• 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 7: What's next?

Starlight Glimmer had never looked so happy, even if she wasn’t hopping up and down. The huge smile on her face alone proved it. Including me, her seven reasons for it still surrounded her.

Twilight said, “You’re a free mare with friends now, Starlight.”

“How does it feel?” I asked.

“Even better than I imagined. This almost feels like a dream.”

Pinkie hopped to Starlight and pinched her on the cheek. Even for her, that was...odd.

“Ow!” Starlight rubbed the cheek that was pinched. “What was that for, Pinkie?”

“Helping you make sure this isn’t a dream," Pinkie answered while still hopping. How her hopping never seem to tire her out is something I may never know. "Did that hurt?”


“Then it’s real!” Pinkie answered with a big smile.

I asked, “But how could you pinch her with a hoof?”

Twilight answered, “Because she’s Pinkie Pie, Sam. Like I told you before, she does things like that all the time.”

Note to self: watch out for Pinkie’s hooves.

Rainbow giggled. “And to think you once followed Pinkie all over Ponyville to learn about how her ‘Pinkie Sense’ works, Twilight."

Rarity commented, "I will never forget how stubborn you were.”

“And even with half the sky fallin’ on yer head, it still took ya a while to call it quits,” Applejack echoed.

I smirked at Twilight and leaned toward her. “Later, Twilight, I want to hear all about what happened when you were studying that 'Pinkie Sense' thing.”

“Uh, not that this is boring, but let us get back to Starlight.” Rarity looked at Starlight. “Now that you have your magic back and don't have to be on a leash anymore, what are you going to do now?”

Starlight rolled her eyes up in thought. It's becoming more and more cute seeing her do it. “Hmm...I'm not sure. I’m so happy to have friends again, I don’t even know what else I want right now.”

Fluttershy said, “Well, there is no pressure, so you have plenty of time to discover it.”

I pointed out, “But since you can go wherever you want now, you don’t have to stay with me anymore.”

Starlight’s smile flipped into a frown and her ears drooped. “Oh...yeah.”

“Is there something wrong?” Twilight asked.

Starlight shook her head. “Oh, no, there’s nothing wrong. I was just thinking.”

It didn’t feel like there was anything "wrong", but something was on her mind. Even so, I chose not to press Starlight and instead said, “Well, this day was a tiring one for me, so I’m going to...hey, hold on a second.”

Rarity asked, “What?”

“I just remembered that Starlight hasn’t officially made friends with Spike yet. In fact, where is he?”

Twilight answered, “I don’t know. He wasn’t...mad at Starlight, and I planned to ask him to come with us to help Starlight win over Rainbow. But he was gone when we got to the castle.”

“Speaking of Spike, Twilight, I’ve only seen him two times, and both times he just stared at me. Was there something on my face?” Starlight asked. If only she knew the truth!

“Uh...not quite,” Twilight answered in a sheepish voice. She formed just as sheepish a grin on her face.

“Then what was it? Do you know?” Starlight asked.

“Well, uh...I think he s-should be the one to tell you.”

And by Twilight’s blushing, she just didn’t want to tell Starlight the reason. In fact, I might have some fun with Spike about it later.

I said, “Well, in that case, we can ask him what’s wrong the next time he and Starlight are together. Anyhow, as I was about to say, I’m getting bushed, so I’m going to head home.”

Starlight asked, “And can I come?”

“Sure,” I answered. “After we rest, we can help you think of where to go from here.”


With Starlight following me, we left Twilight’s castle and headed to my house. Oddly, Starlight was quiet, but I figured she was just a tad overwhelmed with her new freedom.

Once we were in my house, I went right to the couch in the living room and sat on it, my back comfortably against the backrest. Starlight followed me, but stopped in front of the couch. She had what looked to be a worried frown.

“Hm? What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I was thinking. You said that your dad died two years ago?”


There was a brief silence before she said, “I’m sorry to hear that. Were you two close? Uh, if you don’t mind me asking.”

“I’m okay with answering. I didn’t tell you too much about me, and now that I know more about your past, it’s fair to tell you more.”

Starlight smiled and jumped on the couch to lay beside me. She really is a very different pony than she was when we first met, who wouldn't even speak to me. Makes it even harder to believe that she was even capable of doing anything bad; she now seems so...innocent, and cute. And she was already cute to begin with.

I chuckled. “I’m surprised.“

Starlight tilted her head slightly to the side. “What?”

“I didn't expect you to want to keep sitting beside me like this.”

Starlight frowned. In a slightly sad voice, she asked, “Oh...should I hop off?”

“N-No! You don’t have to. You can sit beside me and I even like it, I promise,” I quickly assured. After hearing her story, it just feels...wrong to see Starlight sad now.

Starlight’s smile returned. “Okay!”

There’s the smile I like to see.

“Alright. First, my father and I were really close. My mother passed away soon after my birth, so I don’t remember her. But my father was always there for me, until two years ago, as you know now. We hiked in the woods sometimes, he taught me how to play the guitar, which I would play for you if I had it, and much of the music I like to listen to he liked. In fact, many of the CDs I have were his.”

Starlight commented, “He sounds way better than my dad.”

“He was great, but he was scary if you got him mad. Spike told me that Twilight has a temper too, but I haven’t seen her truly mad yet. Knowing the magic she has, though, I plan to keep it that way.”

“Hee hee. I sure know not to get her mad. She might put another of those suppression rings on my horn."

“Good idea to stay on her good side. But seriously, I don’t think Twilight would want us to be scared of her."

“I know she wouldn’t, but after how I--”

A new voice interrupted, “Well, if you ask me, Little Miss Goody-goody isn’t so scary, but I am the God of Chaos, soooo…”

Both Starlight and I gasped. I knew who it was and was already getting sick of that voice. We looked toward my father's chair in the room and we saw Discord sitting in it, with a pillow behind his head, making my blood boil.

“Discord? Why are you here?" In a louder voice, I demanded, "And get out of that chair!”

"Oh, touchy, touchy.” Discord levitated off the chair and stood on his feet. “Anyway, why am I here, you ask? Just thought I would come chill” -- Discord turned himself into an ice cube for a moment -- “with my favorite human and his little pet.”

“Discord, I already told you that Starlight is not my pet! She’s my friend!”

“Reaaaaaly?” Discord pointed toward Starlight. “Take a look at your hand, Mr. No-pet.”

“Huh?” I focused my gaze on Starlight, and only then became aware that my hand was rubbing her mane again. I gasped and immediately took my hand off her. “O-Okay, I didn’t mean to do that! I-I just--”

“Find her so cute that you can’t resist rubbing her mane like...a pet?” Discord snapped his fingers. A blue hat with the words "Sam’s #1 pet” materialized on Starlight’s head. This guy was getting on my last nerves.

Starlight didn’t even take her hat off, like she knew more or less what it said. Instead, she frowned and looked down.

“Come on, Discord! She was in a good mood, and now you’re depressing her!”

“Oh? Well, why not have her say something? Or do, cat have her tongue?”

Starlight raised her head. “I-I'm n-no…” Starlight looked back down.

“What’s that? I can’t hear you!” One of Discord’s ears grew to three times its size, and he leaned it toward Starlight's direction. My blood was starting to boil.

I clenched my fists and shouted, “Discord, leave her alone! What did she do to you anyway?!”

“She didn’t do a thing to me.” Discord snapped his fingers again and a professor’s hat appeared on his head. As much as Discord was annoying me, his ability to create things by just snapping his fingers was something to envy. “However, while I’m not the do-goody the Princess of Friendship is, I do enjoy teaching a lesson or two from time to time. I think there’s something that Starlight needs to learn.”

Starlight lifted her head again and tilted it to the side. “Learn?”

“Yes! She can be taught after all!” After another snap of Discord’s fingers, a graduation hat popped into existence on Starlight’s head. A diploma fell in front of her.

“If there is, why can’t you just tell me?”

“Where’s the fun in that? After all, what good is a lesson if you are simply told what the lesson is? Though if you can’t tell me what it is, then tell me how do this feel?”

Discord snapped his fingers yet again. Starlight's hat and "diploma" vanished, but a shirt saying “pet of the year” came into existence on Starlight.

“Please, just leave me alone…” Starlight started, then looked away. She might have been close to crying.

That was it, and it was like my teeth gritted on their own. “Discord, I'm not playing around! Leave my friend alone and get out of my house!!”

Discord frowned, but wasn’t one you give when your feelings are hurt. This was more of disappointment or something; not that I cared in the slightest. “Oh, poo. Well, I can see my welcome’s worn out. Ta-ta!”

One more snap of his fingers, and Discord disappeared from the room. The shirt on Starlight vanished too.

“Are you okay, Starlight?”

“Yeah.” Starlight looked up at me. ”But I don’t understand. What ‘lesson’ was he talking about?”

“You know what? I think he said that to justify him picking on you for some reason.”


I answered, “Yeah. I mean, what could you learn from that?”

Starlight smiled, inching closer to lay her head against my side. “Thanks, Sam. I’m going to pay you back for all the trouble I caused you, I promise. Same goes for paying back Twilight and all of my new friends.”

I reached toward Starlight, about to rub her mane. Although right before my hand touched it, I stopped, and instead gave her a *boop* on the muzzle, making her giggle. It was a close call between her and Twilight on who giggled the cutest to my boops. “You don’t have to do anything for me. Other than try to become a good pony, which you’re already doing. In fact, I think you are a good pony.”

She was already smiling, but it grew a little bigger. “You think I am?”

“I know so, but you just have more to learn. Me too, because I still haven’t made a friend in Equestria that didn’t come to me. Or brought to me in your case,” I explained with a laugh at the end.

“Then I guess we can learn together?”

“That sounds good to me.” I reached my hand out in a fist.

Starlight’s stared at my fist. “What are you doing?”

“Uh...guess you didn’t learn about fistpumps, or ‘hoofpumps’ I guess, before you...learned friendship. You tap my fist with one of your hooves and it’s a sign of friendship.”

“Oh, okay! But I thought that was called a ‘hand’, not a ‘fist’.”

I chuckled, and I should be used to this kind of thing by now. Spike can make “fists” with his claws, but maybe Equestria has another name for that.

“Sorry, and I’ll explain. The position my hand is in right now is called a ‘fist’.”

Starlight stared closer to my fist with big, curious eyes. “A ‘fist’ you said, and I tap it with my hoof, right?”


Starlight reached her hoof out and lightly tapped my fist. I’ve seen ponies give “hoofpumps”, but she must not have learned about them. Makes sense, given all that she said earlier.

“There you go! It’s called ‘fistpumps’ in my world, but it’s probably called ‘hoofpumps’ or something in Equestria. I’ll ask one of our friends about it later.”

“Okay.” Starlight grinned and said, “Oh, and something I know friends do is help their friends out, so watch this!”

Starlight’s horn glowed and I looked towards the kitchen. Surrounded by turquoise magic, a bucket in the corner of the kitchen was levitated across the kitchen and into the sink, and water was poured into it. Once full, it was set on the floor in front of the sink. A second later, a mop, also held in magic, was dipped in the water. At around the same time, rags that were lying on a cabinet near the sink flew off it and into the same bucket.

Then the mop swept the floor and the rags flew to the tables, wiping them. After about five seconds, everything flew back to where they were before, and Starlight’s horn stopped glowing.

It would have taken me at least half an hour to do what Starlight did in under ten seconds. Why unicorns aren’t doing more than I’ve seen them do is beyond me! Although Starlight is supposedly an unusually powerful unicorn.

“Well? What did you think?” Starlight asked with a proud smile.

“Wow! That’s impressive! You made that look so easy.”

“Oh, that was nothing. I can do a lot more than that! Wanna see?”

“Cool, but how about we do something that is...a bit less-magical in nature?” I suggested. I didn’t want to feel too weak compared to her.

“Okay. Hmm…” Starlight’s smile faded.

"What’s wrong? Did I hurt your feelings?”

“Oh, no, no, it’s not that! It’s just, do you remember when you said that I can go anywhere now?”

“Yeah. Did you decide where you want to go?”

Starlight looked down and made circles on the couch with a hoof. “Well…”

There was a knock on the door.

“Hold on, Starlight. Let me get that and you can tell me later. You look a little tired, so maybe some rest can help you say whatever it was you’re trying to say?”

“Some rest sounds like a good idea.” Starlight walked up the stairs to her room, and I watched her as she left. She didn’t seem sad, but I had no idea why she was acting the way she was.

One day, I am going to meet your mother and father. I have words for them.

More knocks on my door snapped me out of what I might do if I ever see Starlight’s parents face-to-face. I walked to and opened the door, and Spike was there with a nervous frown. He was holding red-colored flowers in his claws.

Oh boy. As I thought, he’s head over heels for Starlight.

“Hey, Spike.”

“Hey, Sam. Is...Starlight here?”

“Yeah, and she just went to her room to rest. It may not be a good idea to disturb her at the moment, but you can chill with me for a while.”


I let Spike in and he walked to the couch to sit down in, still holding those flowers. I thought about that idea I came up with at Twilight’s castle and walked across the room to my CD player. Time to have some fun.

“So, Spike, seems like you have something on your mind.”

Spiked looked to the left and right and crossed his arms. Maybe he was trying to look "cool" or something to hide the embarrassment he was likely feeling. “Oh, uh, I-I do?”

“Yep, and it's something big, is it?”

“Uh, no, there’s nothing ‘big’ on my mind.”

Sure there isn’t.

With a mischievous smile, I picked up a CD case and pulled out a CD. Ironically, it was one that Starlight didn’t pick to listen to yet.

“Doubt it, and I think I know what’s wrong. It has something to do with Starlight, right?”

Spike dropped his flowers and shook his head, trying to deny it. “Starlight? No, no it doesn’t. Why would it?”

"I think it is, and I have a feeling that playing this song will be quite fitting.” With some chuckles, I popped the disk in.

It was a song Spike already had listened to once, so he knew why I did that.

"So, is this close to what's on your mind?"

Spike blushed and stuttered, “Uh, w-why are you p-playing a song about l-love? W-Why would that have a-anything to do with Starlight?”

With a big smirk, I answered, “It’s because you have a big fat crush on her, don’t you?”

“N-No I don’t!”

I crossed my own arms in an “I’m not buying it” manner.

After more moments of stuttering, Spike uncrossed his arms and confessed, “Okay, Sam, you’re right! I do have a crush on her!”

I in turn uncrossed my arms, turned the song off, and walked to my father's chair to sit down. “I knew it, and Twilight probably does too.”

“Oh...she does?”

“Yeah, though I can’t say for sure. But I thought you liked Rarity?”

“I do, but...” Spike sighed, tilted his head down, and played with his claws. I haven’t seen Spike do this before, since he was always cheery around me. I even felt a little bad for coaxing him to admit he had a thing for Starlight, but there was no turning back now.

“But what? Come on, you gotta get this off your chest. Unless you’d rather talk to Twilight about this?”

Spike sprung his head back up. “N-No, not Twilight! Talking about this with her would be too embarrassing. Besides, she has trouble with...this kind of thing.”

“She does, huh?” I rubbed my nose with a chuckle.

I wondered why Twilight didn’t have a "Prince" or was she interested in one. At least, she wasn't looking for one as far as I was aware; I’ve never asked her more personal stuff like that. Up until now, I thought it was because she’s the Princess of Friendship, not because of any suspect romantic skills.

“But if it’s either you or Twilight, I’ll tell you.” Spike gave a deep sigh and confessed, “Okay, it’s...I tried to tell myself that she might, but I don’t think Rarity likes me. She had a crush on a stallion once, and she never acted anywhere like that to me. Plus, I think Rarity thinks I'm a...baby dragon.”

I rubbed my chin. “So, she might think you’re too young and you’re ready to move on from her, huh?”


“I think that’s a good call. You don’t want to keep doing a pointless chase.” I rubbed my chin again, trying to think of some good advice to give Spike. Not that I was exactly Mr. Romantic. “Now, I don’t know how ponies in Equestria age, but Starlight doesn’t seem that much younger than Rarity. Why aren’t you worried she might think you’re too young too?”

“That's because something about Starlight seems...different. Even when I first saw her.”

I chuckled at how he acted around her. His smile and stare back then all but screamed that Starlight stole his heart. “Yeah. You were drooling all over her when you and Twilight came by earlier.”

Spike scowled, and this is the first time I’ve seen him mad. “Hey, I wasn’t ‘drooling’ over her!”

“Really? Twilight had to yell to get you to snap out of it!”

Spike’s scowl softened. I had him and he knew it. “I...okay, you got me, and if I didn’t hear about Starlight’s past from Twilight, I would let it go. But, because of what she’s been through, I feel like Starlight might be okay with my age.”

“I can’t say for sure, but she might be.” A thought about how Spike left before Starlight, Twilight, and I went to the others for Starlight's "apology tour" popped into my head. “Now that I think of it, if you like Starlight, why did you take off when she, Twilight, and I were going to the others? She could’ve used the extra support, and it would’ve been a way for you to show how good a guy you are.”

Spike looked down, maybe in shame. “Well...I left because I couldn’t get words out, like you said. I was worried I’d make a fool out of myself, or make things harder on her. She...wasn’t mad about it, was she?”

“No, she wasn’t, just confused about the staring. Though, Starlight’s still new to friendship and is just enjoying having friends, so trying a romantic relationship might be too much for her right now.”

Spike sighed, but it was one of those “I’m disappointed but I understand” ones. After a moment, he raised his head to me and asked, “I guess you have a point, so what should I do?”

I was about to rub my chin again, but my answer came surprisingly quickly. “First, try not to drool when you’re around her and get out complete sentences. Other than that, just get to know her and let her know the real you. If the moment comes that you think the time is right, tell her how you feel.”

“But when will I know the time is right?”

I rubbed my chin once again, but this time, even that didn’t make any ideas come to mind. “Uh...that’s a good question.”

“Thanks a lot,” Spike deadpanned.

“Sorry, but I’m no romantic expert myself, even if I’m a better option than Twilight. But I’ll tell you what: I’ll do what I can, and if I see a good time for you to do it, I’ll tell you ASAP. No promises, though.”

Spike grinned. “You will? Thanks, Sam!" Spike hopped off the couch, ran to me, and we did a fistpump. Or whatever it would be called in Equestria.

After that, the two of us hung out for a while, chilling, before he left. The whole time, Starlight stayed in her room. I had no idea what she wanted to say, but I hoped it wasn’t anything serious. I also had a question of my own.

What’s next?

Author's Note:

"What's next" indeed! Where will Sam and Starlight go from here? What "lesson" was Discord talking about?

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