• Published 7th Feb 2013
  • 6,681 Views, 286 Comments

Brand New Dusk - AlphatheGriffin17

Book II. Returning once more with new determination, new goals and a new hat, Dusk is ready to see what the magic of friendship can offer... and perhaps much more.

  • ...

Feeling Pinkie Keen

"So, let me get this straight," Dusk was saying, lifting books down to Spike, "Pinkie has the ability to predict the future by way of random specific bodily vibrations?"

"Pretty much," the dragon affirmed. "It really is incredible! She predicted something was gonna fall twice, then a frog fell on Twilight's face and she fell into a ditch! Then, she predicted that Twilight'd get dirty and she did! She's getting herself cleaned up right now..."

"I see..." Dusk's mind processed this information, as he passed down more books. "How does she feel about it?"

"Well, you know Twilight. If she can't explain it, she can't believe it." He hoisted the books that were piled up. "Well, better get these outside, thanks for the help Dusk."

"Thanks for the update. Here, I'll get the door..." He pushed it open with some force, as the dragon scampered off with the books, running past the pink pony they were just discussing. "Oh, hello Pinkie. Is Twilight with you?"

"Sort of... she's a little behind things at the minute," she said, pointing at the door, which had swung to reveal a flattened Twilight on the other side.

"Oh my gosh, Twilight!" He helped her up to her hooves, feeling mortified. "I'm so sorry I... I-I didn't realise that you were... well..."

"It's okay, I'm fine Dusk... thank you." She looked at Pinkie, rubbing her head. "You said that combo meant 'beautiful rainbow'..."

"Oh no-no-no-no-no. You're thinking of an ear flop, then knee twitch, then eye flutter. This was an ear flop, then eye flutter, then knee twitch. That usually means "look out for opening doors"."

"Combo? Twitching? Is this the uh... Pinkie sense that I've been hearing about?" Dusk asked.

"Oh you know? Isn't the whole thing ridiculous? I mean... it doesn't make any sense, it's impossible!"

"I suppose... maybe..." Dusk looked thoughtful for a bit. "Perhaps... not entirely..."

"Oh Dusk, don't tell me you've gotten caught up in this nonsense too," she said desperately. "How can you possibly believe this?"

"Well... when I first met Pinkie, she started twitching in the tail. I moved and, seconds later, a piano hit the spot where I'd been standing. I'd heard someponies discussing it, so I just acted on a hunch."

"Ooh, I get those! That usually means that you shouldn't have the hay fries today. Or was it the grass muffins? Hm..."

"O...kay." Dusk shook his head. "Anyway, maybe there's some truth to this, that's all I'm saying."

"Not you too! I thought you'd be on my side! I don't believe this..."

"You don't believe because you don't understand," countered Pinkie, hitting the nail on the head.

"Hmm..." She tapped her hoof to her chin.

"I know that look, what are you planning?" Dusk asked her.

"Dusk, Pinkie, down to the basement. I know just how to settle this." She bolted off, Dusk following unsurely and Pinkie bouncing along behind.

Within a few minutes, they had Pinkie hooked up to a neural scanner, a machine that is used to detect the precise electrical signals that the brain sent to the thousands of nerves that control bodily functions. That was what Twilight told him anyway, as he had no idea what the machine did. Science didn't intrigue him as much as other things did, not all aspects of it anyway.

"This is some pretty high tech equipment," Dusk remarked from the console he was placed at.

"I only use the best," Twilight replied, plugging in a wire.

"So, why am I still here then?"


"I know, I know, I was kidding. I know that you appreciate my assistance in any way."

"Exactly. This library wouldn't be the same without you," she said sincerely.

"Keep telling yourself that," he replied with a smile, returning his attention to the console. "Okay, um... I have no idea what any of this means. Sorry."

"Here, let me see." Twilight quickly came over. "Okay, sensors at at optimum focus, power outputs are normal and brain activity is being recorded and transmitted. If Pinkie so much as sneezes, this thing will pick it up in a second. Just if any of these metres suddenly rise or any of these numbers change, let me know."

"Oh. Simple enough," said Dusk.

"Excellent. Now when you get another twitch, we'll have all kinds of scientific information," she said to their subject.


"Let's see what makes Pinkie tick," Dusk murmured, feeling anticipation growing.

Seconds passed, that dissolved into minutes. They had expected results soon and, while Dusk could be patient when he needed to, his was wearing thin and he was getting bored. Twilight was also growing increasingly annoyed at the lack of results. Pinkie supposedly had no control over them, but Twilight refused to believe anything that she couldn't explain.

There was one near twitch, but it turned out to be nothing. Then, Twilight said there was a spike in her chemical signals, but this just turned out to be her stomach growling. After this, Twilight lost her temper.

"Urgh... You know what?" She yanked out the cable for the main receptor, causing the machine to lose power. "Just forget it! I don't need to know if this is real or not. I don't need to understand it! I don't even care!"

Hurrying away from the console, Dusk matched her pace to keep up.

"Twilight, please, calm down," Dusk placated, as they walked back upstairs.

"Don't tell me to be calm! I am calm!" she snapped back.

"I know you like to understand any aspect of everything but... maybe this is something we can't explain. Like my magic, we can't explain why I can do my puppetry, I just can."

"But Dusk, you can control that and we can actually gather data and research on it, but this..." She growled angrily. "This is so frustrating..."

"It is, I suppose... but don't go trying to catch smoke," he advised simply, as they reached the door.

As they did, Pinkie made strange gibbering noises and began to twitch again. Despite what Twilight had said, Dusk watched her. Ear flop, eye flutter, knee twitch... that combo meant...

"Look out!" He shoved her away from the door and felt a sharp pain all over his body, as he was slammed against the wall by it, his hat and body flattened.

"Oh, there you are Twilight, hey Pinkie. Where's Dusk?" The door swung back and Dusk landed on the floor in a heap, his flat hat floating to rest on his head. "Dusk? What were you doing back there?"


"Dusk! Did you two plan this?" Twilight helped him up, as he shook his head off and righted his hat.

"Plan what?" asked a bewildered Spike.

"Urgh! This is ridiculous! This can't be happening! This makes no sense! I have to figure this out."

"But how?" Dusk asked, when his head stopped hurting. "We've tried scientific equipment, unless you want to try tailing her and documenting what she does as she goes about her day, then draw a conclusion from the results."

"You know... that's not a bad idea." She beamed at him. "You see Dusk? If you weren't here, we wouldn't have great ideas like the ones you come up with. Come on, let's go!"

"But... but I..."

Sincerely regretting what he had just said, Dusk followed her reluctantly as she grabbed her notebook, a pencil, a pair of binoculars and an explorer's hat kind of like the one that Daring Do would wear. Leaving Spike to watch the library, they set off on the trail of 'Pinkius Piecus' to see what they could learn.

They ended up following her disguised as a bush, shifting along whenever she changed position in the town. Dusk felt utterly ridiculous doing this, wearing crude camouflage on his hat, but he knew there was no arguing with Twilight.

"Remind me, why am I here?" Dusk whispered to her, as he noted down an nose itch.

"Three reasons: one, you're my second assistant. Two: you're as avid a learner and as astute as I am, and three: I believe you're the only pony who isn't completely convinced by this whole 'Pinkie Sense' nonsense. I mean, this was your idea."

"If you say so..." he murmured, neglecting to mention that he wasn't as knowledgeable in science as she was and preparing to note down again. "What's she doing now?"

"A-ha, that makes no sense. See?" She gave him the binoculars, where he saw her hiding and cowering. "She's hiding like something's about to fall out of the sky, but a twitchy tail means that something's about to fall from the sky, not an itchy nose."

"That is fairly conclusive... wait, I'm getting something..." He heard a buzzing, saw a yellow and black mass swarm towards them. "Move!"

Without waiting for her permission, he pushed her out of the bush and into another one, just as the swarm of bees passed over where they had been hiding seconds before. If they had stayed in that bush...

"Phew... that was close."

"Um... Dusk? You can er... get off me now." He looked to see he was lying on top of Twilight. Both of them blushing heavily, scurried off and let her get up. "Let's er... get back to the investigation..."

"Of course..." Silently moving along, more out of awkwardness than anything else, they followed their quarry onwards.

They tracked her next to Sweet Apple Acres, where they took cover next to the barn behind a stack of hay. Still feeling wary of danger, Dusk stood ready to take more notes on Pinkie's behaviour.

"Status update?" he requested.

"Smelling a flower," she reported.

"Inconclusive information, normal activity." he noted down.

"Indeed... wait, I'm getting something... Ear flop, eye flutter, knee twitch."

"Uh oh... that's the doors opening combo..." His eyes flickered to the nearby barn door,

"Dusk, please, don't tell me that you're starting to believe this nonsense," she begged. "We need to be objective."

"Okay... let's see then..." Not wanting to let her down, he went and stood next to the door. He waited but, to his relief, nothing happened. "There we go then, it seems you're right."

"You see?" she smiled at him, as he walked away from the door. "I keep telling you, this business is nothing but a load of-"

But what exactly it was a load of, Dusk didn't hear. At that moment, the ground vanished beneath his hooves and he tumbled down a flight of stairs, crashing into a pile of apples at the bottom and scattering them everywhere.

Aware that the pounding in his head was getting worse, he picked himself up, to see the smiling face of his farm pony friend, as she set down some more apples in another pile nearby.

"Dusk! Ya came ta visit ma new apple cellar, how nice!"

"Hey AJ, sorry to drop in on you like this." She chuckled as he dusted himself off and rearranged her apples. "This is a good apple cellar, if I ever saw one... which I haven't."

"Glad ya think so. Next time though, watch the firs' step."

"Dusk! Are you alright?" Twilight called down.

"I'm fine, don't worry! Slight bruising, that's all!"

"That's a relief... quick, Pinkie's on the move again!"

"No rest for the wicked," he murmured, then louder: "Coming! See you around, Applejack."

"Have a good one Dusk." Hurrying out of the dark, he soon caught up with Twilight again, as they got back on Pinkie's trail.

As much as Dusk wanted to be a source of support to Twilight at this time, he thought it was high time that she tried to face facts. Those facts pointed to the conclusion that, somehow, Pinkie could predict random events with random twitches. His aching head was proof of that.

But she was absolutely determined to prove Pinkie and everypony else wrong, and it was impossible arguing with her once her mind was set on something. So, sitting behind a park bench, Dusk took notes when instructed on the activity of Pinkius Piecus.

"Are you sure you're fine Dusk? You took a nasty fall... I know this was your idea, but I can get Spike to fill in, if you want." Concern was ebbing in her voice, so much that Dusk blushed a little.

"Don't worry about me, anything in the name of science," he replied lightly. "I stay committed, if I need to."

"Okay... thanks for sticking with me." She peered through her binoculars again. "Right, take this down: twitchy tail."

"'Twitchy... tail...' that one was... things falling!" His eyes darted skyward, looking for any sign of... well, anything.

"Dusk, calm down, you're overreacting," Twilight said reassuringly, but it wasn't enough for Dusk.

"No, I'm not!" He saw something whizz downwards towards Twilight.

Before she could say anything, he pushed her out of the way, having just enough time to move himself. They then watched as a plant pot, an anvil, a cart full of hay and a piano all fell in sequence on their observation point.

Dusk looked up to see, with some surprise, that same removals van that had almost hit him with their load when he first arrived, with the same crew in operation. Somepony should do an official enquiry into that company, that was just plain dangerous.

They both looked at each other, utterly bewildered at what had just happened. Before either of them could say anything, they heard Pinkie talking nearby.

"Oh, letting Twilight and Dusk secretly follow me all day, without me knowing."

"You mean you knew all along?" Twilight strode over angrily, Dusk following warily, his eyes flicking towards the sky. "Why didn't you tell us?"

"Silly, that would've spoiled the secret!"

At that sentence, Pinkie wasn't the only one that was twitching. It looked like poor Twilight, her mind unable to cope with all the nonsensical things that had been happening today, was about to blow a fuse. Concerned for her safety, and his own, Dusk asked Pinkie about her tail, if it was still twitching.

"All done, clear skies from here on in, as far as I can tell- Hu-bu-bu-bu-bu-bu!" Her whole body suddenly shook violently.

"Woah... what was that one?" Dusk asked.

"Dunno, never gotten any like it before, but whatever that shudder's about, it's a doozy." For the first time since he'd met her, Pinkie sounded scared. "Something you never expect to happen is gonna happen!" She had another bout of shuddering. "And its gonna happen... At Froggy Bottom Bog!"

"That's where Fluttershy was headed!" Applejack realised with a gasp.

"From what I've read, the Bog isn't the most hospitable of environments," Dusk murmured. "Is there any indication that Fluttershy may be in danger?"

"Um... I'm not sure," Pinkie said, still sounding fearful.

"We'd better go and make sure she's okay." With that, Applejack lead the way to the bog, followed by Dusk, Pinkie and, surprisingly, Twilight. She ran beside Dusk, matching his speed and looking determined.

"So, does Pinkie have you convinced?" he asked her.

"Of course not!" He directed her hard gaze to Pinkie. "I just want to be there to see the look on Pinkie's face when we find out nothing's wrong."

"Okey-dokey!" she replied cheerfully, as they hurried into the trees.

They continued to gallop at a rapid pace for a few more minutes, then slowed as they neared where the Bog was situated. Dusk became aware of every sound, every squeak and crack that could possibly be a threat.

His anxiety was also centred around Fluttershy. Gentle and timid, if something did happen to her, Dusk doubted she would be able to cope on her own. Just this once, he sincerely hoped that Twilight was right and Pinkie was wrong.

"You feelin' alright?" asked Applejack.

"Yes... just trying not to think about what's happened to Fluttershy... what might have happened."

"Same here," she said, looking grim. "Ya said ya read about the Bog, didn't ya?"

"I have. Its inhabitants are mostly frogs, some that have grown to the size of small houses. But, from what I've read, there's some nastier creatures lurking in here too... I just hope we don't meet any of them."

"Me too. We jus' find her, check on her an' get out. Good plan?"

"Couldn't have thought of a better one myself. Plus, we can find her in the quickest way possible." As they neared the swamp, Dusk thought positively about their lost friend and conjured up a puppet of her, which flew off of its own accord.

"Oh... fergot about that. Lucky ya came along." She shouted to the others: "Come on everypony, follow that puppet!"

Picking up speed again, Dusk replaced Applejack at the head of the pack. The buzz of a dragonfly met his ears. The unpleasant smell of the bog reached his nostrils, making him grimace. Bubbles of gas grew on the surface, bursting with disgusting squelches. Mangrove trees grew with their roots in the murky water, leaving mysteries as to what lurked in the murky depths beneath.

Hurrying as fast as they could, Dusk saw his puppet had halted over a form on a nearby rock, green frogs hopping around it. It faded away, but Dusk knew who it was and felt warm calm spread through him. It was Fluttershy! She was okay!

"Fluttershy! Thank Celestia, you're okay!"

"Of course..." She looked unsurely around at them all, but nopony gave her an explanation.

"I'm so glad everything's alright." Pinkie had her bright smile back.

"Sorry, I know it's not nice to gloat but... AHA!" Twilight's shout of triumph made Dusk jump. "I told you there was nothing to worry about and I was right. Pinkie Pie said whatever she was shuddering about was a-" She halted to cough, "-doozy, and-" She coughed again, "-and the only-" Another cough, "-doozy here is how right I am!"

As she spoke, Dusk became aware that the smell of the swamp was getting stronger, far more repulsive, downright toxic. He looked around for the cause of this happening, followed everypony's gaze to something above... and what he saw made his stomach contract.

A long, orange, scaly neck had risen out of the murky water behind Twilight. Seconds later, it was followed by a second... then a third... then a fourth. At the top of these necks, the heads had sharp wicked chins, a fierce mane of red spines, piercing green eyes and pointed teeth, as they towered over them as high as the clouds above. Twilight still hadn't noticed it and continued to gloat gloating.

"...no point in believing in anything you can't see for yourself," she was saying. She had to know.

"Speaking of seeing and believing... check behind you," he warned, feeling terrified.

She turned, her eyes widening. "I see it... I don't believe it!" The heads gave a loud, simultaneous roar that shook Dusk's ears.

"Is that a hydra?" Pinkie asked in disbelief.

"It is... at least, I think so." Despite the situation, Dusk was still a little curious. "I mean, it's quite amazing one is here but... I thought they were supposed to have eight heads. This one has half that..."

"Who cares how many heads it's got? RUN!"

Snapping himself out of it, Dusk took Applejack's excellent course of action to heart and ran as fast as his legs would let him, though Twilight had to drag Pinkie along, who was frozen in terror.

The very ground beneath them shook, as the hydra pursued them hungrily. Dusk jumped from path to rock to root to rock, trying to put as much distance between him and this monster as possible. Just one bite of its poisonous fangs and that would be it.

The hydra's heads tried to snap up his friends, narrowly missing them and only sinking their fangs into boulders or trees. One of them went for Dusk. He just managed ducked between a clump of thick trees. The result was it banging its head on the ground. It had brute force, but the beast lacked finesse. They just had to stay ahead of it.

A dead end! And Dusk was falling behind. Legs aching, lungs burning, he pushed himself to keep up... and felt his hoof become stuck in a deep bit of mud. He tried to yank it out, but it was too sticky. He whipped his head around. It was coming! Had... to get... free.

"Coming Dusk!" Twilight was hurrying back, but she wouldn't make it in time.

He whipped his head around, looking for something to fend it off. He spotted a boulder. His one chance... concentrating, he levitated it out of the swamp, then flung it at the head that swooped down to eat him. Hearing a satisfactory crack, he gave his efforts to wrench himself out of the mud, with Twilight's added strength.

"Good work. Up the hill, come on!"

"Higher ground, good thinking!" Not even daring to look back, he galloped alongside Twilight, hurrying up the steep hill.

Barely even acknowledging that Pinkie was still shaking, Dusk shoved her along, as the hill began to level out. If they could make it to the border of the swamp, the hydra wouldn't dare to follow them out. They kept running, they could make it-

-his heart sank when they reached another obstacle, in the form of a very high gorge, with nothing but the water or the rocks to break their fall. Stone plinths, that looked like they could support their weight gave them a way across... if they could reach them.

"Ugh, he'll be up here in no time!" The hydra was beginning to follow them up the hill. "Quick, one at a time, cross!"

"Right. Fluttershy, you go!" Dusk commanded.

"Okay... a hop, skip and a.. jump!" She leaped across, making good progress.

Pinkie almost shook herself off the cliff, but Applejack grabbed her just in time. Dusk whipped his head back. The hydra was steadily making up for lost ground. It was too close, it would reach them before they made it across.

"It's too close! I'll distract him, you three, go!" Applejack and Pinkie jumped across, but Dusk paused mid-jump.

He looked at her and across the canyon. He was scared, scared of dying, but also scared for her. What mattered more to him: his own safety, or hers? In the end, the decision was easy, despite his crippling fear. He couldn't just leave her here, he'd never be able to live with himself if anything happened to her.

He turned and ran in front of Twilight, bowing his head to the monster. "Dusk, what are you doing?"

"What does it look like I'm doing?" He glanced back at her. "This is my job, not yours. You go, quickly. I can distract him..."

"Dusk, no! I'm not leaving you!"

"Twilight, please, go! At least if I'm eaten, you'll still have Spike. Please, just go! I'll be fine." He gazed imploringly at her. He didn't want to see her get hurt. She gave in.

"Fine... but you'd better not let me down." She turned to run, and Dusk turned to fight, swallowing his fear as best he could.

His mind spinning like a dynamo, Dusk began to formulate strategies. His magic wasn't powerful enough to hurt it. He couldn't run past it, there was no room. Had to think... despite how many heads they had, hydra weren't the most cunning of predators. He doubted it would have seen this before...

He made a colour puppet to test his theory, a Pegasus pony. One of the heads tried to snap at it, to no avail. Satisfied, Dusk made even more, one for each head. As he hoped, it had stopped trying to go for him and started trying to eat his puppets. Naturally, it didn't work. He commanded them to swoop, dive and dodge in every direction, keeping it guessing and snapping until-

"Ha!" He grinned when he saw it had tied it's necks up in a knot, just as he planned. Satisfied, he tipped his hat to the beast and turned to make his escape, until he saw somepony still on the his side. "Twilight, I told you to run!"

"Technically, you can't tell me to do anything. Besides, I couldn't leave you to face that thing alone. I wouldn't have been able to live with myself..."

"Twilight... I..." He heard a roar getting close. "Jump!" They leaped over the head that snapped at them, landing on the neck. "Come on, time to-"

He stopped in horror. That last attack had hit a chunk of rock, that created a domino effect on the other plinths. The gap that it left was too wide to jump, there was no way for them to get across now...

"T-t-t-twilight! D-d-d-dusk! You have to jump!" Pinkie was still twitching. Could this be the doozy? That he and Twilight would... no, not that.

"We'll never make it!"

"You'll both be fine!"

"We will not!"

"It's your only ho-o-ope!" Another roar sounded. The hydra was coming. "You have to take a leap of faith!"

Twilight looked back at the hydra, then to Pinkie, then to Dusk. She gazed desperately at him, as if hoping for him to tell her none of this was really happening. Dusk wanted that too... but it was... they only had one option. She seemed to read his mind before he spoke.

"Are you crazy? We'd never make it!"

"Nothing important can be achieved without risk," Dusk said. "We have to try. It's either we fall to our deaths or we're hydra lunch."

"Dusk... we can't... I can't..."

"Yes, we can." He held out his hoof to her. "Let's take the leap. Together. Trust me."

She stared at it for a while, then at him. Finally, returning a somewhat confident smile, she grabbed it. Feeling a twinge that had nothing to do with fear of the hydra, they took a running start, galloped forward, then jumped with all of their might, as the hydra gave them extra air from hitting the rock they jumped from. The plinth was close... they might make it...

They fell short. They both screamed as they plummeted towards the swamp. Towards a large gas bubble that was forming below. Yes, this might work! If they could stick the landing... they hit it... the bubble popped, propelling them up, up, up. Then down, the bounce, bounce and one smack into a cliff-side.

Shaking their heads clear, they revelled in their victory, the others cheering in relief that they'd made it across. They had made it! Against all odds, they'd escaped certain death!

"Dusk, we did it!" She positively beamed at him and hugged him.

"I told you we would," Dusk murmured quietly.

"Yes, you did..." They held their gaze for a few moments, then remembered they were still holding each others hooves. They abruptly let go, blushing furiously.

"I knew you could both do it!" Pinkie grabbed them both in a one-armed hug.

"I don't know how it happened," Twilight began happily, "coincidence, dumb luck, or what, but you said there'd be a doozy here at Froggy Bottom Bog, and I'd say we just had ourselves one heck of a doozy. I mean that hydra-"

She was cut off, as Pinkie violently shuddered again. Dusk felt his stomach churn.

"Pinkie?" she asked unsurely

"That wasn't it." Dusk felt like he had just hit the rock face again.

"You mean... there's still something going to happen?" Dusk asked timidly.

"Yep. The hydra wasn't the doozy."

They heard a raspberry being blown, as the hydra slunk off back to its murky home, deprived of dinner. Ignoring it, Dusk continued to listen to Pinkie, hoping it wasn't going to come around again.

"I'm still getting the shudders." She shuddered like a milkshake once more "You see? There it is again. Whatever the doozy was at Froggy Bottom Bog, my Pinkie Sense says it still hasn't happened."

"Huh? But I- WHAT?" She sounded like she was about to lose what was left of her common sense."The hydra wasn't the doozy? How could it not be the doozy? What could be doozier than that?"

"Dunno, but it just wasn't it."

Twilight, unable to keep it in any longer, levitated into the air and spontaneously combusted, literally bursting into flames with rage. Dusk reminded himself to never ever get on her bad side. Then, singed and smoking, a resigned look grew on her features. "Ooh... I give up..."

"Give what up, Twi?" Dusk asked, as he helped her up, flinching from residual heat.

"The fight." She sighed, gazing up at him with a lost look. "I can't fight it anymore. I don't understand how, why, or what, but Pinkie sense somehow... makes sense. I don't see how it does, but it just does. Just because I don't understand doesn't mean its not true."

"Y-y-y-you m-m-mean you b-b-b-believe?" Her shuddering seemed to have increased exponentially.

"Yep, I guess I do." Before Dusk could say anything, several things happened at once.

Pinkie's shuddering reach a kind of climax. In rapid sequence, she bounced up, hit the floor, expanded, bounced again, hit the ground, landed on her hooves...and stopped. No further shuddering. It just... finished.

"That was it. That's the doozy!" She grinned again.

Dusk was at first confused, but he quickly figured it out. "Twilight believing... was the doozy?"

"Exactly, Mr Psychic Pony. That was the doozy, oh and, oh what a doozy of a doozy it was!"

Without another word on the matter, she pranced off back to the town, singing a cheery tune. They all looked around at each other, utterly bewildered and promptly followed her back. Dusk couldn't help but smile to himself. Spike was never going to believe this...

Trotting back to the library after a rest at home, Dusk opened the door to see an odd sight. Spike was running off upstairs with a roll of parchment, while Pinkie and Twilight stood at the centre of the room, wearing rainbow-coloured umbrella hats.

"Dusk, you're back! I've just finished my report to the Princess." She smiled at him, gesturing to her hat. "What do you think of my new look?"

"It suits you," he chuckled. "Pinkie's tail twitching?"

"Yep, what else can I do?"She approached him, still smiling. "I never got the chance to thank you, Dusk."

"Me? For what?"

"In the swamp, it was you who gave me the courage to take that leap. If it wasn't for you, I don't think I could have done it."

"I'm er... I'm sure you would have... I mean er..." He felt rather flustered now. "I mean we did... have a hydra on our tail... pretty big incentive to jump, I'd say..."

"Maybe, but still, you helped a lot. You can be really brave sometimes you know. Thank you." She gave him a gentle embrace, which he was more than happy to return. "Now, me and Pinkie are heading out. You want to come?"

"I'll pass thank you. Have a nice time, I'll keep an eye on things with Spike."

"I trust you both. Oh, and one more thing." He looked back at her at the door. "Thank you for the lilacs, they were lovely."

"Heh... no problem." She gave him one last, warm smile, before leaving with Pinkie.

As he watched her go, Dusk thought of all that had transpired today. When Twilight took his hoof, he'd felt something like electricity shoot up his leg from the contact. What did that mean? And the flowers too... she'd liked them, but did she see it as a romantic gesture or as a favour from a friend? If the former, did she think he liked her... like that (If he did, of course)? Did she mind?

Dusk decided to try and figure it out later. For now, he needed a rest. He looked up curiously at the sky. What would fall now? He saw Spike at the window, about to send off Twilight's report... and something slammed into the balcony beside him.

"What the... Princess Celestia?"

It was indeed the Bringer of the Day. She personally took the letter, heard Dusk's voice and smiled down at him.

"Hello there Dusk," she greeted happily. "I hope you don't mind me dropping by. I like the hat, it becomes you nicely."

"Thank you, Princess," he replied, tipping to her. "And don't worry, I know the feeling," he said, thinking back earlier on.

"Indeed," she smiled. "I look forward to reading this. Farewell, for now." With that, she flew off back into the sky back towards Canterlot city.

Dusk and Spike exchanged confused looks with one another at this random appearance... then fell about laughing. It was certainly never a dull moment in Ponyville, that much could be guaranteed.

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