The First Day
Rarity was hard at work the next morning. Her sewing glasses were on and she was busy sewing away at a new gray-colored garment. Next to her lay a couple of finished dresses.
“Whoo,” sighed Rarity, swabbing some sweat from her forehead. “Having twenty dresses spread out over the week is actually sounding fairly desirable right now. Still, this is the stress that comes with the job. The only way I’m going to make this an enjoyable experience is by putting all my passion into this task.”
“Still, I really would like to know why Tonia Spoonsworth needs a dozen dresses from my newest line by the end of the day, and on such short notice. These will likely take me the whole day to complete. Now to add a pocket-stitch here...” She fumbled around in her fabric drawers, but was dismayed when she couldn’t find what she was looking for.
“Oops, out of red fabric,” said Rarity with drooping lips. “Guess I’ll have to get some more from the store later.” She took this moment to observe the clock behind her. It was nearing 11:00. “Hmm, Sweetie Belle hasn’t come down yet. I wonder if she overslept again?”
Rarity pondered to herself, still gazing at the clock. “Well… this is probably the only break I’m going to have while Sweetie is still home. Now’s probably a good time as any to finally have that talk… and I have just the thing for it!” She began walking down her hallway, flashing a very wide grin as an ingenious idea ran through her noggin.
“All she needs is a stronger push in her aesthetics, a bit of eye candy as it were. If she applies herself to the same degree as I once Spike returns from Canterlot on Thursday, he will undoubtedly notice her and bring his heart from me to her! This plan is genius! Too bad he won’t be back in Ponyville in time for Hearts and Hooves Day, though…”
She carefully opened a door tucked in the very back of the boutique. “And I’ve made the perfect dress, just waiting for this day! The day when Sweetie Ophelia Belle finally found her soul mate, and required the help of her big sister to charm his ultimate desires and win him over! And it all starts with the masterpiece crafted by moi!” she exclaimed, patting her mane. “The cutest and most exquisite dress in all of—”
But she stopped talking when she opened up a tall white cabinet and saw only a single clothes hanger dangling from the rack.
“…Where is the dress?”
I just can’t believe she actually had this awesome dress that just happens to be fit me perfectly!
Inside her room, Sweetie Belle stood high upon a stool, powdering her face. Her hair was done up in multiple beads and she had even put on purple eyeshadow, that she… “borrowed” from Rarity.
However, the real highlight of Sweetie’s appearance was the dress she wore, also “borrowed” from her sister. Its main color was a deep navy blue, while the band that ran around the middle was a lighter shade of blue. A lacy white frill draped over the back of the dress, while the torso was covered in sequins. The very bottom showed off a row of light blue diamonds that looked similar to the ones on Rarity’s Cutie Mark, and smaller diamonds also graced the band and upper straps. They were cast perfectly so that the dress cast a gleam from any angle.
And not only did I find a dress that fits me just right, but Rarity’s been showing me how to put on makeup and make my hair all nice and stuff!
Smiling at the lipstick tube with glee, she decided to use her magic to try to levitate it over to herself. Squinting her eyes shut, she focused all her effort into her horn, pointing it directly at the tube and concentrating as hard as she could.
A magic glow surrounded the tube, and it even levitated a millimeter or two above the table. However, the strain was too much and she quickly gave out, dropping the lipstick tube back onto the table. With a disappointed sigh, she glumly picked the tube up manually and spent a minute applying the cherry red cosmetic over herself.
“This will be perfect!” she exclaimed, reveling in the genius of her plan. “Spike has a crush on Rarity. So all I gotta do is make myself look really nice like Rarity always does, and then go to the library… hope that Twilight isn’t there, and then ‘butter him up’, like my sister’s romantic books say! Sweet-talking him and stuff.”
She reached into her saddlebag and pulled out a string of mistletoe. “And then, I’ll hang the mistletoe above him while he’s not looking, and… and kiss him.” Just thinking about it made her blush a little, and she began rubbing her hooves together in nervousness.
“…Yeah. A-and then, he’ll be… what’s that word the books used again? ‘Swooned’? Yeah, he’ll be swooned and he’ll be in love with me instead of Rarity, and I’ll finally have him as my very special somepony— err, special somedragon I guess, just in time for Hearts and Hooves Day!”
She made a huge leap of excitement, but was shaken solid when a knock sounded at the door.
“Sweetie Belle? Are you awake?”
Sweetie looked at her ensemble frantically. I can’t let Rarity see me like this! “Um… yeah, just a second!” She pulled off the dress and quickly stuffed it into her saddlebag. “Hang on!”
Rarity waited patiently at the door for a minute, before Sweetie finally opened the door for her. She kept her back to Rarity and had tied a sheet of brown cloth around her face to conceal her prettied-up mane and face.
“Good morning, Sweetie Belle. I was just hoping that I could get a chance to— Oh!” she said, noticing Sweetie’s saddlebags. “Were you… getting ready to go someplace?”
“Yeah, um… the Crusaders! I’m supposed to meet the Crusaders today so we can try to find ways to earn our Cutie Marks!” said Sweetie, starting to sweat nervously. I gotta get out of here; all this sweating is going to ruin my makeup. “And I really need to get going now. See ya, sis! Sorry I didn’t come down for breakfast!”
She began to back out from the room, still keeping her face turned away from Rarity. Rarity’s face was one of confusion and anxiety. “Oh but, are you absolutely certain that you must leave now? I really wanted to have an important talk with you and, and… why are you wearing that brown fabric over your head?”
“Because we’re, uh… monks! Yeah, that’s it! We’re going to try and see if our special talent is being monks! Yeah…” She looked around nervously before turning around and trying to leave as quickly as she could. “Sorry, sis! I guess that talk will have to wait later! I need to leave now or else they’ll both be really mad at me again!”
“Sweetie Belle, wait!” Rarity called. But the sound of the door closing confirmed that she had fallen on deaf ears, and Rarity responded with a grunt of frustration and a stamp on the ground. “Why does she have to keep making this so difficult?”
But as she calmed down, her anger shifted into regret. “Better yet… why didn’t I take the chance to talk to her sooner?”
As Sweetie Belle cautiously exited the house, she accidentally bumped into Scootaloo, knocking off the brown fabric around her head.
“Oof!” They both cried, tumbling to the ground.
Apple Bloom stood behind them. “Sweetie Belle!”
“Oh my goodness! I’m so sorry, Scootaloo!” Sweetie Belle anxiously blurted, helping Scootaloo up.
“Ugh… it’s okay,” said Scootaloo, dusting off her mane. “We were just about to come in and check up on you.”
“Yeah. How are ya feeling? And whatcha got in that bag?”
Sweetie began to sweat again. She picked up the cloth and tried to pat off some of the sweat without disturbing her makeup. “Um, well… it’s, I-I had some ideas for our…”
But she was interrupted by Scootaloo. “Whoa. And what’s with the fancy mane and makeup?” she asked with a raised eyebrow. Sweetie clenched her teeth, feeling cornered by their questions. They both looked perplexedly at her and she was getting so nervous that her hooves were trembling again.
Why do I keep feeling trapped every time someone is asking me stuff? When will all of this stop so I can just go back to the way things used to be?
“Oh, um… my sister was giving me some more beauty lessons this morning! She was helping me do my hair and teaching how to put on eyeshadow…”
“Ohhhhhhh!” Sweetie gave a small phew after they both seemed to buy her story. Glad that worked.
“Wow, that’s really cool. Sweetie Belle!” said Apple Bloom. Scootaloo just rolled her eyes, and this made Sweetie giggle a little. She probably still doesn’t get why a pony needs to worry about their looks. At least she isn’t complaining out loud like the times when Rarity and I have actually had beauty sessions. Maybe now I can just leave without there being any more—
“So, are you ready to go crusading today?” Apple Bloom cheerfully asked. Sweetie winced as soon as she said that.
“I-I’m sorry, girls, I’d really love to,” she replied, already starting to walk away. “But I need to go do something else with… another drago— I mean, another pony, at um… another place. But maybe I’ll see you later! Bye!” she called.
“Huh?” they both said in unison. They exchanged confused glances at each other, and continued those glances as they watched their fellow Crusader approach Roseluck’s flower stand.
“Wow, really? Two whole days all by myself in Ponyville? Of course I’ll accept that! That sounds awesome!”
The Ponyville train to Canterlot was emerging from a tunnel as it rolled down the track through the mountains, on its way to the capitol city of Equestria. Inside one of the passenger cars sat Twilight and Spike, sitting across from each other on their own individual beds.
“Are you sure now, Spike?” said Twilight with a nonplussed face. “You sounded so excited about spending the whole week at Canterlot. I was actually expecting you to be a little disappointed about this request.”
“Oh come on, Twilight,” said Spike, resting his head on his arms. “That’s because I’m always excited to go to Canterlot. But I get to go there on royal business all the time. That would actually be kind of cool to stay behind in Ponyville for once while you’re up in Canterlot.”
“Well, this was much easier than I thought. I’m glad you’re up to it, Spike.”
“And besides,” Spike mused. “With you and your parents just sitting around talking for hours, I’ll probably be bored out of my mind anyway.”
“Ha-ha, very funny,” she replied, lowering her eyebrows. “Don’t forget, you’re still going to be with me for the first three days, so you’re going to have to meet them eventually, whether you like it or not, especially since they sounded so excited to finally get the chance to meet you in person.”
Spike responded by scoffing his hand in the air. “Ehh. It’ll be worth it, if I get to spend two whole days being Rarity’s assistant.” He lovingly sighed to himself, about to get lost in yet another daydream about that lovely Rarity. Twilight sighed and rolled her eyes.
Some things just never change…
Some time later, everything was quiet and peaceful on the Express. The train was circling around another mountain, and Twilight and Spike were both pleasantly napping. Or at least, they were, until…
Spike immediately sprung up in bed, but upon seeing Twilight asleep across from him, he covered his mouth.
Uh, oh. I hope I didn’t wake her. Twilight stirred a little and made a noise, but then she simply turned over to the other side. Spike flicked his forehead in relief, but then he felt troubled.
What the heck? That was a really weird dream. I was fighting the Japonyse Samurais while they were holding Rarity captive. But then when I looked back at her, she had become Sweetie Belle. And when I looked away again, there was Rarity.
And every time I looked back again, she was either Rarity, or Sweetie Belle. And finally, I vanquished those mean old samurais and went to go kiss Rarity... and there she was again.
I don’t get it. Why do my dreams about Rarity keep turning into dreams about Sweetie Belle? I used to dream about Rarity all the time, the pony whom I love. So why is Sweetie Belle suddenly in my dreams? How does—
Oh, no. Oh no. I can’t be… OH, NO.
Frantically, Spike grabbed his knapsack from the bagging shelf above and pulled out two drawings from it.
“You gotta be kidding me. I can’t be!”
The first drawing was a simple sketch of Rarity he had made the other day after he came home from the Boutique. But the other drawing was the one he had accidentally made the other day… of Sweetie Belle.
He held that drawing in his right claw and the drawing of Rarity in his left. His eyes darted between the two as all the clues finally began to click together.
Am I— Am I in love with Rarity… AND Sweetie Belle?
Back in Ponyville, a certain little filly was proudly trotting down the road to Twilight’s library. She was wearing the studded blue dress again, and now she was also clutching a bouquet of blue roses in her mouth. A tag attached to them read in neat cursive writing, “For Spike.”
Alright… let’s do this!
As Sweetie Belle approached the library, she stopped in front of the orange sign outside the abode to check her appearance.
Shoot, I didn’t bring a mirror. I hope all that sweating didn’t ruin the makeup too badly. Let’s see… hair’s still perfect, dress isn’t dirty, eyelashes are still plucked… She lightly tapped her lip with her hoof. …lipstick hasn’t worn off, and… still got the mistletoe. Great! And so she triumphantly started walking towards the front door, though she wasn’t feeling as triumphant in her mind.
Okay… here we go. Just going to start talking to Spike, butter him up just like the books said, hang up the mistletoe, kiss him… She gulped. …and then, he’ll be in love with you instead of Rarity. Simple! Oh please don’t be home Twilight, please don’t be home Twilight, please don’t be Twilight…
But once she got to the door, she noticed a note taped to the door. “Huh? What’s this?”
“Gone to Canterlot on a royal visit until Saturday.
Sorry for any inconveniences.
- Twilight Sparkle”
Sweetie exerted a happy gasp. “Oh, wow! How lucky is that? Twilight’s gone for the whole week! Not only can I make Spike my very special somepony today, but I could spend the whole week with him, just the two of us! This day’s turning out AMAZING!”
Pushing the door open, she peered around the empty library. “Hey, Spike! Are you here? …Spike? Hello?” Stepping fully into the house, she looked all around, not particularly noticing that several books were missing from their shelves. “Spike? Hello? Is anypony in here?”
Hmm, I guess he isn’t home right now. … Or maybe he’s up in his room and didn’t hear me come in. I’d better go check just to be sure.
She hurried up the stairs and knocked on the door to Twilight and Spike’s room. “Hello! Spike! Are you in there?” After not getting a reply, she carefully nudged the door open, only to find the room seemingly empty. Upon walking into the room, Sweetie immediately had to shield her eyes from the sudden blue gleam of light.
“Oww! What the— Huh?” She looked up as best as she could to see that the shine was being cast by the giant gemstone, still perched on the high shelf.
Hey, there’s the sapphire that I gave Spike! But… why did he put it all the way up there? It’s kind of hurting my neck to look at it. UHH! And my eyes!
“Huh?” She turned to her left, where she saw Twilight’s pet owl holding a feather-duster with his talons. “Oh, hi Owloysius! Just cleaning up around here?”
“Huh? Well you of course, silly!”
“What? I— Uh, never mind. Say, you wouldn’t happen to know where Spike is, would you?”
Owloysius nodded. “Hoot, hoot!” He flew out of the room and then eventually returned with Twilight’s note that Sweetie had seen on the front door. He pointed to it with his wing.
“Wait… are you trying to tell me that… Spike went with Twilight to Canterlot?”
He nodded again. “Hooooot.”
“…Oh.” Her ears drooped and she kicked the floor. “Well, that wasn’t in the note. Spike’s gonna be… gone for the whole week, including Hearts and Hooves Day? … Darn it.”
“Hoot?” uttered Owloysius, pointing to her mane and dress.
“Huh?” she replied. “Oh… all this? It’s just for— well… I guess it’s just for nothing now.” Yeah. I snuck this dress into my room without Rarity noticing me, and then spent a whole hour making myself all pretty… for nothing.
“I’d better go home and wash all this makeup off…” She turned to leave, but right before she walked out, she looked to her left again and noticed something.
“Huh. Spike left one of the drawers open.”
“Don’t worry,” she said to Owloysius. “I’ll go close it.” She walked over to the drawer to close it. But once she got there, she was stunned.
Inside the open drawer were a large pile of Spike’s drawings, and most of them… depicted Rarity. Her eyes became increasingly wider as she laid them out on the table to get a better look.
Some showed them dancing together, and some were candid sketches Spike must’ve made of her simply sewing dresses. She even found one of Spike proposing to her with a large diamond ring. Perhaps incidentally, a green prism-shaped emerald also lay in the drawer.
Sweetie’s heart started beating faster the more she gazed at all of the drawings. It was all increasingly becoming too much to handle, because all the pieces were finally coming together in her head all at once of just how much Spike was infatuated with her older sister.
It’s like an obsession. He’s totally obsessed with her. That’s why he has all these drawings. That’s why he’s always been coming to our house to assist her! That’s why he always follows her around everywhere when he’s not with Twilight! That’s why he hasn’t noticed me! Because he can’t ever love ANYPONY ELSE BUT MY SIS!
The makeup began to drip onto the drawings, as sweat and tears melted down the filly’s face, a wet blend of black and pink rolling over her cheeks. Panicking, Sweetie desperately looked for a way to exert this sudden rush of emotions. Her heart felt like it was beating at a thousand times a minute.
And then… she finally snapped.
The quietness outside the library was suddenly disrupted as a bouquet of blue roses crashed through an upper window of Twilight’s library and crinkled onto the ground below.
Sweetie hustled out from the abode as fast as she could and proceeded to violently stomp on the flowers in her anger, pressing her hooves deep into the decaying blue petals. She then picked up the crushed bouquet with her mouth and swiftly hoisted it against the library sign. A small flurry of ripped, wrinkled blue petals flittered in the air around the sign.
“I'm through now! Through with EVERYTHING! No more sweet-talking! No more flowers! No more reading Rarity's stupid romance books or trying to fancy a dragon up, or asking other ponies about their special someponies! From now on, I'm just going to go back the way to the way things were! Everything’s just going to go back to normal, who no more love, no more crushes…
She pulled off all the beads from her now raggedy mane and fiercely threw them all to the ground.
“And no… more… SPIKE!”