“No!” Dr. Negative cried, scrambling backwards on the ground as his own groaning servants swarmed him. He got a short distance across the courtyard before he backed into a wall. “What have you done? Wha-what have you done?” He fumbled through his satchel and seized a small vial with his hoof. His triumphant cheer was cut short though, as the vial was knocked out of his grasp and crushed beneath the hoard of drugged ponies. Frantically, he reached for his bag again, only to find it trampled beneath the hooves of a large red stallion; multicolored fluids coated the ground around it.
“It's no use, Doctor,” Daring Do called out as she watched the physician's struggle from her perch on the balcony above. “You did this to yourself.” She hopped off the railing and started for the door, walking past a fedora-wearing Earth pony.
“You're just going to leave him?” he asked, following her back into the manor. “Seems a little cold for you, Do...”
Daring paused as the door shut, muffling the screams of agony echoing about the place. Her gaze fell to the floor with her wings. “It's not like he doesn't deserve whatever happens to him down there.” She shuddered. “Brainwashing ponies like that... It's... It's just wrong.”
When no response came, Daring's eyes shot up. She could handle danger; give her a crazed doctor with way too many drugs or an ancient temple filled with traps and she couldn't care any less – but him? She needed him. If she upset him – scared him off or ignited his righteous fury – she'd never forgive herself. A quivering desperation seeping into her tone, Daring asked, “You... You don't think I'm a horrible pony for this, do you?”
A brown hoof settled on her shoulder as Manehatten Silver looked her straight in her watery eyes. “No,” he said softly, pulling her into his embrace. “Negative's the monster here, not you.”
Daring choked back a sob as she nuzzled deeper into Silver's chest. “Wh-when he had you – back at the lab... You... a-and the syringe... When you... When you...” Her words failed her and turned into incomprehensible sobs. Gently, a hoof patted her back. Soft words were whispered into her ears, causing her to only hold on tighter to the stallion she'd so nearly lost.
“I was so scared,” she whimpered. Her whole body trembled in his forelegs, but he only held her tighter. “I wanted to kill him – I wanted to rip his throat out and stomp it into the dirt! I-I – ”
“Shh,” Silver whispered, running a hoof down the pegasus's gray-scaled mane. “It's over now,” he said. “It's all over.”
“All I could think about was that night in Fillydelphia,” Daring continued, “And how stupid I was for walking out and... I'm so sorry...”
Biting his lip, Silver shifted his weight and looked away from his long-time friend and rival adventurer. “Look, Dare, you don't have to –” A tan hoof interrupted him and jarred his face down towards Daring Do's. Her eyes shone like rubies in the dim light of the hall.
“Just shut up and kiss me,” she whispered, pulling him closer. Her wings flared as their lips furiously collided in a passionate –
“What?” Rainbow Dash cried indignantly, raising her hooves in the air. She glared at the book before her with furious distaste. “That's... that's...”
“So sweet,” Twilight sighed dreamily. She closed her eyes and smiled, her wings fluttering and her tail lightly sweeping across the wooden floor of the library. “Don't you think so, Rainbow?”
“So stupid!” the pegasus finished, batting the novel aside. It flew across the room and smacked the wall with a ruffled thud. Paying no mind to Twilight's irritated stare, Rainbow paced around the room. “What about Rosetta?” she growled, flapping her wings furiously. She glared out the window at the sunset.
“What about her?” Twilight asked as she picked up her new copy of Daring Do and the Devious Doctor Negative and carefully placed it back on her personal bookshelf. “She's still back at the college, right?”
Dash huffed and blew a stray bit of her mane out of her face. “So?”
“So...” Twilight rolled her hoof in the air, gesturing for her friend to explain further. When Rainbow didn't turn around, she sighed and continued: “What's the problem?”
“Everything!” Rainbow roared, spinning around. Twilight stumbled back in surprise as Dash's hooves slammed into the floor and shook the picture frames on the walls. Nostrils flared, she prowled around the room, circling Twilight like a hungry lioness. “How can Daring just... Why would she...”
Twilight's brow furrowed. “Rainbow?” she said slowly, watching Rainbow curse and kick another book into a wall. “Are you okay?”
“No!” the pegasus exclaimed, bringing her hoof to her forehead. “Yes!” She growled at the floor as Twilight stood up and stepped closer. “Ugh! I don't know! I don't get it!”
“What don't you understand?”
“She kissed him!” Dash spat; just saying the words left a bad taste in her mouth. “I can't believe it!”
Frowning, Twilight gave her friend a curious look. “What's wrong with that? I think it's a very sweet conclusion to the story.”
“But what about Rosetta?”
Twilight brought a hoof to her head and rubbed her temple. “I don't think I understand where you're going with this, Rainbow,” she groaned. “What do you mean?”
Dash rolled her eyes. “I mean that Daring totally belongs with Rosetta – not stinkin' Silver!”
Jerking her head back, Twilight's curious expression quickly switched from bemused to amused. An eyebrow raised as Twilight shook her head. “What?” she snorted. “You're joking, right?”
Rainbow's face hardened. Her wings ruffled. “No,” she said. “I'm not.”
“But there's been no evidence that Rosetta and Daring feel anything more than platonic friendship at all, Rainbow,” Twilight giggled despite Rainbow's steadily growing scowl. “Not a single scrap in the whole series.”
Dash's eyes drifted down to the floor and cursed silently. Without thinking, her gaze shot back to her friend and she protested, “They got milkshakes in the beginning of the book!”
“Oh,” she said, smirking, “Then it must be true love!”
“It was a date!” Rainbow stuck her tongue out. “And that's way better than some stupid kiss!”
“It was not a date!” Twilight countered, “Daring Do has never gone to her for more than advice or to hang out!”
“That's not dating?” Dash huffed, glaring at Twilight. “Daring's totally crazy for her!”
“Just because somepony gets a milkshake with somepony else doesn't mean that they're romantically involved, Rainbow Dash,” Twilight said, a hint of annoyance seeping into her tone. “How many times have we gotten milkshakes on reading days? Or after flying lessons?”
Dash's wings flared and her ears slicked back behind her head as she turned to the side; the sun peered through the window and lit her face, coloring it red. Her cheeks felt warm. “I-it wasn't about the milkshakes, Twi...” she mumbled to the floor. “I mean, I could totally see that... that they were happy together...”
Twilight shook her head. “Rainbow, I'm sorry. I don't know how you got the idea that Rosetta and Daring love each other – let alone the fact that they are both homosexual – but it just isn't there.”
Rainbow's eyes never rose from the floor. There was a crack traversing the length of one of the boards on the far side of the room, she followed it across the floor to Twilight's hooves. “But... but it has to be...” she whispered so low that Twilight didn't manage to catch it. “Daring... Daring totally loves her...”
“Besides,” the alicorn added, tapping her chin with her hoof. “Daring and Rosetta would make for a very strange couple – don't you think so, Rainbow Dash? I mean, Rosetta's a professor at Canterlot University – it'd be awful hard for somepony as adventurous and free-spirited as Daring Do to stick around and be in a real relationship with her.”
Dash jumped to her hooves, her hackles raised. “She could do it if she wanted to!”
Twilight raised her hooves. “I'm not saying that she couldn't,” she reasoned calmly. A scroll on a shelf on the far side of the room lit up in a purple light. It floated over to the duo and presented itself to Twilight, who opened it. An illustration of a unicorn wearing glasses and a lab coat adored the back. “And I guess I don't see any major flaws in their dynamic...”
Rainbow's face lit up for a ghost of a second and she looked at the floor once more. “See?”
“But, there's still the complete lack of anything beyond friendship exhibited in their actions, Rainbow,” Twilight sighed, setting the scroll down on her desk. “Just because they get along doesn't mean that they'd make a good romantic couple. Daring Do has been known to have a soft spot for Manehatten Silver – she is obviously in love with him if she asked him to kiss her.”
Dash’s smile faltered. Her eyes narrowed as she opened her mouth to say something, but before she’d even started to speak, the door to Twilight’s bedroom burst open and a little purple dragon crashed through. He fell to his knees, huffing and puffing as he tried to catch his breath.
“Spike?” Twilight cried out in surprise. The dragon continued to wheeze, but looked up at her when he heard his name called.
“Twilight!” he gasped, clutching his chest. His eyes were wide with panic. “She... they... help! It’s horrible!”