• Published 8th Apr 2013
  • 4,614 Views, 428 Comments

Dusk Dawns - AlphatheGriffin17



Book IV Now taking up lessons with the Princess of the Night, datingthe student of the Princess of the Sun, coping with some bad memories and being the Seventh Element, Dusk certainly has a lot on his plate. And that's just stuff to do with hi

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Sisterhooves Social

"That's it Dusk, you've got it, just hold it there," Twilight encouraged.

"I'm… trying…" grunted Dusk in reply, sweat pouring down his face.

"Yeah, just keep it up dude and stuff," Spike said nonchalantly from the colour form he was sat on. "Hey, this thing's pretty comfy, I think I'll just have a little rest…"

"Glad… you're… enjoying yourself," growled Dusk, trying his best to keep his concentration on the task at hoof.

"Spike, you can't sleep at a time like this. Dusk needs our support, encouragement and he's asleep," she deadpanned, just as the baby dragon's snores reached Dusk's ears. "Well, you still got me helping you."

"Great…" he muttered.

Typical Spike, he thought angrily, ignoring his snoring as best he could and keeping all concentration on the colour shape that was floating before him, the baby dragon resting atop of it.

This was a new part of his educational magic that Luna had given him to practice. After trying and failing to teach him how to become formless in their last session, something that Luna had become quite frustrated with, she had decided to give him something she thought as simpler to learn. Up until now, his colour forms had no actual structure to them. They were just gatherings of coloured light that he could create. Luna had told him that, with enough concentration, he could actually make them solid.

This was something that he was quite eager to learn, mostly because he didn't want to disappoint Luna further by failing at this like he had with becoming formless and also because he was quite interested to see what he could do with his shapes if they were actually solid objects rather than just swirling shapes. Solid light conjuring, Luna had called it and it seemed simple enough. When he'd tried to perform it in the lesson, however, he didn't know whether or not it was because he was worn out from previous efforts or if he just wasn't used to it, but he had failed to hold it for longer than a few seconds.

As a result, with another disappointed expression that made Dusk feel like he was letting her down, she had told him to practice for his next lesson and she expected him to hold it for significantly longer. With a due amount of dread and anxiety, Dusk had promised that he would fulfil her wishes as best he could and be ready to show her by the time they next had to meet.

"See that you don't, for I shall know if you haven't," was what she had said simply, but firmly before leaving him for the evening and letting him go home, feeling thoroughly depressed.

That was what he was doing here now. After hearing about what he had been learning, asking with the same eager expression she reserved for finding a new magical volume to study, Twilight had immediately suggested that she and Spike help to practice with him. With their help and support, they had helped him hold in place a quill, an empty ink pot, a book and now Spike. The first two he had supported for about ten seconds, the third just under and now Spike he had going for three.

It was remarkable how quickly he could fall asleep under the right conditions.

He could feel his concentration slip, his head ache and the tell-tale signs that he was about to give way into exhaustion. He just had to hold it for a little longer… come on, he urged himself, come on… but he couldn't manage it.

Gasping from the effort, he cut off the magic, felt a great relief sweep through him and heard a yell when Spike lost his temporary bed and hit the floor. A headache kicked in shortly afterward, his hoof shooting up to his temple and rubbing them in a vain attempt to lessen the pain.

"Ow! Hey, I was enjoying that!"

"Spike, we're supposed to be helping Dusk practice, not taking forty winks before lunch."

"Who says I can't do both?"

Dusk couldn't even muster up an apology to Spike's indignant tone, crawling over to a table and resting his head on it until the pain subsided. It went quicker than he expected when he felt a soothing presence inside his head and looked up to see Twilight's horn glowing while she performed a spell that lessened the pain.

"Feel better?" she asked.

"Physically, yes. Mentally…" He sighed and propped his head onto the table. "That was pathetic…"

"No it wasn't, you did fine," she said brightly. "I really think you're getting better at this."

"Oh, well that helps." He saw Twilight looking quite taken aback from his bitter response and sighed again. "Sorry Twi, I didn't mean to snap. It's just… this is hard…"

"I know, I know," she said, nestling beside him. "Nopony said this was going to be easy and I know that it certainly isn't, but trust me when I say that it's worth it."

"I'm finding that rather hard to believe right now," he replied, still feeling embittered by his lack of progress. "What possible good can you get out of something like this?"

"Well, I met you didn't I?" In truth, he didn't have a response to that. "See, not so bad now, is it?"

"I suppose…" He felt a glow when she kissed his cheek. "I guess you are right, you usually are…"

"I try my best," she replied just as brightly.

"It's just that…" He paused, feeling the more familiar twinge in his skull. "These lessons with Luna, I'm trying my best but… they're really getting to me. These headaches, the work, the way she seems to keep pushing me…"

"She is a princess and she did pick you personally as her student, so she's bound to have high expectations for you. Celestia did for me, still does I guess," she added. "She just wanted me to be the best I could be and I'm sure Luna wants the same for you."

"I guess," he agreed. "I can see where you're coming from but, sometimes… I feel like she wants me to be more in just a few minutes of time."

"That's just unfair though!" she insisted. "She can't expect you to be at your best when you've only been learning for a few weeks."

"I know, I know, maybe it's just me…"

"Well, what about this new technique she's given you? How exactly did she tell you to improve and work on it?" she asked.

"She just said for me to concentrate on keeping it solid and to keep it there for as long as I could," he reiterated. "The more I do it, the longer I can hold it as my mind gets used to it."

When Twilight didn't respond immediately, he looked up to see that she had a thoughtful, almost scrutinizing look on her face. She was no longer looking at him, but her eyes her drifted to the floor in thought while her hoof was on her chin.

"Something wrong?" he asked her.

"I don't know," she replied absently. "That sounds rather vague in a way, not very directly instructional. Are you sure that's what she said?"

"Positive," he affirmed, though he didn't feel positive. "That's the way she told me and… who am I to argue?" he finished on a sour tone.

"Hmm… that doesn't sound very informative," she said to herself quietly. "You'd think she'd provide clearer methodology than that, especially for a new learning branch of magic. Bordering ineffective really, almost as if…"

"As if… what?"

She snapped her head up like she'd just remembered he was with her. "Oh nothing, just something I…" She waved a hoof in dismissal. "It doesn't matter, it's nothing."

"Okay…" He wasn't entirely convinced, but he didn't want to pry either. She would tell him if she wanted to.

Almost like him, but not as bad… his migraine seemed to increase as he suppressed the memories again.

"Anyway, want to get back to practicing?" she asked with a smile, trying to make him feel better.

The very mention of the word made his head flare up again. "Actually I'd rather prefer to take a break…"

"Finally, words I like hearing," Spike put in, stretching and yawning.

"I think you've had enough of a break," Twilight said sternly. "You can clear up all the things we've been using to practice while Dusk rests."

"What?! That's not fair, it's not even my mess!"

"That ink you spilled from that pot was."

"I thought it was empty!"

"You should have checked then, now go on!"

Clearly still disgruntled at this, Spike started to pick up the scattered items, grumbling to himself all the while. Removing her stern look, Twilight turned back to Dusk with that smile he so loved seeing on her face.

"So, what do you want to do? If you want to just rest here, I could find some more books for you to study this magic from. Ooh, I know," she said excitedly, "there's a rather good book on the states of matter that could relate to this. We could try and use it to observe how magic can be altered to transform various atomic structures!"

His head hurting so much and his brain functioning a lot slower than it should be, Dusk didn't even know half of what she just said. The practice alone was making his head hurt and the thought of reading yet more science books just added to that.

"Twilight, perhaps I could do something to wind down that doesn't involve studying?" he asked hopefully.

"Studying always helps me wind down," she noted. "Okay well then… you could always try and recite what you know so far. Or I could tell you about a few of my lessons with the Princess and see if that could help you. I've my share of pit falls as well you know."

The optimistic look she had almost made Dusk say yes for fear of disappointing her, but then he remembered that he and his aching head had had quite enough of studying and learning and practicing for one day. It had just gone two 'o clock and he wanted to do something that wasn't reciting facts or scanning a book.

Though it seemed quite unfathomable, he wanted to leave the wooden walls of the library for a while.

"Actually, I really want to get out the library for a bit, get some fresh air."

"That's a great idea! Study outside, why didn't I think of that? I've done it a few times myself, so that's reasonable." Did she deliberately not understand him? "Hold on, I'll get a few volumes and we can get started."

Dusk also realised something else too and it shocked him a little. As much as he loved her company, he needed to get away from Twilight for a bit as well. Her apparent ignorance and incessant need for studying was starting to irritate him too.

Hoping this didn't make him a bad coltfriend, he said, "Twilight, I sort of want to spend some time alone for a bit, let myself think."

"Oh… right." His stomach dropped from the disappointed expression she had, but she quickly recovered herself. "Well, that's just fine. Some time alone might help clear your head, I understand."

"Thank you." A familiar part of himself returned again. "You're sure you don't mind?"

She laughed a little at his politeness. "Not at all. You go off, have a little walk and some fresh air and come back all refreshed and ready to go."

"Thank you," he said, relieved that was settled. "I'll try not to be too long, just so you don't uh… miss me too much."

"It'll be tough," she replied in a mock forlorn voice to his unsure flirt, "but I'm sure I'll manage somehow. Just make sure you hurry back, I don't want to be all alone without you."

"I promise you, I won't," he finished in a sort of heroic tone.

"You're not alone, I'm right here!" Spike cried out.

They both just laughed at the disgruntled dragon, Dusk smiling sheepishly by way of apology and heading off down the stairs towards the door.

"Missing you already!" he heard Twilight call out to him.

"Likewise!" he returned, already feeling a little better once he was outside.

He had, at first, been rather annoyed. Luna's zealous and hard teaching combined with Twilight's apparent inability to recognise that, for once, he didn't want to study with her to pass the time had made him feel like he wanted to hit something. A bit unlike him and, though it had at first surprised him, he had contemplated just slamming his hoof into something to let off some frustration. He had a feeling that something else was influencing that as well.

But then he'd felt the wind gently caress his face, his own happiness from his successful flirtation with Twilight and heard the sounds of the birds and those feelings melted away like the snow in spring.

He let a smile emerge onto his face. As hard as his studies were, perhaps Twilight was right and he all he really needed was a little break and some time off studying for a bit, even if she hadn't quite gotten the message. Still, she liked her work and he couldn't change that about her, not that he wanted to. He liked that about her. Feeling the cool breeze upon his face and sucking in the crisp air into his lungs, he set off away from the centre of town, which would most likely be packed at this time of day and out into the meadows.

However, Dusk realised something once he was out. Though he had wanted some time alone and to clear his head, he noticed that it was only for Twilight wanting to study more that he needed to be on his own. He would have been happy to do anything else with her, but the boat had sailed on that one. He wanted to see more of his other pony friends for a bit, perhaps draw some comfort from them. It had been a while since he'd seen some of his other friends anyway, a week since Nightmare Night and he hadn't taken note of how much he missed them.

So, as he walked, he thought about who he should go and see. He could already imagine some of the responses from them, Rainbow perhaps suggesting some kind of stunt to get his 'daily dose of awesome', Applejack suggesting some kind of outdoor activity to get his blood moving somewhere other than his head, Rarity offering him a cup of tea whilst asking him how things were going with his 'special somepony'.

So his mind settled on that, making his way to the Carousel Boutique to spend some time with his favourite fashion designer. Well, the only fashion designer that he actually knew, for he had never really been into fashion, but still… he shook those thoughts off, focusing on just being happy at the thought of seeing her and being as polite as he always was.

Almost an echo of Nightmare Night, she sounded quite annoyed when she was coming for the door, but her mood lifted slightly when she saw who it was.

"Oh hello Dusk!" Even her greeting sounded strained. "What brings you to my abode today?"

"Is this a bad time Rarity?" he asked. "I can come back another time, if you'd prefer…"

"Now you mention it…" She discontinued her sentence, furrowed her brow and her face suddenly brightened. "Actually Dusk, since you are here, would you mind doing me a small favour?"

Well, this was better than nothing. "Of course, what do you need?"

"I knew I could count on you!" she said, her voice full of relief. "Would you mind keeping an eye on Sweetie Belle for a bit?"

"Your sister? I thought she stayed with your parents?"

"Usually yes, but they're off on vacation for the week and, as such, I am playing host to my younger sibling." She sounded as if the very idea was distasteful. "I was just as surprised, but I simply cannot watch her and do my work at the same time, so could you make sure she doesn't get into any trouble?"

"Is she liable to?" he enquired nervously.

"Not as much as she has been," she growled, but remembered she had company. "But, I'm sure she'll be fine as long as you watch her."

Dusk hadn't really been expecting this. "I'll do my best but um… I don't really know much about foalsitting."

"Oh I'm sure you'll be wonderful at it," she said quickly. "Besides, she already knows and likes you and I shouldn't be too long with my work, if you're on a timetable."

Dusk thought for a moment. He had hoped just to talk to Rarity and relax a little and hadn't anticipated anything like this. While he did like the three Crusaders, he didn't exactly know them very well. The closest that came under that was Apple Bloom and even then that was fleeting. Would he even be any good at this?

But other thoughts came in as well. He may not know the Crusaders all that well, but it was only Sweetie and Rarity had made the point they already liked him. He always saw Rarity's younger sister as the most sensible of the group, not that he didn't like the other two. She just had that innocent air about her possibly more so than the other two, something that almost made him long for childhood simplicity. Were his own childhood not so lonely...

Plus, it couldn't hurt to maybe get to know her a little better and this would be a good opportunity to. So, he agreed, much to the obvious delight of Rarity who led him in and soon brought in Sweetie Belle, who looked a little down herself, but also brightened up with a smile when she saw him.

"Hey Dusk!" That sweet little smile made one of his own tug at his mouth. "What are you doing here?"

"Well, you see, Dusk here has very kindly offered to look after you for a bit while I work," Rarity told her. "See? That's fun, isn't it?"

"But I wanted to spend some time with you!" Sweetie insisted. "No offense Dusk."

"None taken," he said lightly.

"Oh we will, dear, we will," she placated, "but I need to spend some time in my creative zone, as it were. We'll do something after, but until then, Dusk is in charge."

Dusk shuddered a little at those words. Nopony had ever put him in charge of anything before, at least nothing this big. Or was he thinking too much about that?

Sweetie didn't seem too enthusiastic either. "But I don't need a foalsitter, I can look after myself."

"Sweetie, you burnt and then liquefied toast," pointed out her sister.

"It's not my fault. I thought setting ten would make your toast nice and crispy."

"What kind of toaster has a setting ten?" muttered Dusk, though his question went unanswered.

"Regardless Sweetie, I'm sure you'd rather spend some time with Dusk rather than trying to pass the time on your own and probably end up breaking something." Dusk winced a little at the relative harshness of Rarity's statement.

"Okay," she sighed. "I guess that does sound better."

"Smashing! Now, I need to return to my creation station. Dusk, I leave my sister in your capable hooves." With an incline of her head and a cautious glance at Sweetie, Rarity stalked off back upstairs without another word.

Now he was left alone with the filly, who looked a little disappointedly after her sister. Dusk stepped forward, about to say something, but was left at a loss. What exactly was he going to do with her? He didn't know her interests, her hobbies or anything like that, apart from earning her cutie mark but he was sure she'd prefer to do that with her friends. He felt that his own interests would bore her young mind and, as such, was unsure about initiating conversation.

But then she turned to look at him and he felt a little better. Soon after, Dusk was spared thinking of what to talk about by a polite Sweetie Belle, who approached him with a bright smile and curious eyes.

"Thanks for doing this Dusk," she said sincerely. "I promise I'll try my best to be good and well-behaved for you."

"I uh… I'm sure you will." Though he partially expected this, he was a little taken aback at how… well, mature she was.

"So, how have you been Dusk?"

Well raised, he thought, like her elder. "I've been just fine, thank you," he replied, though that wasn't entirely true. "What about you?"

"Same here. Ooh, those are new!" She pointed to his glasses.

"Yeah…" He adjusted them a little, a habit he'd started to pick up. "Well, I needed to see better so… these were the only option. Do you um… like them?"

She nodded honestly. "They suit you, like your hat. I think they make you look smart, which is good because you are smart. Now everypony knows it when they see you."

"Well… thank you for that," he said with a small smile. "Your sister thought much the same."

"She would. Anyway um, how's your new cutie mark?" He noted her rather bitter tone regarding her sister and the sudden change of topic. She glanced at the mark in question. "Do you ever miss the old one?"

"Sometimes, yes," he admitted, "but the new one is treating me well, despite the new responsibilities it brings."

"That's good. Me and the others are still trying to earn ours," she added sadly, looking at her own blank flank. "But we're going to keep at it. Pretty soon, we're bound to discover our special talents. We still remember what you said to us, but we'd still like to have them."

"That's the right attitude to take, good for you," he encouraged. "What are you going to try next?"

"Well, Apple Bloom suggested that we might try to earn marks in bowling next time," she announced.

"Oh." That was a little random. Not Pinkie random, but still… "I didn't know you had an interest in bowling."

"Well, I don't. Come to think of it, the others don't either," she realised. "But we decided it was a good one to try out and I thought so because it seemed safe, unless we drop the ball on our hooves."

"Just so long as you… don't hurt yourselves," he warned. "I still remember when you tried to get marks in zip-lining."

"You should have seen us when we tried to get ones in hang gliding."

Dusk blinked in surprise. "I... I'm sorry, in what?"

"It wasn't pretty," she agreed. "It involved a few missing roofs, some overturned pots and a run-away cart of manure but trust me, it's best you don't know."

"Right…" He didn't know quite what to make of that, so he decided to draw the conversation away from that quickly. "So… a week staying with your big sister, that must be nice."

"Yeah, I guess... maybe…" She cast her eyes down to the floor and hung her head. "I don't know…"

"Why so glum?" he asked, moving a little closer. "Is there something wrong between you two? Not that it's my business, but…"

"It's fine," she dismissed. "It's just… I really wanted to spend some time with her and have some fun for the week, but everything I've tried so far has just hit me back in my face."

"Why do you say that?"

"Because it's true. I tried making her breakfast in bed as a surprise, but I just ended up burning it. I tried putting some garnish on eggs, but I broke up breaking the table and some plates. I tried washing her clothes for her, but I ruined her favourite sweater trying." She hung her head lower. "So far, everything I've tried has just been a failure, like getting my cutie mark."

Dusk could practically feel her tugging at his heartstrings at the state she was in. "Aw, Sweetie, I'm… I'm sorry to hear that."

"It's fine, it's not your fault," she said kindly. "I just wanna do something nice for my sister…"

Dusk didn't know much about Sweetie, nor about her relationship with Rarity. However, if there was one thing he had some knowledge in, it was doing something nice for a friend. He'd done it a few time for his friends and they seemed to appreciate them, no matter what exactly it was he tried. Seeing Sweetie like this, he knew he had to at least try.

"Perhaps you can," he said brightly. "It shouldn't be too difficult. Maybe you could just do something simple."

She perked up a little at his words. "That's something. She told me to stay out of trouble and that you're in charge, so…" Her eyes settled on some papers and some pencils on a table nearby. "I never got into any trouble with drawing… Dusk?"

It took him a while to realise she was asking his permission. "Oh, right! Yes, go ahead, I'm sure that's fine."

"Great!" She crossed over to the table and picked up a pencil in her mouth. "You wanna help?"

"You'll be fine, I'm not much good at this." Her actions made him think of something. "Wouldn't you prefer to use your magic?"

She placed the pencil down so she could speak properly. "It's not strong enough yet. I'm still too little to use it properly."

"Ah, I see…" He cleared his throat and steered away from that, feeling even sorrier for her. "You carry on then."

"Right." Her work was done in only a few minutes and, though it was simple, even Dusk could appreciate the heart that went into it. Appropriate, as a heart was actually in it. "Hm, it needs something more…"

"I think it looks fine," Dusk said, looking at the image of her and Rarity in the middle of the heart. "I'm sure Rarity will like it."

"I don't want it to be fine though, I want it to be special." For the second time, her eyes settled on a solution, in the form of a chest of sparkling sapphires. "These are perfect!"

Dusk looked on as she scurried to them and picked out some. "Sweetie, Rarity usually uses gems in her work. Are you sure it's okay for you to use them?"

"It'll be okay, I know she has more in her work room she can use," she assured him. "But these'll really help it stand out. You sure you don't wanna help me?"

"I'm um… not much good with art, I'd only mess it up…" he mumbled.

"Oh come on, it's just sticking them down on the heart." She held up the glue tub and a few gems. "Come on, it'll be fun. Plus, if you help me, then if I somehow get in trouble, it'll be okay with Rarity because you did it with me."

"A... fair point…" Dusk's eyes lingered on the items before him, then shifted to Sweetie's eager expression. That was what settled it. "Right… where do you want me to start?"

Beaming brightly, Sweetie dragged him over with a giggle and set him to work. It didn't exactly take much direction, just a matter of applying the glue to the heart and sticking down the gems, giving the drawing an added sparkle. Dusk was still a little unsure, but Sweetie's perky mood and the simplicity of the task eventually ensured that he was enjoying himself, even if the two of them made something of a little mess.

He admired Sweetie's enjoyment of the task, the part of her that simply found creating fun and the part that she was doing she felt her big sister would appreciate. With the effort that she was putting in, Dusk felt it impossible that Rarity wouldn't like the gesture in some way. How could anypony deny the work of one so innocent and caring?

Apparently, as he discovered, one could.

Just as they finished and Sweetie smiled her thanks to Dusk, Rarity came back downstairs. Though it was still dripping with wet glue, the filly rushed up to her, presenting the drawing as if they were the crown jewels of Canterlot.

"Hi, Rarity! I made a special drawing for y-"

She was cut off by Rarity's shriek when she saw the empty chest. "Oh no! Did you use these gems?!"

"Well, yes, but I know you'll have more in your work room..." Sweetie no longer looked proud and was now cowered before Rarity.

"But-but these are extremely rare baby blue sapphires!" she shrieked. "I need them for an outfit for an extremely important client!"

"Oh. Sorry…"

Feeling a little emboldened, Dusk stepped forward. "Rarity, please, she didn't know. She only wanted to do something nice, it's not her fault that she-"

"And you, Dusk!" She rounded on him now, enough that he backed off a little. "I thought I could trust you to keep an eye on her and you let her do this?!"

"I um…" He tried his best to keep his composure. "It seemed… harmless enough and um, she said that it… would be fine."

"And you just took her word?! Why, oh why, didn't you come and ask me first before you permitted this?!" she demanded angrily.

"I'm um… I'm sorry, I should have done…" He felt quite ashamed of himself now, but not enough to ask something else. "Can I just… ask something?"

"And what is that?!"she shot back.

He cleared his throat and adjusted his glasses again. "If these sapphires are so rare and uh, they're so… important, then uh… why are they just down here, in this open chest for, um… well, anypony to um… find?"

Rarity stared at him, open-eyed and mouthed, clearly trying her best to think of an appropriate response. Eventually, she seemed to simmer down, sigh and back away from him.

"I suppose… that's a fair point and it wasn't entirely your fault," she admitted. "I'm sorry I snapped at you, but you still should have come and seen me first."

"Right, I'll make sure of that for next time. I'm sorry Sweetie and I used all of your gems," he added.

"Accepted," she replied, though still in a disappointed voice. She turned back to her sister. "Sweetie Belle, what am I going to do with you?"

That looked to be a question with many answers. "Oh! We could paint together, we could ride bikes, play chess, sing a song, catch frogs, pillow fight-"

"That's not what I meant!" Sweetie fell silent again. "Now I have to go and find some more of these gems!"

"I'll go with you and help!" she volunteered.

"No!" The very idea seemed to terrify her. But she realised how loudly she'd said that and attempted to rectify her mistake. "No thank you. You can help by picking up these papers and stacking them, neatly. Put the pens and pencils back exactly where you found them, and please find something to do that doesn't create a large mess for me to clean up!"

"Um, Rarity?" Dusk flinched from the look she gave him. "I need to get back to the… library soon. Twilight, you know?"

"Yes, yes, that's fine," she said impatiently. "I'm sure you have other things to do and I suppose Sweetie will be fine for a bit, until I get back. Unless you intend to do something else I don't like?"

This was directed at Sweetie, who responded with a tentative, "… No?"

"Good. Then, by all means feel free to leave when you need to. Unlike some of us, you don't need to stay." With that, she slammed the door and left Dusk feeling partially glad to see her go."

"Geez Louise, can't I do anything right?" Sweetie muttered, clearing up the papers she and Dusk had been using. "Do you need to get back now?"

"I'd better get going, yes," he nodded. "Will you be fine by yourself?"

"Sure. It's just tidying things, even I can't mess that up." She offered him another bright smile. "Thanks for helping me Dusk, it was really fun doing this with you."

"The feeling is mutual." She gave him a questioning look. "Um… I enjoyed it too. I'm sorry Rarity didn't like it."

"It's okay, we tried our best. And Dusk?" She looked a little sheepish when he looked back at her. "I know we don't know each other all that well and… you probably think I'm just a little kid, but um… thanks for trying to stick up for me."

Once again, Dusk blinked a little in surprise, but he returned her smile regardless. "I was happy to do it. Just um… make sure you don't set her off again. Your sister is, uh… scary when she's angry."

"Yeah, I could tell. You looked like she was gonna eat you up" she giggled. "Don't worry, I'll do my best. Bye Dusk!"

"Until next time, Miss Belle." He tipped his hat to her and set off back for the library.

So… he at least had the gratitude and appreciation from Sweetie for his efforts. That was something at least and it had really helped to calm him down, spending some time with her and it made him really want to resume his efforts with Luna's task, no matter how daunting it seemed.

And yet… something was still bothering him. The vivid image flashed in his mind of the angry Rarity, yelling at her cowering sister, just because she'd tried to do something nice for her and the message had been lost on it. She'd only seen how Sweetie had made her life difficult, completely overlooking her kind and thoughtful gesture. Really, Rarity was being rather, well… selfish. Quite ironic, considering she was the Element of Generosity.

Thinking about it, Dusk felt that he should help in some way. He didn't know if it was because, even though he didn't know her that well, he was growing fond of the little filly or if it was some kind of instinct that came with being the Element of Unity in friendship. All he knew was that Sweetie, and perhaps to an extent Rarity, needed a little bit of help. He may not have any siblings himself, but how much different could it be from friendship? He considered Fluttershy to be like his sister, so that was something.

The question was, that went through his head when he re-entered his workplace… what exactly should he do? He had a good idea, but would Twilight mind?

"There you are!" Twilight's enthusiastic greeting met his ears the instant he walked in. "You were gone for quite a bit. You feeling better?"

"Much, thank you." He let her kiss his cheek and blushed. "I just had a chance to clear my head, like you said."

"See, didn't I tell you?" She smiled all the more and beckoned. "Come on, now we can get back to practicing your magic. I'm sure you can do great this time."

"Great! Longer nap time for me," Spike remarked as he entered the room.

"Actually um, Twilight?"

"What is it?" She caught the nervous tone in his voice and her face fell a little. "Do you not want to practice with me?"

"Oh, no I do!" he corrected, a little loudly. "It's just that… something's come up."

"What do you mean?" She became more concerned now. "Is there something wrong? What's happened?"

"Nothing, well, not to do with me," he rectified. "Only that in I went to visit Rarity before and-"

"Wait, wait. You went to see Rarity?" There was a tone in her voice he didn't like and she cocked an eyebrow suspiciously. "I thought you said you wanted to spend some time on your own."

"I did, but-"

"Well, if you wanted to spend time on your own, why did you go and see Rarity?" she asked, still with that tone. "That's not spending time on your own."

"I just-"

"If you didn't want to spend time by yourself, you could have just come back here. So, why go and see Rarity?"

Where did this come from? Why was she acting like this? "Well… um…"

"Whoa, tread lightly dude, tread lightly," Spike warned from behind her.

What was that supposed to mean, Dusk thought desperately. What had he done wrong?!

"So, I'll hear you out then," Twilight said sceptically, ignoring Spike. "What exactly has happened at Rarity's that is of such monumental significance?"

Still quite flummoxed as to why exactly she was being so edgy about this, Dusk explained, with quite a bit of stuttering and pauses the situation that was occurring between Sweetie Belle and Rarity, while Twilight listened, looking on like she was judging him.

"So why exactly do you feel you need to solve this?" she demanded once he was done. "Is there some kind of written agreement or something that obligates you to do this?"

"Well… no," admitted Dusk. "I just feel that it's um… the right thing to do, that's all."

"That's it?" He nodded. "You just want to help Sweetie?" Another nod. "Nothing else?" A third nod. She was silent for what felt like an age before she finally said. "Alright… I guess that's fine."

"Really?" he asked, fiddling with his glasses. Why was she being so reluctant? "You… you sure you don't mind?"

"No, go ahead, I guess it's fine." There was that reluctant tone, but there was something else as well, something he couldn't quite make out. "Just um… never mind, just go."

She'd turned away from him now and Dusk was again unsure by her abruptness to this and why she wouldn't now look at him. He thought if he should say something else, perhaps offer some sort of reprimand, but then Spike, still behind her, gestured frantically for him to go and offered him a thumbs up whilst pointing to Twilight. His message was clear.

I'll take care of it, you go!

Tipping his hat in thanks to the dragon and not really feeling like dealing with a suddenly moody Twilight right now, Dusk hurried out of the door. He lingered at it for a moment, debating whether or not he'd done the right thing, then headed off back to the Boutique, still wondering what exactly had gotten into her.

He was still confused by the time he arrived back at the store. All he wanted to do was help a friend, one of their friends in fact. So why was she being so suspicious about it? Why did it seem like she didn't want him to go in the first place? What was that other tone in her voice? He didn't know quite what it was, but it seemed rather akin to…

Worry. But why would she be worried?

His thoughts on this abruptly ended by the time he entered the Boutique and heard the sound of raised voices coming from upstairs. He followed them, fearing the worst, to Rarity's work room and soon could hear it very clearly.

"Oh, I'm the one who's ruining your life?!" Rarity was yelling. "Really?! Have you looked around this place? I'm the one who'd be better off with no sister!"

"Well it looks like we finally agree on something. Neither of us needs a sister!" shot Sweetie.

"Deal!"

"Deal! Goodbye, un-sister!" He heard the sound of hooves and jumped back behind the door as the filly stormed out, tears glistening down her cheeks.

Dusk gradually stepped into the light of the door and watched her go, shocked at what he had just heard. He knew that friends, and even sisters, could have their quarrels, but to disown each other completely seemed a great step too far. And all Sweetie had done was try to appease her elder sister. This was what she had been met with?

"Oh Dusk, I am so glad to see a friendly face!" He turned at the sound of Rarity's voice, to see her beaming at him like he was her saviour.

That shocked him too. Even though he had heard that exchange, even though Sweetie was only young and she was doing her best to please her selfish sister, she actually expected him to side with her? Deep down, he knew there shouldn't be sides to take, there didn't have to be. But right now… right now, he knew where he needed to be.

He looked back at Rarity and made clear in that single moment how he felt about this. He wasn't angry with her or furious, but the look he gave her did the trick of making that smile falter. He was disappointed, because he thought she was better than this. Clearly, he was mistaken. That was what he said to her with that look.

Then, without another word or glance back at her, he sped off down the stairs after Sweetie Belle. Rarity didn't even try to call him back. Hopefully, she would learn her lesson and attempt to reconcile later, but right now she didn't need him. Sweetie did.

She hadn't gotten far from the Boutique and he soon caught up to her. Her head was bowed and when she looked up to see him, she was wiping at her tears furiously.

"Oh… hey Dusk…" She sniffed loudly and wiped away more tears. "I thought you… needed to be at the library…"

"I did, but… sometimes there are more important things than studying," he replied. "So, I came back here, just as… well…"

Realization dawned. "Oh… you heard that?" He merely nodded silently. A few moments passed until she asked, "So?"

"So… what?"

"Aren't you gonna go back with… Rarity?" She said her sister's name like it was foul-tasting. "You gonna side with her?"

"Why would you think that?"

"I just thought… she always says about how good friends you two are, how you're always a gentlecolt around her," she told him. "I thought that… you'd be on her side."

That surprised Dusk as well, but he recovered from it and raised her head gently. "Well, often assumptions can be wrong."

She looked confused. "But… but I…"

"I know what you're thinking, that we're not really friends as such, but why should that matter? Just because I don't know you too well doesn't mean I won't help. I might want to get to know you better. Besides," he went on, "is it not the duty of every gentlecolt to help a lady in need? Even a little one?"

Sweetie stared up at him in a stunned silence. That got him a little worried. Dusk had never really tried to offer comfort to a child before, at least not one as young as her. He was starting to think he hadn't done it right and started to retract his hoof…

Then, she suddenly threw her hooves around him in a hug. She was only able to hug his waist, but the warmth of the gesture was still felt. He felt a little awkward though and wasn't sure whether or not to hug her back.

"Thanks Dusk," she whispered into his chest. She then realized his awkwardness and backed off a little, her cheeks red. "Oh… sorry…"

"Quite all right," he muttered. "So um… where were you going?"

She looked pleased at the change of subject. "I was gonna go to Sweet Apple Acres to see Apple Bloom after all…" She didn't mention the incident, only scowled. "But, if you wanna go somewhere, I don't mind. If you want me with you…"

"That sounds perfectly fine to me." A small smile tugged at the corners at her mouth. "Come on, I know a place we can have some time relax a little."

"Okay, lead the way…"

With the young filly in tow, Dusk led her out into the meadows around town. The flowers that usually bloomed in them were receding due to the coming autumn and the trees' leaves were starting to turn brown for the same reasons, but it was still rather pleasant to look at regardless. Plus, as he said before, it was quiet, which he felt was just what Sweetie needed right now.

She didn't seem to be much better, a little less sad perhaps, but she was clearly still stung about the argument that she had with her sister. Having just been on the end of a disagreement, Dusk could relate, although he was fairly certain that hers was a lot worse. He could at the very least do his best to try and cheer her up a little.

She raised her head to appraise her surroundings. "We're staying here?"

"Yes," he said without hesitation. "I sometimes come out into the meadows when I feel it's too quiet in my house and I need to have somewhere different to think."

"You couldn't do that in your house?" she asked, clearly confused.

"I could have, but it's better at times to be surrounded by nature. I find it quite soothing." He took a seat on the grass. "Sometimes, it's just nice to stop and appreciate the world around you, I find. Listen for a bit, take it in."

"How do I do that?"

"Try closing your eyes, forgetting about what's bothering you and just listen to what's around you." He shrugged. "It works for me, anyway."

Still looking a little unsure, she did as he instructed. He also noted she took some deep breaths as well. She was like that for about five minutes, after which she opened her eyes again and a brighter smile seemed to appear.

"Yeah, I think I see what you mean." But abruptly, she hung her head again and sat next to him. "But I still don't feel great…"

"I understand," he said gently. "You want to talk about it? It helps."

Rather reluctantly, she told him about how things hadn't gotten any better between her and Rarity, culminating in her rejection of something called the Sisterhoof Social, a competition apparently hosted every year at the farm. Sweetie had thought it a good way to spend some time with Rarity, but the latter had seen it as 'uncouth', ending with their fight.

"Well, Rarity does have high standards of sophistication and cleanliness after all." She looked at him quizzically. "Um… she prefers to be proper and tidy."

"That's not the half of it," she grumbled.

"But she still is your sister and I'm sure she'll come round to forgiving you eventually," he assured.

"That doesn't seem likely," she replied cynically. "She thinks I'm uncouth too."

"It's just her though. She sometimes thinks my mane is a little scruffy, that I should comb it more." He showed her his typical half-neat, half-messy style, which was messier due to his hat.

"I can see why. Why don't you comb it more then?" she asked.

"Because I prefer it that way and at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter." He placed a hoof on her shoulder. "You two will get over this, you'll see."

"I don't know…" This clearly wasn't getting them anywhere.

"Well, how about we try and take your mind off it?" His sharp mind soon hatched an idea. "I could show you how better to use your magic."

He didn't think himself as much of a teacher, but this was better than nothing. He might as well try.

She looked up with a surprised expression. "Are you sure you want to do that? I'd probably just mess it up, like I have been all day."

"Nopony's perfect and you're no different." He flashed a smile at her and stood up. "Let's just do some basic levitation. That's easy enough."

"Okay then..." She stood up as well, while Dusk levitated a pebble before her. "You want me to lift this?"

"Sure." He set it down before her. "Whenever you're ready."

She watched the rock as if it might jump up and bite her before she lowered her horn. Her eyes scrunched up and she strained in concentration, letting out little grunts of exertion. A fizzle of sparks issued from the end of her horn and Dusk thought he saw a white aura appear around the pebble, for about a second. She physically moved her head closer to try and lift it, but there was no visible improvement.

She tried this method several times, under some coaxing from Dusk, but again there seemed to be little improvement, if none at all. Rather like with him and his own magic. Eventually, she exhaled loudly and ceased her efforts.

"You see? I messed it up…"

"That was… fine." She gave him a sceptical glare. "Okay, it definitely could have been better. But you definitely do have the magic."

"I know and I try and use it, but no matter how hard I try, it just isn't good enough… just like with Rarity…"

"Don't be like that. Let's have a look at how you're doing it." He walked beside her and kneeled down to her level. "Now, you say that you're focusing as hard as you can to lift the leaf, but… maybe that's the problem."

She looked confused. "What do you mean?"

"Well, the way I see it, magic is more than just the will power of your mind. I think a little imagination is involved in it too." He gestured to the pebble. "Go and pick it up. No, not with your magic, just normally. Pay close attention as to how you do it."

Sweetie Belle looked puzzled, but did as he requested. She paused and looked back just as she did, like she expected him to say he'd fooled her. When he said nothing, she picked up the pebble in her hoof and held it up.

"Good, now put it down and come back." She did so, still looking puzzled. "You remember that?"

"Yeah, but… how does that help?"

"You'll see. Now, try and lift the pebble again. But this time," he added, as she lowered her head again, "remember how you used your hoof to pick up that pebble. How you reached towards it, picked it up and held it. Picture that in your head, reaching out in the same way you did, think of it clearly, but don't actually do it. Use your magic. Now, when you're ready."

Still appearing un-encouraged, but closing her eyes for a bit and perhaps picturing how, she took another deep breath, lowered her horn and tried again. For a few minutes, it still seemed like there wasn't much of a difference made. He could tell Sweetie was thinking it and Dusk was starting to think it too. Maybe he wasn't such a good teacher after all, just like he thought.

But just as he felt like telling her she'd tried her best and to stop, a clearer aura started to surround the rock. It looked like it might fade, but it stayed. It flickered, but it stayed. Dusk leaned forward, hardly daring to believe it. At the same time, the rock also started to wobble. He watched as it rose, very slowly, hovering a centimetre above the ground, flickering and wobbling-

Before hitting the ground again and remaining motionless.

Dusk gasped in surprise, almost at the same time Sweetie did. The filly was staring in open-mouthed disbelief. From her expression, the rock could have started to walk around and do a tap-dance from how shocked she was. At first, Dusk thought she was disappointed by her efforts and moved to comfort her, feeling a little guilty for getting her hopes up.

"Sweetie, I'm so sorry, but at least you tried your-"

"Wow! Did you see that?" Her shrill voice made him jump, but she was grinning now and running around in excitement. "I did it, I did it, I did it! I lifted it! I actually lifted it!"

At first stunned, soon Dusk was smiling too, just at how thrilled she was. "Well um… well done, Sweetie."

"I did like you said and it worked!" Forgetting herself, she hugged him again. "Thank you so much Dusk!"

"I um…" He felt a little awkward again. But this time, he hugged her back. "It was my pleasure, Sweetie Belle. But uh… keep practicing, yes?"

"Oh, I will!" She ran off and snatched up the pebble, holding it aloft like a trophy. "I'm gonna keep this and use it, like you said." She beamed back at him. "You're really smart, but then again, you probably have to be to be a student to Princess Luna."

"Yes… I suppose…" He suddenly didn't feel so ecstatic anymore, not now he was reminded of his own magical problems.

"Hey, what's wrong?" She'd noticed and trotted back up to him, that innocent look on her face again. "Is there something I can help with?"

"Um… I don't… I don't know, Sweetie…"

That didn't perturb her, if anything it made her more eager. "You sure? I may not be good at this stuff, but I'd like to try, since you helped me."

He at first thought that this would be too advanced and complicated for her, but he simply couldn't deny that sheer willingness to help. So, he told her about his own magic he needed to learn for Luna and how he was having difficulty mastering it.

"And it seems like, no matter how much I concentrate, I can never hold it for long enough," he finished.

The filly looked thoughtful. It was rather cute to see her look like that. "Maybe you're having the same problem as me."

"What… makes you think that?"

"It seems to be the same. You just seem to be trying to think too much and not use enough of your imagination," she replied simply. "Can you show me one of these colour shape thingies?"

Not really seeing the harm, Dusk conjured one up, holding it for as long as he could. While the headaches flared up again and his energy waned, he saw Sweetie move around it and poke it several times, assessing it with her child's eyes. He didn't even hold it for longer than ten seconds before he stopped it.

"Hm… and that's as long as you can hold it?" she asked. He nodded in response, too worn out to talk. "Well, maybe you should try imagining something to help you, like I did. That'd help a bit."

"Like…?"

"Like… ooh, I know, a pillow!" When Dusk failed to show understanding, she patiently explained. "Come on, it's easy. To me, it feels soft and squishy, like a pillow does. Just picture this thing as a pillow and that might help. It's worth a shot."

Dusk thought about that. It was essentially what he had told her and Spike had found it comfy enough to sleep on for a bit. It made sense, in a way and, like Sweetie said, it might serve to help him.

Proceeding to picture a blue pillow clearly in his head and keeping focused on that while also channelling his magic, he conjured up another shape. Already, he noticed an immediate change in how well he could perform the magic, actually having some visual image to focus and maintain the solidity of the form making it much easier. The combination of his own will to do the magic and his imagination… it was a perfect mix.

When he finally had to stop, he still had his headache and it still left him a little drained, but it was a lot better than it had been.

"Wow, that was way longer!" Sweetie proclaimed after about thirty seconds. "That was great Dusk!"

"It… it worked," he whispered disbelievingly and laughing a little. "It actually worked. Thanks for your help, Sweetie."

"Glad to," she replied perkily. "Like I said, you helped me and I'm just happy I could help you. Try it again, I bet you can do it for way longer this time!"

Dusk was surprised at how much he was willing to do just that. When he practiced his magic with Luna, it felt hard because he knew she was watching and judging him. When he did this with Twilight, he was grateful for her help and support, but it still felt like work. In the former's case, improvement happened very little and it was middling to minor in the latter's case, mainly due to some unknowns and guesswork on the part of both of them on this relatively new magic.

Doing it with Sweetie Belle was something entirely different. Thanks to her fun-loving spirit and bright optimism that only one so young possessed, it became more like a game than work. She would enthusiastically time how long he could hold it, award points for how many items he could hold on it, jump over it just for fun and just brighten up the whole thing. As such, because he was having more fun with it, as much as she was, Dusk felt he was progressing more and learning better than in normal circumstances.

They were at it for so long, that they only noticed it was starting to get dark when the sun started to lower on the horizon. They had accomplished quite a bit though. Dusk could now hold the forms for a full minute without anything on them, have Sweetie resting on it for just under fifty while moving her around and also making the discovery that, just the same as making them bigger made them brighter, they became harder the smaller they were, but also easier to maintain.

"I think that it's time we headed off," Dusk said to her as the sky turned orange.

"Aw. Come on, just one more?" she requested, holding up a thick stick.

"Fine, one more." On her signal, she tossed it up into the air, where he proceeded to fire three colour 'pellets' at it, puncturing holes in the wood. "There, now we really need to go."

"Okay." Disappointed, but still perky, she caught up to Dusk, her little legs keeping pace beside him. "I really had fun today Dusk. Thanks for teaching me about magic and letting me help with yours."

"It's fine," he mumbled.

"But it was really fun though," she insisted. "You're a good teacher."

"Well… I don't know about that…" He cleared his throat and changed the subject. "Now, we'd better get you back the Boutique and-"

"No," she said firmly. "I'm not going back there where my un-sister is."

"But… but Sweetie, she-"

"No, I'm not going back to the Boutique." She hung her head again. "Besides, she wouldn't want me there anyway…"

"I… I see your point," he admitted. "I suppose we'll just have to find somewhere else for you to stay for the night."

Her head shot up again, as did the corners of her mouth. "Hey, I could stay with you!"

Dusk's mouth fell open. "I… beg your pardon?"

"You said I needed somewhere to stay and I liked spending time with you today, so why not?" she asked.

He hadn't expected that. Apart from that Hearth's Warming party and when Twilight sometimes came round, he'd never really had guests in his home. Even then, they hadn't stayed. He was used to being on his own there, with the exception of Ophelia. He'd never played host to somepony who was actually going to stay around, let alone a young child like Sweetie.

But perhaps that was what got him thinking it wasn't such a bad idea. The filly had shown that she was definitely mature and reliable enough to, for the most part, look after herself, so it proabaly wouldn't take too much effort on his part. It might also be nice to have some company in his home, even if it was only for tonight.

"Why not indeed," he replied happily. "Come on then, let's get you set up."

"Yay! Thanks Dusk, you're the best!" With another quick hug and a giggle, she ran off ahead, waiting for him to catch up along the way.

They were just nearing the modest form of his home, when the stars started to shine across the sky and the moon's light began to bathe them in its pale glow, that Dusk received another unexpected arrival, just as he opened the door.

"Sweetie Belle!" He whipped around to see Rarity in the complete visage of relief. "Oh, I have been galloping all over looking for you. I-"

Sweetie, however, wasn't exactly head over heels to see her. "Oh hello, un-sister. What are you doing here? Got more not-messes for me to not-clean up?"

Rarity was clearly stung, but she persisted. "Oh Sweetie Belle, I want to apologize. I am not better off without a sister."

Dusk was certainly relieved to hear that. A quick glance passed between them, but Dusk got enough to know that her apology extended to him too, or perhaps some sort of understanding from his silent message before.

"I'm not better off without a sister either," replied Sweetie. "Spending the day with Dusk made me realize that.

"Oh, Sweetie, you don't know how happy I am to hear-"

"Which is why I'm adopting Dusk as my big brother!" she announced happily, hugging his leg tightly.

Rarity was shocked at this. "What?!"

"What?!" Dusk echoed Rarity.

"What?!" Pinkie added, bursting out of Dusk's house. Everypony stared at her for a long while. "Well, my work here is done." With that, she pranced off like nothing happened.

After a bit, they reached some kind of silent consensus not to think too much about what just happened. Pinkie was Pinkie after all.

"So, anyway… Dusk may not be my sister, but he's the next best thing." She glared at her elder. "He actually took care of me and had fun with me, something you never did."

Normally, Dusk would have been flattered that she thought of him so fondly, but right now, he was a little perturbed. For one thing, he already had somepony whom he considered like a sister and for another, Sweetie was Rarity's sister. This wasn't right at all. He'd only meant to look after her until Rarity came to her senses. This hadn't been what he intended!

"Ahem… now, Sweetie," he tried to say, "I think we should-"

"Or maybe she should be your brother, so she could teach you what a good sister is supposed to be!" she yelled to Rarity.

"Can I just-?"

"But I don't need lessons on being a good sister, I- I promise!" insisted Rarity desperately "Listen! I'll show you how to cook my favourite quiche! Or-or, I'll show you the proper way to beautify your mane. Won't that be fun? Hm?"

Sweetie wasn't convinced. "You want me to go home with you, so we can do what you wanna do?"

"Uh... yes?"

"Just forget it!" She stormed into the door. "Coming Dusk?"

"I um… you go on in, Sweetie, I'll be there in a bit," he said to her, eyeing Rarity closely.

"Okay." With one last death glare at Rarity, she slammed the door on them.

"Well, that apology went swimmingly," Rarity remarked in a voice dripping with sarcasm. That was mostly along the lines of what Dusk was thinking too. "Dusk, why do you have to be so good and make me look so bad?"

"I um… I wouldn't say er, good, exactly," Dusk mumbled.

"Well, either way, now Sweetie has abandoned me for you," she pouted. "I help you find true love and this is how you repay me?"

"Rarity… can I just say something?" She nodded, but still look put out. "You see… the way I see it, at least is… well… you're being rather um and please don't take this the wrong way, I don't mean to offend but… you're being… selfish."

"Selfish?" she repeated. "Why, whatever do you mean?"

"Okay um… from the start, you've only been seeing how Sweetie's actions focus around you, but um… you've left her out of it."

"That's completely untrue!" she insisted. "I've let her stay with me, I gave her those things to do, I let her do her drawing."

"I know, I know," he voiced, "but every time you um… well, you found a problem, something you didn't like and… made it a big disaster. It would have been better if you'd just appreciated the nice thing she did for you to begin with."

Rarity opened her mouth to reply, but seemed to think better of it and closed her mouth. Hoping he was finally getting through to her, Dusk pressed on.

"All she really wanted was some appreciation and praise from her big sister. She looks up to you, as she should and she wants to know that you care and love as much about her as she does about you." He stepped closer, feeling more confident. "You need to be on the same level as her, really get… well, stuck in I suppose. Because, once you do, it doesn't matter how silly it may seem, it'll be worth it, just to see her smile." He backed off a bit. "At least, that's what I think."

"I… I suppose you're right," she finally said. "For one who grew up an only child, you seem to speak with experience Dusk."

"I… I suppose I do." Considering he had done the same when he'd first met Fluttershy, that made some sense in a way. "So, now you know what to do, you just need to win her back."

"Indeed I do and I have an idea as to how," she said. "Hopefully, it won't be too late, but to pull it off, I'll need your help Dusk."

"What did you have in mind?" he asked.

"It's simple. All you need to do is come to the Sisterhoof Social with her tomorrow…"

As she explained her plan, Dusk realised this would mean he wouldn't be able to make it to the library. Since it was to help a friend in need, he only hoped Twilight wouldn't mind and would understand why he needed to do it. If she didn't…

He still recalled the time she actually burst into flames from anger… and shuddered.

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