• Published 27th Oct 2014
  • 1,330 Views, 30 Comments

Silver Star Apple and the Search for More Money, Love, The Meaning of Life, and Magical Cards - SilverStarApple

He arrived in Canterlot a few years ago with a sack of bits, good eyes, and a greater vision. Now he's the sixth-richest, third strongest, and most handsome. But when even gold loses its lustre, Silver must embrace friendship and- WOAH, MAGIC CARDS?

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2 - Now it's a Party

Mayor Mare took in a long and slow breath, savouring her office's pleasant scent of mahogany, almost-decaf coffee, and 'traditional papyrus'(Cheap) scroll paper, and that breath left her body in a sigh of contentment. She had neat stacks of finished paperwork, formal request forms, informal request letters, tax forms and scroll-letters addressed to her in a neat pile, and she placed stack after stack of that pile in the 'Done' tray on her desk. It'd been harder than usual, but as she smiled genuinely for the first time that morning, she was glad she'd finally gotten all of today's paperwork out of the way, right at the start of the day. She was now ready to face the day... Even if it would probably be the same as every other day: doing what she could to keep the town afloat, while putting serious effort into thinking happy thoughts like the belief that she still mattered when an Alicorn Princess with a direct line to Princess Celestia herself had set up a gigantic castle in town - WITHOUT APPLYING FOR A PERMIT BEFOREHAND! I mean, sure, she retroactively applied for a permit later and it was accepted, but that just wasn't the same thing! - while keeping up appearances and making sure she'd be re-elected this Fall, and every Fall after that, even though it wouldn't matter in the end, not when she was the mayor of a town Celestia's star pupil lived in, a pupil that was now a princess that made her feel hopelessly, woefully irrelevant...

She stopped that train of thought, and instead forced herself to think of all that paperwork she'd just completed. And that speech she'd given not too long ago, about how everypony was the hero of their own story. She still mattered to her town, and to her friends. She still had worth. Even if the world itself cared little for a self-proclaimed mayor that always won her small, crazy, noisy, bizarre town's election by default because nopony else really wanted her job, she cared about herself, and as a self-help book she'd picked up recently as said, she had to at least try to maintain a positive attitude. Nobody would want a hopeless little Mopey Mayor, after all! She was The Mayor of Ponyville, after all, and she had to seem like the best choice for the job. She was the Mare wearing the Mayorly Mask, and-

The doors burst open suddenly with a loud slam, interrupting her thoughts and making forget the possible titles for the upcoming autobiography she was most definitely going to write and publish one day, some day, eventually, maybe a few years later when the climate would likely be better. A pink blur whizzed into the room, coming to a physics-defying complete halt just inches away from her desk, the turbulence and air pressure sending the neatly stacked papers flying all over the room. The pink being's hair wasn't messed up by the air resistance at all, as if even air knew better than to get in her way.

"MayorMareMayorMareMayorMareMayorMareMayorMaaaare!!!" Pinkie Pie shouted, far more overexcited and overjoyed than usual. Her breath came in quick, shallow gasps through her nose, her mouth a permanent wide grin. Pinkie Pie stared at Mayor Mare expectantly, waiting for her reply.

They'd 'Done this song and dance' many times, as the cool Colts and Fillies say – Cool Colts and Fillies still said that, right? – and Mayor Mare decided that she'd draw things out and have some fun with things this time. After all, that book said to savour the little things in life that brought you joy, even if they didn't seem important or “Big” enough.

"Mayor Mare, Pinkie Pie is here to see you." Mayor Mare's secretary rather unnecessarily called out from her position in the hallway.

"I noticed~!" Mayor Mare sang in a cheery tone.

Mayor Mare paused and watched Pinkie Pie for eight whole seconds, The Mayor's practiced slightly-cheerful blank gaze looking directly at the real and overly-cheerful grinning face of Pinkie Pie. To her credit, Pinkie's smile didn't falter in the slightest, patiently waiting like a... like a... like a dam about to break would patiently wait for its chance to break completely instead of merely forming cracks? No, Pinkie's smile was large and honest, hardly a dam of anything. That wasn't a very good description at all. She'd have to put her story on another six-year hiatus while she practiced her writing until it was at a level good enough for her story. But some day, some day, SOME DAY, she would DEFINITELY write it! Eventually!”

"Yes, Miss Pie?" Mayor Mare finally asked the pink baker.

Pinkie let out a rapid stream of high pitched words spaced so closely together, even The Mayor of Ponyville couldn't understand them. And as a politican, it was her job to understand the un-understandable! ...The standable? She'd be hard pressed to find a mare her age that could call this high-speed babbling standable. "Pinkie! Could you please slow down?" The Mayor asked.

Pinkie Pie happily closed her eyes and gave a closed-mouthed smile as she nodded a few times, faster and more enthusiastically than anypony else Mayor Mare had ever seen. Then she stopped suddenly, breathed in, and all in one breath she said, "I was out playing with Rainbow Dash but this new silver Unicorn showed up and he was flying and he looked super serious and fancy but I bet he's just really sad and lonely and he's never been in town before so I want to throw him a party because he probably doesn't have any friends in Ponyville yet!"

Mayor Mare stared for a moment, stunned by Pinkie's spectacular display of breath-holding. That was long, even for her. Mayor Mare pretended to not understand at all.

"Sorry, Miss Pie, could you repeat that?" Mayor Mare asked innocently.

To her credit, Pinkie Pie didn't appear annoyed or tired in the slightest. She took a deep breath and repeated, "I was out playing with Rainbow Dash but this new silver Unicorn showed up and he was flying a rowboat and I've never seen him before and I've never seen a flying Unicorn before except for Twilight that one time and he told Dashie he'd be living in Ponyville and from what Dashie told me he seems really serious and formal and fancy but I bet he's just really sad and lonely and he's never been in town before so I want to throw him a party because he probably doesn't have any friends in Ponyville yet!"

Mayor Mare blinked, surprised. Okay, she'd officially earned it. ...Mostly. "Well, I'd love to help..." Mayor Mare said in her best and most suggestive tone, "But my office is such a mess-"

In the space of under a second, Pinkie Pie had become a pink blur again, whizzed around her office and gathered up all of the papers that were in The Mayor's 'Done' tray before the pink baker arrived, and finally came to an impossibly sudden stop in the exact same spot and stance she had been in almost a second ago.

Mayor Mare looked around the office, and noticed that not only had her papers been put away, but the office was suddenly much cleaner and tidier, everything was aligned with exact right angles, and everything had been dusted and polished. If Pinkie Pie ever showed any interest in becoming her janitor or maid, she'd get the job in a heartbeat. "Thank you, Pinkie Pie. I think my Secretary has the town's Roster, in the bookshelf hidden behind her desk-"

Pinkie Pie speed-blurred away, and appeared in the doorway a moment later, holding a large thick tome in her grinning mouth, between her teeth. She bounced over to Mayor Mare's desk and placed it down, looking at the Mayor with excited anticipation.

Mayor Mare opened her book and looked inside, rapidly flicking through page after page, looking for a page that wasn't completely filled with names or crossed-out names. "Let's see... New arrivals... Hmm... No, there's no record of any silver Unicorns buying any houses today, or even looking at potential properties to buy."

"What about a grey Unicorn?" Pinkie asked hopefully.

"No, no grey Unicorns, either." Mayor Mare said, looking down at her book. "...In fact... This town hasn't had any new arrivals for a few weeks. Are you sure he plans on staying for longer than a month?"

"I think so!" Pinkie said optimistically.

"Well, there's no record of him living here..." She said, looking down at her book. Then, she looked at Pinkie Pie and narrowed her eyes in suspicion. "Wait... Is he staying in my town illegally?"

"NO!" Pinkie Pie shouted suddenly in panic. Then, she giggled nervously while putting on a smile. "I mean, he probably just hasn't gotten around to that yet. I'm sure he'll do that tomorrow, after the party.” She leaned forward and grinned conspiratorially. “And where will that party be?"

Mayor Mare sighed wearily, and then forced herself to keep up her Mayorly mask of subtle optimism. "Pinkie Pie, I've already told you: We have no record of your mysterious new flying silver Unicorn."

She doubted if there even WAS a flying silver Unicorn, but she didn't let that show. "If he is here, we don't know who he is or where he'll be. Sorry, but there are some things even the Mayor doesn't know. After all, I'm only an elected official. Vote for me again, and I'll do my best to connect with the ponies of this town!"

"Oh. Well... Thanks anyway, Mayor Mare!" Pinkie Pie said as she skipped off, a little less cheerful than usual.

Mayor Mare shrugged, and went back to thinking of titles for the autobiography she'd get time to write some day. The Mayor of... Mayor... Mayor... Mayords? Maids? Mayor Mare 2: Mare Harder? The Autobiography of Unparallelled Mayorosity? No, those were terrible. 'The Mare Wearing the Mayorly Mask' was far better. Then again... Could she top that?

Mayor... Revealed. Mayor Unmasked. Mayor Mare The Mayor and the Town That Needed A Mayor. Mayor Mare And The Night Of A Thousand Mayors. Mayor, Mayor, Mayor. Mayor, Mayor, I'm a Mayor, said Mayor Mayor I'm a Mayor. Mayor Unleashed. Crimson Mayor. Mayor of Mayors. Mayornnaise. Mayornado.

Although you wouldn't be able to tell from looking at her bounce back to Sugarcube Corner at a marginally slower pace than usual, Pinkie Pie was completely lost.

Normally, when a new pony arrived, she'd ask Mayor Mare for that new pony's new home address. She'd spend the day rushing around town and telling certain popular, chatty or well-connected ponies(Applejack, Roseluck, Rarity, and Spike, for example. Applejack would bring some of the Apple Family, a ton of ponies visited Roseluck's flower stand, Rarity had her contacts and clients in town, and Spike seemed to know some ponies no matter where they went) about her Pinkie Pie Welcome Party and how everyone was invited. At night, when that new pony got home, he or she would be greeted with a beautiful surprise party, just for them. The look of surprise and dawning happiness on that pony's face, that always, always made her smile.

But now, she couldn't do that. She couldn't set up a surprise party, because she had no idea where that pony would be.

She stopped, and chuckled. She didn't have to know where he lived, she just had to pop up wherever he was! But... what would she say?

She decided to decide on that when she got there, and she ducked behind a barrel, sitting on her haunches and closing her eyes and smiling. Some ponies (Lyra and Bonbon) wandering past glanced at her curiously, but continued to walk on, and their confusion made this even more fun. She always loved doing this...

She opened an eye, and saw that same barrel. Nothing looked even a little different. “Huh?” She wondered, tilting her head. Ok, now things looked different, but that didn't count. “What's going on?”

She popped her head up, looking to the left, then to the right. Minuette looked at her curiously, and Berry Punch was watching in amusement. It didn't look like she could be seen from this angle...

She sneaked out from behind her barrel, crawled across the ground, and leapt into the air before angling herself down and diving into a bush like it was a bucket of water.

She could still feel a connection to everywhere else in town that wasn't currently in anypony's line of sight, but... for some reason, the area around that silver Unicorn didn't want to play any games, not even that game she could play with the world when nopony that minded was watching too closely.

It was like... It was like he had some kind of spell that was stopping her from just popping out from behind a bush. Or was it because he was so aware of his surroundings that he knew the position of everything and if she was secretly there all along, he would have noticed by now?

Still, she knew where he was now, so she could just pop up near him... But she also really needed to get back to work, and she didn't want to rush his welcome!

Perhaps... perhaps she could set it up in Sugarcube Corner, and have him go there? But that'd be too obvious and suspicious, and he was from Canterlot like Twilight, and he did have a really similar accent, which meant he was probably super smart like her, so he'd probably see right through it. And it wasn't a real surprise party if it wasn't a surprise!

If he didn't have a house... where could she put his party? She couldn't NOT give that new pony a party. Especially one that looked like that, a pony that could only truly smile when others were watching.

She decided: She'd have to risk it, and have the party at Sugarcube Corner. Wait, no, they were open late that night. Okay, Applejack's barn. A not-much-of-a-surprise surprise party was still better than no party at all.

But first, she really needed to get back to work. Her break was almost over!

Pinkie became a pink blur as she sped towards Sugarcube Corner, with only seconds left before her break officially ended. Besides, the sooner she got there, the sooner she could finish her shift, and then go and decorate Applejack's barn and get it ready for the party! (After asking Applejack first, of course.)

What looked like the light of an orange-hot glowing meteor filled Mayor Mare's windows, and she turned around in time to see the light vanish, revealing a silver Unicorn with blue eyes, an orange mane, and a black suit. The dapper Unicorn was staring directly at her, and his horn lit up with a blue glow, flashing as he disappeared.

She felt the faint and controlled magical burst as he appeared behind her, her desk between them, and she stared at him in shock, unable to move. His horn lit up again, summoning a bag of golden bits into existence. “Hi, my name is Silver Star, I'm a businesspony from Canterlot, I'm rich, and I'd like to build a vacation home for myself here, while also setting up a wildly successful enchanted item store, vastly improving the local economy... If that's alright with you, of course.”

“Okay,” She said. stunned.

“Excellent.” Silver said, a wide grin spreading across his face. His horn lit up with a bright blue light, a glow that lingered as a blue light flashed beside him, summoning into this world a four-legged being that looked like a Griffon, though one without the cat part, only a Ravenlike bird part. Four golden white-taloned limbs, a coat of black feathers, bright golden eyes, and a gold-lined black top hat with an attached black cape with a purple interior and gold trim. When Mayor Mare leaned to the side, to check if the birdlike being had wings, she saw that it did, and they were big, even when folded. The bird was the size of a normal mare, and it stared directly at her as he teleported himself away in a flash of blue light, leaving the bag of bits behind. She glanced behind her and saw him appear outside her office, Rainbow Dash landing beside him as if she'd just caught up to him. They talked and laughed as they walked on together.

Mayor Mare had never seen anything like that before, or anything like this bird... and yet he'd summoned this being from Celestia-knew-where like it was nothing, nothing at all.

“What does Silver need to sign?” The bird asked with the smooth and motherly voice of a fourty-something mare.

Mayor Mare was no magical expert, but she knew what summoning magic was. She assumed this bird would bring the papers to him, and opened a drawer, checking through the pages she kept ready. She quickly found the land acquisition form and the new business form, and placed them on her desk for the bird with a pleasant smile.

The bird spread her wings as her eyes lit up with a blazing golden light, a blue void appearing beneath her and spreading out as white streams of energy shot through the air, and Mayor Mare recoiled in shock. The sound of a ticking clock became audible, echoing and becoming distorted as echoes built up layers of the same ticking sound until the rapid beat of time's drum degenerated into a constant droning noise.

From the growing blue void, a Silver Star emerged like a boyband emerging from the stage's floor, as if he'd been standing on an invisible elevator that slowly and dramatically rose. When he was through, the blue void vanished anticlimactically, the sound stopping instantly, white trails of energy fading away.

“What just happened?” Mayor Mare asked.

“I breached the boundaries of time and causality, and pulled into this reality a Silver that never was, but could have been. This is the Silver that will sign your documents, the Silver from the potential reality that chose to do so before leaving,” She explained, lying. She had actually used an overdramatic illusion spell, and then summoned a Silver replica from the building where he stored the ones that didn't fade away, burst, or get absorbed after completing their tasks. However, she could have performed the feat she described, if Silver desired it.

Mayor Mare was shocked. “Isn't that... a little excessive? The forms are only a few pages long.”

“It saves him a few extra seconds of his life, so when he's in this special kind of mood, no.” She said, and while her beak didn't change, her eyes smiled. The Silver summoned the documents closer in a flash of blue magic, summoned a quill pen, signed them, and placed them on the Mayor's deck. “Furthermore, it allows the Peacock in a rut to show off.”

The two vanished in flashes of blue magic and purple feathers that faded as they fell, and Mayor blinked in surprise. This town's new arrival was certainly an odd one, but her town had a reputation for attracting the oddest ponies in the land. Sometimes, she wondered why. Was it the presence of odd ponies that attracted other odd ponies, or was it something involving the Tartarusmouth this town had been built over? Perhaps, some day, she'd ask Twilight to look into that.

She wondered if she should have mentioned to the silver Unicorn that Pinkie Pie was looking for him... Ah, it didn't matter.

She'd find him soon enough.

Pinkie Pie got back to Sugarcube corner, rushing to the desk and sitting on it with a welcoming smile for a few moments, like a spring slowly coiling and building up energy. When she was sure nopony would show up, she practically flew up the building's stairs, grabbing her Welcome Wagon and flying out of Sugarcube Corner.

She then flew back into Sugarcube Corner, leaving a plate full of cupcakes on the desk, a sign in the center telling all who saw it to “Just take one!”. She'd pay the cakes back for them later.

“And while I do like a challenge, it feels like WAY too many new temple designers just put spikes everywhere and call it a day.” Silver said as he and Rainbow took what was – for them – a leisurely trot through the center of town, towards the land he'd purchased. ”A room full of spikes to avoid is a slalom course, not a real temple. And usually, if you want puzzles, you'll need to seek out dedicated puzzle temples, which, far too often, have only one puzzle.”

“Yeah. I mean, rooms like that are easy for me, but you know what's really annoying? The ones where they marked where you're supposed to go and where you're supposed to jump and turn with coins or glowy trails.”

“Sweet Celestia, YES. The occasional arrow or arrow-shaped object is fine, but constant glowing trails? Where's the choice? The thought? The moment-to-moment decision making that truly makes for good actiony-section temple design? Why bother with a temple's room if a Magic Golem scripted with just 'Follow the marked path' could follow the given instructions and complete it faster and more efficiently than a pony ever could?

A pink blur sped across the land and stopped right in front of the two ponies, her tail tugging along what looked like a treasure chest on wheels, around the size of a pony-drawn carriage, and the two stopped. The wheels were wooden and undecorated, but the rims were white with a spiralling red pattern, like a lollipop. The chest was a reddish pink, and on the sides, a blue bush on either side, a somewhat ornate banner of light pink along the top. On the front and back, a yellow half-star with seven rounded points. An image of two blue balloons and one yellow balloon was emblazoned on the center of the half star, and on the front, on the star's top point, there was a yellow-outlined big red button just begging to be pressed. The pink pony pressed the button with a hoof, creating a horn sound that reminded one of a clown's nose, and a mechanical whirring could be heard as the chest's upper half split down the top and opened up.

Like dolphins breaching the water's surface, only faster, stuff shot out of the contraption's rising central column: long brass horns, pastel-coloured flags on sticks, powerful confetti cannons shaped like spiral-patterned candles on cakes, confetti cannons shaped like spiral-patterned tubes, a tiny cuboid baking oven, and two rows of confectionery delights. On the top row, cupcakes with brightly coloured icing in different colours and flavours, and on the bottom row, small pies.

The flags waved around randomly, the horns automatically playing a cheerful tune, and Silver's mind immediately drew up diagrams full of the gears and pulleys necessary for him to build an exact replica, only to be distracted from the fading imaginary blueprints by a bouncy pink Earth Pony bouncing across his field of vision.

“Welcome, welcome, welcome!”

She hopped back the other way, now on her hind legs.

“A fine welcome to you!”

She was suddenly right next to him, her upper body stretched out to somewhere beyond his field of vision, and as he flinched in shock, she pulled a hat out from... somewhere, putting the hat on his head, balancing it atop his hair. It was a black cone hat, with half of a white lotus flower-like decoration and a blue-outlined orange visor. He looked up at the hat in confusion, then admired its perfect colouration.

Welcome, welcome, welcome! I say, how do you do?!

She pulled a horn out from somewhere and blew a triumphant note right next to him, somehow stretching the horn out as he dodged it, looking up in shock.

“Welcome, welcome, welcome! I say, hip hip hooray!”

She zipped out and reappeared behind him, hopping around him on her hind legs as she hit a massive red drum with pink-clad Massive Drum Sticks, and he began to find this walking anomaly funny.

“Welcome, welcome, welcome,”

She hopped along again, crouched down, and leapt up.

“To Ponyville todaaaaaaaay!”

She slid towards him on her bent hind legs, forelegs outstretched, a smile on her face. When the song ended, her smile grew bigger, and Silver blinked in shock.

“Well ok then,” Silver said quietly.

“Wait for iiiiit!” The pink pony said gleefully.

The cube of a baking oven's door burst open, launching compressed air, confetti squares, and confetti spirals towards Silver, who yelped in shock, a field of orange energy spreading out from his hooves to envelop everything in five meters. The confetti stopped in mid air, and when Rainbow jumped back from what she assumed was an orange shockwave, she stopped, too.

Pinkie Pie in front of him was forced to stay immobile and grinning. “Sho, wh't'do y'u th'nk?” She muffled through her teeth with a good deal of effort, yet she didn't seem mad or even a little bothered by it.

“Sorry, sorry.” Silver said with an embarrassed chuckle, his orange aura of momentum magic shrinking back into his hooves, acting as if he'd let out a loud fart, rather than accidentally discharging a set of immensely powerful weapons. “First time I've ever seen a literal welcome wagon!”

As soon as she could move, the pink earth pony yelled “Come to Applejack's barn at 6pm!” and rushed off to who knew where.

As soon as she could move, Rainbow Dash looked right at his horseshoes. “What are thooose?!” Rainbow asked loudly, pointing at them with both hooves.

“Evidence that I'm the greatest enchantment expert of all time.” Silver boasted. ”I call them The Silver Shoes. They allow me to absorb and redirect kinetic force, and utilize it in its purest form: Energy.”

Rainbow had a pretty good idea of what he was saying, but she decided to ask for clarification anyway. “In Equestrian?” She wondered.

“You know how a ball moves in the direction it's kicked when somepony kicks it?” Silver asked. Rainbow nodded. “If it was wearing these, it wouldn't move until it wanted to, no matter how many times you kicked it. It would absorb the force, and store it. Like filling up a water pistol. Then it would move in whichever direction it wanted, whenever it wanted, with as much of the force it built up from multiple kicks as it wanted. As if the water is fuel for a magic airship engine.”

“Cool. What about that thing it just did, where it froze everything?” Rainbow asked.

“Not everything, sound waves and air could still move. Its area mode isn't at 100% efficiency just yet, but I'm working on it.” Silver admitted. “It started absorbing the kinetic energy of everything in an area around me. You could probably force your way out of its range if you wanted, I hear you're pretty fast.”

“I guess you could say that.” Rainbow said, grinning.

“Cool. Unrelated, but they also let me make a field in which the temperature is locked at exactly ten degrees, and this field can grow up to two miles in diameter. Its the standard field spell with a temperature designation, but I multiplied its expansion speed by four. Sure, it retracts five times slower than it should, but it's worth it.” Silver said. “So, who was that?”

“That's Pinkie Pie, she's one of my best friends. She runs Sugarcube Corner, they sell cakes and stuff.”

“Is there any particular reason why she said to visit a barn, of all places?”

“Guess it was the only place open tonight.” She shrugged.

“Huh. Well, if you want to see how great I am at building homes fast, you can watch me build my new home.”

That didn't exactly sound like fun, but... “How fast?” Rainbow wondered.

“If it takes me longer than two minutes, I'll buy you a cupcake.” Silver gloated.

“You're on!”

Silver landed in the center of the land his document-signing clone had bought for him with grace and style, a pretty nice place with a pleasant yellow thatched-roof cottage surrounded by verdant grass, a few big trees, and the odd patch of pink flowers. It was a peaceful, idyllic scene, and Silver glanced back at the camera to smirk as he raised a hoof, spawning into existence a pocketwatch. His horn lit up with a blazing blue aura, he tossed the stopwatch to a surprised Rainbow Dash, and his raised hoof struck the ground like an industrial press as a militaristic drum beat began playing, his hoof glowing and absorbing the strike's power.

His horn lit up with a brilliant blue light that intensified as forms of pure magic appeared around him, hawks and falcons and what appeared to be ponies, only with near-identical bushy tails and foxlike faces with pointed snouts and pointed ears. When Rainbow Dash hit the stopwatch's button and started counting the time, their solid blue coloration shattered outwards in a shower of magical sparks, revealing the assorted blue and black and white hues for the birds and the different combinations of white, red, light blue, and orange for the fox-ponies. As though they'd rehearsed this, each one spread out to surround the area, and Silver began to sing.

Make a home, make a home

Five, six, seven, eight

All alone, I'll make a home

Five, six, seven, eight

Slowly and dramatically, the ground around the silver Unicorn faintly vibrating, sounding almost like a drum roll, unrefined ore in liquid form began to emerge from the ground, arcing through the air before forming in a singular puddle like pancake mix getting poured into a pan. Like a stack of pancakes, layer upon layer of six foot by six foot metal walls and glass walls and metal spikes were formed by his will. Each one was picked up by the brightly-coloured magical lights of different birds and the same-hued burned-orange glows of the foxponies and thrown through the air like swarms of soaring spears and spinning shuriken, landing perfectly in the ground where needed.

First foundations, then the walls

Building rooms and building halls

This horn's light ain't just for show

Watch real closely, here we go!

Make a home, make a home

Five, six, seven, eight

All alone, I'll make a home

Five, six, seven, eight

His tail flicking around to the front of his body, he flung forward a smooth steel ball hidden within his tail hair, the ball spinning through the air as it took a sudden sharp curve and struck the ground, still spinning. It tore at the grassy earth, uprooting grass and earth and accelerating, the ground around it warping and twisting like a thin carpet getting disturbed and rendered uneven by movement atop it. Spiralling fissures split the ground and swallowed grass whole, moles and insects fleeing the earth in terrified lines, cracks sealing up with rapidly-hardening mud as the ground became harder than stone.

Build it wide and build it tall

One home to surpass them all

Here I'll reap what I now sow

Watch real closely, here we go

Scraping his hoof against the ground to build up glowing orange momentum, then slamming it into the ground, he launched himself into the air, posing on his side. His horn launched a flare of blue magic into the air, which exploded like a firework, bursting into a blue image of a blue five-pointed star coated in orange flames. He landed like somepony who had practiced this before, showers of magical blue sparks falling down to temporarily strengthen the bodies of anyone they touched. Fox Ponies and Birds under his command rushed forwards as blurs of speed, kicking up clouds of dust in their rapid construction. In mere seconds,

Make a home, oh, make a home

Five, six, seven, eight

All alone, I'll make a home

Five, six, seven, eight

He glanced back at his building and noticed that they'd shaped this building into a massive sculpture of his own head, the house inside it, and he frowned, because it wasn't big enough. His horn lit up, designating a point at the center of the building and turning it into a blue magical cube that grew larger every second, quickly engulfing a quarter of the building and stopping. He frowned harder and tried to make it bigger, but only succeeded in wobbling it from side to side. He rolled his eyes and the cube collapsed in on itself, taking the piece of building with it. His horn flashing blue, a blue portal appeared in the air, a colossal metal steamroller crashing down onto the building to crush it completely.

Metal walls fly off the ground

Hold them up and bring them down

This horn's light ain't just for show

Watch real closely, here we go

Seemingly controlled by his will, rather than his magic's blue glow, metal walls levitated themselves into the air and erected themselves a solid floor and outer wall, slamming down one six foot by six foot square of metal at a time, as each one clicked together like the whole thing was magnetized.

Upon the crushed house, he cast a fire-and-forget repair spell, the ruins of his home reshaping themselves into a two-storey cube-shaped house with metallic-blue metal walls and orange windows. He began to dance and sing around the forming building as orange glass shaped itself on the building's top, making a three-dimensional five-pointed star held up by metallic-blue metal rods, a glass star with a small gold-plated steel core levitating and rotating in the center.

Look at me, just look at me!

I'm the greatest, can't you see?

I, Silver, am proud to say

This home was built in just one day

Aquilla finally caught up with him and landed beside him like a pet owl, admiring the building, then she snapped her claws and warped large metal shipping containers in through gold portals. Fox ponies began opening the containers and telekinetically taking out swords, shields, hammers, helmets, axes, whips, steamrollers the size of swords, swords the size of steamrollers, and a kitchen sink.

He glanced back at his building and noticed that he'd somehow shaped this building into a massive sculpture of his own head, the house inside it, and he frowned. His horn lit up, designating a point at the center of the building and turning it into a blue magical cube that grew larger every second, quickly engulfing a quarter of the building and stopping. He growled and tried to make it bigger, but only succeeded in wobbling it from side to side. He rolled his eyes and the cube collapsed in on itself, taking the piece of building with it. His horn flashing blue, a blue portal appeared in the air, a colossal metal steamroller crashing down onto the building to crush it completely, so he could magically reform the crumpled mess into a fairly normal guilding.

Bow to me, I'm here at last

Step back if you can't go fast

Forward back and spin around

This home shall be the best in town

The fox ponies arranged themselves into groups of four, their horns lighting up. The eyes of birds flashed as they converged upon summoned palanquins, falling into the multicolored magical grips of the fox ponies, Silver leaping towards the chair in the center and posing.

Make a home, make a home


His sudden outburst surprised the birds and foxes, but they rolled with it, musicians speeding their movements up with magic to rush bars out at 340 BPM before returning to their previous pace as Silver's magic bodily picked up one female red fox-pony, dipped her tail in a summoned can of white paint, and used her to paint his building's walls grey.

With this brush of hairs so fine

With this art, I make it mine

This horn's light ain't just for show

Watch real closely, here we go

The star finished forming, and a wide sign formed on the building's front. His horn lighting up with a blazing blue light, magic glow moving faster than his head, he fired short, sharp laser shots that carved the shop's name into the house with incredible speed and precision.

The building's title...

<u><i>Magical Masterpieces

Expert Enchantments, Superior Sundries, and Quality Consulting

A Subsidiary of Silver Star Enterprises</i></u>

When it was over, he blew a gust of air up at his red-hot horn with a smirk, and sat on his haunches, admiring his work with forehooves outstretched. His birds and fox ponies vanished in bursts of multicolored magical light and blue magical flame.

I built this home, I built this home

Yes, I did

With my friends, I built this home

Yes, I did!

Silver punched the ground and formed an earth podium to stand atop, and he began to sing solo.

While I'm hardly one to boast

T'was easier than making toast

All I need to strive to be

Is the best me that I... can... be!

Aquilla finally caught up with him and landed beside him like a pet owl, admiring the building, then snapping her claws and warping large metal shipping containers in through gold portals.

And miles away, in a bush at the edge of town, watching through pairs of binoculars made from leaves and gems, the jaws of three Diamond Dogs dropped. Then, their binoculars fell to the ground. Slowly, their heads turned to face each other and wide, animalistic grins formed on their faces.

The walls were coated in brilliant crystal, and the floor was covered by a purple carpet. Twilight Sparkle stood in the center of the room, her horn alight, and she was reading a purple book. Was being the operative word, for when Spike opened the door and excitedly told her Pinkie told Roseluck to tell him to tell Twilight about the new arrival in town and his party and how it was tonight, her book fell dramatically like a glass of wine. She then caught it in mid-air before it could dramatically hit the floor, gently floating it over to her bedside table to read later.

“Hold on, Spike. Silver Unicorn, pointy orange mane with an orange flame at the front, with a yellow star on it, blue eyes, a constellation of orange and yellow stars for a Cutie Mark?” Twilight asked hopefully.

“Yeah, with a black suit. You know Silver?” Spike asked in happy surprise.

“I know <i>of</i> him!” She said gleefully, opening up her closet and looking at the few hung-up articles of clothing she owned before becoming a princess on the left, the outfits she'd gained for princess stuff after becoming a princess on the right. “With all the breakthroughs he's made in the field, field magic, and the field of magical fielding, you could fill more than a hundred books with all he's discovered! And I have all two hundred!”

“Two hundred books?” Spike said, wondering what kind of pony had that kind of free time. “I didn't think he was the sciency type-”

“But he is!” Twilight said happily, turning to face Spike, utterly nerding out.

“Wait, we're thinking of the same Silver Star here, right?” Spike asked curiously. “The one who lives in the Silver Spire in Canterlot?”

“And invented a new type of evolutionary transformative spell, yes.”

“Seven-time Grandmaster of the royal Duelling Circuit, and the owner and founder of his own way cooler magical duelling circuit? One of the greatest magical duellists of all time, ever? The guy who shaved the Royal Duelling Circuit's owner's head with his own spellblade at Glitterfest 2010?!”

“Yes, that, but more importantly,” Twilight waved that away with a hoof, and began nerding out once more. “He single-hoofedly revolutionized the field of summoning magic, created over a thousand spells, and made his own chain of enchanted item stores all over Equestria!”

“And he made those magical arenas that'll let anypony fight - What are they called again, temporal echoes? - of retired Magical Duellists in their prime, and temporal echoes of duellists that are still around now, but different! He's the reason why Rocky Road '02 VS Rocky Road '12 happened!” Spike enthused.

"And he's written over two hundred books about the alternate worlds he's visited! The art, and the history, and the SCIENCE! Do you know how many patents he owns? Do you know how many history books he's written?!"

"No, but I know he's a metal music star too! I think I have one of his CDs!" Spike declared.

“And best of all... When he attended the Royal Canterlot Academy of Magical Duelling, he took on their unbeatable Impossible Test and he passed it with flying colors! He actually passed a test Princess Celestia and over fifty expert theorists helped craft to be absolutely impossible!”

“Wait, Duel Academy? He's one of those jerks?” Spike asked skeptically.

“That's not the point, Spike.” She said with a good-natured smiling eye-roll. ”Name one other pony who passed an impossible test!”

Face blank, Spike pointed a claw at Twilight. “You.”

She smiled and looked away. If she was just a few months younger, and she didn't have a pair of wings on her back, she would have blushed. “One other pony <i>besides</i> me.”

“Uh... Nopony?” Spike guessed, shrugging.

“Exactly, Spike. And nopony knows how he did it! He didn't have his magical system jump-started by the shock from a sonic rainboom, he didn't tap into some incredible potential power he was born with, he only had his wits and his determination to win, and he outsmarted a test nopony in over a thousand years has ever been able to pass!”

“Did he cheat?” Spike guessed.

“That was the first thing the Academy staff checked!” Twilight said in excitement, horn lighting up with a beautiful purple light as she got her starry blue Grand Galloping Gala outfit from her closet and compared it to her pink and yellow Princess Coronation outfit. ”They didn't find any evidence of cheating, and the anti-cheating tests didn't activate, and when they brought the test's creator over to verify it, he confirmed the test really was beaten. Which means he really beat an impossible test!”

“Or he cheated so well, the Academy staff couldn't tell.” Spike snarked.

“That'd be even MORE impressive! How do you tamper with the prized test of the second-best magical school in Canterlot and not get caught?” She asked as she put the blue outfit back. “Right after the news came out, Celestia sent investigators of her own to check if any of the academy staff had altered the test themselves, or if something had been done to the timeline, or Silver, or the test's creator, and no matter how hard they looked, they couldn't find any evidence of foul play! His victory was as legitimate as it was unbelievable!”

She teleported the dress onto herself, and checked herself over in the mirror.

“Wait, you're gonna wear <i>clothes</i> for this guy?” Spike said in surprise.

“Absolutely!” Twilight declared.

“You know you outrank him, right?” Spike asked, raising an eyebrow. “You've saved Equestria over a dozen times!”

“That doesn't make his contributions to the scientific community any less significant.” Twilight said, smiling, and she stuck her head into her closet, her voice beginning to echo out. “To say nothing of his accomplishments in Canterlot, the collusion and corruption he's brought to light, the information he's revealed, and the political reforms he's campaigned for. And the schools! Did you know he's set up multiple magical schools across Equestria, giving what I hear is some of the best education in the country, and he's asking less than half of the standard admission price in return, even working out monthly payment plans for the poorest families that stretch decades in advance? He's even made night schools, for the ponies that're too busy with farmwork or vocational training during the day, and boarding schools, for the ponies that lived too far away for a proper education until now! And magazine subscription services allowing ponies to teach themselves the fields of magic AND science, regardless of time or location!”

“He didn't invent boarding schools or night schools.” Spike pointed out.

“No, but he made the best ones yet.” Twilight said, wondering if some kind of headgear would be appropriate. She had that crown of flowers from her coronation in kept fresh in magical stasis, she had that multicoloured umbrella hat Pinkie gave her a while ago, and... She didn't really have any other hats, she had a nice yellow sun hat she wasn't sure if she ever wore, and... she didn't really own a lot of hats, now that she thought of it. She put the flowers back and started using magic to levitate her mane and curl it into place.

“Alright, just don't act like Rarity did when she was about to meet Prince Blueblood.” Spike said, rolling his eyes while a little sad. He doubted he could handle seeing Twilight act like that.

Twilight laughed. “I won't, Spike.”

Spike's eyes suddenly widened. “I remember the last time I heard his name!”

“Really? Where?” Twilight asked curiously.

“I was at the Comic Book store in Canterlot!”

“Really?” Twilight asked. “Oh, right, he makes those interactive comics.”

“The coolest ones ever! But that's not where I remember hearing his name. I heard somepony say she got his latest album, and she hated it.”

“What was it?”

“Not as good as his last album.”

“I mean, what type of music does he make?”

“I have no idea,” Spike admitted. "Hey, do you think he's gonna make an Enchanting shop here? He makes the coolest stuff!"

For Silver Star, seeing Applejack again after all these years was like getting a magically-accelerated steel rod launched at terminal velocity right into his soul. She'd gotten so big now! She was a fully-grown mare, she was right where she wanted to be in life, she'd achieved her dreams, her farm was doing well... she was a fully-grown mare now and he wasn't around to see any of it happen. He wondered if he did the right thing by moving to Canterlot all those years ago, despite all the good he'd done since then telling him the answer he already knew. He... he wanted to hug her, right then and right there, and not care who saw him or what she said to him in confusion. He wanted to spill everything on the spot, but he knew there was a party, or rather, a barn full of ponies nearby, and if they heard Applejack yell “Wot 'n' tarnation?!” and start yelling at him over what he'd done or hadn't done or whatever, they'd exit the barn and watch, it would be awkward for everypony involved, his cover would be blown, and the party would be ruined. No, he just had to keep it all bottled up for the night, spend the night staying awake planning out what to say, then head to Applejack's in the morning to talk it out alone. She still woke up at six like the rest of the Apple Family, right?

He was suddenly very grateful for his uncanny ability to mask his emotions, for the orange Earth Pony didn't suspect a thing. He'd say it made up for all that time spent as a foal wondering if there was something wrong with him, but his outer serenity had paid for itself on cons a thousand times over. As it was, the farmer merely greeted him politely when he showed up on her farm, leading him to her barn.

Just as Applejack got ready to dramatically throw the barn doors open, Silver Star had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen. He had noticed faint outlines of several hoofprints in the dirt... Many ground-bound ponies, one young Alicorn that was likely Twilight, plus any number of fliers. Judging from the way one set of footprints bounced straight up and down on all fours rather than trotting normally, it was likely that Pinkie Pie was there, too. He had heard rumours about the Elements of Harmony, but nothing concrete, nothing that could truly be relied upon, save the basics: Pinkie hopped and pronked instead of walking, the yellow one was shy, the blue one was the fastest, Twilight was so powerful that she broke records by glancing in their general direction, and so on. He made a mental note to request full files on all of them at the first opportunity. In any case, he had reason to believe that The Elements of Harmony were in that barn, along with a significant number of other ponies.

Applejack threw the barn doors open, light illuminating the darkest corners of the surprisingly-well-built wooden red barn coated in party decoratio-

"SURPRISE!!!" Six ponies and one Dragon and a bunch of other less-important ponies suddenly called out.

In the center of the room, there was a long table upon which a pink tablecloth with curly white cloudlike lining rested, and there was a large white-frosted cake lined with strawberries, pink frosting, and with an apple-shaped and apple-sized sculpture made of pink frosting in the center, complete with a stalk and single green leaf all made of sugar. Around the cake, they had a few large plates piled high with square chocolate brownies, smaller pieces of vanilla and chocolate cake, two large flasks containing apple cider and several smaller glass cups, and four large clear bowls of sweet and salted popcorn. A few blue and yellow balloons were tied to the table's edges, and on the ceiling, a large banner was displayed, displaying 'WELCOME TO PONYVILLE'.

In front of the party table, there was a pink pony, looking absolutely overjoyed. To her left, there was What's-Her-Name, the shy yellow Pegasus who was a model for a while(Not that he paid much attention to fashion... and now, he wished he'd at least bothered to try and remember her name) and a white Unicorn he recognized as Rarity(He certainly paid attention to the business world, and he'd heard of the self-taught fashionista from Ponyville who had managed to get several influential ponies on her side, making a name for herself despite her humble beginnings. He liked her, she was cool.). On Pinkie's right, there was Twilight Sparkle, Alicorn Princess and Element of Magic and general all-around chosen one, who had a pleasant smile on her face, and next to her, there was a small baby dragon, the one who saved the Crystal Empire that one time... Spike? Behind them, there was a bunch of unimportant ponies in the background, including one exceedingly unimportant reddish mare with a redder Pinkie-ish mane and tail.

This place certainly looked festive enough for a-

He blinked, and Pinkie suddenly popped up from below his field of vision and interrupted his thoughts. "Hi, I'm Pinkie Pie, and I threw this party just for you! Isn't this exciting? Are you excited? Cause I'm excited. I've never been so excited! Well, except for the time when I went-"

She suddenly gasped so hard she floated up for a moment, due to the intake of air.

"-but I mean really, what could top that?" She asked happily, landing on her hooves.

Silver backed away in shock, mind reeling, struggling to keep his face muscles neutral as flashes of information surged through his mind. The words and thoughts about all this visual information was like a tsunami crashing over his consciousness.

His horn lit up, and he teleported himself away, landing somewhere on Applejack's farm, balanced atop a tree branch that shouldn't have been able to support his weight.

He slowly sucked in a breath and jumped down, landing on what wasn't reasurringly solid ground, but instead fresh, fertile, loamy soil. It would have to do, he thought to himself, but he found its familiar texture oddly calming.

He pressed his lips together and let out a slow and carefully controlled breath out of a tiny hole he made with his mouth, counting up through every prime number in his head while humming one of his favourite tunes in reverse.

“Are you alright?” Twilight asked, teleporting in with an audibly purple flash of magic.

He let out a low yelp of surprise, then covered it up with a nervous chuckle. She sounded concerned, he realized.

“I'm fine, I just...” Silver looked away dramatically “I don't think you'd like hearing this.”

“Hearing what?” Twilight pressed.

He greeted her with an uncertain expression. “I thought I was going to be in that barn for a while, so I thought I should let out a fart first.”

She paused for a moment. “Um...”

Silver assumed she was about to question why she couldn't smell anything. “I'm upwind from you- Let's change the subject before this gets any stranger,” He decided. “I know first impressions tend to be important as important as they can be misleading, but this really isn't how I imagined my first encounter with Twilight Sparkle would go.”

“Really? How did you think it was going to go?” Twilight asked curiously.

Silver was torn. Did he go for the funny option, and say he didn't expect her to interrogate him over his flatulence, put her on the spot for how weird this was, then get her to want to change the subject as much as he did? Or did he try to change the subject himself, and reveal some sort of pre-held belief (He couldn't currently remember the official word for that, but he was sure such a word existed) that'd either make her like him or hate him, or did he say some other third thing he hadn't yet decided on?

“I was sure we'd talk about magic, scientific discoveries, art, culture, what we're working on, current events, the world as a whole, and so much more.” He said with a slight shade of hopefulness to his voice. “The things we'd achieved in our time, and the things we wanted to achieve. What we wanted for ourselves, and what we wanted for Equestria.”

“I'd like that,” Twilight said.

“Let's go back to the party.” Silver said, his horn lighting up with a bright blue light. Showing off, he reared up and flexed his chest muscles before slamming a hoof into the ground, an orange shockwave rippling along the ground to solidify around them.

Before either of their eyes noticed, they were back in the barn.

“How did you-” Twilight gasped.

“Silver Shoes, just three-ninety-nine bits!” Silver boasted, tapping the ground and launching a piece of popcorn ten feet into the air, where his magical glow caught it and pulled it into his open mouth. “Sorry about disappearing like that, everypony, I thought there was something I'd forgotten. But there wasn't.”

Meanwhile, Aquilla remained at his home, completely forgotten by Silver as she ordered fox-ponies and birds around, having them put everything in his house away properly.

In the Barn, Silver decided to talk to Pinkie. “You know, there's something I wanted to say to you earlier today, but you rushed off before I could get the chance.” He admitted.

"What's that?" Pinkie wondered happily, tilting her head to the side. The idea that this might be something unpleasant didn't even seem to occur to her. After all, how could anypony not like her? She was loveable.

"You. Are. ADORABLE!" Silver declared happily, a big dumb grin spreading across his face, to the surprise of many ponies, Twilight and Rarity included. "Look at you, you're like a big pink puppy!"

Silver raised a hoof towards her mane, but then pulled it back and with a shy smile, hesitantly asked, "Ah... may I?"

"Sure!" She said happily, closing her eyes.

He stroked her mane like she was a cute little dog, and she giggled, because it tickled. His hoof travelled toward the back of her ear, and she began tapping her right hindhoof against the floor like a dog.

'Oh, um, you like animals?" Fluttershy asked curiously.

"I love animals!" Silver declared happily, still stroking Pinkie. "And you're so CUUUTE!" Silver squealed. "Who's the cutest pink pony in the whole world! You are, yes you are!"

"Okay, that's enough," Rainbow said, flying over to break it up, "This is getting weird."

Silver's horn lit up and he formed a portal beneath him, casually falling through it and out of a forming vertical portal that put Pinkie between himself and Rainbow Dash, and he stroked Pinkie's mane harder while staring right at her, causing her to perform what those in another world called a memeface. "A party involving me isn't weird until there are seventh-dimensional birds flying around violating causality and dimensional boundaries like they're casual suggestions!” He declared overdramatically.

“Did he just say...” Twilight wondered. She paused, as if trying to remember something she'd read about long ago.

"Still, I must admit, this is the first time somepony threw a party for me.” Silver shrugged.

Pinkie Pie gasped in absolute horror, pulling away with a look of clear shock upon her face, startling Twilight out of her train of thought. "Nopony's ever thrown a party for you?!" She asked, as if he'd said he'd never had friends before or he'd never eaten baked goods before, or even worse, both.

"Have you lived your whole life under a rock?" Rainbow Dash asked doubtfully.

“From a certain point of view.” He shrugged. He loved saying that. It sounded deep, it sounded dramatic, and while he'd lived his foalhood under a metaphorical one, he had also lived under the literal rock that was the moon, its pale light illuminating his nocturnal study sessions. “I've been to parties held in honor of others, I've been to parties held in honor of the party's hosts, I've thrown fundraisers and parties to celebrate my most recent victories, but I've never been to a party somepony else threw for me. So, is there a book I should read on this, or...?”

In the background, Rainbow Dash's face swiftly met her hoof and Spike's face met his claw, as if they were both sarcastically thinking, 'Great, another one'. Fluttershy glanced away with an unreadable expression, idly kicking the ground with a lazy and relaxed hoof. Applejack chuckled ruefully, her thoughts along the same lines, entering the barn and closing it behind her.

Suddenly, Silver seemed to notice the song. He leapt into the air like he was somewhat filled with helium, floating onto a shocked dancefloor to perform an odd dance, rearing onto his hind legs and waving his straightened forelegs asynchronously, yet still in time with the beat.

He danced, and as she watched his mesmerising movements, Twilight noticed Rarity moving closer to her, and so did Spike. “That's Silver Star!” The white Unicorn whispered like a gleeful schoolfoal.

“I know!” The plum-lavender Unicorn merrily whispered back, like an excited but less excitable older sister, while an expression of disgust formed on Silver's face.

“Have you seen his art? Have you heard of his work with the New Art Foundation?” Rarity asked eagerly.

“His what?” Twilight asked.

”He's a rising star in the art world, he favours a revolutionary new form of Pop Art that lays the shallowness of art-critic society bare. And the New Art Foundation... Despite its uncreative name, it's truly wonderful. It's a charity he created, it supports young artists around the world trying to make a name for themselves, setting them up all up with teachers and critics while they train, and setting them up with fanbases if they earn his seal of approval, asking only a fraction of what a similar organization would take as payment, since it's all paid for by donators. For some, he offers housing with free nutritional meals, even ponies on hoof to make sure they all eat well, even those that occasionally forget to eat.”

“Wait.” Spike said doubtfully, popping up between them. Seeing Rarity act like this was the last straw. Mostly because he hated seeing Rarity act like this, even if it was less odd than seeing Twilight almost fully fangirl over somepony he thought only he'd fangirl- fanBOY over. “So this guy just showed up one morning in Canterlot, strolled into the second best college in Canterlot, beat an unbeatable test, became rich overnight, made a charity that probably loses a ton of money every day, became a famous artist, scientist, duellist, and musician overnight?”

Silver teleported into existence behind him. “You forgot 'Voted most eligible bachelor of the month' by fourteen magazines twenty one months in a row.“

Spike's clawed palm swiftly met his face, eyes shut, and he wiped his palm down his face as if wiping away the urge to scream, leaving behind only annoyed exhaustion. “Can he FLY?!” He asked pointedly.

“I'm not sure if it still counts as flying if you don't have wings,” Rainbow said, glancing away, then looked back at Spike, who looked like he was about to scream. “But yeah, he flew in from Canterlot this morning.”

Spike's clawed palm met his face once again. “Fluttershy, what do you know about him?” He asked, fully expecting her to start talking about some insane animal-conservation project.”

“Actually, I've, um... never heard of him before today.” Fluttershy admitted.

“You like animals, right?” Silver asked. “One time, during a lunch break, I went to Zebrica and whipped its local law enforcement into shape. They actually do stuff about the common poachers over there now.”

“That's nice.” Fluttershy said uncertainly. Sure, it was nice, but why did animals get one lunch break's worth of effort when artists got so much more?

“Great, some ponies are still sane. What about you, Pinkie?” Spike asked, then noticed Pinkie wasn't there any more. “...Pinkie?”

He looked around quickly and spotted her cheering Silver on with a crowd of seven ponies as Silver lifted two pint-jugs of lemonade and the entire punch bowl with his magic, cups spinning around his body as twin spiralling streams of red liquid rose from the bowl, arcing gracefully through the air. His horn glowing brighter, he picked up every cupcake with pink icing except for one, leaving that sole one behind and tossing the rest into his mouth, inelegantly jamming them in and closing his mouth a little, then sending the swirling yellow and red liquids into his mouth to drill through the baked blockage and pour down his throat, soaking the rest of the blockage and helping him swallow it all down. The crowd cheered at the display, and Twilight looked away, while Rarity raised a hoof to block Silver's head from her sight, so she could focus solely on the mesmerising sight of how he moved liquids.

“I'd always imagined him acting differently at parties.” Rarity admitted.

Spike looked at the Silver drinking, and then he turned his head and saw Silver behind him once again. He looked back to the partying Silver, and back to the one with them. And back to the partying one.

“There are two of you?” Spike asked, turning around and seeing an empty space. “You guys saw him too, right?”

Two Silvers appeared on either side of Twilight. “Magic!” They announced in unison.

“Why can't I tell what spell you've used to make those?” Twilight asked, peering closer at one's horn.

“Old family secret,” That Silver explained, while the other wandered off.

Rarity chased after him. “Silver Star?” She asked hopefully. “I wanted to talk to you about your charity, and your art, how-”

“I'm probably not the best pony to ask. To be honest, I'm more interested in the sciences than the arts.” Silver admitted, because he really didn't want to talk about his charity. While that charity existed as an extension of his love of great art, it also provided a handy way for ponies to put money in his pocket without it going on the traditional books. If there was a pony whose act needed to be cleaned up, but the opportunities for a properly brilliant con wasn't there, simply showing up and making an offer that couldn't be refused made the perfect first step for bad individuals suddenly wanting to go good.

“But... with all you've done in the art world, and the charity you created-”

“It's my money, and it's my charity and generosity that created the foundation ponies more interested in the arts than me manage, but like I said before, I'm more of a scientist. That's why I have a similar, better charity for young scientists.” He shrugged. ”I'm alright with others loving art more than me, because to me, in its current state, art's just a hobby.”

“A hobby? But your art is so provocative, so powerful, so intense... How can it be a mere hobby?”

“Simply put, I'm really good at stuff.” Silver said. He paused for a moment, as if he considered that a great one-liner, and when that did nothing, he answered honestly. “Well, any joke gets old if you hear it once a day, every day. Even a joke as funny as spitting in the face of all the art world's pseudointellectuals and watching them lick their faces clean and ask for seconds. I create 'Art' occasionally, so this joke, for me, at least, has yet to get old. Unlike the jokes calling themselves art critics. Those got old years ago.”

“I... don't follow.” Rarity said uncertainly.

“I hate my Pop Art almost as much as I hate how the low-effort garbage I made one morning out of idle curiosity turned out to have an actual name, genre, and cult following that found itself injected with swarms of posers when I unknowingly inserted myself into it. I hate how the real art I make under fake names is ignored while the smeared canvas excretions I make under this name are critically acclaimed. I hate it almost as much as I hate what Canterlot frauds have done to the modern art world in general. It's not art to throw together some pieces of garbage and sit in a fancy chair, throwing popcorn into your mouth in an ever-more-forceful parabolic arc, watching posers trying to virtue-signal their Art Critic level call a literal pile of garbage something 'deep and beautiful' something some 'common laypony peasant fool could never truly appreciate', unaware that mentally, they are those fools, fools trying to impress other fools with how enlightened they can pretend to be. Have you ever heard the tragedy of 'The Alicorn That Wore No Clothes'? The Art Critic world hasn't, it's not a story their parents would tell them. And it's hilarious. I draw something cliché, I draw a price tag onto the work 'Ironically', I pretend my cliché art is that way on purpose as a deep statement that would directly insult art critics and the art world even if the statement was my intention, and I call it a day before the laughter gets stale and the joke goes from funny to sad. I draw literal horseapples on a canvas and they gush over what a brilliantly witty and incisive commentary they consider it, unaware that they are my real exhibit, and by playing them and exposing their shallowness, they have become my canvas, and the silent amusement of the rare sane ponies in the crowd has become my art. My charity's trying to help the next generation of artists move on from the mistakes the previous ones made. I created and funded that organization because I want to create a positive influence on the art world, it desperately needs a new injection of fresh blood and new ideals, but until the eldest die or retire and the youngest get to take over, I doubt the conditions that allowed somepony like me to become famous for intentionally half-flanking art will change.”

“...Oh.” Rarity said, not sure what else to say.

“You've seen it for yourself, haven't you? You can pour your heart and soul into your craft, make it the best it can possibly be, and the ficklest of Canterlot trash will only pay attention to it if their owners tell them to. Meanwhile, those famous for being famous get to roll around in their undeserved fame along with those famous for being friends with famous people, those famous for being friends with critics and magazine reviewers, and those famous for having small cult-like fanbases full of dishonest and talentless people with more ambition than sense desperately trying to lick up some of that famous owner's fame, like demented hamsters in soiled cages attacking their water bottles with their tongues. Sure, you might gradually get a fanbase out of honest fans on your own merits, but those honest fans are taken from outside the stale art world, a world that can only be described as a constant spiralling triple mobius loop of ponies with their heads lodged firmly in each other's-”

Silver suddenly glanced to the snacks table, horn glowing, as if somepony had whispered something to him. ”Is that real buttercream icing?”

Silver trotted back to the food table while pulling some of the real-buttercream-icing cupcakes towards himself, and Rarity blinked. It was like everything she'd known about the art world for years, especially that which she'd tried not to let get to her, had been dumped on her soul in a torrential deluge of cynicism. No, not cynicism. A cynic would sit at home and whine about how bad things were, and how things would always stay this bad. This Silver Star had no illusions about the art world, yet tried anyway to improve it, having fun along the way because... Well, that seemed to be the kind of pony he was.

He vanished suddenly, leaving Rarity wondering if she'd been talking to a phantom all along.

Meanwhile, Twilight and the Silver with her glanced over at the Silvers eating the party food.

“This is good!” The main Silver said in shock, a smile on his face. He pulled more punch into a ball and having it bounce into the cup he held aloft, and then it bounced back out and into his open mouth.. “Who made this?”

“Me!” Pinkie said happily.

“Well, I love it.” Silver said, magically increasing his cup's size until it resembled a bucket normally filled with chicken, and he began to fill it with punch.

“Maybe you should pace yourself-” Twilight said in concern.

“Another one!” Rainbow Dash cheered.

“Chug! Chug! Chug!” Pinkie cheered, and other ponies around the room began to join in the chant of “Chug!”.

Silver grinned and downed the massive cup of punch, threw it behind him, grabbed the punch bowl, and stood on two legs as he poured it straight into his open mouth. “PARTY!” He slammed, and his face distorted for a moment as he stared at the glass so hard it shattered. His horn lit up, his magic grabbing the shards and rubbing the pieces together in a big ball as he tried to remember his glassworking spell. He remembered it, and a spell turned the glass ball into a delicate crystal figurine of a screaming pony with no tail or face.

He swayed to the side, and laughed as he slammed the glass sculpture into the floor, shattering it, to the shock of some. “You put shilly shugar in thish, didn't you?” He chuckled.

“That's not aaa-all!” Pinkie sang cheerily.

“Your shilly shugar ish no matsh for my high awesomenesh levelsh! Watsh thish!” Silver said, and began to focus on his breathing. His horn was not glowing, and yet, he began to heat up rapidly until a hazy heat around him became visible. Sweat began to run down his body, only to vaporize as the silver unicorn began to gently vibrate.

And then he stopped, gasping for air as the heat around him dispersed. “And that's how a real Stallion gets foreign contaminants out of his system!” He declared eloquently, horn flashing blue as he repaired the

“What, taking a leak ain't fancy enough for ya?” Applejack asked.

“I take a leak on the act of taking a leak!” Silver declared, sending Pinkie Pie into a giggling fit and surprising Twilight sparkle. Silver wondered if he'd gotten all the silly sugar out of his system. Ah, well, he couldn't try that trick again, or they'd think something was up.

“How did you heat your body like that?” Twilight asked.

“Biofeedback and breathing control. It's nothing fancy, but if I touched a balloon and wanted it blown, I could heat it up until the rubber melted. And if I was lowered into a shark tank while chained up, I could freeze the water on contact. I bet I could pretend to be one of those mythical Unicorns that can use magic without needing to light up their horns.” He shrugged. “If you want, I could show you again.”

“No, it's fine. But if you could do it in my lab some time in the future, that'd be great!”

He smirked. “Twilight Sparkle, I would be honoured to visit your lab and heat things up with you.”

“Great!” Twilight said happily, while several ponies lost it.

Silver walked off, and Twilight walked with him. “About earlier,” She began.

"Let's start over.” Silver offered.

"I'd like that. My name is Twilight Sparkle,” Twilight said.

“Couldn't resist my charms, eh?”



“Howdy, y'all!”

Silver thought about saying each of these things, but he didn't think she'd respond well to the usual flirting routine. He decided upon what seemed like the best option for the scenario, and he decided he'd keep the flirting light. “Evening,” He said casually. “My name is Silver Star.”

“I think I recognize you from somewhere... Have you ever been to Canterlot?” She asked.

He smiled. “Yes, I went to Duel Academy when I was younger. The Royal Canterlot Academy of Magical Duelling, King Contractor, Prince of the House of Birds, master of the spell known as 'Infinitely Perfect Brilliance: The World Is My Castle', and Master of the World Tree, that's me, THE Silver Star.”

He must have been embellishing near the end, because there was no World Tree, everypony knew that. “So...” She said while glancing away, as if wondering how to bring the subject up. She moved closer to him, and lowered her voice. ”I hear ponies that want to get into Duel Academy have to take this entrance exam, and I heard there's a part of it that's said to be... Unbeatable.”

“It is.” He purred with a feline smirk, lowering his voice and moving closer still.

“How did you do it?” She asked eagerly.

“I'm really not supposed to tell ponies. Sure, it's not as if you're going to go to Duel Academy and try the test for yourself at your age, but still...” He glanced around, as if looking for ponies listening in. “Can you keep a secret?”

“Absolutely!” Twilight declared.

“Come closer.” He said, leaning forward.

“Closer.” He whispered, and she moved even closer, her raised ear almost touching his lips.

His voice was, even for her, at this distance, and even to her pony ears, barely audible. “I am...” He paused dramatically. ”Awesome.”

She pulled away. “Really?” She asked flatly.

“Hey, I never pass up a chance to disappoint cute mares.” He said smoothly. And then his eyes widened in surprise, and she laughed. “No, I mean... No. Sorry, that sounded better in my head.”

“It's ok. Now can you tell me how you did it? Or at least tell me what the test is?”

“Well, the test is unbeatable... But I'm also unbeatable, so the two unbeatables cancelled each other out and I won.” Silver explained.

Twilight opened her mouth to say something.

“Also I exploited a massive loophole in the test's design.” Silver said quickly. "By the way, I knew a Unicorn who gave herself artificial wings made of fire, I knew a pony who gave himself artificial wings made of magic-enhancing crystal, I knew a pony who gave himself dragon wings, and I once spent five months studying Pegasus anatomy, physiology, and magic so I could create a transformative spell that grants you proper Pegasus wings and all the abilities of one for a few months per cast, so I have to ask, are you a real Alicorn?"

"Yes, yes I am." Twilight said.

That surprised him. “Cool. You know, you're pretty cool, we'll have to share stories about our adventures some time. Hey, you went to Celestia's School, right?"

"Yes." Twilight said, a big part of her younger self overjoyed that she'd

"I went to Duel Academy." Silver said casually.

"Oh." Twilight said, suspecting that she knew where she was going. With rueful resignation, she asked, "Are you going to challenge me to a Magic Duel now?"

"No, this is a party. It would be considered rude to start an epic magical duel here. I think." Silver said. "Besides, I've never been that into the whole 'CS VS DA' rivalry."

"Oh." Twilight said, pleasantly surprised.

"Besides, if the stories about your power are true, a fight between us would probably end up tearing a hole in space and time unless we negotiated ahead of time which spells we can and cannot use on each other. And created several safe words, for all the different reasons one might need to cut our duel short." Silver admitted. "Anyhoof, I'm new in town, and I was thinking of staying for a few months. Maybe more, I'm not sure yet. Um... don't tell anypony this, but- Actually, could you set up a Silencing Shell? Preferably opaque?"

"We don't really need one in Ponyville, but okay." Twilight said, casting the spell and creating a large purple semicircular shell around them both.

Silver stared at her long, powerful horn admiringly, able to sense her magical strength from here. "Such... Power..." Silver whispered in awe, eyes wide as he unconsciously licked his lips, the glow of his horn instinctively blazing up to match hers.

"My eyes are down here." Twilight said flatly.

"Right, right. Sorry." Silver said, embarassed. "Well, the thing is... I saw you a few times, back when I went to Duel Academy. I never talked to you, even though I wish I did, but that's not why I'm here. I heard making friends made you grow into a better pony, literally and metaphorically, and I'd like that to happen to me. Not for Alicornification reasons - I don't need wings, even if yours are beautiful- I mean passable, but I... I, uh... You... You seem happy. Really happy. Happier than I've ever seen you. And I know it sounds stupid when I say it out loud, but... I want to be happy. And I want to be a better pony, too."

"Well, it's great that you're willing to take the first step." Twilight said. "But... I'm sorry, I can't say I remember you."

"I'd be surprised if you did, since we never really interacted at all, but... Remember that time Duel Academy pulled that spectacularly complex multi-layered heist of a plan, with TPing Celestia's School as the end result?" Silver asked.

"You did that?" Twilight asked, shocked.

"No, Royal Blue did that. My fr- My study group and I watched the fail-fest with a viewing crystal far, far away from the place, in Passionfruit's room." Silver admitted, smiling at the memory. "I set up a betting pool on which parts of the needlessly circuitous but still pretty cool plan would work, which would fail, and whether they'd actually succeed in the end or not. You could also bet on the specific reactions of individual ponies upon seeing said TP, even though I doubt anypony in my group had sufficient data to make such a prediction. To their credit, only vague and sweeping group bets were made: Less than two ponies will drop their jaws in shock, at least one Unicorn will incinerate the paper, rather than disintegrating it, at least one will say something amusing, one will swear revenge and another will quickly disagree and insist that revenge is bad, one will swear revenge and the majority will agree to let the papers fly in retaliation, and so on. I made a lot of money that day. And laughed a lot. Blue's squad certainly wasn't made for heists."

"Well, that's... nice." Twilight said, not sure how to react to that. She then remembered her old friends from Canterlot, and asked, "Do you still keep in touch with your study group?"

Silver hesitated. "Uh... No. Sorry. We don't really... get along... too well- they hate me. I... made an error." Silver admitted, his head lowering in shame. "It was... quite stupid of me, really. I made an error, and they all hate me for it. And so they should."

"Hey..." Twilight said, putting a hoof on his shoulder. He first reflexively looked at it in confusion, and then looked into her eyes, surprised at what he saw in them. "It's alright to make mistakes." She said soothingly, understandingly, compassionately. "We all make mistakes sometimes. Nopony's perfect, not even an Alicorn. What matters is that you apologize to anypony the mistake hurt, and make sure you learn from it."

He suddenly hugged her, to her clear surprise. "Thank you." He whispered.

He then pulled away, blushing a little as he realized what he'd just done. "I mean, um... Thank you for the sage advice, and, uh... I wish you success in the future! Yep."

She lowered her spellshield, and noticed that the music player had been stopped and everypony in the room was staring at the two, even Silver's other instances of himself. Twilight began to think of something to say, but Silver already had the perfect story thought up.

"Secret Canterlot stuff." Silver said offhoovedly, wandering towards the snacks table as his magic caused the music player to continue, exuding a tangible aura of 'It is a secret. You will never know about it, and so it is not worth thinking about. My body language makes it clear that it wasn't anything threatening or particularly important to you in particular' with every step. It worked, and the ponies shrugged and resumed talking amongst themselves, many of them now gossiping over Twilight's new friend.

He ate four pieces of vanilla cake and seven of chocolate, four pink bubblegum-flavouring-flavoured cakes, four yellow melon-flavoured ones, four blue blueberry-flavoured ones, and five purple ones that tasted like mixed berries, but when it was time to cut the REAL cake, Twilight cast a spell to make the cake grow in size, and then Pinkie cut out a large quarter for the guest of honour, and then she cut smaller pieces for everypony else, the slices perfectly-divided. Silver divided himself into five copies on the spot, each passing a quarter to the real Silver as he began to eat them all in a row, and when he finished them, he cheered and decided that since he needed to burn those calories off somehow, it was now REALLY time to hit the dance floor.

The party went on until midnight, though many exhausted ponies started to leave in the evening and more left just before midnight. When the clock reached midnight, AJ whispered something to Pinkie, and she rushed over to the music player to stop it and announce, "Party's over, everypony! I had a wonderful time, and I'd love to see you all again soon!"

As the others started to leave, Silver teleported a few feet to the side of Pinkie and smiled. "This was a wonderful party, Pinkie. I really enjoyed it, and the food was great. Did you make it?"

"Yep!" Pinkie said happily. "Mr and Mrs Cake made some of the stuff, too, but I made most of it myself, since I usually make the party stuff myself. Did you like it?"

"I loved it!" Silver said happily. "You are the greatest pastry chef I have ever met!"

"Really?" Pinkie asked in surprise.

"Yep!" Silver said happily. "I had a great time, and I'd love to party with you again."

Pinkie suddenly grabbed him for a tight hug, and Silver hugged back, a genuine smile on his face.

"I've gotta go. Goodnight, Silvie!" Pinkie said, bouncing away.

"'Silvie'?" Silver asked, amused, as he left the barn and started walking to Town Hall, his mind analysing the town and determining where Town Hall was likely to be.

And as Silver walked on, he started to realize that he was going to really like this town.

Harsh crimson light illuminated the round golden room full of desks and what looked like Royal Guards looking at the world through one-way magical viewing portals connected to magical chessboards, each square doing something when pressed, most squares linked to camera controls. But despite the room's low temperature and each pony's visible breath, the room's atmosphere was thick and oppressive, some ponies slowly and carefully guiding their magical viewers and some rapidly tapping away as they all hoped for the best and feared the worst.

A pair of locked doors had been placed into the floors, staircases leading to lower rooms where blindfolded ponies tried new experimental blends of future-sight potion, hoping to uncover more information. Here and there, thin poles stuck up from the ground. Atop those poles, raised chairs with built-in desks ensured there'd be more room for more ponies to spy on everything their leader wanted to be seen and known. And in raised shelves around the walls of the room, ponies were sat with thick black cloth around their eyes, the light of their glowing eyes slightly visible through their blindfolds.

The tense atmosphere was lessened slightly when one pony's outburst made the place feel more familiar. “He-This-What is this?!” What appeared to be a blonde-maned white Unicorn clad in a set of golden armour, utterly identical to every other Royal Guard in Canterlot, announced in confusion, and he slammed his head onto his desk. ”Boss, I don't know if you're going to like this or not, but I think you should come see this anyway.”

A pony materialized beside him, clad in ostentatious golden armour with crimson gems on each hoof's front. His tail was cloaked in golden chainmail, and ended in a round golden ball coated in black spikes. His face was concealed by a thick golden helmet with spikes on the top, jet-black like rays of cursed sunlight, a horizontal jade oval covering and concealing his face. “Does it involve The Amulet?” He asked, his voice low, carrying a metallic echo and that distinctive something only those in the military had.

“No.” The pony answered quickly.

“Does it involve The Book?”


“Have the Changelings pulled anything yet?”

“Not yet.”

“Dragons, Griffons?”

“Cowardly as ever, sir.”

His gold-clad hoof struck his gold-clad face with a low and echoing clang that reminded one of a metal pan striking something. “What did Silver do this time?” He asked.

“He's just-He's in some town, I think he's trying to make friends with Princess Twilight and her friends.”

“He's finally out of Canterlot!” A blue desk-pony cheered.

“Actually, he's still in Canterlot.” An orange desk-pony chirped 'helpfully', hitting a random square on his left chessboard with the edge of his hoof, creating a holographic map of Equestria, clusters of blue-cored orange dots in every major city, a few dots in each non-major city. “And in Manehattan, and the Dragon lands, and- Oh... Wow, this guy needs a hobby.”

“Hm, he's using That Spell again,” The golden figure noted.

“Which spell?” A red Pegasus asked in confusion.

“That Spell.” A yellow one supplied helpfully. “You know, the one that turns stuff into food.”

“No way, he calls the one that ignores durability and makes stuff break on its own That Spell.” A blue one muttered.

“Wrong, he calls that spell 'That Technique'. That Spell is the one that places a persistent thought-form illusion spell on an object.”

“No, you're thinking of 'That Technique'. That Spell is the one that fixes broken stuff, but in the way he wants it to be fixed.”

“Nuh-uh, he calls the one that makes steamrollers fall from the sky That Spell.” A green one petulantly insisted.

Someone's high voice shouted at them from downstairs. “I distinctly remember someone using the words 'That' and 'Spell' when we saw him tackle somepony out of a fifty-storey window and cast a spell to transfer their downward momentum into energy, which he then converted into food!”

“Wish I could do that...” The orange one muttered again.

The gold pony screamed with rage, loudly. Some ponies flinched and covered their eats, and others were too used to it to react. The gold-cloaked figure screamed, and screamed, for a full minute. He slammed his metal-clad hoof into the ground, and screamed again.

And then, he sighed, and spoke smoothly. “This changes nothing. Everypony, back to work. Remember, we're approaching our deadline. Whoever finds that Amulet will bring about a new era of stability, peace, and light. Whoever finds that Amulet will SAVE EQUESTRIA!”

There was a dramatic pause.

“And get a pay raise!” The orange pony chirped to remind him, to the gold-clad pony's irritation, ruining the dramatic pause.

“Yes,” The gold pony growled darkly. “Whoever finds that Amulet will bring about a new era of stability, peace, and light... and get a pay raise.”