Okay, folks, pay no attention to the pink mare behind the podium! Instead, turn your attention to the podium itself, and the unique artwork plastered upon it.
That’s a Pinkie Pie original drawing of Her Royal Highness, Princess Twilight Sparkle.
Surrounded by hearts.
What I’m saying is that today is a good day to be a Twinkie fan.
I’m intrigued by the lack of Twilight’s horn in Pinkie’s picture
Pinkie Pie was not a pony who overlooked things. She couldn’t be, if she wanted to remember the birthday of every pony in Ponyville so she could throw them super special surprise birthday parties, which she did. She remembered the birthday of every pony in town, and she remembered that raspberries were Rarity’s favorite fruit, and she remembered Applejack only slept in on Sundays and never any other day, and she remembered all kinds of stuff about all kinds of ponies and people who weren’t ponies too.
Sometimes Pinkie got a little too excited or a little too distracted by balloons or music or high-intensity explosives, but she didn’t forget things. She didn’t overlook things. Not the important things, anyway. Not the things that really mattered.
"I can’t believe you forgot Twilight’s horn," Rainbow Dash cackled, pointing to the poster Pinkie had made for Twilight’s stall at the Rainbow Falls Traders Exchange. "I mean, it’s just attached right to her forehead.”
Rainbow and Pinkie sat across from one another on one of the wooden benches in a train car of the Friendship Express, as the train rattled its way back towards Ponyville. The poster of Twilight sat in Pinkie’s lap and, just as Rainbow had said, the image of Twilight that Pinkie had drawn was missing a horn.
Applejack, sitting beside Rarity, let out a single snort of amusement. Pinkie felt her face drop into a pout.
Meanwhile, Fluttershy smiled as she set down her new bird call. “To be fair, other than the horn, it’s a very good likeness of Twilight. Especially considering how fast Pinkie drew it.”
Pinkie perked up a bit, but even so, she could tell her pouting levels were still non-zero.
Twilight giggled a bit and leaned over to the earth pony beside her, giving her a brief nuzzle. “It’s a very nice poster, Pinkie. And I appreciate your trying to help me. Well, I appreciate the thought behind your trying to help me, anyway.”
At that, Pinkie let go of the rest of her pout. She turned and grinned at Twilight, who grinned right back, and everything was right as rain again.
Applejack was, by far, the loudest snorer of their small group, but Rarity gave the farm pony a run for her money. Both Fluttershy’s and Dash’s snores were far quieter, almost like the buzz of hummingbird wings, while Spike simply mumbled incoherently in his sleep. Pinkie smiled in the stillness and the dark, wrapping the familiar sounds of all her friends around her like a blanket.
Except … not quite all her friends.
Slipping from her bunk, Pinkie Pie tiptoed down the aisle and toward the door of the train car. She cast a glance towards Twilight’s bunk on her way out and, just as she’d thought, saw only Spike curled up on the pillow, with his new comic book cradled to his chest.
In the next train car, lit only by a dim glow of magic and the moonlight streaming in from the windows, sat Twilight. A book lay open on the bench before her, and Twilight was leaning forward eagerly, her brow furrowed in concentration as she read. Other than the pony and her book, the train car stood empty.
Pinkie’s smile grew a little wider as she approached.
"Hiya, Twilight!" she chirped, as she took a seat on a neighboring bench.
The alicorn’s head jerked up, and for a moment Twilight’s face went slack in confusion. Then, her eyes refocusing, Twilight offered up a small smile.
"Oh, hi, Pinkie." She tilted her head towards the door that led to the car with the bunks. "What’s up? Couldn’t sleep?"
"Nopers! I’m too excited about how I’m gonna tell Mr. and Mrs. Cake and Pound and Pumpkin all about our adventures today when we get home!" Pinkie shook her head before turning her gaze towards the still-open book. "Whatcha reading?"
"Just one of the old books I was going to trade." Her smile reached out to Pinkie through the darkness. "I really am glad you convinced me to keep them after all."
Pinkie nodded in reply. She remembered the tone Twilight used when she’d talked about them back at the Traders Exchange, that soft reverence and affection, and she remembered how Twilight specifically talked about the book that reminded her of Pinkie Pie.
Glancing down, Pinkie tapped her forehooves together, a nervous little staccato that sounded too loud by far in the otherwise silent train car. She swallowed, and it felt like a big ball of taffy was stuck in her throat. It hurt a little.
"Pinkie Pie? Are you all right?"
Pinkie hesitated before slowly shaking her head. “Twilight? I, um. I didn’t actually forget your horn.”
"My … oh, in the poster, you mean?"
"Uh-huh." Still Pinkie didn’t look up. "I know you have a horn, ‘cause you’ve always had a horn, except for the time Discord took it away, but that was only for a little while, and it’s a really super pretty horn and I didn’t want you to think that—"
Suddenly a hoof was pressed against Pinkie’s lips, a wonderfully soft hoof that smelled of ink and dry paper, and then another hoof was gently tilting Pinkie’s chin back up. She found herself staring directly into Twilight’s eyes, which shone a dark violet under the moonlight. Pinkie swallowed again, and it hurt even worse.
Twilight pulled her hoof away from Pinkie’s mouth, but the hoof under Pinkie’s chin stayed where it was.
"Pinkie," said Twilight, her voice as soft as her touch. "Whatever’s wrong, it’s okay. You can tell me."
Pinkie gave a small nod. “I drew your wings first. And then I drew the rest of you, and when I got to your head, well, I kinda sorta didn’t want to draw your horn.”
"Well, that’s no big deal. It’s just a picture." Then Twilight frowned, and Pinkie’s heart sank as she knew exactly what would come next. "But why wouldn’t you want to draw my horn?"
"Because … because lots of ponies have wings, and lots of ponies have horns, but not lots of ponies have both wings and horns.” Pulling away from Twilight’s touch, Pinkie took a deep breath and continued, “And I know I said you weren’t better than other ponies, and I know you don’t think you’re better than anypony, but everypony else thinks you’re better, and …”
Pinkie stopped, partly because she’d run out of breath but mostly because she wasn’t sure she wanted to say the part that came next. But Twilight sat across from her, wearing a patient smile, the smile that said Twilight would wait forever to hear the rest of what Pinkie had to say because Twilight knew this time what Pinkie had to say was important. And it was seeing that smile on Twilight’s face—seeing that smile and everything it meant, about Twilight, about Pinkie, about the both of them—it was seeing that smile that nudged Pinkie into speaking once again.
"In all the books I’ve ever read, princesses fall in love with princes or other princesses or maybe sometimes knights," said Pinkie, her voice soft and broken. "They don’t fall in love with silly, unimportant little party planners."
Twilight’s eyes went wide, and Pinkie braced herself. For what, she didn’t quite know, but she set her jaw and locked her knee, and she forced herself not to look away. A responsible pony would face up to the consequences, and Pinkie could be responsible. Right here and right now, Pinkie had to be. And so she watched with grim resolve as Twilight hurriedly glanced away, as Twilight opened her mouth to speak and shut it again, over and over, as Twilight’s nostrils flared and as Twilight began trembling ever so slightly.
Finally Twilight gave herself a brusque little shake, as though she’d just woken up from a nap, and she looked back up at Pinkie Pie. She looked at Pinkie with an unwavering, intense gaze that made the earth pony shiver a little inside. Reaching across the short expanse between them, Twilight cupped Pinkie’s face between both forehooves.
Leaning forward, near enough Pinkie could almost taste Twilight’s breath, Twilight whispered, “Maybe you and I need to find some new books.”