• Published 11th May 2013
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Denuo Fortuna - Firecaller



She was a unicorn on the run. She needed somewhere to hide, somewhere quiet and boring. The tourist pamphlet was out of date but the place sounded ideal... Ponyville

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Chapter 16 - Rest and Relaxation

Chapter 16 - Rest and Relaxation

Sunbeam lay face down, sideways, across her bed. With her head and forelegs hanging over one side of the bed, her hind legs jutted out into air on the other side. To complete the scene, her tail made an almost-perfect right-angle as it fell over the edge of the bed, its tip brushing against the floor.

Morning sunlight streamed in through the window onto one side of her face. A twitch started in the affected eye before it groggily opened and glared accusingly at the window.

A whimpering, “Damnit Celestia! Does your tyranny know no end?” Was heard before the curtains lit up with a white glow and were brutally closed. The accusing eye shut, but she realised the damage had been done... she was awake.

After several attempts, Sunbeam was able to keep both eyes open, without being blinded for her efforts. With a grunt, the head was lifted and turned to look at the bottle on the bedside table.

“Only half a bottle of Jackie D last night. Woohoo filly, thy name is restraint.” Lifting a foreleg up she patted herself on the back of the head before letting it fall back down, a moment later her head followed suit.

After a quarter of an hour of staring at the pattern in the carpet, the momentous decision to actually move was reached. This was started with a side-to-side rocking motion with Sunbeam shuffling herself backward with each rock. When her head was resting back on the bed, a failing foreleg found a cushion and stuffed it under her head.

"I need a reason to get up. Breakfast!"

Energy flowing through muscles again at the prospect, hooves did grab the edge of the bed and drag herself forward. With her head back over the edge of the bed again, her hooves fumbled under the bed until the felt the edge of the box she was looking for. With a buoyant smile she dragged it out and opened the box to regard her reward.

“Leftover pizza for breakfast, the breakfast of princesses.”

Her horn glowed and the remaining pizza slice was, with extreme caution, levitated up to her head height. She was careful to make sure that none of the precious topping slipped off in the process.

“Now do I heat it up? Damn, wish I was a fire talent about now. Anyway, hungry, now!”

With a lunge and a snap of teeth that would have done a timberwolf proud, she tore a chunk of the levitating pizza off.

“Mmmm, best way to start a day!”

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Sitting at the kitchen table, with half a cup of coffee, the blank notepad in front of her represented her to-do list for her three days off. Quick service was doing a stock take for those days and the bar would be shut, so he didn’t need her services. She’d repeated the last bit three times, the last time slowly, while carefully enunciating each word, before Quick Service decided he didn't actually need her for those three days, she should take the time off, paid.

Levitating the coffee up, she took a sip, while the quill hovered over the notepad.

‘Right, need to go to Rarity’s, hopefully she should have the rest of that dye remover now.’ A scowl fleeted over her face.

‘That reminds me, gotta go see if Mr Autumn Ray has “it” for me. If so, rest of morning will be spent fulfilling my, obligations, shall we say.’

‘Then onto the library.’ She sighed. ‘There has to be something in one of those celestia-damned books about Resoulten Gems. Anyway, at least the “Twilight problem” has been resolved, for the time being anyway.’ A smile formed as she felt a pang of pride to her solution to that problem.

Leaning back, her gaze rested on the now framed picture the CMC had drawn for her. A white glow around the picture straightened it before she brought the coffee mug up, only to find it empty. She stared into the empty mug.

“I demand a recount.”

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The door bell jingled as the door opened to Mr Autumn Ray’s shop. Hidden down an alleyway, it was the kind of shop you never knew was there unless somepony told you. The ponies that did know were a select few and were careful with who they told. Sunbeam had been shown it by the shops best customer, who happened to be one of her two targets now.

Inside the shop itself was bare, just a counter and door behind it leading to his workshop. A dull brown earth pony stood behind the counter looking alert. Mr Autumn Ray made special, made-to-order, one-of-a-kind goods. This meant most orders took time, but Sunbeam understood that perfection could not be rushed and as such was willing to wait.

Sunbeam smiled at the pony. ‘One day I will work out how you know anypony is about to come in, I very much doubt you stand there all day.’

“Good morning Mr Ray.”

“Good morning Miss Sunbeam. I have completed your commission.”

Reaching under the counter, Autumn Ray gently placed a paper bag on the counter.

Sunbeam looked into the bag. The contents were black and shiny. Horrible, yet beautiful in purpose and craftsmanship.

“Oh yes, this will do nicely.”

“Oh, Miss Sunbeam, I believe the two you are looking for are by the lake today.”

Sunbeam threw him a suspicious look.

“Come now Miss Sunbeam, I do hear things in my line of work. Those two have had this.” He tapped the side of the bag. “Coming for some time. There are ‘others’ who are taking a good deal of interest in how this goes I might add. If this goes well, you will be popular in certain circles for some time.”

He smirked at her. “Good hunting, I believe the term is.”

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Sunbeam could see her targets from her vantage point. Both were stood next to the lake, their backs to the tall grass that surrounded the lake.

‘Perfect, approach from behind, the grass will give me cover until I am within striking distance.’

Sunbeam carefully withdrew from her hidden position to get to the most beneficial start point of her approach.

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Sunbeam moved cautiously through the long grass, crouching low, her belly barely an inch off the ground she could feel all the vegetation that was now sticking to it. Her tail was doing even worse, with it dragging on the ground behind her, she knew it she was going to be picking debris out of it for ages.

Stopping she slowly raised herself up just high enough to see through the tops of the grass to her targets.

‘Still got their backs to me, need to adjust approach angle slightly to the left.’

Lowering herself back down she continued her stalk.

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Sunbeam could make out what they were saying now. With both her ears with pointing forwards, she could roughly triangulate her targets position with sound alone.

Stopping again, she lifted herself slowly up, to get one final visual on her targets.

‘Within strike range. Angle of attack is good.’

Lowering herself she reached behind and took Mr Ray’s work out of her saddlebags before discarding them.

Muscles tensed, her horn illuminated as she gave her hind legs some magical power to boost her range and accuracy.

‘I Seeeee…..’

She lept.

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Rainbow turned to Pinky.

“Heh, this has been a cool week Pinky. An entire week on leave from the Wonderbolts and weather management. It’s been a hoot with all the pranks.”

Pinky nodded and pointed across the lake “Hey look, some ponies on the other side of the lake.” Pinky waved to them.

Rainbow looked over the lake and rubbed her chin. “Hey, I wonder if we could prank them, I still got some…”

A Changeling landed between them with a heavy thud.

“......Yoouuuuu!” It hissed.

Two screams were heard over Ponyville.

Sunbeam slowly peeled off the Changeling mask and jabbed a hoof at each of the ponies. Both of which were now lying on their backs, nursing minor cardiac events.

“That is for putting purple dye in my shampoo.”

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Autumn Ray stood on the other side of the lake with the crowd of ponies gathered there. Lyra’s horn glowed as she gave a running commentary.

“She’d just told them that’s for the dye in her shampoo. Oh, now she’s stuck her tongue out at them.”

Autumn Ray looked around the crowd. “Ladies, gentlecolts, I think a round of applause is due. After the tartarus that has been last week, payback has now been made, courtesy of Sunbeam.”

A murmur of consent ran through the crowd, and even though Sunbeam couldn't hear it, a round of applause was given to her from the crowd.

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Sunbeam pranced towards Carousel Boutique with a high step. The grin plastered on her face would not be moving for some time.

‘That, felt good.’

As she approached Lyra opened the door to Carousel Boutique and left, giving Sunbeam a nod and a large smile in passing.

‘Odd, don’t speak to her that much.’

Rarity had noticed her coming and was stood in the doorway, also sporting a large smile.

‘Okay, all the smiles I'm getting is now officially starting to get creepy.’

“Hi Rarity, just popping over to get some more dye remover, still got some brown fur in places.”

“I know darling, brown is such an unbecoming colour on you. Still, I heard that the perpetrators have met justice.”

‘Ah.’

“Please come on in, I have something to show you.”

Sunbeam entered the boutique with a raised eyebrow.

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“Well, what do you think Sunbeam?”

Sunbeam’s hind legs had given way, much like her mouth.

“It’s beautiful, Rarity.” She managed to splutter out.

“It’s yours. I told you I would make you a dress and there it is.”

“Rarity, I, I… It’s for me?”

“Of course.” Rarity leaned in and nudged her with an elbow. “You can show it off at the Grand Galloping Gala in a few weeks. With your colours and my dress you will stand out in the crowd. Who knows, maybe you could pick a nice gentlecolt.”

Rarity didn’t notice Sunbeam’s wincing at the last two parts. With a forced a smile she asked weakly, “What? Only a gentlecolt, not a prince?”

Sunbeam did notice Rarity’s wince. Her voice was definitely strained as she continued.

“Well, no, darling. Lets set our sights a little… higher, shall we.”

‘Okay that smile is forced, even I can tell that.’

“Okay, Who else will be there then?”

“Only the creme-de-la-creme of Canterlot society. Not to mention the Princesses and the element bearers. Princess Celestia even of hoof delivered our invites last time.’

Sunbeam took a step backwards towards the door. “You’ve already got your invite for this time, right?”

“Oh yes darling, we have standing invites. With or without official tickets we will be allowed in these days, the Princess was most insistent on that point. Seems that last time our original invites got lost, some mix up the Princess said. Turns out that the gala planners not only managed to misplace them in the first place, but then accidently destroyed them when some guard managed to find them again. How they ended up in teapot in the back of wardrobe in the first place I have no idea. Do you know that no pony had even told the Princess about them going missing either. Why Princess Celestia herself only just noticed in time, if she hadn’t… well we wouldn’t have been able to go that year. So she ended up hoof-delivering them herself. I do recall that the Princess did look most put out by the whole affair though.”

Rarity rubbed her chin in thought.

“Yes, there was a big meeting afterwards, Princess Celestia wanted to talk to the planners, alone, if I remember correctly. Must have been about proper care and attention about the handling of future invites.”

Sunbeam stared at Rarity, her mouth having dropped open again.

‘Did any of them get out alive? Uh, anyway, add one Princess to the mix and you can subtract one Sunbeam.’

“Sorry Rarity looks like I won’t be able to make it, no ticket. Certainly wouldn’t be able to afford one.”

“Oh don’t worry about a silly little thing like that, we can bring along guests.”

‘Oh joy, well, looks like I'm going to be sick on that day.’

“Can’t wait Rarity.”

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Sunbeam slammed the book shut and laid her head on it sideways.

“Still nothing eh?” Spike asked.

“This is nuts, I’ve been though half the books in here on gems and such like. Nothing but a few passing comments. Am I looking even the right place? I now know more about gems than I ever really cared to.”

“Some ponies like learning.” A disgruntled voice added from behind her.

“Is she still pouting Spike?”

“I’d give her a nine point three on the pout scale.”

Sunbeam sighed and sat up, without looking behind her.

“Sorry Twilight, but until you get that psychotherapy plaque on the wall, saying you’re qualified to give such help, I’m not letting you up here.” Sunbeam tapped the side of her head. “It is quite delicate up here.”

‘...And fragile.’

“But to pass those courses takes years,” Twilight whined.

‘We can only hope.’

“You mean you don’t want to do it properly, by the book, Princess?”

In the ensuing silence, Spike leaned in and whispered. “Ohhh, that’s low.”

Sunbeam nodded, she did feel a bit bad going there, but not bad enough not to.

‘Okay, guess I better play nice now. Time to deploy the secret weapon.’

“I am agreeing to exposure therapy am I not. Being coherent enough to insist on the proper procedure being followed, even while in your presence. Wouldn’t that count as progress?”

“Harumph, I suppose so…”

Sunbeam looked at Spike. “I guess I need to buy her a present, any ideas.”

Spike rubbed his chin before gesturing around the library with a raised eyebrow.

Sunbeam pantomimed slapping her head. “Oh yes, Oh look, I just happen to have a book here for you in by saddlebags Princess.”

Sunbeam ignored spike face-clawing as Twilight trotted over, trying to look disinterested about a new book. She failed, utterly.

Sunbeam levitated out a book, a red ribbon tied around it, from her saddlebags and over to Twilight.

Twilight read the title.

“Psychotherapy: Course notes; pass first time with maximum marks.”

As Sunbeam was being crushed in the hug, Spike leaned in.

“Smooth.”

Sunbeam’s slightly strangled whisper back was.

“It's all about knowing where to hit them.”

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Sunbeam flipped over the pages of the new book she just got down.

“I know all this already.”

Spike lifted a gem Twilight had given him.

“Amethyst, Mohs hardness scale seven, mineral class: Quartz. Amethyst is a variety of Quartz family, colored by traces of manganese, titanium and iron. Deeper-coloured amethysts are more highly valued. Rich purple has always been a rare and noble colour…”

“You pass.” Spike dryly noted.

“Thank you professor. However, I had the book open on the right page and was just reading it out.” She shook her head. “Darn my honesty.”

Spike opened his mouth to comment when the library door slammed open and a rainbow steak flew in.

Spike reflexly curled up on the floor, arms over his head awaiting the downpour of books. Sunbeam’s horn was quick to glow as well, with a corresponding white glow forming over the shelf of potential flying objects next to her.

A lavender glow covered the rest of the shelves in the library.

“Rainbow! I thought you weren't going to fly into the library anymore.”

“Oops, my bad, hey look, no books to pick up though.”

Spike looked up with an expression of stunned hope and disbelief.

“Only because Sunbeam and myself held the books in place from all the turbulence you caused.”

Rainbow waved a hoof.

“Whatever, anyway, I wanted to invite my newest prank companion to our meal tonight. By the way, that was totally awesome prank you played on us. Anyway, as it is my turn to pick the restaurant I’m inviting you, Sunbeam, to come along. Don’t worry, I insist on paying for your meal. No, no. No need to thank me. Cya here at seven, bye.”

The rainbow blur shot out of the door.

Sunbeam looked at Twilight.

“What just happened?”

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Looking around the restaurant, Sunbeam noted that it seemed to cater to mainly pegasus poines but served both earth and unicorn ponies as well, judging from the mix of ponies present.

All the other girls had got their meals, only herself and Rainbow's remained to be brought out. Rainbow had insisted that she buy Sunbeam the most expensive thing on the menu.

The waiter brought out two plates, setting one down in front of a grinning Rainbow before placing the other down in front of her.

“Herring, done in the chef’s special sauce. A great honour to have this bought for you by another pegasus I might add. Bon appetit.”

‘So that’s your game, oh my dear Rainbow, are you all in for a shock. I have eaten meat before, although not that much in one go I'll admit.’

Twilight gave Rainbow a stern look. “That is not very nice Rainbow, expecting a unicorn to eat…”

“No, no, Twilight. It is an honour to be served this, I will have to eat it.” Sunbeam tried to look distraught at the prospect.

Rainbow leaned over her plate, took a herring in her mouth, bit it in half and swallowed. A smug look was then directed at Sunbeam.

Sunbeam levitated up a herring, pulled her lips back and gingerly took the head in between her teeth, then with a toss of her head... swallowed it whole.

A shocked silence engulfed the restaurant. Especially when Sunbeam repeated the action with all the rest of herring barring the last one. That one wasn’t swallowed-in-one like the rest, instead she ground it between her teeth, the sound of crunching bone echoing around all the tables.

Levitating up a napkin she dabbed at the corners of her mouth.

“Delicious. Pass on my complements to the chef.”

The waiter wasn’t the only pony in the restaurant that looked like they were about to pass out.

‘Oops, poor Fluttershy, perhaps the bone thing was a bit much.’

Rainbow stood up and with great solemnity, saluted Sunbeam.

Still seated, Sunbeam returned the salute. Then leaned over to Twilight, who sat next to her, and whispered.

“Just off the little fillies room. Too much fish, too quickly. Think I’m gonna throw up now. Excuse meeeee.”

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Sunbeam crossed the day off the calendar in her kitchen.

“Giving the day all due consideration, I enjoyed it. Today, I was a normal pony.”

Closing her eyes and leaning back on her haunches, punched the air with a hoof, then the other one, alternating the punches while shifting her flank in time with the punches.

"Go me, go me, go me…"

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Sharp-Fang looked at Listed Scrolls. Taking a rag, he carefully pressed it into a nearby dung pile with a hoof before levitating it up.

“If you don’t shut up, I will gag you…”

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The minister was looking over Ice-Fangs file again.

“Sir, I will be leaving now, anything you want before I go?” The secretary called out.

“Uhhmm, Oh right. Suppose I should be getting along as well. My wife does worry that I spend too much time in the office.”

Standing up he left the file open on his desk. The section about Ice-Fangs Amulet being the first ever not to work, and all subsequent amulets not working, left open.

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He hid in the shadows, watching the ‘Lost One’s’ house. When the bedroom light went out he smiled.

‘Nearly everything is in place. Once I return with ‘The Lost One’ and having retired an element of harmony, they will have to let me back in.’

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Twilight bounced along next to Princess Celestia.

“Your teleportation spells are improving, Twilight.”

“Oh thank you, I've been working on them.”

“So, how was your day?”

“Well, Rainbow got pranked herself, twice.” Twilight tried very hard not to smirk at that.

“Oh dear, I hope she is okay. However, knowing her, I take it they were well deserved?”

“Oh yes, Day Princess, she...”

Twilight was stopped by a golden hoof. Looking round Twilight had never seen such an intense expression before on Celestia's face.

“Tell me, faithful student, where did you hear the term, ‘Day Princess?’”

Author's Note:

See any obvious mistakes, let me know and I'll correct them. I really hate the publish button being next to the edit button btw. :trixieshiftright:

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