Nopony could see anything for about half a minute; the only sound to be heard in that span of time was two distinct thumps. When the light died down and everypony’s eyes could be open again they were greeted with the sight of the formerly frozen brothers now in a disheveled heap at their sister’s hooves in a dazed state. Wishing Star didn’t move; she simply stared down at her brothers with shock and wonder moving across her face.
Tea Leaf took action first: she got up from her place at the table and trotted over to the heap of colt to poke a dazed Lucky Star in the ribs. “Are you alright?”
Lucky Star opened and closed his eyes a few times. He then looked up at the soft green filly standing above him with the beginnings of a goofy grin on his face. “I’m fine, nothing a couple of… crampcrampcrampcrampcramp!” Without another warning, the yellow pegasus launched himself into the air and began to fly in erratic and wobbly circles around the near the walls.
Shooting Star, after getting kicked in the head by his airborne brother, shakily stood and stretched. Before anypony could say anything to him, the cobalt colt turned towards Spike with a beseeching look on his face. “Bathroom?” he asked.
Spike shook his head, as if to clear it. He was still in shock, so it took him a moment to comprehend the question. “It’s upstairs, second door to the left,” he finally replied, pointing in the direction of the desired room.
No sooner had the words left the dragon’s mouth than Shooting Star was galloping up the stairs, calling “Thank you” over his shoulder. The sound of a door being slammed could be heard.
Focus was quickly pulled from Shooting Star’s quick departure, as Lucky Star flew right over the table. The sunshine colored pegasus flew upwards too quickly, and collided with the ceiling face first. After a split second of hang time, he fell to the floor and crashed onto the cushion that Tea Leaf had been sitting on.
Twilight Sparkle looked over the table at the sprawled out pegasus colt with some concern. “Is he alright?”
Tea Leaf, Bright Knight, Wishing Star, and Compass Rose had all gathered around the fallen Lucky Star with varying degrees of concern and worry. Before anypony could say anything, the shaggy haired colt popped up from his prone position. “Well, that was a Lucky landing.” Everypony groaned at the pun.
“If he can still make his bad jokes, then he’s fine,” Compass Rose said in mock disgust. She plopped back into her own seat and proceeded to stuff a large muffin in her mouth.
Bright Knight punched Lucky Star in the shoulder. “The theatrics were totally unnecessary, you know.” The unicorn colt’s hit must have caught his friend off guard, because it knocked the shaggy haired pegasus on his rump.
Lucky Star was unperturbed by this turn of events, though. He looked up at his spiky maned friend with a grin on his face. “It might have been unnecessary, but it was still fun. Now, I’m starved and these cookies smell… OOF!”
Wishing Star, who had by now recovered from the initial shock of everything, had launched herself into a full-force hug. Lucky Star was tackled to the ground with his little sister’s forelegs wrapped firmly around his neck. “I’m glad that you’re okay,” she whispered.
After some initial surprise, Lucky Star recovered and shifted so that he could reciprocate the hug that his sister was giving him. “I’m glad that I’m okay too.”
“What’s going on, what did I miss?” Everypony turned to see Shooting Star walking down the stairs.
“You missed getting a hug,” Lucky Star teased.
“Are you really going to try and start another argument with me?” There was an edge of irritation in Shooting Star’s voice as he continued to descend the stair. “Fighting is what got us into trouble in the first place. I also think that it’s just plain stupid for you to make it sound like… OOF!”
As soon as he had reached the bottom of the stairs, Shooting Star was given the same kind of tackle-hug that his brother had been given. Wishing Star now had a huge smile on her face. “I’m happy that both of you are okay.”
Shooting Star returned his sister’s embrace with equal affection. “I’m glad that we’re all okay. I’m sorry that I made you so upset. It’s my fault that you cried, and I’m ashamed of myself for it.”
Lucky Star walked over and wrapped both of his siblings in a hug. “You can’t take all of the blame Shoot; I pushed the right button to get you mad. I wanted a fight this morning. We both made our little sister cry, and that’s just wrong.”
Wishing Star continued to hug Shooting Star, but she nuzzled her head against Lucky Star’s neck. “I forgive both of you. I love you guys.”
Tea Leaf dabbed her eyes with a napkin, and then handed it to Twilight. She wiped her eyes, and then handed it to Spike, who blew his nose. “How did you know that you made Wishing Star cry?” Twilight asked; she hated interrupting such a sweet moment, but she had to get all of the facts straight so that she could send these foals back to school. She also wanted to know more about Wishing Star’s unusual magic.
After a final squeeze, the Star siblings untangled from their group hug and walked over to the table. Shooting Star sat beside Bright Knight, Luck Star next to Tea Leaf, and Wishing Star between her two brothers. As soon as he had a place to sit, Lucky Star reached across the table and grabbed a pastry at random. “So when we stopped, or froze, or whatever, that didn’t mean we were dead to the world. …Sorry, Wish,” The yellow pegasus immediately apologized when he noticed his sister cringe.
Shooting Star shook his head at his brother’s slip of the tongue. He graciously accepted a cup of tea from Bright Knight and took a sip. “Mmm, what Lucky means is that even though we couldn’t move or talk after the spell was cast, we could still hear, see, and smell; or at least I could.”
“Mmhmm,” Lucky agreed with a mouthful of cookie.
Twilight Sparkle wrote quickly, trying her best to get down every piece of information that she had been given. “Fascinating. So, because Wishing Star only wanted the fighting and yelling to stop, when she cast her spell those were the only things that stopped.”
Lucky Star reached for a muffin and a scone, looking at the latter with mild curiosity. “I guess that makes sense. When I was a statue, all my senses were still working, but I couldn’t even move my eyes, let alone a whole leg. I could still breathe, but I couldn’t talk.”
Twilight Sparkle spent some time writing out all that she had learned that morning: the theories on how Wishing Star’s magic worked, what the two colts had said about their experience while under the spell. Meanwhile, all of the foals at the table were dividing up the rest of the pastries, drinking some more tea, and generally unwinding from the stress of the morning.
It was like a cloud had been cleared from the midst of the group of young ponies. Everypony had been on edge, determined to find a solution. Now jokes and laughter flowed free again, and Twilight couldn’t help but be reminded of being around her friends when they had all been together.
The indigo maned unicorn was interrupted from her reverie by Spike tapping on her shoulder. “Here, I managed to save these for you.” The dragon slid a plate in front of her that had two lemon-clover scones arranged neatly on it. “Most of the basket is just crumbs now; that Lucky Star kid is eating just about everything in sight.”
Twilight looked from her assistant to the basket to see that her draconic friend was indeed correct; the only baked goods that remained in the basket were a hoof-full of oatmeal raisin cookies. The area surrounding Lucky Star was littered with crumbs and a small mountain of pastries was amassed on his plate. The pegasus colt caught Twilight looking at him and grinned. “I’m hungry, and being a statue takes a lot of energy.”
Shooting Star rolled his eyes, “I bet casting two big spells in one day needs a lot more energy.”
Wishing Star smiled hesitantly at both of her brothers. She then quickly swiped a raspberry muffin off of Lucky Star’s overflowing plate and took a bite. “Yes, yes it does.”
Everypony, including Lucky Star, laughed with relief as Wishing Star consumed her pilfered pastry. The laughter slowly died down, settling into a comfortable silence. Twilight Sparkle took the opportunity to finish writing down any facts of the morning that she deemed relevant. Feeling that her research was complete, she finally took the opportunity to eat the rest of her snack.
“We should probably get back to school,” Tea Leaf said after a while.
“Yeah,” Compass Rose agreed with reluctance, “Cheerilee was pretty worried about Wish and S.S. and Lucky. We should let her know that everything turned out okay.”
Spike grabbed the last cookie off of his plate before Lucky could swipe it. “We can walk all of you back to school now that nopony needs to be carried.” He and the foals began to get up from the table and head towards the door.
Twilight Sparkle was the last to leave the table; she was putting her notes into an orderly stack to review later. As she stood and looked up, she couldn’t help but smile. “Wishing Star, wait.” The filly in question stopped and turned, looking expectantly at the older unicorn. Twilight had schooled her features into a look of the utmost seriousness. “There is one more thing that I have to say to her before we leave.” Wishing Star didn’t look as though she were about to run for her life, but she did eye the amethyst mare wearily. After she paused for dramatic effect, Twilight finally let her smile reappear. “I really like your cutie mark.”
“Huh?” Wishing Star began circling herself, spinning tightly, in an attempt to catch sight of the alleged design that was supposed to be adorning her rear. To her surprise and joy, sitting on her grey flank was a golden wand topped with an aqua colored star, surrounded by swirls and four smaller stars of slightly greener hues. She squealed in delight and hopped around her friends and Spike singing, “I got my cutie mark!”
The teenage dragon was startled by the bouncing bundle of filly, and took a step back so that he didn’t collide with her. The step back caused Spike’s foot to connect with a forgotten volume that had been used in the quest for knowledge to find the source of Wishing Star’s special magic. The foot on the book slid forward with his next step, and the purple dragon fell backwards in a spectacular flail. Oblivious to Spike’s newly toppled state, Wishing Star continued to bounce about until she tripped over a scaly tail.
This sent the pink and spring green maned filly flying forward a few feet, only to then land on her face and skid a few inches. Before anypony could react, Wishing Star was back on her hooves, looking slightly disheveled and embarrassed. “I’m okay,” she assured the other foals, who sighed in relief. Wishing Star looked behind her to see what had caused her to trip and fall. She let out a little gasp when she saw Spike getting to his feet from where he had fallen. “Oh! I’m sorry, did I hurt you?”
Spike straightened as he brushed the dust off of himself. “Naw, I’m okay. Dragon hide is pretty tough and so am I. The only thing that you did was remind me that the library is going to need some serious cleaning when I get back.”
Shooting Star looked around the library with a grimace of guilt. “We could stay long enough to help clean up the mess.”
Spike shook his head. “You guys need to go back to school so that you can show Cheerilee that you’re all fine now.”
Shooting Star surveyed the room again with a frown, his fiery eyes lingering over the messy pile of books and the table still filled with dirty dishes. “I feel bad that we’re leaving such a big mess behind…”
“Well, stop feeling bad,” Lucky Star interrupted. “This is not a time to feel bad or upset; this is a time for joy and smiling.”
The cobalt unicorn squinted at his brother. “What are you talking about Lucky?”
The yellow pegasus slung a foreleg around Shooting Star’s shoulders. “Just think of all of the good things that just happened: we finally got to visit the library, and you and I are no longer frozen. Wish finally got her cutie mark…”
“You got to eat about half your weight in baked goods,” Compass Rose added in a sarcastically helpful tone.
Lucky Star grinned over at the pegasus filly, unperturbed by her snarky tone. “Exactly my point; a lot of good things have happened. Now I say that we go back to school with a smile on our faces, a spring in our step and a good wind beneath our wings!” With his speech done, the shaggy maned colt detached himself from his brother and trotted merrily out the front door.
“Not all of us can fly,” Bright Knight pointed out.
“Then you only have to concentrate on the first two,” Lucky Star called back cheerily. Then, just to prove his point, he spread his wings and began gliding down the street.
Shooting Star sighed heavily and then chuckled. “We had better follow him. There’s no telling what that mop-head will say to everypony if he gets to school before we do.”
“I’ll go catch him,” Compass Rose volunteered. Without another word, the lilac filly ran past everypony, and out the door. As soon as she crossed that threshold, she spread her wings and took flight, arrowing herself in the direction of her recently departed friend.
As the rest of the group exited the library and headed towards the school, Twilight couldn’t help but say something to Shooting Star, who was walking in front of the rest of the group. “So, you and Lucky Star argue a lot; why is that?”
The cobalt colt hung his head as he responded. “I did hear what you guys were saying when I was frozen and they are right; it’s a power struggle of sorts. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been better at getting ponies to follow me. Lucky is too much of a goofball for ponies to take really seriously.”
“And I’m guessing that Lucky Star doesn’t like this?”
“He’s the oldest, so he feels like he needs to protect all of us, and for him that means trying to lead the way,” Shooting Star explained. “The thing is, Lucky has no idea how good he has it. I may be the one that ponies seem to look to to take charge, but pretty much everypony likes him…” The group turned the corner and saw that Compass Rose had caught Lucky Star before he could get past City Hall. A smile spread across Shooting Star’s face as he saw his brother on the receiving end of a noogie from Compass Rose as she sat on top of him, pinning him with her weight. “…because it’s almost impossible to stay mad at him,” Shooting Star finished. He then called to the lilac pegasus. “Rose, what are you doing?”
The choppy maned filly looked up at the approaching group, and grinned. “I’m just showing this Dandelion Puff who the true master of the sky is.”
Bright Knight raised an eyebrow at Compass Rose as he asked, “Dandelion puff?”
“This guy,” Compass Rose rubbed her hoof against the top of Lucky Star’s head vigorously, “told me that I couldn’t catch him because I’m a flittery butterfly. I caught up with him pretty fast, so if I’m a flittery butterfly, then he’s a puff of dandelion that can’t fly straight.”
Shooting Star had on a stern face, but there was still a sparkle of amusement in his eyes. “Rose, we need to get back to school; can’t you torture my brother later?”
“But S.S.,” Compass Rose mock-pouted, “he insulted my flying skills, and I can’t just let that slide.”
Shooting Star sighed in exasperation, but he finally let his grin show. “What if Lucky apologized? Would you let him go if he did?”
The pale purple filly thought about this proposition for a moment and then smiled as she replied, “I suppose that could work.” She looked down at the yellow colt that was currently pinned beneath her hindquarters. “So, what about it fluffy, you going to apologize?”
Lucky Star, now that he was no longer in a headlock, attempted to free himself from his equine flank-based imprisonment. He flailed his limbs about for a few minutes to no avail, and then finally gave up with a groan. “I’m sorry that I called you slow.”
“And?” Compass Rose prompted.
“And we all know that you’re super fast, like a dragonfly. You are Queen Dragonfly Speedster.”
Compass Rose gave it another moment’s thought; though the smile on her face made it clear that she liked her new title. “Okay, I forgive you,” she relented, and preformed a graceful somersault off of Lucky Star’s back. Bright Knight stepped forward to haul the shaggy maned colt to his hooves.
“You should know, Compy,” Lucky Star said with a teasing grin, “That the reason that you caught me was because I was too busy being awesome to be my usual speedy self.”
“Whatever, Fluffy, I’m a faster flyer than you. Learn to live with it,” Compass Rose retorted with a look of mock-superiority crinkling her features.
“And so modest, too,” Bright Knight added drolly.
“I’m only saying what everypony knows is true.”
Shooting Star laughed with everypony else. “Come on guys, we need to keep going.”
“Good thinking, little brother,” Lucky Star cheered as he began unfurling his wings. “The sooner somepony gets to the school…” The thought was never finished, because as soon as the yellow colt tried to take off, Bright Knight grabbed his tail and yanked him back down again.
The sky blue unicorn spit out the chunk of tail that had been in his mouth and looked pointedly at his regrounded friend. “You should stay with the group this time.”
Lucky Star looked up at his friend, his cheerful grin still in place. “That’s a good idea Bright. I don’t want to be tackled by The Dragonfly again.” Compass Rose puffed out with pride at this new title, causing everypony to laugh.
When they made it back to the school, Lucky Star still managed to be the first one to walk in. “You can all stop worrying now! The curse has been lifted, your ‘Star’ students are better than ever, and all is right with Equestria again!” A group of students immediately began to crowd around Lucky Star, all asking questions and being generally excited about what happened that morning. The clamor surrounding the yellow pegasus was so great that when the rest of the group entered the classroom, nopony seemed to notice.
“Always has to be the center of attention,” Shooting Star groused.
Tea Leaf looked over at the commotion and smiled ironically. “Let him have his fun ,Shoot; it’s not hurting anypony.”
“But he didn’t do anything but hover in the air, being frozen,” Shooting Star argued. “We were jerks that made our little sister upset. If anypony should get some recognition, it’s Wish. She’s the one that did all of the magic.”
Wishing Star shook her head emphatically. “I don’t mind, really. Lucky is so good at telling stories, and he likes all of the attention.”
“But sis,” Shooting Star argued, “this should be your big moment. You just figured out how to use your magic, and you got your cutie mark…”
“CUTIE MARK!?!” The mention of the elusive marking that tells the world that one had found their purpose in life caused the students to flock to Wishing Star. The hoard of students shoved Twilight and her group of foals out of the way to get a better look. Wishing Star cringed at the sudden onslaught of attention; she stood as still as possible, a shaky smile on her face as her classmates admired the marking that had appeared on her flank.
“Your cutie mark is so pretty.”
“What’s your special talent?”
Before Wishing Star was forced to answer any of these questions, though it was doubtful that she could have gotten a word in edgewise, Cheerilee stepped amongst the foals to break up the crowd. “All right students, calm down. It’s been a big day for everypony, so get back to your seats. If you all can calm down and behave, we can ask questions later.”
There was a lot of grumbling from the foals as they shuffled back to their desks. Wishing Star sidled up beside Cheerilee. “Thank you,” she murmured, and then she headed for her own desk. When everypony was back in their seats, Twilight Sparkle saw that Wishing Star was sitting in the middle of a ring of her friends; Lucky Star, Compass Rose, and Shooting Star were doing all of the talking. She’s got good friends. Twilight thought to herself.
Cheerilee walked over to where Twilight Sparkle was standing. “Thank you for helping my students.”
“It was no trouble, Cheerilee. They’re… they’re a good bunch,” Twilight said with a smile. She looked over at Wishing Star and her friends again; Wish was giggling at Compass Rose, who was imitating the frozen Lucky Star falling over.
“So what’s going to happen now?” Both Cheerilee and Twilight Sparkle were startled by Shooting Star’s voice sounding behind them.
Both mares whirled around in surprise, but Twilight spoke first, “What do you mean? Wishing Star knows how to use her magic now, and you little ponies are safe.”
“That’s true, but I don’t think that that’s all there is to this.” Shooting Star looked up at Twilight imploringly. “I know that you’ve done a lot already to help us, but I don’t think that it’s over with her just knowing what kind of magic she uses.” He scuffed his hoof against the ground, clearly frustrated at his own lack of explanation. “Wish still needs help; you yourself said that her magic gets activated whenever she hears somepony make a wish. She can’t help but grant the wish, and she gets so tired afterwards too. I-I just want her to be safe.”
Cheerilee looked worriedly between Twilight and Shooting Star now. “I have to agree with Shooting Star; if Wishing Star can’t control her gift…” The school teacher’s voice dropped to a frantic whisper as the true concept of the conversation hit her in full force. “You’re leaving a student that grants wishes in my class that can’t stop herself from granting them!”
Now it was beginning to dawn on Twilight Sparkle how disastrous it could be to leave Wishing Star here. Wish, her brothers, or one of her friends would inevitably end up telling the rest of the class about her special talent, and that would be sure to end in chaos. Twilight was ashamed that she had been prepared to leave Cheerilee and her new friends with such an impending disaster on to deal with. “That would be bad.”
“So what are we going to do?” Shooting Star repeated his original question.
Twilight thought for a moment on what course of action to take. “I have an idea about what to do, but I’m going to need to write to Princess Celestia first. She wanted to know how it all turned out in anyway. I’ll send a letter to her when I get home, and I should have some sort of reply by tonight. In the meantime, nopony else should know about what kind of magic it is that Wishing Star uses.”
“The Princess wanted to know about us? And you think that you’ll know how to help Wish by tomorrow?” Shooting Star asked, awed by the knowledge that the Princess had been involved in this and hopeful that this problem could be resolved as easily as his own had been earlier.
“Most likely,” Twilight confirmed. “I’ll let you all know what I find out as soon as I can.”
“Thank you again for all of your help, Twilight,” Cheerilee said as she shooed Shooting Star back to his desk.
“It’s no trouble, I just hope that everything else works out for the best,” Twilight replied.
“So do I,” Cheerilee agreed. “Well, I had better get my students settled and occupied again; can’t have them asking too many questions about how the spell was undone.”
“Right. Good bye,” Twilight Sparkle called over her shoulder as she turned to leave.
“Good bye, Twilight Sparkle,” she heard the class call in response as she began heading to the library. She had one more thing to take care of, and then her life could go back to its regular schedule.
There was just one more thing that she had to take care of.