• 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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3 - Drifting into a Dog Daze

Silver awoke on some soft bed with a burning headache in a blurred world, slamming his eyes shut. His mind was assaulted with separate overwhelming floods of information from around the world. “Aquilla!” He shouted weakly.

He felt the displacement of air beside him signify his Griffon’s arrival through teleportation. “Yes, boss?” She asked.

“Where am I, and how did I get here?” He asked.

“Ponyville, your new home. You made a house here yesterday, but you fell asleep halfway to the Mayor’s office, so I brought you back.” Aquilla explained.

“Why?” Silver asked.

“You didn’t sleep for a long time,” She shrugged, “So it caught up with you.”

“Great.” Silver grumbled, unsteadily getting to his hooves. “Hope nopony saw me.”

“I flew in and grabbed you as soon as you started to shake, boss!” She chirped proudly.

“You were watching me?” Silver asked.

“Always!” She chirped again.

“You know I have Replicas for that.” He grumbled, opening his eyes. “...Woah.”

His new penthouse bedroom looked pretty good, to his eyes. Steel floors and high steel walls, though one wall had been replaced by a wall of orange-tinted windows to the outside world. It was like the whole wall was made of whatever sunglasses were made of, letting him feel the warmth of sunlight without hurting his eyes. He was standing on a rotating circular orange bed with blue pillows and bedsheets, and a whole lot of ceiling-high bookshelves were on the walls, enchanted weapons mounted on walls between them.

“I had the birds and foxes set up shop.” She explained.

“What’s my house, again?” He asked, jumping down from the bed. He checked the Griffon’s form again, to see if it really was her.

He saw a Griffon, a focused and lean purple-reared orange-fronted Panther/Falcon. Her longer head-feathers were pulled back into a loose black-banded ponytail, with ‘bangs’ of feathers hanging down the sides of her avian face. Golden eyes, a yellow beak, golden gauntlets with sharp claws around her taloned forelimbs. It was Aquilla, and to him, she looked as cool and cute as ever. “Enchanted weapon store and consulting office, like your sign said,” She explained. “But there’ll be plenty of room for you to branch out and sell more things.”

“Oh, excellent!” Silver cheered, leaping out of the window with a massive crash of glass.

Used to this, she flew down and watched him land on his hooves like a cat, horn flashing at the glass to make it fly back up and fix itself.

“Not bad,” Rainbow Dash said, and he turned around to see the blue flier, along with Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, and Fluttershy. And they all had gifts, to his surprise.

“Hi!” Pinkie Pie chirped. “Are you ready for a super-fun housewarming party?”

“Indeed, I am!” He said, striking the earth and sliding up his house’s wall and through his window, breaking and fixing it again. From within the house, on the ground floor, his voice could be heard. “Come on in!”

They entered, and saw white pony models wearing sets of stylish and protective skate gear, fencing gear, and armour pieces around the room, the center taken up with shelves slightly shorter than the ponies present. The shelves were stocked with food, boxed or packeted in foreign languages, all a tad pricey but presumably worth it. On the walls, he had skateboards without wheels in different designs, some longer and some shorter, some bulkier and some thinner, some rounder and some pointier, but all with Silver’s Cutie Mark on the bottom, and all with tags that displayed prices and the ratings of each board. Each board also had a semicircular crater on one end, about the size of a baseball. The tags rated each board in Dash, Limit, Power, and Cornering, and each statistic was ranked from one star to seven. While all of these looked rather toyetic, the higher-ranked boards looked like they’d make the pointiest and coolest toys.

“Woah!” Rainbow Dash gasped in awe.

“He wants to sell these?” Twilight wondered.

“Looks like Rarity might have some competition!” Applejack said, checking out the models on display, especially one that caught her eye. It was wearing a jade skier’s visor, a black tracksuit with orange lines on the right side and light-blue lines on the left.

On the farthest wall, an empty cashier’s desk greeted them, until Silver emerged from the wall like it was just an illusion. “Welcome! See anything you’d like?” He asked.

“Are those real Extreme Gears?” Rainbow Dash asked, pointing at the wall’s hoverboards.

“Indeed, my fine-eyed feathered friend!” Silver announced proudly.

“Extreme Gears?” Applejack asked, because she had no idea what these things were.

“Hoverboards.” Twilight explained.

“Hey, they’re more than just hoverboards,” Silver corrected in a slightly obnoxious manner, grabbing two boards from behind him and showing them off. One was a friendly-looking green board shaped like an elongated lowercase n, a yellow streak on one side, solid white lines marking segments on its thin and barely-perceptible fuel gauge. The other one looked like a red-striped black isosceles triangle with serration on the straight side, and though the edges and points were about as sharp as a cricket bat’s edge, the board itself just exuded edge. “Extreme Gears are powerful and precise achievements in magic and science, granting flight to anypony. They can’t go more than a few feet off the ground, but their high durability and higher speed makes up for it. They’re also cheaper to maintain and more environmentally friendly than any blimp, boat, or train. These things fly using raw air, sucking in air to fill their high-pressure magic-enhanced tanks when not in use. They can fly anywhere, any time, over sand, sea, and pretty much anything else. Also, their names are cooler.”

“What are the holes for?” Pinkie asked.

“Magical Cores, I make and sell them in the back.” Silver said. “Boards don’t need them, so I can weld a semicircular metal Filler in and paint it the correct colour if you never plan on buying them. But Magical Cores boost the Dash, Limit, Power, and Cornering of Extreme Gears. The best ones can even grant them and their riders unique abilities, so they’re well worth the added price! The best racers know your Board and Core choice is a big part of getting the most out of your Board. I also sell Refuelling Stations, if you’re interested. They’ll fill a depleted air supply back up in a few seconds.”

“Aren’t hoverboards banned in Equestria, due to being incredibly unsafe?” Twilight asked curiously.

“Hoverboards are, but nopony ever said anything about Extreme Gears. I invented safer, faster, and more efficient aerial transportation devices, and I can get around that ban as long as I call them Extreme Gears. I crafted a full set of limits, regulations, and standards all of my boards meet. I also developed a system of board Classification that turned these safety features into ways to go faster, and my competitors will, when the ban on hoverboard transportation is lifted, stick to it if they want to compete with me.”

That piqued her interest. “Safety regulations?”

”Indeed. Thanks to a sustained protective field these things generate around the wearer using excess magical energy, a field that gets stronger while in motion and only depletes your speed to maintain during impacts, these things are far safer than even a regular skateboard or Pegasus Taxi. You can crash into somepony, you can hit a tree face-first at high speed, you can even hit a rock and fly off your board, and everything will be fine, thanks to those protective fields. You won’t even fly off your board if you don’t want to, but if you do, the shield will stick with you for a few seconds. And until I can prove that to everypony in the world, I have an expert-visionary and pro-visionary license to sell them to anypony with a Cutie Mark. Which is good, because I make the best Power-Type boards this side of Equestria!”

“Can you tell me more about this Classification system?” Twilight asked eagerly.

“Well, there are three Extreme Gear types: Speed, Flight, and Power. There might be a fourth Skill-type board some time in the future, but for now, there are three types. Speed-type boards are faster than their peers, and a built-in modification to their protective field lets you grind on anything you see. Rails, lampposts, anything, just get your board’s side on it and it’ll start grinding faster than its usual top speed, restoring lost Air in the process.”

“How does grinding on a rail restore air?”

“It doesn’t, the friction generates magic, which the board converts into air.” Silver explained. ”Power boards are tougher and easier to control, and much better off-road. Well, all Extreme Gears are all great off-road, since they fly, but these are even better at off-roading than usual. Power boards are harder to push off the track, too. Last, but not least, there are Flight boards. Now, Flight boards, these are something special. Fly one off a ramp with enough speed, and you’ll begin converting your speed into enough upward lift to sustain a controlled glide. You can use this to access shortcuts during races, though the longer you spend in the air, the more forward momentum you sacrifice, and you’ll eventually run out of both and fall back to the ground. Well, not the ground per se, the usual level at which boards fly above the ground.”

“So, in a way, they’re still evenly balanced.” Twilight realized.

“That’s what I was going for. When enough ponies have heard about Extreme Gear, I’m going to start an official Equestria Grand Prix, with one very large prize for the winner.”

“Awesome!” Rainbow Dash cheered. ”Hey, you said you make great Power boards, right?”

“Indeed. I dabble in Flight and Speed, but my most popular models are the Power Boards. It could be because they’re easier to control than their counterparts, or it could be because I know how to make a board almost as unrelenting as myself,” Silver said with a proud grin, grabbing a grey oval hoverboard ringed with a bright blue edge. “Ride one of these, and you aren’t wasting time and magic going around obstacles, you’re smashing right through them, gaining bonus speed in the process.”

Applejack raised an eyebrow, doubting him. “Crashing into stuff to go faster? How’s that work?”

“A little trick of mine, something that makes Power boards special. I’ve enchanted them with magic ready and waiting to turn the kinetic energy of any collision into additional speed, while also focusing force into whatever you hit, instead of you,” Silver explained casually. “The enchantment is channelled through the board’s protective field and it extends to the rider, so if you want to punch through some giant rocks in a racetrack yourself, or let your board do the smashing, or smash the rocks with a laser, you can. You can slam boulders with your bare hooves, and you’ll feel like you’re knocking polystyrene cups out of the way. I can’t find a way to stop Unicorns from using their magic to destroy every obstacle on the track for extreme speed boosts, so that’s just something official race judges can limit on their own.”

“How does your Extreme Gear rating system work?” Twilight asked.

“Each board is ranked in four categories: Dash, Limit, Power, and Cornering. The higher a board’s Dash, the faster it can travel during Air Dashes. All boards gradually use a small amount of air while flying, but you can expend a large chunk of that air in an Air Dash to instantly boost your speed. The higher a board’s Limit, the higher its maximum speed. Power determines how much force your board has when it flies, the higher a board’s Power, the better it does off-road. Cornering, like you’d expect, determines how good a board is at turning corners while maintaining its top speed. Though, if I’ll be honest, once you’ve gotten good at riding Extreme Gears and executing a good Air Slide, you don’t really need a high cornering stat.”

“’Air Slide’?” Rainbow Dash asked.

“It’s this technique like Drifting, only better. Because you’re doing it on my Extreme Gear.”

She was starting to get tired of this guy’s ego. “And?” She asked impatiently.

“You stamp a certain part of the board and sharply turn your board to the side, while continuing to fly in the direction you were heading before you started Air Sliding. It slightly reduces your speed, but it’s great for tight cornering, and if you Air Slide for just long enough, you’ll fly off at your previous high speed as soon as you stop Air Sliding. By the way, while I’ve got some real masterpieces on sale here, I also do commissions. If you want something fine-tuned to be perfect for you, something that’ll look perfect for you, and even look quite a bit like you if you’d like, say the word and get your chequebook ready!”

“I’ll take one!” Rainbow Dash announced eagerly, flying past him and looking closer at the price tags for the fastest things he had for sale. “...In a few weeks!” She announced a little less eagerly, flying back to her original spot.

“It’s the price of quality,” Silver said, not even a little ashamed. “I’d like to sell some enchanted weapons and armour pieces, as well. I might not get many orders in a world like this, but I like working on that stuff, all the same. Did I ever tell you about these?” He asked, pointing a forehoof at Applejack and beaming an orange ray of light at her that held her still as she struggled to break free. He casually lifted her into the air, and then gently set her back down, the energy leaping back into his hoof.

“Don’t do that again.” Applejack said. “...How’d you do that?”

“Pretty cool, aren’t they? They’ve won more duels for me than I have time to recount. Behold!” Silver announced, flipping over and raising his rear into the air as his desk hid his face from view, sticking his rear hooves right at them. Fluttershy fainted, and Twilight curiously looked closer at them. “I’ve forced powerful magical enchantments into an article of clothing I’m never without: My horseshoes! I can absorb force and redirect it, or store it for later. These horseshoes can then use that stored force as energy for pre-programmed light, force, and sound spells, such as making temporary light constructs out of hard light. Or, I can launch things, using that stored energy as momentum. Each shoe also carries its own, unique ability that can be fuelled by stored energy. What powers are those? Well, you’ll have to see for yourself some day.”

Rainbow Dash remembered something she’d seen in a comic. “Can you recharge them with a big battery while reciting a poem?” She asked and Pinkie laughed, to the confusion of the other ponies.

“Anything containing enough magical energy could refuel-” Silver said, and then he got the reference and chuckled. “Yes, those Rings were a source of inspiration. But they’re powered by stored energy, nothing quite as fancy as an emotion, and these beams of light are only orange because I like the colour. I’m not going to repeatedly yell ‘Mine!’ any time soon.”

Twilight’s horn lit up with a bright purple blaze, and a similar glow filled her eyes. “You split the horseshoes in half, engraved magic into one half’s lower side, and covered that side with the other half,” She recognized, impressed. “And instead of welding them shut, you turned one half intangible, pushed it slightly into its twin, and negated the intangibility spell.”

“Indeed! Many years ago, back when I relied almost exclusively on runework, I lost a Magic Duel when my opponent used magic to scrub the magical runes from my suit.” Silver explained, hoping she’d gush about his masterful runework soon. “I decided I didn’t want something like that happening again to tools so useful, so protecting and hiding magic runes became my favourite trick from then on.”

“Your runework is quite impressive,” She said, cancelling her spell.

That felt anticlimactic. He was hoping she’d start calling it the best she’d ever seen, ever. But, then again, maybe she’d seen better. She was a Princess, now, after all. “I dabble in applied magi-matics,” He said proudly. “Now, didn’t somepony say something about a house-warming party?”

“Here you go!” Pinkie said happily, pulling gifts out of her mane and passing one to each of her friends, then giving Silver her gift first. He opened it with his magic, and a fully-sized oven emerged from the tiny package, the whole thing suddenly heavy, shocking him into dropping it to the floor. “It’s an oven!” She said happily.

“Uh... Thank you.” He said uncertainly, teleporting the oven away.

Rainbow Dash’s gift was next, it was a black stopwatch.

“Cool, what does it do?” Silver asked excitedly.

“It stops and starts.” She said.

“Huh. Well, it’s still nice.” He said, still grateful anyway.

Twilight Sparkle’s gift was a globe you could magically store books inside, Fluttershy’s was a nice green vase with a pink flower on it, Rarity’s was a flat rectangular white box to be opened when she arrived, and Applejack’s was some rope. Just... some rope. Well, at least it didn’t appear used.

Spike burst through the door, panting heavily and sweating, a note in his claws, which he passed to Twilight. “Guys!” He shouted. “The Diamond Dogs took Rarity!”

Twilight took the note. “Dear Pesky Ponies,” She read aloud. “If you ever want to see your whiny friend again, tie the orange-maned pony up outside Carousel Boutique at High Noon, and we'll trade you for him. Don't try and find us, because you will never find us, or where we kept Rarity. Signed, The Diamon- Anonymous.”

“I’d normally negotiate for a better deal than that, but I’ll take it,” Silver said suddenly, throwing the rope to Applejack and turning to her, sticking his right forehoof and hindhoof at her.

Twilight gasped.

He squinted at the paper. “Also, I’m Silver, not grey.” He clarified for its benefit.

“Hold on, nopony’s giving themselves up.” Twilight decided.

“Equestria needs the six of you together, and I have yet to find any cell, trap, or binding spell that can hold me.” Silver said, closing his eyes. “I'll break through this rope in seconds, just tie me up, so they’ll buy it.”

“The Diamond Dogs aren’t really a threat, you don’t need to-” Twilight began.

“I’ll give my life, not for honour, but for you! Just promise me you’ll write a song about this, immortalizing my deeds in song!” He declared, and chuckled. “Just foaling, I just think I can get a better shot at the Diamond Dogs if they think I’m tied up. I once studied an escape artist for about a week, so I’m basically the greatest escape artist who ever lived.”

“You want to help out?” Rainbow Dash asked, surprised.

“Sure, why not? I didn’t become the best magical duellist in the world by hiding from danger!” He announced proudly.

“You lost last year’s championship match.” Rainbow Dash pointed out.

He grinned. “Yes, to a cheap, cheating little scrub who got lucky,” He hissed through gritted teeth.

“’Got lucky’?” Rainbow laughed. “He destroyed you! Uh, no offense.”

“None taken!” He said with fake happiness. “I’ll be back next year, and I’ll steamroll that time-erasing cheater before he can even blink.”

“Didn’t you also lose last year’s championship?” Rainbow asked teasingly.

“Yes, to someone who could accelerate time exclusively for himself, and throw spellbolts back in time to hit me before they were thrown! At the time, I didn’t have any spells that could deal with that. But now I’m working on a spell that’ll prevent all time-manipulation abilities in a certain radius around me.”

“And you lost the championship before that...” She reminded him.

"Every second, he turned into a new life form. Every second, he had a new set of abilities, and he knew exactly how to use each and every one of them. How do you compete with that? How? I'll tell you how, you remove his ability to transform, beat him down in his original form, and lose the match through points anyway because he somehow got a higher technique score by having over ten thousand abilities than I did by dealing with a new ability every second."

“And you lost the championship before that...” She reminded him.

“I lasted twelve whole minutes against Ace, and forced her to take the fight seriously,” He reminded her, “Which you’d recognize as a big deal if you knew where she was from.”

“Guys, focus!” Spike yelled. “Rarity’s in trouble!”

“Not for long!” Silver declared dramatically, grabbing an orange board with crimson flames and strangely sprinting out of the store. He moved his two forehooves in unison with each other, pulling himself forward while his powerful back legs moved in the same way, pushing himself forward with multiple low and long leaps.

“...Did he just rush off on his own?” Fluttershy asked, concerned.

“Why does he run like that?” Rainbow Dash asked, unimpressed.

Twilight could already see where this was going, and she didn’t like it. “Let's go after him.”

They left the shop and spotted Silver leaping from rooftop to rooftop, looking down every so often and presumably looking for clues. They could only watch as he glared at seemingly random things, his vision zooming in on them. He saw faint pawprints on hardened soil coated in grass, he saw some skin cells with recognizably Diamond Dog DNA floating in the breeze. His vision turned darker and green, and he saw bacteria that only lived on Diamond Dogs on the ground, in the form of bright-green slowly-moving cells. He blinked and his eyes returned to normal, and he began to mentally triangulate the location of the Dogs.

“How did they get her, anyway?” Rainbow Dash asked along the way. “Isn’t she a master of pony karate or something?”

“I don’t know, but if they got Rarity, they must be smarter than they were last time.” Twilight said.

“I hope Rarity’s okay,” Fluttershy semi-whispered in concern.

“Me too, Fluttershy,” Twilight agreed.

Silver appeared before them, a pair of cobalt-blue aviators with bright orange lenses over his eyes, and he darted towards a lamppost, running up it vertically and perching atop it. “Her heat and temporal signature lead this way!” He announced, backflipping off the lamppost and getting caught by his Extreme Gear board.

He continued to fly beside them, but every so often, he’d jump off and cast a spell that didn’t seem to have any effect, but with how he’d look around after each one, Twilight was sure it added some additional temporary ability to his vision.

Twilight continued to curiously observe him, memorizing the strange spells even if she couldn’t yet understand how they worked. His personality seemed to change so often... The friendly salespony, the fancy showpony, the party animal, Twilight was starting to suspect these many faces of Silver were just masks he wore. But now, focused and alert, she felt she was starting to see the real Silver. He moved like a fox hunting for food, every movement sudden and sharp as he darted from hiding place to hiding place. Every sound for miles around, he heard. Every blade of grass, he saw. He was alert, aware, and alive.

She had to admit, this wasn’t how she thought this was going to go. Books had taught her scenarios like this always ended with the overconfident loner learning that he couldn’t do everything by himself.

Finally, they made it to the Crystal Cave, and if all that jumping around and spellcasting had tired Silver out, he only looked it when he thought she wasn’t looking.

“Did you bring a light?” Pinkie asked everypony.

“No,” Silver chuckled sarcastically, horn glowing as he summoned a falcon, except it was on fire, not that it seemed to mind as it flapped in place beside him. He walked on into the cave, and the rest followed, but only because he was first. Rainbow Dash overtook him soon enough anyway, flying on her back.

“Do you think those Diamond Dogs will be any trouble?” She asked the obnoxious boaster.

“Please, I’ve fought the professional duellists in over fifty worlds, I’ve fought world-ending beasts of darkness, and, in some cases, light, and I’ve saved alternate dimensions from themselves. And that was before I had the fastest flier in Equestria, the universe’s strongest magician, and the other Elements on my side. What can some dumb animals do against us?” Silver asked with a grin.

And then they fell down a pitfall trap. Twilight grabbed Pinkie, Rainbow grabbed Applejack, and Fluttershy tried to grab Silver, who had already surrounded himself in an orange bubble of magic from his hooves that slowed his descent to a pleasant downward glide, every pony landing safely.

“That.” Rainbow Dash quipped.

He took a moment to take this in. “I did this,” He quietly said to himself. “This is my fault, I tempted fate.”

He shrugged, and got loud. “Well, who wants to see how fast I can get us out of this?”

Twilight instantly teleported them all out of the pitfall trap.

“Aw.” He quietly expressed his sadness, looking down, and then suddenly perking up. “I mean, great job!” He said heartily, walking Twilight and patting her on the back.

And then the ground beneath them gave way, a pitfall trap leading into a chute that lead into the original one. Silver straightened his body to fall faster and he landed first, hooves flashing orange and absorbing the shock. His right forehoof’s orange energy formed a bouncy castle for the rest to bounce on, something Pinkie loved.

“How?!” Silver snapped at the tunnel walls, his voice echoing, his bouncy castle vanishing as Pinkie landed on Rainbow Dash.

The laughter of two haughty rich-pony voices, one male and one female, caught their ears, along with the laughter of a mare from Manehattan.

Or, at least, they thought these were ponies, until they looked up and saw the silhouetted figures of two Diamond Dogs.

“Prepare for trouble, here in this cave!” The female figure announced, thin and lithe, with a spiralling catlike tail.

“And make it double, this could be your grave!” The buff male figure with huge hands announced.

“An evil as old as the land and sea...” She began.

“Sent here to fulfill our destiny!” He continued.

A smaller third figure popped up between them. “And then, there’s me!” The manehattanite voice announced.

“To eat and drink to our hearts’ content!” Said the tall female.

“And hoard the rest without paying a cent!” Said the large male.

One by one, gems around them started to glow upon them like spotlights, properly illuminating them.

“Rock!” The top-heavy and muscular male yellow Golden Retriever-breed Diamond Dog announced, flexing his muscles and swinging his arms to his companions. His black Dog collar was studded with golden-yellow diamonds, and an open black leather jacket with torn-off sleeves adorned his chest.

“Springer!” The thin female announced, a beautiful brown Cocker Spaniel-breed Diamond Dog with massively wide fluffy ears, which had extra-fluffy bits on the end that looked kind of like fists, to make up for how incredibly thin and long her regular arms and dainty but elegantly-clawed paws were. Her body was slender, with a long brown tail, a golden open jacket with torn sleeves, big hips with long canine legs, and a thin waist her matching yellow-diamond-studded collar was secured around. She copied his pose and touched their paws together, forming a diamond.

“And Butcher’s da name!” The tiny female Manehattanite dog announced, landing on their crossed arms. The author had no idea what this breed of dog was called, but she was about the size of a filly, she was covered in excessively long bone-white fur, her muzzle was small and pointed, and her eyes were soulless black dots. She had a black collar with yellow diamonds around her neck, matching the other two Dogs, and a white open jacket.

“Whenever ponies are having a ball,” They announced in unison, swinging their arms around and launching Butcher into the air to backflip and land before them with both her arms raised to the sky. Springer folded her arms and stared her foes down imperiously, while Rock flexed and stuck his muscular arms towards her, all three together forming the shape of a D while a big red D appeared behind them, along with a background of black space with coloured gems for stars. “The Alpha Agents will be there, to take it all!”

An explosion of coloured blue smoke exploded behind them.

The ponies stared in shock, and blinked a few times as the background vanished and the smoke faded away.

“You’ll have time to work on a better intro in prison,” Silver said, charging up his horn’s magic.

“Bold words for one caught in a pit!” Springer laughed.

“I think it’s clear that you’re full of it!” Butcher added.

From his horn, a beam of blue light rapidly flew at Butcher’s face. It hit its mark, and washed over the dog’s face harmlessly like water flowing around a showering pony. The beam converged behind his head and struck a rock behind it, turning it to chocolate.

“Impossible!” Silver gasped. “This usually never happens, I can assure you!”

“O-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho! That’s what all stallions say!” Springer declared and laughed elegantly, covering her fanged canine mouth with a fluffy prehensile ear while she folded her arms.

“Wait!” Rainbow Dash called. “You aren’t the Diamond Dogs we fought last time!”

“Of course not!” Rock declared, sticking his arms out so he and Springer could form a diamond with their arms again. “Those idiots were here to scout this town out and search for gems. We’re here to take your gems, by any means necessary!”

Springer grinned, her eyes sparkling as imagined visions of gem piles appeared behind her. ”And if your little grey friend there can summon an army and make a house in an afternoon, imagine what he could produce for us! He can make us a real Gem Mine, and fill it with slaves!”

“No way!” Silver furiously declared. “The Birds and my Foxponies are NOT slaves!”

“Foxponies?” Twilight repeated, and wondered if she heard them correctly.

“Of course not, dear.” Springer said sarcastically, rolling her eyes. “They only fulfill your every request because they ENJOY it.”

“You’d be surprised,” Silver noted, and Springer’s expression turned to one of disgust. “But in all seriousness, I signed a Contract with the Birds. I steadily give them a tiny percentage of my magic over time, I find them a new summoner or rare book every so often, and in return, I get to freely summon birds beneath my rank in their system and access their vast libraries at will. As for the Foxponies, I built their capital. They like me, and a lot of them like getting to build and fight for me.”

“You built what?!” Twilight gasped. “How? That’s not possible! Nopony had ever even seen a Foxpony before-”

“Long story, I’ll give you the fifty-thousand-word biography later,” Silver interrupted.

“That’s right, enough talk!” Rock shouted and flexed aggressively. “We’re here to get gems and fight ponies, and we haven’t got any gems yet!

“We’re here ta conquer this land and take its riches for ourselves!” Butcher declared Manehattanitely, pulling a tied-up Rarity out from behind him. “We’ve got ya best friend all tied up, too!”

“Rarity!” Applejack gasped.

“Dat’s right!” Butcher boasted.

“How did you three kidnap her?” Spike demanded.

“We’re elite Alpha Agents of da mighty underground Diamond Dog Kingdom!” Butcher declared proudly. “Our fancy collars make us impervious ta magic! Nuttin’s impossible for da likes of us!”

“Diamond Dog Kingdom?” Silver asked, raising an eyebrow as Rainbow Dash furiously shot up at them. “Why haven’t I ever heard of you?”

“Because we’re underground, duh!” Springer insisted and grinned, bringing a small grey controller out of her ear fur and tauntingly drawing her finger across the single red button in its center, causing Rainbow Dash to angrily stop. “Just like you’re about to be, forever! Unless, of course, you give us that grey Unicorn friend of yours.”

“Fine,” Silver said, rolling his eyes and stepping forward. “And I’m Silver, remember it. So what do you want first, birds that’ll see through solid rock and tell you where the gems are? Enchanted ghost-possessed mining tools that’ll glide through rock and strip-mine a mountain into rubble in a few hours?”

“All of ponykind, enslaved!” Rock shouted, evilly flexing his arms as lightning struck behind him.

“Huh,” Silver noted, stepping forward, turning back to wink at his friends, then looking up at the Diamond Dogs. “Well, I don’t know anyone that still sells those. Do tell me if you find somepony who does. So, you thought if you captured this pony, you’d be able to make me mine gems for you?”

“Exactly!” Butcher confirmed.

“What if I don’t want to do that?” Silver asked. “I’ve got some spare Ghostools lying around – That’s what I call tools that phase through whatever you want, patent pending – but that’s all I’m willing to offer for a pony like this.”

“Mmf?!” Rarity furiously mmfed.

“Come on, look at her!” Silver chuckled. “You didn’t really get anypony IMPORTANT, and plenty of ponies are generous, we’ll find a replacement in a week. You really didn’t think this through very well. She’s just a useless seamstress, it’s not like she’ll be able to break free of her bindings, punt the white one into this pit, and kick the fluffy-haired one in the face while I take the big one out!”

Rock looked back at the tied-up Rarity, and curiously tilted his head. “No, I don’t think she could do that.”

“Dis dumb pony’s neva gonna escape!” Butcher gloated.

Silver subtly pawed at the ground, a thin and precise orange shockwave rocketing up the pit walls to leap onto and sink into Rarity’s bindings, rippling along their length like whips before pulling themselves apart in opposite directions, breaking them.

The Diamond Dogs screamed. “She escaped!” Butcher shouted, and Rarity furiously punted him into the pit like a football.

Silver fired a blue beam up at the white dog, and it washed around him and struck the ceiling above him, forming an icy blue stalactite that crashed down onto the Diamond Dog.

Rarity spun-kicked at Springer, only to be blocked by her ear, which was stronger than it looked, its fluff easily muffling and absorbing the force of her strike. She kicked again and again, the imperious Diamond Dog’s ears easily batting each attack aside like she was but a minor annoyance, until Rarity’s strongest somersault-kick was caught by the dog with one ear, her neck grabbed with another.

Silver teleported and appeared behind the Diamond Dog in a flash of blue light, gripping her from behind and suplexing her head-first into the ground while standing on his forehooves and forming three replicas of himself. Rarity, being held up by the dog, was fine. Silver’s three doppelgangers teleported large and ornate magical swords into their magical blue grips, noticed the “TV-Y7” rating in the corner, frowned, and plunged their swords diagonally down...

Into the ground beneath Springer, using their swords as levers to tip the furious Diamond Dog into the pit.

Rock barreled into those three clones, and they vanished on contact, turning into faint wisps of magical blue smoke. Shocked, Rock fell through them and into a forming portal.

Still standing on his hooves, the real silver finished that portal and formed another one, above the

As Butcher fell, Rainbow Dash matched his downward descent and kicked the ice harder into the ground, shattering it. Flames formed around the tiny white Diamond Dog, and Applejack was ready and waiting. A spell from Silver almost doubled her size, and she bucked the dog back up into the air, striking the other two dogs and sending them all crashing through the cave ceiling.

“Looks like the Alpha Agents are blasting off!” Rock shouted.

“You may have won this round, but we’ll be baaaaaaack!” Springer shouted, getting out a remote and pressing it, and soon, all three were but a far-off twinkle in the sky.

“Well, that was fun,” Rainbow Dash said as Rarity pulled the gag off her head and stuck her head towards Twilight, so she could begin removing the magic-blocking ring screwed onto her horn.

The cave shook as explosions blasted the pit’s rocky walls apart, boulders falling down upon everypony, a big one striking and pinning Rainbow Dash as it fell.

Silver, bearer of the fastest horn in the west, fired a beam of magic that turned the rock into a pile of chocolate bars that were collectively the same weight, though they fell around her.

Twilight started making a bubble-shaped shield of purple magic and she held it open as Rainbow Dash flew down into the bubble’s range, but Silver chose that moment to jump out.

“Silver!” Twilight cried out.

“Get out of here!” He shouted, breaking into his strange foxlike sprint as orange claws of hard light formed on his hooves, letting him jump onto the walls, dig his claws into them, and keep running vertically.

“We’re not leaving you behind!” Twilight insisted, leaving the shield open as Rainbow Dash entered her open bubble.

When he got high enough, surpassing the rocks, he started to jump down from wall to wall, slicing the biggest apart with his growing hardlight claws, striking each one with enough force to turn them to harmless powder, but he couldn’t get them all in time, many sharp rocks still raining down upon the

He teleported an Extreme Gear onto his hooves, a long cobalt-blue trianglular board with three sharp orange points on the end, two more points painted on the board to form a star, all coated in darker-orange flames. Its Core was a brilliant blue spherical gemstone, though the sphere was formed with over 64 straight sides.

Stamping the back of his board, he activated its Core-granted Special Ability, accelerating time for himself as the world seemed to slow around him. Now, it was easy for him to rear up and form long-armed orange claws on his forehooves, stretching them out to grab and crush every boulder larger than a pebble on his way down until he was left hovering above Twilight’s bubble, watching her in slow motion. He smiled confidently at her, waited a moment, and saw a sign of recognition on her face. Then he flew back up, casually batting away every last pebble and forming a drill of hard light with his right, grabbing onto her bubble with the left, drilling properly to the surface and setting them down on the ground before his Core’s ability ran out of juice, time returning to normal once again.

Hopping off his board, he bowed for them, and Pinkie cheered.

“Thanks for helping us get Rarity back,” Twilight said.

“Any time!” He announced enthusiastically, patting her back and beaming. “That was great! I heard this place was exciting, but that settled it. It’s official: I’m staying in Ponyville!”

Walking back to Ponyville together, something dawned upon Twilight. “Did we learn anything from that?”

“We learned there’s a Diamond Dog empire, and it wants to conquer Equestria,” Silver reminded her. "And that this town might be the perfect place for a break from Canterlot."

“I meant morally.” Twilight explained.

“Hmm...” Silver thought, and then he started speaking like he was reading a letter aloud. ”Dear Princess Twilight. Today I learned things that seem dangerous can actually be great! Also, Extreme Gears are amazing and you should buy one now!”

Everypony laughed, and the episode irised out.