Squaring the Circle (EDITED)
By Doktor Aurora.
In the Beginning: not long after the Grand Galloping Gala.
Twilight Sparkle gave a small sigh as she pushed the last of the crates into the library. Seven in total, some filled to the brim with valuable texts, others fine wines and liqueurs. All of them she had purchased from the estate sale of the late Lord Blackmane that was held in Canterlot shortly following the Grand Galloping Gala.
It was a bit ghoulish, she could not help but feel, but still, the money provided for the late lord’s funeral (he had little family, and many gambling debts). Besides such fine articles could not often be purchased so cheaply. That she bought so much of it in lots made it even more exciting, each book (and bottle) would be an adventure.
“Spike, my pry bar please,” she called. A round of bumps and crashes, the sounds of the dragon’s search, eliciting a few small cringes from the mare.
Before the dragon had made his return, however, she heard a knocking upon the library’s front door. Going to answer she was greeted by a light yellow pegasus and a white unicorn; her friends Fluttershy and Rarity, whom she had not seen much of following the Gala.
“Oh, darling, did they arrive?” Rarity asked, seeing the stack of boxes.
“Rarity and I saw the couriers as they were leaving town,” Fluttershy added softly “Do you need any help unpacking?”
“I thin-“ Twlight began, only to be cut off by the sudden appearance of a green and purple dragon, iron prybar held in his arms.
“Sure! We’d love your help Rarity… and Fluttershy” he added quickly.
“-k we have everything under control. But if you would like to help by all means” she said shooting the dragon a brief glance before standing aside for her friends to enter.
Not long after they began the task of unpacking the crates a light summer rain had begun. As the day wore on the rhythmic patter of rain, along with his own youth, sent the dragon to sleep despite the proximity of his ‘one true love’.
However, before they were finished with their task that pleasant summer rain and had turned, quite suddenly, into a full out storm, with howling winds and bright flashes of lightning.
“Really? You would think that Rainbow Dash would have at least warned us that today’s rain was to be so severe… oh, just think of the mud,” she looked down to her fetlocks, frowning.
“Well, you can’t put her too much at blame, being this close to the Everfree forest means that its easy for weather to get out of control,” Twlight added, though she did frown slightly at the severity of the storm. “Still, I think it would be best if you stayed until it clears.”
“Thank you Twilight, oh, I do hope angel will be okay,” Fluttershy added, trying not to shudder as the lightning strikes grew closer.
Rarity stepped closer to Fluttershy then, the act seeming to calm her some, and bring a smile to the Pegasus’s face.
Twilight looked on with a soft smile, it was good to be with friends, especially during storms, after all. She then turned away, going back to sorting through piles of books when there was a flash of lightning and a crash of thunder nearly on top of one another. Shortly following this all of Ponyville was plunged into darkness.
Twilight lit a small magic light at the end of her horn, as did rarity shortly after, casting the library in a soft blue-violet glow.
“Is everyone ok?” Twilight asked, glancing between the other two.
“I’m fine,” Rarity responded, turning to where Fluttershy was huddled, shaking slightly.
“I’ll be ok I think,” Fluttershy replied, offering them a smile at their concern and slowly rising to her hooves.
“Well, we had best make the best of things… OH! I know, why don’t I open one of these bottles to help us relax until the storm passes?” Twilight proposed.
The notion was agreeable to the other two ponies, and soon they were sorting out various bottles, settling on a grass green liqueur, an emerald green pony on the front with wings not unlike those of a dragonfly.
“Oh my Twilight, its in Freisian,” Rarity said turning over the bottle to better read the label “Such a beautiful language, we simply must give this a taste,” she pronounced, to the assent of Twilight and Fluttershy, the former going to gather glasses.
“Oh no darling, it says here it is best served… ‘whited with a cube of sugar and chilled water, in the traditional fashion’ “ Rarity added as Twilight was about to take a drink.
“Whited?” Twilight asked walking over to read the text herself “Blanched? Isn’t that what you do with vegetables?”
“I think so Twilight” Fluttershy added “But, lets give it a try, after all, they were so nice as to give us directions,” she added sweetly.
And so, after another trip to retrieve a pitcher of ice water and a bag of sugar cubes from the kitchens, the three ponies took to adding the sugar and water. Looking on with smiles as the drink grey cloudy after the water was added, and slightly less bitter after the sugar.
The second round came not long after, and then a third, though the strong drink was even then taking on effects. The three mares giggling at the sound of thunder one moment, and huddling next to one another the next when it grew closer. The drink left them both tipsy, and a little more. Twilight for one was sure she saw movement in the shadows more than once, and Fluttershy seemed inordinately interested in some of the dust bunnies she spied beneath one of the shelves.
As the night grew on they took to a more moderate pace and after a while longer drinking and talking Twilight looked up from the glass she sipped at “Oh, thish.. ahem, this is fun and all but, what now? A game maybe?”
“Never have I ever!” said Rarity, stamping a hoof lightly.
“Er… I’m sorry Rarity, I didn’t think you disliked games so badly,” Twilight said, ears folding down.
“No, it’s a drinking game,” Fluttershy said, looking up from where she was gathering the gray balls of lint together in a row. “But… maybe, we should,” she looked to the bottle “use something less strong?”
Rarity looked to Fluttershy a moment, opening her mouth as if to object, before nodding “Very well…” she stood, a bit of sway in her step, as she went to select one of Twilight’s newly acquired wines.
“So, um, how does this work?” Twilight asked looking to Fluttershy.
“Well… um, oh my, I err. Well you all get in a circle, or triangle I guess for us,” she looked over to watch rarity read label after label “Right, and then you take turns saying things you haven’t done. If someone else there has done it, they have to take a drink. If no one else drinks, then, the questioner drinks, I think,” she finished, seemingly embarrassed at the knowledge.
“Ah, this will do nicely,” Rarity said, trotting back over slowly and filling each of their glasses with a dark wine, appearing black in the blue violet unicorn light.
“Um, Ok. “ Twilight began “I guess I’ll start… never have I ever, cheated on an exam,” she said.
There was a moment of silence, before Fluttershy downed her drink, earning a brief look of shock from Twilight, which in turn earned a roll of the eyes from Rarity.
“Never have I ever…” The other unicorn began “… seen the inside of a colts restroom”.
“What? The filly’s room had flooded and I really had to go…” Twilight said as she took her drink.
“Oh… its my turn, um… um… Never have I ever been to Stalliongrad?” Fluttershy said, looking between the other two ponies and then, with a sigh, took her drink.
The game continued on like that for several rounds, Twilight having taken the most drinks so far, seconded by Rarity.
“Ok… sho… lets see… never have I ever…” Twilight hemmed and hawed, looking down at her glass “oh forget it, Never have I ever kissed another mare” she said, glass already to her lips when she saw Rarity and Fluttershy set down their empty glasses, eyes turned away shyly and cheeks crimson.
“Oh, well, you see Twilight…” Fluttershy began, only to be interrupted by Rarity a moment later.
“Honestly, I don’t think there is much for Twilight to see,” The white unicorn interjected, turning a stern look to Twilight. “It’s hardly a public affair, after all.”
“Oh… Oh well , I mean, I don’t disapprove or anything,” Twilight bit her lip nervously “I mean, we’re all modern ponies here, you didn’t really think this would upset me did you? Ha-hah? I was just…. you know, surprised, and drunk. I’m sorry I freaked out the way I did.” She took a sip of her coffee, fidgeting nervously.
A glance passed between Rarity and Fluttershy. After a moment Rarity gave a small sigh and nodded to Fluttershy who began again.
“You see Twilight” she began again “Well, The Gala didn’t go as planned, and Rarity had booked a few extra days at the hotel.” She glanced to Rarity who nodded again “We ended up spending a bit more time together than we used to and… you’re really not bothered are you Twilight?” She asked gently.
“Oh me… heavens no, no just surprised. I mean, we all knew about Dash but you two? Well, I am happy for you. It’s… you know, nice?”
“Oh good,” Fluttershy gave a small smile at that and moved closer to Rarity, who relaxed somewhat at the gesture.
“Well Darling, the rain has stopped and it is rather late. I’ll be walking Fluttershy home then… and do keep this hush hush Twilight,” Rarity said after a moment’s glance at the nearest window. “I’d rather not become the center of town gossip, nor would I wish it on dear Fluttershy. I’m sure you understand?”
“Oh certainly, you know me, mums the word,” Twilight replied, getting up to show them to the door and say her goodbyes “I’ll see you both again soon, have a nice… um, night and everything.” Her grin was perhaps a bit overdone, earning her an arched brow from rarity and a nervous smile from Fluttershy before the two bid their farewells and made for the exit.
Twilight spent most of the next day cataloging and shelving the books the three of them had unpacked the day prior. Most of them were perfectly normal, books on horticulture, basic magical theory, chemistry, world travel, and such. Some were even written by the late Lord Blackmane himself. These tended to be on the subject of mountain climbing, mathematics, or chess, save for a handful of unpublished manuscripts that seemed to be translations of older non-equestrian texts. After a moments consideration she put them into storage until she could look them over more thoroughly.
Still, even the normally engaging task of shelving new books could not keep her mind off of the events of the night prior. Why had she reacted so strongly to the revelation? Truly, she did not mind it, she was even happy for them, really, it was just…
She let out a gasp. No, certainly not. She could not possibly be jealous, why she didn’t swing that way at all. By Celestia she didn’t swing in any direction, or at least she hadn’t ever had such feelings, even when in the presence of supposedly handsome stallions or strikingly beautiful mares.
But there it was, gnawing on the back of her mind as she thought of her two dear friends nuzzling each other, cuddling, sharing their deepest feelings.
Wait, that was it! It wasn’t that she was attracted to one of her friends; it was that she was lonely! And, she was supposed to learn about the magic of friendship, and what was love if not an even stronger flavor of friendship?
“Twilight are you ok?” Spike asked, peering at the unicorn as she stared off into space.
“What, yes, yes spike I’m fine,” she said, eyeing the dragon a second “Why… don’t… you … Oh! Why don’t go… fetch some food for Owliliscious? We’re nearly out.”
“If you say so Twilight. Are you sure your OK? You’re acting kind off…I dunno, funny.”
“Perfectly fine Spike. Aaand… actually, here are some more errands for you while your in town. Aaand… a bit of spending money if you want to grab a snack at Sugercube corner,” she said, handing him a list and a small coin purse before gently herding the dragon out of the door.
Alone at last, save for the sleeping owl, she went about searching for a book on the subject of dating. Those she found however seemed to be written mostly from the point of view of a stallion trying to woo a mare, and often without her best interests at heart. The others were even worse, guides to priming and pandering to a stallion’s ego, luring him into a relationship and coercing him into commitment.
“No no no… that’s not what I need,” she tossed the latest failure onto the pile of shame and huffed. “Well… this isn’t working.” She lay her head in her hooves, deep in thought. “Everything here is so… predatory,” she mused.
“What I need is advice from a real pony. Someone who has done this kind of thing before, and who’s advice I trust, someone honest, with my best interests at heart.” She mulled over the question for a moment, before grinning wide and stamping her hoof. “Rainbow Dash!”
End Chapter 1.