Soon after the pumpkin harvest was finished, Twilight Sparkle made off for her library. At least, that’s what she told Applejack and her coltfriend. Although she had played it off cool, the nature of their recent conversation was, for lack of a better term, freaking her out. Ever since her all-too-honest friend said the words “Twilight Apple,” her mind had been moving at one hundred miles per hour, thinking of too many possibilities and too many outcomes for her future.
It’s been two months, for crying out loud! she practically shouted inside of her mind. Why in Celestia’s name would anypony bring up marriage?
The more she replayed the scene in her head, the more frantic her thought process became. Unfortunately for the lavender mare, when she was away from Big Macintosh, she had a much higher tendency to slip into irrationality.
How can marriage even be a topic right now? We’ve only even slept together twice! Actually, speaking of sleeping together, we haven’t even done that yet! What if we never do? What if this is just a fling and I’m wasting my time, or what if we aren’t really in love? We did just say it last night, was that too soon?
Throughout her mental tirade, Twilight had sped up to a trot, a canter, and was now almost at a full gallop towards her destination. There was only one pony she could think of to help her with her problems, the only pony she knew who constantly talked about romance. She hoped also that this pony could help talk some sense into her because she just knew everything her mind was telling her couldn’t be true. At least, that’s what she wanted to believe.
As the Ponyville librarian quickly rounded the corner to Carousel Boutique, she collided with a yellow pegasus, who had appeared so fast it seemed like teleportation had occurred. The two ponies tumbled onto the ground in a heap, Twilight groaning as she felt her horn scrape against the cobblestone pavement.
“Ow! Owowowowow!” she said, rubbing her horn furiously.
“Oh, um, I’m s-sorry, Twilight. I, um, didn’t see you there.” Fluttershy picked herself up off the ground, helping her injured friend in the process. “Are you okay?”
After a few more seconds of horn-rubbing and some pained hisses, Twilight was able to reply.
“Yes, I think so. Sorry I ran into you, Fluttershy. I was just in such a hurry to get to Rarity’s that I wasn’t really looking where I was going!”
“Don’t worry about it, Twilight. I’m just glad you’re okay,” Fluttershy said in her gentle voice. “What are you headed to Rarity’s for?”
“Well,” Twilight began, as the two mares turned towards the boutique, “I needed to ask her advice on some, um, things. A situation, I guess you could say.”
Fluttershy’s eyes lit up. “Oh, is it something with Big Macintosh?”
“Um…” Twilight was silent for a moment, zoning out as her mind returned to her previous thoughts.
“What? Oh, sorry. Yes, it is about Big Mac. I can’t stop thinking about it.”
“What exactly is going on?” asked the timid pegasus.
“It’s kind of a long story,” Twilight lied. She only wanted one pony’s opinion at the moment, and she didn’t have Fluttershy pegged as a romantic. “You probably wouldn’t want to hear it.”
Fluttershy giggled then, looking at her bookish friend. “I guess you haven’t really spent a day with Rarity and me at the spa, have you?”
“I—um, no, I haven’t. Why?”
“Well today is our weekly meet-up. I’m sure Rarity will want you to come along, especially if you have relationship business to talk about with her. That is, if you want to,” she said, hiding behind her mane at the tail end of her statement.
The two ponies approached the front door of the boutique as Twilight mulled over her friend’s proposal. Fluttershy opened the door for the lavender mare, and once she entered the little dress shop, she almost ran into Rarity.
“Oh, Twilight, darling!” the fashionista exclaimed. “I wasn’t expecting you! Not that it’s a problem dear, but what brings you by?”
Fluttershy let the door shut itself and trotted up next to her friends, speaking on Twilight’s behalf.
“Actually, Rarity, I think Twilight should join us this afternoon at the spa. I mean, if that’s okay with you. She, um, has some things on her mind.”
The white unicorn looked between her two friends, her mind putting different pieces together into one lovely, finished puzzle.
“Is—is it about Big Macintosh?” Rarity whispered, looking around her shop as if eavesdroppers were present.
Twilight’s ears flattened against her head, as she mimicked her friend’s gaze. “Yes, it is. But nothing bad, I promise! Just, I’m freaking out a little bit. I thought you might know what to do.”
“But of course, dear! Anything for a friend! And believe me, you’ve come to the right mare,” Rarity said, with a wink. “Give me just a moment to gather a few things and lock up, and we’ll be off to the spa in no time at all!”
Not twenty minutes later, the three ponies had arrived at Aloe and Lotus’ place, and were already receiving their hooficure portion of the visit. The trio had been engaged in small talk on the walk over, as well as in the lag time between arriving and the start of the spa day. Fluttershy informed them of a new family of bunnies she was caring for, and Rarity explained how she was coming up with a new line of fashion for the winter.
Twilight remained silent through what she could only guess was a routine for the girls by now, her mind constantly replaying that horrible conversation with Applejack and Big Mac earlier. She was so distracted by her own thoughts that she almost missed when she was asked to share them.
“So do tell, darling,” Rarity addressed Twilight, diving right into the issue. “What is it that you have on your mind?”
“Um,” Twilight began. A few moments of silence reigned then, as the lavender unicorn tried to come up with words.
“Take as much time as you need, Twilight,” Fluttershy said, softly. “It can be hard to talk about things like this, if you don’t mind me saying so.”
Shaking her head, Twilight replied, “I’m just trying to get my thoughts together. Today was a little crazy.”
“Start from the beginning then, darling. I can tell this is obviously a big deal to you. We have as much time as you need to tell us.”
Twilight took a deep breath, put a few more thoughts straight in her mind, and began speaking. “Well, it started last night, I suppose. I told Big Macintosh that I loved him by the pond.”
“You what?” Rarity gasped. Fluttershy’s cheeks tinged red, as she pressed back into the chair she was laying on.
“I told him I loved him, and he said the same thing back to me.”
The white unicorn’s mouth was agape, shock written across all her features. Only Aloe’s readjustment of her hoof brought her ability to speak back
“Twilight, dear, don’t you think it’s a bit early for statements of such resolve?”
As her lavender cheeks grew red, Twilight mumbled something off to the side.
“What was that?”
She looked back at her friend with her lower lip puckered out, an almost puppy dog look in her face.
“I didn’t think so,” she said in an almost mournful tone. “I just knew it was true, so I told him. Was that a mistake?”
“No,” said a small, timid voice. “If that’s how you felt, and you thought he should know, then it wasn’t too early. Love is never early, it only comes when it’s meant to.”
Both unicorns stared at their typically reserved pegasus friend. Once she noticed the strange looks she was getting, she turned her head to hide most of her face behind her mane.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt.”
“Fluttershy, that was…most impressive,” said Rarity.
“Very insightful,” agreed Twilight, becoming more comfortable with the conversation. “So like I was saying, we told each other that, and then we went back to the farmhouse to sleep.”
“You stayed with him?” asked Rarity, shocked more than before.
“Well yeah, I have before.”
“Did you...well, you know. Do that?”
“What? No! No, not at all! Why would you think that?” Twilight involuntarily jerked her hoof away from Lotus’ careful administrations, covering her mouth with a horrified look.
“Sorry dear, sorry. I just don’t hear of two ponies staying with one another without any, ahem, action.”
Fluttershy looked as if she were trying to melt into her seat and become one with it at the moment.
“Have you never just cuddled with a stallion before, Rarity?” Twilight asked.
“Um, ahem, I—I actually have never had a stallion before, dear Twilight.”
Awkward silence permeated the room as realization hit the lavender unicorn. Rarity’s cheeks were a deep shade of red, embarrassment written across her face like a giant flashing sign. Fortunately, Fluttershy leapt in to save the day.
“Well, if it makes you feel any better, I haven’t—that is, I’ve never had a stallion either.”
Rarity visibly released a breath she didn’t know she was holding.
“Sorry, Rarity, I didn’t know,” Twilight said shamefully.
“No worries, darling. I suppose one would suspect me of having a deeply involved love life, but alas, I have not. A mare can dream, though.”
Aloe was putting the finishing touches on Twilight’s hooves, while Lotus was busy filling the baths. A certain white unicorn had been here enough that she was already moving in that direction. Once they were all in, and all the salts and soaps had been added, they resumed conversation.
“So do go on, dear. You stayed with Big Macintosh. What happened next?”
“Well, the next morning, after we ate breakfast, I helped the Apples with their pumpkin harvest, and—“
“Oh, dear! I’m so glad we got you into the spa today! What uncouth work that is! Why don’t you leave that job to the farmers?”
Twilight, mouth still open from being interrupted, was glaring daggers at her fashion-savvy friend.
Fluttershy, who had mostly been just a spectator, stepped in again.
“Um, girls, why don’t we let Twilight finish her story? Besides, I’m sure that farm work is much more enjoyable if you love the one you’re working with, right?”
“Exactly,” Twilight said, pointedly.
“I’m sorry, Twilight, you know how I am. I did have a crush on a prince, you know. Farm work doesn’t exactly fit in with my idea of a date,” said Rarity, giving her friend a sincerely apologetic look.
“Don’t worry about it, Rarity,” said the lavender mare, accepting her friend’s apology. “I know we both have different ideals when it comes to dating. But like I said, I was helping them with the harvest. Which, by the way, was great! Nightmare Night is going to have some delicious pumpkins this year!”
“Oh, wonderful! I love Applejack’s pumpkin pies!” Fluttershy said, clopping her hooves together excitedly.
“They’re simply divine aren’t they, dear? But please, Twilight, do continue.”
“So before we took the first load of pumpkins back to the barn, we took a break, and well, things got weird.”
“Oh do tell!” Rarity said, moving closer to Twilight. It was this kind of drama that the fashion queen lived off of.
Taking a deep breath and steadying her mind, the librarian continued. “See, I hadn’t been using my magic to harvest pumpkins because I didn’t think Applejack would want me to. I was thinking about Winter Wrap Up at the time, remember that fiasco?”
“Oh yes,” Fluttershy nearly whispered. “She was so mad when you tried to help plow the fields.”
“Exactly. Well, apparently it’s okay if I’m just helping them with a harvest. I still think I’d rather actually manually buck apples because I’m getting pretty good at that. But for pumpkin harvesting purposes, I guess I can use magic. Anyways, just as passing conversation, she and Mac casually informed me that if they were like some of their distant cousins or other extended family, then they would take major issues with me using magic of any sort because apparently they don’t even tolerate unicorns!”
“What,” Rarity deadpanned, eyes narrowing. She had a look in her eye that seemed to convey a feeling of ‘I’ll destroy them’ mixed with ‘Who in the hoof would have problems with unicorns?’ In any other situation, the expression would probably be rather humorous. “Have I ever met any of these ponies?”
“No, I asked the same thing when they told me. Apparently, those family members don’t come around here much. In fact, they hardly leave their farms.”
“But why are you freaking out about that?” Fluttershy inquired.
“I’m not freaking out!” Twilight replied in a high pitched voice, before sinking below the water slightly. “Okay, maybe a little, but not about that. What I’m about to tell you—“
“Oh do tell, do tell, darling!” Rarity could hardly stand it anymore moving right up next to Twilight, with her ear practically over her friend’s muzzle. The drama was almost too much for her, as she could be seen visibly shaking with excitement.
Pushing her friend away a little bit, Twilight continued. “Right. Well, obviously at first I was a bit concerned at what these ponies would think about me and Big Macintosh, but they quickly told me not to worry, since these ponies never come around. Of course, though, Applejack being honest as she always is, had to say something along the lines of ‘you don’t have to worry about this right now, but maybe sometime in the future.’ And when I asked her what she meant, she said—“
Here Twilight paused. Her words caught in her throat, and she found it increasingly hard to breathe. Her friends were both leaning towards her now, obviously on the edge of their seats. Even Fluttershy, the mare who usually never pushed for a pony to say more, looked eager to see where this was going. Finally, Twilight sucked it up, and said the dreaded sentence.
“She said, ‘Like if you were to become Twilight Apple.’”
Rarity’s eyes went wide, Fluttershy sank below the bath water again, and in the other room, Aloe and Lotus thought they felt the air thicken.
Aloe looked up from the paperwork she had on her desk, wondering why it was tough for her to breathe at the moment.
“Do you think I should turn the heat down?” she asked her sister.
“No, no. It’s fine,” Lotus replied. “Sometimes when Miss Rarity is here, this feeling comes up. It will go away, sister. Trust me.”
Aloe simply shrugged and went back to the contract for soaps she was looking over.
Back in the bath-room, Twilight’s expression was turning from hope for her friends to find Applejack’s statement completely normal, to exasperation that they were reacting exactly how she had wanted to the first time. She was beginning to wonder if Fluttershy had gills, when she finally emerged from underwater.
“She did not say that!” Rarity whispered. “Tell me you’re joking!”
Her lavender cheeks flushing red again, Twilight winced at her friend’s reaction. She could feel her heart rate rising as her mind began to rush with different thoughts.
“I wish I was, Rarity, truly. I—I don’t know what to think. I mean, Big Macintosh was just as embarrassed, or freaked out, or I don’t know! I don’t know, girls! This is why I wanted to talk to you!”
“There, there,” Fluttershy said, leaping out of her own embarrassment to wrap a comforting leg around her distressed friend. “Don’t worry about it; I’m sure this will all work out soon. They’ll probably forget about it in a few days.”
“But—but I told them it was a possibility!” Twilight wailed.
“You did what?” Rarity exclaimed, pulling back. “You said it was a possibility?”
Twilight could only nod, looking all too sorry for herself. “I said that Shining and Cadance were a prime example. They were dating, they got married. I said it could happen to us, too.”
“Well of course it could, darling! But you shouldn’t just say it like that! Getting married isn’t just something that ponies go around talking about like it’s an easy task!”
“I know! I know Rarity, I know!”
“Hush, Twilight,” Fluttershy cooed. “Rarity, she knows she messed up. Or, um, she thinks she did. I can’t say for sure, but I know that pointing out her mistake isn’t helping. Now, Twilight, you have a few options here. You can either let it rest, and it will probably become a non-issue. You could also bring it up with Big Macintosh. I’m sure he’ll understand that you were just freaking out a little bit when you said that, and you didn’t really mean it.” The timid pegasus didn’t know much about romance, but she had read enough novels to have a good idea of the practice.
“But—but I did mean it,” Twilight whispered. “It is a possibility. And one that I could see—but what am I saying? We’ve only been dating for two months! I shouldn’t even be thinking about…that.” She refused to say the “M” word. “Not to mention their family members that would totally hate me, and then Big Macintosh wouldn’t want me, and it would just be a completely screwed up situation!”
“Darling!” Rarity interjected, sensing her friend’s rising anxiety. “Calm down! Slow down for a moment, and just listen to us! You’re flipping out over nothing, dear. There’s no reason for you to be acting like this. How did the rest of the day go?”
Twilight was close to tears at the moment, lower lip quivering as she continued. “It was fine. We finished the harvest, I kissed Mac goodbye, and here we are.”
“Then you needn’t worry, dear. I’m sure he’ll go to sleep tonight and forget all about it. You know how stallions are.”
“You just need to go home and get some rest,” Fluttershy agreed. “This will all blow over quickly. Nopony’s getting married to anypony else for a long time yet!”
“Well, there’s always Pinkie Pie,” Rarity said off-hoof. “That pony does all sorts of things nopony would expect. Hay, I’d be inclined to believe her to walk in saying she has foals we didn’t know about.”
The three ponies laughed then, each thinking of their favorite pink party pony. After the laughter died down, Twilight looked between her two friends and took a deep breath of the aromatic air. She visibly reclined in the bath, seeming to finally be enjoying herself.
“Thanks, girls. I really needed this. I know I was freaking out there, and I can’t say I’m not anymore, but you definitely helped me.”
“What are friends for?” Fluttershy asked, smiling.
The three ponies continued talking about other goings-on in town, before their spa time came to a close and they were all standing outside in the late afternoon chill.
“And do remember, dear Twilight, not to fret over the small things. Like we said earlier, this will all pass soon. Do take care of yourself, okay?”
Twilight smiled at her friends, truly feeling how much they cared for her.
“Alright, girls. I’ll go home and get some sleep. I bet when I wake up I’ll feel just fine!”
“That’s the spirit, Twilight,” Fluttershy said, smiling. “And remember, if you need to talk again, you know where to find us.”
With that, the three ponies waved to each other and parted ways, Twilight eagerly awaiting a soft bed back in her tree home.
Once back at her library, Twilight stood in the center of the floor listening for her number one assistant. She didn’t hear anything to indicate that he was home, so she shrugged and made for her room.
He must be out with the Crusaders, she thought. I suppose I can take some quiet time to write a letter to the Princess.
She ascended the stairs and entered her bedroom. Her mentor’s sun was glowing deep orange through her open balcony doors, helping to warm up the otherwise chilly air. Gathering some supplies and her star-embroidered blanket, she walked out on her porch to enjoy the evening’s atmosphere.
As she took her seat, wrapped herself in her blanket, and looked out over her small town, Twilight thought about just how perfect her life was most of the time. She had wonderful friends, an amazing coltfriend, and a great job, to boot. She wouldn’t have had any of this if Celestia hadn’t sent her to Ponyville to prepare for the summer sun celebration.
Things always have a funny way of working out. She thought. Her mind was replaying the events of the day, but as she went back over the conversation she had with Big Mac and Applejack, she didn’t feel nearly as bad as she had at one point. She took a deep breath of the evening air, enjoying the scents that wafted into her nose.
I sure am glad my friends can calm me down. I could have gone off the deep end if not for them.
She smiled to herself, and picked up her quill and parchment in a lavender aura.
Dear Princess Celestia,
Sometimes you can worry yourself sick. There are many problems that a pony may face in their life, and with each one is paired with a unique reaction. Sometimes even the smallest problems can cause you to freak out because your mind makes it seem like a huge deal, even if it’s just a passing conversation. Fortunately, my friends were able to help me out today.
I had a discussion with Applejack and her brother (my coltfriend Big Macintosh) earlier, and some pretty scary stuff got brought up. I won’t lie—I wasn’t thinking straight after that conversation. After I left the farm, though, I talked it over with Rarity and Fluttershy, and they really calmed me down. If not for them, I might have had another Smarty—you know what, never mind. It would have been bad.
Like I said, friends can always help you out. They give you a different perspective on situations, and without them to clear things up for you, you can easily get lost in your own thoughts. I’m so thankful for my friends, and I think everypony should have somepony they can go to when they need help in life.
Your Faithful Student,
As she finished signing the letter, Twilight could hear the library door slam from downstairs.
“Twilight! I’m home!” Spike called.
Lighting her horn, an audible pop! resounded from below, before another sounded right next to her. A little purple dragon had appeared, wobbling on his feet.
“I hate when you do that,” he said, regaining his balance.
Twilight swept him up in a hug, squeezing him tight.
“Just in time!” she said, setting him down, and floating her sealed letter to him. “Can you send a letter for me?”
“I guess so,” Spike replied, a bit exasperated. He took the letter from Twilight’s magical grasp, and quickly burned it with his green fire. Once the deed was done, he asked, “How was your day today?”
“It was…how would you say, interesting. I was just writing the Princess about it, actually. How was crusading?”
Spike laughed, shaking his head. “They wanted to try Cutie Mark Crusader surfers, in a lake. And when that didn’t work, they tried to get cutie marks for holding their breaths for a long time. Then Applebloom said that she held her breath the longest, but Scootaloo thought she held it longer, and neither of them had a cutie mark. They gave up on those quests pretty quickly. After that, they wanted to try painting on Rarity’s boutique, but fortunately I talked them out of it. So I guess you could say it was an interesting day for me, too.”
Twilight laughed and shook her head. “When will they learn they just need to do what they’re good at?”
“I don’t know, but I’m sure one day they’ll figure it out,” the baby dragon said. “Maybe it’s more about how they get there then actually earning their marks.” As he turned to walk back inside, he suddenly belched out a neatly rolled parchment, sealed with the Princess’ royal “C” seal.
Twilight cocked her head, and eagerly leaned forward. “What does it say?”
“I dunno, but that sure was a quick reply,” Spike said as he unrolled it. Quickly, he began to read it out loud to his curious friend.
Dear Twilight Sparkle,
The subject of marriage can make a pony think crazy things! I’m glad your friends could talk you through it.
“What?” Spike said, as he finished, flipping the paper over to try and find an explanation.
A thump could be heard echoing through the tree, as a certain librarian fainted on the wooden floor of the balcony.
Meanwhile, back at Sweet Apple Acres, a large stallion was relaxing on his front porch, chewing on a hay stalk as he gazed at the purple evening clouds.
“Hey, Big Mac!” shouted his sister, Applejack, from inside the house. “Guess what?”
Ever since she was a little filly, she always asked him to “guess what.” He always had many guesses he could give her, but normally when she asked, he just remained silent and waited for her to deliver the news.
“We got some family comin’ in ta town!” She walked out on the porch to join him, handing him a letter that the mailmare had delivered earlier that day. “Derpy misplaced this a few days ago. Said we shoulda gotten it ‘bout three days ago, but she just found it under a muffin in her bag, whatever that means.”
Mac quickly scanned the letter, which was simply informing them that their kin was passing through and would be staying with them for a few nights. He didn’t think anything of it until he reached the bottom line, where the ponies had signed.
Fuji and Devine Apple
Big Macintosh stared at those names for a few moments, thoughts racing as a previous conversation from that day came back to his mind. Actually, it had been on his mind all day, so more like resurfaced in full force. And of course, these Apples from the East were some of those kin his sister had mentioned to Twilight earlier today.
Oh, horseapples, he thought, as he stared out at the evening sky once again.