I sat quietly in my bunk, watching Iridescence get ready. She looked amazing. Her mane was done up, her tail braided, and she had on a dress I had never seen before. It was long, slinky, and had all kinds of sparkling sapphires on it. Once everything was just right, she headed for the door.
Pushing off the bed, I fell in step behind her. She paused, looked back and asked, “Where are you going?”
“With you,” I replied in confusion.
She shook her head and said, “Oh, no, no. It is mare’s night out with Princess Luna and Crystal Wishes. You’re not a mare.”
My eyes shifted to her foot locker and she took my face between her hooves. “Don’t even consider it.”
I snorted. I wasn’t really. “What should I do, then?”
Iridescence shrugged. “I don’t know, but for me it is mare’s night! Why don’t you go hang out with Runic?”
Frowning, I said, “So you don’t want me to come with you and you want me dead?”
She laughed and patted me on the shoulder. “Silent Knight, he is your friend and cousin. Why don’t you go spend some time getting to know him better, okay?”
“Good,” she said before sweeping out of the room, looking the nicest I’ve seen in a long while.
“Mare’s night out. It sounds more like... stallions… not invited.” Yeah, I wasn’t very clever back then.
Runic had closed the shop for the night but I knew him pretty well. I went around to the side door and knocked on it a trio of times. There was no answer. I knocked again and waited. Still nothing. Well, that was easy. I turned to leave, but as I did so every window in the place was suddenly illuminated by a blinding flash.
The door burst open and Runic tumbled out, landing on his back in front of me. He stared up at me through his soot-covered goggles and smiled. “Hi, Silent Knight.”
“Hi, Runic,” I replied. “Success?”
Runic rolled over, stood up, and brushed himself off. “Still in one piece, so I’d say yes. What can I do for you?”
I brushed one hoof against my leg and said, “I thought you might want to hang out tonight. You know... like friends?”
“Great!” Runic exclaimed and walked back into the shop. “Come on in!”
Following him proved difficult as the whole back room was clouded in smoke. “Goggles,” I heard Runic say and then felt when he slapped them on my face.
“Thanks,” I coughed.
Somewhere in the darkness, Runic flipped a switch and fans kicked on. The cloud vented out of the room, revealing the surroundings. I had never actually been in the back-back room. It was all work benches, shelving, and science experiments. To my surprise, it was actually in relatively good order.
Runic pointed to the bench nearest the door. “I’m trying to grow river rocks on beanstalks,” he explained, as if it made sense.
“I wasn’t aware that river rocks were so explosive,” I said playfully.
“They’re not. It was the beanstalks,” Runic deadpanned. “Would you like to help out?”
Friends weren’t something I was familiar with. Iridescence was different, of course. She had always taken the lead. I felt out of my depth just standing there and I am a diligent worker so I nodded. “Sure, what can I do?”
“Hold this,” he said, offering me a metal rod attached to a wire. He had a similar one in hoof. “Could you pick up that beanstalk, too?”
I saw which one he meant and picked it up. “Sure.”
“Great!” He smiled and flipped a switch.
I awoke an hour or so later, my coat standing on end. Runic was next to me, sprawled on the shop floor. I moved closer and lightly shook him. He coughed, sat up, and looked at the beanstalk. I had not realized it at first but I was still clenching the plant in my hoof. It was unbelievable: smooth river stones had replaced the pods. I’m not kidding.
“Great!” he exclaimed. “You must be lucky. Well… that was my mission for the day. What’s next?”
Was he seriously asking me? I had not thought to bring any games and I wasn’t sure he would be into Royal Guard stuff. I found that most ponies were bored by us. Then I had an idea. “Runic, do you think you could help me make a bracelet for Iridescence?”
Runic stroked his chin. “A bracelet? There isn’t a lot of challenge to that. Mostly metal work. I doubt we’d even need potions.” He looked at me and then said, “But for you, why not.”
“Thank you,” I replied and we sat down to work.
It all started with some plain wire. It had the same shine as silver but it was something far more sturdy and less expensive. Runic’s invention, of course.
I selected a thinner, pink spool of wire, and asked Runic, “Mares like pink, right?”
Runic shrugged. “I know what they don’t like: rocks on a first date. Alchemists aren’t always known for their ability to swoon ladies.”
I frowned. Runic was a good guy. He should have a nice mare. If, as my sister taught me, his barn door swung that way. That was a different problem, though, so I looked at him and repeated, “Mares like pink, right?” and nodded a little.
Runic seemed to catch on. “Yes,” he said, nodding in time with me.
“Great.” I wound the pink wire around the silver, making two separate, compact coils in the front. It looked fairly well done for a stallion without any magic. Laying the bracelet on the table, I couldn’t help but feel like it needed more. “Hey, Runic?”
“Do you have any of those sapphires left? The ones in the trash bag?”
He shook his head. “No, sorry.”
I smiled. “It's okay, no problem.”
“Would any of those work?” he asked as he pointed a hoof to a small mountain of sapphires. It was literally large enough for me to leap onto and climb my way to the ceiling.
“Yeah…” I said, blinking. “I think I can find one in there.” I walked over to sort through them all. Eventually, I found one that was the right size and even somewhat shield-shaped. It kind of looked like Iridescence’s cutie mark. I made my way down the pile and set it on the table. “You know these are worth bits, right? Lots of bits?”
Runic shrugged. “Not to me. Those are failures in my book.”
I rubbed my nose with a hoof. “I understand that, but if you needed bits you could sell these and buy things you needed to make rocks. They have real value. I can’t just take one and give you nothing.”
Runic smiled at me. “We’re family, so of course you can have that one.”
I shook my head and replied, “That is kind, but family can’t just take. I can’t pay you now, but…”
“I turned you pink and then electrocuted you,” Runic said flatly.
“Right. Even then?”
Runic nodded. “Even.”
“Thank you, Runic, you’re a good pal,” I said and got back to work.
Runic helped me shape the sapphire into a perfect shield and even built a custom metal fastener to hang it from the bracelet. He was really excited about that bit because it allowed him to fuse the metal directly into the sapphire. The final touch was to add a clasp. Runic wanted to attach it with a torch. I convinced him that his tiny soldering iron was a better plan.
It is important that I don’t give the impression that Runic and I were jewelers or that this particular bracelet was the best one ever made, but it did look like something you might buy in a store. It was special because we had made it together and it meant something. It felt like magic.
“Runic, we’ve done a good thing,” I said to him.
He smiled. “Yeah, I think we did. Fun, too.”
I nodded and patted his shoulder. “Yes. We could do similar things again sometime… if you like.”
“Sure, stop by anytime. I’m sure we could come up with a ton of things to do,” he said.
I put a hoof around his shoulder and smiled. “I’ll do that. Just try not to kill me, okay? I’m attached to my body.”
“Fair enough,” Runic said cheerfully.
”Now, how about we go get something to eat? I’m really hungry and for some reason I’m craving those pods from the beanstalks.”
Runic nodded. “Me, too… I bet we could find those in town.”
We left through the side door and Runic locked up. I placed the bracelet in my saddlebag before we headed off into the night to find beans.
I was asleep when Iridescence burst through the door that night. She staggered ever so slightly as she wandered in. “I’m home,” she whispered loudly. In the dark she fumbled around a bit on her way over to our beds.
“Are you okay?” I asked her quietly. I wasn’t sure why she had whispered… although I was also not sure that it qualified as a whisper, anyway. I’m pretty sure the ponies in the next room heard her.
Iridescence smiled in the darkness, the only light in the room provided by the moon outside the window. “I’m great,” she said. “Goodnight, Silent,” she added before tossing the sheets back on my bed and slipping under them.
“Hey, you realize that—” I started and then shrugged. I pulled the sheets back up around us and went back to sleep. She’d figure it out in the morning.
The next morning I woke up feeling less rested than usual. That was probably due to the fact that Iridescence kicks in her sleep. I rolled over to face her and her eyes opened. She looked at me and said, “Good morning.”
I smiled back. “Good morning.”
Then the color drained from her face. Her eyes got big and she leaped from the bed. Ah, she had figured it out!
“You?! Me. Us!” she exclaimed, not quite forming coherent thoughts yet. “What happened?!”
Stretching out a bit in my newly recovered bed, I looked at her and said plainly, “You stumbled in late last night and jumped into my bed.”
My straightforward response was rewarded with a pillow to the face, immediately followed by a second fluffy blow to the head. “And what did you do?!” she demanded.
“Slept awfully,” I replied, holding up my hooves to fend off further attacks. “You kick in your sleep.”
Iridescence dropped the pillow and stared at me. Finally, some form of realization dawned on her face. She leaned down and kissed my cheek. “You’re a gentlepony and an idiot,” she told me.
I clapped my hooves lightly together. “I’ll allow it. Though my feelings are hurt that you’d think the worst of me.”
Iridescence’s cheeks burned red in a blush. It was cute. I smiled as I let her realization set in. Yes, Silent Knight isn’t clueless about everything.
“Then you’re just a gentlepony,” she said, sitting on the edge of my bed. “Did you and Runic have fun?”
“We did. Although he did electrocute me in the name of science. All told, though, it was a pretty successful evening. It looks like yours was as well?”
Iridescence shook her head. “It may have gotten a little out of hoof. No harm was done, though… none that I can remember.”
“I’ll be sure to check the warrants after breakfast. If there are any for you, I’ll have to take you in,” I said sternly while looking up at her. “Oh, and then there is this.” Reaching over to the nightstand we shared, I tugged open the top drawer and took the bracelet out of it, then offered it to her.
“Where did you get this?” Iridescence asked as she looked it over. As I said, it was magic.
Proudly, I replied, “I made it with Runic’s help.”
“You… You made... this?” she asked and I deflated a little.
“Silent Knight, it is amazing. How did you to do it without magic? I thought you had bought it!” she gushed.
I reinflated and shrugged. “Hard work, dedication, and a semi-crazed but exceptionally talented alchemist cousin.”
Iridescence slipped it on and leaned down to kiss my cheek again. “Aren’t you full of surprises this morning!”
Mission accomplished. I rolled over onto my side. “You are, too. You kick like a mule,” I teased before being immediately rewarded by additional blows to the head with a pillow.