DIIING! DIIING! DIIING! DIIING! DIIING! DII-
Starlight Glimmer's hoof slammed down on the incessant alarm with all the force she could muster, which wasn't much. Fortunately it was enough to convince the device into returning to its slumber. Something Starlight really wished she could do right about now.
It wasn't that she was unfamiliar with working on personal projects late at night, or having to wake up at the same time as the sun. It was that ever since moving into Twilight's castle, Starlight had little time to spare while being introduced to a new routine. It was only recently that her time had become more flexible. This allowed Starlight to free the night and banish the morning to where it belonged; out of her sight.
Unfortunately her body was yet to be informed of the new changes, and was doing its best to let her know.
Unwilling to expend the effort of moving any more than she was required to, Starlight kept her fore-hoof remaining stretched out on the alarm clock while mentally weighing the benefits of more sleep against getting her day started. She continued to stare at the ceiling above her between uncooperative eyelids for a whole 5 or 30 minutes before she realised that she had drifted off to sleep again.
She jumped up with a start and a yell, before being immediately pulled back off the bed and onto the floor in a birds-nest of bed sheets. Starlight sighed. It was going to be one of those days, she could never get the hang of those days.
After a few moments of untangling the sheets and quickly re-organising the bed, Starlight stumbled her way down the maze of halls and towards the smell of what she could only assume were pancakes. She must have gone all last night without eating as she now found herself very hungry all of a sudden. The thought of syrup covered, ice-cream sided pancakes filled her mind and energised her enough to almost start skipping. Almost. She threw a light gust of magic ahead of her to push apart the doors to the dining room.
Please have syrup, please have syrup, please ha-
There was no syrup. All that energy drained from her in an instant. Starlight didn't even have to look around. From the angle she had entered the room the entire table from left to right was visible to her; there was not a single shining golden bottle of liquid sugar anywhere to be seen.
“We don't have any syrup?” Inquired Starlight, to the other occupants of the room, in an almost accusatory tone.
“And a good morning to you too,” came a snarky reply from Spike. It appeared Starlight wasn't the only one put off by being up at this hour.
“Good morning Starlight, are you feeling okay?” Twilight Sparkle used her magic to prepare the last remaining pancakes onto a plate, before floating them in front of Starlight. A quick nibble from the top pancake told Starlight they were a tad cold, but otherwise tasted fine.
Twilight and Spike had already finished with their breakfast. Fortunately for Starlight they were perfectly content providing her morning company while she ate, regardless.
“Sorry, I'm fine, just getting used to late nights again. Now that everything's starting to settle down and I've found a routine again, I've picked up some old projects of mine as well as some new ones. I guess I forgot how easy it is to lose yourself in them.”
“And the next thing you know the birds are celebrating the rising sun and the outside world begins to wind up while you shuffle back into your cave,” Twilight smiled at Starlight all too knowingly, “Trust me when I say I'm no stranger to that feeling.”
Starlight scrunched up her face at the odd sounding comment. “That was an almost poetic way of describing the morning. Not quite, but almost.”
Twilight sheepishly pawed her hoof towards Starlight, “I, uhh, may have been up most of the night myself, organising poetry. It's more addicting than you might think.”
Spike chimed in, “Meanwhile I packed all of your supplies and travel books, not that you'll read them until you get back,” The bitterness in his voice from conducting an unthanked task was not missed.
“I will so read them!” shot back Twilight with a mix of irritation and indignation. “Well, some of them,” she said as she levitated her empty plate over to Spike as a hint for him to start cleaning up. He took it and started packing away the cutlery despite his less than enthusiastic response to the task. “Thank you for packing, though, Spike. I appreciate it.”
“Yeah yeah,” Spike replied.
“Are you going somewhere?” Starlight asked, also passing her now empty plate to Spike as he stomped past.
“Just up to Canterlot for the day, I figure if you're going to be busy at your lunch with Rarity and Fluttershy then I may as well go see a friend of mine who lives there. It's been a while since our last get-together. I don't have any work to get done either, so make hay while the sun shines I say.”
“Oh, didn't I tell you? Rarity wasn't able to make it today on account of, as she puts it, 'unforeseen circumstances'. Although I'd wager she's just behind on her work. And by work I mean spa treatments.”
“So I take it you three have rescheduled?”
“To tomorrow, yes.”
Twilight was very excited by this revelation, “Well in that case would you like to come up to Canterlot with me instead? I'm sure you and my friend Moon Dancer would get along very well. You might even find you share a few things about your pasts.”
Starlight looked towards the room entrance, almost expectantly, “Actually I've already made new plans for today.”
“Oh, what sort of plans?” Twilight asked.
Even several rooms and corridors away from the entrance the battering of the crystal doors could clearly be heard throughout the castle.
“Greetings castle dwellers!“ came a muffled yet familiar voice echoing to the dining room, “The Great and Powerful Trixie has arrived at your not-at-all humble abode to wow and amaze!”
“I hope you don't mind”, Starlight said, “Trixie and I are going to spruce up her show a little and I figured it'd be easier to test things here instead of dodging around ponies at the park.”
“Of course! I'm just glad to hear you're making plans on your own and getting out from under the castle. As nice as it is here you can't exactly exercise friendship lessons from your room,” Twilight threw her dragon prepared saddle bags onto her back and started waltzing towards the room doors. Each step was already bouncing with the anticipation of seeing her friend again, “The faster I get out of your mane the better than I suppose. Perhaps you can come and visit another time?”
Starlight followed behind at a more leisurely pace, “Of course, it sounds like it'd be a fun afternoon.”
“Just be sure to let Spike know what you're doing so that he doesn't freak out over explosions and lights going off or anything else Trixie might have in her show. Otherwise he'll come running in with buckets of water and throw before he thinks,” Twilight informed Starlight with a huff.
“I feel like you're speaking from experience there,” Starlight replied. The image of an unhappily dripping Princess and her books almost made her giggle.
“If you really want to hear someone speak from experience just ask Spike what the best way to dry half a shelf of encyclopedias is; he knows all about that.”
“We'll try to keep it away from the library so I don't have to,” Starlight assured Twilight.
As they reached the large entrance doors of the castle Twilight pushed them outwards with a light touch. They swung open to reveal The Great and Powerful Trixie standing at the top of the stairs wearing nothing but her cape, hat, several comically over-sized saddle bags and her signature smirk.
“Trixie was starting to believe nopony was home,” announced Trixie, “Hello Princess, Starlight. I hope my glorious arrival has not come at an unfortunate time.”
“Hey Trixie”, Starlight reached out and took a couple of the bags off her friend's back. Floating them into a small pile in the castle entrance hall. They were surprisingly light and soft for their size. Either fireworks or a whole lot of cloth would fit that criteria perfectly. Starlight decided it would likely be both.
“Hello Trixie, I hope you two have fun today,” said Twilight, putting on her best smile. While Twilight had become used to Trixie's presence and her closeness to Starlight, there would always be that spark of competition between the two. Although it had become more about continuing the rivalry for the sake of continuing it rather than any actual ill will. Especially after Trixie's recent efforts to help Starlight rescue Twilight and her friends from ex-Queen Chrysalis.
“You wont be joining us Princess?” asked Trixie, “Well then, I guess The Great Trixie and Starlight will just have to make do with the power of unicorns alone,” she continued, putting on a clearly fake pout.
“If it helps, Starlight here may as well count as two unicorns. Her magic is coming along fantastically. I can't imagine what kind of tricks you two will come up on your own.” Twilight said, “It was good to see you, Trixie. I'll see you later tonight, Starlight.”
With the greetings and farewells over, Twilight leapt off the top of the stairs and took flight towards Canterlot. As she disappeared over the rooftops Trixie looked back towards her assistant waiting for her in the doorway, “Shall we?”
“Come on in!”
“So, did you have any idea of what part of your show you wanted to work on?” Starlight asked, placing Trixie's bags in the middle of the dining room table. It was several corridors from the library, so they had figured it would be the safest place for magic practice. The last thing Starlight wanted was a repeat of her most recent training session with Twilight.
She winced as a crunching sound came from one of the bags at the bottom of the pile, straining under the weight of the other bags she had placed on top. Fortunately Trixie either paid no attention to the noise or didn't hear it as she was already launching into her show-pony flair.
“The Great and Powerful Trixie was thinking of something flashy! Something dangerous! Something that goes ka-boom!” Trixie exclaimed, throwing her hooves into the air, “I need something that will take the show to the next level. Something that gets the attention of not just small hamlets of ponies, but entire cities!”
“Sounds challenging, but with myself as your assistant I'm sure we can cook something up,” Starlight announced confidently.
“I knew I made you my assistant for a reason.” Trixie opened one of the top bags and poured the contents onto the floor. Just as Starlight had guessed it was full of fireworks wrapped in sheets. The fabric was dyed the same purple shade of Trixie's cape and hat. Stitched into it was a cartoon-ish night sky which was crudely cut from faded yellow and blue felt. The fireworks were battered; there were rips along the seams and the fuses were frayed. It even looked as if water had seeped into a few. They had clearly been battered about during Trixie's travels.
Trixie caught Starlight's concerned look.
“Worry not my friend, these are show fireworks. They release magic instead of flames. It's what allows me to use them so close to an audience without singeing off anypony's coats. Trixie bought them from a magic shop during a stay in Canterlot once. They're a tad old now. But nowhere else sells them I made sure to buy enough to last my travels.”
At the mention of magic Starlight was instantly intrigued.
“Would you mind if I had a look at the spell? They can't be that hard to understand.” Without waiting for a reply Starlight picked up one of the fireworks and started to examine it. Magically feeling and stripping the contained spell down to its base parts.
“Trixie has looked herself, but had trouble understanding the mechanisms it uses. Actually I would be very interested if you could find a way to increase the amount of light they release? Or maybe just the intensity? I need something which could mask an entire stage at once. Something which could be used to hide the secrets of the performance.”
“Such as?” Starlight absently replied, already casting her own reworked spell onto the firework. Compared to what Starlight was capable of, this was foal's play.
“Well, the Moonshot Manticore Mouth Dive worked well because I, uh, vanished from sight before your teleportation spell was cast, so nopony noticed your magic being used. However, there is a far more advanced trick which would bring in masses from all around to see,” Trixie explained as she jumped up onto the crystal table, using it as an impromptu stage, and faced Starlight, “It involves me standing in plain sight in the center of the stage, all eyes on me, with a heavy metal box suspended from above.”
At her command Trixie created the frame of a magic box several meters above herself.
“After some talking up the danger of such a trick, Trixie would command you to cut the rope holding it up.”
The fake box started to fall towards her.
“And just before the box squashed me, the fireworks would go off an-”
A gentle hum hung in the air as the light of Starlight's altered firework settled. Neither Trixie or Starlight moved, both surprised by the intensity of the flash. As they slowly looked around to check if the rest of the room was okay, Trixie noticed she was now encased by the magic box which had landed on the table during the flash. She skittered out of it nervously, taking some comfort that it wasn't the real box.
“Well, in the actual show Trixie would be prepared for that and appear on top of the box, not in it,” Trixie said giving Starlight a quick glare.
Starlight smiled nervously, “Heh, perhaps I made it a little too bright.”
“Nonsense, that was perfect!” Trixie's attitude spun around, “Bold enough to capture the attention of the whole crowd. Nopony would pay attention to any magic used after that. Say, could you do the same to all of the fireworks?”
“Absolutely!” Starlight said excitedly at the opportunity to contribute more of her magic to the show. She immediately got to work on the rest of the fireworks. “Although I'm confused by one thing, why not use your smoke bombs? They block sight really well.”
“I'm glad you asked my wonderful assistant. Smoke bombs may be fast at providing cover, but they're still slow enough to allow keen eyes to pick out the secret to the act, especially a trick as quick as this. By using light, it will fool all eyes into believing they have just witnessed grand magic, not some street illusion. At least word will spread of the death-defying act. At last The Great and Powerful Trixie will become a household name!” Trixe caught herself, “Sorry, The Great and Powerful Trixie and Starlight Glimmer will be household names.”
“Oh goodness no I couldn't be,” Starlight shook her head, “The crowds should be excited to see you. This is your act, I don't want to impose on that.”
“Hmmf! I'm afraid that as my assistant it will be unavoidable. If it helps you don't have to say anything during the act, and when we hit it big maybe nopony will even remember the silent assistant.”
Starlight looked unsure, Trixie raised an eyebrow at her, “You know there's a difference between attracting a crowd and controlling one right?”
Starlight knew what she was getting at, “Of course! I just don't know how I feel about being back in the spotlight.”
“Starlight, you led a team to save every Princess of Equestria, all the Elements of Harmony, and overthrew the evil leader of an entire species all at the same time. I'm pretty sure standing on a stage wont be what ponies remember you for.”
“It wasn't just me, you were there with us,” Now it was Starlight's turn to raise an eyebrow, ”In fact why don't you just advertise your show with that accomplishment? You would get ponies from all around to see the magic which saved Equestria.”
“Are you saying I haven't already? Take a look at this!” Trixie pulled one of the bags over to her and dumped several rolled up posters from it onto the floor. Starlight took one and unraveled it. It was an advertisement for Trixie's next show.
~THE GREAT AND POWERFUL TRIXIE PRESENTS~
CAN'T BEAT EM'? CHANGE THEM!
COME SEE THE GRAND MAGIC OF A PONY WHO CHANGED THE CHANGELINGS!
ON TOUR NOW
~COMING TO A CITY NEAR YOU~
In the background of the poster was an imposing picture of Trixie looking over a group of the newly transformed changelings. Where in Equestria Trixie commissioned these images from Starlight would never know.
“I'm not sure how Thorax would feel about the imagery but this looks good. Has it not been drawing the crowds in?”
“Ugh, I wish I could say it did,” Trixie scrunched up her muzzle, “but ponies just think I'm piggybacking off the recent news to sell the show. As if a simple show-pony such as myself could be a part of an epic adventure. Maybe the Ursa Major story I told ponies before I met Twilight isn't helping. But this time Trixie really did fight off an evil threat!“ she rolled her eyes, ”Everypony's a sceptic. All I need is that one big break, something in the act itself to really push it over the edge and attract some real attention.”
Starlight gave Trixie a determined look, “Well then, let's make this the best act possible!”
Together they dove into patching up Trixie's show. Starlight continued with the production line of fireworks. Stripping apart the spells and injecting her modifications. Meanwhile Trixie examined the star fabric for signs of wear and tear, then stitched up any damage she found. She also managed to fit in some practice escaping from the falling box a few times with varying degrees of success. She did so without the aid of fireworks, there was no point in wasting them.
As they progressed they piled everything show-ready by the door so they could pack them back into the bags. Slowly the pile grew into a large molehill. Starlight was wondering about the integrity of the fireworks when suddenly the doors were thrown open and in wandered a large stack of books. No that wasn't right, it was a large stack of books being carried by- “Spike look out!” Starlight yelled. It was too late.
“Woo-hoo-ho!” Spike was caught off guard as he tried to stop too fast and the weight of the books he was transporting tipped him back and forth like a Cockatrice trying to balance on the pointy end of its tail. Everything happened in slow motion, falling books, flying fireworks, a chain reaction of explosions, then blinding white. The light grew and grew. It expanded at an exponential rate. The force from the fireworks wooshed down the halls. Chaos echoed throughout the whole castle. In seconds the light engulfed the library, second floor, basement, and even the roof. Entire bookshelves were thrown apart. Pans and plate rattled themselves off the shelves. The fire-less force even grazed some of the houses closest to the castle. Had it been night ponies would have sworn the sun had risen. Just as quickly as it had formed the disco ball of a castle dimmed and faded; revealing the damage left in its wake.
While the castle itself appeared unscathed, any objects not held down with at least two decent paperweights could be found several rooms away from their starting position, or further. Even as the last remnants of the light disappeared and eyes were safe to be opened again, pieces of paper and Trixie's fabric continued to float down from the ceiling which they had found themselves on.
“Oh no! I'm so sorry guys, I had no idea you were practicing in here!” Spike was apologising profusely, throwing himself onto his knees to beg for forgiveness.
Starlight thought fast, “It's okay Spike. Don't worry it, we'll get this cleaned this up in no time.” She was internally chastising herself for not following Twilight's advice.
“But I caused this, I should have looked inside before walking in. It is my responsibility to clean it up.”
“That's sweet of you, but we decided to do this here without even letting you know. It's our responsibility.”
Spike didn't look convinced.
“How about we clean up this time and you clean next time,” Starlight continued, “even if it's our fault?”
So long as she never made a mess again, Starlight could fix this.
Spike was still unsure, but he smiled nonetheless; he wasn't going to get in trouble and nopony was going to be angry with him, “Sounds like a deal! If you don't tell Twilight about this, please?”
“You have my silence, Twilight wont know anything.”
“And what of my fireworks? Those weren't cheap you know.” While Trixie wasn't red faced furious, she was definitely upset and expecting some form of compensation. And she had every right to, while Starlight had a princess to help her out, Trixie paid out of pocket for everything. This could be detrimental to her livelihood. Starlight had to think faster.
“Your next show isn't for a couple of days right? Well I told Twilight I'd go up to Canterlot at some point. I'll buy some replacement fireworks for you while I'm there. Those ones were probably in need of replacing anyways.”
Trixie nodded, she didn't need the fireworks for practicing. And she could trust Starlight to make good on her word. “Very well, that sounds agreeable to Trixie. Thank you, Starlight.” Trixie said, pleased with the outcome.
Starlight smiled, crisis averted. Until she looked around the room and the smile dropped off her face as fast as it had arrived, “We should probably get this cleaned up first though.”
HooHoo....*tick* *tick* *tick*...HooHoo...
Starlight Glimmer squeezed her eyes together and threw her hoof out at the clock. With a *clank* They connected.
HooHoo....*tick* *tick* *tick*...HooHoo...
She had missed the clock. Starlight drew her foreleg in and cast the hoof out again hoping to catch the infernal device this time.
HooHoo....*tick* *tick* *tick*...HooHoo...
It was at this point Starlight realised something was wrong. She had smacked the clock twice, perfect hits too, but it was still making noises. Also her hoof was really starting to hurt. Now that she thought about it her clock was making a very different sound to what it usually makes. It sounded much more...lively? Starlight cracked open an eye to investigate what was wrong. The angle was a little strange from where she lay, however, she managed to work out the hands on the clock by her bed displayed six o'clock. This was most likely the morning. She still had another hour before she needed to wake! Starlight scowled at the clock for its inaccurate time keeping.
That did not come from the clock. Looking around the rest of her room Starlight's eyes latched onto a pair of shiny black eyes staring back at her through the nearest window.
“AAH!”, Starlight screamed and pulled her sheets up to her chest defensively, ready to fight or fly. The eyes in the darkness tilted slightly. It was unsure what to make of the strange action. Blinking a few times Starlight was able to make out a silhouette around the eyes. An owl shaped silhouette.
“Oh, Owlowiscious, it's just you,” Starlight said, very relieved and feeling slightly foolish for mistaking the sound of an owl for a clock. She dropped the protective sheets, carefully fumbled her way out of bed and wandered over the closed window. In the light of the almost-rising sun from outside, as faint as it was, Starlight noticed Owlowiscious was sitting on something. She also noticed the tiny scratches where the owl had been tapping on the window.
“What do you have there, bird?” she asked, unlocking and pushing up the window with her magic. She propped her hooves onto the window sill. Owlowiscious hopped around her before she even had a chance to give his feathers a stroke. He wasted no time leaping into the room and gliding onto Starlight's bed; making himself comfortable in the warm sheets.
“Hmmmm,” Starlight grunted in annoyance towards the sneaky owl. She pointed a hoof in accusation, “You did that on purpose.” Owlowiscious turned away and ruffled the sheets; he had won and was simply claiming his prize. Starlight shook her head, “I'll use you for a pillow next time, bird.” The feathers sure looked soft enough.
Starlight turned her eyes away from Owlowiscious and to what he had been sitting on. It was the newspaper. She wondered if the Owl had found it or stolen it. She wouldn't put it past the little thief, he had already stolen her bed. Then again maybe it was payment for use of her bed. Starlight wasn't sure what to make of that, but decided it was best to include as much context as she could if she told the story to Twilight.
No longer able to return to sleep Starlight figured she may as well sit down and read the paper brought to her. She wasn't much of a newspaper pony. Most, if any, news she heard about came from Twilight or her friends. This arrangement suited her just fine. In her old village there was no newspaper. The town was so small there was just no need. Starlight knew of everything that happened. If she didn't know about something which happened, somepony was punished.
She shook the thoughts from her head; she was past that, she should act like it. The paper loudly crinkled under her magic use. Opening to the first page Starlight took a seat at her desk and delved into the events of the past, and sales of the future. The first pages contained sports and competitions. Something about a Buckball championship and a local chess competition. Apparently a 'Sisterhooves Social' was taking place soon. Starlight wasn't sure what a Sisterhooves Social was but she could guess it was some sort of team competition from the pictures. She pocketed the topic to raise with Rarity later today during their lunch. Perhaps she was entering with her sister.
The next page consisted of a two page spread informing Starlight of great deals on used sofas. She flipped to the next page and what she read made her pause. Large bold text covered the entire page:
Ponyville Resident Roseluck Seriously Injured in Freak Accident
A Tragedy which occured at Ponyville markets has left local resident Roseluck in a serious condition in Ponyville Medical. The accident occurred during the peaceful midday hours when a rouge cart's coupler came loose of its holding uphill of the market. The cart rolled down Wither Hill before slamming into several tents. Fortunately the cart did not travel further than the first row of tents and no other attendants were involved in the accident.
At this time no foal play is suspected however the occurrence is being investigated by local guards. Mayor Mare is expected to make an announcement about the event during the next town meeting. Princess Twilight Sparkle was unavailable for comments at this current time.
Early Equestrian recommends anypony using a cart for work or general transportation to check all parts for damage or rust.
Just below the grim article was a strategically positioned ad for custom fitted cart parts.
Starlight placed the newspaper down on the table and looked towards the window, allowing her mind to wander in thought. She tried to think back to if she had ever met Roseluck. The name sounded familiar. Perhaps one of Twilight's friends had mentioned her. Maybe she did need to leave the Castle more often, Starlight thought. Twilight and her group were really the only ponies she knew well. Well, including Trixie. Although today Starlight was heading out to meet Fluttershy and Rarity for lunch at a local restaurant. Perhaps, she thought, she could try and introduce herself to some new ponies. Twilight would be very impressed if she did that.
Starlight nodded to herself. With a feeling of fresh determination she floated the paper into the wooden bin under her desk and made for the door.
Starlight hopped down the castle entrance stairs one at a time. The sun had fully risen a few hours ago and the town was lit up. A gentle glow now came from the sun-clad buildings and the dirt road to the town center was warm under her hooves. Despite the perfect day there was hardly a hooffull of ponies out. Starlight figured they must have gone inside or to the markets for lunch. When her stomach rumbled she decided those other ponies had the right idea.
With a trot and a skip in her step Starlight bee-lined for the the restaurant she was meeting her friends at. When she had left her room Starlight had found the castle absent of Twilight. A few prods at the sleeping dragon in the map room revealed that Twilight hadn't returned from her trip yet. Also, that this was not uncommon and she got distracted too easily. Starlight just internally shrugged and moved on with her day.
Trotting through the residential area and past the markets Starlight paused for a moment and looked towards the crowd of tents and baskets of items. Fresh fruit and weaved bowls on display. She had told herself she would try and meet somepony new. She could take a quick look around, maybe even convince somepony to come to lunch with her. Starlight held a hoof towards the market before deciding against her plan and placing it back down on the ground. She could do it on the way back, yes, there no reason to keep Fluttershy and Rarity waiting. With the daily plan reformed in her mind, Starlight took off again.
It didn't take her long to reach the restaurant. Ponyville was still a small hamlet after all. Even if it was currently in somewhat of a growth spurt thanks to the introduction of Twilight's castle.
“Starlight!” called out a pony, snapping her out of her thoughts. Without realising it Starlight had almost trotted right past Fluttershy and Rarity who had been waving at her from their table. Starlight waved back nervously, playing it cool with a forced smile.
“Oh! Sorry I thought it was the next place over.” She quickly trotted over to the table. The restaurant was easily one of the largest buildings in Ponyville, yet it still managed to fit with the aesthetic. From their outside table Starlight could see the thick straw roof and large timber supports framing the multi-coloured crosshatched windows. The table they had chosen sat under the shadow of the building. Fluttershy was browsing the menu in front of her and just beside Rarity was a gardens worth of Roses wrapped in a paper bundle.
“Have you two already ordered yet?” Starlight began as she took her spot on the last straw pile.
“Oh goodness no, we wanted to wait for you,” Fluttershy smiled and slid the menu she had in front of Starlight for her to browse. “Although, um, we have already decided,” she said tapping her hooves together nervously. Starlight took the menu and started reading through the fairly basic items. Hay fries, hay burgers, and sunflower sandwiches for variety.
While Starlight made her difficult decision the trio discussed how their days had been and the various tangents they led down. Rarity explained her history with Sweetie Belle and the Sisterhooves Social, and their plans to compete in the up and coming competition. Each of them had just finished up ordering their meals when Starlight remembered what she had read this morning and decided to bring it up.
“Did either of you hear about what happened at the markets yesterday?” Starlight started.
Rarity and Fluttershy each looked towards each other to check if they were the only one not in the loop. When they each saw the other was just as confused by the question they both turned back to Starlight.
“What happened, darling?” Rarity asked.
“Carrots were an extra bit but I don't remember anything particularly note worthy,” Fluttershy offered.
“Oh, well I read there was an accident with, er, Roseluck I think? I've never met her myself but I'm sure I've heard her name somewhere. Do either of you know her?”
“Accident with Roseluck?” Rarity looked towards the bundle of flowers by her side, then back to Starlight and raised an eyebrow. “Well that can't be right I bought these from her just today.” She pointed to the flowers. Starlight frowned, equally confused. Had she misread? She thought back to the paper. It had definitely said 'Roseluck', hadn't it? While Starlight placed a hoof to her chin in thought, Fluttershy leaned over to Rarity.
“I thought you said a handsome stallion gave you those,” she said, raising her own eyebrow. Rarity rubbed the back of her neck, realising her own slip up.
“Er, well, what I mean, I mean I was given the money to buy them. But he did pick them out! eheh!” She managed to put together with an unconvincing smile, crumbling under Fluttershy's penetrating eyes.
The three spun their heads towards the noise which echoed from several houses over, Starlight came to a stand.
“Wh-what was that?” asked Fluttershy in a shaky whisper, hooves instinctively over her chest.
Starlight didn't look away. “I'm not sure but we should go check it out,” she said, before trotting off at a brisk pace towards her best guess at where the noise came from. Rarity agreed and followed suit with Fluttershy in tow. The sound had lured in ponies from all around. Like a leaf caught in a stream moving towards a drain, Starlight was guided towards the sound with no resistance. The crowd funnelled straight into the market and thickened as the three neared the center. A commotion was being made ahead where a large group of ponies stood watching something of interest. Starlight strained her neck to see over the crowd but decided to just step back when it became obvious she wasn't going to see anything attempting to push her way through. She considered levitating herself above the crowd when a voice rang out from somewhere inside.
“Please move aside!”
There was movement in the crowd. Rarity and Fluttershy stopped next to Starlight, the latter out of breath. But Starlight didn't even notice their presence. She was far too curious about the ongoing events in front of them, an ill feeling growing in the pit of her stomach. From the crowd a medical clad unicorn appeared, gently yet quickly pushing through the onlooking ponies. In tow was a stretcher backed by another unicorn medic. Of all the things Starlight could possibly notice about the medical team, it wasn't the red cross on their uniform which stole her attention or even the 'Ponyville Medical Unit' text spelled out under the cross. It was the deep raspberry mane of the still pony being carried on the stretcher. Starlight could only see flickers of the pony between the rest of the onlookers. She began stepping forward in an attempt to get a closer look when she stopped cold. Between the two ponies in front of her, for just a second, Starlight could see the pony's cutie mark clear as day. A single rose.