• Published 6th Feb 2020
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Caught and Punished - ThePinkedWonder

Alternate take on Season 5 premier: here, Starlight gets caught instead of getting away.

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Chapter 5: Forgiveness, part 1

“Are you ready to make five more friends, Starlight?” Twilight asked.

“Yeah.” Starlight looked to Twilight. “And, Twilight, you said to start with Fluttershy, but where is she?”

“I think she’s in her cottage,” Twilight answered.

“Then let’s go.” I looked down at Starlight. “From how Spike...acted, I doubt he’s mad at you.”

With that, Twilight, Starlight, and I went off to Fluttershy’s cottage and it felt great not having Starlight on a leash anymore. Starlight obviously enjoyed it too and even hopped along the way, looking a little like Pinkie Pie. I was at Fluttershy’s cottage once, when I was still a little freaked out about Equestria. After I was calm enough, I started staying at the house I live in now, which Twilight helped me get.

Also, I had already known about Spike’s crush on Rarity, but now he has a crush on Starlight too? I think the dude has a thing for unicorns. Though, I still wondered what it was he needed to do.

At the front door of Fluttershy’s cottage, Starlight was taking deep breaths. Twilight and I on either side of her, with me to Starlight’s right.

I’ve never seen so many birdhouses in one area before; there were four on different parts of the cottage. Three more were hanging on a nearby narrow tree.

“Sam, Twilight, what should I say to her first?” Starlight asked.

I answered, “Just tell her how you feel, that you’re sorry, and that you want to be her friend.”

Twilight chuckled. “That’s pretty good advice, Sam, and I was about to say that. I thought you said you were ‘no friendship expert’?”

“Oh, shush, Twilight. I’m not that new at friendship,” I said with a chuckle of my own.

“Whatever you say.” After another chuckle, Twilight knocked on the door.

From inside, Fluttershy asked, “Who is it?”

“It’s Sam and me, Fluttershy, and we have a...guest with us.”

Fluttershy opened the door. “Oh, hi, Twilight, Sam, and...uh, Starlight?” Fluttershy frowned and backed away by a couple of steps. “Why are you here?”

Starlight assured, “W-Wait, don’t be afraid, Fluttershy. I’m not here to take your Cutie Mark or cause any trouble.”

Fluttershy walked forward to where she was before she backed away. Her fearful frown was now a puzzled one. “Well, that’s good. But...why are you here?”

Starlight took another deep breath. “Well, I came to...uh...apologize for what I did, ask if you can forgive me and be friends. And if you would...be okay with Twilight taking the suppression ring off my horn? Er, if you don’t mind?”

Fluttershy stared intently at Starlight for a moment. “Well, you do seem different, more so with your new mane style, and even your voice sounds more friendly.” Maybe feeling more at ease, Fluttershy smiled. “How about you all come in? We can get more comfortable and talk for a while.”

I said, “It’s okay by me.”

Twilight echoed, “Same here, and I think Starlight will be okay with it.”

“I would, but I was hoping we could see the others as soon as possible,” Starlight said. I guess I couldn't blame her; she really wanted that ring off her.

Twilight said, “We will get to them. But first, shouldn’t you get to know your new friend some more?”

There was a momentary delay before Starlight answered, “Yeah. I am a bit tired from that hopping I did anyway.”

She almost hid her disappointment well.

We all walked in, and Twilight and Fluttershy sat in green wooden chairs, opposite each other, but they were a tad too small for me. The first time I was here, I even had to sit on the floor.

But, Fluttershy didn’t want me to have to do that again, so later she got a larger chair that would fit me; that was the one I was sitting in and it was beside Twilight’s. Starlight chose to lay in front of me on the floor instead of an empty chair, which surprised me. She seemed comfortable, so I didn’t say anything.

Fluttershy asked, “So, Starlight, from what it sounds like, you understand what you...did in your village was wrong?”

Starlight nodded her head. “I do, and I will never take Cutie Marks or treat ponies like that again. Can you forgive me?”

Fluttershy smiled. All ponies are cute when they smile, but something about Fluttershy’s smiles was especially cute. “Yes, I forgive you, Starlight, and I’m not one to hold meaningless grudges. But, I am curious about why you took Cutie Marks in the first place. Was it really because you wanted ponies to be equal?”

“Yes, but it wasn’t just that. You see, when I was a filly, I was…” Starlight looked down and grew quiet.

In an even softer voice than her usual one, her voice already very soft to begin with, Fluttershy said, “Well, if it is hard for you to say, you don’t have to. After all, one thing friends don’t do is force another friend to say something that is too painful for them.”

Starlight lifted her head back to Fluttershy. “Really? After all I did to you...I thought you’d want to make me explain myself.”

Fluttershy answered, “Maybe some ponies would, but not me. Besides, something tells me that you have been through enough anyway.”

I couldn’t see because she was facing away from me, but I bet Starlight smiled at what Fluttershy told her. It’s no wonder she actually represents kindness from what Twilight told me about some “Elements of Harmony.” That smile was further hinted at when, in a particularly grateful voice, Starlight said, “T-Thank you, Fluttershy. I’ll tell you everything eventually.”

“Well, you do it when you are ready, and no sooner. Oh, and I already saw that you changed your mane style, but what made you do it?”

“Since I’m starting over and learning real friendship, not the ‘friendship’ I tried to teach, I thought it would be fitting to change it to show I’m a different pony now.”

“I like that outlook, and your mane does look cute like that. Also, you can count me as a friend, and earlier you asked if I was okay with that ring being taken off: it is okay by me.”

“It is? Thank you!” Starlight hopped to her hooves, ran to Fluttershy and hugged her. “I’ll do my best to be a friend you’ll be happy to have.”

“I-I’m glad to hear that, b-but can you let me go?” Fluttershy asked in a strained voice. I guess Starlight’s hug was a bit too tight. I’d pity Fluttershy even more if that hug was anything like Pinkie’s hugs.

Starlight gasped, let Fluttershy go, and said, “Oh, I’m sorry!”

Fluttershy took some tired breaths. “It’s alright. I'd rather you do that to me than...that other thing.”

Twilight said, “Same here, Starlight. Now that Fluttershy is your friend and is willing to let that ring come off, we just need to go to the others and ask them.”

“Okay, and…oh.” Starlight looked down again.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I don’t think Applejack ‘hates’ me anymore and I don’t know if Rarity still does, but Rainbow…are you sure she’ll even want to listen to me, let alone be my friend?”

I answered, “Oh, yeah. Rainbow still seemed a bit upset at you at Applejack’s farm. I haven’t known her that long, but I know she can be stubborn as a mule.”

I covered my mouth. I remembered seeing mules around in Equestria, and thought my pony friends might get mad at that expression. Yet none of them seemed the least bit upset: maybe it was because they’re ponies. Still, I wasn’t going to use that expression again, just in case.

“Well, how about we go to her last? Maybe once the others forgive you, Rainbow will let it go,” Twilight suggested.

I asked, “But who should we go to next?”

Twilight rolled her eyes up in thought briefly. “Pinkie Pie didn’t seem to be upset at Starlight, or at least I don’t think she was, so let's go to her next.”

Fluttershy stayed, and the rest of us left to find Pinkie. Starlight wasn’t hopping along this time but was still smiling.

We just arrived at the pink doors of Sugarcube Corner, where Pinkie Pie works, Starlight was again taking deep breaths. Like before, Starlight stood between Twilight and me. I could smell the sweets from inside, making that top part of the place, which looks like a cupcake with pink icing and three candles, look even more tasty than it usually does.

Twilight said, “First things first, Starlight: Pinkie Pie can be...unpredictable, but she wants to be everypony’s friend. She once even sang a song through Ponyville about it and it became an unplanned parade.”

“Really?” Starlight asked.

“Equestria is so much more different than my world,” I commented.

“Yep, and that’s not the first time you said that comment, Sam. She once chased somepony, or someone, all over Ponyville that got mad at her, begging him to forgive her and be her friend.”

“That so? You know, not that you don’t deserve to be, Twilight, but it almost sounds like Pinkie should be the Princess of Friendship.”

Twilight giggled. “Well, she’s a force of nature when it comes to wanting to make friends, but I don’t know if Equestria could survive Pinkie Pie being an alicorn and princess.” In a more serious voice, Twilight added, “But anyway, Starlight, try to stay on Pinkie’s good side. In fact, even if she forgives you, stay on her good side anyway.”

Twilight knocked on the door and Pinkie opened it with a smile. Even seeing her “unexpected” visitor, she kept on smiling.

“Oh, hi, Twilight, Sam, stealer of Cutie Marks and enslaver of villages!” Pinkie said in a cheerful tone. At least I didn’t think she was mad.

Twilight said, “Hey, and the, uh, ex-stealer of Cutie Marks has something she wants to say.”

“I do. Pinkie Pie, I just wanted to say that I’m sorry for what I did, ask if you can forgive me and be friends, and if...you wouldn’t mind this coming off?” Starlight pointed at the ring on her horn.

Pinkie set a hoof on her cheek, rolled her eyes up, and formed a more serious frown. After maybe three seconds, Pinkie said, “Well, not yet. First, you must pass the ‘Pinkie Pie friendship test’.”

Twilight asked, “What ‘Pinkie Pie friendship test’?”

I echoed, “Yeah, what’s that? You didn’t make me take it!”

“Yeah, but you didn’t take my Cutie Mark, Sam, but Starlight did.”

I started, “That’s true, but still--”

Pinkie interrupted, “Anywho, time for the ‘Pinkie Pie friendship test’.” Pinkie looked directly at Starlight. “Here’s how it works: Starlight, I ask you one question, and if you get it right, I’ll forgive you, be your friend, and will be okay with that glowy ring coming off your horn.”

“But, I don’t know if I can pass. I haven’t learned....much about friendship yet.” Starlight answered in an unsure voice. I couldn’t blame her.

“Well, too bad, because you gotta take it. Are you ready?”

Starlight nodded her head, and a drop of sweat ran down her forehead. “I…*gulp*...guess.”

“Okay then. Here’s your question: Do you want to be friends with me, Pinkie Pie, the bestest party planner in all of Equestria?”

I thought I heard Starlight gulp. “Y-Yes?”

Pinkie grinned. “That’s the right answer! So I’ll forgive you, be your friend, and you have my okay to take that thing off.”

Well, that was...something. Maybe one day I will know what that “something” was, but I do know that Pinkie is too much for me sometimes.

I started, “But, didn’t her asking you to be friends mean that she--”

Twilight looked up at me and interjected, “Sam, when Pinkie Pie is being Pinkie Pie, you don’t ask questions. I learned this the hard way, and I still sometimes forget.”

“Fair enough, I guess, and at least she forgave Starlight.”

“And now that we’re friends, I should throw a ‘Pinkie Pie forgives Starlight Glimmer and is her friend’ party! But, I bet you want to run to Applejack, Rarity, and Rainbow so they can forgive you and give their permission for Twilight to take that ring off your horn, right?”

“Yeah, and wait, how did you know that we already went to Fluttershy?” Starlight asked.

“Just a hunch,” Pinkie answered and did that high-pitch “squee” sound ponies like to do when they’re excited.


Twilight said, “Four words, Starlight: she is Pinkie Pie. The sooner you accept that she sometimes does things you can’t explain, the better. Trust me.”

“Anywho, I’ll throw that party later. Bye-bye!” Pinkie closed the door. Equestria can be weird, but Pinkie Pie is a whole other level of weird!

“Well, that’s two down, three to go,” Twilight said.

“Who do we go to next?” Starlight asked.

I suggested, “Applejack seemed like she was already starting to forgive you. How about we go to her next?”

Twilight and Starlight agreed, and we headed over to Applejack’s farm: Sweet Apple Acres. I should ask Twilight later what happened when she tried to learn how Pinkie Pie is...Pinkie Pie. She’s the pony that loved asking questions, so her telling Starlight and me not to suggested that something bad happened to her when she did it to Pinkie.

As we walked into Sweet Apple Acres, we saw Applejack finishing some work in one of its fields near the barn.

Twilight called out, “Hey, Applejack, Sam and I were here, and we...have a guest.”

“Oh, hey guys...oh, hey, Starlight. I see ya have that collar off.” Applejack walked from the fields to us with a frown. I thought she dropped the grudge, but guess it’s not fully gone yet.

Starlight gulped and took a deep breath, which she didn’t do beforehand this time. “H-Hi, Applejack. I-I wanted to come and tell you that I’m sorry for what I did to you, your friends, and the ponies in my village. I was hoping if you could forgive me, that we could be friends, and if it would be fine with you for Twilight to take this ring off my horn?”

Applejack gave a stare at Starlight. It wasn’t an angry one, but one showing she was trying to see if Starlight was telling the truth, I think. “Hmm. Well, somethin’ about ya does seem different, not just yer voice and mane, and even the other day ya felt different. Now, unlike Rainbow Dash, Ah do want to let bygones be bygones. But, Ah’m still not sure if yer truly sorry, or if yer just sayin’ that so ya can get that ring off yer horn.”

Starlight frowned and looked down. She had to be disappointed, but we didn’t come this far to let it end here.

I asked, “Is there anything she can do to show she’s telling the truth?”

“Maybe if we get to know each other a bit, Ah’ll feel more comfortable with her havin’ her magic back.”

Starlight said, “Okay. What would you like to talk about?”

“First, how about we start with the story of why ya took Cutie Marks to begin with? Ah know ya said it was because of ‘equality’ and I’m all for fair treatment. But was there more to it?”

“Uh, well, it is true that I wanted everypony to be equal and thought Cutie Marks made some ponies better than others. But, I also did it because I...didn’t want to be…” Starlight gritted her teeth, closed her eyes, and looked down.

I never asked Starlight much about her past, but now I see it was the right call. Something happened to her that I didn’t know about.

Twilight had a big sympathetic frown. She was probably about to tell Starlight that she didn’t have to fess up.

But before Twilight could say anything, Applejack said, “Wait, Starlight, you don’t have to say more.”

“I don’t?”

Applejack shook her head. “Nope, and ah was already leanin’ towards believin’ yer change. But after seein’ ya about to cry tryin’ to say whatever yer reasons were...I now know yer tellin’ the truth.” Applejack walked closer to her and rested a hoof on Starlight’s shoulder. “I forgive you, Starlight Glimmer. You can count me as a friend, and Ah'll even be okay with that ring comin’ off yer horn.”

Starlight wiped her eyes and smiled. “R-Really?”

Applejack smiled back and nodded her head. “Yep!”

Starlight’s smile grew bigger, and this was the happiest smile she’s shown yet. “Oh, thank you, Applejack, and you won’t regret this!” Starlight wrapped her forelegs around Applejack in a hug. Either Applejack can take hugs better, or Starlight held back this time.

“Glad that’s all behind us now. In fact, the next time yer here, Starlight, Ah’ll let ya try some good ‘ol Sweet Apple Acres cider.”

“Oh, uh, m-maybe, and I’ve never had cider before.”

“Really? Ya don’t know what yer missing!”

I interrupted, “Maybe we’ll have her try some on another day.” I turned to Starlight. “And now only Rarity and Rainbow Dash are left.”

“So y’av already seen Fluttershy and Pinkie? Ah think Rarity will forgive ya too, but Rainbow...she’s not goin’ to be easy to win over. We talked and she ain’t gonna call you Sam’s ‘pet’ anymore, but she’s still a mite sore.”

Twilight said, “Well, we’ll worry about that when it’s time to go to her. But for now, let’s head to Rarity’s place. I think she’s home.”

We left the farm and made our way to Rarity’s. Starlight acted a bit differently than before. She was quiet and seemed to be thinking about something, but wasn’t sad or anything.

At Rarity’s place, Carousel Boutique, we were about to knock on the door. I can’t help thinking about merry-go-rounds when I see this place because of its design.

I noticed Starlight had her head down. Thinking she was getting worried, I said, “You know, this is going pretty well, Starlight. At this rate, you're going to have your magic in no time! Even if Rainbow Dash might not forgive you easily.”

“I hope so. But…”

“What’s wrong?” Twilight asked. "Is it because you're worried about Rainbow Dash?"

Starlight raised her head, wearing a frown. She first looked at me, then at Twilight. “It's not that. It's just that I feel...happy.”

I rubbed the back of my head, not getting why Starlight said that in a somewhat sad voice. “Happy? Uh, isn’t that a good thing?”

Starlight looked back at me and smiled. “Oh, it is! Having friends, it has been a long time since I’ve felt so happy.”

“Then what’s wrong?” Twilight asked.

“Starlight frowned again and explained, “It’s...even after Applejack was so mad at me, she still forgave me after seeing me sad.” In an even more remorseful voice, she continued, “I already knew what I did was wrong, but now...I really can’t believe how bad I treated you, Twilight, and the others. Even if I thought I was helping you all in my village, it feels so...wrong now.”

Twilight smiled and set a hoof on Starlight’s shoulder, much like how Applejack did. “Well, that’s part of the magic of friendship. The magic of, well, magic, is great, but it pales in comparison to the magic of friendship.”

I rolled my eyes and commented, “You said you’d try to lay off the corn around me, Twilight. Even if it’s true.”

Twilight smiled up at me mischievously. “What was that, Sam?”

“Uh, nothing. How about we get back to helping Starlight make up with Rarity?”

After a chuckle, Twilight knocked on the door.

“Just a second,” Rarity called out from inside. After a short wait, light-blue magic opened the door and revealed Rarity.

“Oh, hi...oh, it’s you,” Rarity started in a cheerful tone, until she got to the “oh it’s you” part. After that, she simply scowled at Starlight.

I started, “Uh, yeah. You see, ‘her’--”

“I-I know you’re still mad at me, and I don’t blame you. What I did, taking away your Cutie Mark, what made you special, was inexcusable, and you should be mad. No, you should hate me.”

“Well, of course, I should be mad--" Rarity's scowl softened. "Wait, what? Really?”

Starlight nodded her head with a remorseful frown. “Yes. I really didn’t mean any harm, but...now I know how wrong I was, and I’m so sorry.”

Something about Starlight’s apology this time was different. She was serious with her previous ones, but if I didn’t know better, this one was even more sincere.

Rarity’s eyes widened. She didn’t move and just stared at Starlight.

Starlight herself looked down. I looked at Twilight and she looked up at me, but we said nothing.

After maybe five seconds, Rarity finally said, “I-I don’t know what to say. I didn’t think you would ever feel bad about what you did, but...here you are. You almost look like you are about to cry.”

Starlight raised her head. “I do feel bad about it, really bad. I’m turning over a new leaf and want to learn real friendship, not the ‘friendship’ I wanted in that village, and become a good pony.”

“Wow. And you are serious? You really mean all that?”

“I do. If you want, I’ll do whatever you think is fair.”

Rarity set a hoof on her cheek for a moment. “Oh, dear. I...well, Twilight, Sam, I believe I already know the answer, but what do you two think?”

Twilight answered, “We believe that Starlight’s telling the truth, but we also know that even though we think of her as our friend, you might not. So she’s here to ask if you want to be her friend and if you’re willing to give her a second chance.”

“Well, you do seem truly sorry. If you really are and won’t do anything like what you did in that village again, then I can forgive you and be your friend. Especially if Applejack and Rainbow Dash did.”

I pointed out, “Well, we actually haven’t gone to Rainbow yet, but Applejack, as well as Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie, forgave her.”

“I see. You three are going to go to Rainbow now?”

“Yeah. But...do you guys think she’ll want to forgive me?”

I said, “I think she will, but it might not be easy. But I think she might be more willing to forgive you than she might have when we started.”

Starlight looked at me, and her eyes were bigger than usual. “Why?”

“Because you seem to be more sorry about your actions now than you were before.”

“I do?”

“Yep,” I knelt and set a hand on Starlight’s shoulder. I almost set it on her head, but stopped myself from doing it. “Did you notice how you didn’t ask Rarity if it was okay for Twilight to take that ring off your horn? That shows more than ever that not only are you sorry, you truly want to make friends the right way. In fact, you just want friends.”

Twilight gasped. “Oh, that’s right! Starlight, I missed how you didn’t ask about the suppression ring on your horn.”

I moved my hand off Starlight, stood up, focused my gaze to Twilight, and chuckled. “I think you’re slipping, Twilight.”

“Come on, it was easy to miss!” Twilight defended, but it was in a more playful voice, not an annoyed one.

Rarity smiled and said, “In that case, I’m definitely willing to give you a second chance and be your friend now. I will admit that I still had a...doubt or two, but not anymore, darling!” Rarity winked as she finished. This wink felt different than the one that...Lilly mare gave me at the pet store.

Starlight smiled and ran to hug Rarity. “Thank you, Rarity! I promise you won’t forget it and I will be a friend you can be proud of!!”

Rarity hugged her back. "I know you will. Truly."

After the two mares let each other go, I thought of something.

“Hey, I have an idea.”

“What?” Twilight asked.

“I was thinking about how mad Rainbow was. Maybe it would help if all of us were with Starlight when she faced her.”

Twilight said, “That’s a good idea, Sam. If we all say that we forgave her when Starlight apologizes, that might help her do it too. If you don’t mind, Rarity?”

“Well, it is okay with me, and I don’t have anything to do anyway, so I will be happy to help.”

“Thanks, Rarity.”

Starlight was doing great. I wasn’t sure how well this would have gone, but it’s going as well as I hoped, if not better. But Starlight still had more work to do.

There was still one pony for her to win over: Rainbow Dash.

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