Get Lost (In a Book)

by Kavonde

Chapter 1: Get Lost (In a Book)

Derpy Hooves trotted down the street, mail bag slung over her shoulders and her thoughts occupied by visions of muffins. She was almost done with her rounds; next, she'd pick up Dinky, stop by Sugarcube Corner for treats, and then retire to her humble abode to bask in a sweet, delicious ecstasy of baked blueberries. Her last stop was in front of her: the massive, hollowed-out tree that was Ponyville's library.

As she approached the structure, one of Derpy's off-center eyes caught something in the library's window. She turned her head to focus on it, but only caught the barest glimpse of a purple blur. With a shrug, she continued up to the mailbox and reached into her bag for the package she was delivering.

When she looked up again, a purple-hued unicorn was inches away, leaning forward eagerly so that her face was almost pressed against Derpy's. The unicorn's eyes were distressingly wide and her irises disturbingly tiny. The package dropped from the startled mailpony's mouth.

"Um," Derpy said.

"Is that it?!" Twilight Sparkle asked, focusing her intense gaze on the package. "Is that book six of the Equestrinox series?! The greatest fantasy epic ever written?! The book I've been waiting ten years for?!"

"Um," Derpy said.

"Finally, I'll find out what happened to Blazing Sword!" Twilight crowed, hugging herself in excitement. "And if Emerald Sky's plans to seize the throne will come to fruition! And if poor, heartbroken Jaunty Tune will ever find her long-lost love!"

"Um," Derpy said.

"Oh, please please please please tell me that's what this is!" Twilight's eyes went even wider and her lip trembled pitiously.

"Um," Derpy said. "Maybe?"

The package was enveloped in a purple glow; it levitated off the ground quickly, the plain paper wrappings torn away and chucked into the street without a second thought. Inside was a thick, hardcover tome. Its white cover was etched with silver runes of ancient pegasi design. Gold letters in a matching font read, "For Crown and Country."

"IT IS!" the unicorn squealed. In a flash, she and her prize were back inside the library, the door slamming shut behind them.

"Have a nice day," Derpy called lamely.

"Spike!" Twilight called as she pranced upstairs, book floating along behind her. "Come here! And bring the checklist!"

The young dragon was already waiting for her when she got there, scroll and quill in hand. "Ready!"

"Okay," the unicorn said with a smile. "Equestrinox book six, For Crown and Country."

Spike marked the scroll with a flourish. "Check!"

"Conveniently placed snacks that won't get crumbs on my bed."

"Check!" He motioned to a basket piled high with various fruits, mostly apples.

"Enough water to keep me from getting dehydrated?"

"Check! I think."

"Paper, ink, and quill so I can write down passages I really like?"


"Pillows arranged for comfort and to minimize neck strain?"


"Bandages, in case I get a paper cut?"

Spike scratched his head. "Um, check, but aren't you going to be using magic?"

"You can't be too careful. Fire extinguisher, in case I turn the pages so fast that it causes a spark?"

"Check," the dragon said with a roll of his eyes.

"Great!" Twilight exclaimed cheerfully. "Then I think I'm ready to get started. Thanks, Spike! Please make sure no one disturbs me today."

"Not a problem, Twilight," Spike said with a thumbs-up. "Finally, some peace and quiet," he muttered as he headed downstairs.

The unicorn didn't even wait for him to leave before she pounced on her bed, falling comfortably into the expertly-arranged cluster of pillows. Her magic brought the book in front of her, and with a sigh of contentment, she opened it and turned to the first page.

Blazing Sword struggled to ignore the pain in his foreleg as he stared in defiance at the griffon responsible.

Something slammed into the upstairs patio. Twilight jumped, flinging the book away in surprise. A moment later, the door into her room opened, revealing a mildly battered Rainbow Dash.

"Twilight!" the rainbow-hued pegasus called. "I need your help!"

Twilight glanced at her fallen book, then grimaced and nodded. "Of course, Dash. What's going on?"

"I need to know what I'm doing wrong! I was reading that Daring Do book I borrowed, and in it she pulls off this totally awesome move, and it sounds like something I could do in real life, but I just can't get it to work!"

The unicorn thought for a moment. "The double-barrel corkscrew spiral bomb?"


"Um, Dash, you know the mare who writes those isn't actually a pegasus... "

Rainbow shook her head. "I've almost got it, Twi! Just watch me and use your big old brain to analyze and stuff."

"Fine," the unicorn said with a sigh. She followed her friend out to the patio, and watched as Dash launched herself into the sky, building momentum for a minute before throwing herself into the ridiculously complicated move. She did, indeed, almost have it down, but she just couldn't pull out of the spiraling corkscrew in time to avoid turning into a literal bomb. Twilight winced in sympathy as Dash hit the nearby river with an explosive splash.

"I think if you spiraled a bit slower, you'd be able to pull out in time," she told her dripping friend as she returned.

"Yeah, you're probably right. Thanks, Twi!"

"Any time, RainbooOO--agh."

Twilight raised a hoof to shield herself as Dash took off again, leaving most of the moisture on her coat behind. With a disgruntled sigh, the unicorn returned to her room, levitating a towel to wrap around her now-drenched mane. She returned to her fortress of pillowtude, the book rising in front of her once more.

"You should never have come here," the griffon snarled. "You were a fool to seek the Lost Orb of Balance. It is sacred to my people, and we will never

"Twilight, I'm sorry!" came Spike's voice. A moment later, the bedroom door slammed open, revealing an equestrian figure in a suit of period-accurate plate mail.

"Hark, yon Twilight Sparkle!" the pony exclaimed in a booming, dramatic squeak. "Prithee, wilt thou joineth me in celebration this eve?"

Twilight tilted her head, regarding the intruder in confusion. "Pinkie?"

The armor-clad pony lifted the visor of her helmet, revealing the pink face and unruly mane of Pinkamena Diane Pie. "Hi, Twilight!"

"Um... what are you doing?"

"Well, I'm glad you asked! See, I was on my way over to invite you to Gummy's halfway-birthday party—because it's halfway to his next birthday, you see—when I ran into Derpy Hooves, and she told me she'd delivered you this book and you were really really excited about it and called it the greatest epic fantasy of all time and I figured, hey, Twilight really likes that sword and sorcery stuff, so maybe I can dress up like a knight and then she'll be really impressed and totally accept my invitation even though she probably really wants to read her book but she's such a really really good friend that she'll appreciate the effort and won't leave me and Gummy hanging because we really like having her around at parties 'cause she's really funny even when she's grouchy, heck, maybe even especially while she's grouchy, so I dressed up and came here to give you your invitation!"

Twilight blinked at her friend. "But... where'd you get the armor?"

"Oh, I know a guy who knows a guy."

She rubbed her temple with a hoof. "Pinkie, thank you very much for the effort, but I kind of already scheduled my day, and you know how much I hate changing plans... "

"Pleeeeeeeaaaaase? Pinkie asked, her head stretching much farther forward than it should have been able to, her face twisted into a vivid exaggeration of puppy dog eyes.

"Pinkie... "


Twilight sank into her pillows in defeat. "Fine, Pinkie, I'll be there."

"Yay!" the pink pony cried, leaping much higher than an armor-clad pony should be able to. "Thanks, Twilight! See you there!" She landed with a clatter of metal and then clanked her way noisily downstairs.

Twilight watched her go, then let out another, heavy sigh. She picked up the book again.

"... and we will never surrender it to a pathetic, weak pony!"

"We'll see about that," Sword growled, his horn glowing as he pulled his sword free of its sheathe. "I'm taking the Orb, Karkhan, whether you like it or

"Twilight!" someone called from outside.

"Oh, come on," the unicorn breathed, covering her head with the book.

"Twilight!" repeated the voice, a slight twang in its pronunciation.

With another world-weary sigh, Twilight pushed herself off of the bed and opened her window. Down below, an orange pony with a yellow mane and a weatherbeaten old Stetson hat looked up at her expectantly. "Twilight! Awful sorry to bother ya, but I got a li'l problem I need yer help with."

"Of course you do," the unicorn said darkly.

"See, we got some kinda blight on some of the apples, and ain't none of us sure what it is. Even Granny Smith's plum stumped. So I was hopin' ya might have somethin' in this here library that could help us figure out how'n the hay to get rid of it."

"Spike's down there, Applejack, you could just ask him."

"Well, I could, but Rarity's already buggin' him about somethin'."

Twilight bumped her forehead against the window sill. "Go on in, I'll meet you downstairs."

"Much obliged."

Muttering grumpily to herself, Twilight clopped down to the main library to find a white unicorn with an indigo mane standing primly in the center of the room while Spike rushed about on a rolling ladder. "I know it's here somewhere," he called.

"Spike, I truly do appreciate your effort, but it isn't all that terribly important. I can wait--"

"Nonsense, my lady!" the little dragon interrupted in his best attempt at dashing chivalry. "This is no trouble at--whoah." He stopped as the ladder's wheels stuck suddenly and almost launched him. "At all."

"Oh, Twilight, there you are," Rarity said, noticing her friend and turning to her. "I know you're very busy, and I really do hate to impose... "

The purple unicorn grunted skeptically, to Rarity's quickly-masked surprise.

"... but I need to know anything and everything about Silkvine Spiders."

Twilight quirked an eyebrow. "Silkvine Spiders? The giant ones that spin webs as thick as vines?"

"Exactly. You see, a designer colleague of mine in Canterlot recently obtained some of their webbing, and she made the most wonderful gowns out of it. Not only gorgeous, but remarkably strong. And given that we are, on occasion, called into dangerous situations by Princess Celestia, I thought it would be prudent to have on hand a bit of clothing that was both elegant and protective."

"You want to make us armor?"

"Very pretty armor, yes."

"Okay, that... actually sounds really practical. Good thinking, Rarity."

She beamed.

"Spike, where's Arachnids of the Everfree Forest?"

"I don't know!" the dragon shouted back. "I thought it was right here, but it's gone. Wait, didn't you... "

Twilight bonked her forehead. "Let Fluttershy borrow it? Yeah, you're right. I'm sorry, Rarity."

Rarity smiled, waving it off. "No trouble at all, Twilight. I shall simply pay her a visit. Thank you both for your time. Bye, Spike!"

"Bye, Rarity... " the dragon said softly, watching her leave.

"Okay," Twilight said with a determined nod. "I'm going back to my book now. Spike, please, no more interruptions--"

Somepony coughed. Twilight glanced over to see Applejack standing quietly in the corner, trying to look unobtrusive. "Erm," she said.

"Oh, Applejack, I'm so sorry! Spike, grab every book you can find on agricultural molds, pests, and diseases. We've got a diagnosis to make!"

An hour later, the three were still going through a massive stack of illustrated books with interesting titles like Common Plant Diseases and Diseases Commonly Found on Plants and Commonly Diseased Plants. Twilight, her patience visibly fraying along with her hair, kept casting longing looks upstairs to where her beloved Equestrinox novel lay. Spike and Applejack didn't seem to notice, being too busy poring over the information.

"Rust Spot?" Spike offered, pointing to a picture.

"Nope," Applejack replied after a glance.

"Gold Leaf?"


"Tungsten Stain?"

"You made that one up."

"Nuh-uh, it's right here."

"Well, I'll be. And nope."

"Guys," Twilight interrupted, "I'm really, really sorry, but do you mind if I... ?"

"Aw, hay, don't worry 'bout it, sugarcube," Applejack assured her. "Go do whatcha need to do. Me'n Spike here'll figure it out."

"Thank you, both of you," the unicorn said with genuine gratitude. She raced upstairs, throwing herself back onto her bed and levitating the book into place.

"... not. Come, taste my steel!"

Blazing Sword threw himself forward, his hooves connecting with the griffon's chest as his sword came free and swung up high overhead. Karkhan's eyes went wide as he realized there was nothing he could do to

"Twilight! Come quick!"

The unicorn let out a wordless shriek of frustration. Rainbow Dash, fluttering in front of her window, looked at her in bemusement. "Uh... you okay?"

"I'm fine, Dash," Twilight growled with barely-contained rage. "But please. Stop. BOTHERING ME!"

"Uh, sorry, but--"

"No! No buts! I don't care what's going on! I don't care what trick you're working on! I just want to READ! MY! BOOK! Is it that much to ask to finish the first page?!"

"Whoah, Twi, calm--"

"NO!" the unicorn shouted. "I've been trying all day to read this! I've been waiting for it for ten years, Dash! I planned my whole day around it! I made a checklist! Look!" She unrolled the list and floated it in front of Rainbow's face.

"Twilight, seriously, I'm really sorry, but this is--"

With a snarl, Twilight magically slammed the window shut and sank deeper into her pillows, building a nonsensory fortress around her head. Distantly, she heard muffled conversation from the library below, followed by hooves stomping across wood and the slamming of a door. Finally, sweet, blissful silence settled over the library.

"Finally," she sighed, and returned to her book.

dodge it. The blade struck true, and the pendant around the griffon chieftan's neck fell into Blazing Sword's waiting hoof. Karkhan stared at him in confusion, until the pommel of the unicorn's sword struck him in the side of the head, sending him sprawling into an unconscious heap.

A murmur rippled through the crowd. The griffons looked at eachother, then at their fallen leader. Blazing Sword turned to face them, sword floating over his shoulder, a confident smirk on his face. "Who's next?"

"I wonder what Dash wanted," Twilight thought aloud. "Probably to watch her do another stupid trick."

With an ear-piercing shriek, the entire host of griffons surged forward. The unicorn leapt straight up into the air, landing atop one unfortunate soul and flattening the back of its head with a well-timed buck. The creature tumbled to the ground in a daze, but Blazing Sword was already away, leaping towards his next victim.

"It did sound kind of important, though. I mean, Dash can be annoying, but she wouldn't just... nah."

The unicorn's blade flashed as he danced from griffon to griffon, staying just out of reach of their razor-sharp claws and beaks. He finally hit the ground on the far side of the mob, and paused only to offer them a grin and mocking salute before he galloped off. He wasn't here to fight griffons; he was here for the Orb. And he knew exactly where to find it now.

"Maybe... maybe I should go ask Spike what's going on. Yeah. I'll just take a quick break... "

Twilight pushed herself away from her cushiony cocoon and headed downstairs. To her surprise, the library was entirely deserted. Sitting atop one of the various agricultural books was a short note, written in Spike's hand.


Fluttershy in trouble in Everfree Forest. Went to help.

- Spike


"Um, hello, little spider friends," Fluttershy cooed. "I know you're just doing what comes naturally to you, but I'd really like it if you could let me go."

The three Silkvine Spiders, each the size of a pony and covered with jet-black chitin and purple markings, ignored her as they went about their work.

"It's just that, my special talent is working with animals, and being eaten by animals would be really embarrassing."

One of the spiders paused to chitter at her, then continued wrapping the yellow pegasus in ropes of webbing as thick as her leg.

"I mean, um, I know spiders don't really eat things, but I don't really want to be, you know, drank, either."

A cord of webbing pulled tight across her forehead, making a lock of pink mane fall over the pony's eyes and obscuring her vision.

"Um, okay, I'm going to scream now. I hope you don't mind."

The spiders didn't reply, which she took as a go-ahead. Fluttershy filled her lungs, pushing against the thick webbing as she sucked in every ounce of air she could. "Eek!"

"That's Fluttershy!" Rainbow Dash called from somewhere nearby.

There was a loud boom as the pegasus launched herself forward, leaves and loose branches rising into the air in her wake. Fluttershy tried to give a warning, but too late; Dash plunged head-first into the thick webbing. With all her speed and momentum, she barely made a dent. The spiders looked at her for a moment, then almost seemed to shrug before they started wrapping her up, too.

"Rainbow Dash?" Fluttershy called.

"Hrmph," Dash replied.

"Are you okay?"


"Is your mouth stuck to the webbing?"


"Um... did anypony else come with you?"

"Mrrplhk 'n Mrrty n' Hmky Hi n' Hmyk."

"Applejack and Rarity and Pinkie Pie and Spike?"


"But not Twilight?"


"How come?"

Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes, though Fluttershy couldn't see it. She was spared trying to respond when three ponies and a baby dragon wielding a tree branch stepped into the clearing.

"Let them go!" Spike shouted, brandishing his stick.

"They're spiders, sugarcube, they don't speak Equestrian."

"Oh," Spike said, the wind going out of his sails.

"Regardless," Rarity interjected, "what is our plan?"

Applejack stepped forward. "I'll lasso one of 'em and chase him off. Rarity, you handle the one that's wrappin' up Dash. Pinkie--" She paused. "Where'd you get the armor?"

"I know a guy who knows a guy," Pinkie's voice echoed from inside her helmet.

"Right, well, you try to get the third one. Spike, you're in charge of gettin' the girls down."

"Got it, Applejack."

"Alright, then. Let's do this!"

With a mighty battle cry, the four charged forward. Applejack whipped her lasso around, expertly looping it around one spider's body and yanking it from the web with a sharp tug. Rarity levitated a hoof-sized rock and hurled it at another, striking it in the head and stunning it enough to make it drop to the ground. Pinkie produced a blunt jousting lance and charged forward with it braced against her front shoulder, striking the third spider in the side and launching it into the forest. Spike, meanwhile, clambered up a tree near Fluttershy and began breathing a stream of greenish fire, burning the webbing away from the trapped pegasus. She fell free a moment later, catching herself mid-fall, and Spike moved on to free Rainbow Dash.

"Good job, everypony!" Applejack crowed as the victorious friends gathered at the center of the clearing.

"Um, Spike, do try not to burn all the webs," Rarity urged. "I was hoping we could save some... "

Rainbow Dash was spitting, trying to get the taste out of her mouth. "Thanks for the warning, Fluttershy."

"Sorry, Dashie," she answered softly. "How did you know I was in trouble?"

"Rarity stopped by yer place," Applejack answered. "Found ya gone, with that book of yours open to the part on Silkvine Spiders."

"Angel pantomimed that you had gone into the forest to befriend one of these... things," Rarity added.

"So she found Dash, and Dash rounded all of us up, and we came here to save ya."

"Oh, my, I'm so sorry to have caused you all so much trouble," Fluttershy said meekly.

"Um, guys," Spike warned.

"Ain't no trouble at all, sugarcube."

"It was kinda trouble," Rainbow Dash groused, still wiping her mouth.

"Um, guys," Spike repeated.

"But where's Twilight?"

"Aw, she's got her nose wedged in some book," Dash growled. "Wouldn't even listen to me when I tried to tell her what happened."

"Um, guys!" Spike shouted, tugging Applejack's tail.

The ponies turned, then looked around them. The trees around the clearing were full of Silkvine Spiders, dozens of them. As the group took notice, the creatures began chittering hungrily, saliva dripping from their mandibles.

Applejack groaned. "Aw, hay."

"Be okay, be okay, be okay, I'm so sorry," Twilight panted as she galloped through the Everfree Forest. Her horn glowed as she used her magic to illuminate her friends' trail; they'd been travelling as fast as they could manage through the overgrown paths and patches of deep mud. They'd been slowed by the treacherous undergrowth, but even moving at top speed, Twilight still had a lot of ground to make up.

A high, clear, perfectly formed scream split the silent forest air. "Rarity!" Twilight ducked her head and increased her pace, ignoring cuts and scratches she was receiving from the thick vegetation.

She burst into a clearing lined with thick, rope-like webs and filled to capacity with giant, black and purple spiders. At the center of the advancing horde stood her friends, back-to-back and ready to make a desperate last stand.

Twilight's horn flared. "HEY!" she shouted, getting the creatures' attention.

"Twilight!" shouted all five ponies and one dragon in unison.

The chittering spiders nearest her turned and began to advance. The unicorn let them come, then narrowed her eyes in concentration and suddenly appeared next to her friends. "Grab on!" she told them, and they each put a hoof (or claw) on her flanks. With another intense burst of concentration, the ponies appeared at the far side of the clearing again, much to the spiders' consternation.

"Run!" Twilight shouted, though she herself was too dizzy from effort to do so. Instead, Pinkie bucked her onto her armored back, cried "ONWARD!" and led the charge out of the forest.

The spiders gave chase, a black, chitinous wave of creepy crawlies, but the ponies were too fast for them. They emerged from the forest half an hour later, battered, panting, and exhausted. Pinkie made it a few steps further before suddenly collapsing onto her side with a loud clank. Twilight, back on her hooves, moved to open the pink mare's helmet. Pinkie gave her a grateful look and gulped in the fresh air.

"Shoot, Twilight, I reckon' you couldn'ta timed that any better if you'd tried," Applejack gasped. Spike slid tiredly off her back, rubbing his sore hindquarters.

"Yeah... " the purple unicorn said vaguely. "I'm so sorry, everypony. I should have listened to Dash."

"No kidding," Dash grumbled.

"I was just so determined to read my book that I let my priorities get mixed up, I should have remembered that no matter how excited I am for something, and no matter how long I've waited for it, I can't abandon my friends when they need me."

Pinkie suddenly leapt out of her armor, leaving the suit somehow intact on the ground. "Ooh, a moral! This is totally gonna be a letter to Princess Celestia, isn't it? I can't wait to hear that little clarinet song while you write it!"

Everypony looked at her oddly.

"What? You guys don't notice that?"

"I'm sorry, girls," Twilight continued after a pause. "Can you forgive me?"

"Aw, sure, sugarcube," said Applejack, putting a foreleg around the unicorn's shoulder. "Ya came to yer senses in time. None of us got hurt."

Rarity nodded. "And I managed to get a few strands of the Silkvine Spiders' webbing to work with. Well worth the price of a little scare."

"Of course, next time, it might be nice if you listened to your friends when they're trying to tell you something important instead of shouting at them," added the disgruntled Rainbow Dash.

"Sorry, Rainbow," Twilight said meekly.

"Eh, I'll let it slide this once."

"Um, and I'm sorry I went into the forest alone and almost got eaten by spiders," piped in Fluttershy. "I probably should have told somepony what I was doing. I'm really glad you came to visit, Rarity."

The white unicorn grinned. "Actually, darling, I just needed your book so I could do the exact same thing."

Everypony burst out laughing, gathering in a group hug as the sun began to set behind them.

Spike stretched his tiny frame with a huge yawn. "Great party, huh, Twilight? Gummy should get sort of close to a new birthday every week."

"Technically, he kinda does."

"Oh yeah! I should tell Pinkie."

"Please don't," Twilight said with a tired smile. "Spike, could you take a letter?"

"Sure thing," he replied, already rummaging for a quill and parchment.

Dear Princess Celestia,

Today I learned that no matter how excited you may be about something new -- whether it's a story, or a toy, or a game -- you can't let yourself get so obsessed with it that you shut your friends out of your life. While you're lost in a world of fantasy and imagination, real things could be happening to the ponies you care about, and they might really need your help. Indulging in a hobby is fine, but not at the expense of those you love.

Your Faithful Student,

Twilight Sparkle.

"I think Princess Celestia will like that one," Spike said as the scroll dissolved away. "Anything else you need me for, Twilight?"

The purple unicorn shook her head. "Thank you for all your help today, Spike. Go ahead and get some sleep. I'm just going to stay up and read a little."

She settled into her bed and found the most comfortable position she could. She levitated For Crown and Country up to her, opened it to the first page again... and then her eyes slid shut and the book drifted gently down to the covers. Spike cocked his head at her, then smiled and placed the novel on her nightstand. "Goodnight, Twilight," he said, pulling the blankets up around her. "I guess you can try again tomorrow."

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