“Hey, Twilight, have you seen myAAAAHHHHH!” Spike ended his words with a with a cry of abject horror. “What happened to the library?!”
Everywhere he looked, books lay strewn and scattered, whole shelves emptied of their contents as if a renegade typhoon with a grudge against literature had torn its way through.
“Oh Spike, don’t be such a worry wart,” Twilight beamed as she walked over to pat her assistant on his spiky, green head. “We can just clean up later.”
If anything, this reaction frightened the reptilian boy even more: Twilight was actually smiling at a mess in her library? And one that involved books?
“Okay, who are you and what have you done with Twilight Sparkle?” he asked, backing away and preparing to bolt at any second. The lavender-haired librarian just chuckled.
“Don’t be silly, Spike, it’s me of course. Do I need to recite all one hundred and eight verses of Dusty Prose’s Poem on Boring Poems to prove it?”
“… Okay, so you really are Twilight,” Spike relaxed, “but I still don’t get it. Why aren’t you mad that there’s a huge mess in the library?”
“Because–” Twilight began, but stopped as she fought to suppress a smile; that didn't last long and she finally burst out into a fit of giggling squeals. “Because, I think we have some girls interested in love!”
“Love?” the young Salamander repeated in disbelief. “Who?”
Grinning like Pinkie Pie in an all-you-can-eat pastry buffet, Twilight pointed at a large pile of books that exploded to reveal the trio of Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Sweetie Belle all tugging furiously on the same text.
“Really?" Spike asked incredulously as the three actually began fighting over the book. “You think those three are in love?”
“Not in love, interested in love; a very technical, but important distinction to make,” the young scholar replied with a sagacious nod. “And I was skeptical too, but when the first thing they asked me for was a reference guide to matrimony, well…”
“So, those three were asking about… matrimony? Like, as in marriage?”
“Yes indeed, Spike,” Twilight giggled again. “You see, every little girl has a time in their life when they start thinking about love. It’s not so much about a very special someone, it’s more about all the stuff that goes around it. They’ll start fantasizing about what it’s like to have a perfect wedding, what decorations they’ll have, what the cake will look like, and of course what kind of dress they’ll wear. It's a very big part of every little girl’s life.”
“So, how come you never had a phase like that?” the reptilian boy asked quizzically.
“I did have one,” Twilight replied with a hint of a blush, “but it was when you were much younger: you probably just don’t remember.” Good thing too. If Spike found out she'd planned a pony-themed wedding between her and her beloved Smarty Pants, she'd never hear the end of it.
“Ugh, good thing, too,” the young Salamander bluntly intoned whilst making several unpleasant gagging sounds. “All that girly-sissy frou-frou stuff makes me nauseous.” Twilight just giggled again and ruffled his hair.
“You’ll understand one day, Spike. It just takes boys a little longer.”
“Ew, like… gross!” he frowned, swatting her hand away while sticking his tongue out in disgust. “I’m gonna go clean up the lab: I don’t want to get infected with all this girly cootie nonsense.”
Twilight watched with a fond smile as her little brother bounded down the stairs. Before turning back to her studies however, she turned her attention back to the trio of girls. The sight of them all gathered around a book and intently reading away brought forth a nostalgic sigh.
“Ah, young love."
“Okay, I’m not sure I’m reading this right,” Scootaloo frowned, “but this whole matrimonializing thing just sounds really weird.”
“Yeah,” Sweetie Belle agreed, now incredibly confused. “You’d think that family stuff would be all warm and happy and… simple. But I don’t even know what language this is anymore.”
“Aw, it ain’t so bad,” Apple Bloom bracingly grinned. “It’s all fancy talk, probably to make it sound super extra special.”
“So do you understand it?” Scootaloo asked.
“Er… well… not yet…” Apple Bloom admitted, breaking out into a sheepish smile.
The Crusaders were gathered around a very large and very worn leather-bound book called Ye Olde Compendium of Equestrian Matrimonial Affaires. It had taken them a while to find it since Twilight had mistakenly shown them the romance section - to which Scootaloo had reacted much like Spike - but at least the title had sounded promising. The rest was just complicated.
“None of this makes sense,” Sweetie Belle frowned as she pointed at the page. “See, look at this part:
'When two like-minded spirits wish to be engaged under the sacred communion of matrimonial contract…’ Why are they talking about spirits? I mean, I thought we were dealing with living people here, so what do ghosts have to do with anything?”
“Ah, it’s probably just to scare us,” Scootaloo said as she blew a loud raspberry. “Old folks are always doing that so we don’t ask about the good stuff.”
“Anyways, that’s not important,” Apple Bloom continued. “We don’t need to understand all the fancy talk, we just need to know how to do it, and it says everythin' right here.”
Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo leaned in to check out the section Apple Bloom had referenced:
'Proper Protocol and Procedures for the Matrimonial Process
In the event that two individuals and respective households wish to communeth amidst the sacred trappings of matrimonial union, the persons in question must attendeth to certain rites:
1. The damsel must leaveth her homestead as a sign that she doth be willing to communeth with the sir and his household.
2. To publically declareth their intentions, the two must exchangeth circlets of common design, to showeth that the two beeth of one mind.
3. When the time cometh for them to declare for one another, the sir must espouse his interest and the dame likewise before two or more public witnesses.
4. Once the declaration hath been made, two shall be boundeth together as one.'
“Okay, I think I got the first part,” Sweetie Belle frowned, squinting intently at the page. “It can’t be done indoors, because we first gotta get Rarity out of the house, right?
“Right,” Scootaloo agreed as she scratched her head and worked on the next line. “Then we gotta get them to trade… circles? Just, like, anything round?”
“They have to look alike,” Apple Bloom added upon examining the text again, “But it doesn’t say anythin’ else, so I guess anythin’ round and circular-like would do?”
“Meh, works for me,” Scootaloo shrugged.
“Next, we have to get them to… talk about interests? Like, their hobbies?” Sweetie Belle suggested.
“Guess that makes sense,” Apple Bloom nodded. “After all, family should be able to have fun together, so having matching likes would definitely be a good idea.”
“Okay, so we got all of that,” Scootaloo chimed in, “and then there's this last part... huh. I guess it does say that we have to tie them up.”
“Told you I wasn’t making it up,” Apple Bloom said, sticking out her tongue in righteous victory.
“Hold on,” Sweetie Belle interjected before another fight broke out, “I think there’s more.”
'Following these events, the siblings of the damsel, beeth there any, may wisheth to host an infant shower for her, so as to celebrate future prospects of abundant happiness.'
“…This just keeps getting weirder and weirder,” Scootaloo frowned.
“So you’re supposed to take a… baby... bath?” Applebloom asked. “But aren’t you all outside? And what’s a baby bath anyway?”
“Well, babies are newborns," Scootaloo thought aloud, "so maybe it means the bath is supposed to be new. Like, maybe we're supposed to get creative and do it in a way they’ve never taken a bath before?” Sweetie Belle was so confused, it looked as if steam might start pouring out from her overtaxed brain.
"That's just about the strangest thing I've ever heard."
“… Well, that is what the book says…” Apple Bloom said slowly.
The three girls looked at each other, then back to the text.
“Man,” Scootaloo sighed, “I don’t think I’ll ever get adults.”