Rainbow's Horn

by Cerulean Swirl

Chapter Eight

A day later, Rainbow was in her usual place in the library, stretching out. She refused to become a sack of lazy, so she stretched as often as she could, and after that huge run just yesterday, she decided to keep in shape, in case she wanted to run again. While she was stretching, she had also started to read more. She knew it was egg-head-ish of her, but since there was little else to do, she saw no reason to stay bored and lazy. She had decided on the same book of unicorn magic that Twilight had originally made her read. Some of the spells were boring, but Rainbow refused to ask Twilight for any more books like this one, for fear Twilight might get the wrong idea. Daring Do books were always a delight, and Rainbow had those at her use as well, so she was covered. Twilight, on the other hoof, kept to her research, and only spoke when she was talking to herself or when she needed to ask Rainbow a question. The library had been very quiet, and not many ponies came to visit. So on that quiet, sunny day, Rainbow was stretching out her calf muscles and was reading a spell on how to levitate silverware when a knock sounded on the door.
Both Rainbow’s and Twilight’s heads snapped up, and they exchanged a glance. Rainbow zipped over to the door leading into her room and shut it, and once she had, Twilight called over to the door: “It’s open!” Rainbow stuck her eye through the keyhole of the big oak door and sat on the floor of the library.
The door swung open and who should walk in but Scootaloo, wearing a blue helmet and carrying her trusty scooter. Rainbow hid a gasp, and tiny beads of sweat began to form, her heart jumping into her throat from fear. Judging from Twilight’s expression, she was shocked as well. But she regained this, closed the volume she was reading, and stepped out from the desk to face Scootaloo. Scootaloo slid her helmet off her head, and it was then that Rainbow saw that the little filly’s brilliant violet eyes were filled with concern and sadness.
“Hello, Scootaloo! What a nice surprise. What brings you here?” asked Twilight, trying to sound cheerful.
“Twilight! You have to help me!” said the pegasus filly, brandishing a confused frown.
“What’s wr-”
“Could you please tell me where Rainbow Dash is?” interrupted Scootaloo, a look of urgency passing her face.
OH NO!!, screamed a voice inside Rainbow. Today was Wednesday, mentoring day! Rainbow stuffed her hoof inside her mouth and bit down on it.
How could I forget?, she screamed at herself. It was the one thing she shouldn’t have forgotten, and yet she had. After everything that had happened, mentoring was the last thing on her mind. She was reminded of mentoring a few days ago, but…that time seemed so long ago.
“Well, I um…” said Twilight.
“Rainbow Dash told me to tell you that she…um…couldn’t mentor you today.” finished Twilight, with a strange smile. Rainbow stopped biting her hoof to study Twilight’s smile. It was much like the one Applejack had given Pinkie when AJ was lying. But she didn’t take much mind, and reinserted her hoof into her mouth, nibbling.
“Did she tell you why?” asked Scootaloo, sadly.
“When I saw her the other day she didn’t mention anything about not being there.”
“I just found out today that she had to go to the doctor.” said Twilight, finishing quickly, putting a worried expression on her face. Rainbow saw that lying to Scootaloo wasn’t easy for Twilight, either, which made sense.
“Again? She must be really sick. Is she in the hospital? What does she have? Do you know which room she’s in so I can visit her?” asked Scootaloo, her face more filled with concern, clutching her blue helmet in her hooves.
“Well…no. She’s at her house, resting. She’s okay, and you shouldn’t worry. I’ll tell her you stopped by, though.” said Twilight, her face slightly relaxing.
“Okay…thanks Twilight. I’ll see you later.” said Scootaloo, and walked out the door, her head hanging. She cast one more glance at Twilight, mumbling something Twilight couldn’t hear, before shutting the door behind her. As soon as the coast was clear, Rainbow stuck a hoof out and placed it on the door. She pushed gently, expecting the door to swing open. But it didn’t; it remained shut. Rainbow raised an eyebrow in confusion, and pushed again, this time harder. The door still did not budge. Rainbow was filled with frustration as she placed her whole body upon the door and pushed with all her might.
“Rainbow!” Rainbow Dash heard Twilight’s desperate call from the other room, but Rainbow took no mind. She wasn’t sure why she was so angry about the door not opening, but all the anger she had bottled up for days was now practically spilling out her ears. She was sure she had never felt this angry in her life. The past days events came rushing to her in one sitting: her discovery at her lost wings, lying to Soarin’ and Scootaloo twice, the dream, the disappointment at the train station. The more she remembered this, the more anger she felt. She let it consume her, and all else was blocked out. She let out a grunt, and lifted herself off the door once more, it still not opening. Without thinking thoroughly, she stood in front of the door, pointed her unicorn’s horn at it, and focused.
Her anger and magic squeezed her insides, and she concentrated harder. She forced her eyes shut, concentrated solely on her anger and of the image of the door opening. She let these two factors fill her, before she could think or concentrate harder, she opened one cautious eye and saw a bolt of dark magenta magic, much like the color of her eyes, shoot out of her unicorn horn and land on the door.
The door, responding to her magic, swung open more violently than before, this time flying off its hinges and exploding, raining its contents down on Twilight and the rest of the library. And then, calm resumed, like nothing had happened at all. It was a few moments before anypony could breathe, and it was a short time before the noise stopped echoing off the library walls. Twilight, covered in debris and splinters, lifted her head, for it had been under her desk when the door exploded. She looked at Rainbow with a mixture of shock, confusion, a bit of anger, and giddiness. Rainbow, however, stood rooted to the spot, all past remnants of her anger vanished, covered in debris as well. For a few moments, nopony spoke, and then a single sound broke the silence. The sound of claws slapping against the wood stairs from the upstairs room.
Spike the dragon had been upstairs napping when the loud noise woke him, and he came wondering what all the commotion was. Instead, he found the two unicorns standing shock still, covered in wood and sawdust, staring at each other with wide eyes, almost as if one of them was accusing the other of murder. It was then that he noticed the other room’s door, the room Rainbow was staying in, was completely gone, and in its place were two rusted over hinges from the other side, hanging haphazardly, one almost on the brink of falling off. He coughed once, thinking this would get Rainbow’s and Twilight’s attention, but it didn’t.
“What is going on?” he asked at last, eying the two unicorns with shock, horror, and confusion. It was then that Twilight shook her head a few times and exclaimed in confusion, knocking herself out of her trance.
“We were just…” she sputtered, searching for words.
“Using magic,” answered Rainbow from the other room, not moving or even looking in Spike’s direction.
“Yes,” said Twilight, rubbing debris off her face.
“Well, keep it down, will you? I’m trying to sleep!” said the dragon haughtily, obviously not affected by the explosion now that he knew what had caused it.
“We will.” promised Twilight, coughing and running her hooves through her tussled mane. The dragon nodded, turned, and went back up the stairs.
Twilight turned to face Rainbow, who was still in a trance. Her rainbow friend was truly a sight; her mane was in disarray, her coat covered in tiny wood slivers, her eyes had a far off look in them, almost bloodshot, her horn red with heat, her tail tangled and bouncy. She was staring at where the door had been, with a look of pure shock on her face.
The library, though slightly covered with wood, was overall okay. There was only one section that was damaged with splinters from the door, and the floor was littered with stray splinters and bits of door, but that was nothing a good sweeping couldn’t fix. Twilight closed her eyes and opened them, focusing more. The explosion had completely got her off track on her research.
“Rainbow?” she asked, turning her attention on Rainbow Dash. Rainbow, in turn, shook her head a few times, as if shaking out of the trance, and finally turned to face Twilight.
“Yeah?” she said, with a cough.
“That…was…” said Twilight, searching for her words. Rainbow braced herself for Twilight to yell at her for destroying the door, squeezing her eyes and tensing her shoulders.
“Strange…but awesome!” said the purple unicorn, happily. She smiled to herself and levitated a broom out of a nearby closet. Without another word, she began to sweep up the mess. Rainbow blinked once, then twice, then gave another cough.
“You’re not mad?” asked Rainbow, raising one eyebrow.
“Well…surprised, yes, and shocked, but not really mad.” replied the purple unicorn, levitating the broom around some scraps of wood.
“Are you gonna build a new door?” asked Rainbow. Twilight nodded, not looking up from her sweeping. Then, as if on cue, another knock sounded at the door, scaring both unicorns. Quick as a wink and before really thinking, Rainbow zipped into her room once more, then realizing there was no door to hide behind.
"Go upstairs!" whispered Twilight fiercely, and Rainbow galloped across the room and up the stairs. When Rainbow was safely out of sight, Twilight called to the door, glancing up from her sweeping.
"It's open!"
The door creaked open as it usually did, and Rainbow stayed in the shadow of the top step, watching whoever appeared below. In walked Soarin' himself, accompanied by Scootaloo. Both wore expressions of sheer concern and worry, and they came up to Twilight meaning business. Rainbow stuffed her hoof in her mouth once more and bit down even harder. After wincing at the pain, her stomach plummeted down to her hooves and her heart jumped into her throat. The two most important ponies besides her friends were in the room right now, and if they discovered her secret, there was no telling what they could do.
"Twilight, we need to talk to you." said Soarin', firmly, motioning to Scootaloo and himself. Twilight however wasn't taking the situation well either, and she looked in the same state as Rainbow; petrified. She cleared her throat, shakily, and composed herself as best she could. She levitated the broom away and put a look of worry and innocence on her face.
"Why, Soarin' and Scootaloo! Nice to see you both here. What can I do for you?" said Twilight, stammering ever so slightly.
"We've come on Rainbow Dash's behalf. Scootaloo here comes and tells me a few days ago that Rainbow's been missing for a couple days, and I assured her that Rainbow was fine. I know I saw her the other day. So a few days after she talks to me, Scootaloo comes to you and you tell her Rainbow is at home, and when Scootaloo comes to me to check, I go to Rainbow's house and find that she's not there." finished Soarin', coolly.
"What exactly is going on here? Because I'd sure like to know." Scootaloo, in response, nodded. Twilight bit her lip, and from the top stair Rainbow telepathically begged Twilight not to say anything.
"You just missed her, actually." said Twilight, strangely extremely calm. How Twilight could be calm at a time like this, Rainbow hadn't a clue. She was handling things just how she handled Scootaloo earlier, as a matter of fact.
"Oh really?" asked Soarin', raising one eyebrow.
"But you said-" said Scootaloo, her voice trailing off.
"I thought she was in no condition to move." countered Soarin', putting his hoof on Scootaloo's shoulder.
"She is. I got an urgent call from her just five minutes ago saying that one of her uncles in the Crystal Empire is sick."
"If she's so sick how come she's going somewhere?"
"This particular uncle is close with her father, whom Rainbow rarely sees, and she cares for this uncle dearly. She told me she may have to stick it out."
"Doesn't she want an escort?"
"I asked her already, and she said she'd rather go alone."
"Why didn't you argue? Besides, I thought all the trains were cancelled today because of construction."
"I did, but she refused anyway. The construction is only in Canterlot. All the other trains work fine."
"You said she called five minutes ago, right?"
"Yes. When did you check her house?"
"Twenty minutes ago."
Twilight checked the wall clock.
"The train to the Crystal Empire may not have left yet. You may still be able to catch her."
"No use now." said Soarin', finally. Scootaloo looked genuinely upset. There was silence in the room, and Rainbow could not believe the whopper of a lie her friend had just told. She had uncles, to be sure, but none of them lived in the Crystal Empire.
"THE MOMENT she returns, please tell her to contact me IMMEDIATELY." said Soarin'.
"Me too!" said Scootaloo.
"I will. You guys take care!" said Twilight, smiling weakly.
"We will." said Soarin', and both left the library in a slump. After the door closed behind them, Twilight ran to her bookshelves. She ignited her horn and began whipping titles off the neatly organized shelves. She frantically opened each book and flipped through three at the same time. Rainbow came down from the steps, and paused at a window as she watched her apprentice and coltfriend grow farther and farther away from the library.
"What are you doing now?" asked Rainbow, carefully.
"I can't cover for you anymore, Rainbow." said Twilight, her voice a mixture of flat, frantic, and worried as she whipped more books away from their places and opening them.
"They will find out. Why is it such a big deal that they know, anyway?" asked Twilight, not looking up from her research.
"They can't know!! If they do, think about it! What if you don't find a cure? What then? I won't be able to mentor Scootaloo anymore! She may not think I'm as awesome, and she'll find somepony else and not like me as much anymore. And Soarin'...well.....I can't fly with him anymore....I may never become a Wonderbolt either. My life....it will be officially ruined." said Rainbow, sadly.
"Calm down, Rainbow. I will find a cure. I know it. But we don't have much time. And with the Summer Sun Celebration coming up too, we now have less than ever."