"How could you do that to me, Rainbow?!" Twilight shouted. She was on the verge of tears, and I didn't feel much better.
"In front of the princesses, in front of my parents, in front of everypony?"
"Twi... I, I didn't think it'd be such a big—"
"No, you didn't think, did you!" she yelled, using her magic to hastily pack her bags. "What a surprise!"
The princess set us up in a super swank tower in the palace. I’d had that night all planned out. An evening doing lame Gala stuff, letting Twilight talk to the princesses, while I'd shmooze a Wonderbolt or two. Then we'd have dinner before coming back here for a little... us time. Twilight once told me that the best laid plans of mice and mares... did something—I can't really remember—but the point is, sometimes stuff goes horribly, horribly wrong, and there's nothing you can do to fix it.
I dodged my stuff being tossed at my hooves. If the redness of her cheeks were any indication, she was more than a little upset. I didn't think she'd react like this, but then again, this was Twilight we're talking about here: the pony who hypnotized the entire town because she thought Princess Celestia was some kind of banishment-happy whack-job who would send her back to magic kindergarten or something for missing a friendship report. She was prone to overreactions.
Okay, so maybe this whole thing was my fault, but it still didn't excuse her blowing up in my face like that, right?
Well, maybe it did, but before I get into that, I should probably back up a bit and tell you how we got here.
Now, if you know me, you know I'm not one of those ponies that get all caught up in mushy stuff. Who has time for that noise when you're training to be a Wonderbolt? I mean, they haven't officially asked me to join or anything, but I can tell they're going to any day now! How do I know? Uhm... I just do, okay! Who asked you anyway?
Like I was saying, being tied down would just hold me back. I didn't need anypony but yours truly, and that's the way I lived. I know what you're thinking: "Dash, you mean to tell me the most awesome pegasus in the history of pegasi has never had so much as a crush?"
Nope. Sure, I've seen a stallion or mare I'd think about taking home, but thinking about it is as far as I'd go. Besides, all that lovey-dovey stuff just gets in the way. It makes ponies do stupid stuff for no reason, and I've seen it! Heck, just look at all the stuff Spike does for Rarity, and she knows she'll never give him anything more than a friendly hug! I kinda feel bad for the little guy, but he's a perfect example! Anyway, let's get things started, shall we?
As much as I hate starting out my story like this, there isn't really any other way to describe it, so just hang with me.
It was a typical Ponyville Friday. Nothing out of the ordinary going on, just your regular, boring, end of the week. I had stopped by Sugarcube Corner, waiting for Pinks to get off work. As good as I was at weather patrol, my entire job only took about three hours, max. That's why I'm usually napping during the day.
While I was waiting for Pinkie outside, I noticed one of the old buildings in the center of town had gotten a paint job, and a new sign out front. I knew she'd be a while, so I trotted over to see what kind of place would be opening up. Yeah, I know it wasn't that exciting, but it's a small town; what else is there to do?
As I looked through the shop window, I noticed some fancy tables, and a bar! Now, I'm not much for drinking—it slows me down, and generally just isn't that good for a pegasus who's trying to retain her crown as the fastest there ever was. Still though, every now and then, a night out with the girls could be fun.
"Whatcha lookin' at, Dashie?"
Looked like Pinkie had gotten off early. I was used to her randomly appearing, so this wasn’t as startling to me as it was to some ponies. "This new place, ever been?" I said. Pinkie usually knew everything that went on in town, so I figured she'd know something.
"Nope, but it opens tonight!" she explained in her usual cheerful tone, "A big fancy pants type from Canterlot opened it," she paused, thoughtfully putting a flour-splattered hoof to her chin. "What was his name again?"
"Fancy Pants," a pony from behind us replied. We turned to see a somewhat familiar stallion. I recognized this guy; he was the one who saved Rarity's rep from ruin by all those snooty Canterlot ponies. Heck, we saved that boring little tea party they were having! Those stuck-up ponies wouldn't have known a good time if it rode them ‘til morning.
"I recognize you two from that wonderful garden party Ms. Rarity threw in Canterlot," he added with a sincere smile. I guess not all Canterlot ponies were snobs, but he was the exception, not the rule. "The grand opening is tonight at nine. Might I extend an invitation to you two and your four friends?"
"We'll be there!" Pinkie and I said in unison. It'd been months since I had a night out with the girls, and to be honest, my routine of work, practice, sleep was starting to wear me down. I needed a night out, and it looked like it was Celestia's Will for us to have one.
"Wonderful! With the Elements of Harmony attending my opening, this cantina is sure to be a success!"
So, even though we sort of volunteered our other friends into going, we were sure they'd have no reason not to. "So Pinks, I'll get AJ and Twilight on board, if you get Rarity and Fluttershy."
"Okie Dokie Lokie!" In a puff of flour and confetti, she was gone. That pony was pretty quick when she wanted to be. Anyway, I knew Twilight would be the hardest to convince, so I went to AJ first. As I flew, I recalled the last time I'd had a few drinks with Applejack.
We didn't go out or anything, it was just us girls and Big Mac sitting in the barn, taking turns on the bottle. Once we were good and sauced, we thought it would be just hilarious to try and put Mac's hoof in some warm water after he'd gone to bed. Long story short, we ended up nearly burning down the barn. I don't drink alone with AJ much anymore.
Anyway, at my normal speed, her farm was a short flight away. She was in the fields as usual, bucking apples non-stop. I've never understood why she cared about work so much. I mean, I get that she wants to keep the farm running and everything, but sometimes I swear she makes up more work for herself just for the heck of it.
"AJ!" I shouted, still a bit above her. She was just an orange speck in a sea of neatly aligned green treetops sprinkled with red dots. I swooped down on her, ready to snatch her hat off her head. She held it tightly with a hoof as I came around and landed in front of her. She was used to my game by now.
Applejack was always sweating whenever she was outdoors, probably because if she was outside, she was usually working. She brought a hoof across her forehead and wiped away the moisture before adjusting her hat. "What brings you 'round?"
I wasted no time getting to the point. I was never one for idle chit-chat, and neither was Applejack.
"Remember Fancy Pants?"
"The stallion from Canterlot?" she asked, searching her apple-filled memory while running a hoof through her mane. "Ah reckon so."
"He's opening a new place in town tonight, and he invited the six of us to the grand opening."
A thin smile tugged at AJ's lips. "That sounds like fun," she hummed. "Anypony else goin'?"
"Am I not enough?" I teased. Since Twilight had brought us all together as Elements, I'd gotten to know Applejack a lot better in the past year and a half. She might as well have been my sister at this point, which was just as good as actually having one. AJ'd only pass on a night out with me if she had something serious to get done in the morning.
"Ah suppose," she replied, with a sigh and a smile. "You convince anypony else yet?"
"Pinkie's recruiting Fluttershy and Rarity—not that Rare would need any incentive to hang out with Fancy Pants—and the next mare on my list is Miss Bookworm herself."
Applejack's eyebrows raised knowingly as she gave me a slow nod. "Good luck gettin' her ta leave that library without givin' her a week’s advance notice," she commented.
"You doubting me?" I smirked. She knew better than to issue me a challenge. I knew if anypony could get our egghead buddy to come out, it'd be me.
"Oh, no, not the Rainbow Dash, Ah wouldn't dream of it."
That settled it. Twilight would be coming out with us, and that was final. Even if I had to drag her out of that library by her tail.
"She'll be there," I assured her, "and you better be too. It starts at nine," I said, taking off.
"Alright, see ya then."
This would be the tough part. We all knew Twilight didn't like to break her plans, and she especially didn't like skipping her nighttime readings. Luckily, I had a trump card. She had bailed on us last time we all decided to go out. Something about “important royal business”. More like my new romance novels came in, and I just bought new bedsheets. For somepony who goes on about how today's books are 'nothing but pop culture tripe', she sure does seem to carry a lot of them in the library.
I wouldn't be surprised if half the time I'm over there reading, she's got one of those sappy things hidden in front of her magic theory textbook.
Honestly, I feel bad for Spike. As nuts as Twilight can be sometimes, at least we get a break. He has to live with her. I gotta admit though, it is kinda funny how worked up she gets over the most meaningless things.
About halfway there, I knew I needed to think up a game plan or I'd never convince her to come out. I was thinking maybe something about the princesses showing up, but I didn't want to outright lie to her. I figured if I just explained that her friends wanted to see and have some fun with her, that would be reason enough. I could probably play up the fact that she could squeeze a friendship report out of the evening, if it came to that.
By the time I had my plan, I had made it to her house. Normally, I'd just use the window, but Twilight had gotten into the annoying habit of locking it, so I’ve been using the door lately. Spike answered my knocks, wearing that frilly apron of his. I couldn’t believe he actually enjoyed doing it. No wonder he doubted whether or not he was a real dragon.
"Hey Spike, is Twilight home?"
"Yeah, come on in," he said, stepping aside and closing the door behind me. I could tell Twilight had made her afternoon tea. Whatever kind it was, it always stunk up the place. She didn't seem to mind, but I swear that stuff hung in the air for hours after she drank it. I found my egghead buddy sorting books out of what I guessed was a box of new deliveries.
"Rainbow!" she gasped. "I wasn't expecting you today."
"I know I didn't make an appointment," I replied flatly, "But we're going out tonight, and you're coming with us."
I had learned a while ago that if you gave Twilight an option, she'd usually try to excuse her way out of it, especially if it was a social situation. She was fine if it was just one of Pinkie's parties, because her close friends were usually the only ones invited. Every now and then it’d be a bigger event, but Twilight usually stuck to one of us the whole time. Well, with the exception of that time in Canterlot, but we had pre-gamed pretty heavily before hoof.
“Uh... I can’t... I’ve...”
I knew that look. That’s the ‘I’m trying really hard to think of a good excuse’ face. I had to put a stop to it.
“Twilight, I didn’t ask if you wanted to come with us, I told you you’re coming with us,”
Twilight scoffed. She was about to get all “indignant” on me. Is it weird I know her that well? “I don’t have to do anything.”
“Twilight, you bailed on us last time, and we barely ever get a chance to all hang out together. Didn’t the princess send you here to make friends?”
“Well yes, but—”
“And those friends want to see you!” I interrupted. You had to be firm with Twilight, or she’d just whine her way out of it.
Her ears flattened like clouds against wind shear. I had her now.
"No buts, Twilight!" I insisted. She was beginning to come around, I could feel it.
She stamped her hooves nervously, making that “I don't wanna” face I'd expect from one of the Cake twins. "But, you guys always get drinks, and I don't really feel like—"
"You don't have to drink just because we do. Fluttershy doesn't drink, and she's coming with us."
"C'mon, Twilight, you spend too much time cooped up in here anyway,” Spike called from on top of one of the bookshelves. “Go have fun!”
I owed him some gems for having my back on this one.
"Well..." Twilight looked around the room. I knew she was looking for a misplaced book, or an undusted bookshelf, but I bet she knew her “order” obsession made sure nothing was out of place. There was nothing keeping her from going except her own stubbornness. "Okay, I'll go," she sighed. It was actually easier than I thought it would be. "But don't expect me to stay out late! I have to—"
"Yeah, yeah, I'm sure you wouldn't want your books to get lonely," I teased, "Party starts at nine!" I said, rushing out of her window.
I was gonna make that mare have fun if it killed me.