• Published 23rd Apr 2013
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Stepping Stones - DylanDragon



An Applejack x Fluttershy story

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3
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Twilight's Tutoring

Stepping Stones

Chapter 2—Twilight’s Tutoring

Okay, let’s see. What do I need still? She slowed her canter into a saunter, turned her head backward, and checked her saddlebags. I got the carrots, acorns, water bottles, and…where are the quills? I’m sure I got them…I just talked to Mr. Davenport. Oh there you are, you sneaky things, you…hiding under my carrots…That just leaves…oh yes, I need to get the herbal remedies book from Twilight.

By now, her saunter had ceased and she was standing still in the road. She turned forward again, and heard a crack in her neck. Ooh, ouch! Modeling for Rarity was hard today…I was standing there for so long! Maybe that remedies book has a painkiller recipe.

She trotted the rest of the way to the library and knocked on the door with a hoof.

A few seconds later, Twilight stood behind the open version. “Fluttershy! Come in!” she said, “What can I do for you?”

“Um, I think I asked you if I could borrow the herbal remedies book?”

“Oh yeah. Silly me. Let’s see…” She flitted around the shelves until she found the one she was looking for—second level from the ground, on the Eastern side of the room. “Now you said you wanted Natural Cures for the Physiognomy, right? Oh no, it was The Caretaker’s Guide to the World of Herbal Medicine. That’s it.” She pulled it out with her purple magic and gave it the proper stamps.

“Thank you, Twilight.” She opened her saddlebag so Twilight could drop it in, but it never came.

“Nuh-uh!” She shook her head, almost in a teasing manner. She withheld the book and hid it behind her. “Are you busy today?”

“Not extremely so. Why?” I’m so confused…what is this…? What’s wrong with the book?

“Care to spend the night here?”

“Well, I don’t have to feed the animals until the morning, so I guess I could…” Why?

“Excellent. Because I promised Rarity I wouldn’t let you leave until we make some serious progress with your story.” She beamed.

Fluttershy almost fainted. I…I forgot about that…

The other side of her bags was opened and her thin stack of paper flew out under Twilight’s levitation.

“I…I really appreciate this, Twilight, but I…”

“Fluttershy, I’ve known you for years.” She straightened the papers a bit, and acted as if nothing was out of the ordinary. She continued in her matter-of-fact manner, “And I know you’re a fillyfooler. I’ve seen the way you look at AJ. I know the books you check out, and I know you struggle. I know how hard it is for you.”
She suddenly sighed and stayed quiet for a few seconds. He tone changed and become more somber. “Shining Armor swings both ways, if you get my meaning, and before he married Cadence, he was looking for a coltfriend. It was really hard for him to come out and even harder to admit his feelings. I couldn’t help him do that because he was in Canterlot. But please let me help you. Let me help you show your feelings to Applejack, okay? I’ll support you through everything.”

A single tear fell from the pegasus’s eyes and she smiled. “Thank you,” she said softly, and hugged her.

“Okay, let’s see what you got here.”

“Not bad,” she said after reading what Fluttershy had written and what Rarity had noted. “It needs a plotline. It needs a beginning to draw in interest, a middle to send a message, and an end to make that message last.”

“Oh…how about… ‘It was a bright and sunny morning’?”

“Uh…how about something less cliché?”

“Oh…” Fluttershy thought. She thought and thought; the lighting in the room seemed to get darker as time went on, but she was sure it was her imagination.

Twilight lost patience. “How about this? What’s your biggest, most desirable fantasy with her?”

“Well that would be just what I have there—cuddling underneath one of her apple trees.”

“Okay, and how do you think that would start?”

“Um…maybe I would be walking in her orchards, and then suddenly she sees me and we rest under a tree?”

“Great!” Twilight exclaimed, “Great start! Now let’s fine-tune it a bit. Why were you walking around in her orchards?”

“Because…because I was looking for Angel! Because he ran off and I was looking for him!”

“Okay, and you go into the orchards to find him, and you see Applejack, who invites you to sit down with her.”

“And then I tell her I love her?”

“That’s good. Now, to make your writing seem more alive, according to the Egghead’s Guide to Creative Writing, use lots of sensory detail and imagery, as well as introspection. I mean…not that I ever follow the Egghead’s Guide series…” She coughed. “So let’s see you try. Try and put those images onto the paper. If you mess up, don’t worry, we’ll make a final draft later.”

An hour later, the sun was setting both in Equestria and in Creativity Land. The pencil fell from her mouth, and two pages of written material sat in front of the pegasus.
Twilight returned from upstairs to check up on her. “Done?”
She nodded.
“Okay. Let’s see.” She began reading.

Once in awhile, Twilight would stop and point out some inconsistencies, give advice, or elucidate critical—at least in her opinion—grammatical errors (“Never use a comma to separate two independent clauses. That becomes a comma splice. You know, the Third Equestrian war in 650 began because of a comma splice in a treaty”).

After another round of revisions, Twilight proofread. The cycle continued until it slowed, and eventually came to a stop. The moratorium in writing came about only due to the chiming of the clock and the realization that the library was the only building in Ponyville with the lights still on.

“Let’s get ready for bed. I think it’s good enough anyways,” Twilight said.

“Good enough?”

“Princess Celestia once said to me, ‘There is no such thing as finishing a writing piece. There is only a point at which the writer deems it sufficient.’ I think that applies here.”

“Thank you, Twilight,” Fluttershy said softly, “I really appreciate your help.”

“No problem.” She smiled.

After settling into their respective beds, Fluttershy could not stop herself from wondering. How does Twilight know so much about romance? I don’t think she’s ever had a coltfriend… “Twilight?” she asked the darkness.

The darkness responded, “Yes?”

“Have you ever had a coltfriend?”

“Nope.”

“How do you know so much about romance?”

The darkness chuckled. “I don’t. I know nearly nothing about romance and love and whatnot. That’s Rarity’s specialty. But I do know a thing or two about writing, as well as the difficulties of being a stalliosexual or mareosexual.”

“Can you tell me about your brother? It’s okay if you don’t want to.”

“Um…to be honest, I don’t know too well. I knew he liked both mares and stallions only because he told me before he left to join the Royal Guard. He sent me some letters talking about how he had developed a crush on one of his bunkmates, and I watched it (or rather, heard about it) grow and finally, he realized he was in love. But he couldn’t tell him. He couldn’t tell that other stallion about how much he liked him.

“He spent all his time worrying about how he would react, and when the other stallion was transferred to Fillydelphia, he never got to tell him ever. He stopped sending me letters after that. He became very…depressed. He nearly got sent home after they caught him crying in the locker rooms.

“Don’t get me wrong, he loves Cadence with all his heart, and he’s very happy now. Those few months, though. They really hurt him, and I don’t ever want that to happen to any one of my friends.”

“Wow, Twilight…that’s…very touching.” That’s more than touching. I think I see Twilight in a whole different way now. She’s so caring. She’s like Rarity. These two really are my best friends. If only I could tell Applejack. I need to tell her, don’t I?
Of course you do, Fluttershy! Look at Shining Armor! He let his chance slip, and he never got to say it! But…maybe that’s a good thing. It could have hurt him so much more if he was rejected…Like…like I’ve been rejected.

Fluttershy sniffled, then yawned, and she could hear soft snoring coming from Twilight’s bed, as well as Spike’s. The little dragon had been fast asleep when they entered, and never awoke once. She couldn’t sleep, though. I can’t stop thinking about my story. There was a beginning, a middle, and an end. The beginning was interesting—interesting enough in her opinion, at least. The middle had exactly what she wanted: a romantic coming-out filled with cuddles and snuggles. Finally, the ending was perfect. It felt good. It feels nice—having my story finished.
The story is done. My venting is over. I think...I think I really like the story. It’s the kind of story I would put in a box and hide it under my bed forever. I feel better.
I should feel better. I should. My feelings should be better now. But…why does it feel worse? She squeezed her eyes shut and felt few tears trickle out. Why does it make me love her even more? Oh Jackie…why do you do this to me? Why?

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