Rainbow Dash shuffled cautiously across the street. She repeatedly glanced over her shoulder to see if anypony was following her. After triple-checking that nopony was looking at her suspiciously, Dash spread her wings. Then, with a quick burst of speed, she flew down the road toward her destination: the Quills and Sofas shop.
As she went, Dash continued to scan her surroundings for signs of ponies watching her. Ordinarily, she could easily take in everything that was happening around her without sacrificing flight performance. But Dash had been feeling jittery all morning, so she devoted too much of her attention to deciding if Bon Bon really was just watering her flowers—as she appeared to be doing—or if she was actually some sort of secret agent cleverly spying on Rainbow Dash under the cover of caring for plant life. Consequently, Rainbow Dash lost track of where she was and crashed straight into a large sign sticking out over the street.
As she painfully extracted herself from the pegasus-shaped indentation she had made in the wood, Dash noted the image of a large white feather and a red couch in front of her. At least she had crashed into the right sign. Rainbow Dash awkwardly dropped the short distance down to the ground, still feeling a bit wobbly. She hoped nopony had noticed her unusual behavior.
Maybe that was the problem, Dash realized. She shouldn’t be slinking around town like a pony afraid of her own shadow; that was Fluttershy’s job. No, she was Rainbow Dash, and that meant acting with cool confidence. Nopony would suspect she was plotting to kidnap a princess as long as she maintained the level of awesomeness for which she was renowned.
So with a swish of her mane, Rainbow held her head high and strutted into Quills and Sofas. A bored look around the store indicated that it was empty of customers. The storeowner, whose name she couldn’t be bothered to remember at the moment, trotted up.
“What can I get for you today, Miss Rainbow Dash?” he asked.
Dash casually leaned against a nearby couch. “Yeah, I’m here on official princess business today, pal. Twilight needs five boxes of quills delivered to her castle, and she sent me to get them for her.”
The proprietor frowned for a moment. “That’s strange. Last week she bought two boxes of quills from me.”
Dash’s hoof slipped, and she fell to the floor. Instantly picking herself up, and wishing that she hadn’t fallen in such an uncool way, Dash grinned at the shopkeeper to hide the surprise she felt. “Did I say five boxes? Maybe that wasn’t the right number.”
“I should hope not,” the pony replied. “I was worried that Princess Twilight had run out of quills days ago. She normally runs through them much faster than that. Perhaps we should send her a dozen boxes instead. That might last her a couple weeks.”
“Um, yeah, sure,” Dash nervously agreed. She had no idea Twilight ran through quills so fast, though she supposed that she should have expected it. This was Twilight, after all, the most obsessive list-maker in Ponyville. “So if you’ll just give me the boxes, I’ll deliver them to Princess Egghead—I mean, Egghead Twilight—I mean, just give them to me and I’ll drop them off tonight.”
“Are you sure?” the shop owner inquired. “We do have a complimentary delivery service.”
“No, that’s ok. I’ll just take the boxes now so I can check that all of the quills are organized the way Twilight likes before they’re delivered,” Rainbow Dash said.
“Very well. I’ll bring the boxes out, and you can take them whenever you want.”
Rainbow Dash smiled to herself. This was easy. Now all she had to do was prepare some of the boxes for “delivery” later that night. She snatched the first box of quills as soon as it was brought out, ready to fly it to Sugarcube Corner for the next stage of the plan.
As she burst through the door, she heard a thump and a gasp of surprise. Worried she had hit somepony, Dash set the box down and cautiously peered around the door. Then she jumped backward when she saw who it was she had accidently whacked with the door.
Groaning, Spike slowly sat up. “You’d think that having a dragon hide would keep me from getting hurt,” he muttered to himself, “but no, apparently any door in Ponyville can still leave a bruise.” As he got to his feet, Spike noticed the pony in front of him. “Oh hi, Rainbow Dash.”
Dash froze for a moment.
“I said, hi Rainbow Dash.” Spike waved his claw in front of Dash’s face. “Are you awake in there?”
Rainbow Dash jumped several feet into the air. She slowly lowered herself back down, though in her nervousness she never completely set hoof on the ground again. She remained hovering before Spike, her wings flapping agitatedly. “Hey there, Spike. Sorry, I didn’t see you there. So how about this weather? Do you think it’ll rain later?”
“Not if the weather pony spends her day assaulting innocent dragons,” Spike deadpanned. “Are you ok, Rainbow Dash? You seem to be acting rather strange.”
“Strange? Don’t be ridiculous. I’m just as awesome as I ever was.” Dash plastered a rather wide smile on her face. “So what are you doing here, anyway? Looking for a new sofa to put in the castle?”
“Actually, I’m here to order more quills for Twilight. I didn’t buy enough last week, and we had to dip into our backup supply. So now I need to get extra quills this week to replenish our emergency stock. Twilight almost went crazy when I told her we were down to six boxes. She nearly declared a national emergency.”
“Well, you see,” Rainbow Dash started nervously. “There’s been a bit of a problem. I was, um, just trying to buy myself a new quill, but it turns out they’ve completely run out and won’t get any more until tomorrow. You should probably come back then.” Dash quickly positioned herself in front of the box she had set down a minute ago.
“Really?” Spike asked. “I thought they learned their lesson after the last time they were out of quills. Twilight threatened to banish Davenport to the moon, so he promised to make sure he never ran out again.”
“Yeah, well, a rampaging, um, hydra ate all of his quills this morning, so you’ll just have to try again tomorrow.” Rainbow Dash started pushing Spike away from the store.
“A hydra?” Spike’s eyes went wide. “Should…shouldn’t you guys be out fighting it or something?”
“Relax.” Dash took advantage of Spike’s distraction to pick him up and fly him several blocks down the street. “Fluttershy already talked to it and convinced it, um, to move to Manehattan. It won’t be bothering Ponyville again any time soon.”
“Uh, are you sure Manehattan is the best place for a hydra?”
“Of course it is. Well, you can just go home to Twilight and tell her to not order any quills until tomorrow.” Rainbow Dash dropped Spike on the ground and looped around to fly back to Quills and Sofas to get the box she had left there.
Spike looked around. “Rainbow Dash? Why did you take me to the entrance to Sweet Apple Acres?”
Rainbow Dash was already long gone.