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Twilight Sparkle snapped her book shut in frustration. She'd just settled down this afternoon to get into her most fascinating academic journal yet (Number Crunch the Equestrian Accountant's Memoirs... it's interesting, trust me) and she was being interminably interrupted by crashes, screams and other such cacophony.

"SPIKE!" Yelled she, turning around and storming down the stairs into the main library. "I'm going out for a few minutes! Watch the treehouse!"

And with that, she cantered off into Ponyville.

* *   *

Six vials, six exotic coloured liquids. Atop a roof somewhere in Ponyville, a mysterious mare held one up to the sunlight. A smile crossed her face as she carefully placed it back into her padded briefcase, satisfied with its quality. Indelible inks. These would do nicely indeed.

The Employer had equipped her well this time.

Selecting a vial at random, the mare emptied the dye into a cartridge, which she slid into the barrel of a gas-powered long rifle. Light glinted off her sunglasses and scope as she lay down and took aim, searching for a very particular pegasus amidst the population of Ponyville.

Spying her target zooming low over the ground, leaving rainbow contrail lines, the hitmare's smile widened even further. She made sure to lead the target, keeping the pegasus in her sights through all of her various twists and turns. It was important that she hit Rainbow Dash and nopony else.

Nopony else deserved it.

Bracing herself against the recoil of the rifle, the hitmare squeezed the trigger.

* *   *

"RAINBOW DASH!" Yelled Twilight, galloping down the street and conjuring a massive baseball glove into existence, catching  the pegasus with a great thud. Her bandolier of water balloons was launched off of her, sailing through the air before landing squarely in a passing Bonbon's face. A moment later, there was an explosion of dye on the wall of a nearby house, followed by loud cursing from off in the distance.

Twilight vanished the baseball glove and stood over her prone friend, tapping her hoof sternly on the dirt road.

"Uh, hey Twilight." Rainbow Dash grinned up at her. "I don't suppose you've seen Pinkie Pie around here?"

"No. No I haven't." Twilight smiled with more than a hint of madness. "What I have seen - or rather heard - is a ridiculously noisy pegasus who's been flying all over Ponyville and interrupting my studies! Does that sound familiar, Rainbow Dash?" she finished, pressing her muzzle right up against Rainbow's. The little blue pony recoiled.

"I...may have been making a teeny bit of noise." she grinned innocently.

Twilight scowled.

"But it's not my fault!" Rainbow added, jumping to her feet. "Pinkie Pie got me with a spring-loaded water balloon this morning! I've been searching for her everywhere, but she's not at Sugarcube Corner, or Fluttershy's house, or Sweet Apple Acres, or the Town Hall, or the..."

"BREATHE, RAINBOW!" Twilight interrupted loudly.

How are you supposed to tell that she's suffocating anyway? It's not like I can tell when she goes blue in the face. Twilight thought to herself.

"You didn't have to go to all that trouble." she explained patiently. "I saw Pinkie head up to Carousel Boutique this morning. I haven't seen her leave since then, so she's probably still there. Now will you calm down?"

Rainbow Dash took a few deep breaths and collected herself.

"Thanks Twilight. I'll try to keep it down a little more." she said, running her forehoof through her mane apologetically.

"Just be more careful, okay?" Twilight asked, and with that, she teleported away.

Rainbow Dash had just enough time to fully process what Twilight had just said, when she was struck in the flank by a paintball cartridge full of dye.