The Ballad of Twilight Sparkle
Chapter 4: And Justice For All
“Shucks Ms. Rarity, we wasn't really gunna hurt 'im none, honest!” Apple Bloom flailed uselessly, currently being held a few feet off of the floor by magical telekinesis.
“Yeah!” interjected Scootaloo, under the effects of the same magic. “We were just gonna whale on him a little, ya know,” the eager pegasus made a few kicking motions with her forelegs, “... until our Dragon-slaying cutie marks appeared—then we were totally gonna stop, for reals!”
Sweetie Belle tried her best puppy-dog stare on her sister. “We're very sorry Sis...” her eyes sparkled, the cuteness of a thousand foals contained within, “C-can we keep the—”
“Absolutely not.” Rarity stamped her hoof, before magically uninstalling the halberd blade from Sweetie Belle's horn and attaching it to her own; across her back, the buckler and sword rested, secured by leather straps. “I will put these back where they belong, while you three will get your rumps up to the loft, and you will stay there until bedtime.” the white unicorn said with finality, releasing her magical hold on them.
“What a gyp!” “C'mon sis!” “Ain't fair!” “It's still light out!” “Booo!” came the chorus of complaints—there were so many weapon-related cutie marks to try for!
Rarity turned her head, hearing a soft knock at the door. “Up. Now.” she stated, turning back to the troublemakers.
“Up up up up-up-up-upupupupup!” Rarity tittered, chasing the giggling trio halfway up the heart-stamped stairs, watching them continue on and into Twilight's study. She breathed a drawn-out sigh as she trotted back down and towards the door. “Coming~!” she called. “Good afternoon!” Rarity opened the door, surprised to find a slightly haggard Fluttershy on the other side. “Darling!” she exclaimed, stepping outside.
“Um, not so loud, please...” cringed the yellow pegasus, lowering her head with a pained grimace.
“Oh honey, I apologize—” Rarity stepped closer at put a comforting hoof on the delicate mare. “...are you still feeling the effects of last night's party? You look a bit paler than usual.”
“... I...” Fluttershy looked up with bloodshot eyes, fell back on her haunches, and quickly shuffled away with an 'eep!'
Rarity looked at the wallflower like she had grown a second set of wings. “Fluttershy, maybe you ought to get some rest—”
Fluttershy put her forelegs in front of her face as Rarity approached her. “Please don't... I'll give the bits back... um, it was a silly bet anyways...”
Rarity blinked. “Sweetie, what are you on about? You won that money fair and square—you have a magnificent aptitude for hard liquor!” she exclaimed, bringing up a hoof to scratch her shoulder, where the sword's leather strap was starting to bother her and... Oh, yeah. That. “Oh, oh no no no-no-no, Fluttershy! This, this isn't what you think!” the weaponized pony giggled nervously, 'I can't very well let on that the Cutie Mark Crusaders were playing with weapons on my watch!'
Turning around and posing for the ex-model, Rarity used her horn to cast an illusion of an endless meadow, thousands of swords stuck into the soil at random angles and distances from one another, as if they had fallen from the skies like rain. “This is Shield-Maiden Chic!” she beamed, dispelling the fields of unlimited blades. “It's all the rage back at Trottingham—quite the brave fashion statement, don't you think?” Rarity turned to give her profile to the pegasus, thrusting out her chest, arching her neck and raising a hoof, looking positively heroic.
Settling down a bit, Fluttershy offered her spa-buddy a tiny smile. “It's very lovely, Rarity.” she answered sincerely.
The unicorn dropped her pose. 'It is?!' Rarity's surprise almost betrayed her confident face. “Well of course it is! But enough about me—do tell me, what brings you to the Library today, Fluttershy?”
The soft-spoken mare's gaze turned skyward as she searched through the haze of her hangover-riddled mind for an answer. “Oh, I was gonna ask Twilight... and—! ...And you too, Rarity, I wasn't going to forget about you... the, um... The weather pegasi, they can't find Rainbow Dash...” the meek pegasus pointed a hoof skyward, the afternoon sun barely visible among the many clouds over Ponyville.
“I'm afraid Twilight isn't here at the moment, but...” Remembering quite well the events of the night before, Rarity didn't need to wonder too hard about the confident pegasus's whereabouts. “...as for Rainbow Dash, Darling, have you checked Sweet Apple Acres?” she asked, raising an eyebrow at her friend.
Fluttershy shook her head. “Um, no. I thought she would be here, because of the—” It took her a moment to decipher Rarity's eyebrow. “Oh my...! Yes, I.. I-I suppose that would make sense after... after last night...” Fluttershy almost melted in the heat of her blush. “Well, I guess I should go look for them, I mean her! Look for her!”
“Take care!” Rarity suppressed a giggle as she watched the poor pegasus very unsteadily take to the sky, wings beating out of time with each other. Trotting back into the Library, Rarity had to wonder just how Fluttershy was still standing—let alone flying—after her sublime feats in the art of alcohol consumption less than a day ago.
Absentmindedly closing the door with her magic, Rarity stepped up to the middle of the lobby and started calling for the young, mercifully not-slain dragon. “Come on out, Honey! The fillies are up in the loft!” Rarity walked towards the kitchen, the general direction in which Spike had scampered off to in fright. “Spike?” she called again, opening the cabinets one by one. As she opened the second-to-last one, a pair of cyan hooves stuck out, holding the purple dragon out to her.
Spike waved. “Hi Rarity.”
“Ah, there you are!” the unicorn used her magic to float Spike down from the cabinet and onto her back, placing him on top of the small metal shield. “Thank you, Rainbow Dash.”
“No prob, Rare. Lookin' kinda cool there.”
Closing the cabinet, Rarity trotted back to the table where she had left her sketches. “I'm dreadfully sorry about Sweetie Belle's behavior today Spike, I hope this doesn't reflect badly upon your opinion of me.”
'Who is this beautiful warrior princess that has come to rescue my heart?' Spike was beside himself, almost at a loss for words. “N-no way, Rarity! I could never think badly o-of you!”
“You are such a sweetie, Spike! I—RAINBOW DASH?!” Sketches and pencils flying in her wake, Rarity bolted to the kitchen and nearly tore the offending cabinet's door off its hinges. “Rainbow Dash what in Equestria are you doing in there?!” The unicorn stamped her hoof lividly, her immature-filly tolerance levels already depleted thanks to the Cutie Mark Crusaders.
Rainbow Dash flinched at Rarity's shrill voice, looking rather uncomfortable stuffed in the cabinet, surrounded by cereal boxes and spices. “Keep it down, will ya?”
“Tell me what you are doing in Twilight's kitchen!” Rarity was not in the mood for this. A safe distance away, Spike covered his mouth so as not to burst out laughing at Rainbow Dash's predicament.
The cyan pegasus eyed Rarity's newest accessory warily. “Careful where ya point that thing!” Rainbow Dash sighed. “Look, I'm uh, kinda hiding from Applejack right now, so if you—” A sudden, insistent pounding at the door made the startled acrobat hit her head against the top of the cabinet.
“Twilight? Twilight sug, you in there? Ah need to speak with ya!” called a familiar voice from outside, the pony still knocking on the door with a bit more force than necessary.
“Just a minute!” shouted Rarity loudly but sweetly, before turning her attention back to Rainbow Dash. “You better not have broken her heart!” the designer whispered as she glared daggers at the weather pegasus, who looked like she was about object before Rarity closed the cabinet door on her.
Applejack shifted nervously as she waited for Twilight to answer the door. 'I hope that hot-headed filly can forgive me...' she mused, looking down and wondering why in the world the Library's front door seemed to be covered in splinters and small holes. The farmer turned her gaze back up as the door opened. “Whoah Nelly!” Applejack stood on her hind legs, kicking the air with her forelegs. “Rarity?! What in tarnation—”
“Fashion statement.” Rarity deadpanned.
Applejack settled back on all fours, tilting her head in confusion. “That's a right powerful statement yer makin' there, sugarcube.” she commented, 'Fashion statement or declaration of war?'
Rarity giggled, “I suppose it is!” the unicorn made a mental note to incorporate weaponry in her next batch of designs—who knew violence could be stylish? “Now, Twilight Sparkle is not in today, but perhaps I could be of some aid?”
The orange earth pony fidgeted a bit. “Well, Ah reckon this here's a personal matter, but Ah just can't find Rainbow Dash anywhere... I fig'erd she might be holed up in here at the Library, on account of the—”
“Oh, I am so sorry, Applejack—” interrupted Rarity, a bit loudly. “I haven't seen our friend all day.” she continued, making obvious gestures with her eyes. 'She's in here!' they said. “Perhaps I could pass a message along?”
Applejack furrowed her brow, wondering what was wrong with Rarity's eyes, before realization settled in. “Oh, oh! Yeah, a message, right! Well, if you see her, couldya please tell 'er that I've been lookin' for her all afternoon? Just tell 'er that we need to talk about...” Applejack's ears drooped sligthly, “...about this mornin'...” the cowpony blushed. “Don' want that silly filly gettin' th'wrong impression, ya hear? Applejack ain't that kind of mare, unnerstand sugarcube?”
Rarity blinked, somewhat stunned. “I.. I think I do, Applejack...” her anger at Rainbow Dash had now completely drained away.
“Good! Well, Ah hafta get back to the farm,” Applejack reached under her hat and dropped a large, pale flower from it. “This, uh, this is for Rainbow Dash, if you see her. Thanks a bunch, Rarity!” said the farmer, dashing away.
Rarity stood in silence for a couple of minutes, before picking up the flower and heading back inside, making her way to the kitchen. “Rainbow Dash?” she ventured, her voice soft.
Rarity stepped closer to the cabinet. “Come on out of there Rainbow Dash, please.”
“Go away.” came the muffled reply.
With a sigh, Rarity used her magic to open the cabinet and floated Rainbow Dash out and back down to the floor. “I want to apologize Rainbow Dash, it was not my place to assume such things from a loyal pony such as yourself.”
“Yeah yeah...” Rainbow Dash waved her hoof dismissively, “Don't get your saddles in a bunch over it.” the airmare looked at the floor, her face unreadable.
Rarity stepped closer to the crestfallen pegasus, placing her chin on the cyan pony's rainbow mane. “Oh Rainbow Dash, there will be others—please don't let this—”
Rainbow Dash moved away from Rarity's comforting gesture. “Don't, Rare.” The pegasus tried swallowing the lump in the back of her throat, to no avail. “Applejack had her fun, and that's all it was—a night of fun, and now everything goes back to normal, because she's not that kind of mare.” the pony rambled, fighting back the tears. “Besides, I'm gonna be a Wonderbolt! I don't need some smooth-talking Element of Dishonesty tyin' me down and crampin' my style!” her wings flapped unconsciously, her eyes loosing long held-back tears.
The designer unicorn was close to tears herself, until she remembered Applejack's present. This was it! “Rainbow Dash, honey...” Rarity gave some thought as to how to present the farmer's gesture. 'Appeal to her ego, of course!' The flower floated magically to Rainbow Dash's line of sight. “Perhaps you are getting ahead of yourself, Rainbow Dash.”
Rainbow Dash looked at the beautiful, pale flower. '… An apple blossom...'
“Rainbow Dash, not everypony is as gallant and fearless as you are—why, us normal ponies can barely get up in the morning we're so scared of every little thing!” Using one of her own manepins, Rarity clipped the flower to Rainbow Dash's mane, behind her right ear. “Perhaps Applejack left you this—the gift of hope—because she is a scared little filly, looking for somepony to give her the courage to be as passionate and open with her feelings as you are!”
Rainbow Dash's eyes were wide now, a slight blush on her face. “...Give her courage?”
Rarity gave the pegasus a warm, honest smile. “Well of course, Rainbow Dash—why, just a single one of your feathers contains more courage in it than the entirety of the Royal Guard army!”
Rainbow Dash's wings were now at full spread, her posture straight and imposing. “Yeah... Yeah! You know what, Rarity? You're totally right!” the pegasus stamped her hoof, ego thoroughly stroked. “Oh I'm gonna courage that filly so hard she won't be able to tell an apple from a carrot!”
“That's the spirit!” Rarity was glad that she was able to cheer up the colorful pony.
Stepping up to the seamstress, Rainbow Dash threw her forelegs around Rarity's neck, giving her a big hug. Rarity hugged the pegasus back, and even Spike and Pinkie Pie joined in and hugged them both. “Thanks a lot, you guys.” Rainbow Dash said, tightening the hug.
The hug quickly dispersed, everyone involved yelping in surprise at the inclusion of the mistress of ceremonies herself.
“Pinkie Pie?!” Rainbow Dash was first to react. “What're you doing here?” Spike and Rarity both nodded, wondering the same thing.
“I'm here for the party, DUH!” The pink pony hopped in place.
Rarity blinked. “I'm sorry dear, but who told you we were holding a party?”
“Well it was OBVIOUS—you think you can sneak a party on ol' Pinkie twice?” Pinkie Pie brought up her fore hooves, tapping one against the other, counting off as if she had fingers. “First Applejack asked me to find Rainbow Dash, and then one of those cool weather ponies asked me to find Rainbow Dash, and then that funny-looking mailpony was asking where Rainbow Dash was, and then the Mayor was asking about Rainbow Dash, and then even Fluttershy and then ohmygosh I realized what this is!” Pinkie Pie flailed, “It's a SEARCH PARTY!” With her scream came a rain of confetti, seemingly out of nowhere. Pinkie Pie interpreted the stunned silence of her audience as sheer excitement for the festivities to come. “Soooooooo I followed this really awesome rainbow streak in the sky that lead directly to Library because whenever you SEE an awesome rainbow streak in the sky it usually MEANS that an awesome Rainbow Dash is IN that sky, streaking rainbows awesomely!”
Rarity facehooved, the gesture imitated by the purple dragon standing next to her. “Well I guess that explains how everypony decided to look for you here, Rainbow Dash.”
The pegasus blushed slightly. “Eheh... I guess I don't know my own speed...”
Already in the kitchen preparing to bake a cake, Pinkie Pie turned back to her party guests. “Aaaand why else would everypony be at Twilight's house unless you were holding a party?”
“Actually, yeah, where is Twilight?” Rainbow Dash asked, only now realizing that the Alpha Nerd was not among them.
Rarity chuckled. “Oh, did you not know? I am house-sitting for Twilight Sparkle, seeing as our bookish filly has finally snagged a handsome, filthy-rich stallion from Manehattan! They are probably out on a wonderful, expensive and luxurious date as we speak!”
“What?!” Rainbow Dash was skeptical, to say the least.
“But Rarity, that's not right at all!” Spike said, tugging at the indigo-maned pony's tail. “The one that sent for Twilight was Trixie!” he explained.
“WHAT?!” Rarity felt a conniption coming on. “That... that hussy is taking our Twilight out on a wonderful, expensive and luxurious date as we speak?!”
Spike facepalmed at the scene that was unfolding. “No! No, guys, it's something legal!” he waved his arms, trying to get the riled-up ponies' attention. “It's some copyright thing or something, I think.”
“WHAT?!” Rarity felt her conniption turning into rage. “That... that charlatan is suing our Twilight?!”
“OhmygoshohmygoshOHMYGOSH! We gotta help her!” Rainbow Dash flapped her wings in her unrest, floating a few feet off the floor. “She could go to jail! You have no idea what they do to ponies like her in jail!”
“Guys...” Spike tried, to no avail, to clarify the situation. Then again, he didn't trust Trixie either, she could be suing Twilight eight ways til Sunday.
“Rainbow Dash!” Rarity stamped her hoof, “Twilight left only a couple of hours ago! You're the fastest—go get Applejack and get moving to Manehattan—I will find Fluttershy and see if I can find a sitter for the Cutie Marks Crusaders!”
Rainbow Dash saluted. “Right!” she said before immediately deflating, “But how am I gonna find her?”
Pinkie Pie ducked away from the fridge, “Well she's at the Clydesler Building, silly!” she answered, quickly ducking back in to look for more ingredients and handing them to Apple Bloom.
“We don't need a sitter!” Scootaloo complained, dropping the ladle she was using to mix the batter. “We can help too!”
“Yeah! CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS: PROFESSIONAL LEGAL COUNSEL: JUSTICE FOR ALL!” cheered Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Pinkie Pie, all covered in cake mix.
- - -
Big Macintosh had been watching his sister work all day. A colt of few words, he hadn't had the heart to mention just how terrible her apple-bucking had been since she came back from last night's party. Besides, pointing out the obvious would only serve to frustrate the powerful kicker even more, something Big Macintosh was very keen to avoid.
“Doggone apples!” complained Applejack, grunting in aggravation. “Why won't y'all fall right?!”
“Sis, Ah reckon yer heart's not innit today...” drawled the stallion, “Maybe you oughta go back to bed for'a while.”
Ears pointed back, Applejack stared fiercely at her brother. “Now what're you implyin'? 'Coz Ah can work just fine, Big Mac! In fact, Ah—”
Applejack's words caught in her mouth, as a transonic rainbow streak nearly lopped her head off, passing within millimeters of her ears, creating a vacuum that almost knocked her over. “What the...” Applejack realized her hat was missing, and turned to watch the familiar blue blur rocket away, clouds parting in her way. The farmer felt a surge in her heart, “Oh so you want me to chase ya, huh, Hot-Sauce?” she chuckled.
Turning back to her brother and wearing a determined face, Applejack scraped the ground with her hoof, rarin' to go. “Big Mac, Ah think Ah will take a rest from apple-buckin'— 'coz Ah reckon Ah gotta take back what's MINE!”
“Eeyup.” Big Macintosh nodded, watching his sister speed off, chasing after the rainbow.
- - -
It didn't take long for the Fastest Pegasus in Equestria to arrive at the lobby of the Clydesler Building. What the Fastest Pegasus in Equestria wasn't expecting though, was the wall of security ponies that seemed determined not to let just any random, unidentified pony into the building. Rainbow Dash grinned smugly—being the Fastest Pegasus in Equestria didn't just mean the fastest flier... it also meant the quickest thinker!
- - -
Twilight Sparkle looked around the large, fancy wooden table of the even larger, fancier meeting room she was in. She was seated at one end of the rectangular table, with Miss Spelling and The Great and Powerful Trixie seated closest to her, followed by a large number of frankly grumpy-looking businessponies, all silently staring back at her. She and Trixie had lost track of time at the penthouse, and had arrived at the meeting an hour later.
Looking down at the 60-page contract in front of her, the lavender unicorn felt more than a bit intimidated by the entire situation. Using her magic, Twilight levitated one of the glasses of water that had been brought in by a secretary, and brought it to her lips. 'I wish my friends were here...'
“Miss Spelling?” crackled one of the intercoms on the table.
The orange pony looked at the intercom with disdain as she clicked the comm button. “We are currently in a very important meeting, this better be urgent.”
“It's about Ms. Sparkle—her lawyer is here. Miss Rainbow Dash The Second, Esquire?”
Twilight choked and spat out the gulp of water she had been drinking, unintentionally spraying Trixie's face for the second time that day.
End Chapter 4