The New Authors In Town

by Legal Brief

First published

The CMC try to get their cutie marks through writing. Ponyville will never be the same again

When the CMC try their hooves at getting their cutie marks again, the literary landscape will be forever altered

Tree Sap Need Not Apply

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“So what do you want to do today girls?” asked the orange filly behind the podium of the tree house as she gazed upon her fellow crusaders, wings flapping in excitement as she balanced on her hind legs.

“The same thing we do every day Scootaloo, try and make our cutie marks appear!” bellowed the hyperactive white filly seated in front of the podium, voice cracking in excitement.

“Well duh!” dismissed Scootalo with a roll of her magenta eyes. “I mean how are we going to try to get them this time?”

“Oh. Right, sorry,” said Sweetie Belle, looking a little abashed and pawing at the floorboards of the Cutie Mark Crusaders’ tree house.

The trilling of colorful jays perched on the branches outside and the dust motes in the air illuminated by the rays of light peeking through the shudders were the crusaders’ only companions as they pondered over what their special talents could be. Or, in the case of Scootaloo, what could possibly be awesome enough to compare with Dash’s cutie mark.

“How about Cutie Mark Crusaders Master Bakers?” asked Applebloom.

“Don’t you remember the last time we tried something at Sugarcube Corner, ‘Bloom?” heaved Scootaloo with a heavy sigh as she trotted in front of the podium to join her fellow crusaders sitting on the clubhouse floor. “The cakes won’t even let us near the kitchen after the taffy incident. What we need is something exciting, something awesome.” The dangerous glint in her eyes escaped neither Sweetie Belle nor Applebloom, memories of lion taming and skydiving fresh in their minds.

The other two Cutie Mark Crusaders shared a look, an eye roll, and a simultaneous sigh after hearing Scootaloo’s newest attempt at something ‘awesome.’ “Ah know how much ya want ta be awesome like Dash is an all,” drawled Applebloom, a slight bit of exasperation seeping into her voice. “But the last five times ya had us do somthin’ ‘awesome’ we ended up covered in tree sap.”

At the mention of tree sap, all three fillies gave an involuntary shudder. “Fine, fine. Nothing involving trees or sap this time, promise,” grunted Scootaloo, her displeasure at avoiding something awesome plain on her face. “If my idea and Applebloom’s idea are no good, what about you Sweetie Belle? You must have something, right?” the pegasus filly practically pleaded.

After starting up at the wooden ceiling and frowning at the woodwork, brow furrowed in concentration, Sweetie Belle finally nodded once and returned her gaze to the other Crusaders. “Well…there is one thing I thought about that we haven’t tried yet. But, I dunno Scoots. Last time we did something like this we got in big trouble for it.”

“Come on, Sweetie Belle. We’ve gotta get our cutie marks soon, we’ve just gotta,” said Applebloom, preparing the puppy dog eyes if she needed them. “We’ll never hear tha end of it if we’re tha last in our grade to get them.”

An eye roll and a resigned sigh later Sweetie acquiesced. “Fine, Applebloom. But if we get in trouble I’m blaming you.” Raising a hoof to point at a newspaper clipping on the wall, “You two remember when we pretended to be Gabby Gums, right?”

“How could we forget that?” Scootaloo practically spat. “Ugh, we had to apologize to the whole town. Worse, Dash wouldn’t talk to me for a whole week after that. A whole week, girls! Do you have any idea what it’s like to not talk with dash for an entire week?” Squawked the orange filly, wing feathers ruffling in agitation.

“Anyways,” began Sweetie, trying to get the conversation back on track. “Well, everypony seemed to really enjoy our writing before we, uh, started to make stuff up that was hurtful,” said Sweetie Belle, making eye contact with both Scootaloo and Applebloom to make sure they were following. She continued after getting a nod from both. “I thought we could write something everypony knew was fake to start with, that way nopony could get mad.

“Sweetie Bell, you want us to write a book?” asked Scootaloo, mouth hanging open and eyebrows raising in disbelief. Awesome and books just did not belong in the same sentence.

“Um, yes?” replied the white filly, a sheepish expression on her face as she rubbed the front of her right foreleg with her left.

Boooooring!” retorted Scootalo in an impression that would have made Pinkie Pie proud.
“Hey, that’s just not true Scoots,” said Applebloom. “Even Rainbow Dash reads those Daring Do books. Ah think we should give Sweetie’s idea a shot.”

Happy that she had Applebloom on board, Sweetie Belle kept pushing her friend, hoping to convince the more daredevil pegasus to try something safe for a change. “Come on Scoots. I’ve seen Rarity reading some books she must have really been enjoying. She was reading it aloud, practically moaning as she held her forehooves around herself on the bed. If reading can be that good, why, writing must be even better!”

“Really? Ah’ve never seen Dash or Twilight act like that when they read,” said Appleboom, right eyebrow rising in a show of skepticism.

“Yeah. Are you sure that isn’t just your sister, Sweetie Belle?” asked Scootalo. “I mean, this is Rairty we’re talking about. We all know how dramatic she can be. She even has a couch just to faint on!”

“Of course I am! And it’s not a couch, it’s a chaise lounge!”

“Yeah, yeah. Just go on with your idea you dictionary.”

“You just haven’t seen them read the right kind of books. Rarity only does that when she reads one of the books she keeps in her room on top of her bookshelf that she thinks I don’t know about. She always looked like she was having a really good time when I saw her those few times. And even if I didn’t always see her, she certainly sounded like she was having a good time. The adults must just be hiding all the good stuff, probably something about understanding when we’re older, or not for fillies and colts or something else lame like that.”

“Now that ya mention it Sweetie,” began Applebloom as she got up to pace the inside of the tree house as she thought. “Ah do remember goin’ with mah sis last week ta visit Twi and get a book on the way to set up our stall in tha market. Twi made me wait downstairs as she and mah sis went up to where she lives and sis wouldn’t show me the book she got either. It musta been one of those books like Rarity has that she got.”

“That settles it girls. You know what this means?” asked Scootalo with a determined grin on her face.

“CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS ADULT ONLY BOOK AUTHORS YAY!” Shouted the three fillies in unison, shaking the very rafters of the tree house, more than a few birds fleeing for their lives from the branches.

“All right girls, let’s split up. Sweetie, you go get some of those books from your sister. ‘Bloom, you go get some from yours. I’ll go see if the most awesome pegasus around has any.” By this point, the orange filly was practically hovering with excitement. Soon after three fillies could be seen retreating from chaos central, eager to gather materials for their latest scheme.

Finding The Perfect Book Is Truly A Rarity

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A short time later in the stunning interior of the premier fashion establishment this side of Canterlot, an innocent white filly with shining eyes was about to begin a chain of events that a certain unicorn fashionista wouldn’t soon forget.

“You want me to do WHAT?” shouted the alabaster unicorn, dress falling to the floor as her concentration on her magic shattered along with her composure upon hearing her sister’s question.

“I said,” began the smaller filly, “can I borrow one of those books you keep on top of the bookshelf in your room Rarity? Please? I promise I’ll give it back when I’m done,” pleaded Sweetie Belle, her puppy dog eyes turned up to 11 and directed right at her older sister.

“Sweetie, dear, whatever are you talking about?” asked Rarity, doing her best to play innocent despite the sweat beginning to bead on her forehead. She was sure Sweetie had never actually seen her grab one of the books she kept up there; she certainly had never shown one to Sweetie Belle. Such a thing would be positively indecent.

“Oh come on!” shouted Sweetie Belle. “I know you’re keeping the good stuff up there sis,” Sweetie said with a snort. “I’ve seen you reading them. I mean, you were practically moaning out loud how good it felt when you were reading them. I’ve never done that while reading, so it must have been good!”

The beads of sweat on Rarity’s forehead had practically become rivers running down her immaculate white coat as Sweetie Belle pushed on, oblivious to Rarity’s growing horror.

Sweetie Belle began to pace around the organized chaos of Rarity’s inspiration room as she kept up her assault on her fashionista sister. “There was that one time I came back to get my Cutie Mark Crusader cape for our crusading after we left and I heard you upstairs. Something like, ‘Yes…yes…YES! Ohhh, yessss.” Blah, blah, blah, something like that. I wasn’t really paying attention anyway. You told me you were reading when I was gone when I asked about what you were doing later.”

Sweetie stopped her pacing in front of a ponykin, a half-finished dress with a navy base and lace accents on the collar draped over it, a pensive look on her face as he raised her right forehoof and tapped her chin. “There was also that one time I went to check up on you when I thought I heard a scream and saw you passed out on your bed with a book next to you, all sweaty but with a big smile on your face. I mean, I’ve had a book put me to sleep before, but never like that.”

By this point, Rarity’s coat had gone from a healthy white sheen to a pale white to make even the oldest of bleached bones envious.

“See big sis. I know there are books out there that must be that good for you to act like that,” Sweetie Belle said, a winning smile filled with innocence upon her face, green eyes shimmering in triumph. "Besides, Applebloom told me all about that section of the library upstairs where Twillight lives that she doesn’t allow fillies and colts into.”

Having been boxed into a corner on the existence of those books, Rarity did her best to deflect Sweetie Belle from actually getting to see any of them. “Well, Sweetie, dear, it’s just that even if I had such books, which I’m not saying I do, they just aren’t suitable for a growing filly like yourself. Wouldn’t you and your darling friends rather read those Daring Do novels that Rainbow Dash is so fond of?”

Leveling a glare at Rarity, “Rainbow never screams ‘Yessssss!’ when she reads those,” Sweetie deadpanned at her big sister. Sweetie moved over to glance up at the puffy white clouds outside the window, furrowing her brow in thought. “Well, there was that one time I heard Rainbow say, ‘Just a few more pages and I’ll go to sleep.’ But I never heard her shout ‘Almost there!’ or ‘Just a little…bit…more!’ when she was finishing a chapter.

Rarity had long since scaled the wall of nervous, jumped across the canyon of terrified and firmly landed in the lake of pure mortification, blood turning to ice in her veins and legs straining to keep from collapsing on the floor.

Still lost in her own recollections, Sweetie failed to notice the deathly pallor overtaking her sister’s face. “Come on sis, you can’t tell me that something isn’t really enjoyable about those books to act like that. Gosh, if we had books that good even Scoots might read as much as Twilight!” said the white filly, voice cracking from her enthusiasm.

Rarity suddenly had the thought that maybe Cerberus wasn’t there to keep things in Tartarus but to keep ponies like her sister out. As she reached a hoof out to steady herself on her sewing table, all the times Rarity had to decided to ‘enjoy’ a light read when she was sure Sweetie Belle was asleep or out began to flash across her eyes. There was the particularly steamy affair of the new guard recruit and the princess, the less than innocent confrontation at a spa between rivals, and one simply could not forget the masterpiece that was the rollercoaster romance of the librarian and the schoolteacher with a bit of royal meddling to add spice. What she said aloud during each of those scenes surged to the forefront of her memory as she tried and failed to suppress a whimper, hoping her sister was too caught up in her rambling to notice.

The pathetic whimper finally proved enough to get the younger unicorn’s attention. Turning to face her distraught sister, Sweetie frowned in concern. “Are you all right, sis? You don’t look so good.” Sweetie began to plod over to her sister, searching her face for the cause of the problem.

Summoning her last vestiges of willpower, Rarity attempted to discern just how much Sweetie knew. “Dear, just how, uh, much, have you heard when you thought I was reading those type of books?” Fluttershy would have been impressed by how meek Rarity sounded by the end of her question.

Turning to stare at the floor in thought, Sweetie tried to recall any other times she heard her sister while she was reading one of those books. “Well, other than those, there was this one time I came to ask you a question when I couldn’t sleep but you seemed kind of occupied. I mean, you had your book floating in front of your face but it looked like you were holding something kind of long in your hooves in front of you. I dunno really, I couldn’t really see it. You did look like….”

Before Sweetie could finish her recollection she heard a considerably louder whimper, something akin to the noise a dying animal would make before it was finished off, followed by a loud whump as something hit the floor hard. She turned to face the source of the sound and stared in shock as she beheld the prone form of her sister passed out on the floor, a grimace etched on her face even in unconsciousness.

Sweetie tentatively approached Rarity and gently prodded her in the side with a forehoof. “Uh, sis. Are you okay?” Other than the slight shifting of the elder unicorn’s marshmallow-like frame, the prodding elicited no reaction. “Um, I guess if you want to sleep in the middle of the floor I can let you…” began Sweetie Belle, gears turning in her head as she saw the opportunity she had been waiting for to snoop around for some reading material unsupervised.

Slinking back to the entryway, the white unicorn filly glanced surreptitiously around outside through the large windows before she slowly flipped the ‘open’ sign in the window to ‘closed,’ making sure nopony would enter and notice the sleeping mare in the middle of the floor and rouse her before Sweetie Belle could finish her search.

Taking a moment to stop and glance at her sister as she passed by, the hint of a devious smirk played upon the white filly’s lips, excitement bubbling to the surface at the prospect of what awaited her in her sister’s bedroom. Sweetie Belle trotted up the stairs at the back of the boutique, careful not to make a racket as she slunk her way to the bedrooms located in the back.

It wasn’t often that Sweetie paid a visit to her older sister’s bedroom, but when she did, things tended to end poorly. Of course, this was the farthest thing from the filly’s mind at this point, the prospect at seeing Rarity’s stash of those books banishing other, more rational, thoughts from her mind.

Those kinds of thoughts, however, did come crashing back into her conscious thought when she entered the spacious bedroom of Ponyville’s premier prissy pony, lavish decorations and plush furniture abound. The excitement of reading her sister’s books was suddenly swatted away upon realizing the fact that Rarity had her books of that nature on top of her bookshelf was not just so that Sweetie couldn’t see them, but also so that she couldn’t reach them either.

A few cries of frustration, some unceremonious interior decorating that may be considered a crime in some cities, and a few choice words that would have left the unicorn downstairs in a similar state if she had heard her younger sister say them later and Sweetie Belle was finally in position to take her pick from Rarity’s decidedly vast selection.

“Wow! I had no idea sis had this many. I knew she liked to read, but I had no idea she liked it this much. There must be like, gosh, over 40 books from this one author!” Having found the proverbial mother lode, Sweeite was now struck with the dilemma of having to choose which books she actually wanted to abscond with.

After glancing at the various books and trying to decipher the meaning of the vague titles and even harder to understand the strange pictures of ripped stallions and beautiful mares, Sweetie Belle decided to just grab whatever looked the most worn, reasoning that Rarity would most likely read whatever books had the best plot the most times. Besides, she reasoned, it wasn’t like there was any other reason her sister would choose to reread her books other than for the plot, right?

Sweetie quickly stashed her loot in her saddlebags and tried to rearrange the furniture so it no longer looked like Rainbow Dash had done a sonic rainboom inside of the Boutique. She trotted as quickly as she could while remaining quiet down the stairs and past her sister and back out the front door, saddlebags swaying on her sides.

“Mission accomplished!" she squeaked. "Now to see what the others have got!” Sweetie shouted as she galloped off in the direction of Sweet Apple Acres and her soon-to-be-authors in arms.


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After a quick check of their mutual home, Appblebloom caught up to her sister as she neared the edge of the apple orchard, heading back to work from a break.

“Heya sis. Ah was hopin’ Ah could ask ya somethin’,” asked the yellow filly, a hopeful ring in her voice.

“Why sure thing sugarcube. What’s on yer mind?” said the orange mare, always willing to help her family. She nodded her head in the direction of the orchard, a signal that they should keep walking while they talked, trusting that Applebloom would have said something if doing so wouldn’t be appropriate.

Closing the distance between the two, Applebloom trotted up to her sister’s side and put on her best innocent smile. “Well, Ah was hoping to borrow some books of yers big sis.”

“Why, is that all Applebloom? Shucks, ya know ya don’t need ta ask ta do that. Go right on ahead. Ain’t like you don’t do that already, though,” replied the Stetson-clad mare, a somewhat puzzled expression blooming on her face by the end.

By this time, the duo had entered the orchard proper, apple trees swaying gently in the soft breeze, whispers of Big Mac’s work gliding over on the wind. Applebloom began to glance nervously around the orchard as she contemplated how to broach the topic with her sister. The verdant leaves bobbed in the wind as the ripening apples gleamed in the bright summer sun, a portent of the bountiful harvest to come.

After biting her bottom lip in nervous contemplation for a few moments as her eyes roamed around the orchard, Appleboom resolved to just come out straight and ask, as was the trend among the honest Apple family.

“Ah know we usually just share our books, sis. But Ah was hopin’ to, uh, borrow some of those ones ya keep on tha top shelf, ya know, like the one we borrowed from Twi last week.” Doing her best to look disarming, Applebloom brought out the big guns. She directed the full frontal assault of the pleading stare that had rendered Twilight Sparkle unable to resist joining the Apple family for brunch all those months ago when she was new in town.

Rarely did the surefooted Applejack misstep, even rarer still was for her to stumble a few steps before recovering. That was why when Applejack full on tripped and fell flat on her face, Stetson hat sailing off her head to land on the ground, Applebloom couldn’t help but stare slack-jawed at the bizarre scene as she ground to a halt.

Applejack quickly began righting herself, only sputtering mildly as she spat out dust and wiped her muzzle off with a forehoof. Reaching out and retrieving her hat, she quickly put it back on her head and marched up so she was face to face with her little sister, positive that she had misheard what was just asked of her. Appleloom fought to regain control of her face as her sister marched over.

“Sorry about that Applebloom,” said the orange mare, taking a moment to adjust the hat on her head better before returning her gaze to her sister. “Ah think Ah musta misheard ya there sis. See, Ah thought Ah just heard my little sis ask me if she could up and borrow somethin’ she ain’t got no right askin’ about. What was it ya wanted again?”

The tepid nervousness that had earlier clung to Applebloom’s hooves had begun to rise and constrict her legs as Applejack question her sister. No longer moving deeper into the orchard, Applebloom was forced to gaze into the stern glare of her older sister who had one of her eyebrow’s arched expectantly, nearing the brim of her signature hat.

“Well, uh, sis, Ah asked if, uh, Ah could, ya know, borrow one of those books that ya keep on tha top shelf. Tha ones ya like to read at night after Big Mac and Granny Smith have gone ta bed. The kind that ya sometimes pick up from Twi.”

What had started out as a stern glare at her sister was rapidly turning into stare laced with the beginnings of fear, the thought that her little sister might know more than she ought to seeping into her consciousness. While the Apple family was renowned for many things, neither subtlety nor a great poker face was among them.

It was thus that Applejack set in motion her ingenious plan to make sure her sister would fail to notice her subsequent cover up. Operation ‘Distract AB And Keep Her In The Dark Until She’s Married Eeeeyup’ (or DABAKHITDUSME for short) was hatched. It wasn’t her fault that she didn’t have Rainbow’s talent for awesomeness or Rarity’s flare for the dramatic, and she didn’t have time to ask for help in naming her brilliant plan.

Thus decided on her course of action, Applejack quickly faced away from Applebloom to ingeniously cover up her less than impressive poke face. Her first stroke of brilliance proudly on display, Applejack moved right into phase two: play dumb.

“AB, Ah haven’t the slightest idea what yer yammering on about. Why, Ah’d never hide what Ah was readin’ from tha family.” Phase two was off to a brilliant start as far as Applejack was concerned. She was positive that Applebloom couldn’t see her mouth scrunched up at all. Why, she was absolutely certain that her little sister missed how her eyes darted from side to side as she was denying any such knowledge, the sweat on her forehead just a result of the hot sun. Eeeeyup, no doubt about it.

While she didn’t consider herself as book smart as the lavender librarian of Ponyville, Appblebloom was certain she knew more about one thing than the Element of Magic: how to tell her sister was lying. And if Applejack wouldn’t look a pony in the face, it was obvious something was up.

With newfound determination and just a hint of smugness tugging at the corners of her mouth, Applebloom set to work on cracking her sister’s brilliantly-titled plan. Operation ‘Make Mah Sister Tell Me What She’s Hidin’ And Get Me Some Books’ (or MMSTMWSHAGMSB), was a go. She’d ask her friends for help on a cooler title later, sure that the walking dictionary and the Rainibow Dash cheering squad would be able to come up with something, now, however, was the time for getting answers.

“Ya don’t, sis? That’s strange,” began Applebloom as she started to stealthily trot closer to her sister. “Why, just last week Ah saw ya come down and grab a book from tha top shelf about half an hour after Granny Smith and Big Mac headed on upstairs. Ya didn’t seem ta notice me doing my school work in the kitchen as ya kept lookin’ up tha stairs.”

AJ distinctly remembered that night. It had been a particularly enjoyable one at that. The book she’d grabbed was one of her favorite. The imagery of the author was always so tangible, the caress of the supple lips of her imagined lover, the aching throb that had crept throughout her body, the way that she scre…Nnnope, back to the plan, can’t get distracted, she reprimanded herself mentally, mindful that she was straying from her fool-proof plan.

She even remembered seeing the kitchen light on, assuming it had been Big Mac’s intention to come back down and get a snack before bed, thus why she kept checking to see if he was going to spot her. What she did not remember was a certain yellow filly spying on her as she retrieved her favorite ‘light reading’ material.

Making sure to keep her muzzle staunchly directed away from the curious gaze of the filly, Applejack ploughed onward, determined to see her daring plan to completion. “Well, AB, Ah’ll admit Ah do read at night sometimes. But Ah ain’t hiding nothin.’ Nnnnope. Not a thing.” The rate at which the applebucker’s eyes flickered back and forth had reached such a speed it looked as if they were doing full circles in their sockets.

Applebloom drew close enough that Applejack realized that her masterful plan was in jeopardy when she saw the filly begin to draw around in front, getting dangerously close to being able to see her in no way shifty and perhaps only the slightest bit dishonest eye movements.

Stage two having failed to deter her sister, it was time to move into stage three: stall the filly and make a break for it. This was the most brilliant stage if she did say so herself. Quickly turning to the side to hide her totally not dishonest and in no way suspicious face, Applejack began to prepare for her escape.
“So, like Ah was saying sis,” started Applejack , “Ah ain’t hiding nothin’. Besides, even if Ah was hiding something from you, which Ah’m not, there would be good reason for it.” Before Applebloom could question her further, AJ began the final phase of her daring escape.

“Ah’d love ta stay and chat AB, but Ah really need ta get back ta work. Why don’t you go talk ta Granny Smith and see if she can’t help ya out.” With her eloquent diversion taken care of, Applejack galloped off in the opposite direction of the farmhouse, the confident smirk gracing her face obscured by the dust cloud she was kicking up, sure in the fact that her secret would live on. There was no way any self-respecting mare was gonna share those books with a filly. Eeeyup.

Applebloom pawed the ground sulkily as her sister dashed off into the cover of the orchard. “Shucks. There’s no way Big Mac would give me some of AJ’s books. Now what am Ah supposed ta do.” She pondered her next plan as she trotted back to the farmhouse, intent to not fail in her plan.

Caught up in her plotting, Applebloom failed to notice she was not alone as she walked through her home’s front door. “Why so glum Applebloom?” called out Granny Smith, sitting in her rocking chair as she watched the filly come inside.

“Huh?” Startled, the yellow filly looked over at the sound of the voice. “Oh, hey Granny Smith,” said Applebloom dejectedly as she returned her gaze to the ground. “It’s just that Ah wanted to borrow some of the books Applejack keeps on tha top shelf but she ran off before Ah could convince her to and said Ah should ask ya instead.”

Had Applebloom been looking at the elder mare she might have noticed the mischievous twinkle that shown in her orange eyes. She might also have noticed the way the sides of her grandmother’s mouth twisted upward into a small grin. She did notice, however, when the green mare came over and placed a hoof on her withers.

“Is that all Applebloom? Shucks, why didn’t ya just say so! Why, Ah know just tha thing to help ya out.”

Applebloom looked up with hopeful eyes. “Ya do granny? What is it?”

“Sure. Why don’t you just tell ol’ Granny Smith which books ya want?”

“Well, AJ never lets me read them, so Ah don’t really know what she has. Maybe just her favorite ones?”

At this, the older mare couldn’t help but stifle a chuckle. “Why don’t we just go take a gander and see what looks the most worn?” She began to guide the filly over toward the downstairs bookshelves. “That or we could just sniff ‘em,” mumbled the wizened old mare with a knowing grin on her face, too quiet for the filly to hear.

Or so she thought.

“What was that granny, something about liftin’ books?” said Applebloom as she gave a quizzical expression to Granny Smith.

Granny wasn’t worried about Applebloom reading about something she hadn’t seen before, the filly having grown up on a farm. What was on her mind, however, was how she could get back Applejack for all the times she’d been embarrassed in the past. Oh yes, she was going to get the orange mare good.

Granny Smith felt it was time finally time to put into action her plan that she had devised all those years ago. ‘Give Mah Granddaughter What She’s Had Coming Fer All These Years’ was about to begin. “Nothing to worry yer little head about Applebloom. Now let’s see what we’ve got here.” Granny Smith browsed the titles on the top shelf, looking for a few that she would make Applejack sweat when she found out the filly had them.

The elder mare smirked to herself as her gaze fell on one half of the shelf. It was filled with books from a certain author with a dessert for a cutie mark, emblazoned on the spine next to the title. She pulled down three rather well used books, hiding a snicker behind her hoof as she passed them off to Applebloom.

“I’ll just let yer sis know Ah handled the book situation when she asks. Why don’t ya run along and have fun with those.”

Applebloom looked up, excitement sparkling in eyes. “Thanks Granny! I sure will.”

With that, she grabbed the books and dashed back outside, heading toward the clubhouse and her partners in crime.

She's Awesome. The Dictionary Says So

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Rainbow Dash was awesome. The dictionary in Twilight Sparkle’s library said so. Scoots knew this because she had put Rainbow Dash’s picture and the text ‘definition of awesome’ over whatever lame definition had been there before (when Twilight wasn’t looking, of course).

Rainbow Dash, being the totally awesome mare that she was, was certain to have reading material just as awesome, doubly so if it was of the ‘only for adults’ or whatever that dictionary friend of hers had called it variety. This was exactly why a certain orange filly with a fuchsia mane was currently headed toward the cerulean mare’s cloud house.

On the ground.

How she was going to get up to Rainbow Dash’s cloud house was a dilemma whose answer currently evaded the spunky filly. She had already concluded that a grappling line would just fall through the cloud structure, that a catapult was more likely to land her in the walls than on the base, and that using the rocket ship from the Cutie Mark Crusader Space Explorers plan was just as likely to rob her of what few feathers she had as it was to get her off the ground.

It was with a heavy sigh that she passed by the entryway to Sugarcube Corner. Head dipped down and brow furrowed in thought, she failed to notice the hay bail sporting a pair of square black glasses, big, bushy eyebrows, and a long nose protruding from the front next to the doorway as she passed.

So deep in thought was Scootaloo that she even missed the green, toothless alligator that was biting the curly pink mane that swayed in the wind sticking out from the top as she plodded by, a small frown teasing her lips.

Well, she didn’t until a deafening “Hey Scootaloo!” erupted from the very cleverly disguised pink party pony known for hiding in hay bales just like the one she whipped around to face, a look of shock now painted on her face.

“So it was you!” practically shouted the pink mare, jumping up in down in excitement. “See, my right ear flopped, then my tail twitched, and then my teeth chattered. And I was all like, ‘Oh wow, there’s a pony who is felling kind of down and she’s coming right this way!’” Pinkie Pie punctuated every few syllables with an exuberant bounce. “And I just knew that I could make that pony turn their frown upside down.”

Scootaloo, pillar of linguistic eloquence and master of speech, responded as only a pony with a pedigree as elite as hers could. “Bwah?”

Pinkie managed to stop bouncing just long enough to let loose a throaty giggle before she began to hop in circles around Scootaloo. “You silly filly. This is the part where you ask me for help. Well, that Princess Celestia runs around asking everypony if they like bananas before she banishes them all to the moon with a giant cannon.”

Scootaloo shook her head in an attempt to clear it of Pinkie’s randomness and focus on what little sense the party pony had made. “Um, Pinkie, how about we go with how you are going to help me. See, I need to get up Dash’s house, but….I can’t fly up myself. I need to, uh, get something from her place. It’s real important, but, um, kind of embarrassing, so I didn’t want to ask her.” By the end, the orange filly was rubbing the back of her head in slight embarrassment while looking off to Pinkie’s side.

“Well why didn’t you just say so silly?” chirped the pink ball of energy. “I’ll just fly you up on my Pinkie-Copter. And I have just the thing if you want to be all Sneaky McSneakerson. Meet me below Dashie’s house in 10 minutes and we’ll get this party started.” With that, Pinkie Pie dashed back toward Sugarcube Corner and vanished inside moments later.

Scootaloo, meanwhile, was left somewhat dumbstruck but not unhappy, having come one step closer to her goal. “Well that was easy,” she mumbled as she began to trot toward her meeting place with Pinkie.

High above Sugarcube Corner and unnoticed by the ponies below, the tip of a rainbow forelock peaked over the edge of a puffy white cloud, a cloud just large enough for a pegasus to comfortably nap on or watch the ponies below in secrecy.

Ten minutes later found Pinkie Pie coming in for a landing on the hill directly below Rainbow Dash’s cloud home. Now this wasn’t a particular strange sight. The form-fitting black cat suit she was wearing and the pair of night vision goggles she had on her head while doing so wasn’t even that strange either. The fact that she was doing so in broad daylight while waving to the ponies she passed on the ground below was a different matter altogether.

Scootaloo just rolled her eyes at the sight. This wasn’t even half as weird as some of the stuff she saw the party pony get up to. She’d long ago given up trying to figure out Pinkie, a course of action that a certain lavender unicorn had only recently embarked upon. “Hey Pinkie Pie,” said Scootaloo while waving as the Pinkie-Copter came in for a landing. “So what’s the plan?”

Pinkie Pie reached her hoof back and reached into….wherever the pink mare did when she was making things appear from nowhere…and proceeded to pull out a filly-sized cat suit before tossing it at Scootaloo’s hooves. “Put that on, and then we can head on up. Rainbow Dash will never see us coming,” said Pinkie, practically bouncing in place on her Pinkie-Copter.”

Scootaloo failed to see how wearing a black catsuit in the blue sky or against the white backdrop of Dash’s cloud house would help keep the two of them hidden. However, she knew enough about spy stories to know that was just what was done. She slipped on the catsuit and hopped up behind Pinkie before the two took off into the clear blue sky toward Rainbow Dash’s cloud home.

As they flew higher, the light breeze rustled the filly’s fuchsia mane. The sun shone brilliantly down upon the rooftops below and the pure water in the steam gleamed in the sunlight. As the two neared the cloud hose, the temperature began slowly dropping and went from a slightly warm afternoon to a somewhat nippy one for those without feathers to keep them warm.

Scootaloo tapped Pinkie on her withers. “Fly me up to the bedroom and I’ll hop inside. You fly around back and wait by the rainbow fountain so Dash doesn’t see you. I’ll meet you there once I get what I need.”

Pinkie gave an enthusiastic nod. “You’ve got it!” she said as she pulled up to the bedroom window and waved to the filly as she skulked inside.

Neither Pinkie Pie nor Scootaloo seemed to notice the solitary cloud in the sky that had been lazily drifting toward the cloud home as they went about their business.

Happy to finally put the lessons she learned from the ill-fated Cutie Mark Crusaders Secret Agents plan into action, Scootaloo began to skulk around the room, periodically ducking under or behind the furniture, all the while focusing on being as silent as possible as she made her way to her prize. Clouds weren’t the noisiest of surfaces. Nor was Rainbow Dash supposed to be at home during the workday at this time. None of this mattered to the would-be secret agent. She needed to be cool in everything she did, not just almost all.

Across the room and next to the bed on the nightstand lay a stack of Daring Do books. The uppermost had what looked like a Wonderbolts bookmark sticking out from about halfway through, the top of a flightsuit-clad mare with a fiery mane soaring through a clear blue sky peeking out from between the pages.

As Scootaloo ducked behind a cloud column, she examined the other furniture, on the vigil for the other books she was sure Rainbow Dash had stashed in her room. She didn’t see anything on top of the bed. The only books she found were the Daring Do books in the stack on the nightstand. Seeing this, the filly came to a brilliant conclusion: the good stuff had to be under the bed. That’s where she always kept her favorite items. Why wouldn’t Rainbow Dash do the same? It’s not like she’d put anything else somewhere where others wouldn’t touch them.

Having reached her decision, Scootaloo dashed in as sneaky a manner as she could over to the bed. Sniggering into her hoof, she leaned over and looked under the bed. Jackpot. Under the bed there were several boxes, a few open and a few with the lids on. Scootaloo began pulling them out and placing them at her side so she could get a better look at the contents.

She was so intent on not being seen or heard by anypony in the house was she that she failed to notice the shadow being cast behind her from the windowsill.

The first box rattled a bit when she moved it out, the sounds of plastic hitting plastic leaking out. Well that’s not it, thought the filly as she moved it to the side. The second box was uncovered and did have a book in it. However, it was just some silly thing that looked like a manual with the two princesses on the cover. What kind of title was Pony Sutra anyway? She tossed that aside and moved onto a much bigger box.

Finally, Finally she found what she was looking for. This one was filled with books with flowery titles that the dictionary was sure to know about. There were titles like Xenophilia and Four of Two, whatever the heck those are supposed to mean. That and the fact that quite of few of these had Wonderbolts on the covers. Oddly enough, most of them seemed to be in the process of taking off their flightsuits for whatever reason. In addition, there was one where what looked like Princess Celestia was looking back and licking her lips for some reason, head dipped with her front knees bent. Whatever. Scootaloo knew that this is what she came for.

Scootaloo was something of a one-track filly. That current track was finding the right books from Rainbow Dash’s stash to bring back for the girls. This is why she hadn’t noticed the shadow from the window as it had crept across the floor. She seemed not to notice the quiet snicker from behind her as the shadow began to creep up her back. The shadow eventually came to rest right on the back of the diminutive filly’s head.


Normally the energetic filly was as grounded as a chicken, but upon hearing the whispered word by her ear she shot straight up at the cloud ceiling…before smacking right into it and making a filly-sized indent. Well, at least she did before she fell back down and made another one in the floor. The loud puff of Scootaloo’s face hitting the cloud floor was followed by an even louder groan.

Scootaloo couldn’t exactly tell this though, on account of the raucous laugher exploding from Rainbow Dash as she rocked with laugher on the floor behind the dazed filly, drowning out all other noise. “You shoulda seen the look on your face Scoots. It was absolutely priceless.”

Once the stars had cleared from her vision and she had roused herself from her date with the floor, Scootaloo gazed up sheepishly at her idol, a hoof idly rubbing the back of her neck. “Uh, h-hey there Rainbow Dash. Um, nice weather we’re having?”

Rainbow dashed rolled her eyes. “I know. I made it that way, duh.” Rainbow Dash looked down at the boxes that were no longer under her bed. She pointed a forehoof at them as she turned her head back to Scootaloo. “So Scoots,” she said with an overly casual tone for one who just had their house intruded into and her private stash searched.” What do you think you’re doing?”

The ponies of Equestira were good at many things. They also shared a great deal in common. However, there was also something that most ponies shared but were anything but good at: lying with a straight face. Scootaloo was something of a special case.

“I was, uh, searching for changelings.”

There was a faint sound of a hoof smacking a face from the direction of Sweet Apple Acres as the queen of bad poker faces lost her title to the orange-furred filly glancing between Rainbow Dash and the books, her muzzle considerably more scrunched up than a minute ago.

Rainbow Dash managed to suppress her outward reaction to a somewhat muffled groan, saving the facehoof for another time. She walked up, placed a forehoof on Scootaloo’s shoulder, and looked right into her eyes before heaving a sigh. “Look, Scoots. I’ve been watching you from before you meet Pinkie, and it doesn’t take an egghead like Twilight to figure out what you were doing.”

With each passing word, the filly cringed a little harder as her plan came unraveled before her eyes.
“I’m not mad Scoots. But you should have asked if you wanted to borrow something.” Rainbow Dash took the couple steps and crouched down to scan the books in the box. “So which ones?”

No longer able to take it anymore the filly rushed up and hugged the cerulean mare’s legs. “I’m so sorry Rainbow Dash! I just wanted to- wait. What do you just say?” She peered upward and was greeted by a smirk that one just one hair shy of unsettling but well over the line of predatory.

Rainbow turned the filly back to face the box of books and nudged her to lean over and look at the titles with her. “I said, which books did you want to borrow?”

If the filly’s jaw had fallen any faster, another dent in the cloud floor in the shape of her muzzle would have joined the one already there from her earlier visitation. Once she had picked her jaw back up off the ground, Scootaloo looked back into Rainbow Dash’s eyes. “Really? Just like that?”

Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes again. “Scoots, sooner or later every filly is gonna read one of these. You might as well start with a good one.” If Scootaloo hadn’t been so startled by Rainbow’s reaction she would have noticed just how devious the larger pegasus’s grin had become and the way her eyes sparkled with mischief. “How about I just give you a few of my favorites and we can talk about them after you’ve had a good, long, hard, and passionate read.”

Entranced by the sound of Rainbow Dash’s voice, Scootaloo certainly did not miss how the mare’s voice had grown steadily huskier as each word flowed from her lips, honey practically dripping from the words by the last syllable. Oh yes, these books were going to be awesome.

“That sounds awesome Rainbow Dash!” shouted the now very much excited filly.

“Great to hear, squirt.” Rainbow dash proceeded to pick out three of her favorites and hoof them over to Scootaloo, mischief plain on her face. This ought to be good. I can’t wait to have that chat once she finishes them. “Well, you better get going Scoots. Don’t want to keep Pinkie waiting.”

“Thanks Rainbow Dash!” chirped Scootaloo as she took the books and hurried off to the back of the house so she could rendezvous with her ride. The girls were never going to believe her when she told them how she got her books. As she was heading out back, Scootaloo paused a moment. After today, Awesome wasn’t going to be enough to describe Rainbow Dash anymore. She resolved to sneak into the library and fix a few more definitions after the current crusade had panned out.

In a library not far below a lavender mare gave an involuntary shudder.