• Published 27th Oct 2011
  • 4,520 Views, 106 Comments

Blue Days - BlackM

Blues is having a bad day. Can the Mane Six make it better?

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Reading is Magic

Reading is Magic


Blues stood under the shadow of the town’s library, a large tree retrofitted to become the building it was today. Doors and windows fabricated into its wood, balconies jutting out the exterior, a lone beehive hanging under one of the lower branches, probably recent, and used candles visible behind the windows. Basically, the whole thing looked like a pimped out tree house designed by a pony with a cutie mark in architecture. Not only was this a library, but also some pony’s home. Whoever lived here ought to be grateful for living in such a crafty abode. Not many ponies older than seven could say that they live in a tree house.

It reminded him of how his own house paled in comparison to this building…

Enough thinking about the apartment. He had a book to rent.

“Hello?” he spoke after he knocked on the door. He could hear some clamor inside as a pony’s footsteps rapped back and forth. This Twilight pony sounded like she was trying to clean up some mess inside or something. Was she expecting him?

Blues heard the pony speak to him as she walked towards the door, “Geez, Applejack. You weren’t supposed to come around this early. I haven’t even found the proper…” her voice slowed to a pause when she opened the door, seeing that her newest visitor wasn’t the pony she was expecting. “…hat.”

Both ponies took a moment to observe the other. Twilight was unfamiliar with the blue stallion before her, and Blues had never taken a closer look at the purple coated unicorn since she moved into PonyVille. Right now she was wearing a blue bandana around her neck and a pair of snakeskin boots on her hind legs, not the casual attire of a librarian. Despite never visiting a library before, Blues thought of the way she was dressed as odd, since not many ponies, even the farmers at Sweet Apple Acres, dressed like her.

This was a common encounter between the librarian and visitors. Since the librarian made her home here, she would often forget that ponies come by to rent books, and it tends to happen during some household shenanigans. The villagers didn’t use the library very often, but more often than not was there that awkward moment when a visitor walks in on some odd business of the librarian.

Sort of like right now.

“Uhh…were you expecting somepony else?” Blues modestly asked.

The unicorn shook her head lightly and chuckled nervously, “Uh, eheheh, sort of…”

Blues blinked as he observed the unicorn’s get up once again, “Why are you dressed like you’re getting ready for a rodeo?”

Twilight looked down at her bandana as if wondering that as well. She looked back up at the stallion and chuckled again, “Well, I was…getting ready for a party…”

Blues thought this scenario odd. He couldn’t help but think of himself in Twilight’s position, acting just like she would if he was caught in a strange get up and had to explain himself to a stranger. Although where Blues would’ve heaved sweat, breathe nervously, and stuttered as he spoke, the unicorn was more strategic in her explanation. She would already know what to say on the spot to explain herself, and she wasn’t too hasty with her words. Blues could easily tell she was a pro at this.

She’s probably done this before, and very often.

“…o…kay…” Blues uttered, trying to change the subject, “Well, I’m here to rent a book, if you don’t mind.”

“Oh! Of course,” the unicorn backed into her house, “this way, please.”

Blues walked in following the purple unicorn as she used her magic to unwrap the bandana around her neck. As the door behind them closed, Blues took in the mess that was the library. Piles of books lay in every corner, organized in categorical groups. There were many empty spots plaguing the bookshelves of the library, giving the place the feel that the owner was being evicted. On a table where the unicorn left her bandana and boots lay a mess of papers, each one a diagram of the bookcases in her library. Twilight began sifting through these papers, organizing them for reference. For a library, it was a very messy abode.

It reminded him of his own home.

“What happened here?” Blues asked, still looking around the place.

“Oh, I got a new bookshelf I ordered from Canterlot, so I’m doing some reshelving of the books,” she answered, looking up at the stallion, “You came by in the middle of some renovation.”

“Oh, uh, sorry,” Blues apologized.

Twilight waved her hoof, “No no, it’s fine. It’s not the first time some pony walked in on me doing some redecorating.”

Blues chuckled, ‘I’m sure it’s the first time some pony’s walked in on you in a cowboy suit.’

The unicorn chuckled nervously before asking, “So, what kind of book are you looking for?”.

Blues hummed to himself, trying to summarize the exact subject of the book or books he needed to study up on.

“Do you have anything on sophisticated manners, or ‘How to be a Gentlecolt,’?” he said.

Twilight blinked at the stallion; not many ponies requested such a specific category, even in past rentals from before she moved in. In fact, she wasn’t even she sure she had such books in her library, which Twilight hoped was not the case.

“Hmm, give me a moment…” she said, looking through the papers of her library.

As the unicorn searched, Blues took the liberty of exploring more of the library. Straying from the obvious home décor, Blues was attracted to a wall nailed with photos. The first that caught his eye was of a field of apple trees and a familiar orange pony toting a cart of apples. Next to that was a blue rainbow maned pegasus wearing some kind of thunderbolt crown in front of a cloud coliseum. Blues knew who this pony was, but before he could think of it, his eye went straight to the next photo and took him by surprise. It was a group picture and the purple unicorn was in the center, but around her were familiar mares Blues had seen earlier that day. Applejack, the orange pony, Fluttershy under Twilight, and…Rarity. The other two he hadn’t met yet, but he already knew their names due to their notoriety in Ponyville.

What a coincidence this was! This one unicorn was associated with five of the most well known ponies of Ponyville, one of which was the very mare he tried to ask out earlier today. And not only that, the two ponies he met earlier, Applejack and Fluttershy as well as the unicorn Twilight, were all part of the renowned group of ponies responsible for the major events in Ponyville. Blues was actually surprised he hadn’t recognized the first two before. Applejack for saving the village from a cow stampede, and, more memorably, the ‘baked bads’ incident, and Fluttershy for the parasprite swarm that occurred while he was away. At least Twilight had not directly caused any kind of chaotic mess, not to Blues recollection.

“Like the pictures?”

Blues turned to see the unicorn next him, a piece of paper levitating to her side.

“Uh, yeah. You sure have a lot of pictures here,” he commented, looking back to the wall.

“Keepsakes of my time here in Ponyville,” she said, walking closer to observe her captured memories, “They remind me of all the good times I’ve had here, as well as some minor repercussions on my part.”

Blues noted that one side of the picture wall was taken during some of Ponyville’s less fortunate times. One such picture was taken after the parasprite swarm, depicting the town a complete mess. Another picture was taken at night, showing a house with huge bite marks on its roof, bringing to mind the Ursa Minor incident when that illusionist unicorn visited the town. One other pinned picture was actually a cut out from a newspaper, detailing the recent Grand Galloping Gala and the disaster that befell there.

But the one picture Blues was familiar with was the one depicting a field of snow halfway cleared. It was from last year’s winter wrap up, as the workers in the picture were wearing their team vests from that day. He remembered that day fondly, working in the fields plowing away snow, actually feeling like a part of the community. Quite fun. He also remembered being buried in snow and going missing for an hour. Less fun.

Why was it on her wall, though?

“That one was one of my more embarrassing blunders,” Twilight spoke, seeing the stallion stare at the picture hard, “I tried helping out with clearing the snow, and it didn’t work out so well…”

Blues looked at Twilight for a moment before looking back at the picture. Then he looked back at the unicorn. She was starting to look familiar…

“Then I tried using magic to help my cause. Didn’t end well either…” she said modestly, her voice lowering as she went on her embarrassing memory, “Not surprisingly, I ended up burying half the field in an avalanche.”

“Wait…” Blues spoke up as he turned to her, “You were the one without a vest that day?”

“Oh…uh, I didn’t have one until we finished wrapping up winter,” she said.

“Hmm, I remember that…” Blues said, turning back to the picture with an unhappy face, “I also remember being buried in snow that day.”

There was an awkward silence as the two stood there, the faint sound of Twilight silently gasping being the only noise in the library. Twilight never meant to hurt any pony that day and she only recalled ever bringing harm to Applejack, resulting in that avalanche. Meeting a stallion she had inadvertently buried in snow so long after the incident brought out penitent feelings in the unicorn.

“Um, oh my…” Twilight uttered, “This is awkward…um…”

The unicorn began scratching the floor with one hoof as Blues resumed looking at the pictures. Any mild anger he had felt in the previous moment was gone, discarded in favor of apathy he was so accustomed to. And besides, Blues wasn’t one to hold a grudge.

“You’re not mad about it, are you?” Twilight managed to ask.

Blues turned to the unicorn with a neutral face, one that expressed no such grudge for past actions, “Mad? Nah, not really.”

Blues turned back to the wall, looking at a picture depicting a western town torn up in a few places and pie splattered here and there.

“I’ve learned over time that there are some things in the universe that happen out of your control,” he said, feeling like relaying his life a little, “You don’t get anywhere staying in one spot lamenting your woes, but moving on doesn’t lower the odds of bad things happening again either. The best you can do is just suck it up and move on with your life, braving disappointments and disasters whenever they happen…”

The two ponies stood there for a while. Twilight absorbed the stallion’s words and wondered how one pony could ever come to this conclusion about bad luck and life’s misfortunes. Unless they happened often, he shouldn’t be so pessimistic, she thought.

“Wow, sounds like you’ve had some bad luck, huh?” she commented.

“I guess you could say that…” Blues said. He turned away from the wall and faced the unicorn, decidedly done with his sight seeing. “Now, about that book I wanted…”

“Oh! I forgot about that,” Twilight said as she walked towards a staircase, “Spike! Can you fix us some tea? We have a guest here!”

“I’m on it!” replied a strange voice. It was a little rough sounding, unlike any pony Blues has ever heard of.

“It might take a while to find the books you’re looking for,” the unicorn said, bringing his attention back to her, “You’re not busy, are you?”

Blues thought about his later attempt to try asking out Rarity again and how he was taking all day preparing for his second try. Then again, reading the books would take a while and putting their knowledge to use would take even longer. He figured he could spare a few minutes of chatter with this unicorn.

“I can waste some time here,” he replied, “But I can’t be here forever.”

“Sounds fine to me. Have a seat please,” she ushered him to a table in the center of the room, “I’m actually a little interested in your psychology, if you don’t mind me saying…”

Blues huffed gloatingly. What are the odds? Not only had he caught the interest of another mare, but she was also a well known mare in Ponyville, responsible for half of its disasters and catastrophes.

Blues himself was responsible for the other half.

“Um, what was your name again?” The unicorn asked as she sat at the table.

Blues mentally face hoofed himself. Where were his manners today? “Sorry, I never told you. My name is Blues,” he answered.

Twilight chuckled, “Fitting name you have there. It’s actually quite nice.”

Blues face flustered a little. No one ever commented that his name was nice, even though it matched his image perfectly and his career even more so. This unicorn was the only pony as far as he knew to actually acknowledge his name.


“So, why do you need these books anyhow?”

The two ponies had had a nice long conversation about the blue stallion and views of life, often hopping back to past events of Blues memory that weren’t particularly fond for him. Tea was served and a few books of his specific interest were found and open in front of him. He was reading a book entitled ‘Higher Living: The Merits of Investments’ with two other books on his side queued for reading, one titled ‘So you were invited to a Fancy Party?’ and the other reading ‘Eggheads Guide to Sophistication’; this one was out of Twilight’s personal collection.

“I mean, I don’t usually ask this of my visitors,” Twilight justified her previous question, “But you’re not a regular here and this was a specific set of books you wanted.”

Blues sighed a little. This was the third time he had had to remind himself about the earlier event with Rarity, or her sister to be more accurate, and explain himself to another pony. It was getting a little tiring, but Blues didn’t mind the attention a pony had when they asked this of him.

“I want to prepare myself for…a date,” he answered, not willing to completely elaborate his plans to the unicorn, “And I want it to be fancy.”

“Ohh, that makes sense,” Twilight said, levitating a teacup towards her mouth and taking a sip.

Blues decided to take another sip out of his cup as well, seeing the unicorn drink hers. The tea had cooled down to lukewarm since their talk had started, but it still retained its delicious flavor; a mild sweetness and an aftertaste that reminded him of nuts. He had never had tea before, but he might just become a fan after this little tea time.

“Mmm,” he said, gulping the tea in his mouth, “What is this stuff?”

“Rooibos tea. I see that you like it?” Twilight asked, receiving a nod from the stallion, “A good friend of mine gave me several bags for home use. You know about the zebra who lives in the Everfree Forest, right?”

Blues ceased drinking at the mention of the place. He gulped, “Yeah?”

“That’s her. That zebra who comes into town once a month.”

“And she lives there? The Everfree Forest?” Blues asked, skeptical.

“Hard to believe, I know, but I think she’s more accustomed to the forest than she could be in our little village,” Twilight said of her impression of her striped friend, “I actually used to come over once a week for tea time, but after a certain…incident…,” the unicorn didn’t have very nice memories of her time with the cockatrice, “We decided I should just take home a box of the stuff and stop by every often to restock.”

“Huh…well, I guess this stuff is to die for, in that case?” Blues joked.

The humor sailed over Twilight’s head as grim feelings swept over her. There was a certain reason the unicorn wanted to avoid that memory as much as she could. The petrifying had still left her conscious, only disabling her senses and living apparatuses. When she got home after the incident, she thought about it in detail and became afraid of what could have been. She then started thinking about the other times their lives had been in danger and what could’ve happened had things gone awry. It made her uncomfortably aware of death and the thought had made her uneasy. Twilight became slightly thanatophobic in recalling the events, but before she let the fear get to her, she eventually came to the conclusion to not think about the event ever again and move on in her life, dealing with danger when it came.

It was strange. She was almost like Blues in that sense.

“Uhh…” Blues could see the eerily discomforted unicorn dwelling on thoughts of death at his joke. He wasn’t exactly the kind of pony to cheer somepony up, and this was one of those reasons why, “My bad.”

“I found another one!” a voice from upstairs shouted.

Blues and Twilight were relieved at a convenient change in subject for them. The two turned their heads to the top of the stairs to see a purple scaled, green spines dragon holding a book in his hands as he walked down the stairs. Blues had never seen a dragon before, only full grown adults in the books he read as a foal, so he was very surprised to see a young one serving the two tea and delivering books. Apparently his name is Spike, loyal assistant to Twilight Sparkle, and has practically been with her since he was born.

“This one’s called ‘Top of the Pancake: Living the Sweet Life’. Sounds more like a dining book if you ask me,” the dragon said as he placed the book on the table.

Twilight chuckled, “Thanks for your input, Spike, but I think it’s supposed to reference the well known Trickle Down theory in other highly economical countries.”

“Either way, I could go for some pancakes right about now,” Spike said as he took a seat next to Twilight, “Actually, it’s almost lunchtime, don’t you think, Twilight?”

“Ohh, you’re right. We’ve been working on the library all morning, haven’t we?” she said, bringing a hoof to her chin in thought, “Want to stop by the diner for lunch today?”

“Sounds good,” Spike replied.

Blues took this as his cue to leave.

“Well, I believe I should get going then,” he said as he stood up, taking one last look at his empty teacup, “I have the books I wanted and I should prepare for my date later this evening.”

“Oh, you don’t want to come with us for lunch?” Twilight asked.

Blues kindly shook his head, “I have to go home and read up on these books for my date. Can you put these books on my tab?”

Twilight, and Spike, blinked at the stallion at his question, then looked at each other. He was joking, right? Sure, this was his first time in a library, but even first time visitors knew that libraries had a rental system. Although registering for a card actually took some money and a bit of registration time.

“You know, you need a library card to rent those books…” Spike commented.

“Oh…” Blues uttered, “Uh, is it too late to sign up for one?”

“All you have to do is pay a little fee and sign some papers, that’s all,” the dragon said as he walked towards a drawer where the registration papers were.

Twilight, however, felt a little generous today.

“No, Spike. That’s fine,” the dragon stopped as he opened a drawer, “This one’s on the house.”

“What?” both Blues and Spike questioned in surprise.

“You can return them to me after your date,” she said, her horn beginning to glow and levitating a paper out of the drawer near Spike, “In fact, I’ll loan you some saddlebags to take them home with you.”

“Wow, really?” Blues spoke in awe at this generosity.

A cupboard by the table they drank at opened and out levitated a saddlebag. Blues’ books were also lifted by the magic and were placed in the sacks, as well as the paper. Full, the saddlebag levitated towards Blues and tightened itself around the stallion.

“It’s not too tight, is it?” the unicorn asked, not seeing Blues show any discomfort, “Anyways, you can return the books and the saddlebag tomorrow after your date. I packed the registration paper in there as well if you decide to make another rental here at the library.”

“Wow, thanks Twilight,” Blues said as he looked at the bags hanging beside him, “I’m very grateful for this…”

Twilight chuckled, “That’s what friends are for, right?”

Blues widened his eyes at the word, then frowned. Friend? Him and Twilight? He wasn’t sure about this. He didn’t want to be a bother to her, after all she had done for him. At most, they were acquaintances. He didn’t like imposing the title ‘friend’ to any pony lest he look like an annoying and desperate colt.

Still, if she was willing to call him a friend, by all means, he’d welcome it.

“Sure! I’ll be sure to return the favor someday,” Blues said.

“You don’t have to. Friends help out other friends,” she said.

Was that how it works? The act was foreign to Blues, but it didn’t surprise him how little he knew of friendship without, you know, friends.

Blues nodded, “I’ll keep that in mind. Thank you, again, for the books.”

“It was my pleasure.”