“Ow!” You hiss through clenched teeth, your mouth currently wrapped around the handle of a heavy suitcase. You feel several small twinges of aggravation shoot through your neck and down across your spine as you fling the bag onto the small unkempt bed in front of you.
You reach around with a hoof and gently massage the back of your neck, making a slight grimace as you do so.
“Everything okay mister?” You hear a curious little voice ask you from behind.
“Yeah Sweetie, everything’s okay, my neck stings a little is all.” You explain to the filly as she walks up beside you.
With a flick of her head she tosses another, much smaller, suitcase onto the giant mountain of leather bags that you two had spent the last fifteen minutes or so constructing. Why on Equestria the filly had so much luggage was a question you couldn’t get an answer to, as her only response was, ‘I need to bring all my essentials.’ You didn’t bother asking what these ‘essentials’ were as you were confident that the answer would be just as nonsensical as the last.
“That should be the last of it!” Sweetie exclaims happily, plopping herself down on the carpeted floor of her bedroom, grinning and humming cheerily as you begin the trying task of moving all the bags off the bed and towards the door.
You find yourself smiling as you watch the filly out of the corner of your eye. You were willing to admit that you hadn’t exactly been looking forward to helping the foal pack, especially when you learned just how many bags needed filling. But Sweetie’s bubbly attitude and positive outlook had proven itself infectious, and you found yourself enjoying the time you two had been spending together. No matter how boring the work itself was.
“Could you give me a little help Sweetie Belle? My hoof still hurts and I don’t think I can carry all of these on my own.” You ask, shifting a little bit of your weight as the heavy suitcases teetering on your back begin to take their toll, putting a little too much pressure on your injured limb, causing it to jolt in pain.
With an energetic bounce and a youthful “Yep!” the filly runs over and takes a few of the smaller bags herself. It doesn’t help a whole lot but you weren’t really expecting much, either way you still offer her a grateful smile in return to her aid.
When you make your way out of Sweetie’s bedroom and into the main room of her older sister’s boutique your ear twitches in recognition of two voices coming from the kitchen. You immediately place them as the voices of both Rarity and her mother. You know it’s rude to eavesdrop on them so you don’t, not that you could anyway. Both are talking in hushed whispers, though you can tell from the intensity with which the words are being spoken that Rarity is in the middle of giving her mother quite the verbal thrashing. No doubt for the older mare’s embarrassing display earlier today.
It doesn’t take long for the pair of you to make it outside, where a pink and blue chariot is waiting out front of Rarity’s Carousel boutique. You frown and blink several times as Celestia’s sun stings at your eyes. Having not actually been outdoors for the past few days you find that your eyes weren’t exactly welcoming to the shining light.
With a heave you fling the suitcases on your back into the chariot. Sighing in relief as the weight on your back is replaced by nothing. Your neck once again screams out in discomfort as you give it a twist too far in the wrong direction and you can already tell it’s going to be causing you problems for the rest of the day. You hear the sound of Sweetie Belle throwing her suitcases into the back of the chariot as well, the filly letting out a sigh of relief not unlike your own afterwards.
“Well, that takes care of that I suppose.” You mumble quietly, counting over the number of bags in the chariot as the old wood of the vehicle squeaks and creeks loudly in response to the added weight. You find yourself wondering how exactly Rarity’s mother plans on getting the chariot back, that is until you spy two rather boxy looking stallions trussed up to the opposite end of the vehicle, talking quietly to themselves as they wait. Rarity’s mother must have hired the pair to pull the chariot around town for her.
“Um, mister, you have something on your face.” You raise an eyebrow at Sweetie Belle, her statement catching you a little off guard.
“Yeah, on the right side…it’s all red.” Sweetie reaches up with a tiny hoof and points at your left cheek, her right being your left from where you were standing.
You feel your face take on a hot shade of crimson; you knew exactly what it was. Reaching up with your bandaged hoof you give your cheek a wipe, the thick cotton material gaining a faint red streak in response to its contact with the lipstick.
“Did I get it?” You ask the filly.
She purses her lips and looks up at your face, cocking her head one way then the other as she scans the area where the lipstick had been, before she shakes her head left and right, her poofy mane bobbing in response to the movement.
“Nope still there.” To your surprise she giggles, looking up at you with a devilish grin before she continues speaking. “~I know what that is.~” The foal sings mockingly. “That’s my sister’s lipstick.”
You find yourself surprised that the foal’s guess had been so spot on, and the truth is shown without question by the crimson overtaking your cheeks. “How…how can you tell?” You question incredulously.
“Weeell, for starters the mark on your face is shaped like her lips.” The foal begins, smirking while she does so. You couldn’t believe that the lipstick had maintained its shape, you were confident that after how you had wiped it earlier it should at least have been smeared. You reach up to start rubbing at it again. “Um, that won’t work.” The foal says, before you even start. “That’s her special lipstick; it doesn’t come off no matter how hard you try. I would know.”
“You would know?” You question, curious.
Sweetie lets out a puff of air in possibly the most adorable way you’ve ever seen, a little strand of her mane bouncing in response as she does so. “Me and Applebloom once tried to get our makeup artists cutie marks by using all of my sister’s stuff; we couldn’t get that lipstick off for like two whole weeks.”
You raise an eyebrow. “Did you try soap and water?”
Sweetie Belle gives you a look that says ‘I’m not an idiot’.
“So I’m stuck with it?” You ask nervously. The thought of walking around town with a giant print of lipstick on your cheek made you feel a little uneasy. Though, then again…it was Rarity’s lipstick…maybe keeping it on for a couple weeks wouldn’t be so bad.
Sweetie Belle nods. “Yeah, don’t worry though it should come off in a week or two.” Suddenly Sweetie’s eyes light up and her smile beams, you follow her gaze and see that it’s pointing off somewhere behind you. “Ooh ooh Scootaloo! Applebloom!” Sweetie begins swinging her hooves in the air, signaling for her friends to come over.
Before you can even utter a single word a pair of fillies pop out of nowhere and dogpile Sweetie Belle, giggling and laughing while they tussle on the ground. You look on with a faint smile as the trio play around, it reminded you of your days as a foal back home. Your little group of friends would often greet each other much the same way…still did actually.
“Hey guys, what’s up?” Sweetie asks when the three finally come to a stop, a faint pant to her voice as she speaks, the less than relaxed greeting having tuckered her out.
“Howdy Sweetie Belle!” The yellow filly with red hair and a matching bow chirps with a deep southern twang. “We was jus’ coming ta get ya!”
“Yeah!” An orange pegasus filly shoots up, her tomboyish voice excited while she eyes her friend. “We have this AWESOME new idea that’ll get us our cutie marks for sure!” The orange filly smiles, before her eyes fall on you, an expression of distrust etching its way into her features, “What’s this guy’s problem? He’s kinda creepin’ me out.”
You’re caught off guard by the filly’s attitude; half tempted to say something rude in response. But you manage to bite back those sharp words before they spill out.
“Oh, don’t worry about him Scootaloo, he’s some stallion that’s been staying at my sister’s for the past couple nights.” Sweetie explains, which seems to calm Scootaloo a little, but she’s still eyeing you with a sliver of distrust from where she stands.
“Wait…ah know you.” The yellow filly says, her voice filled with recognition as she looks you over. “Yer that stallion who helped Big Mac paint the barn a few months back ‘cus mah sis was outta town!”
You smile at her and nod your head. You don’t remember seeing this filly back when you went down to Sweet Apple Acres to help out your pal Big Mac, but apparently she had seen you. “You're Applebloom right?” You ask the filly with a smile, she responds with an enthusiastic nod. “Big Mac’s told me a lot about you.”
“Yall did a good job mister! Ah’d never seen the barn so cleaned up before!” Applebloom compliments.
You smile at her. “Aw, thanks Applebloom I appreciate it.” You turn your gaze onto Sweetie Belle. “Go ahead and talk with your friends Sweetie, I’ll go let your mom know everything’s all packed up.”
Sweetie smiles at you. “Thanks mister!” She chirps before turning back to her friends, their voices starting to blend together as they all start talking at once.
Once you’re back inside you can tell that Rarity has managed to calm herself somewhat, as there’s a noticeable change in pitch and speed now, her voice coming out more flat and relaxed rather than harsh and sharp.
“Um…is it okay if I interrupt?” You ask unsurely before stepping into the kitchen, being cautious to avoid stumbling in on the middle of the conversation and upsetting Rarity.
You hear Rarity’s mother mumble something, followed by a muffled cackle, which Rarity is quick to end with a terse word or two. You wait patiently as Rarity and her mother have another brief back and forth, ending with a deep throat clear from Rarity, as if she’s trying to cover up the conversation.
“Yes, it’s okay, do come in.” You hear Rarity call, the anger still present in her voice though buried underneath a friendlier and more welcoming tone.
You walk into the kitchen, Rarity’s mother looking at you with a playful gaze. “Sweetie is all packed up now; she’s outside talking with her friends at the moment.”
“Well how about that!” The pink unicorn shouts. “Looks like your assistant over here got your sister packed up in half the time it usually takes.” The older mare hops out of the wooden chair she’s been sitting in, the chair you had used this morning…that makes you feel weird for some reason. “Well Rarity honey I’ll be heading out, love you.”
“I love you as well mother.” Rarity returns, though it sounds a little forced. “Would you be so kind as to show her to the door?” You aren’t expecting it when she says that, and you wonder why exactly she needed you to do something so unnecessary, but from the look on Rarity’s face you can tell that she just wants a few quiet moments to herself while she can get them.
“Uh, yeah sure, after you ma'am.” You manage to say, standing aside to let the older mare pass by.
“Oh my, you are such a gentlecolt young stallion.” She replies with a tone that’s mocking though not directed at you, you notice Rarity tense up and start grinding her teeth in frustration out the corner of your eye. You figure it would be wise to hurry the older mare out of the house as soon as possible.
“Here you are ma'am.” You say, holding open the door for the pink unicorn.
“Thank you!” She replies, starting to make her way outside, when suddenly she stops. “And one last thing my dear.” With a flash her eyes are on you, wide, relentless and unforgiving. You can feel her irises drilling into you, as if trying to study your very soul. “I want you to know one very important thing young stallion…if you even so much as look at another mare while your with my daughter…so much as hurt a tiny hair on her head…you’ll regret ever even being BORN!”
She didn’t shout those words; they came out as more of a seething venom filled whisper. And for that reason alone they were all the more frightening. Still the insinuation that you would intentionally harm Rarity in any way caused your anger to flare.
“I would never hurt Rarity!” You bite back, keeping your voice down so the mare you spoke of didn’t hear you in the room over.
Rarity’s mother doesn’t answer right away; she’s still looking at you with that penetrating stare, you meet it with your own though you’re sure it’s not having much effect. Then much to your surprise she lets out a chuckle.
“I know you wouldn’t honey…” The mare’s gaze becomes much softer, and she gives you a gentle pat on the top of your head. Needless to say, you are very confused. “I just needed to make sure…you just…look after my daughter okay?” The mare looks back, her expression almost sad. “She’s a very emotional mare and you…” Now her eyes meet yours, and a moment of silence follows. You wonder what it is she’s looking for, as you see a studious glint in her eye as your gazes meet. Whatever it is, she must have found it, as her smile returns and she giggles again. “Never mind, I’m sure she’s in great hooves.”
Neither you or the pink mare say anything as she leaves, you are still very confused but…you feel like now is not the proper time for asking questions. When you had looked into her eyes just a few brief seconds ago you had seen something…a deep caring, a caring for her child that you’re sure only a mother could possibly have. You didn’t really know why she had spoken to you the way she did, maybe word of your many relationships around town had spread…maybe Big Mac had a bigger mouth than he let on…and perhaps she had been testing you in order to find out if you cared about her daughter or if you just planned on riding her.
The thought that other ponies may know about your romantic efforts upset you, but it didn’t surprise you. How many mares had you been trying to hook up with since you moved here? Now that you think of the number you’re a little ashamed. Ponyville was a lot smaller than Manehattan, you didn’t have to worry about somepony knowing about who you’d done what with out there…there was just too many ponies. But here things were different, in a town like this everypony knew everypony and it was no wonder word had gotten round, it had too, practically every other mare in town had shot you down at one point or another.
Now a more frightening thought enters your head…what did Rarity know? Worse yet…what did she think? She had to at least know about a few of your marefriends right? What if she thought all you were trying to do was get her in bed? You didn’t want her thinking something like that, mainly because it couldn’t be farther from the truth. You liked Rarity…practically adored her, she’d been a constant presence in your thoughts since you’d met; she was like a flower whose roots had grown and spread in your head. Wrapping themselves around your thoughts with a deadly grip and refusing to let go.
“Dear, are you feeling ill?” You perk up at the familiar voice.
“Uh yeah Rarity, I mean no! I’m fine.” You turn to the snow white mare, smiling at her in a comforting way.
She however seems unconvinced, concern written plain on her face as she steps forward, looking you over with worry. “Are you positive, you seem…distracted. Are you sick?” You feel her reach up with a hoof and gently caress your forehead; the touch is light and dainty, almost as if it’s not there at all. Still, you fail to fight off the blush. “Hm, you’re not running a fever.”
“Really Rarity I’m fine, I was just thinking that’s all.”
“Oh I see, you had me worried for a moment.” Rarity lets out a sigh, and it’s now you realize just how tired she looks, having to deal with both Sweetie Belle and her mother had no doubt taken its toll on the fashionista’s fatigue.
“Are you okay Rarity? You look a little down.”
Rarity smiles at your show of concern, but it’s a weak and tired smile. “Oh yes, it’s nothing, I’m just finding myself a little weary.” Rarity places a dainty hoof to her mouth and yawns, her body teetering slightly as she does so. “Make that quite weary.”
“Maybe you should sit down for a minute Rarity.” You offer, stepping forward to catch her should she fall.
Rarity shakes her head and blinks her eyes numerous times, trying to force the exhaustion away. “No…I couldn’t…I have things to do.”
You however will not take no for an answer, you gently wrap your hoof around hers and begin to lead her towards the red satin couch you’d found her sleeping on earlier this morning. Rarity squeaks lightly when you grab her, not expecting such a forward approach, but she makes no move to pull away. You help her onto the couch, and you notice a grin splay across her face as she lowers herself onto the piece of furniture.
“Why don’t you just rest for a while?” You ask her, reaching over and grabbing a neatly folded blanket that lay idle on the opposite end of the couch.
“Oh I couldn’t, I have so many errands to run…” Her voice begins to fade out, and you can tell it’s only a matter of time before she falls asleep.
“Don’t worry about it.” You tell her, draping the soft quilted blanket over her, she smiles and snuggles herself into the soft red fabric. “Just tell me what you need and I’ll take care of it for you.”
Rarity’s blue eyes are barely visible through the tiny slits of their lids, and it seems as if at any moment she’ll have drifted off to sleep. She fights her way through another yawn as she speaks.
“O-on the kitchen table…there’s a list of errands I need to do, Applejack’s package is in my room, and make-make sure you get it to her.” Rarity pulls a hoof up to cover her mouth as another drawn out yawn is released.
You smile down at her. “Okay Rarity, you just leave it to your assistant, I’ll get it all taken care of for you, I promise.” You turn towards the kitchen, heading off to receive Rarity’s list.
“Oh and gentlecolt…one last thing,” Rarity whispers, her tired voice drawing your attention. You lean closer, so it’ll be easier to hear her. But you’re only met with the feeling of cherry red lips against your cheek. You’re startled at the sudden touch, for more than obvious reasons. For instance, Rarity’s first few pecks had been just that pecks…but this one felt…different…more, affectionate. She keeps her lips there for a solid minute, pulling away with a very unladylike smack, but that was fine.
“Your lipstick was smeared…”
You don’t know what to do, or say, this kiss didn’t feel like the others. It felt…special, Rarity is looking at you with an amused expression out of the corner of her eye. Her look saying what her words did not, ‘you’re mine now’. And it was true, you were like a mouse trapped by a manticore…only problem with that analogy is that the mouse isn’t supposed to want to be captured.
You don’t get a chance to say anything on the matter before Rarity settles her head on the couch, you notice that the way she’s laying is scrunching up her mane, but it doesn’t seem to bother her for some reason.
Eventually, Rarity’s breathing goes steady and you can tell she’s fallen asleep. You sleep tight Miss Rarity…Luna knows I won’t be able to for the next few weeks. You think inwardly, smiling at her. Rarity was going to be occupying your dreams for many a night to come, that you knew for sure.
The air outside is warm, bordering on hot, a sure sign that Summer was on its way though not quite here yet. Your eyes had adjusted to the light by now, though it still kind of stung the one you’d been punched in. But, you figured it would stop bugging you here pretty soon. All around you ponies were bustling about, enjoying their weekend in whatever way they saw fit, you saw that most of them were hurrying off towards Sugarcube Corner. You figured that either A, Pinkie Pie was throwing another party, or B, that many of them were heading over in order to get their hooves on a nice cold snack to help them cool off a little in the heat.
Either way it meant that running your errands around town should be a little easier, less waiting in lines. You reach around and stick your snout into the light burlap saddlebag resting at your side, retrieving a torn piece of paper from one of its pockets. You’d borrowed the saddlebags before leaving Rarity’s, figuring that she wouldn’t mind and that it would make your errands slightly easier to do.
You place the piece of paper in your hoof and begin to read it over, the fancy print and deep blue ink a little hard to read at first, especially since the light was in your eyes, but after a few moments of squinting you begin to make out the words.
Pick up package at mail station.
Delivery to Applejack’s
Inform Fluttershy of spa date one week from now
Pick up order at Sugarcube corner
It certainly seemed like Rarity had her work cut out for her, these errands were going to take you all over town. And you couldn’t forget to stop by Caramel’s later and let him know of your current change in living space…maybe you could snatch a couple of his pills while you were there. You didn’t have a hangover anymore but this ache in your neck was murder.
Seeing that none of these tasks required any real urgency you decided to start with what was easiest, picking up the package at the mail station. Even if Sugarcube Corner was a little closer, it seemed far too busy at the moment and you weren’t really in the mood to sit around for Celestia knows how long in the heat.
It still doesn’t take you incredibly long to get to the mail station, only about ten or so minutes. The square like building was easy to spot with its bright blue roof and red brick walls, not to mention the giant white sign that read MAIL in big bold letters. The place looked pretty dead at the moment, only a few lonely pegasi hung around outside, waiting to be called out for delivery. You notice Ditzy, also called Derpy, on account of her wobbly eyes, sitting and chatting next to a fellow mail pony. She waves enthusiastically as you approach; you return her greeting with a small wave and a smile.
The glass door leading into the building swung open with a loud squeak, in the distance you could hear what sounded like shuffling papers and the gentle hum of some kind of machine, probably a mail sorter, you guess. The air smells like fresh paper and feels much cooler than outside. It seemed about as occupied as you expected, you were alone in the room except for a stallion working the front desk, tugging at his tie with one hoof and flipping through letters with another, and a purple unicorn sitting in the corner, organizing an impossibly large number of books while checking off some kind of list at the same time.
Your hooves clack loudly against the hardwood floor of the mail station, catching the attention of the stallion at the front desk, who immediately stops tugging at his tie as you get close, you notice that his eyes flash onto your cheek, the look was subtle and discrete but still noticeable. You didn’t think much of it, figuring you were going to be getting a lot more looks like that as the day went on.
“Hello sir how may I help you?” The front desk stallion asks his voice deep and professional.
“Um, yes hello I’m here to pick up a package.” You tell him.
“Sure thing, can I ask who for?”
“Oh, well I’m picking it up for a friend of mine. Miss Rarity? I’m sure you know her.” You notice the purple mare off in the corner stop writing for a second and look up, but you pay it no real mind.
The stallion’s eyes widen in recognition. “Oh Rarity, yeah she made a beautiful dress for my foal the other day, excellent work.” Then he frowns a little. “But I’m afraid I don’t know who you are.”
You frown back, you hadn’t been expecting this to be a problem, but you weren’t really surprised. Ponyville was welcoming enough for sure but there was still a certain amount of mistrust that came with being an outsider.
“I moved here a couple months back, just recently got hired as Miss Rarity’s assistant, she was a little busy so I decided to run her errands for her.”
The faintest of grins touches the stallion’s expression as his eyes flick over to the lipstick on your cheek once again, you didn’t need him to say anything, the implication he thrust upon you were clear from the amused expression he held.
“Yeah, well I’d love to give the package to you pal but somepony already beat you to it.”
You blink, your expression becoming one of surprise. “Really? Who?”
The stallion opens his mouth to answer, before he’s cut off.
“I did.” You turn, seeing the purple unicorn from earlier standing before you, her hoof held up for a shake. “Hi there, I’m Twilight Sparkle.”
You reach over and shake the mare’s hoof, giving her your name in turn.
“Nice to meet you.” She says with her voice cheerful. “I’m a friend of Rarity’s, I knew she was going to be picking up that book she ordered today so I figured I’d save her the hassle and deliver it myself. So you’re Rarity’s…assistant?” Twilight raises an eyebrow, grinning and eyeing your lipstick out of the corner of her purple eye.
Your expression becomes somewhat displeased, of course every pony in existence was going to see the lipstick on your cheek and automatically assume that you were Rarity’s assistant in more ways than one, this was going to get very old very fast.
“Yes I am.” You answer the mare, a well hidden edge to your voice. “So, could you please give me her book?”
Twilight smiles. “Yes of course, but I hope you don’t mind stopping off at my library first. I was expecting Rarity to swing by later today for some tea and I was going to give it to her then. Since she won’t be doing that I’ll just have it with you! It’ll be fun having some new company over for a change.”
You sigh inwardly, you would much rather just get the book and be done with it, after all you did have more errands to get done and Celestia’s sun wasn’t going to be up forever. But what the hay, the mare seemed nice enough and she was one of Rarity’s friends, might as well spend some time with her, maybe she could tell you a little more about your object of affection.
“Sure, I’ll tag along.” You look behind the mare, the huge stack of books catching your eye. “Um, are you going to leave those here?”
Twilight follows your gaze. “Oh, no I’ll be taking those with us.”
You look incredulously at her. “Are you sure? That’s a lot of books to carry.”
Twilight waves a dismissive hoof. “Don’t worry about it; weight is no big deal when you have magic.” Twilight’s horn glows a deep purple, an aura of magic surrounding the pile of books. You watch, impressed, as Twilight magically levitates the books one by one through the door, stacking them in a neat little pile outside. Really, you just had to be born an earth pony.
“Make yourself at home; I’ll get the tea started.” Twilight welcomes you into her abode.
You look around with interest as you make your way inside. Since you’d moved here you hadn’t really had time to peruse the local library, you simply didn’t have time to read any good books in-between trying to find a job and dealing with one marefriend after another. All in all it seemed like a nice establishment. The room was cleaned and stacked with books of all kinds, from high fantasy fiction to your typical history tome. The air smelt of old paper and wood, the library being made from what remained of a hollowed out tree was no doubt the reason behind that. And the room was open and immense; a front desk with a checkout list lying open on top sat to your right, and you could hear Twilight preparing the tea for you both in the kitchen off to the side.
“This is a nice place you have here Miss Sparkle.” You say loud enough for her to hear in the next room over, while simultaneously perusing the endless supply of books for something interesting to read as you waited for your tea.
“Oh thanks, I had Spike tidy it up a little today, it was an absolute train wreck a few hours ago. I'd love to introduce you but he's out helping the Crusaders with something.” She answers back.
Spike huh? That’s an interesting name. You seem to recall Rarity mentioning something about her friend Twilight’s assistant, that must have been him since you find it unlikely that Rarity has two friends with the same name. Well, now this could come in handy. Your thoughts shift in a completely different direction when a book catches your eye.
“Would you like any sugar in your tea?” Twilight asks, followed by a faint clattering of kitchenware.
“Um, no thank you.” You answer back, not really thinking about your decision, too busy flipping through a book titled Courtship: How to flirt like a Gentlecolt.
“So you’re new in town right? What do you think of Ponyville?” Twilight asks, still in the kitchen, putting a few finishing touches on the tea.
You stick out your tongue in disgust, not in answer to Twilight’s question, but due to the contents of the book you were reading. There wasn’t a single thing in it that could be considered even remotely useful.
“It’s a nice little place, it’s a bit smaller and quieter than I’m used to but that’s actually a refreshing change of pace.” You answer, tossing the hardback on the nearest shelf, despite the fact that a garbage can might be more appropriate.
“You know I thought more or less the same thing when I first moved here.” Twilight says, finally emerging from the kitchen, a pair of teacups floating around her head, levitated by unicorn magic.
She sets the cup down on the table next to you and pulls up a chair. “Well I guess that’s not totally true, when I first moved here I was a little preoccupied with that whole Nightmare Moon thing.”
Ah, Nightmare Moon, AKA Princess Luna, it was hard to imagine that one of the royal princesses used to be an ancient evil being threatening the whole land with eternal darkness. You can see Twilight’s gaze running over you, as if she was studying you. You’re a little weirded out by this, but you don’t draw any attention to it.
“So, mind if I ask where you come from?” My she was a curious one wasn’t she? You wonder if coming here had been a mistake, you didn’t really have the time, not to mention the patience, to spend all day playing twenty questions with a unicorn. But still, maybe if you just answer her questions she’ll let you be on your way.
“I uh, used to live in Manehattan with my family.” You tell her, before bending down and taking a sip of your tea, it tasted a little funny, a tad too bitter…
“I see, and what’s your family like?”
You lick around the inside of your mouth before responding, the strange taste of the tea still tainting your tongue. Maybe asking for a little sugar wouldn’t have been a bad idea. “My dad is a wealthy banker, ran a lot of big businesses and stuff you know, and my sister is a little filly, about five or six, loves to work with my dad.”
Twilight leans forward a little. “Uh-uh and what about your mother?”
“She um, well she’s a mom you know.” You try to dodge the question, to no avail apparently.
“Yeah, and…” Twilight presses, her voice thick with curiosity.
“And that’s about it.” You answer, trying to make your reply sound nonchalant, yet at the same time letting Twilight know you wouldn’t be saying anything else on the matter.
Twilight seemed a little put off by your response, obviously not expecting to be stonewalled quite so fast.
“Well, how do you feel about working for Rarity?” She asks, her smile returning.
“It’s great so far, not that I’ve been doing it for long or anything, I uh just started yesterday.” You answer, feeling yourself more at ease with the purple unicorn, really she wasn’t so bad just a little too curious for your liking.
“Oh, well I guess that would explain why I haven’t seen you doing things for her until today.” Twilight smiles a tad mischievously at you. “But how do you feel about Rarity herself?”
You shift a little in your chair; you could already tell where this was heading. “What do you mean?”
Twilight laughs a little. “Oh come on don’t play dumb.”
You feign ignorance, knowing full well it wouldn’t get you anywhere but feeling as if you might as well try to avoid the painfully awkward situation that was lying in wait on the horizon. “I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about.”
The unicorn deadpans. “I’ve read exactly twelve different books about how to tell when a pony is lying and right now you are exhibiting twenty five out of the thirty signs that show when a pony is keeping something hidden.”
You blink, surprised. Really, this mare had read twelve different books about how to tell when a pony was lying? Clearly she had entirely too much time on her hooves. You drag a hoof across your face, unsure of how to answer; you certainly didn’t want Rarity to catch wind of your affections, well, not yet anyway. And you figure that telling one of her closest friends how you felt was probably not the best way to go about achieving that.
“I, um…” You twitch around tensely, eager to get out of this incredibly awkward situation you found yourself in. “Truly enjoy her company.”
Twilight raises a mocking eyebrow, motioning towards the lipstick on your cheek. “Seriously, ‘enjoy her company’?”
You let out a noise halfway between a groan and a sigh. “That’s not what you think it is.”
“Oh come on! I’m a shut in not an idiot!”
This was pointless, obviously lying to Twilight wasn’t going to work, this mare could read you like an open book.
“Listen I…” Your voice trails off a little as the words falter on the tip of your tongue. You reach up and pinch the bridge of your snout with a hoof. “…I really like her okay. Does that answer your question?”
Twilight does a quick hoof pump. “Yes I knew it!” She brings her hoof back down and an aloof air overtakes her. “And Rainbow said I couldn’t read ponies like I do books!”
You shake your head solemnly. You knew full well that no matter what Twilight wanted that knowledge for it couldn’t possibly turn out good for you in the end. “Miss Sparkle could I please get that book now?”
“Huh?” Twilight looks at you, a wide grin still splayed proudly across her face. “Oh right Rarity’s book!” She brings up a hoof and lightly taps on her head. “Silly me, I almost forgot.”
Once again Twilight’s horn takes on a deep purple glow, that same ethereal aura surrounding a book lying on her desk across the room and pulling it over towards where you both sat. The thick hardback landed on the soft wood of the table with a muffled thump and a light puff of dust. The book looked like it was in excellent shape, no bent corners or torn pages here, Rarity must have ordered it brand new, you’d do your best to ensure it stayed in that condition throughout the day. There was a picture of a spool of thread and a needle on the cover, fancy gold lettering across the top telling you the title. ‘Threads and Fabrics: One hundred easy techniques for the aspiring fashion designer.’
You find this choice of book a little odd, Rarity wasn’t exactly an aspiring fashion designer, you could only wonder which of these one hundred easy techniques she didn’t know, you’d seen her work and how lavish it was, and you doubted that she didn’t know a few simple stitches. Of course this was all explained once your eyes finally caught sight of who the author was.
“No way…” You mumble, leaning a little closer, making sure you had read the name correctly.
“Yes way!” Twilight says, nodding her head and grinning proudly. “I’m friends with an author! Isn’t that neat?”
You nod at the purple unicorn. And it looks like I’m infatuated with one. You think. Imprinted on the book, right underneath a picture of Fancy Pants, that foppish Canterlot pony you’d heard about, who had apparently given the book his stamp of approval, were the words, Written By: Rarity.
“It’s actually pretty good.” Twilight chirps. “I managed to give it a good read through earlier today.”
“I’ll bet, do you plan on getting any more copies?” You ask, confident you’d be picking up one yourself when given the chance. Not that you were all that interested in becoming a fashion designer mind, but mostly just because you wanted to support Rarity in practically any way you possibly could.
Twilight nods enthusiastically. “Yeah, I have about three coming in next week.” She smiles knowingly at you. “I’ll be sure to hold onto one for you.”
You laugh a little at that. Gently picking up the book and securing it within your saddlebag. “Thanks Miss Sparkle, I appreciate it.” You hop out of your chair, heading for the door. “I hope you don’t mind if I take my leave, I have more errands to run.”
“Yeah, sure thing, stop by again sometime.” Twilight says, showing you to the door.
“Sure thing Miss Sparkle, have a nice day.”
Twilight watches you leave, before shutting the door and turning back into the library. You had thought that the unicorn’s rather invasive questions had just been the byproduct of an over curious nature, while in reality her purpose had been much different. Twilight Sparkle had been testing you.
She hums a quiet tune as she trots up the stairs. That’s right; nopony was going to end up dating one of her best friends without a little background check, not since that whole changeling business with her older brother. Would some consider it invasive? Probably. Was this abuse of her power and privileges as Princess Celestia’s personal protégé? Well yes but what was the fun in having those things if you couldn’t use them to your advantage once and a while?
Twilight steps into her bedroom, her horn glowing as she retrieves a thick black book from underneath her bed. Now this was a very special book, it was The Book of Memories, an ancient tome created by Starswirl the Bearded many years ago. In the wrong hooves it could be extremely dangerous, but in the capable hands of a unicorn as gifted as Twilight it had become a very useful tool.
The Book of Memories was made in such a way that when a name was written onto a blank page within that the written pony’s memories would be laid open for view, she had refrained from using it on any of her friends or acquaintances, no matter how much she had wanted to, the unicorn’s studious personality and desire to know everything about everything often made her consider peeking once or twice into the book, but she knew better.
This would actually be her first time putting the book to any real use, and she couldn’t help but feel a little excited at the prospect. She levitates over a quill and ink, but before she begins she makes a solemn promise not to peer into any of your more personal memories, things like past lovers and personal moments would be left untouched, even a mare as closed in as Twilight knew that looking at something like that would be a step too far. But this didn’t really bother her; she only thought that one aspect of your life was in need of a little more…study.
So, with that out of the way she quickly scribbles your name onto the empty piece of paper before her, then waits, and watches.
That had certainly been interesting, you had no idea that Rarity had written a book, and you regret being unable to give it a good look while you were at Twilight’s, but you had been eager to leave and get on with your tasks. You spy that the sun was still high in the sky, so it couldn’t have been all that late, still you didn’t know how long the rest of your errands were going to take, and you didn’t want to run the chance of upsetting Rarity.
You retrieve Rarity’s list and a quill you’d brought along, quickly scribbling out your accomplished task. You spy Sugarcube Corner off in the distance, the line outside still pretty large but not quite as unbearable as it was before. You figure now was as good a time as any to get yourself in line and pick up whatever Rarity had ordered.
A/N So, this is a little shorter than the last few chapters as I'm sure many of you have noted, and if you read my journal post you would know that is because this is only half of the entire fourth part of The Next in Line, sadly, I doubt that the second part will be completed by Sunday, but I'm not sure it could happen. Anyway, be sure to comment and let me know what you all think, it's stuff like your guys' expert criticism that will help me improve.