• Published 20th Jul 2019
  • 688 Views, 49 Comments

A Series of Great Ideas (Or Not) - TheGuineaPig45

Shining Armor and Flam wake up in bed together, no memory of how they got there or what they did the previous night. All they know is that Apple Bloom has been kidnapped, and they're the guilty party.

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Chapter Five: Every Creature's A Winner! ...Except Shining Armor

Shining Armor’s heart skipped a beat.

He could not stop staring at the suitcase. It was empty. He couldn’t tell if he was overjoyed or traumatized. Sure, he wasn’t about to be exposed in front of Rarity, but at the same time, Apple Bloom was free and could tell anypony what happened.

“Care to explain?” Rarity asked, levitating the suitcase.

“He’s a changeling,” Sandbar whispered to Gallus. “I bet he’s a changeling.”

“I’m not a changeling,” Shining scoffed. “This was, um, a… social experiment!”

The students looked confused. “A what?” Gallus asked.

“It’s a psychological study done to see how ponies react when put into various complicated situations,” Flam explained, earning a shocked look from Shining Armor.

“Right!” Shining continued. “As part of my duties as prince, I want to prepare ponies in case an… abstract threat comes to town. Twilight told me the Flim Flam Brothers were in desperate need of redemption, so, I partnered with them to construct a narrative where ponies and other creatures, like you all, would have to make the right decisions when presented with a pony who has the potential to be dangerous, but isn’t quite yet.”

Rarity and Fluttershy blankly stared at each other.

“So, this was all fake?” Rarity asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Yup!” Flam said. “And you all WON!”

“Uh, I thought you said this was a study,” Gallus pointed out. “There are no winners in a study.”

“Au contraire, my feathered friend,” Flam responded. “Every creature's a winner in a study!”

Gallus opened his mouth to talk, but shook his head and fell back into the crowd.

“Just to be certain,” Fluttershy quietly said, her face hidden behind her mane. “There aren’t really any bird slaughtering tools?”

“Nope!” Shining Armor confirmed. Fluttershy immediately perked up and beamed.

“Thank you all for participating in our study,” Flam said, bowing to all the students. “Your reactions were very helpful, and will be passed onto the Royal Guard for future instruction on civilian well-being and what to do in crises.”

“Goodbye, every creature!” Shining called, gesturing for the group to leave. “Please, return to your regularly scheduled activities.”

Most of the group simply shrugged and walked away, indifferent to the events that had just occurred. Rarity, however, stayed behind and stared Shining Armor straight in the eyes.

“I’ve read enough Shadow Spade to know when something feels wrong,” she whispered, glaring at him. “There is more to this story, and I fully intend to find out what it is.” She trotted away, but when she reached the doorway, she dramatically turned her head back and stared the stallions down.

Shining Armor and Flam smiled and waved at her, then stood in silence until they were sure they were in complete privacy.

“That was closer than the time almost Flim and I almost got caught selling sweaters made out of unicorns’ manes,” Flam said, shuddering at the memory. “But see what happens when I do the talking? It doesn't always end up in flames. Every so often, I DO have a winner.”

Shining laughed. “I’ll admit, I was a little shocked and impressed. You really helped make that excuse seem believable.”

“Like I said, I’m a traveling salespony, nonpareil,” Flam bragged, once again trying to tip his non-existent hat. “But, you helped, too. It was a team effort.”

“Friendship is magic,” Shining replied with a grin.

Flam cringed and shook his head. “Yeah, spare me your ‘Magic of Friendship’ nonsense. Remember, Apple Bloom is gone!” He paused, realizing what he had just said. “Dear Celestia, Apple Bloom is gone. We’re so DOOMED. Again!” He began pacing and hyperventilating.

“Flam, calm down,” Shining Armor said slowly. “I’m sure we can find her before she tells anypony what happened. Let’s regroup with Starlight, and figure what to do.”

“You found the suitcase, but you lost Apple Bloom?!” Starlight hissed, looking down at the two frowning stallions. “How did you two manage to make this situation even worse than it already is?!”

“It’s a talent,” Flam said, before Shining nudged him.

“Look, we desperately need your help,” the prince begged. “Apple Bloom must’ve woken up while we were chasing you and snuck out. For all we know, she could be anywhere in Ponyville, talking to anypony now!”

“And she took our letters with her,” Flam added. “Meaning we are so going to Tartarus.”

Starlight shook her head. “Not necessarily. The only places I can imagine Apple Bloom running to are the Cutie Mark Crusaders clubhouse and the Apple Family farm. All we have to do is figure out which one she’s headed to, and then stop her before she gets there and exposes you.”

“But how do we know where she’s going?” Flam asked.

“We don’t,” Starlight admitted. “BUT that’s the great thing about teleportation! If you teleport to the wrong place, you can just keep teleporting until you get it right.”

“Teleporting? Where are you teleporting to?”

Starlight Glimmer, Flam, and Shining Armor all jumped when they heard the voice. It’s owner was Twilight Sparkle, who had just peeked her head into the room. Before the princess could see him, Starlight Glimmer magically lifted Flam and placed him behind a curtain.

“Oh, you know,” Starlight replied, leaning on a banister. “Here, there… Everywhere if we have time.”

“Wait a second,” Twilight said, noticing her brother beside the mare. “Shining, was Starlight Glimmer the ‘backup plan’ you mentioned earlier?”

“Umm, maybe?” Shining responded with a shrug.

Twilight sighed. “When I told you I wouldn’t help you, I didn't mean to go to my pupil behind my back!” She turned her attention to Starlight. “Sorry, but I already told Shining Armor he can’t have access to those memory spells. So, while I appreciate you being so willing to help my brother remove his friend’s trauma, I’m afraid I’m going to have to put an end to this.”

Starlight Glimmer turned to Shining and shook her head. “I’m so sorry,” she said, over-enunciating her words. “But you heard the princess. I guess I can’t help anymore.”

“Shining Armor, I can’t believe this,” Twilight continued. “You went behind my back to get memory spells I said you couldn’t have!” She paused. “I think we need to talk. Starlight, if you would excuse us.”

Starlight nodded her head and walked out of the room, sneakily levitating Flam out with her.

The prince frowned. “Twily, look, I agree, we should talk, but maybe now isn’t the best time--”

“I feel betrayed,” Twilight interrupted. There were tears in her eyes. “I’m cancelling our dinner tonight.”

“I understand, but--”

“You’re not leaving here until you explain to me what is really happening.”

Shining winced.

Flam was right. We really are doomed.

After dismissing her students for the day, Rarity immediately dashed to her storage cabinet. The other teachers in the School of Friendship used their cabinets for paper, quills, ink, books, and basic classroom supplies. But not Rarity. Her cabinet was filled with as much homemade clothing that she could fit.

She dug through the myriad of dresses, hoping she had correctly remembered where she placed the exact item she was looking for. Lucky for her, she had.

Rarity walked toward a window, looking into her reflection. With serious eyes and a sinister smile, she put on her “femme mystique chic” hat.

“Detective Rarity is on the case,” she declared.