• Published 28th Aug 2012
  • 5,261 Views, 241 Comments

Me, You, and a Library for Two - Dull Mist



A story about a stallion meeting his childhood crush for the first time in years.

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Arrival

Arrival

The whistle of the train brought Silver Quill back to reality. He had been leaning on the window next to him, gazing out at the scenery as it zipped by almost too fast for the eye to follow. The train ride had lasted for several hours, and he spent most of his time thinking about how he was going to spend his time in Ponyville. He stood up and started to gather his luggage as the train slowed down and the resulting squeal pierced the interior. As he stepped off the train, he took a deep breath and looked around at the unfamiliar environment.

He was fairly pleased with what he saw. Small houses and other buildings were what made up a good part of the town. The largest building in the town, as far as he could see, was the town hall, and that was still pretty small by Canterlot standards. A breeze blew through the outside of the station bringing with it a thin smell of tilled earth and nature. It was relaxing, and Silver Quill could feel his work weary mind relaxing already.

"I think this place will do just fine." he said softly to himself. "Now I just need to find the library, and I can begin my days of rest and relaxation.

"Rest and relaxation? Shoot, I think yer in the wrong town fer that partner." said a voice with a charming country drawl from behind him. Silver Quill turned to see a freckled, bright orange mare standing next to him, grinning. "What do you mean by that?" he replied.

The orange pony gave a small shrug. "Ponyville ain't like Canterlot with all o' its easy peasy apple squeezy days of sitting around and letting yer muscles shrivel. If your planning on livin in this here town, ya gotta be prepared ta work."

Silver Quill shook his head. "Oh no, you misunderstand, I'm not moving here, I'm taking my vacation here." The orange mare's eyes flashed with comprehension.

"Ah, that makes much more sense. Sorry bout that, just didn't want ya'll ta come here thinkin that it's all fun and games, then get bucked in the face by reality." She chuckled a bit at her little joke.

Silver Quill looked at her oddly. "I see. Does that happen often then?" he asked her.

The pony bobbed her head indesicively before speaking "Ya don't see it all tha time, but I hate seein them ponies who haven't so much as washed the dishes come here and think everythings all hunky dory." Her eyes widened as she came to a horrific realization.

"Oh shucks, where are ma manners." The pony grabbed one of Silver Quill's hooves between two of hers and shook it violently enough to shake his entire body.. "the name's Applejack, oldest daughter o' the apple family at yer service!" When she finally let go of his hoof in from her deceptively strong grip, Silver Quill rubbed his shoulder painfully, he was going to be feeling that for a little while. Maybe his muscles really were weak?

He smiled politely at her while making an effort to hide the grimace from his now sore arm. "Well, it's a pleasure to meet you Applejack, my name is Silver Quill." He gave a small polite bow along with his introduction, which only elicited a giggle from her.

"Well shucks, look at you being all prim and proper. Yer probably gonna want to learn to loosen your saddle a bit if ya want stay in Ponyville, specially if yer here on vacation. Elsewise you'll stick out like a bananna tree in an apple orchard."

Silver Quill looked at her with a slightly bemused expression on his face. "I see. I'll, uh...keep that in mind."

Applejack nodded wisely, content with his answer. "Glad to hear it." She perked up as something came to her. "Say, were ya saying something bout need'n ta find the library?"

"Oh right, that completely slipped my mind" said Silver Quill. "That's where I'll be staying there with the librarian who so graciously allowed me to stay in her home during my vacation. Could you help me out and point me in the right direction?"

An expression of puzzlement flashed across her face briefly before being being replaced by a big friendly smile accompanied by a slap on his back. "Ah'll do ya one better then that partner, I'll show yah where it is myself!"

Silver Quill was quick to do the polite thing and gently decline her offer. "Oh that's really not necessary Applejack, although it's very kind of you to offer. I'm sure you're very busy and I'd hate to take up any more of your time. Just tell me where to go and I'll be out of your hair."

Applejack shook her head stubbornly, her long ponytail swaying from side to side. "Nope, Ah insist. Ya'll seem to be a friendly fellow, and it's only the neighborly thing to do. And please, call me AJ, all my friends do."

Silver Quill could see he had about as much chance of dissuading herself from going out of her way for him as he did in burning all of his books, so he relented. "All right then AJ, if you insist, then I would be most grateful if you would show me the way."

Applejack nodded as though she expected nothing else, and waved a hoof signaling for him to follow her. "Well, just stick with me, and we'll be there in 20 minutes or so." Silver Quill did as he was told and went to walk beside her as they left the train station. He was starting to feel grateful that he had packed as lightly as possible, knowing that if there was anything he needed, he more than enough money to keep himself covered.

Silver Quill would have been content with walking in a companionable silence, but Applejack had different idea and decided to strike up a conversation. "So then, Silver, do ya mind if ah call you Silver? Great. So Silver, Ah have to admit to being slightly curious. Of all tha places where somepony could take a vacation, Jamareca, Neigh York, or the Whinnipinnes, what made ya pick Ponyville?"

Silver Quill looked at her wryly. "To be honest AJ, I didn't choose to come to Ponyville, that choice was made for me by Princess Luna." When Applejack's eyes widened with surprise, he explained further.

"You see, I'm a writer by trade. As of late, I have been going through a sort of creativity drought, not being able to write a sentence to save my life. Luna, who is a good friend of mine, decided that I needed a vacation to help through this little dry spell of mine. She decided that Ponyville would be the best place for me, and she also decided that living with the town librarian, one Twilight Sparkle would help me relax in this unfamiliar environment." Silver Quill's brow furrowed thought about it. "Well, at least I think that that's why she arranged me to live in the library. She's a riddle wrapped in an enigma sometimes, that Princess."

Applejack had been nodding along, fascinated by Silver Quill's relationship with Luna. "Well isn't she just the nicest little thing, helpin out her friend like that. I'm glad ta hear that Luna's makin friends over there. We haven't seen her much here in Ponyville, but anytime we did, she looked kinda lonely. Really lonely"

Silver Quill nodded slowly. "I see..." He knew that she didn't have many friends, but he just chalked it up to her being like him, a pony who preferred having a close circle of only a few friends. He didn't realize that she was downright sad and lonely, although it seems glaringly obvious now. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20 and all that.

Silver Quill shook himself out of his thoughtful reverie and focused his attention too the mare he was walking with. "Alright, that's enough about me I think, what about you? Tell me about yourself AJ."

Applejack scrunched up her face in thought. "Well, Ahm the oldest daughter of the Apple family, I work over on Sweet Apple Acres which is on the edge of the town. It's an apple farm, in case you weren't able ta tell by tha name. I spend most of ma days applebuckin and taken care of the cattle on the farm, and basically making sure that the place is in tip top shape. That's pretty much it...oh, Ah just came back from Manehatten from visiting family for a few days. There, tha's it." She gave him a broad toothy grin, which he weakly returned.

"I see. You sound like a very busy pony." As they walked and talked, Silver Quill was looking around the town and getting a feel for its atmosphere. There weren't nearly as many ponies as there were were in Canterlot, and the ponies that were here seemed to be much more friendly and approachable. Everything was less high class, the buildings were focused more on practicality then they were attractiveness and the ponies weren't walking with their noses so high in the air that they couldn't see their hooves.

Silver Quill breathed in deeply. The air was far cleaner here. In Canterlot, the large amount of ponies and the rapid increase of industrial machines give the city sort of dirty smell. Silver Quill never really noticed it before now, but air in Ponyville was so much more...crisp. Like a big red apple ripened to absolute perfection with the perfect amount of tart sweetness and bitterness.

"You know AJ, I really think I'm going to enjoy it here." Silver Quill said wistfully.

Applejack nodded her head enthusiastically. "You bet your boots you will! Ponyville is a real nice place with only the friendliest ponies. And you'll be stayin with ma good pal Twilight, and she'll make sure that ya'll will be comfortable. Although ah gotta say, ah hadn't heard anything from her about lettin somepony she's never met before live with her." Her eyes narrowed slightly. "Wait, have you met before?"

Silver Quill shook his head. "Not to my knowledge, no. And my vacation was very sudden, so it wasn't like she knew about it for a long time. She only got the letter asking her if she would be willing to house me yesterday."

"Ah, tha makes a lot more sense. Well, here we are, the library." Applejack and Silver Quill stopped walking in front one of the larger buildings in Ponyville, except it wasn't a building, it was a huge oak tree. Silver Quill was a bit confused at this. Why would you have a library in a tree? And how would you make a library in a tree? after some thought, he decided to pay it no mind. Books are made from paper, paper comes from trees. He decided that that would be the explanation.

"Alrigh' then Silver Quill, ah gotta get back to tha farm. Been gone for a while, and Ah'm sure my lil sis misses me."

Silver Quill nodded and gave one of his signature gentle smiles. "Thanks a lot for helping me AJ, I appreciate it."

"No problem partner, Ah'll be seein ya around." And with that she trotted off, her saddlebags bouncing on her sides as she went back to her farm.

Silver Quill walked up to front door of the tree and knocked three times. He heard the soft sound of footsteps, before the door was a opened by a small purple dragon with rounded green spines running up and down his back and tail. The dragon was barely higher than Silver Quill's legs, so it had to look up when addressing him.

"Uhh, can I help you?" It asked, in an undoubtedly male voice that sounded to be very young.

"Hi there, I'm Silver Quill." The dragon blinked, and looked around Silver Quill to see if there was anypony else. He almost looked like he thought this was a joke and he was the only one who didn't get it.

"You're gonna have to give me a bit more than that buddy." The dragons face was completely deadpan, he definitely had no idea what Silver Quill was doing here. he started to get nervous. Did Applejack show him the wrong tree-building? Did Celestia make a mistake? Maybe she contacted the wrong student and somewhere over in Las Pegasus there's a unicorn expecting a mentally jaded author to show up and stay for a little while.

Silver Quill cleared his throat and tried once more to explain his position. "Well, I'm to meet a pony named Twilight Sparkle who kindly agreed to share her...tree...while I'm staying in Ponyville." At this the dragon lit up with realization and excitement.

"Ooooh, you're that pony, why didn't you just say so! Come on in and I'll show you around." The dragon stepped aside as Silver Quill walked in.

"This mare must be quite the bibliophile. he thought to himself. Everywhere he looked there was either a bookcase filled to bursting with all sorts of literature, or neat piles of books sitting scattered around the room. "Although I suppose that's a job requirement to be a librarian." The dragon went over to the stairs on the other side of the room leading to the floor below and yelled out "Twilight, we've got company!" Silver Quill heard a muffled reply of a mare's voice answer him.

Spike turned back to Silver Quill and rubbed his claws together in anticipation. "Alright, apparently it's my job to make you feel welcome while Twilight is finishing up her work. Is there anything I can get you? Something to drink? some fruit maybe?"

"A glass of water would be most appreciated, thanks." While the dragon rummaged around in the kitchen off of the main room, Silver Quill took it upon himself to examine the books the filled the shelves and were stacked around the room. Maybe he could get an idea of what this mare was like before he met her.

He walked around the room, taking notice of as many titles as he could. The 3 Hoofed Beggar, Tales of the Fillydelphian Gentlecolt, Four Steps from Home, Hubris and Bias, This pony was definitely well read. He noticed that there was also an abundance of books based on astronomy and astrology, along with a great number of star charts that all seemed to be used by the mare exclusively. The telescope on the other side of the room pointing out of the window convinced him that it was for her personal use, and not public property.

Spike, the young purple dragon came out with two cups in hand, one filled with clear water and ice, and the other with orange juice. He handed the water to Silver Quill who nodded his thanks and took a drink. Silver Quill tried to start up some small talk, not wanting to stand there in an awkward silence.

"So Spike, what do you do around here?"

Spike thought a moment before answering. "I pretty much do whatever needs to be done. Things like cleaning, organizing, cooking, note taking, errands, stuff like that." Spike puffed out his chest in pride, making him look like a scaley purple pigeon. "I'm Twilight's number one assistant!"

Spike looked at the stairs leading to the basement. "Speaking of Twilight, she sure is taking her sweet time." He walked over to the stairs and yelled down. "Twilight! It's rude to keep your guests waiting you know!" An exasperated voice came from below. "I'm coming, I'm coming, don't get your tail in a twist."

Spike looked at Silver Quill apologetically. "Sorry about that, she can get really focused on her work sometimes. She's in the basement right now organizing some of our older books that nopony else is allowed to touch, which is really silly if you ask me. What's the point of keeping so many books if nopony else can read them?"

Silver Quill answered immediately, barely even thinking about the question. "It's not reading them that's important, but the preservation of old historical and cultural texts."

"Finally, somepony who understands." said a voice coming from the stairs to the basement. The mare walked up the rest of the way at the staircase and stopped at the top to greet Silver Quill. "I've been trying to teach him that for years but he never seems to understand." Spike just rolled his eyes at her and sipped at his orange juice.

"Anyway," she said while starting to walk towards Silver Quill, "my name is Twilight Sparkle, the resident librarian of Ponyville. You must be Silver Quill. I must admit, I've been so excited to meet you, a fellow book lover."

Impossible.

"So uh, Princess Celestia told me in her letter that you are a writer and need to get over a nasty case of writers block."

Inconceivable

"Oookay, maybe we could talk about something else. Are you friends with Princess Celestia or something? I imagine you would be for her to ask If you could temporarily stay with me."

Unimaginable. Unthinkable. Insurmountable, preposterous, downright irrealizable.

"Hey, are you alright? You're shaking a little bit, and you're blinking awfully fast. Is something wrong?"

Yes, as a matter of fact, something was wrong. Or at least, the logical side of Silver Quill thought there was. The other side however, the side that Silver Quill had long conquered and forced to submit under his will, was absolutely giddy with joy. It squealed in its baffling delight, for in front of Silver Quill, was the lavender filly.