Rainbow Dash could barely restrain herself to keep pace at Twilight Sparkle’s side as they left the library early on a sunny morning, Spike riding at his typical seat on Twilight’s back. The rainbow haired pony alternated between muttering a familiar litany of, “Oh my gosh,” and quiet pleasured squeaks.
A smile played across Twilight’s face. “Wow, Dash, I don’t think I’ve seen you this excited since the last time you got the chance to meet the Wonderbolts.”
Rainbow stared at Twilight with wide eyes. “How can you not be excited? Bolt Action, the most famous, most awesome stunt pony to ever fly on film is here in town, and not just that but they’re filming his latest picture here!”
Spike warred between disbelief and a wry sense of expecting as much from Twilight. “She’s got you there, Twilight. It’s not every day that we get to meet a celebrity you know.” He paused to scratch his chin. “Well, unless you count royalty. Or the Wonderbolts. And come to think of it, celebrities kind of stop by Ponyville pretty often.”
Twilight let out a rueful chuckle as she shook her head slightly. “Okay, okay, you have a point. I’ll admit it was pretty exciting to hear about it when the mayor first made the announcement that Ponyville was going to be in a movie, but I don’t think anyone could be as excited as you, Dash. You’ve been talking non-stop about Bolt Action ever since.”
Rainbow’s cyan cheeks turned faintly pink. “Well, yeah, but come on. Can you blame me? It’s Bolt Action we’re talking about here. He’s made of awesome!”
“I’m sure he’s a normal pony just like everyone else,” Twilight said. “Besides, maybe he will be the one getting worked up meeting a pony who not only won the Cloudsdale Best Young Flyer competition but helped save all of Equestria from eternal darkness.”
Rainbow’s wings fluttered as her heartbeat quickened, her hooves barely touching ground. “G-gee, you think so?” She quickly shook her head, flustered. “No, no way. No way someone as cool as Bolt Action will go all gaga over me.”
Spike grinned at Rainbow. “You’re also the pony that rescued the Wonderbolts from falling to their doom and you’re the only pegasus to perform the Sonic Rainboom, twice! Plus you know the princess herself.” He gave Rainbow Dash a sly grin and chuckled. “Hey, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bolt became your biggest fan, Rainbow.”
Rainbow waved her hoof at Spike as she looked away, her face blazing with heat. “Oh come on. There’s just no way!”
Twilight could not help but giggle softly. “Who knows? Maybe you’re the reason why they’re shooting the movie here in Ponyville. The star of the book the movie is based on is a pegasus with rainbow hair just like you, after all. Maybe you were a source of inspiration for her.”
Rainbow shoved her hooves into Twilight’s side a little harder than she intended, knocking the purple pony over with a yelp, which Spike echoed as he went tumbling as well. “C-come on! You’re embarrassing me!”
Twilight’s eyes spun briefly, before she shook her head to clear it. She managed to get back up with Rainbow’s help while the pegasus muttered a quiet, embarrassed apology. “It’s fine. Just relax, okay?”
Rainbow nodded, feeling rather sheepish. “R-right, right. I’m cool, I’m cool.”
Spike rubbed his head, more to get his spines back into place than due to any sort of injury, and hopped back onto Twilight’s back before they continued on their way. “Yeah, if we cause a scene they’ll probably kick us off the set even if we do got an ‘in’ with the writer.”
Rainbow saw an option to change the topic to something that would not make her any more flustered that she was already and eagerly seized the opportunity. It was only as she opened her mouth that she realized the implications of what Spike said. “Wait, you mean the person who wrote the movie gave you guys the invite? I thought you said it was an old classmate from Canterlot.”
It was Twilight’s turn to look embarrassed. “Tutor, actually. When I first entered the academy, I was still struggling to perform some of the most basic spells, so Princess Celestia assigned one of the more advanced students to help me out whenever her schedule prevented her from teaching me directly.”
Rainbow had trouble paying attention to Twlight when she spotted the ropes that sectioned off parts of the town from the public. Ponies with cutie marks denoting their role as the movie making process rushed around in a frantic but organized pace as they set up microphones, cameras, and even a large buffet serving a delicious array of breakfast foods. The sight of trailers of various sizes drew her gaze immediately, building her excitement to a fever pitch. “Look! Look!” She pointed at the trailers, as if Twilight or Spike could possibly miss the large temporary buildings. “There! That big one! That’s gotta be Bolt Action’s trailer!”
Twilight had no time to respond, as Rainbow flew off so quickly to the set she left a rainbow trail behind her. The unicorn had to run as fast as she could in order to catch up with the pegasus before security got upset by their presence. She inwardly cringed when a pair of muscular earth ponies wearing headsets and earpieces blocked Rainbow from getting past the wooden blockades that ringed the movie set. She could not see their eyes through the dark glasses they wore, but she could imagine that they were glaring at Rainbow.
“Hey!” Rainbow Dash said. “What’s the deal?”
“No unauthorized ponies on the set,” one of the guards said. “If you want a gig as an extra, go to city hall.”
Rainbow had been set to retort when the guard’s words sunk in, replacing her anger with a budding sense of glee. “Wait, a gig? You mean a job? As in, I get to be in the movie? As in I get to have an actual part in a Bolt Action film?”
Twilight arrived at Rainbow’s side in time to hear the security guard groan. “Just for the crowd scenes, Miss,” the guard said. “Please leave.”
“Hi, I’m Twilight Sparkle,” Twilight said, still somewhat breathless. She felt a wave of anxiety ripple through her as the two guards turned her attention to her. She tried her best to sound cheerful and confident. “Uh, I know we’re not part of the film crew, but I got invited here by someone working on the movie and she said I could bring a friend along.” When they did not respond immediately, her smile wavered until it became something close to a grimace. “My name should be on the list?”
“Mine too!” Spike said. He leaned back and puffed out his chest slightly while flashing his teeth in a wide grin, trying to boast a macho look despite the inherent cuteness he possessed as a baby dragon. “The name’s Spike. This here is Rainbow Dash, and she’s a guest of both of us so she counts twice.”
The guards looked at each other. Without a word, one of them trotted to a nearby table and flipped through a stack of papers held by a clipboard. Rainbow and Twilight shifted anxiously until he finally spoke. “Let them in.” The remaining guard snorted but stood aside, allowing Twilight, Rainbow, and Spike to pass as the girls let out sighs of relief. “Follow me.”
The earlier excitement Rainbow felt returned in full force as she and Twilight followed the guard through the movie set. She did not recognize anyone walking around, but the sight of props, costumes, cameras, and everything else that went into filming a movie got her blood pumping. She could barely keep herself restrained to the slow pace they were moving. “So… You know where everyone is on the set, right? Think you could take us on a little detour to Bolt Action’s trailer while we’re here?”
Twilight noted the frown on the guard’s face and spoke quickly before Rainbow risked them getting booted off the set. “How about we meet up Muse first, okay? I’m sure she’ll be more than happy to introduce us. Besides, we don’t want to be rude by keeping her waiting when she’s expecting us, right?”
Rainbow frowned, but ultimately had to admit that Twilight had a point, and sighed. “Fine, fine. I’ll admit I am kind of curious to meet one of your old friends. What’s she like anyway?”
Twilight blushed, as she recalled her view on friendship before going to Ponyville. She had to admit that she believed she had no time for what she once viewed as a frivolous, unnecessary experience, and as such never got emotionally close with anyone outside of her parents, Spike, and Princess Celestia. It was thanks to her friends in Ponyville that she realized that her behavior in the past to ponies who were kind to her may not have been entirely nice. “Well, uh, I’m not sure I’d call us friends exactly. She was more like a mentor.”
The distinction piqued Rainbow’s curiosity. “Kinda like Celestia, huh?”
Twilight looked away, feeling markedly awkward and a little bit guilty, as she could not honestly say Muse meant nearly as much to her as Celestia. “Well…”
A young male voice spared Twilight from having to explain. “Twilight Sparkle!” The trio turned to see a female white unicorn approach them. She had silver stars in her bright blue eyes, a long, swirled white mane and tail with a silvery tint, and a cutie mark that depicted a blue quill drawing a rainbow. On her back rode a brown fox, no larger than spike, who wore a wide grin and pair of dark goggles that completely hid his eyes. “Long time no see!” the fox said, startling Rainbow Dash. Foxes were not typically known for having the ability to speak, or stand on two legs and wave a donut around in their forepaw. “You’re late for your lesson!”
Twilight laughed lightly, an undercurrent of discomfort in her voice. “Oh come on, Goggles. You know I haven’t needed tutoring for a while now.”
Goggles tilted his head back and snorted. “Bah, you think Celestia sending you off here is any excuse not to come by sometime? And shaking hooves at the Gala doesn’t count!” He looked to Rainbow and arched his brow, which seemed to stretch the lenses of his goggles. “Well hello there. Maybe you have an excuse to skip after all.”
Rainbow gave the fox a look that was a mixture of confusion and annoyance. She had a feeling there was some sort of insinuation in that comment. “Excuse me?”
Twilight quickly cut in before any misunderstandings could occur. “Rainbow Dash, this is Goggles. He’s Muse’s assistant, and I already told you who Muse is. Goggles, Muse, this is Rainbow Dash, a good friend of mine.”
Rainbow flipped her hair back a bit and gave the new pair a crooked smile, trying her best to look nonchalant. “Hey.”
“Nice to meet another fine filly of Equestria,” Goggles said before he shoved the donut into his mouth and gobbled it down quickly.
Muse raised her eyes to the sky and shook her head briefly before giving Rainbow Dash a bright smile and a wave of her hoof. The guard whispered something in her ear, to which she responded with a nod before he left, presumably to return to his previous post.
Spike hopped off Twilight’s back onto a nearby table that was partially cluttered by stacks of scripts. Goggles joined him there a moment later to bump fists. “What up, G?”
“Nothin’ much, S,” Goggles said. “Just chillin’ and relaxin’ with all my favorite fillies.”
Spike leaned back and crossed his arms with a smile. “Same here.” He paused for a moment then lowered his voice when he noticed the girls looking away. “Say, uh, you wouldn’t happen to have any of that special punch with you, would you?”
Goggles grinned widely. “As a matter of fact– ” His words were cut off as a large red luminescent stop sign appeared between him and Spike, forcing the pair to jerk apart with simultaneous yelps.
“Spike!” Twilight said, raising her voice sharply. “No punch!”
Muse cast the pair disapproving looks, her horn glowing until the illusion of a stop sign disappeared.
Rainbow Dash gave the unicorns a curious look while the boys drooped and grumbled. “What’s so bad about punch?”
A healthy shade of pink came to Twilight’s cheeks. “Trust me, you don’t wanna know.”
Goggles snickered. “Still upset about the whipped cream incident, Twi?”
Rainbow felt her curiosity build. “Whipped cream incident?”
“It’s nothing!” Twilight said hastily. “Let’s talk about something else now, okay?”
“Okay,” Rainbow said. A sly smile tugged at her lips. “After I hear this story. It’s not every day I get a chance to hear about your time in Canterlot, Twi, and this sounds like something I wanna hear.”
“Actually,” Spike said, “I’ve always been dying to know what went on that night too. I know I was there, but for some reason I don’t remember what happened, and I woke up pretty sick the next day, but Goggles keeps saying that it was one wild tutoring session!”
Twilight forced a fake smile that did nothing to hide her panic. “It was nothing! Nothing! I just spilled a little whipped cream while Spike fell asleep and that’s it! It’s all just a really silly incident that got blown way, way out of proportion. It’s not anything interesting at all. Really!”
Rainbow had a hard time believing the incident was as innocent as Twilight claimed, especially after the way her friend babbled. “Oh really.”
Goggles opened his mouth to speak, only for Muse to summon the image of a stop sign in front of him with her horn. He peered around the sign so the white unicorn could see him waving his arms. “Oh come on! It’s a great story! And I have an audience who’s just dying to hear what happened!”
Muse scowled at Goggles then shook her head sharply.
Goggles pouted, his entire body sagging. “Dang it,” he muttered. “Being held down by the mare again. First she says not to bring my stash to the set and now I can’t even use my A material to impress the fillies.”
Twilight sighed in relief and gave Muse a grateful smile, which the white unicorn returned. “Thanks.”
Rainbow looked between the two unicorns before shrugging. “Yeah, well, I’ll find out about it sooner or later anyway.” She glanced around for any sign of a certain colt. “What we should be talking about is when we’re going to see Bolt Action. Is he here? Can we go to his trailer?”
Twilight felt her tension ease as Rainbow Dash focused on something other than an embarrassing story from her past. “I hope you don’t mind that I invited a friend along, Muse. Rainbow Dash here is a really big Bolt Action fan, as you can see, and we were hoping that maybe since you wrote the book this movie is based off of that you could…” She felt awkward making so presumptuous a request and trailed off as she tried to figure out a polite way of asking to see Bolt without sounding as though she intended to take advantage of Muse.
Rainbow, however, had no such reservations, and moved forward to place her hooves on Muse’s shoulders, coming practically nose to nose with the startled white unicorn. “You wrote the movie, right? That means you know Bolt Action, right? Since you and me are good friends with Twilight that kind of makes us friends too, don’t you think? So it should be no problem for you to introduce a couple of friends to a famous movie star you just happen to have working on your movie, right? Right?”
Twilight pushed Rainbow back to get her friend to let go of Muse, an awkward note of laughter escaping her. “What Rainbow Dash is trying to say is that we would both be very grateful if you could arrange something where we could talk to Bolt Action, if only for a couple minutes. We’ll understand if that’s a bit too much to ask, since he must be very busy with the movie and all, but…” Her words tapered off when she saw Muse smile and nod.
Rainbow’s excitement grew until it felt as if it might explode from her chest in a spectacular display to rival a Sonic Rainboom. She was unable to hold still, squirming in place with a squeal. “You mean it? For real?” She waited for Muse to nod again before she grabbed one of the white unicorn’s hooves and shook it vigorously while babbling out a litany of, “Thank you!”
Muse staggered back when Rainbow finally let go, wavering from side to side due to a temporary loss of balance.
Goggles chuckled. “Nice friend you got there, Twi. Gotta love the enthusiastic types.”
“She’s not always like this,” Spike said. “You should see her when everything is all normal. She’s the coolest pony in Ponyville – maybe all of Equestria!”
Goggles readjusted his signature accessory and flashed a fanged smirk. “I’ll buy that, but can the coolest filly in Equestria handle the coolest fox in the world?”
The question drew Rainbow Dash’s attention. “Is that a challenge I hear?”
Goggles waggled his eyebrows at Rainbow. “Think you can handle all this fox?”
Rainbow let out a short, bark of laughter. “In my sleep!”
“I prefer my fillies to be awake when I get handled,” Goggles said, his voice dipping low.
Twilight looked between Goggles and Rainbow, feeling as though the pair were somehow on slightly different wavelengths. “Um, guys?”
Muse lightly rapped Goggles on the head then wagged her hoof at him. Her brow was slanted, her mouth stretched in a thin line.
Goggles rubbed his head and blew back a few stray bits of fur that dangled in front of his goggles. “Hey! She was flirting back! You can’t expect me to turn that down, can you?”
Rainbow’s cheeks exploded in crimson. She sputtered for a moment, the feathers on her wings puffing up. “F-f-f-flirting? I never… he never… we never…!”
Spike could not contain his laughter. “You… you should see your face!” He held his stomach and slapped his knee. “It’s hilarious!”
Goggles raised and lowered his eyebrows in rapid succession as he grinned at Rainbow Dash. “I know I’m intimidating, but, hey, all the fillies love the Goggles.”
Muse exhaled deeply and gave Rainbow an apologetic look.
Twilight rolled her eyes. “Ignore him, Dash. Goggles gets that way sometimes, especially when he first meets a new filly or when he’s had some of that weird punch of his. He’ll calm down once you stop reacting to it.”
“I wasn’t flirting!” Rainbow said, her voice raised and cracking a bit due to the high-pitch. “He’s a fox! I’m a pony! I’m not into flirting with foxes! I would never!”
Spike banged the table with his fist, no longer standing due to laughing so hard. Goggles joined him, finding the situation too hilarious not to laugh.
Twilight failed to completely suppress a giggle or a smile. She had to admit to herself that the situation was rather silly, even though she could empathize with how Rainbow was feeling. “We know, Dash. We know.”
A loud male voice broke up the mirthful moment. “Hey!” An angry looking pony in a headset trotted over to the group. “Quiet on the set! Filming hasn’t started yet, but you guys are too loud and disrupting our work!”
Twilight cringed, instinctively scrunching back a bit. “Oh, right, sorry,” she said in a voice that faintly squeaked. “We’ll try to keep it down.”
Rainbow lowered her wings and rubbed one of her too warm cheeks. “Yeah, sorry.” She shot Goggles a dirty look while the fox and Spike forced themselves to quiet down their laughter. “I’ll try to contain myself.”
The pony in the headset snorted then glanced at Muse. “Miss Muse, please try to keep your guests under control while they’re here.” He left after seeing the white unicorn nod while muttering to himself under his breath.
Twilight decided a change of topic was in order before they risked being booted off the set, regardless of Muse’s kind invitation. She turned to the white unicorn and did her best to smile, despite feeling nervous that a number of members of the film crew were eyeing their group. “So, Muse, it must be so exciting to be writing the script for the movie based off your book. Not many novelists get that much creative control on their work once they sign it over to the production studios. Or at least that’s what my book ‘True Secrets and Lies of Trollywood’ says.”
Muse’s face practically lit up with joy as she nodded.
“I’ll say!” Goggles said. “Muse here has been falling all over herself trying to get all the little touches about the movie just perfect, like who to star in it, where to film it, and how to condense all of it from a story about five hundred pages long to something that only lasts just two hours.”
Rainbow narrowed her eyes at Goggles. “Hey! Twilight was talking to Muse, not you.” She huffed as she looked to the white unicorn. “How can you stand such a rude little squirt as your assistant?”
Muse gave Rainbow an amused smile and tapped her hoof against her chin. She made an exaggerated show of shrugging before gazing at Goggles with one eyebrow raised.
“You say rude,” Goggles said, “I say spirited.” He threw his arms up in Muse’s direction when he saw the look she was giving him. “What? Can’t I get in a little harmless trolling in? It’s all in good fun.” He turned to Twilight and wagged a finger at her. “Besides, you had it coming by acting like such a stranger since you left for Ponyville.”
A surge of guilt made Twilight instinctively force a weak smile, as though the action might somehow ease the painful twisting sensation inside her stomach. “Oh, that, well, I am on an official mission from Princess Celestia to learn more about friendship, so I’ve been rather busy… I make sure to write at least once a week.”
“Excuses,” Goggles said.
Rainbow gave Goggles an odd look. “What’s trolling?”
Goggles arched his brow. “You never read the Prism Mirage series have you.”
Rainbow narrowed her eyes a fraction. “Of course! That’s only the name of this movie, right? Prism Mirage and the, uh, something, something.”
“Prism Mirage and the Fallen Stars,” Twilight said. “It’s also the name of the first book of the series the movie is based on.”
Rainbow felt heat rise to her cheeks, but she tried not to let her embarrassment show. With how much she had been going on about Bolt Action, it would have made her look foolish if she allowed everyone to think that she did not bother to find out more about the plot of the movie that he was starring in. “I-I knew that!”
Goggles lashed his tail from side to side, as the corner of his mouth curled in a sly smirk. “Then you should also know that ‘trolling’ is a term coined by the series because of a bunch of trolls who go around baiting ponies to make them react, right?” He stretched out the last word in a singsong tone as he leaned closer to Dash, his smile broadening.
Spike let out a bark of laughter. “I remember them! Those guys are hilarious! They keep making ponies flip out over the silliest things!”
Rainbow scowled at Goggles even as the pink her cheeks darkened. “Okay, so maybe I haven’t read the book, but watching the movie is even better! I’ll bet you that no book is anywhere near as cool as watching Bolt Action do his thing!”
Muse sucked in air and slapped her hoof to her chest, her eyes widening. She rolled her eyes back and moved as though she might swoon, but caught herself before she fell over at the last second.
The act caught Rainbow by surprise and she stared at the white unicorn with a mixture of concern and wariness. “Hey, are you okay?”
Twilight resisted the urge to put her hoof over her face. “Um, Rainbow… Muse wrote the book we’re talking about, remember?”
It took Rainbow a moment to catch the implication, causing her to feel rather sheepish. She was not comfortable with appearing ignorant, especially repeatedly in such a short amount of time. “Yeah, well, she’s writing the movie too, isn’t she? That just means she knows what she’s doing and Bolt will make her writing even cooler, so that means it’ll be twice as cool as the book, at least!”
“She does have a point,” Spike said.
Muse tapped her chin for a moment then shrugged and nodded, a wide smile appearing on her face.
Twilight shook her head with a rueful grin. “I have a feeling I’ll still prefer the original book.” She was gratified to see Muse’s face light up at her comment.
Goggles wagged a finger at Rainbow. “You’re just lucky Muse is the mellow type of celebrity and not a diva.” At seeing Muse blush and cover her face, he turned his finger to her. “And don’t pull any of that false modesty stuff! It’s true and you know it.”
“Speaking of celebrities,” Rainbow said as she looked to Muse, trying hard not to let her eagerness show, but not quite succeeding. “When do you think we’ll get to actually meet Bolt Action in person?”
Muse looked to the sky, as though pondering the answer, but it was Goggles who spoke. “I like a filly who knows what she wants.” He winked at Rainbow. “We don’t know if he’s finished getting into costume yet, but I’m sure we can keep catching up outside his trailer. That way you’re sure to meet him, and catch a sneak peek of him in his role for the movie at the same time.”
Rainbow could not hold back her squeal of glee. “Really? You mean it?” She grabbed Muse by the hoof. “Come on! Come on! Let’s go!” The white unicorn had no room to protest as the cyan pegasus dragged her along at a near gallop.
Goggles cupped his paws around his mouth and raised his voice. “Hey, Hyper Dash! You got any idea where his trailer is?”
Rainbow skidded to a halt, her hooves digging light grooves into the ground, then let go of Muse with a quiet mutter of apology. The unicorn smiled once she caught her breath and inclined her head to her left before heading off in that direction. A moment later Rainbow realized Muse meant for to follow and eagerly did so.
Goggles grinned at Spike. “Fan girls. Gotta love them, am I right?”
Spike chuckled. “You should see her when the Wonderbolts are involved.”
Twilight shook her head as the two assistants shared a laugh. “Come on, we better hurry up and catch up to them before we lose them.” She waited for Goggles and Spike to hop onto her back then took off after Muse and Rainbow at a quick trot. Something tells me this is going to be a very interesting day.