Sibling Rivalry: Chapter Eight – Crucible

14 10 2012

Pinkie and Apple Bloom begin their interrogations.

The rising amber sun shined through the windows of the Ponyville Library, and in one little corner of the main sitting room, one little dragon was reading through the titles on a book cart, shuffling the tomes around in an effort to make his job just a little bit easier.

“Birds of Central Equestria,” he said, reading the title on one of the covers. “Davenport checked that out a week ago. Advanced Orchard Designs, that was Applejack’s weekend project.”

As he shuffled through the trolley, it wasn’t long before he landed on a title that was pink and hardbound. “Romance for Foals,” he said. Placing a claw on his head, he tried to remember who last checked it out, but nothing came. It had been a while since he saw this title, but he could always remember who checked out what book in the library no matter how long ago it was. As he began scratching his head in thought, he didn’t notice a young purple unicorn trot up behind him.

“Morning, Spike.”

“GAH!!!” The book flew out of his hands, but his quick reflexes grabbed it before it landed on the floor, and before it slipped out of his hands once again, only to be grabbed once again by the spine. “Hey, Twilight,” he said, getting a better grip on the title. He turned around and noticed her frazzled mane and the mug of coffee before her. She was getting ready to start her day.

“What’s up?” She asked.

“Oh, just sorting things.” He gestured toward the book trolley. “Hey,” he said, holding up the pink tome. “Do you remember who last checked this out?”

Twilight studied the title and declared, “Sorry Spike, can’t talk about it, I was sworn to secrecy.”

“Really?” he asked, skeptically.

“Yeah. It’s been happening a lot lately.”

The young dragon got flushed.

“So,” she said, trotting away. “What are your plans for today?”

“Well, I was going to hang out with Sweetie Belle this morning, then lunch, and maybe meet up with Rarity this afternoon. Nothing major, just see how she’s doing.”

“Why?” The unicorn spun around. “Did something go wrong last night?”

Spike paused for a few seconds, thinking of how to continue.

“She offered to let me spend the night with her.”

Twilight was surprised. “Well I assume you said ‘no.'”

He looked at her with fiery eyes. “Of course I said ‘no’! Why wouldn’t I say ‘no’!”

“Okay, okay!” She held her hooves out to calm the young dragon. “Just making sure.”

“I’m running out of time.”

“I could have told you that.” Twilight paused for a second. “Look, Rarity asked me to help her with some designs this morning, should I say anything to her?”

Spike was about to open his mouth to answer, when a knock came at the door.

Twilight’s magic swung the door open, and the librarians could see a young unicorn filly standing at the door. “Hi Twilight!” Sweetie Belle said. She rushed across the room, and grabbed the young dragon, laying a kiss on his lips. “Hi Spike.”

“Well, that was a nice greeting,” he said with a laugh.

“Well,” Twilight announced as she grabbed her saddle bag and placed it on her back. “I’m gonna go, I’ll see you later Spike.”

“Bye!” Sweetie Belle said with a wave. As the purple mare left, the young filly turned back to her boyfriend. “So, what do you want to do?”

“I don’t know, what do you want to do?”

She looked at him with mischievous eyes.

The morning sun shone through the windows of Carousel Boutique, as chief designer, Rarity, inspected an ornate dress that rested on a dress form in the Carousel Boutique showroom.

The dress was sky blue and light purple, it had pleats and folds, and gemstone accents strategically placed. But as she looked at the outfit, she just couldn’t get herself to appreciate the work. Her mind was elsewhere. She loved Spike, and wanted to prove it to him… but he refused. Did he not love her?

A rapid knock at the front door broke her from her reverie. The door swung open in a blue glow, and Rarity’s best friend, Twilight Sparkle trotted in.

“Good Morning Rarity,” she announced. “I’m here as you asked, to offer my assistance.”

The white unicorn sighed. “Thank you Twilight. Do you mind standing over there?” she said, pointing to the dais next to the front door.

She walked over, and stood on the platform, as Rarity removed the dress from the ponykin, and levitated it toward the purple mare.

As the silk garment wrapped itself around the librarian, she noticed something in her best friend’s eyes. A lack of interest, possibly.

“Something wrong, Rarity?” she asked, coyly.

“Oh, um… nothing, really.”

“Are you sure?”

She sighed and started to explain, “You know how things have been going between me and Spike?”

“Yeah, sure.”

“Well-” the white mare was interrupted by a rapid knock at the front door.

As Sweetie Belle continued to kiss her boyfriend, on the floor in the middle of Ponyville Library, she noticed something was off, something was amiss.

It wasn’t the first time they kissed on a hardwood floor, so that wasn’t it. There had to have been something else. Then she noticed: Spike’s lips weren’t moving as much as she was used to.

She separated from the dragon and looked into his eyes. “Is something wrong, Spike?” she asked with earnest.

“No,” he responded. “Nothing.”

“You seem distracted.”

“I… I do?”

They were interrupted by a rapid knock at the front door.

The two youngsters separated, as Spike got up to answer it.

The door swung open with a blue glow.

Standing on the threshold was a small yellow filly with a wide smile.

“Hi Rarity!”

“Apple Bloom?”

As he stood there, ready to greet the library’s newest patron, he was surprised to see a familiar pink mare, standing there with a wide smile.

“Hey Spike!”

“Pinkie Pie?”

“Um…” Twilight responded. “Hey Apple Bloom, what are you doing here?”

“Oh,” she said nonchalantly, walking through the store without a care. “I was in the neighbourhood and thought I’d stop in to say ‘hi.'”

“Well… hello,” the fashion designer responded.

“Hello Rarity,” she smiled.

“Do you need something?” Spike asked after a few seconds of silence.

The pink earth pony bounded past the young dragon, “Oh, I was just in the neighbourhood and thought I’d stop in to say ‘hi.'” Her eyes quickly landed on the young unicorn filly standing in the middle of the room. “Oh, Sweetie Belle.” She brought a hoof to her cheek. “I didn’t know you’d be here.”

“I doubt that,” Spike said, under his breath as he closed the door behind him.

“Hey Pinkie Pie,” the young filly responded.

“Look at you two little lovebirds,” she said. “OO! You look so cute together.”

Sweetie Belle blushed as her boyfriend stood next to her. “Thanks,” she said. “Wait… who told you?”

“So, Twilight, what are you doin’ here?”

“Oh… um… I was just…”

“She’s modelling for me today,” Rarity explained. “I needed to know how this outfit looked on an actual mare while I made some adjustments.”

Twilight smiled.

“Oh, can I help?” Apple Bloom rushed over to the unicorns. “I never tried to get a fashion cutie mark!”

“Oh… um… of course,” The designer said with a smile.

“Great!” An awkward silence descended. “So… what should I do?”

“Oh! Go um… go get that pincushion on the table there.”

“Yes ma’am!” The young filly trotted off. As she examined the workbench looking for the pincushion, she decided to start her interrogation. “So… I hear somethin’s going on between you and Spike.”

Twilight’s eyes went wide.

“Twilight,” Rarity explained. “Don’t tense up like that. Yes, me and Spike have begun a relationship, Apple Bloom.”

The young filly trotted over with the pin cushion in her mouth. The designer levitated it out of her mouth and started examining the seams of the dress.

“We’ve been trying to keep it mostly secret for now, who told you?”

“Oh, Spike did,” Pinkie explained.

“Oh really?” Sweetie looked at the dragon, who gave a careful smile.


“I guess he really wanted to share with us how happy he was.”

“Wha… when was this?” Twilight asked.

“Last night, at Sugarcube Corner. He came over for a cupcake and we talked a bit. You’re one lucky mare you know that?”

“Of course I am,” Sweetie said as she nuzzled the young dragon.

“Okay, okay,” he said, as a bright pink tone appeared on his face.

“OOO! Spike, I just remembered. I found that recipe you wanted.”

“What?” he said, slightly confused.

She pulled out a card, with detailed writing on it. Then flipped it around, revealing more writing. “Yep, you said you wanted my recipe for Creme Brulee, so I thought I’d bring it over. OO! Maybe you can go make it now, that way me and Sweetie Belle could catch up!”

“Catch up?” the young filly asked.

“Yeah!” the earth pony continued. “You don’t seem that excited.”

“Oh… it’s… it’s complicated Apple Bloom,” she explained, a bit nervous.

“Oh, come on, tell us, it’s just us girls,” she put her elbows on the dais, and rested her head in her hooves, positioning herself so she could still look at her mark/subject/victim. “Come on! Let’s gossip!”

“Remember what happened last time you tried that?” Twilight interjected.

The yellow filly pursed her lips. “Yeah, I learned my lesson. I’m not gonna tell everypony. Pinkie Promise. Come on! I never get to ask Applejack about this kinda stuff. So… How are things with Spike?”

“You really wanna know?” the excited young unicorn asked.

Pinkie nodded, “Ooop! Wait, it’d be rude to talk about Spike while he’s in the room.”

The young dragon lowered his eyelids and crossed his arms. “So, Pinkie, if you’re here, who’s watching Sugarcube Corner?”

“Oh,” she said with a smile. “I put my best ponies in charge.”

A perplexed brown stallion trotted up to the front cash at the local bakery. Sitting on the counter, were two young foals: A unicorn and a pegasus. The pegasus just waved to him in greeting, as the unicorn had a large oven mitt stuck in her mouth.

“Um…” he said. “Can I get an apple-blueberry muffin?”

The pegasus cooed with joy as his order floated over in a bluish glow and landed gently in the customer’s hoof.

“Um… thank you.” He slowly trotted away, but was stopped by a hoof tapping on his shoulder. He turned around and saw the young pegasus from earlier floating inches from his face, with his eyebrows pitched inward.

“Oh! Right.” He passed a few bits to the child, and quickly left the store.

Holding the cash, the young pony flew over to the register, pressed a few buttons, and dropped the money into the drawer, before slamming it closed in victory. His sister smiled at him, with the mitt still in her mouth.

“Um… sure,” Spike continued. “Okay, I’ll try to make this recipe. I just need to find some… Loganberry extract?”

“My secret ingredient.”

As he walked into the kitchen. The two fillies giggled.

“Alright, tell me everything.”

“It’s going great Pinkie Pie!”

“It’s not going great Apple Bloom.”

“What!?” the young filly replied, her eyes as wide as saucers. She quickly recovered. “I mean… go on.”

“Well, last night I invited him to spend the night… like a sleep over,” she tried to keep it appropriate for Apple Bloom’s tender age.

“You mean a sleepover with-”

“-seven different types of sushi!” Sweetie Belle explained.

“OOO! I didn’t know Spike could make sushi.”

“Apple Bloom!” Twilight interjected.

“What!?” The young filly exclaimed.

Rarity cleared her throat. “Well, honestly I hadn’t planned that far ahead, I just thought we’d see where the night would take us.”

“So what happened?”

“Well, he turned me down at the door.”

“Really?” Apple Bloom responded.

Sweetie Belle nodded. “He’s so kind and considerate. Always making me feel so special, like I’m the only girl that matters.”

“What about some… other aspects?”

She cocked an eyebrow at the mare. After a few seconds, she clued in and her face turned a bright red, “Oh! No, we, um… we haven’t done anything like that-I don’t think I’m ready for that. I’m actually kinda glad he didn’t bring it up.”

Pinkie smiled sweetly.

“I keep thinking it means he doesn’t want our relationship to go further,” Rarity explained. “That he just doesn’t want anything more to happen between us. That… that he doesn’t really love me.”

Twilight didn’t know what to say. She tried to avert her gaze.

But Apple Bloom knew exactly what to say. “Rarity, I can tell you most certainly, he does.”

She smiled at the young filly. “How can you know that Apple Bloom?”

“The way he talked about you last night. Hey, just because he wants to take it slow doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. It just means he’s not ready.”

“You really think so?”

“I know so!”

“OOO!” Pinkie screamed. “It makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside. You have to tell me more!”

“You want to hear about our second date?”


“Okay, well we met up at the lake on the edge of town, and had a picnic. He brought sandwiches and apple juice and soda, and we just sat there, ate and talked.” The young filly sighed as sparkles appeared in her eyes. “It was magical.”

“It was odd,” Rarity explained. “Why wouldn’t he at least want to meet my parents?”

“There could be several reasons for that Rarity,” her best friend explained.

“Yeah, maybe he just doesn’t want to make a bad first impression,” Apple Bloom explained.

“Hmmm… perhaps…”

Apple Bloom and Twilight looked at each other.

“Rarity,” Twilight continued. “Spike just wants to take things slow right now.”

“But why!?” she asked, almost desperate. “You know, I knew he had a crush on me for the longest time, but I didn’t say anything. Now that we’re together, I just want to make up for lost time.”

“Seriously?” Apple Bloom cocked an eyebrow.

“He waited so long, so he doesn’t want to accidentally sabotage it. After so much work, it’d be horrifying for him if it ended because you moved too fast.”

“You know, you’re right Twilight. He wants to take things slow, I just need to accept that.”

“Except we normally end up far outside of town.” The young unicorn put her hoof to her chin. “You don’t think he’s embarrassed of me or something?”

“Oh, no no no no no, of course not!” Pinkie explained. She lowered down to a whisper. “I think he’s just worried others might be a bit too judgmental. Remember Zecora?”

“What about her?”

“Well, she wasn’t always so well accepted in town. Most ponies aren’t as nice as others. He’s probably just worried about how they’ll react to a dragon and pony dating.”

Sweetie closed her eyes, and raised her head high. “All love is equal, regardless of physical and mental differences. The most important thing is not only to be aware of the differences, but to accept them.”

Pinkie tilted her head. “Is that from something.”

“I may have done a bit of light reading on the subject.” She smiled.

At this moment, Sweetie’s love walked in and said, “I think I finished the first part, but your recipe says to let it sit in the fridge.”

“Oh, yes! Very important!”

“Well, I thought you might want to look at it first, because I’m not sure I did it right.”

“OO! Okay!”

The pink pony hopped in after the dragon.

“So, everything’s alright, Rarity?” Twilight asked.

“Yes, darling, thank you for asking.” The unicorn looked down at her young friend. “And thank you Apple Bloom, for all your kind words.”

“No problem. Now… this dress.” She stepped back a few paces and took a good look at it.

“Is there something wrong?” Rarity asked.

“I think it’s a bit too much.”

Rarity put a hoof to her chin. “Are you sure?”

“Definitely,” she said, with a nod. “Mostly cause of the gems, I think it would look better without the gems.”

“Well, Spike likes them.”

“That’s because he thinks they’re delicious.”

Rarity took a step back and said. “Hmmm… yes, I see what you mean. Alright Twilight, dress off!”

As the white unicorn removed the outfit from her friend, Apple Bloom continued the conversation.

“So… tell me more.”

“About what darling?”

“You and Spike… I wanna know everything.”

“So, where is it?” Pinkie asked, eyes darting around the kitchen.

“It’s in the fridge.”

“I thought-”

“I didn’t mess up!” he said in a hushed voice as his eyes went straight to the kitchen entrance. “I just wanted to know why you’re really here.”

The pink pony approached the young dragon taking a quick glance behind her. “Wasn’t that recipe a clever idea!?”

“It wouldn’t have been if I didn’t play along. Creme Brulee? Seriously?”

“Hey! It’s delicious!”

“It’s burnt cream! But whatever, why are you really here Pinkie!?”

“I just wanted to talk to Sweetie Belle, after what you told me and Apple Bloom last night we wanted to hear both sides.”

“So Apple Bloom…”

She nodded vigorously.

Spike sighed, slightly annoyed. “Why?” he asked.

“We wanted to help Spike. Help you decide. We couldn’t do that unless we heard everything.”

He stared at the mare for several seconds. “…and!?”

“Oh! Um… I don’t know. Sweetie Belle loves you, I know that. And…”

It was very rare to see Pinkie melancholic. So seeing that now, Spike understood just how serious this was.

“Spike,” she said, grabbing the young dragon. “This isn’t an easy decision. But I will try to help you any way I can, but… I can’t tell you what to do.”

“Well… thanks.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “We should probably head back, before she gets suspicious.”

As they returned into the main sitting room. Neither noticed a young white unicorn quickly running from her place by the door, as she returned a smile to her face, and tried to wipe the cryptic conversation from her mind.

She couldn’t hear a thing Spike said as he approached her, and they kissed once again.




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