• Published 23rd Dec 2016
  • 3,355 Views, 196 Comments

The Remainders Of The Day - Estee

After avoiding the last two annual events, Twilight is finally going to hold her first library sale. Or else. And when compared to selling off books, 'or else' may be starting to look pretty good.

  • ...

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Denial, Denial, Denial...

As it turned out, there were some surprising benefits to being buried under an avalanche of encyclopedias. For starters, it provided quiet time in which to think, and Twilight used those oddly-effective moments for mentally drawing up the first draft of a research paper which would prove the mayor to be the single most evil elected official in recorded history. Then she realized the initial twenty chapters of biography could be struck and replaced with a complete account of what had just happened, establishing all the proof necessary. Some time was used for considering a fictionalized version, and she finally settled on having the entire thing play out as a series of interspatial incidents during the trial.

It was a plan, and it also happened to be one which temporarily distracted her from the myriad of unpleasant sensations which came from having several dozen extremely thick hardcovers fall on her.

Eventually, she managed to work her way out of the new pile, with her lone patron's help: she'd had the option to just ignite her field and try to fling everything away, but she would have literally been working blind and since she'd heard the hooves moving towards her, sending a high-velocity hardcover towards her rescuing party seemed to be a less than polite move. Instead, she wriggled, she let the teenager's mouth pluck volumes away here and there, and freedom occurred. A freedom which was followed by two minutes of thanking her patron, and then five minutes of frenzied restacking, as the impact of the encyclopedias had produced enough vibration to bring down a few nearby columns and there was just so much which needed to be put back in order.

Twilight's priorities weren't among the things which needed reordering. After all, this time, she'd thought to thank her rescuer first.

In time -- a much shorter duration than Twilight would have been expecting -- the teenager left the library. Twilight had her place all to herself. Her domain. A domain which she'd been working so hard to improve, bring up to standards, a labor not just of love, but pride and determination and --

-- it was labor. It was work she had to do, and properly. What part of standing guard over books meant getting rid of any?

She slowly trotted around her domain, examining the columns while trying not to moan too much at the movement, for hardcover-shaped bruises provided their own form of knowledge, mostly related to where every last muscle could be found in her impacted body. (The encyclopedia rise had been split in two, and reshelving Volume Twelve gave her a little comfort as the stacks became even again.) Every last one of them deserved to be there, because every column contained books. Yes, some of them were books she never wanted to read and if you got right down to it, more than a few had texts which never should have been written. But regardless of their quality, the fact remained that every last one of them was a book. Some needed to be there for knowledge, others for pleasure, and more than a few as a object lesson on How Not To Write, with the last category sadly tending to be the most heavily borrowed.

Ponies got rid of books, yes: that was part of what stable sales were for (and Twilight dreamed of the unknowing party who truly didn't know what they had -- or rather, what Twilight was about to acquire). Libraries did not. She wanted Ponyville's library to be a true one, and so she had formed what had felt like a rather simple plan: to make that library into a true one. Libraries needed books. And Twilight, through her time as a librarian, had learned so much about the process of acquiring them on the cheap. Stable and estate sales -- she could get Spike to help her with the former: he would have nothing to do with the latter -- allowed her to give the abandoned a new loving home. Some library catalogs were best off avoided because the publisher would try to overcharge the only parties who had to buy: there were situations where private ordering was best, and her friends allowed her to send packages to their homes in order to avoid the automatic price increase that came with the tree's address. Ponies made donations, with Twilight grateful for every last one. Bookstores had clearance sales to frequent, while public auctions sometimes offered 'All the books in this box' as a listing when the curator couldn't be bothered to sort out what any of them were, and a mere opening bid could easily suffice. And on those occasions when her friend was available, Twilight would ask Rarity to come along and demonstrate the fearful efficiency of her "A lady does not use this word" haggling skills.

And so books had come. They had come in packages and boxes, saddlebags and carefully-clenched teeth. Twilight had happily overloaded the tree's shelf capacity and then kept right on going, because that was part of the plan. She had to show the mayor that the tree alone was inadequate for a true library. Twilight needed a second structure, just for starters, and that meant having enough books to justify creating one. As plans went, it had felt perfect, and any reasonable party would respond to seeing her collection in only one way: by giving Twilight what she wanted.

Of course, a reasonable party could generally be defined as one which didn't respond to a problem with blasphemy.

Twilight sighed. She expected too much from other ponies sometimes, and she knew it. Rational behavior was almost a contradiction, and common sense wasn't. But she kept trying...

However, for now, there was a problem to be solved. The mayor wanted her to sell off books. Twilight didn't want to do it. Therefore, she wasn't going to do it. All she needed was a good reason not to, and that reason existed. She just had to think of it...

Twilight went back to the encyclopedias and sorted out the volumes which had suffered the most damage from the crash, then carefully packaged them for transit to the book restoration shop and Mrs. Bradel's tender care. And then she gathered several other volumes, levitated them to her desk, and began to research.

There was a way out of this. It was time to discover what it was.

Reason #1: I don't have to do anything she says because (complete legal entry here).

Research quickly proved that one to be something less than effective.

The library was her domain: Twilight knew that on a level which approached (but could never reach) the deepest currents which flowed from her mark. Everypony in the settled zone knew it. Some of them even referred to the tree that way: as Twilight's library. Emotionally, they all knew it was hers.

Legally, however... legally was something else entirely. Legally, the tree was the property of the settled zone. Government property, and so it fell under the jurisdiction of Town Hall. Twilight didn't own her own workplace and didn't even have true possession of her residence: occupancy of the residential area was a side effect of her research grant. Wherever she went in her studies, she would be gifted with a place to live -- but another portion of the grant's terms dictated that she also needed to have a job. She could live in the tree just as long as she was the librarian. And while the Princess had been the one to assign her that post, that hiring had ultimately been approved and signed off on by the mayor.

The mayor who was, in the town's hierarchy, Twilight's superior.

1a: She's not really my superior. I get to tell her what to do.

This was true. Twilight had the occasional right to command the town's resources. The mayor could offer advice, suggest strategies, and try to direct them away from anything flammable, but a palace-assigned Bearer mission could effectively push the settled zone's leadership over to the seven of them until the crisis had passed.

The operation of the library was not a Bearer-level crisis. (Even if it should have been.) And Twilight suspected any attempt to pass it off as such would lead into a fleet of letters being sent from Town Hall to the palace, followed by the arrival of an angry Princess on her balcony and a dressing-down which would make the Smarty Pants Incident look like a school play's warm-up act. When there was no disaster in progress, the mayor legally had near-ultimate dominion over the library and -- the acquisitions budget. There was no local way around that.

Twilight spent some time in corona-spiking fuming, then moved on to 1b.

1b: There's a level of authority above her. I can appeal directly to it.

1b was almost immediately shut down, pushed back into the deepest recesses of her subconscious in the hopes that it would never emerge again. Under normal circumstances, Twilight did everything she could to avoid invoking the palace. The relationship was student and teacher: turning it into wielder and weapon might be the best way to break that relationship once and for all.

(She'd been that desperate exactly once, just a few weeks ago. The exact issue of Equestrian law she'd needed dealt with had placed things into Luna's custody and... it hadn't worked out.)

She would not try to override the mayor through bringing in the palace. Yes, that would theoretically be invoked in an attempt to save books, but -- that didn't feel like enough. And in her heart of hearts, she felt that if she did go for that final resort, the only response would be a rather terse letter telling her to find another way, possibly through making some friends.

1c. I don't want to.

It was a solid rationale. There was no denying the truth of her reasoning. It just wasn't going to hold up very well under open scrutiny.

She would have moved deeper into the subcategories from there, but that was when Spike came in.

"Selling off books?" He was shocked enough to have his nictitating membranes visibly shift. "Seriously? She wants us to get rid of -- books? But the Archives..."

"We aren't the Archives," Twilight sighed. "And she's not going to let us become them, either. I really thought I could have us up to four buildings within three years, but she's... not being reasonable." At least Spike was on her side. He'd grown up with her, and so his priorities were fully in order. "She doesn't understand about needing books. I want to make this place a real library, because if it's a real library, then that means --" and stopped.


"It means I'm doing a good job," she finished, and hoped the words would be enough. "But I can't go over her mane on this. The sale is supposed to be in five days, Spike. Five days to figure out how not to have it."

"Well..." One handling claw came up, and he thoughtfully rubbed at his chin's scales. "Twilight, what did she say when she gave you the order? Exactly."

Her words were pained: the voice of a mother with thousands of children who wanted to love them all equally (even when they didn't all deserve it) and knew she didn't have enough food for the entire family. "We have to -- sell off -- enough so that everything which stays can fit on the shelves and racks. No more columns."

And her little brother, who was known to have the occasional moment of brilliance, smiled.

"There you go."

The hope began to surge. "Spike?"

His features twitched into a reptilian grin. "Let's -- I don't believe I'm saying this... reorganize!"

Reason #2: I don't have to clear space because we have enough already. We just need to make more efficient use of it.

She couldn't believe she hadn't thought of that herself. It must have been the stress.

Stress which, as they tried to enact Spike's solution, wasn't exactly going away.

"How's History going?" he called out across three overcrowded sections.

"It isn't," Twilight sighed. "I can't push these volumes any closer together. They're starting to sort of -- compress into each other. Actually, I really don't like the looks of that spine. I think it's being damaged by all the pressure on both sides. Let me just pull that out --"

Gravity had already happened. General physics was happy to follow suit.

Her first words, once Spike had unearthed her enough to expose her mouth, were "So when there's a lot of pressure on a central point, and you remove that blocking point, all the surrounding potential energy can go kinetic and escape through the gap. That's interesting."


"Or in laypony's terms," Twilight went on in that same mildly (and recently) concussed tone, "pull the plug and here comes all the water! Whee!"

"Twilight, I think you'd better lie down for a while."

"I can't. Economic Wars: The Great Griffon-Triggered Depression fell open right on top of my face. There was just enough light to spot the error. So I have to write the author. And you have to send it."

"In the morning," Spike carefully insisted.

"Ponies are reading the wrong facts! And that edition is --" her field, which was now wavering a little around the edges, exerted enough to turn the pages. "-- ponies have been reading an error for that long? Fifteen years of miseducation, Spike!"

"So it'll be fifteen years and one day," he said, clearing off her forelegs. "Come on, time for bed..."

"But --"

"-- you'll compose a better letter after you get some sleep and have a good breakfast. And you worked through dinner. You really shouldn't try to correct academics on an empty stomach."

She sighed. "I guess you're right."

He silently nodded, then started to work on freeing her hips.

"You know, there's a surprising number of benefits to being buried under a book pile. You should try it sometime."

No response.

"Those other ponies really didn't have any right to complain. They should have just appreciated the experience."

The silence carefully maintained.

"Also, the mayor is evil. I don't know if I said that earlier. Evil. It took the encyclopedias to make me really appreciate that. Maybe if I dropped them on her, she'd realize how evil she is. And then she'd admit it, and as soon as she says she's evil, we can blast her with the Elements and fix everything." Thoughtfully, or at least as close as she was currently capable of being, "I'm not sure how that would work. Maybe they would turn her into an extra library. An evil library."

"Twilight --"

"-- no, I'm being silly," she admitted. "Libraries can't be evil."


"So they'd just turn her into a pressure point which was only evil by coincidence. And hated me. And buried me in books. Which was really helpful, so maybe that's not evil. Intentionally. Is it tomorrow yet?"

Eventually, he wound up dragging her along the ramp by her tail.

Reason #2, Take #2.

"So it has to all fit on the shelves," Twilight considered. "But she didn't say they had to fit on the existing shelves. Just -- shelves. So if we add more shelves..." Her eyes brightened -- and then her tail drooped. "Which costs money."

"We could just make some," Spike proposed. "How hard could that be?"

Twilight's tail lifted, then silently twitched towards the lingering crack in the library's front door. "That," she said with a forced steadiness, "is a reminder of what happens when I try to do carpentry. And can't. Looking at the diagrams in a book which tell you how to nail shelves together isn't the same as being able to: that lesson kind of stuck." Much like a certain less-than-fondly-remembered batch of defective spackle. "And even if we try it, we'd need money for the raw materials. I've only got so much savings, Spike, and we'd be looking at a lot of shelves. Plus we'd need somewhere to put them. Even when they're clear, the aisles aren't that wide: I don't think we can squeeze things close enough to allow more than three extra units per rough row and still have ponies get through. I'm not sure that's going to be enough."

Spike thought it over. "We could get the materials for one extra unit. That won't cost too much, and we'll find out if we can put it together."

"Maybe..." Twilight considered -- then perked up again. "And I could just sort of move it all over the place! Pick it up, put it down, see where it would squeeze in -- and then I can just draw up the new floor plan around it! See how many books the sample will take, average out the page counts, work the math for the multiplier, and that'll tell us if we have enough room and money for the remainder! Go to the hardware store, Spike. Get wood. Nails. Hoof-hammer shoes. And if anything says it's an FF product, leave it."

Time passed. Carpentry took place, or at least a rough approximation of same which more or less held together under some of the lighter paperbacks, at least while Twilight's field was still tightly wrapped around the whole thing. The library reached its official opening hour, which meant patrons started coming in and, after they got a glimpse of the intense activity, very quickly went out again.

A new floor plan was drawn up and compared to the number of books which required shelving. The first requirement turned out to be eighty percent more floor.

Twilight groaned, sunk down to the inadequate floorboards, placed her forelegs over her head, and moaned.

"What if... we took out your desk? Ran everything from..." Spike hesitated. "...your bed?"

"Not enough," Twilight sighed.

"Vertical? Instead of having shelves next to shelves, we could just make the units taller, like the Archives --"

"-- yeah," she sighed. "Like the Archives. Do you also remember how the Archives have ponies reach the highest shelves? Moving platforms that levitate along predetermined paths on command. I don't know that enchantment, Spike, that's making a device, and that's not my specialty. I don't know if I can learn it in time, plus I'd need all the materials and after you figure in for running the trials and cleaning up the debris... not with our deadline. I can't. And I can't order them from a convenience store because I don't have the budget and the mayor isn't going to approve anything for this, not when she wants me to sell off! Maybe the archivists don't -- feel the same way about me any more after I finally apologized, but they still can't let me have a bunch for free, and I can't borrow their platforms when the Archives need them. If we go too high, two-thirds of ponies can't reach things. Go way too high and I'd always be galloping around getting books for patrons, plus it gets hard to focus my field on something when it's too far away to clearly see..." And the other option was hiring a pegasus assistant, but budget.

Comforting handling claws moved through her fur, carefully angled to prevent scratching. "Folding ramp?"

She mentally worked the math. "It would have to be a zig-zag and even with the friction spell involved, if the slope angle was going to be safe, it would take up half the library."

Spike, out of ideas, quietly sat on the floor beside her.

"There's only so many places we can move things inside the tree," Twilight miserably said. "Remember when that one patron told me about bathroom reading and I tried to put some of those books in our bathroom? That really didn't work out." It had, however, taught her a lot about the physics of water spray. Also the chemistry of scents soaking into paper, and all the ways it couldn't be undone by anypony other than Mrs. Bradel, who had happily accepted the consequences (from a great distance) and her portion of the heavy kick to the library's budget. "I can't carve out any more of the interior wood and keep the tree healthy. The basement is..." She thought about everything which was currently in the basement. "...occupied. You and I still need a place to sleep. We have books on top of books, around books, not inside books because that's just stupid, and we have all this vertical space but we can't use it. I can't just ignite my horn and create more room..."

She blinked.

Spike, who had a lot of experience with that blink, subtly shifted away, moving to what he was hoping would be a safe distance.

It wasn't.

Reason #3: I am supposed to be Magic, therefore, reality can just get out of my way.

Compression spells -- worked. At least, they would work in theory, as Twilight didn't currently know any and while she was sure she could master the workings, every version she could find was inadequate to the library's needs. That such magic was only meant to be used on the inanimate clearly wasn't an issue. (There might be very few solids which truly qualified for the name, but cutting down on the space between things for the living... wasn't a good idea, and Twilight quickly looked away from that section of the text.) Making books smaller could be done. The results would be denser, and some volumes would require sturdier shelving -- but in theory, she could eventually just shrink every book in the library down to about forty percent of its original size, then give out a loaner magnifying glass after every movement of the checkout stamp. The problem was that the spells were strictly short-term. The compressed state required infusions of fresh thaums to truly maintain: otherwise, any affected object left to itself would eventually snap back.

Twilight spent some time figuring out the math and found herself looking at a library full of miniaturized volumes which, if she recast the working regularly and went to the full triple corona each time, draining herself into exhaustion -- would explode back into full size about twenty minutes before she could reasonably hope to wake up again. And given the packing of the volumes onto the shelves, portions of that explosion would be decidedly literal. (Plus no book would ever be able to leave the library again, but really, when compared to no longer needing to deal with late fees, that was almost a benefit.)

Phase spells were something else she hadn't mastered and were even more short-term than the compression variety: keeping books inside books wasn't a particularly good idea, and having two objects intersecting when that magic wore off was a much worse one. It would also make books impossible to recover for anypony who couldn't work the magic, difficult for just about everypony else, and offered the option of trying to read superimposed pages. So on the whole, no.

There was teleportation to consider, if only briefly, for her trips took her into the between -- a space which, as far as anypony could tell, just might be something close to infinite. Once you took out the short-term travelers, it was certainly infinitely empty. The problem there was nopony had truly explored it, because remaining within for longer than it took to complete a teleport was -- inadvisable. Just staying that long often meant wrapping oneself in memory to get past the total sensory deprivation, which made it a less than advisable place to store shelves. And besides, there were constant rumors that any true attempts to remain and explore had resulted in ponies becoming lost. Permanently. If ponies could go missing forever, then so could books. So construction of a permanently-open portal to the between, which had already felt like a truly bad idea on any number of levels, effectively became an impossible one.

(At that point, Twilight did recognize that she had reached the place where she was just kicking concepts against the wall to see what stuck. Still, there were times when bad ideas led to good ones, and some of those might still look sensible after the doctors finally released the aspiring spell researcher from the hospital.)

Creating sapient, self-levitating books which would hang in the air until somepony called for them: a completely wonderful idea. And when she eventually remembered the fantasy novel she'd originally seen it in, she still considered it to be a completely wonderful idea, and also a completely unworkable fantasy.

Making one book somehow hold the knowledge of every book: probably not. Besides, if it ever worked and the mayor learned she could cut down the space requirements that much, it would probably leave Twilight with one book and eventually, somepony would borrow it and never bring it back.

"Magic," Twilight wearily announced, "sucks."

Spike blinked.

"There's thousands of workings," Twilight slowly continued, pushing herself away from the basement's primary workbench, or at least pushing herself as far back as she could go. "Sure, some of those are just minor variations on central spells, and there's a lot of things that'll never work for me just because they're mark-tied spells and a mark for magic still isn't one for luck, let alone..." She stopped, sighed. "Anyway, there's thousands of workings. And I always wind up thinking that's going to be enough to cover everything a pony could possibly need. Except that it isn't. I keep getting reminded of that and I still forget it's not enough, right up until the next time I need something which doesn't exist. And I can't try to invent new spells without more testing time than we've got."

The smile was a purely weary one. "So -- you're not going to just try making one up on the spot this time and casting it on theory?"

She couldn't quite echo the expression, for some lessons would never fade. "I'd rather not have the books trying to eat each other."

They both rested in silence for a while.

"We burned most of the day on this," Twilight said, feeling the hours pressing against her fur. "And we didn't come up with anything."

"You're completely out of ideas?" Spike checked.

"I had this really stupid one where putting enough books together would sort of warp space and distort things so much that any number of volumes could share the twisted region. I even wrote down a few dumb conjectures on it."


"I think I threw them away without thinking about it, though. I can't find any of them."


"By the way, do you know where this orange fur came from?"


"It doesn't smell or look pony," Twilight decided. "Maybe we've got pests. On top of everything else..." She sighed. "Well, that's easy enough to fix. I can just go to the cottage and ask Fluttershy to drop by. She'll ask them to leave. Through moving in. With her. Again."

"It's what she does," Spike shrugged. "It's not like the cottage doesn't have the space, and then there's the grounds..."

"Yeah," Twilight agreed. "At least one of us isn't at -- maximum... capacity..."

Reason #4: Friends!

"Let us say," Rarity carefully proposed from her place on the loft's guest bed (as there hadn't been enough space on the main floor for the hastily-gathered seven of them to sit in comfort), "that following your explanation, we all understand what the problem is. And of course, that we are willing to do whatever we can to assist you with the solution. Isn't that right, everypony?" Four mares nodded. "I only wish that the timing had been somewhat better. Fluttershy has births to attend, I know Applejack needs to keep an eye on her first sprouts... the middle of spring requires any number of hours from us, Twilight. But we will do what we can."

"I've got a lot of birthdays!" Pinkie chimed in. "But I can get back here between them! And on the sale day, I've actually got some free time! You can count on me, Twilight: every minute I can give!"

Rainbow's expression was somewhat more acquisitive than inquisitive. "Selling books... any particular --"

"-- no!" Twilight smiled, and held back the laugh of relief for just the right moment. "That's not it! But I knew you would all help me, once I finally thought to ask, and... I'm sorry it took so long. The solution was to have all of us working together on this, the whole time. I should have thought of that at the start, and --" openly abashed "-- I'll try to get there faster next time, I promise. But you don't have to help me with the sale! With everypony working together, I don't have to sell anything!"

She wondered if they were using the extended moment of silence for trying to figure out her plan, and then wondered why they needed to do so at all. Surely they must have seen the solution. It was so obvious...

"Huh?" Rainbow eloquently said.

...or not.

"I need to have all the books on shelves!" Twilight declared. "But nopony said they had to be my shelves!"

Fluttershy's one visible eye blinked. "...um... Twilight, I think I know where you're going with this, and..."

"-- right! With all the things you have to buy just to keep up on veterinary procedures and species discoveries, you're practically the animal annex already! So we'll just shift all the Zoology books over to the cottage because when you think about it, that's really where they should have been all along! And Rarity, I don't have much about fashion, but you can take everything I do have! Although that's going to duplicate a lot of magazines, but it's just extra copies for ponies to read and you've already got the waiting area in the Boutique, so when you think about it, the reading space is already set up! Applejack can put the farming material in the barn plus anything I've got on tenant relations, then we move all the books about games into Pinkie's attic, I buy some extra checkout stamps and give everypony their section of the card catalog to take home..." She smiled -- then gave it some more thought. "Oh. Late fee forms. You'll need those. And I'll pay for anything you need to mail. Now, the order forms should still go through me, but if you've got any recommendations in your areas of expertise..."

She was wriggling on her bed now, the excitement wrinkling sheets and shifting bangs. It meant she needed some time before she truly noticed them staring at her.

They were all staring at her.

"And I would get the Adventure section?" Rainbow checked with what seemed to be truly excessive caution. "Because there's kind of a problem --"

"-- no," Twilight smiled, managing to maintain the smile in the face of the scrutiny. "You get Sports."


Wasn't it obvious? "Because most ponies can't reach your house and nopony really cares about sports anyway."

Rarity took a slow breath.

"Twilight, dear," she carefully said, "do you happen to recall what my father does for a living?"

"He's a hoofball coach," Twilight immediately replied. "He started coaching after retiring as a player -- oh! Rarity, I didn't mean -- well, I know ponies read about sports in the newpaper, but that's just to get the results, and writing about matches and seasons long after they're already over, that's just --"

"-- he was considering," Rarity expertly (and tensely) interrupted, "composing an autobiography."

Twilight thought about that.

"...does he need an editor?"

Rainbow and Pinkie simultaneously facehoofed. Rarity simply sighed, then glanced around at the others -- with her steady gaze never quite reaching Twilight.

"I can come in tomorrow morning and assist with the initial sorting," Rarity stated. "Really, I should be the one to devote the most hours, seeing as how at least a portion of this is my fault in the first place. I helped her to purchase the most books at the lowest price, and so some of the blame must go to me for enabling."

"There's no sorting involved!" Twilight hastily smiled. "We're just packing up the relevant sections! And I'll do all the carrying. Applejack, you're pretty good with carpentry stuff: how much money and time would you need to make the new shelves?"

"Ah can drop by a couple of times," Applejack said in response to something other than Twilight's words. "Not too much, though. Maybe Ah can help figure out what's just gotta be kicked out. Can't expect t' sell everythin'. Some stuff's just gotta go at the start if we're gonna have any chance of reachin' the goal, an' as for what's left after... Spike, y'feel up t' a bonfire?"

The skin under Twilight's fur was slowly beginning to pale in horror.

"I could always use confetti for parties!" Pinkie declared. "Shredding magazines is good for that!"

"But," Twilight managed. "...but... but..."

"Sounds good," Applejack quickly decided. "Won't be sellin' too many of those anyway, so might as well put 'em t' use. Fluttershy, any of yours need the building material for nests?"

"...yes," the pegasus said. "All the time. But nothing with too much ink: sometimes the feathers get stained --"

"You're all ignoring me! You're ignoring my plan!"

Everypony turned towards the scream.

"Yes," Rarity simply said. "We are."


"Because you're our friend," Rainbow steadfastly replied.

"And that means," Pinkie gently stated, "we care enough not to listen. Now somepony should really find the latest rare book catalogs and check everything against it. We don't want to put out anything too good! Spike, I saw you checking one at that last stable sale: is it new enough?"

"I... think so," her traitorous little brother said. "Let me go look..."

Twilight's legs went straight, pushed her off the mattress and into a rather awkward landing on the floor.

"You..." she began, staring at them all, and couldn't seem to find another word. "You..."

Nothing else came, and so she had to settle for a furious stomp down the ramp, letting the echo of the strongest hoof pounding she could manage speak for her. But they seemed to ignore even that, and their words kept coming.

"You really think this is the best thing?" Spike timidly asked. "To sell?"

Rarity sighed. "I know you have learned to be generous, Spike, especially as a means of -- resistance. But still... acquisition is an instinct, and it manifests in ponies too. There are times when the best thing to do is letting go. In this case -- yes, that means holding the sale."

A long pause. "I know when I have to let go," he finally said. "For safety, and to be a little more... whole. But Twilight -- she's not me, Rarity..."

"This is partially my fault," the designer replied. "And so the explanation should fall to me as well. I will go speak with her."

And Twilight would have heard regret in the tones if she had still cared to truly listen.

Reason #4: Friends.