“Oh you’ve got to kidding me…” Tinker stood up and stretched. Seriously, who could be knocking at this hour? She pulled the door open, the blinding sunlight striking her face.
“Well good mornin’ sleepy head.” AJ chuckled.
“Morning?” Tink let out a yawn. “I was up all night…”
“Well it’s sorta not morning… more like noon or thereabouts.”
“Fine, I’ll get up,” she stumbled out the doorway. “Just what are you doing over here anyway?”
“Oh, well I uh, just wanted to invite ya to a picnic.”
“A picnic?” Tinker lifted a brow in disbelief. She got woken up for this?
“Well all my friends will be there and I figure it would be a good place to introduce you, I told ‘em I’d invite you.”
“And what makes you think I’d have time like that, I’m really busy with work.”
“I know sweet heart, that’s why you need to take a break. Live a little, your work can wait. Your working yourself into the ground.”
“Well maybe I want TO!!” Tinker snapped back, catching Applejack off-guard. “Sorry, I didn’t mean… I’ll go, lead the way.”
Maybe AJ was right, she had more than exhausted herself with her work, and yet still she couldn’t make any progress. A breath of fresh air might refresh her spirits; and if she was lucky she just might think up a solution? But still she couldn’t tell anypony what she was working on. Not yet anyway.
“HIYA!! NICE TO MEET YOU!” A frizzy pink pony bounced over.
“Um, nice to meet you too?” Tinker held out a hoof.
Pinky took it and shook it, and the rest of the pony attached to it. As soon as she let go Tinker quickly brushed the front of her mane to keep her secret, well, secret.
“HiLite you already met Rainbow Dash, but this here’s Pinky Pie, Fluttershy, Rarity and Twilight Sparkle.” Applejack introduced the ponies one by one. “Come to think of it, Twilight’s the one that brought you out to my place in the first place.”
“Well I dare say…” Rarity looked slightly shocked at the pony that AJ was eager for them all to meet. Her mane was a mess, her tail singed and all four hooves stained with grease. She hadn’t seen such a fashion disaster since, well since ever!
“Good morn… err… afternoon everypony?” Tinker glanced over the group. The only two she hadn’t seen before being the prissy unicorn and party central. Oh well, seemed like she’d be missing out on the relaxing part of a restful afternoon.
“HiLite how are you liking your place?” Twilight asked, taking a sip of some lemonade.
“Oh, it’s nice. I mean it’s big enough that it fits everything.”
“Except a bed.” AJ joked.
“You know, I never even thought about getting one?” Tinker said said matter-of-factly.
“Um, I was joking?”
“So was I!” She chuckled, the other ponies joining in.
“That was funny! OH Ooh I know!!! Wait… how can both of them be joking?” Pinky plopped down to think for three seconds before bouncing back up and being distracted by something else.
“So you used to live in Manhattan I hear.” The prissy white unicorn waltzed over.
“Well only while I was going to school, I shared an apartment with a friend….” Oh shoot, why did she have to have such a big mouth.
“A friend? Where is this friend now?”
“She’s still going to school… I uh… kinda graduated early??” She caught a disapproving look from the prismatic pegasus.
“Oh I see darling, and I do like your mane color, such vivid color.”
“Oh, why thank you. I didn’t have time to brush it this mornin… when I woke up.”
“I see, either way I here you fixed the rainbow generators over at Dash’s house.”
“Yeah… oh hay Dash! How them gennies holdin up for ya?”
“Perfect! Just so amazingly perfect!!” Dash beamed. She had gotten them second-hoof years ago because they never would work properly. It was definitely worth it have to rig some ropes so Tinker could work on them.
“Well I may just have to have you come over and take a look at my sewing machine one of these days. It’s not keeping up like it used to.”
“I’d be happy to, just let me know a time that’s best for you.”
“Oh sure thing darling, now if you’ll excuse me…” Rarity trotted off to sort through the sandwiches one of the other ponies had brought to share.
“Um… excuse me, HiLite?”
“What’s on your mind… um, Fluttershy isn’t it?”
“Yes… it is.”
“Well go on what ya want to know.” Tinker grinned, starting to relax a bit.
“Um… I just thought… if you’re not upset in me saying so… but there’s something in your mane.” Fluttershy stammered, not making direct eye contact with the other pony.
“In my…” Tinker whirled around and bolted to the edge of the water, looking at her reflection. She returned to the group several seconds later, her mane messier than ever.
“Oh my, are you quite alright deary?” Rarity let out an exasperated gasp.
“I’m fine… I just didn’t get enough sleep last night.”
“Shoot, you said yer was up all night. I’d say you didn’t get hardly any.” AJ commented. Everypony could see the shadows under HiLites eyes. The one disadvantage of having a light coat.
“I think I should head home… catch a few more Zzz’s”
“Well thanks for coming to the picnic. It was nice to see you again.” Twilight said, looking around at the other ponies nodding their heads in agreement.
“It was great meeting you all, I’ll see you around.” Tinker trotted off towards her workshop, maybe it was time to invest in a real bed instead of that old sofa?
“Hey Dash, can I have a word with you?” Twilight said after everyone else had left.
“You seem to know something. I saw that look you gave HiLite. Is there something you’re not telling us?”
“Me? Not telling?? What gives you that idea!?”
“Um… maybe the way you won’t look me in the eye and you scuffed your hoof on the ground while you said that.” Twilight accused.
“I’m sorry Twi, but I can’t say. I promised her.”
“Oh really? It seems to me she needs more than that. You saw how uptight she was. I’m telling you there’s something funny going on here.”
“Yeah, about that.” Dashed put her hoof to her head absent-mindedly.
“What was that?”
Oh, nothing. It was nothing. Uh… I’ll catch you later Twilight.” Dash vanished in a bolt of color, blazing away.
“Well that was odd, normally Rainbow can tell me, especially if it might help another pony. I’ll just have to do some investigating by myself then.” Twilight picked up her lunch basket and trotted back to the library. Wondering the whole time what could be going on, how many ponies knew even. It’s not like HiLite was very open. She’d only ever come to town to get some groceries or to fix something for Somepony if a machine broke. “Hey Spike I’m back, did you get all the books but back?”
“What do you think?” Spike groaned from underneath a pile a books, drumming his claws on the floor.
“Oh my, here let me help you.” Twilight lifted the books up enough so Spike could crawl out.
“Thanks.” He brushed himself off.
“Well I’ll let you get back to work I’ve got some working to do.” Twilight headed up stairs to the observation deck where her telescope was.
“Um, Twilight? What are you doing?”
“Huh!? Oh, um… just uh, looking at stars?”
“Uh Twilight it’s the middle of the afternoon.”
“Just calibrating it for tonight?” She said innocently.
“Okay, I’ll leave you alone sheesh.” Spike headed back down stairs to continue his work.
“Phew, that was a close one.” Twi said aloud. She carefully spun the telescope around and aimed it more in an earthly direction, towards Sweet Apple Acres. She could see Applejack working, Big Mac plowing… the CMC’s clubhouse. She kept scanning until she settled her focus on the old worn down barn that HiLite called home. Actually now that she thought about it, she never did call it home, just the shop. “Okay, now to just wait and watch.”
Twilight spent the rest of the afternoon watching, it was boring, tedious and in the end her eyes hurt. Maybe it would work better if she waited till tomorrow. After all HiLite had said she needed to sleep. She left the telescope and trotted downstairs. It would be dark soon, and tomorrow was a brand new day, which might just hold the answers she sought.