• Published 15th Oct 2012
  • 2,440 Views, 52 Comments

Books - a3V

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Literacy

Edited October 29th, 2012: fixed a grammar mistake.


"Hey Twilight, I've been wondering—what does 'penchant' mean?"

"Oh Rainbow, didn't they teach you things other than flight in... well, flight school?"

"Uh, well... they taught us some math, spelling. A bit about how magic works, and a lot about air currents and clouds. General education stuff, really, with a lot of pegasi stuff mixed in." Rainbow Dash fluttered over to a spare pillow and plopped herself down onto it, as she took a glance at a nearby stack of books.

Twilight Sparkle sighed, before levitating a copy of the Equestrian Dictionary, Fourth Edition to her hooves. "Penchant: noun. A taste, liking, or inclination for something." Twilight raised a brow as she looked back up at the pegasus. "Is this seriously all you needed? Why'd you want to know this?"

"Uh, f-for reasons, and stuff." Rainbow took this opportunity to admire the beauty and detailing of the inside of Ponyville's library. Indeed, it had not occurred to her until this particular moment in time that the effort put into making a live tree with a hollow inside, complete with openings for windows and doors, was a massive undertaking that was undoubtedly the work of someone with a penchant—Hah, just used that word! Awesome.—for delicate architecture.

"Okay then, Rainbow. I suppose your reasons are your own." Twilight went back to shuffling through the stacks of books, placing them back into their proper locations on the shelves.

The dictionary sat on the ground next to the unicorn, oblivious to the turmoil that raged within Rainbow Dash. The pegasus sat on the pillow, gaze locked onto the hardcover compendium of Equestrian vernacular, sweat dripping down her face. She didn't think she'd ever be this nervous before trying out for the Wonderbolts, but it was plainly obvious that, if she were found out, she'd never live it down.

'Now or never, Rainbow Dash. Get your hooves on that book!'

Slowly, silently, she stalked forward with the continuous thumping of organized books as her only companion. Twilight's back remained in her view at all times, lest she turn around and find Rainbow Dash half-forward into a prowling form. 'And unfortunately, not very good for my adventurous reputation!'

"So, Rainbow. How are you liking the Daring Do series so far?"

Rainbow Dash instinctively jumped backwards, letting her wings slowly settle her down onto the pillow she was sitting on. Twilight turned around just as she accomplished the deed, and the pegasus gave her a sheepish smile. "Uh, yeah. Totally loving it. I think I'm on... the fifth book, or something. How many books are there?"

"I think there's nine so far. The author's been really busy this year, and she's been brushing up for a big epic finale. I guess you're postponing your reading until the last book is out?" Little clouds of dust appeared on the shelves as Twilight tidied up around the books.

"Uh, hehe. Yeah, I am. Gonna finish the whole series in one reading. I'll probably take a few days off of weather duty for this. It's going to be so awesome."

"Where have you been picking the books up, Rainbow? I know I have copies here in the library, but I've never seen you come in here..."

Rainbow's eyes locked onto the shelf where the Daring Do series was kept. 'Oh, I was here, Twilight...' "Uh, yeah. I get Derpy to deliver them to me when the books release, straight from Canterlot. I gotta admit, I really like that smell from a new book. That magic glue is really weird like that, but I totally dig it."

"Oh, I remember when you got one of the books. You looked positively ecstatic!"

"You could say it was rapturous, almost," Rainbow blurted out.

Twilight blinked for several seconds, before speaking up. "I... Rainbow, have you been reading other books?"

"Not really, why?" A few of Fluttershy's birds passed by the library window. Rainbow could see the Blue Jay that always admired her flying. The bird was like a mini-Scootaloo, in a way. 'Heh, even the animals like my flying. Totally unexpected, but I appreciate all my fans.'

"You just said 'rapturous.' I'm pretty sure general Equestrian education doesn't really cover words like that unless you're into the finer arts," Twilight said.

Realizing her mistake, her eyes widened as she attempted to mislead Twilight. "Oh, uh. Yeah. I totally heard Rarity say it the other day. It's a pretty neat word, don't you think? Had to ask Sweetie Belle what it meant, but I kinda like learning new words now."

"That's great, Rainbow! I think I have a few books that might be a good read for you. They're a bit slower than the Daring Do books, but I think you'll just—"

"Can I have the dictionary?"

Twilight blinked again, this time in shock. "Dictionary? But Rainbow, I thought being an 'egghead' was uncool? Remember when you said that?"

"Well, er, I just need to like... identify a few words in the almanac! Yeah, the almanac. Applejack got a copy for Ponyville from Mayor Mare, and she needs me to help identify some words."

Twilight was not enthused. "But Rainbow, you're a weather pegasus. Everything Applejack needs, she can get from the weather schedules. And I'm pretty sure her farming schedule isn't really something you need to know."

'Oh crud, I'm losing her!' "Y-yeah, I guess so. There's been some words popping up in the Daring Do books that I don't know, though. Mind if I borrow the dictionary?"

"Oh! Of course you can, Rainbow. But just remember, you have to return the books like everyone else. I'll have you return it in a week, alright? The foals at the schoolhouse are supposed to be doing a big essay the week after that, and they always want to impress Cheerilee with big words."

"Well if they're going for big words, wouldn't a thesaurus be better for their limited knowledge?"

"Eh?"

"N-nothing. I'm just saying weird things again." Rainbow took the dictionary underneath her wing and headed for the door. "Thanks for the dictionary, Twilight. I'm going to catch up on some reading."

"Alright, Rainbow. See you later!" Rainbow waved a hoof nonchalantly as she closed the door, then took a quick glance around. After making sure no other ponies were around, she took out the dictionary and cradled it in her hooves, stroking it gently.

"Oh yes, catch up on some reading..."


Twilight was interrupted early one morning by banging on coming from the library door. Naturally, she being as organized as she was, did not plan on having her sleeping schedule interrupted. With a sigh, she brought forward her list and crossed out the entry labeled "obtain sapphires for Spike." Twilight had faith in her little assistant's patience for gems, and she definitely admitted the little dragon was gaining weight anyways.

She trudged over to the door and opened it slowly with a creak. Applejack stood on the other side, wide awake and clearly annoyed by something. Twilight knew she could have put more thought into it, but her mind was just as frazzled as her mane was in the wee hours of the day.

"Applejack."

"Oh, hey Twilight. I was wonderin' if you've seen Rainbow? We're supposed to be gettin' some showers over at Sweet Apple Acres... like, right now. And she's late by an hour."

"Uh huh." The unicorn dragged a hoof down her face. "So... is there a reason why you're telling this to me right now, when most ponies should be asleep?"

"I was hopin' you could cast a cloud-walkin' spell on me and Pinkie. Pinkie and I are gonna fly up to Rainbow's house and bang on her door until she comes out."

"What makes you so sure she's in her house?"

"Really, sugarcube? We're talkin' Rainbow Dash, here. Since when is she not in the skies?"

"Well, considering that you even managed to wake me up this early... maybe she's asleep, yeah?" Twilight could feel her sarcasm rearing its ugly head, but she wasn't too inclined to rescind it.

"Come on, Applejack! The cupcakes are getting cold!" Pinkie Pie could clearly be seen sitting on the rooftop of Sugarcube Corner, preparing another iteration of the flying machine she used during the Running of the Leaves. The details of the design were lost on Twilight, and she made it a note to never find out how Pinkie modified the craft, even if she did provide some of the parts.

"Alright, fine. Just hold still a minute, and..." Applejack was surrounded in a purple aura before she felt a shock running through her, sending her jumping into the air. "Oh, sorry. Didn't mean to do that, but... concentration's a bit hazy right now."

"You could wake up a pony with that! Whew, what a shock. Thanks Twilight!"

"Ooh, tingly!" Pinkie's laugh echoed throughout Ponyville.

As Applejack ran off to join Pinkie in the flying-craft-thingama-traption (as eloquently named by Pinkie), Twilight yawned and walked back into the library, closing the door behind her. She snuggled herself back into her bed, pleased that the warmth was still present within the layers. As she lay there, returning to sleep, she realized one thing.

'Rainbow Dash needed to return the dictionary yesterday.'


"Oh boy! I wonder what Rainbow Dash is doing?"

"Probably sleepin' her way through the day, I reckon. When Rainbow said she'd take over all weather duties over Sweet Apple Acres, I thought she was bein' mighty generous. Looks like my faith was misplaced," Applejack sniffed.

"Aww, don't be like that! I bet she's got some super-duper secret project... like making cloud cupcakes! Or maybe she's working on another flying technique to get into the Wonderbolts! One time, Rarity and I were watching Rainbow and she was so awesome, at least until she flew into the tree!"

A light breeze passed through the craft's carriage as Rainbow Dash's cloud house neared. "Well, Pinkie. You know I ain't one for ditchin' duties, and I know you have your job at Sugarcube Corner."

"Right-o, Applejack! You can count on me, or my name isn't Pinkamena Diane Responsibility Pie!"

"Y'all can help me ask Rainbow to get to her job. Come to think of it, she's been real quiet lately. I wonder why that is? Unless she found a new cloud, it ain't like her to—"

Applejack was interrupted by a flash of purple light within the carriage, scaring both ponies. The light coalesced and materialized into a familiar purple unicorn. Pinkie was jumping up and down while Applejack regained her bearings, ready to scold her friend.

"Dangit, Twilight! Do you realize how far up we are?!"

"Don't worry, Applejack. I ran through the safety precautions. Also, I put a homing crystal in the carriage, right about... here," Twilight said as she poked a hoof at a bright purple square on the flooring of the craft. "Last time Pinkie used this thing, she ended up losing it somehow and I had to track it down. It was halfway to Canterlot when I finally found it!"

"Land ahoy!" Pinkie was standing on the edge of the carriage when the trio were suddenly tossed out onto cloud cover as the craft collided with Dash's "lawn." The magical engine sputtered and died as Applejack helped Twilight to her hooves, while Pinkie Pie continued her exuberant leaping.

"Ugh, remind me not to do that again." Twilight could feel a headache coming on as she turned to Pinkie.

"Let's go again! Let's go again!"

"Maybe some other time, Pinkie. Let's go get Rainbow Dash."

"Rainbow? Are you here?" Twilight knocked on the door repeatedly, before turning to her friends.

"I reckon I got a way to get her out." Applejack took a deep breath. "Rainbow Dash! Get down here!"

Sounds of scuffling were apparent from the upper windows as the mares looked at each other in confusion. After a few seconds, they could hear hoofsteps before the door opened, revealing a surprisingly awake pegasus. Rainbow Dash put on her best smile as she found three of her friend right on her doorstep.

"Oh, hey girls. What brings you up here?"

Applejack thrust the weather schedule into her face. "Rain. Now."

"Oh. Ohhh. Sorry about that, Applejack. It shouldn't take too long. Be right back!"

As Rainbow shot off into the sky, Twilight peeked inside the still-open door to Rainbow's house. "Do you think she'd mind if I grab my dictionary?"

"Ooh, I'll leave the cupcakes on the kitchen table!" The party pony bounced back to the carriage, still lodged into the cloud cover.

As Pinkie began unloading two very large crates from the craft, Twilight made her way through Rainbow's home. It was very much like she had expected, as there were various Wonderbolts memorabilia strewn about through cups, posters, and autographed pictures. But at the top of the stairs, down the farthest corridor, was Rainbow Dash's room.

Twilight was about to reach for the doorknob when a light blue blur knocked her away from the door.

"What gives, Twilight? You just barge into other ponies' homes and search the premises?"

"Rainbow, I just want my dictionary back. It's still pretty early in the day, so if you give it to me now, I'll waive the late fee for you."

"Hmm... alright. Wait. Here." She prodded Twilight with a hoof before carefully opening her bedroom door and slipping inside and closing it, her eyes locked on the unicorn the entire time. Applejack and Pinkie joined Twilight, the latter having blue frosting covering her mouth.

"What are we waiting for? Is Dashie still looking for her book?"

"Aha! Here it is." Rainbow Dash burst out of the door and handed Twilight the book, a triumphant look on her face. "Sorry I kept it so long, it was scattered among the clutter in my room."

"Rainbow, this is a copy of Ye Olde Equestrian Dictionary."

"Oh. I-I knew that. I totally thought you should get a copy so I bought one for you."

"Sugarcube, why do you got all these books all of a sudden? I don't recall you ever bein' a bookworm."

"Just wanted to, uh, expand my vocabulary. Yea. Those Daring Do books are getting really heavy. Like, one time, they used the word 'detritus' to describe some ruins, and I was like 'what does that mean?' And then I looked it up."

"Wow! There's so many books in here we could make a book fort! Fshh, this is Book Fort, over. Book Fort to Agent Twilight, come in!" Pinkie sat in Rainbow's room surrounded by walls of books, with an antenna made out of magic journals.

"Oh my gosh, Rainbow... there's so many books in here! How do you even know where your bed is?" Twilight looked around at the various columns of literature in Rainbow's room. It was like walking through a forest of book stacks, and it was so dense to the point that the only things visible were Pinkie's book fort and a wall of books.

"I can explain... all of this." Rainbow's blank expression made Applejack snicker a bit.

"Equestrian Magical Studies and Advanced Resonance Theory, Volume II, Of Mice and Mares, and the last two editions of Pegasi Encyclopedia... all fifty-two volumes."

"Hey! Those books are pretty cool. It's like a quick facts book, except... for... everything. Ehehehe."

"Shucks, sugarcube. Y'all could make your own library in here, if you wanted to." Applejack started browsing through a book about apples, and frowned as she opened it to the middle of the book. "Hey, Sweet Apple Acres ain't on this list o' farms!"

"That's because the book is about pre-modern Equestrian farming, Applejack." Rainbow Dash grabbed the book and flipped it to the cover, showing the antiquated photos that dotted the front. "See, this one right here is garden of the Royal Pony Sisters. It used to sit just outside the castle, the one we went into when we fought Nightmare Moon! Pretty cool, huh?"

"You read about pre-Equestrian history?! Now I have someone I can talk to about Star Swirl's theories on friendship and magic! But first, let's get all these books back to library."

Rainbow dragged a hoof across her face. 'What have I gotten myself into?'