Rarity paced nervously in front of her friends. As she strode back and forth across her room, Rarity tried to keep the agitation from her face. She desired to retain some modicum of composure, but already she felt it was a lost cause. Try as she might to maintain her dignity, there were times when doing so proved impossible.
Such as when one’s friend—and a sovereign ruler of one’s nation—had been kidnapped.
“Let us review the facts one more time, if we may,” Rarity said. She struggled to keep her voice level. “From the beginning, if you please.”
“Well,” mused Spike, leaning casually against a wall, “I suppose it started when Twilight first came to Ponyville for the Summer Sun Celebration. She asked me to send a note to the Princess about—“
“Not that far back, Spike,” Rarity interrupted.
Spike immediately clamped his mouth shut.
Applejack spoke up from where she sat by the door. “As far as I can tell, the trouble began yesterday mornin’. Rainbow Dash ordered a box of quills, sayin’ it was for Twilight. Davenport and Spike both say she was actin’ mighty strange. And later, a pony was spotted carryin’ a box like that toward Twilight’s castle in the middle of the night.”
“So considering Rainbow Dash’s suspicious behavior, we can suppose she was the pony in question,” Rarity surmised. She stopped pacing to process this information. “Since we lack any other rational explanation for her behavior, we must regrettably assume our friend’s nighttime excursion was related to the kidnapping.”
“Not to mention Spike was woken up by a loud noise around the time Rainbow was seen at the castle,” Fluttershy added quietly. She lay on Rarity’s bed, slightly removed from the others’ discussion.
“Yes, thank you, Fluttershy,” Rarity replied. “The evidence seems to indicate Rainbow Dash’s involvement in this unfortunate incident. But that still leaves one important question unanswered.”
“Why Rainbow would suddenly go crazy and kidnap and alicorn princess?” Spike muttered.
“Well, yes, I suppose that is one question we could ask,” Rarity said, resuming her pacing. “Though I must confess I do not understand most of what goes on inside that mare’s head. I was referring, Spike, to the matter of the mysterious intruder you encountered in the castle last night. It seems curious Rainbow Dash would target you instead of going directly for Twilight.”
“Y’all are suggesting somepony else was involved?” Applejack asked.
“Precisely, darling. It stands to reason at least two ponies were involved in the kidnapping: one to distract Spike and the other to capture Twilight.”
“So who do you think it was?” Spike asked. “Did Rainbow Dash just go around asking random ponies, ‘Hey, do you want to help me break into a castle and abduct one of the rulers of Equestria’? I’m sure ponies were lining up in the streets to help,” he finished sarcastically.
“You make a good point, dear,” Rarity said. “Rainbow Dash must have collaborated with somepony she trusts. A close friend, I assume.”
Fluttershy gave a small start. “Um, it wasn’t, um, one of you, was it?” she squeaked. She buried herself further in the covers of Rarity’s bed and refused to meet the eyes of her friends.
“Course not, Fluttershy,” Applejack replied confidently. “None o’ us would ever do somethin’ that crazy.” She chuckled. “I guess Pinkie might, but—“ Applejack abruptly fell silent.
“Have any of you seen our dear friend Pinkie Pie today?” Rarity asked. As her friends all slowly shook their heads, unease gripped Rarity’s mind. “Does anypony happen to know her whereabouts?” The following silence increased her worry. “Certainly you do not think…Pinkie Pie had something to do with the kidnapping?”
Her friends all spoke up at once.
“Yup,” said Applejack.
“I wouldn’t put it past her,” added Spike.
“I think maybe she did,” Fluttershy whispered.
Rarity opened her mouth to object. After all, why would Pinkie Pie—or, for that matter, Rainbow Dash—engage in such criminal activity? What could possibly motivate their friends to abduct a reigning monarch? Surely those two would know better?
No. No they would not.
“I admit it is possible for Pinkie Pie to be involved in such mischief,” Rarity said, “but I am less certain about how this information benefits us at the present. Determining that Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie are the culprits does not tell us where they may have taken poor Twilight.”
“Could they have brought Twilight to Pinkie’s party-cave place?” asked Applejack. “I reckon that’d be a good place to keep her out o’ sight.”
Fluttershy spoke up. “Um, wouldn’t somepony at Sugarcube Corner have noticed them? Or at least heard Twilight making noise throughout the day?”
“Yeah,” interjected Spike. “They’d need to go somewhere farther away. What about Rainbow Dash’s house?”
“Well,” Applejack retorted, “Pinkie wouldn’t be able to walk on the clouds without magic and I doubt Twilight would be in the mood to cast the spell for her.”
“So where do you think they’ve gone?” shot back Spike.
“I still say we should check Sugarcube Corner,” snapped Applejack.
“I think the Cakes would notice if there was a princess in their basement,” argued Spike.
“Um, could you please not fight?” Fluttershy asked timidly. Spike and Applejack promptly ignored her.
“I don’t see you comin’ up with any better ideas.”
“I suggested Rainbow’s house!”
“And I said that wouldn’t make sense!”
“IDEA!” Rarity exclaimed enthusiastically. The argument immediately ceased as pony and dragon turned toward her in surprise.
Rarity paused for a moment to gather her thoughts. She delicately cleared her throat. “We have not yet accounted for the bouquet of poison joke that showed up at Twilight’s castle yesterday. Now we know Twilight went to Zecora’s for a cure. But surely Twilight would have escaped her captors by now if she still had access to magic. So Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash must have acquired more poison joke to prevent her from using magic.
“In fact, it makes sense for them to keep Twilight in a location where poison joke would easily be accessible. They would want easy access to more of the plant in case the effect ever began to wear off.”
“So Twilight’s in the Everfree Forest?” Spike interrupted.
“In a way,” Rarity continued. “It would be difficult to keep Twilight contained if they left her in the forest. And I absolutely refuse to believe Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie would imprison their friend in such a horrid place. But I can think of one spot in the forest where they could keep her safe. I do believe Twilight is being held at…”
“The Castle of the Two Sisters,” stated Applejack.
Rarity blinked. “Why yes, Applejack. Thank you ever so much for interrupting me and ruining the dramatic moment.”
“Y’all are welcome, Rarity,” Applejack replied. She got to her hooves. “Well, what are we waitin’ for? Let’s go rescue Twilight!”
Spike and Applejack immediately rushed out of Rarity’s room. Fluttershy moved at a slower pace, carefully getting off of the bed and shuffling toward the door.
“Is anything wrong, Fluttershy?” asked Rarity, coming up alongside her.
“Um, I was just thinking,” mumbled Fluttershy, “what will we do with Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash? I mean, they committed a major crime. Will we need to turn them over to the princesses?”
Rarity considered her words carefully as they walked. She had no idea what Equestrian law demanded as punishment for kidnapping a princess. “Fluttershy, dear, do not think for an instant that we would be so cruel as to call them to account for any crime. They are our friends, and I am sure they simply thought this would be an entertaining prank. No, we will not tell anypony else about this.”
Fluttershy visibly relaxed. “Oh, good.”
The two ponies headed toward the exit to Carousel Boutique. “This will remain a quiet joke among friends, and the law will never get involved,” Rarity assured her friend.
Rarity opened the front door and followed Fluttershy outside. And then she stopped short.
Directly in front of them were arrayed two battalions of royal guards, their armor gleaming brightly in the afternoon sun. Each guard stood at attention and held a spear at the ready. Every eye gleamed with fierce, disciplined anger. At the head of the army, the princesses of the sun and the moon stood tall, their unbridled fury evident as they spoke with Applejack and Spike.
“WHERE ARE THE CRIMINALS RESPONSIBLE FOR SUCH A HEINOUS ACT?” thundered Princess Luna. “WE SHALL BRING SWIFT JUDGMENT UPON THE GUILTY AND ANNIHILATE THEM COMPLETELY!”