• Published 22nd Nov 2012
  • 6,594 Views, 278 Comments

=BIG= =DUMB= =OBJECT= - shortskirtsandexplosions

It's a bright, sunny day in Ponyville. Ponies talk, ponies laugh, and then there's the death spher

  • ...

It Continues to Begin

Further up the street, Lyra was trotting steadily towards Sugarcube Corner. She approached the front door when a heavy wind nearly knocked her off her hooves. A book on alchemy fell out of her saddlebag.

"Oh, for the love of crap biscuits..."

Grumbling, she spun around, scampered back ten feet, and snatched up the tumbling book with her telekinesis. While her back was turned, a gigantic sphere of solid black mass rolled by under the sound of rattling gravel. It was gone the very moment Lyra swiveled once more to face the eatery. With a ringing doorbell, she calmly marched into the place just in time to hear...

"And then I said, 'How about I cut off your fifth leg?!'" Rainbow Dash chirped through a wicked grin as her wings twitched. "'You won't lose much weight, Thunderlane, but at least you'll sing better!' HaHA! Ehh? Ehh?! Get it?!"

Across the table, three mares made faces.

"Mmmmm..." Fluttershy blushed.

"Ehhh..." Rarity rolled her eyes.

"Uhhh..." Twilight's lips tennis ball'd between a grimace and a grin. "I dunno, Rainbow. Wasn't that a bit over the top?" She turned a page in her book of spells and added, "I don't like hearing my friends make threats to other ponies."

"Pfft! Threats, shmeats," Rainbow Dash said, waving her hoof like she was conducting an awesome symphony. "Thunderlane and I bump heads all the time; it's how we roll! I just want him to know that somepony's onto him and his cheating ways, not that I feel bad for Blossomforth or nothing. Tchh... that girl is one tall bag of triple-jointed creepy."

"Then perhaps it's a redundant crusade to insult her significant other, Rainbow," Rarity remarked as she flipped through several colored cards before her squinting eyes. "Even if said target possesses an air of unmitigated chauvinism that would impregnate the very clouds if it had the nerve."

"Has anypony ever thought that if a stallion deserves to have his fifth leg cut off," Fluttershy murmured, "Then a mare should have her third mouth shut?"

Twilight squinted in her direction. "Huh?"

"Oh." Fluttershy tapped her hooves together pensively. "It's just something my father used to say."

"Your dad always smelled like a hospital," Rainbow Dash said. "I hated him."

"You wouldn't be the first."

"Oooh!" Rarity bounced in her seat, grinning wide at one card in her grasp. "I do believe I have found the most splendid color!" She leaned towards her frail, pegasus friend. "Fluttershy, do have a look-see and tell me what you think!"

Fluttershy glanced over Rarity's shoulder, her eyes narrowing. "It's... uhm..." Her ears drooped. "...orange."

"Well, of course it is! Orange is the new black that was the new pink that was the old white!"

"The hay are you yapping about?" Rainbow Dash asked.

"Haven't you heard?" Twilight smiled and gestured towards the other two. "Rarity's been asked by Hoity Toity to make a Ponyville line of Autumn fashion."

"And I'm helping," Fluttershy added with a smile. Just as swiftly, though, she bit her lip and slumped down in her seat. "At least, I thought I was until I discovered that Rarity liked the color orange."

"Why, you say that as if you've been touched by the plague, dear!" Rarity exclaimed.

"Only 'cuz she was touched by a plague," Rainbow Dash said with thin, bored eyes. "Might as well feed her to a rampaging swarm of parasprites."

"I don't get it," Twilight remarked, telekinetically raising a cup of tea to her lips. "What's the big deal?"

Fluttershy gave a long, exasperated sigh. She gazed into blank space within the center of the group. "I was afraid of the color orange until I was age ten."

Twilight spat out her tea, gagged slightly, and held a hoof to her sputtering lips. "Oh my stars and stirrups, you must be joking!"

"Why, who ever heard of a pony being afraid of a color?!" Rarity exclaimed. "Well, true, the color green is garish as sin, but it never jumped out and bit anypony!"

Fluttershy's fuzzy forehead bristled like the back of a cat. "That's because green is not orange. If green was orange, I think I would know by now. I happen to like salad."

Rarity fanned herself with the color cards, glancing towards the other two. "Seriously, ladies, is this some extravagant joke at my expense!"

"Hah! I wish that it was!" Rainbow Dash folded her forelimbs and blew her bangs out from her forehead. "It took Fluttershy six months just to find the nerve to talk to Applejack without sneezing out blood."

"Rainbow Dash!" Fluttershy gasped. She hid her face in her mane and whimpered, "I-I only did that once..."

"All things considered, you've picked the most adorable of phobias, darling," Rarity said. Fidgeting, she nevertheless slid the color away from her eyesight. "Just d-don't get any red on my nice, pale coat."

"I'm a lot better now," Fluttershy said. "I no longer scream at citrus."

"There must be a logical explanation for it," Twilight said, blinking thoughtfully. "Some sort of trauma, perhaps, in which the color orange was imprinted negatively upon your psyche."

"Has anypony here had to spend a long time in the hospital?" Fluttershy asked.

"I did!" Rainbow's voice cracked as she rolled her ruby eyes. "It was boring!"

Fluttershy sighed. "Anypony but Rainbow Dash?"

"I had a bad case of the pony pox once," Twilight remarked.

Fluttershy turned toward her. "Do you know those... uhm... trays the bed nurses give you when you're feeling nauseous? The curved ones?"

"What, the vomit troughs?"

"Eeep!" Fluttershy covered her face. "Did you have to say that out loud?"

"Oh, you poor dear!" Rarity reached over and stroked Fluttershy's bangs. "You've once told me stories of those sad, sick days you had to endure."

"Throwing up was the worst part," Fluttershy muttered. "Apart from the scratchy bedsheets..."

"It was that bad, huh?" Twilight remarked. "Still, you chose to imprint on the color orange just because of those dishes you had to upchuck into?"

"It's the same reason she hates macaroni," Rainbow Dash said with a wink.

"Rainbow!" Fluttershy squeaked, her face red. "How many times have I told you not to mention that?"

"Snkkt—Ha ha haaa!"

"Well, not all of us are so insensitive!" Rarity said, giving Rainbow a dirty glare. "Since orange is so unquestionably evil, I do believe we can embark upon my second choice!" She spun another card up to the light and held it before Fluttershy. "What do you think of this, dear?"

"Turquoise?" Fluttershy breathed. Her wings fluttered as a warm smile came to her face. "Oh, Rarity, I love turquoise! If giggles had a color, that would be it!"

"I'm glad you approve, dear."

Rainbow Dash raised her eyebrow. "You two painting a boat or what?"

"It's like Twilight said: we're working on fall fashion this year!" Rarity exclaimed jubilantly. "It's a two-mare endeavor! Fluttershy, with all her exquisite beauty and grace, is to be my model. With her upon the pedestal, I shall endeavor to profess Ponyvillean civility and creativity with absolute talent and finesse!"

"You're whosing the whatsit with where, now?"

"Two words." Rarity tilted her chin up smugly. "Hoodies."

"That's one word," Twilight muttered over another sip of tea.

"Through hoodies, we shall conquer the globe!" Rarity's eyes flickered red as she pumped a forelimb. "With fashion!"

Twilight swallowed her tea and pursed her lips. "Come to think of it, it's not really even a word, but a slang personification of just one part of the overall article—"

"This is why Twilight sticks to books!" Rarity exclaimed, shuffling her cards around. "And I stick to sewing. And you, Rainbow Dash... heheheh... stick to being sticky."

"Hey!" Rainbow frowned. "I get down and dirty with the world cuz somepony around here has to be awesome and it might as well be me!"

"And you have such an eloquent way of doing it."

"Pfft! You know what? You go on ahead and take a huge dive into your sea of sewing machines and pincushions and make all the stupid autumn lint you want!" Rainbow Dash leaned back, kicking her rear legs up. "Heck, I don't even need a hoodie! The upper atmosphere never gets to me! I just fly faster than the speed of cold!" She blinked, her brow furrowing. "Come to think of it, who needs a hoodie?! Hoodies are dumb, just like you two are dumb for implying with your stares that I'm dumb to be even thinking that hoodies are dumb."

"Rainbow Dash, how can you—?" Fluttershy started.


Fluttershy glared and continued, "Even I've seen you wear a scarf or two from time to time."

"Ugh..." Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes. "That's because of some super-stupid Equestrian weather flying regulation. For the last two years, they've made us wear raincoats in July for when we had to build cumulonimbus clouds over Baltimare. I put that ugly yellow garbage bag stuff on, and suddenly every bee within a hundred miles is poking me for pollen."

"At least something has taken a liking to poking you," Rarity muttered aside.

"Well, hoodies are different, Rainbow Dash!" Fluttershy said. She hugged herself and murmured melodically through a cheerful smile, "They're all snuggly and warm and you can stretch the sleeves out to cover your hoofsies when it gets extra chilly—"

"Did you really say 'hoofsies?'" Rainbow Dash remarked with a glare. "I really, really hope you didn't just say hoofsies."

"For hoodies, I'd say 'I do,'" Fluttershy cooed like a blushing bride.

"Well, yes, this is all quite the wonderful little debate that we're having," Rarity muttered. "But we truly must depart for the Carousel Boutique if we are to make any headway on Hoity Toity's behalf."

"Awwww..." Twilight's face grew long. "But it feels like you two just got here! Must you leave so soon?"

"A thousand apologies, Twilight," Rarity remarked. "Business is business, after all. Otherwise, we'd be absolutely enthralled to help you with your... with your..." She leaned in and squinted her sapphire eyes. "What is it that you are currently researching, again?"

Twilight grinned a crescent moon and pointed proudly at her book. "'A Historical Overview of the Effects of Crystalline Nanoparticles on the Upper Unicorn Manathalamus!'"

Rarity blinked. Through the window behind her, something large and black rolled into view, lingered, then slid away under the rattle of gravel. She tongued the edge of her lips and exhaled. "Uh huh..."

"All I heard was 'mana,'" Fluttershy murmured.

"Well, perhaps you can fill us in on your research tomorrow afternoon," Rarity remarked, standing up. "And Fluttershy and I can update you on the progress of our hoodiemongering." She tilted back with an airy laugh. "Oh ho ho ho! I do hope that you have all observed that which I have done there!"

"You lost me at 'well,'" Rainbow droned.

"Hmmph! Well at least some of us are creative with our parting breaths!" She tossed her purple mane and gestured at her feathered friend. "Come, Fluttershy."

"We've chosen, turquoise, r-right?"

"Most assuredly, darling. Turquoise is the new anti-orange, for now and forever."

"Shall I grab your bag or—"

"Who are you, now? My servanthoof?" Rarity smirked, easily levitating her satchel with blue telekinesis. "A lady, amongst friends, looks after herself! But of course!"

"Ooh, Rarity!" Twilight gasped, craning her neck to look better. "Is that what I think it is?"

"Hmm? Oh!" Rarity rolled her eyes and waved a hoof. "Absent minded me! I forgot to show you my progress!" She tugged at a bright brim poking out of her satchel. Soon, a milky-white sunhat pinned with sky blue flowers floated proudly between the four mares. "Ta daaaa! It's not even close to being finished, but as soon as it's done, Mrs. Cake is going to be in absolute stitches!"

"It's such a shame she wasn't feeling well enough to be here today," Fluttershy said, gesturing towards the far end of Sugarcube Corner. "Seeing something as dazzling as this would surely have lifted her spirits."

"There's a bad flu going around, isn't there?" Twilight remarked.

"Ugh, it must stink having to live on the ground all the time," Rainbow Dash said. "All those nasty germs and colds... and pine cones..."

For the last ten seconds, Rarity had been exchanging glances between the hat and Rainbow Dash.

Rainbow Dash finally noticed it, and she lifted an eyebrow quizzically. "What?"

"Oh... uhm..." Rarity chuckled nervously. "Nothing, it's..."

"Well, is there a reason for why you're staring at me or isn't there?"

"Just... hold still for a second," Rarity said.

"Uhhhh..." Rainbow Dash gulped. "Okay..."

Rarity leaned over. She levitated the sunhat high and plopped it softly down onto Rainbow Dash's head. She sat back, rubbing her chin with a hoof, squinting in deep thought. Not long after, Fluttershy trotted up, standing so close to Rarity that their cheeks nearly smooshed together in an attempt to capture the same sight. Even Twilight slid over to glance over their craned necks.

None of this was lost to Rainbow, who was starting to fidget so much that her chair rattled. "Okay, what's the big deal? What are you guys looking at?"

"If we could just..." Rarity leaned in. Without asking, she slid some of Rainbow's colorful tresses aside, forcing the mare to tilt her head at a profile. Finally, Rarity sighed, then gently pulled the hat off the pegasus' head. "Oh well. If only, Rainbow Dash. If only..."

"If only what?" Rainbow asked, numb with confusion.

"Alas..." Rarity sighed with a smile and slid the sunhat back into her bag. "It's not a perfect world."

"Agreed," Fluttershy said.

"If only what?!" Rainbow snarled this time, hovering above the table.

Rarity and Fluttershy exchanged glances. Oddly enough, it was the latter who turned and said, "You really do have the most marvelous of manes, Rainbow Dash. Not only that but... uhm..."

"Out with it!" Rainbow folded her forelimbs, frowning. "Why are you ponies always... always trying to get me to model for you and crud?!"

"It's okay, Rainbow Dash," Fluttershy said with a gentle smile. "I can relate. Everypony knows that I'm a great model, but I don't like doing it. Well, that's not true. I like doing it for Rarity, but that's because she's my friend, and if there's anything you can be with friends, it's comfortable. Also happy. Happy helps."

"Someday, Rainbow Dash," Rarity said in a sing-songy fashion as she and Fluttershy trotted away. "You too may feel comfortable, and my stars that will be a most fabulous day!"

"Why the heck would I ever stand around in stupid, frilly outfits for your amusement?!" Rainbow spat. "Fluttershy's the cute one of the bunch! Not me!"

Fluttershy and Rarity lingered in mid-canter, as if their hooves had magically plunged into a puddle of molasses. Not daring to look back at Rainbow, they quickened their pace and exited Sugarcube Corner in a two-pony train. "Ta ta, everypony!"

Rainbow Dash frowned and planted her hooves against her sides. "I am not cute!" her voice cracked.

Twilight snickered.

Rainbow turned and scowled even harder at Twilight. "I'm not! I mean it! I'm awesome! Awesome can't be cute! Awesome is like the big fish in the sea that swallowed up cute! Do I look like a shark or do I look like a minnow?!"

Twilight swallowed the last of her tea and flipped another page to her book. "Well, I can't spot any gills on you, Rainbow. But there's one thing I most certainly see."


Twilight bit her lip.

Rainbow leaned down, her teeth clenched. "Yeah...?!"

"Mmmm..." Twilight's cheeks threatened to burst with giggles. "Do I really have to spell it out for you?"

"Nnngh—Gaah!" Rainbow Dash pulled at her hair. "Stupid ponies... st-stupid mane! There's nothing marvelous about it at all! I... it... that... Grrrrrr! I'm gonna go kick some clouds!"

Rainbow Dash spun and bolted towards the door with the sound of muffled jet engines, only to plow into a mint-green unicorn.

"Gaah!" Lyra fell against the wall, juggling the books flying out of her saddlebag.

"Hey!" Rainbow hissed, catching her winged balance. "Watch where you're standing! You're lucky I didn't lose half my feathers!"

"Jeez!" Lyra rolled her eyes. "Sorry I rocked your world! Next time I'll try innocently lying on the ground so you might hit me better!"

"And I just might! Because... uhm..." Rainbow Dash fidgeted in midair. "That's what... tough... awesome ponies do! They bully and get away with it!" She blinked for a few seconds, then swatted Lyra's mane so that it fell over her nose. "There! Now you can't see what's in front of your face!"

Lyra sighed into her cyan follicles. "No, but I can certainly smell it."

"Oh yeah?!"

"Smells like apricot."

"Hah! Well that's—" Rainbow Dash's eyes went crooked. She rubbed her chin in thought and whispered, "Apricot isn't a cute smell, is it?"

Lyra parted her mane and glared lethargically at the pegasus.

Eventually, Rainbow Dash shook, growled, and blurred out the front door with a ringing noise. "I'm coming for you, clouds!" The door slowly swung shut behind her, but not without revealing a big black sphere as it absorbed picket fenches one by one across the street in a splash of murk. Another ring, and the door closed on its own.

Lyra exhaled, smoothing her bangs. "There's a pot at the end of that pony, but it's not full of gold."

"Lyra!" a heavenly voice chirped from across the way. "Hi there! I didn't see you earlier! How long have you been standing there?"

"Sorry, Twilight," Lyra murmured. "I didn't want to interrupt your..."

Lyra looked up. Lyra's breath left her yet again.

Twilight smiled back, her silken bangs shimmering in the sunlight from the window. Dust particles danced over her streaked mane like cosmic trails behind a violet comet. The sheen of her coat was overwhelmingly shiny, like a sheet of silk stretched over a honeymoon bed. When she blinked it was as if bright bursts of purple cannonfire were shooting flower petals through the perfurmed air. Her lips curved even more, the snow-white teeth piercing the spectrum with a glinting shine, sending rivulets of joy coursing through Lyra's already heavily-beating heart.

"What was that, Lyra?" Twilight spoke, her voice vibrating like the chorus of a thousand virgin angels. She giggled slightly and her bangs flounced before once again framing a perfect, adorable face. "You didn't wish to interrupt what?"

As always, Lyra exhaled. As always, Lyra gave a drunken smile. And as always, Lyra had to control her breath so as not to wheeze. "I was told that you wanted me."

Behind the dull table, a confused lavender unicorn blinked. "Eh?"

Lyra snapped out of it, wincing heavily. "Erm, I-I was told that you w-wanted me to... t-t-t-to help you with... your... your..." She took several large breaths and whipped out a pair of tomes in front of her like a humongous shield. "Books!"

Twilight squinted, squinted harder, then gasped wide. "Oh! Of course! Our experiment session!"

"Yes!" Lyra chuckled nervously, using the books to hide the blush in her cheeks. "Our experiment, Twilight Sparkle! Ahem... the one that you wanted to do... with the books... and the afternoon."

"I'm glad you showed up, but you didn't have to stand there and wait for my friends to leave!" Twilight levitated a stool over beside her. "Here!" She slapped her hoof across it. "Have a seat!"

"Uhhh.. sure thing. Whatever you say, Tw-Twilight." Lyra grinned awkwardly. She trotted over on scuffing hooves, placed the bulging saddlebag down, and sat. After a few seconds, she scooted a few inches away from Twilight for good measure. "Ahem. So, like, I brought a ton of friggin' books, 'cuz in that letter you sent me... you asked for a ton of friggin' books."

"Oh! I do hope that it wasn't too long of a letter!" Twilight bit her lip nervously as her ears drooped. "This idea struck me so suddenly, and I kind of get carried away when I chance upon a brilliant idea. You sure you're okay with working with me?"

"I am very sure," Lyra blurted, winced again, and added in a meeker tone, "That is, if you think my... uh... skills are of any use."

"Oh, absolutely!"

"But I only minored in alchemy," Lyra said. "Sociology was the major I studied for in Trottingham College."

Twilight looked at Lyra's cutie mark, then at her. "But why do you have a 'lyre' on your flank, then?"

"Hobbies are boring," Lyra droned. "Let's get to work!"

"Okay!" Twilight rubbed her hooves together and lifted the book she had been perusing all that time. "It's a good thing I got a head start when I came here! We're about to do what two mares of our age and stature have never done before!"

"Oh?" Lyra leaned in, her amber eyes sparkling.

"Yes!" Twilight chimed. "We're going to find a cure for my brother Shining Armor's insomnia!"

Lyra's ears drooped as her face went dull. "Oh."

"Starting with what I read here about crystalline mana conductors in negatively charged space! With all the work my brother's done in Northern Equestria, this might lead us to finding a cure!"

Lyra sighed, leaning on her hoof as she gazed limply at Twilight's profile. The tiniest of stupid smirks lit her lips. "Insomnia's a real female dog, isn't it?"

"Oh, crystalline mana conductors have been tested on canines before, but I've done my research, and aside from the fact that such experiments are now considered illegal, there was no genuine results to be had that can now help us with our endeavor..."

In the background, the door rang again. The sound of rolling gravel rose and subsided as Sweetie Belle waddled in from Ponyville, unstrapped her helmet, and approached the glass counter.

Mr. Cake trottd up and smiled down at the filly. "Why, hello there, Missy! What can I get for you today?"

"Oh, no sweets this afternoon, Mr. Cake!" Sweetie Belle beamed wide. "My friends and I are parked outside, and I thought I'd ask if we could borrow one of your hammers!"

"Well, I suppose that's not too much to ask—" Mr. Cake did a double-take. "Er... what for?"

"You were a colt before you became a stallion. I'm sure you can understand!"