A Touch Of Chaos
IC date: Fall 10, 1010
OOC date: September 18th-October 9th, 2015, posted 2015-10-30
Location: Outskirts, Main Street of Horseshoe Harbor
PCs: Pagewise Straylight Dusty-Moon-Ray Heart-Rhythm Magpie
NPCs: N/A
GM: N/A

A lavender-coated filly stands at the outskirts of Horseshoe Harbor looking lost. Lost, and a little confused, though the latter is displaced by resignation. It happened again, didn't it? How long was it this time? She hoped it wasn't too long, but looking at the town in front of her didn't make the twist in her stomach go away. It had changed.

The filly feels around in her ever-present saddlebags for a moment with her magic, pulling out a small book from one of the inner pockets, and a quill with it. The world around her fades away as she writes, though not to the point that she ignores everything. She merely chooses not to acknowledge it as she writes, taking notes for her own referencing later.

Straylight comes hovering up the road out of the town. Slow, lazy flaps of her wings keep her barely aloft as a damp sack held in her talons drips a wet trail that smells like the sea. She's humming a quiet tune as she goes.

The sun is high in the sky and beams down on the hills giving a nice warmth to the air. A blue unicorn trots along the path coming from Main Street, enjoying the breeze that is making the heat bearable for this bookworm. Upon reaching the crest of the first hill, he stops as he spots a unicorn reading a book in the distance. This piques his interest and decides to trot over and investigate.

The filly finishes taking her notes quickly and returns the book and quill to their pouch, noticing somepony approaching from Main Street as she did. An unfamiliar stallion. She didn't recall meeting any stallions the last time she was in town. Admittedly, she hadn't been there long. Brushing off the thought, she begins walking toward the Harbor, observing her surroundings.

Straylight pauses. Why is she following the road? She has wings! She adjusts her flight — straight lines are much shorter. Unfortunately, as she gains altitude, the dripping from her sack is likely to rain on somepony. Fishy-smelling rain.

Dusty's interest in the book only grew after the mare put the book away again so quick and mumbled, "It has to be a reference, otherwise it wouldn't make sense to look at it this briefly. Maybe a field guide on… hmm fields?" He trotted towards the mare hoping to find out. Something wet drips on him just as he was about to voice his question, and suddenly a fishy sensation glides down his neck. "Eiieee!" He calls out in a pitch that is a bit too high for a stallion.

The un-stallionish squeal and the abrupt appearance of a gryphon startles the filly. After a brief jump, she recovers quickly and stifles a laugh after realizing what happened.

Straylight startles at the squeal. She looks down and… oops. After dashing aside to rest the fishy sack up in a tree, she lands near Dusty. "Um… sorry! I wasn't watching my path and… um… you smell like port now." She looks apologetic. "There's a small creek nearby?"

Dusty frowns at the filly giggling at his misfortune. Then the smell reaches his nose, and the frown turns in to a look of disgust as he places a hoof on his muzzle to block the smell. "It's going to be one of those days again…" he mumbles through a resigned sigh.

He shakes his head and rolls his eyes at the griffon's bad attempt of a joke. "I'm sure it wasn't your fault, Straylight, just be sure to look where you drip your…whatever it is you carry next time. It will take a while before my smell returns to normal after wishing this off." As curious as he is, he still wants to know about the book, and maybe about the mare reading a book in the middle of the road as well, but mostly the book.

The lavender filly had continued on her way as the gryphoness landed to try helping the unfortunate victim of her cargo. The smell was quite strong, but he was a unicorn, so she didn't think anything more of it. It caught her by surprise, however, when he called after her.

"Ehm… Hi, I saw you taking a book out just now…" the stallion starts asking, trying to ignore the smell and sticky feeling in his mane.

The filly, Pagewise, shook her head. "No…I put it away just now," she said slowly with a wry smile that was half because of the strange question and half from remembering his squeal.

Straylight nudges Dusty forest-wards. "I, er, wasn't joking. There's a creek over there, you can get clean." She glances up at the sack. "It'll, um, keep. It's the plumpest herring of the catch. Er… do you two know each other?"

"Yes, the smell will probably 'keep' for a while." Dusty replies surly to the gryphon, "I'll check out that creek after I asked this pretty mare about her book, thank you." He turns to Pagewise. "Or you can come along, but I'm really curious about that book you just put away. Was is a field guide on fields?" he asks oblivious to the fact that it might be inappropriate for a fishy unicorn to invite a strange mare to a creek.

Pretty? While the compliment was…appreciated, Pagewise's smile faded a little. "It's not a field guide, it's just some personal notes," she replied, then added after a brief pause, "Why don't you magic it off?"

Straylight earflicks towards the mare. "Um… can all unicorns do that? I know some who don't. But they're foals." She offers a beaky grin. "I think he likes you. Are you, er, a new resident?"

Dusty was surprised, "Notes…so you're a researcher then, writing the field guide on fields perhaps?" He looked at her blankly for a moment at her suggestion. "Magic it off, hehe…of course, ehhmm I'll just have to concentrate is all…foals can do it, how hard can it be," he said as he closed his eyes forcefully while his horn began to glow…a bit too bright. After a large flash of light everything appeared to be…still fishy. Blushing after his failure he cleared his throat. "Lets head to the creek."

Pagewise shook her head. Such a versatile gesture…no, she wasn't a new resident. No, she wasn't writing a field guide on fields. Lastly, no, that spell Dusty tried casting was not going work, and it was easy to see why.

The gryphoness's explanation why the stallion was still trying to talk to Pagewise was also noted, and dismissed. He hadn't asked her about herself. Aside from the off-hoof compliment, he had been more interested in her book. The filly relaxed a little, but shook her head again when Dusty invited her to accompany him to the creek.

"No, thank you. But, here, let me," said Pagewise, glancing at his coat. There was a brief hum - her horn didn't even light - and the smell was gone. "Consider that an apology for nearly laughing at your misfortune, sir," she added, her smile briefly returning.

Straylight sighed. Off the hook! "Well, you aren't new, but I haven't seen you before, so welcome back! See you around!" She retrieved her bag of fish and waved to the two ponies. "Sorry again for the fishy stuff!" she called back before flying away.

Dusty's mane felt like normal again after the brief tingly sensation of magic. He hesitantly reached a hoof to touch his mane, not sure what to expect, but everything felt normal again. "Wow, thanks a lot! Lucky I ran in to you here." He smiled at her. "So what brings you here then, if you are not taking notes about fields?"

"You're welcome." Pagewise turned back toward town. "I'm taking notes on other things. As I said, it's personal."

"So it is an autobiography?" Dusty asked as she turned away. He turned around and started walking next to her. "Oh! Ehm, I forgot to ask your name, I should probably have started with that." he smiled awkwardly, "I'm Dusty Moon Ray by the way, but you can call me Moon Ray for short."

She shook her head again. "I'm logging data points for future reference relating to a personal issue. Nothing relevant to anyone but myself, trust me." This was becoming an irritation; he might want to change the subject soon…

…and introducing himself was a good start. "Nice to meet you, Dusty," the filly replied, ignoring his suggestion for a nickname. Now, was there a library here? Her notes said that it had burned down, but it was always a possibility that it had been rebuilt since then.

Dusty flattened his ears at the reply about the notes. "Nice to meet you too, miss." He replied noticing that she didn't tell her name and called him Dusty. "Well, I'll be on my way then. I should check if there is a field guide on fields in the library." He said and continued trotting back to the main street at a slightly faster pace.

He was trying to be friendly, she got that. But this wasn't the time! But there was always time to be nice to ponies. But…but her research! But her research was so far overdue that she may as well drop it. How long had she been gone? The project was only supposed to take a few weeks, and this looked like months had passed.

Wait, library? She doubled her pace until she caught up with him. "Why are you so interested in fields?" Something occurred to her and she looked at Dusty curiously. "…and what kind of fields, exactly?"

Dusty looked a bit confused at Pagewise's change in attitude, but ignored it writing it off as 'mares are complicated'. "I'm interested in a lot of fields, like math and physics. But if I can get my hooves on a good book about other fields, or a good book, or a book that needs to be taken care of, then I'll gladly take it."

"Oh. Okay." She let her pace slow, but noted where he was heading as she continued walking before resuming her observations on what had changed in the town.

There were definitely new ponies about, but it was a port town and new faces were to be expected. This many, however…even a port had the same ships and caravans arrive. Normal ones did, at least. This port had struck her as being a strange one when she arrived. Maybe it was because half the inhabitants claimed to have been turned into foals?

Pagewise looked up to ask another question, but Dusty was already a distance away, so she decided she would find her answer another way. At any rate, they were both heading to the library.

Dusty-Moon-Ray heads toward Main Street.
Pagewise heads toward Main Street.

- > Horseshoe Harbor - Main Street <-------——

A bustling center of activity!

In the latest improvements brought about by the town rebuilding, the area for the main downtown has expanded and reorganized! Lots of the buildings around here are more entertainment-oriented, like the theater and the libary. There's also shopping! And food! It's small, but it's busy, and it shows just how much Horseshoe Harbor has grown in recent months.

After a few minutes of walking, Dusty probably noticed that the filly was not changing direction and, in fact, appeared to be following him. If he didn't notice, her question made him aware. "You don't know where the library is, do you?"

Dusty continued to walk in the down the main street when he suddenly paused as he remembered that he still doesn't know where the library was. He turned around when the new mare asked him about the library.

"Well, ehhh, I should know…" he answered nervously, and started to look around. Luckily, he saw the sign of a book hanging from a building not far away. "It's over there." He pointed at the sign without any confidence and then mumbled, "I think…" He slowed his pace so she could catch up. "Are you also going to the library?"

Pagewise looks in the direction of his gesture. That was either the library or a book store. Either way, it might have what she was looking for. "Yes, I am going to the library. Before you ask, it's for research."

Dusty's ears perked at the word research but hesitated before saying "I assume that research is also… personal? I'm always interested in research." He continued to walk next to Pagewise in the direction of the Library hoping that he could coax her into telling him more about it. And also finding out if there actually is a field guide to fields, and what kind of fields such a guide would would describe.

"Correct." was the only answer he received. And, fortunately for them both, there was a bulletin board outside one of the buildings that included a map of the town, which confirmed they were at least in the right area. A short time later, they were at their destination. "So they did rebuild it," murmured Pagewise, walking through the door and approaching the front desk.

"Rebuild what?" Dusty asked while following Pagewise into the library. He paused briefly once inside to take a deep whiff of the smell you only find near large collections of old paper. "Hmmm…it has been a while since I've been in a library, how I missed this," he mumbled to himself while looking around to see how they categorized the books here. He started looking for the field guide not waiting for a reply as his attention was lost in the sea of books.

The librarian appeared to be absent, either in a back room or called away for some other reason. Pagewise glanced over the desk (barely; she could rest her chin on the desktop while standing up if she wanted), noticing a newspaper folded up on it. Grasping it with her magic, she pulled it to herself and opened it to read. Her face fell.

"Whoa…"

A soft "Found it" mumble came from one of the corners of the library. It didn't take Dusty Moon Ray long to find "The Definite Field Guide to Fields: Everything you ever needed to know about fields and more!" He was an experienced library explorer after all.

He walked over towards the front desk with his muzzle already deep in the book, not paying attention to the short lavender unicorn in the way.

Pagewise squeaked and slipped out of the way as Dusty walked up to the desk, dropping the newspaper as she did. She eyed him and frowned. "I don't think the librarian is in right now," she noted, glancing at the cover of the book he held. "'And more'? How much can there be?" she murmured, her curiosity almost piqued. "We need to wait for them to return, I guess," she added at a normal volume.

Dusty lowered the field guide after hearing a squeak and took a step back to give Pagewise some room, smiling apologetically. "We could check out the books ourself, it is probably not that hard," he replied. "Or we could stay here, cozy between all the books, and read to our hearts content," he added from behind the guide again while sitting down with his back against the side of a bookcase.

Check books out for yourself? The librarian she knew in Canterlot would never stand for that. Everything needed to be done correctly and leaving ponies to do things themselves usually meant empty forms, missing books, and poor hoofwriting! Pagewise stared incredulously at Dusty for a moment, then shook her head.

"You don't want a librarian angry with you, trust me." She looked at the desk. It didn't seem too messy. The pile of books to be shelved was also low, but not non-existent. Maybe…"Let me look." Pagewise trotted around the desk and searched the desktop. She hummed to herself, then her telekinesis brought out a heavy binder from one of the shelves under the desk. "Here." A quill floated up to Dusty. "Put your name…um…in that box." The filly indicated a field in the ledger with the quilltip before laying it down for Dusty to use.

"Well, I used to check out my own books all the time in the Canterlot Royal Archives. But that is probably because they didn't have time to do it," Dusty replied and his eyes glazed over. "There were just too many interesting books there. I couldn't choose…" He walked over to the to the desk and added with an embarrassed grin, "I just brought them all."

He signed the form while letting the field guide rest on the desk. "Thank you," he said with a smile. "You seem to know your way around a library, did you work in one before?"

Pagewise nodded, swinging the ledger back toward herself and taking the quill after Dusty finished signing. The field guide floated up and she checked the information, marking it down in the related fields with clean, practiced writing. "Canterlot Public Library. I'm an assistant there." The book was returned to Dusty and she blotted the ink in the ledger with a brief drying spell. Another brief search of the desk turned up some temporary bookmarks with "Return By:__" written on them. Pagewise filled one of those out with the date a week from then, the standard time period for book loaning, and slid it into the book after drying the ink on it too. She looked at the title again. "There is really a book about fields?" she asked rhetorically, then paused before asking genuinely, "Is this for a hobby or work?"

"Ooh! So you are a fellow bookworm then? That is nice to know," Dusty replied as he picked up the guide with his magic to inspect the neatly horn-written return date. "Apparently there is a book about it!" he said with a bright grin. "I'm here for hobby, but I mainly wanted to see if the book existed. But now I can't wait to find out what Mr. A. Plane Horse wrote in there, now that I know that it does exist." He inspected the back side of the book. "This is exactly how I imagined a vacation should be like. Aside from becoming the new local teacher, that is. And I met even more nice ponies than I ever could have imagined." He added while looking back at Pagewise, "So, did you also find a book you want to checkout?"

"Huh? Oh." Pagewise shook her head. "Not a book, but I found what I was looking for. I also want to speak with the librarian." She sat down on the stool behind the desk. "When I was last here, I had an assignment, but I wasn't able to finish before I left. That's why I came back." The more they talked about books other than her notes, the more friendly Pagewise seemed. "What's your hobby?"

"Oh what kind of assignment was that? Is it related to the notes you were taking in the fields earlier?" Dusty Moon Ray asked before answering Pagewise's question. "Hobby…hmm, well you could say that books are my hobby, repairing them in any case. But it might be more correct to say it is my life goal. Books are the only thing that help us remember what was yesterday without the ever-growing coloration that stories get by their tellers. So seeing a book in bad shape, or even destroyed, is terrible in my opinion," Dusty replied.

" 'Books are lighthouses on the sea of time…' " mused the filly, glancing at the shelves around them before continuing. "My assignment is actually related to that idea. I'm collecting local folk tales and personal stories for a compilation that will keep those stories alive when they would normally disappear. And no, as I said before…twice…" She rolled her eyes. "…my notes are something personal."

"Oooh, Lighthouses on the sea… You would probably make a great author," Dusty replied, impressed with the elegance of her wording. "I would definitely be interested in reading such a compilation. How is it progressing?" He walked over behind the desk and sat down on the ground next to her, making it easier to have eye contact with the short mare. "Right, right… I wasn't going to ask about that was I? Sorry." He looked away.

"Oh, I didn't write that. It was something I heard." Pagewise shrugged. "I didn't get a chance to interview anyone when I was last here, but I hope to this time." She raised an eyebrow when he sat next to her and got up. "Let's go over to one of the tables. The librarian might not like finding strange ponies behind her desk."

"Well I can't help you with an interview if you are looking for local stories, I just arrived here a couple of weeks back." Dusty told her as he followed her to a table. "A friend of books is never a stranger in my book," he replied with a smile. "So how long have you been working on this compilation? I imagine that a harbor town like this should have plenty of interesting stories to uncover."

"I, uh…just started. And that's what I'm hoping! The library seemed like a good place to start, to see if there were any locally-written books on the topic already." Pagewise pulled a chair out with her magic and sat down. There were three chairs around the table, evenly spaced. Maybe the librarian here was a stickler for detail…

"Well the library is the best place to start for almost everything," Dusty said enthusiastically as he picked the chair to the right of Pagewise and sat down a bit more opposite of her than where the chair originally was. "They might also have imported rare literature from overseas. I hope they shipped them carefully in that case, moisture is terrible for paper."

Pagewise nodded. "Mm-hm. But, unless the librarian shows, I don't know where to start looking. I also need to find out who to contact about setting up interviews and seeing who would be interested." A small spiral notepad appeared in front of her, summoned from her bag, and she flipped through the pages. "I'm pretty sure the contact information I was given is outdated." The notepad was a spiral-bound affair, about hoof-sized and easily floated in front of the filly.

"Well, maybe I can help you find what you are looking for. If it is a book then it should be pretty easy to find in a library," Dusty offered. “Contact info for who?" he asked, but before Pagewise could reply he sneezed loudly. "Achoo!" He shook his head not sure where that came from, but didn't bother to question it. However he didn't notice that his hair was pointing straight up, as if gravity repelled it.

[i]Easy to find, if it is there to be found,[/i] thought the filly before saying, "The mayor, or the librarian. I was told to talk with the librarian first…I think." Pagewise flipped through the pad a couple more times before the movement of Dusty's mane caught her attention. She thought he was trying to be funny until she realized that she couldn't sense or see any magic around it. "Um…" she began to say, but couldn't find a thought to finish.

"I won't be much help with that as I haven't met either of them, sorry," Dusty replied. "So what are you planning to do now? It seems to be quite irresponsible for the librarian to leave the building open without anyone keeping an eye on it," he said as he turned around to check if there still was no one around. His hair began to move with the motion of his head. It looked not unlike seaweed with a little imagination. "Since I'll probably be around the library a lot I can help you by telling the librarian a short lavender unicorn is looking for him when he returns, I guess they would know who you are…" He suggested, still not knowing her name.

"I'll leave a note." Pagewise scribbled a short message on her notepad and tore the small page out. "I can check back later. I wonder what happened to them?" she mused, then looked at Dusty's coiffure again. "I wonder what is happening to your mane, too," she added. "Are you doing that?"

"That is probably a more effective way to let him know." He tried not to look as dumb as he felt. "Am I doing what?" Dusty replied. "You mean that I didn't brush it this morning?" He smiled, embarrassed. "I usually forget that," he added while reaching for his mane with a hoof to pat the mess of hairs flat. But it didn't stay put like it usually does, it just kept floating up again defying Dusty's (and nature's) will. But he didn't give up yet.

Pagewise almost thought he was kidding, but she couldn't be sure. "Is that normal? It was laying down a little while ago. What unicorn did you get on the bad side of?"

"Ehh… it usually doesn't go up again like this…" Dusty replied while trying various ways to flatten his mane. "I'm not sure, maybe it's a prank of one of the kids I'm teaching. I wonder what kind of spell it is, I might have underestimated their skill," he said while patting the floaty mess faster and faster.

"But I'm not sensing…hold still a bit." Pagewise floated the note for the librarian over to the desk and put it so it stuck out from under the ledger, then turned her focus to Dusty's mane. "I'll try a detection spell first." The filly's horn made a nearly-inaudible hum, but didn't glow. A tingle ran up Dusty, from his hooves to his mane. Pagewise frowned. "What is going on? There's—gah!" She shuddered mightily, the hum cutting off abruptly as she rubbed her temple. "What was…oh. Oh, no. No, nonono…we need to find somepony, now!" Pagewise nearly leaped from her chair as her mane slowly began rising. It seemed to be slightly weighed down by the scrunchie she wore at the end of the loose braid. Her tail hair was forced down using magic as she dashed out the door, teleporting her notepad back into her saddlebags as she did. "CHAOS! Rising Chaos!" she yelled as she ran.

Dusty looked perplexed as the filly ran out of the library, but wrote it off as being a thing with mares and manes. He picked up his Field guide after the yelling faded away an began reading, not minding his floaty hair.

The streets of the Harbor were starting to be a bit of a mess, but one unicorn colt was running in a blind terror, down the street. The Library! The Library would have the answer! It had to! He skidded to a stop near the entrance, and darted his head around nervously, before poking his head inside. "I haven't gotten here yet, have I? I mean, well, not me but me… argh!"

Dusty looks up from his cozy corner where he was reading his book after hearing a colt asking confused questions. "I think you did just arrive at the library," he says. "Are you looking for a book? If so I can probably help you find it." He smiles while putting a bookmark in his field guide before closing it.

Heart-Rhythm scowled. "No, not me-me, HER-m… e… s. Yes, Hermes! That… seapony transfer… ok, just if I come in later with pink hair, I'm NOT HERE, ok?"

Pagewise had rushed about the Harbor trying to find a particular pony, but calmed down after tiring herself out and then noticing that her mane and tail were no longer defying gravity but instead moving as they normally would. She calmed down and glanced back in the direction of the library, but shook her head and continued her search. Where was Rising's house, anyway?

A long while later, she discovered a couple of things: First, Rising was not available. No one knew where she was. Second, that there were little things going on that she didn't believe were normal. Buildings on fire when she walked one direction and then not on fire when she turned to walk the other direction. Fountains that spewed soda pop until one tried to drink it. Little stuff. After trotting around for almost an hour without running into anypony else she remembered from her first arrival, Pagewise sighed and turned back toward the library. At least the hair-thing was temporary…

She arrived to find Dusty talking with a colt who looked only a few years younger than she was, even if she looked to be his age. Ignoring the two, the lavender filly marched up and down the rows of books looking for…something.

"Hermes? Ehh… I don't know anypony by that name," Dusty replies, confused. "Are you trying to hide from someone? I don't think dying your mane is the the best way to, to avoid someone. Growing a beard is much more effective… I think I saw a book about that around here somewhere," Dusty mumbles that last part to himself as he rises from his chair and looks around the library. He sees a lavender flash behind the book cases from the corner of his eye, and turns to look.

With an awkward chuckle, Heart puts a foreleg behind his head. "Right, yes, changing your mane color would be a bad idea," he says. "Come to think of it, a beard might work… nah."

As Dusty neared where the flash of color had gone behind a bookshelf, he might hear Pagewise murmuring to herself as she browsed the titles. She was in the right section now, she hoped, but had yet to find anything that matched what she was looking for.

Dusty peers around the corner of the bookshelf where Pagewise was browsing, "Hey you're back. Did you figure out what happened yet? I hope you are not mad at me about my messy mane." He turns towards Heart Rhythm and asks in a still very audible whisper, "My mane isn't still floaty right? I completely forgot to check on it after picking up my book again."

Heart-Rhythm pokes his head around a bookshelf. "Probabilities of Impossible Possibilities, where are you?" he mutters to himself as he searches.

Pagewise shakes her head as she continues looking, though she glances at his mane. "Foaty mane: strange, but not impossible. Whatever that was that—" She pauses, rubbing her forehead next to her horn before repeating what she started to say. "Whatever that was that did transferred that condition to me with no real link? Nuh-uh. That doesn't happen." Her hoof moves back to tapping the spines of books as she moves down the shelf. "And that's not the only strange thing going on!"

She paused, thinking about what she just said. When she had first arrived three years ago — the newspaper on the librarian's desk had confirmed the date — she had been greeted by several ponies that claimed they had been adults but were transformed into fillies and colts. Another had mentioned that the town burned down 'often'. Maybe strange /was/ normal around here…Pagewise shook her head. Nope. It may be normal here for strange things to happen, but that didn't mean there was no explanation! She continued looking.

"Well, aside from Heart Rhythm who is trying to hide from somepony, everything seems to be pretty normal here," Dusty replies to Pagewise. "I wouldn't worry too much about it. Your mane wasn't all that bad when it was pointing the other way." He smiled sincerely. "So what are you looking for now? Maybe I can help?" he said while looking at the kind of books found in this aisle.

Heart-Rhythm has resorted to tossing books left and right, saying "no" to each one as he does. "Where is the one that explains… argh!"

A white filly splotched with black peeks around the end of the aisle. "Sorry — what're you looking for?" she asks Heart Rhythm, smiling sheepishly. A pair of books hover behind her in a cloud of rosy magic, but she shifts a little to put herself between them and Heart.

"Who?" Pagewise looked up at Dusty when he mentioned Heart Rhythm. Whether she was asking who that was or who he was hiding from was up to interpretation. She frowned when Dusty tried…comforting?…her about the floaty-mane incident. "The mane wasn't what bothered me, it was why! That doesn't happen, not like that…" she started, but Rhythm's outburst interrupted. "What—hey! Hey, don't do that, you'll crease the pages!" the filly cried, catching a couple of books in her magic before realizing what she was doing and hurriedly lowering them to the ground.

"I'm looking for…" Heart Rhythm turned and his eyes bulged seeing Magpie. "Yes! That! WHY IS NOTHING MAKING SENSE TODAY!?" He huffs for a moment, then turns on Pagewise. "The pages.. the pages.. the entire harbor has gone mad and you're worried about pages?" He snorts. His eyes bulge. "What am I saying?!"

"Oh eh… Heart Rhythm is a colt I'm teaching at schoo-" The sound of falling books interrupted Dusty's sentence. He quickly runs to where Heart Rhythm is abusing the books, and tried to catch as many books as he could before they hit the ground. He was less successful as Magpie and Pagewise though. "Ahhh! Careful with the books."

Magpie blinks up at Heart Rhythm. "You're… looking for me? I don't make sense?" She starts to look a little wibbly. "What'd I do?" she asks helplessly.

"You see it too?" Pagewise's eyes widen at Rhythm. "What did you see? What did you see?"

Dusty, self conscious about the fact that he didn't save as many books as the two younger ponies, started to re-shelf the books while the other ponies figure out what is happening.

Heart-Rhythm waves a hoof. "First I get kissed by myself, and now Magpie is in a library? The…" He frowns. "I said that out loud, didn't I?"

"What is odd about Magpie being in the library? At least she respects the books, look at how many she managed to catch." Dusty replied mildly annoyed at Heart Rhythm.

Magpie blushes and snicker-snort-giggles into a hoof. She tries to maintain an offended expression, though. "I'm sorry, what's funny about me being in a library? I go to libraries!" She blushes a little more and shifts her books further behind her. "…for research!" she adds quickly.

Pagewise's excited face drops back to deadpan at Rhythm's list. "No crazy fountains, floating manes? No walking marshmallows? No cats and dogs living together?" The lavender filly looks at Magpie. "And why else would you be in a library?"

After Dusty finished putting away his, rather small, pile of books he takes the floating books from Magpie in order to shelf them as well.

Heart-Rhythm fishmouthes. "For research," he finally manages to croak out. "Whatcha researching, huh?"

Magpie 's eyes get a bit wide and she pushes the books firmly behind her. "J-just stuff!" she says. "W-what are YOU researching?!"

Heart-Rhythm waves a hoof. "Right now I'm researching why someone who looked exactly like me, except as a filly, popped out of nowhere, kissed me, then said (and I quote), 'He's right, I am fun to tease!' then disappeared. Got any ideas?"

Magpie blinks. She hesitates. "…are you fun to tease?" she asks.

Heart-Rhythm snorts. "No," he pouts.

Just as Dusty reached for Magpie's books, they shift out of his reach. Using his magic, he tries again to take the books from Magpie. "Let me take those from you, or do you know how to shelf them yourself?"

Magpie flails! "N-no-! Those are mine for ch-checkout-!" The books tumble out of her clumsy magical grip, and a couple of really horrible vampony romance novels fall to the floor.

"Oh, sorry. I thought you caught them from Heart Rhythm," Dusty replies and starts helping Magpie gather her books. Then he realizes what kind of books they are, starts to blush like a tomato, and starts helping faster.

Heart-Rhythm squints. "Huh." Then he turns on Dusty. "Hey, just what exactly are you trying to say there?"

Magpie snatches her books up. "Y-you dummy!" she snaps, and gallops away, face bright red.

"Ehh… Magpie? You forgot one…" Dusty calls after her while holding up one of the novels with a sparkling vampony on the cover.

Pagewise just stands there watching the trainwreck in slow motion. Once the crash is complete, she puts a hoof to her muzzle and seems to be holding in…a laugh? A snarky comment? Whatever it might have been, she keeps silent and instead returns to the other row and her search.

"Well, I did mess that up big time. I should apologize to Magpie next time I run into her," Dusty says as he levitates the romance novel next to his other books for checkout.

Heart-Rhythm glances up. "And you didn't find that in the least bit strange? I don't think I've ever even seen her with a book before. And my bit pouch still has exactly 17 bits in it."

"What has your bit pouch to do with it? And no, everypony has something odd they like that they don't want anypony to know about," Dusty replies as he starts shelfing the remaining books scattered on the floor. "Although there is nothing weird about liking books." Dusty added in a mumble. However he turns red again as he remembers what kind of books were involved.

Heart-Rhythm flails. "I didn't say there was. Just that… argh. Nevermind!"

"So about the filly you, are you really sure it was you, and not just another filly?" Dusty asked, trying to change the topic.

Heart-Rhythm waves a hoof. "Pretty sure. I mean, she looked like me…" He frowns. "I guess that's not very scientific, but I didn't have a lot of time to set up proper experimental conditions. Kinda hard to when you're the experimental subject instead of the researcher.”

“On a side note, dying your hair pink would probably make it even more confusing to identify who is who," Dusty notes. "Anyway, if it is anything like what happened with my mane, then it will fix itself after a while. Otherwise, it could be really cool to have a clone. I mean she would probably understand you really well. It is also a lot more fun to do things with ponies sharing your interests. Why not just talk to her instead of hiding?"

Heart-Rhythm scuffles a hoof. "I wouldn't have to dye it," he mutters under his breath. "No, having a clone wouldn't be all that fun, if it turned out you were kinda a jerk…”

"So… you kinda are a jerk?" Dusty asks sincerely. "If so, knowing the problem is a big part of the solution. But having a clone means the problem is doubled…I see why that might not be fun. Also, I didn't think you're such a bad pony, aside from throwing books that is."

Heart-Rhythm shrugs a little and sighs. "I didn't think I was a jerk, but I got a good look at how I treat other ponies today. At least sometimes. And it wasn't very nice." He waves a hoof. "I even did that to Magpie I think. Treating ponies like they're…part of an experiment instead of a pony sometimes." Then he frowns. "I don't usually do that to books."

Dusty looks relieved after hearing he usually treats books better. "Well you did learn a lot from meeting your clone, so that is something…" Dusty says. "I still think hiding isn't the best solution though, what if the other you continues to be a jerk without you knowing? Other ponies might blame you for it later," he says as he sits down next to Heart Rhythm on the floor.

Heart-Rhythm shakes his head. "She already left. Or teleported. I can't teleport, why can she teleport? That's… argh." He shrugs. "Yeah, I guess I can go after her." He spreads his wings. (Wait, wasn't he a unicorn a second ago? Where did his horn go?) "Thanks!"

"I can't teleport either, if that makes you feel better." Dusty looks puzzled at Heart's new wings, but decides not to comment on it. There was already enough strangeness for today to think about. "Good luck with finding her." He waves after him and goes back to his field guide and vampony romance novel that he left on the desk for checkout.

END