe you could help me figure it out." Twilight nudged the box over. "It just came with this letter." Twilight Sparkle levitated the scroll in front of her and read. "'My Dearest Student, In response to your last letter, here are a few items that may make your life a little more enjoyable.' And...well, I'm glad Spike wasn't around when I opened it."

"Whyssat?" Rainbow Dash tilted her head to the side.

"Take a look for yourselves." Twilight Sparkle said.

"Ooooh, it's a surprise! I love surprises! Lemme see!" Pinkie Pie zipped over and pushed the lid of the package off with her hoof. Rainbow Dash leaned in over the pink pony's shoulder, and they both peered inside. For the first time in a long while, both of the ponies were rendered simultaneously speechless.

"Well. Uh. That is surprising." Rainbow Dash finally managed.

"I don't get it." Pinkie Pie scratched at her head. "Why would Princess Celestia send you a mask?" She nudged the box again, confused. "And it's not even a funny party mask or anything! It's just all plain and black and boring and- OH OH OH!" Pinkie Pie bounced on her hooves, "I know! I know! Princess Celestia sent you all this stuff so you could be a superhero! That's so cool! It only makes sense, with all the scary nasty mean stuff going on all the time! And the rest of this stuff is the rest of your superhero equipment!" Pinkie Pie immediately started to rummage through the box, sending various items and bottles of unknown provenance scattered about the room. "If there's like a flamethrower in here, you could be Fire-Filly! Or if there's some sort of freeze ray, we'll call you Ice-Mare, or..." Pinkie Pie paused, and held up something green and oblong. "That's weird. Why would Princess Celestia want you to be Captain Cucumber? Hmm. Now I'm kinda hungry..." Pinkie Pie opened her mouth.

"PINKIE PIE NO!" Rainbow Dash said, swatting the studded thing out of Pinkie Pie's hooves.

"Why?" Pinkie Pie blinked, "You're not going to say something responsible like 'you don't know where that's been,' are you, Rainbow Dash?"

"No! Because I know exactly where that's been! Or, uh, where it's supposed to be." Rainbow Dash coughed.

"Is that so?" Twilight Sparkle cooed, stepping up behind Rainbow Dash. "Please, tell me. Just where is a fake cucumber supposed to be?"

"Waitaminute, this isn't a cucumber at all! I had it upside down! It's really a-" Pinkie Pie glanced between Rainbow Dash and Twilight again, and the pieces fell more-or-less into place. "Oooooooh."

"Heh. Isn't that weird?" Rainbow Dash said. "Why would Princess Celestia send you a box full of...that kinda stuff?"

"Oooh, I know! I know!" Pinkie Pie said, "It means she thinks Twilight needs to get- MMMPF." Any further elaboration Pinkie had to offer went unsaid as Rainbow Dash stuffed a hoof into her mouth.

"That's alright, Rainbow Dash, I think we all know what Pinkie Pie's talking about." Twilight said, and sat back on her haunches.

"That's gotta be a first." Rainbow Dash said.

"Yeah. Well...let me tell the two of you the truth." Twilight said, "...I figured out what all that...okay, what MOST of the stuff was for on my own. But, for the most part, a lot of it isn't nearly as interesting to use on your own."

"You've tried?" Pinkie Pie said, right after extracting Dash's hoof from her mouth.

Twilight coughed. "ANYWAY. As I was saying...I've done a lot of thinking about this, and I decided that Princess Celestia was right. She sent me to Ponyville for my own personal development, and, uh, I guess it's time to try something new. Something very new."

"With us?" Pinkie Pie said, "I'm flattered!"

"Wait, us?" Rainbow Dash said, "Isn't that-"

"A bit ambitious, yes." Twilight Sparkle nodded, "but I've always been something of an overachiever, if you haven't noticed."

"Neat!" Pinkie Pie said.

"Whoa, hold on here!" Rainbow Dash flapped her wings a few times, taking to the air by reflex.

"Oh, don't worry, Rainbow Dash." Twilight levitated the various items out of the package, neatly laying them out in a rather intimidating array. "I've thought this through very carefully. I picked Pinkie Pie first, because I knew she'd be able to keep a secret-"

"FOREEEVEEEEEEER!' Pinkie Pie giggled.

"And you, Rainbow Dash, because you're in peak physical condition. Which'll will come in handy, as it'll allow you to take whatever I can dish out." Twilight nodded happily.

"Take whatever you can..." Rainbow Dash trailed off, staring at the intimidating array of items Princess Celestia had so thoughtfully provided. "Uh. Y'know, Applejack miiiiiiiight just be in a little better shape than me. By a tiny, tiny bit. I mean, most of my strength's in my wings, so-"

"No need to be modest, Rainbow Dash." Twilight said.

"Especially now!" somewhere along the line, Pinkie Pie had managed to get the mask on. It didn't make her look like a superhero (unless one counted certain comics from third party publishers who shall remain unnamed).

"Besides," Twilight continued, "Something tells me this wouldn't be Applejack's cup of cider."

"Yeah!" Pinkie Pie giggled, "Rarity would get jealous!"

Twilight and Dash stared at Pinkie.

"What?" The masked pink pony said, "Am I the only one who's been paying attention?"

"Paying attention to...what?" Rainbow Dash said.

"Let's not get sidetracked!" Twilight Sparkle said. "Here, the both of you hold still-" Twilight trotted over to her writing desk, "I need to get pen and paper before we get started. I mean, they call it 'experimentation,' so that means I need to keep proper notes."

"Hey!" Rainbow Dash said, "I never said yes to all this!"

"You never said no, either." Pinkie Pie said.

"Not. Helping. Pinkie."

"Aaaw, what's wrong," Pinkie Pie's mask crinkled up at the edges as she smiled, "not scared, are you, Rainbow Dash?"

"I'm not scared of anything!" Rainbow Dash flapped her wings defiantly and settled to the ground. "It's just that...don't you think we might be taking things a little...fast, here?"

"I thought you liked being fast, Rainbow Dash?" Pinkie Pie said.

"Well, yeah. But that's flying! Not..." the pegasus fidgeted a little, "...all I'm saying is that since Twilight is new to this sort of thing, maybe she should take it slow-"

"Oh, that's a good idea." Twilight nodded. "Especially since I made a couple of modifications to some of the stuff Princess Celestia sent me. You know, for science. Here, watch this!" and with that, Twilight reached behind a bookshelf and pulled out a device of...intimidating proportions.

"Oh, that's not so bad!" Pinkie Pie said. "I'm sure I could-"

Twilight Sparkle didn't let Pinkie Pie finish. Instead, she just wrapped a pull cord around her hoof and gave it a mighty yank. Immediately, the well oiled engine roared to life. Its steady purr was so loud, the unicorn had to yell. "Really, it was easy!" Twilight Sparkle said. "I mean, all you've got to do is take out the shock absorbers, and the vibrations go directly into-"

"Uh." Rainbow Dash said, "Isn't that a little, um...overkill?"

"It's not overkill, it's science!" Twilight said with all the pride of a mad scientist. "Besides, you haven't seen anything yet! As if you turn this knob, it channels a mild electrical charge..." Twilight touched the (in)appropriate controls, and blue sparks began to dance over the implement's surface. "It provides direct electrical stimulation to your sensory neurons! I kind of had to guess on the voltage, but I'm prettysure it won't burn out your sensory receptors."

"I dunno what you just said, but keep that thing away from me!" Rainbow Dash fluttered back- and then grabbed at Pinkie Pie, holding her close. "And keep it away from Pinkie Pie, too! She's already weird enough as is!"

"Thanks!" Pinkie Pie said. "I think."

"Are you sure, Rainbow Dash?" Twilight said, "I mean, I'm a little intimidated myself...but I'm not about to let all this stuff go to waste, even if I don't know why Princess Celestia sent it..."

"Uh. About that. I...think I might know why she did that."

"Beyond the obvious, Rainbow Dash." Twilight said, rolling her eyes. "Everyone keeps telling me I need to lighten up. So that's what I'm going to do! Now, just hold still, and we can put these restraining cuffs on you-"

"Uh, aaaaaactually..." Rainbow Dash said, and retreated a few more wingstrokes. "Somepony miiiiight have sent Princess Celestia a letter that miiiiight have given her certain ideas."

"Somepony." Twilight said. "And just who would have done that?"

"Eheh. It...miiight have been us." Rainbow Dash said.

"Might have? It was us, silly! Unless someone else started sending Princess Celestia saucy letters!" Pinkie Pie chirped.

"Don't tell her that!" Rainbow Dash said.

"Why not?" Pinkie Pie scratched at her head.

"Because then Twilight will get mad at us!"

"Is that worse than what she's gonna do already?" Pinkie Pie said, "I mean, sure, I love to party as much as the next pony- well, MORE than the next pony...unless the next pony was like Andalusian W.K. or something, but he's not around! We'd know if he's around, because he's really loud and yells about partying all the time which is why he's my favorite musician- but we're not talking about music! We're talking about how Twilight Sparkle wants to stick a- MMF." Pinkie's tirade was cut short as Rainbow Dash stuck a hoof into her mouth. Again.

Twilight peered at the pair. "So...what you're saying is that Princess Celestia sent me all of this...equipment, because of something you guys did?"

Rainbow Dash nodded. "Uh, yeah. Was a prank. Just a prank. Ha ha ha." she fixed her eyes on the sparks still skittering over the surface of Twilight's latest 'invention.' "...it was pretty funny at the time. Guess you had to be there, huh?"

Twilight Sparkle stared at Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie for a long, long moment. Finally, she broke out laughing. Out of habit, Pinkie Pie followed suit- and soon enough even Rainbow Dash was snickering along, just so she wouldn't feel left out.

"Oh!" Twilight said, and wiped tears from her eyes, "I got you! I got you good!"

"You did?" Rainbow Dash said.

"You did!" Pinkie Pie cheered. "...er, what did you do?"

"Oh, c'mon Pinkie. You didn't think I'd never find out about that prank, did you? I had my suspicions ever since Spike told me he sent a 'very important letter,' after you guys told him to. So, once Princess Celestia told me what that letter was about...I just had to turn the tables on you guys. Really," Twilight shook her head and giggled again, "I don't even know how I managed to get this far without breaking out laughing. You should've seen the expression on your face, Rainbow Dash!"

"Hah!" Rainbow Dash let out a relieved laugh, "Man, you got me good, Twilight!"

"You know, I was almost afraid you'd say 'yes.'" Twilight set the still-sparking monstrosity back in the box. "Good thing I made it a point to go a little...overboard."

"More than a little, I'd say." Rainbow Dash said, settling to the ground once more. "I mean, I like a good time as much as the next pony, but there's certain things that can even freak me out."

"I dunno, burning out my sensory receptors sounds kinda fun!" Pinkie Pie said. She grinned, and then glanced down at the box. "Oh wait, does this mean we're not going to..."

"No." Rainbow Dash said.

"We're not." Twilight Sparkle said.

"Aw." Pinkie Pie said. "So if this all was a prank (and a good one!)...what should we do with all of this?" she nudged the box. Something within the box began to buzz. Twilight Sparkle pretended not to hear it.

"Actually," Rainbow Dash said, "I think I've got an idea..."


Dear Princess Celestia,

Even though I found some of your proposed methods...questionable, I can't argue with the results of your plan. I think Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash have both learned a very valuable lesson about mail fraud. Next time, they'll think twice about putting words into somepony else's mouth.

Twilight Sparkle nodded approvingly, and bit on the tip of her quill as she considered what to write next. Before she could finish, Pinkie Pike grabbed her and pulled her deeper into the bush. "Write quieter!" Pinkie said, conspiratorially. "They're almost here!"

"Oh, right!" Twilight Sparkle said, and put her unfinished letter to the side. She crouched down in the bushes between Pinkie Pie and Rainbow dash, and waited.

"Trust me, Applejack," Rarity said as she opened the door for her friend. "I know you're not much of a clothes-horse, but the new ensemble I've put together for you is going to render you absolutely speechless!"

"Iffin' you say so."

Rainbow Dash stifled a snicker, and peered up through the window into Rarity's workshop. Twilight Sparkle and Pinkie Pie soon followed.

"Now, it won't look nearly as good on a mannequin as it will on you, darling, but- UUUUUWAAAAAH?"

"You want me to wear...that, Rarity?" Applejack said, and began to edge for the door. "It, uh. It don't look very...um...comfortable."

"No!" Rarity sputtered. "I- it's not...I mean, leather would suit you, but not in...AUGH WHO DID THIS!"

Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, and Twilight Sparkle all ducked back into the bushes, still laughing amongst themselves.

"YOU!" Rarity threw the shutters of her window open and glared into the bush where the trio of giggling ponies hid. "I should have known this was your kind of chicanery, Pinkie Pie! And Rainbow Dash! And...Twilight Sparkle?"

"So...now what?" Twilight Sparkle said.

"Now?" Pinkie Pie giggled.

"I think this is the part where we run." Rainbow Dash said.

And they did just that.