It was an early Summer morning. The sun shone brightly above in a cloudless sky and the temperature was comfortably warm. Such a wonderful start to the day was made possible largely thanks to the efforts of the Pegasus of the local weather patrol team. The five pony team had gotten up at the crack of dawn in order to clear out the clouds. And of course, it was also thanks to the daily blessing of the Princess. Under this prefect morning sky, in a wide open field next to the northern train line leading to and from the town of Ponyville, a herd of dairy cows were grazing with content, basking in the heat of Celestia's Sun.
For the last half hour, the only sounds to have been heard in this corner of Equestria were the chirping of birds in the hedgerows, the gentle breeze blowing through the air and the occasional, casual moo from a satisfied cow. However, at a little bit past eight thirty, this tranquillity was shattered by the abrupt arrival of clopping puller ponies hooves, the blast of a steam whistle, and the gentle but resounding dodo dodo of passenger carriages as the third train of the day began to approach.
The two cows closest to the tracks leisurely lifted their heads at the sudden sounds of the pony drawn train. They stopped their lazily chewing on the damp grass of the field to watch it pass by with mild curiosity. The train was being drawn at speed by four large, powerfully built earth pony stallions wearing engineering caps and overalls. The locomotive was a dull metal gray, while the four carriages behind it were of the shiniest silver. Proudly displayed upon the sides of each carriage, written in black blocky letters, was the company name, Great Northern Railways.
The cows only had a brief glimpse of this speeding machine though, as it wasn't long before it past them completely. When the train was out of sight, and the noise of it had departed from their ears, one cow turned to another with a disapproving look.
''Trains a runin late again'' she drawled.
''Yep.'' replied the other. Then they shook their heads and resumed grazing.
On board the train, sat in the third carriage on the left hand side in the seat closest to the window, was a bright pink filly with shining blue eyes. She had a long, curly mane which resembled cotton candy. Her Cutie Mark was comprised of three bright and colourful balloons, one yellow, and the other two blue. Her name was Pinkie Pie.
Between her two front hooves was a bright pink, pinker than herself, super sized milkshake cup with a vivid red straw, which she had purchased from the station shop before boarding. Under her seat was her budging saddlebag. At the start of Pinkie's journey, this bag had been filled with her clothes and toiletries, plus Momma Pie's home made presents for her all her friends back in Ponyville, and dozens of different types of cakes she had baked for the journey. However, nothing was left of the cakes now, other than the scattering of crumps all over Pinkie's person. Pinkie was triply glad that she bought the 'shake now. All the better to help wash those cakes down with she thought to herself.
Sat next to Pinkie was an old brown stallion in a tweed jacket and black bowler hat. He was mostly hidden behind the early edition of ''Equestria Today'', with only his hind legs and hat totally visible to his fellow passengers. He too was covered in the crumbs of Pinkie Pie's cakes, but looked decidedly less happy for it. On each of his flanks was a golden pocket watch Cutie Mark, fully opened, with the hands set at 12 o'clock. He cleared his throat and flicked over to the next page with his teeth. Now that the pink filly had settled down for the first time since this journey had began, perhaps he could finally read the paper in peace.
The air of the carriage was filled with the low rumblings of the talkative passengers around them, the clink of stirring spoons in cups on saucers, the occasional cough of the sick little colt up front, and the long, drawn out slurping of Pinkie Pie as she drew out the last of the 'shake. Sssslurpppp it went as she sucked on the straw, her eyes shut tight with the effort of extracting the 'shake. The old stallion wrinkled his muzzle in annoyance.
When Pinkie Pie finally reached her limit she paused for breath, slumping deeply into her seat and sighing contently as she did so. As soon as she got her breath back however, she lazily opened her eyes half way and muttered in long, drawn out ecstasy mmmm, milky strawberry goodness, before loudly resuming her slurping. Her eyes closed again in pure bliss. Sssslurpppp went the now empty cup. The old stallion beside her shook his head and adjusted his paper. Binnnggg Bonnnggg went the speaker at the front of the carriage.
''Attention passengers'' said the voice in the speaker. The passengers all looked up, and the noise in the carriage, except for Pinkie's slurping, began to settle down. ''The next stop is Ponyville station''. Pinkie suddenly spat the straw out and gasped at the mentioning of the name. Her eyes had snapped wide open again, like twinkling dinner plates, and a fantastic open mouth smile suddenly beamed from her round face. ''Please remain seated until the train has come to a complete stop…'' the voice continued. However, whatever it was the voice said after that Pinkie just did not know, because she was too excited to continue listening.
Dropping the milkshake cup, Pinkie Pie rotated sharply in her seat so as to face out the window, disturbing the paper reading pony beside her in the process. The old pony tutted and sighed. Then, he shifted his position, flicked out his paper, and carried on reading, as Pinkie planted her front hooves against the window with a loud bump. The intensity of the grin on her face and the glee in her eyes could not be understated. She looked hard, waiting, hoping, and then, there! There it was, off in the distance and approaching rapidly. Ponyville!
As she saw her home town draw near, Pinkie giddied with anticipation and turned back inside the carriage, gripping the chair tightly. The passengers around her began to stir, making their preparations to depart the train. Pinkie began to tremble with excitement, and it wasn't long before this pent up energy exploded out of her.
'WOOHOO!'' she squealed, her voice impossibly high. She began to bounce up and down excitedly in her seat, her front hooves waving with joy. ''Woohoo, alright, next stop Ponyville everypony!'' She turned to the old paper reading pony, pushing his paper down with her right front hoof so as to see him better. ''I can't WAIT to get back home to Ponyville! Oh it's so exciting it's the most exciting thing I can think of! Can you wait? I can't wait! Soon we'll be in Ponyville and I'll be able to see all my super duper amazing friends again! I can't wait can't wait can't WAIT to see them all! And I bet they can't wait to see me either. But not as much I can't wait to see them! Oh it's been so long since I last saw them it feels like for-EVER! Three whole months even! And when I see them I'm going to be all like, GASP OH MY GOSH IT'S YOU GUYS OH THIS IS SO AMAZNGLY WONDERFULLY EXCITING BECAUSE I HAVEN'T SEEN YOU IN FOREVER!'' She paused to inhale deeply, then continued her vocal onslaught. ''I mean oh sure we sent letters to each other and all, but letters are nothing compared to actually seeingyour friends in the person! Oh, it's going to so super spectacularly amazingly awesomely fun and wonderful and fun YIPPIE!''
''…oh er, yes, yes so am…I?'' replied the old paper reading pony with a look of mild confusion on his face. He had never before seen somepony go through so many words in such a short period of time. The filly ploughed through them so fast, he wasn't even entirely sure what it was she had just said to him.
''I felt terrible for having to leave the girls for all this time'' continued Pinkie. Her demeanour had shifted from impossibly joyous and cheery to sad and forlorn faster than the old pony thought was equinely possible. So much so, his own demeanour was shifted from mild confusion and a little irritation to outright surprise. ''I didn't want to leave Ponyville, but poor Poppa Pie hurt his leg so so badly and he was in such a bad way I just had to go home to visit him and Momma. I love my friends, and I thought about them all day, everyday when I was out at the farm, but I love my family too!'' She shifted back to happy again so fast the old pony was left completely gob smacked. ''And it was so so wonderful to see Momma and Poppa again! Poppa told me all his funny stories and I told him funny jokes and looked after him while Momma made us her delicious home cooking and made presents for me and all my friends and took care of Gummi here''.
At the mentioning of his name, the little alligator popped his head out of the top of Pinkie Pie's cotton candy mane and bared his lack of teeth at his fellow passenger. The old pony give a yelp, threw away his paper and jumped off his seat, which sent his hat tumbling to the ground. He then ran to the back of the carriage, moving faster than he had ever moved in his life. The pages of his abandoned paper scattered and fluttered all over the carriage. Pinkie looked momentarily puzzled as Gummi blinked his trade mark blink from atop her head. Then see looked down at the discarded hat and gasped in surprise. She anxiously called to him across the carriage over the heads of the other confused and startled passengers.
''Ohh oh oh oh, Mister Watch, sir? You forgot your hat! Mister Watch…where're you going? We're supposed to remain seated until the train stops! Why are you trying to open the window, Mister Watch? Are you feeling sick? Do you need some air? Oh no! Here, let me help you!'' Pinkie got up out of her seat to go and help him, carefully carrying his hat in her teeth by the brim. Unfortunately, as she moved down the carriage, the other passengers began to notice the alligator hanging off her mane. And then, the screaming started.