As Spike and Applejack continued to ponder about the answers to the next two riddles, both began to feel the tension starting to come over them. However while spike was more focused on the riddles themselves and getting free, the previous conversation he and Applejack had still plagued Applejack’s mind.
“Hey Spike?” she said nervously.
“Hmm?” Spike responded, breaking out of his trance and looking towards her.
“Did you really mean it when you said ah was pretty?” Applejack asked sheepishly.
Spike stood wide-eyed at that, granted they’ve already spoken about this particular subject already, if only for a moment, but Spike was quite surprised that Applejack was still thinking about it. Thinking that this was just probably just some way to make conversation while they worked, spike decided to play along.
“You’re the Element of Honesty, couldn’t you tell?” he said with a smile.
It wasn’t really straight answer but coming from Spike, it was enough to make Applejack blush, she couldn’t recall how long she had waited for the young dragon to say such a thing about her. After a few brief moments of thoughtful bliss, Applejack cleared her throat and spoke again.
“So uh, what do you reckon the next answer is?” she asked.
“Can’t be really be certain,” Spike admitted with a shrug. “The first line of the second riddle is a little weird, what can be broken and yet still work?”
“It’s gotta be a metaphor or something,” Applejack pointed out. “We’ll have to keep on thinking to figure it out.”
However unbeknownst to Spike, Applejack already had a rough idea on what the answer was, but in all honesty she really didn’t want to say it just yet. If her previous suspicions were right and that the answer is what she think it is, then Applejack might just finally figured out why she and Spike were locked up in here. If what she was thinking was true, then Goggles was so dead.
Meanwhile, back inside the Dining area of Sugarcube Corner, the Gizmonk in question had just finished taking a small tea tray out of the kitchen and placing it upon the table where diamond tiara sat.
“Here you go Diamond Tiara,” he said as he sat himself on a seat across the table from her. “Fresh from the kettle.”
As Goggles poured the water into both teacups, Diamond Tiara kept her eyes focused on him, why would he be acting so nice to her all of a sudden? Suddenly her attention turned away from the Gizmonk and towards the tea brewing in the cups in front of her, specifically the colour of it, why in Celestia’s name was it blue!?! However despite its colour Goggles proceeded to take his own cup and take a small sip of its contents.
“Are you not drinking, dear?” he asked, looking towards her with concern upon his face.
“It’s not the usual colour for tea,” Diamond Tiara replied, hoping that that was enough to avoid drinking the strange liquid.
“That’s because it’s a special blend of herbs that Zecora recommended especially,” Goggles explained with a smile. “Now drink up before it gets cold, after all, some do say that tea soothes the soul.”
Realising that this Gizmonk would most likely pressure her into it anyway, Diamond Tiara gulped and leaned in towards her teacup. Taking a deep inhale through the nose, she had to admit to herself that this tea did in fact smell rather good, it was like smelling a mixture of rose petals and chocolate. After a few moments of hesitation, Diamond Tiara quickly grabbed the cup in her hooves and took a small gulp of its contents, which was a decision that she instantly began to regret. While the tea did smell nice, the taste was absolutely abysmal, it was like drinking horseradish if had expired by a couple of years. Luckily for Goggles, she had managed to swallow it before she got the chance to spit it out into his face, which gave him the opportunity to move onto the next phase of his plan.
“Oh do forgive me, I seem to have forgotten the honey,” he lied. “I’ll be right back.”
At those words Goggles sat up and once again made his way into the kitchen, as soon as she was sure that the Gizmonk was out of sight and earshot, Diamond Tiara instantly unleashed her true reaction to the tea.
“Bleah! I don’t know what this is, but I think I just drank liquid-fart,” she moaned, sticking her tounge out in disgust. “How can he consider THAT swill pleasant to drink!?! I suppose I shouldn’t have expected anything less from that animal!”
However little did Diamond Tiara realise, Goggles could see and hear everything she had said from the kitchen doorway where he and the rest of his cohorts were hiding and watching. Needless to say he was enjoying every minutes since he tried desperately not to laugh too loud.
“A disgusting cup of tea?” Trixie asked, raising an eyebrow. “THAT’S what you came up with?”
Goggles smirked at that.
“Oh Trixie, so narrow-minded,” he said, mockingly patting her on the head. “What I gave her was an interesting combination of Poison Joke, Banana leaves and Dinko Powder, the only reason my tea was the same colour as hers was because I added food colouring to my cup.”
“So what does that mean exactly?” Scootaloo asked confusingly.
“After drinking that particular tea, the drinker goes into three stages,” Goggles explained. “Beginning with slight nausea, then leading to seeing crazy hallucinations, and finally, sleepy-time followed by the hilarious reactions from seeing their hair grow long and turn white with polka-dots when they wake up!”
At those words, Goggles proceeded to burst out laughing, so much so that he held his gut and collapsed to the floor in a fit of happiness. Even Silver Spoon and Apple Bloom couldn’t help but let out a giggle too, after all, that did sound like sweet revenge for what Diamond Tiara had done to them in the past. Sweetie Belle however looked concerned.
“Isn’t that a little… cruel?” she asked.
For a moment Goggles stopped laughing upon hearing the young filly’s question and looked towards her.
“Oh relax its only temporary,” he said, wiping a happy tear from his eye. “I tested it on myself to make sure it was safe. Besides she deserves it don’t you think?”
Sweetie Belle grew silent at that.
“Can’t argue with that.” Scootaloo pointed out.
“Yeah, I suppose not,” Sweetie Belle admitted, finally allowing herself to smile at the situation. “I guess it would be funny.”
“That’s my girl!” Goggles stated. “You know it makes sense, after all…”
Suddenly Goggles once again found himself interrupted by the sound of the front door ringing, much to everyone’s shock.
“Now what?” Trixie groaned as everyone once again gathered at the entrance to the kitchen, this time they saw a familiar looking pink pony entering the shop.
“Oh yeah,” Goggles said, rolling his eyes. “NOW Pinkie Pie shows up.”
Goggles hoped that Pinkie would come straight into the kitchen after she had entered the shop, however he didn’t account for Pinkie Pie’s habit of being easily distracted.
“Ooh are you having tea?” the pink pony asked Diamond Tiara as she walked by her table. “Did Goggles make it? Is it new?”
Being used to Pinkie Pie’s insanely happy demeanour herself, Diamond Tiara merely shrugged in response. However that was also when she did something the neither Goggles nor his friends in the kitchen had expected to happen.
“Uh yeah, you want to finish mine?” Diamond Tiara asked, pushing her cup towards Pinkie Pie. “I don’t want anymore.
Goggles eyes widened at that.
“Uh oh,” he said with a gulp.
It was at that moment that everyone watching from the kitchen witness something horrible, with her usual cheerful smile, Pinkie Pie gladly gave a nod and accepted Diamond Tiara’s offer. And since they couldn’t do anything to stop her without raising any suspicion, everyone then watched in horror as Pinkie Pie grabbed the cup and swallowed every drop of the tea inside it.
“Bleah! I think this cup might have gone off a bit,” she said, he face scrunching up in disgust.
At that moment Goggles couldn’t imagine how things could possibly get any worse, however fate seemed to have a sick sense of humour today, because as soon as Pinkie Pie set the Teacup down, who should enter the front door than none other than Princess Twilight herself.
“Hey Pinkie,” she said with a smile, closing the door behind her.
“Oh hey Twilight,” Pinkie Pie replied happily, almost instantly forgetting the horrible concoction she had just drunk. “Come for your pre-ordered batch of cupcakes?”
“You know it,” Twilight replied cheerfully. “I want to have a special treat for Spike when he gets back.”
As he listened in Goggles couldn’t help but let out a sigh of relief at that piece of information, at least Twilight is still under the impression that what he wrote in the fake letter was true. However there was still one crucial fact that still made him shiver with terror.
“This is bad guys,” he said nervously.
“What is, Goggles?” Apple Bloom asked.
“If Twilight doesn’t get out of here soon, then she’s gonna see the effects of the tea to take hold,” Goggles explained. “After some pony drinks it, they only have five minutes before the first stage starts, and you know what Twilight’s like, she’ll want to stick her nose into it and find out what’s wrong.”
At those words, Trixie’s eyes narrowed with determination.
“Well then I guess it is Trixie’s turn to handle the situation,” she said as she proceeded to leave the kitchen.
“Don’t even think…” Goggles began, however there was no stopping the blue unicorn now.
At this point, Goggles felt the need to face-palm with aggravation, as much as he appreciated the fact that Trixie was willing to handle things, he knew full-well that she also had another agenda. While she has definitely made an effort to change her ways over the past few months, Trixie still had a few tricks up her sleeve and was still one to hold a grudge, and Twilight was still at the top of her ego’s hit-list, in fact while she and Goggles were kidnapping Spike, it took the Gizmonk at least half an hour before to connive her not to pull anything while the Alicorn was sleeping. However now there was no stopping her, whatever Trixie was planning, Goggles knew that it wasn’t good. Making sure that neither Twilight nor Pinkie took notice of her while they were talking, Trixie snuck up behind Twilight and proceeded to open up the front door behind her, making it seem like she had just walked in. Upon hearing the bell of the door, Twilight turned to face the blue Unicorn.
“Well hello Twilight,” Trixie said, in a fake polite tone. “A lovely day isn’t it?”
Upon hearing this Twilight instantly began to grow suspicious, the whole time she had known Trixie she had always been out to get her. Ever since the incident with the Ursa-Minor, the two had basically been rivals, and no matter how much she has changed since she started working for Goggles, she always gave Twilight a cold glare whenever she saw her, and she certainly never greet her with a simple “Good Morning”.
“Uh yeah, I guess,” Twilight replied, not really knowing what else to say. “Are you okay Trixie?”
“Why of course I am Twilight,” Trixie answered with a smile. “Why wouldn’t I be?”
“It’s just that you seem to be acting… strange,” Twilight pointed out.
Trixie fell silent at that, even if only for a moment, she had almost forgotten how perceptive Twilight could be, luckily Trixie always had a talent for talking her way out of a situation.
“Oh I’m just feeling a little bit more cheerful ever since Goggles gave me the day off,” she lied. “And more importantly I’ve come to realise that you and I have never really seen eye to eye properly, so I figured that we should start over.”
Needless to say Twilight was surprised to hear this, but regardless she was also glad to hear it too, she practically have been longing for the day when Trixie of all ponies would actually make an effort with trying to be friends with her.
“Wow Trixie,” she said. “That’s really sweet of you.”
Trixie grinned at that.
“And to show that I mean it,” she replied. “How about a nice cup of tea?”
Upon those words Goggles eyes widened with horror, which was only made worse when he saw that Trixie pulled out a small bag from behind her back, he just couldn’t believe that he was stupid enough to leave that tea-bag on the kitchen counter where Trixie could easily get it.
“The Heart?” Spike asked inquisitively.
Back in the basement, Applejack had finally told Spike what she thought the answer was. At first she was just going to let Spike figure it out on his own, however after another half an hour of him guessing she finally gave in and told him what she thought.
“Yeah, that’s gotta be it,” she said. “Broken has got to mean heartbroken, and the whole thing about being stolen and yet you can’t live without it, kinda obvious when you think about it.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” Spike admitted. “I suppose there isn’t anything else it could be.”
Applejack let of a sigh of relief at that, glad for the fact that Spike hadn’t said anymore on the matter, however her sigh was pre-mature when Spike spoke up again.
“You know this sort of gets me thinking,” he said. “Do you think that there’s something more to all of this?
Applejack gulped at that.
“Uh, what are you getting at Spike?” she asked nervously.
“I mean, whoever did this could have picked off anyone in Ponyville,” Spike explained. “But they only took you and me. Why do you think that is?”
Applejack may have had her suspicions but she wasn’t exactly willing to tell Spike about them, because fi she did then she would have had to tell him about her feelings for him, and even though they were both locked up together she still wasn’t ready to spill the beans just yet.
“Ah don’t know Spike,” she said. “Coincidence maybe?”
Applejack felt a twist in her stomach upon saying that, she simply hated lying to the full extent of her soul, but she just couldn’t help it. However she didn’t have to worry about lying so much since Spike’s next sentence made her feel even worse.
“I don’t think so,” the young dragon said, much to Applejack’s horror. “Twilight always told me that there is no such thing as a coincidence, and the way everything has been set up obviously means that a lot of planning went into all of this.”
Applejack had almost forgotten how perceptive Spike could be when he wanted too, it was almost like Twilight was rubbing off on him, either way it made him seem that much more perfect in Applejack’s eyes. However as much as she liked Spike’s qualities, she still couldn’t bring herself to dig any deeper just yet.
“Well… maybe we should focus more on the last riddle first,” she said, trying to change the subject. “We’ll think more on the matter then.”
Spike would have protested at that, however since there wasn’t much else that could be done, he wasn’t too quick to come up with a negative response.
“Alright,” he sighed in defeat. “I just hope whoever’s behind this makes good on his promise to let us out.”
“You and me both Spike.” Applejack said in agreement.
At those words, Applejack once again sighed in relief, she had now at least managed to buy a little more time, even if it was only until they figure out the last riddle.
Meanwhile, back upstairs, events had begun to take an insane turn, as Goggles had feared Trixie was able to trick Twilight into drinking the strange tea that Pinkie Pie and Diamond Tiara had drunk. They may have drank it at different times, but the effects somehow began to take over almost simultaneously, Goggles could only assume that it was because there was a small bit of magic in the Poison Joke he used that made the effects all act in sync as long as the drinkers took it from the same batch. Now all three of them were in the full blast of the first stage of the tea, slight nausea, or in this case, EXTREME nausea, as it turns out, the effects of the tea differ slightly from when Goggles tested out on himself, to be more specific, the effects being heightened immensely. At this point in time, Twilight, Pinkie Pie and Diamond tiara were all in the bathroom of Sugarcube Corner, throwing up whatever they had in their stomachs.
“Oh my Celestia!” Diamond Tiara groaned from one of the stalls. “I’m gonna die in a toilet stall! Just like Zecora said!”
Meanwhile Pinkie Pie and Twilight were standing just outside the stalls, rubbing their bellies and placing a hoof over their mouths just in case they threw up again. Needless to say, Twilight was not happy in the slightest with Trixie’s deception with the tea.
“Darn that Trixie!” she snapped. “Oh just you wait till I get my hooves on…”
Suddenly Twilight found herself cut off by an ear-piercing scream from the pink Earth Pony in front of her.
“AAAAAAAAHHHHH! Who the hay are you!?!” Pinkie Pie squealed in terror.
Needless to say, twilight became instantly confused at that burst of terror from her friend, what she didn’t realise however was the fact that the second stage of the tea had already began to take effect on Pinkie Pie. When she looked at Twilight at that moment, instead of the Alicorn she knows and loves, all she saw was a scary looking, metal pony scaring back at her with piercing red eyes.
“I’m your friend Twilight,” Twilight replied with a concerned tone, however in her current state of mind, Pinkie Pie heard it as though she was threatening her. “Pinkie? Pinkie!?!”
Suddenly Pinkie’s reaction wasn’t Twilight’s main concern anymore, because as the second stage of the tea began to take hold of her mind, Twilight screamed as she saw he friend literally begin to melt into a puddle of pink goo.
“You’re not my friend, you’re a Decepticon!” Pinkie Pie squealed in response to Twilight’s last sentence, however the Alicorn only managed to catch the first part since she heard Pinkie’s voice slur into a gurgle as she melted.
All of a sudden the two terrified ponies were joined by another scream, one which came from Diamond Tiara bursting out of the stall and jumping onto Twilight’s back, clinging to her mane in a fit of panic.
“Ahhhh! How are you both still alive!?!” she screamed, terrified of the vast amounts of the burning hot liquid that she saw surrounding the three of them. “The floor is Lava! THE FLOOR IS LAVA!!!”
As all three ponies screamed in terror at the horrible hallucinations each of them were seeing at that moment, neither one of them was aware of the small group standing just outside the bathroom, watching over them, consisting of quartet of concerned fillies, one ticked off Gizmonk, and a blue Unicorn laughing her head off at Twilight’s predicament.
“You just had to do it didn’t you?” Goggles deadpanned, both disappointed and angered by Trixie’s actions in the matter.
“Oh come on Goggles, lighten up,” Trixie replied, giving him a playful nudge.
However Goggles was not in the mood to playful banter at this time.
“You do realise that this is all going to go pear-shaped once Twilight regains consciousness after this,” he lectured, pointing an angry finger at Trixie’s nose. “As soon as she realises that YOU gave her the tea that did this to her, she’s going to be after you like a bear on honey! And when she does, she might just figure out what REALLY happened to her assistant if she digs deep enough into your life!”
That was when Trixie instantly stopped laughing and put a serious face on.
“And what’s your excuse!?!” she retorted. “You gave the tea to a filly!”
At those words, the Cutie Mark Crusaders cringe in fear themselves, for they had known Goggles long enough to know full well that they did not want to be in the middle of one of his more heated arguments with Trixie.
“First off, she deserved it,” Goggles snapped in response to Trixie’s attitude. “Second, that was when there was only one pony to deal with, now we got three off them going insane in a public bathroom!”
“Hey, it wasn’t like Trixie forced the tea down PINKIE’S throat!” Trixie snapped back.
“Oh will you stop talking in the third person already!” Goggles growled. “It’s seriously getting annoying!”
“Well if the fuzzy little monkey doesn’t like the way Trixie speaks then maybe he should just…”
“GUYS!” Scootaloo screamed, snapping the two out of their argument. “We have a problem!”
At those words, both Trixie and Goggles turned their attention away from each other and back toward the trio of ponies in their hallucinogenic state. What they saw next caused them to widen their eyes in shock.
“Pinkie you’re melting!” Twilight screamed backing up against the wall. “You’re MELTING!!!”
“Because the floor is LAVA!!!” Diamond Tiara shouted, still clinging to Twilight’s mane.
But while Twilight and Diamond Tiara were bad enough, it was Pinkie Pie that drew the most attention at that moment as she began to drive her hoof through the wall and rip out one of the water pipes.
“MUST. KILL. DECEPTICON!!!” she yelled as she began to march herself towards Twilight with fire in her eyes
“Oh Scrap-bunnies!” Goggles squealed, pulling at his hair in panic. “GRAB HER!!!”