A small, tan unicorn sat at her window as the last drops of the spring rain splashed delicately into the puddles in the road. A small stack of library books sat on a table just out of hoofs reach from where she sat. The small slip of paper sticking out of the cover of the top book said that the return date for them was today and Dovetail knew that Twilight Sparkle, the town librarian, would be very upset if her books were returned late, but the rain had detained her inside the dry warmth of her home longer than she had anticipated. Her horn ignited with a soft green light, the same light surrounding the books as she carefully levitated them into the saddlebags sitting at her hoof. Once inside, she shifted her levitation spell to the bags, letting them slide over her haunches before she carefully cinched them into place under her stomach.
Walking towards the door, she tossed her black and gray mane as she glanced around, making sure she had gotten all her due library books, even though she had double and triple checked while rain had gently pattered on the roof. Satisfied that she was not forgetting any, Dove opened the door and stepped out onto the soft, squishy mud that crisscrossed Ponyville in place of the usual dirt roads. Dove was not the only pony emerging from the safety of indoors now that the rain had ceased. Many others were getting out to enjoy the rest of the lovely spring day and the roads were quickly becoming unusually packed as the lone mare wove her way through the crowd into the market place. She lived opposite the market from Twilight's library and, not for the first time, she wished she had had the foresight to pick a house closer to it when she'd first moved to Ponyville.
The market, always busy during this time of day, was easily twice so now since the morning patrons were shopping as well. This made the already slippery roads even more treacherous and Dove found herself winding closer and closer to other ponies as she worked her ways slowly across the square. Her eyes constantly strayed towards her hooves as the mare's natural shyness began to overcome her desire to go to the library. The only thing helping her put one hoof in front of the other was the thought of Twilight's disappointed sigh if she returned the books tomorrow.
Caught up in her hooves and thoughts, Dovetail never noticed the tall, armored pegasus stallion turn from one of the stalls and into her path. She stepped firmly into him, knocking herself back a pace as his much sturdier form reflected the minute momentum of her stride. “Hey, what's the big idea?” The stallion glanced down at her with a look that she interpreted as boiling anger. Shrinking back, Dove mumbled a quick apology, but before she could dash away back into the crowd the stallion's demeanor changed dramatically. He smiled slightly, “No, I'm sorry, miss. I didn't mean to startle you. What's your name?”
“N-no pony important,” she murmured quietly, glancing around his larger frame, trying to gauge if she could dash around him. “I was just trying to get to the library...”
The stallion reached out and tapped Dove on the shoulder in a friendly manner, “aww, don't say that! Everypony's important!” He glanced around at the dense crowd and then back at the unicorn mare, “tell you what, let's go to that library and get out of this melee. And maybe you could tell me your name on the way?” He smiled down at the mare and she could feel warmth spread across her cheeks.
Glancing down at her hooves for a moment, she nodded slowly, “um.... okay.”
He grinned broadly, “well them, lead the way my unicorn friend! Because I have no idea where we are at the moment.”
Dove blinked, “Well.. um... okay,” she carefully stepped around him, “follow me.” The two begin walking in step with each other and the mare admitted it was nice to walk with somepony else, especially since ponies were now getting out of her way and not the other way around. Smiling slightly, she looked up at her pegasus companion and said, “M-my name's Dovetail, by the way...”
“Dovetail, eh? How about I just call you 'Dove'? My name's Striker, Cloudstriker.” He smiled again and Dove could feel a blush creep across her cheeks again. He was brash and boisterous, very different from the ponies she usually talked to, but... the change was nice. “I'm from up North,” he added, “say? Have you tried the apples here? They're just AWESOME!”
“Cloudstriker,” the mare murmured quietly under her breath. “Yes,” she smiled, “the apples around here are very delicious. Sweet Apple Acres is famous for their produce. And you said you were from up North? How far north?” Her words begin to flow faster as she became more comfortable around Striker with each hoofstep, “Are you from Cloudsdale? I've always wondered what it's like there... OH! Or are you from near Dragon Mount? Or the Drakkenridge Mountains? That's right next to Griffon territory! Have you ever met a-” Dove cuts herself off and her cheeks flush a deeper shade of red. She drops her gaze to the ground, wishing, not for the first time, that she was able to grow out her bangs so she could hide behind them at times like these.
But Striker only smiles, “You sure can talk fast when you want to! Yes, I live by the Griffon lands. Let's just say that Griffons are way bigger than they ever tell you in flight school. Luckily we have good relations with the Griffons now, or they'd have to face the likes of me!” Dove giggled, raising a hoof to her mouth as she came to a halt outside the hollowed out tree that served as the Ponyville Library. “So, Dove? Where is this library of yours?”
The smaller mare gestured to the unmarked tree, “It's right here.” She glanced up at the stallion and, for the first time since they met, she met his gaze squarely. “Thank you for walking me here...” she paused and she could feel her shyness creeping back as her eyes dropped back to the ground around her hooves, “um... well... I guess I'd better go inside... these books aren't going to return themselves... unless...” she paused and taking a deep breath she asked, “unless you'd like to come in... and see the library?” Shaking her head quickly, she adds, “never mind... Maybe I'll see you again?” As the pair idled in front of the library, a young, yellow earth pony moves around them to enter the building. He cast them a glance before pushing the door open and letting it shut quietly behind him. Dove barely registered the passing pony as her attention is centered on Striker.
Striker's attention was caught by the library, his eyes wide and excited as he stared up at the thick foliage of the upper levels of the great tree, “This is the library? Wow... I wonder if my buddy is here. He always loved books. Come on! Let's go see!” Without waiting for a response, and clearly unaware of Dove's awkward and halfhearted attempt at a parting, he wrapped his wing around the mare and usured her into the library. Inside was even more impressive than out- the library was circular to match the curvature of the tree trunk, but it appeared much larger on the inside than would have been possible without magic. Floor-to-ceiling shelves lined the walls and all were overflowing with all kinds of literature. In the center of the space were several low tables were ponies could sit and read the books they didn't want to take home. Two ponies sat at one such table, the yellow stallion from before and a small mint and brown speckled pegasus mare, their heads close together as they whispered conspiratorially to each other. Across the room from the door was a wide counter behind which sat a purple unicorn mare, her eyes glued to the pages of a book, but by the way she sat, facing the pair at the table with only the book to block her gaze, it was obvious that she knew of her patrons.
When the door opened before Dove and Striker, a small bell tinkled to announce their arrival. Twilight Sparkle set her book down on the counter and smiled warmly. Dove returned the smile before turning back to Striker, but before she could say anything the pegasus mare from the table shot up, “Cloudstriker! What are you doing here? I didn't take you for the literary type!” Her voice was loud, much too loud for Twilight's quiet library and the purple mare cast her patron a stinging glance that the other mare pointedly ignored as she half flew the short distance to Striker and Dove.
Cloudstriker grinned at the young mare, “Hello again, Minty.” Dove felt a small knot form in her stomach as the stallion turned his attention from her to the equally boisterous pegasus.
Minty smiled, “Nice to see you again!” Glancing around the stallion she smiled at Dovetail, “who's your friend?”
Striker spread his wing and covered the unicorn mare in its feathery warmth, “this is Dove, she's pretty cool. Doesn't talk a lot, though. So, what are you doing here, Minty?”
“Just wasting time before I need to head back to Cloudsdale,” Minty said with a sigh and a roll of her eyes, “If I'm lucky, the weather team won't notice I'm gone.” Turning her attention to Dove, she smiled, “I'm Spearmint Sonnet, though it seems like the nickname 'Minty' is catching on,” she glanced at Striker who shrugged.
“I just nickname ponies! Is that so bad?”
Dove nodded cordially at the other mare, “very please to meet you, Minty, ah... Spearmint Sonnet.”
“Oh, just Minty is fine. I guess my whole name can be a bit of a mouthful,” the mare said, her mouth curving into a small smile.
The three ponies stood in silence for a moment before Dove said quickly, “I need to return these books and it seems like you two would like to catch up. If you'll excuse me.” The tan mare turned quickly and hurried over to the counter.
Striker watched her go with a small frown on his face, “see ya, Dove,” he forced a small smile and a wave before turning back to the pale green mare. The two began talking animatedly as Dove stepped up to the counter and smiled at Twilight. “I got those books back, just like I promised.”
Twilight's eyes lit up, “oh excellent! I was worried the unscheduled downpour would keep you at home! Rainbow Dash really needs to do a better job controlling those storms.”
“I can't really blame her, though,” Dovetail commented as she levitated the novels from her saddlebags, “what with her in training to be a Wonderbolt and all.”
Twilight grimaced, “hmmm, well, she should be paying more attention to her work than the tricks she plans to use to get their attention. If she spent half as much time doing a good job on the weather team as she does playing around, she might already be a Wonderbolt.” The two unicorns laughed quietly to themselves as Twilight carefully checked the condition of the books Dove was returning. “I do have a favor to ask you, as well,” the mare sighed, “it seems Pinkie Pie thought it'd be a good idea to stack a bunch of chairs to reach a book she wanted rather than get Spike or me to help. Well, long story short, she broke the legs on one. I was hoping you could fix it?”
“Of course,” Dove smiled. Twilight stepped around the counter and motioned with her head for the other unicorn to follow. Against one of the few tables, a chair had been propped up, the two back legs of which were snapped neatly in two.
“I could try to fix it,” Twilight admitted, “but I'm not nearly as adept as I'd like to be at carpentry. I figure, in this case, it's better to ask a professional.”
Looking over the damage, Dove nodded, “I'm sure you of all ponies could do it, but I'm flattered that you came for my help. Give me just a minute and it'll be good as new.”
“Thank you very much, Dovetail,” Twilight smiled gratefully as she walked back towards the counter.
Dove concentrated on the chair, her horn glowing with her soft green magic as she carefully picked up the first broken leg.
Across the room, Minty had ducked away from Striker to continue browsing the library and the stallion was now approached by the yellow earth pony. “Sounds like you two really hit it off,” he smiled warmly. “Congrats.”
“Hmm?” Striker was taken by surprise at the other pony's approach. “What do you mean?”
“You and...” the other stallion grinned, “Dovetail.”
Striker's eyes widened slightly, “me and Dove? Nonono,” he chuckled slightly and shook his head, “I mean... she's nice and all, but we, like, just met!”
Dove felt her magic falter as she couldn't help but overhear the conversation the two stallions were having. Narrowing her eyes, she focused again on the task at hoof. He's right... we've only just met.
“I dunno.” The other stallion raised his eyebrows and grinned, “looks to me like the two of you were meant for each other.” He chuckled, “of course, that's just the observation of an uninterested bystander.”
Striker shook his head. Eager to find a distraction away from this conversation he said, “you know, I don't think I ever caught your name, though I'm sure I saw you in the market earlier... or was it more recently than that?”
“My name's Blazer,” the black maned stallion said, giving Striker a look that clearly showed he was well aware of the other stallion's diversion tactic, “and I was just behind you when you were buying apples. I also passed you and Dovetail before coming into the library.”
“That must have been it,” Striker nodded, ignoring Blazer's pointed look, “my name's Cloudstriker, by the way. Nice to meet ya.”
“Same to you,” Blazer smiled, “so, anyway, what brings you to Ponyville, Cloudstriker? Not that I have much room to talk, I've only been here a few days myself.” The shorter stallion gave Striker a quick glance with his eyes and said, “from your armor I can see you're enlisted in Celestia's military. Are you Air force?”
“You know it!” Striker grinned as he stood just a little taller, “I'm from a base up north. I was sent here by my base commander to deliver a message, but I got held up because of the rainstorm.”
“They didn't tell you about the scheduled rain?” Blazer asked, surprised.
“No,” Striker groaned, pressing a hoof against his forehead and rubbing it in slow circles, “of course not. I swear, my CO has it out for me sometimes. It's so frustrating.”
“Does stuff like that happen a lot?” Blazer asked, “I mean, I thought Celestia's Guards were... I don't know... better than that?”
Striker couldn't help but chuckle, “maybe they'd like to be portrayed that way, but we're all still just ponies. We can try to reach higher ideals... can't always make it there.” He paused and sighed, his attention roaming from Blazer to Dovetail who was setting the repaired chair back at the table where it had been sitting before.
Nodding in satisfaction, the mare glanced around the room, catching Striker's eye for just a moment. She smiled at him, but instead of walking over and interrupting his conversation with the other stallion, she moved to where Minty was standing at the bookshelves, leafing her way through a novel. “What book is that?” The tan mare asked as she stepped up to the bookshelf. Minty yelped in surprise, tucking the book under her wing self-consciously.
“N-nothing...” she muttered, her eyes flicking to the left where she hoped Dove wouldn't notice the hole in the shelf where the newest iteration of Laser Burn and the Intergalactic Space Ponies was missing. The other mare followed her gaze and smiled brightly.
“Oh I love these books!” Picking up the first novel, 'Laser Burn and Comet of Calamity 6', she flipped through the pages with a sigh. “It's been too long since Daft Pony wrote a new one, don't you think? He left us at a real cliffhanger when Laser Burn couldn't make it back to his ship when he was being chased by aliens on Lestian V.”
Minty gave a small sigh of relief and smiled, “yeah, I think he'll be fine, though. Laser Burn was able to communicate with the Lestians, unlike the Gallopans of Stellar 075. And he made it out of that one alive.”
Dove giggled as she put the book back on the shelf, straightening the others around it. “Wouldn't it be fun to go on an adventure like Laser Burn?” The unicorn murmured quietly, “I mean... to live by trust and skill alone?”
“It'd certainly be exciting,” Minty agreed enthusiastically. “That's what I love about reading, though, going on adventures without all the... sticky consequences.”
The other mare giggled, “yes, there do seem to be a lot of those.”
Minty sighed wistfully, “I sometimes wish I could write epic novels like Daft, but sadly, my talent lies elsewhere.”
“What exactly do you do, Minty?” The tan mare asked, curious.
I'm a painter,” the other mare lifted her wing to show off the cutie mark on her flank when the book she'd been hiding fell to the ground with a thump. Minty winced as the cover hit the floor and cast a quick glace at Twilight, but the librarian was nose deep in her reading and didn't notice. Silently, Dovetail picked up the book in her magic and returned it to its place on the shelf.
“You were saying?” Dove pressed gently.
“Oh, yes, ah...” Minty shook her head to regain her train of thought, “well, like I said, I'm a painter. Most of what I do are land- and sky-scapes, but my favorite paintings are done on the insides of storms.”
Dovetail's eyes widened, “you paint inside storms? How do you do that and not get injured? Or at the very least, how do you paint in those conditions?”
Minty giggled, “it's not easy, let me tell you, but I have a unicorn friend who helps me out from time to time. He's the one who enchants my brushes, paints, and canvases so they aren't as affected by wind and rain. As for not hurting myself, I'm just lucky, I guess.” There was a short pause before Minty added, “what about you? What's your talent?'
“I'm a carpenter,” Dovetail beamed. “I have a shop on the other side of the market and I make all kinds of things- bookshelves, chairs, tables- but I don't just make furniture.” Her horn lit up with magic as she opened the other side of her saddlebags. From the depths of the canvas bag, she pulled a small block of wood up in her magic. “My real talent is carving,” Taking a deep breath, she quickly formed a small, thin blade of magic. With the ethereal knife Dove began to cut at the wood with tiny, precise strokes. The tiny carving slowly fills her vision as she concentrates on making each cut perfect, even one small deviation could ruin the piece.
So intent was she on her carving that the tan mare didn't notice that she was drawing a larger audience than just Minty. Both Striker and Blazer had come to investigate what was going on when her horn had lit up with magic and now all three ponies were mesmerized by the intensity of her concentration. After several minutes, the carving was complete and with a gentle breath of air to remove the last of the wood shavings and dust, Dove revealed what she had created. What had been a shapeless block of wood moments ago was now a delicate rose, barely three inches tall from the tip of the stem to the tallest petal. As she turned the rose to let them all see, the light from outside touched the gently curving petals giving the rose a warm and happy glow that made it look alive.
“Oh wow...” Striker murmured, breaking the stunned silence, “you're so good at that, Dove!”
Dovetail blushed deeply and dropped her eyes to look at her hooves, “Thank you. It's something that I've been practicing a lot... I love the outdoors and I thought that maybe I could use my talent to make something beautiful, like the flowers that Roseluck and her sisters grow.” The flower floats between the four ponies a moment longer. Glancing at the other three ponies, Dove offers the rose to Minty, but the other mare shakes her head to decline the gift. Surprised, and more than a little miffed, she lets the rose drift slightly until it stops in front of Striker.
The armored stallion blinks at the rose in front of him, “wait... are you giving it to me?”
Dove turns and blushes, “Well... um, y-yeeee... ah... I mean...” there was a long pause that ended in a nearly imperceptible, “yes.”
Striker grinned and carefully cradled the rose in his hoof as he wrapped a wing around Dove in a pegasus hug. “That's so awesome, Dove! Thanks!” He grins down at her, “you're such a great friend!”
Blazer grinned at Minty, leaning over to whisper, “yeah, they're perfect for each other.”
Minty giggled and nodded her silent agreement as Dove tried to hide her embarrassment behind her still too short mane. “You're welcome,” the unicorn murmured in the same quiet voice, leaning against his warm side. She closed her eyes, enjoying his closeness for a brief moment, before her shyness took over and she hurriedly stepped out from under his wing, stammering, “um... ah... I just remembered... I have to go home and do a... thing... bye! It was nice meeting you all!”
Almost faster than the others could follow, Dovetail hightailed it from the library. Minty shook her head and sighed, “that mare is so shy!”
Striker, on the other hoof, looked surprised, “I wonder what she had to go do?”
Minty rolled her eyes and not so gently punched him in the shoulder, “Go after her, idiot.” She muttered, “offer to walk her home!”
Striker gave her a confused look before his eyes widened in understanding, “hey why'd you ki-OH!”Hurrying after the mare, he pushed the door open and called after her, “Hey Dove, wait up!” The unicorn mare, already several pony-lengths away from the library, turned around in surprise, her face regaining it's warm red undertones as she recognized Cloudstriker. Catching up to her quickly in a few hurried strides, he grinned, “I thought I could tag along with your or something... Since you gave me the awesome gift. Maybe I can walk you home?” He paused, a goofy grin crossing his face, “That way if any griffons show up I can show you what the R.E.A is made of!”
Dove blinked a moment before smiling, “Oh... well, of course you can! I mean... if you don't mind... well, I supposed if you did mind you wouldn't have offered... then...” she glanced down at her hooves before adding quietly, “Um... I was going to my workshop... i-is that okay with you?”
“If that's where you make more awesome stuff like this,” he gestures to the rose that he had carefully wedged into the top of his breastplate, “then I'm in!”
As the two started walking down the streets of Ponyville, Dove opened conversation, “The workshop is... where I work, obviously...” She blushed slightly, “The workshop was owned by the master carpenter who taught me my craft- Hardnail- and when he decided to move away from Ponyville, he left the place to me.”
“He trusted you a lot to leave such a place in your hooves,” Striker said, more astute than usual.
“Hardnail was like a second father to me,” Dove admitted, “since my family lives...” she paused for a long moment, “far away...”
The pair walked in silence for a bit before Dovetail stopped in front of a one story building that looked nearly identical to the others on the street, except there were a lot more wood chips and scraps covering the yard than the others, “Well, here we are...” The mare smiled weakly. “Hardnail had once tried to think of a name for it, but decided it didn't need one. So it's just The Workshop.” She lead the way up the narrow walk between the road and the door and was about to open it when a young, gray pegasus mare dropped from the sky almost on top of them.
“Oops! Sorry!” her voice was bouncy and light as she giggled awkwardly, hovering a moment before alighting on the grass next to Dove. She looked up and smiled at Dove, her golden wall-eyed gaze still taking the unicorn by surprise, even though she'd known Ditzy Doo for years now. “I have a letter for you, Miss Dovetail. The stallion at the post office said it was really important I get it to you, so I flew right here!”
“Thank you very much, Miss Doo,” Dove smiled back at the gray mare who used her wing to pull a sealed envelope from her saddlebags. Handing it over, she smiled and gave a quick salute before jumping back into the air.
“See you later, Miss Dovetail!” She said as she circled once over the Workshop before flying away to continue her deliveries.
Dovetail shook her head with a chuckle before using her magic to levitate the letter in front of her. Striker's eyes were on the sky as he watched Ditzy Doo fly away, “What's up with her?” he asked.
“Who? Ditzy?” Dove smiled warmly, “she's Ponyville's mail mare. Lovely young thing, she's just a little awkward sometimes, but she does try. Smart as a tack, Ditzy just can't always see straight.”
“Ah, which is why she almost landed on us,” Striker nodded.
“Right,” Dove agreed as she carefully tore the top of the envelope off to reveal the letter inside. Unfolding the paper, she tucked the envelope into her saddlebags so she wasn't littering on her lawn. Her eyes skimmed over the first few lines quickly, before she stopped.
Striker had no idea what the contents of the letter were, but he could tell from the way Dove's expression fell dramatically that none of it was good. After he watched her read and reread the letter, he spoke quietly, “What's wrong, Dove?”
The mare shook her head a moment as her eyes filled with tears that she quickly dashed away with a hoof, “I- I'm sorry, Striker. I'm not going to... be able to show you the Workshop today... I... I have to go home...”
“Well, I can at least walk you there, right? So you aren't alone?” Cloudstriker's eyes were wide with worry as he watched the mare try not to cry in front of him.
“No... no, not to my home here in Ponyville,” she said quietly, “I have to go home.”
The pegasus looked confused a moment as she started to walk back to the road, “wait Dove! Like away from here? All by yourself?”
The mare stopped short, her hoof suspended over the road as she turned to face Striker again, “I... I have to. There's... something bad has happened and they need me.”
“Well...” Striker ruffled his wings as he stepped up next to her, “you're not going alone!”
“But... I haven't even told you where I have to go! You don't even know who I am!” Dovetail protested.
He raised a hoof and smiled slightly, “None of that matters. I can't possibly let you go on a journey like this all by yourself.” Striker placed a hoof on Dove shoulder and added, “it'd be my honor to accompany you.” Movement beyond the mare caught Striker's attention. Minty and Blazer were walking together on their way across town. Striker grinned and added, “hey! Maybe Blazer and Minty would like to come along, too!” Without waiting for her response, which would have been negative, Striker waved furiously to catch the other ponies' attention.
Blazer noticed and pointed to the pair standing outside Dove's workshop before walking over, Minty a half step behind him. “Hey you two. What's up?”
Dove shrank back slightly, she was in no mood to talk to more ponies at the moment, the predicament of her family fresh and painful in her mind. Instead it was Striker who spoke up, “Dove and I are going on a trip and were wondering if you wanted to join us.”
Minty and Blazer shared a quick glance, “well... would you really want us along? If it's just the two of you...” Blazer asked slowly.
“But it'd be so much more fun with more ponies along,” Striker said, oblivious to Blazer's insinuation. “Come on!”
“If you really want us along...” Minty said slowly, glancing at Dove, she stepped up to the other mare and asked, “what's wrong? Did something happen?”
Striker's wing extended comfortingly over the unicorn as she nodded slowly, “yes... something did... My family... I have to go.” She paused to take a steadying breath and used the moment to show both ponies before her the letter she'd received, “I haven't really spoken to my family recently, but I got this letter from them just now... They aren't from around here.”
Blazer turned his head slightly, “Where are you from?”
A small smile touched Dove's lips as she answered, “it's pretty obvious if you look at my colors. Unicorns, well ponies of all kinds, are much more colorful here in Ponyville, Canterlot, Trottingham... My family is from Hoofswell in the far north.” There was a small pause again as Dove collected her thoughts, “but I moved here with my older brother some time ago. After a while, he decided to go back home, but I couldn't leave. I love it here... and now...” her eyes began to fill with tears again, a pair of crystalline drops sliding slowy down her cheeks, “and now... my brother and father... they're gone...”
“Gone? What do you mean gone?” Minty asked, her eyes worried.
The unicorn shook her head slowly, “They're just... gone. Nopony knows what happened. They were just gone one morning. But they didn't just leave. They wouldn't.” She insisted.
“So you're going back to Hoofswell?” Blazer's voice was quiet.
Dovetail nodded, “I have to. My mother can't handle this on her own... she needs me.”
“Well then we have to go with you, Dove!” Striker said, using his wing to pull Dove against his side, holding her tightly.
“Of course! There's no reason you have to travel all the way to Hoofswell on your own!” Minty chimed in, “I'll come too!”
Blazer nodded firmly, “You need support just as much as your mother does in this. I'm in.”
Dove looked at each of the three ponies before her with shock. She'd only just met them today and yet they were all willing to put down their lives to help her. Tears began to fill her eyes again, but this time they were tears of happiness, “You'd.... you'd all do that? You'd go with me?”
Striker grinned down at her, “We just said we would, didn't we?”
A small smile pulled at the corners of Dove's mouth as she chuckled through the tears, “of course you did. I just... I can't believe you would do that for me.” She nodded firmly, but after a moment she sighed, “I don't know why they're missing... or where they could be... I have no idea what we could be trying to do.”
Minty extended a hoof and tapped Dove on the shoulder comfortingly, “we have a long trip to think about that. Let's worry about getting you home first.”
Again Dove nodded, “you're right. Thank you...” turning to the two stallions she added, “thank you all.”
Striker glanced at the sky, the sun was just cresting its zenith, “it's too late to leave today if we want to cover any serious ground.” He said, “I suggest we take the rest of today to prepare and wrap up business. We'll meet back here tomorrow morning.”
“How about the library instead?” Dove offered. “It's easier to find than my little shop. And I don't want anyone getting left behind... since you were all so eager to help me.”
Minty nodded, “The library it is, then!”