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    This ficlet was written as part of the Omega tier reward in my Ko-fi where I write stories based on prompts from supporters! c:

    Set in The Enchanted Library universe, specifically during the timeskip between TEL and TEK.

    PROMPT SPOILER BELOW

    Ink asking Rarity for help with somepony who asked her out as herself.


    Finally. 

    Finally, after three full hours, Incantation had gotten the foals to agree to their afternoon nap. Standing on the Dreamland’s theatre, she proudly watched over the dozen little snoring bundles she called her family. 

    She knew everything about them, from their favorite colors to their favorite books to their favorite games. She didn’t know all these things because it was her job, mind you, but because they were her family. The foals, unlike their parents, didn’t yet have any prejudices against her. They just loved her, foreleg holes and all, and so she couldn’t help but love them in return. 

    She just hoped they’d still love her when they grew up. 

    The front door’s bell chiming woke her from her reveries, drawing her attention towards the theatre’s doors. 

    Huh. Were we expecting someone today?

    Quietly as she could, she maneuvered her way around the foals, occasionally stopping to tuck one in or give them a little affectionate pat. Once outside, she found a pegasus stallion she recognized as one of the parents admiring the crayon drawings on the lobby walls. 

    Panic blasted her. Oh crud! Had he come to pick up his daughter early? Was she supposed to know this? Oh, sweet mother Cadance, help her. 

    She quickly changed her appearance to that of a regular pony, guiltily ignoring the Boss’ insistence she ‘rise above’ their distrustful looks. 

    “Hello, Mister Silverlock!” she greeted, walking towards him. “Didn’t expect to see you this early in the day!”

    Silverlock turned to her, and his expression brightened significantly. “Oh! Hello, Incantation.” He frowned playfully. “I’ve told you before you don’t have to call me Mister.

    Incantation giggled. “Sorry, Mister Silverlock, but that’s the rule during work hours!”

    Truthfully, Incantation rather liked Silverlock. A single parent who’d lost his partner a few years ago, he was one of their few employers who seemed to genuinely like her. 

    “If I may, then…” he continued. “Is hiding your natural appearance also a rule?” he asked politely, every carefully measured word suddenly spiking her anxiety, right up until he added: “Because if it is, I might need to have a strong word with Miss Rarity.”

    “I… No! No, no, it isn’t.” As though she were a child reprimanded, she sheepishly returned to her normal appearance. She felt embarrassed, actually. Weirdly naked, which in a sense she was because she didn’t wear clothes except for her neckerchief, but still. She cleared her throat and pressed on. “Anything I can do for you? Do you need to pick up Lemonsweet early?”

    “No, no, not at all,” he exclaimed, now a little flustered in turn. He cleared his throat and stood up straighter. He reached into his saddlebag and took out a little lunchbox. “She just forgot this, is all!”

    “Oh, what? Thank you for bringing it over!” Ink took the lunchbox and placed it on a nearby table. “That’s weird. She didn’t mention she forgot it this morning when I asked everypony who didn’t bring lunch. Probably figured you’d bring it. Good thing she knew she could count on you!”

    Silverlock’s cheeks grew redder. “Yes… Good thing…”

    “Is there anything else I can do for you?” Incantation asked, brightly. 

    Silverlock cleared his throat. “No,” he said. “Well, yes, actually. Or well, no,” he continued, his words coming out in a sudden stammer. “No, nothing.”

    Incantation frowned. Out of respect for others, she always suppressed her ability to sense other’s emotions, but even so she could tell something wasn’t quite right. 

     “…Are you sure?” 

    Silverlock fidgeted in place, looking more embarrassed by the second before he finally blurted out, “Would it be alright to ask you a question after your shift is over?” 

    “After work? You can ask me now!”

    He shook his head. “No, after your shift would be better. It’s…” He visibly swallowed and continued, “It’s, ah, not work-related.”

    “Oh! After my shift works, then!”

    “Great!” he exclaimed, brightening visibly. He offered her a grin and trotted off after a quick head bow. “I’ll see you then!”

    She waved him off. “Buh-bye!”

    Once he was gone, she shrugged her shoulders. Weird guy! she thought. But nice. Nice weird guy. I like him!

    After putting Lemonsweet’s lunchbox with the others, she trotted back into the theatre to find Lemonsweet herself wide awake among a sea of sleeping foals. As soon as she saw Incantation, the filly rushed over to her. 

    “Incantation!” she whisper-exclaimed, tugging on the changeling’s legs. “Did my papa come by?!”

    “Yes, he did. He brought your lunchbox, too. I put it with the othe—” 

    “Did he ask you out to a fancy dinner?!” Lemonsweet interrupted, jumping up and down in excitement. “Did you say yes?! You said yes, right?!”

    Incantation stared at her, blinking. “…Ask me out to dinner? Like, on a date?”

    “Mhm!”

    Huh.  

    “Uhhhhhh. He didn’t.”

    “What?!” Lemonsweet stomped her hoof on the floor, lowering her voice only when Incantation gestured for her to do so. “But he said he’d do it next time he saw you! He said!”

    “He did tell me he had something to ask me after my shift ends, though?” the changeling offered helpfully. 

    Lemonsweet immediately cheered up. “Oh, yay! Okay! I’m going back to sleep, then!” She turned round to trot off to her sleeping bag, but not before asking Incantation, “Pretend I didn’t say anything, okay?!”

    “…Okay!”

    Once the filly was back in her sleeping bag, Incantation took one last look around before trotting out into the lobby and unceremoniously falling down on her hindlegs. 

    So, a pony was intending on asking her out.

    Huh. 

    A pony. An actual real pony, in other words, a race of creatures where a sad majority actively feared she would suck the life force out of them and only allowed her near their children because Elder Moonshine swore by her. 

    And now one—granted, a nice one—wanted to… go on a date with her? 

    Huuuuh! 

    “Okay,” she whispered, calmly, “I need help.”

    That determined, she got up, trotted towards the bakery, pushed past the french double doors, and made her way towards the pink mare snoring away a symphony on top of the shop’s main counter. Pinkie was fast asleep, a string of saliva pouring out her mouth and onto the pink necklace hanging from her neck. 

    For as long as she’d worked there, she’d been told that waking Pinkie Pie up was only to be done in case of emergencies, but… maybe this counted as an exception? Maybe?

    She gingerly reached out with her hoof and poked her employer once. Then twice when she didn’t stir, and thrice when she continued to snore. 

    Chief?” she whispered alongside a fourth poke. “Are you awake?” 

    “Ssssssnoooooore,” Pinkie replied, which would be usually considered rude, except Ink knew Pinkie’s habit of loudly exclaiming her emotions apparently also happened when sleeping. 

    “Ah, crud.” 

    She glanced back towards the door, debating what to do. Rarity had specifically asked not to be disturbed that day unless the building was on fire, so she was out of the picture. 

    I’ll try one last time, she thought, and if she doesn’t wake up, then… well… I’ll burn that bridge when I get to it. 

    “Chief!” she whispered-shouted, forcefully poking Pinkie one final time. “Wake up!”

    Finally, Pinkie stirred half-awake, her right eye barely fluttering open. 

    “Whuzzat?” she slurred. 

    Ink’s ears dropped. “Uhhhm. Sorry to wake you up, Chief, but… Silverlock—one of the parent’s—is apparently going to ask me out on a date date later today, and I don’t know what to do.”

    A moment went by, and then Pinkie’s eyes went from barely open to wide as saucers. Her mouth opened up as well, but the word that followed wasn’t exactly anything Incantation had been expecting: 

    Rarity!” She jumped over the counter, over Incantation and then beelined straight for the bakery’s door. “Raaaarity!”

    Chief, wait!” Incantation despairingly called out, rushing after her. “We can’t interrupt her! The Dreamland isn’t on fire!”

    She rushed out after her and followed her up the stairs, yelping with every loud ‘Rarity!’ that her boss bellowed. Finally, to her horror, Pinkie reached Rarity’s workroom and slammed the door open, bursting in. 

    Rarity, as per usual, was at her sewing machine, glaring through her glasses at the costumes she was preparing for the play the foals wanted to put on. Despite the ruckus, she did not look up from her task, nor did she seem too upset at them. Maybe she was just too upset at the costumes? 

    Regardless, rather than yell as Incantation had feared, she had only one question: 

    “Is the necklace glowing?”

    “No,” Pinkie said, “but—”

    “Is the Dreamland on fire?”

    “No,” Pinkie said again, “but—”

    “Then kindly take your leave immediately and come back with your ‘but’s once I’m done with these costumes. Thaaaaank you~!”

    “Rarity!” Pinkie yelled, stamping her hoof on the floor. “Inky has a date, Rarity! A date with Silverlock!”

    With a loud click, the sewing machine stopped immediately, and only then did Rarity look at the two with a surprised expression. 

    “A date?” She perched her glasses over her horn and looked to Incantation. “With the stallion Silverlock who lives near the furniture store?”

    “Y-Yes, him,” Incantantion said before quickly adding, “But I don’t have a date! Yet. I maybe might have a date? I don’t know! I have a Maybe Date!”

    “What in Equestria is a ‘Maybe Date’?” Rarity asked, swiveling her cushion-on-wheels towards Incantation. “You either have a date or you don’t have a date. Wait.” Her eyes narrowed. “Did he ask you while you were on the job?”

    “No, no!” Incantation replied, shaking her head. “He’s going to ask me once I’m done with work for the day. I think? That’s what Lemonsweet told me, and he also asked to ask me something later, and—” The changeling deflated and fell onto the floor, transforming herself into a literal distressed puddle. “Urggghh!”

    “Aww, solidify up, Inky! It’s just a date!”

    “It’s not just a date!” the now-bubbling puddle protested. “I’ve never been on a date with anyone, especially not a pony!”

    Pinkie frowned. “Ponies aren’t that bad, Inky! Except for the ones who think changelings want to eat them.”

    “Which is, like, minimum, sixty percent of the adult population here!”

    A great frown marred Pinkie’s face. She turned to Rarity. “You don’t think this is a mean prank on Inky, do you?”

    “What? Asking her out on a date?” She mulled it over, putting her glasses back on. “There’s a chance, yes, but not only would we have to ban Silverlock and his foal from the Dreamland, I’d also have to kill him for playing with Incantation’s heart.”

    “Awww, Boss!” Incantation said, turning back into her changeling form. “I mean, I hope you don’t do that, but aww.”

    Rarity blew her a kiss. “But of course, my dear.”

    “But Silverlock isn’t like that, though!” Incantation said next, losing her playfulness. “He’s actually nice.

    “So you do want to go on a date with him?” Pinkie asked. “Is he your type?”

    “No! Or maybe? I don’t know! I thought my only concern for the day was making sure Dawnheart didn’t eat the plants again, not figuring out if a stallion is my type!”

    Rarity hummed thoughtfully, taping her chin with her hoof. She then swiveled around and faced her filing cabinets. “Let me get Lemonsweet’s files. We should have information on him there.”

    “Ooooooh!” Pinkie said, rubbing her hooves together. “Snooping time!”

    “B-Boss!” a scandalized Incantation protested, stamping her hoof on the floor. “You can’t do that! Isn’t that, like, illegal?!”

    “Darling,” Rarity said, halfway through levitating the files over. “We’re a daycare, not a royal government office. We’re just going to see the bare minimum, not his entire life history.”

    “Still! Incantation insisted, rushing over and snatching the files from Rarity’s hoof. “Aren’t dates supposed to be about getting to know each other? Through talking and not intel?”

    Rarity laughed, endeared. “Alright, alright, I’m putting it away! You can find out his middle name and other critical information the old-fashioned way, I suppose.” 

    Incantation nodded pleased when Rarity put the folder back and closed the cabinet. “Thank you.”

    “So,” Rarity asked, “are you going to say yes?”

    Incantation mulled it over. “I… I think so?” she said, only to be startled right out of her carapace when a colt dramatically burst into the room, horrified. 

    No, you can’t marry Lemon’s dad!” he exclaimed, distraught.

    Marry?” said both Pinkie and Rarity while Incantation gasped, “Why aren’t you napping, mister?!”

    He continued, grabbing Incantation’s foreleg. “You’re supposed to marry meeeee!” 

    Incantation blinked at him. “I am?” 

    “No, she isn’t!” yet another colt exclaimed, rushing in along with about six other foals. He grabbed Incantation’s other foreleg and protested, “She’s supposed to marry me!”

    “She’s not marrying any of you!” Lemonsweet exclaimed from amidst the little crowd. 

    “Exactly!” Incantation replied. 

    “She’s marrying my DAD!”

    “Wait, what? No, I’m not!”

    “Awwww, they have little baby crushes on you!” said Pinkie, a hoof on her chest, which was a much kinder reaction than the changeling’s, “What is this?! Why aren’t any of you in bed?! Naptime isn’t over! None of you are getting wake up cupcakes!”

    A fight ensued between nearly all the present fillies and foals over who was marrying Incantation while said changeling tried to calm them down. 

    “This reminds me of the time two boys fought over me at school,” Rarity said wistfully as she watched the chaos. “Simpler times.”

    “I-I would fight for you, Miss Rarity!” a colt eagerly said, not having expressed any interest in the changeling. “I would!”

    “Awww, darling!” she replied, charmed. 

    “I just haven’t yet ‘cause no one else wants to be your special somepony,” he then added, blinking at Pinkie’s wince and Incantation turning away from her admirers and towards him.

    “Toffee!” she scolded. 

    “Why are you scolding him? I’m not that easily hurt,” Rarity interrupted, turning to her costume with a gentle smile that soon turned thin. “Besides, he’s not wrong, is he?”

    Now it was Pinkie who spoke, upset.

    Rarity! That’s not true! she whispered-yelled, her upset agitation increasing when Rarity gestured in a very ‘Just saying!’ way. “We’re having a big, serious talk later, Missy!”

    Ignoring Pinkie, Rarity stood up from her cushion and finally addressed the still squabbling children. “Alright, enough!” she said, commanding but not rude or mean. Just loud enough to get them all to stop their fighting. “You are all to go back to your naps or else I’ll levitate you there myself!”

    Rather than do as she asked, the foals all simply raised both their hooves with mischievous smiles. 

    Fine,” she replied dramatically, narrowing her eyes. “I see I have no choice.”

    Her horn alighted with magic, and in one swift motion, the giggling foals were thrust into the air, all floating behind Rarity as she left the room. 

    Exhausted, Incantation fell to the floor in a great sprawl, finally relaxing just a bit right up until Pinkie asked: 

    “So! What’re you gonna tell him?”


    Several hours later found all the Dreamland adults and foals gathered in the bakery, partaking in Pinkie’s traditional end-of-day snacks (which used to be cupcakes but were now carrots and lettuce at Rarity’s insistence). 

    The loud chiming of the front doorbell caught everypony’s attention, and when Pinkie went to peer out the door, she gasped loudly and looked at everypony. 

    “It’s him! He’s early!”

    Incantation went red. “He is?!”

    Excited gasps rang out from the majority of the foals—particularly Lemonsweet—but the same foals from earlier did whine loudly. Or, they did until Rarity loudly cleared her throat. 

    “Kiiiiids? What did we say?

    Sheepishly, the group of foals recited, “I should not think about dating or marriage until I’m old enough to understand what they mean…” 

    Rarity smiled. “Perfect.”

    “Go, go!” Lemon urged, pushing Incantation towards the door. 

    “I’m going, I’m going!” Incantation protested, privately grateful that her physical transformation abilities meant she could literally hide her blush. 

    Stumbling out into the lobby, she indeed saw Silverlock standing by, the stallion smiling awkwardly at her.

    “Oh, hello!”

    “Uh, hi!” she greeted, trotting towards him after making sure to close the door in front of several spies.  “You’re early! The foals aren’t out for another fifteen minutes!”

    Silverlock blanched. “Oh! Am I? Oh, I’m sorry,” he exclaimed, fidgeting in place, contrite. “Sorry, I don’t know what—Uhh—” He immediately headed to the door. “I’ll go wait outside!”

    “No, no, it’s okay! You can wait here.”

    He awkwardly trotted back towards her. “Oh! Alright.” A moment passed. “So. Nice day?”

    “You had a question for me?” Incantation asked instead, because she did not have the mental fortitude to not just get that going. 

    Silverlock was immediately flustered, which Incantation had to admit was… honestly pretty cute. “Oh! Question? Yes! Uh. Now?” he stammered eloquently. 

    Incantation giggled. “Yeah! Now should be fine.” She gifted him an encouraging smile. “What’s up…” The word ‘mister’ hung on her lips, but she let it slide and instead just sweetly said, “Silverlock?”

    His eyes widened. “Uuuuuuuh…”

    “You had a question!” she helpfully reminded him, forcing down a giggle when the poor stallion looked like he wanted to die. 

    “Yes! I did!”

    “Mhmmm?”

    “Denza, I’m sorry, it’s just… been a while since I’ve done this and—” He swallowed his shame, cleared his throat, and asked, “Are you free for dinner this Friday night?”

    Aaaand there it was. 

    “Free for dinner?”  she repeated slowly, not wanting to look like she already knew. 

    “Unless you don’t do dinner! Changelings, I mean!” he hastily continued, having misinterpreted her tone. “I don’t know very well what your kind does for dinner, but I’m open to new things!”

    “No, no, we can do dinner! Dinner is great! It’s just…” All her excitement turned to apprehension. This was it, wasn’t it? Judgement day. She bit her lip and then cautiously said, “It’s just that… I’m a changeling.”

    Whatever awkwardness he had melted away, replaced instead with an affection that she could not only see, but feel too. Overwhelmingly so. “I know that, Incantation. That doesn’t matter to me.” 

    “Oh.”

    Despite all her abilities, she could not hide her blush nor ignore the pounding of her heart. To have been accepted and cherished by the Boss and the Chief and the kids was wonderful, but… this was an entirely different kind of feeling. Wonderful, yes, but… warm in a way she hadn’t ever experienced before. It was nice. Really, really nice. 

    “Well…” She smiled brightly. “Friday night sounds great.” 


    Bleeeugh. Not too happy with this one, but I’m trying to remind myself not everything can be a hit for me. Ah well.

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    10 Comments

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    1. A Deer
      Jan 16, 23 at 5:48 am

      I fear Lemonsweet won’t have a career working with top secret documents. And can’t blame Dawnheart because some plants just look delicious. Those little seeds on buns and rolls scared me when I was a child though. Not sure why I shared that last thing but there it is.

      Also I don’t doubt Rarity would kill on a friend’s behalf. I’m 60 percent sure she’s already killed and will kill again.

      Really enjoyed Incantation. Her uncertainty and anxiety really came through. She even turned into a puddle – that’s definitely wearing your emotions on your sleeve. Maybe floor in this case. Rarity and Pinkie were great for reflecting Incantation’s emotional state and her getting through it. The foals added to the intensity with their arguing. And I liked the complication Lemonsweet added to the story early by giving away the father’s question. Really enjoyed the story!

    2. Anonymous Guest
      Dec 22, 22 at 3:56 am

      I shall call her Mi Amore Incantesima

    3. Dream
      Dec 21, 22 at 2:37 pm

      This is so cute!

    4. Naduran
      Dec 19, 22 at 12:38 am

      Overall, an sweet little story, but I am jealous over changelings unfair advantage in making dramatic poses

    5. StealthWalrus7
      Dec 18, 22 at 6:54 pm

      Quite cute, and the puddle bit was a new one for me. I don’t think I’ve seen that in a changeling fic before.

    6. SigmasonicX
      Dec 17, 22 at 12:05 am

      This was fun, and another nice OC x OC romance from you. I loved seeing Pinkie and Rarity’s reactions, and it was fun seeing Dreamland actually act as a daycare.

      Regarding you not being satisfied by this, I think I can see why. Despite being about Ink finding acceptance as a changeling, it doesn’t really go into that much—since we get more of that in TEK and this can’t advance things too far. This is more about Pinkie and Rarity (and all the foals) reacting.

    7. Kits
      Dec 16, 22 at 3:40 pm

      Ink puddle was fantastic.

      Pinkies response and rarity’s responses are perfection.

      Ink deserves more dates. All the dates.

    8. ShadowLDrago
      Dec 16, 22 at 3:26 pm

      I’d also have to kill him for playing with Incantation’s heart.”

      I find it more than a little worrying that you probably would.

      Bleeeugh. Not too happy with this one, but I’m trying to remind myself not everything can be a hit for me. Ah well.

      If it’s any consolation, I thought it was very cute.

    9. JMP
      Dec 16, 22 at 3:25 pm

      This was a very cute story. The scene in Rarity’s workshop was fantastic. Especially loved “Is the Dreamland on fire” and Ink literally turning into a puddle.

    10. Kapuchu
      Dec 16, 22 at 3:01 pm

      I think this is cute. Even if Mono isn’t perfectly happy with it, I liked it. Incantation’s indecisiveness and uncertainty were very endearing.