Chapter 3: The Magic Virus
The two friends ate their apple pie and drank their apple cider outside the Sweet Apple Acres Barn. By force of habit, Applejack gorged on the apple pie face first despite her new ability to perform magic. Rainbow Dash had a couple bites, but didn't have that much of an appetite since she now had another magical earth pony to worry about.
"Why arem'cha eadin amythin?" Applejack asked with a mouthful of apple pie. Some of the crumbs accidentally fell on the table as she said it.
"I can't eat until I get some answers. First Pinkie, now you. Did you know that she can do telekinesis too?"
Applejack let out a chuckle. "I swear, yer startin to sound just like Twilight. And yes. You already told me that." She took another bite out of the pie.
Rainbow Dash sighed to herself. Her friend was right. She was being too uptight. She needed to be calm about this. It was nothing bad, just something new. Definitely not worth freaking out about like Twilight would. "Well when did you get your magic ability?"
Applejack was quick to respond. "Oh, THAT was a strange experience. I was talkin with Pinkie Pie after tha whole applebuckin incident when suddenly I felt this weird feelin in mah forehead. Then, mah vision was all foggied up with more colors than a flower patch. I tried to not act wily and just avoided talkin to Pinkie for a while."
Rainbow Dash rubbed her chin with her hoof. "That's EXACTLY what Pinkie Pie felt when she first met Twilight. Maybe the curse that Twilight knows was passed on to Pinkie. All she needs to do now is control that and maybe we won't have magic-using earth ponies running everywhere. Speaking of which, how come you're still not having trouble with your powers? Pinkie Pie has to learn from Rarity."
The orange pony gave another light chuckle. "Well, it wasn't easy as pie fer me, neither. Once ya get past the hump, it's pretty easy to get the hang of. Ya just hafta focus."
"Yeah, and we all know that focusing for Pinkie will be like walking on the sun. Impossible." Rainbow Dash sighed and slouched.
After a brief silence, the earth pony wore a look of concern while studying her friend. "Is somethin wrong, Rainbow?"
The pegasus slowly and somberly sipped her cider. "It's just all of this secret keeping stuff."
Applejack hit her face with her hoof to demonstrate a classic facehoof. "Yer STILL goin on about that? I told ya! I already knew about Pinkie's magic. The strange colors sorta gave it away."
"No, it's not that. It's just that it seems like something that Twilight needs to know, but Pinkie Pie had me keep it a secret. It's been pretty hard to not tell."
Applejack smiled sympathetically. "We've all been there, sugarcube."
Rainbow Dash's voice rose a little. "No. Because nopony ever has to deal with their friend suddenly being able to teleport. I feel like Twilight needs to know now more than ever since you have magic, too. But if I tell Twilight, I'll be breaking Pinkie's promise."
The honest pony hopped up from her seat to give an encouraging hoof on the shoulder. She spoke softly, attempting to comfort her. "I agree with you, Rainbow. It's somethin she's gotta to know about. Ya gotta make Pinkie know that. Jus talk some sense inta her little noggin and then everypony will know and we can fix this."
Rainbow stood up straight, returning to her usual proud gait from her depressed slump. "You're right, AJ! I can talk her into telling Twilight. Then this'll all be better. I won't have to keep any pesky secrets, and everypony will be happy, and life will be back to normal."
"Well I wish ya best o' luck with Pinkie Pie. Ah'll send ya off with another pie if ya want one. I got extras," the wingless pony exclaimed as she let out a grin.
Rainbow Dash smiled and realized she was so stressed earlier she forgot to eat AJ's trademark delicious pie. She let out a light chuckle. "Of course I want a pie. Anything from Sweet Apple Acres is always *COUGH*"
Applejack closed her eyes proudly as two boxes surrounded by an orange glow were tied to the pegasus' back using a rope enveloped by the same glow. The rope tightened so hard it made Rainbow Dash cough.
"What did you do that for? That hurt a bit," the pegasus almost yelled. The rope had bound itself tightly to her abdomen, which was hurting because of said rope.
Applejack just smiled and said, "Sorry for any pain, sugarcube. You'll see what ah'm doin. Now so long, Rainbow."
Hearing that, Rainbow extended her wings and quickly took off, leaving behind a fading rainbow blur and a small dust cloud.
It took a whole minute to make it to Rarity's boutique. She could've cut the time in half, but the boxes on her back completely wrecked her aerodynamics, and the pain in her abdomen served as a hassle against the clock. However, this lengthening of the trip wasn't all bad. While she was in the air, the winged pony asked herself a question. "How long until I get cursed by this?" The question seemed to give more questions than answers. Does the curse even work on pegasi? Would she even like having magic? Would she be good with magic? She thought magic would be awesome, but it seems so much different than flying. By the time she had a couple seconds to ponder, she was already at Rarity's home.
The rainbow-maned speed demon dashed into the store through the same window from which she left. As she flew in, she saw Pinkie Pie, once again, on top of the cupboard. Deja vu.
The fashionista wailed, "Pinkie! I can't believe you got yourself in this mess again! Now come down! We have yet to even work on your magic."
Pinkie Pie shrugged her shoulders, which caused the cupboard to waver. She quickly spread out her hooves to keep balance. Then she rocked the cupboard from side to side and laughed. "Woohoo! Weeee!"
Rarity was visibly sweating as she bit her lip nervously. "Oh my gosh! Be careful Pinkie! That has all my dresses in it!" The fashionable unicorn turned to Rainbow Dash the second the pegasus landed. "Rainbow Dash! Thank goodness you're here! Can you maybe fly up to the cupboard and get her down from there?"
The premier party pony of Ponyville suddenly spoke up, "Oo! What's that on your back Rainbow Dash?" Seeing her friend with a potential present made Pinkie perk up and stop rocking.
Rainbow Dash answered with, "Oh, well Applejack gave me a couple apple pies and-"
Pinkie Pie didn't even waste a second. She teleported straight from the cupboard to directly in front of the pegasus. "Oo! Oo! I LOVE Sweet Apple Acres apple pie! It's so delicious! Cuz when you first have a bite you usually get crust, and usually the crust is all bland and icky, but with Applejack, her crusts are even good. And don't even get me started on how good the center is. I mean it's-"
Rarity covered the pink pony's mouth and let out a light laugh. "Don't worry. We won't get you started." Suddenly, a wide smile appeared on the unicorn's face as she looked at the pies. She had an idea.
"Alright, Pinkie Pie. You can have these pies if you use magic to untie them. Do you understand?"
Rainbow Dash felt the ropes unbind themselves from her stomach before Rarity even finished the question. Pinkie Pie used her telekinesis to put the pie next to her as she nodded vigorously with Rarity's hoof still in her mouth.
Rarity smiled. "Good, now le-" She noticed the box next to Pinkie Pie and stared at it like a mystical artifact of some sort. Then as Pinkie opened the box using her magic, the unicorn gave another smile that showed she had another idea. "I'll be riiiiight back. Enjoy your pies," she said as she ran out the door of the boutique.
Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash were left alone in the elegant store with their pies and the sound of Pinkie Pie eating her apple pie. Her mouth was still full, but she still wanted to talk with her friend. "So, how’d wunch wif Applejack go?"
"So then that's when you got here with the pies?"
Rainbow Dash nodded. "And here we are." The pies were already eaten, leaving crumbs all over Rarity's magnificent floor. The unicorn had returned from her errand to hear the second half of the story. She had gone to Sugarcube Corner to buy some sweets.
The fashionista said, "Well, I agree with Applejack. Somepony really should tell Twilight all about this. It would be simply dreadful for us to keep her in the dark for any longer." She used her magic to guide a broom and dustpan to the pie crumbs.
Rainbow Dash nodded. "But it's still up to Pinkie Pie. I made her a promise to tell nopony without her permission. By the way, I'm really sorry about telling Applejack. It's just-"
"She already knew! It isn't a secret if you know about it, so it's A-OK with me Rainbow Dash."
The pegasus let out a sigh of relief. "So are we gonna tell Twilight?"
Pinkie Pie thought to herself for a second about her answer. She looked to the floor as she said, "You know, I really shouldn't have kept the secret in the first place. Friends don't keep secrets from each other like that. Especially when it has to do with them. And if Twilight has to go away for a bit to master one little spell, then I'm sure it won't take long." Pinkie looked up, and looked more proud than a couple seconds before. "Rainbow Dash, can you go tell Twilight? You're faster and I need to learn my magic."
Rainbow Dash gave a hearty giggle. She didn't know why. Maybe she was happy the secrets were over. "Alright. I'll get that done right away."
The pegasus once again dashed out of the boutique window, leaving Rarity to teach Pinkie Pie to control her magic using a plan she had mentioned while the apple pies were being feasted upon. She had gone to Sugarcube Corner to buy some sweets and would use them as a reward for completing magic correctly. It seemed slightly unlikely at first, but seeing how she teleported to the pies and used telekinesis to open the box, it now seemed foolproof.
As if on cue, the purple unicorn was seen dashing by as soon as Rainbow Dash left Carousel Boutique. The blue pegasus picked up some speed to catch up. "Hey Twilight? I got something to-"
"Go ahead of me to the Everfree Forest and try to find this plant," the unicorn said with a sense of urgency. As Twilight was galloping, she was using her magic to bring along a green book that was already opened to a page. This page was shoved into Rainbow Dash's face to accompany her worried order. The page presented a yellow flower shaped almost like a T. In the center of the flower was a blue spot. Rainbow Dash studied the image for a couple seconds before asking, "Why do-"
"Just do it! I'll catch up." the unicorn interrupted again. With that, Rainbow got the idea that it was pretty urgent and questions could wait, so she dashed ahead at a super speed. She assumed it was just something for one of Twilight's science project, and always enjoyed helping a friend in need.
She made it to the dark Everfree Forest in record time. The pegasus felt like she had a need for speed today for some reason, because she was moving fast wherever she went. Maybe it went hand in hand with the crazy day she had been having.
Fortunately for Rainbow Dash, the pattern of the flower shown in the book was easy to remember. It was a yellow T with a blue center. It was good because the few flowers in the Everfree Forest were pretty crazy. At least the yellow ones were. Rainbow Dash's strategy was speeding through the forest and slowing down to look at the yellow ones. There was one yellow flower that was spiraled and another with purple polka dots. The only flower that she noticed that wasn't yellow was the blue poison joke, which she was sure to avoid.
Finally, after a couple quick minutes, she had found the flower. The yellow T wasn't as well defined as it was in the book, but seeing the blue center gave it away. Rainbow Dash picked the flower and came to the landing.
The blue pony recalled Twilight saying that she would catch up, so Rainbow stayed where she was and waited.
And waited with impatient agony.
It had probably been only a minute, but for Rainbow Dash it felt like twenty, so she decided to meet her friend halfway, so she went back the way she came.
The speeding pegasus relied on memory to get her out of the forest. Over the poison joke. Past the cave. Under the fallen tree. Next to the yellow and purple polka dotted flower. Over more poison joke. Past the rock shaped like a tree Wait. More poison joke? What rock shaped like a tree? She didn't remember seeing these. Was she lost?
She landed and had a look around. Nothing looked familiar. There was a weird giant mushroom that she definitely had never seen before. Then Rainbow Dash saw a tree behind her that had blue moss hanging from it. Again, not familiar in the slightest.
Rainbow Dash thought she was lost, but then chuckled at the idea. She said, "No problem," to herself through the gritted teeth holding Twilight's flower as the pegasus started to flap her wings. It was a breeze. She would fly as high as she could and then go to the outskirts of the forest where she would meet the purple unicorn.
The pegasus followed her plan with great ease, first flying upward through the canopy as high as she needed to fly and then some. While she was that high up she had a glance at Ponyville at an angle from which she usually didn't get to see it. She first noticed how large the Everfree Forest was. Rainbow Dash guessed that it was twice as big as Ponyville. Then, the pegasus glanced over to Ponyville to see all of the town and what she had done that day. First she glanced over to Sugarcube Corner, where she recalled getting Pinkie Pie to go meet with Rarity. Then the pegasus glanced over to the luxurious and royal Carousel Boutique. There, Rarity agreed to help Pinkie Pie with her magic, which is what was probably what was going on at that very moment. Finally, she glanced farthest away from the forest to the quaint barn next to Sweet Apple Acres, which is where she found Applejack with magic. Needless to say, she hastily concluded that it had been a long and wild day. And it was only 3:00.
After the brief glance of the view, the pegasus dove down to the outskirts of the forest, which surprisingly wasn't far away from where she was earlier. Rainbow Dash gave an impressive landing with all fours hitting the ground simultaneously. Just to add to the coolness, she spit out the flower and kicked it so that it landed on her back. This was hitting two pegasi with one stone for Rainbow Dash since the flower tasted terrible.
It was time for her to wait once again. Rainbow Dash found herself to be more patient when she was on the outskirts of the forest than in the center of the forest. In the outskirts, it took the pegasus a full three minutes to lose interest in simply standing there and to leave her station.
The pegasus was about to dash down the path to catch up to the slowpoke unicorn when she heard a faint yell somewhat silenced by the surrounding trees. "Rainbow Dash! Help me!"
Rainbow Dash immediately went exactly where the cry for help had come from. It was hard to tell where it had come from since it was silenced by and echoed against the surrounding trees to create an odd sensation where it seemed it was being whispered to Rainbow Dash from everywhere but the ground. The pegasus went with her gut.
To her surprise, Rainbow Dash's gut caused her to barge through a group of trees that led to a clearing that held the unicorn. Around Twilight Sparkle was a spread out blanket of purple sand. Twilight Sparkle herself appeared to be cut in half, still having her head and front hooves. Her tail and her back legs were gone. The area that divided her front and back side appeared to be made of the purple sand surrounding her. "Rainbow Dash! The flower!" Twilight yelled.
The sky blue pegasus at first only stared in shock at her friend's condition. Was she turning into sand? Why was this happening? Twilight's yell fortunately snapped her out of shock. She bucked the flower off of her back and it landed majestically next to Twilight. The second it touched the ground, the unicorn used her magic to take off the T-shaped petal and ate it. Almost directly after eating the petal, Twilight's body stopped turning into sand and left a bloodless stump. Twilight gave a sigh and said, "Thank you so very much, Rainbow Dash."
Rainbow Dash appreciated her gratitude but not her lack of explanation. "Waitwaitwaitwaitwait! Time out! What just happened? Why is there only half of you? Did you almost just die?"
Twilight Sparkle laughed nervously as she used her magic to flip through the pages of the green book she had brought with her. Rainbow Dash read the front: "Guide to Treating and Identifying Magical Illnesses" After only a couple of seconds, her magic failed and the book dropped.
Twilight looked up to Rainbow Dash with an apologetic look. "Sorry, I'd love to explain, but I think we should put me back together again. Fortunately, I got a long enough look at a spell to reverse effects of Magic Spurt."
"Basically, it's an illness when you suddenly have a lot of magic and then you turn to sand. At first, I thought it was just progress, but then my tail started to turn into sand. Then, I guessed it was Magic Spurt."
Rainbow Dash thought about this really quick. Then she realized she shouldn't think about it too hard. Twilight Sparkle was still alive and that's all that mattered. "So how do you become not all sand? You said you saw a spell."
It took a whole three hours to collect enough sand to make up Twilight's back legs. In order to put her back together, Rainbow Dash had to sweep all of the sand over toward Twilight Sparkle so that the sand was touching the unicorn. They figured that all of the sand to make up the rest of her cutie mark and her tail would be received on their way back to the library. It was as they left the Everfree Forest when Twilight was talking about their experience earlier when Rainbow finally got around to telling her.
Twilight started the conversation with a grateful comment. "I'm so lucky you showed up when you did. Otherwise, I would be dust in the wind right now. Say, why DID you wanna talk to me at first?"
Rainbow Dash smiled. It was finally time to let out the secret she had kept bottled up for so long. The pegasus opened her mouth to inhale, only to have an apple get slammed into her mouth, muffling the first few words she planned to say. Twilight and a blue and pink haired earth pony tried to suppress their laughter.
Rainbow Dash groaned and spit out the apple. "Hey! What was that for Bon Bo-" The blue pony's train of thought was completely derailed when she saw her clothing. "Okay, two questions. One: Why did you throw that apple at me? Two: What's with wearing Rarity's clothes? I didn't know about any big thing?"
The purple unicorn gave a statement to support the reasoning behind her friend's reasoning. "Yeah, Bon Bon. I don't remember hearing of any FORMAL parties." Pinkie Pie always has a party planned.
"Oh well about the apple, sorry Rainbow Dash. I was practicing my magic whe-"
"WHAT?!?!?!?!" Twilight almost screamed, causing everypony to step back a step. It looked like she was about to have a heart attack. She had a nearly deranged look in her eyes that looked insane, but incredibly fearful. "WHERE DID YOU GET MAGIC?!"
Bon Bon nervously and quickly replied. "Um, uh, Rarity's! It was at Carousel Boutique!"
It was clear that Twilight had nearly busted a blood vessel out of pure stress. She didn't scream, but spoke in a puny afraid whisper. "Are...you telling me that Rarity is spreading Magic Spurt to everypony in Ponyville?" Her eye twitched. Rainbow Dash knew what was happening and cringed imagining a vast majority experiencing the same fate as Twilight had experienced hours ago. But it was definitely time to tell Twilight about Pinkie rather than think about it.
"No, Twilight. Pinkie Pie is."