Hi, I'm British, and you're reading a bunch of stuff you don't really care about! Yay! Go easy on me, I'm still finding my way around.
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It's the landing.
Rain lingered on her wingtips when she landed, her hair crackling with static from yet another storm cloud. The earth welcomed her, tingled under her hooves, and she realised (as she did every time she descended after a tough day of clearing thunderheads) that Fluttershy had a point- clouds were great, but there was really nothing like solid ground. Especially for sleeping on. But as much as her muscles ached, she had a place to be, and Rainbow Dash didn't ever leave her friends hanging. She marshalled on, treading lightly on over-sensitive hooves until all the stubborn electricity had left her, to Sugar Cube Corner.
"Hey, Pinkie. Sorry I'm late. Did you wait long?" she called as she walked in, although she already knew the answer. Three hours had escaped from her, just flown away whilst she dealt with the lingering weather. Fast as she was, she knew she could never catch up with time- the thought niggled at her in her dreams.
Pinkie sprang over the counter with no hesitations and bounced towards her, a glowing ring of zap apple jam around her lips. With Pinkie always came the smells of cupcakes, muffins, freshly baked bread. Dash smelt it, and tried to remember if she'd eaten recently. The adrenaline in her system was messing up her appetite.
"Nope! I was busy working these super-secret-special zap apple jam danishes that Mr Cake wants to start selling! They're all tingly and delicious and warm but they give you electric shocks when you eat them so he says we can't quite sell them yet because some ponies might be at risk of heart-attack but I think they're fantastic!" Pinkie babbled, and produced (from nowhere, which Rainbow Dash had long since ceased to question) a blackened zap apple danish. Rainbow Dash pushed it away.
"Sorry, Pinks. I've got enough electricity in my system for one day. Besides, zap apple jam always reminds me of regular lightning," she said, wandering over to the counter and helping herself to a cookie instead. She noticed that Mr Cake had already listed it for her on the tab sheet he kept by the till. Smart guy.
"You've tasted lightning?" Pinkie asked, her ears pricking up. Her smile, ever present, widened. Dash didn't like the looks of it. At all. It looked like the kind of smile that signalled a Pinkie Plan, and a Pinkie Plan usually signalled sleepless nights and massive debt over property damage. "What does it taste like, huh? Tell me tell me tell meeee!"
"Ugh, quiet down, Pinks. It tastes like Zap Apples, only a bit more...metallic, I guess. It's not a nice taste," Dash told her, her hoof at her mouth in thought. It was a very difficult taste to describe. Disgusting, but almost...addictive. "But yeah, I've tasted it. Got hit by it a couple times when I was a filly, too."
"That explains a lot," Mr Cake laughed, in a not unkind, almost fatherly way, coming out of the kitchen with the last batch of biscuits for the day. "Hello, Rainbow Dash. Pinkie's been waiting for you. Take her off my hooves, please- I made a joke about zap apple danishes, and now she keeps setting fire to the oven. Zap apple jam really doesn't like to be cooked twice! Now I have to get rid of all the pastries that didn't quite escape the fire."
"We can rebake them! We have the technology!" Pinkie shouted. "Anyway, it's really late to be pranking people now. I mean, we could dress Dashie up as a bat, and then have her swoop around and be all like 'Wooooooo! I'm Count Dracumare! I vill empty your apple carts!', but that only works once and we did it last time."
Mr Cake fixed Rainbow Dash with a puzzled look. She shrugged. Pinkie was like magic- you could play with her, you could have fun with her, but you couldn't explain her (no matter how much Twilight begged to differ).
"I think she's right, though. It took way too long to clear up those stormclouds. Usually I'd bust them all up in fifteen seconds, max, but it's been like this for the last week or so, and I'm getting a little tire-" Dash said, before catching herself. "Uh...I mean, it's starting to get boring, you know? Dodging lightning's nothing for Equestria's best weather pony, so when you do it day in, day out, it just bores me to sleep!"
"That would also explain a lot. Applejack tells me you you keep turning up in their trees when the clouds are supposed to be lifting," Mr Cake remarked dryly. He didn't appear to have bought it. Didn't matter. Pinkie had, and that was what counted.
"Plus, I have something to do before I get some shuteye. Twilight's got the newest Daring Do book in, and I gotta borrow it before somepony else does. Sorry, Pinkie. I know I said we were gonna get tons of pranking done today," she apologised, rubbing the back of her head with her hoof.
"No problem! We'll just have to do twice the pranking next week! I'll bring itching powder and streamers and the Pinkiecopter and- wait!" Pinkie said, screeching to a halt mid-bounce. "Did you say you were going to visit Twilight? Let me come too! I need to see if she's got anything on zap apple fritters."
Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes. The chances of it were slim to none, although to be fair it was hard to predict what Twilight would be experimenting on yet. She didn't see the harm in it, though. She was tired, and maybe Pinkie could be a little bit of a headache at times, but she'd promised to play pranks with her today and hadn't delivered, so it was only fair. She nodded once, and bade her farewells to Mr Cake.
After they left, he breathed a huge sigh of relief, and made a note to get his fire extinguisher re-charged. Again. At least it hadn't been full of silly string this time.
As they walked to the library, they talked- not about anything of real significance, just idle, relaxed chatter than spiralled off into strange and wonderful tangents. It was the kind of talk that, come tomorrow or next week, neither of them would remember. The kind of talk that only happened between two good friends.
Rainbow Dash felt her thoughts straying before long, relaxed by the endless stream of chatter. She felt her muscles, wound so tight after the day's exertions, begin to fall slack. Fatigue began to steal upon her, a soft, leaden weight in her bones. She thought about dreams that she'd had recently but couldn't fully remember, dreams of boulders and bravery and then air cracking angrily behind her like a whip as she flew towards something she never reached. She thought of thunderheads and cumulostratus, of flying tricks, pranks and baked goods.
She was broken from her thoughts by Pinkie giggling and waving a hoof in front of her face. They'd almost gone straight past the library. After telling Pinkie that she knew exactly where she was going, ("Sure, sure, Dashie, I believe you!"), they turned around and went in.
"Twilight! Oh, Twi-light!" Pinkie sang as she stepped in the door. Her voice seemed muffled, in that place of silent books and study.
There was shuffling in the back room, and the unmistakable sound of a small chemical explosion, followed by bouts of muffled cursing. Before long, Twilight appeared, her face still covered in an ominous-looking green soot.
"I believe you've got something for me," Rainbow Dash said with a smirk. "By the way, you might wanna show Rarity your new makeup. It really improves your complexion."
"Ha-hack!-ha, very funny. You're lucky you caught me before I added the Ingredient X. If I'd dropped that in, I'd have probably blown a hole through my house," Twilight coughed. She was interrupted by Pinkie leaning across and rubbing her hoof across Twilight's face. When it came away green, she licked the powder, shuddered, and decided it wasn't suitable for baking with. Twilight shrugged and continued. "I take it you're here for the Daring Do book?"
Dash grinned. "It's like you read my mind, Twi."
"Nope, just your borrowing list," Twilight sighed. Her horn flickered red, and the book floated down from the top floor- with Spike still dangling from it.
"Hey! I'm only at Chapter Five!" he whined. The book gave a little wobble, and he fell unceremoniously to the ground. He sighed. This sort've thing happened way, way too often.
"Sorry, little guy. I'll be taking that. Oh, also, Twi? Pinkie says she's looking for a book, too," Dash said, before snatching the book from mid-air and checking the title- Daring Do and The Priestess Of Ahuitzotl. Not bad, she thought.
She opened it and idly leafed through the first few pages, taking in fragments of sentences, broken mental images that would later become woven into a fantastic adventure. There were never storms in Daring Do's world, she thought. There were boulders and vines and jungles and evil, but at least there weren't weather duties to attend to. Behind her, Pinkie kept up a stream of excited talk about her zap apple danishes and forbidden cookbooks (and for some reason the word 'frappucino' kept coming up). Dash ignored them. It looked like she was going to have a difficult choice to when she got home.
"Dashie? Hellooo? Rainbow Dash? You all done?" Pinkie asked, popping up much to close to her face. She still had zap apple jam on her lips. It was times like this that Dash secretly wished Twilight could magic up a sense of personal space and implant Pinkie with it.
"Uh, yeah. I think I'm ready to go. We leavin', Pinks?"
"You're welcome for the book, by the way," Twilight quipped, and rolled her eyes. "Be careful out there. It's getting awfully dark out, lately."
"Yeah, yeah. Thanks, mom. C'mon, Pinkie. I'll walk with you back to Sugar Cube Corner. Did you get the book you wanted?" Dash asked.
"Nope, but Twilight said she'd ask Princess Celestia how they had parties one thousand years ago for me, oh, and, also, I got this book on practical jokes by some wizard guy with a funny poofy beard and his picture on the front cover, and..."
When Dash got home, she closed her door (more quietly than usual; the headache she'd had coming on had hit), and trotted to her room without even bothering to eat the apple pie AJ had given her the other day. She flopped down on the bed, book still between her teeth, and stretched out as far as she could. When her joints felt like they were about to pop, she stopped, and let herself fall loose. She was more than tired, she realised. She was exhausted. If there were more storms tomorrow, she was going to have her work cut out for her.
But...Daring Do. It just felt wrong, to have the book and to not be reading it- to have a whole adventure in her hooves, and to refuse it in favour of sleep. Somewhere in the pages, there was a brave pony trapped in time, who would remain there until the page turned and she could move on in her great adventures.
Caring about fictional characters? You're going soft, Dash, she thought. But it didn't really make a difference. What she needed was sleep, but what she wanted was to read the book. Rainbow Dash wasn't known for not being impulsive.
Besides, she thought, she didn't have to read the whole thing in one sitting. She'd get to the second chapter and call it a night. Maybe the third. With that in mind, she opened the book, and let a smile form on her face as she began to read.
As the sun rose, Rainbow Dash flipped the last page over, and closed the book with a snap. Head aching, eyes shot with blood, she murmured to herself,
"Wh...What in Equestria did I just read?"
A/N: Urgh. I really don't like this. I may rewrite it when I'm in a better state of mind.