• Published 23rd Aug 2015
  • 10,611 Views, 1,120 Comments

Fellowship is Magic - Mr-War

Something strange is happening in Twilight's palace. The magic mirror has started acting strangely during a period of intense solar flares, leaving her worried about what complications might occur. The next thing she knows, through a sequence of even

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Bilbo's Party

Bilbo's Party

With Twilight's message to her mentor burned into the ground, with directions to the Shire, thus ensuring that they would be found one way or another, the whole group began the rest of the journey toward their destination. And on that journey, Twilight spoke, and Gandalf listened. He listened as the pony spun an incredible tale of her home world of Equestria, the residents, the varying species, the Princesses, and at the insistence of her friends -although she spoke hesitantly- even her own ascension to royal status herself, and her evolution from Unicorn to Alicorn.

All in all, Gandalf couldn't help but note that the depths of her tale, and her focus on details, could easily fill a novel all its own. Or perhaps even several, with how specific she insisted on being.

She had even gone beyond mere tales of Equestria. She had impressed upon him, ideas and concepts that dwarfed his own imagination. His own inquiry about the matter of her injured wing, had proven sufficient to drive her to speak of concepts that weren't magic, but rather science! Science beyond anything that Man could hope of understanding at present. And she spoke of them so casually, like everyday things that held no wonder whatsoever. It was enough to make him idly consider asking this Princess Celestia if visiting Equestria himself would be a possibility, just to glimpse at the wonders that it held.

As the last of the night withdrew, and gave way to the dawn, and then to the morning, a small matter arose that was in need of being addressed; breakfast. For himself, that wasn't a problem. But he didn't have nearly enough food for everyone; that much was evident even before he heard each of their stomachs growling in turn. He wasn't even certain that they would be able to eat the same food that he would be eating on his journey.

Good fortune, however, smiled down upon their little gathering, in the form of a farmer along the way to the Shire, after a slight detour was made. It was simple enough to barter a small measure of his harvest that wouldn't be missed come winter, in exchange for one of the lanterns to his cart; a small price to pay, all things considered. And by how voracious their appetites appeared to be, it was well appreciated.

That wasn't to say their journey had been entirely smooth, however. The farmer had been quite willing to barter, but the farmer's children had other ideas in mind. Ideas that involved poking and prodding at Twilight in amazement of what she was; something that had caused them to unintentionally cause her injured wings more pain. In light of such, she now rode on the cart's seat next to him, far out of the reach of any children they might come across.

Not that he minded the company. It made it easier to hear one another as they conversed. Which suited him just fine, as there was still much to hear.

"So Fluttershy defeated this Discord character, simply by showing him what it was like to experience kindness?" he asked.

"Pretty much," Twilight replied and nodded, "we were ready to turn him back into stone for what he was doing, but Fluttershy refused, because she promised him she wouldn't. And in the end, he feared losing that friendship he had with her, far more than being petrified."

"Loneliness is a terrible thing to experience for so long," Gandalf mentioned. "Then she managed to reform the embodiment of chaos by herself? As if she were domesticating a pet?" he asked.

"Well that's sorta accurate," Rainbow Dash commented as she flew up ahead to hover alongside them. "He's still a huge pain in the flank at times, reformed or not. His practical jokes aren't even funny," she complained.

Twilight just shook her head in response. "She still hasn't forgiven Discord for the time he turned her fur bright pink," she explained.

"Well now... that's a horse of a different color," Gandalf mused, unable to resist.

Rainbow Dash merely snorted in annoyance -especially when Twilight started laughing at Gandalf's quip- before falling back to join the others as they followed the cart.

For a while the journey continued in silence, apart from the chatter of the others who were walking along behind the cart, but it was too hard to make out what they were saying.

Eventually, the cart slowed to a complete stop, and Gandalf dismounted.

"Are we there yet?" Twilight asked.

"Momentarily. I need to drop off a few things, and meet with a few friends who may be able to help," Gandalf explained as he made his way around to the back of the cart in order to extract a box, and tuck it under his arm. "Going in the front way is bound to draw an audience, and make things rather difficult for us; it's not everyday one sees six colored ponies and a baby dragon strolling through town," he explained.

There were two purposes to the little detour that would take them around the long way. The first was to meet with Bilbo, and inform him about what had developed on the way out here. With all of his experience, and the weight he pulled in the Shire, his assistance could prove invaluable.

The second was to deal with a certain Brandybuck and a Took. Those two were always up to no good. It was his sincere hope, that if he dropped off a little something for them to occupy themselves with, they would avoid turning tonight's party into a disaster.

In short, he was going to bribe those two mischievous hobbits with some of the smaller fireworks he had brought, in hopes that they would leave the larger ones alone.

"So... I guess we just... wait here?" Spike asked as he stepped to the front and observed Gandalf walking away.

"I'm guessing so," Twilight replied as she climbed down from the seat of the cart, setting back down on all four of her hooves again. As far as she was concerned, that was just fine. She'd been sitting in one spot on a hard wooden bench for so long, her butt had just about gone to sleep on her. The opportunity to stretch her legs for a while was just fine.

She had wanted to inspect some of the local flora and fauna, and compare it to that found back in Equestria while she waited. But that intention was quickly stopped when she noticed Rainbow Dash flying in the same direction Gandalf had gone.

"Rainbow Dash!" she objected and gripped the pegasus by the tail with her magic, bringing about a squawk of protest. "We're supposed to wait by the cart until Gandalf gets back!"

"Did you actually hear him say that?" Rainbow Dash asked as she turned to look at her.

"Well... no, but-"

"Then we don't need to wait around. If you wanna wait around for him to get back, go right ahead. But I'm gonna go explore," Rainbow Dash stated. Unfortunately it didn't turn out like that, and the grip on her tail remained. "What the hay?"

"Rainbow Dash, we still don't have any clue as to what dangers this "Middle Earth" might pose to us. Wandering off could prove quite dangerous. We're going to wait until Gandalf gets back before we just go venturing off on our own," Twilight stated firmly. She then thought on it, and knew that Rainbow Dash was likely going to fight her on the matter, until the two were yelling in each other's faces. That simply wouldn't do. "And if you insist on being stubborn about this, I'm going to-"

"Do what?" Rainbow Dash asked skeptically.

"I'll... I'll..." she paused, regretting that she didn't think this through better. "I'll sit on you!"

The audacity of the threat was enough to make Rainbow Dash burst into laughs. Twilight was actually threatening to sit on her? Like she was some sort of pillow or something?

"If ya can't hold 'er down on yer own, Sugarcube, Ah'll sub for ya," Applejack stated.

What none of them knew at the time, however, was that while all the attention was focused on the bickering between Twilight and Rainbow Dash, Pinkie and Spike were surreptitiously sneaking away from the group, intent on getting a sneak peak at just what this reported party would have to offer.

Gandalf walked up outside the gate to Bag End... a particularly fine example of a Hobbit hole, with a large round front door set into a grassy hillside. There is a sign on the gate that read "NO ADMITTANCE EXCEPT ON PARTY BUSINESS." Gandalf strode up to the garden path of Bag End regardless, raised his staff, and rapped on the front door.

"No, thank you! We don't want any more visitors, well wishers, or distant relations!" a voice from behind the door called out.

"And what about very old friends?"

Suddenly the door opens and the Hobbit known best as Bilbo Baggins stood before him.


"Bilbo Baggins!"

"My dear Gandalf!" Gandalf dropped to his knee to embrace his old friend.

"It's good to see you. One hundred and eleven years old, who would believe it!" Gandalf looked at him more keenly. "You haven't aged a day!"

Gandalf and Bilbo both shared a laugh together before entering Bag End.

"Come on, come in! Welcome, welcome!!"

Bilbo lead Gandalf into Bag End... cozy and cluttered with souvenirs of his travels. Gandalf had to stoop to avoid hitting his head on the low ceiling, but that was a risk taken when entering the home of a Hobbit. Bilbo hung up Gandalf's hat on a peg, before trotting off down the hall.

"Tea? Or maybe something stronger... I've a few bottles of the Old Winyard left, 1296... a very good year, almost as old as I am. It was laid down by my father. What say we open one, eh?"

Bilbo disappeared into the kitchen as Gandalf looked around, enjoying the familiarity of Bag End... before he turned, knocking his head on the light. He was quick to straighten it before it could break... and then promptly walked into the wooden beam next to it with an audible thud, groaning in pain. That was going to leave a mark...

"I was expecting you some time last week. Not that it matters, you come and go as you please, always have done, always will. You've caught me a bit unprepared, I'm afraid... we've only got cold chicken, bit of pickle, some cheese here... ooh, no, that might be a little risky..."

Gandalf stopped in front of a framed map, charred in one corner... it was Thorin's map of the Lonely Mountain, bringing a small smile in remembrance.

"Er, we've got raspberry jam and apple tart... got some custard somewhere. Not much for Afters, I'm afraid. Oh no... we're alright... I've just found some sponge cake. Nice little snack. Hope it's enough," Bilbo said as he came out of the kitchen. "I could do you some eggs if you like?"

Bilbo jumped, a half eaten pork pie in his hand, as Gandalf appeared behind him without warning.

"Just tea, thank you."

"Oh... right. You don't mind if...?"

"No, not at all. Go ahead," Gandalf replied.

And then there was a sudden loud knock on the front door.

"Bilbo Baggins, you open this door..I know you're in there!"

"I'm not home," Bilbo stated as he dropped behind the table. That voice belonged to Mrs. Sackville Baggins. But as far as he was concerned, it could've belonged to anyone.

Gandalf watched silently, amused as Bilbo tried to hide.

"I've got to get away from these confounded relatives, hanging on the bell all day, never giving me a moment's peace. I want to see mountains again... mountains, Gandalf... and then find somewhere quiet where I can finish my book... Oh, Tea!"

"So, you mean to go through with your plan, then?" Gandalf asked as Bilbo righted himself again.

"Yes, yes... it's all in hand. All the arrangements are made."

"Frodo suspects something," Gandalf said after a pause.

"'Course he does, he's a Baggins...not some block headed Bracegirdle from Hardbottle!"

"You will tell him, won't you?" Gandalf asked.

"Yes, yes."

"He's very fond of you..."

"I know. He'd probably come with me if I asked him. I think, in his heart, Frodo's still in love with the Shire, the woods and the fields... little rivers."

Bilbo stood gazing out of the kitchen window. "I am old, Gandalf..." Bilbo looked at Gandalf sadly. "I know I don't look it, but I'm beginning to feel it in my heart." Bilbo's fingers closed around his waistcoat pocket... gripping a small, unseen object. "I feel thin... sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread. I need a holiday...a very long holiday and I don't expect I shall return... in fact, I mean not to."

"Tell me something, old friend, could I talk you into taking part in one more adventure with me, before you take that long holiday of yours?" Gandalf asked.

"Another adventure?" Bilbo asked incredulously as he slipped his hand out of his pocket. "The Shire still hasn't recovered from the last time I got mixed up with the likes of you! I'd have to be insane to consent to getting involved with anything you bring up once more!" he protested.

And then a pause.

"When can we leave?" he asked.

Gandalf couldn't help but chuckle and shake his head.

"I'm afraid it's not that sort of an adventure, old friend," he replied as he set his hand on Bilbo's shoulder. "Or at least, not yet anyway. On the way to the Shire, I met seven weary travelers, from a land far away; far beyond the boundaries of Middle Earth. The means that brought them here, are far greater than my own understanding of the subject. To research it, I'd have to go all the way to Isengard, and seek Saruman's council. As you might understand, I can't do that right now. And I fear that when the opportunity presents itself, they'll be subjected to a great deal of unwanted attention. I was hoping that you might be able to steer certain residents of the Shire away from them during their stay here."

Bilbo knew exactly the type of Shire members Gandalf was talking about. He'd been with them for over sixty years, he had a good understanding of the type of character that was being politely addressed as more trouble than they were worth. Unfortunately that would mean exposing himself to meddling relatives that would insist on asking him questions.

But for Gandalf's sake, how could he really say no?

"I think I can handle that. Yes," he replied.

"Much appreciated, old friend," Gandalf replied as he smiled warmly. "I'll bring them by, and let them know that they'll be in good hands while I'm gone."

Spike looked at the partygoers with what could only be described as complete bemusement. All he could see were human children. Granted, there were many children, but they were still only children. It was a saddening thought; the likelihood of there being any good apple cider at a children's party was quite slim. That news was bound to upset Rainbow Dash when she found out.

Pinkie though, was confused on why there were so many children in the party. Where are the adults? And for that matter, why weren't they doing the work instead? Not that it mattered too much; a party was still a party no matter what the age group is. If she was going to partake in a children's party, then she would do so gladly.

Still, that didn't change the fact that the whole thing struck her as being irresponsible. Why weren't the adults doing the hard stuff, like setting up the tents themselves?

Then they heard the sounds of hoof steps approach from behind.

"Decided to join us then, eh? It's a large party, but not like the festivities in Ponyville though," Spike stated.

Twilight frowned at Spike's attitude towards everything. She had come to find him and Pinkie, and give them quite the lecture about running off when her back was turned. Sighing, she looked at the preparations being carried out, figuring out what she was going to say to them. Although those thoughts were disrupted by what she saw.

"Are they all children?" she asked with clear surprise as she watched the scene, her irritation with their disappearance temporarily forgotten. They could not see much behind the tents, but they could make out quite a few small shapes running back and forth, sitting, eating, and drinking with one another, in between setting things up.

"Looks so to me," Spike commented.

Twilight glanced at Spike and Pinkie, and then back again at the party. "I'll go on ahead and ask around; I think they'll be less threatened by me. You two wait here while I see where all the adults are. And this time I mean it; stay here," she instructed.

"And see if they have their own party," Spike added with a smirk. Twilight didn't reply, but rather left the bushes that they hid behind, and went to the nearest child she could find.

"Excuse me," she said, and when the child turned, she held back a gasp of surprise. The child actually looked as old as her father did! Even factoring in the differences in facial features between humans and ponies, she could tell that she was talking to someone of an advanced age.

"Yes, what do you want?" He asked, glancing at her with suspicion, thinking that he had too much ale to drink. "I am about to get some cake, so do be quick!"

"Oh, I- I am sorry, I- my apologies."

The child-sized man shook his head as he walked away, muttering, "I need to take a break from the ale, I'm starting to hallucinate about talking purple ponies with wings and a horn."

She turned to make her way back to her friends, but as she did she nearly bumped into two of the small people who were carrying a large firecracker in the shape of a red dragon. They dropped it in surprise and looked as if they were about to bolt, but stopped as they looked her over.

"Oh!" said one. "You are not Gandalf. Good."

Twilight shook her head as she looked at them. They were not old, but they did not look to be children, either. Indeed, they both looked to be around her age as best she could tell.

And then she noticed what they had been carrying. That looked strangely familiar to her...

"Isn't that one of Gandalf's fireworks?" she asked as she quirked an eyebrow.

One of them hastily started trying to put the firework away and out of sight, while the other gave her a strange look. "You know Gandalf? Then you came with him?"

"Yes, we just came not too long ago- I beg your pardon, but what exactly are you?"

He laughed. "You don't know what I am! How very funny. I am a hobbit, mistress. Peregrin Took at your service- though my friends call me Pippin," he explained. "There here is my cousin, Meriadoc Brandybuck- everyone calls him Merry, though." Pippin frowned as he glanced her over. "If you came with Gandalf, then are you a friend of Bilbos'?"

"Well..." she began uncertainly, but then stopped as she saw Spike and Pinkie make their way from the bushes towards her. "What are you doing? Didn't I tell you to stay back?" she asked once they were with them.

"We saw you standing around and thought we would join the conversation. Bushes are sadly rather poor conversationalists," Pinkie said with a bright smile. She glanced at Merry and Pippin, frowning. "You aren't children."

"No," said Merry with a sigh, "We're hobbits. You are in the Shire, our homeland; you really should know that if you're traveling through here."

"We came here quite unexpectedly," Spike put in, looking down at the hobbits' feet with bemusement. He looked back to their faces before they noticed. "It's a rather odd story."

"It is," Twilight agreed, recalling the events that brought them here.

"Perhaps you should tell Gandalf," Pippin said.

"Perhaps who should tell Gandalf?"

The group turned around and the three equestrians kept their surprise in check as Gandalf came into view. He glanced at the dragon firework, and then to the two hobbits, and finally to the two ponies and baby dragon.

"We'll be going now," Merry said, dragging Pippin along with him. They quickly hurried off, leaving the four alone.

Gandalf watched as the hobbit duo left his sight with a deep sigh. "And still they go for the large ones..." Gandalf muttered to himself before turning to Twilight, Spike, and Pinkie.

"I have good news for you girls, my friend and the host of the party, Bilbo Baggins, has agreed to have you stay with him, and his nephew Frodo. The hobbits are celebrating Bilbo's birthday this evening. I already told Bilbo about your situation, and I plan on telling the situation to Frodo as well, but I suggest that you keep the story of your world to yourselves. The local hobbits will already be in for quite a shock when they see six talking ponies, and a baby dragon; there is no need to spread the story on how you all came to be here. So come, join the party and enjoy yourselves."

With that, the wizard turned and went back to the festivities.

Spike smiled at the old wizard's back. "I like him."

"It's kind enough of him to trust us as much as he does," Twilight agreed. "We're the strangers here. And anyone who can orchestrate and throw a party as great as this, would be nice to stay with for a while." She turned to look at Spike and Pinkie. "We should stay here and wait for the others to arrive."

"As it is," Spike put in, "I'm famished. I'm going to take Gandalf's advice and enjoy myself. You can stay here if you really want, Twilight." With that, he and Pinkie headed over to the party.

Twilight shook her head with a smile. "Trouble makers."

"What, those two? Yea, they're awful."

Twilight turned around, and frowned when she saw Fluttershy, Applejack, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash coming out of a nearby bush towards her. Apparently nopony was in the mood to follow orders today. "I thought I told you to stay with the cart!"

"Ya did," Applejack agreed and nodded. "But we got ta thinkin' on it, an' we realized that nopony could take it even if they wanted ta. Even if they tried, Fluttershy finally got ta talkin' wit' the stallion pullin', the cart, an' he says he ain't goin' nowhere without Gandalf. Besides, you three were takin' too long, so we decided to see what was happenin' in case ya got in trouble."

"I see..." Twilight said as she stared at her friends evenly. "It can't be helped I suppose. Gandalf said we now have a place to stay, with the host of this party, named Bilbo Baggins."

"Yeah, we already heard your conversation with Gandalf. And I specifically heard that we can enjoy ourselves in this party. So I'll see if I can't have some fun with Pinkie," Rainbow Dash said as she trotted to the party in search of the pink mare.

"I think Applejack and I will go get some food, We haven't had anything to eat since breakfast, and I'm positively famished," Rarity stated. With that, and a "later, Sugarcube" from Applejack, the two were off as well.

Twilight just sighed as she watched all but Fluttershy leave for the party. "Looks like it's just you and me Fluttershy, let's go meet up with Spike."

"Okay, I guess..." Fluttershy replied. She wasn't a big fan of parties, or other social events that have huge crowds. Or even small crowds for that matter. But she also wasn't a big fan of being alone in an unfamiliar place either. If asked to pick between the two on which she didn't like the most, being alone was definitely going to be it; it was just too scary for her.

After Twilight and Fluttershy managed to find and join Spike at the sizable refreshment table, it became apparent that they were subject to many puzzled glances from the assembled party goers, but for the most part they were not questioned by them. For this they were thankful, and soon enough they found the first two hobbits they had stumbled upon, Merry and Pippin, coming back over to them.

"Oh, hullo again!" said Pippin with a grin. "Did Gandalf help you?"

"Yes, he did very much," Fluttershy said quietly while giving the hobbits a small smile. The fact that they weren't all that large, and the friendly smiles that they offered her, helped her feel a bit more at ease around them.

"Tell me," Twilight started, "what's Gandalf doing here when all the rest of the guests are... hobbits?"

"He's Bilbo's friend," Merry explained. "And he made great fireworks for the party."

"He made them?" Spike asked. He knew that, as a wizard, Gandalf could use magic. But this was the first time he'd ever heard of magic being used to actually construct fireworks. If he'd been asked, he would've assumed the old wizard had simply bought them from... wherever. "That's... actually pretty cool."

"Yes; he is a wizard, and wizards can do those sorts of things, you know." Pippin looked at the two ponies and baby dragon with a frown. "Everyone knows that he is a wizard. Where in the world are you from?"

"Far... far away," Spike shrugged, remembering Gandalf's advice. Although he was tempted to state how Gandalf's magic was probably nothing compared to Twilight's.

"I guess so," Merry said, looking at them suspiciously.

They were saved from further conversation when Twilight grabbed Spike's shoulder and pointed to their left. "Applejack and Rarity are here!"

"What are they doing here?"

"Likely got bored."

The two mentioned ponies were indeed on the outskirts of the party, looking at the little people with awe. They, like the others, had quickly caught on to the fact that the hobbits weren't actually children, but weren't quite sure where to go; from their current vantage point they couldn't really see the rest of their friends among all the partygoers.

"I do hope we're not lost," Rarity commented.

"Oh! You two must be Twilight Sparkle and Spike- Gandalf just told me about you."

Startled, the two turned around and saw the person speaking to them was the same height as everyone else, but he looked a fair bit older than them. At least he seemed to be a very cheerful individual, with an overall good nature about him.

"Err, no," said Rarity with an awkward smile. "But we're with them- by any chance would you happen to know where they might be, sir?"

"Applejack! Rarity!" The small group turned to find Twilight, Spike, and Fluttershy making their way over.

"Oh! Gandalf told me that there were seven of you." The small old hobbit looked puzzled at this.

"I'm sorry; Rainbow Dash and Pinkie are around here somewhere," Twilight explained. "There are just the five of us for now. By any chance are you Bilbo?"

"Oh, goodness, yes! Bilbo Baggins of Bag End." He gave the ponies and baby dragon a short bow. "And there is quite enough room in Bag End for your group- Gandalf explained the situation to me, and after what I've seen in my days, I am little surprised that now we have talking ponies and baby dragons from far away lands dropping into Middle Earth!" He chuckled. "Now, I hope you all are enjoying yourselves- eat and drink as much as you want, there is plenty for all, and I know you ponies don't even eat that much as it is!" Chuckling once more, he bowed again, "I am frightfully sorry, but I do need to go and make some preparations for a speech I'm giving later tonight. Until another time!" With that, Bilbo scurried off.

Applejack watched him wide-eyed as he left. "What are these people?"

"They call themselves hobbits," Spike said with a shrug.

"I've never heard of a hobbit before."

"Neither have I," Rarity said with a light frown. "But they seem rather friendly, and the food looks good. But where's Pinkie and Rainbow Dash run off to?"

"I wouldn't worry about them," Twilight said. "I'm going to take up Bilbo's suggestion and eat, and leave Pinkie and Rainbow Dash to their own doings."

Spike nodded and the two left to find a place to sit and eat. Applejack, Rarity, and Fluttershy, not too worried about Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie for the moment, followed them.

Rainbow Dash sat at a table in front of a stage, resting her aching hooves. She and Pinkie had managed to have a lot of fun, and get a lot of good food; these hobbits really knew how to be friendly. But after all the walking around that had been done, she just needed to relax for a little bit.

And then along came a hobbit girl who sat down beside her. Not that she minded.

She looked over and watched as Pinkie currently entertained the crowd with her usual energetic way, which they all seemed to find pretty amusing.

This hobbit girl, likely one of those adventurous Tooks or Brandybucks that they'd met, had apparently thought a pony with wings was absolutely fascinating, and had proceeded to ask her all manner of questions, about her mane, her wings, her cutie mark, and a mess of other subjects. Rainbow Dash had warmed up to her immediately, regarding her as having a good character. And when she brought a tankard of ale for her to drink, she liked her even more.

"So you are Bilbo's friend?" the hobbit girl asked her as she took a swig. The ale had a warm, alcoholic burn to it, but it wasn't enough to overcome the fact that it tasted good; almost as good as Applejack's cider.

"Of course! We've been pals for many years!" Rainbow Dash stated without even thinking about her words. "And you?"

"Oh, I'm just his third cousin on his mother's side; twice removed, of course."

Rainbow Dash blinked at that. "What?"

"Oh, you like family history!" With that, she started a long tale of how they were related, naming every quirk of said relation and of course boasting about all of their accomplishments. Throughout the tale, Rainbow Dash drank and tried to concentrate on her story, all the while noting how the girl was almost as bad as Twilight when it came to lecturing.

Before she completely lost her concentration, an older hobbit suddenly came up on stage as Pinkie politely left to join Rainbow Dash, and the hobbit girl stopped her spiel as the crowd started cheering for him.

Through the cheers ringing out, Rainbow Dash was quickly able to make out that the old hobbit was Bilbo, one of the guests of honor.

"Speech, speech!" a few called out, and Bilbo complied.

Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes through the pleasantries, but hid her surprise- though not her amusement- at the less-than-pleasant words from the speaker. At the end of the speech she was actually paying attention; it sounded interesting.

"I regret to announce that this is the end. I am going now. I bid you all a fond farewell. Good bye."

And with that, Bilbo disappeared.

As all of the hobbits (including the hobbit girl by her side) went through various stages of amazement and even horror, Rainbow Dash simply chuckled.

"Good bye!" Pinkie said with a short wave.

Quickly becoming annoyed with the panicked scene that was hardly developing into anything entertaining, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie went to find the rest of their friends, and hope that they could make sense of this.

She knew they were around here somewhere. They'd met up earlier at some point in the evening, but hadn't exactly stayed together for long. She and Applejack had held an impromptu competition, seeing who was better at bucking interesting hobbits off of their backs the fastest. She forgot who won that one.

Then there had been Twilight, and the aftermath of her trying a little sample of the local ale. The Alicorn was a lightweight when it came to alcohol, and had proceeded to sloppily dance with any hobbit that had given her the time of day, before finally collapsing on the ground. That had got them all laughing.

And then had came the whole debacle with the dragon firework thanks to those two chuckle heads, Merry and Pippin. If Gandalf hadn't caught them by the ears first, she would've done something far worse than simply put them on dish washing duty. That much was for certain. She would've dragged them right through the sky, and given them a wild ride to scare some of the stupid right out of them.

"The guy's pretty good at making speeches; great with the subtle insults, although he could've made it longer," she commented as she trotted up to the others after finding them, noting that Twilight seemed recovered from her brief inebriation.

"Did you see what he did?" Applejack said with wide eyes. "He just disappeared out of thin air!"

"Like I said, it was pretty good. That was an awesome closer," Rainbow Dash nodded.

"Maybe Gandalf made him disappear," Twilight put in. "Gandalf is a wizard after all."

Applejack shook her head. "Where is Gandalf, anyways?" The group looked around, but saw no signs of him. "Oh, good, the wizard disappears just like that- what do they call themselves?"


"Well, if Gandalf disappeared just like that Bilbo-"

"Gandalf didn't disappear." Pippin, who was nearby and overheard the last part of their conversation, joined them. He glanced at Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and Rarity curiously before turning to Twilight, Spike, and Fluttershy, whom he had taken an exceptional liking to. "I saw Gandalf go up to Bag End."

"Bag End?" Twilight asked.

"Bilbo and Frodo live there." He pointed up to a home inside a hill just above the party.

"Oh right, that Bag End. Thank you," Twilight stated quickly, before galloping off in the indicated direction, the others following along.

When they came up to Bag End, they stood at the front of the house, the door was standing wide open and Gandalf stood there, back to them as he looked at the floor of the front hall.

"Wha's Gandalf doing?" Applejack muttered. "If y'all don' mind none, Ah'll stay here. There's somehin' goin' on that Ah'm not likin'..."

"First wise words I've ever heard from you since we got here," Rainbow Dash said. Applejack frowned, not sure whether to take that as a compliment or an insult.

"Hush," Twilight stated, "I agree with Applejack, something isn't right here. I've been feeling it ever since we entered this town. Sort of... like a tickle in the back of my mind. But it's been increasing ever since we met Bilbo; almost like it was coming from him. It's... I know it sounds crazy, because it sounds crazy to me, but it's almost like when I was back in the Crystal Empire, in the presence of Sombra's dark magic," she explained.

"Oh my," Fluttershy stated anxiously in terror.

"The weird thing is, I know what dark magic feels like, but I can't sense it anywhere. Maybe... maybe I'm just overreacting. Maybe the magic of Middle Earth is out of sync with Equestrian magic, and the headache I got from that ale is just skewing my perspective of everything," Twilight added, hoping to avoid a panic.

"Well whatever it is, darling, I'm going to go and have a word or two with Gandalf. I want to know what happened to Bilbo," Rarity stated, before marching past the gate, and down the path that led to the house, leaving her friends at the gate.

As she approached the wizard to inquire about their host, Rarity saw that he was not looking at the floor exactly, but rather a golden ring that rested right by the doorway. Granted it was a lovely looking ring, but was it really as interesting as all that. She soon came to stand beside him, and found that, yes, the ring truly was that interesting. It was even lovelier up close than it was far away.

She honestly couldn't put her hoof on it, as to what made a simple gold ring so utterly enrapturing, and yet she couldn't pull her gaze away from it either. It just grew all the more beautiful the longer she looked at it.

"That is a beautiful ring," she said quietly.

Suddenly a strong urge to pick it up, and look at it closer, washed over her like a tidal wave. She felt compelled in her desire to try it on, and see how it looked to wear on her horn. Even if it would only fit about halfway down, she didn't care about such a fact. It was beautiful enough to overcome any such limitation, she was certain of that.

Gandalf turned swiftly to look at her, seeming a little surprised by her presence, as if he had not heard her approach. He quickly covered his reaction and gazed down into her eyes before addressing her.

"Yes, it is, but do not touch it; it is not yours and never will be," he said gruffly as if he had read what was on her mind, with all the ease of reading an open book. The wizard shut the door firmly, and stood outside with Rarity. "As I said before, it would be best if you and your friends stayed here in Bag End for the time being and kept your story to yourselves. Bilbo should return shortly, but Frodo is still here and knows your tale."

She nodded in understanding, but then frowned. "Why did you tell me not to touch that ring? Is there something wrong with it?"

He exhaled slowly. "Miss Rarity, that ring will bring you nothing but trouble. You may want to consider that well."

With that, he turned and left her there standing alone, more confused than she was before.