• Published 27th Jun 2013
  • 4,112 Views, 36 Comments

Literary Foray - hester1

Rainbow Dash has resigned herself to hiding her feelings for Twilight Sparkle. Discord decides to help her reveal them. Nothing can possibly go wrong.

  • ...

Rising Action

That day had so much potential to be a beautiful day in Ponyville. Ponies laughed and chatted in the town square as birds sang and the Sun shone. But the ponies whispered and pointed at Dash and Discord as they pushed the library’s entire romance section through Ponyville, the birds were off-tune thanks to the sudden influx of hummingbirds-that-used-to-be-windows, and the Sun? The Sun was melting the chocolate wheelbarrow.

The handle snapped off in Rainbow’s sweaty hooves, and she brought it up to her eyes and stared at it sullenly. Drops of melted chocolate trailed down its sides, and she felt her own optimism dripping away with it, down into an unfeeling, unforgiving pink mouth –

“Hiya Dashie! Hiya Discord! Whatcha’ doing?”

Rainbow yelped and dropped the handle, and Pinkie Pie swallowed it in one bite.

“Mmmm, thanks Dashie. That really hit the spot. I don’t know if the books will like the chocolate though. I’ve always thought that if I was a book, I’d want something like celery, or maybe squash – have you ever wondered why it’s called squash? I mean, it’s not like you squash it or anything. But squash is a pretty funny word, don’t you think? Squash squash squaaash squashsquashsquash...”

Dash shoved her hoof into Pinkie’s mouth. “Pinkie, what’re you talking about? Books and chocolate?”

Discord donned a pair of schoolteacher’s glasses and glared down his nose at Rainbow. “Oh, don’t be obtuse! If the wheelbarrow’s melting, it’ll get all over the books! Do I have to do all the thinking around here?”

You made the wheelbarrow out of chocolate!”

“Well, I didn’t know that you wanted to carry the books halfway across Equestria! Where are we even going?”

Rainbow blew a stray bit of sweat-slicked mane out of her eyes. “Rarity’s place. I mean, she’s probably read half these books –”

The world around her twisted for a second, then resolved itself into Carousel Boutique. Rainbow found herself muzzle-to-muzzle with a half-assembled ponyquin. The air was heavy with perfume, and the carpeted floor was soft under her hooves.

“– already. Sheesh, Discord, you couldn’t have given me a heads-up?” Rainbow said. She turned, and behind her were Rarity and Fluttershy, both examining a sequined dress on a workbench.

Rarity glanced up. “Hello, Rainbow Dash. What brings you here today? Not that I’m complaining, mind you, but you’ve never come here before of your own volition.”

With a series of thuds, several dozen paperbacks, a few hardcovers, and a draconequus landed on her workbench. Rarity shrieked and jumped back, and one of the rolls of fabric on the other side of the room gained a yellow-coated, pink-maned shadow.

Dash doubled over with laughter in midair, and Rarity glared up at her. “You visited to pull this foalish, immature prank and scare Fluttershy half to death? I’m disappointed in you two.”

Discord grinned at her and picked at his teeth with a ponyquin’s foreleg. “Oh, that’s not the only reason we’re here. Tell her, Rainbow.”

Rainbow stopped laughing and Rarity’s eyes gleamed. “Oh yes, do tell. Could it possibly have something to do with all of these romance novels?” She glanced down at the workbench. “Cyan Hoof de Bergerac, Mane Eyre, A Chariot Named Desire... I never took you for a romantic, Rainbow Dash!”

Hoofsteps rang out in the Carousel Boutique as Applejack sauntered in, Stetson firmly planted on her head and saddlebags swinging at her sides. “Either ya' just said ‘Rainbow Dash’ and ‘romantic’ in the same sentence, or my ears are lyin’ to me, and I’ll be darned if I know which.”

She turned to a roll of fabric, or rather to Fluttershy, who sheepishly stepped out from behind it. “Fluttershy! I’ve been lookin’ all over for ya’, sugahcube. A flock o’ hummingbirds took up roost in the north orchard, and I was wonderin’ if’n you could get ‘em to skedaddle.”

“Oh, um, I’d be glad to, Applejack,” said Fluttershy. Discord whistled innocently.

“Thank ya’ kindly. And now that that’s taken care of...” Applejack turned to Rainbow Dash and grinned. “The beans, Rainbow. Spill ‘em. You and romance novels?”

“Wait, it’s not what it looks like! I’m only reading them so I can get Twilight to go out with me!”

Applejack blinked, Rarity gasped, Fluttershy beamed, Discord burst out laughing, and Rainbow slapped her hoof to her forehead.

“Ya’ know,” Applejack said, “this is usually the part where ya’ say somethin’ like, ‘Hold up, that came out wrong’, or, “That ain’t what I meant, and y’all should know better’...”

“No, actually, it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. But it’s kind of a long story, so I might as well tell all of you at once.” Dash turned to Discord. “Where’s Pinkie?”

“I left her with the wheelbarrow. And before you ask, I can’t bring her here. She’s busy getting ready for the denouement.”

“The den-you-what?”

“Oh, nothing. Say,” said the draconequus, holding an ear-trumpet to his head, “am I the only one who can hear that?”

Rainbow cocked her head and listened, picking out a faint keening noise that grew louder by the second. She looked for, and quickly found, its source: Rarity, whose body was literally vibrating with glee. Rainbow Dash marched up to her. “Rarity, if you try to make us matching outfits or something, I swear to Celestia I’ll dye all of your fabrics lime-green.”

Rarity pouted. “But blue and purple are in this season! Just imagine it, a whole fashion line based on your burgeoning relationship –”

“Hang on, Rares,” interrupted Applejack, “but didn’t she say she was tryin’ to get Twilight to go out with her? What if it don’t work out?”

“Oh, Applejack, I wouldn’t expect you to understand the wondrous magic of true love.”

“And what’s that supposed to mean?”

Dash gritted her teeth. “Can you just let me tell the story?”

“Yes, Applejack, hush and let Rainbow tell her tale of passion and romance, of candlelit dinners and l’amour, of –”

Discord snapped his fingers. Rarity’s fainting couch appeared behind her and zoomed forwards, knocking her knees out from under her so that she collapsed upon it in a heap.

Fluttershy sat beside the couch, and Applejack rolled her eyes and did the same. Discord conjured a large box of popcorn and waited for Dash to begin.

Rainbow paced over to a window, staring across Ponyville. She cleared her throat before beginning. “This morning, I went to the library to read with Twilight like I normally do, when all of a sudden Discord popped up. And he, uh, showed her how I felt about her. Then I asked her out, and she said she needed until tomorrow morning to think –”

“Wait, darling, so you asked her? You’re certain of that?”

Dash shot her an annoyed sidelong glance. “Well, duh! I’m Rainbow Dash! I ask, I don’t sit on my flank and wait to get asked!”

“Drat.” Rarity reached into her saddlebags and hoofed several bits over to Fluttershy, who accepted them with a graceful nod.

Rainbow gaped at Fluttershy. “You bet on me asking her out? I didn’t think anypony else even knew I was into her.”

Discord snorted. “I told you that my getting involved was Fluttershy’s idea.”

“That’s not true! I just, um, said that it would be awfully nice if you two got together. Or if somepony helped you two get together. And I said it while Discord was listening. And I knew that he was listening. Um, because I was talking to him.” Fluttershy hid behind her mane and her voice faded to a whisper. “Please don’t hate me...” Her legs quivered, and Discord wrapped a foreleg around her withers supportively.

Rarity levitated said foreleg back to the ponyquin it belonged to, then moved back to her workbench and lifted a few books in her magical grasp. “But even Fluttershy’s involvement doesn’t explain these, Rainbow Dash, so if you’d care to elaborate?”

“I was getting to that. I realized that she’d probably go look at her books to decide if she should say yes to a date with me, so I signed out all the romance novels, and by tonight, I’ll return the ones where they end up getting together. She’ll read them the next morning and decide to go out with me. It’s foolproof!”

“Darling, you’re planning to read nearly a hundred novels in about seven hours?” asked Rarity.

“Well, I actually wanted you lot to help me out –”

“That’s the most beautifully romantic thing I’ve ever heard!”

“Wait, what?”

“Immersing yourself in Twilight’s world to prove your dedication and, I daresay, your loyalty. It’s so perfectly poetic!”

“Hold up a minute here. Don’t any o’ y’all see that this is just plain wrong?” Applejack’s brow was furrowed and her lip curled contemptuously. “How are all y’all okay with this?”

Rainbow glowered at her. “Listen, I don’t know what your problem is, AJ, but you’d better not –”

“My problem is that you’re fixin’ to trick her into goin’ on a date with ya’! You’re lyin’ to her, RD, and tryin’ to say that it’s oh-so-romantic is just puttin’ frou-frou perfume on a pig! Your whole rotten scheme’s disingenuine!”

“Darling, that’s disingenuous –”

“You’re darn right that this is genius! I mean, I won’t even have to lie to her. She’s not gonna ask me, ‘Hey, Rainbow, did you sign out my entire romance section?’, ‘cause she’ll be too busy saying, ‘Oh, Rainbow, you’re so awesome and cool and radical and of course I’ll go out with you’! It’s perfect!”

Applejack turned and trotted to the door. “I can’t stand by and watch y’all do this. I’ve got apples to buck. Fluttershy, ya’ comin’? Those hummingbirds ain’t gonna leave on their own.” She glanced back. “And just so y’all know, I’m of half a mind to tell Twilight all about this dirty little trick.”

“Oh,” gasped Rarity. “I see it now. It’s all so clear.”

Applejack blinked. “Ya’ mean you’ve come to your senses?”

“In a manner of speaking, yes. I can only wonder why I didn’t see it before, but now I know why you want to ruin Rainbow’s plan. You want to keep Twilight all for yourself, isn’t that right?”

Applejack jerked her head back, and her expression switched from irritated to confused. “What? That don’t even make no lick a’ sense –”

“Yes, yes,” said Discord, “I can see it now. The two level-headed members of this little group of friends, bonding over your shared fondness for things like logic and common sense.” He capered over to Applejack and wrapped his arm around her withers. He swept his other arm through the air, gesturing at the vast vista of the future. “Eventually, if not for Rainbow Dash, you’d have started dating, and one day you’d have gotten married, nobly sacrificing yourselves to remove at least half the boringness from the Ponyville bachelorette pool.”

“Um... and you two would look really, really cute together.” Fluttershy paused and turned to Dash. “Sorry, Rainbow.”

“No, it’s cool. I’m not mad. I mean, it’d be totally unfair for me of all ponies to blame somepony for crushing on Twilight.”

Applejack’s expression switched right back to irritated. “Consarn it, I do not have a crush on Twilight Sparkle, and I’ll thank y’all to quit insinuatin’ that I do.”

“But then why won’t you help Rainbow achieve her heart’s desire? Perhaps your own heart desires a certain chromatic pegasus? Ever at odds in contests of athleticism, you never realised how much you truly looked forward to seeing her napping in your orchards after a long day of applebucking. Oh, how romantic!”

Rainbow crossed the room in a short burst of flight, then leaned in to nuzzle Applejack’s mane, burying her wicked smirk in golden tresses. Applejack’s scowl deepened, but Dash pretended not to notice. “Don’t worry, AJ,” she said, “I’m sure Twilight’d be cool with sharing –”

Applejack jerked away from Rainbow and stomped across the room to the pile of books. Muttering angrily, she picked up one of the novels. She sat against the wall, pulled the brim of her Stetson down over her forehead, and started reading.

Four books from the pile glowed in a blue aura and distributed themselves among the remaining ponies and draconequus. Rainbow and Fluttershy sat beneath the window to read, while Discord lay atop the workbench. As Rarity walked by them on the way to her fainting couch, Rainbow glanced up and nudged her foreleg. “Nice one,” Dash said.

Rarity smiled but said nothing, and Rainbow turned back to her book. She flipped to the first page. The light of the afternoon sun shone on the book from above as Rainbow began reading.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single mare in possession of a good fortune, must...

Daring finished her own milkshake and glanced over at Rosetta. “Hey, you gonna drink that?”

The unicorn gave no response, and her gaze never wavered from the small book that she was scribbling in.

“I’ll take that as a ‘no’,” Daring said, and she leaned across the table and picked up Rosetta’s milkshake. She chugged the milkshake down in one go.

Rosetta kept scribbling.

Daring frowned and rapped a hoof on the table. “Hey, Rosetta, Equestria to egghead, anypony there?”

“Oh, uh, sorry Daring. I’m just busy, you know, taking notes on an, um, experiment,” Rosetta stammered.

Daring smirked and snatched the book out of Rosetta’s magical grasp. The insides were covered with doodled hearts and sketches. “Heh, yeah, sure looks like an experiment to me. Especially the hearts and the lightning bolts, those look really science-y – hang on... did you write ‘RD&TS’ inside these hearts? And are these all drawings of my cutie mark?”

Twilight hung her head and looked away, cheeks aflame.

Dash smiled at her. “Hey, hey, no need to feel embarrassed. I’m not gonna laugh. Is there something you wanna tell me?”

The alicorn’s wings fluttered nervously. “Rainbow Dash...”


“Wake up!”


“Wake up, Rainbow Dash!”

Rainbow raised her head, blinking groggily. She was sprawled across the floor of Carousel Boutique. Sunlight beamed in through the windows and sparkled off of countless gems, turning the boutique into a kaleidoscope of colours. A white-and-purple blur stood beside her.

“Whuzzgoinon?” Rainbow mumbled. She blinked, and the blur resolved itself into Rarity.

Brooms and dustpans encased in blue auras zoomed through the room, and Rarity watched their progress for a second before turning to Rainbow. “We were reading all night. You fell asleep the moment we finished the last book.

“While you were sleeping, Applejack calmed down and I convinced her to not tell Twilight anything, and then she and I carried the ‘good books’ back to the library. Discord and Fluttershy dumped the ‘bad ones’ in your cloud house. Applejack, Fluttershy and Discord all left, but you looked so tired that I couldn’t possibly have woken you up and forced you to fly all the way back to your cloud house!”

Rarity glanced back at her workshop and nodded in satisfaction, and the cleaning equipment flew back into a closet. “But the Carousel Boutique will be opening in a few minutes, so you’ll have to leave now, darling.”

Rainbow stood and stretched. “Okay. Thanks for letting me crash here, and thanks for, you know, everything.” She flexed her wings, working out the kinks in her back. “Hey, why are you opening the Boutique early today?”

“Early? Rainbow Dash, I’m opening late today because I didn’t want to disturb you. It’s already noon.”

Dash blinked. “Oh.”

Rarity looked up. “Rainbow, darling, not to be rude, but why exactly are you still here? Don’t you have someplace to be right now?”

Dash blinked again. “Oh!” She spun to the window, and a second later the only sign that she had ever been in the Boutique was a prismatic contrail lingering in the air.

Rarity shrugged and walked to her workbench, her mind already focused on dress designs: specifically, blue and purple dresses.