• Published 6th Apr 2020
  • 5,144 Views, 378 Comments

Final Corruption - Epsilon-Delta

Twilight's smart enough to have nothing to do with Rarity and her gang of delinquents. But as her world view is challenged and as Rarity takes interest in her, slowly Twilight finds herself getting closer to Rarity and becoming a delinquent herself.

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Chapter 5. A better weapon

It was close to midnight and for the sixth night in a row Twilight found herself spending the night around the Blue Diamonds, around her new friends.

She was back in Rarity’s house, with Pinkie Pie in their large kitchen. It was far dimmer now than it had been at that first party Twilight went to. They only turned up the lights that much for their ‘daywalker’ guests and normally preferred it as dark as possible. The glow from the ovens and fires was all the light Twilight got, giving the room a dull red glow.

But Twilight was surprised at how quickly she was getting used to the darkness like the others promised she would. She could already see better in the dark, her eyes adjusting to its constant presence, and she wasn’t as unnerved by it as she used to be. At least, not when her friends were around.

Having friends was great! Twilight had still yet to have her first night alone in Ponyville and was starting to wonder if she’d ever have to face it at all. But there was a price to pay for having these friends and that price was accepting that you were going to be in the dark most of the time and that you would not be going to bed early.

Twilight was also getting used to her new, delinquent schedule. Bed at five (in the morning) wake up at noon, work till seven then stay up all night with her new friends. It was already almost normal since the ponies she spent all her time with went to bed around dawn too. They constantly made fun of ponies who went to sleep at sunset and praised Twilight for 'ascending' past the other daywalkers.

Tomorrow was another party at Rarity’s house. She hosted one every Friday just like Twilight heard, so Pinkie was busy setting up for that. If Pinkie had anything like a job, this was it.

Pinkie proved to be an incredible multitasker and was zipping about Rarity’s kitchen, making five different types of pastries and candies all at once. Pinkie lowered several rings of dough into a fryer before hopping back over to a pot of melted chocolate. A lot of this couldn't be bought anywhere, so Pinkie had to make it herself. Half of it was stuff Twilight never even heard of and so her morbid curiosity compelled her to watch.

Twilight was still grappling with the realization that she was, despite all her reading, ignorant of so much. There was such a massive list of slang, types of monsters, myths, genres of novels, types of food, and of course these ‘logical fallacies’ that Twilight simply never heard of until coming to this Celestia-forsaken town. It was, if nothing else, a huge learning experience.

She learned there was a whole range of chocolate from white chocolate, with no cocoa in it, to dark chocolate, with the highest amount of cocoa. She found there was far more you could do with chocolate than just eating it outright, from brownies and pudding to hot chocolate to ice cream to mocha coffee. She learned the names of a hundred new pastries, like funnel cakes and cupcakes, and a hundred new terms like ‘sprinkles’ and all the different types of sugar.

And through it all, Pinkie and the others were delighted to show Twilight all of these delinquent things she was never supposed to have seen.

Just now, Pinkie was showing Twilight ‘donuts’ for the first time. Pinkie hopped back to pull another dozen of them out of the fryer and placed them with the others.

“Why are these called donuts?” Twilight held one of them up, inspecting it as best she could in the dark. “I get the dough part of the name, but there aren’t any nuts in it.”

“Simple, Twitwi!” Pinkie raised her hoof-like she was about to explain it, but quickly dropped her confidence. “Oh, wait! No, it’s not! I have no idea why they’re called that! Maybe they look like nuts?”

Pinkie held up one of her finished donuts and inspected it, trying to work out some way to mistake it for a nut. It didn't work.

“Hey, Rarity!” Pinkie called over to her. “You know everything! Why are donuts called donuts?”

“Well we used to call them dough knots,” Rarity called over from the other room, “but pronunciations tend to shift over time. You see laziness is the chief driving force behind shifts in pronunciation. The 'n' is closer to a 'u' than an 'o' so it just inevitably happens."

Rarity was lounging on one of her many, many couches just outside the kitchen, reading Twilight’s latest essay on the importance of conformity. Twilight wrote Rarity a new essay every day and Rarity read every single one of them, carefully considering them before destroying all of Twilight’s arguments.

“I’m impressed you know that!” Twilight called over to her. “I’ve read a bit about the evolution of language too. Did you know that consonant weakening and sound assimilation are universal trends that appear in virtually every language?”

“Actually that is new to me! Though it is a bit of a comfort to know everypony is lazy,” said Rarity. “It is an awful shame to lose more elegant pronunciations to laziness, isn’t it?”

Rarity herself had an interesting way of pronouncing a lot of words, that was one of those things you couldn’t help but notice. She rhymed ‘ration’ with ‘nation’, said ‘business’ with three syllables, and was adamant that ‘schedule’ was pronounced ‘shed-yule’. Dash and Pinkie pronounced it that way too, but clearly only because Rarity was making them.

Her accent in general really was hard to place, Twilight had no idea where it was from. Though it did sound elegant, as Rarity put it. Twilight loved listening to her talk.

Asking where Rarity was from never produced an answer. All she’d say was that she liked to keep a small air of mystery around her, said it made her more alluring. And clearly, a lot of ponies were allured, so it was working.

“Hey, do you know what kind of accent Rarity has anyway?” Twilight asked Pinkie in a half-whisper.

“I don’t even know what accent I have, Twitwi. Is ‘earth pony’ an accent?” Pinkie jumped backwards onto her wheeled chair and road it back to the table where an extra-large cake waited. “Cakes and candy are my main knowledge area.”

One of Pinkie’s projects was a huge cake, her ‘center piece’, that she was decorating to look like a cemetery. Off to the side, she had little pumpkins and tombstones molded from chocolate that she’d apply in just a little bit. Eventually, she’d cut little holes in the cake where the graves were and fill them with different types of candy before covering them back up so each grave would be a surprise.

But right now, she was applying green frosting over the top, pressing against the cake with a special nozzle then pulling away quickly to create a surprisingly good grass effect.

“And before you ask, yes all of my centerpieces always have a spooky theme. You know, cause we’re vampires?” Pinkie hissed.

“You’re good at this.” Twilight marveled at the details on her little chocolate pumpkins. All of Pinkie’s foods were stylishly decorated with little sugar skulls or bats or intricate frosting designs. “Some of these are like artwork! Where did you learn all this stuff? Is there some kind of school for delinquents?”

“Oh, there’s totally kind of a school for delinquents!” Pinkie jumped back to her latest batch of donuts, pulling them out of the fryer. “I learned all this from the secret candy master.”

“Secret candy master?”

“Well I can’t tell you his name cause he’ll get in trouble. But he’s out there. I trained with that guy for years, Twilight! Rarity introduced me to him so I could be her personal, um, whatever I am! That’s how I got my cutie mark, even! I was a blank flank until the boss took me in.”

“Well I had to give you some way to be useful to me.” Rarity came into the kitchen, carrying Twilight’s essay. “Since you seem so determined to ‘crash’ at my place for all eternity. You’re lucky you didn’t get a cutie mark of my couch stuck on your flank.”

“That wouldn’t be so bad!” Pinkie bounded over to Rarity and gave her cheek a nuzzle. “I could change my name to Comfy Pie and you’d never be able to kick me out cause my butt says no!”

“Oh, I wouldn’t kick you out no matter how useless your cutie mark was.” Rarity pulled Pinkie into a hug. “I’ve grown a tad too accustomed to you.”

And then the two of them cuddled for a second before breaking it off. Watching them hug didn’t fill Twilight with the knee-jerk disgust you were supposed to get when you saw somepony hugging. But it didn’t feel good either. It made her feel lonely like she was being ignored or left out.

She’d done the right thing and asked them to not hug her again, but doing the right thing was painful. That hug, Twilight’s first hug, burned in the back of her mind constantly. She remembered how soft and warm they were, how it somehow made her feel safe for a moment.

And of course, Twilight had cried for an hour straight back then as she sloppily hugged each of them in turn. But despite being hardened delinquents, none of them made fun of her for crying or being bad at hugging. It made her feel a little too trusting in her friends. Some deep, dark part of Twilight wanted to hug all of them again.

So Twilight clearly had a problem.

It felt good at the moment, sure, but that hug left her wracked with guilt and possibly even addicted. She’d felt sick for days thinking about what she’d done. All those PSAs were right, hugs were incredibly damaging to your soul. But the temptation was still there. How long would it be until Twilight gave in and hugged again?

“But hold on to that hug!” Pinkie snapped back to one of her other pots, one where she’d been boiling sugar and water.

She stirred some cream and butter into it to create a viscous, brown liquid.

“Now here’s the good stuff.” Pinkie swirled it around as she took it off the heat. She gave it one last twirl with a spoon and held it up to Twilight in offer. “This is called ‘caramel’, Twitwi. It’s so good that it’s totally illegal!”

“Wait, what?!” Twilight’s shock at illegal stuff only ever got an amused smirk out of these delinquents. “You’re going to serve something illegal at tomorrow’s party? Isn’t that a little brazen even for you three?”

“Of course not!” Pinkie laughed. “This is for the after-party. We never got to have after-parties until now cause we could never find a daywalker cool enough to invite.”

“I’m certain you won’t snitch on us.” Rarity took the spoon and tasted the caramel in Twilight’s stead. “That’s why I’m trusting you to come have some real fun with us. You should feel honored!”

Really Twilight shouldn’t feel honored, but she did. Of all the ponies in town, Twilight was the only one the Blue Diamonds deemed ‘cool’ enough to hang out with them.

“I dunno.” Twilight gave the caramel a suspicious look. “This stuff must be really bad for you if it’s illegal everywhere. Right?”

“I don’t think it’s bad for you at all,” said Rarity. “The whole ‘sugar is unhealthy’ line is a lie. You’ll live much longer if you eat lots of candy, I assure you.”

“Yeah!” Pinkie agreed. “I eat almost nothing but candy and fruit and I’m fine! Oh! You wanna race me? I bet I can run circles around you.”

“Okay. I’ll admit I’m not as athletic as you guys, but-“

How was Twilight supposed to prove sugar was bad for you? Obviously, she had millions of PSAs and books saying it was but Twilight was starting to wonder if those had been entirely honest with her. She already caught a few inaccuracies in what she’d thought was an infallible source of information.

Her one real-world example of sugar addicts was these three and, while it might have degenerated their morals, they were all physically fine. Better than fine, even. Opinions on their fashion choices aside, Twilight doubted there were many ponies who wouldn’t admit the Blue Diamonds were the three prettiest mares in town.

They were all athletic, too, and never seemed to run out of energy. Compared to them, Twilight was a little pudgy, didn’t have the healthiest looking coat of fur, and always had headaches. She’d get winded trying to keep up with them when they ran around town. But at least Twilight was getting more exercise now.

“Why not try it for yourself?” Rarity offered. “Eat nothing but fruit and candy for two weeks. If it makes you sick, then I’ll admit I was wrong. But if you feel better than ever-“

“Well I like science.” Twilight watched that little smirk form on Rarity’s face. She could tell that Rarity really did get some weird satisfaction out of getting other ponies to adopt her views. “Maybe I’ll try. Two weeks can’t cause any permanent damage, right?”

Rarity giggled.

“So that’s another thing you’ll think I’m right about in a few weeks.” Rarity came over to Twilight and brushed her hoof against Twilight’s mane, something that still gave Twilight chills. “But what should we work on next? Maybe you’d like to take my offer for a free makeover while we’re at it.”

“Didn’t you just read my essay on the importance of conformity?” Twilight asked. “Conformity is one of the thirty-six elements of harmony. The-”

Twilight almost started reciting lines from that PSA but caught herself. Things tended to go poorly when Twilight tried ‘mindlessly’ reciting things.

“Well,” Twilight carried on by herself, something Rarity seemed to take delight in, “you need conformity to have a coherent group and foster harmony and keep order. If everypony can just do whatever they want, you get chaos and society collapses! That’s why everything we wear needs to be tribally appropriate and state-approved. A haircut isn’t worth destroying civilization over, is it?”

“Whoa! I want a haircut that can destroy civilizations!” Pinkie laughed.

“You know what I mean.” Twilight blushed.

“Ah, but what is the cost is this conformity?” Rarity asked. “Fashion is just another form of art, in my opinion, but then isn’t all artistic expression stifled these days to make room for conformity? Art and expressing oneself are so vital to what a pony is that trying to take it away is a horrible crime. When I see a pony unable to express herself, why I see a pony who’s been mutilated by society.”

Twilight was getting a little better at this, if only because she was having daily arguments with Rarity now, but she still wasn’t very smooth on her feet. Rarity really was treating these arguments as lessons, though, often giving Twilight advice and allowing her plenty of time to mull things over.

Just yesterday they played a practice game where Rarity gave bad arguments on purpose and Twilight tried to find the flaw in them. Twilight just needed to do the same thing here.

“That’s a counterargument,” Twilight finally settled on that. Rarity taught her, only yesterday, the difference between a contradiction, a counterargument, and a rebuttal. Those were the different ways to respond to an argument in order of strength. “You didn’t actually refute what I said. Right?”

“Excellent!” Rarity clapped her hooves together. It was hard to tell when she was doing this on purpose. “Now how about this? There’s plenty of things you don’t conform to. You keep a very unusual schedule and are about to try a very unusual diet. Already you eat candy and drink coffee. And I know you secretly like Dashie’s music even though it’s not the type you’re supposed to enjoy. Can you really say conformity is so great if you don’t do it yourself?”

“I-“ Twilight felt suddenly ashamed. In a panic, she struggled to think of a rebuttal to that point. Rarity was totally right! “It’s different if I’m just-“

Rarity laughed and waved away Twilight’s argument.

“No, no. You made a mistake just there.” Rarity jabbed her hoof at Twilight. “Twilight, I made a terrible argument just then. It’s called an ad equus tu quoque, since I know you like keeping track.”

“To what?”

“Tu,” Rarity corrected her. “With a ‘u’. That’s another one of those things that looks like a point but isn’t. You see, my pointing out hypocrisy on your part in no way refutes anything you said, it’s nothing more than a personal attack. I might as well have called you smelly, it’d be just as sound reasoning. It’s a technique ponies can use to avoid the issue and make you look bad at once. But it hardly proves anything.”

She knew Rarity was trying to educate her on this stuff, but half the time she felt like a mouse being played with by a lion. She remembered too late there was on response below a contradiction, the ad equus, basically name-calling.

“Don’t worry, Twitwi. I don’t get it either.” Pinkie gave her a pat on the back. “I just dress like this and hiss at everypony cause it’s fun.”

Rarity was just too experienced with arguing. She knew all these little fallacies, manipulation tactics, and rhetoric techniques that made debating her impossible. The only way Twilight would ever win an argument with her as if she found a book about these things. And the only book like that Twilight knew of was banned and belonged to Rarity.

She'd looked into all the things Rarity claimed about banned books being safe. Twilight couldn't find any statistical link between reading them and becoming a violent criminal. Everything Rarity told her about banned books looked like it was true…

Maybe it'd be okay to just look at just one.

“I want to see that book,” Twilight finally said.

“Hm?” Rarity sat up victoriously, smiling that smug smile she got every time she took another inch from Twilight. “Which book did you want to see, Twilight?”

Half the time Twilight hated how smug Rarity got. But only half the time.

“The book about arguing.” Twilight blushed in embarrassment. “The… the banned one.”

“Oh my.” Rarity trotted over to Twilight and gave her mane a stroke. “I’m already starting to rub off on you! You really are as smart as you are cute.”

And suddenly Twilight didn’t hate Rarity's smugness again.

“You’re the smart one.” Twilight didn’t make any protest when Rarity stroked her mane anymore, knowing she’d keep doing it if Twilight stayed silent. “I feel like an idiot when I try to argue with you. You all know so much more than I do.”

“I’ll hardly stop you from stroking my ego. It deserves to be stroked, doesn’t it?” Rarity flicked her mane. “But you’re much more intelligent than a normal pony, just uneducated. You simply need a better weapon! Let me show it to you.”

Rarity beckoned to Twilight to follow her and moved towards the stairs. Pinkie waved goodbye before returning to her work and Twilight followed Rarity into the dark living room.

Rarity lead Twilight up to the actual second floor and opened a door that lead to yet another staircase. Twilight was blind going up the stairs because of the dark. When she reached the room at the top, Rarity light a candle, then went further into the room to light a few more. Twilight supposed she’d be reading under candlelight so long as she was here.

She stepped into the room and was struck by how big it was. Twilight turned around, suddenly surrounded by books! She counted twenty-four bookshelves in total, most of them full! This really was a small library!

“Oh, wow! I wasn’t expecting this many books!” Twilight suddenly had a new respect for Rarity! “Have you actually read all of these?”

“Almost all of them.” Rarity lit the last candle, this one a little wax skull. “A few of them belong to the other two and I'm not quite finished with my last shopping spree.”

“That’s really impressive!” Twilight’s eyes sparkled and she stepped close to Rarity. “This has got to be almost as many books as I’ve read! And I read constantly. I didn’t think I’d ever find somepony who was as much of a bookworm as me. This explains how you know so much.”

It must have been because Rarity had so much free time. Twilight wished she could have inherited a fortune and had two lackeys who did everything she told them to. Then Twilight could read all she wanted to.

“Oh yes. I make sure to read at least one essay every day.” Rarity winked, holding up her daily essay.

Twilight giggled at that. And then Rarity put her essay on a shelf next to the other five Twilight had given her! She was actually saving these!

“I really do appreciate you reading all of these!” Twilight beamed at Rarity. “I feel like you take my essays more seriously than even my professors did.”

Twilight felt such a terrible longing to be closer to Rarity. It was getting harder and harder to resist the urge to hug her. Remembering how soft and warm Rarity was, how good the hug felt last time, made Twilight feel distant.

It was so odd. When Twilight was alone she felt disgusted by what she’d done back in that tomb. But when she was near Rarity she felt a sort of attraction, no doubt a sick addiction compelling her.

Maybe it was just because she always saw Rarity in candlelight, but Twilight always found herself admiring how nice Rarity looked

“Yes, Twilight?” Rarity took off her glasses and fluttered her eyelashes at Twilight, giving that smug smile. Right now Twilight found it endearing. “Is there something you want? Hm?”

“Um.” Twilight looked away, realizing just now she’d been staring. She swallowed hard, unsure if taking the plunge was a good idea. But it was all too tempting. “Can I maybe hug you again?”

“Twilight, you can hug me any time you want.” Rarity opened her forelegs. "You needn't ask!"

“With- without asking?!” Twilight took a step back. She didn’t want to get that depraved!

“Does it look like I mind the others doing it?” Rarity asked. “That’s the sort of relationship I like having with my close friends.”

“But what if I accidentally hugged you when you didn’t want to be hugged?!”

“I always want to be hugged,” said Rarity. “And even if I didn’t, I’d forgive you. Because we’re friends.”

Friends! Twilight could still hardly believe she had friends now. She felt that magnetic pull from Rarity again and trotted over to her. Briefly, Twilight shuffled in place nervously, then slowly, timidly she moved even closer, and soon the two of them were hugging again.

Twilight always felt such a swell of affection for whoever she hugged. Her eyes teared up ever so slightly, overwhelmed with the sensation and the feeling of closeness, but Twilight was determined not to cry this time.

She still wanted to feel even closer and pressed her muzzle against Rarity. Without really thinking about it, Twilight allowed an instinct to take over and she began rubbing her nose up and down against Rarity’s neck, the motion coming out all too naturally. Rarity took this as permission to return the gesture and nuzzled Twilight back.

And that was when reality hit Twilight. She’d just nuzzled Rarity. They were nuzzling! That wasn’t something you were supposed to do with anypony except-!

Twilight pulled back in a panic, unsure exactly why her heart was racing.

“Hm?” Rarity gave Twilight an exaggerated pout.

“Sorry.” Twilight looked away and wiped away her tear. That nuzzle just slipped out so easily. "I didn't mean to!"

“Nuzzling ponies you like is just a natural instinct. Denying it isn’t doing you any favors,” Rarity said. She always wanted Twilight to give in to carnal urges. “You can be as wise as you want, but still the only way to stop being hungry is to eat.”

“Huh?” Twilight looked back. “What does that mean?”

“Well.” Rarity crawled closer to Twilight, causing her heart to pick up again. “I’m saying I’m willing to help you with your little crush on me.”

“Crush?!” Twilight pulled back immediately. “Rarity! I don’t have a crush on you! We’re both mares! I can’t have a crush on you!”

“I certainly think it’s possible to have a crush on another mare. I’ve done it.” Rarity gazed into Twilight’s eyes in a way that made Twilight almost think Rarity was talking about her. “You’re not one of those ponies who thinks being gay is immoral, are you? Do I have to change your mind on that as well?”

“Of course I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it.” Twilight nodded defensively. She definitely wasn’t one of those ponies and she didn’t want to make Rarity feel like she looked down on her for being a lesbian, if that's what she was. “Homosexuality is just a mental disorder some ponies are born with. It’s no different from being crippled. A gay pony being gay is no more immoral than a cripple being unable to walk. It’s wrong to make fun of them for it.”

“I’m thrilled you’re so progressive on the matter.” Rarity gave Twilight a condescending pat on the head. “But you’re absolutely certain you don’t have a crush on me? Because I’m almost positive at this point that you’re actually gay.”

“I’m absolutely positive I don’t have a crush on you,” Twilight said firmly. “I’ve read all about crushes in Smooth Move’s Guide to Courtship and of the twelve listed symptoms of crushes I have-“

Now that Twilight was going through them in her head…

Twilight thought about Rarity all day. She had dreams about Rarity. She looked forward all day to talking to Rarity. Meeting with Rarity did indeed fill Twilight with a ‘giddy excitement’. She was completely obsessed with this other mare right now!

She felt emotionally attracted to Rarity. She did think Rarity was pretty! She did get lost in her eyes a lot! She fantasized about hugging Rarity, at least. And maybe she was just a little attracted in that way. Sometimes she got turned on in a confusing sort of way when Rarity teased her. But did being just a little attracted to her make Twilight gay?

Twilight couldn’t think of a single stallion she thought was as good-looking as Rarity. She’d always told herself that she was simply too interested in books to take any notice of boys. But now here she was, being distracted away from books by a mare.

“You have how many?” Rarity asked.

"I don’t match all of them,” Twilight tried to sound certain. “I am not gay. Okay?”

“My mistake!” Rarity turned back to the books. “I think I like it better that way regardless. Why, I’m so beautiful that even straight mares stare longingly at me!”

Twilight glanced over at Rarity’s flanks as soon as Rarity turned around, hoping to confirm something to herself. And as soon as she looked, Twilight became horrible confused.

“Feel free to come to my library any time you’d like,” Rarity said, looking through one of the bookshelves. “But just a word of warning, taking any banned books back home with you can get you in a lot of trouble. You have to read these here, I’m afraid. I’d feel terrible if I got you arrested.”

Those words hit Twilight like a tranquilizer dart, a paralysis slowly spreading through her as the implications sunk in.

“Wait. Any of them?” Twilight stared up at the shelves of mysterious books. “These aren’t- they’re not all banned books, are they?”

And there was that smug smile again!

“Oh, banned books are just about the only ones I ever read,” said Rarity.

“But! Where did you even get these?!” Twilight collapsed onto the floor in a sitting position, staring up at them in horror. “This is insanely illegal! I can’t come here anymore! I gotta-!”

“Twilight.” Rarity put a hoof on her shoulder. “Do you even know what the law about banned books is?”

“W-what?! They’re banned and therefore illegal and therefore you go to jail!”

“For how long?”

“Um.” Twilight honestly didn’t know. She’d watched so many PSA’s and read so many ethics books about it, but they were never very specific about the punishment. “Forever?”

“You don’t go to jail at all for owning banned books, actually,” said Rarity. “So long as you keep telling them you ‘just found’ the books, they burn them and fine you perhaps two hundred bits per book. You only get in serious trouble for copying, repairing, or distributing these. So if you don’t take them home, I’m not distributing them, and we’ll be fine.”

“Didn’t you get arrest for giving somepony a banned book, though?” Twilight asked. “I heard that around.”

“And am I in jail?”

Twilight stared at Rarity for a moment before answering.


“So clearly I know what I’m doing. I assure you; I study the law very carefully before breaking it,” Rarity sounded like she was proud of that. “They say understanding the law is more important than obeying it. Would you like to read the book that quote is from too?”

“No way!” Twilight shook her head as fast as she could. “I’m still not even sure I should be reading that book about arguing.”

“Ah yes! That!” Rarity put her glasses back on and started skimming through the books. Apparently, they were special enchanted glasses to help with all her blind spots, but Twilight was still amazed she saw better with them when it was already this dark. “Now where did I put that one?”

Rarity didn’t find it on the first bookshelf, or the second or third. Twilight’s eye twitched. Not only were these books banned but they were unorganized on top of that?! She’d already lost half the respect she’d gained for Rarity after seeing the library. Twilight was half a mind to demand Rarity let her properly categorize these books.

Rarity finally found the book and handed it over to Twilight. The tome looked ancient, the leather it was bound in cracked and the words on the cover faded.

‘Logic and Argumentation.’

Twilight felt like she’d just been handed a cursed weapon. She could feel both the power and the evil radiating off it. Using it would come with a price, but it contained the knowledge and power she needed to argue her points against Rarity without looking like an idiot.

Either Twilight or Rarity was going to regret Twilight getting this book.

“I promise you,” said Rarity, smiling at Twilight’s concern, “this book has absolutely nothing bad to say about the government or tradition or anything like that. It's just a list of logical fallacies and whatnot like you asked."

Twilight did ask for this. Rarity was mentioning these logical fallacies for days and Twilight knew a few now, like the no true pegasus fallacy or the ad equus. But Twilight knew there were more. She wanted all of them in her vocabulary. She wanted a book about it and here it was, the exact information she was looking for.

And yet she couldn’t help but feel a little sick holding it.

“If that’s all it is, why did they ban it?” Twilight asked. "Nothing you taught me about logic and argumentation so far seems dangerous."

"It's obvious.” Rarity reclined on a padded chair. “They don’t want you thinking for yourself and analyzing the things they tell you. Because if you ever did, you’d realize I was right about everything and turn into the most adorable little delinquent.”

“Uh-huh.” Twilight rolled her eyes. Rarity was way too cynical. “I’m pretty sure there’s gotta be a better reason than that.”

She just wished she could think of any other alternative.

Twilight held her breath and opened the book slowly like she was expecting to activate a spring trap. It certainly felt like something was about to jump out at her, but nothing did even after she’d gotten to the first page.

“I can maybe think of one other thing,” Rarity speaking drew Twilight’s attention right back to her. “They started banning these sorts of books three hundred years ago, didn’t they? And that was shortly after the northern rebellions. So we can conclude that incident lead them to realize that if ponies understand critical thinking too well, they’d rebel against Celestia.”

“Ah hah!” Twilight jumped on the error. “Just because one thing happens after the other doesn’t mean the first one caused the second! That’s the uh- what did you call it? The post hoc thing!”

Twilight felt a thrill over finally getting one up at Rarity, and with something Rarity herself taught her. But Rarity just sat there smiling proudly as Twilight ‘got’ her.

“Wait.” Twilight’s smile withered in the presence of Rarity’s. “You did that on purpose, didn’t you?”

Rarity giggled.

“Guh!” Twilight bowed her head in defeat yet again. “I’m way out of my league, aren’t I?”

“If it makes you feel better, you’re a fast learner. I don’t think you would have caught that a week ago.” Rarity levitated another book, no doubt even more banned, over to herself and began reading.

Twilight sat down in the only other chair of the room and looked down at the book, both unicorns settling in to read. But even still, Rarity wasn’t entirely out of Twilight’s mind. The irony that a mare was distracting her from a book wasn’t lost on Twilight.

But it wasn’t a crush! She wanted to defeat Rarity, not date her!

And this book would give her the power to do just that!