My Little Mages: After Effects

by dracone

First published

It's been a few weeks since Twilight moved to town and everyone is adjusting and preparing for changes

After Twilight Sparkle moved to Magiville it took her a few weeks to make everything feel just the way she wanted it to, now it's been a few weeks and she's getting ready to make some preparations with her friends.


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It was a few weeks after the events of Nightmare Moon returning, Twilight and her Magiville friends were settling in at a table at Sweet Apple Temple. She had something she felt was important to discuss, but she felt it best to lead up to that conversation with other matters her friends liked to concern themselves with, even if she herself didn't think those issues were very important her friends did. She felt it best to ease into what she wanted to discuss, especially with how she planned to go about it.

After everyone was seated at the table just outside the Temple that was ringed by a just about every kind of apple tree there was, with Spike gazing with infatuated eyes at the white clad enchantress known as Rarity and Pinkie Pie choosing to sit on an overly large circus ball next the table, Twilight said, “How are things, girls? What have you been up to the past few days? Spike and I have been making sure everything we had moved down here is in place at the library.”

“We noticed, darling,” said Rarity, “I've been working on some new outfits that were inspired by the events as of late.”

“Apple Bloom tol' tha family tha' this year the school will be applying the Class Specialization Identifier Test,” said Applejack.

“Is it really that time of the schooling session already? I remember when I took the test back in primary school,” said Twilight, “they practically threw me at the doors for applying to Celestia's School of Arcane Arts.”

“Your instructors,” said Rainbow with a snicker.

“My parents,” said Twilight flatly, “while saying they already had submitted my application, I hatched Spike at the entrance exam,” she gave a sheepish grin.

“Did ya ruin tha room or somethin' doin' et?” Said Applejack.

“Uh, no, I did a bit more than just hatch Spike,” said Twilight, “I'll tell you girls the whole story later, to be honest with you it's a little embarrassing, but it did lead Archmage Celestia to decide that I should be her personal student.”

“That reminds me,” said Rarity, “my parents will be heading out of town for business reasons for most of this coming school year, so my little sister will be staying with me,” she turned to Applejack, “I hope that Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom can be good friends, my parents insisted she be home schooled up 'til now, I have no idea why.”

“Maybe thae jus' wanted ta 'ave more time wid 'er,” said Applejack, “seeing as thay don't seem ta understand ya mos' o' tha time.”

“Perhaps,” said Rarity, “but just in time for class certification, that seems a little too well timed.”

“That may be,” said Twilight, “but she'll probably do fine, especially if there's someone there to stick up for her. I know they call it a test, but it's more like standing in a magic ring for a few minutes to tell you what your best suited for specializing at.”

“Yeah, I remember that, it was fun,” giggled Pinkie, “mine was all tingly feeling and wouldn't stop flipping between two different class icons.”

Twilight arched an eyebrow before saying, “Pinkie it doesn't do icons, it writes out the class name for everybody to see, if you were getting icons then that means you were being exposed to a different magic identification spell than is used for saying what your specialization is usually to say what is intended to be.”

“It's just Pinkie being Pinkie,” said Rainbow, “I was so stoked when the test said I was intended to be an elementalist.”

“Um, my test took a while to identify me,” said Fluttershy, “it usually has someone pegged in around two minutes, mine had me standing there for almost a half hour before it said I was best suited to be a druid.”

“Yeah, well Cumula is kinda like that,” said Rainbow lazily, “every now and then the circle takes a bit longer to identify what you're best suited for.”

“Don't you have mages maintaining it on a regular basis?” Inquired Twilight.

“Mages stopped maintaining it when my grandma and Shy's were little,” said Rainbow, “haven't returned to doing it since, no explanation whatsoever.”

“That sounds like somebody's not doing their job right,” said Twilight, “I'll get a note to Chantalot later to have somebody look into it thoroughly, a matter like this is serious.”

“Thanks, Twi,” said Applejack, “but we don't have one o' those rings 'ere, every time et's tha' time o' tha year the whole school makes a trek ta Chantalot, thare's a ring we use righ' et tha edge o' tha city.”

“I know the ring you're talking about,” said Twilight, “it's one of many, we use it for overflow in the city, if you want I could arrange for the class to have their specializations identified at the main ring, I've actually been mulling over something and getting more than one thing out of the way at the same time is very efficient.”

“You would do that for the children here? That's very generous of you,” said Rarity.

“There are no guarantees,” said Twilight, “but Archmage Celestia always does like putting names to faces of those she likes to refer to as the next hope for Mystika,” she readjusted the horn shaped focusing crystal on her head, mostly because it felt a little off.

“Will we be joining in the trip?” Asked Fluttershy.

“Yes,” said Twilight, “that other thing I was thinking about was going shopping for some new equipment with you girls, I'll show all the best places to get some things and you decide what is you want to buy there.”

“That sounds simply marvelous, Twilight,” said Rarity, “I've been meaning upgrade my look, but every design I've thought of so far just doesn't seem to work.”

“When's the school year start here?” Inquired Twilight.

“Nex' Monday,” said Applejack, “Bloom's not lookin' forward ta et, worryin' all 'bout 'ow she might not end up like the rest o' tha family in terms o' profession. Little known fact, mah cousin Apple Chiller, ya didn't meet 'im on account 'e lives way out near tha boarder in tha desert, ain't uh holy type like tha res' o' tha family, 'e kinda freaked out abou' et fer uh few days when 'e found out 'e wasn't suited fer uh holy life.”

“What the test say about him? That he was fated to be an awesome geomancer or elementalist,” said Rainbow Dash with giggle, which was mirrored by Pinkie Pie.

“Nope, Battle Alchemist,” said Applejack, “runs a nice little tavern 'e calls the Desert Apple, almost nobody goes out to Wild Point anymore, used ta be tha premier adventurin' startin' point fer some o' tha greats way back when Ah hear.”

“You're right about that,” said Twilight, “Starswirl the Great spent some time down there, wanted to know why the place seemed to only be a monster magnet when new people rolled into town, and always seemed to be just the right challenge level the newcomers too, never found out, but he did learn that people there were just as confused as he was on the matter.”

“When does her school administer the test? In Chantalot it's the third month of the school year,” said Twilight.

“Fourth month here, darling,” said Rarity.

“Alright, I'll get the letters ready to send, and when it's the week before the event.”

“Okie, Dokie, Loki,” said Pinkie, “I'll make sure to do that.”

“Thanks,” said Twilight, “also, in Chantalot ceremonies they give everybody a starter package when they have their roles identified, I'll see about everyone in classes here getting the same treatment, then they can begin preparations right for when their classes end in primary school.”

“Oh, that's lovely,” said Rarity.

“So, uh, what do these 'starter packages' consist of?” Said Rainbow.

“The usual,” said Twilight, “a basic beginners outfit, a standard starter weapon, and a list of academic facilities that teach the basics of their class. If any of the kids are really lucky one of those academies could offer them a scholarship.”

“That's cool,” said Rainbow, “so, where's the best places to learn awesome elemental magic?”

“That would be the Storm Academy in Cumula," said Twilight.

Rainbow gave a fist pump while saying, “Aw Yeah, that's where I took my lessons!”

“You do realize locals have lower fees to pay than visiting students, Right?” Said Twilight.

“So, where's tha best place fer learnin' holy magic stuff?” Inquired Applejack.

“The Church of Our Divine Lady in Chantalot is the official place for clerics and paladins to learn, although it's more of fusion of a monastery and cathedral...”

“Twi, yer over explaining things,” cut in Rainbow Dash.

“Um,” said Fluttershy, “where is the best place to learn druidic magic?”

“The Forest Academy in the town of Woodland Guard, they also train Rangers there.”

“Where did ya learn all yer magic stuff?” Came Apple Bloom's voice.

“Well first I started learning at Celestia's School for Gifted Mages,” said Twilight completely oblivious to who asked her, “but I soon was pulled from the basic classes because Archmage Celestia was there for my entrance exam and... When did you get here Apple Bloom? I thought you were out helping your brother with the produce.”

“Somethin' came up, Filthy Rich came by to talk business and Mac sent me home."

Twilight raised a brow, and said, “Sorry if I sound ignorant, but who's Filthy Rich?”

“A big shot Merchant that settled down in these parts,” said Rainbow nonchalantly, “he's got a lot of money, and likes to show it, word has it he owns a piece of every business all over the country.”

“We keep tellin' 'im that tha Orchards are part o' tha church grounds, and as such aren't up ta tha kind o' trade rules 'e mite be used ta,” said Applejack, “he also enrolled his daughter, Diamond Tiara, in tha public school uh while back.”

“She can be pretty mean,” said Apple Bloom, “she treats the other kids like thay're o' lower imp'rtance ta 'er jus' 'cause 'er daddy buys her anythang she wants. Ah'm lucky she ain't turned 'er attention ta me yet. Won't bay long though, 'er only friend, a girl named Silver Spoon, is just like 'er an' they've made a point ta lower tha self-esteem o' tha entire class. Well, if ya nee' me Ah'll bay en tha barn.” With that she ran towards a barn on the outskirts of the fields that looked like it was getting close to needing to be replaced.”

“Bloom likes ta tinker wid stuff,” said Applejack with a chuckle, “make some contraptions too, she ain't made anythang fancy, but she 'as made some stuff that makes work around 'ere a little easier.”

“Really,” said Twilight as she tapped her chin in thought, “I think I could venture a guess what Apple Bloom could be identified as, but I guess we can make it a surprise for her in case she has some method of listening in on us, anyone heard news on potential new arrivals.”

“Nah,” said Rainbow Dash, “all the kids that'll be here for classes are.”

“Okay then, catch you girls later,” said Twilight, “I have some notes to compose and send off,” with that she got up and gave the others a wave, the rest dispersed shortly after that.

Friends Meeting for the First Time

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The time had come for the first day of school and Apple Bloom was not happy, she was deliberately doing everything slow in hopes that somebody would just consider the level of lethargy so great that she could skip the day, no such luck when it came to her family. Granny Smith practically forced the apple-mash oatmeal down Apple Bloom's throat and the poor girl nearly choked on the five glasses apple juice that followed. Her brother literally carried her to the washroom where her sister attacked Bloom's uncleanness with the ferocity that she'd heard Granny Smith had at Applejack's age. Once Apple Bloom washed, a good forty minutes faster and earlier than she would normally be on a school day, and dressed in her usual yellow shirt and blue overalls with an Apple insignia emblazoned on the chest, her messy red hair cleaned in addition to her nearly trademark pink bow set to adorn her head, clean stocking on her feet before a cleaned pair of the machiner's boots she was fond of on, and her green backpack with an apple insignia upon thrown on her back, with all the basic materials for a standard school day she was half dragged and half carried by Applejack all the way to the schoolhouse.

“You too,” came the elegant voice of Rarity, the red and bronze clad blond turned to see the white clad violet haired enchantress floating a young girl clad in white with pink and purple swirling two-toned hair in a small cage of the enchantress's levitation crystals, “it was an absolute disaster getting her ready for all this, good thing I had us start a preparations for getting here a good 2 hours early today.”

“Tha whole family jus' got done gettin' Apple Bloom ready, she was tryin' ta drag everythang out, so we jus' rushed 'er tha old fashion way.” Both girls were still squirming and giving their sisters death glares during the entire exchange.

“Why do I have go to this place, I was doing fine at home,” squeaked the two-tone haired girl in the floating cage.

“Do ya know what kind o' projects Ah could be workin' on instead o' goin' ta this waste o' time,” drawled Apple Bloom, “Basides tha schoolhouse doesn't open fer another hour and a half, we're earlier than everybody else today.”

“Tha early bird gets tha worm, as tha sayin' goes,” said Applejack.

“While I'm all for being fashionably late,” said Rarity with flick of her curly violet hair, “sometimes being early does wonders for you, it gives you time to work on things you concerning the place you go that you didn't consider 'til you got there.”

The two girls just stared at their respective sisters with intensified death glares. The two were put next each other as the holds their respective sisters had on them were released. They just huffed and sat down on the ground cross legged with angry faces on.

“Sweetie Belle, you're doing two very rude things. One you didn't bother to introduce yourself and two, which is a far greater crime, you're ruining the dress I worked on for months just so you could make a good impression during class introductions.”

At the same time Applejack said, “Apple Bloom, ya need ta bae more courteous, intraduce yerself.”

Sweetie rolled her eyes with disinterests and held out her hand saying in a uninterested monotone, “I'm Sweetie Belle, nice to meet you.”

Applele Bloom shook her hand with same level of disinterest as she said in her own uninterested tone, “Apple Bloom, et's a pleasure ms Belle.”

This earned a genuine laugh from Sweetie, who's laughter really did sound like a crystal bell, and a few giggles and snickers as she said, “You make me sound like some old lady, I'm the same age as you.”

With the tension broken Apple Bloom gave chuckle of her own and and said, “Sorry, et's bit o' uh force o' habit.”

“Gain way,” came a voice from up above, the two women took a few steps back and a young orange clad, purple haired skyborn girl with slightly tanned skin crashed between the young earthborn girl and young magicborn girl. “Sorry,” said the girl, “something always throws off my flying ability, I'm told I'll probably grow out of it,” she looked at the confused faces of the girls next her and said, “hi there,” holding out hands to both of them, “I'm Scootaloo.”

The other two snapped out their trances and Apple Bloom said, “Classes haven't even started yet and already weird stuff is happenin', Ah just intraduced mahself ta her,” she gestured to Sweetie Belle, “Ya can wait 'til we intraduce ta tha class proper-like, which is in about an hour an' uh half by mah count.”

“Why are we so early?” Whined Sweetie Belle.

“To ensure you're don't miss anything,” said Rarity with a huff as she pulled her alabaster colored gloves from her hip pouch and pulled them on with a graceful flair.

“She's right ya know,” drawled Applejack, “tha new announcements o' tha year always seem ta come yer firs' day at tha school.”

The magicborn and earthborn girls grumbled a bit while the newly situated skyborn girl beamed with excitement. “What's yer malfunction?” Said Apple Bloom, “Yer 'ere way ta early ta look tha' chipper.”

“I just finished moving here last week,” said Scootaloo with excitement, “this will be my first time learning in place like this.”

Rarity and Applejack held back their own giggles, this unexpected new arrival was a welcome counterpoint to the dour moods of both their sisters. “Yer serious? We go' only one instructor 'ere,” said Apple Bloom, “she's a scholar named Cheerilee, where ya both come from.”

My mom and dad home schooled me up 'til now,” said Sweetie Belle, “but they said something required their undivided attention and decided to drop me into classes here.”

“I moved here from Cumula,” said Scootaloo, “my parents said it would be better fit for me here. You see,” she got a little dour herself, “I haven't been able to fly well for some time time now, I keep getting teased by everybody back there,” she perked up again, “but here I don't have to worry about something like that.”

For some reason two found the bubbly nature of their unexpected third member somewhat infectious. Before they knew it Cheerilee showed up to open up the schoolhouse, the Cerise clad woman pleasantly surprised to see the three girls outside the building. She unlocked the door and ushered them them in before turning and bowing respectfully to the two women. After giving the school teacher a courteous wave the two departed for there other duties.

After telling the girls they could take any seat they wanted Cheerilee headed to the board and wrote her name on the board, which she then bordered with a depiction smiling flowers. All her prior students knew this as her personal sign, an insignia that let everyone know it was the real her, to the class newbies it just looked like an odd quirk.

After a few minutes the rest of the class filed in and all the seats, save one (usually it was three), were filled. “Good morning class,” said Cheerily with a cheery voice, “I'm miss Cheerilee, your teacher here, for those of you that are new to the school here. We'll go through with everybody introducing their names and giving a short statement about themselves,” she gestured to the front desks nearest the door, where the three earliest students were sitting.”

Apple Bloom gave a sigh and said, “Ah'm Apple Bloom, and Ah live et tha Sweet Apple Temple wid mos' o' mah family.”

Sweetie Belle squeaked when she realized she was next, “I'm Sweetie Belle, I've been taking academic courses at home before today.”

Scootaloo practically jumped at the opportunity when her turn came, “I'm Scootaloo, I moved here from Cumula a few weeks ago.”

The rest of the class did introductions, the last two were Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon. They obviously were under the impression that you should save the best for last, and certainly thought way about themselves.

“I'm Diamond Tiara,” said Diamond with self-importance saturating her voice, “and my family has ownership of most of your businesses,” she shot Apple Bloom a death glare, Bloom just smirked at the pink clad girl in a fancy outfit.

“I'm Silver Spoon,” said Silver Spoon with a tone that indicated her belief she was above them all, “and my family owns most of the silver goods production facilities in the nation.”

“Now that you've all made introductions, it's time for your first class project,” the whole class groaned, with the exception of Schootaloo and Sweetie Belle, at this. “You'll break up into groups, they can be as small as two and as large as six. You're project is to take a look at your partners and write a summary of what kind of mage they'll be identified as when we go for identification ritual this year, it'll be due in two months and will run along with the rest of your classwork. Your first task is to come up with a name for your group, after you've decided write the group's name down and your names under the group's name, while you're doing that I'll read off some announcements for this year. Now everybody pick your groups,” she clapped her hands and left the kids to work amongst themselves, after ten minutes she would be reading off the announcements.

“Sweetie, Bloom,” said Scootaloo, “can we be a group?”

“Ah suppose,” said Apple Bloom, “as long as ya pull yer own weight, “mah last five groups Ah was tha one doing mos' o' tha work,” she huffed, “Las' time Ah do anythang wid those snobs.”

“Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon?” Squeaked Sweetie Belle, “They don't seem very intent on working with others. Probably gonna pair up and put almost no effort into it.”

“An' abou' half tha res' o' tha class,” Apple Bloom drawled, “ta them the expression 'grew up in uh orchard' translates ta 'tha one tha' doesn't mind all tha 'eavy lifin' fer tha project'. Ah swear, tha class gets lazier every year!”

“Well now that we have our group together what do ya a think we should call ourselves?”

“Let's do that somewhere we can't be heard by everybody,” said Sweetie Belle.

“Ah know jus' tha place,” said Apple Bloom jumping up, and noticing how the rest of the class looked like clusters near the middle and back of the classroom, “folla me,” she gestured for them to come with her. The girls walked across the room towards the teacher's desk, After Sweetie had grabbed some papers and writing utensils. Looking around once they got to the chalkboard Apple Bloom removed a loose board to the bottom right of the board after checking that nobody was watching them.

The girls slipped through to a room that looked like it hadn't been cleaned in decades, but somehow had very little dust at the same time. Apple Bloom carefully closed the 'door' behind her as she entered the room. “Nice, ain't et? Ah found et bah accident durin' tha time uh mandatory conference wid mah family was goin' on. Don't know why et's 'ere, but et's uh good place ta hammer out our ideas.”

“We could call ourselves the the 'Future Adventure League' that sounds cool,” said Sootaloo.

“Nuh uh,” said Sweetie Belle, “chances are most of the boys will be trying for that one, we need a name that says who we are and what we want to do with ourselves.”

“Tha' is uh good point,” said Apple Bloom, “et's almost like we're on uh crusade ta find out who we are.”

“As long as we don't have a name that sounds overly pretentious or cutesie I'm fine with it,” said Scootaloo, “I wanna be cool, and being attached to a group with lame name might hurt my chances at that.”

“That's it!” Squeaked Sweetie Belle, who then furious scribbled something on one of the pieces of paper and held it up for the other two to read.

“Cutie Mage Crusaders,” read Apple Bloom and Scootaloo in unison.

“Ah like et,” said Apple Bloom, “et's simple an' straight ta tha point,” she took one of the spare writing utensils and wrote her name under it.

“It's not embarrassing sounding, so I'm in,” said Scootaloo picking up a writing impliment and signing her name.

Sweetie beamed as she put her name on the page and carefully rolled up the scroll in a way that nothing smudged. The girls returned from the secret room and were happy to see nobody was watching where they were.

“Miss Cheerilee,” said Sweetie Belle.

Cheerilee looked over at the three, “Oh girls, I was just getting ready for giving everyone this year's announcements.”

“We already finished,” the three said in unison as Sweetie handed the scroll to Cheerlie.

“Well, color me impressed,” said Cheerilee, “you're the first group to turn in the assignment.”

Sweetie and Scootaloo cocked their eyebrows with a bit of surprise, Apple Bloom just giggled and pointed to Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, it turned out the rich girls had been spending most of their time trying to decide the right quill and flashy ink to use for the assignment. The rest of the class groups seemed to be arguing over things less arbitrary, Scootaloo caught a few of the boys saying how they wanted their group name to be a sports reference only to find out their partners didn't have the same kind of interest in sports as them, she snickered at this.

“Settle down everybody,” said Cheerilee, “with the return of Princess Luna this past summer we'll be getting updated updated history books in the next few months,” half the class groaned, “also I have been informed that somebody is working on making our Class Identification ceremony a bit more memorable, talks are still going on, but if successful the whole class should have an experience as enjoyable as it is memorable. Also the Golden Oak library is now open for business for those of you who haven't heard yet, our new librarian is from Chantalot and is very eager to learn more about our fair town. Also, if you see a small purple and green lizard it probably belongs to our new librarian, she's an Arcane Mage and would very much appreciate you not attempting to remove or harm her familiar. One more note here,” she took a look at the notes on her desk, which coincidently also had the turned in CMC paper, “you will not be leaving this building until you're first assignment is turned in, it's short day and after you have turned it in you are free to do whatever you wish for the rest of the day. We'll be having normal school hours the moment the sun is up tomorrow.” The rest of the class groaned as Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo skipped out of the building.

“First thing's first,” said Sweetie, “we see if my sister can get us some group signifiers to tell everyone who we are.”

“Sounds good ta me,” said Apple Bloom, “once that's done we can ask mah sister if she knows any good places ta hold our meetin's.”

“Aw yeah,” said Scootaloo putting her hand out, “say it with me girls.”

“We are the Cutie Mage Crusaders, yay!” Yelled the girls after they brought their hands together and thew them up when got to the last word. With that they made their way to see Rarity.

Finding a New Routine

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Twilight kept looking around the library, she was practically panicking over her inability to find her quarry. “Spike,” she yelled so loud it practically reverberated within the living hollowed out tree that was the town library and her home, “have you seen the copy of 'Cooking Basics for All Ages'?” Only Twilight would freak out over a missing book to such an extent, or at least that's what everybody who knew her would say.

Spike, her familiar who also happened to be a violet and green colored baby dragon that looked more like an iguana with a hint of tuatara to it, shot back over his magical link with her, Three things Twilight! One, it's four in the freaking morning, Celestia won't raise the sun for another hour and half! Two, I'm a baby dragon, that means I need sleep more than you need to keep a literary inventory! And three, Sweetie Belle checked that book out two days ago, she's not expected to return it for another nine days, YOU even wrote it down in the library's log because you were the one who personally oversaw her checkout.

“Oh, right,” said Twilight in a more reasonable tone, the slightly dark skinned magicborn girl with pink and indigo stripes in her black hair said with a hint of embarrassment, “sorry for waking you Spike, you can go back to sleep,” she was met with silence. Spike's statement made her realize just how 'late' she was up, she was thankful that she didn't have any real obligations to the town for the time being. She had sent off her letter to Archmage Celestia just the other day, she knew it was going to be some time for the request to be processed, thankfully she had been told it would be a few months before an event in question was to occur. As for why Sweetie Belle had asked to borrow a book on cooking, Twilight had been told by the young magicborn girl herself that her cooking needed a lot of practice, seeing as the last time she tried to cook she somehow managed to burn water, even with magic mishaps Twilight was confused how that could be possible as a kitchen mishap.

Twilight made her way to her bed, and out of sheer force of habit levitated a sleeping Spike from his basket onto her head as she settled down to sleep. She was awoken several hours later by a hysterical Spike spouting something about giant gems trying to eat him. A very groggy Twilight opened her eyes and saw that the clock on her nightstand read nine in the morning, she was thankful she at least got somewhere around five hours worth of sleepy.

Picking him up with her hand she used her magic to open the bedside table's drawer and brought out a ruby shard, Spike seemed to like those the most, gently she grabbed the floating gem with her free hand and unceremoniously shoved it into the young dragon's mouth. “Now if we're quite done with hallucinations about our favorite treats,” she slid the drawer closed with her magic and used a spell to make it so that Spike couldn't open the drawer of his own accord, “could you kindly tell why you were having a freak out on my face,” said Twilight.

Sweetie Bell came by an hour ago with one of the recipes she tried, her sister didn't want to venture the food so she brought it here, and I figured 'hey, someone's giving me food, I might as well give it a go', biggest mistake of my life.

“What did it look like?”

A burnt ham ball, I was in the midst of eating it when she said something about it being a turkey meat ball, but it tasted like a fish nugget. That's when I stopped eating and hissed at her to leave, she got the hint. Then a few minutes ago I started seeing and hearing things all funny, I guess I was at the worst point when I accidentally woke you up and you snapped me out of it. He licked his lips, you tossed a ruby shard in my mouth, thanks.

Given the events that woke her up she decided to talk to Rarity, and later Sweetie Belle. Heading to take a quick shower, then throwing on one of her clean lavender robes, she only had two left and Spike kept pestering her to do the laundry, after pulling on basic undergarments, also in short supply in regards to being clean, before tossing her hair up so that it fell down as a sort of waterfall across her back and shoulders. After cleaning up she hurried back to her room and opened a secret compartment in her wall by the bed, something she installed to keep Spike from damaging the item it held, and pulled out a golden ring that held large horn shaped piece of amethyst on a leather strap that held an enchantment to look exactly like it was part of her hair and tied it on tight before floating Spike from his sleeping perch on her headboard on to her shoulder before heading downstairs and grabbing her wizard's staff, a simple elegant wooden staff with a pair large amethyst and white opal set of stars magical fused together and the exact same dimensions of each other. While many mages of the years had names for their most treasured and powerful tools and weapons Twilight was still trying find the right name for her staff, all the names she had devised for her most treasured possession just didn't seem to fit or feel right. She also grabbed her shoulder bag, and did a quick check to see if everything was in it, and tossed it on as well.

After checking her staff to see if it had taken damage from accidentally mishandling Twilight breathed a sigh of relief. The staff, which was given to her by Celestia herself only a few years prior, would always remain one of her most treasured possessions, even if she managed to gain ownership of an objectively superior mage tool. Twilight opened the door only to find Rarity heading towards her, with the very book she had been freaking out over a few hours prior.

“Thank goodness you're up, Twilight,” said the white clad enchantress, “Sweetie Belle nearly damaged the kitchen following the instructions in this,” she handed Twilight the book.

“How? It's just basic starter recipes,” said Twilight, “I've used it to great success."

Rarity gave a polite cough and said, “Yes well, Sweetie seems to be a disaster magnet whenever she attempts to cook, last time she tried to make me breakfast it was masses of charcoal vaguely in the shape of the fried eggs and bacon she tried to make me.”

“Spike fell victim to one of her recent attempts,” said Twilight as she gave the young dragon a sympathetic stroke on the head, “he said she tried to make a turkey meatball, but it looked more like a burnt ham ball and tasted like fish, I woke up to him hallucinating about giant crystals trying to eat him, fortunately feeding him one of the gem shards I keep at my bedside for situations that require his cooperation snapped him out of his delusional. I don't think he'll trust anything Sweetie Belle puts in front him for a while.”

“Probably for the best, darling.”

“I actually wanted to talk to you about that, how can she be so bad at basic cooking?”

“I wish I knew.”

“Alright, in case I don't see her I want you to tell Sweetie she's banned from the cooking section until I say otherwise. I just hope cutting her off from certain resources can help to mitigate the damage.”

“With my sister and her new friends it's hard to tell, but at least she's interested in getting out of the a bit more regularly.”

“Nice to hear something good came out of this, I'm going to head on down to Sweet Apple Temple to look into how their wards and runes are holding up, an outside look at their protection magics wouldn't hurt.” She put the book in her bag.

“I know they'd appreciate the help,” said Rarity as she left so she could attend to other things.


Twilight's walk to the temple was uneventful, aside from Spike finally coming out of his cleansing stupor and freaking out at the fact that he was asleep when Twilight had a chat with Rarity with him right there. In other words, business as usual. As she approached the temple grounds Twilight's violet eyes scanned for the presence of the Apple family. After a few minutes she spotted Big Macintosh, his cleric's robe with his hammer that was easily the height of Applejack, at the entrance to the grounds proper.

“You're on guard duty today, Mac?” Said Twilight

“Eeyup,” said the tall fair skinned earthborn cleric with a farmer's tan.

“May I enter the grounds, good sir,” said Twilight with a gracious bow. Spike facepalmed, it seemed Twilight wouldn't outgrow the formalities that she had been specifically asked to by the Apple family to forgo.

Mac seemed to contemplate her request for a moment before saying, “Yer always welcome ta tha grounds, Twilight. What brings ya 'ere taday?”

“Thought I'd give the wards and runes a look to see how they're really doing, and maybe do some maintenance and enhancements on them a bit. You can never be too careful, when was the last time you had maintenance on the runes and wards?”

Mac scratched his head in thought as Twilight and Spike passed through the barrier to the grounds, “Ah reckon,” said Mac, “Abou' uh year or so befer Ah was born, is that bad?”

“Depends on the quality of the work,” said Twilight as she moved to take a closer look at rune stone near where she entered, “some of the Chantalot wards just need a little work every century or so, while others need to be stripped out entirely and replaced with new spells, it all has to do with the quality of the work. A low powered, high quality spell can often outdo a high powered, low quality spell. You just need to be careful when it comes to that sort of thing, temple wards are not something you want to find shoddy work on,” she took a look at the temple proper. It was entirely made of red sandstone, no bricks of any other kind could be found.

Twilight found it a comforting sort of odd that the temple had been built entirely without fired bricks, she couldn't explain it, but the temple felt as comforting as the tree she had come to call her home. The apple carvings in several of the bricks seemed unnecessary to Twilight, but it was an aesthetic the Apple family decided when the temple had been built over three centuries prior, the town went up nearby a century later.

Twilight reached into her bag and pulled up green, translucent crystal, a standard issue analysis crystal, and peered through it at the rune stone before her. Twilight gave a little gasp before pulling away and saying, “The work on this rune stone has the hallmarks somebody from Archmage Celestia's inner circle three centuries ago, and to make it more amazing the stone has a self-maintenance charm embedded in it, in short it's a work of art that shouldn't be mistreated or mishandled,” she was practically giddy as she said the words, “I'll see about getting some more in depth analysis tools before coming back to study these runes, all your runes are done the same style, right?”

“Eeyup,” said Big Macintosh, when he said it he did his best hide his amusement. The young arcane mage before him just seemed to be really cute when she got excited like this, not that he would ever tell any of his family that, even if the two of them did end up dating. Suddenly the image the two of them sharing a moonlight picnic ran through the large cleric's head and he gave subtle blush he was glad nobody was seeing or noticing. Shaking his head Mac said, “Tha focus fer tha temple barrier is en tha temple proper, Ah'll show ya ta et when yer ready.”

“Thanks so much,” said Twilight with excitement as she pulled her notebook and a fountain pen she had enchanted to always have ink that only would release onto the writing surface its holder designated, and scribbled some notes on the rune stone before her what she had just been told about the others.

“Not uh problem Twi,” said Mac, “jus' give the word an' Ah'll show ya ta tha place.”

After finishing her notes Twilight suddenly realized Spike wasn't her shoulder. While trying to find Spike she she heard three young female voice holler out “Cutie Mage Crusaders, Dragon Hunters!” This was immediately followed by Apple Bloom chasing Spike with a wooden sword raised over her head followed by Scootaloo on her blue scooter with red wheels and Sweetie Belle brought up the rear, all three girls were wearing red capes with the white silhouette of a young mage on a blue shield.

Instead of trying to stop them she decided to let them have their fun for a bit and instead sent a message down her link to Spike, Head into the trees and keep to the dense branches, it'll be harder for them to get at you, once her message was relayed she said, “Girls, if you manage to catch Spike by the time I have to leave remember to bring him to me, I'll give you a 'quest reward' when it's over, but only if you meet the allotted criteria.”

“Okay,” shouted the three in unison.

Gently closing the book, so as to not ruin the still drying ink, and stowing the pen behind her right ear, which once again was an act that seemed a little cute to Big Macintosh, she motioned for the very large cleric to lead the way before throwing her bag back over her shoulder. They made their way inside and were wandering down the red stone passage ways for a few minutes before they bumped into Applejack.

“Howdy Twi,” said Applejack, “Mac given ya tour uh tha temple?”

“Not today AJ,” said Twilight, “maybe I'll ask you for that some other time, right now I'm just checking your rune stones and wards to make sure they don't have any problems, if I find anything I'll send word for for a specialist to come down and fix the problem, your rune stones don't have any problems, and in fact never will from what I observed,” she hugged her notebook to her chest, “they're masterpieces of magical genius that nobody should ever mess with.”

Applejack and Big Mac gave a little chuckle before Applejack said, “We 'ave a policy that if anyone tries ta fool wid tha rune stones they get uh healthy dose o' divine punishment, but et's nice ta 'ear that somebody outside tha family 'as similar opinions. So, Mac's takin' ya ta look over tha barrier focal point?”

“Eeyup,” said said Big Macintosh, while to most his statement sounded the same as always Applejack caught a hint of excitement in his voice.

Applejack decided to put that aside for the time being and said, “So, 'ow much we owe ya fer tha magical checkup, Twi?”

“I would say it's free of charge,” said Twilight, “but I know that won't sit well with you or your family.”

“Eeyup,” said the siblings simultaneously.

“Nice to see we've gotten to know each that well in such a short time,” said Twilight, “so, maybe just a barrel of some of your finest apple juice and couple of apple pies could cover the cost, I'm aware it might be an overcharge or an undercharge, but I was never really all that could at estimating fees for my services.”

The two Apples gave a chuckle before Applejack said, “Twi, don't ever change, yer appraisal o' what we owe ya is fine, and down right practical ta boot.”

“Oh, thank goodness,” said Twilight, “well we've stood around talking long enough, Mac if you would be so kind as to continue guiding me to our destination.”

“Eeyup,” said Big Macintosh.

Applejack fell in step beside Twilight and whispered in the staffed mage's ear, “Ah think he likes ya, he usually takes offense when someone who's not family calls him that.”

Twilight gave a little blush and whispered back, “I've only been here a few weeks, and he's been very courteous. We barely know each each other, although I will admit there is something strangely comforting about this place, almost like it's another home.”

Applejack gave a little chuckle be whispering back with a smirk, “That's usually how et starts.”

“How what starts,” Twilight whispered back with a more furious blush.

Applejack said nothing more and just rushed up ahead, giving her brother a jab with her elbow as she did. A few minutes later Twilight was led into a large open, circle chamber with a very old looking apple tree at its center. Looking around she saw red focusing crystals embedded in the wall and pointed at the tree. Carefully Twilight approached the tree, stopping half way she looked up and saw that there was a massive skylight made of a perfectly clear amplifier crystal, the only other clear version of that type she had encountered was in the Archmage's personal chambers (that was when Celestia had decided to have Twilight take some lessons in the great ruler's private wing of the castle), but this one was seriously larger than the one she had encountered before.

When she got closer to the tree she found that the massive tree had actually grown around a shielding crystal. “When was this tree planted?” Said Twilight with surprise.

“Tha story goes,” said Applejack, “that our family was lookin' ta set down roots somewhere new, it was an old custom ta plant a crystal nex' ta uh tree, somethin' abou' how tha magic in tha crystal helps ta stimulate tha plant's growth.”

“I've heard that theory,” said, “but it's been found that only crystals of certain natural magical compositions can actually do that, every other kind just doesn't work.”

“Well et every place they found themselves campin' et uh large camp site they'd plant an apple seed wid uh crystal o' some kind. They still had half uh bag o' crystals when they dropped tha shield crystal an' uh apple seed. Accordin' ta tha tale uh sprout was up the nex' day an' tha crystal was tha size o' uh wagon, an' that's why tha temple is built 'ere”

“Natural crystal growth with no known stimuli, that's extremely rare, and you have a centuries old sacred tree growing around it, that's even rarer. This place should be a lot more famous, by all accounts it should be one of the major temple sites in the county. The only other temple with a shielding crystal within a tree is the grand temple in Chantalot.”

“Ta be honest wid ya,” said Big Macintosh, “not many 're shown this part o' tha temple.”

“Well then, I'm honored,” said Twilight, “also, as long as the tree stays healthy your barrier should be fine.”

“That's nice ta 'ear,” said Applejack, “but Ah 'ave ta ask, why is tha'?”

“According to the heads of magical research in Chantalot,” said Twilight, “when the plant grows with a magical item embedded in it the power and strength of the spell within the crystal becomes tied to the plant. They know all this because the Archmage's department of magical research spent decades studying different kinds of plants that they intentionally grew in close proximity to crysals, that's also how we know crystals with a certain natural magical composition can stimulate plant growth.”

“That's real fascinatin' Twi,” said Applejack, “but ya kinda over explained uh few thangs ta us, although tha' crystal an' plant growth stuff was a little interesin'.”

“I have a copy of the study back at the library,” said Twilight, “I could make you one if you want, it might help give some ideas on how to keep this tree happier and healthier, the research found that plants that grow with crystals in them sometimes have a few extra needs.”

“Thanks fer tha checkup,” said Applejack as Twilight made her way out.

Once Twilight was about a minute's walk to the entrance to the grounds proper she hollered, “Spike, it's time to go,” more as her warning to the three young mage girls chasing him since she could just as easily send the message down their link. Almost as if he willed a spell himself spike appeared on her head, a bit like he was some sort of unusual hat.

I don't ever want to be in the same area with those three again if we're going to be alone.

“That bad, huh,” said Twilight as the three girls appeared and gave a groan of defeat. Twilight gave a little giggle and said, “Sorry girls, but Spike's jut to crafty of a dragon for you.” Spike puffed out his chest in a show of pride, “but I'm the one in charge of his 'hoard',” the young dragon immediately deflated after his ego had been grounded.

Twilight and Spike made their way back to the library. Once they, and the CMC, were out of earshot Applejack turned her brother and said, “So, Mac, ya like Twi?”

“She's okay, but we barely know each other,” responded Big Macintosh.

“Didn't stop ya from tryin' ta impress her,” retorted Applejack, “although Ah'd think tha tree is more o' uh third date sorta deal.”

Macintosh just blushed and headed back into the temple. On his way in he was blocked by a wiry old lady, “What can Ah do fer ya, Granny?” Said Big Macintosh.

“Ya can stop playin' tha big shy guy fer one,” said Granny Smith in her usual wiry elderly voice, “An' ask tha poor girl out on uh date, et's clear she doesn't 'ave uh social life beyond 'er friends, an' uh sweet guy like ya needs ta start thinkin' abou' tha future. Ah wanna start seein' some new kids toddlin' aroun' tha temple, an' et wouldn't 'urt ta 'ave uh mage like 'er aroun' more often.”

“Subtle as always, Granny,” deadpanned Applejack as she passed the two, “Ah'm gonna get lunch started.”

Macintosh said nothing and just walked past his grandmother with a slight blush, Granny Smith gave a chuckle of her own as she headed back into the temple.


Looks as though you like them big, strong, sweet and mostly silent commented Spike when they got back to the library.

“That isn't true,” said Twilight with a light blush, she opened the door and stepped in then shut the door behind her and floated her bag and staff with her magic over where she usually placed them, “how could it be, we've hardly met, and barely know each other.”

And yet you both have the reaction the forbidden lovers do in those romance novels you seem to like indulging in from time to time, snarked Spike, I might be young, Twilight, but I'm not as unobservant or gullible as most people that interact with me seem to think.

“Sorry Spike,” said Twilight, “it's just that...”

You've never had a personal sensation of the romantic side of things, finished Spike, Twilight, your babysitter is the nation's 'go to' authority when it comes to love, if you're having such a hard time figuring this all out just send her a note and we'll see where it goes from there.

“But I don't want to inconvenience Cadance, it'll seem like I'm asking her to deal with MY problems.”

You're just asking her for help figuring out the romantic side of your life, which by the way practically didn't exist when you arrived in this town. It'll be fine, she'll probably just fly out her for a few days and observe your interactions with Big Macintosh and give a verdict. She's always seemed to have an infallible accuracy when it comes to couples, she once told me that she can see the the true nature of their romantic connections. In other words she can tell if it's a crush, puppy love, just feels like it could be love, serious love, or true love; assuming you actually want to actually know, I mean you've only been here a few weeks, there's no need to rush things.

“When did you get so good with this kind of advice?”

Cadance was very specific with the wording she wanted me to use for when I noticed you giving a guy an extra look.

“Now I definitely have to speak with her,” said Twilight. She rushed over to the writing desk and began composing a very word heavy letter to a certain pink clad Spirit Healer. Spike leaped from her shoulder to land on an upper shelf of which he decided to curl up on.

Solving Arrangements

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Applejack got out of bed and stretched, it was still a good hour and a half before the sun was up. She headed downstairs after taking a look out her window to see how Big Mac was doing. As usual he was checking the health of the trees, this week it was the northwestern region of the orchard, she could just barely make him out in the pre-morning light. She headed down to start her morning chores and practice after giving a satisfied nod.

On her way out she caught Apple Bloom up earlier than usual, it being a weekend made it extra suspicious to her since Apple Bloom slept 'til the crack of noon no matter what you did to her when the weekends came, well that and they tended to be a bit less forceful in waking her on weekends. “Bloom,” said Applejack, “what're ya doin' up befer me on Saturday?”

“Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo and I 're gonna go campin' next ta tha forest fer the whole weekend on account we don't have any schoolwork fer tha weekend.”

“Are y'all gonna bae supervised?”

“Um, we didn't ask anybody else ta join ef that's what ya mean,” she gave a sheepish smile.

“Four hours!”


“Ya go' four hours ta find a 'responsible' person ta go with ya, an' ya can't go askin' Mac or Granny ta go wid ya.”

“Oh, but the rest of the town doesn't start gettin' up fer another two hours, I doubt Ah'll ever find anybody responsible-like ta go wid us, but if Ah don't then yer gonna make sure tha' all three of us can't go on this trip we've been plannin' since Wednesday.”

“And if this trip o' yers falls through ya can spend more time planning et between the rest o' yer responsibilities. Now fer campin' ya don't 'ave ta raid tha kitchen. All ya need are a bag fer carryin' everything, a canteen with clean water, a few bags o' trail mix, a compass, proper attire with a few spares, and good company. So, if yer serious go and get cleaned up and show me what ya think passes fer acceptable campin' attire. Ya said everybody else won't be up fer another two hours, so ya can spend tha' time doin' an inventory check.”


Three hours later Applejack was smiling to herself as she went through her morning practice, she knew the routines of nearly everybody in town. She knew with near absolute certainty that the earliest anybody would be willing to discuss watching the girls for their trip would be the afternoon. Although the idea of a camping trip did sound like a good idea, she decided to have a talk with Rarity about going on a camping trip with the girls at a later date.

Applejack chuckled to herself, after seeing Bloom and her friends around the grounds on a pretty regular basis she had a good idea of how they were each taking possible frustration. Apple Bloom was no doubt pacing about, that is if she didn't have a plenty of materials for maybe at try at making something; Scootaloo was probably trying to work off her frustration physically, most likely through the act of literally beating her head against a wall; and Sweetie Belle was probably the only one of the three keeping her cool, probably reading up on proper camping practices and taking notes for their next attempt. She shook the thoughts from her head and returned to her practice with the training sword in her hands.

Around an hour later the three girls in question returned with groans over not being able to find anyone for their outing within the allotted time. They quickly made their way into the temple without even bothering to take notice of anyone else. Applejack chuckled to herself as she continued to swing the practice sword. That is until she spotted Filthy Rich, wearing a fancy looking business suit (more than usual for him) and hair slicked back in what she had come to call a 'business mane', with what looked like a white clad burly male warrior type, probably a mercenary that was high on muscle and low on brains. She gave an exasperated sigh as she tossed the practice sword aside (it landing in the barrel nearby for all the training weapons used by temple residents) and walked up to meet them, “Mister Rich,” she said in her most cordial voice, only letting a hint of her annoyance slip, “Ah can see ya still don't seem ta get what we've baen telling ya each time ya made a 'proposition' ta us.”

“This is a business, and by the articles of trade that means we can negotiate a deal.”

“An' as Ah an' mah kin keep tellin' ya those don't apply ta these here grounds, they're under tha rules an' bylaws o' religious testament, in other words this land an' tha orchards on et are HOLY GROUND, an' thus not subject ta any o' yer Merchant rules or bylaws,” she took a look at the white clad mercenary man, she could practically hear the rat running on a wheel in place of his mind, “but Ah can see ya won't go widout one last ditch effort fer rights ta summa tha orchard, from the looks of your choice of...champion you expect it ta bae a contest o' strength.” He gave her an affirming nod, “Sorry ta disappoint ya, but that's not 'ow Apples settle these kinds o' disputes,” he gave her a confused look, “Bloom, Mac, Granny, Mister Rich is back an' 'e 'as decided ta challenge us fer summa tha orchard, ya know tha rules.”

Big Mac was the first to exit the temple complex, as usual he was dressed in his usual cleric's robe with his towering hammer over his shoulder before setting it down with head's top in the ground with a resounding thump before slightly leaning on the shaft. Apple Bloom was next, she was in her usual garb with a pair of worn work gloves on her hands and worn goggles on her head along with her pink bow on the back of her head. Last was Granny Smith, in her usual getup with her cane in hand and a sour look on her face.

“Alright dearies, fer those o' ya tha' don't know the rules Ah'll explain 'em nice an' simple," said Granny, "tha Challenger chooses which o' tha representin' Apples they want ta go agains' an' tha Apple chooses tha type o' challenge that tha two representatives will 'ave, if tha challenger wins they get ta name their prize from tha Apples wid no questions asked, but if tha Apple wins tha challenger 'as ta extend us tha same courtesy. All terms o' tha agreement 'ave ta be written out befer tha challenge, in triplicate. One goes ta us, one tha challenger an' one goes ta a third party with no vested interest in tha dispute.”

“That's crazy, but reasonable,” said Filthy Rich, “the problem here is that we can't possibly find a third party that's neutral in both sides of this dispute, practically the entire town doesn't want any changes to these grounds if it doesn't involve expanding for more growing room and every third party I call up on will have a vested interest in my success.”

“There is one person,” said Applejack, “she's still new in town, an' she takes the duties given 'er very seriously. If ya don't mind a magicborn getting between us Ah suggest we 'ead on over ta tha library an' ask 'er if she'll be willin' ta delegate, if not she can be responsible fer contactin' a third party that likely has little ta no vested interest in our dealings.”

“That mage?” said Filthy Rich, “she's a boarderline recluse, are you sure she'll give us the time required to explain things?”

“Seein' as she was 'ere a few days ago ta give tha temple a checkup an' nothin' more Ah can say she'll at least be willin' ta entertain hostin' us fer a few minutes. Ah would recommend somebody else, but they've all been 'ere a few years now, best we ask someone who hasn't had a full year in town just yet.”

“Seems reasonable to me,” said Filthy Rich.

The big white dressed idiot Rich had hired said nothing, all four of the Apples could practically hear the rusty gears that passed for his brain functions trying to move. Apple Bloom was actually wincing, it seemed that just the thought of the sound of a poorly maintained machine had an effect on her. So the six made there way to the town's library, After Apple Bloom ran back into the temple and told her friends what the situation was.

On the way out they bumped into Rarity, who was coincidentally going to get Sweetie Belle. She agreed to see Scootaloo home as well. After giving the white clad enchantress a quick rundown of what the were up to, in case Apple Bloom's friends asked, they got back on their course for the library.


After the few minutes that it took to travel from the temple grounds to the library, Golden Oak, Applejack had everyone stop. After checking the sign to see what the library's business hours were, they were in luck since the weekend hours told her the library was open. After her check she ushered everybody in. Soon they entered Spike crawled up gave a “cluraklack,” and motioned for them to follow him, which they did. The young dragon crawled up on a violet upholstered high backed chair with Celestia's emblem and gestured to some of the other chairs and the couch.

When filthy Rich went to sit in the high backed chair the baby dragon growled menacingly at him. “Well, I never...I can sit wherever I want, you insufferable lizard.”

“Actually,” said Apple Bloom, “Spike's a bebe dragon, you'd best be nice ta 'im, no tellin' whut 'e might do ta ya when 'e matures a bit more.”

Filthy Rich looked with surprise at Spike and said, “I suppose he breaths fire too, who would be crazy enough to keep such a creature as a pet in facility like this?”

Twilight sauntered into the room in her usual attire, which looked a little disheveled for some reason, holding her staff as a walking stick in her right hand, “He's my familiar actually,” said Twilight, “and he notified me that you were probably coming here for reasons other than academic inquiry,” she moved across the room and dropped herself in a less than refined manner into the chair with Celestia's emblem, in doing so Celestia's sun changed into a large pink star surrounded by five smaller white ones. “As for the chair, it's Spike's favorite and as such only people he likes can sit in it. The enchantments on it are quite fascinating... but that's not why you're here. What can I do for all of you this fine day?”

“We're here about a business misunderstandin', mister Rich here doesn't seem ta understand most o' what we've been tellin' him,” said Granny Smith, “so we're doin' a time honored Apple tradition ta get him ta give up tha ghost as et were.”

“And part of it involves a neutral third party, I take it?” Said Twilight

“Yup,” said Applejack, “and yer tha mos' impartial person we could think of as being accessible fer tha time bein', Ah hope we weren't intrudin'.”

“Oh, no, the weekend is so slow I usually use it for study purposes, but if you need my assistance as an impartial party you have it.”

“Excellent, tha way et works is mister Rich chooses wunna us, we're representin' tha temple an' tha clan, an' he's free ta choose any champion he wants, so long as they aren't tha third party or another member o' tha Apple clan. Once the challenger has selected tha opposin' representative that representative chooses tha challenge that will go down, once the challenge has been declared both sides write up tha conditions tha losin' side has ta abide by, then they both give their conditions forms ta tha third party, that third party writes up a more official bindin' legal contract fer both sides, once that's done we set tha contracts aside an' 'ave at tha challenge. Once a winner is decided tha losing side 'as et's form and victory contract torn an' scattered ta tha winds, tha winning side 'as their copy turned inta triplicate an' all sides get a copy.”

“I see,” said Twilight as she copied everything she was told on a notepad she kept handy along with the fountain pen she was using to write, “you're lucky I was studying up on law and contracts last night, it'll take me a few hours to write up the contracts. Mister Rich, choose your opponent so they can decide the nature of the challenge and both parties can write up what they expect other should they claim victory.”

Filthy Rich smirked to himself, he was very sure that Applejack or Big Macintosh would choose a contest of strength should he choose either of them as his opponent, which was the whole reason for the less than intelligent walking lighthouse he had hired. After taking a few minutes to think his options over he said, “I choose, miss Applejack as my opponent. So, what will our challenge be? Bushel hauling? Handling a dead tree with no assistance? I'm sure my associate and I can handle whatever you throw our way.”

Applejack gave smirk of her own, “tha challenge is,” she gave a wary look at the overly sized mercenary, one look and she could tell he was a skyborn, “a cider drinkin' contest.”

“Oh no,” said Big Mac.

“Ah was afraid she'd say that,” said Apple Bloom.

“Reminds me of the old days,” said Granny Smith, “Applejack is more like Ah was at 'er age, even was thinkin' tha same challenge as me.”

“But we won't be drinkin' just any old cider,” said Applejack, “we'll be drinkin' tha Apple clan's special 'challenge cider'.”

“That doesn't sound too bad,” said Filthy Rich.

“Ah drank a dragon under tha table with tha stuff once,” said Granny Smith, “talk abou' a lightweight, 'e only made et half way through his third barrel while Ah was on mah fifth.”

“She's exaggerating, right?” said Twilight.

“Hard ta tell wid Granny an' 'er war stories,” said Apple Bloom, “two years ago some o' miss Fluttershy's bears challenged Big Mac ta tha cider contest, they didn't even make et a full third o' tha mug befer passin' out.”

“An' they were some big grizzlies too,” chuckled Mac, “had me outdone fer size bae a considerable margin.”

“Alright, my champion will take on your challenge,” said Filthy Rich.

“Alright, both sides need to write up their requests of the other should their opponent falter,” said Twilight as she floated a set of parchments and fountain pens on a pair of clipboards to Applejack and Filthy Rich, “since it will take some time to set up I recommend the rest of the Apple clan's representatives go and prepare the 'battleground' while the rest of remain to finalize the pre-contest negotiations.”

The other three Apples nodded, “So, how we gonna send word everythang is ready, an' where ya need ta go?” said Apple Bloom.

“Take Spike,” said Twilight, “he'll send me the message all is ready, you just have to give him the word.” Spike crawled off the chair and on to Mac's shoulder.

“How's that work,” said Apple Boom.

“He's my familiar,” said Twilight, “that means he can send me a message the fastest way possible.”

“Okay, tanks,” said Apple Bloom before heading out of the library, followed shortly by Big Macintosh. Twilight caught a wind from Granny Smith before the elderly sage made her way out. She turned her attention to Applejack and Filthy Rich. Filthy Rich seemed to be wasting very little time writing on his four plus page demand form, as opposed to Applejack who was instead taking slow deliberate strokes with her pen and pausing after almost every word on her single sheet to think things through.


After a good half hour, mostly on the part of Filthy Rich, the two handed their forms to Twilight for her to work the legal magic she was asked to provide. Looking over Applejack's two paragraph request slip she gave a brisk nod and set on the writing desk next to her. Taking a look at Filthy Rich's form she cocked an eyebrow and said, “you were writing a list of simple requests of the other party, not a contract. Mister Rich, I'm sorry to say that you seem to think that if you do the work for me that it will hasten the proceedings. I'm going to inform you now that is the opposite of what will be happening. I'm going to have to request you go back and write up you requests of the opposing party again, and keep it confined to a maximum of two sheets. I will also state now that if you try to mire it in any of what is commonly referred to a as 'legal jargon' I will request you write the requests again and continue to do so until you make your demands concise. However, if you insist on wasting everybody's time with writing your demands within the legal jargon in excess of four days I will have no choice other than proclaim your opponents victors before the challenge even begins,” she held up her hand to stop the protest she knew was coming, “on grounds of an inability to abide by the rules imposed on you by the ritual, and if my research regarding those who follow your profession is accurate that means that you'll have your business rights suspended by the guild and be barred by all other guilds until the matter is properly resolved.”

Applejack gave a smirk to herself, she knew Twilight would have done her homework on matters like this and it was one of the main reasons she named Twilight as the third party. Filthy Rich huffed and stomped back over to his clipboard and started writing again, while he did that Twilight got to work on the more official looking version of Applejack's victory terms. Applejack waited patiently for Filthy Rich to finish, this time around he handed Twilight half a page worth of writing. Twilight gave silent sigh and just started scratching bits of the document handed to her right out, much to the horror of Filthy Rich and amusement of Applejack.

“Why are you striking out bits of the form I handed you? It doesn't make sense,” said Filthy Rich.

“Because you still don't seem to understand what I meant by 'legal jargon', mister Rich,” said Twilight, “I'm well aware you are used to writing up forms with legal terms to help facilitate your transactions, but in this case that is unrequired since I am handling the legal side of the matter. Also the absence of the terms you provided provide a different sort of context. I am seeking an equatable exchange on the part of all parties. In short, I'm making sure your demands are reasonable and will reword your demands as such to make it so. You are, after all, asking for unrestricted access to hallowed ground, and the Divinity Accords of the last century clearly state that short of the caretakers of the grounds picking up and moving to a new location you must allow them to manage the land as they see fit, regardless of your personal feelings or business interests. If you were unaware of this then I suggest you read up on them,” she floated a tome over to him, “the part you're interested in starts on page 241 and ends on page 275. I will be quite busy transcribing all of the requests into a format that is legally acceptable and binding, so I recommend that if you wish to remain here until the transcriptions are complete that you make use of the materials here and update your knowledge of business.”

Applejack gave a silent chuckle over her own apparent victory before the contest before asking Twilight if she had a place for practice or training, Twilight told her she had some training dummies in an area she had managed to isolate with her magic and gave the paladin a set of directions, with some steps that were strangely specific.

Once Applejack had made her way to practice range she looked around and found Twilight had thought ahead and provided a few barrels with various practice weapons. She pulled out a two-handed practice and gave it a few quick quality tests before giving a curt nod and going to attack the dummies that were setup. As she assaulted the masses of straw and wood she thought back on her terms for if she won, she figured it was pretty good deal for Filthy Rich and the Apples. In exchange for getting twenty free bushels of apples of his choice the most any of the Apples would have to pay anything having to do with a business transaction with Filthy Rich or his markets would be fifty percent of what was being charged to other customers. They would also be able to get reduced prices on any resources they special ordered through his markets, and could even make a purchase through an exchange of goods rather than usual denominational currency. That way he still gets products to sell and the family members that made the order get what they asked for.

She wasn't so sure about Rich's victory requests, from what Twilight had said she figured he was trying to make things good for him and and less so for the Apples. She really needed to work off her frustration. The sound of one of the dummy stands snapping broke her out of her musings. She stepped back to assess the damage so she would know what to do when she offered to fix the dummies later. She instead witnessed five of the six dummies, she she had apparently assaulted in her thinking, sprawled on the floor heavily damaged begin putting themselves back together with some sort of self-repair spell Twilight had them under. Still standing back and thinking about it Applejack realized that Twilight had probably done so to the dummies due to the nature of some mages to actually sling potentially highly destructive spells. Taking a quick look around the rest of the training hall she noticed burn marks on the wall that indicated either a fire spell or lightning spell and struck there. Closer to the floor she saw the kinds of stress that could only come from an ice or water spell and when she looked at the ceiling she noticed the sweeping marks that indicated a wind spell.

It looked like Twilight had heavily enchanted the training area to be well reinforced against spells in addition to having the practice targets enchanted with some sort of spell that caused them to reassemble. Taking a look back at the practice dummies she noticed that they weren't exactly the best quality, in fact they their construction showed they were barely functional as practice dummies. The paladin shook her head a bit and laughed to herself. First thing she'd do after the challenge was dealt with would be help Twilight make some better practice dummies, maybe it would be a good idea to get some of their friends involved in it as well.

Applejack was secure in who she was and what she was meant to do with her life, that meant not many things were able frustrate her. Unfortunately for anybody that knew her there were things that would do more than irk her to the point she would become a woman on mission until the job was completed, correcting shoddy workmanship was very high on that list. Applejack took pride in a job done right, but that also meant a poor or lazy job would peeve her to many ends. In fact it bugged so much she she decided march back on over to Twilight and tell what the plan was.


When Applejack returned she was greeted to the sights and sounds of Filthy Rich and Twilight arguing, she couldn't follow what they were saying due the fact that every other word was complete jargon to her. To make matters worse an agitated Spike decided to use her as his perch, while still showing that he was very much agitated. Applejack decided to end the show by giving sharp whistle. This did indeed get everyone's attention, and as a bonus a less argumenative Twilight caused Spike to calm down. So much so that she heard him say, Thanks for that, they've been at each others throats for the past twenty minutes.

While it was true that usually only a familiar could be heard by its own personal mage, after the Nightmare Moon incident all of Twilight's closest friends could hear him. Applejack didn't mind one bit, mostly because she usually tended to be out of range of the effects of whatever magic allowed her to hear him as effectively as she did her own family. “Now that Ah got all o' yer attention what in tarnation is going on here? We had an agreement, an' from what Ah see somebody didn't quite fully understand wha' tha' agreement fully meant.”

“I was just correcting her terminology,” said Filthy Rich indignantly.

“Mister Rich,” Twilight huffed before switching to a very neutral tone, “the whole purpose of my being a third party is make it all as impartial as possible, your act of interring with my writing up the documentation destroys all that. You are without a doubt a highly capable businessman, but if you persist in getting involved with the very thing you made an agreement to not get involved with I will just declare the Apples victors by default on grounds that you are trying to heavily influence the wording of legally binding documents. Furthermore, I will send a note to Chantalot about your very un-businessman like behavior. I will have you know I have read and memorized every business related book, scroll, report and study that has been put out in the past hundred years, the most recent having been made available for everybody's consumption three months ago. Your constant inference in the simple act of writing up the documents, which should usually take around seven minutes to write up based on the structure of the agreements, into a process that is taking hours, most of it involves your interring in me doing the one job everybody asked me to do in relation to the contest.”

“You can't prove that,” said Filthy Rich, “since hired the I've been the only witness to your allegations.”

“Actually, I can,” said Twilight, “this whole complex is rigged with observation spells, which send backups of their recordings to three separate locations in Chantalot that I had regular access to. One of those locations is under the strictest protection of the Royal Guard and another is within the residence of a pair of well-respected mages. I just need to send a note asking one of the 'caretakers' to go to where those observation records are kept and do a specific action and they'll know everything that's gone on here since I started settling in. And to prove it's not a bluff,” she snapped her fingers and crystal sphere on a stand appeared next to her, she held her hand over it and did a few quick, complex finger motions, the sphere projected a large rectangle that showed Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon checking out a set of fantasy books while making fun of the Cutie Mage Crusaders. As Applejack had predicted each of the girls was doing what she had anticipated. Scootaloo was beating her head against the wall next to one of the shelves, Sweetie Belle was reading and taking notes, and Apple Bloom was pacing the length of the foyer. “Of course if that's not good enough,” she moved her hand over the sphere again and made few more motions to reveal Filthy Rich giving her difficulties, Applejack wondered why she couldn't hear anything, she'd ask Twilight about that after everything was resolved.


Two hour later, much to the irritation of Twilight and Applejack, everything had been dealt with, Filthy Rich was grumbling about how somebody like Twilight couldn't possibly know the proper way to write up a legal document of any kind.

“Befer ya say anythang,” said Applejack once they came up on the 'battleground', “mister Rich an' Twilight had a dispute over legal stuff.” The other Apples put their heads in their hands and shook them for a moment.

“Alrigh',” said Granny Smith, “contestants, take yer places.”

Applejack and the big guy and in red took a seat opposite of each other. Granny Smith and Apple Bloom rolled two of the fifty plus barrels near the 'drinking table', Big Macintosh was pulling barrels from the assortment in a manner that wouldn't disturb the stack and turn it into a case of running from the barrels. After the barrels came up next them Applejack got ready break her barrel open, but before that she said, “Ah almost fergot, if ya break tha barrel in a way that smashes it that does not count towards a finished drink, an' ya gotta down tha contents o' yer barrel best ya can, only when et's baen emptied through yer drinkin' can ya discard an' let 'em know ya need another.” She then used the point of her elbow to smash a hole in the barrel next to her and started downing the contents, her opponent used his fist to make a hole in his barrel.

“Was the making the hole the barrel really necessary?” Inquired Twilight.

“Wid a competition like this, yep,” said Big Macintosh, “tha openin' tha barrels is part of the competition, that's why AJ gave that little speech before headin' ta down 'er drink.”

Everyone was watching the two drink from the barrels, if Rarity had been there she would have probably made comment about how their drinking straight from the barrels lacked some kind of elegance. Twilight took her role as an impartial judge that was merely observing quite seriously, in notebook she had brought she kept a tally of every finished barrel, much to the amusement of Granny Smith.

Of the fifty plus barrels arranged there Filthy Rich's 'champion' only made it to number thirteen before keeling over the the table drunk, Applejack made it twenty before she started looking noticably tipsy. “And that is why you don't bet against an earthborn, mister Rich,” said Twilight, “as per your agreement with Apples you will honor this contract,” she reached into her bag and pulled out a copy of the contract she had written up based on the notes Applejack had provided, “I think you'll find more favorable than you think, just give it a good read.”

Filthy Rich read over his copy for a few minutes, then reread it five more times to make sure he hadn't misread it. He found that the Apples were indeed giving a good deal with offering of first pick of any harvest for his sales, of course the discounts on his standard goods and the special orders made through his services did make him worry a bit, seeing as he never offered discounts to even his closest parners beyond one or two deals, but as a proper merchant and businessman he couldn't worm his way out of a legally binding contract without having the wrath the other party and any of the guilds of whom he was affiliated raining down judgement on his head. Diamond Tiara wasn't going to be happy about this, especially considering her attitude towards others that didn't seem as well-off as Filthy Rich and his family. This was even more evident when he remembered he had announced his intent of issuing of a challenge to the Apples to his daughter earlier that day, he had boasted to her about always finding a way to claim victory in his challenges, the contract made it look more like they came out even instead having one side come out the clear victor.

Applejack gave a nod to Twilight and Filthy Rich and thanked them for their time, everyone made their way back to where they started. On the way out Filthy Rich handed a small bag of coins to the hired muscle he had hired and gave him thanks for agree to the business arrangement.

Once everybody was gone Applejack turned to Big Macintosh and said, “Wur lucky they didn't pick ya, Bloom or Granny, no telling whut those three would have come up with.”

“Eeyup,” said Mac with a smirk.

“Ah'd o' challenged 'em ta a rassling match,” said Granny Smith from the temple's entrance, “tai'nt none 'at ever bested me en wun o' those en tha pas' thirty years.”

“Ah'd o' made et a scavenger 'unt,” said Apple Bloom from her room's window on the second level of the temple, “an' made et so we 'ad ta see what we cud make wid whut we scrounged up.”

Mac just shook his head and said nothing. Applejack then reached into her pocket and read the folded note Twilight had handed her on the way out asking her why there were fifty plus barrels arranged in a basic rectangular pyramid formation, she just chuckled and handed the note to Big Macintosh, Mac in turn gave a light blush when he read the note.

A Bad Day for Fashion

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Rarity was thankful for two things at the moment, school and the fact her sister had friends. Not so much the second one from time to time, especially on days they decided to occupy her shop so that they could “help” her. While she loved her sister to ends of time Rarity was someone who much would like her alone time, which became difficult when three young girls came trouncing into her home and place of business at random intervals and had as equally random results when it came to interacting with customers in the store. Her boutique had actually gotten some good sales due to the intervention of the Sweetie Belle and her friends the first time they came barging into the store after another failed attempt to understand their innate magical talents, which they took as an invite to so whenever they came in and their were customers (she cringed at the memory of them almost driving out her last set of clients).

She was mostly thankful for school at the moment, it was Monday and Sweetie had practically flown out the door (despite being a magicborn rather than a skyborn) to get to school, Rarity had dropped by the school and handed Sweetie the backpack she had forgotten in her enthusiasm to spend more time with her friends. With her sister out of her hair for a few hours Rarity got to work on drawing up new designs, or rather she would if it weren't for some force that kept impeding her creativity every time she brought her pen to paper, she'd have dozens of amazing ideas on what could be the next big thing racing through her head, but the moment she got ready to draw one up it was like a vault door closed on her and stopped her from making the drawings a reality.

Deciding that it was just going to be that kind of day Rarity decided to have a walk about the town, with a little luck inspiration would hit her, and if not she could always go on a gem hunting run. Her thought flicked back to Spike for a moment, Twilight had said that all known dragons (Spike included) had a taste for gems. Maybe with the right kind of encouragement he could dig up, and maybe sniff out, some gems, she disliked wasting her magic energy digging them up, especially since that enchantment took up more energy than she would like, the gem finding enchantment was much easier and was also was one of the few spells that required very little of her energy. She had learned later on in her youth that detection spells, especially ones as powerful as hers were usually very draining for spell casters that lacked experience in such spellcraft practices.

It wasn't quite time for her monthly gem hunt, going by the stock of gemstones she had, and she was having a creative block. Rarity decided to close down her establishment for a bit and wander about looking for something to help remove her block, she hoped it was just something that would last a handful of hours at most. Rarity gave shiver, she just hoped the block would dissipate before Sweetie got home on account of what usually happened when her little sister got back from school. The ivory clad enchantress gave a chuckle to herself, her parents didn't think Sweetie Belle would be doing so well this early into the school year. Rarity gave herself a little smile at the thought of her sister doing so well socially, then took on a dour expression when she recalled some of the things that came attached to her sister's new social circle.

After flipping the sign to tell everybody the shop would closed for a bit, and leaving a note in an envelope for Sweetie Belle, Rarity began her stroll around town, which she hoped would help remove her block. The white clad enchantress reached into her hip pouch, which she used to keep various accessories, and pulled out a pair of eggshell colored gloves with three violet diamonds on them and carefully pulled them on, treating them almost as if they were made with a very delicate fabric (which wasn't true, it was just a higher quality common fabric that had some minor enchantments to make it stronger). As she began to saunter through the town she hoped it would become more a jaunt than an ordinary walk.

During her stroll she noticed Rainbow Dash once again practicing accuracy with more than one projectile, the magically created arrows were colored much like the elementalist's hair, as she paused to watch a spell Rarity noticed the arrows veered to the right a bit less than usual. After giving a curt nod towards her friend Rarity returned to her jaunt. As she continued on her way Rarity noticed Pinkie Pie on what appeared to be watermelon the size of a large beach ball juggling a variety of confections to the amazement of of the children that had elected to station themselves outside Suguarcube Corner. As she passed by Rarity felt the sensation in her hand that wasn't present there before, looking down she noticed she was holding a paper plate with a baker's dozen blondies with a note pinned to the top square that said, “Hope your work problems today don't last the rest of the day,” instead of a signiture the note ended with the image three party balloons, looking down at the bottom of the page Rarity found a series of smiley faces practically making a border around the bottom right corner.

Shaking her head at Pinkie's antics Rarity continued her jaunt.


About a half hour after she had passed by Sugurcube Corner Rarity took a seat by pond at the park. Reaching into her enchanted hip pouch she pulled out a sketch book and drawing pencil, she hoped all it took was walk to clear her head and a change of scenery. Once again she put her writing utensil to paper, but all she managed to do was draw part of a swan's beak before she was back in her rut. Looking around, then using a crystal enchanted for finding people, to make sure she was truly alone and finding she wasn't Rarity gave a discontent huff.

It looked like it was one of those days, a day when her stylish creativity just didn't want to get out, a rare day she always thought of as a great loss to all of fashion. She turned her attention to the confections Pinkie had given her, she noticed three were missing (mostly on account of her sharp eye for detail and the fact she had yet to actually have one prior to that moment). Not sure where the rest of her snacks had gone she placed a simple locator charm on each of the rest of the confections after taking one for herself a daintily eating it.

Looking back at her plate after trying to enjoy the beauty of her surroundings she noticed another one of the treats missing, she immediately activated her spell. Following the spell, which didn't even take twenty seconds, found her staring at Twist, the poor dear hadn't learned the kind of magic she was best suited for. The violet bespectacled, white clad earthborn girl seemed to be trying her best do some kind of homework, and next to the work on her clipboard were the wrappers to her pilfered pastries. Rarity walked right up to the girl, who didn't seem to notice her approach.

Giving a polite cough to bring the girl's attention to her Rarity watched as the girl looked up from her work and gave a slight panic at the sight of the ivory robed enchantress. “Oh, miss Rarity, thorry I took your cupcakes without athking, you looked really focused on your work and I didn't want to interrlupt you.”

“It's okay, darling,” said Rarity with a flourishing toss of her violet hair with her white gloved hand in an elegantly fluid motion, “no harm was done, but next time at least have the courtesy to leave a note stating why you took the treats you pillaged from plate.” While giving the comment Rarity noticed the lisp, Twist hadn't had that last time she'd talked with her, there were a number of ways that such a 'quirk' could happen and since Rarity fancied herself a proper lady she chose to not delve into such things when not invited to speculate. “Why are you doing your schoolwork here instead of at home or a friend's house?”

“Ith kinda bithy at my house,” said Twist, “and I willy don't have any friends that close.”

“Oh, don't lose heart on that front, dear,” said Rarity, “but, seriously, ask someone next time you see food next to them before taking it, if they say yes then help yourself to a small portion, but if they say no then thank them for their time and leave them to their business. Now, run along home, I'm sure your family is quite worried about you staying out this late, no matter what the calendar says is tomorrow.”

“Okay,” said Twist as she gathered up her supplies, “Thanks mith Rarity, have a nice night.”

“You too, dear,” said Rarity as she got up and watched the youngster head off out of the park. “Now, if only I could solve my personal problem as easily,” she said to herself as she headed home, partially hoping for something to come to her by the time she got home.


It was late at night, thankfully Sweetie had enjoyed a home cooked meal with the Apple family, which was made evident when Rarity had bumped into Applejack and told about how much of delight it had been to have Sweetie for a few extra hours. Now Sweetie Belle was sound asleep in her bed while Rarity was threatening to wear out one end of a drawing pencil with her teeth. Staring down at the blank paper with her tired eyes she briefly saw a swan and moon flash individually from one another on the paper, suddenly it was like a stubborn illumination crystal had finally lit and she started to draw up dozens of designs on just as many sheets.


When Sweetie Belle sneaked down to get a glass of water she saw her sister sprawled in a surprisingly elegant manner at the drawing table with a little over three dozen sheets of paper around her like some kind impromptu magic circle or physically manifested aura. Rather than wake her sister Sweetie Belle just pulled the nearest large roll of fabric over Rarity like some sort of improvised blanket and headed back upstairs with her drink, giggling to herself about the times Rarity had scolded her for almost falling asleep in the door frame.

The Golden Ticket

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Twilight, with Spike on her shoulders, was lending a hand to Applejack in the apple orchard of Sweet Apple Temple. It had only been a week since Luna’s return, but it seemed that things returned to normal in Magiville almost overnight. Twilight was impressed that with one two-handed punch Applejack was able to knock all the apples out of the tree with no damage to the tree. “I’ve never seen apples harvested so quickly.”

“It’s called apple-bucking. It's a trick we in the Apple family have. Ya see we channel our connection with the earth and basically cast a spell causing the tree to let go of the fruit.” Applejack explained as best she could. For her this is all part of her, strike a tree with a specific want and the tree 9999 times out of 10,000 times aquseses, but this something a Magicborn cannot truly grasp, it's not as bad as trying to explain colors to the blind, but it's not that far off of a comparison.”

“So you're magic, aside from Holy, is getting fruits from plants just by striking a tree. I Didn't know Earthborn can do that.”
“Ya have yer nose in a book too much, ya'll won't find much about Earthborn In them books written by the Magicborn of where ya from.” Applejack said as she started loading the harvested apples into a cart.

“So you do this in so early in the summer, I thought apple harvesting was in the fall with other fruits and vegetable.” Twilight commented on Applejack's harvesting of apples.

“Na, normally we do it later in the year with everything else, but we're expecting a drought in this part of Mystika this year so we’re saving as much of non-Cider apples we can so our other crops can get the water that they need.”

“What about the rest of your family, there were almost 30 people here when I came here to check on the preparations for the Summer Sun Celebration.” Twilight commented at the absence of the family she saw when she arrived.

“They all had to go back their churches and businesses.” Applejack answered as she struck another tree and more apples fell into more baskets. “They’ll be back with the rest of the family for the family reunion. So it's Big Mac an’ me... (well expect for Roma, Caramel, Golden Harvest and a few others who specialize with other plants,) at least for one more year. Apple Bloom ain't old enough yet and Granny… Well someone has to watch over little Apple Bloom.”
“Oh, I guess she has no memory of your parents, does she.”

“Let's not talk about it, Ah got work to do. So what ya think of Magiville so far?”

“Well the people here are much kinder than most of Chantalot, they also are in your face more.”

“It’s a small farming town. Well not as much farming as it did about 100 years ago. But small towns tend to be close knit.”Applejack informed.

“Say what's up with the candy-maker Bonbon, it's like I know her from somewhere,” Twilight asked remembering one of the townsfolk, for some reason she thought she saw her in Chantalot.

“Well she is cohabiting with Lyra Heartstrings, maybe Lyra had a picture of her when she lived in Chantalot. She moved here about a month before ya and she mentioned she had an acquaintance that studied under Princess Celestia once or twice.”

“No. It’s something… Spike are you okay?” Twilight asked just before Spike burped up a letter and a golden ticket.

“What does it say?” Applejack asked.
Twilight started, “To Twilight Sparkle…

Let it be known henceforth and presently that you are cordially invited to the annual Grand Gala. To be held on the upcoming Spring Equinox. Accompanying this letter is your ticket.
You attendance would be most appreciated as this will be the first official event with the recently re-instated Princess Luna.
Sincerely The Prime Administrator of Their Royal Highnesses, Princess Celestia and Princess Luna’s Government, Baron Roi Fancy-pants.

Twilight read.

And look you have the first ticket to the party. See, ticket #1. V.I.P. too… And Familiar status? Spike thought as he read the ticket.
“It means that I have a familiar and it is expected that I bring him or her, in this case you.”

“Ah, the Grand Gala. What Ah’d give ta attend.”

“You don’t strike me as the closest Cinderella type.” Twilight commented a little perplexed, based on everything she had experienced with Applejack

“Haha, shoot sugarcube, Ah ain't into all that hotie-totie fancy-pansy stuff. It’s the business. If Ah can sell at least 800 bits worth of goods, why we can afford new equipment, so Apple Bloom doesn't destroy what we have when she tinkers with them, we can even expand the farm a bit.” As Applejack told Twilight of her plans and her intent Twilight pictured in her mind's eye Applejack having a stand for her wares and a line of patrons made up of the gala attendants as the paladin foresaw.

Twilight looked at her ticket to see if she could invite anyone, but she only had the one and it was only for her... and Spike. Before she could say anything, “Did somebody say they got tickets to the Grand Gala?” Twilight needed no guess to identify the speaker. But Rainbow Dash landed right next to the two.

“Yeah, I just got one.”

“Sweet, I so have to be there ” Rainbow Dash cheered.

“Why? It's a formal dance and you're as formal as...well, Applejack, no offense AJ, and the kind of formal in Chantalot isn’t quite the same as here or Manahattan.” Twilight commented.

“My dad once said 'it's not what you know, it's who you know.' and do you know who will be at the gala?”

“Umm, Princess Celestia, Princess Luna...”

“THE WONDERBOLTS!” Rainbow Dash answered. “And the gala is my shot to make the perfect impression. Can you see it, there is a break in the party, the Wonderbolts are bored from all the useless talking, they look up and they see the Blitz Bronco performed by none other than Magiville's own elementalist, Rainbow Dash! They will be left in awe and Captain Spitfire herself let me into Wonderbolts Academy!” As Rainbow Dash told of her desires, Twilight imaged the picture Rainbow Dash was trying to paint, the Wonderbolts in their standard flight-suit with their jaws open as they see Rainbow Dash pull off the move in question and how Rainbow envisions the reaction of the leader of the Wonderbolts. However, Twilight could not help but roll her eyes, she may not know a lot about the Wonderbolts, but showing off at a royal party would not likely get the results Rainbow Dash desires, but Twilight could tell the underlying motive of her new friend; to spend time and network with current members of the Wonderbolts to increase her chances of joining them. As for Applejack, while she never attended a gala before, it is unlikely the paladin would make any sales, last Twilight checked, an event like that would be catered.

“I only have the one ticket, and it's for me and possibly Spike, as he is my familiar.” Twilight informed with a sheepish smile.

“Oh... well... um...” Rainbow Dash started but was at a complete loss.

“Well whatever ya do don't tell Rarity ya got one.” Applejack advised.


“You think we're bad with asking you, and we're … well, tomboys.” Rainbow Dash informed. Twilight thought about it for a minute and then froze. If Applejack and Rainbow Dash were so determined to get a ticket and they both would likely have other chances to accomplish their wants… She needed to change thoughts.

Twilight, I am hungry. Can we get something to eat? Spike asked.

“But we just ate.”

When? It’s almost noon.

“He’s right, it is almost Noon.” Rainbow Dash pointed out.

“Yeah, ya looking a little shiny… Ah can see why Spike’s always hungry, ya ain't gettin’ enough to eat yaself, Sugarcube.”

“Ugh, fine. I am heading back to town to see what we can do about Spike’s hunger pains. I just hope none of our other friends find out about the ticket, I don’t even want to think about the kinds of crazy stuff they’d try to do in order to gain my favor in hopes I bring them along to the most elite...oh no…” Twilight paused as she she shivered.

You just realize something really bad Twilight? Spike asked.

“You know how Pinkie is?” Twilight commented

Yeah she’s a party enthusiast and...somehow is able to know about things she shouldn’t.

“That and some events cause her body to react in unusual ways, some of them have been noted by our friends. What if she has some sort of reaction to invites to parties she didn’t set up herself?”

That would be bad, I say we get food at home, the less chance of interacting with Pinkie today the better...unless she anticipates that and we go home to find her wanting to attend, but then it wouldn’t matter where we go, she’d think we were playing hide-and-seek, and she’s a master at that game.

Both Rainbow Dash and Applejack fell to the ground laughing. “Pinkie having a ‘party sense’ oh please … my spleen... make it stop.” Rainbow Dash laughed holder her sides.

“That's a good one. If she was here last year… Whowie... was Pinkie Pie surprised at her birthday party last year. She was so wrapped up with what she was planning for Marble, her twin, she forgot she was born that day too.” Applejack commented. “Well ya best be off.”

“Yeah... hey why is Rainbow here?” Twilight asked as she started to leave.

“I pre-ordered a barrel of the cider for this year's cider season, I am here to pay it off. So what's my job today?”

“See them baskets full of apples and that empty cart?” Applejack pointed out.

“Load the cart. Agh.” Rainbow complained as she started to work. Twilight could not help to but chuckle to herself as she left the temple grounds and started her walk into town.

As Twilight walked she noticed Fluttershy heading to Sweet Apple Temple, on her shoulder was Angel Bunny, “Oh... good morning Twilight. What brings you to Sweet Apple Temple?” Fluttershy asked.

“I’m doing some research on Earthborn magic. There was not much published in Chantalot's libraries, so I have to do a lot of field research.” Twilight answered.

“Oh, I doubt there would be. No offense, but the Magicborn of Chantalot tend to only care about the magic they can use. I am sorry, I didn't mean to sound racist.Please don’t hate me.” Fluttershy said waving one of her hands clearly trying to not offend Twilight.

“It's okay, Fluttershy. So, what about you?”

“I am here to get some supplies, also Applejack said she’s having problem with local beaver family, and needs them to move their dam upstream. I am here to negotiate before it comes to blows.” Fluttershy answered. As the two talked Spike and Angel started round two of their fight from when they met, it started with hisses and growls. However before the claws could come out, their owners managed to grab them, in the process Twilight's ticket fell to the ground and landed at Fluttershy's feet. “I don't know what has gotten into Angel Bunny, I know he can be aggressive at times, but I don't get his issue with Spike.” Fluttershy said before she noticed the ticket.

“I get the first time, they were protecting us because they thought we were threatened. But this is ridiculous.” Twilight commented just as Spike blew a puff of fire in the direction of the rabbit. “SPIKE!”

But I want rabbit.

“You are not eating Fluttershy's animal companion.”


As Twilight scolded the dragon, Fluttershy picked up the ticket to the gala. “You dropped th... your ticket to... to... the Grand Gala!” Fluttershy said as she looked at the ticket. A huge dreamy smile grew on her face.

“Let me guess, you would like to go?” Twilight asked knowing the answer to the question.

“Well yes and no. You see, I just want to see the gardens, specifically the animal preserve. All the animals, from all over Mystica, all the birds singing, the all the flowers in bloom. It’s a druid’s dream to behold.”

“I’ll tell you what I told AJ and Dash,” said Twilight as she took the ticket back and slipped it into one of her robe’s internal pockets, “it is only an invite for me and Spike, that said if you and the rest of the girls can be quiet about this to the rest of the town, Rarity and Pinkie too since they haven’t found out about this yet, and aren’t too disruptive I’ll see about talking to Princess Celestia about this, hopefully you’ll all get invites to the next one, but as it stands the tickets are limited and usually are all gone before anybody really knows it, for a highly exclusive event and invitations are few.”

“Oh, no. I cannot ask you do that. It’s too soon in our friendship for such a big favor.”

“You were willing to die trying to give Rarity, Pinkie and I a chance to get past those werewolves and we met the day before.” Twilight pointed out.

“True. Yet just getting the chance to lifetime is enough for me and the gardens,” said Fluttershy dreamily. “Even if it doesn’t pan out.”

“Spike and I need to go grab a bite, we’ll see you later Fluttershy. And remember to don’t tell Pinkie and/or Rarity about the ticket, we don’t want any problems. After the event you can tell them, but hasn’t happened yet,” with that Twilight and Spike left Fluttershy and Angel to their work. Or so Twilight thought.

“Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye, I, Pinkamena Diane Pie, better known as Pinkie Pie, will NOT tell a single soul about Twilight being invited to The ultra exclusive, bestest, most famous…. Annual party in all of Mystica: The Grand Gala until after the Gala. Even though it is the place for Pinkie!” Twilight looked and saw Pinkie Pie perform the Pinkie Promise. After that her mouth morphed into a zipper and zipped it. The sudden appearance of the pink jester caught Twilight and Fluttershy off guard.

“Dah.” Twilight screamed.

“Dah, yourself Twilight. Please forgive me for overhearing.” Pinkie said as she helped Twilight back up.

“What are you doing here? How much did you hear?” Twilight asked.

“I arrived just as Fluttershy handed back the… thing that cannot be named.”

“You can say Gala ticket.” Twilight said.

“Ah be care about the leeway you give Pinkie when she makes a Pinkie Promise. To her those are as binding as any written contract and thrice as sacred. But she will use whatever loopholes ya give her.” Came the voice of Applejack. The three turned to the paladin “Got Gummy?” Applejack asked the pink jester.

“Yes sirry.” Pinkie Pie said as she pulled Gummy, her pet alligator, out seemingly nowhere.

“He got his meat teeth?” Applejack continued to question.

“Checkoroiny.” Pinkie answered as she pulled out of, Celestia knows whe... “Sorry Foxhelm, but I don't think even Celestia knows where I keep Gummy's meat eating dentures. Also these fourth wall breaking jokes work if used rarely, unless you want me to turn into this universe's Deadpool. Which is just silly because I am Pinkie Pie.” Pinkie said to the author/narrator as she put the dentures in question into Gummy's mouth.

“Wait a minute, why is Pinkie here and what is the importance of Gummy having his…” Twilight started.

“Applejack, you said you would negotiate.” Fluttershy scolded.

“Yep and part of that is making it clear what Ah intend for them critters if they don’t take the deal. Ah said Ah was putting all my cards on the table.”

“Wait what is going on?”

“Applejack, being a paladin, will strive to do the lawful and good thing, actively negotiate. But also will be ready and able to use force, like letting Gummy take up residence on Sweet Apple Temple in the fields flooded due to the beaver dam and since Gummy is an alligator and since alligators eat beavers...” Pinkie Pie explained the situation.

“Isn’t that evil?” Twilight asked.

“Sadly no. That’s the circle of life.” Fluttershy answered a little depressed. “Alligators do eat beavers and technically Applejack is not feeding the beavers directly to Gummy.” Twilight decided to leave it at that and leave, little did she know Spike’s near scuffle with Angel had left noticeable marks on her clothes.

“Well, I best be going. Oh, and Pinkie, you can only discuss the event and ticket with everybody else that knows, you can’t share that information with anyone new.” Twilight said as she finally left the area.

Well, that's four out of five. We might as well tell...

“No!” Twilight shouted at her dragon. “I don't need the headache of all my friends wanting to go to the party. I might not even go myself.” Twilight stated. As she arrived into town she headed to one of the restaurants in town. There she saw a woman somewhere around Big Mac’s age just sigh. She was engrossed in reading a book and writing. She looked up and waved to Twilight inviting her to the table.

“Ms. Sparkle, just the person I needed to talk to. My name is Cheerilee, I am the town teacher. I use to run the library during the summer and afterschool… mind helping out a fellow scholar.”

“Sure. You can just call me Twilight. So what are you researching?”

“This new history book. There is so much between the finding and the start of Celestia’s sole rule. There is so much I have to add to my lessons.”

“Maybe a trip to the Royal archives can help you out. Princess Celestia has been really helpful with scholars in my experience. Maybe I can ask her to let you have some time there before school begins.”

“Thank you. What time is it?”


“So, may I take your order?” came the voice of the waiter.

“Yes, um two of the house specials, one for myself, one for Twilight Sparkle and one full turkey for the dragon.”

“Separate bills please.” Twilight said as she took one of the open chairs.

I think this is going to be a better day than you thought, Spike said to Twilight, it’s been ages since I had whole...anything.

Twilight shot her familiar a look and said, “The last time you ate a whole something was when we had our last family gathering, dad’s still mad at you for eating the entire roast in addition to half the salad.”

I saved you all from food poisoning, Dad got a bad roast and Mom didn't cook it properly. Also the meal Shining brought with him was better, you can't say I am wrong. Spike commented. Twilight rolled her eyes. Okay, so I might have been a little ravenous, Twilight rolled her eyes again, and skipped the two prior meals to help you with your research subject at the time… was it bugs? Holiday traditions? know what I can’t really recall what you were on a study kick for that time.

“So, is there anything I can help you with?” Twilight asked Cheerilee, changing the subject of discussion, she clearly couldn’t win against Spike.

“Alright, what do you know about Rex Sombra and Krystalopoloies?”

“That ‘rex’ means king, 'sombra' means shadow and 'krystalopolies' means city of crystals.” Twilight answered surprised at the question.

“How about Discord?” Cheerilee asked, trying another subject.

“That in music it signifies a disruption in the harmony that was achieved and the word itself is frequently used as a synonym for 'chaos'.” Twilight answered.

“Um... what about Tirek and Scorpan?” Cheerilee asked clearly trying to see what Celestia's apprentice knows.

“Sorry but I don't know anything about either of those.” for some reason Twilight got the feeling that Nightmare Moon's statement about Celestia not teaching history may be partly true, but Twilight's personal hero from history was Star Swirl the Great and Celestia covered him to a ‘t’, no pun intended.

“Well thanks, hopefully Princess Celestia will have some sort of seminar for all teachers to cover the material in the next history textbook.” Cheerilee said as the waiter arrived.

“One whole turkey for the dragon and two chicken sandwiches with baked potatoes.”

Twilight was just about to go into the intricacies of a multiple ruler system versus a singular ruler system when their food arrived, at which point she realized she hadn’t asked for a beverage to be served to her or Spike, not that her familiar really cared since he was literally making a go at diving into his food the moment it was in front of him.

“You are aware that dragons also need gems and such.”

“Yeah, but where can I find any? This isn't the capitol.”

“Believe it or not, Rarity has a unique spell that allows her to find gems. That’s why she uses them in most of her designs.” After a few bites Cheerilee looked at Twilight, as if examining her cloths, “Um Twilight, did you get into a fight?”

“No, but I had to pull Spike away from a fight with Angel Bunny. Why do you...” Twilight then looked at her clothes and notices a few tears. “SPIKE!” Twilight shouted at the dragon. “You ruined my clothes, now I have to sew them.”

“Actually Rarity could easily stitch that up in no time.” Cheerilee suggested sincerely and cheerfully. Twilight sighed, she was not looking forward to that. Well, maybe Rarity will be too focused on her clothes. Just as long as she keeps quiet about the ticket.

After they ate they receive the bill, “Only 32 bits, my meal alone could be closer to 65 bits back in Chantalot.”

“Well Chantalot is the capitol city, and costs tend to be higher in the more 'developed' cities, it doesn't surprise me.” Cheerilee commented as she placed a twenty-bit coin, a ten-bit coin and two one-bit coins, Twilight was surprised to see such small currencies, being use to 50 bit notes, then again she never technically paid for anything in her life. After the bill was paid Twilight took Spike, before he could choke on a turkey bone and went to Rarity's boutique.

There Twilight saw a girl about Apple Bloom's age that looked a lot like Rarity, but her hair was different outside and she looked bored. “Excuse me, I am looking for Rarity, I have clothes that need some repairs.”

“She's inside, trying to come up with a new design.” the girl said.

“Spike, I am leaving you here.” Twilight said as she handed the dragon to the girl, “Do you mind keeping an eye on him... sorry I didn't get your name.”

“Sweetie Belle, but yes I will take care of Spike.” Sweetie Belle said as she accepted Spike.

Please don't leave me. Spike thought, but Twilight continued into the boutique as Sweetie Belle began listing what they were going to do together… as if the poor dragon didn’t have enough reasons to question his masculinity.

“Excuse me, Rarity, are you busy?” Twilight said as she shut the door. Rarity was at one of several desks, and was clearly at a lost for a design.

“Sadly, Twilight Darling, I am at a... WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR.... breath, Rarity, breath... you can fix it...” Rarity said as she managed to rein herself in. “Go into a changing booth, and I will take care of this.” Rarity said as she gestured to Twilight's clothes. “Just make sure to empty all your pockets.” Rarity said. Twilight complied, but in her haste to get this all over with she forgot one pocket. After a short while Rarity's hand came through the curtain of the cloth-changing booth in it was Twilight's gala ticket. “Um Twilight, you forgot this in one of your robe's inner pockets.”

Twilight froze, she was now five for five and she was … well... exposed. “Ah sorry, I was in a bit of a hurry.”

“It doesn't have to deal with me finding out about you being invited to the most exclusive party in all of Mystica?” Rarity did not wait for an answer. “Well Darling, you must go. But not just for yourself, not just for Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, but all of us. You owe it to us to attend and have the greatest time there ever. I know how I would conduct my night, if it were me. All of Chantalot’s top elite would be talking but soon they gradually all pause as a young woman enters. Where is she from, have you seen her before, isn’t she beautiful, and glamorous, these and many more questions they would all ask at a lost at the young woman, a Rarity, among them. Her dress both complements her and the gala, and yet makes her the center of everyone’s attention. She would soon be greeted by the ruling princesses, and then at awe over her, they would introduce her to … him… their distant nephew, the Grand Duke, Prince Blueblood. She would dance with him and set his heart ablaze, but she would never give into his advance, nor would she string him along. And before the next Hearth Warming she would say ‘I do’ and take on the title Grand Duchess, Princess Rarity, it would be a glorious event, only topped by the marriage of the current youngest princess the adopted niece of Princess Celestia herself, Princess Mi Amore Cadenza. Haaaa,” Rarity sighed in delight over her dream. As Rarity told her ‘dream’ Twilight pictured the events as Rarity dreamed them but with the Cinderella suit playing in the background. “But of course, those are my dreams, Twilight, Darling. Not yours. And while my desire to attend is great, to ask you to see if I can attend this upcoming gala, is just barbaric, not even Applejack or Fluttershy would stoop so low, Pinkie Pie may because it’s a party, but that’s a big if. Rainbow Dash may, but to be fair Rainbow may not if she thinks it all the way through…. I am now inspired. Your gown for the gala, you will be the talk of the town and all the eligible bachelors will be flooding your parents' home to gain their blessings and you will have your choice of the most influential families in all of Mystica. I can see your dress now, Twilight’s gala dress/good one from Suited for Success danced in Rarity's mind "... it will be magnificent.”

“You’re taking this very well.” Twilight said not entirely sure if Rarity had not had a mental break down as she takes her ticket. “Can you promise me to not tell anyone else about it, save Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie, they already know about the ticket..”

“Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye. Now your clothes will be ready in a minute.” Rarity said as she left to head back to her work. After a few minutes Rarity returned with a measuring tape with pen and notepad. “Have to make sure that your gown will fit properly, so I will need measurements.” Rarity said as she prepared to take measurements.

Half an hour later, after Twilight got her clothes back and helped Rarity enchant her pen and measuring tape so that the tape could measure by itself and the pen would record the measurements by itself, Twilight exited the boutique and found the most adorable thing. Spike was playing tea with Sweetie Belle, but Spike was not in a dress, he was in a poorly made suit, top hat with a mustache and a cane near by. “Now Mister Dracos, would you like one lump of sugar or two?” Sweetie Belle squeaked happily.

“I am sorry but Mister Dracos has to head home. But he’s free to host tea every Tuesday at 4pm. So if you can find more young ladies…” Twilight said as she picked up Spike.

“Really?” Sweetie Belle asked full of cheer and hope. Twilight nodded. Sweetie Belle gasped and ran inside “Rarity! Rarity! I have the most exciting news!” the young girl squeaked.

There was a sudden crash, trund and what sounded like a metal pan coming to a stop, like some sort of carton crash. “Sweetie Belle…” came Rarity’s voice clearly not happy with whatever just happened.

“I am sorry. But my news is so exciting.” happily squeaked the little girl.

Twilight laughed to herself as she took Spike and headed to their current home, the Golden Oak Library. Once inside she placed Spike down on the floor and laid down on the couch and held the ticket over her heart.

One more reason for me to hate Blueblood. Spike thought. Twilight was about to get up to question but then she remembered her mind is linked to Spike and due to the Elements of Harmony his mind is linked to the others and that Spike has a crush on Rarity. So what are you going to do?

“I don't know. All my… oh shoot I never asked you if you wanted to go. I am sorry. Do you want to go?”

Actually yeah, I do. And so do you. And that we want everyone to attend this year as well. So just ask Princess Celestia.

Twilight thought about it, Spike was right. Maybe if she explained everthin.... “Spike take a letter.” Twilight ordered. After rolling his eyes Spike puffed up a scroll and quill and prepared to write. “Dear Princess Celestia, I have recently received a ticket for the Grand Gala and while I do wish to attend I am not sure I can. I just made these friends and I don’t want this to be a reason for friction. Applejack would like to attend to sell her wares. I know this event is catered… Rainbow Dash wants to network with the current members of the Wonderbolts. Fluttershy would like to see the preserve in your gardens and with the animals there. Pinkie Pie would like to attend because...well you remember the Summer Sun Celebration and the double party. And Rarity… she too wishes to network. I know It may be overstepping things, but can my friends own wants come too, can they attend? I’m sorry to say that I can’t in good conscience attend without my friends. Sincerely Your Faithful Student, Twilight Sparkle. PS I look forward to seeing Princess Luna again.”

Twilight did a quick look over to make sure Spike hadn’t missed anything, or misspelled anything, before rolling it up with an approving nod. As Spike was about to send the message they heard a knock on the door. Twilight answered it, it was Rarity, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy. “What are you guys doing here?”

“Well, you told us not tell the others and then they ended up finding out anyway,” said Rainbow Dash, “so we thought th…”

“Everyone who doesn’t live in this building out, now,” said Twilight rather forcefully, “Spike and I are attending to the issue of my invitation that is devoid of you all, in fact we were just about to send it off. No, none you are permitted to read it yet, I say that because I’m sure at least one of you will end up finding it or a copy of it some time after today, but for the time being please vacate my home for the day so I can get all of the things that need to be done today actually done,” it seemed that Twilight’s preemptive rant was well timed see as she managed to cut Rainbow, Pinkie and Rarity all off before they even said anything. Pinkie and Rainbow, Twilight understood them wanting to read it, but Rarity was a bit of a surprise. After everyone left Twilight nodded to Spike to breath his fire and send the letter off. Shortly there was another knock at the door. Oh that’s probably everyone wanting to apologies for today. Thought Twilight.

Either that or someone saying you got another mail order that you don’t recall making, seriously who keeps sending you those random snow globes? Said Spike with a snarky tone. Twilight answered the door and there was Brighteyes Muffins in the Mystican standard mail delivery uniform, with the Magiville town crest on her left shoulder with a set of bubbles on her right shoulder.

“Special Delivery for Twilight Sparkle.” Brighteyes said in her happy, bubbly voice as she handed Twilight a set of keys and a letter.

“What is this for?”

“Someone named Shining Armor sent one of those mobile storage units to you, full of stuff. I think he was trying to help you move out of your old place in Chantarlot and move in here. I think the combination to the mobile storage unit is in that letter, the keys are to your storage unit here in Magiville, which happens to currently house the mobile storage unit.” Brighteyes answered.

At that moment Reality hit Twilight like a freight train, she forgot to tell her parents she was moving and that she just left leaving most of her stuff behind. “Thank you. Say can you lead me to where the storage units are?”

“I was planning to, I made sure you were my last delivery of the day.” Brighteyes answered with a closed eyed smile that clearly came from the heart, in fact it was as if every decision she made she made from the heart.

“Thank you.” Twilight replied as she grabbed Spike and the two followed the mail-sky born.

As the three traveled, there was something nagging at Twilight. Before Twilight asked, “I have strabismus. It’s not easy, but no-one knows their way around Magiville like me.”

“Oh… sorry that…”

“It’s alright, you didn’t know, but there are a few people in town that view me as little more than a ditz because of my ‘derped’ up eyes. But there is this one person in town that wouldn’t want me to change a thing.” Brighteyes said with a smile on her face, as if she…

“So who’s the guy?” Twilight asked as they walked. Just then a Earth-born man dressed in a brown trench coat with an hourglass embroidered on the back, brown pants and a white shirt with a green neck tie was blown out of one of the windows.

“Muffin!!! Are you alright?” Brighteyes asked as she ran to the

“I’m fine. Just a little scraped up.” the Earthborn man said as he got to his feet.

“Please tell me that Dinky was not in there. Because if anything happened to her…” Brighteyes look shifted to be clearly angry, in spite of and despite her strabismus.

“She is with Amethyst Star, Golden Harvest and Noi, they are practicing for the Sisterhood Social. She’s the eldest of five sisters. Sorry I didn't quick get your name, Twilight Sparkle I assume.” the male Earth-born said turning to Twilight Sparkle.

“So, you’re Dr. Time Turner Who, I assume?”

“Technomancer, Chronomancer and Artificer, for all your physic bending needs.” He said as he took out a business card and handed it to Twilight. “You should definitely come and see my lab sometime. You have no idea what science can unlo…”

“Time Muffin, Ms. Sparkle and I have places to go and I need to turn in my uniform. But I will gladly see the results of your latest experiment, after you of course clean up.” Brighteyes said pointing the broken window and the likely mess inside. Time Turner gave a laugh of defeat as he got back up and headed inside. “He means well, but he thinks with his gut, despite having three different doctorates. But I love him all the same.” Brighteyes informed and Twilight made a note of that.

The two continued to walk and talk and for some reason Twilight noted that Brighteyes as a good at flight as Rainbow Dash, at least for the day to day flying. Maybe she would be even better than Rainbow Dash if she didn’t have ‘wall-eyes’. Soon they arrived at Twilight’s new storage unit, well to be more accurate it was the storage unit of the Golden Oak Library to be used by the residing librarian, if any. The storage unit that Magiville had was just big enough to fit the mobile storage unit sent to her by Shining Armor. “Well, here you are, I better be getting home. Time Turner tends to go overboard with his experiments without an adult chaperone. See you tomorrow, maybe you’ll get another snow globe, I am so envious.”

“Wait how do you know I get those snow globes?” Twilight asked confused as to how Brighteyes knew about the snow globes.

“I have been delivering all kinds of things, one time there was this order that had, Princess Celestia knows why, a flower pot, an anvil and a piano of all things. So I can tell what’s in a package, makes surprising me on Hearth Warming very hard though. And I really misse being surprised. Well Good Day.” Brighteyes then flew off.

Twilight opened the letter and read it out loud to herself and Spike “Dear Twily,

Mom, Dad and I finished packing your stuff. We look forward to hearing from you. LSBFF. Oh yeah Dad ordered some snow globes for you and had them sent to your new residence. I guess he wants to remind you of home. Also Mom sent her copy of the Daring Do series in addition to yours… I never understood why she bought any in the first place, you know since A.K. Yearling is her rival in the action-themed novel. Well whatever. Oh, I sent Spike all my re-prints, I so hope he enjoys them. The combination to the lock is your birthday. Well take care Twily,

Your BBBFF, Shining Armor.” Twilight finished reading.

Well, let’s get unpacking. Spike thought. Twilight only sighed, she was not looking forward to the unpacking and transporting, but she had to admit it was nice for her family to send to her her things.

When they got back to the library with the last of the items from Twilight’s old place of residence an hour later, Twilight found the letter they just sent attached to the door with a pin that resembled Celestia’s mark and a smiling A++, something Twilight hadn’t seen since she was twelve (and felt a little embarrassed about it, especially since it was her name at the bottom the page, Princess Celestia had cleverly hidden her name with the size and positioning of the pin). Wondering, and worrying, why her letter to the princess was right there on her door she carefully checked the door before tentatively opened the door. When it was fully opened she saw Princess Celestia sitting in Spike’s favorite chair munching on, of all things, a small handful of Twilight’s rolled omelettes from her preparations for a potential picnic with her friends at some point in the future, and drinking some pink colored liquid from a simple glass that happened to have Cadance’s mark on it.

“You are learning about friendship much faster than I thought. But I was already on route when I got your message. You see I want to have Sweet Apple Temple cater the upcoming Grand Gala. How about you invite your friends over and I will explain everything.” Princess Celestia said. She gave off the aura that she knew everything. Unknown to Twilight there were several tickets right next to the glass Celestia was drinking from.

“How do I invite them all now? I don't have a megaphone or anything like that.”

“Spike can send messages to everyone the message is intended to. You can even send letters to your parents and Shining Armor. They would love to hear from you and they all have dragon breath candles to reply.” Celestia answered. She handed a note to Spike. “Give it a try.” Spike breathed his fire on the note. Unlike in the past when there was only one trail of smoke there were five.

“I am sorry about the mess. I was not expecting anybody and Magiville decided to close the library until I finish moving in.” Twilight was starting to panic.

“Calm down, my little mage. It’s alright. I wanted to catch you off guard because if I told you I was coming you would have worried yourself into a mental break down.” Celestia said as she laughed rather un-princess like. Twilight was befuddled at this degree of… familiarity that Celestia was showing. Like Celestia wasn’t her mother-like teacher but the fun aunt. “How about I help you organize.”

“But Pri…” Twilight started only to see Celestia started levitating everything Twilight brought in.

“I will not hear any protest. Now let’s get to work.” Celestia said as everything she levitated began to fly to where their places would be. Twilight started to help, mostly because she thought that a princess should not be cleaning up… well her mess. After half an hour everything was neat, in order and the library was ready to be open again. There was a knock on the door. Twilight answered it and all her new friends were there, Applejack in the front.

“Hey Sugarcube, we got your note. But what in the hay happened to your hand writ.. PRINCESS CELESTIA… um… ah… your highness!” Applejack said as she and the others entered and noticed almost too late that Princess Celestia was also there.

As they all started to bow, “Rise, and be at ease, my little mages. I have heard from Twilight that you each wish to attend the Grand Gala and your reasons for it. I will start with you, Paladin of Sweet Apple Temple.” Celestia said and saluted Applejack, it was the proper greeting to warriors of the Divine, whether they hold more to Avatar Zacherle or Avatar Faust, even for a demigoddess like her. After the salute, “You won’t be able to sell any of your wares, as the Grand Gala and such events are catered. However after tasting the food from this year’s main Summer Sun Celebration, in particular the hard cider. Now the standard catering is eight thousand bits, but we have to remember transporting, you will need an appropriate dress, as well your guests… so ten thousand bits.” Celestia said as she levitated from the stand three tickets and a ten thousand bit bill note.

Applejack accepted the three tickets and the bill note“#2, Applejack Apple V.I.P., and two guest tickets. Apple Bloom is going to have the time of her life, and Big Mac, well he may actually enjoy himself. Thank you kin… Wait did you say… ten… thous…” Celestia nodded and Applejack fainted but was quickly brought back with some smelling salts Pinkie Pie had in one of her pockets, which smelled a bit differently than most other smelling salts.

Turning over to Rainbow Dash, “I am given to understand that you wish to network with the current members of the Wonderbolt to increase your chances of being extended an invitation to attend the academy. However I must inform you that at the Gala the Wonderbolts are not actually there for enjoyment. You see the nobles and most wealthy of Mystica view being a patron to a Wonderbolt as a status symbol. At the Gala, most Wonderbolts are there to… flatter the ego of their patrons and solicit more funds pay for their equipment, as the Wonderbolts’ equipment is a few steps above standard issue for the aerial branch of the ESM. As for newer Wonderbolts they are seeking patrons, but after the first actual dance, they tend to gather at the bar, having done what they needed to. That would be the best time to approach them and talk.” Celestia said as she levitated two tickets to Rainbow Dash.

“#3, Rainbow Dash, V.I.P. and a guest ticket. But who am I am going to invite?” Rainbow Dash asked out loud. “Fluttershy you want to go?”

“Yes I do.” Fluttershy answered as she was about to accept the ticket before Celestia levitated it into Rainbow Dash’s pocket.

“Hold on Fluttershy, I was just about to get to you. I didn’t need Twilight’s letter to tell me you wished to see the nature preserve in the Royal Gardens, but the night of the Gala is not the best time, as the animals don’t like the guests as the guests tend to not be the most thoughtful towards them. I do, however, wish to extend to you a personal invitation to come and spend the night and day before the Gala in the Royal Gardens, in fact you can spend a week if you wish and with this ticket, you can also go to the Gala itself.” Celestia said as she levitated another ticket and presented it to Fluttershy along with a week pass to stay in the Royal Gardens, valid the week leading up to the Gala.

“#4 Fluttershy, Companion Status V.I.P., Your majesty… I can…” Fluttershy stuttered as she accepted both.

“Please, I command it.”
‘Hold on a second, what does companion status mean?’ Spike asked in Draconic.

“It means that I am expecting Fluttershy to bring her animal companion Angel Bunny with her, it’s similar to Twilight’s Familiar Status.” Celestia explained after giving a rather un-princess like giggle. “Now to you, Rarity.”

“Yes, your grace?” Rarity asked as the princess turned to her.

“You wish to meet my great… oh screw it we’re talking over one thousand five hundred years worth of generations… grand nephew, the Grand Duke, Prince Blueblood…” at that everyone, including Princess Celestia paused in fright as they heard Spike hiss… he never hissed like that, even to Angel Bunny. After a few seconds, “As I was saying, I want to give you a fair warning, he’s not the charming prince you are expecting. But I doubt I can persuade you to not follow your dream. So...” Celestia said dejectedly as she levitated two tickets to Rarity.

After accepting them with her own magic, “#5 Rarity V.I.P. and one guest ticket, well Sweetie Belle’s birthday is the following day, maybe she’ll accept this as her gift from me… wait a minute, dresses, I still have to make dresses for everyone.”

“And two suits, one for Spike, one for Big Mac.”

“Three, Angel Bunny, you want to look your best at the party? Right?” Fluttershy said turning to her rabbit. Angel knew he was not going to win this argument so he just nodded, clearly not happy but accepting.

“Hold on one minute.” Pinkie said and her whole demeanor morphed into a sorrowful one, on the verge of tears. “What…(sniffle)... about…(sniffle)...Pinkie?” she asked and as she asked it was as if a violin was playing… “Actually Foxhelm, that’s a viola playing.” Pinkie said to the author/narrator… a sad tone.

“Why did she just stare into the wall just say that?” Twilight asked.

“You don’t seem to take advice very well, it’s Pinkie Pie, don’t question it.” Rainbow Dash said.

“Actually Miss Pie, I was saving you for last. You see the Grand Gala is not the kind of party you normally attend and or host. It can be very… stuffy from your perspective. However, it’s not a party without Pinkie Pie. Maybe with the right guests, you’ll have a great time, but do know the best time for partying like you do is during the actual dance.” Celestia said as she levitated five tickets to Pinkie Pie.

Pinkie Pie’s demeanor changed back to it’s usual happy and almost carefree self. “#6 Pinkamena Diane Pie, V.I.P. and four guest tickets.” Pinkie gasped at that. “I got to go and tell my sisters. I’ll be back in a week. Maud will have a great time, Limestone could really use a break from the rock farm and Marble may find just the right person to open up to. Bye everyone.” Pinkie Pie said cheerfully as she accepted the tickets and skipped out of the library to the train station.

“Well… that went better than I thought.” Celestia said. “Well I best be going. I need a good night sleep, still bringing Luna up to speed. Well farewell, everyone.” and with a flash she was gone.

Told ya asking Princess Celestia would resolve this. Spike thought and went over to his chair and made himself comfortable.

“Well, Ah best be getting back to Sweet Apple Temple, see yah Sugarcube.” Applejack said as she headed out of the library and home.

“Well I best head to my cottage, it’s can be quite the walk at times. See you later, Twilight. Come along Angel.” Fluttershy said as she and Angel Bunny left and headed home.

“Well I got work in the morning, still have to finish paying off my cage of cider. But man am I sore.” Rainbow Dash said as she rolled her shoulders and rubbed the muscles of her arm. “How the hell do Earthborn keep doing that day in and day out?” Rainbow Dash asked as she started to fly out.

“They must have an innate level of stamina that Magicborn and Skyborn don’t have.” Twilight mused. “Well, good night Rainbow.”

“Yeah check you later.” Rainbow Dash said as she again started to head out.

“I would recommend going to the spa and have a massage or soaking in one of the hot tubs. Well I have to head back to my boutique, I need to check on my supplies, make sure Mother and Father haven’t encouraged Sweetie Belle to use too many of my gems for her arts and crafts. Well good night Twilight, and you as well, Spikey-Wikey” Rarity said as she too left.
Twilight yawned, “Well it has been a long day. Let’s go to bed.” Twilight then left to change into something more fitting for sleep. After changing clothes she took Spike and went to her bed, resting the dragon just above her head. “Good night Spike.”

“Goodnight Twilight.” and the two, for once in over eight years, fell to sleep together.

Sometimes a Stop is the Fastest Speed

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Rainbow Dash was lounging about a floating disc of compressed moisture from the surrounding air that she had created a few hours prior, she had also woken up from a mid-day nap. As much as she liked to practice her skills to make into the elite of the elite of elementalists, and as dedicated as she was to her duties as a weather manager, the quiet little town of Magiville just didn't seem to have what it took to keep her boredom at bay for very long. Granted, things had gotten a bit more exciting since Twilight had come to town, and thankfully most of the exciting stuff was more amusing than it was dangerous. Thinking back to the meeting she had with Twilight and the rest of her friends she remembered Twilight’s offer on showing everybody some of the best places to get some of the best gear Chantalot had to offer. She took a quick look at her bow and had mixed feelings.

On one hand she had the simple looking elementalist's bow since she had graduated from the Storm Academy, which while pretty cool was not able to stand up to some of the most epic moves she had seen at some of the Wonderbolts shows, and on the other hand she could get a new bow tailored to her so well that it would feel like a part of her, and probably be able to handle most of the higher end tricks she could think of, and yet there would be no bond with that bow. Boiled down, it was either stick with something you know, but that may not work, like Twilight’s plan against Nightmare Moon, or go for her to dream no matter what, like how Nightshade tempted with joining the Shadowbolts. Okay, not the best analogy but it was readily available.

Rainbow hadn't graduated top of her class, (truth be told she almost didn’t make it to graduation time there, some jargon about an instant passing because of something that happened when she was ten… it was all muddled up and her dad was not good at explaining it, in fact most of the time he was downright terrible at, so much so that she wondered where she got her awesome story telling prowess, to boot there were a few times as her stepmother Firefly was almost as bad as her dad, anyway), something she wasn't keen on sharing, if she had (graduted at the top of her or shared) she would have gotten a scholarship to the Wonderbolt Academy instead of having to send in a dozen application forms over the past three years. Also, there was that pesky age requirement thing.

Rainbow's defining property was her speed, at least that's what she liked to tell everyone. To the people who knew her well would say the attribute for defining Rainbow was her loyalty.

Rainbow decided to get some practice in, but how to do it in a way that could possibly challenge her skills. She needed an idea that was outside the box, thankfully she knew a mage that was very good at that sort of thing. It was time to visit Sugarcube Corner, mostly so she talk with the friend that was usually there to help however she could. Pinkie Pie could be quite random, in a lot of ways. And it was that randomness Rainbow thought she could assist in testing her skills. Rainbow just hoped she wouldn't regret it, sometimes Pinkie's ideas could be a little too out there. After some internal debating with herself Rainbow made her way to see the pink clad mage, who was one of the most random people she knew.

After jogging to Sugurcube Corner, she wanted be able to at least out pace Applejack during their next footrace (assuming she wins the coin toss to determine the distance) she found a stout, blue clad woman with pink hair at the counter. “Hi, Mrs. Cake,” said Rainbow, “Is Pinkie in? I want to talk to her about something.”

“Hello there, dearie,” said Mrs Cake in her usual friendly manner, “Pinkie said something about having to set up for an event all of a sudden and dashed off a few minutes ago, not that Carrot and I mind, it's been pretty slow today.”

“Thanks,” said Rainbow, she then spotted a wing shaped mini-cake with rainbow frosting in the display case, “how much for the wing shaped cupcake?”

“Oh no, deary. It's not a cupcake, it's a mini-cake! fifteen bits.”

“Fifteen? Why so much? It's just a small confection!”

“Yes, and we just put it out in the store today, since it is so new we usually charge a bit more than usual for treats, then bump down the price after a few weeks based on the initial popularity of it.”

“Makes sense to me,” Rainbow reached into her coin purse and placed a twenty bit coin on the counter, “fifteen for the cake, and five as a tip and thank you for letting me know about Pinkie. Chances are she'll find me before I come close to finding her,” after Mrs Cake packaged the cake and handed her the bag Rainbow gave another thanks and left the sweets shop.

After leaving Sugarcube Corner Rainbow made her way to the park with her prize. After finding a spot she deemed appropriate to eat her snack, just when the cake was inches from her opening mouth Pinkie popped up seemingly out of nowhere and said, “Hey, Dashie! Whatcha up too?”

“Well,” said Rainbow as she lowered her confection, “after some practice I figured I'd drop by Sugarcube Corner and see if you were in, because I wanted to ask you something. When I got there you weren't in, but I found a conveniently cool looking miniature cake and decided to enjoy it here. I was just about to pop it in my mouth when you popped up.”

“Oh, oops, interrupting snacks is one of the big no-noes on my list of rules,” Pinkie said as she pulled out an impossibly long scroll and looked it over. “Yep, rule #51.” After pocketing the scroll she looked around nervously, “I'll leave you to your snack and see you in a bit,” then as quickly as she had appeared she disappeared.

“Still don't know how she does that,” muttered Rainbow, turning back to her snack she noticed a surprisingly clear canteen half filled with milk and a note strapped to it that read 'to wash it down' in lettering that had different font styles for each word and the period at the end as a smiley face next to her mini-cake, which was now on a pink paper plate covered with Pinkie's distinctive three balloon mark. Rainbow just shook her head and sat down to enjoy her snack, plus Pinkie's addition.

Several minutes later, it tasted so good Rainbow had decided to take the time to savor it (a bit of a rare occasion for her), Rainbow was patting her belly with sense of content. Of course all nice things must end, Pinkie once again popped up out of nowhere behind Rainbow. “Hey Dashie, enjoy your snack?”

“Gah, Pinkie you need to stop popping up behind people! Yes, I enjoyed my snack. But that's not what I wanted to talk to you about, it involves my practice runs.”

“Oh, yeah,” said Pinkie with excitement, moving to be in front of Rainbow, with her baby alligator named Gummy now on her jester hat, which for some reason had six points coming off of it instead of her usual two, “you are pretty quick with those things.”

“That's kinda what I wanted to talk to ya about, Pinkie. I need a course that will really give me a challenge me and push skills to the next the level. I figured that since you're the master of surprises that you could setup some kind of course to challenge my skills as an elementalist and help take my skills to the next level.”

“Ooh, I can abso-tootsly do that, but it will take some time to get it all setup.”

“'K, let me know when it's ready, I'll head off to handle some other stuff 'til you come and get me to run the completed course.” After saying their parting pieces, which for Pinkie included giving Rainbow a wineskin filled with some kind punch, the two went off on their separate ways for the day. Rainbow actually found herself debating whether she should nap or not, after her meet up with Pinkie she found herself unable to nap for what felt like hours. Her duties for the day had been done in record time, but for some reason the accomplishment had her feeling more hollow than a log that had been on the forest floor for months. It seemed that the only thing that would give her any sort of satisfaction this day, now, was seeing just how far she could push herself.


It had been almost an hour since her meeting with Pinkie and Rainbow was so bored she was actually trying to make out a series of dots near the horizon, which was fine in all since it was great sight training, when Pinkie literally rippled into her line of sight. “Gah, Pinkie you need to find a less startling way of getting my attention!”

“Sorry, Dashie, I wanted to make the coming surprise even more incredible,” said Pinkie with a big smile on her face.

“And that would be,” said Rainbow with a quirked eyebrow.

Pinkie held up a map the town and surrounding area on what appeared to be some high quality paper, “Here’s your training map,” she started pointing to different points on the map, “you’ll start at the southern edge of town,” her finger started going along a blue dotted line on the paper that indicated the course, “first you’ll do some fly by shots at the stationary targets at the flower shop, then try and find a flag hidden in the branches of the library (Twilight also said she added some extra stuff for you to find in there, like a list of foods with descriptions of what they help improve written next to them), then you’ll do some loop-de-loops through some moving rings over Sugurcube Corner (if you can guess at least three of the dozens of patterns the rings are making during your course run you’ll get a free surprise treat), then you’ll do some fly by shots at the moving targets just above town hall, do capture the flag from a bird at Fluttershy’s and finish up on the western edge of town with some backwards spirals around the old guard outpost that’s been abandoned so long the only one who remembers anything about it is Granny Smith. So, what you think of your course?”

“It’s okay, I guess, Pinkie,” said Rainbow, “but I was expecting more.”

“Oh, did I forget to mention, you’ll be doing it all at top speed the whole way through. In other words you’ll be doing the whole thing on a speed run. And if you do really well,” Pinkie turned the paper over, “you’ll be ready for this,” the other side of the paper showed that Pinkie had drawn up the whole thing on the back of a flyer for the ‘Open Young Fliers Competition’. While any fliers could join, it was highly built for Elementalists with it’s bonus targets that were of varying reaction to seemingly random elemental attacks near the course. It was already something she was planning to enter, but she only shared that with… Twilight. What got Rainbow Dash’s attention was the prize; a day with the Wonderbolt 1st Wing: Captain Spitfire, 1st Lt. Soarin and 1st Lt. Fleetfoot. All three are also scheduled to be three of four the celebrity judges with Princess Celestia as the fourth.

Rainbow nearly lost her cool, but managed to rein herself in (thus avoiding a massive fangirl moment, which she was told by her dad was beyond adorable, but since parents say a lot of things are cute when they aren’t, Rainbow wasn’t about to take her dad’s word on that), which needless to say would not be very cool, instead she gave a chill, “That prize is pretty cool, I might go for it.” Internally Rainbow was saying, Whoa, close one, I almost lost my composure, that’s the last thing I want, especially in front of Pinkie. I have to prove I’m worthy of the Wonderbolts’ uniform, and last I checked hopping around like Pinkie due to excitement is very, very uncool… Okay, for her it totally works, but not me.

“I also told our friends about it,” said Pinkie, “they might be adding a few more contributions to the course than I let on,” she gave a big grin, “see ya at the starting line, Dashie.” As suddenly as she appeared, Pinkie vanished leaving behind a perplexed Rainbow Dash. Rainbow just shrugged her shoulders, only one member of their group did not seem to get Pinkie and that was Twilight, and that was partially forgivable on account of her being new to town.

Rainbow Dash started heading over to the starting point. Once there she noticed what Pinkie Pie was talking about. Applejack, Fluttershy, Twilight and Rarity were there. The thing that stood out was Rarity’s measuring tape. “What the…”

“It’s for your flight suit, Rainbow Darling. Your clothes cause too much drag, especially if you’re trying to pull off all you’re trying to do.”

“Well, it better be…”

“I see it as a rainbow themed lightning bolt, but the dying will be after we make sure it fits.” Rainbow gave a smirk, even though she knew Rarity would definitely make a cool looking outfit she also knew that the fashionista would likely not make it of the proper materials to survive the speeds she was planning on pulling. All Skyborn, doubly so for elementalists, clothing was designed to take high speeds, hence why she didn’t have a burning mess of rags when she first met Twilight in the airspace above the town. She decided to let Rarity take her measurements, after all the white clad enchantress had been pestering her for a fitting for some time now.

Rainbow also suspected it has something to do with the Gala tickets Twilight had managed to score for all of them, even if she did blow her chance to meet the three greatest Wonderbolts of the current age she’d still get a shot at seeing them (and hopefully impressing them) at the Gala.

“These sorts of measurements work best with very little clothing on, we have to make sure it’s a proper fit,” said Rarity. Rainbow looked around to her friends for help, instead of seeing a nervous Fluttershy she saw her and Twilight work together to literally grow a changing booth, complete with overly leafy vines acting as a divider curtain. Rainbow internally swore, well tried to with the distraction of thinking a combo spell from two mages casting at the same time was so cool she wanted to give it a shot. Who to do the combo-spell with? Shy and Twi already did it, so asking either of them would be like trying to ride the wave they had, which was not acceptable; Rarity might be a good fit, some of her enchantments might lend themselves well to elemental magic; Paladin magic didn’t seem the kind to work with any non-holy spells, so Applejack was out; and Pinkie was too random to hope for anything cohesive, and chances are they’d end up ruining each other’s trick.

“That booth looks a bit small for two people, nice try Rares,” said Rainbow.

“No worries, I enchanted the measuring tape to tranfer the exact number to this pen and pad,” she held up a notepad and fountain pen, “and yes Twilight helped me with fine tuning of the spells.” Well, Rarity was out of the combo options for a while.

Rainbow grumbled a bit as she made her way into the dressing room that had literally just grown in fornt of her. After her shirt and shorts were hanging over the curtain railing the measuring tape floated in and Rainbow began protesting to the presence of the enchanted item while trying to dodge it in the enclosed space. One series of screaming protests from Rainbow later Rarity’s clipboard was all filled out and Rainbow was pulling her clothes back on. “I am never going to let an enchanted piece of tape near me again, period.”

“Oh, don’t worry, darling,” said Rarity, “I’ve got all I need, at least until you undergo some kind of growth spurt.”
Rainbow rolled her eyes before saying, “I guess I better get ready for the exercise.”

“Alright,” said Twilight, “Pinkie said you were aiming for speed, so I set up spell that linked a stopwatch to this, the moment you start it will start.”

“Awesome,” said Rainbow as she positioned herself at the starting point.

“Not so fast, darling,” said Rarity, “we need you slip into your new flight suit.”

“Yeah, just remember to make sure it’s made from a material that’s able to handle the force and friction that happens when Skyborn move at high speeds. I have no doubt what you make will be worth looking at, but this is something that means function needs to be considered over aesthetics. All Skyborn clothes are made of a material designed to handle the stresses of flight, and the Wonderbolts have outfits specifically designed for Skyborn moving much higher speeds for longer periods than you might think.”

“Rainbow, Darling, you don’t give me enough credit. This material is meant to endure a sonic boom. And if memory serves you have been trying to pull of the fantastic Sonic Rainboom.”

“Question,” said Twilight, also pulling out a notebook with the her flowing script saying ‘Skyborn Observations’, “what’s a Sonic Rainboom?”

Instead of the surprised looks she got in response she got from everyone a prior day she got a smirk from Rainbow, and little giggle from everyone else. “A sonic rainboom,” said Fluttershy, “is where a Skyborn goes so fast they make a sonic boom and rainbow at the same time, it’s such a rare event that most people think it’s nothing more than a legend or story created to motivate fliers to push themselves further. Rainbow supposedly did it once, but all the official accounts of that day from the time is was supposed to of happened went missing the following day.”

“Story or not,” Rarity said, “it’s become a sort of annual tradition for Rainbow to try for a rainboom, for as long those of us in Magiville have known her.”

“I told you some of that when we met. Guess saving the world was the more important fact of that week. So, no biggie.”

“Oh, right,” said Twilight with a slight blush of embarrassment. “Anyway, on your mark,” Rainbow came up to the position marked as the start, which was marked with two poles in the ground making a magical line in the air in a rainbow color, “ get set,” she unfurled her ethereal wings and positioned herself just behind the line, “go!” Rainbow shot off like a rocket to the first checkpoint.The targets were at fixed positions above the flower shop, but they were at different elevations. As she made her way to the library she began to pick up speed, she was sure her natural ability to pick things up on the fly would help her. When she got close to the tree she didn’t spot any telltale signs of her quarry. Although it pained her to do, especially since this whole thing was about speed, Rainbow had to slow down and go through the branches with caution. She spotted something yellow in the branches and thought it might be the flag after a short moment in her search, instead it was a scroll case with big dark blue letters that read ‘the principles of motion, speed and turning at high accelerations’, she popped it into a slot on her belt and kept moving. Next she spotted something orange, it was another scroll case that told her it was related to diets for high speed, her third search side she found a fluorescent green flag that had a big, black bullseye on it. She stashed in her belt next to the scrolls and and darted out of the tree twice as fast as she had approaching it the moment she was clear of the branches.

Rainbow smiled as she made her way to the next checkpoint. As she approached Sugarcube Corner she noticed a dozen rings reconfiguring to a new pattern, the pattern they were moving from was a cat’s paw configuration. As she moved the through the rings they continued to change their pattern a dozen more times, she was able to identify them all. To Rainbow that was child’s play, but the act of moving through them was a bit more trying. While going through the rings she did a barrel roll in addition to loop-de-loops while going through a few of the patterns, usually during the transition period, and even finished with an aileron roll while moving out of the rings and on to the next checkpoint.

Rainbow zoomed passed the town hall, drawing her bow when she approached it, hitting all five moving targets nearly in bullseye as she passed. She quickly made her way to the next checkpoint. At this point she was feeling pretty good about it all, definitely more cocky that she usually was. But the flag was not with any of the birds that took up residence near Fluttershy's cottage, it was with a tortoise. An odd choice, but Rainbow Dash was in a hurry so she’d ask Fluttershy about it later.

Rainbow raced to where Pinkie had marked the outpost, but it took her a few minutes to find it when she didn’t see it on her approach (something she nearly kicked herself over). After locating the outpost, ironically by the rings that were moving about said structure to act as prompts for her stunts. She performed another dozen stunts, half of which were from her memory of Wonderbolt routines. Rainbow decided to finish off the performance with another go at the sonic rainboom. Rainbow arranged her body in what she thought was the optimum configuration for performing the stunt, one arm out in front of her with the other partially relaxed at her side. Rainbow continued to speed forward, the mach cone forming in before her, she smiled to herself since this was most success she’d had in years since the time she’d first done the rainboom, after a few seconds she was literally stopped in mid air by the wind resistance and shot backwards at double her usual top speed like a kid had used her as a stone in a stone in a slingshot. Thankfully she was caught by a giant cushion of magic in mid air, which had just enough give to not cause any serious damage in the act of slowing her down.

“Ya alright, Sugarcube?” Applejack asked as she caught Rainbow Dash as the elementalist came to ground.

“I hate the Sound Barrier. It just flung me back like a slingshot!”

“You almost did it. Maybe if you tried using gravity you’ll get it.” Fluttershy suggested.

“That and once your flight suit is ready. Almost zero drag and not having to fight the gravitational pull.” Rarity commented

“And practicing for a week or with the diet I found should help immensely.” Twilight finished.

“Thanks for the offers, girls, but I just need to do this my way, no diet changes, no flying toward the ground, no super special outfits, just me and what I got so far.”

“Rainbow, Sugarcube, can we talk, just ya and me?” Applejack said pulling Rainbow Dash aside. When the other were out of earshot. “Ah’m gonna be sincere, yer about as stubborn as me. Now with that said, we all only want to help you succeed. We know you are capable o’ doing et, even without our help. But we all can see you can use the halpin' hand. Also, ya got to remember a few things, the Wonderbolts aren’t just the elementalist Skyborn on the posters, they are also the ground crew making sure the equipment is in perfect condition, the guys making sure they have a flight plan and in case there is a war, the ones making sure they can get back into the fight as good as if not better than before. Think of us as yar support crew. Only ya can make the Sonic Rainboom, but we can make it all much easier. That’s one of the reasons why Granny Smith and Ah accepted your labor as payment for your cage of cider. That’s why Roma, Golden Harvest, Caramel and the other farmers are employed by mah family. Sure Big Mac and I can do it all on our own, but everything and everyone is better off with the help from others. It will still be your accomplishment, Sugarcube, and nothing we do can take that away. Ya get where we’re coming from?” Applejack paused for a moment and then continued. “Ah’ll make sure the others don’t bother ya as you think about it all. Ah’ll accept whatever decision you make, we all will.” And after saying that, Applejack then left Rainbow Dash to give her the time she needed.

With that Rainbow sat down on cloud she manifested under her to think, her friends decided to give her time think it all over and headed back to other things they had planned for that day. With her alone time Rainbow had time to reflect, the problem was she always seemed to think best when she was moving, she didn’t like taking things slow. The fact she was doing her thinking the slow way got her so annoyed she took to the air get it out of her system.

A Day Out Can Be More Taxing Than Anticipated

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Fluttershy took a look at the paw of a squirrel that was waiting patiently for her as she examined it. “I’m sorry,” said the yellow clad druid in her usual soft voice, “but I can’t seem to find what’s causing your paw to hurt, are you sure it’s not something else.” The squirrel did some chittering for a minute or so, Fluttershy took a glance at her own hands for a moment before saying, “did you try picking up anything bigger than usual or taking a load bigger than you normally do?” The squirrel chittered again. “I think I know what’s wrong, you just have a sore paw, give it a rest for a few days and it should be fine, and if not I have a salve that should help you, but it’s only for extreme cases of pain.”

Once Fluttershy headed into her cottage, which seemed to be a weeping birch, the squirrel gave the white rabbit that had been sitting next to the yellow-clad druid an angry look. The rabbit said nothing and just gave it stern look. Just as the two were beginning to size each other up Fluttershy returned with a small jar that contained the cream-like salve. She gently rubbed into the Squirrel’s paw, “Now, don’t go using it for the next couple of days or you’ll make it so we’re back to doing this whole thing again.” The squirrel chittered and scurried off.

Fluttershy gave a smile before heading back inside to do some inventory. Angel gave the birds that were eating the seed that had been set out for them with suspicion before heading back into the cottage himself. As expected there was a small tray of leafy greens next to a small cup of carrot juice in the usual spot. The white rabbit gave the dish and cup a quick sniff to make sure they were not unappetizing then proceeded to down them.The sound of a pen on a pad told him that Fluttershy was writing down a list of things that were close to needing a restock or were completely empty from the abode.


A few hours after her morning home routine Fluttershy was walking the market. She needed to get more seed for the birds, more nuts and berries for the squirrels and chipmunks, the wasps and bees needed more nectar and pollen (for some reason they weren’t satisfied with the flowering plants she had at the cottage), Harry (the bear) seemed to want to try some kinds of fruit so she was going to need to get some, and on top of all that she needed to restock her personal food supplies.
She did not like going to market, it wasn’t that the rest of others were ever truly cruel to her, but she knew she was often on the shorter end of any deal no matter what anyone said. And she knew why, the Magiville open market was place mostly ran by haggling, and Fluttershy was terrible at it. She took out her bit bag and looked inside, she didn’t have a lot of bits, hopefully just enough. The yellow clad druid flashed back to her last visit to the market, then gave an involuntary shiver when she recalled what happened when she had accidentally spilled her bit bag, thankfully at the time there were some crows and ravens nearby help her get most of what had been dropped before the frenzied mob made a dive at the glittering coins like they were hungry fish that had just had some fruit fall in the pond. (Well to fair that’s how she remembered it, it was more like three kids noticing a change to get what was to them some pocket change).

When she got to town it looked like the shopping craze either hadn’t gotten into the swing of things, or had just recently died down, either ways she was grateful that she didn’t have to deal with large crowds on her shopping excursion. Unfortunately that relief was short lived, almost every stall she managed to line up for got sold out, mostly because people kept cutting in front of her and she didn’t do much in terms of asserting herself. By the time half her allotted shopping time had elapsed she only managed to get about an eighth of what she had on her list and spent almost a quarter what she had thought she would in the process.

She dipped her head in defeat when she heard, “Fluttershy, Darling, what brings you to market?” It was Rarity and with her was Pinkie Pie, both with bags full of goods.

Pinkie Pie skipped over to Fluttershy, “Yeah, you normally don’t come here, and if you were low on food you would go to Sweet Apple Temple and get what you need from Applejack.” Pinkie Pie commented, looking over Fluttershy, “and if you needed medical supplies for your animals you would get the surplus from the town veterinarian.” Pinkie Pie then saw the bag of food Fluttershy had, “Things you can’t get from Applejack?”

Fluttershy nodded, “Also, I cannot always rely on Applejack’s help, and she has other things to take care of, I cannot rely on her charity all my life.” Fluttershy said trying to sound like things were better than it was for her.

Rarity gave Fluttershy an ‘I can’t believe that and you’re lying to yourself’ look, but said nothing. “So, what do you need help getting?” Fluttershy reached to get her list and almost dropped her bag, but Pinkie Pie managed to catch it. Rarity looked the list over. “Darling, you should consider arriving close to dawn. But perhaps Pinkie and I can help you get the rest.” She looked up as saw another resident with one of the items Fluttershy. “Sometimes you’ll have to make deals with other patrons of the market.” She closed one of her eyes and as she returned the list, “Everyone has their price, the trick is to know the currency, dear.” holding up her right index finger. She walked over the person, a man about her age. “Excuse me, darling, but would you be able to help out a poor girl with getting a few items.” She said faltering with the male patron.

“Um, well, I am not sure.” he said nervously, as if he thought he was getting ripped off but was not sure about to handle the scene.

Rarity noticed the man’s hesitation, “You see my friend here,” she then gestured to Fluttershy, “is in need for some of asparagus and she arrived after they were all sold, I know it’s first come first served, but could you find it in your heart to part with what what she needs. Such an act of generosity is highly commended.” Rarity continued as she closed the distance and batted bedroom eyes at him as she placed her hands over her heart.

“Well… maybe…” the man said still in doubt, but after receiving a kiss on his right cheek. He froze-melted with a satisfied grin on his face

“You are a marvelous man, Now there is the matter of the exchange. You’re a winter, so how about a jewel-coloured scheme suit for your next date.” Rarity offered looking the man over.

“Well actually I could use a new suit, but you what about…”

“Normal rate minus the price of the asparagus, do we have deal.”

“Deal.” The man said as he offered his right hand to the enchantress.

“Deal, shall we Pinkie Promise it, you know the one?” Rarity asked. The two crossed their hearts with their right hands crossed their hands in front of their chest making wings and moved them to make them flap. They then brought their right hands up and covered their right eyes, all the while saying “Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye.” The man then handed the asparagus over. “So how does tomorrow one hour after midday, sound for the measuring?” Rarity asked. The man nodded and headed off. Rarity then turned back to the Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie. As she placed the asparagus in Fluttershy’s bag. “See.”

Pinkie Pie then took Fluttershy’s list, “I’ll help you with this. Watch and learn.” Pinkie Pie then skipped towards a booth with one of the items on the list.

The shop vendor looked around warily, he knew what a Pinkie Promise meant, especially when you took the pink clad mage who seemed to have made it her personal thing, “I’m sorry, but I can’t make a promise like that,” Pinkie gave him an annoyed look, “but I can vow to honor this deal for the day, if I did more than that my reputation as merchant could possibly take a hit.” Pinkie gave curt nod before throwing down the coins and picking up her gains and skipping over Fluttershy to deposit her purchase in the druid’s bag.
At the next stall, which was selling a variety of berries being operated by a woman in a cranberry red dress with blueberry colored hair, Pinkie acted as a shopping assistant by prompting Fluttershy with a variety of odd queues that got increasingly bizarre as the negotiations continued. In the end she managed to get four small bags of various berries not usually found around the town’s area for a little under half the original asking price, after being prompted to get more berries from Pinkie. After she had finished and was setting everything in her shopping bags she heard and saw Pinkie somehow manage to negotiate a preorder of four carts worth of various berries for only about fifteen bits.

The next stall had Rarity acting as an aid, her prompts were much more subdued and less odd than Pinkie’s. The stall in question was a soap and lotion establishment, seeing it reminded her how low and out she was on cleaning materials for some of the animals she looked after. That experience ended with her getting twice as much as she was initially after for half the price she would have for her original goal.

The practice would have continued on until her bags were filled, but Pinkie managed to direct her towards a stall selling bags, and as a test to see how their help had stuck they had Fluttershy buy the new bags herself. They were thoroughly disappointed, yet unsurprised, when Fluttershy just took the asking price for the three large bags she asked for, although the merchant had been so disappointed her her haggling skills he had given her an extra medium sized bag for free along with a note that told her about some seminars on business and assertiveness along with their dates and locations, one of which would be happening near Magiville soon. After that she was dragged around shopping for another solid hour.


Fluttershy was finally back home, spending time with her friends had made her shopping experience more productive than most would think. The yellow clad druid gave a sigh of defeat as she set her bags down in the kitchen, she always had problems with her assertiveness, she took a look at the note again as she put everything away on instinct, even managing to navigate the near hectic post shopping house with such practiced ease that anyone watching would have believed some kind of rehearsed act. The note said someone named “Iron Will” would be giving a motivational course on assertiveness near Magiville in a few weeks.

Fluttershy decided if she didn’t have anything pressing going at that time she would take a look at the whole thing, but probably wouldn’t stay for the whole show. Fluttershy wasn’t like most other people, her lack of assertiveness did seem to allow her to see things in a bit more realistic manner. It had been her input that had managed to get Rainbow Dash to work on doing the elementalists current job, mostly by acting as a ground for Rainbow’s almost storm-like expectations. The two had known each other since before the rest of their friends had entered their lives, just as she had acted as a ground for Rainbow Dash it had been Rainbow that found ways to nudge Fluttershy outside of her comfort zone. There was time before the seminar.

Speaking of the azure clad elementalist Fluttershy felt she should let Pinkie know a few things about Rainbow, after all Rainbow’s big day was drawing ever closer. Fluttershy shivered at remembering Rainbow’s attempt to plan her own birthday party, the results were still cringe worthy after all the time that had passed since then. She turned her attention to her animals, most of whom were already eating, to see Angel sizing up his deep green salad and glass of an odd green liquid, said liquid was several blended fruits and vegetables, Fluttershy had tried the mix and had found it to be tasty so she figured she would share some with Angel. After giving the drink a tentative sniff and quick taste test of both his salad and the drink he got to work on consuming salad and beverage.

Unexpected Events on a Seemingly Normal Day

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Pinkie looked through her closet, which was curiously able to hold more than its dimensions stated it should. Well, it would be curious if it weren’t for Pinkie’s unusual type of magic. What was she doing, checking her inventory. Despite all appearances Pinkie Pie wasn’t as random as she appeared, yes she was random seeming in her approach to a lot of things, but making sure all her party supplies were all good to go was a task that had her go into so much detail that even Twilight would impressed with it all. Of course her files with info on everyone she knew were in her Party Cave, which she would probably have to move if or when she ever moved out of Suguarcube Corner.

On her way out she noticed gummy holding a note in his mouth, which struck her as odd for a few reasons. For one, Gummy was supposed to be down near the kitchen entrance; secondly, he wasn’t wearing his messenger hat, which meant somebody had just given him the note and rushed out; thirdly, he didn’t look like he was having a good time.

“And fourthly,” said Pinkie, “I just want dracone to get on with this story, he’s starting to drag it out.”

Sorry Pinkie, please try to keep the fourth wall breaks to a number less than ten, please.

“I’ll try, ooh, does this conversation count as one or two of those?”

Just one, now on with the story. Anyway, reading the note told her that it had been left by Twilight, the note stated that Twilight was going to be a bit busier than usual and as such needed Twilight was going did not allow pets, animal companions or familiars with what they stated were ‘security’ concerns. Pinkie knew this as code for businesses either wanting to keep their business secrets within a very small circle or practicing less than legally accepted practices and wishing to hide such things. Hopefully for Twilight’s sake it would be the former and not the latter.

Pinkie decided to go about her day as usual, making mental note to inform Twilight of the rule regarding Gummy and messages. Pinkie continued through the town with a cheery greeting or gesture to everyone she encountered, for some reason Gummy was riding along on her head like a hat despite her not picking him up prior.

As Pinkie skipped and bounced through the town she greeted everyone and stopped for a few seconds for some idle chitchat. Pinkie continued through the town as if nothing were out of place, but then suddenly felt an itching in right leg combined with her left eye twitching and left thumb tingling. This could only mean one thing, someone was about to start singing off key with a bunch other people that were also going to be singing offkey despite previously showing they could do the singing the tune right.

Pinkie had only one course of action, well two but they kind of feed into each other, and that was stop the future offender and get him or her her to singing lessons. After a short search she found the singer, …, but before Pinkie Pie could stop him/her, … started to sing. She could tell the voice was male, but beyond that not a whole lot since she and several other townspeople started singing in the same offkey manner.

Pinkie find the potential offender, but is too late and they start singing offkey, cue terrible sounding musical number
She then heard the beginnings of Time Turner singing Through the Fire and the Flames offkey, then without fail Pinkie and a dozen other townspeople joined in. The dance number was far more coordinated than usual, which probably had to do with the genre the song was from.
After the song reached “Now we stand” Pinkie managed to break free and stop the song before it went any further, it had already gone well over the length of most other songs. Doing so, she also fixed the Technomancer with a stern look, which was contradicted by the comedic blank look of Gummy wearing a pair of fluffy, pink noise canceling earmuffs on his head.

Time Turner gave a weak laugh as Pinkie glared at him. “Haha, sorry, but I couldn’t help myself.”

“You...lessons...singing,” was all all Pinkie said before bringing Gummy from the top of her head to her hold. After finally breaking free from the singing, Pinkie pulled Gummy out of her hair, and in an annoyed as she removed the earmuffs from his head and put them away in her hair before she said, “You know, you could have gotten me my earmuffs too.” Pinkie scolded the alligator. Gummy only blinked blankly, Pinkie then held Gummy to her chest and started to rub him affectionately, as if she was a comforting mother, “Shshsh, its okay, its okay, momma understands, shshsh.” she said softly. Just then her right ear started to give a slight burning sensation. “That’s odd.” Pinkie said confused as she put Gummy back into her hair, “Someone must be talking about me and not wanting me to know. But who..” Pinkie asked herself as she walked, she stumbled upon Applejack and Rarity whispering to each other. Thinking that it might be about Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle, maybe a party, Pinkie Pie decided to sneak up and hide.
“Well today is the day, is everything in order?” Rarity said after doing a quick look. Applejack also did a quick look,
“All on mah end, Ya’ll have to check with Fluttershy, you are seeing her at the spa, today right?” Applejack asked.
“Good, see you… at the place at the time.” Rarity said and the two separated, Applejack to Pinkie’s left and Rarity to Pinkie’s right.
Pinkie’s right eye started to wink rapidly, “Camo-time, Gummy.” Pinkie Pie said as she started to follow Rarity. After saying that the borderline comatose pet but two black bars under Pinkie’s eyes, before going back into her hair, after a short dive he emerged dressed as if to blend into anything. Which of course meant he was wearing dark shades, an overly large fake mustache and a black business suite with a white shirt and black tie while holding a bag in his mouth with a variety of disguise items in Pinkie’s size.
Pinkie Pie followed Rarity, staying in the shadows and behind anything and everything as the white-clad enchantress made her way through the streets. She then Rarity whisper something to Fluttershy, and chastised herself for forgetting her spy gear. How was she supposed to know today her friends would seemingly be playing secret agent, she loved that game. Twilight would make an amazing spymaster, she made a mental note to gather her friends together so they could play the spy game.

A very Pinkie Birthday

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As Pinkie got closer, still surprisingly hidden from Rarity and Fluttershy, “Applejack and I are ready, Darling. It’s time to pass along to Rainbow Dash.” Rarity said after she and Fluttershy looked around to see if anyone was listening or watching them.

Fluttershy repeated the action, and it seemed that they didn’t notice that Pinkie was watching them. Fluttershy then nodded that she understood and soon started off, singing ‘Lalalala’, skipping all the way. That should have been a red flag, Fluttershy doesn’t normally skip and sing in town, that was Pinkie’s thing, especially on Tuesdays… which today was. Pinkie followed Fluttershy, comically creeping along the sideways. It was about ten minutes until Fluttershy found Rainbow Dash and Thunderlane were in a push-up contest. However, despite Rainbow Dash’s drive, she just couldn’t keep up. With the two was Rumble and Scootaloo. As Thunderlane continued, “Pay-up” Rumble said to Scootaloo as he held out his left hand. Reluctantly Scootaloo gave him three ten-bit coins.

Fluttershy walked up to the four, “Scootaloo, Rumble, you both should know better than to bet on your siblings.” the typically timid druid scolded.

“I challenged Thunderlane,” Rainbow said as she got to her feet. “You won, you can stop.” Thunderlane then lowered himself onto the ground rolled onto his back tucked his legs in and effectively jumped onto his feet without breaking a sweat. “Show off.” Thunderlane just shrugged his shoulders with a smirk of victory on his face. He rubbed the top of Rumble’s head and the two then headed off as Rumble split the winnings. “Hey Fluttershy,”

Fluttershy looked around, and without seeing Pinkie or Gummy, “It’s the day. I’ll see you at the place.” Fluttershy then looked around and silently walked away.

Scootaloo was clearly confused, “What was she talking about?” she asked.

“Not a clue, a surprise party for some…” Rainbow Dash froze as if she just remembered something. “Gotta go, squirt!” She shouted as she started to fly away. As she flew she stopped and turned to her left and was face to face with… “Gummy?” she asked in utter confusion. She then looked around the reptile to see the cotton candy pink hair that the baby alligator was nested in. She then looked down to see her jester friend. Rainbow’s eyes widened in horror and she a gave a scream.

Pinkie couldn’t help but giggle, “Oh Dashie, you can run, but you never hide~.” Pinkie said as she got out of her hiding spot and starting skipping at a rate that was able to keep pace with Rainbow Dash. After about five minutes Pinkie was able to tackle Rainbow bring her to the ground. “Got you. That was fun.” Pinkie said as she got back up and turned away from her friend. “So what’s my…” She stopped as she saw Rainbow Dash bolt away. “Prize…” Pinkie then scowled, “No one cheats Pinkie,” she said as she pushed Gummy deep into her hair, “Hold on, Momma’s got a rainbow to catch!” Pinkie then started to run as Gummy seemed to tie his mistress’ hair around him.

Pinkie managed to catch up with Rainbow Dash. This was not lost to Rainbow Dash as she continued to push herself as flew faster and faster around town, all the while Pinkie was not slowing down and was getting angrier and angrier. After nearly ten minutes Rainbow halted just twenty feet above the ground and turned to be face to with the pink pursuer, which was impressive when you considered Pinkie was physically the shortest of their group with being just Four feet nine inches tall, just six inches shorter than the next shortest member of the group. “You know the rules,” was all Pinkie said gritting her teeth. Rainbow screamed and bolted. “Come back here! You’re Cheating!” Pinkie exclaimed as she pursued. Within seconds Rainbow made a mad dive into a window of the Golden Oak. Pinke arrived a second later and started pounding on the door. “RAINBOW DASH!” she shouted as her anger was boiling under her skin. Gummy hopped out of Pinkie’s hair and held a hot dog next to her head. It was ashes in a nanosecond, he then reached into her hair and pulled out a tin of popcorn that was fully popped in five seconds flat.

The door then opened showing Twilight, “You’re just in time.” the librarian informed as she stepped to the side and showed that the main room of the Golden Oak was set up for a party with all of Pinkie's closest friends. It wasn't up to Pinkie’s standards but she could tell Twilight tried. “Happy Birthday!” Twilight said in a voice that sounded a lot like Pinkie’s.

Pinkie looked around, the balloons arranged like her mark, streamers and such all around, and a big cake that just screamed ‘I was made for Pinkie.’ Then she froze…”MARBLE’S BIRTH…” she started as she was given a wrapped present by a still nervous Rainbow Dash.

“We weren't quite sure what to get her, but I think she’ll like it,” Rainbow said timidly.

Pinkie then accepted it. “Be right back.” Pinkie then bolted out the door.

“You guys weren’t kidding, Pinkie cannot sense when a party is being planned for her,” Twilight commented. “I hope Marble does like the book.”

A few minutes later at the Pie homestead, Marble looked at the cake that was baked to celebrate her and Pinkie’s birthday depressed. Maud was her stoic nature, Limestone was clearly agitated, and their parents were uneasy, “Worry not, Marble, Pinkamina must be running late, thou elder twin would never miss this…” Igneous Rock started, only to stop as they all heard a knocking at the door. Limestone got up and opened the door only to have a pink blur run past her and tackled Marble.

Pinkie took a deep breath, “Happy Happy Birthday! From Pinkie Pie to You! I am glad is my birthday! So I can party too!’ Pinkie sang. “Yay!” Pinkie cheered. “Happy Birthday, Marble. My friends wanted to give this to you.” Pinkie said as she handed the gift. Marble accepted it and looked at it unsure. “Well go on open it!” Marble opened it, it was a book. “Must have been Twilight’s idea. She’s my newest closest friend.” Pinkie commented. “So what’s it about…
The Golem.” Pinkie said as she looked at the title. “I have such good friends.” Pinkie said as Marble hugged the book a big closed-mouth and closed-eyed smile on her face.

Hours later as the sun was setting, everyone in the Golden Oak celebrated a fairly tamed version of party focus on celebrating another year of life for Pinkie Pie. Pinkie arrived back after another run. “Phew… That was a long day.” Pinkie opened the door.

“For she’s a jolly good fellow
For she’s a jolly good fellow
For she’s a jolly good fellow~
Which nobody can deny!
Which nobody can deny
Which nobody can deny,
For she’s a jolly good fellow~
Which nobody can deny.” Everyone sang as Pinkie entered, Pinkie could only smile. She was right she had great friends.