"Slowly. You signed me up for some kinda really big spelling contest held in Canterlot, happening tomorrow, WITHOUT ASKING ME?" Sweetie Belle was just about to lose control and shout at her teacher.
"That about sums it up. Come on, I know you're going to perform really well. Have a nice day!"
Without even saying goodbye, Cheerilee turned and walked back out.
"But... Why? I'm not even that good and I can't prepare because it's so soon. How did she get to the idea, anyway? Like, did she overhear me quoting Mareiam, but didn't care to look at the book I've been carrying around?"
"Relax, Sweetie. It's a spelling contest, not one about etymology. You'll be fine. Besides, nopony expects you to win anything... Uh, I mean, you're in it just for fun. No pressure."
Rarity's little fauxpax went unnoticed due to the younger unicorn being busy searching for a word she had no idea what it meant.
"Et... Etiquette... Etymology. Noun. Et-y-mol-o-gy. The history of a linguistic form (as a word) shown by tracing its development since its earliest recorded occurrence in the language where it is found or other means."
"Uh, yeah, that one was kind of above your level, I apologise."
"Do you see now? I know nothing! I'm doomed!" Sweetie Belle whined.
"Well, first of all, that word is way too complicated to be asked. Second, don't hide your talents, as I am informed, you're the filly with the greatest vocabulary in class. Third, you don't have to know the word at all!"
"Really, do you expect any of those want to be fancy pansy ponies to really know what they're saying? I mean, as I mentioned before, you only have to know the spelling. How can you look up words you don't know that quickly?"
"Uh, they're sorted alphabetically, if you mean that."
"And to know where something is in there, you have to know at least its first three letters, if not more. Even if you shouldn't know what's asked of you, you always just deduce the word itself from its pronounciation. I've seen that happen."
"And you think I stand a chance by guessing from speaking?"
"Only when you have to, of course. I mean, you're friends with a dictionary, practically. I'm sure you'll perform as well as you possibly can."
"But why did she sign me up without even asking?"
"You know Cheerilee, she's a mare of action. You would never have agreed any other way, would you? Just look at the whole thing like a small vacation to Canterlot. Oh! We can go see Twilight while we're there. Doesn't that sound like fun?"
"Suppose it does..."
"Great that you agree. I'm sure poor Twilight will appreciate if we spend some time with her. Kind of forgot about her. It's just been so long, hasn't it? Uh, do you know where little Spike is? I'll need him to send Twilight a note."
While his mistress was away to Canterlot, where having him with her would have blown her cover, Spike had basically moved in with Rarity. It had taken repeated reminding, but he kept his claws off of her gem cabinets unless told otherwise.
It wasn't really his home. Surprisingly, even though it contained the pony of his desire, he often had sleepovers away from Carousel Boutique.
As Rarity thought about it, she noticed that Spike and her little sister had grown a bit closer than before while they shared a house to live in.
She dismissed the idea that had entered her head as overexaggerated. They were just little ones enjoying a good friendship. Nothing more.
"Ha. And ponies say I have a dirty mind. Take that!" She mumbled to herself before writing a short letter for Spike to send to Twilight. Sweetie Belle had already gone out to find him.
She found him in the Cutie Mark Crusaders clubhouse, following a hint Rainbow Dash had given her. Scootaloo and Apple Bloom were there as well. Which made sense given it was theirs.
"Wait, say nothing, let me guess. Dragon... dragon taming? Dragon anatomy analysing? Spike being bored?" Sweetie asked as she entered the main room.
Scootaloo gave a short laugh before answering. "Dragon slaying! Come on and join in if you want. But only without that book..."
"Haven't got it here. Was it so annoying?"
"Yes." Sweetie Belle could feel past frustration dripping from Apple Bloom's voice.
"Come on girls. Uh, dragon slaying... Doesn't that sound a bit, like, dangerous? I mean, we're still gonna need Spike. Oh!" The unicorn turned to directly face the box Spike was sitting on. "Reminds me, Rarity wants you to send a letter."
"Huh. Been a while since I've used that firebreath. Erm, good point, actually. What do you want to do with me? 'Cause I'm a dragon and I will show it if you try something fishy."
Apple Bloom rolled her eyes. "Nuthin' real, of course. We're jus' gonna act like we were an' maybe tha'll be 'nuff fer our cutie marks."
"So you're going to slay me... without slaying. That's kind of calming, I suppose."
It was time. Sweetie Belle was ready. At least it was the day. There was still some time before the contest would start.
She, Rarity and Spike had met up with Twilight for some talk. Catching up and stuff. She didn't really care for that. Sweetie liked Twilight, true. But what she was talking about with Rarity as they were sitting outside a cafè was just gossip.
Thus, it wasn't hard to draw her attention away. Some pony with a pinkish mane, a bit more colorful than that certain half of Sweetie's own, kept discreetly staring at them from a distance.
If Rarity knew that mare, she didn't show it. Then again, she hadn't really been in Canterlot all that much. Sweetie could have asked Twilight, who had been in Canterlot for a bit again, but she was looking at Rarity, in the other direction. Making her look around like that would be rude, Sweetie knew that.
So she just let it slide. Just as she attempted to lift her drink with magic, Spike grabbed her hoof under the table. A tiny gasp escaped the filly. Luckily, the two mares were still busy with their conversation.
For fun, she levitated a small orb of liquid to drink. One would think that this would be easy, due to the mass being lifted being little, but it required an orb of magic to hold all in place and thus somewhat high concentration.
Which was something that awfully romantic dragon wouldn't let her have.
As Sweetie released the droplet and let it fall back into the rest, it drew Rarity's attention.
"Sweetie Belle! Do be careful please. You'll stain yourself. You know how hard white fur is to clean."
"Yes sister..." She grumbled. Spike still hadn't let go. She probably liked it that way.
"Great magic there." Twilight set down her tea cup. It was probably just an illusion, but she looked kind of smaller to Sweetie. "Oh, we're talking and talking... how are you doing? Got anything you want to ask me? I'm not mad at you for your little... accident, by the way."
Now that she was looking at Sweetie Belle, maybe Twilight would be able to sneak a peek at the mare. However, as Sweetie lifed her look into the distance again, she noticed the unicorn had vanished.
"Ugh, how am I doing? Got entered into a contest I have no chance of winning without my consent or knowledge, one of my better friends is a dictionary..."
Sweetie would almost have noted Spike's approaches, but those weren't something she really disliked. They were their little secrets.
"I suppose I'm fine."