• Published 3rd Dec 2017
  • 3,928 Views, 130 Comments

Heart of the Force - fluttershyfan17

In the midst of Order 66, Jedi Knight Kaleb Taymar is transported to Equestria. Starting a new life, he becomes friends with the Main 6. However, the Force has awakened in Equestra, and their lives will never be the same.

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Chapter 12: A Magic with a Mind of Its Own

The classroom, though cozy, was still cold as Miss Cheerilee lectured about Equestria’s history. She drew diagrams on the board. Almost every student there payed attention, writing down notes and listening with intention. Other than the teacher’s voice and the scratching of pencils, nothing else could be heard.

Sweetie Belle tried to listen, but found herself not being able to concentrate. Since the encounter with the voices six weeks ago, it had been difficult, almost impossible to concentrate. She could feel the heartbeats of everyone in the classroom, extending outside at some points to hear the animals in hibernation. The winter birds could be heard as her mind touched theirs, feeling their intention. Why is this happening, I don’t understand?

“Sweetie Belle, Sweetie Belle!” She snapped her head up as she heard her teacher’s voice. Miss Cheerilee was looking at her with exasperation. “I’ve been trying to ask you who was the unicorn who trained the Princesses several times now. Please pay attention.”

Sweetie Belle blushed with embarrassment. "Right…sorry about that…it was Starswirl the Bearded…right?” Apple Bloom and Scootaloo stared at her, looking confused. They knew that she hadn’t been her normal self over these past couple of weeks, and they had tried to offer her support. There was only so much that they could do. They wouldn’t believe me if I told them.

Miss Cheerilee nodded. “That’s correct.” The bell on top of the schoolhouse rang, signaling the end of the day at 2:30. “I hope you have all a nice day! Remember your science fair presentations will be due next week. Twilight has agreed to judge the projects. This is so exciting.” As the fillies and foals exited the schoolhouse, she turned towards Sweetie Belle quietly. "Could I talk to you for a moment before you go?”

The young unicorn nodded and waited until everypony else was out of the schoolhouse. “I’m sorry, Miss Cheerilee…things have been really difficult lately…I don’t know why…”

“It’s okay, I’m not angry at you. I’m just concerned,” she replied, looking at her with sympathy. “You’re a good student, Sweetie Belle, one of the best in the class in fact. You just haven’t been yourself these past few weeks…Has everything been alright at home?”

“It’s been okay, I guess. My parents visited Rarity and I over Hearth’s Warming. It was nice to see them. They don’t get to visit often, but when they can it’s nice,” Sweetie Belle explained. “The past few weeks have just been difficult. Rarity has been stressed with projects and we haven’t had a lot of time to spend together.”

Miss Cheerlie nodded, giving an understanding glance. “I’m sorry to hear that. I know how stressed Rarity can get. You’re doing well in class, just please try to pay a little more attention.”

Sweetie Belle nodded. “Thank you. I hope you have a nice day.” She went through the door into the mid-winter weather. The ice had been thawing out, and it had been warmer than normal over these past couple of days. Some of the snow had melted, but still remained in giant piles that would eventually be cleared in a few weeks with Winter Wrap-Up. She shivered slightly as she walked back into town towards Carousel Boutique. I hate lying to Miss Cheerlie, but I have to along with my friends. They wouldn’t understand. Faust, I feel like I’m going crazy. Maybe I should tell Rarity but I don’t know how. I know that she’s always stressed, maybe that is rubbing off on me. Sighing, she moved faster as the wind picked up, blowing snow in her direction.

Kaleb moved his eyes in a pattern while holding onto the arms of the old comfy armchair tightly. Lyra sat across from him in her office chair, guiding his eyes with a pen that she held. Her office was clean and organized, with light blue walls and a desk against the wall. She moved the pen in various directions, but usually stuck to a back and forth movement.

Kaleb winced, almost in pain as he heard the deafening roar in his head of cannons firing. His vision occasionally flashed to the battlefields on Geonosis, seeing flashes from the cannons and hearing the shouts of the clones. Battle droids were surrounding them, pushing them back slightly every time the Republic gained a mile. The smoke created a filter that clouded the battlefield along with the red-orange course sand, which Kaleb couldn’t see through. All of a sudden, he saw the shadows of the Geonosian soldiers pushing through, and saw the flash of green before he heard the fire of their blasters.

He felt a tapping on his knee as Lyra used the pen to snap him out of his state. He looked around not to find a battlefield but an office. “Tap your hands on your knees, start out fast and then try to slow down.” He tapped his hands rapidly, almost sounding like a waterfall at some points, while trying to breathing deeply. He slowed down his hands to a moderate beat, taking it eventually to a slow tap. After a few minutes, she indicated that he could stop, and he collapsed back into his chair, wiping the sweat and tears off of his face. Lyra took a square of chocolate from her desk and handed it to him, smiling at him. “You did well, Kaleb, better than the first time. This therapy takes some getting used to.”

Kaleb ate the chocolate and nodded. “How long was I in that state? I swear it felt like at least three hours.” He shifted slightly in his armchair.

“It was actually for half an hour. But it can feel longer in when you’re in that state of mind.” She grabbed a clipboard from her desk. “On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your trauma right now? At the beginning you rated it at an 9.”

Kaleb thought for a moment before responding. “I would say it’s at around 7 or 6.5. What’s the name of this type of treatment again? I’m still a little bit confused.”

Lyra responded quickly. “It’s Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR for short. It’s relatively new for therapy, it’s only been around for the past thirty years but has been proven to help a small number of patients with PTSD.” Writing something down quickly, she gave him an encouraging expression. “What were you experiencing when you were in the trance?”

“It was on Geonosis, during the bombing campaigns. The cannon fire made it extremely difficult to see with all of the smoke. There were huge dust clouds from the red-orange and that made it worse because it was difficult to breathe or see anything. Luckily, the squadron that Rogue was in came to our rescue just in time, otherwise we would have been killed by the Geonosian soldiers.” Kaleb stood up and stretched. “It feels strange to come out of the trance. I felt so lightheaded the first time.

She nodded. “That’s what the chocolate is for. It helps with regaining energy, but it can only do so much. I would recommend eating again as soon as you can.” She looked at the time. “Our session is up. We’ll do regular sessions for the next few weeks before trying EMDR again. I know it can be exhausting so I try to space them out. Have a good rest of your week.”

Lyra opened the door for Kaleb and he exited the office, entering into the small lobby before putting on his winter coat. Opening the door, he moved outside into the winter air and began to walk back towards the library.

His time now was usually spent between working with Twilight at the library and spending his free time with Fluttershy at her cottage. There was only so much they could do because of the weather, but they made the best of it by finding time for meals, quiet evenings by fireplace with the occasional book or film reel, and cuddling when Kaleb slept over of course. He shivered slightly as the wind picked up, and slowed down as he felt himself becoming light-headed.

I should probably find something to eat really quick, Kaleb thought as he looked around and started to walk towards Sugarcube Corner. Something a little bit more solid than a cupcake, maybe a piece of pie or a pastry. He walked through the door, breathing a sigh of relief as he rubbed his hands to get them warm. Looking at the desserts at the counter, he made his decision.

Mr. Cake walked to the counter from behind the kitchen. “Hi Kaleb! What can I get you today?”

Thinking for a moment, Kaleb made his final decision. “’I’ll have a cinnamon roll please. I’ll take it for here.” He dug in his jacket pocket for bits to pay for the pastry.

The door opened and Sweetie Belle walked in, looking hesitant and sitting down by a table next to the counter. “Hi Kaleb. How have you been?” She smiled faintly.

He turned around and sat down in the other chair. “Hi Sweetie Belle. I’m doing okay, just getting a bit of a snack before I go back to the library. What brings you here?”

“Getting away from the cold, also looking for Twilight. Rarity wants to ask her if I can hang out at the library this afternoon. She’s really busy with projects, and it can get really stressful.”

Kaleb nodded with sympathy. “I’m sorry to hear that, and you’re more than welcome to visit the library. Twilight is out at the moment with Spike. I think she’s taking him for a doctor’s visit. I could use the company and an extra hoof to help out.”

Sweetie Belle perked up, looking excited. “Thanks! Though I was wondering what the pay will be?” She fixed him with an amused but serious expression.

Kaleb chuckled. “I’ll pay you with a cinnamon roll to help out. Do we have a deal?” She nodded and shook his hand. He turned towards Mr. Cake, who was already taking another cinnamon roll out. “I’ll have those to go, please.”

Mr. Cake nodded and packed them up in a brown carboard box. “Those will be eight bits. Normally they would be ten but we’re doing a sale this week.”

Kaleb paid for the pastries and bundled up. “There’s books that need to be checked in and organized. Twilight just received book donations from Rainbow Falls, and there’s a huge stack of them in the upstairs storage room.”

Sweetie Belle followed him outside walked next to him, moving fast to get to the library as soon as possible. “That’s really cool. My parents actually live in Rainbow Falls. I know that they have a lot of books, maybe they donated as well.”

Kaleb looked intrigued. “They probably did. What do they do for a living? I thought that you lived with Rarity.”

“They’re retired, and enjoy traveling a lot,” Sweetie Belle explained, shivering from the cold. “I moved to Ponyville to live with Rarity so that we could be closer together.”

Kaleb nodded. “Forgive me if I’m intruding, but is the relationship that you two have with them good?”

Her eyes widened. “Oh no, it’s not like that. My mom suggested it since Rainbow Falls is more of a retirement community with not a lot of ponies my age. They try to visit as often as they can, usually once a month.” She hesitated. “It’s been rough lately, to be honest. Rarity is always busy with projects and it feels like such a stressful place. Sometimes, I feel like I can’t get anything done, I just can’t get any peace.”

They reached the library quickly, and Kaleb held open the door for her. Taking off his jacket and placing it on a coatrack, he indicated for her to sit down. He took silverware from the kitchen and sat down opposite of her. “I’m really sorry to hear that. Stress is something that’s difficult for all of us. Have you told her about it?”

Sweetie Belle shook her head. “I’ve thought about that, but sometimes I feel like she doesn’t understand me. I haven’t been able to tell my friends either, they would think that I’m crazy…” Her breathing started to increase slightly.

Kaleb was alarmed but kept a calm demeanor, keeping his voice kind. “Sweetie Belle, look at me. Follow my breathing, please. This will help.” She followed his counts as her breathing slowed down, closing her eyes to concentrate. For a few seconds, she looked at peace. Then, she heard the stream of voices flow through and opened her eyes alarmingly.

Keeping her expression neutral, she smiled. “Thanks Kaleb. I’ve never done any breathing exercises before.”

Kaleb nodded. “You’re welcome. These these were the breathing exercises that I was taught at your age. It takes a little bit of practice, but they really do help.” As he was saying those words, he sensed a flurry of activity from the Force. That was the Force, there was something there but I don’t know what, Kaleb thought. It was small but noticeable. Shaking his head, he looked back at Sweetie Belle. “Sorry, I’m just a little tired from last night. Please, feel free to eat.”

She grinned at him and started to eat her cinnamon bun. “Thank you, this is delicious.” She ate at a medium pace, trying to savor a little bit of every bite. “How have you been? I haven’t seen you around much since the year started.”

Kaleb though for a few seconds on how to answer that. He smiled. “I’m doing well, it’s just been busy between working at the library and spending time with Fluttershy. Trying to keep up a schedule is a good way for me to reduce stress.”

Sweetie Belle nodded. Maybe I should talk to him about it. Making up her mind, she spoke in a serious expression. “Kaleb, can I talk to you about something?”

He looked around the room to make sure nobody was around. Seeing her serious expression, he nodded. “Of course. What’s up?”

Sighing, she began in a quiet voice. “Ever since Hearth’s Warming, things have been getting stressful for me. I swear, nobody understands. Not Miss Cheerilie, not my friends, not even my own sister. Everything has been changing, including my thoughts and feelings. I don’t know what’s going on…”

Kaleb looked sympathetic. “It must be difficult. Everyone goes through changes in life, whether it’s physical or just about how we think. It’s about discovering who we are, what our moral code in life is, and how we proceed in our daily lives. I went through that same journey; maybe not in the way that I expected, and to an extent I’m still going through that. But the important thing is that it’s normal and it takes time.”

Sweetie Belle looked surprised. “Sorry I just didn’t expect you to be so…. wise for someone so young.”

Kaleb chuckled. “I’ll take that as a compliment.” He fixed her with a curious expression. “I don’t mean to intrude too far, but you can trust me with whatever you want to tell.”

“It’s not just those, it’s my magic as well,” She explained. “Sometimes I feel like my magic kind of has…a mind of its own. I have a difficult time controlling it, and it comes out of nowhere. Kind of like it has its own voice.”

Kaleb looked concerned. “I think you should tell Twilight and Rarity. I’m not sure what is normal for unicorn development, but something does not feel right.” He realized how worried she looked, and waved his hands in the air. “But let’s not worry about that now. There are still books that need to be sorted. You can tell Twilight when she gets back, okay?”

Sweetie Belle nodded. “Okay, I promise. Where do you want me to start?” What if she thinks that I’m not normal? Or if she locks me away in a dungeon? She began to worry, but remembered the calming techniques that he taught her. Breathing slowly, she calmed herself.

He thought for a second before replying. “There’s a stack of books in my room from Rainbow Falls. Just organize them alphabetically and by whether it’s fiction or nonfiction. Today’s Spike’s birthday, so I still need to wrap the comic books I got him.” Seeing her using the breathing techniques, he looked at her gently. “Hey, look at me. Everything is going to be fine.” He extended his right hand in a fist. “Hoofbump?”

She grinned, giggling slightly as she bumped his fist. “I’ll get started right away!” She bounded up the stairs quickly.
Kaleb watched her for a second before getting up. “Well, this is going to be fun…” He was interrupted as he felt that same flurry of activity from the Force, this time slightly stronger. His hand went to his head as he tried to figure out where it was coming from.

That was stronger than the last time, he thought, looking intrigued yet concerned. Wait a second…no that can’t be the case. He ruled that out quickly and moved upstairs. Walking slowly, he saw her organizing the books and moved into the other room to look at his pile.

Sweetie Belle organized the stack, using her magic to sort through them rather quickly. I’ll make quick work out of these soon. Hopefully Twilight will know what’s going on.

In about half an hour, she had organized the stack alphabetically and by subject. Wiping one of her hooves on her forehead, she sat down. Maybe I should try some of the breathing techniques that Kaleb taught me now. I don’t know why, but they’re working.

Closing her eyes, she began to breathe slowly, in a rhythm that seemed to block everything out. She focused on the present, and the task at hand. All of a sudden, she began to hear the voices once again, wincing in pain as she did. In her mind, she heard a low humming that replaced the voices.

Sweetie Belle opened her eyes. Where is that coming from? Fear was replaced with a small sense of curiosity and she moved about the room, trying to find the sense of the humming. As she approached his nightstand, the humming seemed to stop. She looked toward the nightstand, and felt something calling to her, not a voice but what felt like some type of feeling in her mind. She opened the top drawer.

There she found a weird object that could be held in both of her hooves. It was made out metals, from the looks of it gold and silver. The shape was weird, with twelve sides with gold engravings around the silver and glass interior. She took the object in her hooves, her eyes widening as she looked at it with wonder. This is something else, she thought. It’s so beautiful, yet it feels old. I wonder what it could be…

The object began to glow and she jumped in alarm, setting it on the bed quickly. It continued to glow and let out a hum at a higher pitch, until a layer opened up like a budding flower to reveal another glowing chamber inside of it, similar to a seed in a piece of fruit. On top of the glowing chamber, there was a small lens.

She moved closer to the object, almost transfixed by it. Then, all of a sudden, light poured through the lens and formed a three-dimensional image. It was still see-through due to the light. She saw a creature similar to Kaleb, except with a female form and long silver hair. She wore a tunic of beige and a robe of navy blue. She stood for a moment before speaking.

“Today I will be showing you the basics of Form Three; Soresu. This form may look easy, but do not be deceived. Deflecting and blocking are not easy to do, for even in the concentration of battle you may have fire coming at you from all sides. Follow my movements. She took out a metal tube and pressed a button, with a green blade coming out of the end. As the woman went into a stance and began to move, Sweetie Belle stared at her, transfixed with curiosity.

Unknown to her, Kaleb leaned against the wall out of view next to the open room, his mind and expression in shock. He had heard the sound of Master Johanna’s voice and peeked in to find the hologram had been activated by her. A magic with a mind of its own…of course, that would be a good to describe it, he thought, still in disbelief at what he was seeing. I don’t understand…how is this possible, why did this happen, there are so many questions.

In his mind, he felt a flash of fear as memories of his time during the war coming back to him, calling on him to run away. Kaleb let the feelings subside and took a deep breath. No. I won’t let my own fears take over. At least, not at this moment. Taking a minute to think as the recording continue to play, he calmed his thoughts and was able to think clearly. I can’t imagine how she’s feeling. There’s a sense of fear, for that I don’t blame her. The Force can be scary and unfamiliar to anyone who hasn’t come across it. But there’s a small sense of curiosity. Remembering his own experiences as a youngling, he came to a conclusion. I should proceed carefully and with gentle compassion.

Standing upright, he slowly moved into the room, making sure to be quiet not to alarm her. She didn’t even notice as he sneaked along the wall, moving to the other side of the bed where she gazed transfixed by the hologram. Kneeling down, he watched Master Johanna for a few more seconds before speaking. “Her form has always been excellent.”

Sweetie Belle jumped in alarm. “Kaleb! I’m so sorry…I don’t know…it just happened…and…” She gave him a guilty look of sorrow.

Kaleb smiled. “Hey, look at me.” She looked at him. “You didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, curiosity can lead us to places where we didn’t know possible.” He saw her start to calm, and outstretching his hand, he deactivated the Holocron. The hologram disappeared, and it folded back to its original form, glowing for a few seconds before turning off. Moving it onto the nightstand, he indicated for her to sit on the bed as he pulled up an old chair.

She sat down and fixed him with a curious gaze. “Do you know what…this is?”

Kaleb nodded. “I do. But I need some more information first. Nothing too deep, just some background. When did this start and where were you when it happened?”

“It was six weeks ago, on Hearth’s Warming Day,” Sweetie Belle remembered, concentrating hard. “I was wandering in the orchards at Sweet Apple Acres, and all of a sudden I heard a bunch of voices. It was powerful, flowing and overwhelming. I don’t know how to describe it…” Her voice trailed off.

Kaleb took in her words, keeping his voice neutral as he responded. “Like a stream of flowing water. Not just voices, but thoughts and feelings as well.”

She nodded. “It was so loud, I felt like I couldn’t control it. I started to panic and I tried to plug my ears, but they wouldn’t stop.” She felt encouraged to keep going from Kaleb’s gaze, showing that he was truly listening. “All of a sudden, they stopped and I heard another voice. It was of a colt, and it was a medium pitch. He said my name and told me not to be afraid, and that these were my first steps.”

“…Into a larger world…” Kaleb’s gaze became wonderous, before he shook his head back into the moment. “Have you heard this voice since then?” Kaleb asked.

She shook her head. “I haven’t, but I’ve heard the other stream of voices since then. That’s why I have had difficulty concentrating.” Her eyes looked concerned. “What’s happening to me, Kaleb?”

Kaleb took a deep breath and began, showing compassion in his voice and gaze. “First of all, nothing is wrong with you and you’re not crazy. This is normal, or at least it was for me.” After looking around the room, he began again. “Where I came from, we have this power that is similar to your magic in some ways, but also different. It’s called the Force.”

Sweetie Belle looked curious, and he continued. “Imagine a field of magic, or energy in this case where every thought, voice, and feeling of every living creature forms it. But it does not just span one forest, one continent, or even one planet, but an entire universe. Everything is connected to one another.” He chuckled as he saw her jaw almost drop. “You know, I had the exact same reaction. Even today, sometimes I still can’t believe it.”

She blushed slightly when she realized her expression, and chuckled as well. “It really is. How was I able to hear it? I still don’t understand.”

Kaleb thought about how to best explain it. “There are certain individuals who can harness this energy. For some, it is a sensitivity such as being in tune with those voices and feelings. It can also be used similar to how unicorns use magic in various ways.” He looked at her again before continuing. “I think for you, there is a Force sensitivity, because of the stream of voices and feelings. But there are times when you channel that energy when you’re not aware of it. Such as when you have strong emotions.”

She nodded slowly, trying to take it all in. “When I feel stressed or afraid, sometimes I feel things rumble slightly.” She sighed. “Sorry, there’s just so much to take in. I don’t know what to do now…”

“Let’s take it one step at a time,” Kaleb replied calmly, also saying it for himself. “From experience, that’s the best way to handle things. Let’s wait till Twilight gets back and she can get Rarity…”

He was interrupted by the roar that vibrated the entire library. Sweetie Belle gripped hard to the bed and Kaleb fell off of his chair. Getting up, he looked at her with an alarmed expression. “Stay here. I’ll take a look on the balcony.” She nodded and he moved to the hallway. Opening the door to the balcony, he moved out and felt the large gusts of wind that nearly knocked him to the ground.

Kaleb held onto the railing, looking around for the source. Another roar blasted through the sky, and he looked around in the general direction. All of a sudden, he felt the Force alert him to a giant branch hurtling his direction. Jumping to avoid it, he reached out to the Force and managed to stop it from breaking the windows. He threw it down onto the ground and looked forward.

On the ground was a dragon, ranging up to fifty feet in length. It had purple scales and green spikes, with the scales turning green on the underbelly. It had no wings, and its green eyes glowed with malice. It turned toward the balcony, staring Kaleb directly in the face.

“Oh shit…”

The dragon threw a wagon towards the library, and Kaleb jumped back into the treehouse as the wagon hit the balcony, shattering the glass on the door. He ran back to find Sweetie Belle still on the bed, shaking. She looked at him with fear and confusion. “What was that?”

He reached his hand to her, and she took it. They sprinted down the stairs as the library continued to rattle, and moved towards the table. “That was a dragon.” He collapsed against it, feeling the tremors in his hands start to come back. “We need to find the others. Keep away from the windows and bookshelves, towards the center of the room. I’m going outside.”

She nodded and Kaleb moved to the door, opening it, and kept low to the ground. The dragon was moving at a rapid pace across the city. He spotted Twilight running towards the library. “Twilight, what’s happening?

She stopped in front of him, panting. “Something’s happened to Spike. His greed got out of control, and now he’s a full-grown dragon. He’s been taking valuables from everyone…Sorry, I have to go.”

She ran off and Kaleb realized that there was something missing from his room. Running upstairs, he went into his room, making sure that the map reader and data tablet were safe. Moving to the top drawer of his desk, he opened it to find a leather pouch with nothing inside.

He swore loudly, realizing what Spike had taken. Sprinting back downstairs, he found all of the books on the floor, and Sweetie Belle standing looking confused.

Kaleb spoke quickly. “First, that dragon is Spike. Twilight said he grew into a full size and that he’s not himself…we need to get down to the basement…” They both heard the scream.

“Rarity!” Sweetie Belle yelled as she bounded out the door and ran towards the sound. Kaleb followed and saw what she was running towards. Spike had taken Rarity with his tail, and was moving rapidly towards the highest cliffs on the edge of Ponyville. Near the top was a large cave built into the landscape, where he kept all of his treasure.

Kaleb ran after her, moving against the citizens who were fleeing the town. She went fast, reaching about seventy- five feet away from Spike before yelling. “Let my sister go!”

Rarity’s voice was drowned out by Spike’s roar, which shook the ground and reverberated everywhere. Moving his tail, he inhaled with all of his might and blew out a gust of air that sent a large boulder plummeting down towards Sweetie Belle. Her eyes widened, and felt the Force push her to the side only a few seconds before the boulder landed with a heavy thud.

Kaleb knelt down, breathing heavily. “Move back to the library. I need to go.”

She barely had any time to register before Kaleb jumped up and ran towards the woods by the cliffs, which had a path going up towards them. She followed, not caring of the danger, only knowing that her sister needed her help. Sprinting with all of her energy, she struggled to keep up with Kaleb. For ten minutes, the two ran in silence, only to end when Kaleb stopped to catch his breath. Noticing her, he looked at her with a surprised expression, more curious than angry. “Why did you follow me all the way up here?”

“Because I need to help my sister.” She said fiercely, before softening her voice. “I heard them calling out to me, encouraging me to help in any way that I can. I can’t let anypony get hurt, including Spike.” She shook slightly, her eyes showing fear. “I have to be brave, against Spike and against this…. Force.” Tears watered in her eyes.

Kaleb looked at her and felt a familiar expression. He remembered that look of bravery despite all fear, for it was his own before his first battle. Master Windu had told him to bury all emotions, to empty himself and focus on the Force. That was the beginning on a long, torturous road.

I must deal with my own feelings later, Kaleb decided and shook his head to clear his mind before kneeling down. “You’re afraid of it, aren’t you?” She nodded. “It’s okay. I was too.” He paused before continuing. “I’m going to make you a Pinkie Promise. I won’t let anything bad happen to you, not right now with Spike or with the Force. It’s natural to be afraid of it, but you are in control of your own destiny. I can’t take it away, but I will always be there if you need or want guidance.”

Kaleb did the motions of the promise, and held out his hand. “Follow your mind and heart, and the Force will be your friend.” Sweetie Belle took it and hugged him softly, with Kaleb returning the hug. She let go after a few seconds had passed.

“What are we going to do now? I mean…if you want, I’ll go back…”

Kaleb shook his head. “It’s probably too late for that. There’s an entrance to the cave less than a quarter of a mile ahead. Spike took my lightsaber, it’s the laser sword you saw in the hologram.” He hesitated, wondering if what he was about to say was right. “I can help you save your sister; the only thing is I can’t do it alone. I’m not asking you to go any further, but I won’t stop you.”

She stood up. “I shall go with you. We need to move.” Kaleb stood up, and indicated up towards the path. They jogged side by side, moving slowly up the path. He breathed slowly despite the pace, and Sweetie Belle followed his breathing. It was short five minutes, but they made their way up the path. Faust, I hope we’re not too late.

They stopped at the entrance of the cave, which was blocked by a large boulder that made it impossible to pass. “Oh Faust! Now what?” Sweetie Belle swore in frustration.

Kaleb examined the entrance, looking around and up at the surrounding cliff face. “It looks like the rocks fell when Spike started climbing the mountain.” He looked back towards Sweetie Belle. “I can get us in there. But you have to listen to me and follow my instructions.”

She nodded. “I will. Sorry, I guess I’m just frustrated.”

“It’s okay, it happens to all of us from time to time.” Kaleb coughed before continuing, still slightly out of breath from the climb. “I’m going to lift that boulder. As soon as the path is clear, run into the entrance. I’ll be right behind you.”

Kaleb reached out to the Force, calling it as he outstretched his hand. The boulder blocking the entrance began to shiver slightly, before stopping. After a few seconds, it floated upwards three feet, right above the cave entrance. Sweetie Belle gazed in astonishment at the task he had performed. “Run, now!”

She jumped and cleared her head, sprinting towards the entrance of the cave. Kaleb followed right behind her, the boulder shaking slightly as Sweetie Belle crossed the threshold of the cave. Jumping the last five feet, he diverted his energy by going into a roll, letting go of the boulder at he landed. The sound reverberated with a loud thud that echoed all around the cave.

She looked at him with astonishment. “What… that was incredible…how did you do that?”

“I’ll tell you later,” Kaleb replied, massaging his knees slightly, observing the giant pile of treasure that had amassed far away from the opening on the clifftop. “First, let’s save Rarity and Spike. See if you can hear anything…”

The ground shook, and the roars of Spike could be heard climbing the cliff. Clamoring, his treasures jangled, and Kaleb saw his lightsaber sitting near a golden goblet. Picking it up, he put it back in his leather pouch. “It looks like they found us. Keep back from the edge, and move slowly around. We don’t want to scare them…”

Sweetie Belle froze and shook with fear as Spike dumped more treasure, barely noticing the two. He roared as she whispered in alarm. “Where’s Rarity, I can’t see her…”

“Oh, be quiet!” Rarity could be seen, being held up to the cave’s level by Spike’s tail. “You’ve got nothing to be proud of. Stealing everypony’s things, terrorizing the town, and using me as a weapon against my own friends.”

Sweetie Belle looked at Kaleb unsure of what to do. He held his hand up as a signal to wait. “You’re not going to get this gemstone. This was given to me by my dear friend Spikey-wikey, the kindest, sweetest, and generous dragon ever. It is too precious to me to give to a greedy, old beast like you.”

Spike’s eyes locked onto the gemstone, and Kaleb slowly began to move back. Unsure of what was happening next, he had to give the distance. Sweetie Belle did not see his movements, and moved back only to hit her hoof on a silver toaster, which clanged loudly.

“Sweetie Belle?!” Rarity called out, as Spike’s form began to changed. Tossing her up in the air slightly, he shrank back to his normal self. She noticed this and as she reached the top of the toss, she looked at him. “Spike?”

The two began to scream as they began to fall. Without thinking, Sweetie Belle ran towards the edge, reaching out to the power that called to her. Outstretching her hoof, the Force flowed through her, sending ice-cold shivers through her veins. Spike and Rarity’s plummet stopped as they both looked up in amazement. They floated for about five seconds before starting to fall again, screaming.

“I got them!” Kaleb jumped to the edge of the cliff, outstretching his hand to stop their fall. Using the Force, the both of them stopped the descent, and breathed heavily as they pulled them back up. Rarity collapsed onto the ground next to Sweetie Belle, who hugged her tightly. Spike fell unconscious and was caught by Kaleb in his arms.

“I’m so sorry, I haven’t been myself these last few weeks…” Sweetie Belle started as Rarity returned the hug, kissing her on the forehead.

“It’s okay, Sweetie. Don’t you dare apologize, I should have paid more attention,” she replied, hugging her tightly for a few moments. She looked confused, looking back at Sweetie Belle and Kaleb. “How did you do that? I thought your magic was still developing?”

“It’s a long story, better heard from Sweetie Belle than from me.” Kaleb said, having laid Spike on the ground and was checking his vitals. “She wanted to help save you, and followed me up here.”

Rarity shook her head, still looking with disbelief at her sister. “Well, that’s very kind of you, but that was an awfully big risk? What if you had gotten hurt? I would have been devastated if you…”

Sweetie Belle nodded, taking in her sister’s concerns. “Kaleb kept me safe the whole time. He wouldn’t let anything happen.” She looked back at Kaleb, who gave her a smile and a nod to Rarity.

“Well, I suppose I should thank you Kaleb, for keeping my sister safe.” Rarity sighed, nodding thankfully at him. “Still, I think we should talk about this.”

Kaleb stood up. “And I couldn’t agree more, but it should be done at a lower altitude. I think I should be able to lift the rock…”

All of a sudden, the boulder moved to the side, and Twilight, Fluttershy, Applejack, and Pinkie Pie came rushing in. Fluttershy rushed to Kaleb, hugging him tightly. Kissing her forehead, he smiled. “Well, this was an unexpected but welcomed surprise.”

Twilight nodded as she trotted towards Spike. “We’re just glad you’re all safe. I saw Spike and Rarity stop falling, I’m not sure what caused.” She looked concerned but breathed with relief as she saw him breathe. “Thank you for saving my number one assistant.”

“You’re welcome, but the credit is not all mine. I’ll tell you once we’re back down.” Kaleb saw movement in the corner of his eye and saw that Spike was stirring.

“Huh…what happened?” Spike opened his eyes and Twilight hugged him. “Twilight…thank you…but too tight.”

She let go, blushing. “Right, sorry. I’m just worried.” She clapped her hooves together. “Let’s all get back down to solid ground.”

Pinkie Pie produced a bunch of streamers and threw them in the air. “Let’s go celebrate! I have a gemstone cake already baked and delivered to the library.” She bounced out of the cave and down the mountain. Sweetie Belle and Rarity followed, with Twilight and Spike right behind them.

Kaleb limped slightly out of the cave and heading back down the hill, noticing the strain his legs had taken. “Yep, that’s going to hurt in the morning. He grimaced at Fluttershy, who walked next to him. “In retrospect, maybe sprinting three quarters of a mile up a mountain path wasn't the best idea.”

Fluttershy looked back with concern and reassurance. “It’s okay, there should be ice back at Twilight’s. As long as you don’t do that again, you’ll be fine.”

Applejack walked up next to Fluttershy. “With legs like those, sugarcube, you’ll be bucking apple trees in no time.”

Kaleb turned to them and pointed ahead. Spike was running up to Rarity, saying something that he couldn’t quite hear. He could tell that Spike was apologetic. Rarity looked at him and replied, and to his shock, giving him a kiss on the cheek. He waltzed backwards to Twilight, who smiled and rolled her eyes.

Twilight looked back at the trio. “Don’t you dare…” She said as quietly as possible, seeing their smiles.

Applejack chuckled, seeing Kaleb’s astonishment and smile. “You’re never going to let him live this down, are you?”

A humorous glance emerged from Kaleb’s face. “Never. I’ll give him a few weeks at least.”

The birthday party for Spike had winded down, with Kaleb, Fluttershy, Sweetie Belle, Rarity, and Twilight being the only ones remaining. They all sat at the kitchen table, listening while Sweetie Belle told everyone what had been happening over the past couple of weeks.

Kaleb listened, observing their reactions. Rarity’s was one of concern, naturally, while Twilight looked curious and intrigued along with Fluttershy. He gave encouraging nods to Sweetie Belle, who talked about how the Force approached her, although she did not mention it by name.

She’s probably still getting used to the idea, I know I was, Kaleb thought, sighing slightly. I’m doing a better job at hiding my emotions than I thought. This is going to be a lot to process, and my next appointment with Lyra isn’t going to be for a couple of weeks. Hopefully…

Sweetie Belle finished her story, and looked at Kaleb, along with everypony else. “I know that everypony here has a lot of questions, and I will do my best to answer them.”

Rarity nodded, starting first. “I still don’t understand; how did this happen?”

Kaleb thought for a moment before replying. “I would be lying if I told you I knew for certain. I do have two theories; one more likely than the other.”

Twilight ruffled through her notes. “I know you mentioned something a few weeks ago. I believe it was called a midi-chlorian.”

He nodded. “Good memory, Twilight. That’s my first theory.” Taking a deep breath, he began. “Midi-chlorians are microscopic organisms that reside in the cells of the body, acting as hosts for the Force. Blood tests can determine an estimate, with the higher the number meaning more power. However, my master told me that while they do exist, there is a strong chance of a false positive or negative with their results of the test, making it unreliable.”

Twilight added that in, while Sweetie Belle was the one who asked the next question. “What is your other theory?”

Kaleb nodded, stretching before replying. “This is the one that I believe. I know it sounds crazy, but my arrival in Equestria may have caused this.” He hesitated slightly, but started again with an encouraging nod from Fluttershy. “The Force has always been in Equestria, lying dormant beneath the surface. It has been here for a long time, longer than anypony, even Starswirl the Bearded. When I crashed here, I was the first Force-sensitive being to arrive in Equestria. It awakened, both the dark side and the light.”

Everypony gazed at Kaleb in astonishment, who continued. “There are sometimes cases when the Force can awaken in an individual, at any time and age. It is rare, but can happen.”

“I never imagined that the Force was that complex,” Twilight said, finishing up her notes. “It must take a long time to fully understand.”

Rarity cleared her throat. “Kaleb, you have to understand that this is a lot for me to take in. I’m just worried that that Sweetie Belle could get hurt.”

He gave her a sympathetic look. “That’s understandable. I’ve given her some breathing techniques that I was taught, which should help manage any intense anxiety that causes the flurry of activity.” Kaleb noticed the anxious look Sweetie Belle had. “You have been pretty quiet through this whole conversation. Are you doing okay?”

She nodded hesitantly. “It’s just a lot to take in, but your advice has helped me. Thank you.”

Rarity looked surprised, and then seemed to relax with her sister’s words. “Thank you, Kaleb. Maybe you could provide some more help for her…like training.”

With that one word, Kaleb began to remember his own training during the war, and the memories of undercover missions and bombing campaigns began flooding back. He began to shudder as his heart beat began to rise. Fluttershy saw this and remembering Lyra’s training, tapped his knee and held his hand under the table.

Kaleb gasped, breathing heavily. Sweetie Belle look scared, and she looked ready to move towards him, but Rarity held her back. Once Kaleb’s breathing had calmed down, he looked at Sweetie Belle and Rarity. “I’m sorry you two had to see that. It’s nothing that you said, sometimes this just happens. I would be willing to give additional help to Sweetie Belle, just maybe not right now is the best time. Also, I would prefer that the what I told you stays in this room. It is sensitive information.”

Sweetie Belle nodded, and slowly moved towards Kaleb. “I’m just glad that you are okay.” She smiled. “I can’t wait to start.” He smiled back at her.

Rarity got up. “It’s getting late, so we should probably be going. Thank you for everything.” She waved and walked out of the library with Sweetie Belle.

Twilight began to clear the dishes and put them in the sink. “I can always do these dishes later if you two want to talk in private. I can do book sorting upstairs.”

Fluttershy and Kaleb looked at each other and they both nodded. “That would be for the best.” She answered. Twilight nodded and trotted out of the kitchen and up the stairs. Once they heard a door close, Fluttershy gave him a compassionate look. “This must have been a lot for you. How are you feeling?”

Kaleb thought for a moment before speaking quietly. “Overwhelmed and uncertain. I really don’t know how to feel. This is going to take a long time to fully process. I’m not ready to talk about why now, and I don’t know when I will to be honest.”

She nodded. “I can’t imagine, especially after everything that happened. I’ll be here for you, no matter what.” They both stood up at the same time, and Fluttershy hugged him. Kaleb wrapped his arms around her before moving upstairs to help Twilight.

Author's Note:

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a good holiday and an excellent start to 2019. This was something that I was working on during the break, along with Chapter 13. That should be up within the next week or so. It's difficult writing two chapters at once, but I decided to try it since these two tie together closely. While I wouldn't try it again without better planning, it was still a good experience.

My favorite part of this was writing for Sweetie Belle. I've always found her the most interesting of the CMC, and this was her time to shine. The therapy that Kaleb is going through with Lyra is real, and you can find more information on EMDR here. As always, May the Force be with You!

Edited by Mine Menace