Starshadow's life has finally begun to return to "normal". But the mare's past is closing in on her. Can she escape it, or will she ultimately be consumed...?
In only a few short weeks, Starshadow's life has changed dramatically for the better. She has a stable gig and a house she needn't fear losing. She's made many wonderful new friends. And most of all, against all odds, she's finally found the pony that could very well be her special somepony... or maybe two... But the secrets of her past, the "destiny" she has spent her whole life running from, are beginning to close in on her. Can the happiness Starshadow has found in Ponyville last, or will her past ultimately consume the poor mare...?
08 Jun 17: Updated to Definitive Edition
Note: While I'm hosting this story on my channel, TheCamel is the actual author of the series. Any feedback for him (positive, negative, whatever) can be left with me and I'll pass it along.
A muffled thump from the other side of the door stirred no response from the captured pegasus. Nothing going on around him quite registered in his head as the only thing occupying his mind was his impending sentence.
Thunderlane sighed and let his head drop onto the table in front of him, ignoring the pain in his forehead. Since being chased away by some large, pissed off stallion, he had decided to hide and lay low at a friend’s house, knowing that nopony would find him there as the owner of the house was away on business for a few weeks. It proved to be the perfect hiding spot, but once he had overheard two guards standing outside talking about how Princess Twilight herself was involved in the search for him, he decided to vacate Ponyville as quickly as possible. He had tried to escape under cover of darkness but Rainbow Dash had been lying in wait high above the town, swooping down on him and catching him off guard. Both pegasi went tumbling to the ground, both ponies fighting their hardest. Thunderlane caught Rainbow Dash in the chin with a lucky kick and managed to take off once more, but the rainbow maned pony quickly recovered and gave chase, easily catching him yet again and bringing him to the ground with a powerful body slam. The commotion of course caught the attention of a nearby guard patrol, and in no time at all he was bound and placed under arrest for rape.
Once under interrogation by one of the sergeants the gray pegasus quickly crumbled, confessing to his crime in hopes that he would be given a lighter sentence for cooperating. However, his hopes disappeared once he learned that one of the princesses would be deciding his fate, and thoughts of being banished to the moon refused to leave his thoughts. Now, just a few hours after being caught, he had been brought to the interrogation room yet again to await Twilight’s arrival and sentence for his crimes.
As the door to the bleak room slowly opened Thunderlane clamped his eyes shut and let out a small whimper.
“Quit your sniveling and be a stallion. Your luck just changed.”
Thunderlane’s eyes snapped open at the sound of a strange voice. Standing in front of him was not a guard or Twilight Sparkle, but instead a pony clad in a black cloak and hood. As the strange pony shut the door Thunderlane caught a glimpse of the guard outside the room, but instead of standing at attention like he should be, the guard was unconscious on the floor.
“W-w-who are you?” Thunderlane asked nervously, his mind unable to think of what was going on or what would happen to him.
The pony in front of him ignored his question, and instead summoned an image of a familiar pony. “Do you know this mare?” the strange visitor asked.
Thunderlane nodded nervously. “Yes, yes, I already admitted that I raped Starshadow! I’m sorry! Please, just spare me, don’t send me to the moon!” he said pitifully, tears streaming down his face.
The mysterious pony in front of Thunderlane adjusted his stance slightly and a deadly looking dagger floated out from beneath his cloak and moved towards where Thunderlane sat bound and defenseless. “No! No! Please don’t kill me! I’ll do anything! Name your price, I’ll give you whatever you want!” Thunderlane cried out, struggling uselessly against his restraints. Moments later, the pegasus found himself pinned in place as the floating weapon cut away the ropes binding his wings and the stranger somehow unlocked the shackles holding his hind legs to the floor, freeing the cowardly pegasus. Thunderlane couldn’t believe his eyes, and his panic subsided once the mysterious pony withdrew his dagger. “What... what’s going on?”
Thunderlane’s savior removed his hood, revealing a unicorn with a black mane and coat. “You even know her name... good. This wasn’t a waste of time after all.” Specter said.
Thunderlane moved forward to hug his liberator but quickly found himself being held against the cold floor again with his wings being twisted painfully by the unicorn’s magic. “Listen, and listen well. I’ll make you this offer only once. You may be useful to me and my mission, and if you swear by your life that you’ll do whatever I say then I shall ensure that you remain free. However, if you double cross me or fail to complete the tasks I give you, I will make your death as painful as possible.”
Before Thunderlane could answer, the room around them suddenly began shaking violently and the sound of a mare screaming could be heard from somewhere else in the building, murderous intent clear in her voice. A pitiful squeal escaped the pinned pegasus and if he could have moved at all, he would likely have jumped and struck the ceiling in abject terror. Thoughts of what Princess Twilight or whatever crazy mare was shouting upstairs would do to him swirled through his head; a painful death at the hooves of the mysterious unicorn before him suddenly seemed like a mercy compared to facing the wrath of the princess and her friends. Thunderlane quickly nodded. “Yes, yes of course! I’ll do whatever you say!” he said, eager to accept the chance to avoid whatever wretched fate awaited him here.
Specter nodded and released his hold on Thunderlane. “Wise choice. Now stand still.” he commanded as he cast a teleportation spell. A moment later both stallions suddenly disappeared from the interrogation room, leaving behind the unconscious guard outside.
“Ya sure this is a good idea?” Big Mac asked Starshadow as they walked down the corridor to the holding rooms.
Starshadow nodded. “Y-yeah. I have to do this.” she said nervously.
Applejack brushed up against the scared pegasus reassuringly. “Dontcha worry none, sugarcube. Big Mac ‘n me will be with ya. No way that no good vermin will try anything with... what’n the hay?”
As the trio rounded the corner they saw a guard crumpled on the ground. They rushed over to the unconscious pony and thankfully found him still breathing, but when Big Mac checked the room where Thunderlane was supposed to be held all he found was an empty room. Unable to contain his anger, the large stallion slammed a hoof down on the table, leaving a large crack along the entire tabletop.
“Ah’m gonna go fer help!” Applejack shouted as she ran to get Twilight. Starshadow took over looking after the unconscious guard while Big Mac stood guard, just in case Thunderlane returned to the scene. It didn’t take long for Applejack to return with Twilight and six more guards hot on her hooves. Two of the guards quickly took their fallen companion off to the hospital while the remaining four rushed off to search the barracks, but it was obvious that Thunderlane was gone. Now back to square one, the guards redeployed around Ponyville, the urgency to find the criminal now greater than ever. If he could somehow escape prison, what else was he capable of?
Her heart hurting more than ever, Starshadow felt herself fall into a depression, and Twilight quickly suggested that Big Mac and Applejack take the hurting pegasus back to Sweet Apple Acres and that a guard would be posted at the farm in case Thunderlane tried to attack her again. The Apple siblings agreed and were escorted home by two guards, leaving Twilight to try to solve how Thunderlane could have escaped.
The princess inspected the ropes that had been binding his wings to his body and saw that they had been cut. She also noted that the shackles bolted to the ground showed no signs of being cut or forced open, and to her horror she wondered if one of the guards had freed him. ‘But... but we never saw anypony come out of the hallway, and that’s the only way in or out of here.’
“Somepony teleported into the hallway here.”
Twilight turned around and saw her bodyguard staring at her. “What are you talking about? That’s impossible. Princess Celestia herself cast a protective spell around every guard building in Equestria to prevent anypony from escaping, so teleportation is impossible.” she said.
“Any spell can be beaten if you understand its roots, princess.” The bodyguard shook her head. “Somepony definitely teleported in and then teleported themselves and the fugitive out. I can sense trace amounts of the magical residue left over from the spell.”
Twilight tried to sense the trace amount of magic left behind when such a complex spell was used but couldn’t find anything. “There’s nothing there. Maybe somepony tried and failed.”
“I’m sorry, princess, but you’re wrong. Watch.” Without even the telltale flash of light or lighting of her horn the mare disappeared, leaving Twilight dumbfounded. The bodyguard reappeared moments later in the same spot she left, but now with a book in her mouth. Dropping it as Twilight’s feet, the mare pointed at it. “This is from your library, proof that I did teleport there and back.”
Twilight didn’t need to question the book’s authenticity as it had a number scrawled in the corner of the cover, denoting which shelf and what spot it belonged. “But... no, that’s impossible. Nightshade, how did you...?” Twilight stuttered.
“I’ve been trained extensively on the nature of long term spells like magical barriers or protective spells. Such things cannot stop me. I can only guess that whoever has perpetrated this escape has had similar training.” she said, somewhat surprised that a pony as powerful as Twilight apparently couldn’t do so herself.
Twilight gulped, still in shock that somepony could circumvent Celestia’s protective spell. She was also scared that her bodyguard was right; if Nightshade could teleport in and out with ease, did that mean somepony with the same ability freed Thunderlane?
The following days remained uneventful in Ponyville. The guards doubled their efforts to hunt down Thunderlane (along with an absolutely belligerent Fluttershy), this time going door to door and searching every building in the small town. APB’s were sent to every city across Equestria warning of the dangerous fugitive, however, there was no sign of the pegasus and it seemed he had well and truly vanished. After three straight days of searching day and night, the guards in Ponyville finally dispersed, certain that Thunderlane was no longer in town. Everypony in town was happy to see the heavy guard presence disperse, Starshadow included, and Fluttershy was eventually talked out of personally searching every inch of Equestria by her friends. Finally life in the quiet town began to return to normal.
However, the peace didn’t last long. As Starshadow was helping Applejack clean up yet another mess caused by a certain trio of fillies trying to get their cutie marks, a loud cry caught both mares’ attention. They both looked up into the sky where they thought they heard the shout come from and saw a familiar rainbow streaking towards them.
“Duck!” Applejack yelled out. Both ponies barely managed to duck in time as Rainbow Dash hurtled just inches above their heads. Once again showing off her talent, the rainbow pegasus looped back around and skillfully landed right in front of the two shaken mares. “Gosh darnit, Dash, ya’ll are gonna run somepony over one of these days. Bad enough that Starshadow here is missin’ out on her performances this week, she don’ need a broken neck on toppa everything.” Applejack scolded.
Rainbow Dash held up her hoof. “Not now AJ, look at this!” she said excitedly. Reaching into her saddle pack, she produced a copy of the Ponyville Express, holding the newspaper up so her two friends could read the cover story.
Starshadow and Applejack’s eyes went wide as they saw a photo of Vinyl Scratch running from a group of guards, the words ‘DJ Pon-3 Destroys Los Pegasus’ in bold letters above it. Grabbing the paper from Rainbow Dash, Starshadow read over the article.
A peaceful night at the Canterlot Orchestra’s performance quickly turned into a nightmare of unprecedented proportion as renowned musician Vinyl Scratch, aka DJ Pon-3, went on an unexplained rampage through the city of Los Pegasus. The concert was brought to a halt after a small wardrobe malfunction by one of the orchestra members, and as reporters gathered at the rear entrance to await an explanation of what had occurred the violent DJ came out of the building and began to attack the reporters.
The rampage soon continued to the several newspaper offices, including The Seaddle Times and The Los Pegasus Daily. Damage estimates soar up into the hundreds of thousands, and as the local guards responded to the destruction, the DJ ran leading guards on a two hour chase around the entire city. Even while being pursued by an overwhelming number of guards DJ Scratch found time to cause more mayhem, panic, and fear, all of which stopped only when she was too tired to continue running.
In an immediate response to her brazen and surprising actions, a representative from Los Pegasus Music Studios announced the following morning that the studio has terminated its contract with the DJ, saying that they of course do not wish to be associated with such an unbalanced, questionable mare. Mere minutes later, High Tail Records in Manehattan also announced that they too were dropping DJ Pon-3, immediately terminating their contract with her and ceasing all sales of her records, as well as immediately cancelling all upcoming shows. “We cannot condone such activity like the choices Ms. Scratch has made last night. After holding an emergency meeting with top executives, we unanimously voted to cancel our contract with Ms. Scratch immediately.” says Top Pick, CEO of High Tail Records.
Analysts estimate that DJ Scratch’s break from the two record companies will result in a 12 million bit loss for potential earnings for her in the next five years. “Why Vinyl went on this chaotic rampage is an absolute mystery, but the end result will absolutely be an end in her career. Nopony is going to risk signing on such a potentially dangerous and violent mare.” one expert says. It is doubtful that any clubs or concert halls will also take the risk in hiring DJ Pon-3 independently due to this turn of events.
Local guards report that Ms. Scratch was freed sometime the next day on bail. DJ Scratch paid off the damages she had caused to the equipment and newspaper offices and also agreed to stay out of Los Pegasus for the next year. It is unknown where DJ Scratch has decided to go now or what she may do now that her music career has been silenced.
Starshadow and Applejack reread the entire article just to make sure that they had correctly seen what was printed before looking up at Rainbow Dash. “When did...” Applejack started to ask.
“I got it just this morning, but supposedly this all happened three days ago.” Rainbow Dash said before turning to Starshadow. “I don’t get it, though... she was supposed to be leaving for some concert in Manehattan tomorrow. What the hay was she doing in Los Pegasus?”
Starshadow shrugged. “I thought she was still at home here in Ponyville. This... this has to be a mistake.”
Applejack nudged Starshadow. “Go’n, Ah can clean up the rest of this here mess.” she said, knowing how anxious both Rainbow Dash and Starshadow were.
“Thanks!” both pegasi mares shouted before making haste for Vinyl’s home. They reached the house in record time, genuine concern for her friend giving Starshadow’s wings the strength to almost keep pace with the other pegasus, and Starshadow led the way inside.
“Hello? Vinyl?” Starshadow called out. Technically being her home she had no hesitance in walking around, but Rainbow Dash was busy looking around, surprised that it was nothing like she had imagined. Finding nopony around on the first floor, both mares ventured upstairs and made their way to Vinyl’s room. Her bedroom door was cracked open and Starshadow and Rainbow Dash could hear two ponies inside talking to each other;
“No, you put your hoof here... yeah, like that. Now start gently, don’t want to start off too hard.”
“Vinyl, I don’t know about this. It feels... it’s too weird, especially with you watching me.”
“Aw, come on Tavi, you’ve seen me do this plenty of times. Give it a try.”
“Woah, calm down, Tavi, like I said, start slowly. Yeah... yeah, just like that. Now you’re getting it.”
Starshadow’s face turned beet red after hearing the small bit of conversation. “Maybe we should come back later.” she whispered to Rainbow Dash. However, Dash’s curiosity was piqued, and she had to get a peek at what was going on inside Vinyl’s room and continued forward. “Rainbow what’re you doing?!” Starshadow hissed again.
Rainbow stopped and turned to look back at Starshadow. “Just a peek. I gotta see what they’re doing in there.” she replied.
Starshadow could see by Rainbow Dash’s curious look that she was intent on finding out what was going on. “No, we should leave!” she hissed, but Dash shrugged and took another step forward. Panicking, Starshadow grabbed Rainbow’s tail with her teeth and yanked back.
“Hey!” Rainbow hissed, trying to pull free. “Just... lemme see!”
A brief tug of war battle ensued, but the difference in relative strength was soon made clear. With one final tug, Rainbow Dash caused Starshadow to lose her footing, causing the small pegasus to crash into Dash. The momentum carried both of them forward and they both tumbled into Vinyl’s room, terrifying Vinyl and Octavia by the surprise entrance. Tangled on the floor together, Rainbow Dash and Starshadow looked at each other before looking up at the other two mares inside. Octavia was standing behind one of Vinyl’s dual turntable stations, Vinyl standing behind her showing her how to use the complex equipment. Starshadow breathed a sigh of relief as Rainbow Dash sheepishly grinned up at them. “Uh, hey... what’s up?”
“... and then we caught the train from Canterlot back here.” Vinyl finished explaining. All four mares had relocated to the living room downstairs and found a comfortable seat while Vinyl and Octavia told Starshadow and Rainbow Dash what happened in Los Pegasus, minus certain details of the wardrobe mishap.
“But didn’t you have a full schedule with the orchestra planned?” Starshadow asked Octavia, remembering what Starsong had said before leaving for Los Pegasus.
Octavia nodded. “We did, yes, but... things changed after that night. Our manager had to cancel our planned shows in Los Pegasus due to Vinyl’s... actions.” she said. “Your sister was going to come back to Ponyville with us but the manager asked her to stay to work on some new pieces he wanted to try. She should be coming here in the next few days.”
Starshadow couldn’t help but flutter her wings in excitement at the thought of being able to spend time with Starsong again. Though they had just seen each other a week ago, it wasn’t nearly enough time for the two siblings to catch up with each other.
Vinyl noted her roommate’s excitement. “Huh, I’m surprised you’re that anxious. I thought it would be impossible to break you away from your stud Big Mac for more than a day. Don’t think I didn’t notice that you haven’t been home since I left. You’ve been over at his place getting rutted into the ground, haven’t you?” she asked with a sly wink.
Starshadow and Rainbow’s looks instantly dropped, both mares looking at the ground. “What, did I say something wrong?” Vinyl asked cluelessly.
Rainbow Dash explained what had happened in Ponyville the last week or so, Vinyl and Octavia both rendered speechless during the story. When she had finished speaking, Vinyl got up and hugged Starshadow to comfort her, Octavia soon following suit.
“Wow... I’m so sorry, Starshadow.” Vinyl said. “I just can’t believe that he would... he always came to my shows, even came early to help carry stuff in and set up it up. He never... I never imagined he would...”
Vinyl’s thoughts trailed off as an awkward silence now hung in the air. “Hey, no worries. If I can catch him once I can catch him again.” Rainbow said, trying to lighten the mood.
Just then somepony knocked on the front door, and when Vinyl opened it up with her magic Applejack walked in. “There ya’ll are. Ah was wonderin’ where ya’ll disappeared to.”
“Sorry AJ. We got kinda wrapped up in their story.” Dash said.
“Ah’ll say. It’s almost time fer supper. If ya’ll wanna come on back ter the farm Apple Bloom an’ Granny Smith have been cookin’ up a storm all day, an’ Big Mac is breakin’ out a barrel of cider.”
Rainbow Dash’s ears perked up at the mention of her favorite drink. “What are we waiting for? Let’s go!” she shouted, zipping over Applejack’s head and out the door, flying as quickly as she could for Sweet Apple Acres. The four mares left behind laughed at Rainbow’s never ending enthusiasm for the Apple family’s special cider, and with much less urgency they walked back to Sweet Apple Acres.
As the four ponies reached the farm AJ led them to the barn instead of the main house. None of the three other ponies suspected anything as Applejack held the barn door open and motioned Starshadow to enter first. Starshadow found it somewhat odd that all the lights were off, but as soon as her rear hooves cleared the doorway all the lights came on and a blizzard of confetti came raining down from the ceiling.
“Surprise!” a group of ponies yelled out, but Starshadow didn’t quite hear them, all her attention focused on making sure her heart was still beating after being caught completely off guard. As her eyes adjusted to the sudden increase in light she saw that the barn had been decorated with brightly colored streamers and balloons. A group of ponies stood in front of her, some she had already met before and some new faces.
“W-w-wha-what?”Starshadow managed to stammer, but she was interrupted as a bubbly pink pony came bounding up to her, their faces almost touching as the pink pony began to start ‘talking’.
“So how’d you like the surprise? Were you surprised? I hope you were surprised because after all it is a surprise party!” the pony said in a pace almost too quick to understand.
All Starshadow could do was nod, causing the pink pony to put on the biggest smile she had ever seen.
“That’s awesome! I knew you’d like it! Oh, my name’s Pinkie Pie, by the way! I meant to throw you a Welcome to Ponyville party but when you arrived to town I was back home visiting my parents and sisters so I didn’t get a chance to see you and by the time I got back Twilight told me what had happened and that throwing you a surprise party wouldn’t be a good idea so I held off on the party until I heard that they caught the pony who attacked you but since he escaped again I figured you would need a cheering up party! So do you like it? Huh?”
Starshadow was stunned that a pony could talk so quickly and for so long without needing to stop to breathe. All she could manage to respond with was another slow nod and a soft “Y-yeah”. Thankfully, that was enough for the pink party pony who gleefully bounded away, allowing the other ponies in the barn to welcome Starshadow to the party.
Applejack came up and playfully pushed Starshadow. “Ah gotta admit, ah was worried for a tick that ya’ll was gonna clean up that mess Apple Bloom an’ her friends made fer me ta keep ya busy while Pinkie here was settin’ up too quick.” she admitted. “Ah hope she didn’ offend ya before with her explanation an’ all.”
Starshadow shook her head, a small smile on her face. “No, it’s fine. It’s... this is kind of nice.” she said.
Applejack smiled back. “Glad ta hear, sugarcube. C’mon, lemme introduce ya to everypony.”
The party went on well into the night, and sometime after midnight the last guests said goodbye and headed home, leaving Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Starshadow, and Big Mac alone in the barn. Before Starshadow could even lift a hoof to start cleaning up the large mess Pinkie stopped her, insisting that she would clean up by herself. The pink pony dove into a nearby pile of hay and wheeled out a blue cannon, but as Starshadow opened her mouth to ask why in Tartarus she had a cannon, let alone how it would clean up the remnants of the party, Applejack led the confused pegasus outside. “Trust me, ain’t worth wonderin’ how.” she simply said. Once Big Mac had also exited the barn a loud explosion could be heard coming from inside, and seconds later Pinkie left the barn, waving goodbye as she rolled her cannon home. A quick peek inside the barn showed that Pinkie Pie had indeed somehow cleaned up the entire mess with the cannon, but Applejack once again shook her head. “Ain’t worth it.” she said again.
As the three ponies walked inside, Starshadow stopped Big Mac before he went upstairs. Guessing correctly that the pegasus wanted some time alone, Applejack bid the two goodnight before heading up to her room, leaving the two alone downstairs. Big Mac wasn’t sure what she could want; she had avoided eye contact with him most of the night in the party. “You okay?” he asked her.
Starshadow couldn’t bring herself to look at him, instead keeping her gaze on the floor. “Do... do you hate me, now that you know my past?” she asked him.
“Of course not.” Big Mac replied almost instantly. “Why would Ah?” Starshadow was unable to answer him, so Big Mac pulled her into a gentle hug. “It was brave of you to tell us your past, and Ah am sorry that you went through all that. But it does not change how Ah feel about you now. Ah still want you as my special somepony.”
Starshadow fought back the urge to cry again and pulled away from him. “Really?” she asked, hoping for a certain answer.
Her hopes held true. “Eeyup.” he replied.
Both ponies leaned forward and shared a gentle kiss, both of them smiling once they broke contact. “You gonna stay with AJ again tonight?” he asked her.
Starshadow blushed slightly. “Actually... can I stay with you tonight?” she asked nervously.
Just seconds ago, while downstairs with Big Mac, her mood had been happy and her heart as light as a butterfly, but by the time she reached Big Mac’s bedroom her stomach felt like it was twisted in several knots and she was more nervous than a pegasus foal who was learning how to fly by jumping off the edge of Cloudsdale. She froze in the middle of the room until Big Mac walked up to her.
“You okay?” he asked her, looking at her with concern.
Starshadow quickly nodded her head. “Y-yeah, fine.” she said. Her mind was moving at about a hundred miles per hour, trying to think of what she could possibly do to show him how sorry she was. ‘He liked it when I did that, maybe I could... no, I already did that before. Maybe if I... no, that’s not good enough.’
Starshadow was so lost in thought that she didn’t notice that Big Mac was guiding her to his bed, realizing it only when she found herself being lifted up onto it. ‘Oh Luna’s flank...’ she thought, her mind jumping to the conclusion that the large stallion was going to have his way with her all night. She braced herself mentally and physically for the impending domination, her mind wondering which hole he would take first. However, her thoughts came to a screeching halt as she felt him position himself behind her, but instead of feeling him using her body for his pleasure she instead felt the large stallion gently kiss her cheek and his hooves lightly wrap themselves around her body before he fell asleep. Her confusion and slight panic slowly gave way to a feeling of comfort and calm, and before long she too began to succumb to the desire for sleep, the long day of excitement and fun having drained almost all of her energy. Just before sleep overtook her, Starshadow exhaled deeply and allowed herself to enjoy the greatly-missed sensation of Big Mac holding her while they slept, enjoying the feeling of safety that it brought, and before long she too fell fast asleep, a genuine smile on her face.
Morning came all too soon for Starshadow, but as her eyes groggily opened she saw that it was well past sunrise. As expected from sleeping in so late, Starshadow found herself alone in Big Mac’s bed. It was obvious that the stallion had awoken many hours ago to start his daily chores alongside Applejack. Heading downstairs to find breakfast, Starshadow found Apple Bloom in the kitchen with two unicorns. One of them was a young filly that Starshadow recognized as Sweetie Belle, but the other one was a pony she had only met last night at Pinkie’s party.
Apple Bloom saw Starshadow and waved her over. “Mornin’ Starshadow! Ya’ll are just in time to try our pancakes that me’n Sweetie Belle made.”
“Hey, maybe cooking is our special talent!” Sweetie Belle chimed in, but Apple Bloom quickly shook her head.
“We can’t get ‘em now, not when Scootaloo ain’t here.” she said loyally.
The third pony nodded. “I don’t think you’d get a cutie mark in cooking, Sweetie Belle. Don’t forget your earlier attempts.” the bigger unicorn said before turning her attention to Starshadow. “I’m so sorry I didn’t have time to introduce myself earlier last night at your soiree. My name is Rarity, and this is my little sister Sweetie Belle.”
Starshadow nodded, but before she could speak the two fillies shoved a large stack of their flapjacks in front of her. “We made a whole bunch, try ‘em and tell us which ones ya’ll like best!” Apple Bloom said with a grin.
Starshadow looked at the plate in front of her and gulped. While the simple plain ones looked and smelled okay, there were some disturbing-looking ones mixed into the pile, including one that looked like it had rocks in it. “They’re not that bad, I assure you. Just avoid any that look plain inedible like that one.” Rarity hinted, pointing directly at the rock-cake. “Well, girls, I’d love to stay but I must go find Applejack to discuss some important matter. Sweetie, I’ll see you back at home later today.” Rarity said, taking her leave and leaving Starshadow at the mercy of the two fillies.
Half an hour later Starshadow managed to slip out of the house and decided to find Big Mac somewhere in the fields. Rarity had been right; most of the pancakes weren’t too bad. Only a few had been absolutely terrifying, such as the rock-cake and one that had Poison Joke pollen in the batter.
Walking through the sections of farm that Big Mac usually worked, it didn’t take long until Starshadow could hear the familiar ‘WHUMP’ of Big Mac bucking trees, and with a smile Starshadow trotted towards the source of the noise. However, her smile faded as she crested the last hill and saw Big Mac talking to Rarity. Seeing him talking to another mare wouldn’t normally cause Starshadow to become jealous, but from the body language that Rarity was exhibiting it was more than clear that the white unicorn was trying her hardest to flirt with him.
Starshadow crept closer and hid behind a tree once she was within earshot of the two. Peeking out from her hiding place, she watched as Rarity openly eyed Big Mac’s muscles as he continued working.
“My, Big Mac, I don’t know how you can do so many trees in a row like that all day. I bet you are the strongest stallion in all of Equestria.” Rarity said, batting her eyelashes as she lightly grazed a hoof over his cutie mark.
“Probably, though I reckon there’s stronger ponies out there somewhere.” Big Mac said as he moved on to the next tree. Undaunted by his lack of interest, Rarity went bounding after him, her eyes never leaving his solid frame.
As Starshadow continued watching the two ponies interacting with one another she felt a strange pain shoot through her heart. Despite telling herself that Rarity and Big Mac had known each other long before she arrived in Ponyville, seeing her flirting with him so much was beginning to stir emotions she had never felt before.
Starshadow recalled the many times her last master and mistress invited other ponies over to play with without including her, and whenever she showed any hint of jealousy or similar emotions she was usually beaten and left alone to suffer even longer. Despite having the feeling of jealousy beaten out of her and being used to sharing herself among many ponies, this one situation somehow hit her deepest sore spots.
Starshadow’s attention snapped back to Rarity as the unicorn shuffled her feet nervously. “So, um, Sweetie Belle is going over to Sugarcube Corner tonight to help Pinkie Pie with some cooking, and I had planned on taking her to that new restaurant that Chef Gustave le Grand opened up a few weeks ago. I simply cannot cancel my reservations, but going alone is absolutely out of the question, so... would you like to accompany me tonight?” she asked, once again batting her eye lashes.
Big Mac’s answer was almost immediate. “No thanks.” he said, continuing his work as if nothing had happened.
Rarity was a bit taken aback by his answer, but quickly regained her composure and tried her luck again. “Are you sure? I heard that the menu is absolutely marvelous, and after dinner I have a special treat that I’m sure you will positively love.” she said seductively, walking around him and flicking his nose with her finely combed tail.
The anger building up inside of Starshadow was reaching critical levels but her training kept her from running over to Rarity and starting a fight. However, her emotions were slightly calmed by Big Mac’s response. “S’awful kind of ya, but no.” he said. “I got plans later tonight with Starshadow.”
Rarity tried her best to maintain a dignified composure despite the insult of being turned down, especially after her ‘generous’ offer. “O-oh, I see. I didn’t realize you were already occupied this evening. Perhaps some other time?” she said before taking her leave.
Starshadow breathed a sigh of relief, heading back to the farm herself as to not make anypony aware that she had been spying on them. Still more than a little annoyed by Rarity’s attempt to ask Big Mac out, she tried her best to push what had just happened out of her mind, but as she cleared the fields and came up on the farm she saw Applejack talking to another mare she didn’t know. The unknown pony was a young pegasus, younger than Starshadow but older than Apple Bloom. The mare’s mane was decorated with a large pink bow, and after a brief conversation Applejack pointed in the direction that Starshadow had just come from.
“Thanks!” the young pony shouted as she took off, speeding through the air above Starshadow and disappearing into the apple orchard. Applejack finally saw Starshadow and waved to her, trotting over to meet the small pegasus.
“Hey, there ya are. Ah though ya’ll was gonna sleep all day after that party last night.” she said with her usual friendly grin.
“Hi Applejack. Who was that pony who just flew off?” Starshadow asked out of curiosity.
“Her? Oh, jus’ another filly with a crush on Big Mac, is all.” AJ said chuckling. “Ah swear he’s got more young mares with their eye on him than a dog got fleas. Oh, but don’t ya’ll worry none, he never take up any offers or nothin’, ‘specially since he has ya’ll now.” she said reassuringly.
AJ’s words still caused Starshadow to begin to feel jealous once again. The rest of the day the small pegasus tried her best to forget what she had seen and heard, but no matter how hard she tried her mind kept on whispering that Big Mac may soon leave her for another, more stable mare.
Finally bringing herself out her depression just before dinner, Starshadow stood up defiantly and stomped her hoof down. ‘I won’t lose him.’ she thought to herself.
“Think about it, and let me know if you change your mind!” Flitter said, quickly waving goodbye before she shot off into the sky. Her face was almost as red as Big Mac’s coat after she had summoned the courage to ask him if he would accompany her on a picnic sometime. He had politely turned down her offer, the young mare being a little too young for his tastes, but mostly due to the fact that he was already seeing somepony else; Starshadow.
Once again alone in the fields, he continued his work as if nothing had happened, continuing undisturbed until the sun began to set. Wiping his brow with his hoof, he set off back to the barn, content with his day of hard work. He made it back home just as his oldest sister was about to ring the bell to call him for dinner. “Nice timin’ as usual!” Applejack teased him. “Ya’ll always seem ta know jus’ when supper’s ready, dontcha big boy?”
Walking inside with AJ, Big Mac held the door open so she could go in first, but as she passed him he felt her tail sliding against his body as she went past. The contact was definitely too slow and too deliberate to be even close to considered accidental, but Big Mac chose to keep his mouth shut about the matter due to certain activities he had done with AJ. Applejack herself wasn’t sure why she decided to tease her own brother like that, but she was glad that he didn’t ask any questions or make any remarks, and in silence the two siblings joined the other ponies waiting for them.
Apple Bloom and Granny Smith were their usual selves, but Starshadow too was quieter than usual during dinner, and after everypony was finished with their meals Starshadow, Big Mac, and Applejack quickly parted ways, leaving Apple Bloom and Granny Smith wondering if something weird was going on.
Finding seclusion in the living room, Big Mac poured himself a glass of hard apple cider and settled down to try to collect his thoughts. The two mares asking him out while he was working in the fields didn’t bother him, but the strange feeling in his stomach whenever he thought about Applejack did. He had never, ever thought of his own sister in any way except as family, but ever since that first surprising day where he had walked in on Starshadow and Applejack’s interesting way of becoming friends... He still couldn’t figure out what he had been thinking when he had walked forward and taken his younger sister as his own, even going as far as cumming inside of her. Of course he loved Applejack, as family, and he loved Starshadow as his special somepony, but now the line between the two roles was starting to blur.
The stallion was so deep in thought that he didn’t hear the soft hoofsteps of somepony approaching him until he felt somepony touching one of his legs. Slightly startled, he looked up and saw Starshadow standing in front of him, her gentle eyes locked onto his.
Waiting to see what she was up to, Big Mac held still as the small pegasus began to gently caress his leg with her hoof. She placed another hoof on his chest, pressing firmly on him to show that she wanted him to lean back. He complied, curious to see what was going on, and his curiosity was quickly answered as he felt her beginning to lick around his sheathed cock.
“Woah, hold on! What’re ya doi-” he started to say, but the feeling of her slick tongue and hot breath on his crotch soon shut him up. He wanted to sit back and enjoy the pleasurable sensation he knew he would receive if he let Starshadow continue what she was doing, but they were in the middle of the living room, completely exposed. “H-hold on. What ‘bout G-Granny Smith an’ Apple B-Bloom?”
Teasing and scaring him briefly crossed Starshadow’s mind, but she quickly reminded herself why she was doing this and told him the truth. “They just went up to bed.” she said before quickly resuming her oral treatment.
“Then what ‘bout Applejack?” he asked.
Starshadow merely shrugged, not too concerned if the mare walked in and saw what she was up to. “She can always join us again.” she said softly before resuming her work, but deep down inside she wanted Big Mac all to herself tonight.
Hearing Starshadow’s last sentence caused Big Mac to lose all restraint, his dick quickly springing to life and hardening. Starshadow eagerly began lapping as his growing shaft with her tongue, doing her best to get every square inch of his equine member. All of her concentration was focused on him, but Big Mac’s mind couldn’t help but think back to that afternoon where he was enticed to use his own sister.
Having finished licking every last bit of his shaft, Starshadow moved her head up and began to slowly slide every inch of Big Mac’s cock down into her throat. He closed his eyes and let out a satisfying groan as he felt her hot mouth engulf him, and his mind wandering back to the day he first met the beautiful mare. Her tongue seemed to be following the same pattern, as if she remembered exactly what he had liked and how she could make him feel good. He could hear her starting to moan sensually as she continued working him over with her mouth, somehow getting enough pleasure through the act to start getting worked up herself. “Mmm, Master... it’s so good.” she moaned softly.
Big Mac’s eyes snapped open as he heard her call him ‘Master’ once again. Memories of Starshadow’s story came flooding back into his head, images of his special somepony being tortured, abused, hit, hurt, and raped. Trying his hardest to not hurt her, Big Mac pulled away from Starshadow, his member quickly softening as his lust faded away while leaving Starshadow confused and panicked. The small pegasus mare thought she hadn’t done an adequate job pleasing her stallion.
“M-Matser, I’m sorry! I’ll try harder, I swear. Please let me try again,” she begged, crawling forward to resume her work. However, Big Mac stopped her, lifting her head up away from his crotch and guiding her so she was lying on top of his large frame.
“Starshadow, what’s goin’ on? Why ya actin’ this way?” Big Mac asked.
Starshadow couldn’t help from starting to cry and she buried her face into his chest. “I’m sorry, Master. Your bad pet doesn’t deserve all of Master’s attention after all. Your pet got jealous of your other mares and wanted you all to herself.”
Big Mac gently stroked the back of her mane as she continued to cry. “Hey now, Ah said no more of callin’ me master, remember?” he said gently. “An’ya don’t have to be jealous of no other mare, you’re mah only special somepony, Ah promise.”
Starshadow lifted her head slightly and wiped her eyes. “But... all those other mares... you can have any other mare in Ponyville. Why me?” she asked.
Big Mac offered her a genuine smile. “‘Cuz you’re tha one Ah fell in love with. Nopony else.”
Big Mac leaned forward and brought Starshadow into a long, passionate kiss. Though he had kissed her countless times, Starshadow felt a strange, unusual warmth begin to flood her entire body, as well as felt her panicked state begin to subside. For the first time in a long time she felt calm, and as the two ponies finally parted lips she smiled as the warm sensation lingered in her body for a few more moments.
“C’mon, let’s head on up to bed.” Big Mac said.
Starshadow nodded, moving aside to let Big Mac get up. She followed him obediently up to his room, but once again the large red stallion gently tucked her into bed and cuddled up next to her. Slightly embarrassed by what she was about to do, Starshadow hesitantly spoke up. “Hey, B-Big Mac? That thing... what you did last night... can you do that again?”
Big Mac didn’t bother replying, instead wordlessly wrapping his hooves around her once again while kissing her cheek and neck. Starshadow closed her eyes, enjoying the feeling once again. ‘I wish I could feel this every night with him’ she thought before drifting off to sleep.
Specter sighed and looked away in disgust as Thunderlane started vomiting on the ground. Though his teleportation spell could only be detected by powerful unicorns who spent time training in forbidden magic, he still took the precaution of teleporting himself and Thunderlane to three random spots around Ponyville before finally ending up at the hideout that the other ponies working under Polaris had picked out. The only positive thing that Specter could think of about this situation was that Thunderlane was at least throwing up outside and wouldn’t stink up the hideout. He sighed again as Thunderlane let out another dry heave, still struggling to get over the feeling of extreme nausea from teleporting for the first time in his life.
Finally finished expelling the contents of his stomach onto the ground, Specter unceremoniously kicked some dirt over the puke before leading the way into the cave they stood in front of. “Hey wait, can I get a drink first?” Thunderlane asked in a whiny voice. With no patience left, Specter grabbed a hold of the sick pegasus with his magic and dragged him inside, wondering if using this pitiful excuse for a stallion would really be worth the pain it was already becoming.
Pulling the still-whining pegasus deeper and deeper into the cave, the two stallions came to a dead end. “Wait, where are we? There’s nothing here.” Thunderlane said while looking around.
Specter nodded towards the wall. “Through there.”
Thunderlane walked up to the area that Specter indicated. Placing a hoof on the rocky wall, he pushed and probed the area but found it solid. “Wait, there’s nothing here!” he exclaimed, beginning to wonder if this was all a trick.
Specter suddenly shot a ball of light from the end of his horn at Thunderlane, causing him to shut his eyes in fear. However, nothing seemed to happen. Before he could ask Specter what was going on, he watched in amazement as the unicorn strode forward and simply passed through the rocky face like it wasn’t even there. Extending his hoof once again, his limb this time simply passed through the rock wall like it wasn’t even there, and as Thunderlane reluctantly moved forward he realized that it was some sort of protective spell cast to protect what lay deeper in the cave.
What was now in front of him was a rather intricate camp with five other stallions lounging around in various places. They looked up as Specter and Thunderlane walked towards them, but then went back to their various tasks, not caring who the new pony was.
“You’re absolutely sure that you can identify Starshadow and where she lives, right?” Specter asked the pegasus. Thunderlane nodded, finally giving Specter hope that he wasn’t a lost cause. “Good. When I give the word, you will lead the ponies here to where Starshadow lives. Once they take her, escort them to the Ponyville train station. You’ll find a train with a single car, get everypony in it and it will bring you all to Canterlot. You’ll receive your payment and a full pardon for your crimes once you arrive.” Specter said before walking back out, not waiting for an answer.
Left alone with five complete strangers, Thunderlane tried to hide his nervousness and sized up his new companions. Three of the stallions sat around a crate playing a card game while the other two sat off to the side, one of them sharpening a deadly-looking set of knives while the other one had his attention focused on a copy of PlayColt. Clearing his throat, Thunderlane approached the poker playing ponies and gave a friendly smile. “Heya guys, wanna deal me in?” he asked.
The three ponies shot Thunderlane a glare so stern enough to scare even a cockatrice. He quickly backed away, turning instead to the two other ponies. Figuring the one looking at the magazine would be slightly friendlier, he walked up next to him and glanced at the page that was open. “Heh, sweet flank on that one, right?” he said.
The pony ignored him, leaving Thunderlane only one other pony to try to befriend. Gulping nervously, Thunderlane walked started approaching the last stallion but stopped cold as the pony turned his attention to the pegasus and held up a freshly sharpened dagger. “Back off.” he said, the tone of his voice leaving absolutely no room for any doubt.
Defeated, Thunderlane sought out a secluded corner and sulked by himself. He huffed out loud but none of the other stallions even twitched at his sign of discontent; instead, they continued their activities as if he wasn’t even there. With no other choice, Thunderlane tried to figure out how to pass the time and hoped that Specter returned soon. He could swear that the other ponies were stealing glances at him, and they weren’t happy about having a newcomer in their midst...
The last few days for Starshadow had been rough, but as each day passed Big Mac noticed that her old habits and tendencies were once again fading away. As he walked back to Sweet Apple Acres he heard multiple screams, and as he looked over to his right he saw Starshadow, Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Sweetie Bell running in and out of the trees bordering the farm, the four ponies playing tag with one another. Big Mac smiled as he stopped to watch them play, happy to see that Starshadow seemed to be done with hiding alone somewhere, trying to seduce him, or calling him her ‘Master’. After a hard period of time, it finally seemed like things were changing and life was returning to normal.
Spotting the large stallion, Starshadow stopped and shyly waved to him, still slightly embarrassed that he continued to insist that she was his special somepony. However, the thought of them remaining together appealed greatly to her, and with great hesitance she had finally agreed to call him her special somepony instead of ‘Master’ anymore. It was clear she had trouble with the change at first, but now she seemed happy with life.
“Gotcha!” Apple Bloom shouted as she dove forward, tackling Starshadow to the ground. Both ponies laughed as they tumbled across the ground, coming to a stop a few yards away from where Starshadow was standing just seconds ago. “Ah gotcha, Starshadow! Ya can’ catch me!” Apple Bloom said as she untangled herself and quickly galloped off.
With a look of determination, Starshadow stood up and raced after the fleeing Cutie Mark Crusaders, trying to tag one of them back. While the four continued to play, Applejack came out of the barn and walked over to where her brother stood, joining him in watching the ponies play.
“Well, this is nice tah see.” Applejack said, smiling at the sight in front of her. “Ya sure ya’ll don’t wanna join em, Big Mac?”
“Nnope. Too fast for me.” Big Mac said, not afraid to admit that he was nowhere close to being the fastest runner in town. “Why don’ you join in?”
“Naw, wouldn’t be fair to ‘em. No way anypony can outrun me. ‘Member tha Runnin’ of tha Leaves an’ me’n Dash raced?”
Overhearing the two siblings talking, Starshadow couldn’t help but suddenly veering off course and racing straight at them. Stopping right in front of Applejack, Starshadow grinned mischievously. “Oh really? Then prove it.” she challenged, bopping AJ lightly on the snout with her hoof. “Tag.”
Before Applejack could react, Starshadow ran off with the three Cutie Mark Crusaders, all four of them laughing and giggling as they ran into the fields. Big Mac couldn’t help but laugh also at the challenge Starshadow had thrown out. “Ya not gonna play?” he asked, noticing that Applejack hadn’t yet moved.
“Jus’ givin’ ‘em a head start, is all. T’wouldn’ be fair if Ah didn’t.” AJ replied, tossing her hat so it landed on Big Mac’s head. “Hold that fer me. This won’t take long.”
Without any more hesitance, Applejack raced off after Starshadow. “No flyin’, ya hear!” she yelled after the pegasus, her focus solely on catching up to Starshadow to prove that she was indeed the fastest runner.
As Applejack weaved through the trees she saw that she was already catching up to the four ponies. Though Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Sweetie Bell were slightly lagging behind, Applejack ignored them, her target being only Starshadow. The three fillies knew that the orange earth pony was only after Starshadow and wisely gave way to Applejack as she began to close the gap.
“Ah gotcha now!” Applejack said, getting ready to reach out and tag her target. However, Starshadow let out a short laugh before suddenly increasing her speed and pulling away. Applejack almost tripped from the surprise, but quickly recollected her thoughts. ‘Course she was holdin’ back, that’s why Apple Bloom an’ the others kept up with her.’ Applejack thought to herself. With renewed determination, Applejack bolted after Starshadow, leaving the three fillies behind while they cheered for Starshadow to run faster.
As the chase went on, Starshadow began darting between the trees erratically, using her wings to help take turns much tighter and faster than most ponies could. Applejack did an admirable job keeping up with Starshadow, but due to the turns wasn’t able to close the gap anymore. However, the advantage soon changed to Applejack’s favor as her impressive endurance and stamina easily beat out Starshadow’s, and before long Starshadow’s speed began to slow dramatically. They had circled around the barn about seven times and were running past the front gate once again when Starshadow finally had enough. Slowing from her pace, she tried to get her heavy breathing under control so she could tell Applejack that she surrenders but she wasn’t quick enough.
Still with plenty of energy left to spare and with adrenaline still flowing strongly, Applejack didn’t see that Starshadow had stopped until it was too late. She crashed into the worn out pegasus and both mares went tumbling to the ground in a cloud of dust. Neither Applejack nor Starshadow were injured during the collision, but as they opened their eyes they both realized that they were now in a somewhat compromising position; Starshadow was lying on her back, pinned under Applejack’s larger frame.
Applejack blushed as soon as she realized that she was lying on top of Starshadow, but for some reason she couldn’t bring herself to move away so Starshadow could get up. Instead, both mares stared into each other’s eyes, unable to look away.
‘What’n the hay are ya doin’? Get on off of her!’ Applejack thought to herself, but what was going on in her mind was nowhere close to what her body was doing. Instead of listening to her thoughts, AJ’s body remained put where it was, keeping Starshadow pinned under her. AJ’s head started to slowly move down, inching closer and closer to Starshadow until the two were separated by less than an inch. Both mares could feel the other’s hot breath on their muzzle, but before either of them could speak up Applejack closed the gap, locking her lips against Starshadow’s mouth.
‘Ya idjit! What’n tarnation are yah doin’?!’ Applejack thought to herself, but she couldn’t bring herself to lift her head back up. Her heart was racing faster than Rainbow Dash flying to Sweet Apple Acres during cider season, but it wasn’t because she was nervous about somepony seeing her kissing another mare. No, Applejack was worried that Starshadow would hate her for kissing her, and she would forever be hated by her brother’s special somepony. However, her fears were put to rest when she felt one of Starshadow’s hooves wrap around the back of her neck and pulled her down, clearly not wanting the nervous earth pony to stop what she was doing.
Not caring who may see them and forgetting that her family may be nearby, Applejack allowed herself to indulge in the guilty pleasure, both mares kissing each other like they were long time lovers. Starshadow wriggled momentarily on the ground, but instead of trying to free herself she positioned her body so her crotch was now pressing against one of AJ’s rear legs. Unable to hold herself back, Starshadow began to rub herself against Applejack’s leg, causing both mares to moan softly as they continued to kiss. It only took a matter of moments for Applejack’s leg to start becoming slick with Starshadow’s juices, but both mares were too preoccupied to even notice, let alone care. The two mares were so preoccupied with each other that they didn’t notice the clip-clop of hooves nearing them, growing louder and louder by the second.
“I must say, this town is growing on me every time I come here.” Starsong said as she watched the scenery slowly pass her by.
“Yup. It’s a fantastic place. I used to live in Manehattan, but this is a much better place to raise my two young foals.” one of the earth ponies pulling the taxi said.
As the two ponies pulling the taxi went back and forth commenting on their favorite parts of Ponyville, Starsong looked at the quaint little buildings that made up the small town and smiled. She recalled the nightmare of a life that she and her mother had saved Starshadow from and thought that a town like this was the perfect place for her sister to settle down in, especially now that she had found a stallion that she loved. Her thoughts were soon interrupted as the taxi slowed and one of the ponies announced that they had arrived at her destination, though she noticed that he had stuttered uncomfortably for some reason.
Ignoring the hiccup in his speech, Starsong disembarked the taxi carriage and tossed her payment, plus tip, to one of the ponies while the other one quickly offloaded her luggage. Starsong found it curious that he was beet red in the face and he frequently glanced towards the farm she had been taken to, though she was on the other side of the carriage. Once everything had been settled, the two stallions took off back to town, leaving Starsong confused by their strange behavior. Levitating her bag behind her, she took one step towards the farm before her eyes went wide and she dropped her bag in surprise as she saw what had gotten the two taxi stallions so flustered.
Standing still in shock, it took Starshadow and Applejack a few moments to realize that they now had an audience. Applejack was first to glance up, and when she recognized Starsong she let out a muffled yelp in surprise and quickly removed herself from her position over Starshadow. “Gah! Sta-Starsong! Ah didn’ know ya’ll were... it ain’t what it looks like! Ah was... we were...”
Starshadow’s reaction was much calmer, and as she looked over and saw that her sister was back in town. “Starsong!” she exclaimed excitedly, quickly getting back on her hooves and rushing over to hug her. Starsong snapped out of her trance once her younger sister warmly embraced her, but as their cheeks touched she felt a cold wetness. Starshadow pulled back and noticed that she had gotten some saliva on Starsong’s cheek, though she had no idea if it was hers or Applejack’s. Not really caring whose it was, Starshadow gently licked Starsong’s cheek clean, causing her sister’s already flushed face to become even redder.
Applejack didn’t know whether to cry from embarrassment or roll on the ground laughing from what Starshadow had just done, but to her relief Starsong seemed to shake off the awkward situation that had just occurred and smiled as if nothing had happened. “Good to see you too, Starshadow.” she said to her sister before turning to Applejack. “Pleasure to see you again. I hope you don’t mind me dropping by so suddenly.”
AJ couldn’t believe that Starsong could act like she hadn’t seen anything but managed to spit out an answer. “Ain’t no trouble at all, Starsong.” she said hesitantly.
Just then, Big Mac and Apple Bloom came out of the house, having seen the taxi carriage pull up but had missed what Starshadow and AJ had been doing. The two remaining Apple siblings greeted Starsong warmly, but as Big Mac and Starshadow carried Starsong’s luggage inside, Starsong slowed down and asked to speak to Applejack alone.
Once Starshadow and Big Mac had gone inside, Starsong’s face darkened as she confronted AJ. “Is there something going on between you and my sister? I thought she was with your brother, not you.” she asked.
Applejack could sense the suspicion hanging around Starsong’s head, and she quickly shook her head no. “She ain’t! Ah mean, ah crud... she IS with Big Mac. That, whatcha saw there was... aw gosh darn, it’s so hard to ‘splain.” she said, unsure of how to tell Starsong of what all three of them had done in the past.
Starsong took a step closer to Applejack, a fiery glare in her eyes. “I believe Starshadow told me before that you are ‘the Element of Honesty’, so you better live up to that title and be honest with me right now. What have you done to my sister?”
Applejack felt her gut wrench when Starsong referenced her Element of Harmony. “Ahlright, Ah’ll tell ya.” she finally said in defeat. “Listen, Ah don’t have no intention of hurtin’ nopony, ‘specially Starshadow. She’n Big Mac are datin’ an’ Ah think they go well together.”
Starsong eased back a little, but her eyes still betrayed her heightened suspicion. “Then why were you two doing THAT just now? That’s... that’s not right. Two mares shouldn’t be doing something like that, especially out in the open for everypony to see!”
Applejack’s ears and tail drooped in shame and embarrassment as she heard Starsong scold her. She couldn’t help but think herself as a gigantic hypocrite as just a few weeks ago Applejack thought the same way, that two mares shouldn’t engage in activities that a mare and stallion were meant to. But now, after spending a few intimate nights with Starshadow, AJ wasn’t sure what to think any more about that topic. “Ah know, Ah just... Ah didn’ mean to- Ah mean, what Ah’m tryin’ ta say is...” she stuttered.
Starsong held up her hoof, not wanting to hear excuses. “Whatever. Just answer me truthfully; are you trying to hurt her or steal her away from your brother?” Starsong asked.
Applejack quickly shook her head no. “Never! Ah would never hurt mah brother or a friend like that!” she said firmly.
Starsong’s gaze didn’t ease at first, but she did see how determined and sure of herself that Applejack looked. Hesitantly nodding in satisfaction, Starsong eased her mood and calmed down. “Okay, I believe you.” she finally said.
Just then Apple Bloom came bouncing out of the house and raced up to the two mares. “There ya’ll are! We were wonderin’ where ya’ll went to.” the small filly said. “Watcha still doin’ out here?”
Starsong smiled at the little filly. “Oh, I’m sorry dear. We got caught up talking. We’ll be inside shortly.”
“Well don’ wait too long! Granny Smith’n I made a fresh zap-apple pie!” she said, bouncing excitedly back inside.
Applejack glanced over at Starsong, unsure if Starshadow’s sister would still want to be friends. To her relief, Starsong offered her a small smile and placed a hoof reassuringly on her shoulder. “Look, I’m sorry for being so harsh before. It’s just... Starshadow has been through a lot, and I can’t let anypony hurt her or drag her back to where she was before.”
“Ah understand.” Applejack nodded. “She told me’n Big Mac ‘bout what had happened to her. Please believe me, Ah don’ want anything ta happen ter her either. She’s like family to me.”
Starsong embraced Applejack. “Thank you.” she said. With an increased respect and trust in one another, both mares headed inside to join Starshadow and the rest of the Apple family.
“Aww, ya sure ya’ll can’t stay tonight?” Apple Bloom asked.
Starshadow and Starsong looked at each other, Starshadow trying to suppress a giggle as she glanced up at her sister’s singed mane. “Sorry, Apple Bloom, but we have to get home tonight. We’ll be back tomorrow, though.” she said.
Once everypony said their goodbyes, the two Star sisters walked back towards town, and Starshadow finally let out the laughter that had been building up inside of her. “Ha ha ha ha! I’m sorry, sis, but I can’t believe that you let her try that on you!”
Starsong glanced up at her mane, sighing at the sight of the singed tips of hair. “How was I supposed to know? She said it was shampoo!” she defended herself. “I’ve never heard of shampoo bursting into flames like a phoenix before!”
Starshadow wiped her eyes as she tried to stop laughing. “Well, you did choose to ignore all our warnings not to, especially anything that had to do with cutie marks. Even Granny Smith tried to pull you away in time.”
“She asked me to help her wash her dentures!” Starsong protested. “What pony in their right mind would choose that over helping a filly?”
Starshadow smirked. “At least Big Mac and Applejack put it out before it got any worse.”
Both sisters continued walking together back to town, but unbeknownst to them they were not alone. From the shadows of the trees a lone unicorn watched the two sisters walking home, silently following them until they went inside Vinyl’s home. Once the door was closed, Specter quietly made his way back out of town, having confirmed the two places that Starshadow spent most of her time and was most vulnerable. He had no need of Thunderlane’s services to show him where she lived; he was simply a scapegoat in his plan. It was now only a matter of time before his plan could be put into motion and he could finally ‘retire’ and be free to pursue his mysterious past.
However, Specter was wrong about one thing; he was not alone in the dark. From her own hiding place, Twilight’s bodyguard remained hidden as she watched Specter foolishly leave his hiding place before teleporting off somewhere else, only a faint trace of his magic left lingering in the air. Not one to make the same mistake, she teleported herself back to Twilight’s library from her hiding spot, and once back she woke Twilight up from her sleep.
“Uh? Who is...? Nightshade, what’s going on?” Twilight asked sleepily.
Nightshade bowed in apology before speaking. “Princess, we have a problem.”
As the moon rose higher into the night sky, Princess Luna walked the hallways of the sleepy castle she and her sister called home. She smiled as she listened to the echo of her hoof-steps in the desolate halls, enjoying the fact that she was alone as she watched over Equestria as it slept.
Continuing down the hallway and looking out the windows, she saw a faint glow of light coming from the astronomy tower. Curious as to who could possibly be up at this hour of the night, she made her way over and up the tower, ascending the spiral stairway until she reached the top. She pushed open the door and was surprised to see Discord suspended in the air, looking through an insanely designed telescope.
“Discord, what are you doing in here?” she asked quizzically. “I did not take thee as one to gaze at my stars.”
“Oh, hello Princess Luna, dear.” Discord said without looking up. “No, just looking at something interesting about to unfold down in Ponyville.”
Luna’s ears perked up as soon as Discord said ‘Ponyville’. “What? What’s going on? Show me!” she demanded.
Discord backed away from his telescope. “Be my guest, princess.” he smirked. Slightly suspecting some sort of trick, Luna cautiously approached Discord’s telescope and peered through the eyepiece.
“I... I do not see anything.” she said. As she backed away from the possibly broken telescope, Discord burst out laughing, pointing at her face hysterically. Sighing with disdain, Luna summoned a mirror and looked into it. She saw what Discord was laughing at; her eye was now black with ink thanks to Discord’s telescope.
“Very funny...” she muttered, dismissing the mirror and summoning a wash cloth to clean her face. “If you’re quite done, I need to get back to my duties.”
Discord’s laughter died down and the draconequus landed next to Luna. “Oh come now, Princess, lighten up. Your sister thinks that my pranks are funny. But seriously, there is something going on down in Ponyville.”
Luna eyed Discord warily, but the rare look of seriousness in his eyes told her that he was not joking. Still, to remain safe of any further pranks Luna summoned her own telescope to look down on the small town to try to see what Discord was warning her about. “Okay... what am I looking for?”
“Look down for Town Hall, then to the right.” he instructed. “Between there and the next house is a cluster of trees. See them?”
“Yes.” Luna said, watching the trees. A few moments passed by, but nothing was happening, causing Luna to think that Discord was tricking her yet again. “I swear, Discord, if this is another trick then I’ll turn you back into stone myself.”
“A trick? Why Luna, I am offended.” Discord said, swooning dramatically. “Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten what their presence feels like.”
“Presence? What the flank are you talking abou-” Luna started to say, but just as she was about to look away she saw the slightest movement from one of the trees. It wasn’t the wind, as none of the other trees were disturbed, and eventually a dark colored pony jumped down from his hiding spot in the trees. The pony walked a few steps before disappearing into the night with a teleportation spell, but to Luna’s shock there was no telltale bright flash of a unicorn teleporting. The mysterious pony simply disappeared.
“What the... how did that pony manage to do that?” Luna asked, but as she tried to look up at Discord she felt him forcing her head back down to the telescope.
“Not so fast, there’s another one out there.” he said. “Look over at Twilight’s library.”
Luna did as she was instructed, and moments later she saw a pony appear out of nowhere right in front of Twilight’s door. Like before, there was no bright flash of light signaling that the pony used a teleportation spell, but as the door opened and the pony entered the library Luna recognized who it was.
“Discord, that’s just Twilight’s bodyguard.” Luna said, finally looking up at Discord.
The Master of Chaos shook his head. “That second pony was, yes, but that first one was somepony else. Nightshade was there too, but she was watching that first pony.”
“So what is so important about somepony using a teleportation spell?” Luna asked. “I don’t understand why you needed to bring this to my attention.”
Discord clicked his tongue and shook his head. “Poor Luna, you really don’t remember anything at all, do you?”
“Remember what? Tell me!” Luna demanded, losing her patience with Discord’s riddles.
“Such a shame. They were your most loyal.” Discord said before he snapped his fingers, disappearing with a flash of light. Luna stomped a hoof in frustration as she was left with no answers, but Discord’s mouth reappeared briefly to utter one last cryptic sentence before it disappeared once more;
“The shadow of the star will bring light to your long forgotten children.”
“Now ya’ll be careful an’ listen ter Big Mac’n Starshadow an’ her sister, ya hear?” Applejack said, eyeing all three of the Cutie Mark Crusaders sternly.
“We will!” all three of the costumed fillies said excitedly before dashing over to the farm entrance, hopping excitedly around Big Mac.
Applejack turned to Starshadow and Starsong. “Thanks again fer takin’ the youn’uns out fer Nightmare Nigh’. Ah really appreciate it.” she said, turning away after speaking to avoid sneezing on the two other mares.
Starsong patted AJ’s shoulder. “Don’t mention it. Just rest and get better. Watching them will be easy.”
Both Applejack and Starshadow winced at Starsong’s words, the unicorn still not understanding just exactly what the three fillies were capable of. Thankfully, Starshadow offered Applejack a reassuring hug. “Don’t worry, we’ll handle them somehow. We’re also meeting up with Vinyl and Octavia, so they’ll be able to help.” she said.
As the group headed off, Sarshadow looked over everypony in their costumes, including herself. Though Rarity was far from one of her closest friends, Starshadow did have to admit that the white unicorn was quite the talented seamstress as she was able to make costumes for her and Starsong in less than a day. Starsong had of course dressed up as her idol Beethoofen, but Starshadow decided to choose something much more risqué and had asked for a Saddle Arabian flank-dancers outfit. Big Mac had dressed up as a zombie by covering himself in a green dye he had gotten from Zecora. Scootaloo had dressed up as Daring Do, Sweetie Belle was dressed as the villain of a popular horror movie, and Apple Bloom had followed her brother’s theme and dressed up as a mummy. Altogether, the ponies made for a somewhat unusual group, but none of them cared that their costumes were all so different.
Not wanting to waste any time, the three fillies rushed off to collect as much candy as possible as the three older ponies followed them at a slight distance, admiring the costumes that the other ponies around them were wearing. It didn’t take long for them to run into a group of familiar ponies, and with a cheerful wave all of them made their way over to where Pinkie, Rainbow Dash, and Fluttershy were standing.
“Awesome costume!” Rainbow Dash said to Scootaloo. Starshadow couldn’t help but giggle as she saw that Rainbow was also dressed as Daring Do. Starshadow had been introduced to the series just days ago, and though she liked the series, her enthusiasm could never reach the level that both Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo admired the brave adventurer.
“Ribbit!” exclaimed Pinkie in agreement.
The pink party pony was dressed up as a lizard, but before Starsong could attempt to correct Pinkie’s incorrect sound both Starshadow and Big Mac nudged her. “Don’t bother.” they both said.
Fluttershy offered a weak smile “That’s, um, I really like your costumes.” she said shyly.
Starshadow couldn’t help but notice that Fluttershy was possibly the only pony out tonight who was not wearing a costume. “Where’s your costume, Fluttershy?” she asked.
Fluttershy lowered her head slightly as Rainbow Dash spoke up for her. “She wanted to stay locked up in her house like she does every year, but Pinkie and I managed to drag her out.”
“You said a fruit bat was in trouble.” Fluttershy meekly protested, but her voice was so weak that nopony heard her.
Pinkie bounced next to Fluttershy and put a hoof around her neck. “Aw, come on, Fluttershy. Isn’t this a lot more fun than hiding alone back at home?” she asked.
“Not really...” Fluttershy said, but once again everypony could barely hear her due to her soft voice.
The older ponies began to talk about various topics, causing the three younger ponies to become impatient as their bags were barely half full of candy. Luckily for them, Rainbow Dash noticed their patience wearing down and came to their rescue.
“Hey everypony, why don’t Flutters, Pinkie, and I take over and watch the squirts?” she offered. “That way they can get their candy and we can show Fluttershy that there’s nothing to be scared of and you three can take a break from watching them.”
The three fillies and Pinkie Pie started bouncing around in approval, but Fluttershy shook her head and tried to sneak away. “That’s, um, thanks, but no thanks. I have to, um, get home and, uh, go water Angel Bunny and feed the flowers. I mean...” she said as she slowly backed away.
Unfortunately for Fluttershy, Pinkie managed to sneak up behind her and grabbed her by the tail. “No way, Fluttershay!” Pinkie Pie said, pulling the frightened pegasus along with her. “The night’s just getting started! We should go check out the haunted house that Mayor Mare had set up in Town Hall, plus they’re giving out caramel apples to everypony who makes it through!”
“H-h-haunted what?! Oh no, we can’t! I... eep!” Fluttershy squeaked helplessly.
“Come on, let’s go!” Rainbow Dash said, but she paused as Sweetie Belle looked over at Starsong.
“Can you come with us? I wanna hear more about your singing.” Sweetie Belle asked.
Starsong looked at the small filly. “Of course. I hope you don’t mind, sister. I’ll see you back at the Apple’s farm tonight?” she said as Sweetie Belle gleefully led Starsong off with the others.
“Okay, see you later!” Starshadow said as she waved goodbye. Though she was slightly disappointed to be away from her sister, she was glad to finally have some private time with Big Mac, and with a quick nuzzle the two lovers walked off together to enjoy their night together.
Big Mac took the lead and showed Starshadow around the town’s best attractions; from Sugarcube Corner where Mr. and Mrs. Cake had special Nightmare Night treats to the statue of Nightmare Moon set up on the outskirts of the Everfree Forest for the young colts and fillies to place their offerings. Taking Pinkie’s advice, Big Mac also brought Starshadow over to the Town Hall for the haunted house, and as they entered the building even he had to admit that the props and decorations sent a shiver down his spine. It was clear that Twilight had helped the mayor put together the attraction as everything was perfectly organized down to the millimeter. The only thing out of place was a set of deep scratch marks near the entrance, and both ponies came to the conclusion that they were caused by a certain pink-maned pegasus fighting to stay out of the frightening building.
About halfway through the tour Starshadow began to lose interest in the haunted house. Thanks to her past she had experienced worse horrors and frightening moments than any haunted house attraction could try to create, but the dark seclusion of everything did give her one idea to make things interesting.
“They did an amazing job with the props. The mannequins look so lifelike.” Starshadow said, pointing at one of the fake vamponies set up along the path.
Starshadow moved closer to her special somepony. “You know, I bet that you could pretend to be part of the haunted house. You’d blend right in with everything.” she said mischievously. Big Mac looked at her in a puzzled manner, so Starshadow pushed him over to the side where a partially smashed crate covered in fake blood. “If you stand behind this and lean on the crate... yeah, just like that... now a little more to your left... perfect!”
Standing back, Starshadow was impressed by how much Big Mac really did seem to blend in perfectly with everything around him. To further prove her right two colts rounded the corner and jumped slightly at the sight of Big Mac in his pose. With his two front legs on the crate, it looked like he was climbing over to try to devour anypony walking by, and Starshadow was quite happy with the results.
“You look perfect! Though, it’d be even more convincing if you made some zombie noises also.” she said giggling. She heard another group of ponies headed their way so Starshadow stowed herself away and out of sight by ducking into the broken crate Big Mac was propped up on, the opening facing Big Mac’s torso.
As the thrill seekers rounded the corner Big Mac let out his best zombie impression, but he ended up sounding more like a sleeping Ursa Minor than a zombie. It was more than enough to surprise the young ponies who shrieked in surprise, but Starshadow couldn’t help but silently facehoof herself.
“Oh come on, Big Mac, you can do better than that.” Starshadow hissed up at Big Mac.
The large red stallion glanced back down at her and shrugged. “Ah don’ really know what noise to make.” he admitted.
Starshadow grinned, having been hoping he’d say something like that. “Then let me help you. Tell me when you hear another group coming.” she said.
Big Mac shrugged. The only way he could think of how Starshadow would help him didn’t make sense; her voice was nowhere near deep enough to be mistaken for his own, but before he could ask what she was going to do he felt her begin to lick teasingly at his crotch.
“Woah! What are you...” he started to protest, but before he could attempt to move away or stop Starshadow he heard another group of ponies making their way towards him. Quickly glancing around he saw that his lower body was hidden to anypony walking by, but as he felt his shaft beginning to harden he could only pray that none of the approaching ponies would get too close.
“Starshadow, they’re almost here!” he hissed before he froze to blend in with the other mannequins. Just as the first pony rounded the corner Starshadow took Big Mac’s shaft into her mouth and down her throat in one lunge of her head, sending him into a dizzying spiral of pleasure he hadn’t felt in a long time and he was forced to let out a deep, long moan.
Starshadow’s ‘help’ caused the four fillies to jump in complete surprise and turn tail, scurrying for the exit as fast as they could. Though she would have loved to see their scared faces, their shrieks were enough to know that her method had worked better than she had hoped, and with one last soft moan of her own she let Big Mac’s cock slip free of her mouth.
Still shocked by Starshadow’s bold move, Big Mac’s erection thankfully softened and disappeared back in its sheath. Starshadow looked up at him with a sheepish grin. “Well, it DID help you...” she said.
Deciding that they should leave before anypony came to investigate the moaning zombie, Starshadow and Big Mac made their way to the exit. Big Mac’s silence started to get Starshadow worried, and she thought that she may have gone too far with her ‘assistance’. However, that wasn’t what was on Big Mac’s mind; he had spent the last few days fighting back his own needs for Starshadow’s sake, but with tonight’s events he felt the urge to take her like he used to before. Thankfully, exiting the haunted house and being surrounded by other ponies helped him regain control of his instincts just in time.
“Starshadow! Big Mac!” somepony yelled. Turning around, the two ponies saw Princess Twilight and her bodyguard approaching them. “I see you two enjoyed my haunted house.” she said, mistaking Big Mac’s still slightly flushed face as a sign of fear.
“Uh, eeyup.” Big Mac said, deciding to go with Twilight’s comment instead of correcting her. He and Twilight engaged in conversation about the changes Twilight had made to Mayor Mare’s original ideas, but Starshadow was busy watching Twilight’s bodyguard. Nightshade was acting even stranger than Starshadow remembered, the tough mare eyeing anypony who walked within fifty feet of Twilight and even chased off a few unlucky ponies who got too close. However, things became even tenser as a pony dressed in a black cloak spotted Twilight talking to Starshadow and Big Mac, and without warning the mysterious pony rushed into a sprint, headed straight for the small group.
The sudden rush did not escape Nightshade’s attention. “Halt!” she commanded as she rushed forward to intercept the pony, but her eyes grew wide with surprise as the black clad pony took off, spreading a pair of black wings and easily avoiding her. Looking up, Nightshade saw that the pony was all black; coat, mane, and tail, and a sickening thought crossed her mind. “Blackguard...!”
The threat now graver than ever, Nightshade teleported herself back so she was now back in front of the attacking menace, as well as just above. Her timing perfect, Nightshade tackled the black pony out of midair and both of them went tumbling to the ground. Nightshade was able to then pin her foe underneath her, her black aura blade forming at her side, prepared strike a final blow, but her attack was halted as Twilight and the others ran up.
“Nightshade! What in Celestia’s name are you doing?” Twilight exclaimed, but she was stopped as Nightshade held up her hoof.
“Do not come any closer, Princess! This assassin was trying to kill you!” Nightshade replied, her eyes still locked on to the pony underneath her.
“Assassin? What are you talking... It’s somepony dressed up for Nightmare Night!” Twilight said. “I told you, there’s no secret assassins or anything trying to harm me.”
Nightshade snorted as she switched her spell so she now had a hold of the pony’s cloak. “Oh really? Then who is this?” she exclaimed, yanking the cloak off of her captive.
Twilight, Big Mac, and Starshadow gasped as the pony underneath was revealed, but their surprise was not in the context Nightshade had hoped.
“Oh, were we playing tag? Am I it?” Derpy asked.
Twilight shook her head and levitated Nightshade off of the clueless pegasus. “Oh Derpy, I’m so sorry! She didn’t hurt you, did she?” she asked with concern as Starshadow went over to check on her.
Derpy shook her head. “No, I’m fine. I’ve gone through worse.”
Looking over the clumsy pony, they all saw that Derpy was covered from nose to tail in all black paint, and coupled with her black cloak none of them had any idea what she was trying to dress as. “Um, what are you supposed to be?” Starshadow asked her.
“I’m a Darkguard!” she said proudly, but her explanation was met with only confusion from everypony except Nightshade.
“It’s Blackguard, you foal.” Nightshade muttered under her breath.
“What’s a Darkguard?” Big Mac asked.
Derpy looked back at him like he was crazy. “What’s a Darkguard? How do you not know what the Darkguard are? They’re the elite ponies that Princess Luna commanded before she was banished that enforced peace from the shadows. They were master assassins and during the civil war that split Equestria in two, they almost managed to turn the tide in Princess Luna’s favor and Princess Celestia and the sun would have been lost to the world forever.”
Starshadow and Big Mac could only stare at Derpy in disbelief as Twilight let out a small laugh. “What are you talking about, Derpy? Civil war? Where in Equestria did you hear something like that?”
“Well, Pinkie and I were making a delivery of cupcakes to Canterlot before you got here, and we were talking to the camel visiting from somewhere who told us all about what really happened when Princess Luna was banished. Oh! Then he let us play with his pet kitten, she was really cute.”
Twilight shook her head. “I’m sure you must have misheard him or something. Besides, the camel tribes didn’t come into contact with Equestria until about two hundred years ago, and even then it was through the traveling tradeponies of Saddle Arabia.”
Derpy shrugged, still convinced that the secret order of assassin ponies was real. Twilight turned to Nightshade, who was standing off to one side and still muttering under her breath angrily. Walking over to her, Twilight nudged her body guard. “I think you owe Derpy an apology for tackling her earlier.” she said.
Nightshade’s face turned slightly red with humiliation as she was nudged forward. “S-sorry.” she said through tightly gritted teeth.
With an innocent smile on her face, Derpy walked up to Nightshade and patted her on the head. “Don’t worry about it, even I crash into other ponies now and again. But you’re a unicorn, you’re not supposed to fly. Oops, I gotta go meet somepony now! Bye!”
Starshadow and Big Mac tried to hide their laughter as Derpy took off to head somewhere (nearly crashing headlong into town hall before she disappeared from sight), leaving Nightshade shaking in anger from Derpy’s unintentional humiliation. To stop Nightshade from losing the last bit of control she still had, Twilight bid Starshadow and Big Mac goodnight and headed home with her infuriated bodyguard, the angry unicorn still muttering to herself. “Stupid bucking pegasus, dressing up as that and then not even getting the name right!”
The two lovers also decided to head back to Sweet Apple Acres as Starsong and the young fillies were most likely already home by now. It was clear that many other ponies were headed home as well, and before long Starshadow and Big Mac were the only ponies on the dirt road.
On the outskirts of the small town, just steps into the dark Everfree Woods, Specter paced back and forth in an attempt to calm his rattled nerves. As usual, he had followed Starshadow at a distance to try probe her habits and schedule for any weaknesses, and possibly fillynap her himself so as not to have to deal with cleaning up any messes his ‘helpers’ may cause. However, as he hid on one of the rooftops in Ponyville, he was almost discovered when Twilight and her bodyguard showed up. Though she showed no obvious signs of spotting him, Specter did notice that her eyes always shot back up to the roof where he was hiding in the shadows, and though it was unlikely that the bodyguard could see him it was quite clear that she sensed his presence.
As if that wasn’t enough of a setback, another cloaked pony appeared out of nowhere. Specter recognized the cloak style and all black coat and mane of the pony as Blackguard, and to his even bigger surprise he wasn’t able to detect even a sliver of magic aura that surrounded every unicorn. Assuming that this mysterious newcomer must be extremely powerful to subdue all of their aura, he had no choice but to flee, and now he found himself having to start his plans all over, none of his ideas being any good with two potential foes of such high caliber to deal with.
His mind racing as he weighed his options, he angrily lashed out at one of the twisted trees that made up the dark forest. The only option left for him at this point was to actually use that foal Thunderlane and the other scum back in the cave, but thanks to the events of tonight he would have to scale back his role and remain only an observer, the risk of being caught by taking a more active role in the fillynapping now too great. Normally he would postpone the attack and try to gather more information on the two mystery ponies, but he was so close to his goal... just this one last mission and he could seek out what his dreams were trying to tell him.
The days after Nightmare Night were scheduled for a massive rainstorm, so both Starshadow and Starsong accepted Applejack’s offer to sleep over at Sweet Apple Acres and spend the day with the Apple family. Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle were also sleeping over at the farm, and all three Cutie Mark Crusaders jumped for joy at the announcement and begged Starsong to stay in Apple Bloom’s room with them. She accepted their offer despite AJ and Granny Smith vigorously shaking their head for her not to, and with simultaneous facehoofs they could only imagine what torture Starsong was subjecting herself to. Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash declined to also stay over as they had other priorities; Rainbow Dash said she had to go check up on Fluttershy who had run off home after managing to escape Dash’s grasp, and Pinkie said she had a sudden party to prepare for, and as she bounced off into the darkness she shouted back “See you in a few days!”
Nopony knew what Pinkie meant by her parting remark, though Starshadow noticed her sister turning slightly red and avoiding eye contact with her. Having a suspicious feeling that she had told Pinkie about a certain day coming up soon, Starshadow confronted Starsong directly. “You told her?” Starshadow asked with a raised eyebrow.
“W-what? No! I mean, not really. I mean...” Starsong stuttered before she gave in. “She already knew, she just asked me to confirm that it’s two days after tomorrow. I don’t have any idea how she found out about it, I swear! She said she has a book with everpony’s information in it, and that’s how she found out.”
“It’s true!” a cheerful voice rang out, and with complete surprise both sisters saw Pinkie bouncing back over to them. Pulling a rather thick book out from somewhere, Pinkie opened it to that week and pointed at the date Starshadow was asking about. “See? I already knew that yours is that day, and that the next day is Starsong’s. But don’t worry, I already have both parties planned for each of you!”
“Pinkie, hold on. I don’t think that Starshadow wants a par-” Starsong began to say, but Starshadow held up a hoof to stop her sister.
“What she means is I don’t think we need two separate parties. You can just throw one big party for both of us.” Starshadow said.
“Okie dokie lokie!” Pinkie Pie said happily, once again headed back home. “See you then!”
Starsong turned to Starshadow with a surprised look on her face. “Are you... did you just... you’re okay with celebrating it this year?” she asked cautiously.
Starshadow nodded. Starsong followed her sister’s gaze and they watched their new friends; Applejack lecturing Rainbow Dash about not scaring Fluttershy anymore while Big Mac tried his best to round up the three small fillies for bed. Finally, Starshadow turned back to her sister with a smile on her face. “Yeah, I think I’m okay with celebrating it this year. With you and all of my new friends here, I’m okay with letting them all know that it’s my birthday. Besides, I’ll finally be a whole year closer to you.”
Starsong returned her sister’s smile and playfully nudged her. “Just for one day, little sister.”
Just as planned by the weather ponies, a heavy rain fell across Ponyville and the surrounding lands the next two days. Almost everypony stayed at home as they didn’t wish to get soaked, the only exceptions being those who had to make deliveries around town. Despite a somewhat rough wind keeping even Rainbow Dash indoors, Derpy continued to dutifully make her rounds around town to deliver the mail. She stopped by Sweet Apple Acres to talk with Starshadow about her upcoming birthday party, and as the bubbly pegasus took off to continue her rounds Starshadow’s jaw dropped as she saw Derpy flawlessly take off and fly straight for the first time ever, despite the bumpy winds. Shaking her head in a combination of amusement and bafflement, she returned indoors to wait out the rain with everypony else.
Everypony had something to keep them busy during the rainstorm. Applejack ‘miraculously’ rebounded from her cold and helped Granny Smith with chores as well as cleaning up the mess Apple Bloom and her friends made as they continued their quest to get their cutie marks. Poor Starsong found herself yet again caught in the middle of the chaos of the three fillies, and despite her attempts to get their minds off of cutie marks, everything she suggested always led one of the three fillies to exclaim a new idea for a special talent. Eventually, Starsong gave up and concentrated on damage control.
With nothing to do themselves, Big Mac and Starshadow spent most of their time together. Having spent the first day just lounging around together, the two ponies started off the second day trying out some new ciders that the Apples had come up with, and Starshadow hugged her special somepony tightly when he told her that she could choose any of the ciders to be served at the upcoming party. Accepting his offer to try out each type of cider, Starshadow soon found herself getting drunk off of the many different flavors Big Mac had come up with despite taking small sips of each kind; Apple-cherry, apple-cinnamon, apple-raspberry... the list just kept on going and going.
With Starshadow now drunk and even Big Mac himself very tipsy, the small pegasus jumped up at her lover, locking her lips to his as the two ponies embraced each other while lying down on the storeroom floor. Starshadow allowed Big Mac to gain the upper hoof and soon found herself underneath his large frame, and while they continued to kiss she could feel his stallionhood beginning to harden.
“Big Mac, ya in here?” Applejack’s voice rang out.
Freezing for a moment, Big Mac scrambled to remove himself from his position on top of Starshadow, managing to stand up just as Applejack rounded a stack of barrels and came into view.
“There ya are, Ah’ve been lookin’ all over fer ya!” Applejack said. “Ah need yer help, Apple Bloom an’ her friends knocked over all’a the hay stacks out’n the barn. Ya comin’?”
Big Mac sighed. It had taken him over a day to stack all of the hay in the barn, and with Pinkie demanding that the barn be kept clear for the upcoming birthday party, he had no choice but to clean up the mess with Applejack.
“Eeyup. Be there one moment.” he said. Applejack nodded and trotted off to start cleaning up the massive mess while Big Mac helped the tipsy Starshadow back upstairs to his room, helping her into bed so she could sleep off her drunkenness.
Before he could leave his room, Starshadow planted one more long, wet kiss on his lips. “Better clean up fast, I want to continue where we left off.” she said seductively.
Big Mac could only nod before he ran off after Applejack, pausing only to make sure he wouldn’t expose a certain body part to everypony else in the house. Luckily for him, his shaft had softened and disappeared back into its sheath, allowing him to pretend that everything was normal. However, the mess that met him in the barn was beyond what he expected, and he facehoofed himself as he saw that Apple Bloom and the other fillies had indeed managed to upset every single bale of hay. Applejack was already sweeping up the hay into a large pile in the center, and with a heavy sigh Big Mac joined his sister in the cleanup.
About an hour later Starsong made her way upstairs to Big Mac’s room. After bringing the stallion a bucket of water and hearing about the state Starshadow had been when he’d left her, she took it upon herself to go to her sister’s aid. A tall glass of water in her magic grip, Starsong quietly opened and closed the door to his room.
There on the stallion’s bed lay her sister, covers kicked down and legs splayed open in a decidedly unladylike position, snoring quietly. The unicorn stifled a sigh, but couldn’t suppress the giggle that followed it. Her sister was so uninhibited, so very much unlike her, and a part of her envied the freedom that seemed to come with that. Starsong walked around to the side of the bed, setting the glass down on a nightstand beside it, smiling down at dear sister.
She began to pull the covers over her sister but stopped just past the pegasus’s flank. Memories began to flood her mind unbidden, memories of the many nights the two had spent together in her bed in Los Pegasus. Back then, Starshadow had been so desperate for her attention, her training telling her that sleeping with her Mistress was what a good pet was meant to do. For a long time there was an awkward sexual tension behind the action, but once Starshadow began to truly break free from that training they had continued to sleep together, celebrating the bond they shared having grown stronger than ever.
Starsong had always been slightly uncomfortable with sharing her bed with anypony, but until that moment she had no idea how much she missed that closeness she and her sister once had. She froze for a moment, uncertain. What would the others think if they caught her like this? What would Starshadow think if she woke up? But then, Starshadow had never minded before and in fact had been the one to initiate the contact. And from what she saw in the barn earlier, Big Mac was likely to be occupied for a while...
Starsong carefully climbed into the bed next to Starshadow, pulling the cover over both of them with her magic. She brought her hooves over her sister’s side and the smaller mare rolled over into the embrace. She gently ran a hoof through her sister’s mane, a simple contented warmth settling in her. ‘I’ve missed you so much, my dear little sister.’
Content in her innocent cuddling, Starsong failed to notice her sister’s hooves encircling her head. The pegasus moved with purpose, her hooves meeting behind her head before pulling forward. Caught completely by surprise, Starsong wasn’t able to even mount a token resistance as her sister suddenly pulled her into a kiss.
A million different thoughts warred for Starsong’s attention in that moment. What just happened? Was Starshadow awake the whole time? What was she doing? Was she mad at her or... While her head was lost in confusion, she finally became aware of one of Starshadow’s hind legs making its way up towards her crotch. Finally the storm in Starsong’s mind cleared and she decided on a coarse of action... She had to stop this before it went any farther.
Starsong lit her horn and directed her magic towards the hoof moving dangerously close to her marehood and struggled to pull away from her sister’s grasp. “S-Starshadow, what are you doing? Please stop!”
Starshadow finally relaxed her grip and her eyes slowly opened, reflecting her confusion. “Huh...? AJ, why’d you stop- oh, hi Starsong.” The pegasus threw her hooves around her sister once again, though in a much more familial manner this time, nuzzling against the side of her sister’s face. “Did you come to sleep with me?”
Starsong was at a loss. She had been caught red hoofed sneaking into her sister’s bed to do just that, though not in the context her sister had likely meant. She could smell the distinct scent of apples and alcohol on the pegasus’s breath, the mare was clearly still drunk. Fortunately, her sister didn’t give her time to dwell on the awkward question, instead leaning forward to nuzzle against her sister’s muzzle lovingly. There was nothing overly sexual in her movements and after a moment Starsong let herself relax.
“It’s just like old time, huh sis?” Starshadow continued after a moment. “I’m glad you came; I had no idea how much I missed this closeness.”
Both mares thought back to the last time they had shared a bed. The night before Starsong sent Starshadow to Cloudsdale, which had until recently been the last time they had seen one another. Though most of their memories of that time were far from pleasant, they had forged their already close bond even stronger. Starsong smiled down at her sister, recalling the time she spent taking care of her; the pegasus smiled back before suddenly snapping her mouth shut to stifle a belch.
The sudden turn reminded Starsong of her reason she had come to her sister’s room in the first place. “Oh, here sis. Drink this, it’ll make you feel better.” She levitated the glass to her sister who gave a nod of thanks before taking it in her hooves and drinking down a sizable amount out of the water.
Setting the cup aside, Starshadow turned back to her sister. “Thank you. You’re always taking care of me like this.”
“It’s okay, little sis, somepony has to.” The words were past her lips before she had a chance to consider how they would sound and she immediately regretted them. Fortunately, her sister didn’t seem the least bit upset, rather she cuddled in closer to her, laying her head across her older sister’s chest. The heat in the unicorn’s face redoubled but she smiled down at her sister, letting her hoof drape lightly over her mane.
“I hope you can stay this time. I love Big Mac and Applejack and all of my friends here, but having you here with me as well has made me happier than I can remember being.”
“Well, I don’t know how long the orchestra is going to be on hiatus, but of course I’ll be spending as much time as I can here.” Starsong’s gaze turned distant. “When we do start touring again, I hope you’ll be able to come see us sometime.”
“I’d like that. And of course I’d love it if you could come watch me play at the club this weekend.”
“O-of course.” Starsong wanted to support her sister of course, but she knew next to nothing about the kind of music she played. All she really had to go on was what Octavia had told her about when she had lived with Vinyl. The words ‘obnoxiously loud’ and ‘violent’ came up a lot when the cellist spoke about the DJ’s music. Also ‘wubs’, whatever that meant... In any case, it all sounded dreadful and she wasn’t sure she would be able to enjoy it. Still, if it was for Starshadow, she would do whatever it took to be there for her.
“Don’t worry, I’ll make sure you have the best seat in the house!” Starshadow said excitedly. “I’m glad you’ll be here for this. It’s my first show in weeks, not since...”
The pegasus looked down at her hooves. The memories from the night flooded back to her, and a tear threatened to slip from her eye as she remembered the attack... how she had almost betrayed her Master- no, her special somepony.
The sudden change in her mood did not go unnoticed by her sister. “Starshadow, what’s wrong dear? What happened at your last show?”
Before that moment it had never occurred to her to wonder if anypony had told Starsong about the attack. She certainly didn’t want to think about those days, reliving her troubled youth to her special somepony, fearing that Thunderlane might come back again... Hardest of all though was that she had been so terrible to him during those days, afraid to even go near him out of irrational fear of reprisal...
After a long moment, she finally responded. “It’s nothing,” she lied. “A part of the stage collapsed under some of the equipment. Nopony got hurt but the owner had to cancel further shows until the repairs are done.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. I know how much it meant to you to have a stable schedule.”
“Yeah. Really though, I just miss performing.” That much at least was true.
“Well, soon enough you’ll be on stage again. And of course I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
“Thank you,” she said earnestly, wrapping her hooves around her older sister once again. The two embraced for a long moment, and when they finally parted again, Starshadow’s lively smile had returned.
Starsong spent most of the afternoon with her sister, the two taking the opportunity to catch up on everything and anything from the past several years spent apart. All the while the older sibling made every effort to make sure her sister wasn’t going to suffer through a hangover. The two were completely absorbed in their conversation until Granny Smith called to them for dinner; both ponies blushed at the realization that several hours had passed while they had chatted away like young lovers.
Dinner was a rather simple affair, at least as far as the Apple family was concerned. Afterwards, Starsong decided to go back into the orchard, citing that somepony needed to keep an eye on the Crusaders, lest they incite some new disaster. Starshadow laughed but agreed with her. As she turned to head back upstairs though, she heard Starsong call out to her.
“Here,” the unicorn said, levitating a small bottle to her sister. “For when Big Mac is done in the barn.”
Starshadow stared at the bottle for a moment until realization dawned on her. “That’s a great idea. Thanks Starsong, you really are the best sister ever.”
“I’m your only sister, dear,” the unicorn responded, a somewhat bemused expression on her face.
“Still the best.” Both mares smiled at this before Starsong finally turned to head out into the orchard.
Starshadow watched her sister until she disappeared among the apple trees in the setting sun before she turned to go back to her special somepony’s room to wait.
By the time Big Mac heaved the last hay bale onto the newly made stack the sun had set hours ago. He had sent Applejack back inside once the piles of hay along the walls became too high for her to toss the remaining bales onto while he finished up the work alone.
Sitting down to rest, he looked over his work and nodded in satisfaction. He still had absolutely no idea how three small fillies had managed to knock over every single bale of hay, nor how playing around in a barn was supposed to earn them a cutie mark in scuba diving, but he reminded himself that they had tried stranger things before.
“Hey, there you are.” a gentle voice behind him said. Big Mac didn’t have the energy to even turn around to look at the pony, but as he felt a set of small hooves embrace him and a soft kiss and nuzzle against his cheek, he knew it could only be one pony.
“Finally feelin’ better?” he asked, not surprised that her drunkenness had worn off long ago.
Starshadow nodded, gently tightening her grip on her special somepony. “M’hm. What about you? You’ve been out there all day.”
“Jus’ a bit tired. ‘Least Granny Smith brought out supper earlier for me’n AJ.”
Starshadow gave him one more peck on his other cheek before releasing her hold on him. “Well, Starsong and the fillies are all asleep after their day today, same for Applejack and Granny Smith. Why don’t you go wash off and get in bed. I have an idea on how to help you relax.”
Big Mac nodded, a relaxing hot shower sounding like heaven to him. He managed to find the strength to make his way back into the house and up the stairs to the bathroom, and once he was under the stream of hot water he felt some energy return to his body. He stood under the revitalizing liquid for fifteen minutes before he finally willed himself to shut off the shower and dry off, his mind now clear enough to wonder what Starshadow had planned. As soon as he took a step out of the warm bathroom and into the cooler hallway, he felt his muscles tense up and he grimaced at the thought of having another rough night’s sleep due to his aching muscles.
As he entered his room, Big Mac saw Starshadow waiting for him on his bed. As he neared her, she got up and motioned for him to lie down on his stomach, and once he had done so she quickly trotted over to his dresser and retrieved a bottle of lotion she had waiting. Once she returned to where he was lying she flicked the top open and poured a generous amount onto his back.
Big Mac stiffened slightly as he felt the cool lotion come into contact with his back, but he let out a deep sigh and relaxed when Starshadow began to firmly massage his back, making sure to spread the lotion over as much of his back before rubbing it into his coat and skin. The small pegasus could feel Big Mac’s muscles beginning to loosen up immensely, signaling that she was doing a good job and her technique was still correct.
“How is it?” Starshadow asked, but Big Mac could only let out a jumbled murmur softly in response. She smiled, happy that he was enjoying her massage and started on his limbs. One by one, she carefully rubbed away the tension spots she felt in his legs, causing them to go from rigid and stiff to loose and limp. Once she was done working on his legs, she turned her attention back to his back, starting her treatment over from the beginning to ensure that she didn’t miss a single spot.
Feeling better than he could remember, Big Mac finally began to notice the scent that the lotion Starshadow was using on him. Sniffing again, he was still unable to figure out the exact scent and decided to ask Starshadow. “Hey, what’s that smell called?”
Starshadow slowed her pace. “It’s Jasmine. Starsong let me borrow it, it’s her favorite scent. Why, do you not like it?” she asked, slightly worried.
“I do, it smells nice. Just figured that this is probably the first time Ah don’t smell like apples.” he said.
Both ponies laughed, though Big Mac’s statement was more than likely true. Once the laughter ceased, Starshadow went back to concentrating on the task at hoof, and a few minutes later Big Mac couldn’t help but nod off, falling asleep after his long, exhausting day.
Fully aware that he was now asleep, Starshadow dutifully kept up her massage. The short sighs of relief coming from his mouth brought a smile to her face, and almost an hour later she decided that her work was done. Gently flapping her wings she placed the bottle of lotion back on the dresser before making her way back to the bed. Having thankfully remembered to push the blankets down to the end of the bed before Big Mac finished his shower, she pulled them up over Big Mac’s large frame before crawling under the blankets herself, wriggling her way in between Big Mac’s hooves and up directly against him.
Taking a few moments to just look at Big Mac’s face while he slept, Starshadow gently nuzzled his cheek and kissed him before settling in to go to sleep herself. “Goodnight, my special somepony.” she said, unable to stop from softly giggling to herself. She never thought that she would ever call anypony that in her entire life, or at least not of her own volition, but the stallion she was sleeping next to was able to dramatically change her life in such a short amount of time. Blushing slightly from still being not used to saying it, she closed her eyes and said one last sentence before drifting off to sleep with her lover;
“I love you, Big Mac.”
Despite his previous day of hard labor, as well as not having his usual tasks to complete today, Big Mac still woke up at his usual time out of habit. Stretching his hind legs, he found it a little odd that his entire body felt so refreshed and well rested, as all his joints were usually aching and stiff after spending an entire day conducting manual labor. His memories eventually recalled the wonderful massage that Starshadow had been giving him before he fell asleep, and as he leaned down to kiss her forehead in thanks he saw that she was already awake.
“Did I wake you?” he asked her.
Starshadow shook her head no. “I’ve been awake for a while. Feeling better than last night?”
Big Mac sat up and looked over his body with a grin. “Eeyup. Much better.”
Catching her by surprise, Big Mac quickly turned over and pinned Starshadow underneath him, giving his mare a long, deep kiss as a token of his appreciation. “Thank you.” he said after finally breaking his lips away from hers.
“Anytime, big boy.” Starshadow said with a sly grin on her face.
Big Mac leaned forward and gave Starshadow another, more intimate kiss. “Happy birthday.” he said, remembering how important today was.
Starshadow couldn’t stop from blushing. Big Mac was the very first pony outside of her family to say those two words to her and truly mean them, causing a single tear to make its way down her face. “Thank you.” she said, her heart beginning to flutter.
Raising a hoof and gently pulling his head down, Starshadow and Big Mac reconnected lips, and as they continued to kiss Big Mac lowered his body so his stomach was pressed up against Starshadow’s. It didn’t take long for Starshadow to instinctively start grinding her hips, trying to stimulate Big Mac’s body enough to fulfill what she wanted.
Thanks to Starshadow’s teasing during the past week still fresh in his mind, it didn’t take long for Big Mac’s body to respond to her movement, and with his own desires and needs beginning to show he tried his hardest to position himself correctly for a certain activity as discreetly as possible. Despite his hardest attempts to not be caught Starshadow knew exactly what he was trying to do, and to help him fulfill both their desires she spread her hind legs as far as she could, involuntarily gasping as she felt his now-rock hard shaft bump against her soaked slit. With both ponies consumed with lust, Big Mac began to firmly press forward, letting the tip of his cock slowly slip inside of Starshadow’s small body.
“Mmm, yeessss.” Starshadow moaned softly as she felt Big Mac finally penetrating her for the first time in what seemed like forever. She wanted to thrust her hips down to take as much of his shaft as possible, but she managed to find the willpower to refrain from doing so as she was curious to see what he had planned for her.
The large stallion stopped once the first inch of his dick was inside of her and gave her one more quick kiss. She returned his kiss, her eyes looking straight into his and begging for him to continue. It had been ages since Big Mac claimed Starshadow as his own, and without any further delay Big Mac prepared to reconnect with his lover once more.
“Big Mac...” Starshadow said softly.
Big Mac opened his mouth to respond, but he never got the chance to.
“Starshadow!” rang out a chorus of three familiar voices. Both Big Mac and Starshadow froze, their minds trying to figure out what was going on but it was too late. With a loud ‘BANG’ the bedroom door flew open and in rushed Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo. Completely oblivious to what was going on, the three fillies ran around in circles before rushing over to the bed, looking up excitedly at the birthday mare.
Big Mac felt his heart stop cold. Thankfully, the bed sheets were covering most of his body, hiding the fact that his erect stallionhood was just penetrating Starshadow’s soaked pussy. However, he was unable to stop a small groan from escaping his lips as he felt Starshadow’s body tighten up, causing her wet hole to squeeze him even tighter.
For now, none of the fillies noticed anything amiss, and with wide grins all three of them looked excitedly at her. “Happy birthday, Starshadow!”
Starshadow offered a meek smile in thanks, her face beet red with embarrassment. Mistaking her redness as a sign of getting sick, Apple Bloom voiced her concern. “Ya’ll aren’t getting’ sick, are ya Starshadow? Ya can’t get sick on your birthday! Hang on, Granny Smith should be able t’get ya better real quick.” she said, turning to leave and get the eldest Apple.
“No!” Big Mac and Starshadow yelled out in unison.
The sudden outburst caused the Cutie Mark Crusaders to look confused, and with her mind racing for an excuse Starshadow slowly spoke. “N-no, don’t. We, uh... we were- hnng, wrestling. That’s why I l-look like thi-this.” she managed to say, her voice faltering as she tried her hardest not to give in to the temptation to pull Big Mac all the way into her.
Apple Bloom nodded in understanding. “Oh, that makes sense.” she said.
“Hey, can we join you? Maybe we’ll get our wrestling cutie marks!” Scootaloo said excitedly, her wings buzzing excitedly. “I bet I’d be a great wrestler! My name will be Rainbow’s Revenge, my sole mission in life is to avenge Rainbow Dash!”
“Avenge Rainbow Dash? But nuthin’s happened to her.” Apple Bloom pointed out.
Scootaloo shrugged. “Well, I’ll avenge her somehow!”
“And I’ll be the mysterious White Knight of Canterlot!” Sweetie Belle said, striking a pose more comical than intimidating.
“An’ Ah’ll be the Apple Crusher! All of mah opponents get turned to apple sauce when Ah’m done with ‘em!” Apple Bloom joined in.
“And for our first opponent, we’ll take on the Big Red Hulk and his sidekick, Midnight Mare!” Scootaloo said, turning to the two ponies still in bed.
The entire time the three fillies were making up names for themselves, Starshadow and Big Mac had been silent as they tried to think of a way, any way, to get Apple Bloom and her friends out. Only when it was too late did they finally notice all three fillies charging at their bed, jumping up at the last second and sailing through the air towards them.
“Gotcha!” Apple Bloom cried in victory as all three of them hit their target; Big Mac’s back. The large pony buckled under the sudden force and with a muffled grunt felt himself forced down, causing his erection to slam hard deep into Starshadow’s body, filling her completely in one motion. Being on the receiving end of everything, Starshadow couldn’t help letting out a ragged cry of ecstasy as her special somepony reclaimed her. Quickly covering her mouth, she held her breath in hopes that none of the young ponies noticed, and while they did hear her strange sound they assumed that it was her playing along with their wrestling ideas.
“We got ya now!” Scootaloo said, all three jumping up and down on Big Mac’s back. The red stallion clamped his eyes shut and held his own breath as he felt himself being forced to thrust in and out of the mare below him, and Starshadow herself had to bite down on her own hoof to stop from crying out.
“Heya Starshadow, happy birthday! Have ya’ll see-” a voice started to say but abruptly stopped. Big Mac and Starshadow didn’t have to look over at the door to see that Applejack had just walked in, nor did they have to wonder why she stopped talking. Though the Cutie Mark Crusaders couldn’t see the pained yet erotic expressions Big Mac and Starshadow had, AJ could tell what was going on from just one glance, though she had no idea how the situation got this far.
Facehoofing herself in disbelief, Applejack quickly called her sister and the others over to her. “C’mon ya’ll, let the poor ponies get up. Why dontcha go on over ter tha barn an’ help Pinkie Pie set up?” she said.
The three fillies bounced around gleefully, finally finding their way out of Big Mac’s room as Applejack herded them out and downstairs. Applejack glanced back and couldn’t help but cast a humored look at her brother and Starshadow before she closed the door, finally leaving the two ponies in peace.
Half expecting him to finish what he had started, Starshadow felt Big Mac lift himself off of her and withdrew himself from her body. “Aww, come on...” she whined, pouting in hopes that he would change his mind.
To her great disappointment Big Mac shook his head. He said nothing, but his glance at the door was more than clear. Sighing, Starshadow was forced to agree. “Yeah, I guess we shouldn’t push our luck.” she said.
Hopping out of bed, she looked back at her flank and saw the large wet spot on the bed that she had caused. “Ugh, I need a shower.” she said, headed for the door. Peeking into the hallway to make sure that nopony would see her in her current state, she turned back to Big Mac and stuck her tongue out at him. “You owe me big time tonight, big boy. Don’t disappoint the birthday girl.” she said before she dashed across the hall into the bathroom.
Momentarily thinking about joining Starshadow in the shower to finish what they started, Big Mac shook his head to clear his thoughts of lust. “Nnope.” he said to himself. He sighed and lied back down on the bed, deciding that he’d better calm himself before he left his room.
By the time Starshadow and Big Mac had finished getting themselves ready it was almost noon. The two lovers found Starsong, Granny Smith, and Applejack putting the final touches on a large assortment of freshly baked treats for the party today.
“Mm, that smells amazing.” Starshadow said, quickly snapping up a still-hot apple turnover and popping it in her mouth. Her taste buds were quickly flooded with the rich flavors of the special recipe the Apples used, and with her willpower gone she quickly downed another two in quick succession.
“Hey now, be sure to leave some for tha party later!” Applejack said before sneaking a fresh apple fritter off of a tray for herself.
Noticing her sister was finally awake, Starsong trotted over and happily embraced Starshadow. “About time you’re awake. Happy birthday.”
Starshadow blushed slightly. “Hey, guess what, big sis? I’m a whole year closer to you.”
Starsong smiled. “Only for another twelve hours, dear sister.”
Both sisters laughed at the small joke they always shared every year. Unable to help noticing that the kitchen was calm, Starshadow looked around and with some relief saw that the Cutie Mark Crusaders were nowhere to be seen. “Hey, where are Apple Bloom and the others?” she asked.
Starsong looked slightly relieved herself. “They’re out helping Pinkie Pie gather some last minute things. Cutie Mark Party Planners, I think they’re calling themselves now.” she said with a sigh. “At least Pinkie said she could handle them, I heard that they woke you and Big Mac after somehow getting the idea to be wrestlers. Honestly, I don’t know how such young fillies can come up with so many hard things.”
Applejack couldn’t help but snicker. “Ah don’ think they were the only ones that were comin’ up wit hard things, righ’ Big Mac?” she said.
“Eeyu- hey!” Big Mac said, the joke taking a few seconds to hit him. Before he could respond Applejack galloped off laughing, her older brother in hot pursuit of her.
Starshadow went red in the face yet again, but to her relief Starsong looked over at her in a confused manner. “What did she mean by that? Were you and Big Mac thinking of becoming wrestlers also?”
Holding back her laughter, Starshadow just shook her head while smiling. “Nothing, don’t worry about it.” she said, not daring to tell her what had happened earlier and abruptly changed the subject. “Are you sure you don’t want to move the party to tomorrow? It’s not fair to just celebrate my birthday.”
“No, sister, I am happier that we finally get to celebrate your birthday today. If celebrating your birthday with you every year meant not having a party myself, I’d be more than happy with that decision.” Starsong said firmly. “Besides, this party is for both of us.”
A loud crash from the barn reached the two Star sisters in the kitchen, causing them to flinch. Once they saw that the house wasn’t going to collapse around them, Starshadow couldn’t help but laugh as she thought what mess the little foals had probably just made. “Assuming the barn survives until then.” she said jokingly.
Despite Applejack’s protests, Starshadow and Starsong insisted on helping with carrying the countless platters of food over to the barn for the party, not out of kindness but so they could sneak some more of the delicious apple pastries and snacks before the guests began to arrive. Walking into the barn both sisters gasped as they saw the extent that Pinkie Pie had gone to with decorating. Somehow in the span of a few hours the hyperactive pony had repainted the entire interior of the barn a bright blue and had covered the entire ceiling with hundreds and hundreds of balloons. Along the entire back wall of the barn were enough games to rival the local Ponyville Arcade Center, and one of the side walls had table after table of goodies Pinkie had brought over from Sugarcube Corner. The wall opposite of the food tables had a set of familiar DJ equipment and speakers, the head of a popular and now infamous pony popping up from behind one of the speaker.
“Yo roomie, happy birthday!” Vinyl said with a wide grin.
Starshadow was surprised that Vinyl was here to DJ her party. “Vinyl! You’re going to be playing here? Awesome!” she said excitedly, running up to hug her fellow musician.
“Of course, wouldn’t miss this opportunity for anything! Even got Octavia to agree to play along for a few songs with something I got her a long time ago.” Vinyl said, pointing over behind the turntable station.
Looking over, Starshadow saw the renowned cellist trying her best to figure out how to plug in and set up what looked like an extremely expensive electric violin. She looked up and quickly waved a hoof at Starshadow and Starsong before turning her attention back to her instrument, uttering what sounded like a curse as she received a small shock from one of the many wires lying around her. “This would be so much easier if you told me which ones I needed, Vinyl.” she said dryly.
Vinyl stuck her tongue out at her friend. “Hey, you always said that my job was easier than playing Manezart’s String Quartet in some major or something.” she replied.
Octavia sighed. “You also know I’ve never played the violin before, especially one like... this.”
“Oh come on, they’re the same thing! Right, Starsong?” Vinyl said, somewhat proud she knew that fact.
Starsong shrugged. “Well, they do share many characteristics, and almost everypony I know who plays one can play the other...”
“Aha! See? I told you!” Vinyl gloated gleefully.
Octavia let out a huff and continued working on getting her violin, gratefully accepting a helping hoof from Starsong while Vinyl and Starshadow went over the list of what songs would be played during the party.
It took only another 30 minutes for the Apples to finish laying out all the delicious treats on the tables and for Pinkie Pie to finally give the set up her seal of approval, and Octavia finally managed to set up her electric violin a few minutes later.
Almost as if they knew everything was ready, some of the guests began to arrive. Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy arrived first, the two pegasi chatting with one another, at least until they reached the door to the barn. “Hey everypony happy birthday you two sorry gotta go take care of something bye!” Rainbow Dash said in a rush the instant she saw the group standing by the entrance. Before anypony could respond, she raced over to the barrels of cider, all but knocking the barrel over in her haste.
Starshadow, Fluttershy and Applejack all chuckled, as their friends insatiable desire for the Apple family’s cider was the stuff of local legend. Starsong however looked on in concern. “Um, Applejack,” she asked after a moment. “Isn’t that one of the barrels of hard cider?”
The group turned to where Rainbow Dash was lying on her back with her mouth wide open under a barrel, literally pouring the cider straight down her throat from the tap, her eyes rolled back in her head in utter bliss. A closer look at the barrel showed that it was indeed stamped with the green apple, indicating that its contents were alcoholic. “Whoa nelly!” Applejack exclaimed. “Ah better go stop her ‘fore she kills herself.” The others nodded in agreement and Applejack rushed over to attempt to save the cider-crazed pegasus from herself.
With the crisis more or less averted, Fluttershy joined the Star sisters in greeting the other guests as they arrived. While they waited, Flurrershy was telling them in detail about all her bird friends and how she’d just recently seen them off on their migration. Starshadow couldn’t help but flashback to the jail a few short weeks ago when this same sweet innocent mare was ready to tear a stallion limb from limb for attacking one of her friends. She couldn’t help but wonder where that pony could possibly be hiding within their normally shy, fearful friend.
Derpy was next to arrive, landing surprisingly gracefully, albeit slowly and deliberately outside he barn. The reason for her uncharacteristic caution became clear when, once she landed a pale purple filly hopped off her back and walked in beside the mailmare. The walleyed pegasus waved to them as she approached.
“Glad you could make it Derpy,” Starshadow called out to her warmly before confusion crept into her voice. “Um... is this your daughter?”
“Yup! This is my little muffin, Dinky.” She smiled at the filly as she introduced her. For her part, Dinky blushed at the strange pet name but smiled warmly at the group. She then turned to join the Crusaders who were already making use of the absurd amount of party games Pinkie managed to cram into the barn.
While they greeted Starshadow’s old friend, she and Starsong couldn’t help but wonder about her daughter. There was little doubt that she filly was in fact her daughter, the resemblance was uncanny. That is, until you factor in that the little filly was a unicorn... Though she ultimately couldn’t bring herself to pry into her old friend’s personal life, it warmed Starshadow’s heart to know she wasn’t he only foal ever to be born a different race than her parents.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY MA’AM!”
Starshadow had been so absorbed in thought that she’d completely missed the approach of a massive white stallion. His equally massive greeting nearly scared the diminutive pegasus out of her skin and she dove for cover, cowering behind Fluttershy. Even Starsong involuntarily backed up a pace at the sight of the absurdly huge pegasus.
Remarkably, it was Fluttershy who diffused the tension in the air when she spoke a moment later. “Now now Bulk Biceps, what have I told you about startling ponies like this?” she politely admonished him like a mother to a child.
“SORRY MISS FLUTTERSHY!” Bulk said with just as much vigor despite appearing visibly cowed by the smaller pegasus.
Fluttershy turned to find her friends staring at her incredulously. “Bulk and I are going to be teammates on Ponyville’s air relay team for next summer’s Equestria Games,” she explained. “Don’t worry, he’s as harmless as a snowflake. He’s just, well... he’s not very good at ‘inside voice’.” Behind her, Bulk Biceps gave a giant, cheesy grin as if to illustrate her point.
The Star sisters visibly relaxed after that and exchanged pleasantries with the overly large pegasus, though Starshadow couldn’t help but flinch every time he spoke.
Twilight and Rarity arrived next, with Spike and Nightshade in tow. Spike was, predictably, following the marshmallow pony’s every move like a puppy, though Rarity’s attention was mostly on Big Mac while she used Fluttershy to cover her outright ogling of the big red stallion. Starshadow bristled at this but reluctantly kept her mouth shut. It wouldn’t do to pick a fight now...
Nightshade was her usual humorless self despite Twilight’s insistence that everything was fine and she could relax and let her mane down for once. Starshadow couldn’t help but giggle at how awkward the bodyguard was in this setting. Twilight meanwhile was whooping it up quite shamelessly, reminding her of their pink friend more than the calm, collected princess she knew.
As the afternoon turned to evening more and more ponies from around the small town arrived to help celebrate; Mr. and Mrs. Cake stopped by with their twins to see how everypony was enjoying their pastries, Aloe and Lotus from the local spa, Cloudchaser and her younger sister Flitter along with their friend Blossomforth (their good friend, Starshadow guessed based on how she and Cloudchaser kept making eyes at each other), and even Mayor mare, to name a few. Though Starshadow had never had much interaction with many of the ponies in attendance, they all knew her name and treated her like she was a life-long friend. However, she gravitated back towards Applejack and her friends, and thankfully Starsong was more than happy to meet and talk to the other ponies.
Starshadow tried to spend some more time with Fluttershy in an attempt to find out more about this ‘stare’ she kept on hearing about, but to her displeasure Rarity was always hanging around the shy pegasus. She didn’t have too much time to dwell on the annoyance though as she was approached by a then very drunk Rainbow Dash.
The next few hours were spent almost exclusively talking to (or more accurately being talked at by) the sporty pegasus. It had started harmlessly enough with her synopsis of the Daring Do novels. The latest book had just come out about a month earlier and Rainbow proudly proclaimed that she’d finished reading it almost immediately, then gone back and reread the entire series. Starshadow, for the most part, was able to avoid any major spoilers and just politely acknowledged her friend’s fanatical enthusiasm for the series.
The topic then shifted to her own awesome exploits, ocasionally interrupted by wild bouts of laughter when she remembered a particular moment. From there the conversation quickly devolved into Dash grilling her about her own professional life. The coolest places she’d played, the famous ponies she knew, whether she’d bucked anypony famous... what it was like... whether or not the rumors were true about Vinyl’s infamous after-parties... And while she listened to Starshadow talk about her and her DJ friend’s wild exploits, Starshadow noticed she was becoming noticeably aroused as the conversation went on.
Then she started getting a little touchy. While Dash didn’t outright come on to her, Starshadow had been around enough to know when somepony was trying to flirt with her. And in her heavily inebriated state, Dash’s flirting wasn’t as subtle as she may have thought hem to be... While Starshadow had to admit that a late night romp with the athletic pegasus was far from an unattractive prospect, the athletic pony was very attractive in her own tomcoltish way, the situation was just too awkward for her to really consider it. The whole time she was hanging on Starshadow, Rainbow Dash couldn’t stop talking about her oldest and closest friend Fluttershy.
Thankfully, before the other pegasus thought to actually try to make a move on her she was saved by Big Mac and Applejack who lured her away with a cider drinking contest (nonalcoholic this time, thankfully). Starshadow silently mouthed a thank you to the siblings as they led her away.
Once darkness had fallen the younger ponies in attendance were being led out by their parents. Starshadow and Starsong caught sight of Dinky and Sweetie Belle talking excitedly to Derpy and Rarity respectively about a big sleepover the Crusaders were hosting in the clubhouse. Behind them, she caught Scootaloo and Apple Bloom, along with a few other fillies she didn’t recognize, quietly rolling and untapped cider barrel out of the barn along with a few trays of snacks. She smiled at this, the fillies were sure to have quite a night. Her smile faltered a bit though when, just as the barrel rolled out of sight, she thought she caught sight of a green stamp... She shook her head of the thought a moment later; Apple Bloom worked on the farm, same as all of them, she wouldn’t make such a mistake.
Once the little ones had cleared out, Vinyl dimmed the lights and did what she did best, her loud music accompanied by the softer tones of Octavia’s electric violin. Almost everypony still present made their way over to the clearing in the center of the barn that served as a dance floor. However, when Starshadow tried to make her way over with everypony else, Vinyl yanked her up to the stage instead.
“Nuh uh, you gotta try out your birthday gift first.” the DJ said, pointing to an object covered with a sheet. Dramatically pulling the sheet aside, Vinyl grinned as she saw Starshadow’s eyes go wide with awe as she saw that Vinyl had gotten her a brand new top-of-the-line electric keyboard. A keyboard that she had been looking at and wanting to get for years, but could never afford.
It suddenly dawned on Starshadow that buying such an expensive gift was something Vinyl couldn’t afford thanks to recent events, and she most likely had to part with some of her own items to buy it. But before Starshadow could question Vinyl on how she managed to get her hooves on it she was silenced by the unicorn DJ. “Shush, just play. Everypony is waiting.” Vinyl said, pointing at the audience.
Nodding, Starshadow took her place at her new instrument and gently let her hoof graze along the glossy untouched keys. Letting the toned-down beats Vinyl had put on and with Octavia waiting for her lead, Starshadow quickly programed in the lines for the set they had planned (which was remarkably easy on her new system). As soon as she was ready, she gave a signal to the DJ she was ready. With a grin she turned back to the audience milling about the dance floor. “Alright everypony, you ready to kick his party into high gear?!”
A thunderous cheer rolled through the crowd and Pinkie Pie was literally bouncing up the walls in her excitement. Starshadow and Octavia meanwhile smiled to themselves; after a rough couple of weeks, it seemed like Vinyl was back in her element. And once the music started she definitely fell right back into her groove; while their performance wasn’t quite as lewd as some of DJ Pon-3’s more famous shows, she definitely still had that edge to her. Their friends were getting swept up in the enthusiasm of their music and all three mares allowed themselves to give in to the simple joy of their art.
After a few songs, Octavia gracefully surrendered the stage to the duo. With a knowing glance at one another, Vinyl and Starshadow confirmed each other’s idea to rehash some of the moves they’d rehearsed for their show all those weeks ago. Having everypony’s eyes on them as they pushed the limits of decency in time to the driving beats made them both feel so alive.
Finally as set they’d prepared came to an end, Starshadow asked Vinyl to keep playing while she set something up. There was something Starshadow had always dreamed of ever since she was a filly, and tonight she was going to live that dream. Vinyl gave her a comforting hug and smile when Starshadow explained what she had in mind.
Vinyl put on a slower tempo beat to set the mood for what her friend had in mind. Starshadow meanwhile found her sister on the far side of the room with Octavia. “Hey Starsong,” she waved to her as she approached, “I was wondering, that solo you were preparing for your next tour, are you ready to perform it?”
It took Starsong a moment to realize what her sister was actually asking. “Y-yes, it’s ready. But I can’t perform it without the accompaniment, it’s not really timed to be performed a capella...”
Starshadow nodded. “I figured as much. Octavia,” she turned to the earth pony. “My sister told me a lot about how, um, prepared you always are in terms of your music.” Satrshadow tactfully avoided mentioning how anal-retentive her sister had made her sound.
Octavia just smiled knowingly. “Indeed I am. And I do have the sheet music for the piece, if you’ll just give me a moment.” She walked over to where she had left the electric violin and retrieved a small briefcase. Inside was dozens of sets of sheet music, presumably for every possible piece the orchestra was considering for their upcoming tour. She dug a little bit until she produced he proper piece, handing it to Starshadow. “There you are. The piano line is just above the vocalist.”
“Perfect. Thank you, I knew I could count on you.” Starshadow gave her an appreciative nod before turning back to Starsong. “So how about it sis? I’ll play the piano part and you sing your solo. Can we do it, huh? Please?” The pegasus babbled on like a filly begging her parents to let her stay up past her bedtime for the first time.
Starsong pressed a hoof to her mouth to shield the giggle that threatened to slip out. In truth, she was just as excited about the prospect of performing alongside her sister as Starshadow, but she had to keep her composure. “I’d love that, sister. Will you be able to play it on sight though?”
“I’ll be fine, don’t worry. Your little sister’s pretty good with her hooves.” Starshadow suppressed a giggle of her own as she returned to the stage and her new keyboard. She quietly played through the piece a few times while Vinyl continued to keep the crowd occupied. The piece was admittedly very complicated, but thanks to the keyboard’s playback functions she was able to get the more difficult parts recorded while she played the melody. She had wanted to play the song legitimately, but maybe next time.
Satisfied that she was ready, she signaled Vinyl. The DJ cut the music before addressing the crowd. “Okay everypony, we’ve got a special treat for you tonight. As you all know, the birthday mare here is an accomplished, and dare I say awesome keyboardist. Well, what you may not have heard is that our other birthday mare is also an accomplished musician. Starsong here,” she gestured to the unicorn, “is one of the vocalists attached to the Canterlot Orchestra. As a special gift to all of you for attending their party, our two birthday ponies are going to give us all a show of their own. Give them a warm welcome everypony!”
The crowd gave an appreciative stomp as Starsong joined her sister onstage, stepping to the side of the keyboard. She smiled back at Starshadow, both siblings excited that their foalhood dream of performing together was finally coming true. Strangely, Starsong found herself feeling more nervous than she could remember being for a long time. Behind her, Starshadow began the long introduction. Starsong took a deep breath and waited for her cue; once she was actually singing, there wouldn’t be time for such foolish things as nerves.
As soon as she started singing, Starshadow looked on in awe at her sister. It had been so long since she’d last heard Starsong sing, and she silently thanked Celestia she’d decided to prerecord this early part of the song so she could just enjoy the sound of her voice. It was sublime, so much better than she remembered. And playing along with her made Starshadow feel so honored and happy. She switched off the playback and picked up the song herself seamlessly.
The audience watched with rapt attention as the sisters played, just as much for each other as for them. Starsong’s solo was a far cry from the high energy beats her sister and Vinyl had been playing before, but there was no denying the mare’s talent or passion. When at last the two were done, they gave an enthusiastic cheer for the duo and cries for an encore range out.
“What do you think, Starsong, should we give them some more?” Starshadow asked, beaming at her sister.
“Hmm... What other songs do we both know?”
Starshadow thought about hat for a moment before she answered, “What about the lullaby mom always used to sing us?” Starsong nodded after a moment. Their mother had only sung the first verse of the song to them as fillies, but the song actually had several verses.
With that settled, the sisters began the melody she knew by heart. Starshadow just let her hooves play, reveling in the joy and happiness she felt in that moment. At least until she noticed a certain pair of ponies in the back of the room that caught her attention. Fluttershy was watching them play along with Rainbow Dash. The still quite drunk pegasus was hanging all over her friend while they talked. It was clear to Starshadow that she was trying to hit on her friend but the shy pegasus wasn’t taking the hint, or perhaps she was too concerned for her friend’s health...
Her advances ignored, Dash’s apparently decided a more direct approach. While Fluttershy turned back towards the stage, Rainbow slipped her wings over and around one side of her. Before the other pegasus could stop to ask what was happening, her friend pulled up as close as she could to her side, pulled her head towards her and into a kiss!
Starshadow blushed as she was forced to watch, likely the only pony in the room that had seen. Fluttershy meanwhile was taken completely by surprise; her eyes and wings snapped open and she tensed up completely. A moment later though she found herself starting to relax into it, slowly bringing her wings down and a hoof up to her friend’s face. Just before she made contact though she seemed to realize what she was doing and, with an intense blush on her face, flew out one of the barn windows. Surprisingly, Rainbow made no attempt to go after her, settling for licking her lips to savor the lingering taste of the other pegasus.
It was all Starshadow could do to remind herself that she was in the middle of a performance; had she been playing a song she didn’t know by heart, she would likely have faltered and ruined the show. As it was, she could only pray that nopony could see her blushing under her deep blue coat.
Somehow she was able to make it through the rest of the song without incident and once again the crowd cheered the Star sisters’ performance. Once the song was over, Starsong came over and hugged her tightly. Starshadow hugged her back without hesitation. “I’m so glad we finally got to do this,” Starsong whispered in her ear. “Was it everything you dreamed of?”
“It’s was the best thing ever. Thank you so much.” She closed her eyes and shut out the world around her, wishing simply to revel in that perfect moment for as long as she could.
Standing off to the side with Octavia, Vinyl looked on at how happy Starshadow looked playing her new gift alongside her beloved sister, as well as how everypony present was having such a great time. She remembered how much the keyboard still cost her, even with her celebrity status, and though she felt a twinge of regret in her stomach she forced herself to push certain thoughts out of her head once again. ‘No, no... it was worth it. It was just one video.’ she thought to herself.
It wasn’t until almost 4 am that Pinkie Pie waved goodbye, having once again cleaned up the entire barn using just her mysterious party cannon. Staggering back to their rooms, Starshadow and Big Mac said goodnight to Applejack and Starsong and retired to his room.
Jumping into bed, Starshadow let out a long exhale as she thought back to the wonderful day. The morning had started off tense with the sudden intrusion of a certain three fillies, but the party definitely made up for the mishap. Everypony had given her a gift, and as much as she disliked Rarity, she had to admit that the dress the unicorn had made just for her was extremely well made and eye catching. There were also some quite memorable moments, one of her favorite ones being Rainbow Dash coming on to Fluttershy and kissing her. She hoped that Fluttershy wouldn’t be too freaked out over it; she kind of liked the idea of the two as a couple.
“You have fun today?” Starshadow heard her special somepony say.
Opening an eye, she smiled and nodded as he climbed into bed next to her. “Yeah, it was perfect.” she said, snuggling up next to him. “Thank you.”
Big Mac nodded and closed his eyes, but moments later he felt Starshadow poking his chest over and over. Opening his eyes again, he saw that she had a frown on her face. “Somethin’ wrong?” he asked, not sure what had just happened to her good mood.
“You still owe me one more birthday gift.” she said.
Big Mac racked his brain, trying to recall anything he may have forgotten. Unable to think of anything, he helplessly shrugged his broad shoulders, causing Starshadow to feign shock.
“You mean to tell me you’re not going to finish giving me your gift that you started to give me this morning? I thought you were supposed to give the birthday girl whatever she wanted, right?” she said, turning over to lie on her back and spreading her legs.
Big Mac turned slightly redder than normal but took the hint and nodded, managing to get one word out before he rolled over to resume where he had left off. “Eeyup.”
Opening her eyes slowly, Applejack yawned, stretching out her legs and tossing her hat expertly onto her head. Looking at the sun already beginning to climb into the sky, she shook her head and scolded herself for sleeping in so late despite not having any chores to do today. As she yawned again, she held her head as she heard a banging noise beginning to grow louder and louder. “Gosh darnit, ah gotta stop playin’ those drinkin’ games with Dash.” she murmured to herself.
It took a few seconds for Applejack to realize that the banging noise was coming from somewhere in the house, not in her heard. With her ears perked up, she sighed once she realized which wall the noise was coming from. “Really? This early?” she muttered as she walked next door.
Not bothering to knock, AJ cracked open the door and peeked inside to confirm her suspicions. Facing away from her were Big Mac and Starshadow, the couple once again engaged in making love to each other. Sighing, Applejack was just relieved that her younger sister and her friends were still asleep in their clubhouse outside and that nopony else had walked in on them. However, instead of closing the door and going back to her room, Applejack found herself glued to where she was and was unable to look away from the scene in front of her. One of her hooves began to find its way up towards her crotch without her realizing it, and when Starshadow let out a gasp after Big Mac picked up his already rough pace Applejack felt a warm trickle of fluid making its way down her hind legs.
Getting close to finishing once again, Big Mac took Starshadow’s mane in his mouth and pulled her head back as he finally reached his climax yet again, a fair amount of his seed spilling out of her body and onto the floor due to her foal hole already being filled to capacity. Big Mac finally let go of his lover’s mane, panting heavily to catch his breath, but Starshadow looked back and locked eyes with Applejack and winked, knowing that the orange mare had been watching.
Flustered by being caught, AJ quickly backed away and closed the door, slipping a little on the wet spot she had caused herself on the floor. Not wanting anypony else to see her mess, she quickly grabbed a towel from her room and wiped away the evidence that she had been watching, but as she finished wiping away the last small puddle the bedroom door opened, Starshadow and Big Mac looking at her knowingly.
“You could have just come in and joined us.” Starshadow said, partially teasing.
Applejack just shook her head in disbelief. “Ya’ll are just lucky that nopony else heard ya. What would ya’ll have done if Apple Bloom an’ her friends came in again? Ya’ll are lucky they had a sleepover in their clubhouse.” she scolded them.
Both Big Mac and Starshadow looked down at the ground in embarrassment as they had forgotten that there were other ponies in the house. Despite his lack of judgment, Big Mac tried to pretend that he had already thought that fact over. “Eeyup. We knew that. An’ Granny Smith is hard o’ hearin’.” he said.
“Oh? Did ya’ll forget about Starsong sleeping in Apple Bloom’s room?” AJ pointed out.
Big Mac facehoofed himself and Starshadow turned slightly pale as she too had completely forgotten that her sister was still here. As if on cue, the far bedroom door opened and Starsong emerged. Yawning and rubbing her eyes, she spotted the other ponies and walked over to the group. “G’morning, everypony. Hey, did any of you hear a banging noise last night? It kept on coming and going all night...”
AJ shot a ‘I told you so’ look at the couple but thankfully led Starsong away before she came close enough to detect the strong musky odor that was coming from Big Mac’s room. Taking the hint, Starshadow and Big Mac rushed back into their room to open the windows and clean up the mess they had made. As soon as Starshadow put her hooves on the bed she heard a loud ‘squelch’, and as she lifted her hoof back up she saw a string of sticky fluid bring drawn up with it. Big Mac heard the noise and looked over at his lover, Starshadow unable to do anything but shrug sheepishly.
“Okay, maybe we did overdo it a little...” she admitted.
By the time Starshadow and Big Mac had finished cleaning up their mess from the previous night and made their way downstairs, they found the three Cutie Mark Crusaders sitting around the kitchen table along with Dinky, Twist and Ginger Snap. The fillies were all looking significantly less energetic that usual. Starsong was walking over to the table with a tray with half a dozen glasses of water, and look of concern on her face.
“Good morning, everypony.” Starshadow said, but as soon as she began to speak all the fillies covered their ears and groaned as if in pain.
“Please, not so loud.” Scootaloo muttered barely above a whisper, letting her head drop to the table. “Ow...”
Big Mac and Starshadow looked at each other in confusion as to what was going on. Before they could ask the question though turned to the doorway as Applejack came walking in. “Seems these here fillies decided to sneak a barrel of Big Mac’s hard cider to their tree house las’ night’.” Applejack said, causing the group to groan in pain again.
“We didn’ mean to, honest. Ah though’ it was regular ol’ cider.” Apple Bloom said slowly, Dinky and Twist nodding in agreement before clutching their heads again.
Applejack eyed the group of small ponies warily. “An’ ya’ll missed the big green apple stamp Big Mac puts on his barrels of hard cider?” she said skeptically.
None of the fillies answered, their hurting heads back on the table top. Sighing, Applejack helped each of them down from their seats and motioned them to follow her. “C’mon, ya’ll. Ah’m sure Granny Smith has a remedy to get ya righ’ as rain.” She turned along with Starsong to herd the poor fillies out to the porch where Granny Smith was no doubt napping in her rocking chair.
Left alone once again, Starshadow and Big Mac fixed themselves a small breakfast. Starshadow found herself replaying the previous night’s events in her head, smiling at the thought of how she and Big Mac finally were able to consummate their relationship again. As she relived the brutal rutting her special somepony had given her, her thoughts at some point drifted to Apple Bloom and her friends. The six fillies were all at the age where very soon their bodies would begin to develop into marehood if they hadn’t already started. They were alone in the Crusaders clubhouse the whole night, their pubescent hormones just beginning to kick in, their natural curiosity about their bodies piqued and their inhibitions impaired by the cider. Luna only knows what the group could have gotten into out there the night before...
Starshadow’s salacious train of thought was derailed by the door opening again. The pegasus jumped with a start at the noise, her face redder than Big Mac’s. “Well, Granny Smith said she’d have those fillies back on their hooves in no time,” Starsong announced as she walked back into the kitchen. She paused a moment later when she saw her sister. “Um, are you okay Starshadow? You look at little flushed.”
“F-fine! Nothing! I wasn’t thinking about anything!” Starshadow blurted out thoughtlessly.
An awkward silence settled over the three of them and Starshadow could swear she could feel her sister and Big Mac’s eyes boring into her. “Okay,” Starsong finally said after a moment.
“Y-yeah.” Starshadow finished lamely, unable to meet her sister’s gaze anymore.
“Anyway,” Starsong continued after a moment, “with that settled, I’m gonna go get ready to go out. Octavia and I have a meeting with a representative from the orchestra this afternoon.”
“Oh?” Starshadow chimed in, happy for the change of subject. “Are you finally going to find out when the orchestra’s gonna start touring again?”
“Who knows,” the unicorn shrugged. “Anyway, do you two have any plans for today?”
Starshadow thought about that for a moment. There wasn’t anything going on at the farm so Big Mac didn’t have any chores that day. She hadn’t really planned anything for the day though, at least not after she and Big Mac stayed up all night... She shook her head before her thoughts could go anywhere further down that road again. After a moment, another thought occurred to her.
“Actually, I was thinking about going to visit Vinyl. I still have to properly thank her for that incredible new keyboard.” Big Mac nodded beside her.
“Sounds like a good idea. Actually if you’re going into town could you two doing me a favor? Somepony needs to let the fillies’ parents know we’re keeping them all here until we’re sure they’re okay.”
“Eeyup,” Big Mac nodded solemnly. “This whole mess is kinda my fault after all.” Starshadow nodded less enthusiastically. She was not looking forward to explaining this little misadventure to the anypony’s parents.
With their plans settled, the sisters said their goodbye, Starshadow and Big Mac wishing Starsong a happy birthday as the three ponies walked out to the road leading towards town. Starsong climbed into a taxi that was waiting at the entrance to the farm for her while the other two continued down the road in their leisurely walk.
before heading out into town. As the two sought out the fillies’ parents, they found themselves stopping to talk to many of the ponies they passed by. Starshadow would normally give them a nod of acknowledgement as she passed by, but after last night’s party she found herself actually beginning to enjoy conversing with the shopkeepers and other residents of Ponyville.
Derpy had been easy enough to find as the bubbly pegasus was once again rushing across town frantically trying to catch up on her deliveries (and barely avoiding some rather nasty crashes in the process). She had shrugged the whole thing off with a knowing shrug, saying “Everypony makes mistakes.” Ginger Snap’s and Twist’s parents were equally amicable. Scootaloo’s parents were predictably absent; the two were both royal messengers and very rarely actually were in town. Sweetie Belle’s parents were also gone, forcing the pair to deliver the news to Rarity. Thankfully her concern for her sister and her friends kept her too preoccupied to focus on flirting.
Starshadow was genuinely surprised at how easily everypony accepted the news that their fillies had gotten into such a state and didn’t seem to begrudge or mistrust the Apples for it. She supposed it was just something about small towns.
With the task done, Big Mac took a detour to Sugarcube Corner to discuss a new recipe for the bakery. While Big Mac and Carrot Cake talked, Starshadow found herself trying to distance herself from the baby Cake twins. However, her attempts to avoid the foals failed miserably as the two were determined to play with the new pony and Mrs. Cake couldn’t help but let out an audible “Aww” as her two children climbed up onto Starshadow’s back.
“They’re so adorable! Oh, I bet you two can’t wait to have a couple of foals of your own.” Mrs. Cake said.
Her comment almost caused Starshadow to drop the baby twins, but luckily she managed to maintain her balance as Pound and Pumpkin cooed playfully. “F-f-f-foals? Oh no, no... there’s no way I could possibly...” Starshadow began to stammer.
“Oh nonsense, it’s quite obvious you connect quite well.” Mrs. Cake said, lifting Pound off of Starshadow’s back as Mr. Cake took Pumpkin. “Perhaps you’d like to babysit sometime when Pinkie Pie isn’t able to. In fact, I believe Pinkie is coming with us to the upcoming contest next month, so we would need to find somepony to foalsit for a day or two.”
“Be their f-foalsitter? I... I couldn’t possibly... I mean I...” Starshadow said, trying to come up with a polite way to say no, but Mr. Cake stepped in.
“Why don’t you think about it, maybe come and spend some time with the little rascals later?” he suggested.
Starshadow nodded and followed Big Mac out once they had said goodbye, relieved that she didn’t have to answer Mrs. Cake right then. However, Big Mac coughed nervously and glanced over at Starshadow as he had something weighing down on his mind. “So, uh... have ya thought about havin’ foals at all?” he finally asked.
Starshadow tripped but managed to catch herself when she heard Big Mac’s question. “F-foals? Me? I-I couldn’t. I mean, well... not without the right stallion...” she said, her mind wandering to a vision of her and Big Mac raising a foal of their own.
Big Mac noticed Starshadow’s gaze and a small smile creeping onto her face, but before he could ask what she was thinking the two arrived at Vinyl’s house. Shaking the image of raising a family with Big Mac from her head, Starshadow pushed open the front door and froze as she stepped inside.
With all the curtains drawn tightly closed and the sole source of light being the television, it was hard for Starshadow and Big Mac to miss the explicit video being played on the TV. It was also impossible to miss the mare lying on the sofa, touching herself in inappropriate places as she watched her own likeness being taken rather forcefully by three random stallions.
“Vinyl!” Starshadow exclaimed.
Spooked by the voice, Vinyl sat up in shock but relaxed once she saw who had caught her. “Oh, Starshadow, it’s just you. Thank Celestia, I thought Octavia came back way early. Oh, hey Big Mac.” Having at least the decency to discreetly wipe her hoof of her own fluids, Vinyl made no attempt to hide the movie she was watching just seconds ago, and despite their best efforts Starshadow and Big Mac couldn’t help but stare as the three stallions on screen changed places and Vinyl eagerly continued her attempts to please her partners.
The purpose for her visit completely forgotten, Starshadow looked at her friend shamelessly getting off watching herself getting triple-teamed in disbelief. “V-Vinyl, what is this?” Starshadow asked, noticing what looked like a commercially made case for a movie with Vinyl’s face on it, the words ‘Wub It Out’ scrawled on the top.
“Huh?” Vinyl said after a few moments of becoming lost in the video once again. “Oh, that. Well, I sometimes record my after-parties for my own personal collection, and since I need some source of income I sold it to some porn company I’ve heard of. Winking Mare Movies or something like that.”
Though the two mares had been friends for quite a while and, while Starshadow knew the DJ to be completely crazy, even she was shocked that Vinyl would release something so personal. “You... you didn’t really?” she asked.
Vinyl shrugged. “It’s not like it’s gonna ruin my music career or anything.” she said. “Besides, what colt hasn’t rubbed one out thinking of me?”
“That’s not the point. What would Octavia think?” Starshadow said, Big Mac nodding in agreement despite still watching the video playing on screen.
A thumping noise startled Starshadow and Vinyl, but their hearts slowed back down once they saw that it was just Big Mac trying to hide his arousal and not Octavia returning. Smiling awkwardly at her friend, Vinyl breathed a sigh of relief. “Looks like somepony likes my decision.”
“Vinyl...” Starshadow said, pausing the porn tape to prevent any more distractions.
“Okay, okay. Look, I know Octavia would never approve, but she’s also not going to find out. That posh newspaper from Canterlot she reads never runs any of those smutty stories or gossip stuff. And you’re not gonna tell her, are you?” Vinyl asked with an eyebrow raised.
Starshadow shook her head no, just as Vinyl expected. “Good. See? There’s nothing to worry about. I got everything under control.” Vinyl declared.
“What’s under control?”
Starshadow and Vinyl felt their hearts sink like rocks as the voice that rang out left no room for doubt; Octavia was back. Pushing open the door, Octavia dropped a pile of letters she had been carrying, and as she kneeled down to collect the envelopes Vinyl quickly shoved the movie case under a pillow.
However, there was still the matter of the movie on the TV, the film paused just as one stallion was shooting his seed all over Vinyl’s face while she continued to ride the other two stallions. Too far away to do anything, Vinyl and Starshadow looked over at Big Mac, who was still standing next to the television, hoping that the desperate look in their eyes would cause him to act. He did, and without a single word he smashed his hoof through the screen, effectively hiding the video that had been playing moments before.
The sound of something shattering caused Octavia to sharply look up. “Um... why did you just break my TV?” she asked, not sure what to make of what she just walked in on.
Big Mac was unable to answer, his hoof still inside the broken television. “He, um... he saw a, you know... a parasprite. Yeah.” Starshadow said, coming to the rescue.
The explanation didn’t seem to satisfy Octavia, who continued to eye Big Mac warily. “You saw a parasprite, and decided to kill it by squishing it once it landed on the TV?”
With not much of a choice, Big Mac slowly nodded. “Eeyup.”
“Uh huh...” Octavia said finally, rolling her eyes. “Sometimes I just don’t understand stallions...”
“Hey, no worries, Octy. I’ve been meaning to upgrade that old piece of junk anyway.” Vinyl intervened. “I heard Rich’s Barnyard Bargains is having a special on them next week anyway.”
“Vinyl, you can’t. You really need to start concentrating on saving your bits.” Octavia interjected. “You’ve already gone on enough of a spending spree recently. You won’t last much longer before you’re completely broke.”
“I told you, don’t worry about it.” Vinyl responded, winking at Starshadow and Big Mac. “Just because those lousy businessponies dropped me doesn’t mean I don’t have other ways to keep the bits coming in to me. Heh, those stallions had no problem cumming in me either.”
Starshadow facehoofed herself but somehow Octavia missed Vinyl’s last sentence. “At least let me help you with your expenses. You did save my career, after all. It’s the least I can do.”
Vinyl shook her head. “No, really, it’s okay ‘Tavi.” she said.
Octavia sighed. “Alright. Well, I have to get back to the meeting. I just stopped by to collect some papers I forgot. I’ll see you later tonight.” she said, grabbing a nearby folder before heading out back into town.
All three ponies watched Octavia leave, and as soon as the front door closed Vinyl fell over on the ground laughing. “Woo! That was close!” she said once she had calmed down. “Starshadow, that was genius what you said.”
Starshadow helped Big Mac remove his hoof from the broken TV before turning to Vinyl. “You almost blew everything, Vinyl. Octavia is going to be pissed if she found out that video is being sold all across Equestria.”
“Pfft. It’s not that big of a deal, guys.” Vinyl said. “Yeah, she’ll get mad at first, but like everything else she’ll get over it and we’ll be friends again. I mean, it’s not like she’s my wife or we’re in love or anything.”
Starshadow and Big Mac looked at each other in surprise before turning back to Vinyl. “She’s… she’s not your special somepony?” Starshadow asked.
“What?! Of course not!” Vinyl exclaimed, stepping back in disbelief. “Wait, you two actually thought that me and her... Octavia and me... Ahahahaha! That’s hilarious! Why in Celestia’s name would you think that?”
“Well, she did single hoofedly end the Canterlot Orchestra’s tour this season by refusing to rejoin them once they left Los Pegasus. They were supposed to play for another three months across Equestria, but instead she wanted to stay here with you.” Starshadow said. “Starsong tried to change her mind but she refused to leave Ponyville.”
“So? Maybe she just wants to kick back and hang out for a while. That doesn’t mean she’s in love with me.” Vinyl said still chuckling.
Big Mac looked over to Starshadow and both of them shrugged. “Sorry Vinyl.” Starshadow said while Big Mac nodded. “I guess we just jumped to conclusions, but I could have sworn... after everything that’s happened...”
Vinyl grinned. “No sweat, but come on, me and her together? Ha! Like that could ever happen. Who would ever believe me and her could be special someponies?”
After countless days had passed, Specter finally returned to the hidden camp. As he entered the hidden area Thunderlane’s face broke out in a smile, relieved that he would hopefully be able to leave the cave soon.
His time locked up with the five other stallions had been unpleasant at best. After growing bored hanging around by himself, he tried to leave the cave to go exploring around the area outside but found that he couldn’t leave; the wall was once again solid. The other ponies broke out in laughter as he crashed face-first into the wall, his face turning red more from embarrassment than injury. The rest of the time the stallions went out of their way to harass Thunderlane as much as possible; from tripping him as he would walk past to ‘accidentally’ throwing one of their bladed weapons at him, always just barely missing his head. The other ponies found a lot of fun in torturing their unwanted visitor, but Specter’s return set them back into business mode almost immediately.
“The guards have finally lowered their guard and accepted that Thunderlane has fled town, so now we make our move. You all know what to do. I’ll be watching and covering your tracks, but don’t make any mistakes or I will leave you for dead.” Specter said once the six stallions had assembled in front of him. They all nodded, and Specter cast the spell to allow all of them to leave. “Once you have the target and get to the train, you’ll be brought to the meeting place. Wait there until I return. Alright, lead the way Thunderlane.” he said.
The gray pegasus nodded, and in silence he led the equally quiet stallions out of the cave. As soon as they were under the dark night sky, Thunderlane turned back to see if everypony was following him and stopped when he saw that Specter was nowhere to be seen. However, the pony directly behind him gave him a rough shove, making Thunderlane continue forward. “He ain’t here.” the pony said roughly. “Don’t bother lookin’ for him, but he IS watching us. So don’t buck up.”
Thunderlane wanted to lash out at the stallion behind him but was ‘convinced’ not to thanks to a glimpse of a familiar set of knives. Grumbling to himself, Thunderlane led the line of ponies back to Ponyville, the group headed for the ambush site they had planned to use to get their target and finally head home.
“I said, how did you enjoy the concert?” Starshadow asked her sister again slightly louder.
The small pegasus mare couldn’t help but giggle as Starsong rubbed her ear again, trying to readjust to the quiet of the night as the two sisters walked back to Sweet Apple Acres with Applejack. “Well, it certainly was... loud...” Starsong commented, her ears still ringing.
“Sure gets rough in the audience, too.” Applejack snorted.
“I did warn you that there would be some pushing in the audience, Applejack. You didn’t need to buck that stallion clean across the room.” said Starshadow with a bemused grin, remembering how the rowdy crowd had parted after the family pony had sent the fool stallion flying.
Applejack snorted again. “He still deserved it. Bumpin’ into me is one thing, pawin’ at mah flanks like a darn cat is another.”
“Well, at least it was much calmer once you came backstage with me.” Starsong said. “But Starshadow, did you really have to shake your hips like that so much? You know you’d give mom a heart attack if she saw you doing that.”
“The audience seemed to like it. And why didn’t you join me? I’ve seen you dancing in your room when you were a filly.” Starshadow replied teasingly.
As the three mares continued home still joking and laughing, Applejack spotted three figures standing on the road in front of them. As they got closer she saw that it wasn’t anypony she knew, and since the road they were on only lead to Sweet Apple Acres it was clear that these three mysterious stallions were waiting for them. As Applejack expected, the stallions blocked the road as the three mares came closer, and before they could turn around to flee back to town three more stallions emerged from the brush and blocked the path behind them.
“Ya’ll lost or somethin’?” Applejack asked as the three stallions in front of her slowly walked forward. She lowered her stance in anticipation of a fight, hoping that she could at least buy Starshadow and Starsong enough time to run for help, but her hopes of that happening dwindled as she saw that the stallions seemed to be armed as well.
One of the stallions put on a sly smile. “Nope, we found exactly who we were looking for.” he said, his eyes dead set on Starshadow.
Applejack looked around and noticed that all of the stallions closing in on them were looking straight at Starshadow, and as the ponies behind them got closer she saw that one of them was a certain pegasus that was wanted by the Royal Guards...
“Starshadow, Starsong, run! Ah’ll hold ‘em off, go get Big Mac!” Applejack yelled, charging headfirst at the three stallions blocking their way to Sweet Apple Acres. Caught off guard, the stallion unfortunate enough to be picked off by AJ found himself on the ground as the wind was knocked forcefully from his body. Pausing only momentarily from the shock, one of the stallions off to the side moved in to attack Applejack, but the mare saw the attack coming and bucked the pony right in the mouth, resulting in him losing three teeth and a substantial amount of blood.
“Get them!” Thunderlane yelled, but his cry was a few seconds too late as the two stallions flanking him had already run forward to join in the fray.
With four of the stallions now sizing up Applejack and trying to figure out how to take down the pissed off mare, one of the remaining unicorns caught up to the two Star sisters and attempted to grab Starshadow’s tail in his mouth. Spotting the attempt just in time, Starshadow spread her wings and took off into the sky just as Starsong slammed her body against the other unicorn. Both unicorns tumbled to the ground, but as the stallion tried to climb back onto his hooves Starsong once again pounced on him, grabbing a nearby rock in her magic and hitting him in the back of the head. More annoyed than actually injured by the attack, the stallion hit Starsong in her stomach and caused her to gasp for breath, quickly rolling into a fetal position as she tried her best to fight off the pain.
“Starsong!” Starshadow cried out, anger and rage building up inside her. Changing direction midair, she rocketed as fast as she could at her sister’s attacker and smashed into him just as he was about to strike Starsong’s face. The dive-bomb run knocked the stallion off his hooves, but it also dazed Starshadow, and with her ears ringing and head spinning she was unsteadily helped back to her own hooves by Starsong.
“You have to get out of here, they’re after you!” Starsong said once Starshadow confirmed she was okay. “Get Big Mac, we’ll keep them occupied.”
Starsong was looking no better than her sister at that point, neither of the mare’s had any real experience with fighting; even so she was clearly ready and willing to do whatever she could to see her sister to safety. Starshadow quickly glanced over at Applejack and saw the orange mare was still somehow holding her own against her four attackers, but it was very clear she couldn’t last much longer. The unicorn Starshadow had attacked was getting up, and Thunderlane was finally moving forward to join in the fray.
“Sister, go! Hurry!” Starsong pleaded.
Still feeling sick in her stomach about abandoning her sister and Applejack, Starshadow nodded and spread her wings to take off, but just as she was about to take off the unicorn stallion shot a spell at her, and with horror Starshadow realized she had been hit with a numbing spell which now rendered her wings useless.
“Starshadow, run!” Starsong yelled out, trying again to push over the larger male unicorn, but this time her target was ready and easily turned the tables on Starsong. With one swift move, he tripped her and sent her sprawling to the ground, quickly pouncing on her back and pressed his hoof against the back of her head. Starsong let out a scream as she felt her head being crushed into the ground, her strength nowhere near high enough to wriggle free from her tormentor.
“No! Starsong!” Starshadow yelled out. Forgetting about her own safety, she rushed to her sister’s aid but was intercepted by Thunderlane. Tackling her to the ground, he managed to pin her wings painfully to the ground with his hooves, a triumphant smile on his face.
Bruised and sore from her fighting, Applejack heard both sisters crying out in pain for help. Looking at the four stallions blocking her path, she gritted her teeth and charged at the one she thought was the weakest, hoping that her attack would buy enough time for Starsong and Starshadow to escape and get her brother. Slamming into the first stallion, she then roughly shoved aside the second one and locked her eyes on the stallion holding Starshadow down.
Unfortunately for AJ, the second pony she had hit didn’t fall to the ground like she had expected. Instead, the stallion used the momentum to help spin him around, and with savage force he let his hind legs kick out at her, his two rear hooves connecting with the side of Applejack’s head with a sickening ‘CRACK’. Her head felt like it had just been hit by the Ponyville Express going full speed, and without a sound the orange earth pony fell to the ground in a crumpled heap.
“Applejack!” Starsong cried out. Looking back over to her sister, she saw that Starshadow was struggling in vain while Thunderlane was pressing a rag against her muzzle. After a few seconds, Starshadow’s movements began to slow and then ceased, and after a few extra seconds to make sure the knock-out potion had taken effect Thunderlane finally released his hold against the unconscious mare.
Looking quite proud of himself, Thunderlane looked around and awaited some sort of congratulations for subduing their target, but most of the other stallions were too busy licking the wounds they sustained fighting Applejack.
The stallion holding down Starsong looked down at his captive before looking over to the group’s leader. “What do we do with these two? There weren’t supposed to be any witnesses.” he asked.
“Let’s take them with us.” Thunderlane suggested, but his remark quickly earned him a swat on the head from the leader of the group.
“You foal, there’s no reward for bringing back those two. It’s just more liability.” he snapped. “Our orders were to get that one as quietly as possible.”
Thunderlane thought for a moment before speaking up. “So... we kill them?”
The comment earned Thunderlane another cuff on the head. “Idiot, what part of ‘quietly’ don’t you understand? Are you trying to get the entire Royal Guard after us? All we have to do is stall them long enough for us to get out of town. Give me those pills you’re hiding on you.”
Thnderlane was stunned for a moment that the stallion somehow knew about the drugs he was carrying, but experience had taught him not to argue with these ponies when they asked something of him. With an annoyed grumble he reached into a small pouch tucked under his wing and tossed a bottle over to the leader who opened it and took out four white pills. Walking over to the still unconscious Applejack, he forced her mouth open and tossed two of the pills into the back of her throat before clamping her muzzle shut and swiftly kicking her in the chest, causing her to swallow the pills as she coughed for air. Satisfied that the hoofies would take effect, the stallion approached Starsong next with the other two pills.
Renewing her efforts to break free, Starsong clamped her mouth shut to stop the stallions from drugging her, but a swift kick to her stomach caused her to open her mouth as she gasped in pain. Taking advantage of the opening, the unicorn holding her down took control of the pills with his magic and shoved them into her mouth and down her throat as another pony quickly moved in to hold her mouth closed.
Despite her best efforts to cough up the drug, Starsong felt the two pills make their way down her throat and into her body. Almost immediately she started feeling lightheaded and dizzy, and despite the unicorn holding her down finally moving off of her, she was unable to stand up and collapsed on the ground while the six stallions standing around her laughed at her feeble attempts. Her eyelids feeling heavier and heavier by the moment, the last thing she saw was Starshadow’s limp body being thrown on one of the earth pony’s back and the group heading off back toward town.
“S-Star..shado-” Starsong whispered with a hoof stretched out, but she was unable to finish her sentence as the drug finally overpowered the poor unicorn, and with a soft thump her head hit the ground, leaving her and Applejack at the mercy of the drug that now flowed through their bodies.
“Hurry up, we have to get out of here as quickly as possible.”
The six stallions moved throughout town as quickly and quietly as possible. Despite being weighed down by his unconscious load, the pony carrying Starshadow was able to move surprisingly quickly from shadow to shadow as they all tried their best to keep out of sight.
The stallion leader was also beginning to lose his patience with their guide. Despite the majority of the town being asleep, the routes Thunderlane kept on choosing to get to the Ponyville train station seemed to be the exact same routes that the local guards took for their night patrols. Finally getting fed up with Thunderlane’s poor luck, the leader ordered the other pegasus in the group to take to the skies and find a more isolated route. It didn’t take long for a more secluded route to be found that was free of guards, and an hour later the small group finally made it to their destination.
“Give her another hit of that potion before we get on the train.” the lead stallion commanded, pointing to a train on one of the side tracks that had a single car attached to it. Once his order had been carried out, the group quickly piled into the train car, and once the carriage door was shut the single pony crewmember started up the locomotive and the small train began to pull out of Ponyville.
From the rooftop of the Town Hall, Specter watched in silence as the darkened train pulled out of the station, relieved that Thunderlane hadn’t messed up the entire operation. Specter had planned to kill Thunderlane and leave his body somewhere partially hidden to help throw off the guards on Starshadow’s true fate, but now Specter figured that he’d kill the pegasus rapist along with the other stallions once he met up at the rendezvous point.
Preparing to teleport himself back to the ground, Specter’s ears perked up, and with his reflexes barely saving his life he jumped to the side and rolled off the roof to one side, landing lightly on the deck that went around the top of the town hall. Where Specter had been standing just seconds ago now had three knives sticking out from the roof. Specter rolled to the side again, avoiding another three knives that seemed to appear from nowhere. Sensing that the sharp instruments of death had been thrown at him using magic, Specter followed the barely noticeable magical aura trail to one of the nearby rooftops and teleported himself to where his attacker was hiding.
Nightshade cursed herself for missing her target twice. She had hoped that using her metal knives, while less accurate, would catch her target off guard as they would be harder to detect. However, her target had managed to somehow detect her almost untraceable magic, and with honed reflexes she quickly rolled over and jumped to her hooves, avoiding a sword made of magic. Seeing the black stallion on the rooftop just feet away from her, Nightshade sneered as she summoned an aura sword of her own. “I’m impressed that you managed to detect my magic earlier, but you may as well announce your sneak attack to everypony in town with that aura sword of yours.” she teased.
“Even a newborn earth pony could have sensed your initial attack.” Specter said dryly before lunging forward for another attack.
Nightshade disappeared, teleporting behind her foe to land a surprise attack, but Specter had the same strategy and the two found themselves battling for the optimum position. The two would meet, hooves and aura blades clashing against one another before they each teleported away again. Their constant teleportation quickly drained their magical reserves however, and with the threat of the mysterious second pony Specter had seen on Nightmare Night he was forced to stop teleporting first. With one last spell he sent himself back to the roof of the town hall, hoping that the small upper roof would give him the high ground, but in a display of determination Nightshade teleported herself just above the roof, dropping a short distance to where Specter stood and lashed out with a powerful kick.
The attack hit Specter on the side of his torso and he went sliding off of the roof and back onto the small top deck. Seizing the opportunity, Nightshade pounced on Specter and brought her pitch-black aura blade to his throat.
Specter remained calm despite losing the battle. “I’m surprised you didn’t have to resort to calling on your better half to help you beat me.” he said, thinking of that second black clad pony he had seen.
Nightshade, however, thought he was speaking of Twilight. “I don’t need any help taking down an amateur like you.” she replied. “Remember, you’re the one two seconds away from losing his head. I may be lenient and only have you sentenced to life in prison after having your horn cut off if you tell me why you’re trying to assassinate Princess Twilight Sparkle and who hired you.”
Specter couldn’t help but let out a chuckle. “After Princess... where did you get that idea?” he said. “I’m here to bring a runaway pony back to her parents. I have no interest in any princess or killing anypony.”
His hard, stern gaze strengthened his explanation, but Nightshade still had her doubts. “I still don’t believe you. You’re coming with me until Princess Sparkle can test your claims with a seed of truth.” she said, lowering her sword as she prepared a binding spell to seal the other unicorn’s magic while she escorted her prisoner away.
However, Specter wasn’t out of tricks just yet. The instant Nightshade lowered her guard to seal his magic, he flicked his tail towards his face and let loose a small pack he had hidden there. With a spark of his magic the bag burst, sending the powder inside right into the mare’s face. Nightshade cried out in surprise as the mustard powder mix burned her eyes, causing her to stumble back a pace and lose concentration on her spell and the aura sword dissolved into thin air. Taking advantage of the confusion, Specter grabbed several tiny pieces of rubble in his magic, teleporting them at random before casting one last teleportation spell on himself, sending him as far away as he could and ran off into the night.
Ignoring the burning still in her eyes, Nightshade yelled out in frustration and cursed herself again for falling for such a simple trick and losing her prey. She teleported herself down to the small stream that ran through town and submerged her head to wash away the powder in her eyes while she let her adrenaline fade. Once free from the powder she returned to the scene of the battle. The other unicorn had been crafty though, casting several teleportation spells at once. Even if his magic wasn’t as difficult to trace as her own, it would have taken too long to determine which trail led to the unicorn.
The battle over for now, she quickly ran back to the library, noting that her perimeter spell remained intact and that nopony had tried to force their way inside during her absence. Everything in front of her told her that the stallion she had just fought was indeed telling the truth, that he wasn’t after Princess Twilight Sparkle. But if he was simply tasked with bringing a runaway pony home, who would hire a pony as powerful and dangerous as a Blackguard to bring back their child? And most importantly, who was the runaway pony?
It didn’t take long for Nightshade to guess who the runaway pony was, and with an uneasy feeling still in her gut Nightshade went inside and walked over to where Twilight was fast asleep. Telling herself again that this was important enough to do what she was about to do, Nightshade gently nudged the slumbering princess until she woke up.
“Hnn... ugh. Who the... Nightshade, what time is...” Twilight said, rubbing her eyes sleepily before she noticed the multiple bruises and bloodshot eyes her bodyguard now had. “Nightshade! What happened to you?”
“A thousand apologies, Princess.” Nightshade said, bowing with her head down. “I’m sorry to have to wake you, but there is an urgent matter that needs your attention.”
Now wide awake, Twilight rushed downstairs and brought back a first aid kit, tending to Nightshade’s wounds. “Who attacked you? Is it Discord again? Are you alright?” she asked frantically.
Nightshade brushed off Twilight’s help, a bit embarrassed at having her charge having to take care of her. “I’m fine, Princess.” she said. “You were right, there is nopony out to attack you. But there is something going on. We need to go speak to Starshadow. Now.”
“I’m coming, for Celestia’s sake!” Vinyl shouted as she slowly trudged down the stairs to answer her door. Grumbling in annoyance that it was probably some salespony who didn’t understand that just because the sun was beginning to rise didn’t mean that everypony was now awake, Vinyl finally reached the front door and flung it open. Before she could scold the pony knocking on her door her eyes went wide as she saw the group of ponies standing outside her house; Twilight, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Spike, Nightshade, Big Mac, and Granny Smith. “Uh... what’s up?”
“Vinyl, did Starshadow, Starsong, and Applejack come here after Starshadow’s concert last night?” Twilight asked anxiously.
Vinyl shook her head no. “I thought she was going back to the farm afterwards.” she said, a yawn finding its way out once she was done speaking.
The group looked around at each other worriedly. “Well, now what? This is the only other place we could think of that they would be.” Rainbow Dash said.
Twilight looked uneasy as she stated aloud what everypony was afraid of acknowledging. “So nopony has heard from those three since they left the night club last night.” she said in despair. “Vinyl, can you think of any other place that Starshadow may have gone instead of here or Sweet Apple Acres?”
Vinyl thought for a moment before shrugging. “Maybe one or two places if she was alone, but with Applejack and Starsong with her, no. No offense to her, but Starsong can kinda be a buzzkill. Lemme go ask Octavia.”
Dashing back inside, everypony waiting outside heard Vinyl yell “Tavi, wake up!” as she charged upstairs to wake up her friend. It only took a few minutes for Vinyl to come back down smiling triumphantly as Octavia came stumbling down to the front door like Vinyl had just moments ago.
“What can I do for you all?” Octavia asked sleepily, rubbing her eyes as she adjusted to the early morning sunlight.
“You don’t know anyplace that Starshadow would take Starsong and Applejack, do you? They never returned home after Starshadow’s concert last night.” Twilight said.
Octavia shrugged, causing Rainbow Dash to flap her wings in frustration and throw up her hooves. “Then what are we all doing waiting around here for? We should get out and look for them!” she said impatiently.
Big Mac, Rarity, Pinkie, and even Fluttershy nodded their heads in agreement. “You’re right, we should start searching Ponyville for them.” Twilight consented. “We should split up in pairs and each search a different part of town.”
“Fluttershy and I will fly over the Everfree Forest.” Dash volunteered. Before Fluttershy could raise any objections she found herself being pulled away by Rainbow Dash, the shy pegasus only able to let out a small whimper before they both disappeared from sight.
“Ooh, ooh! Rarity and I can look around town and see if anypony has seen those three!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed. “Come on, let’s go! This way!”
“Ahem, yes, let’s. Just try not to get distracted by anything this time. You remember the last time you dragged me out looking for something you lost, we ended up in Appleoosa with a crate full of chicken feathers.” Rarity said, following the bouncing pink party pony.
Twilight shook her head, knowing all too well that something in town would end up sidetracking Pinkie and Rarity. “Spike, why don’t you and Granny Smith also go around town and ask if anypony has seen them. Big Mac and I will search the roads and see if we can find any clues.”
Spike and Granny Smith nodded and headed off as Octavia and Vinyl stepped forward. “That’s a lot of ground for you two to cover. We’ll help also.” Octavia offered, Vinyl nodding sternly.
Twilight smiled at their offer. “Thank you.”
Not to be left out, Nightshade coughed to remind Twilight that she was still there, but receiving no acknowledgement she decided to speak up. “Princess, where would you like me to search?” she asked dutifully.
“Why don’t you head back to the library and get some rest? You’ve been up all night and still need time to recover from your wounds.” Twilight said, but her words did not sit well with Nightshade as she shook her head no defiantly.
“Princess, with all due respect, you need me out helping look for these missing ponies, especially with the threat still out there.” Nightshade said.
“I’m sorry, Nightshade, but you need to rest. Besides, we have everything covered, right Big Mac?” Twilight replied.
Big Mac thought a moment and realized there was one thing he had neglected. “Well...” he started to say.
Jumping at the chance, any chance, to be able to avoid being stuck inside while everypony else was out looking, Nightshade bowed in front of Big Mac. “Anything, whatever you need I’ll do it!”
“Well... Apple Bloom an’ her friends need somepony to keep an eye on ‘em.”
Nightshade almost fell over from the shock of the request. “You... I’m not a foalsitter!” she said, somewhat insulted that a bodyguard of her level was being asked to watch three fillies.
Twilight looked at Nightshade sternly. “It’s either that or stay in bed at the library, but I can’t have you out running around Ponyville in your condition.” she said.
Nightshade sat down on the ground, her face actually pale as she weighed her two options. Finally, she made up her mind. “I’ll watch the foals.” she huffed, thinking that that option would be the lesser of two evils.
Twilight nodded. “Okay, be sure to keep them inside for their safety and so you can rest, and do your best to keep them occupied. I’ll meet up with you there once we’re done looking.”
Nightshade nodded in defeat, using most of her remaining energy to teleport herself to Sweet Apple Acres as to not give herself time to think about disobeying Twilight’s orders and search for the three missing mares by herself. Satisfied, Twilight turned back to Octavia and Vinyl. “Sorry about that. Okay, let’s all go to the club where Starshadow was playing and try to retrace their steps. Big Mac, you said there are two likely routes they took home, right?”
“Alright, we’ll split into pairs and look for any clues. Let’s meet up back at Sweet Apple Acres, hopefully we’ll have some sort of lead by then.” Twilight said. “Big Mac, you and Vinyl know Starshadow better than anypony here, why don’t you two take the main road to Sweet Apple Acres, maybe you two will see something that may have caused them to get sidetracked. Octavia and I will make our way up the back road to the farm.”
The other three ponies nodded and split up, headed to their respective areas to search with their partners. Not wanting to chance missing any clues, Twilight and Octavia took their time searching the seldom-used dirt road that led south before looping back around to Sweet Apple Acres. The two mares didn’t know each other very well besides seeing the other around town occasionally, so their searching was done mostly in silence.
Due to it still being too early for most ponies to be awake, Twilight and Octavia were surprised to come across two colts on the small road. Even with their backs turned to the two mares, Twilight recognized them as Snips and Snails, and with curiosity Twilight stopped to try to see what the two were bent over and looking at so intently. Though still a few dozen feet away, she could hear the two talking excitedly about some movie...
Octavia, however, continued forward and called out to the two colts. “Excuse me, young sirs, you haven’t seen...” she started to say.
Octavia’s voice caused Snips and Snails to jump up in surprise, and before Octavia or Twilight could try to calm the two down the colts dashed off into the woods as fast as they could, dropping the item they were looking at so intently just seconds ago.
Octavia turned back to Twilight sheepishly. “I was just going to ask them if they’ve seen Starsong and the others.” she said.
“Don’t worry about it.” Twilight said. “I’m sure we just caught them off guard.”
Curious to see what the two colts had been looking at, Octavia walked over to the object and made a disgusted face as she caught a glimpse of a stallion’s cock on the cover. “T-they were looking at an adult movie!” she said, quickly turning away in disgust. “Ugh, who knows what diseases and filth that thing has passed on to those colts.”
Twilight couldn’t help but laugh. “Octavia, it’s just a movie. Yes, those two should definitely not be looking at it, but it’s not like the disc or case is contaminated with anything you need to worry about.”
Octavia thought about Twilight’s words for a few moments before realizing what Twilight said was true. “I guess you’re right, but it’s still disgusting.” she said.
“That it is. We should probably destroy it so nopony else stumbles across it, especially another foal.” Twilight agreed. Picking up the porn tape with her magic, Twilight was about to set it on fire to destroy it when Octavia suddenly reached out and grabbed the movie case, her eyes wide with shock.
Confused at the sudden change in mind, Twilight could only look in bewilderment as Octavia continued to stare at it. “Octavia, what in Celestia’s name are you doing?” she asked, unable to accept that Octavia could secretly be interested in porn. However, as Twilight took a few steps closer she saw the same thing Octavia had seen. On the cover of the disc case was Vinyl Scratch, who had a stallion’s cock in one hoof while she licked at the rod that Octavia had just glimpsed before. The words ‘DP The DJ’ emblazoned at the top further confirmed that it was indeed a porn tape starring Vinyl, and the copyright date tucked in one of the corners let them both know that this film was a very recent release.
“I... I didn’t know she did this kind of stuff.” Twilight said softly, but when she finally looked over at Octavia she saw that tears were pouring down the earth pony’s face. “Octavia, what’s wrong?” she asked.
Octavia could only turn to face Twilight for a brief moment. “I’m sorry, I tried, but I can’t be with her.” she said cryptically before she ran off back towards Ponyville.
Confused, Twilight gave chase. “Octavia, wait!” she called out, chasing the mare back to town. In her haste to catch up to Octavia, she dropped the movie case back on the ground, forgetting all about destroying it like she had planned just moments before.
She also forgot that they were supposed to be searching for three ponies.
“Git outta here, stupid crow.” Applejack mumbled, feebly trying to swat away the annoying blackbird that was somewhere nearby. She tried opening her eyes to see where exactly the crow was, but she quickly shut her eyes again as the morning sunlight blinded her and hurt her.
Groaning and rolling over, she felt a fallen tree branch poking into her side. Her mind worked sluggishly to register the pain and to figure out why there was something painfully poking her while she was in bed, and after a substantial amount of time AJ finally began to recall the events that occurred last night.
“Hnng... Sta-Starshadow? Stars... Starsong?” she weakly called out, finally rolling back the other way to move away from the branch. Cracking open her eyes once more, she made sure to let her still sensitive eyes adjust to the sunlight before daring to open them further. Once her eyes were finally open, she quickly regretted her decision to try to see her surroundings as the biggest headache she had ever felt began to make itself known.
“Gosh darnit, rrg!” she growled in annoyance, rubbing her aching head while trying to blink away the blurriness that was blocking her vision. Starting to become impatient with her disabilities, Applejack took a slow, deep breath. “Quit yer complainin’, AJ. Ya’ll have gotten through worse.” she said before opening her eyes all the way and standing up.
She managed to stand on all four legs for a brief four seconds before crashing back down onto the ground. As she struggled back to her hooves her body finally began to feel the full amount of pain she was in; a hammering headache that was accompanied by a severely tender spot on the right side of her head where she had been struck, her body ached all over from being thrown into the shallow ditch on the side of the road, and her mind was still foggy from being forced to ingest the two hoofies. However, her own health was immediately pushed out of her head as she spotted the body of Starsong lying twenty feet away from her. Ignoring the pain in her head and aching body AJ slowly made her way over to Starsong, half walking and half crawling the short distance, though it seemed like miles. Finally reaching her fallen friend, Applejack was horrified to find that Starsong was still unconscious and barely breathing.
AJ’s ears twitched as she thought she heard somepony running off in the distance, and her eyes widened as she heard a familiar voice shout out in the distance; “Octavia, wait!”
“Twi?” Applejack tried to call out, but her voice cracked, causing her to cough. By the time her throat was clear she could no longer hear Twilight’s hoofsteps. “Twilight, help!” AJ called out, but she knew it was too little, too late. Applejack’s heart felt like it had been shattered as she looked back down at Starsong, the poor unicorn mare seemingly on the brink of death.
“Ooh, ooh! Rarity, over here! Look at this!”
Rarity sighed dramatically for possibly the millionth time as she followed the energetic pink pony. “Pinkie, we’ve walked back and forth across town a dozen times now easily. Are you sure you’re on the right track to finding Applejack and the others?”
Pinkie stopped abruptly, causing Rarity to walk right into her flank. “We’re looking for who?”
Rarity couldn’t believe her ears. “We’re supposed to be looking for Applejack, Starshadow, and Starsong!” she said, trying her best to stay calm.
“Ohhhh... whoopsie, I forgot.” Pinkie admitted. “I thought we were looking for yummy things to put on cakes.”
Rarity stuttered as she tried to suppress the urge to wring Pinkie’s neck, but just as she was about to lose control she saw Octavia running back towards her home, the earth pony in tears. Seconds later, Twilight came running up to them. “Girls, did you see Octavia just now?” she gasped in between breaths.
Rarity pointed in the direction of Vinyl’s house. “She ran past here just now, just as I was reminding a certain SOMEPONY we’re supposed to be looking for our friends.” she said, glaring at Pinkie Pie.
Twilight groaned. “Oh Celestia, I forgot we now have nopony to search that road now.”
“Well, why don’t we go search your area while Pinkie goes to take care of Octavia?” Rarity suggested. “It definitely looked like the poor mare could use some cheering up, and Pinkie is the pony best fit for the job. So long as she doesn’t forget what she’s supposed to do halfway there…”
Too anxious to inquire more about what the last sentence meant, Twilight agreed to the idea and ran off with Rarity while Pinkie Pie made her way to Vinyl’s house. Once they had returned to the path, Rarity and Twilight began carefully making their way towards Applejack’s farm once again, but as they neared the spot where Twilight and Octavia had found a certain item both mares heard somepony calling to them from above. Looking up, they saw Rainbow Dash streaking towards them, Fluttershy trailing a few yards behind. Both pegasi landed in front of their friends, Rainbow Dash looking a little concerned.
“Is this seriously how far you two have gotten? And Big Mac said you were paired up with Octavia, not Rarity.” Dash said slightly confused.
“It’s a long story, but yeah, we just managed to resume looking.” Twilight admitted. “Did Big Mac and Vinyl already finish searching their area?”
“Nah, we finished looking in our area and were flying back to Sweet Apple Acres when we saw Vinyl and Big Mac, and they said you were looking around this road but would probably be done by now since it’s so much shorter.” Rainbow Dash said. “Now, I know I’m by far the fastest pony in Equestria and all, but even Fluttershy would have been done by now. What gives?”
“We ran into another problem. Pinkie’s back in Ponyville with Octavia trying to cheer her up, and Rarity and I just started searching again.” Twilight explained.
“Twilight...” Fluttershy said again, slightly raising her voice while tugging on Twilight’s tail.
Twilight sighed heavily. “Don’t tell me you’re going to complain about our slow progress also.” she said, rolling her eyes. “Octavia was really upset over it.”
“No, it’s not that. Um, I think I saw something over there.” Fluttershy said, pointing down the road towards AJ’s farm. Just a few hundred feet from where the four mares were standing was a sharp bend in the road, and as they walked closer to the area Fluttershy pointed to what she had seen; Applejack’s hat.
Rarity surrounded the headpiece with her magic and meticulously shook it free from dirt. “What? I can’t let her trademark accessory get dirty if I can help it.” she said as the others looked at her.
Their attention was quickly turned to the dirt road where obvious signs of something heavy being dragged along the road was evident. “It looks like one of them may have been injured.” Fluttershy said.
All four mares felt their guts wrench slightly at the thought of their friends lying helplessly on the ground, and without any further words Rainbow Dash took off and flew down the road as fast as she could. The rainbow pegasus rounded the corner and disappeared from sight, but mere seconds later her voice rang out in panic. “Twilight, Rarity, Fluttershy! Get over here now!”
The three remaining ponies raced in the direction of Rainbow’s voice and let out a collective gasp at the scene in front of them. Rainbow Dash was standing over Applejack and Starsong, the rainbow pony crying helplessly. Starsong was still unconscious and Applejack seemed to be fading in and out of consciousness, but it was clear that AJ had been attempting to drag the drugged unicorn back to the safety of her farm.
Before Twilight or Rarity could react, Fluttershy rushed over to the two fallen ponies, and in a surprising show of strength she managed to hold back her own tears while she gently inspected the two. She sighed with relief when Applejack reacted to being touched and even managed to mumble something, but her concern grew when she began to look over Starsong. As Twilight slowly approached to offer any help, Fluttershy announced something very troubling.
“We need to get Starsong to the hospital quickly. She’s barely breathing and I can barely feel her pulse.” she said.
Twilight thought for a few moments, trying to figure out a solution; they were quite a ways away from the hospital, and none of the ponies here were strong enough to carry Starsong on their own. Plus they couldn’t leave Applejack behind alone as there was still serious concern for her health. Finally, Twilight’s eyes lit up as she found a solution that offered the most hope. “Rainbow Dash, you and I will get Starsong to the Ponyville Hospital while Fluttershy finds Big Mac. He should be back home by now, and he can carry Applejack to the hospital. Rarity, I need you to stay here with Applejack until Big Mac gets here.”
Fluttershy nodded and took off for Sweet Apple Acres while Rarity gently placed Applejack’s head on her lap, but Rainbow Dash stood frozen where she was, still unable to get over the shock of what was going on. “Rainbow Dash, come on, I can’t do this without you.” Twilight said, hoping her words would get through to her.
Rainbow Dash’s eyes stayed locked on her fallen friends. “This... I-I can’t... I don’t know how...” she said, on the verge of hysterics. The proud mare was still stunned by seeing two of her friends this broken. “And what about Starshadow? She’s not here, we gotta keep looking...”
“Rainbow Dash, focus!” Twilight shouted, surprising even Rarity. After the shock of the moment passed, Twilight laid a comforting hoof on her friend’s shoulder as she continued. “Look, I know you’re worried, we all are. But we can’t afford to hesitate here; if we don’t get Starsong to the hospital now, she’s not going to make it! Once she and Applejack are safe we can get back to looking for Starshadow. But the longer we’re delayed here the greater risk everypony’s in.”
Rainbow nodded after a brief pause to wipe her tears away, realizing that what Twilight had said was right. Without any further hesitation, Twilight lifted Starsong up with her magic and deposited the helpless mare on Dash’s back, keeping her magic hold on Starsong’s body to reduce the weight enough so Dash could still fly. With one final glance back at Rarity and Applejack, Rainbow Dash took to the skies, Twilight flying close by as she kept her spell concentrated on Starsong’s limp body. As the three ponies disappeared into the morning sky, Rarity turned her attention to her friend. Standing guard over Applejack, the white unicorn noted the slightly pained expression on Applejack’s face and stroked her friend’s mane to try to ease her pain.
“Whatever ruffians did this to you, we won’t rest until they pay.” Rarity said softly, tears finally escaping from her eyes and falling down her face. Quickly wiping her eyes, she looked in the direction of Sweet Apple Acres. “Fluttershy must have found Big Mac by now. Oh, please hurry...”
Somewhere between Ponyville and Canterlot, on a set of sparsely used side tracks that lead into a patch of overgrown brush, a single car train sat silently in the shadows of the forest. Out of sight of any train that passed by on the main railroad tracks, the silent locomotive showed no signs of life from the outside, but inside of it seven stallions and one mare inhabited the train.
Pacing back and forth, Thunderlane stomped a hoof impatiently against the floor. “This is a waste of time! We can still easily get to Canterlot without being seen by any train, there’s only three trains from Ponyville to Canterlot each day. Sitting here is just a waste of ti-”
Fed up with his complaining, one of the other stallions punched Thunderlane on the side of his head, sending the pegasus crashing to the floor. “Shut up, just shut up! You’re the one who got us lost while we set up our ambush and you almost got us caught getting to the train station! You are absolutely useless and are only still alive thanks to Specter ordering us not to lay a hoof on you for some unknown reason! I highly suggest you shut your muzzle and stay out of our way until we get to Canterlot, or I may have to just tell Specter that you were accidentally run over by the train.”
Knowing very well that every other pony on the train would gladly back their friend up, Thunderlane backed down but had one last complaint to air. “But there’s nothing to do...”
“I don’t give a flying buck what you do, just get out of my sight!” the stallion said, causing Thunderlane to flee towards the rear of the car.
Huffing in annoyance, Thunderlane sat down and looked out the window at the dull foliage outside. The other stallions were cleaning their weapons or sleeping, one last stallion standing guard outside the bathroom where Starshadow was tied up while the train engineer slept the day away in the locomotive. One idea finally popped into his head, and after coming up with a rough plan he slipped off of his seat and made his way to the bathroom.
“Hey, what’s going on?” Thunderlane said casually to the pony on guard duty outside the bathroom.
The stallion glared at Thunderlane for a few seconds before returning to inspecting his knife, but Thunderlane continued to press on.
“Hey, um, it’s kind of boring here, so since I have nothing to do I can cover the rest of your shift.” he offered.
The stallion thought about his proposal for a moment, and figuring that he’d rather sleep than watch a door for the next three hours, the stallion nodded and left the area. Unable to believe that his tactic actually worked, Thunderlane made sure nopony was around before he slipped inside the bathroom. Shutting the door quietly behind him, he turned to face his helpless captive, grinning as he looked at the bound and drugged pegasus mare in front of him; Starshadow.
“Well, hello there again. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.” Thunderlane said. Pushing her back and spreading her legs, Thunderlane positioned the helpless mare in the perfect position for him to take her. She had her wings bound to her body and her front hooves tied up, and though her hind legs remained free, she was in no shape to resist as the group’s leader decided to keep her drugged with the extra hoofies they had to prevent any chance of her escaping. As he rubbed his hoof roughly against her exposed crotch to get her prepared, he felt himself hardening quickly as he neared his goal. “Ah yeah, you’re nice and wet for my cock. You’ve been wanting my seed in you, haven’t you?” he asked her.
With a blank, empty look dominating her eyes, Starshadow didn’t show much reaction to Thunderlane’s foreplay, but her body was definitely responding. In a matter of moments, her pussy juices started flowing and her crotch bucked up slightly as Thunderlane drew his hoof away to taste the liquid covering it. “Heh, you want it that badly, slut? Don’t worry, Thunderlane will take good care of you...”
With no warning, the bathroom door was flung open and Thunderlane found himself being dragged back out to the train car. A savage blow hit him in his stomach, and with teary eyes he looked up and saw the five other stallions all standing around him.
“What in Tartarus are you doing, you foal?!” the leader yelled out. “What part of our task do you not seem to understand?”
“H-hey, give me a break! I wasn’t going to hurt her, just gonna have a little bit of fun. Nopony would know!” Thunderlane said.
Still furious, the leader of the group walked into the bathroom to make sure Thunderlane hadn’t harmed his target. Thankfully, he saw that she was unharmed, but as he inhaled the intoxicating aroma of her sexual arousal he found himself unable to look away from her still exposed crotch. Stepping towards her, he touched her sensitive crotch and smiled as she instinctively bucked her hips up at him. The weeks and weeks of being cooped up in the secret cave, along with the bruises and scrapes he’d suffered subduing that surprisingly tough farm mare, had taken a toll on him; he and his gang usually frequented one of the many lounges that catered to stallions who needed ‘stress relief’ in whatever town or city their current task found them in, but thanks to Specter it had been ages since any of them had had the pleasure of touching a mare. However, they now had one at their disposal, and as she was completely helpless they could do anything they wished...
Touching Starshadow’s sex one last time, her muffled but erotic moan sealed the stallion’s decision. Grabbing a hold of Starshadow, he dragged her out of the bathroom and dumped her body on the floor just outside the ring of ponies surrounding Thunderlane. Walking back up to the scared pegasus stallion, the group leader frowned down at him.
“So, you thought you’d just use this mare however you wished without including us, those who actually worked hard on this mission? Well, you’ll get your turn at her, but after we’re all finished.” he said.
One of the ponies standing nearby walked up to whisper into the leader’s ear. “Hey, what gives? We’re supposed to bring her back alive and uninjured.”
“I know, but since Specter miseed the rendezvous, he won’t be meeting up with us until we make it back to Canterlot. We’ll have plenty of time to clean her up before then. Besides, we can always place all the blame on that moron. It’s our word against his.” the stallion whispered back.
Not one to argue against fucking the beautiful mare with no foreseeable consequences, the other stallions nodded and smiled at the idea of finally being able to have some fun. Thunderlane tried to protest his sudden position in the back of the line, but he kept his mouth shut once he saw the dangerous look of lust in every other pony’s eyes. With no other choice, he stepped back and silently waited for his turn.
Jumping on the opportunity to be first, the lead stallion staked his claim by pushing Starshadow onto her back and stood over her. Worked up from before, his cock hung semi-rigid below his body, but as he began to rub himself up against her slit he felt his cock throbbing as it became fully erect.
“Celestia, I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.” he muttered as he began to sink himself into her body. He groaned as he felt Starshadow’s hot cunt surround his sensitive shaft and squeeze it as he penetrated her, and despite his pride he turned to glance back at Thunderlane. “Guess you had a good idea after all.”
Turning back to the task at hoof, the stallion leader began to thrust in and out of Starshadow’s body in a steady rhythm. Helpless to whatever came her way, Starshadow let out a gurgled moan as she managed to feel the stallion inside of her despite being drugged. She tried to raise her tied front hooves to push the stallion off of her, but her feeble attempt failed as she couldn’t raise her limbs more than a few inches. She also tried to tell him to stop, but all that escaped her mouth was another indecipherable sound that nopony paid attention to.
The lead stallion started to get annoyed by Starshadow’s attempt to talk. “Somepony shut this whorse up already.” he said. Without hesitation, one of his buddies came forward, his cock already hard from watching the scene unfolding in front of him, and with quick savagery he pulled Starshadow’s head towards him and thrust his cock into her ajar mouth. Starshadow didn’t have time to even gag as she felt the second pony’s cock fill her mouth and slide into her throat, and with a grunt of approval the stallion began to lightly fuck her mouth.
It didn’t take much longer for the first stallion to reach climax. Quickening his pace to a frantic thrusting, he let out a series of deep grunts before finally thrusting as deep as he could one last time and emptied his balls, his hot cum filling Starshadow’s tight foal hole. Pausing only to catch his breath, the stallion finally withdrew his cock from her body, his stallionhood still semi-hard to prove that he would be having another turn soon. “Alright, who’s next?” he called out to his remaining group.
The next stallion walked up but made a disgusted face as he saw a trickle of semen leaking out from Starshadow’s used hole. “Aw, come on, did you really have to cum inside her?” he complained.
The complaint didn’t have any effect. “Hey, if you don’t like it you can just sit out or use her ass.”
Huffing in dissatisfaction, the pony decided sloppy seconds was better than nothing. Not a fan of anal, he inhaled sharply before sinking his cock into Starshadow’s used pussy, and despite being grossed out about his buddy’s sperm now touching him, he closed his eyes and tried to enjoy her small tight body as best he could. It didn’t take long for him to forget about the white goo that had freaked him out moments earlier, and he soon was thrusting into Starshadow’s body vigorously and without hesitation.
The pony using Starshadow’s mouth was growing bored as her lack of participation wasn’t helping to get him off. “Hey, hurry up and finish. This slut can’t use her mouth properly.” he said impatiently.
“Hey, it was your choice.” the other pony snapped back. “Besides, we have all day, don’t rush me.”
With no other choice but to wait, the pony using Starshadow’s mouth continued to throat-fuck the mare with partial enthusiasm until the other stallion grunted and finished, thoughtfully pulling out and cumming all over Starshadow’s stomach. Once he had finished, the pony using her mouth quickly withdrew his cock and moved over to her crotch, eager to finally use one of her other holes. Unluckily for him, the sensation of sliding his cock into her hot, slick pussy gripping his shaft put him over the edge, and before he could get himself all the way inside of her body he blew his load.
The premature ejaculation created some snickering among his friends, but he too knew that he would have another chance to redeem himself. Not forgetting what was in front of them, another stallion stepped forward and flipped Starshadow over onto her stomach. Pulling her tail aside, he set his eyes on his target and spit a glob of saliva onto her ass before lining his dick up with her rear hole. He moved his hips forward, pressing the tip of his cock against her tightly puckered hole until he felt her body beginning to give in, and once he felt himself penetrating her he thrust forward hard and sunk his rod inside of her rectum.
Starshadow gave out a gasp as her dulled senses still felt the sharp pain of the sudden intrusion. She slowly flailed her rear legs in futile protest and let out a soft sob as she finally began to realize what was happening to her. “N-n-no... p-please you c-can’t... Big Ma- Mac...”
“Shut up, slut.” the pony inside her ass growled, smacking the back of her head hard with his hoof.
The pain from the strike and the realization that Big Mac wasn’t here to save her caused her to start crying. “Stop, stop please... only my... special somepony can...” she tried to say but she was cut off as the thrusts became more savage.
“I said shut up, you whorse!” the stallion commanded again.
Thankfully for him the last stallion in the gang came up and filled her mouth with his cock, his shaft reaching farther down her throat than his buddy’s. “This will teach you not to speak out when you’re not supposed to.” he sneered as he began to roughly fuck her mouth, not caring if the helpless mare could breathe.
Soon Starshadow found herself fighting to get even the smallest of breaths of air, struggling and talking no longer even a remote option for her. Despite her lack of resistance, the lead stallion noticed her movements becoming sharper and her eyes clearing up. “Hey, how long has it been since she’s been drugged?” he called out.
“I think this morning just after sunrise.” one of the other stallions called out.
Realizing that she was regaining her senses, the leader quickly retrieved another hoofie and approached Starshadow. Her eyes went wide as she saw the little white pill, but as her reflexes were still dulled she couldn’t react quick enough as the pony’s cock in her mouth was pulled out just long enough for the drug to be shoved into her mouth. She managed to prevent the pill from being swallowed, but she soon felt her rapist shove the first two inches of his rod back into her mouth.
“Make her swallow it.” the group’s leader commanded.
Smiling deviously, the pony using her mouth grunted and started to urinate in her mouth. Starshadow let out a muffled cry and tried to move backwards to spit out the pony’s cock, but thanks to the stallion still fucking her ass she was unable to retreat. With her mouth quickly filling with his rancid urine and her inability to spit any significant amount of it out thanks to the angle of her head, she instinctively began to swallow his piss to clear her mouth. Just as planned, the small hoofie easily slipped down her throat and dissolved quicker than normal thanks to the warm urine surrounding it. It only took a few moments for the hoofie to take effect, and soon everypony in the train car noticed Starshadow beginning to lose her grasp on reality once again.
By the time the two stallions using Starshadow finally came, it was clear that the drug had once again taken control of Starshadow as her eyes were glassed over and her speech was gone. Smiling that it was finally his turn, Thunderlane jumped on her as soon as the other two ponies moved away. Not wasting any time, he plunged his cock into her pussy, ignoring the seed from the other five stallions coating her insides and stomach.
“Oh yeah, finally, you’re getting a taste of Thunderlane. I’m gonna fill your slutty little holes all day. Yeah, and you’re gonna be begging for my cock.” he said mostly to himself as he thrust in and out of her, not caring that nopony else was joining him like they all had before for each other. Thunderlane didn’t see the group leader sneak a few photographs of him fucking the drugged Starshadow, though he wouldn’t have really cared if he had seen. He was in heaven, his long sought-after mare was now at his mercy. Further spurred on by his dirty talking, Thunderlane finally climaxed, filling Starshadow’s cunt with hot horse semen once again. Once he had thrust one last time to make sure his seed would reach into her womb, Thunderlane turned around and smiled triumphantly at the five other stallions. “You see, I told you this would be a great idea.” he said proudly.
The stallion leader smiled and nodded his head. “Oh yeah, this great idea was ALL yours...” he said. “Well, who’s ready for another go at this slut?”
Far away in Ponyville, the hospital was busier than it had been in recent memory. Though there were only two patients in the entire building, the doctors and nurses had spent the last few hours running around frantically as they did their best to keep their two charges stable, all while Twilight and her friends were forced to do nothing but wait patiently in the waiting room.
After Twilight and Rainbow Dash had dropped off the critical Starsong and been forced to leave the emergency room, the two ponies went back and met Big Mac, Fluttershy, and Rarity halfway between Sweet Apple Acres and the hospital. As soon as Dash and Twilight took off with Applejack, Big Mac collapsed onto the ground, the strong burly stallion reduced to tears as Rarity and Fluttershy tried their best to console him. By the time they had gotten him calm enough to continue walking to the hospital Rainbow Dash had already rounded up Pinkie Pie and Octavia. However, as soon as Vinyl entered the hospital waiting room Octavia got up and left without a single word. Vinyl failed to notice her strange behavior and went straight to the nurse at the reception desk and started demanding answers. However, before the nurse could call security to prevent Vinyl from jumping over the desk, the head doctor came out and found himself quickly surrounded by everypony, their voices all mixing together as they wanted to know how Applejack and Starsong were doing.
To their relief, the doctor informed them that they had managed to stabilize Starsong and Applejack was now fully conscious but still not quite ready to accept any visitors. Everypony breathed a sigh of relief, and after the doctor returned to the emergency room to tend to Starsong, Twilight called everypony to gather around her.
“Okay, I know everypony is glad to hear that Applejack and Starsong are going to be alright, but we still need to find Starshadow. Vinyl has already alerted the guards so they’ll be out looking as well, but we need to get as many ponies to help as we can.”
The small group nodded in understanding. “Good. Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Vinyl, why don’t you four resume the search for Starshadow?”
All four nodded, understanding that their missing friend was a higher priority than waiting to see Applejack and Starsong. Without a word, they left the hospital and raced to the spot where they had found the other two mares to begin their search there.
The next two hours passed by uneventfully. Twilight, Big Mac, and Fluttershy remained mostly silent as they waited for the doctor to come back and tell them that Applejack was well enough to see them, but before that could happen the main doors were thrown open and six royal guards entered the waiting room, all of them flanking a tall, white unicorn stallion.
The sudden entrance caught the three friends off guard, looking at the unknown stallion march up to the receptionist and glare at the nurse. “What room is Starsong in?” he asked bluntly.
“R-room 6B, but no visitors are allowed yet.” the nurse said.
The stallion ignored her and turned away, walking towards the door that led to where the patient rooms were. “He- hey! I said you can’t go in! Security!” the nurse shouted.
The uniformed security guard standing by the door adopted a defensive stance to repel the intruder, but he soon found himself swallowed up in a red aura and helplessly cast aside as the unicorn used his magic to clear his way.
“Hold it, she said you can’t go in there!” Twilight shouted, getting up to cut off the suspicious pony. However, before she could get more than five steps, two of the royal guards intercepted her and blocked her path. Stunned at what was going on, Twilight finally managed to find her voice again. “What in Celestia’s name are you doing? Stop him!” she yelled out.
The two guards refused to move and instead stood their ground. Big Mac got up and prepared to charge forward to stop the stallion, but three more guards moved in to restrain the red pony. The last remaining guard simply glared at Fluttershy, causing her to shrink down in her seat and tremble in fear.
“What the hay are you all doing? I command you to stop that stallion from going in there!” Twilight desperately said, finally resorting to use her position as princess. However, the guards ignored her commands, but the stallion finally stopped... and laughed.
“With all due respect, Princess Twilight Sparkle of Ponyville, these guards are under my strict command for the time being. They are here to obey my command and nopony else, not even Princess Celestia.” he said coldly yet calmly.
Twilight peered closer at the armor and noted the small stamped sun that proved that these were the elite ponies that were tasked with protecting Celestia herself. “What are you all doing? Who gave you orders to follow this pony’s orders?” she questioned.
“Princess Celestia.” all six guards repeated immediately in unison.
Twilight was left in shock that some of Celestia’s most loyal guards would take orders from some unknown stallion, even if Celestia commanded it. How did this pony know Princess Celestia and how did he manage to talk her into giving him six of her guards to command? But most importantly, what did he want with Starsong?
“She was attacked by somepony and isn’t in any condition to see anypony yet.” the nurse spoke up.
The stallion turned his eyes on her and looked at her coldly. “Foal, I’m not here to visit her. I’m here to bring her home and keep her away from this putrid town.”
“Now hold on!” Big Mac’s voice boomed. “You can’t simply walk in and decide where she goes! Who do you think you are?”
The stallion turned his attention to Big Mac, his stern red eyes locked on to Big Mac’s. “I’m her father.”
Big Mac felt a surge of emotion course through his body. He glanced down at his flank and saw that the background of his cutie mark was identical to Starshadow’s and Starsong’s; the tri-colored aurora. Anger started to uncontrollably swell inside of him as he faced down the pony responsible for all of Starshadow’s pain and suffering. Everything that had gone on in her life was because the stallion before him refused to treat her as his daughter and had forced her to run away. All because she wasn’t a unicorn like the rest of her family...
Noting Big Mac’s body language, Fluttershy realized what the red pony was about to do. “No, not here...” she said meekly, but it was too late. Big Mac pushed forcefully past the three guards that were blocking his path and charged at Polaris. However, he quickly found himself on the floor on his back as Polaris had calmly sidestepped the assault and tripped him, and before he could get up to attack again four of the guards jumped on him to restrain him.
“Big Mac, stop it!” Twilight shouted, but the guards had enough strength to subdue the struggling stallion.
Still sane enough to hear Twilight’s words, Big Mac stopped struggling and tried his best to calm himself. To everypony’s surprise, Polaris simply shrugged off the attempted attack and continued on his way into the hospital without speaking another word to Twilight or Big Mac. The guards blocking Twilight followed him immediately, and after a few moments of making sure Big Mac was done fighting the four other guards finally released him and left the waiting room.
Once the entourage had left, Twilight and Fluttershy rushed over to Big Mac to make sure he was alright, but he brushed them off as the only thing hurt was his pride. Concerned that this Polaris character was seriously going to try to take Starsong out of the hospital, Twilight ran up to the doctor as soon as he walked into the waiting room a few moments later.
“Doctor, you have to get to Starsong’s room and stop somepony from taking her!” Twilight pleaded.
The doctor let out a tired sigh. “Please don’t mention Polaris, I already tried to stop him before he left.” he said wearily.
Twilight, Fluttershy, and Big Mac were confused by what the doctor had just said. “But, um, they never came back this way. They’re still in Starsong’s room, right?” Fluttershy asked.
The doctor shook his head. “No, they all left and took the patient with them.”
“But how?” Twilight demanded. “It’s not like they could sneak Starsong out the window and run off with her.”
“Don’t be absurd.” the doctor said. “Starsong isn’t conscious, let alone able to even walk. No, that stallion teleported everypony in his group and Starsong back to Canterlot.”
Twilight balked at the claim. “He teleported... all the way to... that’s impossible! Nopony can teleport themselves such a far distance, let alone another pony as well. Besides, how could you let him just take her without calling for help?”
The doctor shrugged helplessly. “I’m sorry princess, but he had this... I couldn’t refuse an order like this.” he said as he brought out a scroll from his lab coat pocket. Twilight’s eyes widened as she saw Celestia’s seal on the scroll, grabbing it from the doctor’s hold and quickly unraveling the scroll to read it. Curious, Fluttershy and Big Mac came up from behind Twilight to peek over her shoulder, and as they read what Princess Celestia had written they all felt their hearts drop like rocks;
By Order of Princess Celestia of Equestria;
The bearer of this note, Polaris of the Star Family of Canterlot, is not to be hindered or delayed in the rightful return of his daughter, Starsong, to Canterlot. Anypony willfully delaying the bearer of this notice shall face penalties most severe, as decided by the Royal Guards escort or Princess Celestia herself. It is requested that all citizens of Equestria assist with any requests made by the bearer of this notice to the best of their ability.
Twilight reread the notice three more times, each time gazing at the signature at the bottom of the notice in hopes that she could detect some sort of trace that the signature was a forgery. However, there was no doubt in her mind that the signature was flawlessly authentic. “How... how could Celestia allow this?” she wondered aloud.
Just then, the doors leading outside were thrown open, causing everypony to turn in fear that Polaris had returned. However, everypony sighed with relief as they saw that it was just Spike, but the small dragon clearly looked extremely stressed and worried about something. “Twi- *gasp* Twilight! You *wheeze* have to read *gasp* this!” he exclaimed out of breath, holding up another scroll with Celestia’s seal.
Tearing the seal apart and opening the letter, Twilight read the message that Celestia had sent her;
My dearest Twilight,
I come to you with a matter of the utmost importance. One of my closest and most important advisors has informed me that his daughter, Starsong, was attacked last night. He is being flown to Ponyville by my personal guards and will need you to escort him to the Ponyville Hospital as soon as he meets you at your library. He will be bringing Starsong back here to Canterlot immediately. Do not worry; I have already lined up the best doctors to take care of his daughter as soon as they arrive and he should not need anything but directions from you. I know you will use your lessons on friendship to help my friend in his time of need. Thank you, my faithful student. ~Princess Celestia.
Having read the letter to herself, Twilight repeated it aloud for Big Mac and Fluttershy. By the time Twilight had finished, the large red stallion was fuming mad, and he made his emotions very, very clear by slamming his powerful hooves down onto the floor and cracked the stone tile floor. “How can she allow HIM to just come and take Starsong? There’s still Starshadow missing, and he an’ Celestia didn’ even MENTION her!” his voice boomed.
“Big Mac, please! Calm down.” Twilight begged before turning to Spike. “When did this letter arrive?”
“When I was walking through town with Granny Smith. As soon as it came in I ran back to the library, but he had already arrived and you all were still out.” Spike said. “He said he was here to pick up his daughter Starsong, but when I asked ‘what about Starshadow?’, he got really mad.”
“Um, maybe he was, you know, just worried about her having gone missing and couldn’t talk about it?” Fluttershy said, but the angry scowl Big Mac shot her caused the demure pegasus to quickly retreat behind Twilight.
“Ah told ya, he an’ Celestia don’ care about Starshadow!” he growled again.
“Woah, calm down everypony. I’m sure that in the panic Princess Celestia just wanted to make sure we knew about Starsong and Polaris wanted her home. I’m sure he’s worried sick about Starshadow also and is asking Princess Celestia for help in finding her.” Twilight reasoned.
Fluttershy nodded in agreement, but Big Mac’s expression made it very clear that he did not buy that story. “Fine, I’ll ask Princess Celestia myself.” Twilight said. “Spike, take a letter...”
Moments later, Spike sent off the letter asking about Starshadow to Celestia. It took about fifteen minutes for Spike to receive the reply, and as Spike handed off the scroll to Twilight she smiled as she read her mentor’s response;
My faithful Twilight,
I believe you are mistaken. Polaris’s only daughter is named Starsong. She was attacked and then taken to Ponyville Hospital, not missing. They are already back in Canterlot and she will be recovering at home, safe and sound. Do not worry, she will be looked after by my own doctor, so she is in good hooves. ~Princess Celestia
“See? Ah told you!” Big Mac said.
Twilight’s smile fell faster than Rarity had in Cloudsdale, causing the purple princess to scratch her head in absolute bewilderment. “Only daughter? That’s impossible, Starsong and Starshadow are clearly sisters. There has to be a mistake. But... Princess Celestia would never say that somepony is an only-foal unless she was absolutely sure. But she would only know that if Polaris told her that.”
Fluttershy remained silent as both she and Twilight realized that Big Mac was right. “Something isn’t right.” Twilight said. “I need to speak to Polaris a bit more and figure this out.”
“But what about Starshadow? We need everypony we can to help look for her.” Fluttershy pointed out.
“I know, but I think that Polaris may hold some answers that will help us find her.” Twilight said. “I know it’s not likely, but I think there’s something Polaris is holding against Starshadow, and it may be the key to finding her.”
Just then, another nurse entered the room and announced that Applejack was finally well enough to see the three ponies. Wanting to brighten the mood a little bit, Twilight put on a smile and gestured Fluttershy and Big Mac to go first. “Come on, let’s go see how Applejack is doing.” she said.
As the city of Canterlot slept peacefully and Luna’s moon reached its highest peak in the dark night sky, a lone pony stood on the Canterlot train station platform, silently awaiting the arrival of a train not listed in any schedule.
Specter thought back on the last few days with a scowl. His plan to use the pegasus and the remaining hitmen his boss had tasked him with retiring to actually take the mare had gone well enough; as predicted the clumsy group had left witnesses to their wrongdoings, leaving them primed to take the blame for everything. As he prepared to leave for the rendezvous point though, his luck took a turn for the worse...
That bodyguard of the princess’s had tracked and attacked him, ironically suspecting him of a completely unrelated plot. He had thought her unusually skilled before, but having fought against her there was no doubt in his mind. Though she didn’t wear the colors, she was definitely a Blackguard. The shock of yet another of his forgotten order showing up had nearly cost him as the mare almost captured him; only his own ingenuity had bought him enough time to escape. But with the threat of the bodyguard, not to mention the other mysterious Blackguard he’d seen tracking him again, he’d been forced to flee back to his hideout in Canterlot, foregoing the rendezvous and instead meeting the group here at the station.
He shook his head. He would have to deal with them eventually, there was no doubt. If anypony in this time knew anything about his forgotten memories, surely another Blackguard...
His thoughts were interrupted by the noise of a train with a single car pulling up to the platform and stopping. A few seconds passed by before the train car door opened and seven ponies emerged, the single mare unconscious and slung over the back of one of the six other stallions.
Specter approached the group and made his dissatisfaction very clear. “What in Tartarus took you all so long?!” he hissed angrily. “You were supposed to be here last night!”
“Hey, give us a break, mister four-left-hooves here almost got us caught about six times getting to the station.” the pony carrying Starshadow’s limp body said. “Anyway, here’s the mare. Still don’t understand why Polaris is risking so much for this cunt.”
Specter couldn’t help but flinch as the stallion dumped Starshadow’s body roughly onto the ground in between them. The memory of somepony close to him being hurt by some unknown stallion managed to wander into his head, and though he couldn’t remember anything about the event, he knew that it was real. The cries of the small filly began to grow louder as he saw the stallion approaching her, and he was powerless to stop him...
“...hey! I said, when are we gonna get paid?” one of the other stallions said.
Specter’s focus snapped back to reality and he saw that all the ponies were looking at him expectantly with greed in their eyes.
“Yeah, and what about my pardon? You said you’d help-” Thunderlane started to say, but the gang leader roughly shoved him aside.
“Shut up, you twit! As far as I’m concerned you got your payment by cumming inside of that filthy whorse.” he said.
“Yah, after all of you did!” Thunderlane snapped back.
Specter’s eyes seemed to light up with red fury as he heard the last two statements. “You did what?!” he bellowed angrily.
Knowing that he had slipped up, the leader quickly covered his tracks. “Hey, Thunder-lame over here said we could do whatever we wanted, said you were okay with it. Besides, she ain’t harmed at all, and she won’t remember a thing.” he said.
Thunderlane quickly protested the accusation, leading all six stallions to begin arguing over who was to blame. Specter couldn’t care less who was to blame, he was sickened by the fact that they had all taken advantage of the mare he was tasked to bring back. There was a very faint silver lining to this matter though; he now felt no guilt about what he was about to do.
While the six stallions continued arguing, Specter motioned for ten other ponies to come forward. The noise of arguing quickly died down as the group found themselves surrounded by Luna’s elite bodyguards the Lunar Guard, all of them heavily armed as if they were prepared for war. Their dark-grey coats and midnight blue armor made them all but invisible in the shadows, and even in the open they were difficult to detect on the darkened train platform.
“H-hey Specter, what’s g-g-going on?” one of the surrounded stallions asked nervously.
Specter remained emotionless as he stepped forward. “Do not worry why they’re here, I shall explain shortly.”
Without a word, two of the guards picked up Starshadow and carried her off, leaving eight guards remaining along with Specter, who began to speak again. “Thunderlane, as I promised earlier, your crimes in Ponyville have been erased from the records of the Equestria Royal Guard.”
Thunderlane’s face lit up in happiness upon hearing those words, but his smile crashed as Specter continued to speak. “However, the guards here tonight are here to arrest you on five counts of murder.”
Before Thunderlane could attempt to run or question the charges, another guard hit Thunderlane in the neck with a poisoned dart. The potent poison quickly worked its way through Thunderlane’s bloodstream, and within seconds the gray pegasus collapsed on the ground and was quickly dragged off to the side by two more of the lunar guards.
Once the annoying pegasus was gone, the gang’s leader looked at Specter quizzically. “How are you gonna stick him with five charges of murder? That dumbass couldn’t kill a fly, even if he sat on it.”
“You’re correct.” Specter said, backing up a few steps. “We first would need five bodies to charge him.”
It was only when the lunar guards began to slowly close in with weapons drawn did the five remaining stallions finally catch on to what was going on. Having left their weapons on the train, they tried to put up a fight with their bare hooves, but of course they were no match for the coordinated attack by Princess Luna’s personal guards. In less than a minute all five stallions were cut down, their still warm bodies lying motionless on the train station platform as their crimson red blood began to spread all along the cold stone ground. Making sure their work was complete, the lunar guards slit each stallion’s throat to ensure they had done their duty before they disappeared back into the night, as if they weren’t even there.
With just two lunar guards left standing by, Specter levitated Thunderlane’s body back over to the scene of the carnage. Making sure to get plenty of blood on his hooves, he then dumped Thunderlane’s unconscious form a few feet away from the other stallions and placed a large knife right by him. Satisfied that everything was in place, Specter walked up to the locomotive and signaled the engineer that it was time. Specter handed the pony a pouch filled with hundreds of bits before taking his leave, teleporting himself away so the engineer could carry out his own instructions.
Stashing his pay in a safe, the engineer exited his train, took a deep breath and then started yelling for help at the top of his lungs. His instructions and prefabricated story were simple; he had been hired by five bounty hunters to bring back a known fugitive from Ponyville, but when he arrived at the station at the agreed meeting time he saw the captive Thunderlane fighting against them, and the gray pegasus managed to acquire a weapon and killed the upstanding pony citizens. Thankfully, two of Luna’s guards heard his cries for help and arrived before the city guard could arrive and incapacitated Thunderlane before he could escape again.
Just as planned, the city guards on patrol around the sleeping city arrived just as Luna’s two guards finished tying up the still-unconscious Thunderlane. Stunned by the horrific scene in front of them, it did not take much persuasion to have them secure the perimeter while Luna’s night guard took control of the investigation or to let a squad of unknown griffon soldiers handle the disposition of the five bodies.
The faux investigation took less than thirty minutes, the two lunar guards declaring Thunderlane guilty as they saw him slay the final victim before they could reach the scene. Throwing the pegasus into the dungeons, all that was left was to select somepony to preside as judge for Thunderlane’s trial. Of course, the judge was already selected; Polaris would preside over the trial as judge, jury, and in a sense, executioner. And though he would be found guilty no matter what he said, Thunderlane would be unable to attend his own hearing due to being deemed mentally unfit to be in public. This claim would be reinforced by slipping a certain item into his food and drink while he sat in prison; a small white pill with an ‘H’ stamped on one side.
The next morning found four ponies on the first train from Ponyville to Canterlot. Though they were all sitting in the same train car, all four ponies sat in silence, each one of them deep in thought about their own problems; Twilight about how Princess Celestia could not know about one of her closest advisors’ whole family, Big Mac about where Starshadow could be, Octavia about Vinyl’s porn video and her secrecy about it, and finally Nightshade trying to forget about her day spent foalsitting the three Cutie Mark Crusaders.
Once the train arrived at Equestria’s capital and all four friends disembarked the train, Twilight turned to Big Mac. “Are you sure you wouldn’t rather be back in Ponyville with Applejack? I know she’s due to be released from the hospital tomorrow, but she’s still going to need help for a few more days.”
Twilight almost immediately regretted asking Big Macintosh that question as he looked at her in absolute fury. “Don’ya DARE ask me that again! You already stopped her from coming along wit’ us today, but don’t ever think of askin’ me that question again unless you want to be bucked all the way back to Ponyville!” he yelled at her.
Everypony around them was stunned by Big Mac’s response, and two nearby guards began closing in on the disturbance once they saw it was somepony yelling at Princess Twilight Sparkle. However, they were waved off by Twilight who insisted all was well, but it did nothing to lighten the mood. With no idea of how she could help lighten the mood for everypony, Twilight suggested that they make their way to the castle to see Princess Celestia.
Upon reaching the castle, Octavia and Nightshade opted to wait while Twilight and Big Mac sought an audience with Princess Celestia. Twilight hoped that Big Mac’s attitude had calmed down since his outburst at the train station, and she at least withheld the suggestion that she meet with Celestia alone at first, but she was still worried over the possibility that something was going to go wrong. With a heavy sigh, Twilight entered the throne room first, and both ponies walked up to Princess Celestia and bowed before her.
“Oh Twilight, I’ve told you plenty of times, there is no need to bow before me anymore.” Celestia said with a smile. “And Big Macintosh, it is wonderful to see you again. I’m sorry if I cut our meeting short, my sister and I were preparing to leave for Baltimare to oversee the opening of the new school there.”
“You mean Proteus University is finally opening?” Twilight said excitedly. “I heard that the centerpiece of their new library is the five volume journal written by Proteus the Patient himself of his travels around the oceans, as well as all of his research on ocean life! Oh, I can’t wait until I get the chance to visit it! Is it true that they’re also going to have a replica of his ship built and a select number of students are going to recreate his journey around-”
Twilight immediately went silent, a little embarrassed that her excitement of the new school opening had sidetracked her from her reason for being in Canterlot. “Sorry, Big Macintosh.” she said before turning back to Celestia. “Princess Celestia, I’m here because we had a friend go missing, and we think that Polaris may have some answers. You said that you’ve known him for a long time, surely you must know his other daughter Starshadow.”
“Yes, I have known Polaris for a long time now. He has been a close advisor as well as the lead instructor for all of my and Luna’s guards.” Celestia confirmed. “However, for all the time I have known him, I only know of his one daughter Starsong. I do not believe there is anypony named Starshadow in the Star family.”
“He’s lying!” Big Mac burst out, once again surprising Twilight and even Celestia. “Starshadow is his other daughter, and even Starsong confirmed that they’re sisters!”
Twilight held her breath, afraid that Celestia would be furious at Big Mac’s tone, but the white alicorn princess kept her calm. “Polaris has no reason to lie to me about his family. Are you sure that you did not mishear them? Perhaps they share a sisterly bond...”
Big Mac shook his head, standing firm. “Ah know what ah heard, an’ those two are definitely sisters!” he reiterated.
Having stood by long enough, Twilight moved herself in between the furious stallion and her mentor. “Princess Celestia, I can confirm that what Big Mac is claiming is true. Starsong does have a sister who is named Starshadow. They even share a similar cutie mark, look.” she said, projecting an likeness of Starshadow’s cutie mark in the air for everypony to see.
While not exactly the correct shades of color, the image Twilight projected was unmistakably Starshadow’s mark, minus the X she’d carved over it so many years ago. Big Mac nodded in confirmation as Celestia looked over it carefully. “Yes... this is definitely similar to their family cutie mark.” Celestia agreed. “It seems... familiar.”
Suddenly, the throne room doors were thrown open and Princess Luna poked her head inside. “Sister, are you not yet ready to depart? We were supposed to be leaving now!”
Celestia looked up at the grand clock on the wall and saw that Luna was correct. “I’ll be there in a moment, Luna.” she called out before the night princess retreated. Turning to face her visitors once more, she looked sympathetically at the two ponies before her. “Unfortunately, Polaris is occupied caring for Starsong and he’s requested that he be left in peace. I believe he was scheduled to tour the northern cities to oversee some additional training with the Crystal Guard, but in light of the recent events your brother Shining Armor has offered to cover that task.”
Twilight’s eyes brightened when she heard that Polaris was still home. “Thank you Princess Celestia.” she said, not wanting to delay her teacher any longer.
Celestia extended a hoof. “I hope you’re able to find your missing friend. Speak to the detail sergeant if you need any additional help in your search.” she said. “Good luck, Twilight.”
After saying their goodbyes and rejoining the other two ponies, Octavia led the small group to Starsong’s home. Twilight and Big Macintosh were astounded by the size of Polaris’ home, not to mention how intimidating it was as they approached the front door. Twilight approached the doorbell alone, pausing right before she hit the button. “Well, here goes nothing.” she murmured before pressing it, left with nothing to do but await the one pony with the answers they were looking for.
Slowly opening her eyes, it took a few moments for Starshadow to recognize the ceiling that loomed above her.
‘This… this is… my old room.’ she realized. Glancing to her left and right, she confirmed that she was indeed back in her old room in Canterlot. Back in Polaris’ house. The last place she ever wanted to be.
Sitting up, Starshadow groaned as she stretched her aching muscles. Her head still throbbed from the lingering effects from the hoofies, and with another groan she lay back down and threw a pillow over her face. “Not here... this has to be a bad dream.” she mumbled.
Starshadow didn’t move the pillow from her face as she heard her bedroom door open and then close, nor did she move as she felt somepony sit down on the bed next to her. However, her breathing stopped as she felt somepony start to gently rub her stomach while humming a familiar tune...
“M-mom?” she finally said, tears already beginning to well up in her eyes as she slowly lowered her pillow to see who it was. Before her was an light gray unicorn mare with a pale blue mane, her piercing blue eyes meeting Starshadow’s with an unusual calm. Starshadow instantly recognized who the pony was, and ignoring her still aching head she sat up and hugged her as tightly as she could. “Mom!”
Starshadow couldn’t hold back her tears any longer as she hugged her mother tightly. Silver Veil simply smiled as she embraced her daughter back, gently stroking Starshadow’s mane as she consoled her daughter. The two mares remained in their long overdue embrace, Starshadow pulling back after almost fifteen minutes to finally wipe her eyes.
“You look so much better.” Silver Veil commented, looking her daughter over. “So much better since...”
Silver Veil’s voice trailed off, but Starshadow knew what she meant. They hadn’t seen each other since Silver Veil bought and rescued her from the underground sex slave market, and even then Starshadow didn’t recall that event at all. Unfortunately, due to her state of mind at the time she didn’t remember anything, making her last memories of seeing her mother back before she first ran away from home so many years ago.
“I’ve missed you.” Starshadow said before embracing her mother again. “I missed you so much...”
“I’ve missed you too, my little miracle.” Silver Veil replied. “I hope you’ve been safe and happy all these years.”
Starshadow thought back to her past. Her time after being rescued and living with Starsong had been rocky at best, and her time living alone in Cloudsdale had almost caused her to revert back to her entirely submissive nature. However, as soon as she thought of her more recent memories, starting her career, meeting Vinyl and the other mare inviting her to Ponyville, and spending so much time with Big Mac, a genuine smile crossed her face. “Yeah, I am. Well, was... Mom, what am I doing back here?”
Silver Veil’s heart sank as she summoned the courage to tell her what was going on. “Your father brought you back.” she explained. “He has been talking about how he can still salvage the family legacy by bringing you back home, but wouldn’t elaborate with me any further than that.”
Starshadow’s gut wrenched as she heard that Polaris was still obsessing over her cutie mark and the family’s destiny. “Celestia, why can’t he just leave me alone?! I was happy in Ponyville. I had all my friends there with me, and I got to spend almost every day with my special somepony...”
Silver Veil’s ears perked up as the words Starshadow just said registered to her. “You have a special somepony?” she inquired with curiosity.
Starshadow blushed, still not used to hearing that word associated with her, especially from her own mother. She shyly nodded yes, but her mother still showed some slight concern.
“He’s not, you know, one of those types, is he?” Silver Veil asked cautiously.
It took a moment for Starshadow to understand what her mother was asking. “Wha- oh, no no no! It’s not like that!” she quickly reassured her. “We’re just... I mean, he and I are... what I mean is... I, er... ”
Starshadow paused to consider her next words carefully. What was Big Mac to her anyway? She called him her special somepony, but what did that really mean? All the confusion of the previous weeks and months flooded into her mind at once; she shut her eyes and tried to will her swirling thoughts to clear. Through all the chaos a single figure began to come into focus; she felt her heart swell as she focused in the figure’s strong rugged body, his warm green eyes focused on her, his powerful comforting embrace.
She nodded slightly, her doubts immediately vanishing as quickly as they’d surfaced. The blush on her features deepened considerably when she finally spoke, assured that the words were the truth. “I love him.”
Silver Veil was elated to hear Starshadow say that. “Oh my Celestia, that’s wonderful!” she exclaimed in absolute jubilation. “Who is he? Is he from Canterlot? Do I know him?”
Starshadow couldn’t help but smile at her mother’s enthusiasm, but explaining how everything happened was going to be extremely tricky; she obviously had to leave out certain parts of her story. “Well, I met him when I was setting up for a concert in Ponyville...”
On the other side of the house, Polaris had locked Specter and himself in his office. Though Specter’s mission was complete, Polaris was furious at his assassin for hire.
“You foal, you let those impudent worthless sacks of flesh hurt Starsong!” he yelled at Specter. “Their foolish actions almost got my daughter killed! It was your duty to oversee this operation and make sure there were no slip-ups!”
Specter stood emotionless as always. Polaris’s yelling didn’t faze him, especially knowing that his office was magically sound proofed. Besides, this was not the first time Polaris had yelled in his presence. “Sir, it was an unforeseen error, I had no knowledge your other daughter would be present.” he said calmly.
The explanation didn’t have any effect on Polaris. “It is still absolutely inexcusable! Your error caused me to have to show my face in that cesspool of a town Starshadow was hiding in, not to mention it forced me to confront Princess Twilight Sparkle! And on top of everything you were a day late and forced me to call in some valuable favors some of the guards owed me!”
“My apologies, it won’t happen again.” Specter said, kneeling down momentarily.
Opening his desk drawer, Polaris tossed a burlap bag over to Specter. “There’s your pay. You certainly don’t deserve the full amount, but you’re lucky that those damned drugs won’t have any permanent effect on Starsong.” he growled.
Specter nodded in thanks but didn’t touch the bag of bits, remaining rooted to his spot. Polaris looked over at the assassin with a cold glare. “You’re dismissed.” he said coldly.
Specter didn’t move. “Sir, there’s a matter regarding to the fine details of this last mission. I’m afraid I wasn’t able to bring Starshadow to you unharmed.”
Polaris raised an eyebrow. “What in Tartarus are you talking about?” he asked.
Specter took a deep breath before reporting his information. “Sir, while your former agents were stranded between Ponyville and Canterlot, they raped Starshadow.”
Polaris remained silent for a few moments before speaking. “And?”
Specter found himself actually caught off guard by Polaris’s answer and in a rare slip for the hardened pony, let his emotions out in his response. “Sir, they raped her! They raped your daughter. How could you not care about that?”
Polaris let out an impatient huff. “Fine, I’ll be sure my doctor gives her a potion to prevent her from getting pregnant. Now get out, I have more important matters to attend to.”
Specter was at a loss for words, but he obeyed his employer despite the bad taste left in his mouth. As soon as he had stowed away his pay and left Polaris’s office, he headed out the back door and teleported himself to the Canterlot train station. Perching himself on the rooftop, he was given a commanding view of the platform below him. The grisly scene that had stained the platform had been cleared up, and no signs of the massacre were left as the ponies below went about their day.
Putting his head down, Specter tried to figure out why this last mission of his was bothering him. As a Blackguard he had been able to perform any task given him without the weight of emotion interfering; even now with those emotions returned to him, as a professional he prided himself on being able to separate himself from them. Not once had he held any regret or sympathy for anypony involved in his work... until now. He felt no guilt for Starsong being caught up in the abduction; unforeseen casualties were always a factor in this line of work... no, what was bothering him was Starshadow. But he couldn’t put his hoof on why...
The ringing of laughter below caught Specter’s attention. Looking down, he saw a group of guards returning from their leave, the four stallions having just returned from a fishing trip on the west coast of Equestria. One of the guards had their fishing equipment thrown over his back; four fishing poles and a shiny metal fishing hook...
The glint of Celestia’s sunlight off of the hook triggered something in Specter’s mind. All of a sudden, the memories of a long forgotten event came surging back into his mind; a run-down boat shed with a stallion and a small filly inside, the stallion wielding a fishing hook one moment but then lying dead on the ground with the hook in his eye. The scene quickly changed to a nightmare; the interior of the shed covered in blood and body parts strewn all over the floor. The small filly from before stood alone in the middle of the shed, her coat soaked with blood but her face still had a unsettling smile on her face. Suddenly, the filly looked up straight at him and spoke only one word;
With a start, Specter’s mind brought him back to reality. He was out of breath, as if he had just run five miles at full speed, and with an uncharacteristic sense of panic he teleported himself back to the safety of his hideout just outside the city walls. Securing the door shut, he made his way to his bed and curled up, still extremely troubled by what he had just seen in his mind. He realized that what he had just seen was part of the elusive dreams he had every night, but what troubled him the most was that he knew it was somehow connected to Starshadow. Exactly how, though, was still a mystery.
“This is it.” Octavia said, pointing at the large mansion in front of them.
Big Macintosh was in absolute shock at the size of the house that Starshadow grew up in, and even Twilight was surprised at the sheer size despite having grown up in Canterlot herself. Though dwarfed by Celestia’s castle just up the road, Polaris’s home still was perhaps the largest private residence in all of Canterlot, not to mention the most expensive thanks to its prime location.
Moving up to the front door, Octavia took the lead and rang the doorbell. Just a few short seconds later a butler opened the door, eyeing the unusual group carefully. “May I help you?” he asked dully.
Octavia cleared her throat before speaking. “Uh, good day sir. We’d like to speak with Polaris if he has a moment...”
“Mister Polaris is preoccupied at the moment and is not accepting any visitors for the next few days. Good day.” the butler said, but as he tried closing the door Big Mac rushed up and stuck his hoof between the door and doorframe. Ignoring the pain from having his hoof caught, Big Mac shoved the door back wide open, causing the butler to tumble backwards and fall on his flank. He gasped as he saw the angry red stallion looming above him, but Twilight quickly dragged Big Mac backwards as soon as she saw him raising a hoof in anger.
“Big Mac, stop!” she yelled. Nightshade blocked the stallion’s path back inside as Twilight helped the butler back to his hooves. “I’m so, so sorry about that! He wasn’t going to hurt you.” she apologized.
The butler dusted himself off. “Hmph! I should hope not! Do you not know the royal guards also protect this property? They would have you all arrested on the spot!”
“I truly am sorry, but it’s imperative we speak to Polaris.” Twilight said. “If you could just tell him that Princess Twilight Sparkle wishes to speak to him, I’m sure he’d be willing to make time for me.”
The butler surprisingly didn’t give in. “Princess or not, Mister Polaris busy with a family emergency, and he has already received permission from Princess Celestia to hold off on his official duties until the crisis is over.” he said. “The most I can do is inform him that you wish to speak to him, and he shall reach out to you as soon as he is available.”
It was clear that they weren’t going to be able to speak to Polaris, so Twilight tried another tactic. “Well, what about Starsong? Can we see how she’s doing?”
The butler sighed and rolled his eyes impatiently. “Miss Starsong is still recovering from her ordeal from her journey in some shoddy one-horse town and is not receiving any visitors. Now then, I have other matters I must attend to, so if you don’t mind...”
Big Mac started to try to push past Nightshade, having heard the insult against his beloved hometown, only to find that his limbs were being anchored to the ground by some invisible force. Realizing she was fighting a losing fight, Twilight simply nodded. “I’m sorry for troubling you.” she said, bowing her head.
Without another word, the butler slammed the front door shut, leaving the group with no other leads to go on.
“Well now what do we do?” Big Mac huffed impatiently.
Octavia, Nightshade, and Big Mac turned their attention to Twilight, but the princess looked back at them helplessly. “I... I don’t know.” she said finally.
“... and then Applejack told us that the fillies had accidentally taken a barrel of the hard apple cider by mistake!”
Both Starshadow and Silver Veil laughed as Starshadow finished up her story of the birthday celebration she and Starsong had shared. She felt good sharing her adventures in Ponyville to her mother... well, parts of it. Silver Veil was also smiling from a combination of relief and joy that her daughter was finally finding true happiness. However, the laughter eventually trailed off and the mood became somber as both of them remembered that she had been snatched away from her paradise and had been brought back here against her will. However, before either of them could move on to the topic on both of their minds, Starshadow’s door opened and in walked the very last pony she had ever wanted to see.
Polaris strode into the room and looked down upon his youngest daughter like she was a toad. “Silver Veil, I believe Starsong needs you to attend to her.” he said to his wife.
Starshadow bolted up. “Starsong’s here also? What did you do? What’s going on?” she asked slightly panicked, but Polaris ignored her.
Silver Veil looked over at her husband suspiciously. “Starsong is still sedated, dear.” she said calmly. “The doctor said she should rest until at least tomorrow morning to make sure all the drugs are out of her system.”
With a look of indifference, Polaris repeated himself. “You should go check on Starsong. Now.” he said with a hint of agitation in his voice.
Silver Veil saw the anger beginning to show in her husband’s eyes and knew that it would be wise to take her leave now as to not upset him further. Starshadow knew this too, and after giving her mother a quick but loving hug she watched her mother leave to tend to her other daughter.
Alone with her vile father, Starshadow did her best to avoid eye contact with her dad. However, she could still feel his eyes on her, causing her to shift uncomfortably as he towered over her in silence. Finally, she could take no more, and with her pent up emotions finally breaking free she let her feelings be known.
“You foal-fucking monster!” She shouted, her intense hatred taking hold in her, drowning out her fear of the powerful unicorn. “Why did you bring me back here?! Why can’t you just leave me alone?! I was out of your life and finally happy! Why can’t you-Aaah!” Her tirade was silenced as Polaris slapped the side of her face with a surprise magical strike.
Her cheek stinging sharply, Starshadow recoiled slightly as Polaris took another step towards her. “Do you have any idea how much trouble you’ve caused this family, how much I’ve had to sacrifice to bring you back here? Since you ran away-”
“Ran away?! You threw me out! And as far as I’m concerned, that was the best thing you’ve ever done for me!”
“You forced my hoof with that disgusting and pitiful display,” Polaris said slowly, though there was clearly malice in his voice as he recalled the night he lost his composure for the first time. “You brought everything that happened to you upon yourself when you defiled the gift that for reasons unknown was bestowed upon your flank and turned your back on your family and home.”
“Don’t make me laugh! A home is supposed to be a place of safety and peace; your family is supposed to love and care for you...” Starshadow’s eyes welled up as she thought back on her foalhood; of being ignored and shunned by her father and the rest of the family, of never being allowed outside the estate for fear of bringing shame upon the family... “This place was a prison for me and my family cursed my very existence, all because I was born with wings instead of a horn! Without this stupid mark, I may as well not exist to you! Why in Tartarus would I ever do anything to help a family that never wanted me at all?! Why won’t you just stay the buck out of my life-”
“Enough!” Polaris roared, grabbing her mane in his magic and pulling it up, forcing her to meet the towering unicorn’s eyes; Starshadow was barely able to keep her back hooves on the floor from this new position. “I will not let the Star Family’s legacy be tarnished by you any longer! I will not allow your selfish nonsense to drag my family into decline! You will face your destiny here and now or you will know inconceivable suffering!”
Starshadow spit at Polaris’s face. The surprise attack almost caught him off guard; he was able to deflect the wad of spit with his magic just before it found its mark, but in doing so he lost his grip on Starshadow. Once free, she quickly scrambled back to her hooves, continuing to stare up at him defiantly. “Fuck you Polaris! Fuck you stupid family, and fuck this so-called ‘gift’!” She ran a hoof over her scarred flank as she continued. “I don’t care what you do to me, I will never, ever, open that Luna-forsaken book!”
Once she finished Starshadow shrank slightly, expecting some violent reprisal; to her immense surprise, the unicorn stallion simply turned and walked over to the door. “I see. I’ll admit, you are much more willful than I expected, given everything that has happened to you. Very well then; you’ve made it very clear that you are unwilling to embrace your fate and destiny.” Starshadow felt a small pang of satisfaction at her father’s words; though she was still trapped and at the mercy of her family, at least she was able to thwart Polaris’s insipid plans for her destiny. That feeling quickly faded when Polaris spoke again. “Your obnoxious disobedience notwithstanding however, that disgusting whorse body of yours can still be of some use to this family.”
Her door glowed red in her father’s aura before swinging open. Starshadow gasped and her eyes went wide in horror as she saw a familiar stallion standing in the doorway. As soon as he saw her, the stallion put a wide grin on his face and slowly approached her, licking his lips as he recalled the last few times he had seen her.
Polaris couldn’t help but laugh at his daughter’s reaction. “So I see you do remember him, then I believe no introductions are necessary.” he smirked. “Well, you’ll be happy to know that he and I have reached quite the deal; the Star family now holds majority control of the Cloudsdale Weather Factory thanks to you, and all you have to do in return is be a good wife and submit to his every whim.”
Starshadow wanted to puke just at the thought, but with nowhere to run she could only grimace as the approaching stallion finally reached her and stroked her face with his disgusting hoof.
“It’s been a while, Starshadow.” Cirro Stratus said.
“You’re lucky Princess Twilight Sparkle and Captain Shining Armor were here to save your sorry skin, but next time, don’t expect to get off so easily.” a guard clad in armor said.
With an angry scowl, Big Mac shot the sergeant an evil glare, causing the guard to take a few steps back as his subordinates unshackled the chains around Big Mac’s hooves. Twilight stood off to one side with her older brother, shaking her head in disbelief; she had returned to the castle and saw that her brother Shining Armor had just arrived, but while she was asking for his assistance in finding Starshadow while inquiring about Polaris, they both heard that a scuffle had broken out over somepony trying to break into the Star family estate just up the road. To Twilight’s horror she saw that it was indeed the very pony who she thought it was, and despite five guards trying to subdue him, Big Mac still tried to break down the main gate to the home. It was only when Shining Armor was forced to intervene that they able to restrain the angry stallion. The sergeant wanted to prosecute Big Macintosh to the fullest extent of the law, but Shining Armor and Twilight managed to persuade the angry guard otherwise.
Once Big Mac had rejoined the small group, Shining was pulled aside by the sergeant. The two stallions spoke in hushed but tense tones to each other, and when Shining Armor was finally finished he delivered some bad news for everypony; the sergeant would negate the incident from his duty log, but in return Big Mac, Octavia, Nightshade, and even Twilight would have to immediately leave Canterlot and not return for at least a week.
Of course this raised an outcry from Big Mac and Octavia, and even Shining Armor expressed his concern over such an order, but despite their protests Twilight agreed to the demands, and within the hour she said goodbye to her brother and boarded the train back to Ponyville with the three others.
The train ride back home was very much like the trip to Canterlot; all four ponies sat in silence as the Equestria scenery blurred by through the window. The silence was only broken when Big Mac abruptly slammed his hoof against his seat in frustration and anger before storming out of the carriage and locking himself in the bathroom. Octavia started to get up to check on him, but she sat back down when Twilight shook her head no. “Leave him be.” she said.
Big Mac returned after almost an hour, his reddened eyes proving that he had broken down and cried but didn’t want anypony else to see him at his weakest. In a surprising show of compassion, Nightshade patted his back once he sat back down in his seat, and he gave her a small smile as thanks.
By the time the train pulled up to the Ponyville Station the sun had been lowered and Luna’s moon now dominated the sky. As the four ponies disembarked the train, they were surprised to see Applejack storming uneasily towards the train, despite Rarity trying her hardest to use her magic to stop her.
“Gosh darnit, Rarity, ah don’ wanna have ta’ buck ya straight back ‘cross town! Lemme go!” Applejack said as she continued to move forward.
Rarity had Applejack’s tail surrounded in her aura, but despite her magic as well as physically trying to pull AJ back home, the determined earth mare kept walking forward almost as if Rarity wasn’t there at all. It was only when she saw that Big Macintosh and the others had returned did Applejack finally stop, finally giving Rarity a chance to rest. AJ had a smile on her face as she assumed that they had found Starshadow, but her smile quickly dissipated when she saw that not only was Starshadow still absent, but her brother was covered in some nasty bruises.
“What’n the hay happened to ya?” she exclaimed, breaking completely free of Rarity and running up to her brother. Big Mac winced as she touched him, his body still aching from the beating he took a few hours ago.
“Applejack, what are you doing here? You should still be rest-” Twilight started to say, but the hate filled glare Applejack shot her instantly shut her up.
“Rest? Rest?! How can ya expect me ta rest when Starshadow’s still missing? An’ look at Big Mac, he’s been bruised more than an apple that got run over by a stampede.” she said angrily.
Twilight drooped her ears in guilt. “Look, Applejack, you really should still be in bed resting. Come on, let’s get you and Big Mac back home...”
As Twilight tried to place a hoof on Applejack’s shoulder, AJ slapped her hoof away and took a few steps back. “Don’ try ta pull that trick on me again!” she snapped. “Ah already fell for it once, restin’ in bed while everypony else goes out to look but gives up!”
Rarity looked hurt by Applejack’s accusation. “Twilight, you have to believe me. We had everypony in Ponyville out looking for Starshadow. Rainbow Dash even managed to get a dozen weather ponies who were working nearby to come help out. We looked everywhere two, three times... you have to believe us, Starshadow isn’t here.”
Twilight nodded in understanding, but Applejack wasn’t as easily accepting. “So ya’ll are jus’ gonna give up like that?” she said accusingly. “Ya’ll are jus’ gonna accept that she’s gone an’ ferget about her?”
“Applejack! We would never!” Rarity strongly said in response. “There wasn’t a single rock left unturned by the time everpony finished looking for her here! I want her found safe and sound just as much as you darling, but this is out of our hooves now. She’s no longer here, and there’s no way we can all drop everything and start searching all of Equestria! We’ve informed the guards and they’re going to spread the word and do what they can. Rainbow Dash has even managed to inform all the weather ponies to keep an eye out! What else can we do?”
Applejack was at a loss for words. Deep down she knew that her friend was right; every pony in town had gone above and beyond in the search for Starshadow. All the shops remained closed and all non-essential services were suspended as every available pony put their lives on hold and helped in the search. Even Zecora joined in, leading a group of ponies brave enough to accompany her into the Everfree Forest. Only when the sun was lowered was the search finally called off, and though most of the ponies volunteered to help the next morning it was clear that Starshadow was no longer anywhere near Ponyville. However, her own stubbornness wouldn’t allow her to accept the fact that the trail had gone cold.
“No... no! Ya’ll are wrong, she is here! She’s gotta be!” Applejack cried out hysterically. “Big Mac, ya’ll know what Ah mean! C’mon, brother, we don’ need these sticks in tha mud.”
Having had the entire train ride back home to think, the red stallion was able to clear his head and was almost level headed. He walked forward and embraced his sister, holding her while she broke down in his hooves. However, she did not expect to hear the words that came out of his mouth; “AJ, they’re right, sis. She ain’t here.”
Applejack’s eyes went wide and she pushed her older brother away from her. “What’n... what are ya talkin’ about?! How could... how could ya say such a thing? This is yer special somepony we’re talkin’ about!” she said horrified.
Big Mac could only look down at the ground as he fought back the tears gathering in his eyes. “Don’ make this harder for me.” he said. “We got no leads in Canterlot, an’ if nothing has been found here, then...”
Though his voice trailed off everypony knew what he was implying. Stuck in her stubbornness, Applejack shook her head, refusing to give in so easily.
“No! No no no! Ya’ll are wrong!” she shouted, turning and running off back towards Sweet Apple Acres. The others looked worriedly at Big Mac, waiting to see how he would react, but he was too tired to chase after her. All he could do was sigh wearily and start the lonely walk home.
“Nightshade, can you escort Big Mac back home and make sure everything is okay there?” Twilight asked her bodyguard.
Nightshade nodded obediently, but went off grumbling about leaving if she even saw Apple Bloom or any of her friends. The others all bid each other goodnight and went their separate ways, all of them depressed that they had made no progress. Twilight filled Rarity in on what happened on their trip to Canterlot and that their only lead was pretty much a dead end, but she wasn’t about to give up and she would be researching Polaris’s background first thing in the morning before helping resume the search with everypony in town.
Rarity coughed nervously before speaking up. “Listen, Twilight, finding Starshadow is absolutely a top priority, but asking everypony to keep Ponyville shut down until we find her is impossible. These ponies need to make a living. Anypony that can help will gladly do so, but it won’t be nearly as many as we had today,”
Twilight nodded in understanding. “Alright, we’ll make do with however many volunteers we have. You and Pinkie can head the search in town while Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy search the surrounding area from the air, and Applejack and I can...”
Rarity let out a polite cough before Twilight could finish laying out her plan. “Actually darling, I’m afraid Rainbow Dash and I won’t be able to help.” she said regrettably. “You see, Sapphire Shores and her group need some of their performance outfits touched up, so I have to leave for Canterlot in the morning. And Rainbow Dash received notice that her boss is taking an extended vacation, so she has to leave tomorrow morning to head back to Cloudsdale to help manage the Weather Factory while he’s gone.”
Twilight could only nod as she felt her heart sink slightly. Rarity immediately picked up on the look of disappointment on her face, though. “Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean we still won’t be of assistance. Since I’ll be in Canterlot I’ll see if I can dig up anything on this Polaris character, and with Rainbow Dash in the central hub she can reach out to almost all of Equestria with her weather teams.”
Twilight put on a half-hearted smile. “Yeah.” she managed to say. Both mares bid each other goodnight and parted ways, Rarity headed back to her boutique to pack for the morning while Twilight went back to her library. Once she closed her front door behind her, she felt a sudden tiredness envelope her entire body, the long day having finally caught up to her.
Seeing his best friend finally home, Spike ran up to Twilight to ask her about her trip to Canterlot, but upon seeing her tired face he knew exactly how it went. “I’m going to bed, Spike.” Twilight simply said. Spike nodded and decided not to ask any more questions; she was clearly not in the mood to talk.
“Ugh, this is so stupid. Whoever heard of somepony starting work at seven in the morning?” Rainbow Dash griped.
Though the weather factory was already a hive of activity, Rainbow was not quite her energetic self just yet. She had woken up hours before normal, and despite the long flight to the pegasus exclusive city the rainbow mare was still half asleep as she walked in to the sprawling factory with hundreds of ponies already at work. Weather team leaders were grouped around massive charts and maps of the entire country while ponies wearing lab coats ran back and forth between different offices and control panels to create the clouds they needed for the day. A few ponies waved and said hello to Rainbow Dash as she made her way to the conference room where the other sector managers were gathered. As she entered the room, the five other managers sighed impatiently, having been waiting for her for almost thirty minutes.
“It’s about time, Rainbow Dash. What took you so long?” one of them asked her, tapping his hoof on the table.
“Sorry, sorry... I had to fly in all the way from Ponyville, you know.” she said.
Ignoring her excuses, the pony looked back down at the list of duties in front of him. “Ahem, yes, well... on to business. As you all know, Cirro Stratus had to take a sudden leave of absence for a week or two, so while he’s gone we’ll divide his work load among us. First off, there’s the matter of...”
Rainbow Dash yawned and closed her eyes as she leaned back in her chair. If there was one thing she hated more than waking up early, it was sitting in useless meetings and listening to somepony else droll on and on about work. She’d much rather be flying in the air, spreading her wings and feeling the wind blow through her mane and tail. Smiling at the thought, she planned on getting a nice hot cup of hot chocolate back at Sugar Cube Corner before taking to the skies again to oversee the work being done over central Equestria. She loved her job; she was given free rein to travel anywhere she wished in her assigned area, and as long as the correct weather for the day was completed she didn’t have to make any reports.
“Ah, Rainbow Dash, thank you for volunteering.”
Dash’s eyes snapped open as she heard her name, and as she tried to figure out what was going on she saw everypony getting up from the table. “Huh? Oh, we’re done? About time.” she said, jumping up and stretching her wings. “Well, see ya.”
“Woah, hold on. You volunteered to answer calls in Cirro’s office today.” one of the male pegasi said.
“What? No I didn’t!” Dash objected.
One of the other mares rolled her eyes. “Yeah, you did. We asked if anypony didn’t want to go on their normal routes today and help answer phone calls. You’re the only one who didn’t raise their hoof.”
Dash was horrified. “But... But...” she stammered, but the others all ignored her. “But I don’t wanna!”
Her pleas fell on deaf ears, and with an angry huff she knew that her nodding off had just cost her. “Fine.” she sulked, taking her time to walk down the hall to the executive office while her five coworkers all flew off into the morning sky, dispersing as they each headed to their respective areas.
As Rainbow Dash made her way to the office labeled “CEO: Cirro Stratus”, she showed no signs of awe or appreciation for the highly decorated reception area. A miniature rainbow waterfall adorned the left wall while a massive map of Equestria was hung on the opposite wall. Straight across from where Rainbow Dash stood was the secretary’s desk, next to that the door leading to Cirro Stratus’s office.
The mare sitting at the secretary’s desk looked up and smiled as Rainbow. “Oh, are you the pony filling in for Mr. Stratus?” she asked.
Rainbow sighed and nodded, walking towards her temporary office. “Don’t bother me with anything.” she said grumpily, still extremely unhappy about being grounded due to her sleepiness. Before the pony at the desk could respond, Rainbow Dash slammed the office door shut and sat down at Cirro’s desk and went to sleep.
An hour later, Rainbow Dash reawakened, finally feeling refreshed and energized. Looking at her surroundings, she recognized her boss’s office; the grand furniture, the expensive paintings, the air of importance. It was inside knowledge that Cirro had his desk and chair raised as to intimidate anypony he was speaking to in his office.
Feeling a bit sorry for snapping at the secretary earlier, Dash poked her head back out into the reception area and saw the orange and red pegasus mare hard at work. “Hey, um... sorry about earlier. Didn’t get much sleep last night, you know... I’m Rainbow Dash.”
The mare looked up at Rainbow’s extended hoof and offered hers in return. “I’m Sunset Flash.” the secretary replied with a smile.
“So, how long have you worked for Cirro?” Dash asked.
Sunset looked off into space as she thought. “Um, a little over two years, I think. It’s kind of hard to remember with all the moving around I’ve done.”
“Heh, can’t stand being in one place for too long? I know how that feels.” Dash said.
Sunset’s face turned slightly red. “Yeah, um... y-yeah, that’s why.” she said hesitantly.
Rainbow Dash looked closer at Sunset’s workspace and noticed the lack of personalization that most other pegasi placed in their workspace; no pictures of family, no good luck charms, no personal appointments on her desk calendar. “So did you work as a cloud-hoof somewhere before you got this gig? I don’t think I’ve seen you around here before.”
Sunset Flash shook her head no. “No, Mr. Stratus offered me this position when his last secretary left. Before this I worked as a, um, waitress back in San Prancisco. But Mr. Stratus made me a superb offer. He even helped me with finding a place to live here.”
Rainbow Dash nodded. She was fully aware of the rumors about anypony who took the job as Cirro’s secretary; in fact, she herself had been approached by Cirro himself during his rounds one day when she first started at the Weather Factory. He had asked her if she would rather come work as his secretary, but she had turned down his offer as she had preferred to stick to working outdoors. It was only when she told her teammates about the offer did she start hearing about the rumors that Cirro always slept with his secretaries.
“Yeah? Well, that’s cool.” Dash said, managing to stifle her urge to ask if Cirro was mounting her at night. “So, um, where did Cirro go off to anyway? It’s not like him take off suddenly.”
Sunset quickly glanced around the office to make sure they were alone. “He’d kill me if I told anypony, but Mr. Stratus is getting married.” she said in a hushed tone.
“Married?!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed, causing Sunset to try to shush her. “What do you mean married? What happened to his old wife?”
“Keep it down! Nopony else is supposed to know.” Sunset said. “Mr. Stratus and his wife had a, er, falling out. They divorced almost a year ago, but it was kept quiet and private. I guess he found another marefriend recently and decided to elope with her.”
Rainbow Dash noticed a hint of bitterness and sadness in Sunset Flash’s voice as she said the last sentence, but her facial expression betrayed nothing. “So who’s the lucky mare?” Dash asked.
Sunset shrugged. “He never said, he just told me to stay put and help whichever pony was assigned to cover his office. It was really sudden, some messenger informed him that his mare was due to arrive in Canterlot the next day from Ponyville.”
Rainbow Dash’s ears perked up at the mention of her hometown. “Hey, I’m from Ponyville, maybe it’s somepony I know! Are you sure you didn’t hear a name? What about a description of her?” she asked eagerly.
Sunset could only shrug again. “I really don’t know.” she said.
Rainbow sat down, thinking who in Ponyville would know Cirro Stratus and agree to marry him in such a short amount of time. And why would Cirro need a messenger to let him know that his bride to be had arrived in Canterlot? “Hey, Sunset? Where’s Cirro’s wedding being held?” Rainbow asked.
“It’s been a while, Starshadow.” Cirro Stratus said.
Starshadow was frozen in shock as her old boss walked towards her. Her eyes darted around the room to look for a way out as her instinct to run kicked in, but with Polaris blocking the door and her knowledge that her father always kept the windows magically sealed shut, she was trapped.
Cirro stood in front of Starshadow and lifted a hoof to stroke her face, but the pegasus mare quickly swatted his hoof away from her in disgust. “Don’t touch me, you creep!” she spat.
Cirro was shocked by her behavior, but quickly recovered and looked over at Polaris. “Looks like she’s forgotten some of her training.” he remarked.
Polaris shrugged uncaringly. “Guess you’ll have your hooves full with that.” he said.
Starshadow was in shock. “W-what is going on? You can’t expect me to marry him!”
Polaris stepped forward. “You’ve disgraced me and our entire family’s legacy for the last time. I’ll find some other way to open that tome, but you’ve wasted too much of my time and bits for me to just let go without getting something in return. The Star family now has majority share of the Weather Factory, no thanks to you and your stupid, selfish actions. We have no more use for such an ungrateful whorse like you in this family.” he said.
“Ungrateful?! How in Celestia’s mane am I supposed to be grateful for you locking me up for my entire childhood?!” Starshadow yelled back. “No other parent in all of Equestria treats their foals like you did!”
“You’re lucky that I didn’t kill you or send you to an orphanage!” Polaris answered. “Your existence was bad enough, but then you willfully desecrated the gift that fate bestowed you for Luna-knows why, insulting every pony in the family by doing so!”
“Well why don’t you go take your precious family pride and shove it back up your flank! Maybe that will open your damn book!” Starshadow spat.
His anger boiling over, Polaris lashed out with magic, striking Starshadow hard across the face, silencing her as her eyes began to tear up in pain. Ignoring her pain, Cirro and Polaris headed for the door. “Let’s finish that paperwork, I can’t wait to take her home with me.” Cirro said, taking one last lustful glance at Starshadow.
“Just remember to keep her out of sight. I don’t want her ever surfacing again.” Polaris said, slamming the door shut behind them.
Once the door was closed, Starshadow rushed over to it and tried the door handle, but of course it was locked from the outside. Sitting down on the floor, Starshadow let out a quiet sob as she thought of the fate Polaris had thrown at her. She had tried so hard to escape her old life and had found happiness with Big Mac in Ponyville, but Polaris had snatched that away too and was now casting her back into a life where nopony would ever know what became of her.
“...so have her delivered there and that should be everything.” Cirro said, standing by the front door.
Polaris nodded, passing a freshly signed scroll to his assistant standing behind him. “Just remember our terms.” he said.
Without any further delay, Cirro Stratus took his leave, flapping his wings and headed to the Royal Plaza Hotel a few blocks away. Glad that his egotistical visitor was now gone, Polaris turned to head back to his office but found Silver Veil and Starsong standing there.
Polaris looked at his daughter, who was still somewhat unsteady standing on her own. “Dear, get back in bed. You’re still ill.” he said.
Both mares ignored his advice. “Polaris, Starshadow’s door is locked. We can’t get in.” Silver Veil said.
“Yes it is.” Polaris said flatly. “Now Starsong, you really should be getting back to your-”
“I want to see Starshadow.” Starsong interrupted, stepping forward shakily.
“That’s not going to be possible.” Polaris answered. “Now get back in bed.”
Starsong refused to budge. “I want to see my sister.” she said again.
“Dear, you really must get back to bed. Those ponies that attacked you-” Polaris started to say, but he was once again interrupted by his eldest daughter.
“Those ponies? You mean your employees?” Starsong said bitterly. “Don’t try to deny it, I know they were yours. I recognized Lead Bar and Rocky when they attacked us.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Polaris said, but in his head he cursed the dead ponies for not thinking of covering their cutie marks. “Why would I send ponies to attack you?”
“I just want to see Starshadow.” Starsong said one more time.
Silver Veil looked sympathetically at her husband. “Just let her see her sister, dear. There’s no harm in that.” she said.
Polaris stood firm on his decision. “You cannot see her right now, and that’s final.” he said.
Starsong stormed off in anger, leaving Silver Veil and Polaris. “Just let her see her sister. It will give us time to talk about what Starsong just said.” Silver Veil said somewhat angrily, having been talking to Starsong earlier about what she remembered from the attack.
“I’m sure she was mistaken.” Polaris said, brushing her off by starting to walk away. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some work that needs my attention immediately.”
“And when are you going to let us see Starshadow?” Silver Veil demanded.
Polaris stopped, his hair raising slightly as he was becoming tired of hearing that name over and over. “Her room will be unlocked by tomorrow once I leave for a business trip. You both can go in then. Understood?”
Silver Veil nodded, but Polaris was already walking away once again. “Thank you.” she said quietly, happy that her husband would allow her and Starsong to see Starshadow. However, she didn’t know that by the time they would be allowed into Starshadow’s room, the small pegasus would no longer be there. If everything went according to plan, she’d officially be Mrs. Cirro Stratus.
To the northeast of Canterlot lay Neighagra Falls, one of the most beautiful natural attractions in Equestria. A favorite destination for families to take their vacation, it was also an extremely romantic spot where countless ponies had proposed to their special somepony. The falls also attracted another type of clientele; the area around the falls was a favorite spot for the Canterlot elite to escape the bustling equestrian capital and find some peace and quiet in their solitary mansions that were spread throughout the woods.
Though most of the ponies that bought land around Neighagra Falls were earth and unicorn ponies, a few pegasi also took a liking to the natural scenery. One of those pegasus ponies was Cirro Stratus, and as the morning sun rose he stood on his balcony and watched the sun glinting off of the lake that fed the falls. Being the CEO of the Weather Factory, he was one of the few ponies able to afford the heavy cost of buying a portion of land that bordered the lake. Only the elite of the elite could afford this prime real estate; not even Filthy Rich could afford to buy one-tenth of the land Cirro held.
A light tap at the balcony door broke the silence of the morning. “Sir, Mr. Polaris is here to see you.” a servant said politely.
Cirro Stratus nodded, motioning for his servant to bring his guest in. Polaris came forward and ignored the scenic view laid out in front of him, instead taking a seat at a table that was set up. “Where’s this assistant of yours?” he said anxiously. “I have a full schedule today and can’t waste any more time on this.”
“Calm down, Polaris. Come enjoy this beautiful day I’ve scheduled.” Cirro said. “Surely two of the most powerful members of the Star family can spend some-”
In the blink of an eye, Cirro went from carelessly overlooking the lake to staring up at Polaris from the ground, one of the unicorn’s heavy hoofs pressing at his throat. “You are not a member of my family!” Polaris snarled. “You are simply taking Starshadow off of my hooves. Do not think it grants you any special privileges among the Star family.”
Cirro quickly nodded, relieved when he felt Polaris lift his hoof away, allowing him to get back on his hooves. “Yes, yes. I remember, not unless I convince Starshadow to open some book.” Cirro Stratus said, having endured the lecture about the Star family legacy more times than he cared for. “Honestly, I don’t see what’s so hard about opening a book. What’s to stop you from just opening the stupid thing yourself? It’s a book, how hard can it be?”
Polaris ground a hoof into the polished tile floor in anger, wanting nothing more than to summon an aura sword and impale the pegasus in front of him upon it. However, before he could make any moves the butler returned, this time with two mares behind him. “Sir, your assistant and Miss Rainbow Dash have arrived.”
Polaris tried his best to lower his blood pressure as Cirro greeted his two other visitors. Sunset Flash bowed politely as she greeted her boss and Polaris while Rainbow Dash sleepily waved a hoof in greeting. ‘Two days in a row! I hate these morning duties!’ she thought as the fought to stay awake.
“Take a seat, you two. We have a lot to get done today.” Cirro said, motioning for the two mares to take a seat.
All four ponies sat around the table on the deck and Cirro laid out a map of Equestria. “So, Rainbow Dash, I’ve been informed that you’re covering my office while I’m away, correct?”
Dash nodded, her eyes still heavy from being awoken at four in the morning by Sunset Flash to get ready for this last minute business trip. “Yup, that’s right.” she said before letting out a long yawn.
Polaris was not impressed with Cirro’s ‘replacement’ and got up. “I don’t believe my presence is needed here for this.” he said.
“Oh come now, surely you’d like to stay and ‘discuss’ some things with my secretary after this.” Cirro said, glancing at Sunset and winking at Polaris.
Polaris knew exactly what Cirro was hinting at as he knew that the rumors surrounding Cirro and his secretaries were all true. “You have all my demands, there’s no reason for me to waste any more time here. Good day.” he said, turning to take his leave. Everypony watched him as his horn lit and a moment later the unicorn disappeared in a crimson flash.
Finally Cirro broke the silence. “Don’t mind him, he’s just in a bad mood. Then again, I’ve never seen him in a good mood.” he said, winking at Dash next. “Anyway, thank you both for coming out here on such short notice. I needed to discuss a slight change in the weather patterns we had planned directly with you.”
Rainbow Dash looked confused. The weather patterns for Equestria were determined by the Farmers Unions based on the needs of their crops and the weather factory scouts who flew across Equestria to see what kind of weather was needed where. Cirro had the authority to change the weather patterns but it was a power that was to only be used as the very last resort, and even he acknowledged publicly that changing the weather patterns the professionals came up with would be a massive mistake. However, as he began outlying the new areas that had priority and slid Rainbow Dash a packet outlying the new weekly weather patterns for all of Equestria, the rainbow pegasus was now wide awake and was deeply troubled by what she was reading.
“Uh, Cirro, sir?” she spoke up. “Where did you get these changes from? These aren’t even close to what we have planned right now.”
“Don’t worry about that, Rainbow Dash.” Cirro said smiling. “We’ve simply had a shift in priorities for certain areas. It’s just a small change that won’t affect anypony.”
“But, look right here. The farms outside of Fillydelphia are scheduled to go three weeks without any rain! And you have a two day storm over the San Palomino Desert when it’s their dry season! That was supposed to pass over the White Tail Woods and Los Pegasus, and then out to the ocean.”
Cirro Stratus looked at where Rainbow Dash was pointing on the map and shrugged. “It’s a small oversight, just a minor inconvenience.” he said uncaringly. “We have to keep that area clear those days, so we’ll take the storm south through the desert.”
Rainbow Dash was equally as baffled as she looked over the rest of the revisions her boss had made. Snow thunderstorms above Baltimare, a tornado at the top of Foal Mountain, five rainbows above Dodge Junction in the middle of the night; nothing made any sense. The biggest shock came when she looked at the schedule for Canterlot.
“Rain?” she exclaimed in surprise.
It was common knowledge amongst all the weather pegasi that there was NEVER rain scheduled during the day in Canterlot. All rainfall occurred at night when the city was asleep as to not inconvenience anypony, especially the Royal Sisters. But now Rainbow Dash was looking at the first scheduled rainfall for Canterlot during the day in the capital’s entire history.
Cirro shrugged. “We have to keep Unicorn Range clear that day, and there’s no other choice but to move the rain clouds over Canterlot that day. It’s no big deal.”
“Not a big deal? This is the biggest deal!” Rainbow said. “Canterlot is in my sector! I don’t want to be the pony to break a thousand-year tradition! Why the hay do we need to keep the rain out of Unicorn Range? There’s nothing out there!”
Turning through his own personal notes, Cirro found the page he was looking for. “Let’s see, let’s see... ah, there we are. Polaris is scheduled to take the Equestrian Third Reserve Battalion out there for training.”
Rainbow Dash’s jaw dropped when she heard this. “You’re going to make it rain over Canterlot so somepony doesn’t have to get wet?!”
Cirro chuckled. “Of course not, that would be absolutely silly. Listen, don’t worry about those small details, just distribute this new weather plan to the factory supervisors and everything will go as smoothly as usual.” Dash looked skeptical over his claims, but Cirro closed his folder to signal that he was done. “Thank you for your time, Rainbow. That is all.” he said, confirming the meeting was done.
Despite her still uneasy feelings, Rainbow Dash had no choice but to gather up the papers and take her leave. Sunset Flash also stood up to leave but Cirro motioned for her to stay. “No, I need you to stay with me. I have a special task for you.”
Sunset’s heart fluttered and a big smile appeared on her face. “Of course, sir!” she said excitedly. “Rainbow, if you need any help at the office...”
“Yeah, I’m fine, don’t worry.” Rainbow replied, still confused over the contents of her papers. “I’ll see you later, Sunset.”
Without any further ado, Rainbow Dash took off into the morning sky and flew as quickly as she could back to Cloudsdale to drop off the new orders. With her now gone, Sunset assumed the role she had been trained to when alone with her Master. “So, Master... what would you like your slut to do?” she asked, getting out of her seat and approaching Cirro. As she had been instructed to do every time, Sunset turned to present herself to her newest master, spreading her hind legs unashamedly. “I was so sad when you left and didn’t bring me, but now I’m so happy.”
However, Cirro had something more important on her mind. “Get up, I don’t have time for playing around right now. I need you to help prepare my newest and greatest prize.”
Sunset stood up and turned to face him, somewhat disappointed that her master didn’t wish to use her body as he normally did. “I’m sorry, Master. Did I do something wrong?”
Cirro stood up and patted her reassuringly on the head. “No, you did nothing wrong. Now come with me.”
Sunset followed her master obediently as they went back inside the large lakeside mansion. She had only been here once before, back when Cirro had ‘hired’ her to be his secretary. Though North Poll had freed from her sexual slavery conditions once she had grown too old for his tastes and had even given his former pet a substantial amount of bits to start a new life, Sunset’s unique upbringing prevented her from being able to function in normal society and she quickly found a new master to care for her. She found herself passed around a few times due to various reasons, and she was actually at her lowest when she found herself without a master and stranded in San Prancisco. She finally ended up waiting tables at a bar and offering her body in lieu of rent to her landlord, as well as to any customer who offered her an ‘extra tip’. She became depressed as day after day passed by without finding somepony to care for her, to own her, until that fateful day when Cirro walked in and sat at one of her tables. She immediately succumbed to his advances, and after a somewhat rough bucking in the stallion’s room she eagerly accepted his invitation for her to come ‘work’ for him. Of course, there was an ‘interview’ she had to pass, but she of course passed with flying colors once he brought her here and spent the majority of five days inside of her.
“Hey, Sunset, pay attention!” Cirro barked, snapping the fiery mare out of her reminiscing.
“I’m sorry, Master. I was thinking of the last time you brought me here, when you took ownership of me.” she said fondly. Looking at her surroundings, she realized that they had walked down into the basement without her even noticing.
Cirro brushed her comment aside like it was dirt. “Hmph, well, don’t make me have to fire you. Now come here.”
Always scared he would, Sunset quickly ran to his side and found herself in front of one of the storage room doors. “Like I told you before, I’m getting married, but it seems that my beau is less than willing to feel the same way about me.” he said.
Sunset’s ears drooped as she nodded. Cirro was her master, but him getting married would most likely mean she was now obsolete. However, she knew it was not her place to object and she had to accept whatever decision Cirro reached.
“Good, you’re not as slow as you seem.” Cirro said, not noticing, or not caring, about Sunset’s saddened state. “Anyway, she’s inside here. You have until sundown to make this mare accept me as her husband and to prepare her for our wedding night. Do you understand?”
Sunset Flash nodded obediently, holding back the urge to cry. “Then get to it.” Cirro said, unlocking and opening the door.
Sunset walked in and heard the door slam shut behind her, the door locking with a loud ‘CLICK’. Looking around the dimly lit area, she saw the usual clutter of extra and obsolete furniture scattered around the room, but all the way against the far wall a small cot was set up with a pony fast asleep on it. Walking towards it, Sunset removed the blanket covering the pony and gasped. The body was very familiar, but the cutie mark solidified her suspicions. She hadn’t seen this pony for years, not since they were both fillies. Not since that fateful night where her best friend was sold for twelve thousand bits.
Silently, Sunset sat down next to the cot and gently ran her hoof through the pony’s mane. It was clear that the pony had been drugged, so all Sunset could do was wait until the drugs wore off. Despite the dark circumstances surrounding them, Sunset smiled as she was finally reunited with her long lost friend.
Starshadow groaned as she finally began to regain consciousness. Her head hurt again, and she knew that somepony had once again slipped her something against her will. The last thing she could recall was crying herself to sleep after hearing that Polaris had essentially sold her to Cirro Stratus as his new wife. She wanted to run away to make sure she never became his wife, let alone fall under his control in any way, but once again she knew that her father had made escape impossible. With no choice but to go to bed, she hoped that she would get the chance to see Starsong and Silver Veil in hopes that the three of them could devise some way to free her from Polaris’s plot.
As she began to regain her senses, she felt that she was no longer asleep on her soft luxurious bed; instead she was now lying on a much harder, itchy surface. The air around her seemed colder, and she felt a small shiver spread through her body from it.
Suddenly, she heard movement directly next to her. Her fears were confirmed as she felt somepony’s hoof gently gliding along her back. Due to her current position of lying on her side, Starshadow was unable to crack her eyes open to catch a peek at her molester, but as the pony’s hoof started to make its way towards her flank she came up with a plan. Hearing the unknown pony’s breath becoming heavier, Starshadow held her breath as the pony’s hoof finally reached her flank. The unknown pony wasted no time and brushed her tail aside and began rubbing their hoof against her puckered rear hole. Deciding enough was enough, Starshadow put her plan into action.
Catching her molester completely off guard, Starshadow spread her wings and whipped her head back, knocking her head against the other pony’s. Starshadow’s head reeled from the collision but the other pony stumbled backwards, having taken the worst of the hit. Pressing on, Starshadow turned over and flung herself off the cot and on top of her captor. Raising a hoof, Starshadow planned on striking the other pony on their head to buy time to look for an escape route, or at the very least to turn the tables on them, but once Starshadow caught a glimpse of the pony she was pinning down she immediately stopped her attack and stumbled backwards.
“S-S-Sunset?” Starshadow gasped as she looked at the mare on the ground.
Sunset Flash opened her clenched eyes, having been caught completely by surprise by Starshadow’s bold attack. She put on a meek smile, a little embarrassed she had been caught trying to molest her old friend in her sleep, but Starshadow was overly excited to see Sunset and helped her friend up.
“Sunset! Oh Luna, I didn’t hurt you, did I?” Starshadow said regretfully, looking over the larger pegasus.
Sunset Flash shook her head no, but then surprised Starshadow by rushing forward and giving her a long, passionate kiss. Starshadow let out a high pitched ‘eep’ from the shock and suddenness, but as she took a step back Sunset took a step forward to keep their lips locked together. She could feel the fiery pegasus trying to force her tongue into her mouth and for a moment Starshadow felt herself beginning to respond to her friend’s advances. Just as suddenly as the moment came however, the gravity of her situation dawned on her once again. Starshadow stubbornly kept her mouth tightly shut but Sunset was not giving up; it was only when Starshadow pushed the other mare back as hard as she could with both hooves did the two finally separate from each other.
“S-Sunset! What in Equestria are you doing here? Where am I?” Starshadow asked as she gasped for breath.
Sunset’s smile returned as she slowly approached Starshadow again, but this time she merely embraced her. “You’re the one marrying Master, aren’t you? I’m so happy it’s you! All three of us can be together! You and I can give him so much pleasure just like when our old masters used to play with us together.”
Starshadow’s mind flashed back to her youth when she had belonged to South Pole. Whenever he invited his brother over, both stallions would hold bets by swapping slaves, and whichever brother could make the other’s pet cum first would win an hour with both fillies. Surprisingly, both Pole brothers shared similar methods during these contests, but thanks to Sunset’s superior experience Starshadow lost most of the time, subjecting her to North Pole’s will for an hour. Sunset would also join in, usually prepping Starshadow’s body before North Pole would ravage her as much as he wished. Only when he was finished would Sunset step back in to dutifully lick her master’s cock clean and making a show of climbing on top of Starshadow to lick her friend’s drooling holes clean as well...
Starshadow quickly cleared the memories from her head and stepped away from Sunset again. “No, I can’t go back to that lifestyle.” she said. “Sunset, you have to help me escape, let’s get out of here and get help.”
Sunset looked at Starshadow quizzically. “Leave? Why would we want to leave? You’re about to marry Master! I’m so jealous of you!”
“But I don’t want to marry that scumbag!” Starshadow said, stomping her hoof in order to accent her point.
Without warning, Starshadow felt a sharp stinging on her cheek, and it took her a few moments for her to realize that Sunset Flash had slapped her. There was a look of anger and insult in Sunset’s eyes, but the look quickly faded to regret and apology as the fiery mare rushed to her and groveled at her hooves in forgiveness. “Starshadow, I’m so sorry! I didn’t like hearing you insult Master like that, but once you marry Master you’ll become my Mistress. Please, forgive me!”
Starshadow’s stomach twisted when she realized that Sunset was right. The very idea of becoming the mistress of the one pony besides her mother and sister that she considered a true friend from her foalhood, the pony that had helped her get through some of her toughest moments in life, made Starshadow sick to her stomach and she knew that there was no way she could ever live with herself if that thought became reality. “I can’t be your mistress, Sunset, or anypony’s. Please, you have to help me escape! I can help you be free again! I know Princess Twilight Sparkle, she can make sure we never have to have another owner again like before!”
Sunset looked even more confused. “But... why would I want to leave Master? Master took me in when nopony else wanted me, he saved me from becoming some common whorse. He gave me a home and a life. I don’t want to ever leave Master.”
A horrid thought dawned on Starshadow. “Have you... have you ever been on your own? How long were you still enslaved after I was sold?”
Sunset thought but couldn’t remember. “I don’t know.” she admitted. “I was released a few years after you were sold, once I became too old for Master’s liking... But now my current Master is all I need, I’m so happy with Master.”
Starshadow recoiled from Sunset’s happy smile as she spoke so adoringly of her master. She could see in her friend’s eyes all the things that she herself had escaped. In all the years since Starsong and Silver Veil had rescued her, she had always hoped that her once best and only friend in the whole world had been able to escape as well; now she knew that Sunset had lived that nightmare until it became her whole world.
“You’ve never been free?” Starshadow said, nearly choking on the words and blinking back the tears beginning to well in her eyes. Her heart felt as though it had been cracked down the middle, seeing her friend like this; Sunset’s cheerful yet resolute response shattered it completely.
“Free? Why would I want to be free?”
“There’s too much rain falling over western Equestria, all the crops are drowning!”
“You’ll turn Neighagra Falls into a giant ice sculpture if you allow that cold front to continue!”
“Why are we diverting this storm over Canterlot? What’s wrong with the original course?”
“You can’t issue a hailstorm over Los Pegasus, they’re still fixing all that damage from that one-pony riot!”
Surrounding one pony, five Weather Factory managers surrounded their sixth coworker, barraging her with question after question after they had received their new orders. The word ‘upset’ didn’t even come close to their true feelings after they found out all the careful planning and calculations that went in to determining Equestria’s weather had been thrown out and replaced with something that even Discord would call crazy.
Rainbow Dash wanted to fly away and put everything behind her, but she knew she was stuck. When she handed over the new plans Cirro had come up with she noticed that he had failed to sign off on it. The thought of throwing away the ludicrous plans crossed her mind, but she knew that she would be immediately fired and banished from Cloudsdale forever, and with a few moments of reluctance she finally scribbled her signature on it. She never regretted anything more in her life.
“Stop, stop, stop! Get out, everypony get out!” Rainbow yelled, finally snapping. Beating her wings as hard as she could, she sent the five other pegasi head over hooves, all of them tumbling helplessly out the door. Rainbow quickly rushed forward and slammed the door shut, locking it and collapsing on the ground from mental exhaustion.
The office was a mess, but Dash didn’t care. She buried her face into her hooves and screamed in frustration, caught up the chaos between remaining loyal to her boss and her job, or doing what was right and risking her career. As she racked her head for a nonexistent answer her hair bristled as she heard somepony knock on the door.
“Go away!” she yelled, but the pony on the other side of the door knocked again. Fed up with being berated for this mess, Rainbow stormed over to the door and flung it open. “I said leave me alo-”
Rainbow Dash quickly shut her mouth as she found a very frightened Fluttershy in the fetal position on the floor while Twilight Sparkle stood a few feet farther back. “Ohmigosh! Fluttershy, I’m so sorry.” Dash quickly said, scooping up the shaking yellow pegasus and hugging her.
Twilight stepped forward with an extremely concerned look on her face. “Rainbow Dash, what are you doing here? I was told that this is the CEO’s office.” she said, looking back at the brass nameplate on the office door.
“It is.” Dash said. “He’s... on vacation, so I’m stuck covering.”
“Well, maybe you can tell us what’s going on all across Equestria.” Twilight said. “There’s been a lot of strange weather occurring everywhere and nopony knows why. Well, I mean we know it’s the weather ponies, but even they don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing. I even went as far as summoning Discord to see if he had cast some sort of mind control and memory erasing spell, but I don’t think he’s responsible... he’s actually furious that whoever is causing this chaos is trespassing on his territory.”
Rainbow Dash hung her head. As one of the managers she was obligated not to talk about weather decisions to anypony not authorized to know about the reasons behind weather-related decisions, but right now she need help.
“Get in here.” Dash said, quickly shoving Twilight and Fluttershy into Cirro’s office. Once the three were secluded, Rainbow Dash broke down and told them everything; from coming back to Cloudsdale with the other managers to implementing the new orders Cirro had ordered personally. Not being from Cloudsdale, Twilight had a few questions about some of the technical aspects of creating and moving around the various weather patterns, but after allowing Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy explain the answers, Twilight finally nodded in understanding.
“There’s just one thing I don’t understand. Why would Cirro Stratus go and change everything so suddenly? He’s never done this before, has he?”
Rainbow shrugged. “I don’t know, it’s like he’s gone and completely lost it! I mean, he’s never done anything like this before. I tried asking him that, but all he said was he didn’t want his friend Polarized to get wet.”
“Wait, what was that pony’s name?” Twilight asked, her ears perking up. “Did you mean Polaris?”
“Yeah, sure, him. Whatever.” Rainbow Dash said. “But I ended up getting the blame for everything! I mean, this is the worst screw up Equestria has ever seen with the weather!”
Twilight missed the last part of Rainbow’s sentence as her mind pieced together the clues. “Rainbow Dash, where is Cirro now? Is he still with Polaris?”
“Uh, I think he’s still at his vacation house near Neighagra Falls. Yeah, he’s there with Sunset Flash. He said he had some special task for her or something.” Dash said thinking back.
Rainbow shrugged again. “I dunno, he left when I was there, so I don’t think so.”
Twilight kicked the ground in frustration. She had just missed Polaris! However, Cirro obviously knew Polaris well, and he was their best lead to finding Starshadow. “Rainbow, can you take us to his house?”
“I... I don’t think that’s such a good idea. Cirro hates to be bothered when he’s on vacation. He’d have me put on sludge duty for weeks if I interrupted him.” she replied hastily, recalling the last time she screwed up and was forced to clean up the sludge trap in the cloud machines.
“Really, Dash? Seriously?” Twilight said almost sarcastically.
“Hey, you have no idea what gunk has to be filtered out when we make the clouds! And nopony ever cleans them out unless they’re being punished for something.” Rainbow whined.
Twilight motioned to the door. “Would you rather stay here and deal with all of this?”
Dash’s pupils shrank as she remembered what chaos awaited her back on the factory floor. “Uh... so, ready to head to Cirro’s house?”
“Next stop, Canterlot! Canterlot is the next stop!” the train conductor announced as he walked through the train car.
Raising her hat slightly, Applejack looked out the window and saw that the train was just entering the city. Looking at the castle that dominated the skyline, she caught a glimpse of the smaller yet still impressive house next to it. She kept her gaze on it until it disappeared from view, and once the train pulled into the station she got up and went to disembark. “I’m coming for ya.” she muttered.
As she made her way onto the station platform, she tried to navigate her way to the station exit but found the going tough. She made it almost all the way to the stairs without bumping into anypony, but as she made the final dash to her goal she ran straight into a pony that had just begun to climb the stairs as well.
“Gah! Beg pardon, miste-” Applejack started to say before she realized who she had bumped into.
Glaring back at the mare that had run in to him, Polaris simply scowled at AJ before continuing on his way. However, Applejack managed to catch a glance at his cutie mark, and her heart skipped a beat as she saw the same aurora mark as Starshadow.
“Hey, hold up there, partner!” Applejack called out. Polaris didn’t stop, but Applejack caught up to him just as he was about to climb into his private carriage. “Woah there! I gotta ask ya somethin’!”
Polaris turned and groaned as he saw the same mare that had bumped into him. “What do you want?” he asked in annoyance.
“Sorry ta’ bother ya, jus’ couldn’ help but notice yer cutie mark. Ya’ll aren’t related to somepony named Starshadow, are ya?”
Polaris was shocked by her question and actually found himself stuttering for an answer. “Am I related to... who’s Star... what’s it matter to you?”
“Please, ah don’ wanna pry, but if ya are, she’s in real trouble an’ needs help quick.” she said.
Polaris silently cursed this random mare as he started to see his plans fall apart. He never expected his rarely-spoken about daughter to have other ponies worried about her safety and go to such lengths to find her, and having this pony report Starshadow missing would raise too many problems for even him to keep quiet. All he could do is hope she was the only pony looking for Starshadow and take care of her as well...
“Oh, you’re one of her friends? Please, come with me and we can discuss this matter in private. I’m actually headed for Princess Celestia’s castle to finish some business, we can talk there and then speak to Princess Celestia about finding her.” Polaris lied.
“Really? Thanks!” Applejack replied happily. She had been worried that this stallion would be a dead end lead based on his initial reaction to her, but not only had she found a relative of Starshadow’s, but this pony also had connections with Celestia. There was no way that she would fail to bring Starshadow back home now... at least, not in her mind.
Days had passed since he had finished his final task. He was done, he was free to pursue his ever elusive past, and he was rich enough to never have to worry about working again. And yet, Specter couldn’t shake the feeling of guilt from his mind. Every sleepless night was spent tossing and turning as nightmares consumed his head. He found no peace during the day either as his lack of sleep began to wreak havoc on is mental stability. Nothing was helping him, and there was nopony he could possibly turn to for help. For the first time in a long, long time, Specter found himself lost and didn’t know what to do next.
In an attempt to calm his nerves, Specter left his hideout once darkness fell and snuck back into Canterlot, taking up a position on a rooftop adjacent to Polaris’s home. Staring down at his former employer’s home, Specter allowed his mind to wander to his recent task. It still bothered him that he had been tasked with fillynapping somepony in the first place, and by the appearance of another Blackguard working against him. The threat of the dangerous mare had forced him to use the remaining agents in play to make the actual hit, disobeying his orders to dispose of them before returning to Canterlot. What wrenched his gut the most however was that Polaris didn’t seem to care at all that his daughter had been raped by said ponies and that spineless pegasus. Specter had expected to lose his entire pay due to that mishap.
As he remained on the rooftop Specter noticed some movement at one of the rear doors of the Star estate. Peering closer, he spotted three cloaked figures dragging something heavy to one of the larger chariots. Specter instantly recognized one of the ponies as Polaris, despite the cloak covering his body and cutie mark, as the stallion towered over the other ponies present. One of the other ponies who had his hood down he identified as Polaris’s assistant. However, Specter did not recognize the third pony at all, nor was he able to see what the object they were carrying was.
It only took moments for them to load their heavy load onto the chariot, and as Polaris boarded it two strong pegasi came out and harnessed themselves to it. Without any sign of strain the pegasi pulled the chariot into the sky as the unidentified pony spread his wings and flew slightly behind. With just the assistant left alone in the dark, Specter found himself teleporting down to the Star estate and quietly approached the unsuspecting stallion, making his presence known just before he could enter the estate.
The pony almost fell over from surprise but sighed with relief as he saw it was only Specter. “Specter! Luna’s flank, you almost scared me to death!” he exclaimed as his heart rate slowly fell. He was one of the few ponies privileged to know most of Polaris’s secrets, including that he employed Specter, but this was only the third time he had ever actually seen the stealthy pony and he certainly wasn’t used to the way the black unicorn seemed to simply appear and disappear at will.
“Where did Polaris go off to? Who was he just with?” Specter asked straightforwardly.
“Huh? Oh, that was Cirro Stratus.” the assistant said. “I think Polaris said they were headed to his vacation home to complete some deal they came up with.”
“And what was in that bag?” Specter asked immediately after.
The assistant shrugged. “No idea. Whatever it was, it was heavy.”
Specter nodded, having gained no real useful information. “Hey, I thought you would have gone with Polaris to...” the assistant started to say, but by the time he turned back towards where Specter had been the stealthy unicorn was gone.
“Huh, weird.” he said before headed back inside. It was a little strange that Specter would have to ask somepony where Polaris was going off to, but he knew better than to dig into business that wasn’t his. It had been over seven years since anypony had seen or heard from the last pony foalish enough to question too deeply one of Polaris’s personal agents on what his boss had assigned them to do...
“Hnng...! S-stop, please. D-d-don’t...” Starshadow pleaded between erotic gasps of pleasure.
Sunset wasn’t listening. Besides, her mouth was currently occupied with greedily lapping up the copious amount of fluids coming from Starshadow’s pussy. It had taken Sunset long enough to get Starshadow to cum once, and she wasn’t about to give up feasting on the sweet nectar she had missed for so long.
Starshadow, on the other hoof, was being torn in half between two very conflicting emotions. She felt saddened and betrayed that Sunset had caught her off guard and had knocked her down, pinning her smaller frame to the ground as the larger fiery pegasus began to eat her out. However, Sunset had remembered exactly what to do to get Starshadow to cum for sure; teasingly licking to the left and right of her private area before attacking the clit directly with her tongue, but always letting up before Starshadow was tipped over the edge. Finally, once Starshadow was bucking her hips up in desperation for release, Sunset began to gently nibble on her clit, sending the small pegasus into a loud and violent climax.
Starshadow didn’t know what to think anymore. Thoughts of her special somepony Big Macintosh went through her head, but as Sunset continued her oral assault those images began to blur and fade. Pleasure soon began to become the greater concern and Starshadow began to lift her crotch up, wanting Sunset to give her more. Sunset was more than happy to oblige, licking at Starshadow quicker and harder. “Mm, you taste so good. Soon you’ll be ready for Master.” Sunset said in between licks.
Hearing what lay in store for her finally snapped Starshadow out of her blissful mental state. “N-no!” she managed to gasp out. Wriggling her body desperately, she tried to free herself from her position underneath Sunset to no avail.
“No? You can’t say no to Master. Master will make you feel so good, and you won’t need anypony besides Master.” Sunset said before she nipped at Starshadow’s clit yet again.
Starshadow’s head snapped back, her vision glazing over as the sudden attack on her still sensitive button nearly rocketed her to a second climax. “Y-ye-yesss... Master will... No!” Starshadow said, almost giving in to the mind-numbing pleasure again. More desperate than ever, Starshadow kicked out wildly with her hind legs and managed to connect with Sunset’s chin, knocking the other pegasus out cold.
Quickly scrambling up, Starshadow rushed over to her friend, tears falling down her face. “Sunset! Sunset! I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! Are you alright?! Please... please, say something!” she sobbed as she cradled Sunset’s head in her lap.
It took a few minutes for Sunset to regain consciousness. “I’m... I’m sorry, I should have listened to my future Mistress.” Sunset apologized with a weak smile.
Starshadow nuzzled her old friend. “I’m not going to be your mistress, Sunset.” she said again.
Sunset got back to her hooves somewhat unsteadily, her tail and ears drooped in depression. “Be honest, please... do you not want me as a pet? Am I not good enough?” she asked. “I... I can go away if that will make you happy... I can leave you and Master alone forever.”
Despite still feeling off-put by what had just happened and sickened and upset over her current circumstances as a whole, Starshadow couldn’t help but feel sorry for Sunset. “No, no, that’s not it at all. It’s... I can’t ever be with Stratus. I already have a special... a special somepony.” Starshadow said.
Sunset Flash seemed even more hurt by this news. “So you’re going to leave Master? You’re going to leave me?”
Starshadow started to nod her head but abruptly stopped. Yes, she wanted to leave Cirro Stratus behind for good and never, ever see him or anypony from that part of her past again. But reuniting with Sunset and seeing the state the other mare was in now, there was no way she could possibly leave her friend behind, even to save herself. Sunset had helped her retain her sanity all those years ago... it was time that Starshadow returned the favor and saved her old friend.
“I’m going to leave Stratus, yes. But I’m taking you with me. I’m never going to let this happen to you again. We’ll escape from this nightmare together and you can finally live a free life.” Starshadow said.
Sunset almost collapsed from the shock of Starshadow’s offer. “W-w-what?! Me, leave Master? I-I couldn’t! I could never leave... after all he’s done for me, I couldn’t!” Sunset said hysterically, almost breaking down into tears at the very thought.
Starshadow rushed over and tried to quiet down Sunset before somepony came down to investigate. “Shh! Sunset, don’t cry. It will be okay, I promise.”
“Bu-but I don’t want to be alone! I can’t! Master loves me, he told me so!” Sunset cried out.
“You won’t be alone, I promise. You can come live with me and my special somepony. We’ll take care of you, all of our friends will. You’ll be happy with all of us, I promise.” Starshadow pleaded.
Not having understood everything Starshadow had just said, Sunset tried to make as much sense as she could out of what her mind was able to process. “Me, live with you? Would... would your Master become my Master?” she asked.
Knowing there was likely no other way to convince Sunset, Starshadow gave in and nodded. “Yes, he will. My Master will become our Master.” she said, trying her best to ignore the pang of guilt at having referred to her special somepony as ‘Master’ again. She figured she could make it up to Big Mac and try to get through to Sunset once they were all safely back at Sweet Apple Acres.
Mulling over her options, Sunset finally nodded somewhat reluctantly. “Okay.” she said uneasily.
Starshadow caught the hesitation in Sunset’s voice and knew that she had to solidify Sunset’s will somehow. Not knowing any other way to convince her, Starshadow pulled Sunset into a deep, passionate kiss, like the ones they used to share back when they were slaves to the Pole brothers. Unlike earlier, Starshadow offered no resistance when Sunset moved to deepen the kiss; she understood Sunset better than anypony, and she quietly accepted her friend’s love and affection as the fiery mare expressed them the only way she knew how.
Finally the two mares broke their embrace. Sunset smiled at Starshadow, a genuine smile that reminded the smaller mare of the filly she once knew. Starshadow’s heart swelled with warmth and hope, seeing a glimpse of her old friend in that moment and knowing that there was still a chance at bringing her back. In any case, the mare before her now seemed more willing and eager to escape with her.
“Sunset, do you know any way out of, um, whatever this room we’re in is?” Starshadow finally said after a long moment.
“We’re in the basement of Master’s vacation home. Master locked the door from the other side, but there’s a trash chute behind the crates on the far wall.” Sunset said, pointing to a large pile of crates stacked nearly to the ceiling.
Starshadow walked over to the area that Sunset had pointed out and tried moving one of the top crates by herself, but the stack didn’t budge an inch. With no other choice, she flew up to the topmost crate and began to push, barely budging the heavy wooden box. “Sunset, help me.” Starshadow grunted as she tried again.
Sunset hesitantly flew up and began helping Starshadow. Though Sunset was no stronger than Starshadow, thankfully their combined strength was eventually enough to topple the crate off the stack with a heavy crash. Starshadow froze as she feared that Cirro must have heard the loud noise, but Sunset knew something that Starshadow didn’t.
“It’s okay, this room is soundproof.” she said.
Starshadow guessed correctly just how Sunset knew that little fact, but she immediately forced the disgusting image from her thoughts and turned her attention back to trying to push the next crate away, desperate to finally be free once again.
It took the two almost half an hour to finally clear the crates away, but after a tremendous effort and many, many crashes, Starshadow finally saw the small trash chute Sunset was talking about. The exit was just barely large enough for a mare to slide through, and Starshadow could feel a slight breeze, indicating that this chute led outside.
“We did it! Come on, let’s get out of here.” Starshadow whispered in excitement.
Just then, a heavy knock came from the locked door, followed by the click of a key being turned in the lock. “Sunset, are you done yet?” Cirro asked impatiently as he walked in. He froze as soon as he saw the pile of crates scattered around the two mares standing by the trash chute. “What the...”
Panicking, Starshadow pushed Sunset towards the trash chute. “Go, Sunset! Go!” she hissed urgently.
“Sunset! Stop her! Bring her to me now!” Cirro commanded, his face turning red as he began to realize what was going on, attempting to navigate the huge mess the mares had made of the room.
Sunset’s gaze fell on her master, and his tone indicated that if she refused to obey him then she would be severely punished. However, Starshadow’s meeker voice caught her attention.
“Sunset, please... Let’s get out of here. I love you, I can’t leave without you.” Starshadow pleaded with tears in her eyes.
Sunset Flash had never been so torn in her life before. She had never disobeyed her Master before, she had always been a good pet. But Starshadow was her friend. Her one and only true friend...
To everypony’s surprise, she made up her mind relatively quickly. “I’m sorry, Master...” Sunset said painfully before she pushed Starshadow down the trash chute and dove down in after her, leaving Cirro Stratus frozen momentarily in shock.
“You... what the... you stupid slut! Bring her back here now!” Cirro yelled out, but the two mares had already reached the bottom of the chute and had galloped off. Furious, he turned around and made his way out of the cluttered basement and back upstairs to the front door. He ran outside, his eyes wildly scanned the evening sky and just spotted a familiar fiery red speck against the deep blue sky before it would have been gone from sight. Without any hesitation Cirro spread his wings and took to the skies in pursuit of the two mares.
Having no idea where she was, Starshadow had no choice but to let Sunset Flash take the lead. The newly freed pegasus was clearly hesitant, flying slowly as she was constantly second guessing her decision to abandon her master and continually felt the urge to turn back and beg for forgiveness. Starshadow had to reassure Sunset that she was making the right choice multiple times, but eventually, once she felt they had gotten far enough away, the two stopped to rest on a cloud. Just as she moved to embrace her friend in a comforting hug however, Starshadow caught sight of a very angry pegasus stallion flying towards them.
“No! Sunset, we have to go!” Starshadow exclaimed. Starshadow pulled her friend along as the two dove from the cloud and continued to flee. No longer worried about if they were going in the right direction, Starshadow’s primary concern became fleeing Cirro Stratus. However, the effort of clearing the way to the trash chute was beginning to take its toll on the two mares, and after several long minutes of chasing them through the skies Cirro finally closed the gap and got within reach.
“Got ya!” he said as his hoof grazed Starshadow’s tail. His grip wasn’t strong enough to keep hold and his hoof slipped away, but with an extra burst of speed he finally grabbed Starshadow’s tail and yanked hard.
“Ow! Stop!” Starshadow cried in pain. Cirro yanked her tail again, trying to pull her closer so he could attack her directly. For her part, Starshadow desperately fought to ignore the pain and continued to try to pull herself free of his grasp, but the stallion held firm.
Seeing what was going on, Sunset wheeled around and kicked out at Cirro’s hoof, trying to force him to let go of her friend. Sadly, Sunset wasn’t an especially strong pegasus to begin with and, exhausted as she was, her attempts were weaker than a newborn foal’s. However, the attack caused Cirro to finally snap and lose his patience with his slave.
“You stupid, worthless whorse, now you’ve done it!” he yelled out. He let go of Starshadow suddenly, the mare’s momentum causing her to careen out of control across the sky before she could right herself. He turned his full attention to Sunset, grabbing the startled mare before she could think to flee and yanking her close to him. “I’ll teach you what happens to pets that disobey their Master!” he spat before he savagely bit down near the tip of her right wing.
Starshadow’s eyes widened in horror as she watched in slow motion as Cirro ripped all of Sunset’s primary feathers out from her wing. Her face contorted in pain, she began to fall as the gift of flight was stolen from her by her master. Cirro didn’t show any remorse; instead, he simply spat out the feathers in his mouth and grinned twistedly at Starshadow as she watched her friend falling helplessly through the air, her hoof stretched upward in one final plea for help.
“Next stop, Canterlot! Canterlot is the next stop!”
The call from the conductor sounded through the train, and as the train pulled into Canterlot Station two ponies watched as a certain orange mare disembarked the train. Both ponies got up and followed Applejack as she navigated her way through the crowded platform, one of them having to stay far behind due to his massive size. The other pony was afforded the luxury of getting closer to AJ thanks to her stealth, but when both ponies saw her bump into a certain stallion they threw away all attempts of remaining covert and ran as fast as they could to save her.
Unfortunately, the two ponies ran right into each other first.
“Oompf! Sorry ‘bout tha- Nightshade?” Big Mac asked in surprise.
Nightshade’s eyes went wide with surprise that somepony actually recognized her. “Big… Macintosh?” she said slowly, still somewhat in shock
“What’re ya doin’ here? Shouldn’ ya be with Twilight?” he asked her.
Nightshade immediately went on the defensive. “She’s in Cloudsdale, so I couldn’t go with her. And it’s none of your business! Shouldn’t you be back on that farm?”
“Shouldn’ you be back at Twilight’s library?” Big Mac shot back.
Both ponies butted heads, growling in frustration. All the ponies around them backed away from them, a few of them rushing off to alert the guards that a fight was about to break out. However, Nightshade and Big Mac were oblivious to everything around them, their concentration solely on the other.
“Woah, back up everypony! What’s going on here- Nightshade? Big Mac?”
Both ponies looked over and saw Shining Armor flanked by two of his bodyguards. “What are you two doing? Big Mac, you’re not supposed to be back here.” Shining cautioned them.
Nightshade immediately backed down as she recognized the husband of the pony she had previously been tasked to protect, however, Big Mac showed no hints of calming down. As Shining’s two guards prepared themselves to take down the larger red stallion Shining stepped forward and placed a reassuring hoof on Big Mac’s shoulder.
“Look, Big Mac, I know you’re Applejack’s brother, but even I can’t get you out of trouble again.” Shining Armor said calmly. “I understand how upset and worried you are about your special somepony, but breaking into someplace won’t help anything.”
“We’re actually following Applejack.” Nightshade interrupted, glancing back at the last place she had seen her. Big Mac simply nodded in agreement.
“Really? I didn’t see her get off the train. And why would you two be follow- hey!” Shining Armor exclaimed. As he had been pondering why these two would need to be following AJ, Nightshade and Big Mac had realized that Polaris and Applejack had gone off who knows where, and in a panic rushed off to try to catch up to them.
“Oh for Celestia’s sake... let’s go!” Shining commanded his two guards. All three of them rushed after Big Mac and Nightshade, hoping to stop them before they did anything that would get them thrown in jail for their actions.
Pushing aside any pony unfortunate enough to get in their way, Big Mac and Nightshade ran at full speed through the streets of Canterlot. They had no idea where AJ and Polaris had gone off to, but their gut feeling told them to head straight for Polaris’s house.
They were almost right.
As Big Mac and Nightshade neared their destination, they heard a commotion over on the steps leading to the entrance of Celestia’s castle. Their curiosity getting the better of them, they took a small detour to see what was going on, but then charged full speed ahead once they saw what was going on.
“Git off me, ya varmints!” Applejack cried out, bucking a guard forcefully in the chest.
Applejack stood surrounded by almost a dozen guards, some of them looking quite roughed up while the others looked hesitant to take on the mare. Not wasting any time, Big Mac charged in and bullied his way to his sister while Nightshade simply teleported her way to Applejack’s side, blade held in her magic grip.
The sudden appearance of the two ponies almost caused Applejack to fall over in disbelief, but her concentration remained on holding off the guards that had her surrounded. Big Mac and Nightshade prepared themselves for battle, but before anypony could make a move a pink bubble surrounded the three ponies, cutting them off from being attacked but also preventing them from escaping.
“That’s enough!” Shining Armor said, his horn aglow as he held the shield around the two siblings and Nightshade. Despite him and his two personal guards being out of breath, the Captain of the Royal Guards managed to maintain his impenetrable shield while the two others calmed their fellow soldiers and sent the wounded ones to the infirmary.
“Ah, Captain Shining Armor, well done.” a strong voice said. Looking at the top of the stairs, Shining saw Polaris descending the stairs from his position at the top. “I knew I could count on you to stop that vile, dangerous mare and her inbred brother.”
Big Mac smashed his hoof on the ground, cracking the stone underneath his hoof like it was glass.
“You see?” Polaris said. “They’re dangerous. The mare already attacked me at the train station and managed to break free before I could get her placed in custody.”
“That’s a doggone lie!” Applejack yelled out. “Ah bumped into him an’ he said he’d help find Starshadow!”
Polaris let out a dry chuckle. “Come now, look at what’s happened. Sending seven of Captain Shining Armor’s stallions to the infirmary, attacking the other guards here, and you’re now being detained alongside your two acomplices.”
“Shining, ya know me, ya know ah wouldn’ lie!” Applejack pleaded. “Ya gotta believe me, this vermin here is responsible fer fillynapping Starshadow! His own daughter!”
Polaris looked at Shining Armor with a look of innocence. “Don’t listen to this insane pony. Besides, you know my daughter is named Starsong.”
Shining Armor did know Starsong; he had met her multiple times while he worked and trained with Polaris. However, his own sister Twilight had mentioned a pony named Starshadow multiple times, and he knew there was no way Twilight would ever get somepony’s name wrong. “Applejack, are you sure you don’t mean Starsong?” Shining asked to make sure.
The response he received left little room for doubt. “Ah know ah’m sure, gosh darnit! Ah know who Starsong is, she ain’t the one missin’, though that hoofscum pony Polaris did also take her against her will.”
Polaris scoffed at her claim. “You don’t actually believe this crazy bitch, do you?”
Everypony watched as Shining approached the shield surrounding AJ, Big Mac, and Nightshade, and to everypony’s shock he ceased his spell and the shield dissipated into thin air.
“What are you doing? They’re dangerous criminals!” Polaris shouted.
Despite their guts telling them to go attack Polaris, AJ and Big Mac held their ground as Shining turned to face the angry unicorn. “I know these ponies well. Applejack would never lie about something as important as fillynapping. And Nightshade used to be Cadence’s personal bodyguard, I know she would never act unless she was absolutely sure of what she was doing.”
Polaris’s anger began to show as he gritted his teeth and adopted a defensive stance. “You can’t be serious... yes, I rescued my daughter from that dirt poor town that she was attacked in, what father wouldn’t? My family’s safety is none of their business!”
Before anypony could say anything, Polaris stormed off and receded back into the walls of his mansion. Shining Armor breathed a sigh of relief, and Applejack approached him with an appreciative smile on her face. “Thanks, Shining Armor, ah knew ya’ll would do the righ’ thing.” she said.
The unicorn Captain didn’t return her smile. “We’re not done here, Applejack. There’s still the matter of you attacking Royal Guards. I can’t overlook the fact that you sent so many to be treated for their wounds.”
Applejack’s ears drooped as Big Mac tried to come to her rescue. “Hold on, my sis did so in self defense.” he pointed out.
“I’m sorry, but it’s out of my hooves. What’s happened has happened.” Shining Armor said.
Applejack looked apologetically at him. “D’ya have to arrest me?” she asked timidly.
Shining paused as he weighed all his options, finally speaking up just as the two Apple siblings couldn’t take any more suspense. “No, I don’t, but your only other option then would be to face temporary banishment from Canterlot.” he said.
With not much of a choice, Applejack nodded. “Can ah at least find Starsong first?” she asked hopefully.
Shining Armor shook his head. “I’m sorry, but no, you three have to leave immediately. I’ll check up on her personally and let her know that you were looking for her. And of course I’ll have my patrols keep their eye out for Starshadow.”
“Thanks...” Applejack said, disappointed she wouldn’t be able to see Starsong.
Without wasting any time, Shining Armor had four of the guards present escort the three ponies back to the train station while he went to go check on his injured ponies. Applejack and Big Mac surprisingly walked all the way to the station in silence, not once even thinking of how to lose their escort and try to sneak back to the Star estate. However, once their escorts had made sure the three ponies boarded the train and they felt the locomotive start moving, Applejack looked around quizzically, finally turning to Big Mac.
“Uh, Big Mac? Where’d Nightshade go?”
Starshadow watched in slow motion as her closest friend fell through the sky, unable to even attempt to save her friend as she found herself being restrained by Cirro Stratus. The small pegasus struggled in vain as she yelled out Sunset’s name, tears cascading down her face as her voice went hoarse.
Despite frantically flapping her wings, the missing primary feathers in Sunset’s right wing caused her to spiral downwards. The pain of having so many sensitive feather ripped out was gone as Sunset gave up, resigning herself to her fate that was rushing towards her. Closing her eyes, she smiled as she thought back to the short amount of time she had spent with Starshadow when they were fillies and the happiness she had felt during their brief reunion...
Sunset slowly opened her eyes as she felt that she had stopped falling. Hitting the ground came a lot quicker than she thought, and definitely a lot softer than she had anticipated. However, her eyes flew open in surprise as she realized she was lying on a cloud and found herself looking at a rainbow maned pegasus who was panting extremely hard like she had just flown across Equestria at top speed. Little did Sunset know just how close she was to being right.
“You... *pant* okay?” Rainbow Dash managed to gasp out.
Sunset could only nod, still in disbelief. Satisfied that she was okay, Rainbow Dash’s head snapped up, her attention switching over to Starshadow and Cirro Stratus. Pointing her hoof right at her boss, she glared up at him with a raging fire in her eyes. “I saw what you did! You’re dead meat!” she yelled up at him.
Cirro scoffed as he tried calling Dash’s bluff, but when the angry pegasus started flying up towards him he realized just how serious she was. Panicking, Cirro shoved Starshadow forwards, causing her and Rainbow to collide and giving Cirro a chance to flee.
“Gah! What the...” Dash exclaimed in surprise as Starshadow was shoved into her. Since Starshadow was still capable of flight Rainbow Dash pushed her aside to continue chasing after Cirro, but by the time the two mares became untangled and Rainbow started her pursuit Cirro was gone from sight.
“No! No nonono!” Dash yelled out in aggravation. “He can’t escape! He needs to... to... Rrrah!”
Ignoring Rainbow’s screams of frustration, Starshadow rushed down to where Sunset Flash still lay on her cloud. Gently stroking her head, Starshadow broke down as she saw that Sunset was in shock at what happened, still trying to feebly flap her wings to fly again despite the obvious pain it caused her.
“Shh, shh... rest, Sunset. Rest now.” Starshadow whispered to her, hugging the trembling pegasus to her. Sunset seemed to finally relax at her friend’s embrace and finally, both physically and emotionally exhausted, passed out without another word or thought.
Annoyed that she had lost her target, Rainbow came fluttering back down to where Starshadow and Sunset were. “I’m sorry, Starshadow... I lost him.” she reported.
“We need to get help for Sunset, fast.” Starshadow said, not caring where Cirro had gone for the moment. “Is anypony else here with you? Where are we?”
Dash looked over to the west. “Well, Twilight and Fluttershy were supposed to be with me, but I kinda flew on ahead. They should be about ten minutes away still.” Dash said, peering into the distance.
“We have to get her to the hospital back in Ponyville. Now.” Starshadow said.
Rainbow looked confused. “What? But... Canterlot is closer. And their hospital is better.” she pointed out.
Starshadow shook her head. “We can’t go back there. We need to go back to Ponyville. Please.”
Rainbow Dash gave in. “Alright. Leave her to me, I can get her there faster, you’d just slow me down.”
Starshadow nodded, knowing Rainbow was right. After helping her break down the cloud Sunset was resting on into the shape of a small bed, Starshadow watched as the rainbow pegasis bolted off into the sky pushing the cloud with Sunset on it. Moments later Twilight and Fluttershy came within sight. They raced over to Starshadow and hugged her tightly with relief, and on the long flight back to Ponyville Starshadow explained to the other two what had happened to her and who was responsible.
By the time the three mares arrived back in Ponyville Rainbow Dash had already dropped Sunset off at the hospital and rounded up all their friends that were still in town. She was a bit perplexed when Granny Smith told her that she had no idea where Applejack and Big Mac had gone off to or why, but a quick fly over the entire town yielded no AJ or Big Mac. It wasn’t until she was flying past the Ponyville station to go back to the hospital did she finally see the Apple siblings disembarking a train. She swooped down on them, buzzing by just over their heads before circling back around and landing in front of them.
Applejack was far from amused by Rainbow Dash’s aerobatics display. “Gosh darnit, Rainbow, ah ain’t got time fer yer tricks an’ whatnot!” she said angrily.
Dash smirked, excited that she got to be the one to break the good news to Big Mac and Applejack. “Oh, you sure? Cuz I got something you both want to hear.”
“An’ what would that be?” Applejack asked impatiently.
Rainbow broke out in a wide grin and took a deep breath, but before she could get the words out of her mouth somepony beat her to it.
“Guys! Guys! They found Starshadow! They found her!” Pinkie exclaimed excitedly, seemingly appearing from nowhere and bouncing excitedly around the three ponies.
Rainbow’s smile crashed to the ground. “Oh come on! I was about to say that!” she said in annoyance, but only Pinkie was still around to listen to her complain. Applejack and Big Mac had already run off at full speed, correctly guessing that she would be at the Ponyville Hospital.
The two burst open the main doors to the hospital, sending the nurse at the desk once again diving for cover. They raced by the frightened mare and charged down the hall, slowing down just enough to glance into each room to see if anypony they recognized was inside. However, the room they were looking for was easy to spot as many familiar ponies were loitering outside the room; Rarity, Spike, Vinyl Scratch, and somehow Pinkie Pie.
Everypony remained silent as Big Mac and AJ approached the door, and just as they were about to knock on the door, Twilight opened the door and poked her head out. “There you are. Pinkie said you would be here soon.” she said. “The doctor said she can have one visitor, so we all decided to wait until you got here.”
Applejack nudged her brother forward. “Go on, lover boy.” she said.
Big Mac didn’t need a second invitation. Once he was inside, Twilight exited and shut the door behind her to give the two some privacy. Big Mac saw a familiar and sorely missed pony sitting in the single bed in the room, and as he approached his lover smiled back at him.
“Big Mac...” Starshadow said softly. Her heart fluttered excitedly as he finally reached her and propped himself up on her bed, and without hesitation the two ponies leaned in to kiss each other. Big Mac was surprised to feel Starshadow pulling him closer with almost as much force as a pony twice her size, but he gladly moved his body closer to her by climbing into the hospital bed with her.
Both ponies remained in each other’s embrace for close to an hour, neither wanting to let go of the other. However, Big Mac finally found the will to pull back and look at his special somepony. Though he was unable to find any words to express his emotions, Starshadow could tell from his gaze just how he felt. “I didn’t give in, Big Mac. You’re my special somepony.” she said.
Pulling Big Mac back towards her, Starshadow wriggled her body free from the sheets on her bed and pressed her body up towards Big Mac, not caring if anypony may barge in on them. Luckily for her, everypony outside had left except AJ, the mare peeking sneakily through the window as she watched Starshadow guiding Big Mac into position...
“Oh, AJ, you’re still here.”
Applejack spun around and sighed with relief as she found Twilight standing in front of her. “Uh, hey Twi, what’s goin’ on?” she asked, dutifully pulling Twilight away from Starshadow’s room.
“I sent a letter to my brother, decreeing as Princess that Cirro Stratus be arrested immediately and held without bail until I sentence him.” she said.
“An’ what ‘bout Polaris? Ya’ll gonna have him arrested too, right?” Applejack asked.
Twilight looked down at the floor. “I... Shining Armor said he’d look into his role in everything that’s happened, but the only pony who can order his arrest is Princess Celestia, and she won’t act unless irrefutable evidence is presented to her.” she said.
“What?!” Applejack exclaimed. “That... he can’t...”
“Woah, hold on, AJ.” Twilight quickly said. “Look, it’s not the ideal situation, but we won’t give up on this. Shining and I have a fair idea of his role. Just give us a bit of time and you’ll see that he’s punished for what he’s done.”
Applejack nodded hesitantly. “Alrigh’, ya better, or Ah’m gonna take things into mah own hooves.” she said darkly.
Ironically, perhaps the most grateful pony of all to have the whole ordeal resolved was Nightshade. Though she couldn’t put her hoof on why, something about Starshadow’s foalnapping really struck a nerve with her. Between searching alongside Princess Twilight and her friends and sneaking out herself to conduct her own investigation into the ponies that had actually made the hit (she had been disappointed to find them all dead by the time she caught their trail), she had found herself more emotionally invested than she could ever recall being.
Then of course there was also that nightmarish day she’d spent trying to look after the Crusaders...
All in all Nightshade had been busier and more on edge than usual for an extended period. When Twilight and Fluttershy returned with Starshadow earlier, it was a relief not only the pegasus was back with her friends and special somepony, but also so she could get back to her normal duties. Throughout the ordeal, she had very rarely slept.
The crisis wasn’t completely over she knew; there was still the matter of why that other Blackguard had been involved and if he would return now that his mission was foiled, but these were concerns for another day.
While Twilight was preoccupied in the hospital, Nightshade lay on the rooftop of the adjacent building, her eyes scanning the grounds in front of the building for any danger. The small town was just as quiet as usual though and with no immediate concerns to follow, the weight of the last several days finally caught up to her as she started to nod off in the dimming sunlight.
Just as she was about to fall asleep, her senses kicked in and her muscles tensed, but before she could move she felt a knife pressing into the back of her neck, right in the spot where it would cut her spinal cord should the knife be forced forward.
Starsong sat alone in her room. Just days before the luxurious room had been filled with medical equipment while Canterlot’s finest doctors and healers worked round the clock on the unicorn; now the space seemed empty and oppressive to her. I’ve always hated this place, she thought, though even as she did she knew she was lying to herself.
Starsong closed her eyes. Just as they had every time she’d slept since she was brought back to the estate, her thoughts were immediately consumed by bittersweet memories of her foalhood there...
As a filly, Starsong had enjoyed every possible luxury as the sole heir to the Star Family; Polaris and the rest of the family had doted on the young unicorn. What she wasn’t aware of then though was the weight her heritage truly carried... As Starsong grew older, her lack of magical ability began to become more and more of an issue to her father. At the age of 8, Starsong was pulled out of public school and a private tutor was brought in for her and Starshadow. Her sister had excelled at her academic studies and while Starsong was able to barely keep up with the pegasus filly she showed virtually no progress in her now intensive magic training.
While outwardly nothing had changed, Starsong began to notice her family beginning to grow colder towards her, especially her father. When she finally earned her cutie mark for singing, it was clear to the young unicorn that she was a disappointment to her family.
Then there was Starshadow... Starsong had always marveled at the idea that her little sister was a pegasus while she and the rest of her family were all unicorns; from the very start the bond the two shared was unshakable. She alone knew about her sister’s secret talent for music and the two often dreamed of becoming famous as a sister act one day. However, the rest of her family, aside from their mother of course, didn’t share her views and treated Starshadow like a problem. Even with her influence as the heir to the family, there was nothing Starsong could do to help improve her beloved sister’s situation. It pained her greatly to be able to do nothing but watch as the smart little filly became more and more bitter and jaded over time...
When Starsong left home to attend music school in Los Pegasus, part of her hoped to never return to the estate. Unfortunately, unlike her sister, she was bound by her public identity as the Star Family’s sole heir and everything that came along with it. The Star Family’s wealth and connections had allowed her to become the talented, sophisticated mare she was today, but she always had to carry with her the burden of pretending to be happy and civil with the family that secretly saw her as a failure and a burden. Her family’s burdens hardly compared, however, to the weight of her guilt...
When Starsong had heard from her mother that Starshadow had disappeared, she was heartbroken; even her singing, which had always been one of her greatest joys, couldn’t lift her spirits. Later, when she and her mother had rescued her pegasus sister and she saw firsthoof what Starshadow had become because of her, Starsong completely broke down emotionally. The once lively, personable unicorn had completely withdrawn from all but the necessary social interactions associated with her birthright; her public identity became a wall behind which she hid her fragile heart away from everypony. It was a wonder that she was able to continue on to become a successful operatic singer, given the emotional turmoil she constantly carried with her...
The following years, after Starshadow had recovered and left to make her own life, Starsong was able to slowly recover her emotional stability, but the wound would always remain in her heart. Even now, she struggled with her decision to leave the estate. Polaris would have eventually sent her away once she was old enough to live on her own, but her growing discomfort around her family had made her leave home years earlier to pursue her own dreams. That selfish decision had hurt Starshadow more than she could possibly conceive of. Deep in her heart she was constantly burdened with the same question. Starshadow... if I had been there with you through those years... if I was there that morning when you got your cutie mark... would things have turned out any differently? Regardless of the answer, Starsong knew that she would always carry the crippling guilt of knowing that she had abandoned her beloved younger sister when she had needed her most...
Starsong opened her eyes slowly and sighed as the sight of her old room filled her vision again. The apartment she currently rented in Los Pegasus was small and humble; the whole of it could probably fit in her room in the estate. However, for all of its affluence, there was nothing in her old room that held any real significance to her, save for one thing...
On the wall behind her bed hung a simple flower necklace her sister had made for her on her 13’th birthday, just before she had left for music school. Starsong had told her sister that it was the greatest gift she’d ever received and that she would cherish it forever. To that end, she had insisted that her tutor preserve the flowers in their current state.
Starsong levitated the flower necklace down in front of her. When her sister had made it Starsong had been just a filly herself; as a full-grown mare she doubted that she would be able to fit it over her head and she didn’t dare risk breaking it to find out. Instead, she laid the delicate necklace on top of her head, hooked under her horn. Bringing a small mirror to her, she smiled at her sister’s hoofwork. The deep red petals with their intricate white patterns accented her yellow coat and silver hair so perfectly. Just like I remembered it, she thought. For a fleeting moment she considered weaving the flowers through her mane, but she quickly dismissed the idea; such a foalish appearance would be unseemly for such a well-groomed, sophisticated mare of the Star Family. Family image always comes first, after all, she thought begrudgingly.
Starsong sat the mirror down beside her and brought a small but ornate jewelry box in front of her. Opening it with her magic, she then unceremoniously dumped its contents onto the floor; several dazzling necklaces and hoof rings, presents from her family and other wealthy ponies (though equally unremarkable to her), scattered across the brushed marble floor. Satisfied that the box was empty, she carefully placed her sister’s necklace inside before replacing it on her dresser.
With the deed done, Starsong’s thoughts turned to more recent events. She had recognized a few of the ponies that had attacked her and Starshadow in Ponyville as some of her father’s agents. There was no doubt in her mind that they had been after Starshadow and her mother later confirmed that Starshadow had been at the estate briefly. However, while Silver Veil had been allowed to tend to her, Starsong was denied even a chance to see her sister before the pegasus was quietly removed from the estate again.
Starshadow... Please be okay.
The pony responsible for everything that had happened, her father Polaris, had also been mysteriously absent the last few days. It made no sense to Starsong. Polaris must have “brought” her sister home in order to force her to fulfill whatever destiny awaited her in the tome; it was the only reason her father had ever cared about his pegasus daughter. So then why send her away again...? She knew for a fact that family law forbade taking the book out of the estate and she had seen herself that it still resided in its case in Polaris’s office. Whatever was going on, Starsong knew in her heart she needed to be there for her sister.
She needed to talk to her mother.
Slowly she rose to her hooves; her body felt slow and sluggish as she was still suffering some lingering effects from the attack. Once she was able to steady herself, she quickly made her way out of the room into the hallway. She paused for a moment at the door leading to her sister’s now empty room before continuing down the stairs towards the servant’s quarters. From the stairwell Starsong could see various ponies scurrying here and there; though the massive estate normly only housed four ponies, the work never ended for the staff it seemed.
Starsong noted that most of the servants were moving towards the second floor balcony. Curious, she made her way there herself. When she stepped out onto the enclosed balcony, she quickly spotted the source of the goings-on; her aunt Starlette was standing over her husband who appeared to be on the verge of throwing up... again. Around her, several servants and nurse ponies were waiting impatiently for their mistress to either give them an order or get out of the way.
Starsong sighed; this was not an uncommon occurrence lately, according to her mother, and in fact it was the third such scene she’d walked in on herself since she was brought back to the estate. As with each previous time, Starsong decided to intervene in order to allow the servants to do their jobs.
“Auntie Starlette,” Starsong called out as cheerfully as she could manage.
Starlette visibly brightened at the sound of her niece’s voice. “Starsong, you silly filly, how many times do I have to tell you to just call me Starlette? I’m young enough to be your older sister after all.”
“That would be unseemly,” Starsong replied, guiding her aunt to one side as the servants silently thanked her before attending to their duties.
Starlette was right about her claim, outrageous as it might have seemed to an outsider; the mare was a mere nine years older than Starsong. She had been conceived just before her father died and her mother took control of the family. Her bright red coat and yellow eyes offset the family’s silver mane and accented her warm, cheery personality, a trait she had maintained despite the cold indifference the family often favored her with. Like her older brother Polaris, her special talent was combat magic, though in her case it seemed like some kind of cruel joke. The mare wouldn’t hurt a parasprite and Starsong was certain she would be lost in a real combat scenario. To make matters worse, she wasn’t the smartest unicorn around and she had absolutely no leadership capability whatsoever.
In short, in the Star Family’s eyes, she was useless.
Her husband Lance was even lower though. The two had met while Lance was training to become a royal guard. The family had never approved of the commoner unicorn, but after Polaris became patriarch he had eventually relented and allowed his baby sister to marry for love. After it became apparent that Starsong was unfit to become matriarch however, the pressure began to mount on Starlette and Lance to produce a proper heir. Naturally, at first Lance was excited for the idea, but after years of fairly constant trying produced nothing, even after several magically enhanced heat cycles, the stallion began to doubt himself. To drown out those feelings, the stallion had turned to drinking. Hard. Lately, the stallion was drunk out of his mind nearly round the clock.
Despite Lance’s total descent into alcoholism, Starlette’s love for her husband never wavered and thus the stallion remained a part of the Star Family. As far as the public knew though, Lance had contracted and was battling some kind of exotic disease; the stallion hadn’t been allowed to leave the grounds of the estate in years...
“I’m sorry about all this,” Starlette said, shaking Starsong from her reverie. “Lance has had a... busy morning.”
“So I see. Well don’t worry about it. I’m sure nopony will mind so long as we can get him back to your room before-”
As if on cue, the stallion chose exactly that moment to empty the product of his latest binge onto the floor. Both mares turned to the sound of servants nurses scrambling to deal with the mess of a pony; Starlette, predictably, rushed back to her husband’s side and immediately became a burden upon the servant ponies once again. Starsong considered intervening again, but ultimately she deemed it a waste of effort and she really needed to find her mother.
As she turned away from the scene she shook her head and sighed.
The family now consists of a power-mad patriarch, a combat magician who can’t fight or even keep her own life together, a powerless unicorn, and a pegasus somehow...
The Star Family has always claimed to be directly descendant of Starswirl the Bearded; if that really is true, he must be turning over in his grave right now, to see what’s become of his bloodline...
For the next half hour Starsong wandered the grounds of the massive estate in search of her mother. She asked the servants she passed as she went, but nopony had seen the mare that day apparently. Finally, after exhausting every other possibility, Starsong headed to the one place she hadn’t bothered to check: Polaris’s office.
There, at her father’s desk without tripping any of the security wards somehow, sat her mother Silver Veil.
Despite her shock and disbelief, Starsong thankfully still had the wherewithal to knock on the door rather than simply walk into the heavily warded room herself. Silver Veil looked up from the book she had been reading and smiled when she saw her eldest daughter. She then calmly got up and exited the office.
“There you are Starsong. I thought you might come looking for me today.”
Starsong was speechless for a long moment before she finally stammered, “M-Mom?! What were you...?! How were you...?! How did you-”
Silver Veil placed a hoof on her daughter’s head just under her horn and gently rubbed back and forth; the touch had always calmed Starsong as a filly and even now she could feel her mind stop racing. Silver Veil gave her a warm, motherly smile before pulling her into a hug.
“No matter how old you get, you’ll always be my little filly.” She finally released her daughter from the hug, but not before planting a gentle kiss on the tip of her horn.
“Thanks mom,” Starsong said, a faint blush coloring her features.
“Now then, I’m sure you’re wondering how I’m able to bypass your father’s security.” Starsong nodded. “It’s actually pretty simple if you understand the spell structure. Your father’s wards are top notch; especially impressive when you consider that his special talent has nothing to do with wards. Polaris does, however, leave a... ‘signature,’ I guess you could call it, on every spell he casts; I doubt he even realizes that it’s there, as he’s always done it. For a spell like this that’s self-sustained over time, that signature becomes an exploitable weakness. All I have to do is copy his signature and his spell becomes mine.”
“That’s amazing,” Starsong said, genuinely impressed at her mother’s ingenuity. “But wait, how are you able to perfectly match Polaris’s signature?”
“Let’s just say I know your father very well...” Silver Veil laughed at this; Starsong gave a somewhat uncomfortable laugh in return. “Now then,” Silver Veil started, suddenly serious again, “what did you want to talk to me about?”
“Mom, I can’t stay here anymore. I have to go find Starshadow.”
“I know, and I’m so happy to hear you say that.” Silver Veil smiled at her daughter but her mood quickly sobered when she saw her daughter’s serious expression hadn’t changed. “What is it, dear? Come on, out with it.”
“Mom...” Starsong paused for a long moment. “Mom, come with me. Please... I want us all to be together again.”
Silver Veil closed her eyes and let out a heavy sigh. “I’m sorry, but I can’t leave with you, Starsong.”
“What? Why?! I know you’re just as worried for Starshadow as I am!”
“Of course I am, dear. Please try to understand, Starsong. I do want to help you two more than anything; that’s why I can’t leave now.”
“Think about it. If I left the Star Family I would be nopony, powerless to actually help you two. But here,” she gestured towards Polaris’s office as she spoke, “I have access to all the same resources as your father. Here I actually have the power to make a difference.”
“I understand mom,” Starsong said finally though her disappointment was clearly evident in her voice and posture.
“I know this will be difficult for you and Starshadow to understand but despite everything that’s happened I do still love your father.”
“Mom,” Starsong began. Before she could voice her opinion on the matter though she found herself pulled into another hug. Rather than affectionate though, this time her mother’s embrace was protective and fierce.
“That said, nopony, not even my own husband, brings harm to my daughters and gets away with it...!”
“What are you planning, mom?”
“I’m going to see to it that nopony comes after either of you ever again.” Silver Veil let her daughter go and stepped back. “Now then, if you’re going to leave, you should do so quickly before your father returns to the estate.”
“But won’t I need some kind of cover? If I just left like this-”
“Already taken care of, my dear. I took the liberty of preparing a press release for you as soon as your father brought you back to the estate. Once you recovered from your accident, you decided to take an indefinite leave of absence from the orchestra and travel abroad to get away from everything and find yourself again.”
“That’s perfect! Polaris won’t be able to touch me openly.”
“Indeed, and after this whole mess, I doubt he would risk sending agents after you either, at least for a while anyway.”
“Thank you mom, for everything.”
“Of course, my darling daughter. Now can I ask you one thing of you before you go?”
“Of course mom, anything.”
“Tell Starshadow that I hope she and her special somepony have a long, happy life together.”
“You can tell them yourself before too long, mom.” Both mares smiled at the thought. “Those two really are good together. I’m so glad she found somepony like Big Mac after everything she’s endured.”
Silver Veil nodded. “I know, I could tell by the way she talked about him.” She let out a long, wistful sigh before focusing her attention back on her daughter. “Now then Starsong, while we’re on the subject, do you have somepony that’s special in your heart?”
Starsong was taken completely off-guard by the question. “Wh- Mom, I... I don’t have time to worry about things like that. Between my career and my social obligations to the family, I’m far too busy-”
“Nonsense, my dear. You’re never too busy to fall in love and it certainly isn’t something to worry over. All you have to do is keep your eyes open. I’m sure there are plenty of nice young stallions in the orchestra, aren’t there?”
“Why are we even talking about this?” Starsong was visibly blushing at this point.
“I just want my daughter to experience the same happiness that her sister has found... And maybe someday give me some adorable little grandfoals...”
So that’s what this is about... I should have known. Starsong forced herself to smile. “Okay mom, I’ll keep my eyes open.” Anything to end this painfully awkward conversation...
“There you go, that’s the spirit.” Silver Veil suppressed a laugh at her daughter’s reaction. “Now then, we both have things we have to do before Polaris returns. We should get moving.”
“Yeah, I guess so,” Starsong finally said. “It was good to see you mom. I’m sorry it’s been so long since the last time I was here.”
“It’s okay. After that night, I wouldn’t want to come back here either if I didn’t have to...” Both ponies shuddered at the memory of the last time they had seen each other face-to-face. “I know that the circumstances were less than pleasant, but still it was wonderful to see you and Starshadow again.”
“I promise we’ll see each other again sooner this time...”
“Don’t worry about that, just promise me you and your sister will take care of each other.”
“Of course mom.”
Silver Veil turned back towards Polaris’s office as she spoke. “Okay, I’ll schedule that press release to break late tonight. You need to be gone before then.” She carefully opened the door and went back inside. Just before she closed the door behind her she turned to her daughter one last time. “Good luck Starsong.”
Starsong stood by the door for a moment, watching as her mother sat back down at the desk and resumed scanning the book she’d been reading before. Well, I guess it’s time I got moving too...
Starsong quickly returned to her room and went to her closet. While most of the clothes and items there were from when she was a filly, she was able to find an adult-sized saddlebag and a heavy, black cloak. She packed as lightly as she could before carefully placing the jewelry box with Starshadow’s necklace on top. Taking a few hundred bits for travel expenses, she closed up and donned the saddlebag.
When she went to put on the cloak however, Starsong’s hooves began to shake and she had to force herself to not think about the last time she’d worn it. Finally, after repeatedly reminding herself of the necessity of concealing her identity, she was able to will herself to put the cloak on.
Starsong took one last look around her old room to make sure she hadn’t forgotten anything. A deep sigh escaped her as she glanced around the familiar spaces. Despite her bitter memories of the estate, she couldn’t deny that this room still felt like home to her; now that she was about to leave it again, those feelings began to well up. She shook her head. There was no time to waste on nostalgia anymore; her course was set.
Starshadow, I’m coming. I promise I’ll never leave you alone again. With this thought in mind, Starsong closed the door to her foalhood behind her.
Nightshade’s mind raced as she weighed her options. She couldn’t move due to the other pony’s position, and she felt her magic being suppressed by her assailants own magic. All she could do was bide her time and wait for her attacker to slip up and create an opening for her to attack. However, his current position left no vulnerable spots to exploit, and she correctly guessed that the other Blackguard was every bit as sharp as she was.
“Well, it’s about time you came out in the open.” Nightshade said dryly. “I was starting to think you were too scared to face me after out last encounter.”
Specter managed to brush off the insult, instead maintaining his concentration on keeping the mare immobilized. His stance was flawless, one hoof stepping on her tail so she couldn’t use the same technique he had used to force her off of him during their last fight.
“Who are you? I know you from somewhere.” he asked her.
Nightshade let out a small laugh. “I’m the pony who was kicking your ass over there by the train station, or do you need a reminder of that fight?” she insulted him.
One of Specter’s hooves fidgeted slightly but not enough for Nightshade to take advantage of. “Don’t make me silence you forever! Tell me who you are! How do you know me? And why did you call me brother?” he hissed angrily.
Nightshade felt the sharp blade pressing into her neck press down slightly harder, nicking her skin slightly and drawing a drop of blood. Hoping that the blade wasn’t poisoned, she decided to press her luck a little bit further. “Look, if you have some sick incest fantasy where your older sister beats you, don’t look to me to help you with that.”
Nightshade couldn’t see how red Specter’s face was becoming in anger as she finally crossed the line. Letting his emotions get the better of him for the first time that he could remember, Specter raised one of his forehooves to strike the mare under him, but doing so gave Nightshade the opportunity she had been waiting for. She knocked his other forehoof aside and rolled aside just as he thrust his dagger forward, the blade creating a two inch scratch across her coat. Nightshade ignored the insignificant pain it temporarily caused her and got to her hooves, her own dagger floating beside her as she prepared for Specter’s next attack.
Having calmed himself down from her insults, Specter was still annoyed that he had fallen for her obvious tricks. He had lost the element of surprise, his ace, and now he weighed his limited options. The desire for answers won in his mind, as well as the primal urge to beat his adversary and proclaim his dominance. He adopted an aggressive stance, readying himself for an all-out attack but Nightshade threw out one last challenge.
“Too afraid to fight me with your bare hoofs?” she asked, commenting on the dagger Specter still possessed.
Specter knew that retaining his dagger was the best bet to beating this cocky mare, but once again his own pride got the best of him. He cast his dagger aside to the edge of the rooftop, making sure the tip was securely embedded in the wooden shingle. “I expect you to do the same.” he said, having disarmed himself.
Nightshade didn’t even nod in acknowledgement but did the same, tossing her own dagger next to Specter’s in the same manner. “I know I don’t need any weapons or tricks to beat you.” she challenged him.
No sooner did the words leave her mouth did Specter begin his attack. He charged straight at his foe, lowering his head to head butt her and maybe even stick her with his horn. Nightshade almost laughed at his brazen attack; even a newborn foal could manage to dodge his attack. She guessed that he was expecting her to step or teleport to one side, but that would still leave her vulnerable to a last minute swerve. Instead, Nightshade teleported herself behind Specter just as he lunged in the air to flank him and push him off the roof. Coupled with a magic suppression spell like the one he had cast on her while he was pinning her down, the fall from the building would most likely injure him enough to end the fight right there and then. Carrying out her plan, she cast the spell and teleported herself the short distance...
... only to find Specter still somehow coming right for her.
“What...?” Nightshade gasped before the two ponies went tumbling across the roof.
Specter had indeed planned on Nightshade dodging his attack, and he had correctly guessed that she would try to throw him off the roof, so he cast a teleportation spell himself just as he was about to connect with her during the initial attack, turning himself around and catching her completely by surprise.
Both ponies fought ferociously as they struggled for the upper hoof. Both of them were maintaining their magic suppression spells on the other, and neither of them dared to try to create any distance between the other due to not wanting to offer any openings for attack. Instead, the two ponies bit, punched, and kicked at the other from extremely close quarters, not realizing that they were in fact rolling back towards the edge of the roof that they had just tried to avoid falling off of.
Specter finally realized their predicament as he found his head suddenly lacking anything underneath it. Nightshade realized their positioning a split second later but she simply ignored the danger, hoping that Specter would give in first. However, Specter also knew that in their current struggle, he and Nightshade were stuck in a stalemate, and only one idea came to mind on how to determine who was the better fighter in their current situation.
“Hope you don’t mind heights.” he snickered. Before Nightshade could act, Specter wrapped all four legs tightly around her and rolled off the edge of the building, taking her with him for the three story fall to the ground.
Nightshade tried casting a teleportation spell to take her back to the rooftop but found that Specter was maintaining his magic suppression spell over her. ‘You crazy fucking...’ Nightshade thought as she quickly cast the same spell to prevent him from slipping away at the last second.
As both ponies fell they briefly struggled against each other, trying to make the other bear the majority of the impact when they would finally reach the hard earth. Their struggles ceased as they were seconds from impact, and in one last ditch effort both unicorns released the other from their grip and switched to casting one last magical attack. Both ponies managed to release their attack the split second before they hit the ground, and both attacks hit their marks with deadly accuracy. The impact of their bodies hitting the ground knocked the breath out of both ponies, and the magic blasts knocked them apart a few yards before their bodies came to a rest.
Nightshade was in considerable pain, but then again so was Specter. Both ponies felt like they had a few cracked or broken ribs from the fall and each’s chest poured out blood from where the other had struck them with their magic blasts, but the wounds were superficial, nothing they couldn’t have fixed later on. They both knew that their opponent was still deadly and dangerous, and despite the shooting pains they both felt running through their legs both unicorns managed to struggle back to their hooves. Nightshade felt one hoof buckle slightly, but despite that leg possibly being broken she continued to slowly make her way over to her enemy, as was Specter. Both ponies abstained from using any of their depleted magic, not wanting to take any unnecessary risks when they weren’t sure how much magic the other still held in reserve, but before they could close within five yards of each other both ponies found themselves suddenly frozen in place.
“Hey!” Nightshade exclaimed. At first she thought that Specter had cast the spell, but once she saw that he too was immobilized she began to recognize the color of the aura surrounding her body.
“That’s enough!” Twilight shouted out. Her horn was brightly lit as she kept her bodyguard frozen while three Royal Guards next to her kept their magic focused on Specter. The stallion assassin cursed under his breath at being caught so easily, but Nightshade was more than willing to express her displeasure about having her battle interrupted.
“Princess, let me go! I can finish him!” she said desperately.
“I said, that’s enough!” Twilight said, refusing to let go. “Guards, take that pony to the solitary ward and make sure he is under strict watch at all times.”
The guards nodded, one of them placing a magic suppression ring around Specter’s horn before carefully dragging him into the hospital. Nightshade grimaced as she watched her foe being taken away, but she absolutely balked as she then felt Twilight place another suppression ring around her own horn.
“Hey! What’s this for?!” Nightshade exclaimed.
“I’m not taking any chances while you two are under the same roof.” she said. “Not after that display you both put on out here. Now are you going to agree to cooperate and not cause any problems while we get you taken care of or do I have to have the guards restrain you as well?”
Nightshade reluctantly nodded. “Fine.”
Twilight sighed with relief as she was finally able to disperse her spell. “Come on, let’s go get you fixed up.” she said, helping Nightshade into the hospital. “And remember, behave yourself. The doctor already looks like he’s going to have a meltdown with everything else going on.”
Despite the chaos that had just occurred outside, Starshadow’s room remained peacefully calm. Though Starshadow tried her best to entice her special somepony, Big Mac managed to calm himself and resist ploughing into her body like he normally would. His refusal to fill her earned him an annoyed pout from his marefriend, but he managed to convince her that her body was still fragile and smiled as she settled for some quiet cuddling instead.
“You win for now, but once I’m out you better free yourself up for the next two days.” Starshadow said.
Big Mac answered her with a gentle kiss before he put his head down and closed his eyes. Exhaustion from the past several days, both physical and mental, was now taking its toll on the large stallion. It took mere seconds for the red stallion to lose the battle to stay awake, and though he was desperate to stay awake to guard his special somepony he was fast asleep.
Starshadow gently stroked her stallion’s mane and smiled as she heard his breathing slow down and felt his body relax. She could only imagine the worry that had dominated his mind while she was missing, and as she looked over his larger body she noticed a substantial amount of bruising and small cuts all over his body. She had no idea how he could have received so many injuries and made a mental note to ask him or Applejack what had happened, but for now she was more than happy to nestle herself in her special somepony’s embrace and fall asleep next to him again.
On the other side of the hospital, Doctor Horse was not having as pleasant and peaceful of a time as Starshadow and Big Mac were. He had just finished stopping Sunset Flash’s injuries from becoming even worse and was about to finally get some much needed rest when the loud commotion of Specter being brought in broke the tranquility. Rushing out to see what was going on, the doctor saw three guards forcefully securing a dark colored unicorn to one of the empty gurneys. Despite having superior numbers, the guards were clearly having trouble getting the unicorn strapped and secured to the rolling bed. Even with all four of his hooves secured and his magic suppressed, Specter still found the strength to struggle against his bonds and snarled savagely at everypony present.
“Don’t get too close, he’s still dangerous.” one of the guards cautioned the doctor.
“Then what is he doing in here?! This is a hospital!” Doctor Horse exclaimed, afraid to go anywhere near the struggling unicorn. “Why isn’t he locked up in the barracks?”
The guard shrugged. “Princess Twilight’s orders. Don’t worry, he’s going to be put in solitary confinement for now.”
Doctor Horse groaned. Putting anypony into solitary confinement meant that the hospital staff had to monitor the patient around the clock, and due to the recent rush of patients all of the nurses were busy, meaning the task would fall onto his shoulders alone.
“So much for any rest.” he grumbled, but the guards weren’t listening. They quickly rushed the bound unicorn over to the padded room and locked him inside before breathing a sigh of relief.
“He’s all yours.” one of the guards called out as they all turned to leave.
“H-Hey! Wait! Aren’t you supposed to be guarding him as well?” the doctor called out in a panic. However, the guards pretended that they didn’t hear Doctor Horse calling out to them and quickly trotted to the exit, quickly sprinting away once they had made it out the door. All Doctor Horse could do was shake his head in disbelief before finally peering in through the small window to look at his newest charge.
Doctor Horse felt a shiver shoot down his spine as the bound pony inside stared back at him with cold, hard eyes. The doctor quickly averted his gaze, sure that if he kept staring at his patient his life would somehow be ended very quickly. He could still feel the other stallion’s eyes locked on him, so Doctor Horse stepped out of sight and sat down on a nearby chair. He glanced at the clock on the wall and groaned as he saw that it had been over 38 hours since he had last slept, and there was no relief in sight.
“Celestia damnit.” he muttered as he struggled to keep his eyes open. “I need a vacation after all of this.”
“Are you sure you don’t need anything else? I can always get-”
“I’m fine!” Nightshade snapped at the pony attending to her injuries. Her sudden outburst caused the pony nurse to jump in fright and drop the extra bandages she held, and with a quick nod of understanding the nurse retreated to the hallway.
Twilight sighed. “Did you really have to yell at her like that? She was simply bandaging up your wounds.”
“I can take care of myself!” Nightshade said with a huff. “Well, I could if you removed this stupid suppression ring from my horn.”
“Not until you calm down and we figure out where that other pony came from and what he wants.” Twilight said. “Now, can I trust you to behave yourself here tonight or do I have to have the guards stationed outside your room?”
Nightshade grimly clenched her teeth but nodded in submission. It was humiliating enough for her to be condemned to spending a night in the hospital, but also having two guards foalsitting her the entire night was almost enough to drive her to suicide.
Twilight nodded in satisfaction. “Good. But if I hear that you caused any trouble at all I’m sending you back here to volunteer until you learn to behave. Understood?”
Nightshade nodded again, suppressing the urge to recoil as Twilight gave her a small hug. The wounded bodyguard finally breathed a sigh of relief when Twilight finally left, allowing her to finally start forming a plan in her head without worrying about acting too suspicious. It didn’t take long for her to finish her plan, and with a small smile of satisfaction she closed her eyes to catch a few hours of sleep until it was late enough for her to act.
As she had planned Nightshade awoke in the middle of the night. Slipping out of bed, she silently opened the door and cautiously made her way down the hallway. The dark halls were quiet as all the other patients were asleep and the night staff was most likely in the break room. Her hoofs echoed in the empty corridor as she made her way to the other side of the building, stopping just outside the doors that led to the psychiatric ward. Peering through the door’s window, she smiled as she saw the area void of any guards. The only other pony in sight was the doctor she had seen earlier, and it was very clear he was having a lot of trouble keeping his eyes open. Confident her plan would work, she glanced around once more to make sure nopony else was around before entering the mental ward.
Doctor Horse barely managed to open his eyes as he heard another pony entering the area. His hopes that one of the nurses had finally decided to relieve him were blown away as he saw that it was Princess Twilight’s bodyguard. “Shouldn’t you be in your... what are you doing here?” he asked, his exhausted mind not thinking clearly.
Nightshade looked at the doctor confidently. “I’m here to take over monitoring the prisoner.” she said, trying her best to sound official.
Doctor Horse paused, his mind trying to register what was going on right now. He knew who Nightshade was and her connection to princesses of Equestria, but he was fairly certain that she was here now as a patient, not for guard detail. However, in his current state of mind he wasn’t sure if he was right or it was a figment of his imagination. “Are... aren’t you here as a...”
Nightshade shrugged her shoulders. “Look, I’m not ecstatic about foalsitting some insane stallion either. If you’d rather spend all night watching him, be my guest.” she said, slowly turning to leave.
“No, wait!” Doctor Horse shouted in desperation. Nightshade couldn’t help but grin slyly as the doctor quickly scrambled to his hooves and shoved Specter’s file into her hooves before she could finish turning around.
Nightshade changed her sly grin to a face of concern and compassion. “You look exhausted. Why don’t you go get some rest? You deserve it.” she said manipulatively.
Her words were music to the doctor’s ears. “Rest... yes, rest.” he said drowsily, his tired body beginning to go limp just at the thought of finally being able to go sleep. He allowed himself to be guided to the exit by Nightshade, leaving the psych ward almost in a daze and headed straight for his office, and more importantly his private break room behind his office where his bed awaited him.
Once Doctor Horse had left Nightshade shut and locked the door, preventing anypony from disturbing her without some effort. Turning to face her goal, Nightshade approached the door where Specter was confined and was not surprised to see the black stallion peering back at her through the door’s window. He was still bound and the magic suppression ring around his horn made him helpless, but when Nightshade gave the door a small tug she scowled as she realized the guards had magically sealed the door shut before they left and the heavy steel would be too thick to break with brute force.
Specter chuckled lightly as he saw Nightshade’s face fall in disappointment. “Even with me bound and helpless, you’re still too inept to get me.” he mocked her.
Nightshade slammed a hoof against the door. “Silence!” she yelled back. “You’re in no position to talk! You’re the one who’s been captured, not me! I beat you and you know it!”
Specter chuckled again. “Are you sure about that? Last I remember you were being subdued by that princess. Aren’t you the one that’s supposed to be protecting her? Or does she have to come save your sorry flank every day like that?”
Nightshade gritted her teeth. Never before could she remember wanting to hurt somepony so badly. The ring around her horn beginning to glow as she tried desperately to cast a spell, any spell, at her bound foe; however, the suppression ring did its job and managed to hold strong as it actively cancelled out the magic she tried to channel through her horn, leaving Nightshade drained and Specter safe. The angry mare hit the door once more with her hoof, screaming her frustration at the simple obstacle that had become an unshakable barrier between her and her most bitter enemy.
From the other side of the barrier, Specter laughed at his adversary’s reaction, paying no heed to the sudden show of violence. “Don’t tell me you’re losing your patience already.” he teased her once more. “Did being humiliated back there really hurt you that much? I’m sure if you go visit the foalternity ward here you may be able to beat a few newborn fillies. Maybe.”
Shaking with rage, Nightshade’s vision tinged red as the world around her faded away. All that mattered to her in that moment was tearing the door off of its hinges and silencing the hateful stallion beyond it. In her blind rage, she abandoned all of her training, and even the most basic laws of magic and began summoning all the energy she could manage into her horn. Again the suppression ring flared to life, attempting to block her, but Nightshade would not be deterred again. Her horn began to glow with an eerie black aura and sparks began to appear around the ring as it’s white glow intensified.
Specter’s confidant sneer began to falter as he watched; even with his own magic sealed he could sense that Nightshade’s magic was beginning to overwhelm the suppression ring, a feat he himself had been unable to accomplish earlier when he’d been captured. What’s more, the look of pure malice on the mare’s face, in those piercing green eyes...
Specter suddenly found himself on his back on the floor of what appeared to be a small shed of some sort. A brown unicorn filly stood over him, covered almost completely in blood, her face contorted in pure hatred as she stared down at him. The colt tried to run, tried to use his magic, anything to escape the filly, but somehow those eyes held him frozen upon the blood-soaked floorboards. A long fishing hook floated in the air between the two of them, it’s menacing tip pointed at the prone unicorn before it. Somehow, the mare’s loathsome glare prevented him even from crying out as Specter could do nothing but cower in silence as the wicked edge withdrew slightly before flying through the air directly towards his eyes...
Specter was jolted back to reality when he saw the hallway suddenly filled with a blinding flash of light; he barely had time to shield his eyes against it. In the next instance, his senses were overwhelmed by the sensation of magic flooding area around him and what sounded like something metal being shredded and glass breaking. Seconds passed and finally the light faded. When he finally opened his eyes he saw that the steel door that had stood between the two unicorns had been reduced to smoldering splinters. What’s more, the floor and walls and likely the ceiling around the mare were cracked and he could see that several windows along the hallway had been blown out as well.
Nightshade hadn’t actually cast a spell, she had simply poured all of her power into her horn at once. Such a thing was pure insanity for any unicorn, much less one of such power; uncontrolled and unfocused magic, if released in such volume, would invariably violently consume everything within its area of effect including the caster. The suppression ring had been able to partially block the massive formless spell but, not having been designed to handle such a surge in power all at once, finally gave out; the shockwave of the suppression ring failing had shattered everything within 30 feet of the mare.
Nightshade now stood unobstructed in front of him, the inky black aura of her magic fully visible, her body unsteady with fatigue from the incredible effort, but a wicked, depraved smile on her face as she looked at the suppression ring now lying shattered on the ground around her.
Looking upon her, Specter began to tremble uncontrollably against his restraints as a powerful emotion he could not recall ever having experienced began to take hold of him, consuming his conscious thoughts. “N-no way...” Specter said barely above a whisper as his voice trembled and cracked, trying desperately to shrink away from the mare before him. He had lost control completely now; his mind surrendering to this new emotion that had taken hold in him.
He stared down at Nightshade with fear in his eyes.
Nightshade allowed a chuckle to pass her lips as she finally recovered enough from the show of force to regain her footing; her magical aura finally subsiding and disappearing as she regained control of it. “Much better.” Nightshade said with a crazed grin as she turned her attention back to her prone adversary, stepping over the remains of the door and the magic suppression ring. “Now, let’s have a little chat, shall we?”
“If thou does not cease thy prodding immediately, thou shalt suffer dire consequences.”
“Oh come now, princess. It’s clear it’s not bothering Princess Twinkle here. If I wanted to annoy her I’d wake her up this way.”
“Discord, don’t you-”
Twilight’s bloodshot eyes snapped open as Discord rang his gong as loudly as he could mere millimeters above her head. To Discord’s disappointment she managed to refrain from sitting up and knocking her head against the brass percussion instrument, but he still managed to take some satisfaction in her bewildered and annoyed face.
“Wha- what the... Discord? What in Celestia’s name are you doing?” Twilight mumbled as she slowly woke up.
Discord snapped his fingers, causing the gong to vanish just as he grabbed Luna and placed her in between himself and the sleepy princess. “Don’t blame me, it was her idea!” he said innocently.
Twilight peered through her sleepy eyes and finally recognized Princess Luna. “Huh? What are you doing here?” Twilight asked, yawning loudly afterwards.
Luna shot Discord an angry glance before bowing her head to Twilight. “My apologies, Princess Twilight. I needed to come speak to you of a matter of the utmost importance, but he insisted on tagging along.”
Discord adopted a look of pure innocence. “I only wanted to help, but Princess Moody Moon here wanted me to stay locked up in the castle, all alone...”
Both princesses ignored the Lord of Chaos and continued their own conversation. “So what’s going on? Don’t tell me that there’s another issue in Canterlot...”
Discord opened his mouth to speak but was silenced by Luna’s stern gaze. “Party pooper.” he muttered.
Luna turned her attention back to Twilight. “While on my nightly patrols through everypony’s dreams, I happened upon one dream I could not enter. I have always been able to enter the dreams of ponies and do not know why I wasn’t able to this time, but I was able to tell that it is not an ordinary dream, but a magic induced nightmare.”
Twilight looked slightly confused. “But how come you need my help? Which pony is having this dream?” she asked.
Luna shrugged. “I cannot say, for some reason my powers cannot see which pony is suffering. All I was able to tell was that the pony is somewhere here in Ponyville.”
Twilight yawned and slowly got out of bed. “Alright, so where do we start?” she asked sleepily before yawning again.
“Might I suggest...” Discord started, but once again Luna silenced him with a cold stare.
“We should start with visiting the unicorns who reside here.” Luna said. “Such an anomaly is usually caused by a spell, so we should start there.”
Twilight paused to think. “I can’t think of anypony who is capable of casting such a spell. Even I’ve never heard of it. But there’s no time to waste, let’s start with Rarity. She can also help us search if it’s not her.” she reasoned.
With their plan in place, both princesses rushed off into the night, leaving Discord all alone in the library. “Hmph, amateurs.” he muttered to himself. Owlowiscious opened his eyes and looked at Discord with some interest as the Lord of Chaos sighed dramatically. “Looks like it’s up to me to fix things yet again.” he said, snapping his fingers and disappearing from the library.
Unphased by what had just happened, Owlowiscious gave a small hoot before closing his eyes and falling back asleep. He finally had some peace and quiet, a rare thing with all the chaos happening in Ponyville lately.
“No. No! Gaahhhh!”
Nightshade’s twisted grin widened as the pained expression on Specter’s face became grimmer. Her horn glowed a sickening gray-green as her dark magic corrupted her victim’s dreams, which he was forced to experience due to her sleep spell. She was proud of the fact that she knew, much less was able to perform such a complicated and rare spell, and though most ponies would be too scared of the fact that they were trespassing on Princess Luna’s territory, Nightshade was confident that even the princess of the night couldn’t interrupt her.
In front of Nightshade, Specter’s body writhed in agony as his mind continued to be bombarded with the darkest nightmares Nightshade could summon. The nightmare spell she was casting trapped its victim’s mind in a world completely real to them; all of the pain and suffering Nightshade’s twisted nightmares inflicted upon Specter were reflected on his physical body. Nightshade was showing no mercy. She wanted him to suffer, suffer until he was dead; but at the same time she wanted to make this last as long as it could. After all, she had all night before anypony would come looking for them and she meant to enjoy every second of it...
A subtle *pop* went unnoticed by Nightshade, but she stiffened up when she heard a strange voice behind her. “I must admit I’m impressed that you were able to learn such an obscure magic, but I don’t think Luna would appreciate you perverting the dreamscape like this.”
Managing to maintain her spell over Specter, Nightshade turned around and found herself face to face with none other than Discord. However, before she could react or say anything, the draconequus reached out and touched the tip of her horn with a clawed finger, paralyzing her entire body and submitting her mind to his will. Her eyes stared unfocused straight ahead momentarily until Discord gave his next order to her.
Without fail, Nightshade’s eyes crashed shut and the unicorn fell to the ground, her mind now trapped in a similar state as Specter’s was. With another snap of his fingers Discord summoned two bubbles out of thin air, each one the same color as the aura Nightshade had been using moments ago, and with a flick of his wrists he sent one bubble into the head of each unconscious pony.
“Sweet dreams, my little ponies.” Discord chuckled. “Now, I wonder when Princess Sparkle Butt and Moody Moon will get here? Hopefully not too soon...”
Nightshade’s eyes snapped open and she jumped to her hooves, her head lowered in preparation for an attack. However, Discord was now gone, as was the hospital completely; she was now in a large empty room, the only other pony present being the unconscious Specter. Nightshade kept her guard up since she was unsure of where she was or what was going on, but a bodiless voice caused her heart rate to spike.
Specter’s body finally began to stir as he woke up and slowly stood up. His eyes opened but they appeared empty and lifeless, almost as if he were in a trance. There was something... off about the other Blackguard, but Nightshade was preoccupied with preparing for yet another battle with her rival to spare a thought to what it was. He didn’t make any attempts to move towards her so the mare remained still as well, waiting to see what would happen next. A few moments passed with nothing happening, but the patience of the being overseeing the unfolding chaos was running out.
“Screw it.” the voice said, followed by a surprisingly loud snapping sound. Specter’s attention instantly focused on Nightshade, causing her to lower her head and prepare her own counterattack with her-
... her horn was gone.
Nightshade’s heart rate immediately spiked as she realized that she was helpless, yet Specter still had his horn. She felt herself enveloped in his magic and knocked backwards to the ground, pinned down against her will as Specter quickly rushed forward and stood over her in victory.
“Well, that was easy. Sorry dear, I’m not one for long, dramatic battles and all.” the mysterious voice said. “Now, I do believe that the victor deserves a prize, does he not?”
Before Nightshade could inquire what the ‘prize’ was, she felt something suddenly bump up against her exposed crotch. It didn’t take long for her to figure out what had poked her foal hole, but she refused to let her fear win and remained steadfast and confident. “What, you’re going to have him rape me? That’s the best you can do?” she spat out.
“Oh come now, my little assassin. I wouldn’t lower myself to such barbaric standards.” the voice said in a hurt tone. “Besides, I’m not the one in control of all of this. I’m simply fulfilling your deepest desires.”
Nightshade smirked. “Ha! My deepest desires? My only desire is to watch you and this weakling die at my hoof!”
A short pause of silence followed before the voice spoke again. “Oh, you’re right, it seems I forgot a few things. Terribly sorry.”
Another sharp snap cracked through the air. At first Nightshade didn’t know what had changed, but when she looked up at Specter she saw that his body seemed to have grown almost twice in size. It only took her a few more moments to realize that she was wrong; he hadn’t increased in size, but she had shrunk down to the size of a filly.
“There, I believe that’s more to your liking.” the voice said mockingly.
Nightshade looked down at her own body and confirmed that she had indeed shrunk back down to her filly size. When she looked back up, she found herself no longer in the vast emptiness of whatever space she was trapped in, but instead she was now in an old boat shed.
‘What the...’ Nightshade thought just before a flood of memories bombarded her mind. Memories of what had happened to her over a thousand years ago came back to her, and for the first time she felt an emotion she hadn’t felt in a very long time. A sense of genuine fear.
“No... no, stop!” Nightshade said, panic overcoming her in that moment. She pressed her hooves against Specter’s chest with all of her strength to push him away. Of course her small body couldn’t hope to budge Specter’s larger frame, and without her magic she realized just how helpless she was.
“I see you are now aware of your position. It’s about time. Now, let’s get starte-”
Nightshade couldn’t help but cringe and recoil in terror, clenching her eyes shut in a desperate attempt to block everything out. After a moment she realized, surprisingly, that the voice of her tormentor had abruptly stopped midsentence. She slowly opened her eyes again; Specter hadn’t moved since forcing himself on top of her, and Nightshade couldn’t help noticing that the aggressive look in his eyes from before had softened and now seemed to show confusion.
With the immediate threat seemingly passed, Nightshade finally realized what had been bugging her about the other pony the whole time. The Blackguard enchanted ink that he wore without fail was gone, revealing the stallion’s true colors. Underneath, Specter’s coat was a dark brown, similar- no, the exact same shade as her own.
Specter slowly looked around his surroundings and eventually cast his gaze downward, noticing the small filly underneath him. His eyes widened in surprise as something in his mind finally clicked. “S-sister?” he asked in disbelief.
Nightshade’s mind roiled as questions suddenly flashed through her mind at once. Before Nightshade could respond however, the two unicorns found themselves quickly enveloped in a black fog that seemed to come out of nowhere. A loud roaring sound filled their ears and both of them shut their eyes, opening them only once the noise had faded.
Nightshade found herself back in the hospital, lying on floor on her side next to Specter. She tried to stand, but found her body too drained to even move. A quick glance at Specter next to her told her he was similarly crippled at that moment.
“They’re awake!” a familiar voice shouted out. Looking up, Nightshade saw Princess Twilight and Princess Luna standing over them both, and just off to the side a sulking Discord leaning up against the wall.
“See? I told you they weren’t harmed. I was just having a bit of fun.” Discord huffed.
Luna shot him a furious glance. “BE SILENT! THOU HAST NO IDEA WHAT YOU HAVE DONE!” she yelled in her thunderous voice. Her assertiveness immediately caused Discord to go silent, but he still defiantly stuck his tongue out at her.
The two princesses turned their attention back to the two unicorns on the floor. “Are they going to be okay? What should we do now?” Twilight asked as she helped Nightshade back on her hooves.
Luna frowned in concern. “As much as I hate agreeing with him, Discord is right. He has taken an interest in these two unicorns for some reason, and now so have I, especially your bodyguard who holds knowledge of dark magic. I cannot believe that in this day and age that anypony other than myself is capable of using my dreamscape spells.” She shot a venomous glance over her shoulder. “Well, other than this one apparently... Now then, it is clear that these two ponies are extremely powerful and dangerous. I shall take them both back to Canterlot with me immediately.”
Twilight nodded. “And Discord?”
Luna sighed loudly. “He, too, shall accompany me. He knows more than he’s telling me, and I shall make him talk one way or another.”
“Oh, princess, how did you know I like it rough?” Discord said, unable to stay silent.
Luna’s eyes seemed to go red as she blasted him with a sudden spell, causing his mouth to disappear. “DO NOT TEST MY PATIENCE!” Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath to calm herself, she turned back to Twilight. “I shall return your bodyguard as soon as I can.” she said before she cast a spell over everypony but Twilight, and in a flash they were gone, leaving Princess Twilight Sparkle alone in the devastated, but otherwise quiet hospital wing. b�
It was a strange week in Ponyville after Princess Luna and Discord had taken Specter and Nightshade away...
Things seemed to finally go back to normal.
The news that Cirro Stratus was a fugitive from the princesses left a void of power in the weather factory. After a tense few days in which no operations took place at all, the section leaders reluctantly filled in, opting to lead by committee. The first order of business was to restore the normal weather patterns for the places in Equestria affected by the CEO’s bizarre changes. Though the mysterious new majority owner of the factory had final say now in all such matters, there was no communication from them and thus their vote was nullified.
Thankfully, the situation was resolved before too much damage was caused to the farms growing autumn crops, so life returned to normal for most ponies. With the crisis averted, the pegasi prepared to bring the first snow of winter to Equestria. The chaos of the previous weeks left the water reserves low and so several cities across the country organized emergency water-syphoning teams to send water to Cloudsdale. The extra water drained from the lakes and reservoirs throughout the country would likely be felt in the future as droughts, which had the weather ponies working round the clock on plans to mitigate the damage.
Rainbow Dash, along with Fluttershy and Twilight had been gone for most of the week to discuss the plans. Finally the three returned, announcing that they had done the best they could under the circumstances. The next summer would be a rough one, but otherwise they were able to project normal operations from then on.
Meanwhile, Starshadow spent every waking moment at Sunset Flash’s bedside. Despite landing on a cloud, the pegasus still suffered a concussion and several superficial injuries from the fall. Sunset was upbeat and happy despite her condition whenever her friend was around, though Starshadow found herself constantly trying to keep her from talking too loudly about their past together or struggling to avoid letting the other pegasus mount her and have her way with her again... She thanked Celestia that Sunset’s room was at the end of the ward where there was less chance of somepony seeing or hearing something.
It was a few more days before the doctor was comfortable enough to release Starshadow and Sunset from the hospital. Starshadow was able to walk out on her own with no physical signs of trauma, but Sunset was still in rough shape and there was nothing more the doctor could do for her.
“I’m sorry, but not even the doctors in Canterlot have the ability to help her fly again.” Doctor Horse explained to Starshadow and Twilight as they waited for Sunset Flash to meet them in the waiting room. “If it was just one or two damaged primary feathers we could probably replicate some new ones and try a transplant, but even that has a slim chance of being completely successful. But this... I don’t think anypony can fix this. Not even Celestia could.”
Starshadow turned to Twilight, hoping that the princess had found some solution in one of her many books, but Twilight could only shake her head in failure. “I couldn’t find anything that would help either. Rainbow Dash came over to fill me in on the anatomy of pegasus wings since, well, I’m still relatively new to having them, but no unicorn has ever been successful in duplicating primary feathers capable of flight. Each pegasus pony is unique and shows different traits in their feathers, so a general spell is impossible. There’s just no research out there. Not even in Canterlot.” she said, visibly upset by her failure to find an answer.
Starshadow hugged her wings tightly against her body, shivering at the thought of the amount of pain Sunset must have felt when Cirro Stratus had ripped her feathers out. “S-so, there’s nothing we can do to help her? What if... what if Princess Twilight experiments on me for a cure? For a way to...” she started to say.
Twilight winced at the thought of using somepony she considered a friend as a guinea pig. “I can’t do that to anypony. Besides, like I said before, each pegasus’ wings are unique. What may fix your wings won’t work on Sunset Flash.”
Starshadow’s body drooped in depression at the news, but a familiar voice calling out caused her to perk back up.
“Starshadow!” Sunset Flash shouted out in excitement, running towards the three ponies grouped together. She leapt into the air and spread her wings to glide over to her old friend, but her lame wing immediately gave out and caused Sunset to go roughly tumbling back onto the floor.
“Oh my... Sunset!” Starshadow cried out as she rushed over to her friend. Doctor Horse rushed over as well but immediately stopped when Sunset surprisingly leapt back to her feet and tackled Starshadow to the floor once more, pulling the smaller pegasus into an affectionate and highly inappropriate kiss.
“Ah... yes, well... ahem, I don’t think this is the place for... that.” Doctor Horse said, blushing slightly as he glanced away. Suspecting Sunset had no intention on stopping, Twilight grabbed ahold of Sunset with her magic and lifted the fiery pegasus off of an intensely blushing Starshadow, gently bringing her over to where she was standing and allowing Starshadow to get back on her hooves.
Still surprised by Sunset’s enthusiasm and energy, Starshadow gently hugged her longtime friend, careful to avoid her injured wing. “I’m so happy you’re okay.” she said, unable to hold back a few tears. The two remained embraced for a few moments before Starshadow finally pulled back. “So, are you finally ready to head home with me?”
Sunset nodded eagerly. “Yes, please! I can’t wait to meet my new Master!” she said excitedly.
Starshadow’s heart still twisted as she heard Sunset so eagerly embracing the mindset that she herself had tried so hard to leave behind but forced a smile. “Come on, let’s go home.” she said.
After thanking Doctor Horse for his help, Sunset, Twilight, and Starshadow headed off back towards Sweet Apple Acres, Celestia’s sun shining brightly down on them. As soon as the doors to the hospital had closed, Doctor Horse ran as fast as he could back up to his office. He quickly barricaded himself inside and collapsed on his chair, exhausted from the chaos that had just wrapped up. “I definitely need a drink tonight.” he said to himself. He closed his eyes and started dozing off, his last thoughts before he fell asleep being what life was like just a few years ago. Things were so much simpler before Princess Twilight moved to Ponyville...
Starshadow couldn’t help but smile as she saw a familiar barn appear in front of her, and as the trio walked towards the Apple household the shrill cry of a certain trio of fillies rang out.
“Starshadow’s back! Starshadow’s back!”
The sound of the three fillies stampeding towards them caused Starshadow and company to pause, but before the small mares could reach their target they found themselves pulled back by Applejack, who had managed to round them up with her expertly tossed rope.
“Hey!” little Apple Bloom said in surprise as she was pulled back. However, there was good reason for Applejack to stop her sister and her two friends.
Big Mac was coming full speed.
Having heard his lover’s name being called out, Big Mac came thundering down the stairs and rushing out of the house to see if his guess was correct. His heart skipped a beat when he saw his beautiful special somepony walking towards him, causing him to lose sight of everything else except her.
“Oh boy...” Starshadow said as she saw the hulking red stallion rushing towards her. Looking beside her, she saw that Twilight had quickly retreated and had pulled Sunset Flash aside as well, leaving her alone out in the open. Looking back at Big Mac, she winced as he leapt forward, his two front hooves stretched out...
Bracing for the inevitable impact, Starshadow was surprised when a pair of hooves softly embraced her and pulled her tightly against her mate. However, the soft embrace was quickly followed by a sudden torrent of wet kisses from the big red stallion.
“H-hey! Cut it out! You saw me just last night!” Starshadow said with mock indignation, trying to suppress her laughter as Big Mac kissed her all over.
The other ponies could only grin at the show of affection except for the Cutie Mark Crusaders who made faces of disgust. “Well, At least he ain’t callin’ her ‘Schmoopy Doo’.” Apple Bloom sighed.
Applejack could only grin as she saw how happy her older brother was and couldn’t wait to reveal a surprise for Starshadow. “Hey Big Mac, try not ta’ smother her ‘fore she can say hi ta’ her other visitor.” she called out.
Wondering what Applejack was talking about, Starshadow managed to eventually glance over to the front porch where another pony had emerged from the house. Somepony Starshadow had been desperate to see...
It took Applejack a while to pry Starshadow free of Big Mac’s grip, but eventually everypony made their way into the main house to talk and catch up. Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, and Fluttershy all stopped by briefly to welcome Starshadow home and Sunset Flash to Ponyville, though nopony was able to convince Pinkie Pie that Sunset wasn’t the long lost twin of some other pony she was somehow certain that they would meet soon.
By the time everypony had left for the night, Luna’s moon was already high in the dark night sky. Sunset, surprisingly, had managed to not cause a scene after meeting Big Mac, though the red stallion had been somewhat perturbed by having another mare calling him “Master” and his special somepony “Mistress”. Starshadow made a mental note to make it up to him later. She was somewhat surprised that Sunset had gotten along so well with the three young Cutie Mark Crusaders, though on more than one occasion she had had to step in before the older mare said or did something inappropriate to the intensely curious trio... In the end though, Sunset had been overwhelmed from meeting so many new faces and had went to bed earlier than anypony else, retiring to Apple Bloom’s room which currently housed Starsong while the filly shared a bed with her sister.
Starshadow was more than happy to retire to the bed she had missed for so long, and of course Big Mac joined her, though he was still hesitant to be intimate since his special somepony had just been released from the hospital that day. There was also the matter that Sunset and Starsong were asleep in the room next door and Big Mac didn’t want to wake either of them with the sounds of a certain activity.
“Aww, come on, please? I need this.” Starshadow whined in desperation, her tail softly grazing Big Mac’s crotch.
Big Mac bit his lower lip as his flaccid cock twitched slightly at her touch and the scent of her arousal that carried up to his nose from the movement, but he remained firm on his stance and shook his head. “Nnope.”
Starshadow sighed and turned away from him, feigning insult. She immediately felt her stallion wrap his hooves around her small body, holding her tightly and kiss her on the cheek. She couldn’t help but smile at his affection and relaxed in his embrace. “Fine, you win for now. But you owe me big time.” she reminded him, unable to help but fantasize of how roughly she would have him ravage her.
Big Mac nodded, imagining the same thing and being unable to help being slightly anxious for that moment to come. He had never imagined he could be so rough with such a small mare, but he was starting to enjoy his dominant role with her. However, he was still happy that Starshadow hadn’t pressured him into taking her tonight. He too was desperate to be intimate with his special somepony, but now was not the time. Not with two important ponies sleeping peacefully next door.
Well, he thought they were sleeping peacefully next door...
It started off as a nightmare; a memory of a time Starsong thought she had left behind long ago.
“S-Starshadow, no. S-s-stop ittt...!”
Starsong tried her hardest to push her sister’s head away from her crotch, the pleasurable feeling of her sister’s tongue on her own pussy not enough to override the horrible feeling of guilt.
Starshadow had made progress; she finally began to recognize Starsong as her sister rather than her mistress, and she was able to move around her own. She had been overwhelmed when her love for her older sister resurfaced and resolved to express it to her in the only way she knew how to anymore...
“No more! I said no!” Starsong tried to plead again, not wanting to scare her sister but knowing all too well she had to put her hoof down. Starsong knew helping her sister recover from... from whatever those monsters had done to her poor younger sister would take time, but this was too much. Starshadow continued passionately licking her sister’s pussy, slowly moving to her swelling clit, then puckering her lips to suck directly on the extremely sensitive button...
Starsong’s eyes flew open as she sat up wide awake, gasping for breath as she took in her surroundings. She breathed a sigh of relief as she found herself not in her lonely apartment, but instead in the warmly decorated room of her sister’s special somepony’s youngest sister. “Apple Bloom’s room.” she said quietly to reassure herself.
Hearing some slight shuffling next to her, Starsong looked over at the still form of the injured pegasus sleeping quietly next to her. ‘Good, I didn’t wake her up. Poor thing...’ Starsong thought as she looked down at Sunset Flash. Careful not to disturb her, Starsong settled back down into bed and closed her eyes to try to fall back asleep.
‘I hate those dreams. It felt so real this time...’ Starsong thought as her hoof brushed the inside of her thigh. She shivered as she felt a familiar wetness down there and memories of Starshadow trying to eat her out flooded her mind. ‘No... I’m not a filly fooler.’
Starsong sighed heavily as she thought back to that afternoon. Starshadow had told her about Sunset and how the mare had been through the same life she and Silver Veil had rescued her from. Watching the way she had been acting around Starshadow and Big Mac, it was plain to see that it was just as her sister had told her. It broke Starsong’s heart to think of another filly going through that for so long and before Starshadow could even get the question out, Starsong had volunteered to help rehabilitate her. But with the task looming over her head she couldn’t help but think back on all the trials she had gone through with her younger sister all those years ago...
Starsong’s thoughts were interrupted when she felt something shifting next to her. She figured it was just the mare next to her tossing in her sleep and resolved to ignore it and get back to sleep herself until she heard a small giggle. She blearily cracked an eye open before her eyes flew wide open in shock when she saw Sunset staring back at her with a troubling smile, broken only when she licked away a trickle of... something... from the corner of her mouth.
“You taste different than Mistress.” Sunset said matter-of-factly before licking her lips once more. “But it’s still delicious.”
While Starsong was stunned and at a loss for words, Sunset quickly wriggled back underneath the sheets with practiced ease and made her way back down to Starsong’s still slick crotch. She quickly resumed her oral ministrations and Starsong’s voice caught in her throat as the pattern Sunset was using was strangely similar to the shameful wet dream she had been having. In fact, it was identical...
“Oh Celestia... that was you, wasn’t it?” Starsong gasped as she realized that her dream wasn’t all her imagination. Sunset didn’t respond verbally but instead repeated her tongue work from earlier, confirming Starsong’s suspicions. The uncomfortable unicorn had to admit that Sunset was definitely more ‘skilled’ than her sister had been back then, but there was no way she could allow this to continue if she wanted to help Sunset. She hadn’t tolerated this kind of activity with Starshadow, and she couldn’t tolerate it now.
“S-stop, get off-” Starsong began to shout as she wound back one of her hind legs. However, she quickly covered her mouth and froze her leg in place as she remembered that not only were there several innocently sleeping ponies in the rooms right next door, but Sunset still had devastatingly permanent injuries. There was no way Starsong would be able to live with herself if she made things worse, let alone injuring anypony, causing her to slowly let her hind leg fall back down. “Please, stop...” she instead pleaded softly.
Starsong breathed a sigh of relief as Sunset slowly stopped and looked up in curiosity. “But... doesn’t Mistress’s sister want to feel good, too?” she said, cocking her head to one side. “I thought Mistress’s sister liked what Mistress’s pet was doing. Am I... am I not good enough?”
The look in Sunset Flash’s eyes and the despair in her voice were sad enough to melt even a windigo’s heart. Starsong was torn, completely at a loss as to what to do. She couldn’t let this act continue, but she couldn’t bear to disappoint Sunset like this either... She knew that Sunset was desperate to please the ponies she saw as her new Masters (though she was a little confused at her calling Starshadow ‘Mistress’) and knew from experience how damaging it would be to reject her now... and she had looked so happy before she had been told to stop. “I... it’s not...” Starsong stammered.
Sunset smiled slightly and let out a giggle. “You’re just like Mistress.” she commented. “But she changed her mind once she felt what I can do. You will too, you’ll see.”
Before Starsong could ask what Sunset meant by that, the fiery maned pegasus began eating out the confused unicorn with renewed vigor, determined to show Starsong the pleasures her tongue could provide. Starsong had no choice but to try to endure the ‘torture’ and quickly bit down on the corner of her pillow to stop from crying out.
Feeling her partner’s body begin to tremble and writhe, Sunset Flash decided to show Starsong just how amazing being eaten out could really be. She once again placed her lips directly over Starsong’s engorged clit and began sucking lightly while flicking it with her tongue. Despite the gentleness, the intensity of the sensations to Starsong’s inexperienced body caused her to immediately seize up as her orgasm washed over her.
The climax, being one of the first in her whole life, crashed over Starsong without mercy “Oh Luna! Aaaaahh!” she screamed out as her body convulsed, no longer under her control. Through it all that wonderful, tortuous feeling on her swollen nub never ceased and somehow seemed to get even more intense... Starsong let out another shriek, her voice jumping nearly a full octave, as her second orgasm seamlessly blended into and then completely overwhelmed her first. Her mind was unable to form a single comprehensible thought as she slipped further and further into the delightful abyss.
Sunset expertly kept Starsong’s lower half pinned down securely, retaining her light suction over the sensitive button. Elated that she had brought her partner to two such quick, messy orgasms, Sunset let a hoof wander up Starsong’s backside towards her tailhole. She began to prod the tightly puckered hole gently, knowing all too well that forcing her hoof inside would be disastrous, but playing with it would most likely yield some pleasure for Starsong.
Sunset was right; as soon as the hoof began touching Starsong’s butthole, she began squirming in additional pleasure. Under normal circumstances she would find anypony touching her there absolutely repulsive and unwanted, but in her current state of mind she liked the touch. She loved it. She felt the pressure on her tailhole increase and her puckered hole relaxing ever so slightly as a third climax began to overtake her.
Not wanting to completely exhaust her mistress’s sister, Sunset eventually relented from her oral assault, lightly nipping Starsong’s painfully sensitive clit one last time before turning her attention to the marecum now steadily flowing from the unicorn’s wildly spasming slit. Once Starsong finally came down from her final orgasm and collapsed in utter exhaustion, Sunset sat up to survey her work. Sunset smiled as she saw Starsong had absolutely drenched the bed beneath them as well as her muzzle. The unicorn was gasping for air below her and unable to do anything else. “Sunset’s a good pet.” she said softly to herself before moving to clean herself up.
As Starsong’s rationality began to slowly come back to her she felt Sunset Flash lay back down next to her, cuddling up against her intimately and breathing softly against her neck, and in mere moments was fast asleep. Starsong, as exhausted as she now was, didn’t have the strength to extricate herself from the pegasus’s hooves. After a few minutes she finally gave up.
The unicorn had more important things on her mind now anyway. It had been so easy to refuse Starshadow’s advances so many years ago since it was her own sister, but after what she had just done with Sunset, she was thoroughly confused by the emotions and feelings going through her head. It took almost a whole hour for Starsong to finally drift off to sleep after deciding that a talk with Starshadow may help greatly, not to mention this was probably a one-time thing.
Starshadow prodded Big Mac in his side in annoyance. “See? They’re not worried about being quiet.” she said while pouting.
Big Mac sighed. There was no denying what was going on in the room next door, though he was still shocked that Starsong would indulge in such activities with another mare. In a thousand years he’d never guess she was a filly fooler.
Starshadow too would likely have been surprised at overhearing what was almost certainly Sunset Flash having her way with her older sister, who had been so steadfast with her, but she was now far too horny to spare a thought as to what was actually happening in the next room. And besides, it seemed she wasn’t the only one getting excited from overhearing the demure unicorn’s unabashed cries of ecstasy...
Starshadow caught her special somepony’s attention again by beginning to stroke his almost rock hard shaft with her hoof. “Oh? Is somepony getting turned on thinking about my sister?” she said teasingly. “Well, you’ll just have to settle for me and my tiny little foalhole. But it’s already so wet for you...” To drive the point home, she turned to show off her practically drooling slit, letting her tail bring the intoxicating scent of her arousal to him.
Unable to take anymore, Big Mac grunted his consent. “Fine... jus’ don’t be too loud.” he cautioned, knowing Applejack and Apple Bloom were also close by.
Starshadow didn’t waste any time and quickly mounted her lover, her soaked slit easily parting as the tip of his cock began penetrating her. “Guess you’ll have to muffle my voice, love. Don’t you dare be gentle with me.” she said before slamming her hips down and taking him as far as her little body could.
Big Mac quickly covered Starshadow’s mouth as she let out a primal growl of satisfaction but couldn’t help letting out a moan of his own. It had been ages since he had felt her tight body wrapped around his like this and he savored every second of it. Still, he hoped he could satisfy her lust quickly and quietly, but deep down he knew he was in for a long night...