To the southeast of the Rambling Rock Ridge, lied the Hayseed Forest. This place was home to many creatures big and small, mean and kind. Not much was known about this place, nor the swamps that resided further inward, because very few ponies ever come here.
Not long after the six little ponies divided into groups and went their separate ways, two of them had reached the woods. The cyan Pegasus with the rainbow-colored mane was flying above the trees, trying to scout ahead. Unfortunately, the darkness of the night made it difficult. The pink pony with the puffy mane was just below the other, skipping merrily through the forest.
Realizing it was hopeless, the tomboyish Pegasus flew down to rejoin her friend, "It's so dark I can hardly see anything in front of me!" she complained.
"Oh come on, Rainbow Dash. It's not that bad. I mean I agree it is darker then usual, but that wont break our spirits, right?!" Pinkie Pie bubbled.
Rainbow just rolled her eyes and sighed, "I can't understand how you can be so cheerful after all this. I mean, seriously!"
Pinkie pie stopped and tilted her head in confusion, "What do you mean?"
The frustrated Rainbow turned to her friend and explained, "Lets see…oh yeah: One, we lost our home to that monster; Two, all our friends and families are serving him against their will; Three, and the most important, we have to go searching for help from the most unlikely creatures that we don't even know are there or will help us!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed while huffing, "Does that answer your question?!!!"
Pinkie pie pondered that, then replied, "Yep!" she resumed her skipping and humming.
Rainbow Dash just sat there with her only reaction to Pinkie's response was a face hoof.
"Come one, slowpoke! We have a long way to go!" The hyperactive pony called out as she was getting on ahead of the other.
Rainbow Dash's ears perked up at the word "slowpoke" and quickly took flight to catch up, "You are you calling slowpoke?! I bet I could beat you in a race with my wings tied!" she challenged.
Pinkie Pie smiled big and ran on ahead, "Okie Dokie then. Lets race!"
The two ponies galloped through the woods, side by side, determined to see who would get the furthest before tiring out. As they ran, Pinkie was happy knowing she was able to help take Rainbow's mind off the pain she was feeling.
The two ponies soon found themselves deeper in the woods then they thought; all thanks to the race that Rainbow Dash obviously won. She laid on the ground, resting her tired legs. Pinkie Pie finally caught up with her and giggled.
"Whats…so…fun…ny…?" panted the exhausted Pegasus.
"You, silly!" Pinkie joyfully answered as she hopped in little circles around her friend.
"Oh…yeah? Well…I won…so…*pants*…I should… be the one…*pants*…who's…laughing!"
Pinkie stood right in front of Rainbow Dash and continued hopping while in place, "Oh Rainbow. It wasn't about winning…it was about having fun. I mean I noticed how sad and grumpy you were, and I TOTALLY knew a race would be the thing to cheer you up."
Rainbow was able to catch her breath and stand back up on all fours. The next thing she noticed what Pinkie Pie's big bright smile.
"So did it work? Huh-huh-huh? Did it, did it, did it?!" She asked over and over, while bouncing faster.
Rainbow Dash stood there and shrugged, "I guess it did."
Pinkie Pie smiled more and turned around and bounced off in the other direction, going deeper into the woods. Rainbow Dash followed from behind in the air.
"Don't get too far ahead, Pinkie! It's really dark and I am already having trouble seeing where I'm going as it is!" She called out.
"Don't you worry one bit. Your auntie Pinkie Pie knows exactly where she is going,"
Rainbow Dash had no idea how to respond to either of those things Pinkie said: One, Rainbow was slightly older then her…and two: how could she know which way to go when it was so dark?
The happy pink pony continued hopping along through the forest, clearly showing no signs of where she was going, at least from what Rainbow Dash could see as she followed.
Feeling the need to speak up about the direction Pinkie was heading in, she was hopping her way right towards a small river, which had a few stepping stones that would make crossing easier. However, when Rainbow got closer, those stones…were not stones at all. They were alligators!
Pinkie was hopping right towards them, and apparently had not noticed them. The panicking Pegasus flew down in a hurry to grab Pinkie before she would reach the river, but it was already too late.
Pinkie hopped happily from one stone to the next, not realizing they were actually alligators. Once she made it to the other side, she continued on. The gators however rubbed their heads and growled, clearly upset with the headaches they had now. Rainbow was coming in too fast towards the gators and pulled a quick maneuver to avoid them, but not before they took a few snaps at her, unsuccessfully.
Rainbow wiped the sweat from her forehead at the close call, but she felt something was different from behind. She turned her head, and the next thing she saw was her tail slightly shorter then before. Her jaw dropped at the sight, and noticed one of the alligators spitting out the hair and disappearing into the water. This infuriated Rainbow Dash greatly, not at the gators, but at Pinkie Pie.
Before the angry Pegasus could confront the pink pony, she had already hopped her way into an area of the forest that was covered in thorn bushes. Rainbow dashed to try and catch her this time, but once again she was too late. Pinkie had disappeared into the thicket and rainbow ended up flying right into the bushes.
"Owowowowowowowow!!!!" Rainbow screamed as dozens of thorns pricked her coat.
The thorns hurt, but she refused to lie there and do nothing. The thorn-covered Pegasus got up and made her way through the thicket, avoiding as many thorns as possible. The ones she did hit hurt her, "Owwwww!!!" Rainbow Dash cried.
It took a few minutes to find her way out, but the experience felt longer since there were painful thorns involved. Rainbow found herself on the other side, where Pinkie was sitting; she had not a thorn on her, compared to the other.
"How did…Why aren't you…" Rainbow Dash could not find the right words when she saw Pinkie sitting there, with her usual cheerful smile.
"Oh dear Rainbow, those are some nasty thorns. Might want to get those removed soon. They can be quite painful," the pink pony suggested.
The thorn-covered pony could not believe what she just heard. She wanted to yell, but with all those pointy thorns on her, it would have to wait.
Pinkie Pie watched as her friend spent the next half hour pulling thorns out of her coat. The experience of removing the thorns as well as watching them being pulled out was painful for them both. The pink pony walked over to her, hoping she could cheer her up.
"Hey Rainbow, why don't you let me help you with that," Pinkie urged.
"I got it."
"No really, I can help y-"
"I SAID I GOT IT!!!" The angry Pegasus screamed.
Pinkie Pie backed away a little, confused and slightly terrified by her friend's sudden outburst, "I…I was just…trying to…"
Rainbow Dash pulled the last thorn out and turned on her friend, "Help?! I think you have helped me enough!!"
Pinkie Pie felt saddened by Rainbows words, plus confused why she would say such a thing.
"Look here!" Rainbow showed Pinkie where the alligator bit off part of her tail, "You see this?! This was from when I was trying to save you from the alligators that you just hopped across, and they DID THIS TO ME!!"
Tears started to form in the pink pony's eyes as Rainbow Dash continued blaming her for recent events, "OH, and lets not forget when you tricked me into running a stupid race, the thorns I had to endure, and finally…you act as if you know where you're going! The only thing you have led me to was THIS! You are NOT being helpful…AND I DOUBT YOU EVER CAN BE!!"
Pinkie Pie said nothing as more tears started to show. Rainbow was so angry she had not noticed. All of a sudden, Pinkie turned and ran off, crying as she went; she wanted to get as far away from Rainbow as she could.
As she ran off, Rainbow soon realized she had made her best friend cry, and she was running off into the woods. Afraid she would get lost, Rainbow flew after her.
"Pinkie Pie!!" Rainbow called out, desperate to find her lost friend, "Pinkie Pie!!" there was no answer or any sign of her. Rainbow started to regret all that she said to Pinkie.
"Pinkie Pie!! Please come back! I didn't mean those things I said!!" Rainbow yelled out, desperate to find her friend.
She searched on and soon found herself in a small open part of the forest. Rainbow realized that not only was her friend lost, but so was she. Suddenly, strange noises were heard from all around.
"W-w-what…was…that?" Rainbow asked herself. Although as brave as she was, being all alone in the dark in an unfamiliar place, along with different sounds coming from all over made her cower in fear.
The formerly brave Pegasus pony shivered as the cold wind blew past her. The sounds of owls hooting, branches rustling in the woods, and the growling of creatures unknown were too much to handle.
Too afraid to move, she found herself lying on the ground, trying to cover her face. Rainbow Dash soon realized that she was now all alone; first she lost those she cared for back in Ponyville, and now fears she has lost one the only friends she may have left. No longer able to hold it back, she broke down and started to cry.
"I'm…*sniff*…I'm so sorry, Pinkie…*sniff*…Pie," Rainbow Dash wept, "Please…I…I didn't…mean those…things I said…*sniff*." She continued to cry for her friend, even as the scary noises could still be heard, "Please…come back…don't…*sniff*…don't leave me alone!!"
Rainbow's cries continued on. She wished everything would be alright, and that she would be home again with all her friends. But as she laid there, the weeping Pegasus feared that what she wished for may never come to pass. Suddenly, she felt a gently hoof stroking her mane. Rainbow looked up, and with her eyes filled with tears, and saw her friend before her.
It was her: the pink pony that represented the Element of Laughter. She had tears in her eyes as well, and was so relieved to find Rainbow Dash safe.
Overwhelmed with joy, Rainbow threw her front legs over her friend and embraced her tight, "I'm so sorry…I shouldn't have yelled at you, Pinkie!"
"No, it isn't. I was *sniff* so angry…and yet…it wasn't you I was really angry at. I should never have taken it out on you. You're my best friend, Pinkie Pie…and friends should never do things *sniff* like that to one another, even when…they were just trying to cheer the other up."
Pinkie Pie understood what Rainbow was going through, because she felt the same; they both lost many friends to the Darkness, and feared they may never see them again. Pinkie hugged her friend back, "I forgive you, Rainbow…because you're my best friend too."
Rainbow Dash felt more joy hearing her friend accepting her apology. The two eventually broke the hug and wiped their eyes clean of tears. They both spent a little time letting all their sorrows pass by before they would continue their journey.
"So…How are you feeling now, Rainbow Dash?" Pinkie Pie asked.
"A little better I guess. I sure could use some of your "Pinkie charm" to help me smile again."
Pinkie Pie pondered for a moment, and then had a sure fire way to make Rainbow Dash smile again: she smiled big and using her front hooves, she brought them to her friend's sides and tickled her.
Rainbow rolled around on the ground all while laughing uncontrollably, "Pinkie….Hahahahah…stop…hahaha…that!!!" she pleaded, but Pinkie Pie refused, since this was making her friend smile again.
As the pink pony tickled the rainbow maned pony more and more, the scary noises that were all around them had disappeared; everything was now looking their way.
After the tickling stopped, the two ponies were ready to leave the clearing and continue towards the Hayseed Swamp. But as they left, little did they know that a pair of glowing eyes were glaring at them from within the trees.