• Published 28th Mar 2020
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Starlight Glimmer and the Runekeepers - JPHyperX

Starlight Glimmer's life changes when she finds an ancient secret she must uncover. Meanwhile, assassins plan to kill Twilight Sparkle.

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Chapter 6: How to Lift Heavy Metal

The rocks were rough and dark. A tattered piece of cloth was blowing in the wind, which hung firmly under several stones placed on top of each other.

A thrush with a snail in its beak hopped across the path and struck it against the rocks to crack the shell open. But when someone came, it flew away quickly.

Starlight, Sunburst, Trixie and Maud had finally reached the top of the mountain. The last steps led to an ominous cave. The few trees that stood there barely bore any leaves. Here the view was even more magnificent than before. From here they could spot Canterlot. They even could see a train going up there to the capitol. But the ponies had seen enough already. Whatever the map had shown them. It filled them with greater interest.

Sunburst seemed like an easily impressed tourist, “I imagined it to be much smaller.”

Maud replied monotonously, as always, “Pinkie had told me that the dragon was bigger than two houses.”

Trixie was initially amazed at this size description. “And this monster backed down from Fluttershy?”

Starlight would never understand what had happened back then. But at least she was glad nobody lived in that cave anymore. She was hoping for that.

“Well then, let’s go,” she said impatiently.

A cold wind blew into their faces. Drops fell from the ceiling into small puddles. With every step it became darker. Starlight made a light with her horn. Then Sunburst and lastly Trixie. Maud looked at the walls that were illuminated by the different colored lights of the unicorns. “This cave is full of crystal rocks. No wonder a dragon lived there,” she said.

Trixie turned around and asked, “And how do you know that?”

“Dragons feed on crystals,” Maud replied. Trixie shook her head and asked again, “No, how do you know by just looking what kind of rock it is?”

“I work with stones often.”

Starlight found a wide cavern, which looked like an entrance hall of the cave. More drops fell on the ground and the ponies. Trixie’s hat became wet, so she had to shake it out.

“Pretty damp here,” said Sunburst. “It must have rained before and the water seeps through the ceiling.” Then he shook his mane and sprayed the others wet. “Hey, sorry!”

Trixie grumbled and had to shake her hat dry one more time.

Starlight started looking for the symbol. But as it seemed, it was an ordinary cave. Besides the puddles and pebbles, something shined. Coins, a thousand little coins, which lay around like forgotten. It wasn’t just any money. They were treasures from the past. Gold coins that didn’t match to the currency. Starlight picked one up and examined it.

Suddenly something rumbled. Stomping noises came closer to them. Trixie looked around in panic and dropped some coins, probably thinking she had triggered a trap. The stomping stopped. Instead, the four ponies saw two bright eyes looking out of the darkness.

“Who there?” shouted someone in a nasal voice. Trixie stood behind Sunburst. Their legs were shaking. Starlight watched this new thing, prepared for possible attacks. Maud remained calm. No one could really say what she’s feeling. Her expression was always the same.

The creature stepped into the light. It was a small green dragon with yellow spikes on its head. He was about the same size like Spike in his baby years. He raised his arms, begging like a dog and had no wings. That meant this dragon must be really young.

The ponies stared at him for a long time. Starlight dared to answer something, “A baby dragon? I thought there were no dragons here anymore.”

“Wrong, I live here,” said the little one and raised his nose confidently. “This is my home. One day I will become Dragon Lord of the Dragon Land!”

This was kind of cute how the little dragon puffed himself up. If Spike had been here, he would have laughed his scales off.

“So? What’s your name?” Sunburst asked smiling.

The little dragon swelled his chest. He spoke and tried to sound majestic as possible. “I am Prince Tabaluh! Son of Sabathum, King of Dragon Heavy Metal!”

Trixie chuckled, “Quite a poetic title.”

“Don’t you dare make fun of him, ponies! He is the greatest guitar player the world has ever seen and heard. One day all the dragons will fall to his knees,” called the little one.

Starlight raised her eyebrows and spoke to the others, “Well that explains the noise we heard while climbing.”

“Don’t call that noise!” Tabaluh hissed, “It is music. It is art and it will take your breath away!”

Starlight lifted a hoof calming. “Wow. Sorry, I didn’t mean that.”

“Noise… Pah! Don’t say that in his presence,” Tabaluh warned.

Sunburst cleared his throat and asked that dragon, “How long do you live here? We thought the last dragon had moved out long ago.”

“Oh, you have to ask my father. I wasn’t even an egg at that time,” Tabaluh replied and kicked into the ground, digging up some earth.

“Can we see your father, perhaps? We are looking for something,” Sunburst asked again.

Tabaluh stood upright again and raised his claw. “Wait! If you seek an audience, you must first request one!”

“And with whom?” Starlight asked.

“With me, of course! Do you see anyone else?”

The ponies waited intently for is permission. “Well? Can we have one?”

“A what?” Tabaluh asked confused.

“An audience!” Starlight repeated slightly annoyed, “We would like to see your father!”

The small dragon thought about it sharply and drilled around the teeth. “Well, he had just been practicing and usually he takes a little nap afterwards. But I will ask him anyway. Stay here while I’m gone!”

He ran back. The ponies looked around during this time. Starlight suspected that a pile full of treasures had once laid here. That would explain the coins on the ground.

Sunburst dug something out of the ground. It was a piece of rubber, covered with sand. Maud inspected the find and found something out, “That was one of Pinkie’s balloons.”

Starlight laughed. “Amazing how you know these things, Maud.” She put the broken balloon in her saddlebag. Maybe she could surprise Pinkie with it, where she had found this piece of history.

Tabaluh stomped back. He scratched his head and said, “Okay! He wants to see you! I mentioned that you were ponies. I guess that caught his attention.”

“That’s great!” Sunburst said, “Please take us to him!”

Tabaluh nodded and marched ahead. The cave was larger than expected. A deep descent led into the mountain. The dragon hopped down from rock to rock, while the four ponies took a little longer. At the last rock, Trixie slipped and splashed into a puddle with her stomach ahead. Her pointed hat floated gently onto her. The dragon giggled, “Watch out! The last one’s pretty slippery.”

“I noticed that,” Trixie murmured and spat sand and water out.

They walked on through a hall held up by natural columns. These carried green, yellow and red gemstones, shining like Heart’s Warming Eve decoration. In the distance they sparkled in different intensities.

Sunburst looked at the size of the hall with a bit of concern. “Say, kid! How tall is your father?”

“Oh! Only about fifty-five meters, I guess!”

This raised the ponies’ hackles. The unusual size wasn’t the only frightening thing. Dragons could grow up in two different ways. The faster way was greed. The more treasures it hoarded, the bigger it grew. The other way was a natural growth and this size was different from dragon to dragon. Starlight had to ask cautiously, “Tell me! Is your father a treasure hunter?”

Tabaluh replied as if it was a matter of course, “Oh, yes! He is! But his music is worth more to him. Still don’t try to steal anything from him, okay?”

More and more coins were lying around. They heard heavy breathing. This snorting caused a strong wind that roared between the columns. That made the ponies’ manes blow. Trixie’s legs began to shake. With chattering teeth, she tried to find an argument for retreat, “Um… I think I should get some fresh air. Fresh mountain breeze is supposed to be healthy!”

“We’re not backing down, Trixie,” Starlight recalled, “He might know what these symbols are all about.”

“What symbols?” Tabaluh curiously asked.

I’ll explain when we reach your father’s place,” Starlight said.

The dragon nodded. “All right! We’re here already!”

He pointed to a large archway that revealed the entrance to a cavern. Behind, the gold shimmered on the gemstone-studded walls. A large dark blue dragon tail lay on the coin hill in front of them. It moved, carved a path through the jingling gold mountain. The ponies entered the room in awe. They noticed how big this pile actually was. Treasure chests peaked from it, as well crowns and scepters decorated with rubies, sapphires and emeralds. Light crystals provided enough brightness so that all unicorns could turn off their magic light.

Maud drew an unusually deep breath through her nostrils when she saw this splendor.

The pile moved again. A deep grumble came out of it. The whole ground vibrated. Tabaluh began calling for his father, “Sabathuuum! Sabathuuum! Your pony guests are here!”

The movement increased. Another bulge appeared under the coins and a few spikes stuck out. Then a large paw from the treasure grabbed a long object. It was an ominous guitar. At the same time the big head of Sabathum appeared.

He had two horns bent downwards. White steam came out from his long, broad snout. He touched his large, homemade musical instrument. The strings of the guitar were thick as small tree trunks and yet they seemed elastic. The entire body was made of wood, metal and crystal rock. Everything decorated with diamonds.

Sabathum growled something. First he looked around on his pile of gold as if he was searching something. Then he seemed to have found it and grabbed a polished, smooth stone from the treasure. It was a plectrum for the guitar. He immediately put it on the strings and played around a little bit. The hall trembled as the bass filled the room. Sabathum turned on the adjusters a bit, mumbled around again and finally raised his head. His blue slit eyes stared down at the travelers. “Rock on, poniez!” he grunted. Then he lifted his plectrum.

Then Starlight saw something on this rock. She found the first symbol. The Aries symbol shone on the plectrum. Before she could say anything, Sabathum started playing. And he played hard… The cave trembled, the coins jumped up. His solo blew the pony manes away.

“I am Sabaaathuuum!” the dragon growled, finishing his intro. Tabaluh gave a big applause with his paws. He prompted the ponies to take part. They joined in with stomping hooves and an awkward smile.

“He likes to do this every time,” Tabaluh explained as Sabathum gently propped up his guitar on a column. Then he pulled his legs out of the treasure mountain and sat down with a big “Bang”. The ponies had his full attention.

“Wazzup?” he said with a tremendous bass voice. None of the ponies wanted to say something. Their breath caught.

Starlight knew it was on her again and stepped forward. “Hello! Great… Sabathum! I am Starlight Glimmer and these are my friends Sunburst, Trixie Lulamoon and Maud Pie. We’re from Ponyville and…”

Starlight suddenly sounded not very convincing, but that didn’t seem to interest the dragon. He continued to listen to her.

“We heard your music and… wanted to know where it came from… and so…”

Sabathum beamed. He seemed proud that someone had heard his play. “Well, now ya know!”

Starlight picked up her courage and cleared her throat. “Now that we know each other, I wanted to ask what a dragon is doing so far away from the Dragon Land?”

Sabathum raised his head and grimaced at her. Starlight, however, continued speaking, “Another dragon lived here before. He had darkened the sky once.”

There the dragon widened his eyes and answered, “Ah, ‘dat was dis Razer! Yes, dis git told me about dis place. Said a kouple from yer pony clan chased ‘em away.”

His accent sounded very strange, but Starlight could still understand him. “So? Then what are you doing here?”

“Dis iz ma place, now! But I don’t smoke like Razer! Too unhealthy! I moved away, ‘cos Dragon Lord Torch didn’t like ma music very much. ‘e iz a damn uncultured swine, I say.”

Starlight noticed that this dragon hasn’t been up to date. So he must have lived here for quite a long time. So she brought him the news right away. “Torch is no longer Dragon Lord.”

Sabathum stunned in disbelief, “Wot?”

“His daughter Ember rules the Dragon Land and is in alliance with Equestria.”

The dragon seemed to process this. He kept staring at the pony from above, stunned, “Are ya kidd’n me?”

Sunburst caught his voice again and confirmed Starlight’s information, “It’s true! Equestria changed a lot last years!”

Sabathum just kept staring and said nothing for a while. Then suddenly he burst out into laughter, “Puhahaha! ‘dat was gud! Emba iz da Dragon Lord an’ da dragons are friends wit’ da ponies. Wot else? Are ‘da changel’n friends, too?

Sunburst sniggered because he had accidentally uttered another fact. “So it is! Our new princess…”

“WOT?” Sabathum interrupted him. Apparently all the news confused him. “Yer have annuver new princess?” the huge dragon chuckled and calmed down slowly.

Tabaluh took the chance to say something, “But, father, if this is true, we may have the option to go home. One day you could callange Ember and become Dragon Lord by yourself. That was your biggest dream. And then I could be your successor!”

Sabathum bent over and gently patted his son’s head. “Ah! Ma little Tabaluh, I wll no longa be ‘da Dragon Lord. But when yer past ‘da molt, yer kan try it.”

The little one crossed his arms and made a pouty lip. He probably would like to have his father as a Dragon Lord. Still, Starlight knew Sabathum was right. When dragon children have reached a certain age, their wings will grow. From then on, they could challenge the Dragon Lord.

“They’ve banned me ‘cos I was ‘da loudest uv ‘da dragons,” Sabathum continued, “I’ve challenged Torch an’ lost. ‘da losa fliez. Dis iz ‘da law…”

He grabbed his instrument for a new song. Again Starlight saw the symbol on the stone plectrum and this time she recognized it. It was clearly what she was looking for. She called before the dragon could start with his music, “I have a question! What is that symbol on your chip?”

Sabathum made an irritated look, then at his plectrum. “Wot symbol? ‘der’s nothing!”

“Can we take a closer look?”

Tabaluh jumped frightened up and waved with is claws. Sabathum stooped down with a grim face. He snorted, “You kan scratch ‘dat, missy! Ma plectrum an’ ma shred are ma own an’ I won’t let ‘da smallest bat near im.”

He wasn’t very happy about that question. But Starlight didn’t want to give up. She took the notebook from Sunburst’s bag and lifted her amulet. “We’re looking for symbols scattered around Equestria. There is this temple and this clock…”

But Sabathum didn’t want to hear it. He waved and snorted through his nose. “Oh leave me be wit’ dis pony tale. Eitha ya listen ta ma music or beat it!”

“But, please! Listen…”

The big dragon spread his wings and snorted a third time through his nose. This time two stab flames burst out. The ponies knew, this was the last warning. Starlight had hoped to convince him. She was at the end. Sighing, she let her things sink. “Well, all right. Go ahead and play.”

But the dragon put his guitar aside and himself back into his pile of gold. “No, you’ve made me tired wit’ all dis question’n. I’m gunna take a nap. Kome back lata. Or betta not. Yer might as well hear dat from outside.”

He lay down and closed his eyes. Tabaluh shrugged. “Well, there’s nothing we can do! He’s a sensitive guy, you know!”

He accompanied the ponies out to the entrance. Starlight was disappointed with herself. She shouldn’t have acted too hastily. Sunburst and Trixie seemed to feel with her. No reason to be angry as well. Still, Sunburst had to ask as they made their way back, “You saw the symbol on this stone? Because I didn’t.”

“I could have sworn it was there. I saw it twice.”

“When exactly?”

“The first time before he did his solo and then when he wanted to play for the second time.”

Tabaluh added, “I should have warned you there. Interrupting him doesn’t make a good impression.”

Starlight let her head hang until they all stood at the exit of the cave again. Tabaluh stopped, to say goodbye, “I’m very sorry it ended like this. He won’t be angry all the time. Although, actually, he will be… Maybe next year or something?”

Starlight turned around. Her amulet dangled lost on her neck. “What does it matter…? I am doomed.”

So they stood there in front of the entrance. Like ducks in a thunder storm. As if nothing had happened. But the sun was shining. Starlight had the finish line in front of her and like in a hurdle race, overlooked the last obstacle.

After Tabaluh had disappeared in the cave, Starlight looked into the distance to the other mountains. Her mane blew over her pale face.

Finally Maud came to her and offered one of her loaves of bread. They were hard, but the earth pony liked them that way. They chewed a while. Trixie and Sunburst also joined them. Trixie refused the snack. Sunburst took a bite. “Ouch!” he yelled.

Starlight looked farther to the horizon and spoke dryly to Maud after she swallowed, “I blew it.”

“Looks that way,” Maud said.

Starlight was surprised by her direct honesty. “And I just thought you were here to cheer me up.”

Maud took a sip from her water bottle. Then Starlight remembered she soon had to wet her hoof again before it ached.

“There is a possibility,” said Maud and looked at Starlight.

She noticed what she meant by her dull, fiery face. “Oh, no! You don’t suggest that we…”

“Exactly,” Maud replied, “We sneak up on him and somepony teleports this rock from his claws. Then we can see what it’s all about.”

Starlight considered. A quite risky undertaking. “It could work, but the magic isn’t necessarily silent. He might wake up at the spell sound.”

“Levitation is much quieter,” Sunburst suggested, “Somepony takes this rock with and then teleports it outside.”

That sounded much better. But who was the best suited for it? Starlight was excellent at most spells. But she was limited in her powers. Trixie was good at making things disappear but reappearing was still a problem. Sunburst wasn’t so good at teleporting and carrying large heavy items. Starlight’s gaze became more serious and determined again when she came up with a plan.

They crept back into the cave and made sure Tabaluh didn’t see them. Starlight had applied a silent-trot spell to her friends and herself. It worked. The little dragon didn’t hear them while he built a tower with a few gemstone blocks. He was pleased how easily these blocks could be stacked.

The ponies continued down the slope. This time they watched out for the last step, which was known to be slippery. The descent was without problems. The others let themselves be helped a little by Starlight’s levitation.

Then they trotted through the spacious hall with the columns and the gemstones. In the distance the ponies heard Sabathum snoring. Carefully they walked on until they reached the archway on the other side. The dragon lay on his back. The guitar rested on his stomach. The ponies stopped and gathered around to discuss the strategy again.

“Okay, Trixie, you’re going to take this rock. It’s flat, dark, and bears this symbol. Then I’ll teleport it to Sunburst who will be waiting on the other side. With Maud’s help, he’ll bring it outside.”

Starlight was a little bit sorry stealing from this dragon. It was the only way to bring hope, while the mark slowly consumed her. Maud and Sunburst ran back to the hall entrance. Trixie stared anxiously at the sleeping dragon. “And what if he’s a light sleeper?”

Starlight put the hoof on her shoulder. “He won’t. Dragons fall asleep very quickly if you don’t really disturb them.”

“Ookay!” Trixie replied and made her way through the open archway.

Sabathum snored so loud that the coins flipped on the bare granite floor. He cuddled with his instrument.

Trixie kept an eye out for the plectrum. Since she couldn’t find it, she had to come closer. Carefully she climbed up the coin mountain and watched Sabathum precisely. He scratched with relish his belly. Trixie couldn’t find this rock. If that lazy dragon lay on it, the plan was doomed then. But she didn’t give up hope and carefully crept around this sleeper. That took a while. She could just as well have walked a whole block around Ponyville. Thanks to the silent-trot spell, she could walk quietly over the coins. She shouldn’t knock anything over.

She stood behind the dragon. With wobbly hooves she scoured the other side. There she saw it. The stone was stuck under his back. She could touch the little bit with her magic. She concentrated on the object and pulled. But the stone hardly moved. She pulled harder. The coins slipped under her hooves. Sweat beads gathered under her forehead. The plectrum moved a bit further and Trixie became aware of her upcoming victory. One final jolt. Then she fell on her backside. But the desired was finally free. She could feel the weight in her telekinesis. It was like a pressure in her skull as if she was balancing it on her head.

But she wondered a little. There was nothing on this stone. Had her friend been mistaken? Anyway, she had it and that was important. She only had to trot back quietly. It wasn’t easy to hold this piece. Step by step she struggled her way forward. From this point on, the rock became too heavy for her; she felt the tremendous urge to put it down. Trixie took another step and knocked over a goblet. It tumbled down the slope like a rubber ball. At the end of this concert, it crashed onto the bare granite floor. Trixie’s pain-distorted face wasn’t just for the noise.

Sabathum woke up immediately. With a confused snort he looked around. Then he spotted Trixie and knew what’s going on. The little pony smiled and waved at him.

“Hi!” she giggled. Sabathum growled and prepared to strike. Trixie jumped away.

“STAAARLIIIGHT!” the pink mare heard her scream. Then she saw Trixie sprinting out of the archway. A furious dragon stormed after her. She was, despite the heavy rock, incredibly fast. Starlight spotted the shining symbol on the plectrum. Her friend found it. But the plan was about to fail. She should also start running.

Sabathum certainly did not have to think much to know that these ponies had planned this together.

“I’ll tear yer heads off, ya maggots,” he raged through the cave. The ground shuddered under his steps. Gemstones crumbled from the columns. Starlight ran after her panicked friend, who was miraculously faster that her. Fear could do a lot to somepony. They hid behind a long rock. Sabathum rushed at them like a steam engine.

Starlight grabbed Pinkie Pie’s broken balloon and used her magic to stretch it over her horn. The dragon came closer. She aimed and released. The rubber bullet directly hit his eye. Sabathum covered his face roaring. Trixie laughed, but not out of malice, “Well, if you wanted to make him angry, you did a great job!”

Starlight realized this was indeed an incredibly stupid idea. “In my head I saw that differently.”

Sabathum held his eye closed. The other stared enraged at the two. “I KRUSH YA!” he roared and stomped towards them. The ponies ran on and gained a huge lead. Apparently, the shot on his head had done something after all. But angry dragons had a certain range advantage. Sabathum stopped. Starlight looked back and noticed him taking a deep breath. Something glowed under his throat.

“Take cover!” She grabbed her friend.

The dragon spewed an enormous sea of flames through the entire column hall. Everything that wasn’t behind the pillars turned into ashes. Starlight and Trixie barely managed to hide behind the thickest pillar. Their hearts were beating. They smelled the burnt rock that hurt in their eyes. The massive column could withstand much, but the other side melted into glowing lava. Sabathum would risk even a collapse to get his beloved plectrum back. He took another deep breath and shouted, “I am da metal machine! Da plectrum iz mine!”

Starlight understood his fury, but she wasn’t here to contest his title. “That is not why we’re here!” she shouted.

Sabathum didn’t hear them, for the fire was still in the crackling air. The dragon stomped towerds her. Starlight turned to her friend, “On three, we run to the exit.”

Trixie nodded without words.


Sabathum tramped to the thick column.


He knocked over an applied mountain of stones. His mouth filled with flames again.

“Three!” Starlight Glimmer and Trixie galloped off. Sabathum accelerated his steps. He was ready to spit a fireball at them.

The mares went zigzag, split up and jumped over rocks. The dragon’s focus was Trixie because she was carrying the stone. Starlight teleported it to her, hoping that would confuse him. Sabathum blasted a fire ball but just missed Trixie even though she didn’t have the stone with her. Starlight had it and galloped toward the exit. Her friend hurried after her. There stood Sunburst, who had already noticed the ruckus.

“That didn’t seem to work pretty well,” he said looking at the rampaging dragon.

“Change of plans! I’m teleporting you all out of here!” shouted Starlight. She thought of the floor above them and brought all with a bang to Maud, who was waiting here.

Starlight misjudged the height and so they appeared a few meters further above the earth pony mare. They landed directly on her. Maud gave a dry groan away, “Ouch…”

It rumbled under them enormously. Sabathum climbed out of the descent. He used the rocks as a ladder.

Tabaluh came running. Of course he had heard this noise. The bunch of ponies lay in front of him. His angry father came out of the hole. Starlight and the others lined up. She moved the rock behind her back.

Tabaluh’s face shifted in outrage and he hissed, “How dare you?”

Sabathum had risen completely out of the hole. The hall of the cave was a bit smaller. So the dragon reached up to the ceiling. When Starlight held the rock behind her, she hoped he couldn’t spit fire without damaging his plectrum. In the presence of his son, he wouldn’t resort to excessive force. Tabaluh was a child after all.

“I warn ya for da last time, ya crooks! Hand it ova or I’ll get mad!” he threatened.

Starlight thought that words might help something. “Okay! We’ll give it back to you! But first, please here me out!” She stepped forward.

Sabathum rolled his eyes annoyed. “Oh, man! Ya really are wun uv da annoy’n kind, aren’t ya?” He crossed his arms and listened. Tabaluh did the same and sat down.

Starlight lifted her watch and showed the star-shaped gemstone in the middle. “We’re not here for your music, but your plectrum has an interesting symbol on it. We are looking for such signs and would like to know more about them.”

The big dragon pointed with the palm if his hand at them and answered, “But I’ve told yer ‘der iz noth’n on it! Why are yer wast’n ma time, pony?”

Starlight turned to Sunburst and asked, “Don’t you see this symbol either?”

“No, it’s an ordinary rock,” he replied and Trixie nodded. Starlight, fascinated, put a hoof under her chin. She stared at the symbol on the rock once more. It was there and shone in her magic aura.

"Wot iz?" shouted Sabathum impatiently. "Yer friends don’t have it on dere radar. So don't make us krazy!"

She pulled her watch off and spontaneously put it on Sunburst. At first he was confused, but then seemed to understand what she meant. He looked back at the stone surface and gasped, “By Starswirl’s beard! You are right! I see it!” He returned the watch to Starlight.

Trixie curiously jumped in, “Let me see too!” She let the necklace hang around her neck and gazed at the symbol as well. Her eyes became all moist and reflected the light. “Wow!” She stunned. “This is beautiful!”

Sabathum and Tabaluh raised an eyebrow with mixed-up feelings. It must have been strange for them to see the ponies staring at an empty surface, completely enchanted.

Maud also tried a look with the watch. She was wide-eyed. “Next to my friend Mudbrair, this is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” she said monotonously.

Finally, Starlight hung the jewel around her again. The ponies rubbed their eyes. “I can still see it, Starlight,” said Sunburst.

“Really? It must be like those spots of light when you stare at the brightness for too long,” Starlight assumed.

Trixie peered around the group. “Well, what now? How do we get this symbol off the stone?”

Starlight opened the lid of the watch. Suddenly she heard a chant. Whispers and voices she could not interpret. She couldn’t describe it, but something lured her to the sign. Like a moth to the light. It pulsed to the beat of the choir.”

“Starlight, what is it?” Sunburst asked. But she just closed her eyes and rammed the flat rock into the ground by telekinesis so that it stuck. Sabathum gnashed tense with his teeth.

The mare strode towards the sign. The light grew stronger and the chant in her head louder. Gradually, the symbol became visible to everyone, also for the dragons. They were flabbergasted.

The open watch started glowing and absorbed the light of the symbol. Magic and pure energy embraced her and flowed through her. It felt good, like a breeze on a hot day. Then her eyes glowed up. The watch shivered in her power as she received the first sign. Then it disappeared on the stone, and Starlight Glimmer sank to the ground. The magic faded and she rose up again.

The others behind stared at her as if she came from another world. Starlight looked at the clock face again. It was no longer empty. The ram symbol denounced on the north side of the round display. Starlight looked up to her friends and laughed boldly.

Sabathum snorted. It wasn’t clear whether he showed remorse for his behavior or was simply relieved that his precious treasure remained unharmed. He stomped to it and picked it up.

“If yer said it earlier, den perhaps I would have let yer’n,” he said and fumbled around the stone.

All ponies wheeled around, “WHAT!?”

“Ah, it was jus a little fun,” Sabathum laughed and waved away grinning.

But Trixie stomped on the ground. “Listen up you giant, fat-ass whale! You almost burned me and Starlight!”

Tabaluh puffed up in indignation. “I won’t tolerate to call him like that! Take it back right now!”

“Ah, leave it be, little wun!” Sabathum laughed. “Da ponies got it wot dey want.”

The afternoon sun slowly leaned towards the horizon. If they left quickly, they would arrive in Ponyville in the evening.

Starlight couldn’t wait to tell Twilight about it. She looked tired over to the mountain of Canterlot. “We have to go now! The way won’t get any easier.”

Sunburst tilted his head towards the slope of the mountain. “You’re right. Climbing in the dark is unsafe. Besides, Trixie lost her climbing gear.”

“Oi, let me handle dis!” said Sabathum and grabbed every single pony as if he was collecting blind bag figures. Trixie screamed as she was pulled up by the tail. Sabathum held the four ponies in his arms. Then he spread his wings and jumped off the mountain, sailing down. Trixie still screamed because she was held upside down. She kicked with her hind legs in panic.

Sabathum jumped down from the cliffs and the ponies were back at the foot of the mountain in no time. There the dragon set them off. Trixie stumbled into the bushes. “Never again…”

But Starlight was very grateful for the shortcut. In the end the ponies had found a new friend. “Wow! Thanks for that! Let’s hope your music will be big one day!”

Sabathum laughed out loud. His belly shook, “Bwahaha! Dis will take a while! Still I’m far from fame. But wun day ma little Tabaluh will challenge Lady Emba an den we’ll see ‘oo ‘da boss ere iz!”

“We will see”, Starlight teased. “Ember won’t give up the Blood Stone Sceptre so easily.”

Sabathum lifted two fingers into the air. “Rock on, friendz!”

Then he flew back up to the mountain. The sand beneath him whirled up. The bushes and trees wobbled with rustling leaves in the updraft.

Maud pulled Trixie out of the bushes and freed her hair from leaves.

Starlight suddenly collapsed when she felt her hoof again. There she had to make a worrying realization. The dark spots were clearly visible under the bandage.

Author's Note:

Ork Tranzlator iz best tranzlator!