A Stay in Canterlot
Princess Celestia always trusted Twilight. No matter what mission or obstacle, Twilight always managed to surpass her expectations. If she promised to do something, Celestia could always trust her loyal student to accomplish her word. This belief in her student was stronger when Twilight had her friends by her side. There was nothing they couldn’t accomplish as long as they were together. Time and time again, they had defeated the greatest threats of Equestria as a team. She was sure that Statice was not going to be a problem to any of them. And that was not mentioning that they had Discord by their side. They were probably about to visit her very soon with Statice and Piercing Gaze on their hooves.
“Celly, I’m home!”
Sure enough, Discord was in her throne room. He had the Elements of Harmony by his side. Statice was also there along with the unconscious Piercing Gaze. Quick as lightning, her royal guards pointed their spears at Statice, who did not hesitate to assume a fighting stance.
“Stand down!” she firmly ordered her guards.
The royal guards did as they were told, albeit they did so while glaring daggers at the green unicorn. She could have sworn she heard Statice mumble something about them being lucky at having her save them. Deciding to start the conversation on the right hoof, Celestia addressed her group.
“I see that you managed to find Statice and Piercing Gaze,” she addressed the Elements of Harmony respectfully.
“Yes, Princess Celestia,” Twilight bowed her head at her. “We managed to convince Statice to come with us after he settled his score with Piercing Gaze.”
"A little bit too brutish if I may say so myself," Rarity added distastefully as she gave Statice a disdainful glare.
“Is he okay?” Celestia eyed the gryphon with a mixture of caution and pity. As much as she disapproved of the gryphon’s actions, she only wanted to deal the necessary justice to him.
“He’s unconscious,” Statice replied. “I suggest you avoid touching him though. I used lightning magic on him during our fight.”
“I see,” Celestia eyed the unicorn warily. “Do tell, did you use any dark magic on him whatsoever? I am very sure that blindness is not something that could be accomplished with regular magic.”
I'm already sure from what Discord told me on his last visit that he used dark magic. However, having him admit to it may give me an insight of what kind of user he might be. If he lies, I'll know that he's a weak user. If he tells the truth, I'll know the extent of his strength by the context of his words.
“How would you know?” Statice challenged. “I could have made a very luminous light to blind him. That can happen. One can even get blind for staring at your sun for too long.”
“Black magic is filled with negative emotions,” Celestia walked close to the unicorn. “You were but a colt when you fought him. Were you filled with feelings of fear and despair when you blinded him?”
He tried to evade the question. Does that mean that he's the weak lying type? Or maybe he's the strong secret type who likes to hide his power to have an advantage over his enemies. She pondered as she lowered her head to look down on the green stallion, not with disdain, but with a hint of caution and courage.
Perceptive princess, aren’t you? I guess being around for millennia can give you some phenomenal observation skills. Statice returned the same look Celestia was giving him by raising his head to meet her eye-to-eye.
“You are right,” he admitted. “Piercing Gaze was too much for me when I first fought him. I was his prey. He was close to taking me away. I panicked and I struck him with a blast of dark magic that left him blind.”
“Dark magic is forbidden in Equestria, Statice,” Celestia clarified dangerously. “Are you aware that using it is a crime?”
“With all due respect, Princess, I didn’t use dark magic inside your domain,” Statice countered, not too happy with the threat yet trying to answer in a way that wouldn't get him thrown in a dungeon. “I don’t think that you have any right to question me on my actions back then. I did what I had to do.”
The girls gasped. Nopony had dared to speak to Celestia like that. Only Discord and Tirek, and both occasions were mainly because they were evil and more powerful than her at the time. It was impossible to have a fellow pony speak to her like that.
“Guard your tongue!” one of the royal guards ordered angrily. “You are going to address Princess Celestia with the utmost respect, criminal.”
“Mind your own business, you waste of space!” Statice yelled back, his patience wearing thin after the stressful day he had. “Your precious princess can defend herself from me if she so desires. The only reason she even has you losers in this castle is to have an excuse to give your worthless hides jobs!”
The pair of royal guards were about to lunge at him, stopping only when Celestia gave them a stern glare, not unlike that their Captain gave them when he was being strict with them.
“I’d appreciate it if you didn’t speak to my royal guards that way,” Celestia used a scolding tone as she talked to Statice.
“Fine,” Statice stared to the side. “But I suggest that you have them take Piercing Gaze to the dungeon.”
“Very well then,” Celestia nodded her head and gestured at the guards to do so.
The royal guards bowed to her and went to pick up Piercing Gaze, glaring at Statice on the way. As soon as their hooves touched the gryphon, electricity surged across their bodies. All of the ponies gasped at the scene, except for Statice, who had an evil smirk on his face.
“I think that you should change your armor for something made of rubber,” he suggested, not bothering to mask his delight at their misfortune. “I forgot to warn you that electricity is easily conducted through gold.”
The royal guards glared at Statice. They were about to say something when Discord snapped his fingers. They looked at themselves, noticing that they were wearing rubber gloves in their fore hooves. The draconequus pointed at the gryphon and gestured them to leave with a smirk that quickly morphed into an impatient sneer. Noticing that they were out of their element, the royal guards reluctantly complied with the orders, picking Piercing Gaze up and bringing him to the dungeon for his incoming trial.
“How exactly did your conflict with Piercing Gaze started?” Celestia narrowed her eyes at Statice. So far, he had the mentality to justify his use of dark magic and he lacked remorse on its use.
That's how all the evil wizards in Equestria started. First, they hide under justification for their first time, which then becomes a reason to keep on practicing dark magic...and then they no longer see any reason to defend their extended practice.
“I don’t like to talk about that,” Statice rubbed the back of his head. “You can have Twilight or Discord show you the memory later.”
“Fair enough,” Celestia nodded her head. Years of conferences had taught her on ways to get the truth. If the direct approach did not work, she could always circumvent her target’s defenses by asking other questions and then return to that first question as soon as she saw an opening.
And if he says that Discord and Twilight can show me the memory later, then that means that he at least trusted them enough to show him his past to them. I may have to do some testing on the memory just to make sure he didn't deceive them.
“Did you hurt Piercing Gaze during your second fight?” she asked, wanting to make sure that Statice did not cross a line during his rematch with him. While she could tolerate his use of dark magic back when he was a colt due to his unfamiliarity with the power, the circumstances on which he used it, and the fact that the event happened outside of her jurisdiction, she was not going to tolerate him using dark magic while he lived on Equestria.
“Nothing he couldn’t handle,” Statice rolled his eyes.
“Except for shockin’ him with yer magic when he wasn’t lookin’,” Applejack glared at him.
“I already gave my reasoning for that,” Statice sat on his haunches and crossed his forelegs on his chest. “Besides, he is fine and no longer blind.”
“He’s no longer blind?” Celestia asked, feeling amazed at what she heard. How did somepony manage to reverse blindness?
Not even the most advanced medicine and healers have managed to cure such ailment, especially one caused by dark magic. Just what exactly happened back there?
“He used some spell to retrieve the dark magic that he inflicted on his eyes,” Twilight explained, trying to be as detailed as possible. “We then used the Elements of Harmony to destroy the dark magic before it entered Statice’s horn.”
Celestia smiled at the summary. Curses were one of the most forbidden forms of magic in Equestria. Almost all of her professional mages were trained to dispel them. She even made it an obligatory skill for her fellow princesses, making sure that Luna, Cadence, and Twilight were up to date with it. She had dispelled many curses across her reign for many years. Hearing Twilight dispel of one that deprived the light from the victim’s eyes filled her with pride.
Is there anything you won’t do, my faithful student?
After her moment of pride passed, Celestia concentrated on Statice. She had him back in Canterlot, but what was she supposed to do with him? He still had to pay for his earlier crimes, he was also the subject of fake identity, and she could not trust him with that dark past of his. The only reason she was being merciful at the time was because Discord implied that he suffered a lot when he was a colt.
I guess if even Discord can vouch for him then he deserves a chance. This is a land of love and tolerance. He deserves an opportunity to prove himself.
“What's gonna happen now, Princess?” Statice addressed her.
“We will talk about it after dinner,” Celestia informed him. “You shall meet with me and the Elements of Harmony at the dining hall. Luna will also be there so please be on your best behavior.”
“Crystal clear,” Statice replied. “I’m already in enough troubles as it is.”
“Very well then,” Celestia kept a neutral frown. “This meeting is dismissed. I shall see you for dinner in a few hours.”
A few hours passed. It was dinner time already. It was EXACTLY dinner time because Twilight had forced him to stand in front of the door to lecture him about the appropriate behavior when eating with the princesses. It didn’t take long before it became an argument between the pair.
“Give it a rest!” Statice yelled at the purple alicorn.
“No!” Twilight glared at him. “You will show Princess Celestia the respect that she deserves when you’re eating with her.”
“I know how to behave, Twilight,” Statice groaned at her insistence for lecturing him. "I’ve had years to master the art of behaving around powerful figures.”
“No, you don’t,” Twilight snapped at him. “You’re the most disrespectful jerk that I had the misfortune of knowing. You didn’t show Luna or me any respect.”
“You didn’t act like you deserve any respect,” Statice snorted. “Besides, what will it matter if my first encounters with you two started with the wrong hoof?”
“Ponies can change, Statice,” Twilight massaged her temples. “You just have to show a compromise to prove it.”
“I can compromise for my own safety,” Statice growled at her. “I’ve been doing this since I was a colt. Unlike most of you, I know when to keep my mouth shut.”
“Funny thing to say,” Applejack looked at him unconvincingly. “Ya seem more outspoken than Rainbow Dash.”
Okay, now that was insulting. I don't open my mouth as much as Rainbow Dash. And I certainly make sure that what comes out of it is more than empty threats, bravado, or boasting.
“I’m not much of a social pony,” Statice rubbed the back of his head self-consciously. “I’m no expert in social conventions.”
“Is that why you pretended to be Aster?” Pinkie Pie asked, still feeling awkward about the deception, although feeling sympathetic on why he went to such extremes.
“Yes,” Statice nodded his head. “But this was for personal bonds. I know how to behave professionally. I just need to treat Celestia like one of my clients and I’ll be fine on my own.”
“You do realize that Princess Celestia is not the type of pony that asks you to commit barbarities, right?” Rarity asked poignantly.
Not liking her tone, Statice retaliated. “Those are some tough words coming from one of the six mares that constantly have to do all the fighting for her,” he narrowed his eyes at her. “Your missions for Celestia are no different from my own. You just happen to have a client with decent public standing.”
Rarity harrumphed angrily, closing her eyes and tilting her head up.
“I hope she just puts you in jail,” Rainbow Dash crossed her forelegs. “I won’t mind as long as it keeps your mouth shut.”
I bet that’s what most ponies say about you every time you boast.
“Please try to behave,” Fluttershy begged. “I don’t think I can take more fighting after today.”
She looked at him with those beautiful cyan eyes of hers. Those delicate features in her face made her look more vulnerable than her age suggested.
At least somepony gives me a nice gesture.
“Fine,” Statice sighed in resignation. “Let’s just start on this dinner.”
Dining with Princess Celestia and the Elements of Harmony turned out to be one of the best meals that Statice ever had. He didn’t even begin eating when he saw all the plates that were served for him. They all looked delicious. It was the kind of plate that he only ate when one of his nobler clients invited him to his manor to discuss a mission. A small part of him envied the Elements of Harmony for having the chance of eating like that with the ruler of their country.
Lucky witches, you don’t know what you have.
Statice looked at his plates. There were breads, pastas, soups, salads, fruits, tea, and many more dishes. This was better than eating plain grass and flowers. This was far better than any monstrosity that resulted from his cooking.
What am I supposed to eat first? Who am I kidding? I’m eating whatever I like.
He levitated the small sandwiches, the small cut pieces of bread, the crackers, and the cheese cubes. He spun them around in an orbit, eyeing each morsel with hunger. He ate one piece at a time. He started with the crackers, then the bread, followed by the cheese, and ending with the sandwich.
“Can you please not play with your food, darling?” Statice was interrupted by an annoying voice, one that he recognized too well.
With most of his appetizers eaten, Statice had enough space to see Rarity give him a disapproving glance. The heavenly taste of the food had nothing against the annoyance he felt at the fashionista, turning his smile into a frown.
“I don’t see a problem with the way I eat,” he answered curtly, remembering that Princess Celestia and Princess Luna were watching him from the ends of the table.
“You are levitating more than one morsel at a time and you do it more to play with them than to eat them,” Rarity would have pointed her hoof at him, choosing not to do it as she felt that it was rude.
“I am choosing which one to eat first,” Statice defended himself.
“You can choose while you’re food is still at the table,” Rarity added in an uppity tone that sounded a little condescending.
“I don’t see a problem with the way I eat,” Statice added. “In fact, I can see that Spike, Pinkie, and Fluttershy are enjoying the view.”
True to his word, the two ponies and the baby dragon were mesmerized with how he was making the food orbit around him before eating it.
“I wish I could play with my food like that,” Pinkie Pie said longingly. “That would make eating a ton more fun!”
“It looks like Twilight’s trick with Fluttershy’s animals,” Spike added, remembering how amazing Twilight’s performance was.
“It sure does,” Fluttershy supported, glad that she found a version of Twilight’s act that did not involve her animals.
“I think you’re just trying to show off,” Rainbow Dash glared at him, earning an annoyed look from Statice.
Look who is talking, Mrs. 120% Awesome!
“Ah agree with that,” Applejack supported, albeit she was more focused on eating the same items that Statice was using. “That’s a whole lot of magic that you don’t need goin' to waste for eatin’.”
Yeah, right, I don’t think that you ever know what showing off means.
“I think that you should stop it,” Twilight gave him a firm glare. “This is the dining hall. It is no place for games in the table.”
“I don’t see Princess Celestia complaining,” Statice narrowed his eyes at Twilight before looking at Celestia. “Do you have any problem with my behavior, your Majesty?”
“None at all,” Celestia spoke in a civil tone. Luna didn’t say anything at all, other than glare daggers at him. Still, she didn’t spoke out against Celestia’s response so it was easy to assume that she had no problem against him playing with his food.
The stallion gave the girls a smug look before resuming to his eating. There was a plate of vegetarian lasagna that he wanted to try. From the looks of the casserole on which it came, the slices were going to be big. The butler proved him right when he served him a huge slice. His point was further supported when each pony and the baby dragon on the table received slices that were as big as the one he had. Celestia and Luna received the largest slices on account of being the biggest ponies.
Wow, I don’t think anypony can eat something so voluminous.
His sentiment was echoed by some of the girls in the group. Rarity looked to be inwardly arguing with herself, probably not feeling well about eating so much pasta for fear of ruining her figure. Spike looked at his plate uneasily, not feeling sure if his little stomach was going to tolerate the whole slice. Fluttershy appeared intimidated at the size of her slice, feeling that she was not going to finish her dinner before completing her portion. Twilight appeared to be more worried about how to eat her slice rather than the thought of eating it, from the looks that she threw Celestia and Luna, which Statice inferred was because she was more mortified about not looking bad eating the lasagna in front of them rather than her ability to eat it.
From the opposite side, Applejack was licking her lips when she got her portion, which was probably because one of the benefits of being a farmer was to have a huge appetite. Rainbow Dash did not seem to be intimidated by her slice, seeing it as a challenge on how much she was capable of eating. Pinkie Pie was already eating her slice with huge bites from her mouth, not even bothering to use a fork and knife.
I better start eating.
Statice levitated his slice of lasagna. It was a little too big for him at first sight, inspiring him to cut it. He stared at the knife and fork on his table. He didn’t remember which one he was supposed to use for this dish.
Forget about that. You have a spell for this kind of situation.
Statice levitated the lasagna close to him and then made small flourish gestures with his head, up and down, left and right. His fellow companions stared at him, some confused and others annoyed. He didn’t care. All that mattered to him was his lasagna. Small, clean fissures spread across his portion until it adopted a grid pattern. A few seconds later, the lasagna was cleanly cut in small slices.
The audience stared at him in shock.
“What did you do?” Twilight asked. “What happened to your lasagna? You were levitating it as a whole one moment and now it was cut in tiny slices.”
“I used a Slashing Spell to cut my lasagna,” Statice answered as he started to contently eat from his dish.
“That is an unusual spell, Statice,” Celestia praised with a charming smile. “Can you tell me more about it?”
The whole table looked at Statice. It was the first time that Celestia had addressed him apart from welcoming him into the dining hall. They were all anxious to see how Statice was going to react to the ruler of Equestria. Of course, the most anxious of them all was the green unicorn.
What do I do? I don’t want to share my spells with her. If she's as good as Twilight copying spells, I don't want to imagine her swinging the equivalent of a magical sword at me, not from the most powerful pony in Equestria. I have to refuse. However, I can’t be that rude or I’ll get arrested. I have to be careful with my explanation.
“It is a spell that uses my magic like a blade to cut anything I want,” Statice opted for a brief explanation. “You have to treat the spell as if you were using a sword.”
“I see,” Celestia narrowed her eyes with interest at him. In the eyes of the beholder, it was more out of satisfaction with the answer she received. But in the eyes of Celestia, there was an analysis of his magic right in that lasagna.
The secret of the levitation spell was to use a magic field around the desired objects to levitate them. For the average unicorn, levitation required using a field larger than the object’s area to be able to lift it. Although it worked, it was impractical because the unicorn used more magic than necessary to lift the object. Trained unicorns were capable of using magic fields with the exact same area than their desired objects to avoid wasting magic unnecessarily. It was a rare skill that very few unicorns possessed.
Statice appeared to be very close to the skill. The amount of magic in each slice of lasagna appeared to be almost exact, with every excess connected to one square being transferred to the next one. She had not seen that kind of control since Star Swirl the Bearded.
A look on her peripheral eye showed that Luna was making the same observation, raising an eyebrow in interest, quite a progress since the diner started. A curt nod from her informed Celestia that she saw the same thing her sister did and was going to talk to her about it later on.
No training in magic, yet he has the skill gained from a lifelong practice. He must have worked very hard to accomplish such control. It’s a good thing that he plays with his food. He’s giving us much information about his magic with every dish he tastes.
The next dish was a soup. It appeared to be a smooth transparent soup with a bit of white thickness to the side. All of the girls were eating right now, except for Pinkie Pie, who was looking forward to seeing how Statice was going to eat the soup. The green unicorn noticed the attention, throwing a little smile at her.
At least I am happy that somepony doesn’t criticize me.
He levitated all of the soup until it coalesced into a ball. From the ball, an eastern dragon of soup came forth. From his travels, Statice learned that there were many different types of dragons apart from the ones in Equestria. One of his favorite types of dragons was the eastern one, a flying dragon that resembled a snake that flew thanks to a special sort of magic that was released from their scales.
The eastern dragon appeared to get Spike’s attention. The baby dragon was leaning forward to look at the spectacle. Even Twilight was looking at the soup with wide eyes, probably out of fascination of watching a type of dragon that Equestria has never seen.
I guess growing outside of Equestria does have its benefits. How many ponies can claim to see an eastern dragon?
The dragon flew around his head a couple of times. He smiled as he leaned his head back and had the dragon descend upon his mouth, creating the illusion of him swallowing the dragon. The girls gasped at the imagery, shocked that Statice ate the dragon. The soup provided more entertainment as Statice made a floating waterfall that descended into his mouth and even spun the remaining liquid of the soup into a spiral to make it seem that he was sucking it into his mouth like a whirlpool.
“What’s next?” Statice asked Celestia.
Okay, I guess I am trying to show off.
Celestia hummed, changing her facial expression to a thoughtful one to make it seem like she was trying to remember something. “I think that you should try a spinach and broccoli main dish.”
Statice frowned. He didn’t like spinach and broccoli back when he was a foal. He never ate them anymore when he left home. Even after spending years eating almost anything, he didn’t bring himself to eat those vegetables.
Maybe I should use the Numb Tongue Spell. No, I need to stick up my tongue for that. I can’t use the spell under the watchful eyes of the Princesses of Equestria and the Elements of Harmony. I guess I’ll have to eat that awful dish.
The Numb Tongue Spell was an anesthetic magic on Statice’s tongue. It turned off the sensory neurons and taste buds in the tongue to prevent him from tasting food that he didn’t like or feeling its consistency. He used it to eat garbage and other distasteful meals in several occasions, such as his very own cooking. It was very hard to cook when one had to rush on the job, but it was imperative to make every ingredient count, hence why he forced himself to eat his failed meals. Other than failing to protect him from gastric diseases due to him eating…questionable nourishment, the spell never failed Statice into helping him eat anything.
I hope that those veggies taste better than I remember.
The chefs came and served something they called Green Terrine. It was a terrine that used green veggies like broccoli, spinach, lettuce, cucumber, and much more. It looked like some sort of bread that was cut with different shades of green. Statice frowned as its appearance looked like molded bread. He had a little memory of his last encounter with molded bread, one of him being stuck on a ship while having stomach pain from eating old bread, and it was not a pleasant one. He looked at Rarity and swallowed.
I better ask the most cultured of the mares. It might help me get some points with Celestia for good behavior.
“I’ve never seen such a meal before,” Statice told the fashionista. “Can you please tell me what’s a terrine, Rarity?”
Rarity gasped at the question. To be honest, she expected Statice’s lack of familiarity with a terrine given his background. What caught her by surprise was him actually asking for her expertise. She’d felt flattered if she was not shocked for his sudden change of behavior.
Calm down, Rarity. This is perfect. He’s behaving. He’s asking you a question. Everypony is looking at you. They expect you to answer correctly. How can you call yourself a lady if somepony asks you a question and you don’t answer them?
Rarity coughed to begin her explanation. “A terrine is a special loaf made of coarsely chopped ingredients. This Green Terrine is a new dish that uses green vegetables as the ingredients. It is quite a rare main dish in many expensive restaurants in Canterlot.”
“Thanks,” Statice politely replied.
“You’re welcome, darling,” Rarity lifted her nose up with a little smirk present in her muzzle, glad to show her gourmet knowledge to her friends.
With Rarity’s explanation, Statice began eating the terrine. It wasn’t bad. Some of the veggies he ate were ones that he liked, and the ones that he didn’t like as a colt were not so bad now that he was an adult.
It must be a part of growing up, liking things that you didn’t like as a kid, such as girls and vegetables. I wonder what I will like when I grow older than I am now.
“How do you like the terrine?” Celestia asked her guests, but placing her eyes on Statice. “Our chefs worked very hard for this meal.”
She got a chorus of affirmatives. She was happy that they praised the skills of her chefs, making a mental note to go to the kitchen and tell them about the compliments her guests gave them. Statice appeared to be the most satisfied with the full-course meal, probably having very few on his life.
I think that it’s about time we cut to the chase.
“Tell me about you, Statice,” Celestia inquired cautiously. “How much do you know about magic? I’m not talking about dark magic. I am talking about the normal one, the type that you always use.”
Statice took a deep breath. That question was destined to be asked sooner or later. It was unavoidable. Steeling himself against the gazes he received, Statice answered to the best of his ability.
“I am mostly self-taught,” he responded sincerely. “Most of what I learned is from an old book of spells of about hundreds of years.”
“What kind of book?” Twilight asked, feeling curious about Statice’s magical education. He must have had a good learning source if he had some proficiency with his magic.
“Magic 101,” Statice answered with a blush.
He got blank stares from Twilight, Celestia, and Luna.
“Magic 101?” Luna asked, breaking her long silence since the dinner started. “You mean the first spell book that is taught at any magic school since my banishment.”
“Yes,” Statice turned his head away from them.
“You’re talking about the book that constantly gets revised every year to keep up with the advancement of magic over time?” Twilight inquired, having already read the book years ago when she was a filly, even reading it now to see how much the study of magic progressed since she grew up.
“Yes,” Statice groaned. “I think it was the 159th edition. I originally thought that it was the 951st edition until it was explained to me that the book I was reading was a poorly repaired book that had the first and third digits switched over.”
“And rather than read a book of your current time you read a version that was published hundreds of years ago, at which point filled with obsolete theories by today’s standards?” Celestia asked gently, trying to avoid sounding condescending as she asked her question.
“Yes,” Statice covered his face with his hooves in embarrassment. “I used a centurial book, barely readable due to years of misuse and bad care, to learn how to use my magic.”
“Didn’t you have somepony to teach you magic?” Celestia asked sympathetically.
“I had my friend Digitalis,” Statice opened up. “He didn’t have much training either, but he was a harder worker. It was him that managed to learn and teach me all of the spells he managed to decipher from that book.”
“Where is he now?” Twilight asked, feeling that Digitalis had played an important part on Statice’s life if he was his friend.
“Not here at the moment,” Statice sighed, sounding a little beaten. It had been a long time since he saw him and remembering the last time made him feel worse.
Realizing that Statice was hiding something out of pain, Luna felt enough sympathy for him to ask another question to divert the conversation. “You seem to have quite an arsenal of spells,” she noticed with an observant tone. “Did you make them?”
“Yes,” Statice nodded his head. “I created many original spells to better increase my survival chance in my missions. But Digitalis helped me develop some of them.”
“Did he have anything to do with your dark magic?” Celestia asked.
“He didn’t,” Statice responded, giving Celestia a narrowed glare. The Princess of the Sun was not intimidated, calmly taking a mental note that he had a sensitive nerve in regards to his friend.
“The dark magic was born from you then?” Luna raised an eyebrow at him.
At least it was born from good reasons, Nightmare Moon! Statice bit his tongue to prevent himself from saying something that was going to get him in trouble. Despite this, he answered Luna’s question by nodding his head.
“You are in a troublesome situation, Statice,” Celestia looked at him gently. “You are no legal citizen in Equestria, you have committed crimes since your arrival, and you have your soul tainted by dark magic.”
Statice groaned. He was going to get thrown into a dungeon again. His chances of escaping were low if they learned from their previous mistakes.
“However, I am willing to forgive all of that,” Celestia gave him a hopeful smile. “I have a proposition for you.”
“What’s the catch, Princess?” Statice asked, already familiar with the proposal if Discord was a good example.
“I want you to learn the Magic of Friendship with Twilight Sparkle and the others,” she said, looking at Twilight and her friends with an approving smile.
“What?” the girls and Spike asked.
“It is as you heard,” Celestia addressed the Elements of Harmony. “Since you came together, you have defeated every adversary that stood against you. I have seen you accomplish many things in your lives, including redeeming Discord…”
“I refuse,” Statice interrupted Celestia before she had the chance to continue.
Everypony stood there with their jaws open. Even Celestia, who was focused throughout the whole dinner, looked very shocked.
“I beg your pardon?” she asked, her surprise still evident in her voice.
“I am not going to befriend these girls and let them use friendship to brainwash or enslave me,” he glared at Celestia disapprovingly. “I’d rather stay in Canterlot under supervision by you and your sister than let that happen.”
“What exactly do you mean by that?” Rainbow Dash challenged. “Are you saying you’re too good for us?”
“Yes,” Statice glared at Rainbow Dash. “Unlike Discord, I don’t plan on letting you girls manipulate me into becoming something I am not just because Princess Celestia told you to do it.”
“Excuse me, but we all befriended Discord to redeem him,” Rarity scandalously yelled at Statice.
“At what point is threatening to turn him to stone if he didn’t behave a sign of friendship?” Statice gave her a pointed look. “The way I see it, your situation is not so different to that a bully promising not to beat up a weaker kid just as long as he does what he says. I’d rather stay here under supervision than let you girls corrupt me, or purify me in this case, or whatever term that applies to me in this situation.”
The Elements of Harmony were very offended by the comparison. Rainbow Dash was about to attack him and Applejack appeared to put less effort of stopping her than she normally did. Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie were on the brink of tears. Rarity was yelling at him and Twilight was just glaring.
“You should remember how to properly address them, criminal!” Luna used her magic to force him to look at her in the eyes.
“Try to tell that to somepony who cares, Nightmare Moon!” Statice glared back at her. The insult worked a little too well because Luna dropped him from her magic only to concentrate more of it into her horn.
Curse my royalty insulting reflex!
“THAT’S ENOUGH!” Celestia declared with the Royal Canterlot Voice. “We are going to settle this issue like civilized adults! Do I make myself clear?”
Silent and terrified nods followed her question. Even Statice and Luna were intimidated by Celestia’s outburst.
“I am giving you a choice, Statice!” Celestia advanced to the unicorn, her glare stabbing through his core. “If you do not agree to these conditions, I will have to label you as a criminal and send you to a dungeon.”
Statice mentally swore. There was no way to escape if he got into one of those dungeons. On the other hoof, there was no way to be free if he was under the supervision of the Elements of Harmony. It was time to improvise.
“Can I trust these girls?” he asked as he pointed a hoof at them. Celestia looked a little perplexed to his question but answered confidently.
“The Elements of Harmony have never failed…”
“I am not talking about their Elements of Harmony,” Statice interrupted. “I am talking about these girls. Can their friendship be enough against me?”
“What exactly do you mean by that, punk?” Rainbow Dash flew, butting her head next to his. “We can beat you just like we did with every chump that tried to take over Equestria.”
“How about you show me that your friendship can take me without the Elements of Harmony?” Statice pushed his forehead against hers, being careful not to poke her with his horn.
“You’re not even worth using them on you,” Rainbow Dash boasted.
Statice felt a twitch in his eye, suppressing the instinct to retaliate. He turned his head and walked to Celestia and Luna. He gestured at them to come closer and whispered something into their ears. The sisters were grimly enthused by his proposal. After his idea was explained, they spoke in private with each other before giving him their blessings in the form of a nod.
“Perfect,” Statice approached the girls. “Tell me, girls, how good is your teamwork?”
“Very good,” Pinkie Pie answered, trying to sound tough. “We’re not just good at using the Elements of Harmony. We also make musical shows at the drop of a hat. Now that’s teamwork!”
“Excellent,” Statice smiled. “Then I guess that you won’t mind to my proposal now that Princess Celestia and Princess Luna gave me their blessings.”
“Yer bluffin',” Applejack cut in. “There ain’t way that the princesses decided to help ya, vermin.”
“How about you ask them after I tell you my intentions,” Statice did not falter at the rodeo queen. “They’ll be more than happy to tell you the details.”
“What are we gonna do?” Fluttershy asked, feeling intimidated by whatever Statice had in store for her and her friends.
Twilight gulped. What kind of proposal did he give to Celestia and Luna to obtain their approval? As much as she trusted her elder princesses, she didn’t trust anything that came out of his mouth.
I don’t have much of a choice either way.
“What do you have to propose, Statice?” Twilight narrowed her eyes at him. Her suspicions grew when a smile slowly spread across Statice’s face. His answer did not help with the sentiment.
“I want to play a game.”