It's only been three weeks since Twilight was reassigned to Ponyville — more than enough time for her to start developing a reputation. Namely, if you put enough library books back in the wrong places, she will kick you out. It's gotten to the point where she's afraid one more occurrence will get her booted from Ponyville. And it's also at the stage where ponies are starting to wager on how long it'll take her to toss a patron. Betting pools. With fairly major stakes. And the lone patron currently in the library, whose time window for winning is rapidly closing, has the poor luck to be dealing with a Twilight who's desperately trying to restrain herself exactly at the moment when he truly needs her to kick him out.
So he explains his situation in just about those terms. And she kicks him out — field-tossing a book well away from his head for good measure, just to encourage the pace.
The book, being minotaur-made, easily survives the impact with the closing door. The door itself winds up with a very large crack in it. A crack which, when added to the possibility of the ex-patron going to the police and all the other kicks, feels to Twilight like the final offense. The thing which will make the Princess withdraw her from Ponyville forever.
Unless she can fix everything. All by herself. Starting with the crack.
They have books about that, don't they?
Read it here.
Tropes found in this story include:
- An Aesop: Flaws don't indicate something is broken: they just add character — something Twilight doesn't write a letter about, because she doesn't understand it yet.
- Berserk Button: Twilight's perfectly aware that deliberate misshelving is one of hers and struggles to keep the latest library patron from pressing it — until she learns the only reason he came in was to jam his full weight on the button with both forehooves. The results become predictable from there.
- Bilingual Bonus: The teenage patron is eventually named as Barkellner — which, being German for "bartender", explains the golden mugs of his mark.
- Call-Forward: Several.
- Mr. Rich is hoping for a chance to speak with Zecora, but it's going to take a little more time.
- In local continuity, it's the events of this story which lead Twilight to plan the slumber party.
- Applejack never wants to run into whoever invented the spackle. This doesn't work out.
- Twilight's fear of doing something which would remove her from Ponyville surfaces here. It shows up again a little later on.
- Twilight's Innocently Insensitive remark about Applejack not knowing what it's like to not be able to use your own magic (and the reaction she misses) sets up the first hint of a future issue.
- Doom It Yourself: The ultimate result of repair attempts made by an exhausted unicorn with no mundane carpentry skills who's working with suspect material. No explosions, fires, or floods result — but there's dried spackle everywhere, none of it is in the crack, and the majority winds up in Twilight's fur, with a magic-blocking cone around her horn.
- Forgot About His Powers: Averted. As this story is set before the slumber party, Twilight isn't aware that Rarity knows a working which could potentially solve everything with one casting. (She does find the spell itself recorded in the library, but decides she doesn't have time to personally learn it.)
- Made of Indestructium: Minotaurs have interesting bookbinding standards. Twilight notes that if the entire tree was caught in an explosion, the book would be found in the Everfree, with several monsters breaking their teeth on the cover.
- Never Needs Sharpening: The spackle Twilight uses is supposed to harden instantly on contact with a unicorn field, and it does. There's just two minor problems with that: it means no unicorn can use their field to manipulate the substance, and all the contents of a single tub go solid at the same time, regardless of whether they've all been applied or not. As it eventually turns out, the inventors have something of a suspect record.
- Oblivious to Love: A mild case: Twilight fails to understand that some Ponyville residents are becoming curious about what she'd be like as a romantic partner. This eventually comes back to bite her. Hard.
- Pun: Have you seen the title yet?
- Shout-Out: The whole idea of putting a crack in the door and having it stay there is a direct one to the residents of a certain bar. (Word Of Fanfic Author is that if not for the near Bottle Episode nature of the story, we would have had the first actual appearance of an earth pony named Stonebender, who was first mentioned in A Mark Of Appeal.)
- At one point, Mr. Rich asks Twilight if the crack she's trying to fix is in the world.
- Squishy Wizard: Towing a spackle-laden flatbed cart through Ponyville, wearing full-body clothing (including a hood), in summer, while afraid to use her field because somepony might realize it was her from the color... leaves Twilight as a froth-dripping spent near-wreck who can barely focus enough to think about solving the problem. It's made clear that she's perilously close to an overheat.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Applejack's timeline-current opinion of Rarity: she respects what the designer brings to the group (whatever that is), but openly admits that they're not friends, and it might take a while before she starts to like her.
- Written-In Absence: Spike spends the duration of the story in Canterlot, where he's clearing the last of his old things out of their apartment in the Archives. This also serves as a Call-Forward to 100% Move=50% Fire: you can almost see Twilight deciding she needs to maintain a fallback position, just in case she does get kicked out of Ponyville.