• Published 1st Aug 2015
  • 2,459 Views, 166 Comments

An Interesting Arrival - Moongaze14

Retirement in Equestria is harder than expected. Even in such a peaceful land, Statice finds that his new life can be just as stressful as his old one, especially after getting in the bad side of a certain purple alicorn princess and her friends.

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Arcanum Ball

Arcanum Ball

Ever since they stopped Nightmare Moon, the ponies that were chosen to bear the Elements of Harmony had many adventures, some to protect Equestria and others to solve a friendship problem. Each of their journeys came in different shapes and magnitudes, from personal to professional. It was not weird for them to face situations that were beyond conventional. Despite these experiences, they were still stunned by Statice’s deal…all of them but one.

“Ooh, I love games!” Pinkie Pie bounced happily. Now this was something that she could do. As much as she loved to save Equestria with her friends, she was not fond of riddles, illusions, lies, and any other mean things that took the joy of playing a game. For once, she got to solve a problem by playing a game.

“Glad to see that one of you is getting in the mood,” Statice smirked. It only lasted a few seconds before Pinkie shoved her face into his, making him blush.

“What kind of games are we playing?” Pinkie Pie showed her enthusiasm by constantly disappearing and reappearing next to him. “We can play Pin the Tail on the Pony. We can play Tic-Tac-Toe! We can try pictograms!”

“I was thinking more of a sport!” Statice clarified before Pinkie went into overdrive with her talking. His idea caused Rainbow Dash to get a competitive smirk.

“Now we’re talking!” she flew close to him. “When it comes to sports, I am the best! Name your game!”

“Arcanum Ball,” Statice replied.

The answer erased the smirk from her face. “What’s Arcanum Ball? I’ve played every sport ever made in Equestria and I’m sure I’ve never heard of that.”

“It’s a game that Digitalis and I invented,” Statice said, showing a little pride and fondness in his tone of voice. “We mainly used it to keep ourselves in peak physical condition. You should feel honored in becoming the first citizen of Equestria to play the game.”

“As a matter of fact, I do feel honored,” Rainbow Dash smirked, still sounding smug, but this time with a hint of being flattered.

Rainbow Dash…first pony of Equestria to play Arcanum Ball…that’s awesome! I can’t wait for my first match to end with me and my friends kicking this guy’s tail!

“Good,” Statice got close to her. “Because this was a private game reserved for me and Digitalis. The fact that I am sharing it with you six in spite of not being in the best terms with any of you is a clear indication of how serious this is.”

“Sheesh, it’s just a game, dude,” Rainbow Dash sneered at him, her smirk vanishing after hearing his words.

Now I feel less honored to play with him and more desperate to mop the floor with him. I hope we get to play against him soon.

“You six prepare yourselves tomorrow for our match against me,” Statice warned them. “I am going to give you everything I got.”

“Wait a second,” Rainbow Dash gestured with her hooves. “Did you say that we six are going to play?”

“Yes,” Statice nodded his head without missing a beat.

“We six are going to face you…as in all of us at the same time?” Rainbow Dash frowned in confusion, trying to understand the situation.

“Yes,” Statice clarified with the same tone of voice.

Rainbow Dash smiled, biting her lip. She burst into laughter, falling to the ground and clutching her sides. The rest of the girls looked awkward, although it was hard to see if it was for Rainbow’s behavior or for the nature of the challenge itself.

This is why I hate Rainbow Dash the most.

“Is there anything funny with what I said?” Statice asked Rainbow Dash as he shoved his muzzle into hers.

“Yeah,” Rainbow Dash giggled. “You actually think that you can beat me AND my friends? I’ve got MORE than enough game to take you down on my own. Why don’t you save yourself the humiliation and keep this one-on-one?”

She accentuated her point by lifting a hind leg, placing it on his chest, and shoving him away from her. The stallion grunted as he fell on his rump. He snorted before he stood up and looked at the six.

“The game starts tomorrow afternoon,” he spoke to Twilight, feeling that he needed to talk to the most responsible of the team.

“But we don’t know anything about Arcanum Ball,” Twilight protested.

“I will talk to the other princesses about the game and they will tell you in the morning.”

“Do we really have to do this?” Rarity whined, albeit in a tolerable fashion. “Can’t we just talk it over like civilized ponies rather than do some barbaric sport?”

“This is the only way I can trust you,” Statice felt his eye twitch when he heard her speak badly about his sport. “Besides, it is the most fun-oriented method to work out our differences.”

“But there is no fun in a game if it’s a whole team of ponies against just one pony,” Pinkie protested, surprising the unicorn that she was vouching for him. “Aren’t you gonna get your own team to face us?”

Statice waved his hoof and snorted at her dismissively. “I doubt that I can get a team willing to work for me in short notice,” he rolled his eyes at the pink mare’s idealism.

“Do we really have to play…as in all of us?” Fluttershy trembled. She was not good at sports, and, even if she was, she still felt reluctant to participate despite the six of them having an overwhelming advantage against Statice.

“The victory won’t matter if I don’t beat you all,” Statice addressed her gently.

“Ah don’t like this,” Applejack narrowed her eyes. “There is somethin’ shifty with this fella, Twilight.”

“Is it his arrogance?” Rarity gave Statice the same scrutinizing gaze that her farmer friend was giving him. “It would be just fine if either you or Rainbow Dash just faced him on your own. I think that he wants to show off his skills in front of the princesses.”

Look who is talking, drama queen! Statice kept his thoughts to himself. It was no use to let his mouth keep him in trouble. He just needed the confirmation of the group, more specifically, Twilight’s confirmation.

The purple alicorn hummed, trying to understand the point of the game.

Why is he doing this? He is risking his whole future over a game! This must be a plan! Why else would he choose a game of his own making? But why does he want to face all of six of us at the same time? He could just simply have one game after the other. But he promised to talk with the princesses about the game. They wouldn’t have us play this game if the rules were not fair.

“We accept,” Twilight declared.

“Excellent,” Statice smiled. “I will go to talk with the princesses about the rules of Arcanum Ball. They will give you the details in the morning.”

“Okay,” Twilight nodded her head. “We will see you at the courtyard tomorrow afternoon. Try not to be late.”

“I won’t,” Statice turned around and went to talk with the princesses.

“I hope you know what you’re doing, Twilight,” Spike looked at her worryingly. “I don’t think that Statice’s game is going to be easy.”

“Me neither, Spike,” Twilight frowned. “All we can do is work together and find a way to beat him.”

Back in their suite at the castle, the Elements of Harmony were talking about their upcoming game. Each of them felt a little confrontational regarding the Arcanum Ball issue.

“Ah think that this was a dumb idea, Twilight!” Applejack protested. “We know squat about this game. Ah think that he’s settin’ up a trap for us.”

“Don’t be silly, Applejack,” Pinkie Pie snorted, dressed as a referee. “Why would Statice cheat in a game HE invented?”

“Ah’m not sure,” Applejack took off her hat. “But he must be up to no good. Why else would he challenge all six of us at the same time?”

“Frankly speaking, I think that you should have let me take him on rather than make it a team game, Twilight,” Rainbow Dash was flying upside down.

“Aren’t you feeling a little overconfident, Rainbow Dash?” Rarity lifted an eyebrow at her brash friend.

“Overconfident is when you don’t have the skill to back up your claims,” Rainbow Dash snorted. “I’m the Iron Pony! I even beat Statice once in a competition!”

“Wasn’t he Aster at the time?” Pinkie Pie frowned in confusion. She didn’t know if she should put a point in her friend’s favor due to Statice not being a natural pegasus at the time.

“She’s got a darn good point,” Applejack looked at Rainbow Dash in worry. “He ain’t a real pegasus, but he still gave ya a run for yer bits.”

“Whatever,” Rainbow Dash frowned as she turned her head.

“I don’t think that I can do this, girls,” Fluttershy turned her head around. “I’ve never been very good in this kind of competitive sports.”

“You participated in the Equestria Games, Fluttershy!” Rainbow Dash reminded her timid friend.

“But it was a race, Rainbow Dash!” Fluttershy countered. “This is a ball game! What will happen if somepony gets hurt in the process? I’m not much of a kicker!”

It was true. As a pony, Fluttershy had a potentially strong kick. The problem was that her shy nature and lack of competitive spirit inhibited her strength, to the point in which she couldn’t break a single vase.

“Don’t let that bother you, Fluttershy?” Rainbow Dash waved her hoof dismissively. “We’ll protect you.”

“She’s right, Sugarcube,” Applejack smiled at Fluttershy reassuringly. “You’re in good hooves. You have Rainbow Dash and me to help ya.”

“And you have me as well, darling,” Rarity joined in. “I am not much of the physical type of pony, but I do have a respectable amount of athletic skill.” She smiled proudly as she remembered the Sisterhooves Social with Sweetie Belle, on which the pair nearly won the competition and only lost by a small margin.

“And I think that I can use the information I read about sports to come up with an appropriate pacing system for the game,” Twilight smiled as she remembered how she obtained fifth place during the Running of the Leaves just by pacing herself.

“Ooh, maybe I can use my Pinkie Sense to help you if a ball is about to fall on you,” Pinkie Pie suggested, not wanting Fluttershy to miss out on the fun.

“I can cheer for you from the sidelines!” Spike offered.

“Thanks,” Fluttershy smiled at her friends, feeling all better now.

Outside at the courtyard, Statice was checking the place to see what kind of field he was going to use. He had already told Princess Celestia and Princess Luna the rules of the game. He was very happy that both rulers had agreed to the conditions of the game after explaining the rules to them.

Thank the stars that me and Digitalis spent hours making the rules and we even thought of making Arcanum Ball a sport that can be played between teams of different sizes. I don't think Digi will ever believe me if I tell him that the alicorns that control the sun and the moon think that the rules that we created are fair to the players of both teams.

As he celebrated his triumph, his mind went back to the dinner. In retrospect, it was a total disaster. Once again, his reflexive disregard for authority got him into trouble again. The reason he was playing Arcanum Ball was because he was gambling his liberty right when he was already in hot water with Celestia and Luna. The worst part was that this time he was aware of who Celestia and Luna were and he did it anyway.

I can't believe I ticked off Princess Luna again!

He took a deep breath. He just had to win. All he needed was a victory and it would be as if that disastrous dinner never happened in the first place. He walked around the courtyard to make some measurements for the field.

"I'm gonna write a letter to Meadow after this game is over," Statice swore to himself. A conversation with his younger brother would be nice to make him forget this trouble. Unknown to him, a blue alicorn was looking at him from the balcony of her room.

The next morning was uneventful. The girls and Spike woke up and then went on to have breakfast. Surprisingly enough, Statice was not present in the dining hall, leaving them with Celestia and Luna.

“Good morning, my little ponies!”

“Good morning, princesses!”

After exchanging their greetings, the Elements of Harmony sat down and prepared to eat breakfast, stopping only when Celestia coughed up to raise their attention.

“I believe that we must inform you about your game with Statice,” Celestia began.

This statement got all of the girls to lean forward to hear what the Princess of the Sun had to tell them. Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie looked excited. Twilight, Rarity, and Applejack looked tense. Fluttershy was scared. Only Spike appeared to be on the verge of bursting out from the drama.

“As the name implies, Arcanum Ball is a ball game that deals with arcane arts for playing. It consists of infusing magic on a ball and hitting it back and forth between two teams. Each team has six small zones to defend, working hard to prevent the ball from falling in any of them or else they will be conquered. The game ends when one team conquers the other team’s six zones.”

“Wait a second,” Rainbow Dash raised her hoof. “How exactly are we supposed to play this game? You said that we have to infuse the ball with magic. How are we going to do that? Only Twilight and Rarity can do magic.”

“The game was originally done for the enjoyment of unicorns,” Luna explained, recalling the information that Statice gave her. “Back when he played with Digitalis, the game consisted of them levitating the ball back and forth, making the games tedious and boring due to how easy it was to catch and return the ball. To make it more interesting, they decided to start using their hooves to play the game.”

“But how do we use our hooves against magic?” Applejack asked.

As an apple farmer, Applejack was very familiar with using her hind hooves for kicking. She grew dexterous enough to properly coordinate them with her front hooves in hoofball games, turning all four of her extremities into valuable sport assets. Additionally, she was an ace player of Buckball despite how rare the sport was on Ponyville. The idea of having her trained hooves compete with magic felt as wrong as competing with Rainbow Dash when she was using her wings during their Iron Pony competition.

“Similar to the ball, your hooves, and wings in the case of Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Twilight Sparkle, will be imbued with magic in order to properly connect with the ball.”

“Wait what?” Rainbow Dash flinched. “How is that even going to be possible?”

“Statice will cast the spell on your extremities,” Luna informed them.

As the sisters expected, the Elements of Harmony did not take the news well.

Fluttershy was squeaking and blushing. Rarity was scandalized. Twilight looked nervous at the development. Rainbow Dash and Applejack were enraged. And Pinkie Pie was taking all this in stride.

“You can’t be serious!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed. “I don’t like ponies touching my hooves! I don’t want HIM getting close to my hooves! And I refuse to let him get close to my wings!”

She still had nightmares with that lightning magic on her hooves. She wasn’t going to repeat that incident again. Even worse, she was not letting him get close to her wings. Those were her money makers!

If that jerk get close to either of them I’m going straight to the butt-kicking!

“You don’t really expect him to grab our hooves, right?” Rarity complained, not approving the idea of a stallion touching her that intimately. "I can accept it if it's from a stallion working at a spa..."

“He won’t touch you inappropriately,” Luna reassured her with a hoof on her shoulder. “We made sure to talk to him about boundaries and he promised to be on his best behavior.”

Fortunately, there is nothing that a good threat from me and a good preemptive scolding from my sister could not fix.

The Night Princess’ word of safety managed to calm down Rarity. After a few minutes of shouting, they all wore down. They had regained enough tranquility to le the sisters inform them more of the situation.

“Statice is in the courtyard, building the playfield,” Celestia told the girls. “You can visit him if you want.”

After eating their breakfast, the Elements Bearers went into the courtyard to check on their playfield. Just like Celestia told them, Statice was there to build the playground. What they didn’t expect was for the playground to occupy the whole courtyard.

Statice was drawing lines of green magic around the courtyard, dividing it into twelve zones, each of them the same size. The next thing he needed was to use force fields and a few Trigger Spells to activate them every time a pony stood out of zone. He was about to finish when he saw the six mares staring at him.

“Is there any problem?” he asked the girls.

“What are you doing to the courtyard?” Twilight asked, feeling insecure about using the whole space for a game.

“I am making the playfield,” Statice spread his forelegs to the sides to accentuate his point. “You need a big stage for this game. That reminds me, which side will you pick? Would you rather take the left side or the right side?”

“We’ll take the side from which we came from right now,” Rainbow Dash answered before Twilight did. “We’re not going to waste time deciding which side we'll choose when we're close to one of them.”

“Good point,” Statice smiled in relief. “I’m going to work on your zones for the game. I trust Princess Celestia and Princess Luna have told you about the rules of the game, right?”

“They did,” Twilight nodded her head. “But I’d like to ask some questions about it.”

Statice groaned at her petition. What was it with Twilight’s desire to stick her nose on everything? Was it too hard for her to go with the flow rather than drag things out?

“Shoot them out as fast as you can,” he told her. “Just make sure that they're all about how to play the game, Twilight. Don’t ask me things about why did I choose the game or why am I playing against all six of you.”

Twilight frowned, angry that she was told to ask the questions that Statice wanted her to make…and disappointed that he predicted and shot down some of the questions that SHE wanted to make.

Work with what you have, Twilight.

“How does your game work?” she asked with a stern frown. “You wouldn’t have asked the princesses for this game if you were not that confident in your ability.”

“I have the physical and magical skills to play the game,” Statice admitted confidently. “Plus, I’ve been playing this game with Digitalis enough times to know that I have a shot against you.”

“I’d like to see you trying, chump!” Rainbow Dash stood up between Twilight and Statice. “We beat stronger guys than you.”

“Was that done without your Elements of Harmony?” Statice asked them.

“Oh, you won’t start that garbage again!” Rainbow Dash poked his chest with her hoof. “We are more than enough to take you down!”

“Like you took Starlight Glimmer,” Statice smiled teasingly.

“We took her down!” Rainbow Dash glared at him.

“To be honest, we exposed her, Dashie,” Pinkie Pie chirped in. “It was everypony else that ran her out of town.”

“It doesn’t matter!” Rainbow Dash waved her hooves at everypony. “We came here to give you some good kicks in the flank. We’re not leaving until we beat you.”

“We’ll see,” Statice pointed at them to leave. “Give me a few minutes and the field will be ready for you.”

“Not until you explain to me what’s the trick hidden behind your game!” Twilight demanded as she gave him a glare. “You’re not the type of pony that would gamble his own freedom over something, especially with such odds.”

She is on to me. Statice narrowed his eyes at her. He summoned a leather ball from Hammerspace and floated it next to him.

“Magic users in front of me,” Statice demanded as he gave an annoyed look to a certain purple alicorn and white unicorn.

Twilight and Rarity shared skeptic glances. With great reluctance, Rarity stepped to Twilight’s side to look at Statice. They stared at the green unicorn as he placed the ball in front of them.

“This game used to be a game for unicorns on which a magical ball was used to conquer magical zones,” Statice explained, recalling how the game was founded and the rules that Digitalis invented. “The magic users of both teams will infuse the ball with their magic in order to resonate with the magic of the field.”

“How are we supposed to do that?” Rarity asked, looking at either Statice or Twilight for instructions of what to do.

“Pour a little bit of your magic until the ball is glowing with a mixture of our magical auras,” Statice explained, suppressing the urge to insult her out of love for the sport.

Without hesitation, Rarity poured a little bit of her magic, followed by Twilight’s magic. Statice joined his magic with the three of them. The three different types of magic surrounded the ball. They appeared to be fighting for dominion over the sphere until they settled in. The ball was glowing and on three colors. Twilight’s magenta magic was the widest spread color, Statice’s green magic was the second, and Rarity’s blue magic was the third one.

“Okay,” Statice lifted the ball, satisfied with the progress. “I am going to calibrate this magical ball with the magic in the zones. Afterwards, we’ll be ready to play.”

“What about the magic hooves thing that Princess Celestia told us about?” Pinkie Pie inquired. The question brought uneasiness to the group, but Statice remained calm as he walked to each zone and subtly released magic into them.

“A ball of magic is thrown harder than one with hooves,” Statice reasoned calmly as he stepped to the next zone. “If we are going to kick the ball around, we need our hooves to be protected. Think of the spell I’ll use in them as protective gear.”

“Thanks, Statice!” Pinkie Pie grinned, making a squeaky sound.

“Do we have to do this spell on our wings?” Rainbow Dash asked, feeling secure enough to allow him to get close to her hooves if it was to help her friends.

“Unless you’re willing to strike the ball with your wings, I don’t think that you’ll need the spell,” Statice reassured her. “It is entirely optional. Do any of you fliers want me to use a spell in your wings?”

“No,” Twilight, Rainbow, and Fluttershy responded in unison.

“I suggest you start your formation then,” Statice was now in the third zone.

“What formation are ya talkin’ about?” Applejack looked at him.

“As a team of six ponies with six zones to defend, each of you will only be capable of defending one zone,” Statice explained as he moved to the fourth zone.

“What?” they asked in unison.

“You didn’t think I was going to play six against you without having an insurance to make this a fair game, did you?” Statice asked as he finished with the sixth zone, doing his job faster than before.

“Ya cheatin’ little vermin,” Applejack venomously glared at him. “You tricked us into playin’ you in these conditions.”

“How exactly is playing six against one an honorable condition?” Statice frowned at the orange mare for daring to insult him about fairness. “In fact, ALL of your major fights are six on one, you hypocrite.”

“He does make a good point,” Pinkie Pie frowned, remembering how insecure she initially felt when she thought that she and her team were going to compete against him alone. She stared at Statice as he continued explaining the rules while working on the magical zones of the field.

“The relationship between the number of zones and the number of players is inversely proportional. The greater the number of players is the lower the number of zones is going to be. A team with one player will have him defend all six zones. A team with two players will have each of them defending three zones. A team of three players will have them defend two zones each. Finally, a team of six players, that means you, will have only one zone to defend for player.”

“I knew I should have taken you down on my own!” Rainbow Dash snarled at being manipulated into such a disadvantageous position.

“You got number advantage and I got space advantage,” Statice pounded a hoof on his chest in courage. “Even Celestia and Luna acknowledged that it was a fair rule. That means that there is nothing in your power that you can do about it. Also, they were gonna tell you about this rule in the morning, but I asked them not to do it just so that I could see the look on your face, Rainbow Dash.”

“Darn it!” Rainbow Dash kicked the air angrily. As a pegasus, flying was everything for her. As such, she hated being restricted to limited spaces. To make matters worse, that dumb rule was going to prevent her from assisting her friends should the ball go to their zones.

“Quit your whining,” Statice was now in the tenth zone, which was the fourth zone of his side of the field. “I chose the courtyard to give you girls enough space to move around.”

“It is a nice gesture,” Pinkie Pie smiled, appreciating Statice being kind enough to give them some advantages for the game. “Even with all of these surprise rules, he’s making sure that they are fair so that everypony can have fun.”

“I take my game seriously,” Statice smiled in appreciation. “You girls should think about your formation while I finish with the field.”

“Okay,” Pinkie Pie smiled as she bounced away. The rest of the girls looked at the green unicorn with mistrust before following after the pink pony.

“That stupid jerk,” Rainbow Dash growled. “I should have thought that he was setting a trap for us. I should have taken him on my own.”

“It’s okay, Rainbow Dash,” Rarity comforted her. “Maybe Statice assumed that we were going to fight him as a team and came up with that cheap stratagem.”

“I knew that there was somethin’ wrong with him,” Applejack kicked the ground with her foreleg.

“It doesn’t matter, girls,” Twilight calmed her friends down. “We have to think of the formation for this game.”

“Can I please stay on the back?” Fluttershy begged. “I don’t think that I want to compete against Statice. He can be a little…mean…and scary.”

“I agree with Fluttershy,” Spike shivered as he remembered the fight with Piercing Gaze. “He sure can be a mean pony when he wants you beaten.”

“I support that,” Rainbow Dash lifted her hoof. “Fluttershy is not the most athletic pony in Equestria and she is kind of fragile. I think the last zone is perfect for her. We just have to make sure that the ball never reaches her.”

The pegasus’ opinion was met with affirmatives, including Fluttershy. With the votes given, it was time to figure out what would happen with the other five zones.

“Who’s gonna take the first zone?” Twilight asked, looking at her friends for volunteers.

“I’ll take it,” Rainbow Dash extended her wings cockily. “I’m the best athlete of the group and nothing can stop me thanks to my wings. I’m not going to let that jerk throw the ball out of my zone.”

“That seems like a good idea,” Rarity nodded her head. “It will be very hard for Statice to reach our zones if he can’t get past Rainbow Dash first. Even if he does get past her, just imagine how exhausted he'll be after wasting his energy on her.”

“Good,” Twilight smiled. “But now we have to think on who is going to be in the second zone.”

“Ah can do it,” Applejack walked to Twilight. “Ah can give Rainbow Dash a run for her money and Ah always clean up her messes.”


“She is right about that, Twilight,” Rarity affirmed. “I think that having our best athletes in the front will be our best choice.”

“That leaves the middle zones and the penultimate zone,” Twilight hummed as she tried to decide on which pony to guard the perfect zone that suited her qualities the most.

“How about Twilight and Rarity go into the middle zones?” Spike suggested. He got stunned looks from his friends that he assumed were asking him what he meant with that suggestion.

“Well, he’s going to use magic on the ball so why not have Twilight and Rarity take the third and fourth zones to counter his magic in case he uses it to pass Rainbow Dash and Applejack. Pinkie Pie can take the fifth zone and use her Pinkie Sense to predict the ball’s course if it turns out to be too unpredictable for the previous four zones.”

His explanation got him wide-eyed stares.

“Did I do something wrong?” Spike asked self-consciously.

“That was brilliant, Spike!” Twilight praised her number one assistant with a hug.

“It was?” Spike smiled, feeling happy to help in spite of not participating in the game. The following cheers of his friends made him feel better about himself for speaking up.

“How did you come up with that strategy?” Rainbow Dash asked.

“I watch hoofball!” Spike proudly announced.

“Good,” Twilight nodded her head. “Pinkie Pie will get the fifth zone. Now we need to verify the order of the third and fourth zones between Rarity and I.”

“Take the third zone, darling,” Rarity politely offered. “Your magic is much stronger than my own. I’m sure that if Statice’s ball bypasses your spells, it will be too weak to take on my own spells.”

“Thanks, Rarity,” Twilight smiled now that their formation had been organized. “I think it’s time to start this game.”

A round of cheers from her friends backed her up. They were ready to show Statice what the Magic of Friendship was capable of accomplishing.

“Are you ready?”

“We are,” Rainbow Dash snorted.

“You decided on your formation?”

“It’s done,” Twilight confidently answered.

“Good,” Statice smiled. “Give me your hooves.”

That erased the confident smirks of most of the team. “Do we have to do this?” Rarity asked, feeling a little uneasy with offering a stallion her hooves.

“Would you rather get a broken leg or hoof from trying to kick a ball infused with magic?” Statice asked the fashionista with a raised eyebrow. Her pinprick eyes let him know that she was going to cooperate.

That’s what I thought.

“Me first, try me first!” Pinkie Pie bounced next to Statice, offering her foreleg at him. “Is it going to tickle? I tend to squirm a lot when I tickle so…”

He shushed her before lighting his horn with magic. He placed his horn in the center of his hoof, transferring the magic of his Enhancement Spell across the extremity. He did the same with the other fore hoof.

“Your back hooves,” he instructed her. Pinkie offered him her left hind leg. Much to her friends’ surprise, she was taking it well. She seemed more distracted with a song she was humming than whatever Statice was doing to her hooves. She gave him the remaining hind leg, stopping her song once he placed her hoof on the ground.

“Done,” Statice pointed at her newly finished hooves. “You are ready to play the game, Pinkie! Take a new look at your hooves.”

Pinkie Pie gasped in excitement as she saw that her hooves were covered in magical aura. But it wasn’t Statice’s magical aura. It wasn’t green. The aura was a dark shade of pink, which was apparently the color of her own magic aura if she were a unicorn.

“I enhanced your magic in your hooves,” Statice explained. “This will allow you to touch the magic ball…”

He was choking when Pinkie Pie wrapped her forelegs around his neck and hugged him with all of the strength.

“I have magic hooves!” Pinkie declared happily. “Maybe I can do spells with them like Twilight and Rarity do.”

Statice teleported out of her hold rather than wait until she finished. He was not going to let her hug him as long as she had the Enhancement Spell on her. He wheezed out a little bit from the surprise hug, tenderly rubbing at his neck.

“Who’s next?” Statice asked as he looked at the remaining five ponies.

“I want to try,” Twilight offered. “I want to see the spell up close.”

Statice narrowed his eyes. Twilight was a magical prodigy, capable of learning spells at a faster rate than the average pony. He didn’t want her to get close to him and see him use his spells. She was going to copy them! Nopony but him used his spells!

Looks like I’m gonna have to be more creative with how I use my magic around her to avoid her magic plagiarism. Let’s see, she can’t copy me if she doesn’t pay attention to the spell. How about I try this…?

“Fine,” Statice politely gestured at Twilight to come. “Give me your hoof and we’ll begin right away.”

Twilight extended her right foreleg, which Statice took right away. The purple mare yelped as he pulled her towards him. Their faces were very close to each other. Twilight felt a blush forming on her cheeks at the close proximity. This was the closest that she had been to a stallion that wasn’t her brother or Spike. Taking advantage of the situation, Statice placed his horn against her front hoof and placed the spell on it. The magic color that he obtained was a magenta one, the same color as her magic aura. After catching up with that fact, he dipped Twilight to the ground so that her hind hooves were facing his horn. He placed the spell on them before he flipped Twilight into the air. The alicorn yelped at being suddenly flung into the air until she felt Statice’s hoof grab her left foreleg. He brought her back to him in the same way he did when he grabbed the other hoof. Once again, she felt a blush form on her face.

“And done,” Statice smirked, breaking Twilight out of her stupor. “Your hooves have the spell on them.”

Twilight gasped as she looked at her left front hoof. It was covered in a magenta aura, the same color as the rest of her hooves and her horn whenever she used magic.

“When did you…?” Twilight stuttered, feeling frustrated and flustered at not watching the spell be done up close.

“Next one,” Statice called, gesturing to the remaining four.

The purple alicorn got away from him, apparently suffering a nervous breakdown based on the messy mane that she was getting. The rest of the girls were talking with each other for a few seconds. Their decision was taken when Rarity walked up to him with her head held high and her eyes closed.

“I’d like to inform you that I want you to treat me politely during this whole process,” Rarity narrowed her eyes at him. “I don’t want you to get bold with me like you did with Twilight a moment ago. Am I understood?”

“Crystal clear,” Statice nodded his head. He wasn’t intimidated by the fashionista, having expected her mistrust after that stunt he pulled with Twilight. She daintily extended one of her forelegs, which he took carefully. As he lighted his spell, Rarity interrupted him with a worried tone of voice.

“Will this hurt or ruin my hooficure?”

Statice stared at her in annoyance. He took a moment to stare at her friends, who all had the decency of looking annoyed or embarrassed. Rolling his eyes, Statice sighed as he tried to think of words that were going to make the drama queen accept the procedure without further interruptions.

“No,” Statice answered simply before speaking with a calmer tone. “But try this method to make this more bearable for the both of us. Imagine that the magic around your hooves is the same water you soak them in when you get your hooficure at the spa.”

“Ooh,” Rarity swooned, closing her eyes as she imagined her hooficure. “I can feel that lukewarm feeling of the water around my hooves, relaxing them after a long hard day of work. Any discomfort that I feel when I walk just melts away before the spa attendants bring their files to work on my hooves…”

Statice frowned as Rarity got into a monologue detailing a hooficure. He had started the spell on her front hoof when she mentioned the lukewarm water thing, feeling a little surprised that his spell felt as warm as a hoof bath, especially since that was a lie that he made on the spot, but nonetheless continuing with his work. As he finished the second front hoof, Rarity reflexively summoned a fainting couch on which she leaned on, extending her hind legs and wiggling them at him.

Even when doing things that she loves, she always finds a way to be a drama queen to the end. He placed his magic around her hind hooves, finishing the procedure. All four of the fashionista’s hooves were glowing with light blue magic.

“Finished,” Statice groaned, not willing to hear anymore of Rarity.

“Is it over?” Rarity whined, her eyes remained closed as she asked the question.

“Take a look at your hooves and give me the verdict,” Statice crossed his forelegs to look at her. “I’m sure I did a nice job considering how immersed you were.”

Rarity opened her eyes to see all four of her hooves glowing with magic. She turned her head around and noticed that she had summoned her fainting couch. She tilted her head back to see that her friends were giving her incredulous looks. She focused her eyes on Statice, who was giving her his best deadpan expression.

“I got too immersed in the metaphor, right?” Rarity blushed, at least having the decency to feel a little embarrassment for her behavior.

“Are you sure you’re not an actress?” Statice sarcastically asked her as he stared at her friends. “Bring in the next one!”

Rarity tittered nervously as she levitated her fainting couch away from him, returning to her friends with a forced smile. Much to Statice’s dismay, Applejack was the next one to come. She narrowed her eyes at him, clearly not trusting him.

“Give me your hoof,” Statice asked carefully.

Earth ponies were physically the strongest of the three tribes. Statice had learned that, as a unicorn, he was not as naturally strong as a pegasus or an earth pony. He made up with this disadvantage through training, increasing his natural strength to that of the average pegasus or earth pony. Unfortunately for him, Applejack was not only naturally strong, but had harder training as a farmer by bucking apples and carrying heavy weighted objects in a daily basis. At this close range, Applejack’s kicks had the potential of knocking him out.

I better not push my luck with her.

“Ya better not try anythin’ funny, mister,” Applejack narrowed her eyes at him. “Ah swear that Ah will introduce you to Bucky McGillycuddy and Kicks McGee if Ah see ya playin’ dirty.”

“I don’t play dirty at my own game, Applejack,” Statice glared at the orange mare as he finished enhancing her hoof…in orange magic. “And I’d appreciate it if you don’t antagonize me. I have my magic and I am point-blank at you. If I felt like it, I could just take you down.”

He finished his statement by enhancing the second hoof. He was about to ask her to let him continue the procedure when he felt Applejack’s hoof being yanked away from his own. He was about to ask her what was her problem until he saw a couple of orange hind hooves coming straight at his face. He made a mistake in forgetting about their close range and how fast Applejack’s reflexes were as well as how aggressive she was when properly insulted. He didn’t have time to flinch as the hooves were less than an inch close to his snout.

“Ah’m sorry,” Applejack sarcastically apologized as she dexterously stopped her buck before her hooves hit the stallion. “What was that about ya takin’ me down?”

“I underestimated you,” Statice gritted his teeth, more angry at himself than Applejack for letting his guard down.

“Sure ya did,” Applejack snorted, sounding amused as her hind hooves bumped him in the nose. “Now, how about ya finish yer magic on mah hooves? Ah won’t keep mah dogs up just so you can stare at ‘em.”

Statice growled as he worked the spell on her hind hooves. He could have sworn that she was smiling after her little demonstration. Sure enough, the orange mare was smirking at him, playfully slapping his face with her tail as she trotted back to her friends, who were giggling and praising her.

“Next,” Statice announced, looking at Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy. “Which one of you two will come first?”

Both mares looked uneasy, quite an unusual sight given Rainbow Dash was the bravest between the two. For a second, she appeared to gain enough courage to volunteer, stopping only when Fluttershy walked in front of her.

“I will do it,” Fluttershy spoke with a determined frown.

Statice widened his eyes at the sudden courage of the shy pegasus, a feeling that was echoed by the gasps of her friends. Rainbow Dash in particular was the most vocal with her bewilderment.

“You don’t have to do it right away, Fluttershy!” Rainbow Dash hurriedly spoke up as she flew by her friend’s side so that she was flying in front of her.

“It’s okay, Rainbow Dash,” Fluttershy gently reassured her. “I will be fine. If the others can do it then so can I…and you as well.”

The prismatic mare was left shocked by Fluttershy’s words, a moment that Fluttershy took to fly in front of Statice. She stared at the green unicorn with determination, which lasted for a few seconds. She came back to her usual shy ways as she timidly kicked the floor with her front hoof.

“Does this hurt?” she asked meekly.

I guess courage only lasts when she has friends by her side. I better find a way to ease her into this. I won’t be able to play the game if she refuses to let me put the spell on her out of fear.

“It won’t hurt a bit,” Statice spoke delicately. “Picture the experience as putting on horseshoes.”

“Meep!” Fluttershy flinched as she ducked and covered her head with her forelegs, shaking fearfully at him.

Statice looked at her friends with a surprised but somewhat deadpan face. “She is afraid of putting on horseshoes, isn’t she?”

The uneasy looks of the girls gave the answer right away.

“She’s not scared of horseshoes technically,” Pinkie Pie gave him an uneasy smile, followed by a squeaky sound.

“She’s more scared of the process itself,” Rainbow Dash added, remembering how Fluttershy had to get her horseshoes replaced more than any other pegasus due to her preference on walking on the ground rather than flying.

“Well I can’t blame her,” Rarity winced in disgust. “I don’t like to imagine having a hammer and nails coming to my beautiful hooves.”

“You’re not making yer case, Rarity,” Applejack deadpanned as Fluttershy squeaked louder and trembled harder.

“Try to talk her with something more…friendly,” Twilight approached Statice carefully to advise him. “Use an example like the hooficure thing you did with Rarity.”

“I think he should have used that example,” Rarity looked annoyed that Statice chose to make another analogy rather than use one that worked well on her. “Fluttershy loves the spa as much as me so I’m sure she would have felt good with the hooficure analogy.”

“Let me try something else,” Statice walked close to Fluttershy, not willing to listen to any of Rarity’s suggestions. He gently prodded her with his hoof. “Are you okay?”

“Sorry,” she apologized. “I just feel a little nervous when I think about putting on horseshoes. Those nails and those hammers are really scary once they get close to your hooves.”

Back with the girls, Rarity had a triumphant smirk at having one of her friends share her opinions about the process of putting on horseshoes.

“I meant that you are not going to feel anything,” Statice clarified. “Give me your hoof and I will show you.”

Reluctantly, Fluttershy offered her left hoof. The stallion smiled approvingly as he worked the spell on it. Fluttershy’s aura was a light shade of pink. The yellow pegasus gasped as she looked at her hoof.

“That wasn’t so bad,” Statice spoke with a confiding tone. “Now, let’s go with the other ones, shall we?”

Fluttershy meekly nodded her head as she gave Statice her right hoof. Afterwards, she lied on her side so that he could work on her hind hooves. Once the process was done, Statice looked at Rainbow Dash.

“Your turn,” he pointed a hoof at her. “Get over here or risk losing by default.”

Rainbow Dash gritted her teeth in frustration. She didn’t like getting her hooves touched, especially since the electrical tickle torture Statice gave her. However, she didn’t like the feeling of defeat, much less from default, especially against him.

You can do it, Rainbow Dash. You just have to endure it! Bear with it for a few seconds and then you can smack him around in the game. Show him that you’re not afraid of him!

Her fearful frown was replaced by a competitive one. She flew to him and grabbed his horn between her hooves, stunning the green unicorn with her speed and surprise reaction.

“I’m ready!” Rainbow Dash challenged him as she tightened her grip. “Hit me with your best spell, Statice! I can take it and more!”

At least she won’t burden me. Statice focused his spell on her hooves, causing them to have a rainbow glow. He frowned a little bit upon seeing the color of her magic.

Really, her magic color is rainbow? Doesn’t she have enough affiliation with rainbows as she is now?

With both of her forelegs done, Statice made a spinning gesture with his hoof to signal her to turn around and let him work on her other pair. Rainbow Dash gulped as she turned around and offered her hind leg to him. The stallion frowned, grabbing the leg with both forelegs to make sure that she was not going to retract it, a good choice as the leg was trembling and threatening to retract.

Rainbow Dash yelped as she felt the magic on her hoof, pulling back her leg as soon as Statice let go of it. She had to fight the urge to kick him immediately after recovering her leg. To make matters worse, she still had another hind leg to give.

It’s okay, Rainbow. Now you know how it feels. You can brace yourself for the next leg. It’s the last leg. It won’t feel so bad.

It did turn out to be bad. She had the same reaction as with the previous leg, yelping and retracting it as soon as she got it back. The difference was that she was unable to control her kicking reflex, shooting her leg at Statice’s face. Fortunately, her pained reaction messed up her aim and her leg just kicked the empty space besides Statice’s face, missing him.

“Sorry about that,” Rainbow Dash blushed as she frantically waved her hooves in the air. “I didn’t mean to kick at you!”

“It’s okay,” Statice reassured her with fake calm. “I’m not hurt, so now we can play the game once and for all. You and your friends go to your stations.”

“Sure,” Rainbow Dash meekly nodded her head before flying back to her friends.

The stallion turned around and walked to his station, his mask of calmness falling into shocked fear. His mind remembered the kick, forcing his body to gulp.

By the stars, that kick was fast! I could have sworn that the wind around her leg was a breeze caressing my cheek. That could have been my face! Just what kind of opponent will I play against in this game?

Statice took a deep breath to calm down. As scary as the nearly accidental kick was, at least it gave him data on Rainbow Dash, probably the greatest threat in the game. It was clear that her hitting the ball was going to be troublesome.

Don’t let your guard down, Statice. These girls are a lot stronger than you think.

The match was about to begin. Statice stood up on his zones and then watched the Elements of Harmony take on their own zones. Much to his dismay, their placement was strategically perfect.

In the first two zones were Rainbow Dash and Applejack. They were the fastest members of the group on air and ground, as well as physically the strongest. Getting the ball past them and returning the ball from them was going to be a pain in the neck.

In the second pair of zones were Twilight and Rarity. They were very talented at magic and it was clear that it was their best solution if their athletes’ brawn was not enough against him. Even if Statice managed to pass through Twilight, it was going to take effort, much more if he had to face Rarity after her.

On the last pair of zones were Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy. If he was to pass the first four zones, he was going to be unpredictable. The problem was that Pinkie Pie was the living embodiment of being random and unpredictable. Whatever surprise he was going to use on her four companions was not going to work on her. Fluttershy was not much of an athlete so putting her in the last zone to be protected by her five friends.

These little witches managed to adapt. Even with this surprise game and the rules limiting their space, they found the best way to exploit their strengths in their period of weakness.

“Let me rephrase on how to play with the ball, girls,” Statice looked at the six enemies in front of him. He coughed up into his hoof to rephrase the rules that he created and revised with Digitalis hundreds of times before.

“The game starts when a magic user throws the ball to the other side to be intercepted. Afterwards, the opposing players will retaliate by kicking the ball back. The exchange will continue until the ball lands in a zone. The owner of that zone will lose the territory but will have the privilege of serving. Do you have problems with that rule?”

He got head shakes from them. There were no problems. Smiling, he returned to the rules, feeling excited as they came back to him from his memory.

“Unicorns, and alicorns in Twilight’s case, are allowed to levitate the ball and throw it at the opposing side when serving. They may also levitate it close to them to hit them with their magically enhanced hooves if they so desire. When returning a ball, they can only use the levitation spell on one zone at a time, preferably those under their jurisdiction. To make things easier, they are allowed to teleport to reach the ball if they are unable to hit it, provided that they stay in their zones. Once thrown, a ball cannot be further affected by a unicorn’s magic unless the unicorn does it in a different zone. Even then, unicorns are forbidden from using magic in the ball if it’s already in the opposing side of the field. Are you satisfied with these rules, Twilight and Rarity?”

The pair grimly nodded their heads.

“For the pegasi, you are free to move in air and ground, but you are not allowed to grab the ball. You can only strike it with your hooves. The only time that you are allowed to grab the ball for yourselves is when you are serving. Are these rules fair enough for you, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy?”

Both mares nodded their heads. Rainbow Dash had a serious frown while Fluttershy fearfully nodded her head.

“For the earth ponies…I suggest that you just try to hit the ball with your hooves, if you manage to reach it.”

The lack of rules designed for the earth ponies made Applejack frown, mainly because it seemed as it didn't give her race any advantages or privileges. Pinkie Pie was happily nodding her head to let him know that she approved of the games.

“Somethin’ tells me that this game ain’t cut for earth ponies,” Applejack grumbled, feeling as if she was going to be limited by the lack of physical privileges that her tribe offered.

Try to come up with special advantages for earth ponies when even your strength is kind of normal in terms of gameplay when dealing with catching a ball against ponies that fly or use spells.

"You'll manage," Statice encouraged Applejack. "If it makes you feel any better, I may revise the game at some point in the future regardless of the outcome so that it's fairer to your tribe. Now let me continue."

“I made the walls permeable so that the ball can safely pass back and forth between the zones of the opposing teams. As a bonus, passing the ball through the last wall will count as conquering the sixth zone of the rival team, meaning that the ball won’t have to hit the ground of the sixth zone to conquer it.”

Hearing this made Fluttershy tremble in fear. During the talk before the game, Twilight reassured her that the only thing that she needed to do in case the ball passed through the five previous zones was to prevent it from landing in her zone and to pass it to Pinkie Pie so that she could start a counterattack. Hearing that the last wall was a goal to automatically conquer her zone terrified her as she was now more obligated to participate into the game. Her trembling was stopped when she felt Pinkie’s hoof on her shoulder.

“It’s okay, Fluttershy,” she smiled optimistically. “We won’t let that mean ball get close to you.”

“Thank you, Pinkie Pie,” Fluttershy smiled back as she regained her composure.

“Okay,” Statice stomped a hoof into the ground to call their attention. “Let’s not waste the attention of our beloved audience.”

“What audience?” the girls asked.

Statice smiled as he pointed at the courtyard. Much to the girls’ surprise, it was bigger than before and looked like a coliseum. All of the ponies in Canterlot were watching and cheering for them. In a special seat, Princess Celestia and Princess Luna were smiling at them. Similarly, Princess Cadence and Shining Armor were present in the audience, both waving at Twilight, who happily returned the gesture. Much to their surprise, Spike was now dressed in a blue suit and wearing a microphone. He was sitting in a special table with Discord at his side. The draconequus was wearing an orange suit with yellow stripes that made Rarity gag in repulsion.

“You didn’t think to bring a better suit, Discord?” Statice turned his head around in disgust, not liking Discord’s fashion sense. The draconequus stood up on top of the table, dramatically calling up to the audience.


All of the ponies started cheering for the baby dragon, who blushed and timidly waved back at the audience. Seeing him receive the cheer that he deserved, Twilight and her friends smiled at him. Even Statice had a little smile to show his appreciation for the little drake.

“Standing in this corner, with a combined weight of 1550 pounds of pure friendship and harmony, we have Princess Twilight Sparkle and the Elements of Harmony!”

The audience cheered for the nation’s heroes, not noticing that some of them were not taking kindly how Discord introduced him.

“What exactly do you mean by 1550 pounds, you cretin!” Rarity shrieked at Discord, who was too far for him to hear her. “Are you implying that we are fat? Come back here so that I can personally turn you to stone!”

“And standing in the other corner, we have the creator of the game, who decided to share it with the heroes of Equestria, Statice!”

Much to the green unicorn’s surprise, everypony started clapping at him. How could they clap for him when months ago he was a criminal? He stared at Celestia to see if she had anything to do with it, getting a wink from her in the process.

“I shall also be the referee in this game to make sure that there are no dirty plays in this match,” Discord promised as he adopted a referee suit. He walked to both teams to look at them directly into their eyes.

“Are you ready Team Harmony?” he asked them, taking the liberty to name the team for better word flow.

“Yes,” the girls nodded, not even bothered by Discord naming their team.

“Are you ready, Statice?” Discord turned to the green unicorn.

“Yes,” Statice nodded his head before looking at Twilight. “Just do me a favor, girls. Don’t come crying to Celestia when you lose.”

“I won’t!” Twilight swore with a hoof stomp.

“There you go!” Statice smirked playfully. “It’s good to see that Celestia taught her student to face defeat with dignity.”

Twilight stammered, realizing that she made a fool of herself. “I won’t lose!” she corrected herself. “I meant to say that I won’t lose.”

“But if you were to lose then that means that you’ll cry to Celestia?” Statice teased back with a cocky smile.

“Yes,” Twilight responded quickly, widening her eyes when she realized that she just made a fool of herself again. “No! I won’t cry to Celestia, but I won’t lose either. We’re going to win and…”

“Too late,” Statice smirked. “You messed it up, Princess!”

He went to his zones laughing as he thought of which of the mares was the most suitable one to be the target of his first move.

Meanwhile, Twilight was gritting her teeth at the humiliating verbal spar that she had with her rival.

“I hate that stallion,” Twilight growled.

“Welcome to the club,” Rainbow Dash snorted as Applejack and Rarity agreed with her statement. Only Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy took the insult in stride.

“And Statice prepares for the match with a pre-game collective burn on Team Harmony,” Discord announced, causing everypony in the audience to wince in sympathy as he replayed the argument between Twilight and Statice.

“That looks like a really good burn,” Spike grimaced at the insult. “It looks like Twilight was going to get burned regardless of which choice she picked up.”

“Gotta love loaded questions and trash talking before the games,” Discord spoke through a clone that was sitting next to Spike, who didn’t seem to mind about his presence, having grown used to Discord’s chaotic magic.

“Thanks, Discord,” Statice smiled before cracking his neck. He limbered his body for maximum movement and dexterity.

It’s been a long time since I played the game. I gotta stay sharp. This one goes for you, Digitalis. I’m dedicating this game to you, wherever you are.

“Alright, Team Harmony,” Statice decided to settle in the third zone of his side. He picked up a coin and levitated it to Discord. “Choose sun or moon to decide which one of us serves first.”

“Sun,” Twilight answered quickly.

“Teacher’s pet,” Statice snorted as he looked at Discord. “I choose moon since she already took the sun.”

The draconequus flipped the coin with his lion paw. He flipped the paw around so that its back was facing upward. When the coin landed, he slapped his eagle talons to keep the coin in the paw. Once he took the hand, he smiled as he announced the result.

“It’s moon!” Discord declared. “Statice gets to serve first!”

The green unicorn grinned as he levitated the ball close to him. He stared at his rivals with grim determination.

“It’s time to start this game, girls. Let’s make some good memories.”

Author's Note:

And so the Arcanum Ball game begins. Who shall win between Statice and the Elements of Harmony? Will Statice win and stay in Canterlot or will he lose and be forced to learn the Magic of Friendship with the Elements of Harmony? The game takes place during season 5, meaning that Buckball is still not a popular sport so Pinkie and Fluttershy won't be much of a good player as you saw on season 6. Despite this, the game will be eventful.