Reading Rainbow: Part One
Twilight Sparkle was awakened by the sound of a book hitting the floor. She opened one eye reluctantly, and was greeted by the pale light of the moon filtering in through her bedroom window. Luna's moon was still high in the mid-night sky, without even a glimpse of sunlight on the horizon. It had to have been hours still before morning.
The moonlight was just enough for her to take a quick look around her room. Books were all over the place as a result of some late night studying. Not one looked disturbed. Not that I would know. I need to clean up in the morning. Again.
Movement in the corner of the room caught her eye, and she opened the other one. She quickly raised her head from her pillow, alert.
But all she saw was Spike, curled up in his bed. As she watched, he twitched in his dreams.
“Why yes...” The little dragon murmured in his sleep, “It is a real mustache... Zzzz...”
With a relieved sigh, Twilight set her head back on the pillow. “Must have just been my imagination,” She said with a quiet giggle, once comfortable under the sheets again, “I really must stop eating Pinkie Pie's cooking so late, it's making me hear things in my sleep.”
Warm under her blankets, she started to closer her eyes again.
Another book fell just as soon as she did, jolting her wide awake. Then another. But the sound was coming from beyond the door to her bedroom.
She stared blearily at the door to the public portion of the library, ears cupped towards it. But spike's snoring covered any other sound that was being made beyond the doorway.
It's too late for anyone to be visiting the library. Twilight mused silently as she untangled herself from the sheets to get out of bed. Moonlight guided her to the doorway, though she had to carefully avoid tripping on the books on the floor. With a light nudge, she pushed the door open.
A breeze hit Twilight's face as soon a she opened it. Moonlight was coming in through the opened ceiling window, casting an eerie light on the library. She didn't see anyone immediately, but saw a few stacks of books piled up near one of the book-cases. That most certainly wasn't there earlier!
She only briefly caught a glimpse of something coming down from one of the book cases to land next to one of piles. Twilight reacted instinctively, quickly casting the first spell that came to mind. All of the lamps in the library flared to life, immediately lighting the entire room.
There was a flash of pale blue as the pony she had seen tried to bolt. It didn't get far. It ran into one of the piles of books, sending them toppling over on top of it.
“Ow!” A young female's voice cried out, as books piled on top of the pony.
Twilight paused. Wait, I know that voice.
“Rainbow Dash?” She asked out loud as she stepped closer to the balcony overlooking the library. It couldn't be. What would she be doing here so late?
A tail consisting of the colors of the rainbow could just barely be seen underneath the pile of books. It twitched at the sound of Twilight's voice. A few books fell off, showing the outline of a slim, cyan, pegasus form. “Uhm. No?” A pause. “Maybe?”
Twilight Sparkle sighed, and started down the stairs to the main floor. A few books began to glow, and they lifted themselves off of the prone pegasus' head.
Rainbow Dash cringed, ears laying back amongst her bright mane. “Er, okay, it is me,” She said, reluctantly, as she struggled to get a hoof from under the books. “Hi, Twilight.”
A few more books surrounded in a purple glow lifted off of Rainbow Dash. Sighing, Twilight Sparkle slowly shook her head. “You’re supposed to read a book, not wear them.” Another book lifted off of the technicolor Pegasus' neck. “Rainbow, what are you doing here so late? I thought you were just 'so exhausted' after your day with the Wonderbolts.”
The pegasus cringed again, but not in pain. “I was! But, y'know me, can't hold still for a second!” Rainbow Dash grinned brightly as she could. “I just had an idea for a wicked new stunt, and it couldn't wait till morning.”
Twilight didn't buy it for a second.
Now that most of the books were off of her, Rainbow started to push herself out from under the rest of the books. But then her hooves slipped on one of the leather bindings. She fell, hitting the pile again. “Oh pony apples. Guess I'm still kinda beat.” The rainbow pegasus giggled quietly, but pushed herself up.
Did something go wrong? Twilight frowned thoughtfully, noticing the nervous twinge to the giggle. A few more books rose out of the pile, directed by Twilight's glowing horn. She seemed so happy after that outing she earned. But a glance over the Pegasus didn't suggest anything wrong. To Twilight's eyes, Rainbow looked about confident as ever. A little bruised from her tumble and a little tired, but she knew that Rainbow had worse impacts than that during her morning routines.
“Rainbow Dash...” Twilight started, frowning still.
“Hey, now that you're up,” Rainbow was quick to try and change the subject. She was looking around intently at the books that she knocked over. “I need some help finding something.”
Besides your marbles? Twilight raised an ear slightly. “Oh? What could you possibly need from a library in the middle of the night?” She tried not to sound sarcastic. It didn't work.
Rainbow Dash didn't answer immediately. She pawed at a couple of the books still around her, seemingly ignoring Twilight. As she did, Twilight noticed a strange, constant flick in the pegasi's rainbow hued tail, as if she were actually nervous about something.
I know she was nervous about the young fliers competition, but that's over! Twilight thought, as a few more books hovered up to their appropriate shelves. “Uh, Rainbow?”
The cyan pegasus seemed to be yanked out of her thoughts, looking up at Twilight Sparkle quickly. “Er, right! I need a book. And since you're simply the most awesome at finding them...” Rainbow grinned again, before glancing down. “This stunt idea is totally wicked, but it uses some stuff I've never done before. So I need a book on lightning. The more detailed the better.”
Detailed!? The fact that Rainbow Dash wanted a detailed book took Twilight by surprise. So much that it took her another second to realize what Dash was asking for. “... Lightning? What kind of stunt do you want to do that involves lightning?”
Rainbow Dash shrugged her shoulders, causing her feathers to flutter. Spreading her wings, she took off, quickly reaching the top of the bookshelves. “Y'know, the flashy kind.” Rainbow ignored Twilight's groan, instead flying a bit further down the shelves. “How the hay do you find anything in here anyway? I've never actually had to look for books before. Does it use some sort of weird number thing?”
Resigned in the fact that she was not likely to get any more sleep at the moment, Twilight sighed. She directed a few more books to their shelves as she followed along behind Rainbow Dash. “The library isn't big enough to use the more sophisticated types of organization like Decimal Dewer's system,” Twilight Sparkle explained in the same tone of voice she would use to tell a new student coming to the library.
“Okay, so how DOES it work?” Irritation was starting to enter Rainbow Dash's voice. She stopped to look at fat book with large golden letters on its side. “'Trail Walker's guide to Equestria'. Nah.”
“It was originally alphabetical by title, but I re-organized it when I moved in,” Twilight said, letting a little pride into her voice. “It's now organized by author's name. Much more efficient-”
“I get it already,” Rainbow Dash cut Twilight off impatiently. She rolled her eyes at the Unicorn, and pointed a hoof at the shelves of books. “Just... Help me find something on lightning, willya?”
“Fine,” Twilight replied irritably, ears pinning against her mane. They lifted again as she glanced over the bookshelves. I don't know what she's up to. But best just to go with it. “I think I know just you could need...”
Despite the need for more sleep gnawing at her, Twilight focused, drawing out her magic on a particular spell she had been working on to find specific books. A book on the far end of the shelves began to glow, and pulled itself out.
“There.” She said with a sigh of exertion. The book hovered closer to Rainbow Dash. “That's a book by Tesla Nicklehoof, Equestria renowned expert on lightning.”
“Awesome, Twilight! I knew I could count on y-” Just as Rainbow reached out to grab ahold of the book in her hooves, it was yanked away from her. “Hey!”
Twilight huffed a little, keeping the book just out of Rainbow's reach. “But before I let you borrow it, I want you to tell me what's going on.” She narrowed her eyes, and Rainbow cringed. “You're not a reader; I don't think I've ever seen you come in here to check out a book even for your more complex stunts.”
Even to Twilight's eyes, she noticed that Rainbow sagged visibly at that. The pegasus' usually bright eyes turned downcast. “I...” Rainbow raised her eyes up again quickly, staring determinately at the purple unicorn. The typical fire was still in them, but Twilight thought it seemed somewhat dimmed. “Nothing's wrong, Twilight.”
You're a horrible liar, Rainbow Dash. But alright. Twilight Sparkle sighed, and let the book hold still long enough for her friend to grab onto it. “If you say so, Rainbow Dash.” If it were Applejack, this would be easy. She's just stubborn, she'd have to give up eventually. You're proud. If I push it, you'll just get angry.
Rainbow took a quick look at the cover of the book. “'Principles of Equestria Lightning'. Cool, Twilight! This'll do awesome!” She grinned again down at the Unicorn, then hesitated, eying the look that Twilight was giving her. “Er... Sorry... For waking you up and all.” Reaching behind her, she rubbed at her neck a little bit. “It just couldn't wait. Here-” Swooping down, Rainbow landed lightly next to the remaining books from before. She tucked the book underneath one of her wings for safe keeping. “I'll help put these away.”
Twilight Sparkle shook her head. More books rose up, quickly tucking themselves into shelves. “It's alright, Rainbow,” She eyed the pegasus levelly, but her voice was light and she grinned, “I don't need to put the books away for a THIRD time.”
Twilight had meant it as a joke, but Rainbow reacted oddly. Her head sagged a little, and she bit at her lower lip slightly. “Yeah, you're probably right,” Rainbow admitted, voice quieter. Abruptly, her wings quickly unfolded in preparation for takeoff. “Well, thanks, Twilight.”
“Wait!” She won't tell me what's going on, but maybe I can cheer her up a little. Twilight looked to the side quickly, trying to remember where they had set a book she had discovered the other day. Another book began to glow, and it slid from the shelf, “I have something you might like even better than that Nicklehoof book.”
Eyeing Twilight skeptically, Rainbow let her wings relax none the less. She glanced at the book hovering towards her. “What's that?” Her eyes narrowed a little as she read the the binding of the book. “... 'Advanced Flight Skills'?
“Yes,” Twilight Sparkle nodded her head, “If you're going to start reading, you ought to at least read things that you might actually take more interest in.”
Rainbow's expression was unreadable as she took up the book. “Heh, I didn't know you had books like that in here...” She set the book down, and quickly flipped through a few pages. “Thanks, Twilight.”
The last of the books that Rainbow knocked over made their way up into their proper places by unicorn magic, before Twilight turned to smile at the pegasus again. “It's no trouble. Just... You know you can come to us if you're having problems?”
Abruptly, Rainbow shut the book. “Why do you keep thinking I’m having problems!? Sheesh!” She replied harshly, her voice irritated. Her tail lashed, and she quickly collected the book against her chest. Then, she sighed. For a brief moment, her ears dipped back. “And even if I am... I gotta deal with them myself.”
Twilight must have looked more concerned than she thought, because Rainbow Dash then took off. She hovered close enough to nudge the violet Unicorn in the side with a hoof. “Don't lose any more sleep over it, got it?” She joked lightly, “Seeya, egghead. And thanks!”
Before Twilight could say another word, Rainbow flared out her wings. Both books held tight against her chest by a foreleg, the rainbow maned pegasus took off like a bolt through the open ceiling window. The force of her takeoff caused a few more books to tumble off of their shelves when she passed.
“It's not sleep I'm worried about.” Twilight's magic caught the books before they could hit the ground. She turned her head away from the window, as the books put themselves back away again. “You might deny it, but if even I can see that something’s bugging you...?”
Twilight Sparkle sighed, as her magic pulled the window shut again. “Just what are you up to, Rainbow Dash?”
To be continued...