Read it and Weep
Twilight Sparkle joins Rarity and Pinkie Pie in watching Rainbow Dash pull off an assortment of aerial tricks. An impressive sight, to be sure, but as this is Rainbow Dash we're talking about it, it all ends with an equally impressive crash. A bad enough crash, in fact, that it lands her in the hospital with a broken wing for a few days. Dash does not look forward to just sitting around and refuses to listen to her friends try and put a positive spin on hospital life. So Twilight tries to rouse her spirits with, naturally, a book: Daring Do and the Quest for the Sapphire Stone, the first in the series. But Dash is having none of that, explaining that she's not the reading type, calling it a pursuit only for eggheads. She's surprised when this just draws laughter from her friends, who tell her reading is for everypony. They're shooed out by the nurse so Dash can rest, but before leaving, Twilight has to give the book one more plug. She points out that the protagonist is a lot like Dash, but the pegasus just brushes her off. However, after exhausting all her available entertainment options in less than a minute, she tries and fails to resistreading the book.
From page one she finds that she has much in common with Ms. Do, as the story opens with Daring Do having crashed in the jungle, grounding her for a few days. As Dash reads, the scene shifts to her imagination, playing out the scenes as she reads. Daring Do finds herself surrounded by all manner of jungle cats (and one kitty), but she manages to outrun them, until she reaches a deep canyon. Unable to fly across, she swings on a vine, and finds herself at the very temple she was seeking! It's at this point in the story that Dash comes to the realization that not only is she hooked on this book, but reading in general. No one must ever know....
Back in the book, Daring Do enters the temple and narrowly avoids trap after trap. At last she sees the eponymous sapphire stone sitting on a pedestal, which is when there's a knock at the door. Back in the real world, Dash stows her book just before Twilight and Fluttershy enter, ready to pay her a visit and play her favorite board game, the pony version of Battleship. Wanting to get back to her book, Rainbow Dash hastily loses without even taking a turn. Which is suspicious behavior right there, since she never loses at that game. Before her friends can question it too much, she feigns sleep until they leave, then goes right back to her book.
Daring Do, remembering all the traps in the other rooms, kicks a rock into the chamber, and sure enough, it sets off a trap. Knowing there must be a way through (otherwise, how did anyone get the stone in there), she studies the floor tiles and discovers the secret: the tiles without a predator design are safe. She carefully leaps across the floor, and reaches the pedestal in one piece. After examining the pedestal for more traps, she grabs the sapphire stone and stows it in her hat. She prepares to leave, unaware that there was in fact a trap, triggered by moving the stone. She soon becomes aware of it when the temple begins crumbling around her. The floor tiles fall away, revealing hot lava underneath. With her path destroyed and the lava beginning to rise, Daring Do's only option is a hole in the roof of the chamber. Climbing the debris, the hole still isn't within reach, so with no other choice, she makes a leap for it. She manages to just catch the hole, and as she pulls herself out, the blast of heat from the lava blows her into the air. Her landing knocks the stone from her hat, as before her stands a strange-looking creature that speaks in Pinkie Pie's voice.
No, wait, it's actually Pinkie Pie, heralding a visit from herself, Rarity, and Applejack. Fortunately, Pinkie broadcast herself early enough that Dash was able to tuck away the book. They happen to come at food time, but this does not deter them from visiting. Rainbow Dash's horrible eating technique does, however, and soon Dash is alone with her book once again. She reads with wonder as the strange-looking creature, Ahuizotl, takes the stone and summons all the jungle cats (and one kitty) to capture Daring Do. With the pegasus in his clutches, he ties her to a slab in another temple, then triggers the trap before making his escape. Helpless, Daring Do watches as spiked walls close in, spiders and cobras swarm in, and the entire room fills with quicksand.
It's at this point that Rainbow Dash's reading is interrupted by the doctor, revealing that she read all through the night. But the doctor has good news for her: her stay is over and she's free to go, though she still has to stay off her wing for a week. Despite her objections, the nurses discharge her and wheel her out of the building, away from her precious book. Now how will she find out what happens next? Pacing outside the hospital, Dash remembers that Twilight mentioned having all the books in the series. But having dissed reading, she can't bring herself to ask.
The whole situation is enough to make you sick, which gives Dash an idea. She stumbles back into the hospital, moaning and groaning about the pain in her wing, and shivers in agony when the doctor touches her wing. Unfortunately, he touched her good wing, and sees through her ruse. Thinking she's just being lazy, he kicks her out and bids her good evening. With the fate of Daring Do on her mind, Dash knows she won't be able to get to sleep, which gives her another idea...
Under cover of darkness and clad in black, Rainbow Dash sneaks into the hospital, hiding from security guards and doctors alike. She makes it into her old room, but her bed already has a new occupant. Luckily, the book is still there, knocked to the floor. She slips under the bed and picks up where she left off. But she barely has time to read two lines before she's interrupted by the new sick pony, who accuses her of trying to steal his slippers. She corrects him that she's only trying to steal the book, which doesn't get her off the hook. Dash finds herself surrounded by all manner of hospital staff (and one intern). She attempts to get past them by flying, but her bad wing still needs to heal, and she crashes into the bookcart, dropping her book in the process. She doesn't have time to find it, though, and runs off with the hospital staff close behind. She comes to a river, and inspired by Daring Do, she swings across on a vine, despite there being a perfectly good bridge.
The chase takes Dash and her pursuers all through Ponyville, waking everyone up in the process. Finally, the hospital staff corners her at the library, and both the staff and her friends demand to know what's going on. With no other option, Dash admits she's become an egghead and just what she was doing at the hospital. Twilight is impressed that Dash liked the book enough to stoop to petty theft, and Applejack points out that enjoying reading isn't an excuse for waking up the whole town. With that settled, Twilight offers to let Rainbow Dash borrow any of the Daring Do books. Dash apologizes for thinking reading was only for smart ponies, but Twilight points out that just because Dash is athletic doesn't mean she isn't smart, and that reading isn't exclusive to any particular type of pony. Dash adds that she shouldn't knock something until she's tried it, which Twilight sees as a good lesson to write up for the princess. Dash, however, is too impatient to finish the book and tells Spike to just summarize their conversation.
And so Dash finally gets to read the end of Daring Do and the Sapphire Stone. When we last left our heroine, she was trapped in many ways. With the quicksand rising, Daring Do looks around and is able to deduce a way out. She slingshots her hat across the room and hits the switch that triggered the trap, reversing the effects. She breaks free of her bonds and makes for the exit. Ahuizotl, meanwhile, strokes his one kitty and gloats about his victory over Daring Do, only for the pegasus herself to swoop in and steal the stone right out of his hands. Once again, the day is saved, thanks to Daring Do! With that one finished, Dash immediately picks up the next book in the series, Daring Do and the Griffin's Goblet.
I don't really have too much to say about this one, even though it was fun to watch. The action scenes at the end were unexpected, and I liked the little nods to the earlier book scenes during the chase.