To succeed in anything, one must know oneself.
This was the first part of every piece of advice Spitfire gave her, at the start of every show, after every time she screwed up, when she asked what she wanted for Hearth's warming eve, etc. And, in all honesty, it actually made sense, especially when compared to the *rest* of Spitfire's advice.
If one knew what they were good at, what they were bad at, and what they couldn't do at all, then one could plan around anything, change their plans of attack or enlist help where needed. It was simple, easy to understand, and made a kind of sense that literally anypony could figure out, once they put the proper amount of thought into it.
But, in that, lay the crux of the problem.
Currently, what Rainbow Dash knew, what Rainbow Dash's problem was, what Rainbow Dash could not ignore, was that she was in love.
Now, that wasn't a huge issue, not really. It wasn't a negative point; If anything, it was a boon, a genuine and proper benefit that she was very glad to have. But love was one of those non-entities that couldn't really be pushed into a easily understood thing, or added as a item on a list. Sure, it was a great motivator, a reason to push forward, but it could sometimes buck and reel and twist in unexpected directions, with worries, jealousy, and fear without reason that made it a poor choice for the foundations of a plan.
One couldn't "Plan" on love, very much like how one couldn't plan on Pinkie Pie; It was just a thing that happened, and took you along for the ride.
And this was why Rainbow Dash was looking at a blank piece of paper. It was supposed to have words on it, a list of ideas and plans, but instead, it sat there in it's pristine, virgin state, mocking her. Making her hate the concepts of lists and organization in general.
A form of irony that was not lost upon her.
"Stupid brain... start working!"
But, lo, it did not. Again, love wasn't quantifiable, it was instead a swarm of emotions that one couldn't control or depend upon to make sense.
As such, after another moment of angrily staring the innocent parchment, Rainbow Dash got up from the table, and after angrily scribbling on the paper out of spite, went out the front door.
If she couldn't plan it, then she would ask around and find somepony that could. Maybe one of her friends had an idea.
"Well, ta be honest, that's the stupidest thing I've heard all day."
The bluntness of the statement took Dash off guard for a moment, but after a couple seconds of blankly staring, she recovered. And immediately realized that, in hindsight, she didn't know what she expected from the blunt earth pony in the first place.
It was common sense that Dash shouldn't have gone to Applejack first, and now that that fact was screaming in her face, she felt disappointed in herself for even trying.
Applejack was a mare of action, of straightforward and bullheaded stubbornness. She wouldn't understand Rainbow's plight, nor sympathize with it, as, to her, the best way to one's goal was straight through one's obstacles. And frankly, Rainbow Dash was the same way; if anypony tried to ask the same questions, she would've reacted almost identically. Well, at least normally.
But even after all those realizations, Dash was still slightly put out, and chose to pout slightly as Applejack filled another basket of apples with a well aimed kick.
"So, as much as I'd love ta chat, I gotta work. So, either y'all can start apple-buckin', and we can chat, or you can get going."
Yeah, No. Perhaps a different pony would be better. One with sensitivity, with a hint of a romantic side. Somepony who knew what was expected of her, and could, if not lay out a plan, then at the very lease point out the pitfalls and the do-nots. Somepony with Finesse.
And luckily, Rainbow Dash knew just the pony.
"You're kidding, right?"
The tone was amused, joking, and all Dash could do was glare at the pink pony as she continued to sit there and grin. Never had Rainbow felt so betrayed. And to think, she layed out her heart to the mare just minutes ago. Bared her weaknesses, her fears, her troubles. In fact, she probably said more than was necessary, and said a few, slightly less relevant things along with her current predicament.
Hopefully, that didn't come back to bite her in the flank. You never knew with Pinkie Pie.
"Wait... you're serious? No joke?"
That's what she got, for going to the Pink One. The mare was all bubbles and sunshine, until you got to the nitty gritty. Then, she was...
Well, she was still bubbles and sunshine, but in a bad way. Full of evil sunshine that cooked you when you were on weather patrol, and bubbles that got in your eyes when you flew through town, causing you to crash into Applejack's cart and have to work off the damages for a day, because the stubborn mare wouldn't accept bits because "You wouldn't learn the lesson" otherwise.
"Yeah, totally serious. Like *I* would joke about that sorta thing."
There was a moment of awkward silence after that, as Pinkie tried to process her request. But, try as she might, the pink mare couldn't, and just sat there, staring blankly at the wall, her hoof held out, as if she was suddenly turned to stone.
Great. Now, not only did Pinkie fail her, but now she was gonna be stuck like that all day. So, with little thought, Rainbow Dash drug her, slowly and arduously to the Sugarcube corner, and dropped her off with Mr. Cake, who just gave her a knowing look as she dropped off the catatonic mare. She didn't have time for this, and frankly, she was dead set on doing this thing tonight.
The delighted gasp Rarity gave, the maniac gleam in her eye, the fanatical grin she wore told Dash that Rarity was, in fact, very interested in helping her.
Very much so.
Too much so.
She didn't even tell her more than the opening statement, but here she was, all ready and raring to go. Rainbow could already see the graphs, the ideas, the plans and plots, all of them forming in the white Unicorn's head as she danced around her boutique, grabbing random reference material from her bookshelves and writing implements.
It was a hellish spectacle to watch, a dance of impending doom.
It was worrying.
"Oh, uh, Awesome! So... I... I gotta go grab some things... You know, things for it and all, and when I get them, I'll be right back!"
Rarity gave a very enthusiastic nod, and immediately moved to a nearby table, where several dress designs sat. She carelessly pushed them aside, and pulled out a new ream of design paper, and began frantically scribbling away.
"Of course, darling, that'll be best; After all, once I know what to work with..."
There was a pause, and Dash started to back out of the door, wearing a fake grin on her face the entire while.
"I'll know exactly what to do. So Go! I'll be here, waiting!"
And, with that, Dash took the opportunity to bolt, and didn't look back.
"PFFFFT! HA HA HA HA HA!"
The laughter was totally uncalled for.
"You know Shy, maybe you've been spending too much time with Discord."
The mare didn't react to the jab, and instead leaned heavily on her nearby table, tears of mirth running down her stupid perfect yellow cheeks as the yellow bird-horse struggled to catch her breath. Heck, even the nearby animals looked concerned, as if the yellow one would possibly collapse from laughter-induced asphyxiation.
But, while the laughter was insulting, it didn't really bother Rainbow Dash. After all, this was Fluttershy she was talking about. If the element of Kindness broke down into hysterical laughter at her plight, then it must be a rather pathetic situation.
Oh, wait. That didn't make her feel better at all.
"Screw you, Shy."
The yellow Pegasus just gave a hearty snort, and redoubled her laughter as Dash turned around and left the domicile, her cheeks burning with embarrassment.
But, after she left the shy-mare's house, Dash realized something. That, unfortunately, she had run out of friends to ask. And, yet, at the same time, she had no more answers than she did when she started all this, several hours ago.
But, at the same time, she wasn't one to give up. She said today was the day, so, dang it, she was gonna do it. So, she was just gonna wing it, and hope for the best.
And so, with a hearty kick of the door, Dash returned to where she started.
"Oh, hey Dash."
Twilight's casual greeting was to be expected; the mare didn't even look up from her book, as per the norm. Which was nice, because in all honesty, Dash suspected that even a stray glance from Twilight would've shattered what little self confidence she had built up over the trip to the castle.
"Oh, uh, hey."
Good. She had to keep it casual, lest she explode from nerves. Again, one had to know themselves, and Dash knew that, at this point, her nerves were her worst enemy. Now, she just needed to ease it in...
"So... Uh... wanna go out sometime?"
Dangit, she just started, and she already went full speed in. She supposed that she should've kept an eye on her own impatience as well.
"Sure. Where do ya want to go?"
The casualness of the agreement was astounding, and it sent Dash through a loop. This wasn't at all how she expected it to go. Mayhaps Twilight misunderstood?
"Uh, like, on a date?"
Twilight, again, was nonplussed. "Yeah, sure. Where do you want to go?"
And, like that, Dash felt her heartbeat speed up, and she put on a dopey smile as she reveled in her victory. She did it. She totally did it. "Oh, uh, to that new restaurant?"
At this, Twilight finally looked away from her book. "Oh, I've been wanting to go there for a while. So, when do you want to go?"
It was all Rainbow could do to answer. "Uh... An hour."
Twilight's only answer was to close her book with a snap. "Eh, why not now? I'm already ready to go, and it's a pretty casual place."
Rainbow Dash could only nod, her smile still in effect, as Twilight stood up, and leaned into her.
"You know, I thought it would've been a lot harder to ask out a married mare."
Twilight's only response was a raised brow.
"Dash, I'm married to You."