The beginning of summer in Ponyville. A time when all young fillies waited excitedly for their summer vacation to begin. A time when they would all rush to the ones even more excited about the long, hot days – the ice cream vendors.
But there was one particular purple unicorn who wasn't waiting for a summer vacation or wanting to be in line for ice cream. In fact, she barely noticed summer had started. The days didn't seem that much longer to her than normal, although this was mainly because she was absorbed in study most of the time.
Today, as usual, she was intently reading a book placed on a lectern with three others on the floor beside her, two previously read earlier that day. Her purple eyes scanned the words while her brain absorbed the information, soaking it in like a sponge.
"Ooh, that looks fun..." she mumbled to herself, "Now this... hmmm... well, Rarity and I could use our magic to... and I'm sure Pinkie could help with that..."
A purple baby dragon stood on a ladder behind her holding a stack of books in one hand. He looked over his shoulder at her as he slid a blue bound book into place, keeping the titles in alphabetical order as requested.
He raised an eyebrow as she continued mumbling to herself, occasionally making a small exclamation followed by more unconscious talking. Balancing the books as he descended, the dragon cleared his throat. The unicorn paid no heed and, with her magic, turned the page of the book she was reading. Reaching the bottom of the ladder, the dragon cleared his throat again, louder. There was still no reaction. He rolled his eyes.
"Twilight!" he said.
Her ear flicked and she blinked rapidly, "Y–Yes, Spike?" she asked, turning to him.
"Good to know your hearing still works."
She gave a small frown at the strange statement, "Did you want something?"
"What are you reading? You've been mumbling to yourself for hours."
"That's a bit of an exaggeration," she said with chuckle, "'Hours'? I've only been reading these for..." she stopped when she looked at the clock.
"About four hours?" Spike finished for her.
"What? It's two o'clock already?" she asked, genuinely surprised.
"Wow. I really lost track of time. I can't even remember what day it is..."
"Yeah. Now, uh... the books?"
Twilight used her magic to lift the book from the lectern and float in front of her, still open, allowing her to continue reading and letting Spike see the title.
The dragon looked over the cover. On a dark blue background decorated with illustrations of balloons, streamers and confetti was the title, printed in striking yellow text, "Properly Planning Perfect Pony Parties? Huh. Try saying that five times fast."
"Uh-huh..." replied Twilight, distantly.
"You know, I've noticed a lot of books have that thing where every word starts with the same letter. What's with that?"
"Oh, that's just alliteration..." she said quickly, without even glancing at him.
"Ala... latra... what now?" asked the dragon, scratching his head.
There was no response. Spike noted that Twilight kept the book floating in the air as she read, likely not even aware she was doing it. Then a thought struck him.
"Wait, you're throwing a party?"
"Hm? Oh, yes," replied the unicorn, just realising what Spike had said, "I mean, why not? We all have the weekend free, so I thought it would be nice to get together."
"Ha! You won't beat Pinkie's parties!"
"I know. That's why I'm going to ask her to help. But I'm going to read up on everything, first, just to be sure it's as good as I can get it," she said, returning the book to the lectern.
"Oh... alright. So, do you need me to get anything for the party right now? Twilight?"
Seeing the unicorn was completely absorbed in her book again, Spike shook his head and raised his free hand in defeat, letting out a small sigh.
With her saddlebags on, Twilight walked into Sugarcube Corner, the tinkling bell alerting Mrs. Cake.
"Hello, Twilight!" she greeted, smiling, "How can I help you today?"
"Is Pinkie Pie here?" asked the purple unicorn, looking around the shop which only had one other customer, a blue earth pony, "I just need to ask her something quick. I won't keep her long."
"Well, she's baking right now, but if you just want to ask her something, I guess it's okay. She's in the kitchen. Just a second."
As Mrs. Cake went to the shop's kitchen, Twilight scanned her eyes over the confections on display. She happened on a particularly large chocolate cake just as the kitchen door opened and a pony with a fluffy pink mane and a pale pink coat literally hopped out, followed by Mrs. Cake.
"Hi, Twilight!" she chirped joyfully.
"Pinkie! Hi! I just need to ask you something real quick. See, I'm planning a party this weekend an–"
Almost instantly, wearing a huge grin, Pinkie appeared right in front of Twilight, making the unicorn take a small step back.
"Oh, can I help? Huh? Can I? Can I? Can I?" she asked, jumping up and down.
"That's actually what I came here to ask you," explained Twilight, her eyes following the bouncing pony.
"Really? Great!" exclaimed Pinkie, ceasing her jumps. Then her face took on a thoughtful look and she put a hoof under her chin, "Hmm, okay, let's see. First of all you'll need—"
"Uh, Pinkie, maybe later today? Come to the library when you've got some time and we can discuss it there."
"Oh, okay! Can I help with anything else?"
"Well, could I have two of those cupcakes?" asked Twilight, indicating a tray of cupcakes of all colours behind the front counter's glass.
"Right away!" replied Pinkie and zipped off to collect them. She deposited them in a box and placed them on the counter, "Are these for the party? You're going to need more, because that isn't very much. Do you want any more? Unless you've got some back home, but just in case—"
"Pinkie, no, it's fine," said Twilight, knowing that the pink pony would talk non-stop all day if she let her, "These are just for me and Spike for today. I'll come by later in the week for what we'll need, alright?"
"Okie-dokie-lokie! So, that's two bits for two cupcakes!"
Using her magic, Twilight produced two coins from one of her saddlebags and laid them on the counter while also sliding the cake box into the other bag.
"Thanks, Pinkie! See you later! Oh, and be sure you make it to the party – there'll be a surprise," Twilight added with a wink.
Pinkie gasped, "A surprise? What is it?"
"...It wouldn't be a surprise if I told you, would it?"
"Oh yeah, silly me! Well, bye, Twilight!" said Pinkie, waving.
After the door closed, Pinkie began jumping up and down again, "Whee! This party is going to be so much fun!"
"I'm sure it will," said Mrs. Cake, noticing the other customer was giving the fluffy tailed pony a strange look and staying at the far end of the shop, "But I think you'd better get back to those cakes you were making."
"Alright! I bet they're almost ready now!" said Pinkie, and hopped back into the kitchen.
Crossing over the small bridge leading to Fluttershy's front garden, Twilight smiled as she observed the colourful fish contentedly swimming in the sparkling river running near the timid pegasus' home. The notes of songbirds filled the air and there was a pleasant scent in the wind. It was always so peaceful and relaxing here.
Several birds poked their heads out of the many birdhouses around Fluttershy's home and watched the unicorn curiously as she cantered up the path. Twilight knocked on the door and a few moments later, the top half of the door opened, revealing a yellow pegasus with a light pink mane.
"Hello, Twilight," she said in a soft voice, as was her nature.
"Hey, Fluttershy. I'm thinking of having a party on Saturday at around seven o'clock in the evening. Would you like to come?"
"A party? Um... h–how many other ponies will be there?" she asked, cautiously.
"Oh, don't worry; it'll just be the six of us. And Spike. Not to mention Pinkie will be helping me with it."
Relief was clear on Fluttershy's face, "Well, if it's just us, then okay. I'm sure you and Pinkie will make it a really fun party."
"You bet! Especially since I've got a surprise planned for it."
The pegasus' face fell a little at this, "...A surprise? What kind of surprise?"
"Well, it's more of an announcement, really. But I want you to all be there for it."
"Okay. I–I'll be there."
"Great! Oh, and if I don't see her first, could you tell Rainbow Dash about this when you get the chance?"
Fluttershy nodded, "I will."
"Thanks. See you later!" said Twilight and walked away.
"Coming!" said Rarity in a sing-song voice as she heard the familiar tinkle of the bell above her door. She appeared from behind a full clothing rack, wearing her orange glasses and had a measuring tape draped over her neck. Her expression brightened when she saw her friend, "Twilight! Darling! Wonderful to see you!" she said, her royal purple curls bouncing as she approached the other unicorn.
"What's up, Rarity? I just wanted to know if you'd be interested in coming to a little party I'm holding at my place on the weekend?"
"A party? Certainly. Oh! Shall I make dresses for the occasion?"
"Thanks for the offer, but no. This is just a get-together. Besides, I'm sure you've got more important dresses to concentrate on."
"Well... yes," admitted the white unicorn, glancing behind her.
"Great! So, Saturday, seven o'clock?"
"Absolutely. Will Spikey-wikey be attending, too?"
"Yup. And he'll be coming round in a few days to remind you all with an invitation that I'm sure Pinkie will insist on making."
"Uh-huh, she's helping me out."
"Then there's no doubt I'll be there!"
"Good to hear! Anyway, I'd better let you get back to what you were doing. See you!"
"Have a wonderful day! Thank you for dropping by!"
As she approached Sweet Apple Acres, Twilight could smell the growing crops, as well as some less pleasant farm odours.
An audible thunk from the expansive apple orchard gave the unicorn a clue where Applejack was. Or, if not, Big Macintosh; he would know where his sister would be.
Moving through the trees, stepping past large buckets filled with apples, and keeping an eye out for the orange pony, Twilight couldn't help but admire how large the apples were. Their scent was everywhere, yet it wasn't cloying.
A nearby grunt with an accompanying solid thunk confirmed where the hard-working pony was. There was the sound of apples falling into a bucket, then Applejack herself rounded a tree and spotted Twilight.
"Howdy, Twi. Sorry, but ah'm a mite busy. Is there summin' you need?" asked Applejack, positioning herself in front of a tree.
"I just want to know if you can make it to a party on Saturday? Just you, me and the others. It'll be at my place around seven o'clock. And I've got a surprise for you all."
"A surprise, huh? Now you got me curious. Even if there weren't gonna be a party, ah'd still turn up! Count me in!" she said and then looked back at the tree with a trained eye, judging its height and density, plus the number of apples on the branches.
"Great! Oh, one more thing."
"Yuh-huh?" asked Applejack, lowering the leg she was about to buck with, looking mildly irritated at the interruption.
"I've asked Fluttershy already, but if you see Rainbow Dash, could you tell her about it, too?"
"Thanks. I won't keep you any longer. See you later!"
"Thanks for the invite," replied Applejack and then turned her attention to the tree. After another quick assessment, she raised her right hind leg and launched a strong kick. The tree shook and every apple on the tree promptly fell into the buckets. Twilight was still amazed at her friend's skill in that area. She knew where the best spot to kick was and exactly how much force she needed to have all the apples fall without causing any lasting damage to the tree.
Leaving Applejack to her job, Twilight decided to head back to the library, hoping to run into Rainbow Dash on the way rather than go around looking for her, as that pegasus could be anywhere. Besides, after seeing all those apples, she was starting to get hungry.
Twilight pushed open the door of the library, wondering where Rainbow Dash was. Her invitation was still covered though, since Fluttershy and Applejack would be the two ponies the rainbow pegasus would be the most likely to talk to. And Rarity and Pinkie Pie would probably mention it if they bumped into her. Especially Pinkie.
"Hey, Spike! I got you a—" Twilight stopped when she saw Rainbow Dash herself floating next to a bookshelf, "There you are, Rainbow!"
The pegasus raised an eyebrow at the statement, "Well... yeah, I am. You been looking for me?"
"Actually, yes," replied the unicorn, hearing Spike plodding down the wooden stairs, "I'd like to know if you'd be interested in a small get-together party on Saturday?"
"Oh, would I ever!" replied Dash, flying down towards Twilight.
"I knew you would. Also, I've got a surprise ready for it."
"A surprise?" asked Spike and Rainbow Dash in unison.
"Alright! I love surprises!" said the pegasus excitedly.
"It'll sure be something," said Twilight with a smile, "Now, you were hovering around that bookcase. Looking for something in particular?"
"Eh, kinda. You got any new Daring Do books? I only got two left."
"Two?" asked Twilight in surprise, "Wow, you sure are blazing through them. I guess flying isn't the only thing you're fast at."
"Heh. Who do ya think you're talkin' to? I'm fast at everything!"
"I... guess you are. But, ah... have a look around the Fiction Section of the library and ask me about something that you think might take your fancy."
"Cool!" said Rainbow Dash. She got ready to take off, then paused and looked around, "Uh, where is the Fiction Section?"
"On the other side of the room," replied Twilight, pointing with her horn towards several large bookcases, "You were looking in the Pony History Section."
"Oh. Well, I guess that would explain why I could only find history books. Thanks," said Dash and flew over the unicorn's head.
"Twilight?" said Spike.
"It sounded like you had something for me when you came in?"
"Oh," she lifted the cupcakes out of her saddlebag, "Here you go. I figured since I was going to see Pinkie, I might as well get something."
She looked up at the pegasus running her hoof along the book spines, reading the names printed.
"Sorry, Rainbow. If I'd known you were going to be coming round, I would have gotten one for you, too."
Dash looked over her shoulder, "Ah, s'okay. I already ate, anyway," she said with a shrug and turned back to the bookshelf. She pulled out a book and examined the cover art, "Hey, what's this? Looks kinda like Daring Do, only... not her," she peered at the title, "Indiana... Jo –?"
"Oh, that's just a parody of Daring Do. It's... alright, I guess."
"Hmm. I'll keep it in mind," said Dash, returning it to the bookshelf, then carried on looking through the titles.
While she was doing that, Twilight continued studying her books on parties. She hoped her first hosted party would give her something to write about to Princess Celestia. If not, it would still be nice for she and her friends to have fun together.
With this knowledge, my party's going to be great! she thought, grinning.