Chapter 7 is officially off to the prereaders, so here's a bit of banter that didn't make it into the final chapter for various reasons.⁂ ⁂ ⁂
Five ponies, one dragon, a deck of cards and no answers. It was either the beginning of a bad joke, or the end of a long night at the library. Somewhere along the line, somepony had scribbled in “P’s” over the aces’ “A’s,” and Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy were splitting the pot after both playing five of a kind since nopony could agree which princess was considered the higher card.
“Ah’m telling y’all this is ridiculous,” Applejack groused as she hoofed her cards over to Spike. “Twelve princesses in a deck is just asking fer this nonsense.”
“Preaching to the choir, AJ,” Rainbow Dash assured her as she stacked up her chips with her teeth. “–but hey, I’m not complaining.”
“What I don’t understand is how one of you two seems to win every other hand,” Rarity scoffed. “Neither of you are very good at bluffing.”
“Oh, that’s easy.” Rainbow Dash smirked.
Rarity was all ears as Spike shuffled the next hand. Applejack was rolling her eyes, and Pinkie Pie was eying the rolls she’d brought over from Sugar Cube Corner after work. It was honestly a miracle there was still food on the table after all this time, but nopony but Pinkie Pie had much of an appetite, and the rolls were the only thing without a grain of sugar in them, so they had so far survived the pink pony’s sweet tooth.
Meanwhile, Rainbow Dash was letting the suspense drag on, before finally declaring “It’s because pegasi are awesome!” and earning a most unladylike facehoof from Rarity.
Rarity sighed. “I suppose I walked into that one, expecting a serious answer from the likes of you.”
Rainbow Dash grumbled. “Okay, okay. Look, I can’t talk for Flutters, but just look at her!” Rainbow Dash pointed one hoof at the butter yellow pegasus, who looked up from what she was doing with wide, innocent, aquamarine eyes. “You can’t win against that!”
“She’s got a point, Rarity,” Applejack admitted guiltily.
“I—on the other hand—have a legitimate strategy,” Rainbow Dash added proudly, once again earning her the fashionista's undivided attention.
“Really, this time?” Rarity asked, dubious.
“Guaranteed,” Rainbow Dash assured her.
Applejack wasn’t buying it. “Alright, let’s hear this legitimate strategy of yours.”
“I—,” Rainbow Dash said, leaning in to speak in hushed, conspiratorial tones. “—am legitimately awesome!”
Rarity and Applejack groaned.
“I’m serious!” Rainbow Dash insisted.
“I know.” Rarity sighed. “That’s is precisely the problem.”