The bakery was aflame. It stood silhouetted against the darkening sky, a glowing orange beacon casting smoke into the air as the fire danced ever higher. The citizens of Ponyville crowded the streets, wandering casually past the bakery and completely ignoring the impending disaster. The day before they would have done the same. A week before they may have paid attention. A month before would have seen them panicking, rushing the bakery to save those within. But it was not any of those days. It was the day it was, and that day marked the one hundred and twelfth time that the bakery had caught fire in the space of thirty one days.
Three ponies stood on the front step of the bakery – a Unicorn, a Pegasus and an earth pony. The Unicorn and the Pegasus stood close together, shame-faced and heads hung low, but the Earth pony was dancing, bouncing on her pink hooves. A part of this was because she was proud of her students. They had tried, given it their all, and they had almost succeeded. And they would keep trying – they were, as she was, natural born bakers - they just hadn’t quite convinced the food of that yet. But another, perhaps larger part of the reason was that her fluffy, bright pink tail was aflame.
Not that she was worried, or anything – she had the bestest fire putter-outing pony in all of Ponyville and probably anywhere else too on the case, after all. But, she thought as she pirouetted through the air with a smile, panic was expected and so panic there would be. Finally, at long last, just as she opened her mouth the scream out her best friend’s name and tell her to come help already, a crack of thunder echoed through the sky and the rain began to fall. Right on top of her, and into her open mouth.
For a moment she stood there in shock, drenched from the tippy top of her pretty pink head to the bottoms of her not quite as pretty but still a nice colour anyways pink hooves. And then, as Rainbow Dash began to laugh her loud, bellowing laugh, Pinkie took aim and shot a jet of water up and straight at her mirthful face. The sight of a rainbow falling gracelessly from a cloud, swearing and cackling, was a beautiful one in its own way – not any way that was actually beautiful, but it was still fun to see, so that was okay.
Pinkie smiled widely, and turned back to the waiting twins. They gazed at her with anxious eyes, and she had to resist the urge to sigh.
“So tell me,” she asked sternly, “what do we think went wrong?”
It was the Pegasus who answered, and Pound was his name. His voice was soft and gentle – unlike his hooves, which could break through Pinkie’s rock cake with no trouble at all, even when she made it with gemstones. “Uhm…we…we forgot to turn off the oven?”
Pinkie clicked her tongue and shook her head. “Nope, nope. That’s not it at all. Pumpkin?”
Pumpkin, the unicorn, thought for a moment before slapping a hoof against her forehead with a laugh. “Oh, duh! Everything caught fire!”
“Yes!” Pinkie chirped happily, “Exactly! And fire isn’t one of those things you wanna see when you’re baking! Fire is bad. Pretty, but bad. Do you understand?”
The twins nodded contritely a moment before they were swept into a tight hug, and Pinkie continued.
“Hey, turn those frowns upside down! You only started two fires today! That’s a whole six less than yesterday! It’s three more than the day before that, but still – I’m proud of you guys! And the cookies turned out perfect!”
The twins exchanged glances, and Pumpkin spoke again. “Pinks, you know we left those in the oven, right? The one that was on fire?”
Pinkie bobbed her head contentedly. “I know! You’re lucky I remembered to save ‘em, or they’d have been gone forever – and a good baker never leaves a crumb behind! Now, repeat after me: I am a baker, and today I have done myself proud!”
As the twins recited the oath under the falling rain, Pinkie Pie was grinning.
Only Pinkie Pie could make a building catching on fire become routine. I enjoyed this look at the next generation that is already around; it was an interesting take on the prompt with some hilarious results. Pinkie’s relentlessly upbeat attitude about the whole thing is perfectly fitting, though she’s left me wondering just how one has negative one fire in a day.