Part Two: The Sincerest Form of Flattery
Much to Twilight's chagrin, Dewdrop Dazzle was not gone the next day. Nor the next. Not even the next. The new arrival had divided her time between constantly following Twilight about with a constant barrage of questions; and vanishing off into Ponyville without a word. Despite the peace and quiet, Twilight had found Dewdrop's absences to be even more worrying than when she was hanging about the house.
This was one such moment. Dewdrop had skipped out of the house at the earliest possible moment, not that Twilight had complained. However, the thought of what the strange blue pony could be up to had been gnawing away at Twilight's mind, and so she eventually decided to venture into the town to track down her 'guest'.
The sky was still littered with grey clouds, but patches of blue was breaking through, and the air was fresh and crisp as Twilight wandered through Ponyville. Dewdrop was nowhere to be found. Perhaps she –
Twilight gave a smile as she saw one of her actual friends. "Applejack, hey!" She galloped happily up to the orange pony. "How are you? Don't worry, I've not forgotten I was going to help you with the apple bucking this week! It's just been busy busy back at mine!"
"Ah..." Applejack pulled a face and glanced away. "Don't worry Twilight, it's all done now. There's always next time though!"
"Oh." Twilight's face drooped. Though apple bucking was hard work, she did always enjoy helping out her friends. "I suppose Rainbow Dash dropped in to do it? I did mean to I promise..."
She trailed off, a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach as Applejack replied. "No, your friend Dewdrop Dazzle popped by yesterday. She was great, managed to pick way more apples than I could'a managed! Hope you don't mind!"
"Of course I don't mind!" lied Twilight. "Why would I mind, it's your orchard, it's all in a good cause! Besides, it's for the best, I've got a lot on this week! I promised Cheerilee I'd teach a class on magic at the schoolhouse some time!"
"Well that's mighty odd!" Applejack retorted. "Apple Bloom said they'd had a class on magic just the other day. I guess they're really pushing that curriculum, eh?"
Twilight's eyes narrowed into slits, glaring at Applejack as if this was her fault. "I don't suppose a certain pink and blue unicorn was teaching it?" she hissed.
Applejack seemed to miss any malice in Twilight's voice, and just nodded brightly. "Yup! Your friend is certainly turning out to be quite helpful about town! She's a goon 'un!"
Twilight stomped the ground with a hoof, feeling the twitching in her eye returning. "But... but that was MY class!" she hissed. "I was supposed to do that, she's copying me!"
Applejack gave a look of concern as Twilight became more and more agitated. "Now sugarcube, don't be getting' all jealous an' all, it's good to have friends with similar interests!" But it was no use. Twilight had already turned to gallop off. She had to find out what else Dewdrop Dazzle had been getting up to.
"But Spike, I'm me! I've put a lot of work into being me!" Twilight sat angrily glowering in her front room, staring at her little friend who didn't seem to realise the gravity of the situation. She had spent the remainder of the day racing around Ponyville, to discover that Dewdrop Dazzle had somehow already completed every single task she was about to carry out. "She took my place helping out Rarity with her dress making, she'd already helped Fluttershy to feed all the rabbits before I arrived, and she's been reading you bedtime stories!" This last sentence was said with a slight hiss at Spike, as if 'bedtime stories' rhymed with 'traitor'.
Spike sighed heavily. "You're being ridiculous Twilight. She's just being friendly. Besides, you hate reading me stories!"
Twilight huffed. "That's beside the point Spike, it's still what I do! She's trying to take over, why can't anyone see it but me? It's not right!" Paranoid thoughts started to swirl in her mind. "And how does she know what I'm planning? She's got to be spying on me! How else could she know?"
Spike shook his head admonishingly. "You could just talk to her you know, rather than being all passive-aggressive about it. Perhaps she doesn't realise what she's doing?"
"Oh, she knows!" Twilight hissed. "And I'm not being passive-aggressive! Now help me with this!" Twilight motioned to the front door, which was covered in planks of wood which were haphazardly nailed across it. With a few knocks of her hammer, she fixed the final bar in place. "Let's see DewDRIP DRIZZLE get in now!" Twilight rubbed her hooves together, a wicked grin on her face.
"Hello Twilight!" said Dewdrop Dazzle, clambering in through the window, smiling happily as if it was the most normal thing in the world.
"Hello Dewdrop," Twilight growled darkly, "wonderful to see you."
Dewdrop simply nodded brightly. "Thanks! I've had a wonderful day with all my Ponyville friends, and I'm just off to see Zecora to get some tea! Did you want anything?"
Twilight looked as if she was about to leap at Dewdrop. Luckily Spike had grabbed her hooves to restrain the tetchy unicorn. "No, I'm good thanks" she snapped, struggling in Spike's grip. "Good luck, be careful of the Everfree forest, it's very dang-." She paused. "No, wait, scratch that."
"Twilight!" Spike gave a disappointed cry at his friend, before calling after Dewdrop. "Look after yourself Dewdrop!" But Dewdrop had already scrambled out of the window.
Twilight was already inspecting the window. "We could bar the window, and... no; she'd find a way through. She could tunnel in! Spike, fetch me some concrete!"
Spike shook his head. "No!" he said in the most rebellious tone he could muster. "Twilight, you're getting carried away again. She just wants to be your friend; besides, ponies are allowed to have friends that aren't you!"
"Yes, yes, you're right!" Twilight had stopped trying to work out ways to barricade the house, and was now pacing up and down. "It's just... it feels like she's trying to take over! I like being me, I don't want someone else to be me! And I'm spending so much time worrying about it that I'm falling behind on my work, I've not even sent a friendship report to Princess Celestia in over a week! I hope I won't get in trouble."
"Eh-heh." Spike coughed at this, scratching the back of his neck, eyes darting about the room, trying to look anywhere but at Twilight.
Twilight stared at Spike. "Spike? What's the matter?"
"Nothing!" Spike blurted out. "Nothing's the matter, it's all fine!" At that very moment, fate took an inopportune hand in events, and Spike found himself belching out a plume of green magical flame. A scroll with the royal seal appeared from the ether, but before Spike's little hands could grab it, Twilight used her magic to snatch it away.
She looked at the scroll in concern. "It's from the Princess!" she gasped, opening it. "I bet she's wondering why my report is delayed! I'll have to get working right away..." She trailed off as she began to read, a horrible, cold sinking feeling in her belly.
My faithful student,
I must admit that I feared you had been neglecting your studies; that your latest reports had lacked the insight and depth to which I had become accustomed to. I was worried you would not reach the heights of your potential. I must apologise profusely for these thoughts.
The report you sent last night was so rich and deep in its insight about the nature of friendship that I was taken aback. It is truly gratifying that your studies have at last borne fruit, and I look forward to hearing more in the coming weeks.
Your devoted teacher,
Twilight stared at the letter for what seemed to be an eternity. She rolled around the words in her head. "Last night..." she muttered, and then her gaze snapped up at Spike, who was cowering in the corner, arms splayed in front of his face as if to protect himself. "Spike..." she growled, steam starting to rise from her ears. "Spike... would you care to explain?"
Spike coughed. "It's like this Twilight..." He trailed off as he ran as fast as he could for the door. Unfortunately the door was still nailed shut, and he slammed into it, falling back in a giddy heap. He started to fidget wildly and then blurted out breathlessly: "Uh, I mentioned to Dewdrop you'd been having trouble thinking of a new report to send to the Princess, so she wrote one, it was really good and I didn't think you'd mind, and I'll go stand in the kitchen now!" Spike hung his head and trooped to the kitchen to stare at the sink for another hour, leaving Twilight alone and fuming.
Twilight just stood there, before sending a bolt of magic to combust the letter. "No! No! NO! That's MY job!" she shouted to the skies. "I'M the Princess's student, not her!"
Eventually, she settled down to spend the evening in a sulk, her thoughts full of a certain blue pony, and the ways in which she could get rid of her. Eventually, an idea surfaced.
Twilight stood in the bathroom brushing her teeth and staring at her reflection in the mirror. It was definitely her own reflection this time, she had checked. The rumble of thunder echoed throughout the house as Ponyville was once more lashed by a ferocious storm. Dewdrop hadn't returned from her trip to the Everfree Forest that evening; there was a part of Twilight that hoped she had run into some of the dangerous wildlife that lived there. It was a cruel thought, and Twilight buried it deep within her mind with a shudder.
Twilight's eyes darted about the bathroom. She hadn't noticed earlier, but there didn't seem to be any toiletries belonging to Dewdrop there. Perhaps the annoying blue unicorn had decided to leave already, perhaps...
"Hi Twilight!" Dewdrop chirped happily as her head bobbed round the corner. "Hey, you finished with that?" Her horn glowed, and Twilight's toothbrush was levitated out of her grasp and towards Dewdrop, who started to merrily brush her teeth.
Twilight's cheeks bulged as she suddenly felt rather sick. Tomorrow she would burn that toothbrush. Right now though, she had to put her gambit into play. She grinned at Dewdrop, who had finished brushing her teeth, and was happily combing her hair with Twilight's comb, whistling happily.
"So Dewdrop..." Twilight began with what she hoped was a friendly grin on her face. "You're planning on staying in Ponyville for a while, right?"
Dewdrop turned round, wide-eyed. "Oh! That's a great idea, I think I will!" she grinned merrily. "Thanks Twilight!"
"I... no, no..." Twilight trailed off in slight confusion. She shook her head and continued. "I mean, you can't stay here forever, can you." Dewdrop stared blankly back, and Twilight pressed the matter. "You need to get your own place."
Dewdrop shrugged her shoulders. "I'm okay here thanks" she replied.
Twilight stopped to think for a moment. This wasn't going as planned. "But Dewdrop..." she eventually stated. "If you don't have your own place... how could I come round and visit you?"
Dewdrop's mouth dropped into an 'o' shape, and she started hopping excitedly about the small bathroom. "Oooh yes, you're right! I need my own place so you can come over and we can have parties together and hang out."
Twilight gave Dewdrop a 'friendly' hoof-punch in the shoulder. "Yeah! And you should get a job too, so you can... help out Ponyville more." And, of course, Twilight noted to herself, keep Dewdrop busy and out of her way.
Dewdrop seemed very excited by these ideas, and so Twilight left the blue unicorn hopping about in a happy tizzy; returning to her bedroom and making sure to lock the door security. Twilight hadn't needed to use any locks before, but she had bought one especially. Actually, she had bought half a dozen, which were all fixed securely to her door frame to ensure her privacy. She turned around.
Someone was in her bed.
"Oh. Of course. The window" she glowered, glaring at Dewdrop. Dewdrop peeked out from under the bedcovers, having somehow made it from the bathroom to her room without her seeing, an impressive feat under any other circumstances.
Dewdrop nodded to the window. Outside the rain was pouring down, and lightning blazed through the sky. "Storms scare me!" she whispered hoarsely. "Do you mind if I sleep in here."
"Fine" Twilight stared back, unbolted the room, and walked out of the door.
"Twilight, where're you going?" Dewdrop called back after her a worried tone in her voice.
"It's a surprise, Dewdrop. A surprise." Twilight trotted slowly down the stairs. "Don't worry, I'll be back!"
Twilight spent the rest of the night lodged in the kitchen cupboard, with a saucepan for a pillow. It was the once place she was sure Dewdrop wouldn't think of looking.
Twilight rose happily the next morning. Sleeping in the cupboard was probably the best night's sleep she'd had all week, apart from the horrible crick in her neck. Dewdrop was once more nowhere to be seen; according to Spike she'd gone out at the crack of dawn to carry out the mission Twilight had given her. Twilight had promptly sent Spike upstairs to disinfect her room; she still hadn't forgotten about the little dragon's betrayal.
Twilight sighed in contentment as she sat down in her favourite chair to read her favourite book. If Dewdrop managed to find a job and a place to live, then she could easily avoid her. Life could get back to normal and she'd never have to see Dewdrop again, barring a few chance meetings in the town square.
As if on cue, Dewdrop bounded back into the house, a look of giddy excitement on her face, beaming with pride. "Twilight, Twilight, guess what!" she called out joyfully. "I got myself a job here in Ponyville and a place to stay!"
Twilight's reply was for once, genuine. "Dewdrop, I'm so happy for you." A tear of joy fell down Twilight's cheek. "I can get Spike to pack your stuff up for you right now; it's no problem at all. I insist!" She was already starting to push Dewdrop out the door, as Dewdrop continued to speak.
"So I thought, how could I get a job that would help Twilight? See back in Canterlot, tales of your love of books had inspired me to take my library exam so I became a fully qualified librarian even though there weren't any library jobs going there, but I talked to Ponyville's Mayor and she said since you weren't a qualified librarian, I could run the town library as long as I was happy for you to live here too, and that's FINE because you're my best friend!" Dewdrop blurted this out breathlessly, and Twilight stopped pushing her, a look of horror and confusion on her face.
"What the... what?" Twilight gibbered, twitching, a cold sinking feeling deep within the pit of her stomach.
Dewdrop didn't seem to notice anything was wrong, cheerfully revealing a scroll with the official town seal, using her magic to float it over to Twilight and proudly display it. "Now we can work and live together and we'll have such fun!" She clapped her hooves happily. "Maybe we can have a party with all our friends to celebrate!"
Twilight's face started to turn red as barely restrained anger steadily built up. "Y-you're letting me live in my own house?" she stammered out.
Dewdrop nodded, as if completely missing the tension in Twilight's voice. "Yup! Of course! You're my bestest friend in the entire world!"
Twilight's hair had taken on a dishevelled look, her eyes bulged wildly, steam escaped from her ears with the sound of a kettle, and her face flushed bright red with rage as if it was about to pop. "W-wait right there!" she uttered, before racing into the kitchen and slamming the door.
There were smashing and crashing and screaming noises for a solid ten minutes.
That night, Twilight tossed and turned restlessly. Events were spiralling out of control and there was no telling where Dewdrop would stop. Would she be happy with just having Twilight's job and house and friends? Would she want to take over her life completely? Did she –
Her thoughts were interrupted by a scraping noise. Twilight looked up to see Dewdrop Dazzle pushing her bed across the landing into Twilight's room, cutting a gouge in the wooden floor as she did so.
"I thought I could put my bed in here so we could be roommates!" Dewdrop brightly remarked in the darkness. "I hope you don't mind!"
"Sure" Twilight bitterly retorted. "Go ahead. It's your house after all." She pulled the covers over her head and began to plot. Something had to be done to sort out Dewdrop Dazzle, and fast.