"I know what we'll do! I'm going to make a huge pie, except it's all a fake pie, and then we're going to put it in the middle of the town square and I'll hide inside while you set up all these rockets and sparklers and stuff I pinched from the ruins of Trixie's wagon, and when everypony is wondering what kind of a pie it is you light the fireworks and I jump out and they'll realize it's a Pinkie pie!"
"Nah, that sounds kinda like a retread of the exploding cake you made last year. How about I lace a few clouds with food coloring and bring them over the town, so we get some rainbow-colored rain?"
"Oooh! That's an absolutely fabulous idea, Dash! But... I think that needs just a teensy-weensy little bit more coloring than the Cakes have."
The two ponies sighed. Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash had been brainstorming ideas for this year's super-duper-fantastic April Fools' prank for hours, but they still hadn't figured out anything good. Everything they came up with had been already done, or was too small, too complicated, or too dangerous.
"I give up, my head's empty of ideas," Dash sighed, resting her head on her hooves. "Maybe we ought to just play it by the ear this year, Pinkie..."
The pink pony gasped. "Gasp! You can't be saying that, Dash! We're Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash, the bestest, most audacious pranksters in Ponyville, and we've got a reputation to maintain! Standards to stand up for! The spirit of April Fools' Day to celebrate!"
Dash couldn't help but chuckle at Pinkie Pie's dramatic outburst. "Okay, you've got a point, Pinkie. And we still got almost three weeks left, I bet we can come up with something by that time..." The pegasus frowned, looking thoughtful. "Maybe we just need to find a fresh perspective to the whole thing."
Pinkie Pie's eyes lit up at this. "Ooh! Ooh! I know exactly who the right pony to help us with that is!"
"You want to know all about April Fools' Day?" Twilight asked. She was a bit surprised by this request; it wasn't often that Pinkie and Dash came to library to actually learn something, instead just wanting to visit her.
"Yeah! We were thinking about it, and realized that neither of us even knows when it started or why," Rainbow Dash said. "And well, you're such a know-it-all, we were absolutely sure you could tell us everything about it!" Pinkie nodded in vigorous agreement.
Twilight felt a bit unsure whether she'd just been insulted or complimented. Deciding to take it as a compliment, she smiled at them. "Well, you've certainly come to the right place! I was actually studying the origins of the Equestrian calendar back when I first found out about the Nightmare Moon prophecy, so I'm well prepared for this question. Sit down, will you?"
Turning to the shelves, the unicorn levitated a thick, leather-bound tome out and lowered it on one of the study desks. "Here's Hoofnagel's Chronologium, it's old but still the best primary source for any ancient holidays."
Pinkie, whose cheerful mood the dull-looking old book had slightly flattened, perked up at this. "Ancient holidays? So, is April Fools' Day a really old holiday? I wonder what kinds of pranks they used to pull in the olden days!"
Twilight smiled at her enthusiasm. "I wouldn't know about those, I'm afraid. But yes, it's a very, very old holiday, even older than Winter Wrap-Up or Halloween." She flipped the book open with a flick of her horn, and paged quickly through the yellowed pages until she found the section she'd been looking for.
"You see, originally it was called April Foals' Day. The whole thing goes back a long, long time, back to when we ponies were a nomadic people. Equestria was a much wilder place back then, and the Princesses hadn't yet tamed the seasons."
Dash looked surprised at this. "What, didn't they have weather patrols and everything back then?"
"I don't think so. But in any case, the seasons came and went as they pleased, instead of being properly scheduled. And since everypony had to travel constantly, from one grazing land to another, all the foals were born around the same time in the spring - starting in what is now the month of April - so they grew up in the summer."
Pinkie's expression turned puzzled as she tried to digest this bit of information. "Wait, what? Does that mean that they all waited the whole year before they-"
"Let's not go there, Pinkie," Twilight said hastily. "Things were different back then, you see. Anyway, April Foals' Day was when everypony threw a party to celebrate the coming of new life, a birthday party for the whole community. Later, when we settled down, and the seasons and weather became scheduled, it was no longer so important that all the foals were born the same time. So ponies started to celebrate their birthdays separately, but April Foals' remained in the calendar, just turned into a general spring holiday. As for where the pranks come from, nobody is sure, but Hoofnagel lists seven best theories here..."
The purple unicorn was in the middle of her long and enthusiastic explanation of Hoofnagel's third theory when she finally realized that her friends weren't listening. Instead, Pinkie and Dash were sitting with their heads close together, grinning and nodding and whispering in a low voice. "Uh… that's not all that important, I guess," she said. "Anyway, it's all here, together with the history of April Fools' in modern times... well, up to about a century ago, when Hoofnagel lived."
Pinkie gave her a bright and cheery smile. "Oh, thanks, but we don't need it!" the pink pony said. "Thank you so incredibly much, Twilight, you're definitely my number one favorite librarian pony in the whole of Ponyville! Come on, Dash, we got to hurry!" Giggling, Pinkie bounced away, followed by the blue pegasus.
Twilight frowned as she replaced the tome on the shelf. The April Fools' Day had never been her favorite holiday – she had always found it too frivolous and silly – but at least back in Canterlot it was a relatively restrained affair: just a few magic pranks by unicorn students, and some superficially plausible joke article in the newspaper. This was Ponyville, however, and she had already learned that what passed for "relatively restrained" here was quite a bit earthier and energetic than in the capital. And with Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash involved, you could expect anything to happen!
Over the next weeks, the inhabitants of Ponyville began to notice odd things about Pinkie and Dash. Everypony knew that the two were close friends, and spent quite a bit of their free time together, so at first nobody was surprised to see them in the market, or at the park, or in a dozen other places, apparently engrossed in a conversation. In every case, though, if someone wandered by to greet them, they immediately dropped their discussion and usually headed off in different directions after a few polite comments.
Next oddity was Rainbow Dash visiting Fluttershy several times. When Rarity asked her about it during one of their regular spa visits, the pink-maned Pegasus blushed. "I'm sorry, Rarity, but Rainbow Dash made me promise not to tell anyone. But I do think they're being awfully irresponsible with the whole thing." And that unusually disapproving comment was the end of it; no matter how the unicorn tried to cajole and coax Fluttershy to elaborate, she remained silent.
It was Rarity herself, with her infallible eye for measurements, who picked up the next thing. "Pinkie, darling... have you been eating more than usual lately? You're looking a bit, ah, fuller at the hips." The unicorn could have also commented that the pink pony's belly was looking rounder than before, but decided it would be impolite.
"Oh, me? No, no, not at all!" Pinkie said with a little giggle that somehow didn't sound properly Pinkie-like, and launched onto another one of her nonsensical tangents. It left Rarity with a distinct feeling that her friend was trying to hide something...
Mrs. Cake was the next person to add to the rumors going about in Ponyville. "I'm becoming a little worried about Pinkie Pie. The poor girl scarcely touches her food at dinners, and spends so much time in her room! And that pegasus friend of hers never seems to come around these days... I wonder if they've had some kind of a falling out."
Rainbow Dash added to the confusion by having what sounded like a blazing fight with Pinkie, and dashing off into her cloud home to sulk, while the pink pony deflected her friends' worries with a wide-eyed smile. "Oh, thank you for your concern, girls, but everything's just fine between me and Dash! We're still best of buddies, and nothing's going to change that! You'll see!" Fluttershy's reaction to this was a deep sigh.
As the April Fools' Day approached, the rumors were flying thick in Ponyville, and Pinkie, her belly now noticeably bigger, couldn't go anywhere without curious and worried glances, and quick whispered conversations. Nopony knew who was the first person to say it outright, but pretty soon everypony in Ponyville had heard the rumor: Pinkie Pie is pregnant.
Even her friends were getting worried and confused. The pink pony was telling them all the time that she was fine, and that everything would work out just fine if they just waited a little bit. Only Fluttershy seemed unconcerned, even slightly annoyed, which baffled everyone; it just wasn't like the kind-hearted pegasus at all!
"Poor Pinkie," Rarity said to Twilight one evening when she was returning a book on trick stitches to the library. "I can't imagine what it has to be like for her, tricked by some sly and suave stud into an illicit liaison, and now abandoned by him to bear his foal in shame!"
Twilight snorted. "I think you're overreacting, Rarity," she said. "Pinkie may not be the world's most responsible pony, but she's no fool, and she can take care of herself." The unicorn wasn't quite as confident about this as she sounded, though. Had Pinkie indeed gotten herself into trouble with stallions, and was now too proud or too ashamed to tell her friends?
April Fools' Day dawned bright and breezy, the weather patrol having made sure there was a nice sunny weather with just enough clouds hanging around for thundercracks, sudden squalls and other weather pranks.
It seemed that Derpy had been unusually diligent this morning, as all the denizens of Ponyville found a little invitation in their mailboxes or on their doorsteps. On the bright pink card, written in Pinkie Pie's distinctive mouthwriting using a blue crayon, were the following words:
"Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash have a super-double-duper-important announcement to make. Come to Sugarcube Corner at ten o'clock, everypony, and all will be made clear!"
As the clock struck ten, it seemed that the whole town had crowded into the shop; the Cakes were doing a brisk business, but looking worried. Twilight and the rest of Pinkie and Dash's closest friends had a table reserved for them specially, and the four ponies and Spike were seated there with varying expressions of worry, curiosity, bafflement and annoyance on their faces.
A sharp hoof-clop cut through the murmur of conversation. Instantly, the shop was silent as all eyes turned to watch as Pinkie, looking rather round around the belly by now, and Rainbow Dash walked to the center of the room.
"Hello, everypony," Pinkie said, her voice choking with some powerful emotion. Dash patted her on the back with her hoof, and the earth pony continued. "I'm really, really happy that you're all here! I couldn't wish for a bigger or better audience for what I'm about to tell you." She fell silent for a moment, looking like she was gathering courage.
"I'm going to have foals."
The room erupted, ponies talking over one another. Twilight, Rarity, Applejack and Spike exchanged shocked looks. Fluttershy sighed. Pinkie sniffled a little and blew her nose on a napkin offered by Dash. Then somepony from the back of the crowd called out in a loud voice the question that was in everypony's mind.
"So, tell us Pinkie, who the hay is the father!"
Everypony fell quiet as Pinkie cast her eyes down. "The father... of my foals..." she started in a brave little voice, and all strained their ears, holding their breath. "...is my bestest buddy and prankster pal... Rainbow Dash!"
In the silence that followed you could have heard a pin drop. Instead, everypony heard Rarity's shocked gasp, followed by a thump as the unicorn fainted. The blue pegasus grinned broadly and took to the air, clasping her hooves together and shaking them in the air, as if receiving accolades.
Twilight was the first one who recovered her wits enough to state the obvious. "But... that doesn't make any kind of sense! You're both mares! How in Equestria could Rainbow Dash be the father of your foals?!"
Pinkie raised her head, grinning broadly and happily. "It's easy! For you see, Twilight and everypony... my foals aren't just any foals... They are April Foals!"
Above her, Rainbow Dash tugged at a rope that nobody had paid attention to, and a big, rainbow-colored banner flopped open. On it, between the cute, embroidered pictures of Pinkie and Dash blowing a raspberry to the world, were the words: "HAPPY APRIL FOALS' DAY, PONYVILLE!"
There was another moment of silence, followed by a chorus of groans, moans and thuds as the entire population of Ponyville face-hoofed simultaneously.
"Ah still can't believe you two had the nerve to go there," Applejack groused between mouthfuls of the not-wedding cake Pinkie had wheeled out from somewhere. "Applebloom an' her friends been askin' all sorts of awkward questions 'bout you two the whole last week!"
Rarity nodded, looking like she for once agreed completely with the earth pony. "It was such a foolish, improper prank! I know you two don't care much for social convention, but really, this was utterly unbecoming of you!"
"Now I know why you were interested in the history of the holiday," Twilight sighed. "You have no idea how glad I am I decided not to ask Princess Celestia for suggestions how to handle this thing..."
Rainbow Dash grinned apologetically at her friends. "Yeah... maybe we went a bit too far this year, Pinkie and I. But it was glorious! You should have seen your faces when she told you I was the father, and then when we got to the punchline..." She burst out laughing at the memory of it.
"I told you it was awfully irresponsible of you," Fluttershy said primly, giving the other pegasus a disapproving look. Then she glanced up at the banner and sighed. "Although that turned out much nicer than I thought..."
Pinkie, who had been going around assuring various people that the whole thing had really been a joke and that she wasn't heavy with a foal - Pinkie-promise! - bounded over to them. "Thank you thank you thank you, Fluttershy! We couldn't have done it without your help!" She smiled happily at the rest of them. "Fluttershy made the banner, and she helped Dash with the invitations and gave me tips how to look like I'm pregnant!"
"That's what I was going to ask, Pinkie," Spike said. "How did you get so round and plump-looking so quickly, anyway?"
"Well, we knew one of us had to look the part, and Rainbow Dash couldn't 'cause it'd just slow her down, and she'd burn all those calories anyway flying around," the pink pony said. "So we figured that I needed to put on a bit of a pudge, and of course I knew the absolute perfect way to do that: fudge! I've been eating tons and tons of vanilla fudge and chocolate fudge and caramel fudge and apple fudge in my room, and now I'm so sick of it that if I ate one more piece I'm sure I'd throw up!"
She cast a wistful eye at the rapidly dwindling cake in the background and sighed. "And I guess I have to cut back on cake and candies and chocolates and coconuts and cranberries and all the rest of the sweet stuff for a while until I'm back to slinky Pinkie! But still, it was soooo worth it! You were all aah and ooh and Tell us, Pinkie, and then you went..."
Dear Princess Celestia,
I've learned an important lesson about friendship this week: sometimes, it is the only thing that will keep you from wanting to strangle your friends!
Also, could you and Princess Luna please consider removing April Fools' Day from the calendar before next year? I think it has been done.
Your faithful student, Twilight Sparkle.