• Published 3rd Dec 2017
  • 3,911 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 7: Grand Galloping Gala

The library was relatively quiet this late afternoon with Spike sorting books downstairs while writing down a list on a piece of parchment. Dressed in a fancy tux with a red bow tie, he had been doing this now for several hours. Going as fast as his claws could in order to get everything done before the clock struck six thirty, he was glancing at the door anxiously.

Meanwhile, Kaleb stood in the upstairs bathroom, trying to get his hair under control for the evening ahead. It always had a tendency to stick up or separate into two sides, as the curly brown hair proved to be a challenge to brush. With the help of the stallion’s mane products, he managed to get the hair to stick down, running the paste upward through his hair so that it would have some resemblance of height. He wore a dark navy-blue suit with a white dress shirt and a matching blue bow tie, which he adjusted slightly. Rarity had told him that blue was clearly his color and had constructed a suit and matching bow tie in only a few days, which he had opted for instead of a tuxedo. The shoes had taken longer, as they had arrived yesterday from a shoe store in Manehattan who them had custom made. Kaleb walked out of the bathroom, wincing in pain with every step.

At least these are only for tonight, he thought, taking his time down the steps. I can’t imagine abandoning my boots for these. I suppose they must more time to break in. During his meditation that morning, he took particular care to clear his mind of emotions so that the moments of panic would not happen tonight, at least he hoped so. They had remained the same the past week, and Fluttershy was kind enough to give him tips to deal with it. None occurred when she was around, but mostly it happened during the quiet moments with Twilight and Spike along with while he was working in Sweet Apple Acres. Walking into the library, he sat down in the chair opposite to Spike.

Spike looked at Kaleb with anticipation. “I think we should head over there now. It would be a great surprise for them if we arrive early.”

Kaleb shook his head, checking his pocket watch. “We still have half an hour before we meet them in front of Carousel Boutique. Trust me Spike, we’ll be on time, they’re probably getting ready anyway. We should not disturb them.”

“I know, I just want to give them my list for the evening. Honestly, I don’t understand all the fuss with getting dressed up and fancy. It’s only for a few hours anyway.” Spike huffed, setting down his quill.

“It’s a special evening for them, you can’t blame them for dressing up a little. Besides, you would want to look your best tonight, since Rarity is going to be there,” Kaleb replied, looking at Spike with a small smirk with amusement. Spike mockingly threw a pillow in his direction, which he let hit him. “Okay, I probably deserved that. What’s on your list anyway?”

“Only the best places in Canterlot to go to. I have the crown jewels for Rarity, Princess Celestia’s golden apple tree for Applejack, and my favorite donut shop for Pinkie.”

Kaleb looked with interest. “That’s really cool that you’re doing that for them. Speaking of which, it’s nearly time to go. Have you brushed your teeth yet?”

Spike looked like he was going to argue for a second, and then went upstairs. Chuckling, Kaleb went over to the mirror in the kitchen to give himself a look over. Straightening his bow tie, he went back to the chair, breathing and beginning a shorter meditation, which was mostly just giving positive affirmations. Finishing up, he saw Spike coming back down and stood up. Checking his pocket watch, he and Spike walked out of the door toward the library, with Spike taking care to lock up the library. It was only a short walk towards Carousel Boutique, with the both of them taking care of where they stepped to avoid ruining their dress clothes. The cool air ruffled Kaleb’s hair slightly, and finally they made it to Carousel Boutique with only time to spare. Looking around, Spike pointed toward the entrance to find an impressive sight.

A carriage in the shape of an apple was standing there, with fancy gold ornamentations and two stallions ready to pull it. Even more impressive than that, were the mares that were assembled near the carriage. Each of their dresses matched their own personality and colors, that Rarity had done an amazing job with, from Twilight’s blue midnight starry dress to Applejack’s western cowgirl dress. Their manes had been redone to boot, with Rainbow Dash and Pinkie’s mane styles matching the dresses as well with some accessories. He saw Rarity wave to them, the tiara on her head moving slightly, and with a nudge to Spike, they walked over to meet them.

Kaleb walked over to Fluttershy, being able to take a look at her for the first time all day. Her dress was a simple green with a base layer and two layers of sheen with turquoise and yellow flowers near the bottom of the dress, with a turquoise stripe with white feather patterns in it at the middle. The dress reached up around her neck, clasped with a turquoise broach of a butterfly. Turquoise, yellow, and white flower decorations adorned her mane, along with a butterfly mane clip. As she blinked her eyes, the turquoise in them reflected in the hair clip and mane. At a loss for words, Kaleb just stared for a few seconds before running his hand through his hair.

“Fluttershy,” Kaleb said quietly, truly at a loss for words. “You look, uh…beautiful.”

She blushed as she heard him, smiling gently before responding. “Oh my, thank you, Kaleb. You’re very handsome as well.” Her smile turned into a look of amusement. “Truly at a loss for words, right?”

Kaleb blushed as he deciphered the meaning. Before he could respond, Rarity called out. “You look remarkably handsome, Kaleb, I knew that blue would look right on you. But darling, I think that you would have looked even better in a tuxedo.”

“You’re probably right, but I wouldn’t have to have the blue as the only option,” Kaleb responded, both he and Fluttershy walking a few steps toward them. “The other option would have been matching tuxedos for me and Spike.”

He expected Spike to run into the boutique and throw another pillow at him, but Spike shrugged. “Actually, that’s a good idea. There’s nothing more dapper than matching tuxedos, right?”

Before he could respond, Rainbow Dash let out a groan and threw her hooves in the air. “Come on, are we going to stand here all day? The Gala is not going for wait for us you know.”

Twilight checked the time on the clocktower. “We probably should be going. Princess Celestia is going to be expecting us soon.”

As they began to walk into the carriage, Kaleb saw Spike head towards the driver’s seat, jumping up and using his arms to pull himself up. Heading towards him, he looked at Spike in an earnest expression. “You know, I could probably drive if you want. Sorry you’re not in the carriage.”

Spike waved a hand. “It’s fine, Kaleb. I agreed to this beforehand with Twilight. Besides, I don’t think you can fit in this seat. Also, I get the best view of Canterlot from here!” Saying that with too much enthusiasm, he whipped the reigns and got angry stares from the stallions who had agreed to pull the carriage.

Opening the door to the carriage, Kaleb climbed in and took a seat between Twilight and Pinkie. With a sudden lurch, the carriage began to move at a fast but steady pace towards Canterlot, taking the road that led straight there. The mares began to talk to each other in excited voices while Kaleb mostly stared out of the window, taking in the scenery. Under the moonlight, he could see that parts of the ground were frosted, the white patches of grass shining.

It was a quiet journey with him for the most part, occasionally interjecting in a conversation and staring out of the window. Once in a while, he and Fluttershy would find themselves looking at each other, every time resulting in quickly looking away as though they were trying to hide it. Rarity was catching all of this, unknown to the two of them, hiding a small smile. Closing his eyes, he began to once again use the short meditation as he did before in the library, trying to calm his emotions in the midst of all the chatter around him. He sat there for a more than a few minutes before jumping in his seat slightly, as the carriage lurched suddenly to a stop. They were all staring at him confused, with Fluttershy having a hint of concern in her eyes. Looking out the window, he realized that they had arrived and were in a line with other carriages awaiting their grand entrance.

“I must have dozed off for a few moments. You can stop looking so shocked, I was only trying to think of a joke,” he said, looking directly at them. “Celestia challenged me when she gave me my ticket to try to come up with a more creative joke than what I originally told Philomena.”

Pinkie looked excited, her mane popping as she turned her head towards him. “As Ponyville’s laughter and comedy crackerjack, I would love to hear it and give you my rating.”

Clearly not expecting this, Kaleb thought quickly of the joke he had written down earlier in the week. “Okay here it is: When we get to the Gala, there will be a set of rules. Rule number one is that there must be a mandatory song and dance number that is choreographed. Just imagine me trying to get some appetizers and then having the fruit from my kebob fly off as my arms move around.”

The looks he got back were confusion, with even Pinkie Pie looking confused, grimacing and moving her hoof around. “Eh, I’ll give you a 5.8 out of ten. While not bad, it’s still very confusing and awkward.” With this statement, the carriage began to move and finally came to a halt. The door was opened by Spike, and as the mane six began to climb out, he couldn’t hep but staring a little bit. Kaleb got out of the carriage and took in the surroundings.

The castle looked absolutely stunning in the night sky, with hints of purple illuminated by the fireworks that went off grandly. The horns announced their arrival as they stared at the red carpet leading into the castle. With Twilight leading the way, Kaleb walked down the path, getting silent stares from many of the Canterlot ponies. Their stares were not hostile, but simply curious immediately diverting their eyes when he stared back. Looking at the mountains that surrounded the castle, he saw the Wonderbolts flying through the sky, twisting and turning through the air as they performed for the ponies, barely acknowledging the cheers that graced the ground below. Both he and Rainbow Dash were impressed, with her staring at the sky with the biggest eyes and smile he had ever seen to that point.

They reached the entrance, and Spike tried to speak but then was interrupted by each of them going their separate ways. The young dragon looked confused and then a little sad. Kaleb saw this and looked with reassurance. “Hey, it’s okay, I’m sure that they’ll be back soon. I’m going to try and find an old friend, but I’ll try to be back soon, okay?” Spike nodded and with a new bounce in his step, entered through one of the side rooms to follow Twilight.

He turned around to see that Fluttershy was still there. “At some point tonight, I’ll try and meet you in the garden. You could show me all of the plants and animals.”

Fluttershy nodded with an expression of happiness and then concern, her voice quiet so no one else could hear it. “I’ll be in the private gardens where most of them are hidden away from the other guests. If you have another panic attack, don’t be afraid to find me.”

“Thank you, that will make this party much easier,” Kaleb said, seeing that Fluttershy was already following the sound of a meadowlark. With a sigh, he entered the party through one of side staircases, taking care in marveling at the craftsmanship of the railings. “Who knows, maybe I’ll find an old friend here.”

Following the sounds of the voices, Kaleb found himself in a side room, where many of the Canterlot ponies were discussing amongst themselves. Occasionally letting out a loud laugh that one could only describe as for the rich, they paid no attention to Kaleb whatsoever. Walking up to a table full of appetizers, Kaleb took a cucumber sandwich, and ate it in a few bites, moving on to the other tables around the side room. Eventually, he just decided to walk among the ponies, putting his arms behind his back and clutching his hands. As he began to move, his feet became silent, to the point that no one could realize that he was there unless they looked. The voices became to blur together, and in a matter of a few seconds, an image formed in Kaleb’s mind. Although he could still aware of his surrounding, the image was the one thing his mind he concentrated on, and eventually it began to move.

Soft music from a band played in the background as the various members of the elite moved around, each engaged in their own conversations with one another. Some were sitting at tables while others were standing, each of them speaking with confidence and rigor. Dressed in the latest fashions of the time, they laughed as they took the drinks and foods offered on tables and from others. One could describe this lavish party as a party for the ages, that so many would do anything to be invited to, just to be around those with great influence and power that could change their fate forever.

On the highest levels of Coruscant, the droids serving the refreshments often moved smoothly, each with their own beeps or voices, communicating to each other and to the senators and ambassadors of the Senate whether they needed more from the kitchen or a special request was made. It was rare in this time of war that any request would be made, knowing that the shortages had hit even the highest of levels. The walls were a muted red, with gold ornamentations and wide windows that showed the views of the city below. Each level save for the lowest ones were visible, and even in a time of uncertainty the night life was constantly moving, creating a fun persona that was illuminated in a bunch of colors and lights with just the hint of muted sounds.

Kaleb Taymar stood by one of these windows, looking out at the city. Dressed in a full Jedi tunic of beige and a robe of navy blue, he tried to keep his focus on the party rather than the view that stared back at him. His padawan braid was draped over his right shoulder, and a tired expression graced his face as the reflection stared back at him. Sighing, he moved from the window and back into the party, adapting the position of having his hands clasped behind his back and moving silently. In these troubled times, it was common for a Jedi to guard and patrol the parties, but it was usually in small groups. Tonight, he was alone in patrolling the perimeter, with strict instructions on how to guard and to keep out of the way of the various senators and ambassadors that talked.

As he went about the patrol, he found his mind occupied by one the various thing that kept him up at night. All of a sudden, his mind shifted to find that a platter was slipping from a droid’s hand, in the path of a senator’s plate. With a sneaky but fast movement, Kaleb slipped passed many of the other senators and caught the platter and plate before they fell to the ground. Breathing heavily, he handed the platter back to the droid and held out the plate to the senator. “I believe that this is yours.”

The lone senator by the window turned around, and Kaleb realized that he had just saved the plate of Padme Amidala. Wearing a simple ensemble of maroon and white, she gave him a thankful glance. “Thank you, Padawan Taymar. We cannot afford to waste food when many others are starving, looking for the same benefits and privilege as we are.”

Kaleb looked stunned. “You’re welcome, Senator Amidala, but I don’t believe we have ever met. How do you know my name?”

“Master Johanna has guarded me a few times when you were on other missions, and she speaks highly of you. Also, I’ve seen you a few times when you were with Master Kenobi and General Skywalker,” Padme responded, her gaze of recognition turning into curiosity with a hint of concern. “How is Master Johanna? I heard that she was injured…”

“She is still recovering from her injury but is getting stronger every day,” Kaleb responded, his voice having a tone of pride. “She should be ready in a few weeks, it’s just that these injuries take time to heal.” He noticed that she was gazing out at the Jedi Temple, her expression with a hint of anxiety underneath a calm demeanor.

Thinking for a moment to remember the announcement, he began to speak. “Many of them are still entangled in sieges in the Outer Rim. I was instructed to guard here because of the small numbers on Coruscant. I hear that a few are returning for the time being sometime in the early morning.”

Padme spoke in an undertone that was difficult for Kaleb to hear. “Let us hope they return safely.” She switched back to her normal voice. “So then, I hear that you are currently in the middle of the Jedi Trials.”

Kaleb returned to a serious expression. “You know that I cannot talk about the Trials. However, what I can tell you is that they are nearly over and going well according to Master Johanna. I just hope this war is over soon. Has there been any word of a possible cease fire in the Outer Rim?”

“Not that I know of, and you know that I wouldn’t be able to tell you if there was. The Separatists do have a political system, but it is marred with corruption on a more frequent basis than here. Politics is a tricky game to play, Kaleb. You never know what you are getting into, and it can be difficult to get yourself out when you are too deep.”

“This is why I’m not a Senator,” Kaleb responded, allowing his sense of humor to come forward. “I swear it’s the hardest game of Dejarik and Sabbac combined, with the best players in the galaxy.”

Padme let out a small laugh, allowing for her serious demeanor to be broken for a moment. “I would say that is an accurate description.” All of a sudden, a small beep went out near them, and she reached for her commlink only to realize that it had come from Kaleb’s. “What does it say?”

Kaleb looked at her then back at the commlink with a look of shock. “It’s from Master Johanna. She’s out in the lobby outside this room and wants me to meet her there. It doesn’t say why, but it appears I’m relieved from guard duty.”

Padme shared that same expression. “Well then, you should probably not keep her waiting. But first, I insist that you not leave empty handed.” Leaving Kaleb’s sight only for a moment, she returned with a bag containing a bit of everything from the various tables and platters. “Tell her that I hope her recovery is quick.”

Kaleb looked amazed as he stared at the giant bag of food she was holding. “Thank you, Senator, but you know I cannot accept this. There’s a rule against taking food from these engagements.”

Padme responded with an amused expression. “It’s a rule that everyone breaks, Kaleb. I’ve seen other padawans do it and even Master Johanna on occasion when nobody is looking. Now then, I order you to take this food and go meet her.” She thrust the bag into his hands and walked away with a friendly wave. Sighing, Kaleb made his way to the door and out into the lobby.

Gasping, Kaleb realized that the image had faded away and he was back in the middle of the center ballroom in Canterlot, his hands still behind his back. He knew that scene that played in his head was true and felt the lack of fogginess. Slowly backing away, he bumped into some of the Canterlot ponies that were near the center.

“Hey! Watch where you’re going. You could have knocked both our plates over with your clumsy movements,” the center pony said, his monocle amplifying the anger in his eye. “Do you know how much this china costs?”

Kaleb looked both panicked and apologetic as he tried to figure out what to say. “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you.”

This did not help the situation, with the others in his group agreeing with him. “That is the worst lie I ever heard! You did that on purpose. I’m going to report you…”

“You will do no such thing,” Kaleb immediately recognized the voice, as he saw Dr. Bluejay walk up and stood right next to him, returning the gaze. “It was simply an accident. My friend here would never do anything to ruin your evening. Please, let it go and enjoy the rest of the gala.”

Kaleb winced as he saw the anger increase in the Canterlot stallion. “I swear, it’s the same thing with all of you. There are some guard ponies who should be fired for not being able to keep on their own hooves, and I’m sick of it. The same goes with every member of the Equestrian Guard!”

Dr. Bluejay’s face revealed lines of anger staring back at the pony, and his voice sharpened with a quiet, intense rage. “I want you to consider your next words carefully. I am Doc Bluejay of Equestrian Guard Company Seven Platoon Five. Those ponies you’re talking about happen to be my friends and officers who have saved countless lives including mine, so that you can live your lives without fear. They deserve your respect and understanding. Unless you want to me to personally escort you from the party, you will apologize. Now.” He said the last word in a commanding bark.

Livid, the stallion immediately apologized and backed away along with his other companions. Dr. Bluejay indicated for Kaleb to follow him back to a quieter section, where there were barely any ponies except for the one who passed through, and they sat at a table. The anger on his face disappeared as he took a chocolate covered strawberry from a waiter. “Eat this, you’ll feel better.”

Kaleb ate the strawberry and felt the weariness of the situation pass. “Thank you, I didn’t know what I was going to do. I must have not been aware of my surroundings, and my mind…”

“Felt like it was somewhere else, perhaps in a different place and time all triggered by an image that comes to life and eventually fades away,” Dr. Bluejay finished, his voice indicating familiarity. Kaleb nodded. “Kaleb, when you were with the Jedi I’m assuming you went on missions. Were there some missions where the situations were grave?”

Kaleb tried to answer without the panic. “I went on many missions, but I can’t remember. Much of these missions are still a blur, and whenever I try to remember, there’s always this moment of panic followed by a fogginess. I know however that many were bad, I just can’t remember to what extent or any of the details. How do you know about the Jedi anyway?”

The blue pegasus looked at him with understanding. “I read the interview that Twilight gave to Princess Celestia. It was quite interesting, by the way.” He paused quickly, making sure no one was there before continuing. “The brain has many defense mechanisms that it has to protect itself including the ability to block memories from being accessed. It buries them deep into the subconscious. These are called repressed memories, and certain triggers can bring them back including being in a place with a certain look or smell.”

Kaleb nodded. “The Gala must have brought me back to that place.”

“This action of the brain repressing memories is caused by events that are severe enough to cause physical or physiological harm to the victim, including abuse, grief, stress, and trauma. I’ve seen the same symptoms you have in my other brothers and sisters who came back home after their time in the Equestrian Guard. My question to you is if you were ever in an environment that caused the repressed memories? I’m not asking you to tell me about these experiences in detail, I just need to know.”

“Please, I don’t want to talk about it.” The panic hit Kaleb harder than it had a week ago, and he used the breathing techniques that Fluttershy had taught him to calm himself down, though not very affectively.

“It’s okay, I’m not going to force you to talk if you don’t want to. Often times, forcing people to confront it before they are ready makes it worse. All I’m telling you is that this won’t be the last one and they will probably be either different or similar depending on the situation. If and when you’re ready to talk, please contact me.” For the first time, he felt genuine concern and worry coming from him.

Kaleb nodded. “Thank you, you’ve given me a lot to think about. Anyway, let’s move on. So, should I still call you doctor or is Doc the correct term?”

“Doc is the title given to a field medic but after my time I earned my medical degree so you can keep calling me doctor,” Dr. Bluejay explained. “Before my post here, I trained field medics in the Equestrian Guard Academy so many still call me Doc.”

Kaleb gazed out of the window, realizing that he could see Fluttershy out in the garden, calling to many of the animals with no success. “Sorry, I just saw my friend in the garden, I was just looking and seeing what she was doing,” he stammered, trying to cover up his tracks. Before he even thought about what he was saying, the words came out of his mouth. “Her dress is very pretty.” He swore silently.

Dr. Bluejay, clearly not oblivious to what was going on, chuckled. “I see. Princess Celestia told me how you helped her with Philomena and that was very kind of you to do. The one thing I’ll tell you is that if you’re ever up in Canterlot again, go and see the Luminescent Gardens. As I’ve said before, it has the perfect view of the rest of Equestria from Canterlot, and it’s a great place to bring company, especially a special somepony who is a close friend.”

Kaleb could only nod before looking at his pocket watch. “I promised that I would meet her at some point tonight. Sorry to cut this short, but I have to go.”

Dr. Bluejay waved a hoof. “It’s okay. Don’t keep her waiting. Just remember what I said earlier.”

Leaving the room, Kaleb entered the main ballroom as he saw Pinkie Pie dancing to her heart’s delight. Careful to avoid both her and Rarity, who was with someone he didn’t recognize, he slipped down one of the side staircases and went out a door that went to the garden. It was a short walk, but he could not find Fluttershy. Deciding it would be best to wait, Kaleb sat on the edge of an old fountain, staring up at the stars. He thought about what had happened this night, and tried to make sense out of it. Before he could stop himself, another image began to form in his head and play.

Walking out of the room, Kaleb entered the lobby where he found Master Johanna waiting for him. Her hair was a bright gray, flowing down to her shoulders and almost reflecting against her white skin, slightly tanned from missions. Her right arm was covered with white bandages that in turn was covered by her sleeve. Wearing a Jedi robe and tunic similar to Kaleb’s, she saw him coming and signaled for him to follow her into the elevator. Entering into the elevator, she closed the doors and pressed a button that would bring them down to the access level where many of the maintenance ships would be, usually departing to fly around the city picking up supplies.

“Senator Amidala sends her regards,” Kaleb began, holding out the bag to her. “She did not want us to leave empty handed. I rejected the offer at first, but she persisted.”

Johanna took the bag and looked at it’s contents. Taking out a berry tart, she observed it before starting to speak. “She knows that I enjoy these, I will have to thank her, Kaleb. I can only imagine that she was very persuasive.”

“Well, the negotiations were short. If there were any at all,” Kaleb said, a sly hint of amusement echoing in his voice.

Johanna looked at her apprentice with a mindful expression, with a small smile forming on her face. “I see that Master Kenobi’s influence has rubbed off on you, a little bit too much perhaps.”

“Well, only his sense of humor. The other half of it is from you. But if you don’t mind me asking, why are you here?”

Her expression turned into one of seriousness. “There’s been an emergency transmission from a small village on Lothal, just outside the reach of the main capital. We do not know what is happening, but it can only be guessed that it has something to do with the Separatists. Intelligence suggests that they have a particular interest in it but it is unknown why. Lothal has been largely ignored at this point, but the famine and drought have could have caused them to become an easy target and these villages are the best way to go unnoticed.”

“That’s a possibility. But why would you need me to go with you? There are other apprentices and I cannot go because of the Trials. Also, you’re still injured which could put you at risk,” Kaleb said, looking at her arm.

Johanna responded quickly. “The Jedi are spread thin because of the battles in the Outer Rim and the other apprentices need to guard the temple. I may be recovering, but I can still fight just as well if I adjust my style. While normally apprentices who are in the middle of their Trials are not allowed to go on missions, the war has made it necessary to void those rules. I have already cleared this with Master Yoda so it won’t count against you. Also, your skills with communicating with animals could be useful. I have a plan.”

Kaleb’s eyes widened as he finally understood. “Loth-cats, and loth-wolfs for that matter. They could lead the villagers out of harm’s way, into the mountains. The Separatists would never be able to find them.”

“Spoken like a true Jedi Knight and my apprentice who I’m very proud of at the moment,” Johanna beamed, her eyes filled with pride, before switching back to a serious manner. “There’s a small support crew who’s going to be with us, but they’re only providing reconnaissance from the air, so we’ll be the only ones on the ground.”

The elevator stopped at the maintenance floor and opened to reveal a small loading bay with a small, unmarked low altitude freighter with several clones double checking the engines, wearing the uniforms that indicated they were pilots and flight crews. When they saw the two approaching towards them, the saluted, with the pilot beginning to speak. “General, the ship is ready to go. It will not take long to get to Lothal, but I suggest that we hurry to avoid suspicion.”

Johanna indicated for the pilot to fall at ease. “Thank you, we should be leaving now. Are you ready, Kaleb?”

He nodded and entered the ship through the doors on the side. As the other troopers closed the doors behind him, the engines began to roar, and the ship took off, going into the night.

“YOU’RE GOING TO LOVE ME!!!” Kaleb jumped from where he was sitting, the loud voice snapping him out of the flashback. He realized that tears were flowing down his eyes and that he was shaking mildly, looking up at the stars. Turning around, he saw Fluttershy like he had never seen her before: angry. She looked frazzled, with scratches on her fur and dress, her mane sticking up wildly in some places.

After that statement, she immediately saw who she was yelling at instead of the birds. Gasping, she ran towards Kaleb, and slowed down when she saw his state. “Oh my, I’m so sorry about that Kaleb, I didn’t mean to, it’s just the birds…” Her voice trailed off at a loss for words, still with a frantic nature.

Kaleb indicated for her to come closer, and she sat down next to him. They sat in silence for a few moments before he began to speak. “It looks like this night isn’t going the way the both of us thought it would.” The silence lingered on, with both of them looking up at the stars, trying to find some answers. “The constellations here are similar to those on some other planets where I was. Just different enough to show it’s another place, but similar enough…”

“To be familiar,” Fluttershy finished, looking at Kaleb with concerned eyes. She thought carefully before asking a question. “Kaleb, do you miss it? Your galaxy, the Jedi, the Republic? Anything at all?”

Kaleb paused before continuing. “It’s complicated. For so many reasons that you don’t understand.”

Fluttershy continued to look at the stars, trying to feel content with the answer he had given her. “When I was a filly, my parents would take me out at night, onto the place in Cloudsdale where the clouds were the highest. They taught me about the night sky and the constellations, which was a time for all of us to become closer as a family. Cloudsdale moves on a regular basis, so I never get to see them that often now. But when I look up at the stars, I feel comforted that they’re looking at the same sky as I am. We’re close even though we’re far away.”

Kaleb listened, turning away slightly before looking back at the stars. “I never knew who my parents were. I never even met them.” Fluttershy’s eyes widened, realizing that for the first time she had been with him, he was talking about his past. “They died shortly after I was born. The Jedi took me in at a young age, sensing that I had a small connection to the Force. They raised me, training in their ways and teaching me that there is a greater purpose in life.”

Kaleb stopped looking up at the stars and turned his gaze to her. “When I came to Equestria, I brought more than just myself. Everything that I carry on my back and in my mind are what’s left of the Jedi. The Jedi Code is the only thing that I have left of an order who was the only family I had. I have to cling onto these old ways and traditions, otherwise they could be lost forever.” He let out a sigh, trying to bury his emotions deep down, wishing that he could forge this burden.

Fluttershy moved closer to him. “The thing is Kaleb, you’re not alone. You have me, and Twilight, Spike, Rarity, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie Pie. We’re your friends, and friends help each other through the difficult times. This burden is not yours alone.”

“It is mine to bear and I shall,” Kaleb said with certainty but with a hint of frustration. Choosing a gentler voice, he sighed. “Fluttershy, there are some things that I cannot tell you about, things that I have seen with my own eyes. There was much good in the galaxy, but also darker times of hardship, chaos, and hatred. Please try to understand that for my own good, I have to bury these emotions and try to find peace my own way.”

Fluttershy, looking solemn, nodded. “I’ll try, Kaleb.” She perked her ears up as she heard the speakers on the side of the castle cracked as the band strike up a moderate waltz. “Music,” She said, looking up at the speakers with wonder.

Clearing the past conversation from his mind, he thought carefully before proceeding. “This night may not have gone the way we expected, but that does not mean it should be wasted.” Kaleb stood up, walking to be in front of where she sat before bowing with his right arm in front of his sternum and his hand in a slightly open palm, while his left arm was behind his back in a similar position. Extending his right hand to her, Kaleb spoke. “May I have this dance?”

Fluttershy blushed, saying yes in a small voice. Taking his hand, she got up as they went took small steps to be slightly away from the fountain. Nervously, Fluttershy shifted her hooves. “You’re taller than I am, on top of having two legs to stand on, I’m not sure…”

“Just take my hand and follow my lead,” Kaleb said calmly. “Try standing up on two hooves, just slightly. Put your legs on my shoulder and my waist and I will support you.”

She stood up on two hooves, wobbling a little before feeling Kaleb’s support on her shoulder and lower midsection. She placed her legs on his shoulder and waist, and they stood there for second.

Kaleb began to move back and forth to the music slowly, gazing both at the night sky and the turquoise in Fluttershy’s eyes. After a few moments, he began to speak. “You know, I just noticed now that the broach that Rarity designed is the same color as your eyes. It really pulls the ensemble together.”

She chucked, glancing down at it. “It does, doesn’t it. I see you have an eye for fashion.”

“Mostly for design in general, but there is something about colors in general that I enjoy,” Kaleb responded, leading the dance in a small circle around the fountain. Fluttershy used her wings to support this this movement, occasionally letting them flutter. “So, I imagine that it must have been quite the view from Cloudsdale to look at the stars.”

Fluttershy’s eyes turned to an expression of nostalgia. “It was one of the most stunning views I have ever seen. Sometimes, I would dream of flying among the night sky, with nothing but the sound of the wind to hear and nothing to worry about.”

“I have, though not with wings but with starships on Naboo,” Kaleb reminisced, taking care not to trigger the moment of panic. “I can confirm that the view is breathtaking, it’s just something that cannot be described in words.” The waltz began to slow down, and Kaleb knew that the song was ending. “And now for the final move, one that will score points with the judges. Take my right hand and use your wings to support the spin. I’ll catch you.”

Fluttershy looked uncertain, but there was a sense of adventure in her eyes that said otherwise. Grabbing her right hoof, he spun her around in a slow motion, noticing the sheer layers of her dress floating due to the support from the wings. Kaleb caught her and they moved slightly as the dance ended. They froze there, both of then unsure what to do next.

With a small hint of amusement, Fluttershy spoke. “I think the judges would rate that an eight out of ten, certainly making up for your joke earlier this evening.”

Kaleb chuckled. “You’re probably right. You know, it has been said that even though two have looked at different stars, the stars both tell the same stories and reflect onto both.” It was at this point that Kaleb realized how close he and Fluttershy were together as she had collapsed slightly against him. They both blushed, but Kaleb could not stop looking into her eyes, the turquoise drawing him in. They moved their heads closer together, so close that he could smell the scents of wildflowers in her mane, in return she could see how the front of his hair curled upwards and fell onto his forehead. They both felt like they could never let go…

“That unchivalrous prince! Thinking that he could not pay for a lady’s food, how ridiculous. At least I managed to get away from him…” Rarity walked towards the fountain, turning her head to see the position Fluttershy and Kaleb were in. Rarity turned a bright scarlet and coughed awkwardly as they both jumped apart from each other, with Fluttershy ruffling her wings and Kaleb putting his hand through his hair. “I’m terribly sorry, I didn’t see you two there. The ballroom is in such a commotion and Princess Celestia said to run. We’re meeting up at some donut shop outside of the castle.” She turned away before setting off at a decent pace.

Fluttershy and Kaleb both looked at each other, breathing heavily and trying to think of something to say. Shaking his head to clear it, Kaleb spoke. “We should probably go if the Princess is telling us to run.”

She nodded and they started at a fast pace, trying to keep a little more distance from each other.

The donut shop was small but had a certain style to it, with a checkerboard pattern of turquoise and white that made Kaleb feel uncomfortable. He saw Spike sitting on a stool at the counter, with a grizzled look in his eyes, arguing with the server.

“Another donut. Extra sprinkles! And another hot chocolate while you’re at it.”

Kaleb sat on the stool next to Spike. “Spike, I’m going to tell you something that I hope you never hear in the future, but you’re cut off. “

The earth pony looked at him. “So, you must be his friend that he was talking about. I expected you to be older for all the wisdom you have.”

Kaleb gave him a look of seriousness. “It’s not exactly wisdom, just knowing what you’re looking at. I’ll take a hot chocolate to go, please.”

At that moment, all of the others came in including Princess Celestia, who was talking to the others.

“That is why I was thrilled you were all attending. I was hoping you could liven things up a bit. And while the evening may not have gone as you planned, I'm sure you'll agree that in the end it didn't turn out so bad for this group of friends.”

The others nodded in agreement, as Twilight put in an order of two dozen donuts to go. Kaleb walked away from the counter and saw Princess Celestia indicate for him to come closer, towards the other end of the shop. Moving forward, he heard the princess with an apologetic voice. “I was told what those ponies said to you and Dr. Bluejay. I would just like to personally apologize and assure you that they will not be invited to any more gatherings at the castle. I talked to him and told him the same thing.”

Kale nodded. “Apology accepted, and I appreciated your actions. By the way, you might want to ask him about helping with catering. The vegetarian recipes he’s been sending me have been absolutely wonderful.”

Celestia chuckled. “He’s always had an interest in cooking, and his dishes have always been good when the regular chef can’t take over. I’ll talk to him about catering some other events in the future.” Waving to Kaleb, she walked out of the shop, and Kaleb waited for a few minutes until the donuts were accounted for and they finally began the walk back to the castle.

He held back some distance from the group, trying to wrap his head around everything that occurred that evening. Thoughts of the repressed memories kept him occupied, trying to use them to remember anything else but to no avail. His thoughts were interrupted by noticing that Fluttershy had slowed down until she was at his side.

She hesitated, trying to think of where to start. “Are you doing okay? I know with Rarity that must have been…”

“Awkward,” Kaleb finished, looking at her. He sighed. “This has been a long night, with a lot to unpack emotionally. It’s going to take a lot of time. I just hope to forget this night and move on.”

Fluttershy looked at him with sympathy, but also with comfort. “I’m sorry you feel that way, it’s been a long night for me too. But it wasn’t all that bad.” She waved her hoof at the castle as they were walking towards the entrance where their carriage was. “I saw a lot of animals that were new to me, even though I never go to meet them. There was a nice gardener who I had a conversation with, who told me about the flowers. Plus, I really enjoyed dancing with you. It just brought something out that I haven’t felt in a long time.” She let out a small eep after that last sentence, realizing she didn’t mean to say it aloud.

Kaleb faced her, his expression one of astonishment. “Even though we finished it a little bit too… theatrical.” On that word he waved his hand around, emphasizing the point.

Fluttershy laughed, blushing slightly. “I think we must have scored the points from the judges on that move. But in all seriousness, it was a good time. When the weather is warmer, perhaps in a few months, I could show you some of the constellations. Ponyville has some hidden spots for stargazing.”

“That sounds wonderful,” Kaleb said realizing that they had fallen behind. “We should do that.”

As Fluttershy rushed to catch up with rest of the Mane Six, Kaleb held back, taking his time to look at the castle. The moon illuminated the castle, and he took his time to take one last look before he went, taking note of the statue garden to the side. Just as he was about to leave, he saw something in the corner of his eye and turned. There was a statue of what could only be described as both sinister and disturbing. It had body parts of various animals combined and appeared to be either in a state of pain or laughter, though it was very hard to tell.

Kaleb could sense there was something off about it, as if there was something lying beneath the surface of the sculpture that screaming, yearning to escape. The small bit of magic he could sense had a chaotic nature, but still extremely powerful. Kaleb began to take a few steps back when he heard Spike yell after him.

“Kaleb! You should hurry and get in before all the donuts are gone. What are you staring at?”

Shaking his head, Kaleb muttered to himself in an unsure voice. “It’s probably nothing.” He rushed back to the carriage and closed the door behind him.

Author's Note:

Hello everyone! With this chapter, starts the beginning of an arc for Kaleb that will change the course of the story. The flashbacks were challenging to write because of the Padme's dialogue but I think it turned out good. However, my favorite scenes to write were the ones between Kaleb and Fluttershy, because of the awkwardness and humor of young love. As always, may the Force be with you!

Edited by Menace of the Mines