I decided to take a quick break from my epic Pokémon fanfic to write this story. Don't worry, longtime fans who might be reading this, this is just a one-shot (for now, anyway), and I fully intend to get back to work on Brave New World right after this. This is just an idea that's been percolating in my brain for months, and I decided now was as good a time as any to write it, while I'm between chapters. Plus, after all the heavy darkness and horror (and awesomeness, granted) of my other work, I figured writing something light and fluffy and harmless would be nice for a change.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy my first foray into ponyfic. More may come someday.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything that doesn't belong to me.

It was a wonderful day to be Rainbow Dash.

Of course, every day was a wonderful day to be Rainbow Dash, but today was an especially good day. The sun was shining, she'd mastered a trick she'd spent the last few weeks working on without smashing into a tree or breaking any wings that she was positive would absolutely definitely get her into the Wonderbolts for sure this time, she'd finished work early—like always—had a sleepover scheduled with her friends that evening that she was really, really, really looking forward to, and had managed to find a cloud that was in just the right place and had just the right consistency to make an absolutely perfect bed to doze on under the warm sunshine for the next few hours in the lovely Spring afternoon.

Yep, it was good to be Rainbow Dash.

And then it became a bit less good to be Rainbow Dash when a prepubescent voice shrieked, "RAINBOW DAAAAAAAAAAAASH!" at the top of her lungs, startling the blue Pegasus out of her slumber and causing her to accidentally rip the cloud she'd been snoozing on to shreds in her throes of awakening, the absolutely wonderful dream she'd been having that she was certain was going to come true in the very near future evaporating like dew under the rising sun.

"Hunh? Wha? Whuzzat?!" she grunted groggily, looking remorsefully about her as her bed dissipated into wisps of cloud.

"RAINBOW DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAASH!" the voice screamed again.

Rainbow started, eyes shooting open as the last of the sleep was blasted out of her mind by the cry of panic from below her. A familiar cry, at that. "SCOOTALOO! Hang on, I'm coming!"

She swooped down from what little remained of her lofty perch to find the orange Pegasus foal that was president of her fan club, surrogate sister, and occasional stalker standing on the grass beneath her dissipating cloud with a frantic expression on her face. She seemed unharmed, but given the sorts of shenanigans Scootaloo and the rest of her friends got up to on a daily basis, that didn't necessarily mean nothing was wrong. "Scoots, what's going on? Did Sweetie Belle fall down a well again?"

Scootaloo blinked. "What? No, we're totally over trying to get our cutie marks in operating wishing wells. Or being wishing wells. Or fishing for bits at the bottom of wishing wells. Or digging wells. Or trying to see if there's a subterranean dungeon full of horrible undead monsters under Ponyville that can only be accessed from the bottom of the well and is somehow connected to the windmill."

While Rainbow Dash was relieved to hear this—especially since it meant the Cutie Mark Crusaders had yet to find their way into the actual subterranean dungeon full of undead monsters under Ponyville—and was impressed despite herself that Scootaloo knew a big word like 'subterranean,' Rainbow Dash's worries were not diminished. "Then what is it? Is something on fire? Is there a wild storm coming out of the Everfree Forest? A wild monster coming out of the Everfree Forest? Has the Everfree Forest itself come to life and started marching on town to punish us for cutting down their brethren to make our houses? Wow, there's really a lot of dangerous stuff in that forest. Why do we live so close to it again?"

Scootaloo shrugged. "Dunno. But it's none of those things! That griffon Gilda is back and I don't think she's here to apologize for being a big jerk the last time!"

Rainbow Dash's blood froze. Gilda. There was a lot of history wrapped up in that single five-lettered name. After the…altercation that had happened the last time the griffon had been in town, Rainbow had felt a little bad for breaking things off with one of her oldest friends the way she had and tried writing a letter. (Then she'd had Twilight write it for her, since her mouthwriting was pretty much illegible.) An apologetic Derpy had come back a few days later covered in scratches with a black eye, a shredded envelope, and a verbal message that she couldn't repeat for fear it would give any children present nightmares and/or teach them bad language. "On the plus side," the mailmare had said cheerfully when fussed over about her injuries and her husband had to be physically restrained from running off and going all 'Oncoming Storm' on the griffon. "I gave her as good as I got! Attacking a member of the Equestrian Postal Service is a federal offense, after all!"

After that, Rainbow has never heard from Gilda again, or even spared much of a thought towards her old friend…until now, anyway. "What does she want?" Rainbow asked intensely. "Is she tearing up the town? Stealing things? Beating ponies up? Making a pact with an ancient evil to get revenge on me and all of ponykind?"

"WORSE!" Scootaloo said anxiously. "She's gathered everypony in town—and a lot of ponies from out of town—in front of town hall, and…and…"

"And what? AND WHAT?" Rainbow asked, frantically shaking Scootaloo in a way that might have gotten her in trouble with Foal Services if any representative of the agency were bold enough to get within ten miles of Ponyville without worrying about running into a cross-eyed mailmare who knew how to use a war flail, her husband who had (allegedly) destroyed countless civilizations and worlds, or a lush who as a master of Drunken Hoof.

"She said she's going to reveal your darkest secret!" Scootaloo said ominously.

Rainbow's heart skipped a beat. "No," she whispered in horror.

Scootaloo nodded fervently. "Yeah! I kinda wanted to stay and hear it, but I knew you needed to know about this, so I…" Scootaloo trailed off, realizing she was talking to thin air, a fading rainbow contrail running through the air over her head. She turned around just in time to hear a tremendous BOOM and see a ring of rainbow-colored light expanding off in the distance in the direction of Ponyville. "Ah. Okay then." With a pout she walked back over to her scooter, lying in the dirt nearby, muttering that Rainbow could have at least given her a lift back to town.

Rainbow decelerated out of her Sonic Rainboom right over Ponyville, relieved to see that the shockwave hadn't broken a single window or obliterated a single house (this time). After all the disasters that seemed to plague the town on a weekly basis, the residents had gotten used to building their homes and places of business strong enough to withstand whatever nature (or Rainbow Dash) could throw at them. On the downside, insurance premiums were through the roof, but it was a small price to play (only, not small in the slightest) to live in one of the coolest, up-and-comingest places in all of Equestria, if Rainbow Dash said so herself, and she did, quite a lot.

It wasn't hard to spot Gilda. Griffons didn't exactly blend in well with ponies, what with their leonine bodies and tails and aquiline heads and talons, but her old friend—and now, most hated enemy—wasn't trying very hard to conceal herself, standing on a makeshift stage built right in front of town hall, surrounded by a multicolored horde of ponies of all tribes and creeds, looking to represent everyone in Ponyville—including her five best friends-quite a fair number of ponies from Cloudsdale—including, to her mixed glee and dread, the Wonderbolts and her parents—and several ponies she didn't recognize, probably from other places in Equestria as well. She could see reporters and photographers, and even the freaking Princesses in attendance!

Rainbow's heart raced faster than she'd ever flown before. How could Gilda do this to her? Yes, she was aware things had gone badly between them, and at least some of it was her fault, but wasn't Gilda aware what something like this would do to her? She had told her that secret in strictest confidence! How could she betray her like this?! Did she really hate her that much?!

"GILDA!" Rainbow Dash shouted as she swooped down and did a graceful four-point landing on the stage next to Gilda—had to look good for her fans, and the reporters, and the Wonderbolts, after all—uncharacteristically ignoring the camera flashes and cheers and shouts from reporters asking for comments rising from the crowd all around them.

The griffon turned towards Rainbow Dash, a sneer on her beak. "Well, well, well, if it isn't my old friend Lamebow Crash. Nice to see you could make it. It wouldn't do at all for me to start the big event without the guest of honor!"

"Gilda, what do you think you're doing?!" Rainbow Dash demanded, equal parts angry and terrified.

"What do I think I'm doing?" Gilda asked coyly. "What I think I'm doing is hurting you just as much as you hurt me, Dash. I'm going to make sure you know what it feels like to be ostracized…to be hated and rejected by your friends and family…to be shunned and cast aside and treated like a bucking pariah! I'm going to tell the whole world your darkest secret…which is why I've invited your friends, your colleagues, your idols, your leaders, the press, and even your parents here to witness your complete and utter humiliation and disgrace!"

"Gilda, no! Not this!" Rainbow Dash pleaded desperately, although a part of her was confused. Why had Gilda invited her parents? They already knew her darkest secret, heck; they were responsible for it in the first place! Or maybe Gilda didn't know that they knew? But that didn't make much sense, either…regardless; there was no way she could let anyone else know the truth, especially not the Wonderbolts! (Oh, and her friends, that went without saying.) "Anything but this!"

Gilda shook her head, a cruel grin on her beak, a beak that Rainbow had never wanted to punch more than she did now. "I'm sorry, Rainbow Dash, but after what you did to me…how you cast me away…you've left me no choice! I'm going to ruin your life, just like you've ruined mine! This is payback, Rainbow, and let me tell you, payback's a female dog!" Winona, Applejacks' dog, perked up at this, wondering if someone was talking about her.

Rainbow Dash cringed, ears folding back against her head. "Gilda…" she whispered. Had things truly gone so wrong between them? Had Rainbow really hurt Gilda this much? She'd had no idea things had become this bad. "I…I'm sorry…"

Gilda shook her head. "It's too late for apologies, Dash. What's done is done…and once I'm through with you, the only one left who'll ever want to associate with you is me…but only if I feel especially forgiving," she said with a leer that implied she would be anything but.

HRH Twilight Sparkle, recently crowned co-ruler of Equestria, frowned from her place in the audience, near the stage with the rest of her friends. "Why aren't we doing anything about this?! We can't let Gilda just humiliate her like this!"

Fluttershy nodded nervously, face hidden beneath her long pink mane. "Y-yes, I-I know I certainly wouldn't like it if anyone were to reveal my deepest, darkest secret…"

Deciding not to mention that absolutely everypony in town already knew that Fluttershy wrote erotic novels featuring thinly-veiled fictional versions of themselves, Rarity said, "On the one hoof, dear, you're absolutely right. We shouldn't let Rainbow Dash be humiliated like this. On the other hoof…we know so little about our dear Rainbow's past despite everything we've been through, you can't deny a part of you is curious about what secret she might be hiding from us, can you?"

"W-well…I…I don't…" Fluttershy stammered so softly nobody could hear her, which was nothing new.

Applejack frowned. "Ah don't know, Rarity. If it were somethin' Rainbow Dash wanted us to know, she'd have already told us by now. What's personal is personal, and it ain't right for her dirty laundry to be hung out to dry like that, and especially not like this."

Rarity bit her lip. "Well…yes, I suppose, but…just think of the scandal!" she said eagerly.

"Ah am," Applejack said drily. "Which is we gotta put a stop to this."

"But then we can't have a, 'Congratulations for revealing your darkest secret Rainbow Dash, don't worry, we'll still love you anyway no matter what!' party!" Pinkie Pie protested, bouncing up and down since it seemed to be physically impossible for her to simply stop moving for any period of time.

"Exactly my point, Pinkie Pie," Rarity said. "No matter how horrible Rainbow Dash thinks this secret of hers is, it's never going to change how we feel about her. Well…probably not, anyway."

"Wh-what if she's actually been a changeling in disguise all along?" Fluttershy suggested.

They considered this for a moment. "What, you mean like Bon-Bon and ah forget how many other ponies in town were secretly changelings or other weird kindsa critters all along?" Applejack asked.

"I still can't believe Lyra's a seapony. You'd think she'd have dried out by now," Twilight commented.

Rarity nodded. "And who would ever have thought that Vinyl Scratch was a cyborg?"

"And I was certainly surprised that Derpy and Berry Punch's spouses are actually time-traveling aliens," Fluttershy said.

"Ooh! Ooh! If Dashie's a changeling, then that means I can throw another, 'We don't care that you're a changeling or other non-pony life-form in disguise, we'll still love you anyway no matter what!' party and break out the giant changeling costumes and Pin-the-Crown-on-Queen-Chrysalis game and play another round of 'Spot the Impostor!' and Charades!" Pinkie said excitedly, which was pretty much how she said anything anyway.

"I don't think Rainbow Dash is secretly a changeling, dear," Rarity said. "I'm pretty sure we'd know by now." The others nodded in agreement at that.

Pinkie Pie pouted. "Oh, poo. I wanted to throw another 'We don't care that you're a changeling or other non-pony life-form in disguise, we'll still love you anyway no matter what!' party. My giant changeling costume is gathering mothballs in my closet, and I think my fake cocoons are starting to rot."

"Maybe next time," Fluttershy said.

Twilight frowned. "I've made up my mind. This isn't fair to Rainbow Dash. If she really has some dark secret, then she should tell it to us on her own time, not have it be revealed in some public farce like this. I'm going up there to put a stop this."

"Me too," Applejack said. "If that no-good granny-scaring apple-stealing bad-attitude griffon thinks she can barge into town and hurt Rainbow Dash's feelings, she's got another thing coming!"

"Um. Well. All right, I'll come too. I guess. So long as she doesn't yell at me again. And I can stand behind everyone else," Fluttershy said timidly.

"And then we can throw a 'We're sorry for humiliating you and driving you out of town the last time you were here' party and become bestest friends!" Pinkie said optimistically, pulling a big white and pink cake with 'I'm Sorry' written on the top out of her mane. "And I can finally give her this 'I'm Sorry' cake I baked for her just in case we ever saw her again!" Nopony asked how she had managed to fit a cake that size in her mane, or kept it from getting hair in it, or how it still looked fresh despite the incident where Gilda left town in a huff having occurred years ago. They knew better by now than to question such things.

"All right, girls!" Twilight said resolutely, spreading her wings and raising her head high, preparing to march up onto stage with the patented Royal Canterlot Strut. "Let's go up there and teach that griffon not to mess with our Rainbow!"

"I do not believe that will be necessary, Twilight Sparkle."

Twilight started when she suddenly realized her mentor and co-ruler, the great white alicorn Princess Celestia, had snuck up on them when they weren't looking. "Princ…er…I mean…Celestia!" Twilight stammered, still not used to treating the ancient monarch as an equal, or close to one. She had to lock her knees to keep from reflexively bowing like the others were. "What do you mean? Doesn't Rainbow Dash need our help?"

Celestia shook her head, a bemused smile on her graceful features. "In other circumstances, yes, and it is admirable that your first instinct is to go to her aid…however, this is something Rainbow needs to handle on her own. And aside from that…something tells me things aren't going to go the way either Rainbow Dash or Gilda are expecting."

Twilight frowned. She was tempted to ask for more details, but she knew by now not to question Princess Celestia's intuition. It was almost as infallible (her sister's fall to darkness and the fiasco at Cadance's wedding aside) as Pinkie's own precognitive abilities, and much more mysterious. "All right, Princ…Celestia. If you think it'll be okay, then…we'll stay out of it."

"Twilight! We can't just let Gilda do whatever she wants to Rainbow!" Applejack protested.

"If Celestia believes it'll work out, then…I see no reason to doubt her," Twilight said, sounding more sure than she felt.

"…Well…all right. Guess ah don't really want to second-guess the Princess. Er, the other Princess, I mean," Applejack said quickly, remembering at the last second that Celestia wasn't the only member of royalty present. Twilight having wings and all the privileges attached to them was still going to take a while to get used to. Both Celestia and Twilight smiled in amusement, indicating they didn't mind.

"Twilight, are you gonna get super-special-awesome predicting powers, too?" Pinkie asked. "Then you'll have your own Twilight-sense! Except you won't have bizarre bodily functions to tell you the future. Unless you will. Princess Celestia, do you have twitchy tails too and just don't show it?"

"Pinkie!" Twilight hissed.

"No Pinkie Pie, I do not get 'twitchy tails,'" Celestia said in amusement. "My foresight doesn't work the same way yours does. As for Twilight…as she matures and grows into her new powers and position, it is something she will pick up in time. It comes naturally to our kind when we reach a certain point in our long lives." Twilight bit her lip and looked away at that. She didn't enjoy being reminded of one of the major drawbacks of her new role…although Celestia had hinted once or twice there might be a way around that…

However, this story isn't about Twilight Sparkle dealing with the ups and downs of being a newly-minted nigh-omnipotent immortal ruler, but Rainbow Dash dealing with the fallout of the impending revelation of her darkest secret, a fallout which, thankfully, would not result from Equestria being horribly ravaged by a war with the zebras that caused the world to become a nightmarish radioactive wasteland which has somehow managed to become an incredibly popular sub-genre within the My Little Pony fandom with dozens of stories and side-stories written about it, something that this author cannot even begin to comprehend. Up on the stage, Rainbow Dash was pleading with Gilda for mercy. "Please, Gilda, have mercy!" Rainbow pleaded. "I know we've had our differences, I know things went bad between us, and I'm sorry. But please, please, don't do this! It'll ruin everything I've worked for!"

"Oh, I know that," Gilda said evilly. "Which is why I'm going to tell them, Rainbow Dash. It's why I'm going to tell them…"

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Rainbow Dash screamed.

"That you're GAY!" Gilda crowed triumphantly.

"-OOOOOOOOOOOOO…wait, what?" Rainbow Dash said in confusion.

"…That you're GAY!" Gilda repeated. She frowned in confusion, seeing that Rainbow was staring at her blankly, as was the audience. There were no shocked gasps, no screams of outrage, no booing or jeers or cruel, hurtful names. While some photographers had taken pictures, it was out of reflex, and now they were lowering their cameras in puzzlement and disappointment. "She's…gay?" Gilda said once again, perplexed. This was not the reaction she had expected.

"THAT PONY DOES NOT SEEM VERY GAY TO OUR EYES," Princess Luna said very loudly. "SHE LOOKEST MORE HIGGLEDY-PIGGLEDY THAN GAY TO US!" A pig wallowing in the mud nearby oinked and looked up, wondering if someone was talking about it.

"Twilight, what's 'gay' mean?" Applejack asked in puzzlement.

"Why, it means 'happily excited,' 'keenly alive and exuberant,' darling," Rarity said, tossing her mane before Twilight could even open her mouth, much to her surprise and annoyance.

"Oh, like me?" Pinkie asked.

Rarity smiled kindly. "Yes, Pinkie, you're very gay indeed." Celestia raised a hoof to her mouth, stifling a giggle.

"Princess Luna is right, Rainbow Dash doesn't look very 'gay' right now," Fluttershy said softly. "Just confused. Um. If that's what higgledy-piggledy means, anyway. If it doesn't, then I don't know what she was talking about."

"Nopony does, sugarcube," Applejack sighed.

"It means in utter disorder and confusion," Celestia explained before Twilight could.

"Oh good, I was worried she might have meant that Rainbow Dash looked like a pig!" Pinkie Pie said. "Which is silly, because if anyone looks like a pig, it's me!"

"That can't possibly be her dark secret…can it?" Twilight wondered in puzzlement. Celestia smiled but said nothing.

"Gilda, what are you talking about?" Rainbow Dash asked, baffled. "That's-" She cut herself off before she could say that wasn't her darkest secret. She didn't want to give Gilda any ideas, after all, and cause her to reveal her actual darkest secret.

"Oh come on, you ponies have to know what I'm talking about!" Gilda shouted. "She's gay!" More blank looks. "You know, a lesbian?"

"I was born in Cloudsdale, not the Lesbos Islands," Rainbow said. "I've never even been there." Celestia's sides shook as she struggled not to laugh.

"What? No! I mean…you're a rug-muncher!" Gilda said.

Rainbow's brows furrowed in confusion. "What? No, I eat grass. And hay. And other stuff like that. Why would I eat a rug? That doesn't make sense."

"I ate a rug once!" Pinkie Pie chirped. She frowned. "It wasn't as good as I expected."

"…Why did you eat a rug?!" asked the dumbfounded Twilight.

"It was green, and I wanted to see if it tasted like grass," Pinkie said. "It didn't." Twilight opened her mouth for a moment, and then decided against asking. Celestia coughed, and it sounded oddly like a strangled chuckle.

"She's a dyke!" Gilda said, trying another tack.

"I don't even know what that is," Rainbow said.

"Twilight, what's a dyke?" Pinkie Pie asked.

"Dikes are natural or artificial slopes or walls used to regulate water levels," Applejack said before Twilight could answer. Twilight glared at her farmer friend in irritation. Explaining things was supposed to be her job!

"Rainbow Dash certainly doesn't look like one of those," Fluttershy said.

"Maybe it's some sort of griffin metaphor we don't understand because we're not part of their culture?" Rarity suggested.

"That's…one possible explanation," Celestia wheezed.

"She's a faggot!" Gilda cried desperately.

"A what now?" Rainbow Dash asked.

"She don't look like a bundle of sticks to me," Applejack commented.

"Or a variation of lace knitting where every stitch is a yarn over or a decrease," Rarity said.

"Or a bundle of welded iron bars," Pinkie Pie said. Twilight ground her teeth loudly, and Celestia looked like she was trying not to choke.

"Oh for the love of…SHE LIKES MARES!" Gilda screamed in frustration.

"…So?" Rainbow Dash asked. "I'm a mare. My best friends are mares. Everyone knows that."

"No, not like…I mean SEXUALLY!" Gilda bellowed, eyes bloodshot.

"Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh," everyone said.

"…That's IT?!" one of the reporters shouted incredulously.

Another threw down his notepad angrily. "I came all the way from Manehattan for a big scoop, and this is what I get?! Freaking waste of time is what this is…"

Another reporter nodded indignantly. "I could have been rooting around in celebrity figures' trash for something incriminating to use to write a scandalous and almost completely fictitious article about what they do in their personal lives! You know, something MEANINGFUL!"

"Soarin…" Spitfire, overhearing this, murmured in concern.

"Don't worry, boss, we throw all our garbage into the incinerator. Standard procedure," Soarin said, much to his captain's relief.

"I-I don't understand!" Gilda stammered as the crowd, mumbling in disappointment and annoyance, started breaking up. "She's…she likes mares the way she's supposed to like stallions!"

"Yeah, so?" Rainbow Dash asked.

"…So? What do you mean, SO?!" Gilda yelled.

Rainbow shrugged. "It's not like that's anything new. Everyone knows that."

Pretty much everypony in the crowd nodded. Gilda stared at them in disbelief. "They…do?"

Rainbow nodded. "Yeah. Is this really all you were going to say, Gilda? I gotta tell you, if this was a prank, it could have been executed better. I'm kinda disappointed."

"But…but…they KNOW?!" Gilda demanded.

"…Yeah, I just said that," Rainbow Dash said.

"And they're OKAY with that?!" Gilda cried.

Rainbow scratched her head in puzzlement. "Well…yeah. Why wouldn't they be?"

"B-because it's wrong! Unnatural! Immoral! Disgusting!" Gilda stammered.

"It is? Since when?" Rainbow Dash asked.

"Since-since ALWAYS!" Gilda yelled.

"The heck's she talking about?" asked a puzzled Applejack.

Fluttershy gasped. "Oh no! It's always been unnatural and wrong? Then…then does this mean-"

"No, Fluttershy, you don't have to do a thing," Princess Celestia assured her.

"But-" Fluttershy started.

"Nor do you have to annul the marriage between Mister Fluffernutter and Sir Bunnimund," Celestia continued.

Fluttershy sighed in relief. "Oh thank goodness, they'd be so heartbroken if I told them they couldn't be together!"

"I still can't believe I was asked to officiate the wedding of a squirrel and a rabbit…" Twilight murmured.

"Speaking of which, Twilight, Owloiscious and Tank want you to perform their wedding," Fluttershy said. "Um. If that's okay with you, that is."

Twilight's eyes bulged at this revelation. "WHAT?! I didn't even know they were dating!"

"Funny, I always thought Tank had a thing for Opal," Rarity commented. "Or Winona."

"What? That's crazy talk!" Applejack said. "Everypony knows that Winona's seein' Gummy!"

"He's teaching her the secrets of the universe!" Pinkie said brightly.

"…Well I certainly didn't know that…" Rarity muttered. "But then who is my darling Opalescence seeing?"

"…Angel Bunny?" Fluttershy said weakly, hoping Rarity wouldn't be too upset.

Her hopes were in vain. Rarity's eyes widened in horror. "WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!"

"Now there's a match made in Tartarus," Applejack commented. Celestia decided not to inform them that since both Angel and Opal were actually reincarnations of a legendary demon king and queen she had vanquished millennia ago, this was technically true.

Back on stage, Rainbow Dash frowned. "That didn't seem to stop us from doing it at flight camp."

"Or us!" Cloud Kicker said cheerfully from the crowd, to nopony's surprise.

"Or us," Fluttershy said timidly. Everyone stared at her incredulously. She squeaked and hid behind her mane and tried to become invisible. Since she wasn't a unicorn and knew no invisibility spells, naturally she failed.

Gilda flushed. "Sh-shut up! That never happened!"

"The scratch marks I still have on my flank would seem to say otherwise," Rainbow said in amusement.

Desperately trying to pretend Rainbow hadn't just said that, Gilda addressed the dwindling crowd. "I don't understand! Why aren't you all hating and shunning her for liking ponies of her own gender rather than stallions?!"

Rainbow Dash laughed. "Well, that'd be stupid, because then they'd have to hate and shun themselves!"

Gilda stared at her. "…What."

"Yeah, like half the ponies in Ponyville are in same-sex relationships, and there's like a lot of other couples like that in just about every city in Equestria. It's no biggie. I don't see why you're acting like it is, or making such a big deal out of it," Rainbow said with a casual shrug.

"…WHAT."

"That's right!" Pinkie yelled into Gilda's ear, having appeared on stage right next to her despite being in the audience literally just a second ago, causing the griffin to scream and leap into the air. "We have Lyra and Bon-Bon-"

"Lyra, don't even think of asking her what it's like to have hands," Bon-Bon said sharply to the mint-green unicorn next to her.

"I wouldn't dream of it," Lyra said, much to her (not actually an) earth pony partner's surprise.

"Really?" Bon-Bon asked.

"Yeah. Those are talons, not hands. Totally different," Lyra said. Bon-Bon facehooved.

"And Berry Punch and Minuette-" Pinkie continued.

"Tha talking creampuff ish right! I lovesh thish mare!" Berry Punch slurred, trying to kiss the mare next to her.

"Honey, I'm right here," Minuette said patiently from the town drunk's other side.

Berry blinked. "Then who am I trying to kish?"

"Please let go of me," Golden Harvest said timidly.

"And Cloud Kicker and Blossomforth-" Pinkie continued.

"I'd bang you too, if you wanted," Cloud Kicker said cheerfully, much to Blossomforth's exasperation and embarrassment. "Haven't done a griffon in a while."

"And Octavia and Vinyl Scratch-" Pinkie continued.

"What are we even doing here?" asked the confused cellist. "I thought we were in the middle of a jam session just a minute ago."

"Eh, just roll with it," Vinyl said.

"And Caramel and-" Pinkie started.

"Pinkie, for the last time, I'm into mares and am happily together with Sassaflash!" a tan Earth Pony shouted in exasperation as he hugged the turquoise Pegasus next to him.

"Oh, sorry Caramel, I must have mistaken one of your many identical siblings and cousins who share your exact appearance, voice, and cutie mark for you again!" Pinkie apologized. "Funny how often that happens. I should have known it was one of them instead of you on a date with Snowflake the other day!" Sassaflash glared at Caramel, who started sweating nervously, while a massive white Pegasus with tiny wings tried to vanish into the crowd. And failed. Because he was really freaking big. "Anyway, where was I? Oh right! And Ace and my arch-nemesis, the enemy of all parties and the Anti-Fun, POKEY PIERRRRRRRRRRRRRCE!"

"I'll destroy you one day, Pinkie Pie!" a dark-blue unicorn with an especially sharp horn shouted. "I swear it!"

"Not in public, honey, please?" a manly stallion with a beard standing next to him said in embarrassment.

"I shall not keep my hatred a secret!" Pokey bellowed.

"And Ruby Pinch and Tootsie Flute, and Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, and the Cutie Mark Crusaders-" Pinkie continued.

The foals in question looked at each other in astonishment. "How did she know?!" Tootsie Flute gasped.

"Even I didn't know!" Sweetie Belled announced.

"Sweetie, we've been dating for weeks," Apple Bloom said.

"We have?" Sweetie asked.

"Yes!" Scootaloo said. "All three of us!"

"Oh. Right," Sweetie Belle said happily. Apple Bloom and Scootaloo facehooved.

"Ugh. Stupid blank-flanks," Diamond Tiara muttered.

"Well, at least they have each other," Silver Spoon said brightly. Diamond Tiara frowned at her. "…So they won't try to hook up with us?" Silver Spoon elaborated. Diamond Tiara nodded, seeing her point.

"And Nurse Coldheart and Nurse Redheart, and Roseluck and Lily and the Spa Sisters, and Holly Dash and Junebug, and Lemon Hearts and Twinkleshine, and Sea Swirl and Dizzy Twister, and Lucky Clover and Orion, and-" Pinkie happily babbled until Rainbow Dash stuffed a hoof in her mouth. She kept talking anyway, though, her tongue licking against the pegasus' hoof. Rainbow did her best to ignore it, and to keep her wings from stiffening on either side of her. She failed in both attempts.

"I think she gets the idea, Pinkie," Rainbow said.

Pinkie pulled Rainbow's hoof out of her mouth. "But I didn't even mention us, Rainbow!"

Gilda blinked. "'Us?' Wait…wait a minute…" Her eyes widened in horror, her beak curling in an expression of envy and hatred. "You…you don't mean…the two of you are…"

"Huh? No, not the two of us," Rainbow said.

"Oh," Gilda said in relief.

"Yeah, it's more like six!" Pinkie said.

"…WHAT," Gilda said.

"Yeah, after Twilight became a Princess she asked us all to be in her royal harem," Rainbow said. "And only a chump would turn down an offer like that!"

"It was a dream come true!" Rarity said, swooning. "I've married into royalty!...sort of. But I am now one of the most famous and fabulous ponies in all of Equestria, every little filly—and a few colts—want to be me, and my business has taken off to heights I never imagined! (Though the fact that it's pretty much solely due to my association with Twilight is a bit of a sticking point.) Plus, it means I get to spend the rest of my life with the ponies I love and cherish more than any other, a true fairytale ending!...although most fairytales don't involve sixsomes. Threesomes, yes, but not sixsomes, or at least, not in the stories most children today hear. I'm hardly one to complain, though, given how very, very, very satisfying it is."

"We'd pretty much all been together already anyway for quite some time, this just made it official," Twilight said, blushing as Applejack and Fluttershy nuzzled her adoringly.

"Wait…wait…one of the rulers of your country is…is not just with a mare, but LOTS of them…and…and everyone's FINE with that?!" Gilda asked incredulously.

"WHY WOULDST WE NOT BE?" Luna shouted at the top of her lungs as she shoved popcorn into her royal muzzle, elated by all the drama. "THE ROYAL HAREMS CONTAIN THE FINEST SPECIMENS OF STALLIONHOOD AND MAREHOOD—AS WELL AS A FEW ESPECIALLY FETCHING SPECIMENS FROM OTHER SPECIES-IN ALL OF EQUESTRIA! WE NEED NEVER SPEND A NIGHT ALONE AGAIN, AS WE DID IN DAYS OF OLD! 'TIS GLORIOUS!"

"But…but…" Gilda slumped to the ground, a shocked look on her face. "I…I don't understand…"

"Neither do I," said a perplexed Rainbow as Pinkie Pie nuzzled her. "Why are you acting like this is such a big deal, Gilda?"

"Because to her, it is," Celestia said as she gracefully stepped onto the stage, ethereal mane flowing around her, the rest of Rainbow's friends trotting up behind her. "Griffons are not like ponies, Rainbow Dash. Their culture and even biology differ from our own."

"Well, yeah, that's kinda obvious," Rainbow said, nodding at Gilda. "I kinda figured that out the first time I saw her eat meat in the lunchroom."

Fluttershy shivered, face green. "It was so horrible…I still have nightmares…"

"The male-to-female ratio among griffons is different than it is for ponies," Celestia explained. "Whereas we have more mares than stallions, among griffons the opposite is true. Females are always in high demand to produce eggs, so for a female griffon to seek out a member of her own gender for companionship of a carnal or romantic sort is strongly frowned upon and seen as against the natural order, and a failure to fulfill their biological imperative to create the next generation of griffons."

Rainbow started and took a long, hard look at Gilda, several things about her old friend she'd taken for granted suddenly snapping to focus in a different light. Her harsh exterior, her constant bad attitude and aloofness, her unwillingness to talk about what it was like in the griffon lands, the way she'd insisted they keep their 'relationship' a secret and always seemed oddly guilty afterwards…her confusion that the crowd hadn't reacted to Rainbow's 'secret' with shock and revulsion…her talk of making Rainbow an outcast like she was…she hadn't been talking about being a carnivorous griffon among a country of herbivorous ponies, had she? "Gilda…I never knew…"

"Shut up," Gilda snarled, unable to look Rainbow in the eye. "Just…just shut up! I don't want your stupid pity! Especially since it's misplaced, because…because I-I'm totally not into hens…or mares…and I'm definitely not crying right now, it's liquid disgust at how stupid and weird you ponies are!"

"Gilda…" Rainbow whispered.

"Well, that's silly!" Pinkie Pie said. "Why don't they just make babies like we do? If we could only make new ponies that way, life would be borrrrrring!"

"A-and…um…icky…" Fluttershy said, blushing. She always felt uncomfortable seeing a stallion's…parts.

"Griffons do not have access to the same magical resources ponies do, Pinkie Pie, so that's never been an option for them," Celestia said sadly. "They have no conception spells, or gender-changing spells, or alchemical factories that can produce children from molds using blood samples from parents unable to conceive naturally, like Rainbow Dash herself was. And without these options, biological reproduction is the only way to create new griffons, making it taboo for same-sex relationships to exist…unlike our own country, where the existence of these options allows it to flourish to the point where nopony thinks it odd to see two mares walking side-by-side with a foal, or two stallions for that matter."

"That's horrible…" Fluttershy said sadly.

"And so very limiting. Nature can truly be so cruel!" Rarity said, closing her eyes and dramatically putting a forelimb across her brow.

"Ain't there something we can do to help them, Princess?" Applejack asked.

Celestia shook her head. "Most griffons distrust magic because they can't use it themselves. And most of our spells are geared towards pony biology, not griffons. If their society is to change, it will have to be something they accomplish on their own."

"Wait, what?!" Gilda said, starting out of her reverie, suddenly registering something the princess had said a moment ago. "Rainbow, you…you were made in factory?!"

"Yeah. I thought I told you that," Rainbow said.

"But…but I thought you were joking around! Or didn't actually know where babies come from!" Gilda said incredulously.

"Of course I know where babies come from. And I came from a factory," Rainbow said with a shrug. "How else could my moms have me?"

Gilda stared at her for a long, long time. "Did...did you say moms…"

"Yeah. Who'd you think they were?" Rainbow asked, pointing at six ponies who were still in attendance: a pink Pegasus with a blue mane, a unicorn who looked almost exactly like Rarity but with some red in her mane, an earth pony who looked an awful lot like Fluttershy, a white and blonde Pegasus who looked like Pinkie Pie, an earth pony who looked like an older Applejack but with lemons for a cutie mark, and a pink unicorn with a purple and white mane who looked an awful lot like Twilight had before her ascension.

"Hi, honey!" the pink Pegasus said, waving.

"We love you, darling!" the unicorn who looked like Rarity said.

"Why don'tcha write or visit more?" the orange earth pony shouted.

"We miss you," the yellow earth pony said softly.

"And we'd love to get to know your partners better!" the pink unicorn said cheerfully.

"After you're done with Gilda, we should totally throw a party!" the white Pegasus said.

"Oooh, that's a great idea! I love parties!" Pinkie said.

The white Pegasus gasped. "Really? So do I!"

"No way!" cried Pinkie.

"Yes way!" cried the white Pegasus.

"NO WAY!" shouted Pinkie.

"YES WAY!" shouted the white Pegasus.

"Omigosh that is so cool!" Pinkie Pie squealed.

"I know, right?!" the white Pegasus said enthusiastically.

"This is the best thing ever!" Pinkie shouted.

"I KNOW, RIGHT?!" the white Pegasus yelled enthusiastically.

"Yay!" cheered Pinkie.

"Yay!" cheered the white Pegasus.

"YAY!" cheered Pinkie.

"YAY!" cheered the white Pegasus.

"YAY!" cheered Pinkie.

"YAY!" cheered the white Pegasus.

"YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYY YYYYY!" they cheered at the same time, shaking he plaza.

"…There's…there's two of them…" whispered a horrified Fluttershy.

"…Welp, ah'm terrified for mah life," Applejack said after a moment. "And beginning to understand why Rainbow Dash was reluctant to introduce us to her folks."

"Am I the only one who thinks it a bit odd that Rainbow Dash's parents seem…quite a lot like us?" Rarity murmured, disturbed.

"We can discuss Rainbow Dash's potential oedipal complex later," Twilight said, eyeing the unicorn that looked like her dubiously.

"I thought only the pink Pegasus was your mom! She's the one who always dropped you off and picked you up from school and camp and stuff," said the stunned Gilda.

"Well, she is my mom. One of them, anyway," Rainbow Dash said.

"But…but then what about your father?!" Gilda asked.

"What father?" Rainbow asked in confusion.

"You know, that guy! Right there!" Gilda said, pointing to a light purple stallion with a rainbow mane standing next to Rainbow's moms.

Rainbow laughed. "Oh, that's not my dad, that's my uncle Rainbow Spectrum. Hey Uncle Spectrum, how're you doing?"

"Just fine, honey, good to see you! You should come visit more often! We miss you!" the stallion said.

"Uh-huh, yeah, sure thing," Rainbow said absent-mindedly, turning back to Gilda. "Anyway…Gilda, I had no idea griffons felt that way. Is that why you did all this? Because…because that's exactly how they treat you back where you come from, and you were so angry at what I did to you that…you wanted me to feel the same way?" A part of Rainbow Dash was angry at Gilda's intentions. A very large part, in fact. But there was a great deal of sadness, too, to know what horrible experiences Gilda must have gone through to think that exposing Rainbow Dash's sexual orientation would be the worst thing imaginable. She couldn't even imagine what it must have been like for Gilda among her own kind.

"N-NO!" Gilda sniffled, eyes red. "They don't treat me like that because…because…because I'm totally one hundred percent straight! I like male griffons, and ONLY male griffons! The thought of their…their meat…makes me all…horny and stuff…" she said, trying to repress a grimace of disgust. "Meat as big as…that big red guy…over there…"

Big Macintosh blinked. "Hey, leave mah brother out of this!" Applejack said. "It's bad enough he gets so much interest despite bein' in a fully committed relationship with Cheerilee, he don't need to get ogled by someone of a whole other species, too!"

"Eeyup," Big Macintosh said, fidgeting uncomfortably as Cheerilee held him protectively and nearly ever mare in town—and more than a few stallions—glared at him and the schoolteacher jealously.

Gilda swallowed her vomit. "I…I totally want to go and…and have a guy put…put himself inside me…and…hurk!...make babies with him!"

"Gilda…" Rainbow Dash said softly, stepping forwards.

"NO!" Gilda shouted, stumbling back, spreading her wings. "St-stay back! You…you're sick, Rainbow Dash! A sick freak! All you ponies are sick freaks! I don't want anything to do with you!"

"Gilda, wait!" Rainbow protested.

"No! I'm getting out of here, before you get your freakiness all over me!" Gilda shouted, flapping her wings and rising into the air. "But don't think this is over, Rainbow Dash! I'll be back, and I'll make you sorry for what you've done to me!"

"Gilda, no!" Rainbow cried as the griffon flew away. She spread her wings, ready to give chase…

And stopped when a gilded hoof was placed on her shoulder. "Let her go, Rainbow Dash," Celestia said.

"But-" Rainbow started.

"In her current state of mind, you are the last pony she wants to see right now," Celestia said sadly, nodding discretely to the Wonderbolts, who saluted and took off after the griffon. Just because she wasn't going to let Rainbow chase after Gilda didn't mean she wasn't going to have somepony keep an eye on her. She wasn't stupid.

Applejack nodded. "If you go chasin' after her right now, she's liable to rip you to shreds."

"I could totally take her," Rainbow sniffed. She definitely wasn't crying. Some dust kicked up by Gilda's abrupt takeoff had gotten into her eyes, was all.

"Maybe," Fluttershy said with surprising firmness. "But then both of you would be hurt, and that wouldn't make anything better, now would it?"

Rainbow Dash sank to the floor despondently. "I guess not." She rubbed at her eyes while her friends crowded around her. Stupid dust. "Gilda…I thought I was her friend, but I didn't know she felt like this. What it was like for her. And I just…I just rejected her like an idiot…"

"Gilda was being a big meanie, Rainbow Dash," Pinkie said. "And you…you're not. You're one of the best ponies I know. Maybe the best. Even if she's got it bad…that doesn't mean she should have acted the way she did. Not to you, and not to everypony else."

Rainbow frowned and stood back up, wiping her tears that totally were from the dust, honest, away. "Maybe so…but even if Gilda was being a jerk…maybe I could have been a better friend to her, too. I'm going to find a way to make things right with her, no matter what it takes!"

Celestia smiled. "A good attitude to have, Rainbow…and if you stick to that, I'm sure it'll work out in the end. I know from experience."

Popcorn kernels flew at her head and got lodged in her mane. "ART THOU REFERRING OFF-HOOFEDLY TO US, SISTER?" Luna shouted, reaching into the bucket of popcorn she'd been munching on the whole time for more projectiles. "WE TOLD THEE TO STOP GETTING ANGSTY ABOUT NIGHTMARE MOON! 'TIS BORING!"

"Yeah! 'Tis boring!" the white Pegasus agreed, throwing popcorn as well. Celestia sighed, and the rest of Rainbow's mothers facehoofed.

"Come on, Rainbow," Twilight said, brushing the Pegasus with a wing. "Let's go."

Rainbow nodded. "Yeah, all right. I guess we can get an early start on the sleepover. I could use something like that to cheer me up right about now."

As Twilight blushed, Pinkie gasped and said, "Oh! Does that mean we're gonna have an org-"

Applejack stuffed a hoof in Pinkie's mouth. "Pinkie Pie! There are foals present!"

"Big sis, we know what y'all get up to in the barn when ya have yer friends over to spend the night," Apple Bloom said deadpan. "Ya aren't exactly quiet."

"You're not quiet when you do it in Fluttershy's cottage, either," Scootaloo said.

"Or in the Boutique," Sweetie Belle said.

"Or in Sugarcube Corner," Mr. Cake said wearily.

Mrs. Cake nodded unhappily. "You're starting to give the twins ideas. We found them doing rather…mature things with their stuffed animals the other day."

"Or in the library, where they seem to forget that I can hear the whole thing," Spike said, a traumatized look on his face.

"…Welp, ah think a piece of mah soul just shriveled up and died," Applejack said, turning very red while Rarity laughed nervously, Pinkie smiled obliviously, and Fluttershy squealed and tried to shrink to the subatomic level. She failed, of course, but not for lack of trying.

"Spike! Where have you been?!" Twilight asked, flustered and embarrassed.

"I was standing here the whole time," the baby dragon said in annoyance. "Being ignored and overlooked. As usual."

"…Oh. Um…sorry," Twilight said awkwardly.

"Meh," Spike said.

There was an awkward silence. "So…uh…the sleepover/thing that definitely isn't going to involve a lot of sleep?" Rainbow asked finally.

"Oh! Yes! That!" Twilight said, blushing. She telekinetically threw several bits in Spike's face. "Here, get yourself some ice cream, and go hang out with the Crusaders or something. Just…stay away from the library. Very, very far away."

"You don't need to tell me twice," the dragon grunted, picking up the bits and walking away, muttering to himself about crazy hormonal mares. The Crusaders happily followed him, looking forward to some ice cream. And maybe some kissing practice.

"OH! CANST WE COME? WE DOTH VERILY LOVE THE CREAM THAT IS ICY!" Luna shouted.

"Ooh! Me too, me too!" Rainbow's white Pegasus mother said. Her wives looked at each other and started nodding, murmuring that they wouldn't mind some ice cream too.

"Eh, sure, why not," Spike said. "So long as you're paying."

"HUZZAH!" Luna and the white Pegasus shouted at once.

As Spike, the Crusaders, and Rainbow Dash's parents departed—saying quick farewells to their daughter and her lovers before they went, and extracting promises to come and visit—Celestia turned to her protégé and her five consorts. "I should probably go make sure they won't get into any trouble. Luna gets a little…funny around ice cream."

"You mean like you do around cake?" Pinkie asked brightly, causing Twilight to facehoof.

"…No," Celestia lied transparently. " I trust the six of you will be all right?"

Twilight nodded. "I think so, Celestia."

Celestia smiled in amusement. "Excellent. Then I shall see you back in Canterlot…whenever you are done with your 'sleepover.' Have fun."

She took off, and with that the last of the crowd, realizing nothing else of interest was going to happen, departed as well in mild disappointment. The six friends with benefits, with nothing else to do, started for the library. "Are you going to be okay, Rainbow?" Fluttershy asked in concern, noticing that the blue Pegasus hadn't said anything in a while.

Rainbow sighed and shrugged her wings. "I guess so. I don't think Gilda's going to be, though. I don't think she's been okay for a very long time."

"There's nothing we can do for her now," Twilight said.

"Yeah. I guess so," Rainbow said, not sure she believed it.

"…So. Rainbow. What is your darkest secret, anyway?" Rarity asked to change the subject.

"That I will take to my grave," Rainbow said seriously.

Rarity pouted, but seeing that wasn't causing Rainbow to budge, sighed and gave in. "Oh, very well, keep your secrets, then. I don't care."

"Okay," Rainbow said, much to the white unicorn's frustration.

"Ya do know ya can tell us anything, right, Rainbow Dash?" Applejack asked.

Rainbow nodded. "Yeah, but this…this is something different. It doesn't concern any of you. I'd rather keep it to myself."

Applejack shrugged. "All right, ah can respect that. But if ya ever change your mind…"

"Yeah, I know," Rainbow said. She knew she could trust her friends with anything, and that they would love her no matter what.

Even so…

There was absolutely no way she was ever, ever going to let them know the truth…that her middle name wasn't Danger.

It was Miriam!

Elsewhere…

"GILDA!" a malevolent voice boomed right in the griffon's face, blowing her feathers back and deafening her. "YOU HAVE FAILED ME FOR THE FIRST TIME!"

"Don't you mean, 'last time?'" Gilda snarked, wiggling a talon in her ear to try and regain her hearing.

"Huh? No, of course not, this is only your first time failing me," the bizarre amalgamation of different animal parts calling himself Discord said, tossing his megaphone away. It burst into confetti the second it hit the wall of his lair…or rather, Pokey Pierce's basement lounge. He pulled off his goat horn, stuck the pointy end in his mouth, and blew, causing a high, effeminate voice to come out and say, "But I am still very, very disappointed in you! You were supposed to discredit Rainbow Dash and turn everyone against her, and you failed!"

"Well, how was I supposed to know all ponies are weird and gay and stuff?!" Gilda asked angrily.

"You spent how long in an exchange program at Junior Speedsters and Flight School and never noticed?" the Pegasus Lightning Dust asked, raising an eyebrow.

"…Shut up," Gilda growled.

Discord threw the horn away. It got stuck over the head of Prince Blueblood, who had been drinking some of Pokey's beer from the bar nearby, causing him to squeal in alarm and flail about in a panic. Nobody noticed or cared since nobody liked him. The chaos god then stuck his thumb in his mouth and blew, causing a new horn to pop out of the top of his head. "Regardless, Gilda, because of your foolish incompetence for being an incompetent fooooool, you have failed in Discord's Evil League of Evil's first mission to defeat our sworn enemies who don't know we exist just yet, the Elements of Harmony! Shame on you, Gilda! Shame, shame, shame!" He whacked her on the snout with a newspaper. She snarled and tried to rip it out of his grasp, but he bopped her on the knuckles, causing her to recoil. "Now you must wear the cone of shame," he said, sticking a giant paper cone over her head. "To remind you of your failure!"

"This is so lame…" Gilda grumbled.

"YOU'RE lame!" Discord said, sticking out his tongue. "Now, to punish you-"

"Wait, I thought the cone was punishment?" asked the confused Gilda.

Discord shook his head. "No, that's because I find it funny. Your punishment is to watch Lightning Dust and Trixie-"

"The GREAT and POWERFUL Trixie," Trixie, who was also in the basement along with Pokey Pierce and the Flim-Flam Brothers, interjected.

Discord rolled his eyes. "Yes, yes, your punishment is to watch the two of them MAKE OUT!"

"Wait, WHAT?!" Trixie and Lightning Dust yelled.

"Ooh, this sounds fun, brother!" Flim said.

"Yes, it definitely does, brother!" Flam said.

"In fact," Flim said, eyes twinkling. "It makes me think of a song…"

"Me too, brother! Me too!" Flam said. They opened their mouths…

Only for Discord to zip their mouths shut. With literal zippers. "No, no, no!" he cried. "No singing! You'll ruin…ze MAGICS!"

"…Ze magics?" Pokey asked skeptically.

"Ze MAGICS!" Discord shouted dramatically, causing streamers and balloons and a rubber chicken to fly out from behind him with the sound of a whoopee cushion. At a distant photo shoot, Photo Finish sneezed, getting the strong impression that she should be suing someone for infringing her trademarked catchphrase.

"But the Great and Powerful Trixie don't want to kiss her!" Trixie protested.

"Oh, what, I'm not good enough for you?!" Lightning Dust asked angrily.

Trixie stuck her nose haughtily into the air. "The Great and Powerful Trixie refuses to kiss anyone who reeks of failure!"

"Look in the mirror lately, Ms. Talks in the Third Person?" Lightning Dust sneered. "Remind me, what job are you currently working at right now? A performing magician? No, wait, that's right, you work on a rock farm!"

"I'LL HAVE YOU KNOW THAT ROCK FARMING IS A PERFECTLY RESPECTABLE CAREER!" Trixie shouted. "Far better than working at a fast food restaurant!"

"Oh, you little-!" Lightning Dust snarled.

"Oh boy, they're going to start making out any minute now out of belligerent sexual tension, brother!" Flim said excitedly.

"And Discord doesn't even need to force them to do it, brother!" Flam said eagerly.

Hearing this, the unicorn and Pegasus blanched and quickly scrambled away from each other. "Awwww," the unicorn twins said in disappointment.

"Ugh. Do they really have to make out in my basement? Really?" Pokey complained. "I can't even believe I let them in here in the first place. This is supposed to be a stallion-free zone!"

"Yes. Yes they do," Discord said. "And I don't really care."

"This is my basement lounge, you'd think I'd get more say in what we do with it," Pokey grumbled.

"You'd think so," Discord agreed, patting the unicorn patronizingly on the head. "And you'd be completely wrong."

"Mmmph! Mmmph! MMMMPH!" Blueblood screamed inside the horn. Nobody noticed or cared.

"How is watching them make out a punishment for me?!" Gilda asked in confusion.

"WE ARE NOT MAKING OUT!" Trixie and Lightning Dust shouted.

"Because you will have to watch…and not get any!" Discord cried triumphantly. "Mwahahahaha!"

"…That's stupid," Gilda complained.

"You're stupid," Discord said, plucking Gilda's beak off her face and leaving a blank white space where it had once been. As the griffon clawed at her face in horror, wanting to scream but lacking the mouth to do it with, Discord tossed the beak into a garbage can and turned to Lightning Dust and Trixie. "Now, kiss."

"But-" the two ponies started.

"Now, KISS!" he repeated, taking out two dolls resembling the two of them and pushing them together so their snouts touched. Instantly, the Pegasus and unicorn started kissing against their volition. And after a few minutes, they started doing it willingly. Very willingly. As the Flim-Flam Brothers watched eagerly, Pokey turned away in disgust, Blueblood continued stumbling around blindly, and Gilda watched in envy, Discord whipped out a video camera and started recording. "Yes…yesssss…soon my plan to become an Internet celebrity by filming these fools making foolish fools out of themselves with their foolishness and putting it on UTube to get millions of hits…er, I mean my COMPLETELY EVIL PLAN because I'm totally not redeemed and am just faking being a good guy, really, honest," he said, crossing his fingers behind his back and quickly shoving a framed picture of him happily frolicking in a field of flowers with Fluttershy under a couch with his tail. "To tear the Elements of Harmony apart and destroy Equestria shall soon come to fruition! Kilikilikilikilikilikilkilik ili! Kilikilikilikilikilikilikili !"

"…What was that?" Pokey asked.

"My new evil laugh!" Discord said.

"…You call that an evil laugh?" Pokey asked incredulously.

Discord snorted and went back to filming. "Everyone's a critic." But you'll get yours soon enough. Oh yes, you will. ALL of you will. Muhahaha. Ahahahaha! Kilikilikilikilikilikili!

THE END…?

Well, that's the end for now, anyway. I have some plans for a follow-up, but at the moment I'd like to get back to work on my Pokémon fic. Let me know what you think.