The next few weeks were good enough for Statice once he decided to send the letter and wait for more fortunate events happening to him so that he could write them for the next one. The classes at Magic Kindergarten were dull given how basic the material was, but the foals made his stay there entertaining. Fortunately, it turned out that the class schedule was mixed and Statice and the rest of the class were allowed to practice potions and other magical experiments. The assignments were not hard compared to the potions and elixirs that he used to make on his previous adventures, but they were definitely fun to do.
Now I can see the “Magic” in Magic Kindergarten. On the bright side, learning these potions and magical experiments can make for a very entertaining weekend.
Rarity left Canterlot the day after the date, but she tended to visit every once in a while since she started her new boutique. Similarly, Piercing Gaze was released and trialed by Celestia and Luna some time later.
The trial was a short one. Other than Statice, nopony bothered to show up at the trial as Celestia and Luna gave their judgment. Since Piercing Gaze hurt no subject during his rampage, he was to be allowed to leave Equestria with just a warning. The griffin said nothing against his sentence, bowing to both princesses before saying his goodbyes to Statice. With another enemy out of the way, Statice felt safe around the castle…or at least as safe as he could feel in a place inhabited by several guards who still had a bone to pick up with him after their previous encounter with him months ago.
Somehow, it feels ironic that with Piercing Gaze gone, I feel like the only prisoner in the castle. Then again, he pretty much is the only prisoner in any trial that ever declared himself guilty, displayed good conduct, and took his punishment like a boss.
“Are you feeling okay, Statice?” Celestia asked him after the trial was over.
“I feel released,” Statice admitted with a sense of contentment and closure. “I rarely end my enmities on civil terms. I guess I should thank you for that.”
“That’s quite alright,” Celestia smiled. “I’ve had experience settling disputes, regardless of the histories behind them.”
Statice smiled in satisfaction. “I gotta go. I need to study for my test.”
“Pray tell, what is the theme of your test?” Luna asked with genuine curiosity as she approached her sister.
“To sing the national anthem,” Statice admitted as a blush formed on his face.
“You don’t know the national anthem?” Luna asked with a raised eyebrow. Even when she knew that Statice did not grow up in Equestria, hearing a grown up pony saying that he didn’t know the national anthem still felt weird to her.
“I know part of it,” Statice muttered defensively.
“How much of it do you know?” Luna questioned as she got close to Statice.
“Just the first verse,” Statice turned his head away from her.
“You’re going to need a lot more studying if you want to pass that test,” Luna observed with a giggle.
“I was gonna study,” Statice advanced as he tried to excuse himself out of the room, only to be stopped by a large white wing. He looked around to see Celestia staring at him with a reassuring smile.
“Actually, I’d rather like to meet you tonight at the great hall tonight,” Celestia proposed with an enticing smile.
Statice’s eyes widened in surprise as the princess made her proposal. His heartbeat increased fast enough that he was able to hear it from within his head. His blush returned tenfold and his breathing was getting short.
Did Princess Celestia just ask me out on a date? What am I gonna say? I mean, I only had like two dates, but I don’t think that counts. I mean she’s beautiful. But what can I tell her? Should I say yes or no?
“There is going to be a special occasion at the castle tonight,” Princess Celestia continued with the same alluring expression.
What does she mean by special occasion? Is she gonna propose to me? Who am I kidding? She’s gonna wed me right away! The last time a girl confessed to me was quite a hassle.
“There will be an opening at the royal garden opening tomorrow,” Celestia continued as her wing stopped holding off Statice. “Tonight there will be a special dinner for the Wonderbolts and I would like you to come with me so that you can socialize with them.”
“You want me to meet the Wonderbolts?” Statice asked with relief as he felt the fear of dating Celestia fade away from him.
“I take it that you must admire the Wonderbolts,” Celestia folded her wing. “I can see it in your face.”
“Yeah, I am kind of a fan,” Statice lied to hide the relief he felt after the misunderstanding was cleared.
Celestia smiled at Luna before looking back at him. “I’m glad you feel that way. I want you to socialize more. You’ve been inside your room for days. Rarity visited Canterlot every once in a while and asked how you were. I take it that you haven’t made many friends since your stay here.
“I made a few friends recently,” Statice countered, remembering his fake double date with Fleur and Fancy Pants.
“I doubt that you can call them friends if you don’t spend time with them,” Luna tilted her head to the side. “The friends you made at Magic Kindergarten don’t count as well, Statice. You need to get out more.”
Are they pulling a Twilight Sparkle on me?
“I don’t think I can, Princesses,” Statice tried to excuse himself weakly as he backed away. “I have trouble remembering the lyrics…”
“You’re going and that’s final,” Luna declared with finality.
“Fine,” Statice grumbled with annoyance.
And I thought that Magic Kindergarten gave me homework.
Statice found the evening somewhat enjoyable. He was dressed in the suit Rarity made for him back when she dragged him into that date with those nobles. Surprisingly enough, the Wonderbolts were quite nice guys. In spite of being one of the few non-pegasus ponies at the great hall, they didn’t seem to treat him any differently. Most of them were quite interested in the Arcanum Ball match he played against Rainbow Dash and her friends.
First Fancy Pants and now the Wonderbolts…can’t believe how popular Arcanum Ball has become in Canterlot. I wish Digitalis could hear about this.
“I must say that everypony seems to like my game more than expected,” Statice spoke to a small group of Wonderbolts surrounding him. The one who liked the game the most was a light blue pegasus with green eyes and dark blue mane.
“Well, when you can see somepony go toe to toe with Rainbow Dash and the Elements of Harmony, you can take a liking to such a sport,” Soarin smiled. “It’s quite hard to match one of our Wonderbolts Reserves, especially with such a promising candidate like Rainbow Dash.”
“She does show promise,” Statice genuinely praised. “It’s quite a shock that she is not a member yet.”
“Right back at ya,” Soarin smiled at the green unicorn. “If the choice were up to me, I’d made her a member a long time ago. Sadly, I’m just the second in command. And not even Spitfire can make you a Wonderbolt right away. You have to do the intended process.”
“That’s the problem with bureaucracy these days,” Statice chuckled as he attempted to get a plate of steamed broccoli, only for two more Wonderbolts to prevent him from leaving.
“Tell me about it,” Soarin sighed as he remembered how much he had to struggle to join the Wonderbolts. “If everypony could join the Wonderbolts by doing aerial feats like the Sonic Rainboom, I’d already been a member for a long time.”
“Aren’t you a long time member of the Wonderbolts?” Statice asked.
His question was met with laughter from Soarin and his friends. Statice frowned at their reaction. He made a question, not a joke.
“I never thought that you were the funny type,” Soarin chuckled. “Wait until I introduce Spitfire to you.”
Yeah, I don’t think you’ll appreciate my definition of funny.
“Fine,” Statice smiled pleasingly. “I’d like to meet the captain of the Wonderbolts on my own.”
“Well, you don’t have to look any further!”
Statice turned around and was met by a yellow pegasus with a flame like mane and orange eyes. She had a confident grin on her face as she flew close to him.
“I take it you’re Spitfire,” Statice forced a smile on his face to remain civil.
“The captain of the Wonderbolts at your service,” Spitfire smiled as she placed a hoof on his shoulder. “I’m honored to meet the creator of Arcanum Ball. I wanted to share a few words with you since I saw your match with Rainbow Dash.”
Who doesn’t want to have a few words after the match? It’s pretty much the only thing these guys wanna talk about! Then again, it’s better than having jocks talk about how awesome they are. Hmph…I guess Rainbow Dash could learn something from joining these guys.
“Let me guess,” Statice interrupted her. “You want me to make Arcanum Ball into a sport for Equestria.”
“No,” Spitfire frowned in annoyance…and a little bit of embarrassment at him figuring out that she was going to ask him about that later on the conversation. “I just wanted to say that you should be more careful in your next game.”
“Beg your pardon?” Statice asked in surprise, remembering another yellow pegasus that had scolded him over a similar issue.
“That last move of yours was really risky,” Spitfire looked at him with concern while speaking with a scolding tone. “I understand the thrill of victory, but that shouldn’t be an excuse for you to gamble with your own safety. Success is not worth anything if you end up getting yourself injured.”
Wow…that was deep. And it’s probably the smartest conversation that anypony in Equestria ever said about my game. Wait, isn’t that what Discord and the others told me after the game? I guess stubbornness or tranquility can make the same message sound a whole lot different. It’s a good thing everypony keeps telling me the same thing until I learn it.
“Sorry about that,” Soarin chuckled in embarrassment. “Spitfire takes her duties as a Wonderbolt very seriously. She was seconds from barging into the game when she saw you fall to the floor.”
“We’re a rescue team, Soarin,” Spitfire smirked as she elbowed her partner with her other foreleg but still kept her passionate voice.
“Kind of ironic that a daredevil is lecturing me about safety,” Statice teased, more out of playfulness than malice.
“Well, you can’t save a life if you don’t keep yours,” Spitfire laughed before she was followed by everypony else.
And you can’t keep your life if you waste it saving others. Digitalis showed me that the last time I saw him.
“True that,” Statice nodded his head. “It’s been a wonderful evening, but I have to go. I’m gonna sleep. Tomorrow is a big day for me.”
“Are you sure?” Spitfire asked as she cocked her head in confusion. “It’s quite too early to go to sleep.”
“Positive,” Statice affirmed. “I’m an early sleeper. Shouldn’t you be sleeping early in preparation for the opening?”
“Yeah, but we’re not tired enough to go to sleep yet,” Spitfire awkwardly informed him. “I think that we could spend an hour or two hanging out at the party before we hit the hay.”
“I guess you guys are made of tougher stuff than I am,” Statice flattered, hoping that his compliment would stroke their egos enough for them to let him go.
“We’re not the Wonderbolts for nothing,” Spitfire boasted while all of their friends started to talk proudly about themselves.
Nothing is better to run away from a conversation than flattery.
“Before you go,” Spitfire caught up with Statice thanks to her incredible flying speed. “Let me introduce you to the guest of honor and living legend of the Wonderbolts, Wind Rider.”
“You don’t have to…” Statice tried to stop her, but it was too late as she and her team dragged him to meet their hero.
For the next hour, Statice was forced to listen to some old pegasus tell stories about his youth. Apparently, he broke some long-distance flying record during his youth that remained unbroken to date. He had to endure sixty minutes of the guy giving a long-detailed speech over how incredible his record was and how it could never be broken. He was unable to do anything to escape his predicament due to the guy being a veteran, meaning that disrespecting him by leaving while he was telling a story was going to be reported to Celestia, who would surely punish him for such action.
I hate partying with royals and nobles. Mess with the wrong pony and you mess with a whole bunch of them.
Fortunately for him, once Wind Rider was satisfied with reliving his life story, or the life story of his record to be exact, Statice was free to leave the great hall. During his walk, he was met with two mares that he didn’t expect to see.
“Hello there, Statice,” Rarity greeted him politely. She was dressed in a beautiful light blue dress. She was wearing golden bracelets around her forelegs and some sort of golden collar around her neck. She looked quite radiant in that get up.
“Hi,” Rainbow Dash also greeted him, albeit with a sullen look. “I see that you’re fine after that trick you played on us, cheater.”
“Hello, ladies,” Statice acknowledged them with a curt nod. “Wait, I was mistaken. Let me do that again. Hello, lady AND Rainbow Dash.”
Hearing him say that she was not feminine enough to be called a lady infuriated Rainbow Dash to no end. She didn’t like any of that froufrou stuff, but there was a principle involved in having her feminine side insulted like that. She was seconds from attacking him when Rarity gave her a chastising glare before she did the same to Statice.
“Both of you behave,” she instructed them in a motherly way. “Princess Celestia made this party with the intention to celebrate. You shouldn’t ruin the occasion with some petty rivalry.”
“Fine,” Statice grumbled. “What brings you girls here?”
“I’m on the Wonderbolts Reserves,” Rainbow Dash smugly informed him with a hint of pride in her voice.
“How is being a reserve a good thing?” Statice asked in confusion. “Isn’t that the best out of the worst?”
“What did you call me?” Rainbow Dash shoved her snout into Statice’s face as she glared at him with barely concealed rage.
She was dragged away by Rarity’s magic as she gave Statice a miffed glare.
“The Wonderbolts Reserves are talented cadets like Rainbow Dash that replace an official member of the Wonderbolts when they are unable to perform,” Rarity explained carefully to avoid any unnecessary confrontations.
“You mean like an accident or a disease?” Statice asked, now understanding what Rainbow Dash meant.
“Exactly,” Rarity answered before Rainbow Dash had the chance. “Rainbow Dash was given an invitation to come just in case one of the Wonderbolts was unavailable for participation. She was also allowed to invite a friend to the occasion, and since I was in Canterlot to check on Canterlot Carousel…”
“She decided to bring you along,” Statice concluded.
“And what are YOU doing here?” Rainbow Dash asked him in an unfriendly fashion. “I don’t think that you can count as a guest.”
“Let’s just say that the Wonderbolts were impressed with me after I whooped your flank in Arcanum Ball,” Statice smirked at her arrogantly. He was lying about that being the reason he was invited to the party, but he REALLY wanted to get a reaction out of Rainbow Dash. In this case, Rainbow Dash’s coat was changing from light blue to a shade of dark red.
Yeah. I guess I pushed the wrong button. Better prepare for a fight. She’s gonna blow at any second.
Before any fight could take place, Rarity got in between Statice and Rainbow Dash, looking clearly at the stallion. Rather than an angry glare, Rarity gave him a half-lidded gaze and a dazzling smile.
“Dear Statice,” Rarity approached the green unicorn slowly. “I’d like to ask you to please try to get along with Rainbow Dash. This night means a lot to her. She really wants to spend time with her idols. Just now she met her idol Wind Rider. Can you please not try to ruin her evening?”
As she spoke to him, Rarity started circling Statice. She brushed her side with him and wrapped her foreleg around his neck from behind, whispering behind his ear in a sultry tone. The close contact caused Statice’s green fur to turn red while Rainbow Dash’s coat recovered her original blue color in exchange for a disgusted expression on her face as she saw Rarity flirting.
This is getting too far! I need to evacuate right away.
Focusing his magic, Statice vanished in a flash of green light, causing Rarity to fall to the ground with a shriek. Snapping out of her shock, Rainbow Dash helped the fashionista back to her hooves.
“Care to tell me what that was all about, Rarity?” Rainbow Dash asked her friend with a disgusted face.
“I was just trying to use my charms to get him to behave,” Rarity huffed in annoyance at being criticized. “You’re welcome by the way.”
“Yeah,” Rainbow Dash put a hoof on her lips as she tried not to laugh. “Maybe we should try using your charms to scare away stallions from now on.”
The prismatic mare burst into laughter while Rarity puffed her cheeks in anger. “He was just shy,” Rarity moped angrily. “I’m pretty sure I could have gotten him to behave and even apologize if he had not been so scared to stay.”
“Whatever makes you sleep tonight, Rarity,” Rainbow Dash giggled for a few more seconds. “Come on! There’s still some broccoli over there.”
“Very well, darling,” Rarity got over her annoyance very quickly. “I’m sure that tomorrow will be a better day.”
“By the stars, I thought that test was never gonna end!” Statice complained as he got out of the school.
The test amounted to nothing more than basic skills with levitation. It was then followed by easy questions like the name of the princesses, the name of three pony tribes, and other trivialities. The only trouble that he had was saying the lyrics of the national anthem.
Would it kill them to do tests involving multiple choice questions or filling in blanks?
As he finally returned to the castle, he saw Rarity dressed in a trench coat and some sort of hat. She seemed to be talking to herself.
What the heck is wrong with that mare this time? Never mind, I’ll go back to my room. I may find if there’s something better for me to do later on.
Wisely ignoring the mare as she was having her inner monologue- or more exactly an outer monologue since he was able to hear her- Statice made his way back into his room, only to meet up with a surprise visitor.
“Good morning, Princess Celestia,” Statice addressed the white alicorn without missing a beat.
“Good morning, Statice,” she replied calmly. “How was your test at Magic Kindergarten?”
“Easy and annoying enough that I felt my intelligence being insulted,” Statice answered on a flat tone that made her cringe.
Is he always that pessimistic? Celestia reluctantly extended a golden ticket to Statice, who took it under his magical hold.
“Would you like to see the Wonderbolts perform at the garden opening?” she asked nicely. “I think that you deserve a treat after your studies.”
It sounds better than staying in my room and do nothing more than calisthenics and updating my Archive.
“Sure,” Statice curtly agreed.
“Wonderful,” Celestia cheered as she led Statice out of the room. “Come along, we can have a walk while we wait for the opening.”
“Okay,” Statice followed Celestia as she opened the door and led him out of his room to walk around the castle. During their walk, Celestia and Statice made small talk, only for it to turn awkward after Statice made a particular question.
“Is that your natural mane?” Statice asked Celestia.
“What?” she asked in shock as she stopped walking.
“Is that your natural mane and tail?” Statice pointed at the wavy aurora mass that was coming out of the mare’s head and hindquarters.
“Well, yes…” Celestia replied nervously.
“Is it natural for them to flow as if the wind was moving them?” Statice asked as his eyes were drawn to the rainbow hair waving in the air.
“Yes,” Celestia nodded her head. “My magic reserves were high so I was born with an irregularity on my mane that makes it wave in the air despite the absence of wind moving it.”
“Doesn’t that make it artificial?” Statice asked with a scrunched face.
“Beg your pardon?” Celestia asked with a wide stare.
“If you’re using magic to move your hair then it’s not natural,” Statice answered, carefully measuring his words to avoid getting himself thrown into a dungeon. If there was something that most of his masters universally agreed on, even those who never met each other, was to never comment negatively on a female’s mane.
“Well, my magic is natural so my flowing mane is therefore natural,” Celestia tried to reason as her eyes drifted left and right, only for Statice to look unconvinced.
“But I have magic and yet my mane doesn’t flow,” Statice countered, not really satisfied with the answer he got. “Wouldn’t that mean…”
“I think this conversation has gone long enough!” Celestia declared hurryingly. “I suggest we change the subject and find a new topic to discuss.”
Picking up the hint from her tone of voice, Statice wisely kept his mouth shut and opted for Celestia to tell him the story of the castle. It was boring to hear about how the castle was built. After all, why would he care what kind of stone was used to build it, how long it took to make the construction, or the material of the glass windows? The only interesting things that happened at the castle were a Changeling invasion and Tirek’s assault.
Ugh, I bet Twilight would be taking notes on all of this garbage. It’s a good thing that she’s not my teacher. Otherwise, I may be her student forever!
After spending the afternoon with Celestia, Statice finally got to go into the opening ceremony. He spent the entire opening sleeping since he found Celestia’s speech to be uninteresting. It was only after he felt the white alicorn nudging him with her wing that he was able to wake up and see the Wonderbolts perform.
I gotta hand it to these guys. They constantly get their butts kicked, but they sure as Tartarus know how to put up a show.
As he admired the team’s flying maneuvers, he recognized a rainbow flying between them. He scrunched his eyes to see better and he figured out that it was Rainbow Dash flying along with the Wonderbolts.
Wow,it looks like being in the Wonderbolts Reserves is worth something. I guess somepony must have gotten sick or something. Anyway, cheers for Rainbow Dash.
The performance was breathtaking. Statice found himself genuinely applauding the Wonderbolts once they were done with their number. Afterwards, Celestia decided that he should socialize with her subjects to get into the mood of things. Fortunately for him, there wasn’t any law that said that making small talk with the ponies over the snack table was not socializing.
“Quite a nice show, wasn’t it, darling?”
“Hi, Rarity,” Statice shivered as he turned to face the white unicorn.
“Did you like the show?” Rarity asked nicely. “I most certainly did.”
“Of course you did,” Statice rolled his eyes. “Rainbow Dash WAS in there, remember?”
Rarity harrumphed in offense. “You could at least try to be more civil about it. Did you forget about your manners in my absence?”
“I didn’t forget them,” Statice smirked. “I just chose not to use them.”
Rarity gasped before growling at him. “Do I really need to supervise you all day long to keep you from being a rogue? And here I thought that I made progress back with Fancy and Fleur.”
“Whatever,” Statice dismissed her. “Still, I’m curious about Rainbow Dash. Can you tell me why she performed?”
“It is a tale of intrigue and mystery,” Rarity sat on her haunches and leaned back, placing a fore hoof on her forehead.
“What’s so intriguing about Wind Rider not being able to come because he was too old to perform?” Statice asked, not even bothering to hide the fact that the old veteran was the only member of the formation to not show up. After spending an hour listening to him speaking about his record last night, it was way too easy to notice his abscence in the performance.
“How did you find that out?” Rarity shrieked, dismayed at the possibility of her story being spoiled.
“The guy didn’t stop bragging about showing up as the guest of honor,” Statice deadpanned as he remembered his conversation with him. “I guess the old guy must have broken a hip or caught up a cold or something.”
“The only type of cold that he caught was the swift wind of justice!” Rarity declared dramatically. “And that’s because he was not allowed to the performance because of his crimes.”
“Let me guess,” Statice jabbed playfully. “The guy’s crime was being boring and arrogant with his stupid record story.”
“It wasn’t for that!” Rarity yelled hurryingly, wanting to hide the best part of the story for the end.
“You see, Spitfire received a note that her mother suffered from a strange disease and needed a flower to get better…”
“Is her mother okay?” Statice grabbed Rarity by the shoulders.Despite only being acquaintances, Statice felt a hint of sympathy for her at the possibility of her mother being suddenly sick, specially considering the number of times disease had attacked him out of nowhere.
“Her mother is fine!” Rarity took his hooves off so that she could continue. “She was never in any danger. It was a forged note.”
“Thanks the stars,” Statice sighed.
At least I can see that Statice still has enough heart to care for the mother of somepony else. Rarity beamed at him as she resumed her story. She made sure to use the same tone of voice that she used in her inner monologues. She felt that she was doing a great job when she felt the ambient around her turn black and white.
“We found out that her mother was fine when she came to Canterlot to see her daughter perform. It turns out that Spitfire was deceived into going in a wild goose chase. The culprit was unknown but Rainbow Dash turned into the main suspect since flying with the Wonderbolts has always been her lifelong dream. We had to find the culprit very soon or Rainbow Dash was going to get expelled from the Wonderbolts…FOREVER! Luckily, I was prepared to prove my friend’s innocence…”
“So that explains why you were making those monologues when you thought nopony was watching you,” Statice smiled, glad to see that Rarity had not gone crazy since their last meeting.
“You saw me doing that?” Rarity blushed at the implication she gave.
“You really got into character with that act,” Statice smirked. “But I think that’s enough talk. Continue with the story, detective.”
Rarity giggled at the nickname. She certainly felt that she earned it after proving Rainbow’s innocence. “I tried by going into the scene of the crime to find the evidence that could release Rainbow Dash from suspicion…”
“Okay, that’s enough,” Statice frowned, not liking that Rarity was getting into detective character. “Let me guess, Wind Rider incriminated Rainbow Dash because he was worried that she was gonna break his record or something.”
“How did you find that out?” Rarity asked, this time with her putting her hooves on Statice’s shoulders, adding her overdramatic touch by shaking him like a ragdoll.
“The guy kept bragging about his record all evening long yesterday,” Statice groaned, albeit with a hint of satisfaction at having a reason to hate him. “I bet he was jealous that Rainbow Dash was gonna break it so he incriminated her.”
“But how did you make the connection so quickly?” Rarity asked, still caught in disbelief. “I had to search for clues for hours before I had the opportunity to unmask him for his crimes.”
“I’ve seen incriminations before, Rarity,” Statice rolled his eyes at her. “Believe me when I say that most of them came up for petty reasons. To be fair, I’d second guess since the beginning and make a bet with a random guard based on Wind Rider’s motive while you do all the work and then collect my money by the time you make the reveal. ”
And I’ve been at both ends in most of those incrimations.
“Oh,” Rarity sighed with disappointment, sad that she was not going to share her achievement with somepony else.
“Still, thanks for not suspecting me,” Statice took a cup of tea from a ladle and poured it in a glass.
“What?” Rarity asked, taken aback with his surprise gratitude.
“Even though there was a crime that could have ruined Rainbow Dash’s career, neither of you suspected me in spite of having enough reasons to dislike and even suspect of my involvement with the frame up. And yet, not once did you two ever suspected or interrogated me.”
“I’m not sure why I didn’t suspect you,” Rarity hummed in thought. “You DO seem like the type of pony that could do something so mean. But you don’t seem like the type of pony that would do those awful atrocities out of petty spite.”
“Did Rainbow Dash suspect me?” Statice asked.
“Not at all,” Rarity shook her head. “Now that I think about it, I’m surprised that not once did she mutter your name despite how often the two of you tend to clash.”
I guess I’m making progress. Statice smiled as he kept on drinking.
His pleasure lasted for seconds when she heard Rainbow Dash coming along with the Wonderbolts. Similarly, Rainbow Dash felt her grin turn into a scowl when she saw him, as did Rarity when she felt the tensions growing the closer they got. The only ones that seemed cheery were the Wonderbolts, who were oblivious to the enmity between the pegasus and the unicorn.
“What did you think of our show, Statice?” Spitfire asked proudly. “That was the performance of a lifetime.”
“It was impressive to behold,” Statice complimented, making his best to avoid looking at Rainbow Dash in order to keep his tone civil.
“Rainbow Dash did an amazing job,” Soarin praised as he nudged the prismatic mare, who was too busy glaring at Statice to notice.
“She sure did,” Statice turned his head to look at Rainbow Dash for a few seconds before turning his head from her. “It’s surprising that she is a reserve rather than an official member of the Wonderbolts.”
Rainbow Dash gasped at the comment. Were her ears wrong? Did he seriously say that she deserved to be a member of the Wonderbolts?
“So am I,” Spitfire chuckled. “Sadly, we have to get our members through a bureaucratic process. If it was up to me, I would have made Rainbow Dash a Wonderbolt ever since she saved my life and that of my friends with her Sonic Rainboom.”
Rainbow felt her jaw drop when she heard those words from one of her greatest idols. She couldn’t believe that some praise from a pony he disliked was earning her recognition from her lifelong heroes.
Rarity watched with approval as Statice conversed with the Wonderbolts. Much to her surprise, Statice made no mention on Wind Rider or Rainbow Dash nearly getting expelled because of his deception. She expected him to bring up those topics to insult them but he was surprisingly respectful about them. The conversation was turning pleasant enough that the Wonderbolts were leading Statice into the castle so that they could have a more pleasant interaction in their quarters.
I guess I was mistaken about, Statice. He’s more than a brute that goes antagonizing everypony he sees. I guess he can be a nice pony when he puts his mind on it. Maybe he and Rainbow Dash can get in civil terms in the future.
Rarity and Statice’s ears stood up as they recognized the owner of the voice. They turned their heads sideways to see Late Bloom approaching them with a paper within her magic aura.
I spoke too soon!
“I’m so happy to see you, Statice!” Late Bloom smiled at Statice with the same motherly pride she always showed her students.
“Hi, Mrs. Bloom,” Statice kept his civil tone but was visually sweating, an event that did not go unnoticed by Rarity’s perfectionist eyes.
“I got your test results!” Late Bloom happily shook the test, which was heavily covered in golden stars. “I even put some stars to commemorate you having the highest grade in class.”
“Did you say stars?” Spitfire asked with a raised eyebrow.
“That’s right!” Late Bloom beamed. “Statice got the highest grade of his class in Magic Kindergarten. I am so proud! If you keep going on like this, you’ll graduate in no time.”
Having said what she needed to said, Late Bloom gave Statice his test before she left to go to the garden opening. Grimacing, Statice turned to look at the Wonderbolts, already preparing himself for the worst.
I better brace myself for the laughter.
“Did that mare said that you studied at Magic Kindergarten?” Spitfire asked with a raised eyebrow, although she didn’t carry the condescending tone that Statice expected her to have.
“Yes,” Statice growled in annoyance. “Since I grew up outside of Equestria, my knowledge of the country is very low. Princess Celestia decreed that I should become a citizen by starting my education from zero, starting with Magic Kindergarten.”
“Wow, that stinks,” Soarin winced in sympathy.
“It does stink,” Statice agreed, albeit with a shocked face that none of the Wonderbolts were mocking him.
“Well, orders are orders,” Spitfire put a hoof around his shoulder. “I’m pretty sure that you’ll get out of this in no time.”
“Thanks,” Statice muttered in shock.
“Listen,” Spitfire began with a regretful tone of voice. “We have to do some duties in a few days so we have to go now. If you don’t mind, can you have a game of Arcanum Ball with you the next time we see you? We really wanna give it a try.”
Statice was stuck. For one side, he didn’t want to play his beloved game with ponies he didn’t know. On the other side, the Wonderbolts were nice to him so denying them the chance of playing the game seemed cruel and unfair.
“Okay,” Statice put on his best smile. “The next time we meet, I promise that you and I will have a match.”
“Excellent!” Spitfire pumped her hooves in the air, followed by the rest of the Wonderbolts cheering up. “You better remember your promise! We’ll be waiting!”
With her challenge finished, Spitfire flew away, followed by Soarin and the rest of the Wonderbolts. Once he was alone, Statice’s expression turned flat to stare at Rarity and Rainbow Dash.
“You can laugh now.”
Just like he ordered, Rainbow Dash burst into laughter, pointing her hoof at Statice before clutching her stomach with both forelegs. Rarity gave her friend a disapproving glare, not finding her reason for laughing to be funny at all.
“Have some shame, Rainbow Dash!” Rarity chastised her. “This is nothing to laugh about in the first place.”
“Yes, it is!” Rainbow Dash banged the floor with her hoof. “Tough mercenary Statice is going to Magic Kindergarten. How much did your client pay you to get a test with golden stars?”
“Had I known that Wind Rider was gonna incriminate you, I would have taken the liberty of doing it myself,” Statice coldly told her. That statement got Rainbow Dash to stop laughing almost immediately, while Rarity gave a shrill gasp.
They were so close…so close…I could almost see them get along.
“What did you say to me, punk?” Rainbow Dash shoved her snout in Statice’s face, not glad to remember how her dream was nearly destroyed thanks to somepony she used to worship. “Say that again! I dare you! Repeat what you just told me!”
“The Wonderbolts are nice guys,” Statice told her plainly. “I just think that, Element of Loyalty or not, your presence is probably gonna give them a bad reputation, regardless of your abilities.”
“I think that we’re getting ahead of ourselves,” Rarity tittered as she got between Rainbow Dash and Statice.
“The only thing that’s getting ahead of me is all four of my hooves into his stupid face!” Rainbow Dash growled at Statice as she flew above Rarity to have a better shot at hitting him.
“How about you try it out, babe?” Statice challenged as he assumed a fighting position. Both ponies were about to get ready to rumble when Rarity decided to set her hoof down.
“Either you calm down or I will get Princess Celestia or Princess Luna to come over here,” she threatened both of them.
Knowing that getting Celestia and Luna informed about their fight was going to be a hassle, Rainbow Dash and Statice stopped their fighting after a tense pause.
“Fine,” Rainbow Dash growled.
“Fine,” Statice snarled as he started at his test, focusing on the blank corner that wasn’t covered in ink or stars.
“Good,” Rarity spoke with a firm tone. “Let’s go, Rainbow Dash. We have to return to our chambers.”
“Fine,” Rainbow Dash mumbled with the defeated tone of a foal that was sent to bed without dinner. She gave Statice one last resentful glare over her shoulder before leaving.
As she made her way back into her chambers, Rainbow Dash felt something on her wing. She extended it and found a piece of paper stuck between her feathers. Unfurling the paper, she found a message written with fluorescent magic.
Meet me at the courtyard at dawn…alone. It’s about time we settle this once and for all. Lots of hate, Statice.
Realizing that the paper she read was a challenge letter for a fight, Rainbow Dash smiled malevolently as she gently tucked it under her wing to prevent Rarity from finding it.
You better prepare yourself, Statice. It’s about time I showed you what happens when you mess with the Element of Loyalty and the best flyer of Equestria!