• Published 25th Jun 2012
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The Sisters Doo - Ponky



Daring pays a visit to her sister in Ponyville. Due to buried grudges, things get out of hoof.

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13 - Bet Your Bottom Bit

Chapter 13
Bet Your Bottom Bit

Rainbow’s muzzle wrinkled at the pungent smell of alcohol. She blinked a sting from the corners of her eyes and searched the din for Ditzy’s light grey coat. Even clothed in an old, green canvas shirt, the mailmare was easy to spot among the bar’s glum palette. Rainbow was shocked at the number of ponies already crammed in the short, wide room; the ship had barely left the harbor.

The stairway led to a small platform elevated from the rest of the bar by only a few steps. Almost the entire room was made of very dark brown wood, glowing maroon in the dim lantern light that shone from six or seven overhanging cylinders. Rainbow Dash’s shrinking pupils took in the fifty odd ponies—mostly male—standing around short tables spread haphazardly over the main level. They drank deeply from dirty mugs overflowing with foam and laughed at crude jokes recited in loud, gruff voices. Loud, loud, loud… the noise reverberating in low-ceilinged chamber gave Rainbow an instant headache.

Gritting her teeth, Rainbow pushed through the crowd in pursuit of Ditzy. They stopped together at the counter on the far side of the room where a happy mustard-yellow pegasus contributed to the noise.

“…and then I said, ‘Oatlantis? Are you crazy?’” she screamed to the bartender and half a dozen listening stallions, all of whom burst into raucous laughter as she settled back into her stool with a self-satisfied grin.

“I hate that story,” Ditzy mumbled in Rainbow Dash’s direction. Before she could ask for the rest of it, Ditzy tapped her sister on the shoulder.

“Hey, Sis, you joined me!” Daring yelled. “It’s about time!”

“You were barely thirty seconds ahead of us, Daring.”

“Huh?” She lifted her helmet with one golden hoof, pushing the other behind her ear. “Didn’t quite catch that!”

Ditzy sighed heavily. “Did you ask the bartender if he knows—”

“Sorry, Ditz, I can’t hear ya!” Daring yelled too loudly, pulling an exaggerated face of apology. “Hey, why don’t you go try to find what room we’re in. I’ll be down here making lots of new friends!” A mug from the bartender slid across the counter and bumped Daring’s elbow. She tucked a hoof into its handle and said, “Speaking of friends!”

Rainbow grimaced as Daring took three huge gulps of the fermented beverage. She lowered the mug with a satisfied sigh and licked the foam from her upper lip. “Ahhh… now that’s good cider.”

Pff.” Ditzy rolled one of her eyes as best she could and turned her face toward Rainbow. “I don’t suppose you want a drink, Rainbow Dash?”

The blue mare’s scowl deepened. “Not unless they serve that cider non-alcoholic.”

Ditzy smirked. “I’m afraid not. That’s a Sweet Apple Acres specialty, if my experience is anything to go by.”

“Apparently it is,” Rainbow said, flicking Ditzy’s collar.

The mailmare laughed and blushed a little. “I guess I’ve seen my fair share.”

“Uh… ‘scuse me,” an indigo stallion said from the stool next to Daring. He was trying hard not to smile. “I don’t mean to pry, Miss, but… have you ever heard of the, uh… the Daring Do books?” He cleared his throat and avoided Daring’s curious glance. “It’s just that, uh… well, it’s not like I’ve read ‘em or anything, but I’ve seen their ads in, er… in Equestria Daily, and it’s just that you kinda, y’know… look like her…”

Daring lifted her mug and showed her teeth. “It’s really me, chum. Daring Do, live and in the coat.” She swallowed another mouthful as the stallion began to squirm.

“Really? I mean, you’re not just cosplaying or something?”

Daring spit back into her mug and tossed her head back, laughing. “Cosplaying? Heck no! I’m the original, son! Archaeologist extraordinaire, nine time savior of the world!”

“We never saved the world,” Ditzy grumbled. Her lips pursed in thought. “Well, maybe just once or twice….”

“Wow!” the indigo stallion let out something very like a giggle. “I can’t believe it! The real Daring Do!” He suddenly tensed up and glanced over his shoulder, running a hoof across his burnt orange mane. “Er, that is… it’s pretty cool to meet a celebrity, y’know?”

Rainbow Dash scoffed. “Oh, please. You’re not foolin’ anypony, pal. You’re a fan of the books. So what?”

The stallion convulsed in his stool, gripping the sides of it with his forehooves. “W-what? No way, lady, that’s… that’s kiddie stuff. I don’t read those lame books.”

A crease formed on Rainbow’s brow. “Kiddie stuff? That’s high adventure, ya melon fudge! There’s no shame in liking something awesome, whatever its target audience.”

“Calm down, kid,” Daring said, reaching behind her to pat the colorful tufts of mane between Rainbow’s flattened ears. “Just because you’re a fan of the books doesn’t mean everypony has to be. Heck, if I hadn’t written ‘em, I’d probably hate the dang things!”

Again, the stallion could barely contain himself. “Wait… you wrote them!?”

Daring flashed him a winning smile. “You bet your bottom bit! What’s your name, handsome?”

He gulped and rolled his shaking hooves over one another. “Azure Crest.”

“Azure Crest?” Daring whistled. “Now there’s a hunky name if I ever heard one. You got a pen on ya, Azure?”

He shook his head. The bartender, overhearing, used his magic to set a quill and napkin next to Daring’s emptied mug.

“Ah, here we go!” she said, winking thanks at the unicorn. She snatched the quill in her mouth and scribbled something on the napkin. “There!” she said with a final scratch of the tip. “All yours, handsome.”

With a sensual breath, Daring blew the napkin into Azure Crest’s exposed lap. He stared at it like a bar of gold and squeaked forth something like “Thank you.” Daring waggled her brow as Ditzy’s eyelids drooped.

Nyeugh,” she groaned, spinning on two hooves. “Come on, Rainbow, let’s see if we can find which rooms we’re supposed to stay in.”

“Hey, whoa!” Daring thrust out a hoof, wobbling slightly. “Wait a second! Aren’t you guys gonna have a drink with me?” She banged on the lid of her empty mug with her other hoof.

“I’m good,” Ditzy said, looking to Rainbow expectantly.

The blue mare’s coat paled a few shades. “No way.”

“Oohhh, come on!” Daring rolled her eyes and spun on her stool. “I promise you, girls, hundred percent: this is the best cider you have ever tasted!”

The other two shared a knowing look before bursting into a fit of giggles. “See ya, Daring,” Rainbow said, whirling around and skimming the low ceiling on her way back to the staircase. Ditzy did the same as Daring shouted protests after them. As she gave up and ordered a second mug, Rainbow led the winding way back out to open air.

{-DD-}

“One room?” Ditzy asked again. She blinked out of sync. “For all three for us?”

The lanky colt was trying to politely avoid her disorienting gaze by examining a spot in the hallway near his hoof. “Yes, ma’am, that’s how it works when you ride last minute. I’m real sorry, but… it’s all we can offer you.”

Ditzy leaned left to peek around the vested colt, narrowing her eyes at the small, grey room beyond the recently unlocked door. “Two cots?” she asked.

“Two cots,” the colt answered, nodding at the ground.

After a quick sigh, Ditzy said, “All right then, thanks very much for your help.”

Relief washed over the poor colt’s entire body as he began to scamper down the hall. “Y-you’re welcome!” he said last minute, as if an afterthought, and disappeared.

“Gosh, he was really freaked out by your eyes, Derpy,” Rainbow said. She cringed at her slip-up and briefly covered her mouth with both hooves. “Er, Ditzy, I mean…”

The mailmare laughed while trotting into the tiny cavity. “It’s fine, Rainbow. That name doesn’t really bother me all that much. I know you don’t mean anything by it.” She flung her helmet onto the pillow of the rightmost mattress and shook out her straw-colored mane. “Some ponies just use it to be… mean.”

“Really?” Rainbow asked, entering the same room. It was a square, three-and-a-half ponylengths between each wall, with two thin, white mattresses tucked into the corners. She leapt onto the empty cot and sprawled out on her belly, stretching her wings upward until they popped. “I never heard anypony say it to be mean. I always thought it was kinda cute.”

Ditzy chuckled. “Well, that makes one of us.” She crawled into the opposite cot and pushed her helmet between her front hooves, turning her face toward the prostrate Rainbow Dash. “So I guess you call that bed, huh?”

Rainbow tapped her hooves on its pillow. “Yep!”

“Well if that one’s yours and this one’s mine,” Ditzy said with a curl of her lip, “where’s Daring gonna sleep?”

A smirk appeared almost immediately on Rainbow’s face. “The Great Daring Do, survivor of jungles, deserts, and wastelands? I’m sure she won’t mind sleeping on the floor.”

Ditzy snorted. “Oh, please. She never left home without four foam pads squished into her saddlebags.”

Rainbow laughed. “Okay, then, she can go find a nice cloud to sleep on and catch up with us tomorrow.”

“Ha haaa!” Ditzy chuckled, swishing her tail. “Or she could just fly up to the top of the zeppelin. Heheh… I’m the sure it’s nice and warm up there in the middle of the night.”

Rainbow snickered, burying her face in her pillow. “Let’s just find her a paper and quill. Maybe she can write herself a nice bed to sleep on!”

“Or use some of those spare bits to buy one from the captain!”

“She could just buy the whole boat!”

The mares laughed together, spurred on by the relieving sense of understanding between them. Ditzy rolled onto her back and clutched her helmet to her chest while Rainbow Dash tapped her hoof against the side of her meager bed. With a smile stretched across her face, Ditzy rolled her shoulders and slid out of her cot. “I’m getting hungry,” she said, planting her pith helmet firmly over her ears. “You wanna come to the cafeteria?”

Rainbow listened to her body for a moment before shaking her head. “Nah, I’m fine. I’ll stick around here and get comfortable, I guess.”

“All right.” Halfway through the open door, Ditzy turned her neck. “You want me to bring you anything? Apple, hayfries…”

“Sure, I’ll have an apple,” Rainbow said, smiling. “Thanks, Ditzy.”

“You bet! I’ll be back in half an hour.”

“A’ight.”

The mailmare used her tail to close the metal door behind her, leaving Rainbow alone and concealed in the little room. Thankfully, the single lantern hanging overhead was bright, aiding Rainbow as she removed her saddlebag and rummaged through its contents. Lying at the bottom was a thick, green volume that seemed to glow brighter than ever in Rainbow Dash’s rosy eyes.

“Right,” Rainbow said through an ear-to-ear grin, finding her bookmark among the novel’s pages. “Where was I…?”

{-DD-}

The whip cracked again, startling Daring twice as badly. She gulped and stared at her empty plate, trying to ignore the cold sweat sliding down the side of her neck. Her peripheral vision caught a glance from the dark blue alicorn at her right, overseeing the banquet with regal silence. An involuntary gasp accompanied the third resonant crack, drawing in Alula’s full attention. Embarrassed, Daring kept her gaze away from his, observing the enormous hall’s curious arrangement.

The entirety of the palace’s staff—some three hundred ponies strong—were gathered at what Daring understood as a preparatory feast for an upcoming holiday. Having been a guest there for only two short days, she was largely at a loss in her knowledge of Haissanic culture. Even without a clue as to the holiday’s nature, Daring was impressed with the scope and organization of its preceding banquet. Four long, decorative tables, strewn with golden dishes of delicious food, lined the outside of the room as a rectangular border. The open space between the tables acted as a stage; performers of every sort had taken the granite floor one by one for the better part of an hour, entertaining the happy eaters as they devoured and drank.

The Sultan had not said a word since he and Daring had entered the banquet together. Throughout the meal’s courses and performances, he watched with soft, attentive eyes while his magic carried small bites of his food to his lips, slightly curved in a permanently pleasant smile.

Daring ate with much less grace, laughing and gasping and cheering with the Sultan’s many servants seated all around the stage. A talented showpony wowed them with pyrotechnics; a sitar player sang for them a classic myth in Haissanic; a band of earth pony acrobats shocked and astounded with dangerous, exciting feats…

And then the lions were released, and their tamer strode confidently over the polished granite. He must have been well known: he kept his narrow snout held high and his mouth straight as his audience wildly cheered. Daring blinked and felt the color drain from her face as the tall stallion brandished a long, black whip in his jaws. A raspy, foalish voice echoed through her mind at inappropriate volume, a prelude to the jarring noise that would soon explode from the end of the whip.

“~What does your Cutie Mark mean, Daddy?~”

CRACK!

CRACK!

CRACK!

Her wings fluttered on their own accord. She fidgeted in her seat, wide eyes darting from distraction to distraction in the grand palace hall.

CRACK!

CRACK!

Her breath was quick, ragged. Alula’s eyes were filled with concern when he asked, “Are you all right, Miss Do?”

“I-I’ll be fine,” she said, wincing at another CRACK! “I just need to… need to…”

Alula stooped to whisper in her ear. “Nopony is required to stay. You may leave at any time.”

Daring shook her head, squeezing her eyes shut. “No, I… it’s no big deal, I can just… gaah!”

Another CRACK! and another convulsion nearly pushed her off her chair. Stopped by the end of Alula’s quick wing, Daring brought her gaze up to the alicorn’s with nothing less than a pleading expression.

He narrowed his periwinkle eyes, breathing evenly through his nostrils. Suddenly, like an automaton springing into action, he rose from his chair and lifted a regal hoof above the table. The hall fell silent as every eye locked on his gesture. With a gentle air about him, the royal stallion shook his head at the lion tamer in the center. The performer understood immediately, offering a brief bow before hurriedly herding his beasts into their cages. Another act soon took his place and the crowd resumed their happy cacophony.

Daring didn’t notice what sort of performer had replaced the whipper. She slumped in her chair, filling her lungs again and again. Rosy irises sparkled at the ground, the mind behind them struggling to regain composure. A large blue hoof appeared at the corner of her vision. Reluctantly, Daring shifted her eyes to the selfless Sultan.

His gaze was stern and intimate, forming a knot in Daring’s throat. “I expect an explanation for that,” he said, soft enough for her ears only. She nodded, gulped, and returned to staring at her empty plate.


“You brought that thing?”

Rainbow Dash looked up from the book, failing an attempt to stifle a smile. Ditzy stood in the doorway with a smirk of her own and a small basket of food balanced between her wings. An apple arced from her hoof to Rainbow’s. The blue mare bit out a mouthful of fruit, said a muffled ‘thank you’, and placed one of her feathers between the pages of Poison Whispered Kiss. “It’s a good book, whether it’s fact or fiction.”

“Or a blend of both,” Ditzy said, closing the tiny room’s door and setting her basket between the cots. “How far along are you?”

“I just read about some pre-holiday banquet,” she said. “Daring was freaking out about a whip or something.”

Ditzy’s left eye swiveled to the book in Rainbow’s lap. “Really? She wrote about that?”

Rainbow snorted. “You haven’t read it yet?”

“I read a little bit,” Ditzy said with a shrug. “It’s hard to read that version when you lived the real thing.”

Donning a serious expression, Rainbow Dash nodded at that. “What did happen, Ditzy? I mean, were you two both trying to steal the magic carpet?”

“Well… steal is a strong word. Heheh… but yes, we traveled to Haissan with a lead for an ancient flying carpet. Turned out that Alula had set the whole thing up just to meet us, and he offered us rooms in the palace to stay for as long as we’d like. We both spent plenty of time with him.”

“And you both fell for him.”

Ditzy cleared her throat. “Mm… right.”

“But he fell for you.” Rainbow sighed and shook her head. “Geez, I never thought I’d be dealing with romance in the Daring Do books.”

Ditzy laughed. “It’s part of life, I guess.”

“Yeah, sure.” Rainbow yawned and played a quick rhythm on the novel’s binding. “Hey, Ditzy, what’s with your dad?”

The mailmare whirled at the tactless question. “Excuse me?”

“I mean… ugh, sorry.” Rainbow slid a hoof over her face. “That was rude, huh? It’s just that, in the book, Daring keeps making little references to her childhood or something. Lots of stuff about ‘Daddy’. Like, just now at the banquet, when the lion dude was crackin’ his whip a lot, she had some kinda flashback to asking her dad what his Cutie Mark meant. Er…” She flipped through the book’s many pages. “At least, I think that’s what’s happened. It was kinda confusing.”

“Hmm…” Ditzy popped a hoofful of raisins into her mouth and leaned against the wall close to Rainbow’s cot. “Our father was an archaeologist, just like us. He was a pioneer in our field: exploring the world, braving dangerous adventures in search of rare artifacts left behind by ancient civilizations. He was fascinated with it all, what ponies had done.” She smiled and scanned two separate spots on the ceiling. “My father was an amazing stallion. He cared so much about everypony he met… and everypony he never got to meet, for that matter. He believed that everything we did—everything you do matters. It was an invigorating philosophy. Everyone loved him.”

Rainbow was smiling, too. “That must have been nice. What happened to him?”

Ditzy’s smile dropped like a rock. She briefly met Rainbow’s eyes before returning to her basket. “Ahem… you want anything else? I’ve got a few more apples here, grabbed one or two muffins… well, maybe more than one or two—”

“What happened to your dad, Ditzy?” Rainbow asked again.

“He… died.” She shrugged and rummaged through the food.

“How?”

Ditzy didn’t answer, finding a soft muffin to munch on instead.

Rainbow thrust out her jaw. “Was there some kind of… whip accident, or something?”

The grey pegasus almost chuckled at that. “What?”

“You know, ‘cause Daring was freaking out about the whip… it made her think about her dad…” She tapped the cover of the book and then her own forehead. “Must be some kind of connection.”

“His Cutie Mark was a spiraling whip,” Ditzy explained a nostalgic grin, twirling her muffin in the air. “It was his special talent. I’ve never seen anypony even come close to his skill.”

“So, what, he messed up a trick and… I dunno, choked on his whip or something?”

Ditzy’s jaw dropped. “Rainbow! Would it kill you to show a little respect? This is my father we’re talking about.”

“So talk about him!” Rainbow encouraged, tossing her forehooves above her head.

Exasperated, Ditzy let out a flighty chuckle. “You are something else, you know that, Rainbow Dash?”

The Element of Loyalty shrugged proudly. “What can I say?” she asked, sliding her hooves behind her head and leaning back against the wall. “I’m persuasive.”

“I didn’t say I’d tell you anything.”

“But you will.”

Ditzy blinked once. Twice. Finally she dropped her head, sighing as her eyes drifted outward. “Yeah, I guess I will.”

Rainbow closed her eyes and nodded, waiting for the story.

“My father died from a curse.”

One of Rainbow’s fuchsia eyes popped open. “Huh?”

“It was his one-hundred-and-eleventh hunt—or so he liked to say, I don’t think he actually kept count. He was deep in the South Amareican continent, past the Badlands and the Zebrahara, studying the ruins of an ancient civilization built by a tribe of unicorns called the Neighr.”

“There are ponies south of the Zebrahara?” Rainbow Dash asked.

“There used to be,” Ditzy said, nodding. “For many years it had been speculated that ponykind originated from that area, but the ideas were often dismissed as remnants of ancient unicorn mythology. My father was the first archaeologist to explore that area with a small team of highly capable unicorn historians. They discovered the remnants of an entire city. All of its art and architecture pointed to unicorn design, and the salvaged technologies were centuries ahead of their time. It was the discovery of a lifetime, and it brought my father much prestige and attention… but, unfortunately, it was also the last discovery of his lifetime.”

Rainbow paled, fully absorbed in the recount. “He died down there?” she wheezed.

“No, though I’m sure he sometimes wished he had. He came across what appeared to be a temple in far better shape than the rest of the ruins. Inside he found an unusual shrine built around a highly ornamented sundial. This was especially remarkable because the temple was permanently roofed, hidden from the Sun; surely it wasn’t used for telling time.”

“What was it used for?” Rainbow asked.

Ditzy smiled sadly. “That’s exactly what he wanted to know. While his team studied the rest of the ruins, taking samples and photographs of everything they found, he spent the entire two weeks of the Neighr excavation pouring over that sundial. When it came time to leave, he refused to go, certain that he could solve the mystery with one more week of study. His team insisted that he come back to Equestria with them and, in his obsession, he tried to remove the sundial.”

She was silent for a moment, staring at the wall.

“He said it was rather large and, being carved entirely of stone, very heavy. The other members of his team—all unicorns—refused to help him. They claimed to feel uneasy whenever they were near the temple, let alone inside it. My father tried to lift the sundial from its shrine all by himself and… well… it didn’t work.”

“Too heavy?” Rainbow asked.

“If only,” Ditzy said. “He managed to lift it an inch, maybe two, off the ground, before it happened. I was only told the story from his mouth one time—” She raised a single, steady hoof. “—but I have never and will never forget a single word.”

The chilling tone in Ditzy’s voice was enough to make Rainbow clutch Daring’s book to her chest.

Ditzy continued somberly. “He said that something attacked his mind. He called it a cold, sharp pain that dripped along the inside of his skull. It spoke to him in a language he didn’t understand, but the message was clear: that he had disrupted a sacred rift, and for his irreverence he would be cursed.”

Rainbow winced. “But… Twilight says there’s no such thing as curses…”

“Perhaps not from the words of a kindly zebra shaman,” Ditzy said with a forced grin, “but from an otherworldly power, my father was smitten with something—call it a disease, call it a curse, call it a punishment—that eventually took his life.”

“Wh-what did it do?” Rainbow Dash whispered.

“Nothing gruesome,” Ditzy explained, “but torturous nonetheless. He was a tall, strong, brave pegasus with an undying thirst for exploration and adventure. The curse left him practically immobile. He came home with his crew and received many accolades for his discoveries among the Neighr, but his health saw a steady decline. Every day he grew weaker and weaker until he was confined to his bed, reduced to a shivering, stuttering mess of bone and fur. For years he was like that. It was frightening to me when I was a filly—heck, it’s still frightening to me. Daring and I took it hard, our mother took it harder, but he definitely took it the hardest. His mind was still fully capable, every bit the genius he had always been, but his body was reduced to little more than a skeleton.”

“Wasn’t there…” Rainbow made a strangled sound. “Wasn’t there anything anypony could do for him?”

“We tried medicinal remedies,” Ditzy answered, “but nothing seemed to have an effect. But we didn’t lose hope. Daring and I had always wanted to follow in our father’s hoofsteps; he passed his love for adventure and discovery on to us. We made a pact with each other, long before his curse, that we’d carry on his legacy as soon as we finished school. When he fell ill and we graduated, we added to that pact: that we would scour the world for powerful, mystical relics until we found a cure to put an end to our father’s wretched curse.”

Rainbow’s eyes shone with starry admiration. “Did you go back to the temple where the sundial was?”

Ditzy frowned. “No. He forbade us. We told him our plan, we promised to help him, and to our surprise, he was even more enthusiastic about it than we were. He revealed a collection of annotated myths, secrets, and classified documents he’d assembled over his years of study. He pointed out ten legendary artifacts that he believed might hold enough power to heal him and had us promise to find every one of them. From that moment on, Daring and I dedicated every waking hour to obtaining those ten artifacts.”

Rainbow leaned forward. “Did you?”

A distant grin twitched at the corners of Ditzy’s mouth. “We found many. The personal nature of our goal, the passion and fervor that burned in our hearts as well as in our minds, added greatly to our success. Although none of them lifted the curse, five of those artifacts were ours within three years—the Sapphire Stone, the Griffon’s Goblet, the Ky Crystal…. Our names spread through the neo-archaeological world like wildfire, and everypony who adventured for the hidden and the rare feared for their careers.” Her smile was widening as her words picked up speed. “And… and along with our search for the remaining five, we began to receive requests and commissions from prestigious museums, universities, and private collectors. We only took up the jobs when we could, keeping our primary focus on saving our father, but…” She sighed and shook her head. “We certainly made a splash.”

Rainbow nodded, grinning at the excitement that glowed in Ditzy’s face. “Sure sounds like it.”

“Our competitors had names for us, I remember,” the mailmare said, tossing whatever was left of her muffin from hoof to hoof as she sat on her haunches. “Some respectful, others not so much. They called us the Winged Wonders, the Hatted Heroines—heheh. When we were younger, we liked to wait and watch the reactions of the archaeologists who followed us to a site, thinking they could take our prize before we got our hooves on it. They shouted some of the funniest things to the sky.” She rose to her hind legs and bellowed upward dramatically. “They tossed back their heads and thrashed their forelegs and cursed the Relic Poaching Pegasi, the Unrelenting Treasure Hunters, the Diabolical Sisters Dooooooo!”

She burst into unrestrained cackles, doubling over and clutching her ribcage. Rainbow was quickly infected, chuckling along and dangling her hind legs over the edge of her cot. Ditzy dropped to the ground and rolled left and right, snorting between strings of lung-twitching laughter. Her tail flicked across the floor as she wiped warm tears from her eyes.

“We liked that one, obviously: ‘the Sisters Doo’,” she said, pushing herself back onto her haunches and flapping twice to stay steady. “We started using it everywhere we went, establishing it as our ‘official’ team name. It seemed to honor our father as much as it pointed to us.”

Rainbow tilted her head. “How’s that?”

“His name was also Doo,” Ditzy explained, taking a deep, respectful breath. “Will ‘Danger’ Doo.”

“Hey, my middle name is Danger!” Rainbow said, hovering in the small space between ceiling and floor.

Ditzy cocked her brow. “Really?”

“Well… no…” Rainbow fluttered back to her bed. “But it kind of is!”

Heheh… whatever you say, Rainbow.” Ditzy grabbed another muffin and hopped into her own cot. She took a big bite and started to chew thoughtfully.

Rainbow pulled at the tip of one of her wings. “So, uh… you liked him, huh? Your dad, I mean.”

Ditzy gave her a sideways glance and swallowed. “Of course I did. I loved him with all my heart. He was my hero.” She let out a small laugh through her nose and stared at the treat balancing in her hoof. “He was everyone’s hero.”

“And by that you mean Daring, right?” Rainbow asked.

Ditzy sort of shook her head, jiggling it on her neck. “Well, yeah, she fits into ‘everyone’ too, I guess.”

“But that’s who you’re thinking of.” Rainbow lifted her book. “Obviously she was pretty attached to him.”

“I can’t…” Ditzy sighed and popped the rest of her muffin into her cheek. “I can’t believe she wrote about that. She doesn’t really… well, she’s kinda…”

Rainbow blinked. “Kinda what?”

Ditzy scowled and looked at the door. “Where is she, anyway? It’s been forever.”

“Hasn’t been that long,” Rainbow said.

“I was gone for almost an hour,” Ditzy said, “and we’ve been talking for a while.”

“An hour?” Rainbow squeaked, checking her bookmark. “How much did I read?”

“More than me,” Ditzy said, shrugging. “Maybe we should go find her. I bet the Sun has set by now.”

Setting the novel on her pillow, Rainbow slid from the bed. “Nah, you stay here. I’ll go find her. I’m sure she’s still down in the bar.”

Ditzy bit her lip. “You sure?”

“Yeah, I remember where it is,” Rainbow said, opening the door.

“I’m sure you do, but… she can be a lot to handle when she’s… y’know…”

Rainbow smirked in her direction. “Drunk? Don’t worry, Ditzy.” Her smile faltered and her eyes darkened. “I know how to handle that.”

Before Ditzy could ask any questions, Rainbow shut the door behind her and took off down the second-level hallway.

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