Equestria is pulled into a war it never saw coming, and Twilight Sparkle is right in the midst of it
Twilight Sparkle believes she has made a new friend when a new pony moves into town. But when she stumbles upon his secret, she's pulled into the world of wartime Equestria. Can she use her brilliant mind to help defeat the enemies of Equestria, or will her mind fail her when it is needed most?
“Alright, are you going to be able to take care of the library while I’m gone?” asked Twilight, heading down the stairs and towards the door of their home.
“Yes Twilight, gosh, you’re only going to be gone for like, 4 hours!” Spike complained, donut still in hand from his recently-finished lunch. It’s not like he had to do much; he already finished cleaning the library, and the books didn’t need to be reorganized- at least, he hoped they didn’t.
“Yes, but I’m almost always in Ponyville when I am away. If something goes awry I am never more than a few minutes away. But today, I’m going to be heading all the way to Canterlot, and it’s at least an hour long trip by hoof.” Twilight countered. She trusted her assistant fully, and didn’t really expect anything to go wrong, but it never hurt to double check. Besides, she WAS going to be in Canterlot for a few hours, and didn’t want the small dragon left without help if he needed it.
“I’ll be fine, Twilight. Besides, it’s not like a lot of ponies even come here anyways.” The small dragon said. This left Twilight slightly irked. But it was true- Ponyville was a rural community, and no pony was really interested in books. But that’s exactly what her trip today planned to help solve: ever since Nightmare Night, she had thought about starting a weekly history session for everypony to partake in. She had then thought of expanding it to include basic magic and flight lessons, for the little pegasi and unicorn fillies and colts. Though, she still had to work on convincing Rainbow Dash to help with the flying lessons. The stubborn mare refused every time she asked.
“Alright, well, just be careful.” Twilight chuckled, nuzzling Spike, much to his dismay. She smiled at his remarks of discomfort and opened the door. “And remember: Rarity has agreed to help you if you need it, but please don’t cry wolf just so she will head over.” Twilight pleaded, waving a hoof and closing the door behind her.
She made way for the market, intending to pick up a few apples from Applejack’s stand for a snack along the way. It was an unusually cloudy day, but Twilight guessed that the weather pegasi had a larger than normal storm planned in a few days. She reminded herself to check the schedule when she got back.
As Twilight neared the stand, she noticed that instead of Applejack or Big Macintosh running it, there was a blue pegasus in their place. “Rainbow Dash? What are you doing here? Where’s Applejack?” Twilight asked the rainbow-maned pony. She noticed that the mare looked fairly bored, her cheek resting upon her hoof and half-opened eyes just staring with an uninterested look at ponies as they passed.
“Oh, hey Twilight.” Rainbow Dash greeted, perking her head up as the unicorn approached. “Well, I was flying past and Applejack called me over. Said she had to go get more apples or something, since her stock was running low. Asked me to watch the stand while she was gone.” Rainbow explained, reaching a hoof into an almost-empty cart of apples, then picking one up and taking a large bite out of it. “Shho... Whats uhp whif you?” she slurred, mouth full of apple.
“I was just here to buy a few apples for my trip to Canterlot.” Twilight stated. “Are um.. You allowed to sell apples?” Twilight asked, a little wary about handing her bits over to her friend. It’s not that she didn’t trust Rainbow; she just wanted to make sure Applejack got the payment, and Rainbow Dash was always a little... forgetful.
“Well, duh!” Rainbow exclaimed, turning towards the cart. “How many do you want?” she asked.
Twilight was glad she didn’t pick up on the implications of her quip. “Oh, I’ll take six.” Twilight said. Though as she was about to take the apples from Rainbow’s grasp, Applejack came trotting up with a cart full of ripe, red apples.
“Woah there, RD! Here, let me take care of that.” Applejack said, replacing the six Rainbow Dash had put out with six from her full cart. “These are fresher.” the mare said, as she moved the empty cart out of the way and replaced it with the new one. Twilight couldn’t tell the difference between these new fruits and the other ones, but decided not to argue it with the apple farmer.
“Thanks, Applejack.” Twilight said gratefully, as she placed her bits on the stand. Applejack was about to grab them, when a blue hoof scooped them up instead. “I’ll be taking these!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed with a sly smile on her face. She quickly launched herself into the air, and took off in the direction of her normal training area.
“Consarn’it!” Applejack shouted fervently. “I swear, that filly’s nothin’ but a no good-”
“Woah, Applejack! She was just taking payment for watching the stand for you.” Twilight interrupted, before Applejack could continue any further with her ranting.
“It wouldnt’a been much of’a favor if she wanted payment.” Applejack retaliated, the frustration in her voice apparent. Twilight looked over in the direction Rainbow Dash had flown off to and shrugged.
“Well, I have to start heading to Canterlot, otherwise I won’t make it back before dinner.” Twilight stated as she levitated the apples into her saddlebags.
“Why d’you gotta go t’ Canterlot?” Applejack asked, counting the bits in the stall’s money bag to make sure the blue mare hadn’t taken any extra “payment” while she was gone.
“Oh, I just have to go pick up some new books for the library. I figured instead of just waiting for them to be delivered, I’d pick them up myself and visit the palace while I’m there.” Applejack simply nodded, having lost interest at the word ‘books.’ “Well, anyways, I’ll see you later, Applejack,” Twilight said as she started along her path towards Canterlot. She heard the orange mare mumble her goodbye in response, still obviously focused more on counting her bits.
Twilight trotted through the marketplace, saying hello to the other ponies who had stalls in the marketplace. She noticed that Carrot Top was doing very well with her sales, while other ponies such as Bluegrass weren’t doing very well at all. She once tried to do research into the trade business, but the inconsistencies based on supply and demand quickly caused her to discontinue her efforts.
Twilight noticed that Derpy, the local mailmare, was attempting to give a package to a dark green pegasus stallion whom Twilight had never seen before. Twilight wondered who he was, as Ponyville didn’t get too many new residents. She shrugged off the thought, figuring she’d meet him soon enough once Pinkie Pie found him.
“Thank you, come again!” the storekeeper said as Twilight left Novelty Novels. Twilight assumed the store had opened up after she had moved to Ponyville, since she knew of every book store in Canterlot. Despite the store name, they carried much more than novels. You name it, they had it. Biographies, encyclopedias, and most importantly, textbooks. They had everything Twilight needed to get.
All that was left on her agenda was to visit the palace. More specifically, the Canterlot Library. She hadn’t been to the palace library since she moved to Ponyville, and she was rather curious as to who was running it.
Twilight pulled an apple out of her saddlebags and snacked on it as she trotted towards the palace. On the way, she saw a few of the ponies she knew when she lived in Canterlot. Some of them were friendly and said hi, while most of them just stared at her strangely- no doubt due to the fact she spent almost all of her time studying instead of getting to know them when she lived here.
The bookstore wasn’t far off from the palace, and Twilight reached the outer walls quickly. She trotted towards the main gates, but was stopped by the two Royal Guards standing post. “Only ponies with proper authority are allowed in the palace.” The guard on the right said.
Twilight stood there slightly dumbfounded, a confused look on her face. “What? I’m Twilight Sparkle, Personal Student to Princess Celestia.” Twilight said, still confused over the fact she was being denied access into the palace.
“I.D. and proof of authority please, ma’am.” the Guard on the left said.
“What are you talking about? I’m Twilight Sparkle! You can’t tell me you don’t know who I am!” Twilight was now getting thoroughly annoyed.
“We know who you are, ma’am, but we are just following protocol.” the Guard on the left said, with somewhat of an apologetic tone.
“Protocol? Since when has this been protocol?” Twilight was raising her voice now at the two guards.
“Ma’am, please refrain from shouting. If you do not have proper identification, we will have to ask you to step back ten paces.” the Guard on the right was speaking this time. Twilight was utterly shocked at this, but instead of arguing, she huffed and trotted around the corner. Once she got out of sight of the guards, she teleported herself inside the palace walls.
Normally the magic barrier that was fused within the stone of the walls would have kept her teleportation spell from working, but after years of sneaking outside the castle to get new books at night, Twilight had managed to work around the barrier.
As she walked through the palace, she noticed several rooms were guarded by the Lunar Guards, the grey ponies with black and blue armor that guarded Princess Luna. The only other time she had seen the Lunar Guards was when Princess Luna made her rather dramatic entrance into Ponyville. Twilight would never admit it, but their appearance scared her a little. While she knew none of them, it didn’t surprise her when a few off-duty Lunar Guards greeted her by name. A few even tried flirting with her, but they were quickly reminded of who she was by their superiors.
As Twilight entered the library, she immediately noticed things had changed. For one, the organization was completely different. There were shelves where previously there had been none, and the look of the entire room was different. She passed a turquoise mare with a blue mane that Twilight assumed was the new librarian. She seemed concentrated on a book she was reading on her desk, so Twilight decided to not bother her.
After several frustratingly long minutes of searching for a book on astronomy, Twilight quickly realized the new organization of books did not allow her to find what she was looking for.
“Excuse me,” Twilight said quietly, attempting to get the librarians attention. “I can’t find any books with this new method of organization, could you help me?”
The librarian didn’t even bother looking up from her book. “New method of organization? The books haven’t been reorganized since the old librarian left. Gosh, I can’t even see how she could find anything with her set up. Everything was organized in the most irrational ways. She even went as far as to organize based on colo-” the librarian stopped herself, having looked up and saw the pony she was addressing.
“Oh! I’m so sorry ma’am, I didn’t mean to-” Twilight held up a hoof, cutting off the now red-faced mare.
“It’s alright. Can you just help me find a book?” Twilight was quite used to her method of organization being criticised, and she learned to ignore it over time.
Twilight was thoroughly exhausted by the time she got to Ponyville. The extra load from her bulging saddlebags weighed her down quite a bit on the return trip home. Though it was worth it; for the majority of the time Twilight was in Canterlot after getting to the library was spent chatting with the librarian, who said her friends called her Bookworm.
Twilight and Bookworm talked about many of the subjects of books the Canterlot Library had. While Bookworm was a very intelligent pony, Twilight, having spent several years living in the library, knew much more. Despite that, Twilight enjoyed much of the conversations between Bookworm and herself.
As she neared Ponyville, Twilight was relieved to see the familiar shape of her home. She briskly trotted towards it and opened the front door.
“Spike! I’m ho-” Twilight began, but cut herself off when she noticed somepony else in the room. While the library did have one or two chairs for ponies to sit and read, the ponies that actually came for books just checked out their book and left.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know somepony else was in here.” Twilight said apologetically. Twilight realized this is the same pegasus stallion she saw earlier. He had a dark green coat, and a smokey black mane, which was a little more unkempt than Rainbow Dash’s. He looked slightly more muscular than your average stallion, and he was definitely a few inches taller. She noticed his cutie mark was of an open book with two crossed swords behind it.
“I’m the librarian. My name is-”
“Twilight Sparkle. Personal Student to Celestia. Extremely intelligent, to the point of it being a fault. Mild case of OCD. One of the Elements of Harmony. Second ponysonification of the Element of Magic, to be exact. Yes, I know who you are.” Twilight was utterly dumbfounded by the spur of information that came out of this pony. And what was that last bit? Second what?
“Yes, well, um, if you’ll excuse me, I must, um, speak with my assistant.” Twilight stuttered, still in shock.
“Uh, Spike, who is he?” Twilight said quietly, as she got up the stairs. Spike was cleaning some of the furniture in the loft as he answered, “I dunno. He came in like thirty minutes after you left and asked which sections are which. He’s just been reading a bunch of stuff since then.” Twilight turned and looked over the railing, and saw the pegasus was once again reading from his book.
“Are you new to Ponyville? I hadn’t seen you around until this morning.” Twilight asked as she descended the flight of stairs. The pegasus stallion closed his book and stood up, facing Twilight.
“Yes. I moved here last night. In fact that is why I originally came to the library, to look at some maps of the village and see if I could find a grocery store,” he explained. “But, as I’m sure you know, I could not find one.” he continued, wings slightly unfurling at remembering his previous frustration.
“Well, there is no grocery store in Ponyville, only a market. Though the foods just as good! Ponyville has some of the best vegetables and fruits in Equestria!” Twilight exclaimed proudly. The stallion’s face remained stern and unreadable. Twilight smiled awkwardly at the silence that followed.
“Yes, well, I must be off. I still have a bit of unpacking to do at home,” he groaned slightly. “Yes, unpacking... The one thing I despise about moving. Though Ponyville seems like a nice enough place. I shall... enjoy making this my new home-” he was suddenly cut off by a loud and lengthy gasp that had come out of no where.
Suddenly, Pinkie Pie appeared like a flash of pink lightning in front of the pegasus. “YOU’RE NEW TO PONYVILLE?!! OOH OOH OOOOOOH! That’s so exciting! NormallyIknoweveryponythatlivesinponyvilleandwhenIseeanewponyitgetsmesoexcitedbecausetheyprobablydon’tknowanyponyandyouknowwhatweshoulddonow??” Pinkie fired off her words fast enough that Rainbow Dash would be humbled.
“Let me guess,” Twilight interrupted, “a p-”
Twilight brought her hoof to her face at the exuberance of the pink pony, who had already began bouncing around the green pegasus spurting out party ideas at breakneck speeds. The pegasus stallion quickly walked towards Twilight, Pinkie Pie oblivious to his movement.
“I’m sorry, I probably should have told you. It’s sort of a tradition in Ponyville that Pinkie holds a party whenever a new pony moves in. You’ll be the Guest of Honor, obviously.” Twilight chuckled after she was finished, still quite embarrassed from her friend’s actions.
“Hmph.” The pegasus did nothing but grunt in response, so Twilight turned her attention towards Pinkie.
“Pinkie, what time’s the party going to be at?” she asked, once she got the earth pony to stand still long enough to talk to her.
“I dunno. How about seven?!” Pinkie exclaimed with glee, a big smile on her face.
Twilight figured this was reasonable, and turned towards the stallion with a questioning look, hoping to get his feedback. His expression remained blank and unchanging. Twilight figured if he disagreed he would have said something. But no pony ever did. New ponies always went to their Welcome-To-Ponyville Party.
By now Pinkie had already hopped out the door to go plan the party, not once faltering despite her eyes clearly being closed. The pegasus stallion picked up his book and placed it exactly where he had found it, and turned towards the door. “Well, I should be going now. I have a lot of work to do.” he said, heading towards the door.
Twilight was about to say goodbye, when she suddenly realized something. “Wait. What’s your name?” she asked, surprised the question hadn’t come up by now.
The green pegasus smirked- the first change in expression Twilight had seen from him- and turned his head back to address the purple unicorn. “It’s Blitz.”
Blitz’s smile faded as he closed the door to the library behind him. While he was a very serious pony, he did enjoy a flare for the dramatic now and again. He hoped his presentation had the effect he imagined it did. Knowing himself, it probably did.
He noticed his stomach was rumbling, and realized he hadn’t eaten since breakfast. He needed to pick up some food to have at home anyways, so he began trotting towards the marketplace. The only type of food he knew was grown in Ponyville was apples, everything else (Aside from flowers) was shipped in. He’d have to keep that in mind for his decision.
As if by chance (Even though Blitz didn’t believe in coincidences), he found himself drawing closer to the Sweet Apple Acres stand in the marketplace.
He noticed an orange mare with a light yellow mane was manning the stand, and he instinctively recalled the information he knew about her. Applejack. Co-owner of the Ponyville branch of Sweet Apple Acres. Has an older brother and younger sister, all three of them live with their grandmother and oldest member of the Apple family, Granny Smith. She is the fourth ponysonification of the Element of Honesty.
“Well howdy!” Applejack exclaimed as Blitz approached. “Are ya’ interested in buyin’ some o’ th’ best apples around?” Applejack continued with her well-rehearsed salespony spiel. Blitz was about to request twenty apples, when he realized he didn’t have his saddlebags. He kept his face expressionless as he mentally slapped himself repeatedly.
“I’ll just have one apple, please.” Blitz said after a second of silence. Applejack’s expression turned to that of disappointment, and judging from the mostly full cart of apples, she wasn’t having the best of business days. Though she- rather reluctantly- pulled out a singular apple from the cart and set it on the stand. Blitz handed over the required amount of bits and was about to leave with the fruit before Applejack spoke up.
“Say, I haven’t seen you ‘round Ponyville before today. Are you new here?” she asked, cocking her head to the side ever so slightly. Blitz sighed; this is another thing he didn’t like about moving. Everyone always asked you to state the obvious fact that you were new. He was tempted to ask if her coat was orange, just to point out the redundancy of the question, but he didn’t feel like being rude to the kind mare. “Yes,” he stated simply. “I moved here last night.”
“Well that’s wonderful! It’s always good t’ see new ponies in th’ neighborhood!” she said happily, but then her expression turn to one of sly puzzlement. “Ya haven’t happened to have met Pinkie Pie yet, have ya?” she asked, hoping he said no. Applejack always got a kick out of the majority of reactions ponies gave when meeting Pinkie Pie.
“Actually, I have. Apparently she has some party planned for me at seven,” he stated, much to Applejack’s disappointment. “Though as much as I’d love to stay and talk, Applejack, I really must be getting home. I may come back later and pick up about twenty or so more apples.” Blitz said, already turning in the direction of his home.
“Alrighty then! Y’all come back now, ya hear?” she shouted after him, waving her hoof farewell. A look of confusion suddenly came across her face. “Wait! How’d ya know my name?”
Blitz sighed as he closed the door to his home behind him. Normally, you’d find pegasi make their homes in the sky, out of thick clouds. Though, he didn’t have the time nor the desire to make a cloud home. Despite being a pegasus, he preferred houses on the ground. They were much easier to manage, unlike cloud homes. The clouds, while very thick, did start dissipating every month or so, and he didn’t want to have to have to repair his house so often.
He looked around the hallway and into the living room it lead into. Both were very bare, despite a couch and stacks of boxes that occupied the living room floor. Normally he’d immediately start to decorate his house. Liven it up some. But with all the traveling he’d been doing over the past eight months, he’d learned that he didn’t have the time to decorate any. Always moving, always packing. Luna, did he hate packing.
Blitz walked into his living room and began looking at the stacks of boxes he had. Most of them were books that he would read at night before going to sleep. Though one box in particular drew his attention. He walked over to it and opened it up, revealing a large folded piece of what looked like paper. He pulled it out and unfolded it, looking at it intently. He picked it up, and began hanging it on the far end of the living room, over looking the main hallway.
After he was done, he stepped back. He looked over it once more; his map of Equestria, with every single city and village labelled. Most of them had red markings on or near them. A single word for each. It was all that was needed. Though there was one village left, unmarked. And as Blitz stared at the name of the village, he knew his mission was almost complete. But that was a lie. And he knew it. His mission was only just beginning.
“And be sure to deliver to everypony! I made sure to make enough for the entire town, and then I made more!” Pinkie exclaimed excitedly, bouncing in place.
Twilight smiled at the earth pony and headed out the door. It had only been an hour and a half since Pinkie decided to throw a party, and she had already baked enough cupcakes to feed Canterlot for two weeks. Because Twilight had nothing planned for the majority of the day, she volunteered to deliver the invitations for Pinkie so she could focus more on her party preparations.
Twilight began trotting towards Fluttershy’s, deciding that since she lived the farthest from Ponyville and away from the majority of the town, it would be easier to deliver one to her first. To be quite honest, Twilight never understood why Fluttershy ever went to Pinkie’s parties. From what Twilight understood from her studies, parties were meant mostly as social gatherings. And Fluttershy was not a very social pony.
The trot to Fluttershy’s cottage was admittedly a long one, but Twilight didn’t mind it one bit. She enjoyed taking in the sights of nature as she walked: the butterflies fluttering in groups with the wind, the squirrels playing in the bushes, it was all so peaceful and soothing. As she neared Fluttershy’s cottage, she was amazed with the sight she saw. Granted, she had been to Fluttershy’s cottage dozens of times, but the fact the area just looked so, one with nature, Twilight couldn’t help but be in awe every time she saw it.
Twilight trotted up to the front door of Fluttershy’s home and knocked on the door. She heard a high pitched “Eeep!” followed by a quick thud. “W-who is it?” Twilight could hear Fluttershy squeak out behind the door.
“It’s me, Fluttershy. It’s Twilight.” Twilight responded, trying to add a bit of a soothing tone towards the timid pegasus.
Fluttershy opened the door slowly, and at the sight of her friend bore a smile. “Oh, hello Twilight. What can I help you with? Oh, and please, come in.” Fluttershy said, stepping aside for the unicorn to enter.
“No thanks, Fluttershy,” Twilight said, putting her hoof up to decline the offer. “I’m just here to deliver an invitation to a party Pinkie is having tonight,” she continued as she levitated an invitation towards the pegasus. Fluttershy took the invitation in her mouth and set it down on a nearby table to read it. As she did, her eyes got wide with nervousness as she realized what it was for.
“Oh, I don’t have to meet the new pony, do I?” she said softly, shrinking herself back at the thought of having to meet a new pony. She never was good with meeting new ponies.
“Well, you don’t have to, but I’d hope you at least try to.” Twilight said, hoping to instill some confidence in her friend. Fluttershy lowered her head slightly, obviously not liking the idea.
“Well, anyways, I have to get to delivering the rest of these. I’ll see you there, Fluttershy!” Twilight called back as she trotted off in the direction of Ponyville. Fluttershy said her goodbyes, and retreated back into the safety of her home.
Twilight was rather surprised when Applejack told her she had already met Blitz. Though, it made sense considering she was running the stand that day, and Twilight had seen Blitz in the market. Though, she supposed that was a good thing; having a few ponies he already knew at his party would make things less awkward for him.
Twilight was just leaving Sweet Apple Acres when a rainbow blur shot overhead. She immediately recognized it as Rainbow Dash, who seemed to be flying back towards her normal training grounds on the outskirts of Ponyville.
Twilight had only delivered two invitations so far, and Rainbow Dash’s training area was on the other side of Ponyville. But there was no telling where Rainbow Dash would be once she had finished delivering the others, so she began galloping after the blue pegasus.
“Rainbow Dash!” Twilight called, hoping to get the rainbow-maned mare’s attention. She watched for a few more seconds as Rainbow Dash continued to do a series of flips, spins, barrel rolls and other maneuvers around clouds. “Rainbow Dash!” Twilight called once again, as Rainbow Dash took a pause in her routine.
“What?” Rainbow Dash responded rather flatly, as she descended to talk to Twilight.
“Pinkie’s holding a Welcome-To-Ponyville Party for a new pegasus that moved in, and I’m delivering the invitations for her,” Twilight said, handing a green envelope- which matched Blitz’s coat perfectly- to Rainbow Dash. Rainbow simply read it for a moment before responding.
“A new pegasus ya say?” Rainbow Dash said, the tone of her voice making it obvious she was thinking about something devious. “Did he look like he was a flier? Hehe, I’d love to show him a thing or two about how it’s really done!” Rainbow Dash boasted, obviously thinking of how badly she would beat him in a race.
Twilight thought for a second, before shaking her head. “No, he didn’t seem like he was a competitive flier. Though he did seem interested in a lot of books at the library,” Twilight said.
Rainbow Dash snickered at this. “Ooh, just your kind of stallion.” she teased, poking a hoof at Twilight.
Twilight rolled her eyes at the blue mare. “Oh, shut up.” she said, turning towards Ponyville. Rainbow Dash had already taken back to the skies, once more attempting to better her skill at flying.
Twilight sat at a table at the far end of Sugar Cube Corner, watching as the ponies of Ponyville entered. She had only finished delivering the invitations half an hour ago, but it wasn’t really a problem for the ponies who got their letters last; everypony always made time to go to Pinkie’s parties, despite how short notice they were.
Twilight could already see Luna’s stars twinkling into existence as Celestia’s sun lowered itself behind the horizon. The pink, orange, and yellow hues of the daylight giving way to the purples, blues, and blacks of night. Twilight always did love this time of the day the best. Her namesake, the time when day gives way to night, the most magical time of the day, the twilight.
Pinkie Pie was standing off to the side of the door, a huge smile on her face, as she waited for her Guest of Honor to arrive. By now nearly everypony in Ponyville had made it to Sugar Cube Corner. Though as more ponies came in, none of them were Blitz. But Pinkie Pie stood firm at her spot near the entrance to the sweets store, her smile ready to greet everypony that entered.
Several minutes had passed without the party starting, and some guests started to become impatient. A young stallion called out asking when the party was going to start, and most of the crowd murmured their agreements.
“Uh, Pinkie? Can we start the party now?” Applejack whispered to the pink mare, who had not budged from her stance even slightly.
“Of course not, silly! We can’t have a Welcome-To-Ponyville Party without the Guest of Honor! Duh!” Pinkie exclaimed in her usual tone as she turned her head towards Applejack. Applejack nodded, and told the crowd that the Guest of Honor was probably just running a bit late, and to just wait.
The waiting game gradually progressed from impatient silence, to mild chatter, and before anypony knew the party had started by itself. Though Pinkie Pie was completely oblivious to this, as she still stood at her post, her unfaltering smile plastered across her face, anxious to greet the new pony and make his welcome official.
Twilight noticed this, and became slightly worried for her friend. She thought about going over and talking to Pinkie, but the energy and motion of the party caused her to get distracted, and before she knew it Twilight had joined in with the rest of them.
Seconds turned into minutes, and a minute into ten, and ten into thirty. If anypony had been paying attention, they would have noticed that as time went on, Pinkie’s smile slowly started to fade, and her bubbly mane began to deflate. Though she still waited, as the party could not start without the Guest of Honor.
Before anypony knew it, the party was over. Ponies began to gradually leave the venue, exhausted from their partying. Twilight felt just as tired as she sat down in her spot towards the back of Sugar Cube Corner, and her friends gradually joined along with her. She had a nice conversation with Rarity and Fluttershy, and they all laughed as Applejack and Rainbow Dash began arguing. Twilight had no idea what they were arguing about, but it was entertaining.
Twilight suddenly realized there was somepony missing. “Where’s Pinkie?” she asked to nopony in particular, eyes scanning the store. She quickly found the pink mare, who was sitting on her haunches, head looking at the floor. Her mane was completely straight.
“Pinkie!” Twilight exclaimed, galloping over to the pink earth pony. “What’s wrong?” she asked, worry in her voice. She was quickly joined by the rest of their friends.
“He- he didn’t come...” Pinkie said softly, sadness clearly audible. “We... We can’t have a party without- without the Guest of Honor...” she said, hanging her head even lower towards the ground.
“Wait,” Rainbow Dash said suddenly. “Is she talking about that Blitz guy? The one that this party was for?” she asked, trying to recall the events of the party.
“Yeah, he never did show up, did he?” Applejack finished for her, looking around as if to find him in a corner somewhere.
“Why that, that, that... ruffian! Not attending a party so graciously hosted for him! That is very disrespectful!” Rarity spouted her two cents, obviously angered at the pegasus.
“Yeah! We oughta’ give him a piece of our mind!” Rainbow Dash finished for them. Applejack and Rarity nodded in agreement.
“Oh, now girls, there’s really no need for that. Maybe he just forgot.” It was Fluttershy who had, until now, remained silent on the matter. But it was too late. Rainbow Dash had already flown out the door, Applejack and Rarity in tow.
“Fluttershy, you stay here and help Pinkie, I’ll go make sure they don’t hurt Blitz.” Twilight called over her shoulder as she galloped after the trio.
Blitz sat enjoying the book he was reading, but was suddenly interrupted by a rapid succession of banging on his front door. He closed his book and stood up, walking briskly towards the foyer. He opened up the door, and was met with the faces of three angry mares, and one flustered purple unicorn. Blitz met their eyes with a blank expression.
“Can you help us? Can you HELP US?!” Rainbow Dash was furious. She ran up to him and put her muzzle to his. The suddenness of this caused Blitz to back up, but Rainbow Dash kept moving forward, causing both of them to head towards the back of Blitz’s house, muzzle to muzzle.
“WE’RE not the ones you should be HELPING!” Rainbow continued, voice level continuing to rise. Twilight glanced back at the end of Blitz’s living room and noticed his map of Equestria. She noticed there was writing on it, but was unable to read it before the pair of pegasi crashed into the wall, the force of it shaking the structure and causing the map to fall behind Blitz’s couch.
“Do you KNOW what you’ve DONE?!” Rainbow said, glaring down at Blitz, who had fallen to the ground from the impact.
“Not in the slightest.” Blitz growled, as he rose to his hooves and glared back at the mare. They were muzzle-to-muzzle again, both of whom had their wings flared aggressively. Blitz’s face was hard and impassive, but his deep blue eyes told a much different story. Twilight knew Rainbow Dash could hold her own in a fight, but something told Twilight she wouldn’t overcome the stallion if it came to that.
“Stop it! Both of you!” Twilight shouted, running up and separating the two. Rainbow Dash immediately tried to rush Blitz again, so Twilight had to hold her in place with magic. Blitz just stood firmly in place, a fire in his eyes.
“Yes, it would do well for you to calm yourself while inside my residence, Rainbow Dash, before somebody gets hurt.” Blitz said, voice stern and commanding.
“Is that a threat? Do you know who I am?” Rainbow Dash said, struggling with the invisible bonds of Twilight’s spell.
“I know perfectly well who you are: Rainbow Dash, from Cloudsdale. Completed Flight School at the top of her class. Aspiring Wonderbolt. Second pegasus ever to pull off a Sonic Rainboom. You’re also the Sixth ponysonification of the Element of Loyalty. And you have a very uncontrollable temper.”
There it was again. Sixth ponysonification of the Element of Loyalty? What was that supposed to mean? Twilight shook her head; she had more important things to focus on right now.
“Look, Rainbow Dash is sorry for barging into your home,” Twilight paused to glare daggers at the mare in question. “but you’ve upset one of our friends. And you need to apologize.” Twilight had turned her dagger-glare towards Blitz now, and was speaking with as sternly as she could.
“Upset one of your friends? But I haven’t done anything, I’ve been reading all day.” Blitz countered, nodding his head towards a few boxes of open books.
“Exactly,” Twilight said, “you were supposed to go to Pinkie Pie’s party a few hours ago, and you didn’t show up. Now she’s upset, and since you caused it, you need to fix it.”
For the second time since she met him, Blitz’s normally impassive expression faltered. It turned to that of both guilt and surprise. He sighed, and began heading towards the door. “Well then, I suppose I should do damage control.”
Blitz was visibly taken aback when they reached Sugar Cube Corner. Pinkie Pie was the exact opposite of how she was earlier this morning. When he first met the mare, she was lively, energetic, her mane was poofy, and she never stopped smiling. Now, she just sat on her haunches, frowning. Her mane and tail were completely straight, and her colors were visibly faded.
Blitz began walking circles around Pinkie Pie, studying her intensely. The pink mare’s gaze never moved from the floor. After several seconds of studying her, Blitz called Twilight over.
“Hm, this is a peculiar case indeed. One of extreme sadness. I wouldn’t say depression, as it doesn’t come so suddenly. But I do have one theory,” Blitz said. Twilight just nodded at him; she had seen Pinkie like this before, but was curious as to what his theory was.
“Pinkie Pie is the Eighth Element of Laughter. So naturally, the one attribute she’d be brimming with would be happiness and joy. And when it comes to the Elements, that attribute, and its polar opposite, come in the most extreme. So Pinkie is literally the saddest pony in Equestria right now. But, depending on the cause, can be easily reversed.” Blitz finished explaining, and Twilight just stared at him. She didn’t expect his theory to actually seem, well, correct. She figured Pinkie was always just being Pinkie, and this was just like her Pinkie Sense: just there, and with no explanation. Just strange.
“Wait,” Twilight said, realizing something for about the millionth time today. It seemed Blitz had that sort of effect on her. “What are you talking about, ‘Eighth Element of Laughter?’ You’ve said something like that twice now. What do you mean?” Twilight asked Blitz, as he was walking towards the pink pony.
Blitz froze in his tracks as the mare spoke. He really was treading on tricky ground here. “That’s not the most important thing right now,” he responded sternly, figuring now wasn’t the best time to address that subject. “Right now, I need to cheer up your friend.”
The rest of the group of friends fell silent as Blitz approached, having been explaining to Fluttershy what happened at Blitz’s house. Rainbow Dash, Applejack, and Rarity all gave him angry looks, obviously expecting him to help their friend. Blitz ignored them; he walked up to Pinkie Pie and laid down on his underside in front of her. He spent several seconds staring at her with narrowed eyes. Finally, he took his hoof and placed it under Pinkie Pie’s chin, lifting her head so her gaze met his.
“Hello, Pinkie. My name is Blitz,” he began, but Pinkie was just staring at him with a sad look on her face. “I’m sorry I did not show up for your party earlier. I did not quite feel comfortable with the entire town there, and because I moved here last night, I’ve been rather busy. How about in a few days, once I am settled in, you can hold another party and I can be introduced to everyone. What do you say?” Blitz finished, extending his hoof to the mare with the offer.
Pinkie Pie just stared at him for several seconds. Blitz saw no visible effort by Pinkie to consider his offer, and he was about to attempt another tactic when suddenly the pink pony that was in front of him disappeared.
“OKAY!” Pinkie Pie shouted, suddenly appearing next to Blitz. He jumped to his hooves, startled by the sudden outburst. Pinkie Pie had already begun bouncing in circles around him though, her mane and tail once again poofy and her coat back to it’s vivid pink.
Blitz grinned, obviously proud that his idea worked. He turned around and headed towards the door, leaving Pinkie Pie to bounce in circles spouting random party ideas and saying how it was going to be the most super-duper-awesomest-spectacular party ever.
Blitz smirked at Rainbow Dash, who’s mouth was slightly agape at the scene that just played out before her eyes. Blitz looked at the other three ponies near the door, two of which were regarding him carefully.
“Once again, I am sorry I caused her former condition,” he said, slightly elaborating on the <i>former</i> part, “but it was easily fixable.” Blitz continued, face and tone once more impassive.
“My work here is done.” he stated, pushing past Rarity and Applejack, ready to head home and sleep.
Blitz was up at exactly four A.M. He got up from his bed and fixed himself some cereal and coffee for breakfast. He ate in silence, thinking over the events of last night. He really was not getting off on the right hoof with the majority of the Elements. Especially Rainbow Dash. Blitz smiled as he remembered his confrontation with her less than eight hours ago. He admired her sense of protection towards her friends.
Wait. Friends. That’s what he needed to do. Make friends with the Elements. Well, not exactly become their friend, but he definitely needed to make amends if he was going to be staying here for a while. Being on the Elements of Harmony’s bad side would not be good. Besides, some of their talents could prove useful in the coming months. And he wouldn’t exactly be able to evaluate Twilight Sparkle if he was on ill ground with her friends.
Blitz finished the remainder of his breakfast and looked outside; the sun was only just rising, and he thought of who else might be awake. Applejack, he thought. She’s a farm pony, of course she’d be awake at the crack of dawn.
Knowing his destination, he headed out the door and inhaled deeply. He loved the air here. Rural towns always did have the cleanest air. Blitz stretched out his wings, and took flight down the road in the direction of Sweet Apple Acres.
Blitz’s nose was assaulted with the sweet smell of apples as he approached Sweet Apple Acres. Blitz knew the orchard was large, but he really didn’t expect it to expand for as far as he could see. The orchard really was vast; every single tree for as far as his vision reached had dozens of red apples on them.
He noticed there were already farmhoofs that were busy at work bucking apples off of every tree, each one striking the trees with precision. Blitz saw Applejack come out of the newly constructed barn and he flew down to meet her.
“Hello, Applejack.” Blitz greeted as he landed in front of the mare.
“Howdy Blitz.” Applejack said, stopping where she was. “Yer up mighty early.” she remarked, obviously surprised someone other than a farmpony wasn’t still asleep.
Blitz shrugged, “I’m not much one for sleeping in,” he said, “I much prefer to wake up early and get a head start on the day.” he explained, Applejack nodding in agreement.
“What brings ya’ by?” she asked. Blitz could tell she was regarding him with slight suspicion.
“I’m here to say sorry,” he sighed, a slightly awkwardness in his voice from not being one to apologize. “We got off on the wrong hoof with the party last night, and the whole thing with Pinkie.”
To someone with a trained eye, Blitz would have seemed to have an ever so slight expression of regret on his face. Applejack waved a hoof dismissively. “Ain’t me ya’ should be sayin’ sorry to. But ya’ already said sorry to Pinkie Pie, and as far as Ah could tell, ya’ meant it.”
Blitz was visibly surprised at this. “You aren’t mad at me?” he asked. He was the suspicious one, now.
“Naw, ain’t no big deal, s’long as ya’ learned yer lesson.” Applejack responded, a smile on her face at seeing Blitz’s reaction. “Though Ah s’pose if’n ya’ really wanted to start back on the right hoof, ya’ could start by tellin’ me a bit ‘bout yerself.”
Blitz thought for a moment before he spoke. “Isn’t that what the party Pinkie is holding in a few days for?” he countered. The expression Applejack wore told him she wasn’t going to accept his excuse.
“Fine,” he huffed. “First of all, I grew up in the southern regions of Equestria.” Blitz continued. Applejack’s expression now told Blitz she didn’t quite believe him.
“Ya’ ain’t got yerself no accent though.” she said. “Ya’ sound more like one of them ponies from up North.”
“Well, Ah did spend a lotta time up North after Ah moved outta my parent’s house. So it ain’t no s’prise Ah sorta adopted their type’a talk.” Now it was Blitz’s turn to smile; Applejack’s face had disbelief plastered all over it. Granted, Blitz’s southern dialect wasn’t as heavy as Applejack’s, and it still had a bit of northern twang mixed in with the southern, but it was definitely present.
“Wha- what in tarnation...” by now Blitz had burst into a fit of laughter, Applejack’s inability to process his sudden change in tone being quite amusing for the stallion.
“Ah admit, is’sa... Bit weird talkin’ like Ah normally did when Ah was a colt, so used ta’ proper pronunciation an’ all that.” Blitz chuckled.
Applejack was just beginning to regain her composure; she shook her head and glanced over towards the orchard. “Hehe, Ah’d love t’stay an’ chat, Blitz, but we’re in th’ middle of Applebuck Season an’ well, Ah got mahself a job to do.”
Blitz nodded in understanding. With the size of the orchard, the dozen or so farmhoofs he saw would need as much help as they could get if they were gonna get all of the apples harvested before winter.
“Well, ya’ wouldn’t happen ta’ know any o’ th’ others that might be awake ‘round this time, eh?” Blitz asked, a little disappointed Applejack had to go. He liked Applejack; she was a very down-to-earth pony, and they had a bit in common.
Applejack thought for a moment before she spoke again. “Ah think Fluttershy might be awake. She has t’ get up an’ feed them animals of hers.” Blitz figured that made sense, but he had no idea where Fluttershy lived.
“She lives about over there.” Applejack said when Blitz asked. Her hoof was pointed off towards the edge of the Everfree Forest.
“Thankya’ kindly, Applejack.” Blitz said, nodding his head slightly to the mare. He took note of the subconscious movement, deciding he took up his old manners when he began speaking in his old dialect. He took flight in the direction Applejack pointed in as she waved her hoof goodbye. “Y’all come back anytime ya’ want, sugarcube!”
Blitz heard a high pitched “Eep!” as he knocked on the front door to Fluttershy’s cottage. He waited a few more seconds before knocking again. A second “Eep!” was heard.
“Fluttershy, would you answer the door please?” Blitz called through the door to the yellow mare.
“No!” came her reply. Blitz sighed and tried the door knob. It was unlocked, so he opened the door and walked in.
“Fluttershy?” Blitz asked as he walked in. He looked around for a moment, confused. He saw dozens of birdhouses, some mouse holes, and many other areas for animals, but no Fluttershy. He was about to head upstairs to look for her, before he noticed a pink tail sticking out from behind the couch. He walked around the other side and looked down at Fluttershy, who was curled up and hiding behind her pink mane.
Blitz thought for a moment, then laid down in front of her with his legs folded underneath himself. Fluttershy stuck her head out of her mane for a brief second, before ducking back behind it with a muffled “Eep!”
Blitz looked at Fluttershy for a moment before he spoke. “I heard you were a very shy and skittish pony, but I didn’t quite expect you to be this skittish.” One of Fluttershy’s eyes was visible now, and she regarded him with extreme caution.
“And you don’t really know me at all.,” he continued, “I’m basically a complete stranger to you. That’s probably why you’re so wary around me. You don’t like meeting new ponies.” Blitz said with a calm voice. Blitz frowned, realizing something. “And the fact I just waltzed into your home without permission probably doesn’t reflect well on me.” he said, still staring at the yellow mare in front of him.
“N-no... Not really...” Fluttershy agreed quietly. She had peeked the rest of her head out from behind her mane and stood up slowly.
“Well, I do apologize for that,” Blitz said, standing up to meet Fluttershy. “though the reason I came over was to apologize for last night.” he continued, as he walked around to the other side of the couch. “You tend to animals, yes?” Blitz asked, recalling the information he read on her.
“Oh, um, yes, I do. I was about to, um, fix myself some breakfast, but I don’t need to if you wanted me to do something.” Fluttershy said. Blitz was surprised she was willing to skip a meal to offer to help someone.
“Oh, go ahead and fix yourself some breakfast.” Blitz said, not wanting to cause Fluttershy to not eat.
“Well I can fix you something. That is, if you want anything...” Blitz waved a hoof dismissively at the offer.
“No thank you. I already ate breakfast.” he replied.
Fluttershy headed for her kitchen, but stopped and turned around at the door. “Um... I can fix you some tea, if you want.” she offered, not wanting to leave her guest without anything. Blitz considered it for a moment, then accepted the offer. He didn’t like tea, but he wasn’t going to turn down the offer of a cup of it for fear of seeming like an ungrateful guest.
Blitz sat on Fluttershy’s couch while he waited for her to finish making her breakfast and the tea. He heard various sounds of pots and pans clanking around as Fluttershy started cooking her food. From the sound of it, she was cooking some type of steamed vegetables.
Several minutes later, Blitz heard the whistle of a tea pot and after a short delay, Fluttershy appeared in the doorway. “The, um, tea is ready.” she mumbled, stepping aside some so as to let Blitz through. He smiled as he stood up, and walked to the doorway, letting the mare go first.
The kitchen was rather simple. Like many homes, it also doubled at the dining room, with the table set off at another end of the room. There was a simple pantry, a stove, fridge, and all the other common cooking devices lining a wall of the kitchen. Fluttershy had already put her breakfast, which consisted of two eggs, some hay, and an apple, on one end of the dining table. Blitz took a seat at the other end of the round table as Fluttershy finished putting some ingredients in the tea.
“Thank you, Fluttershy.” Blitz said as the pegasus in question handed him a cup of tea before getting some herself. “Now, I do know you still know almost nothing about me, and having me in your home probably isn’t the ideal thing for you,” Blitz said, “but that’s why I’m here; to become friends. Plus, I understand that you don’t like crowds, so doing this at Pinkie Pie’s party probably would not be the best time to- WOO!” Blitz cried after taking a sip of his tea, almost dropping the cup of tea from his mouth after taking a drink.
Fluttershy slightly recoiled at the sudden outburst, but recovered quickly and zoomed next to Blitz. “Oh, are you alright? Is the tea too hot? Oh, did I make it too strong?” Fluttershy asked, worry in her voice.
“Oh, oh no no no, it’s just that, wow! That was delicious, the flavors... That’s just, wow! Fluttershy, where’d you learn to make tea like this?” Blitz choked out, eyes still wide from the barrage of flavor that assaulted his tongue.
Fluttershy hid behind her mane slightly, not being very good at taking compliments. “Oh, um, I get some, um, herbs from the Everfree Forest sometimes...” Fluttershy’s voice had shrunk back to a mere whisper again, but Blitz was listening intently. He quickly downed the rest of his tea and stood up.
“The Everfree Forest?” Blitz said questioningly, look out a nearby window to the all-natural forest. “Do you mind if we take a trip there to find these herbs?”
It didn’t really take much convincing to get Fluttershy to take Blitz to where she gathered most of her herbs. Though they were more on the edge of the Everfree, not exactly in the forest like Fluttershy originally stated. And when he asked for her to take him here, he completely forgot she needed to feed her animals, so the next hour was spent helping to gather up all of the different critters that roamed her land and feeding them. The trouble though was getting some of them to actually eat.
Blitz tried his best to ignore when Fluttershy had to use The Stare, but he couldn’t. It scared the hay out of him. And not much can do that.
“So how far away is this area?” Blitz asked, not really seeing much but trees at the moment. They weren’t very far into the Everfree, only a few dozen paces. He could still see the green grass of a nearby field off to his right.
“Oh, it’s not that far. It’s just over there.” Fluttershy said as she pointed her hoof off to the left slightly. At first Blitz couldn’t see anything but trees, but after walking a few more paces a small clearing came into view with dozens of different types of herbs and plants.Most of the plants were some sort of shade of green, but there were a few that were yellow, and some that were even red and orange.
“Well, I’m suddenly wishing that I had brought my saddlebags...” Blitz said rather quietly. Fluttershy was about to speak, but a rainbow blur shot overhead, rustling the leaves of the trees and causing birds to take flight from their nests.
“Oh, Rainbow must be more careful how low she flies, she’s upsetting the birds.” Fluttershy scolded lightly in her usual quiet tone. Blitz took note of the direction Rainbow Dash had flown in before speaking to Fluttershy.
“Well, I thank you for showing me this place, Fluttershy,” he said as he began to hover off the ground. “but I must leave for now. Are you going to be alright getting back to your cottage?” Blitz asked. It was a stupid question, but he didn’t want her to feel as if he was abandoning her out here despite her being so kind. Fluttershy nodded, and Blitz rose a little higher.
“Well then, I thank you for your time, and it was nice helping you feed your animals.” Blitz called down, as he flew off in the direction the rainbow-maned pegasus went moments ago.
Blitz flew steadily in the direction Rainbow Dash went. He could already see her; she hadn’t flown that far away, and was obviously practicing tricks over a clearing. Not wanting to be spotted by the pegasus immediately, he flew under the tree line, before touching ground and walking to the edge of the clearing.
Blitz observed the mare carefully, watching her as she flew about. She seemed to be doing some sort of high-speed routine, always performing the same set of tricks three or four times before taking a short break. He knew she was a skilled flier, but even he knew it was dangerous to attempt high speed aerial maneuvers with no clouds below you. Though the recklessness of Rainbow Dash was not the issue Blitz saw.
Blitz remained at the tree line for several more minutes, continuing to watch Rainbow Dash perform her constant cycle of tricks. Eventually he concluded he had seen enough, and walked out a dozen or so paces into the clearing. He stared up at the blue pegasus as she continued to do her series of spins, loops, and weaving in an out of invisible objects.
Rainbow Dash was in the middle of a barrel roll when she stopped in the middle of the descent, having noticed Blitz in the clearing. “What are YOU doing here?” Rainbow said, jabbing a hoof at the forest green pegasus in front of her. “Are you SPYING on me? Huh?!” Rainbow Dash said in an accusing tone.
Blitz raised an eyebrow at this statement questioningly. This mare sure is an odd one, he thought. “No, I saw you fly over the forest and followed you over here. I noticed you were practicing flying and I watched you-”
“AHA! So you WERE spying on me!” Rainbow Dash interrupted. She had now crossed her hooves over her chest, head held high in apparent victory.
Blitz’s face remained blank and unchanging. “I repeat myself, I was not spying on you. I simply came here to apologize about last night. Though, after watching your little flying routine, I should probably give you some tips.”
“Tips? Ha! I’m the best flier in Equestria! I’m the one that should be giving you tips!” Rainbow Dash gloated, whilst, quite literally, flying circles around the pegasus stallion. “Heh, you think you’re such a hot shot at flying, why don’t you race me?” she challenged, voice full of arrogance
Blitz sighed and looked up to the mare, who had resigned herself to hovering above Blitz once again. “Look, Rainbow Dash, I don’t want to race, I just wanted to-”
“What’re you, chicken?” Rainbow Dash said mockingly. “C’mon, I’ll go easy on you!” She called down to Blitz.
“If it’s a race you want,” Blitz said, a sly grin forming on his face. “a race it shall be. But since you’re the challenger, I get to decide the location and stipulations.” He knew just how he could use her arrogance against her. He knew that she would never decline due to his rules. She had convinced herself a long time ago she could win at any race.
“Alright, lets hear it then!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed, finally landing on the ground in front of Blitz. “I’ll be flying circles around you the whole time!” Rainbow Dash said, flaring her wings.
Blitz’s sly smile grew as he heard this. Rainbow Dash wasn’t stupid, he knew, but he guessed she could be an utter foal at times. “Alright then. It’ll be an endurance race. Around Ponyville. Two hundred laps.”
Rainbow Dash’s ears drooped slightly as she heard the number of laps proposed by Blitz. “Two hundred? That’s a lot, don’tcha think?” she said, folding her wings up against her side.
“I was under the impression I got to choose the stipulations, no? And I’m being fair. They in no way hinder your ability to perform at your best.” Blitz managed to retain his emotionless expression, in an attempt to psyche out his opponent.
Rainbow Dash’s down-cast eyes shifted from left to right slightly, before she looked up and flared her wings out once again. “Heh, alright! Lets do it! two hundred laps ‘round Ponyville! I’ll be finished before you can say haystacks!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed, attempting to convey a sense of confidence through her voice.
The sky was clear over their heads. The radiant sun was just past its peak, but still beating down on them with intensity. Blitz didn’t know how she did it, but Pinkie Pie managed to set up a starting line on two small clouds about fourty paces off the ground. The strange thing about it was that the checkered banner was attached to two metal poles, which should not have been able to stand on the clouds.
Blitz had originally suggested Twilight be the one to keep track of their laps. He believed she’d be the most unbiased towards Blitz out of the rest of her friends, but Rainbow Dash had insisted Pinkie Pie be the one to keep track.
Blitz was a little hesitant to agree, given his incident with the mare, but eventually did after Rainbow Dash presented a reasonable argument. Blitz didn’t quite remember the specifics, but it ran somewhere along the line of how energetic she was and something to do with announcing.
Blitz flew up to the starting line and looked out over Ponyville. It wasn’t that large of a town, but Blitz still knew it would take a considerable amount of time to complete two hundred laps. Though, if his plan went accordingly, he’d never have to finish.
Before Blitz was able to run through his plan once more, however, Rainbow Dash landed sharply on the starting line. The force of her landing caused small pieces of cloud to break off from the main body and dissipate. She stuck her hoof out and pointed in front of them, slightly to their left.
“You see those? Those mark the path. Go inside the little area they make and you get disqualified for cheating.” Blitz followed her hoof as she spoke, which was panning around Ponyville to point at the objects she was speaking of.
They were small pillars of cloud, about twice the height of Blitz and about as wide as he was long. Blitz turned his head and looked at Rainbow Dash with a questioning look. “When did you manage to set those up? I’ve been with you almost all this time.” he asked, trying to think of when Rainbow Dash could have set up the pillars.
“Me? Oh, I didn’t put ‘em up. Pinkie did.” Rainbow Dash said, pointing off to the right, where Pinkie was perched in a nearby tree. When Pinkie noticed she was being acknowledged, she smiled widely and began waving a hoof rapidly.
Blitz stared intently at the pink earth pony. Then he shifted his gaze to the cloud pillars. Then back to the earth pony. Then back to the cloud pillars. Earth pony. Cloud. He shook his head in an attempt to get the thoughts out of his mind. “She is an... interesting one,” he mumbled, after regaining his composure.
“Nah, she’s just Pinkie,” Rainbow Dash said flatly, as if she’d had to say that plenty of times. Rainbow Dash walked up to the starting line, then turned her attention back to Blitz. “Well? Are you just gonna stand there or are we gonna race?”
Blitz crouched down and flared his wings out as Rainbow Dash signaled to Pinkie Pie to begin the race.
“ON YOUR CUTIE MARK! Hehe, see what I did there?” Pinkie began giddily, shouting through a mega phone she procured. Rainbow Dash yelled at her to stop messing around, and Pinkie continued.
“GET SET!” Blitz braced the muscles in his wings, feeling the soft breeze flow around them.
As soon as they began, Blitz was about eighty percent sure he had already won. Rainbow Dash rocketed out of the starting line, the sudden displacement of air causing Blitz’s mane to get blown in all sorts of different directions. As he flew, he watched Rainbow Dash speed around and around, nothing but a blue blur with a small rainbow wake flowing behind her.
Blitz had to admire her speed. By the time he had completed his first lap, Rainbow Dash was already on her fifth. He suddenly realized why she had Pinkie Pie keep count; with her going as fast as she was, it would be very difficult for a normal pony to keep count. Though an energetic Pinkie Pie? That was probably a piece of cupcake to her.
Pegasi could move about very swiftly. With a good beat of their wings, a Pegasus pony could cover the same distance an Earth pony or Unicorn would cover in ten steps. So a race around Ponyville was about the same as if an Earth pony raced a track in school.
To an untrained, or rather, unobservant eye, Rainbow Dash was going just as fast as she was previously. But Blitz could already see she was losing pace and slowing down. While he was on his eleventh lap, Rainbow Dash was on her forty fifth. She should have been on her fifty first lap by now. But Blitz had no problem keeping pace. For the past ten laps he’d clocked in at forty three wing beats on all of them.
It was somewhere around lap eighty for Rainbow Dash that there was a visible decline in her speed. She was only completing about three laps for every one that Blitz did. When she passed him, Blitz could hear her breathing was getting quite heavy. He, on the other hand, was still breathing just as fine as he was at the start of the race.
It was somewhere around lap one hundred and twenty for Rainbow Dash, and eighty five for Blitz, that the residence of Ponyville began to gather near the finish line. Blitz didn’t really want to embarrass her in front of her neighbors, but he understood why they started gathering. You see two ponies flying a make-shift track built around town dozens of times, you’d start to get curious. He shrugged off his concern for Rainbow Dash’s pride and kept on flying.
Blitz wasn’t gonna lie. After going a hundred and thirty laps, his wings hurt. Heck, his entire back hurt. But if his muscles hurt, that meant Rainbow Dash’s must be screaming. What was she on now? He figured it was somewhere around one fifty.
He didn’t think she’d last much longer, since she had slowed down considerably. They were going about the same speed now, though Blitz was sure he was a few wing strokes ahead of her pace.
Blitz was rounding the last bend before the finish line, when he saw Rainbow Dash, who was just ahead of him, collapse on the cloud platform that made up the finish line. There were a few overly dramatic gasps from the small crowd that had amassed below Pinkie’s tree. Blitz flew over to the finish line and stopped next to Rainbow Dash, who was lying on the cloud, breathing very heavily.
“Ah, get up.” Blitz said as he maneuvered his head under her midsection in order to lift her up onto her hooves. Once he had accomplished that, he had to steady her with his wing so she wouldn’t collapse again. “Just breathe, it’ll be alright. Deep breaths, keep your head up high.” Blitz ordered.
He took a deep breath or two himself; flying over hundred laps was not easy, no matter how physically fit one was. But he did his best not to show just how tired he actually was. When he was confident Rainbow Dash wouldn’t collapse again, he withdrew his wing and folded it against his side once more.
“Water.” Rainbow Dash croaked, fur and mane matted together from sweat. Blitz acknowledged her request, and had a nearby pegasus stallion go get some. A minute or so later he returned with a full bucket, which Rainbow Dash gulped down quickly.
“Woah, not so much at one time. You’ll send yourself into shock. We don’t want you throwing up all over the place,” Blitz said, moving the bucket away from her. Though it was rather pointless, for when Blitz looked into the bucket, nothing but droplets were left at the bottom. He sighed, and had another one be brought over.
“How- how many... laps did I... do?” Rainbow Dash heaved, the question directed towards Pinkie Pie.
“One hundred and seventy three!” Pinkie Pie shouted back via her megaphone. The ponies under her perch winced in pain as Pinkie’s loud megaphone-enhanced voice reached their ears.
“And how many... did you do?” Rainbow Dash asked Blitz. She was still huffing, but she managed to speak a bit easier this time.
“One hundred and sixty nine, before I stopped to help you,” Blitz said flatly. “Though, that doesn’t really matter. What matters, is the lesson behind the race.”
“What...? You mean... the whole... was just to... teach me a lesson?” Rainbow Dash huffed in between breaths. A mixture of annoyance, confusion, and exhaustion was plastered across her face.
“Yes. You see, when I was watching you training, I noticed you were just practicing the same few tricks over and over.” When Blitz saw that Rainbow Dash didn’t understand, he continued further. “You want to be a Wonderbolt, correct?” he asked, leaning a little closer to the mare. She nodded, and he drew his head back as he continued.
“Tell me, generally how long is a single Wonderbolts performance?” he asked the exhausted pegasus in front him.
Rainbow Dash had to take a few moments to gather her thoughts through her exhaustion before answering. “About... ten minutes... maybe more.”
“Yes, about ten to twenty minutes for a single performance. And when you’re practicing your routine, how long is it? About a minute or so? Maybe less?” he paused briefly to let Rainbow Dash think on it some.
“You see, you’re practicing as an aspiring Wonderbolt, when you should be practicing as if you were already one. If you do manage to get into the Wonderbolts, you’ll have been so used to practicing your short one minute routine you’ll use for an audition, that you won’t have the necessary endurance or focus for the long performances the Wonderbolts do.”
“You’re training yourself to win the first few skirmishes, when you should be training yourself to win the battle itself. Do you see, now, what I am saying?” he asked Rainbow Dash. He had stepped rather close to the mare now, in an attempt to emphasis his point.
“Yeah... I see what you’re sayin’” Rainbow Dash said. She had managed to steady her breathing some by now, and wasn’t feeling quite as exhausted as she was several minutes ago.
“If you think of a routine that would take about ten minutes, when you do get to try out for the Wonderbolts, you’ll not only impress them, but you’ll show them you’ve already begun to train as a Wonderbolt, and not just an applicant.” Blitz finished, glad that he was able to instill some wisdom into the rainbow-maned pegasus before him.
He began walking towards the edge of the platform, when Rainbow Dash’s voice drew his attention. He turned his head back toward her, a grin on her face.
“Hm?” he asked rather lazily.
“I still technically beat you.” she said, a sly smile spread wide on her face.
This elicited a grin from the stallion, who merely gave one nod of his head to her, cowcolt style. He turned towards his front again and flared his aching wings, about to take flight.
“Oh, and Blitz,” Rainbow Dash said, once again requiring Blitz to turn his attention towards her, eyebrow raised in question. “Apology accepted.”
Blitz walked into his living room, still trying to dry his wings with a towel. He didn’t show it in front of the other ponies at the race, but he was extremely exhausted. And very sweaty. Very, very sweaty and exhausted. So the first thing he did when he got home was take a shower.
He still had one more stop to make today, and he guessed that it would not be in his best interests to show up dirty and drenched with sweat.
Blitz looked at the clock as he got comfortable on his couch. 17:23. Well, it actually read 5:23, but he still interpreted time as it were on a 24-hour clock. He had roughly two hours before Luna raised her moon. He used to enjoy watching Luna’s moon as it took over the sky. The soft glow it spread over the world, the stars, and the night. But now...
Blitz shook his head free of his thoughts. Now was not the time to think like that. He had places to be, things to do, and dabbling in his thoughts would not help him to complete his goals. He quickly downed two apples he bought from Applejack the other day, and set out into the small village of Ponyville.
He could already tell by some of the looks that ponies were giving him that he was now some what famous in town. Or quite possibly infamous. He did, after all, humiliate their resident weather mare and mini-celebrity, Rainbow Dash. But he didn’t pay much attention to them. He had to make his way to Carousel Boutique.
“Welcome to Carousel Boutique! I’ll be down in a moment!” chirped Rarity from somewhere upstairs. Blitz could hear the clop of her hooves against the floor as she made her way towards the stairs.
“Dresses can be found towards the back of the store, while stallions’ clothing can be found towards-” she cut herself off when she spotted Blitz. “Oh. It’s you.” Rarity said in a low tone, a hint of venom seeping into her words.
“Yes. It’s me.” Blitz responded, meeting her gaze.
Rarity trotted over in front of Blitz, her eyes trained on his. “Can I help you?” she asked simply.
Blitz couldn’t help but smile slightly at this. Whether it was her mocking his simple statement he made last night, or whether she was just attempting to be a gracious store owner, he didn’t know. But it amused him nonetheless.
“Ah, no. I just came here to apologize for the way I acted last night. I shouldn’t have brushed off the party. I didn’t know it was a tradition you had here in Ponyville.”
Rarity’s expression turned to that of surprise for a moment, before going back to its previous state. “Oh, hm. Apology accepted.” Rarity responded, before turning back to work on some of her designs.
While normally Blitz would have been glad that his visit here was short, he was unconvinced that Rarity was sincere in accepting his apology. “Wait, that’s it? You’re just going to accept my apology, just like that?” the stallion asked, suspicion in his voice.
Rarity turned back towards him and blinked in confusion. “Yes. You apologized like a gentlecolt, so I saw no reason not to accept it.” she stated, as she trotted back over to the green pegasus.
“Now, if you don’t plan on buying anything, I will ask that you leave. I am very busy, and have a store to run.” Rarity said, trotting over to some dresses to inspect them for any flaws.
Blitz thought for a moment before saying anything. “Actually, winter is approaching, and I don’t happen to have a coat to wear. I don’t suppose you have anything I could try, do you?” he asked, walking alongside Rarity.
“Oh, of course I do, darling!” Rarity’s face lit up at the idea of Blitz being interested in an article of clothing. “While I do mostly have mare’s clothing, I have a bit of stallions’ apparel for those that decide to come here.” Rarity said, leading Blitz over to a small section of her store that contained coats and winter apparel.
Blitz could see there were all different styles of coats all varying in color. “I don’t seem to have any that would match your coat, dear.” Rarity said, a hint of annoyance present in her voice. She scanned over her inventory before her eyes lit up again. “Aha! How about this one, darling? It matches your eyes perfectly!” Rarity exclaimed, levitating a thick blue coat out from a rack.
Blitz studied it for a moment, then shook his head. “No, how about... This one!” Blitz said, pulling a plain-looking black coat out, and holding it up to Rarity.
Rarity’s eyes widened slightly at the lack of style and fashion of the coat. “Black? But why? And it’s just so... So bland, darling.” Rarity said, curiosity filling her voice.
“Well, bhlack doesh abshorbh more heat than lighter colorsh.” Blitz said, the coat impairing his ability to speak properly. He waited until Rarity had levitated the coat for him before he continued. “And I’m not looking for style. Just something to keep the cold at bay.”
Rarity thought for a moment before responding. While she did make it a habit to have the customer buy the most fashionable clothes, the customer was always right, and if he wanted the coat, it wasn’t her right not to give it to him. “Well, I do suppose it goes with your mane.”
Rarity began trotting towards her register, before she stopped, suddenly realizing something. “Oh, I completely forgot that this was an earth pony coat. And I don’t have any versions to suit a pegasus. And with all the work I have piled up to do, I probably won’t be able to modify it until tomorrow.” she said with an apologetic tone.
“It’s alright, Rarity. I didn’t bring any bits any how.” Blitz said. He wasn’t really that in need of a winter coat anyways, so it didn’t bother him much. “I’ll just come back in a few days.” he said as he turned to leave the boutique.
He stopped mid-step on his way to the door however, something catching his eye towards one end of the shop. He trotted over, making sure it was what he thought it was. Why, yes, yes it was exactly what he thought it was: a black bowler hat. Blitz let out a small “Aha!” as he recognized the odd piece of head wear.
“What is it, darling?” Rarity said as she trotted over to where Blitz was.
Blitz did nothing but grin. “Watch this.” he said. He took his right wing and flipped the bowler hat into the air, and Blitz extended both his wings as it came down. The hat landed vertically on the top of his wing, rolling on it’s brim as Blitz slowly lifted his wing to give it speed. It continued across his back, and onto his other wing. As it reached the tip of his wing, Blitz flipped it into the air, and it landed neatly on his head.
Rarity stomped her hooves on the floor in applause. “My my, bravo! Where ever did you learn such a trick?” Rarity asked, entertained by the small display Blitz had put on.
“My father used to own one of these, you see, and I suppose I just got bored one day.” he explained. He trotted over to the register and set the hat down next to it. “My uncle taught me to do that. Do you think you could wait a moment while I go get some bits? I think I’d like to buy this.” he said to Rarity as she followed him.
“Oh, nonsense, darling,” she said as she levitated the bowler hat back onto his head. “You can have it for free. I didn’t even know that was in my shop,” Rarity added, looking over in that section for anything else that she might not know was there. “and I doubt anypony would want to buy it, what with it being so out of style and all.” she said, then saw Blitz’s expression. “No offense.” Rarity said sheepishly with an apologetic smile on her face.
“It ain’t no problem, Rarity. And thank you.” Blitz said as he trotted over to the door. He turned his head back and tipped his new hat slightly to the mare before he left. It wasn’t the stetson he had when he was younger, but it would do.
Two days had passed, and it was the day of what Pinkie had dubbed the “Re-Party,” and when Blitz was interrupted from reading by a knock on his door, he had to check his clock to make sure he hadn’t accidentally missed it again. Luna knows he wouldn’t want a repeat of last time.
“Hello, Twilight. What are you doing here?” Blitz asked the purple mare, who stood in his doorway.
“I’m here to collect you to make sure you don’t miss the party this time.” Twilight said.
“‘Collect me?’” Blitz asked, a bit confused at her choice of words.
“We’re just going to go over to the Library until it’s time to head to the party.” Twilight responded, stepping aside to let Blitz out so he could follow her.
“Where’s Spike?” Blitz asked once they had reached the library. He had visited once or twice over the past two days, and each time the purple dragon had been here helping out.
“Oh, he’s over at Sugarcube Corner helping set up,” Twilight explained, trotting over to the center of the library. “I don’t really know what you could do for the next hour. I suppose you could just find a book to read. That’s what I do to pass the time.” she said, looking around for a book she herself could read.
“I’m not exactly in the mood for reading at the moment,” Blitz said, taking a seat in one of the few chairs in the library. “You don’t happen to have any tea, do you?” Blitz asked Twilight. Ever since having some of Fluttershy’s tea a few days ago, he had acquired a taste for the drink.
“Oh, yes, I do. I’ll go make a cup.” Twilight responded, walking into the kitchen.
For most the hour that followed Twilight and Blitz spent their time talking to one another. Their topics varied, from the various books they’ve read over the years to the party that was soon to come.
“If you don’t mind me asking, what exactly does your cutie mark represent?” Twilight asked suddenly.
Blitz was a little taken aback by this. Mostly out of surprise that the topic hadn’t come up yet, than it being a sensitive question. “It mostly represents my interest and wide knowledge of history.” Blitz said. After noticing Twilight still had a confused look on her face, Blitz looked back at his flank. “Oh, yes, military history to be exact. That’s what the crossed swords mean.” Blitz said.
“Military history? But Equestria hasn’t had any wars.” Twilight said, a little confused at what he was talking about.
“Ah, but that’s where you’re wrong, Twilight. You forget the times when Equestria was not ruled by ponies. The Griffon Wars, the many different conflicts fought during the ancient Draconian Age.” Blitz said, taking on a rather far-off tone, as if he were telling some ancient tale.
“History is a marvelous thing. It’s been a dream of mine to be written down in it one day, immortalized, for generations to come. To become a legend.” Blitz’s voice dropped with his last sentence.
“I suppose that is an interesting thing to think about,” Twilight said, pausing for a moment. “I suppose being the Elements of Harmony, my friends and I have already been written down in history.” Twilight said, smiling a little. “But it is a little sad to know we won’t be alive to see history unfold hundreds of years from now.”
Blitz chuckled slightly at this. “Not necessarily...” he said, rather quietly.
“What?” came Twilight’s response.
“Oh, nothing. We should probably be getting to Sugarcube Corner, shouldn’t we?” Blitz asked.
“I suppose so.” Twilight responded, heading for the door.
Blitz pulled a small flask of Apple Cider out from under his bowler hat and took a swig. “Allons-y.”
It had been a week since Pinkie Pie’s “Re-Party,” and Blitz and Twilight were engaged in a fierce battle of the minds in the upper parlor of the Library. Blitz’s gaze was fixed steadily, his head resting on his hooves, which he had propped onto the table. Twilight was fixed similarly, albeit using only one hoof rather than both.
Twilight’s eyes shifted about feverishly, searching for something, anything, that would help her. Finally, she saw her opening and took it. Blitz let out a small snort, obviously not happy with her move. This situation had been going on for quite a while now, with each pony spending their fair share of time on each end. But this is what made it so exciting. One mind against another, in the game of kings: chess.
They had originally tried Stratego at first, but Blitz’s prowess in military history had allowed him to defeat Twilight easily. Having studied numerous battles, he knew many strategies he could put to use when it came to protecting his flag. Chess, on the other hoof, Twilight had learned they were much more evenly matched with.
Blitz retaliated quickly to his bishop being taken. With one swift move of his queen, he removed one of Twilight’s rooks from play. He had taken the upper hoof in the match early, taking out her queen and one of her knights. Twilight let a small grin creep across her face as she moved her bishop, who’s clear path to her rook had been disguised by the cluster of other pieces in the center of the board, into Blitz’s queen’s place.
Blitz let out a small cry as his queen was taken from the board. He leaned back some from the table, Twilight assumed to give himself time to contemplate a new strategy. He absentmindedly kicked at the Stratego box under the table, and rapped on his bowler hat, which he had hung on the left corner of the back of his chair. In the last week Twilight had noticed he had worn his bowler hat everywhere he went, much to the disdain of Rarity.
New strategy in mind, he immediately moved one of his knights to take out one of Twilight’s remaining pawns. But Twilight had anticipated this, and countered with a move of her own. This exchange of pieces went on for another ten moves, until finally Twilight had trapped Blitz’s king with both her bishops and her remaining rook. With the movement of one of her remaining three pawns, Twilight said one word. “Checkmate.”
Blitz let out a small sigh and bowed his head, conceding to defeat. Twilight was smiling, since with this victory, she now pulled ahead in their rounds of chess leading 8-7. She began to place her pieces back in their original spots, while Blitz adjusted the Stratego box underneath the table. She had to admit, Blitz was a formidable opponent, and she enjoyed it every time she beat him.
Blitz sighed as he bowed his head, conceding defeat as he once again let Twilight Sparkle win. Granted, the first two he had genuinely lost, but that was more due to not having a proper understanding of her level of skill, than him being a poor player. Having played fifteen matches against the purple unicorn, it was obvious she played more by the books than thinking of her own strategies.
“We’ve been at this for a couple of hours, Twilight. I think it’s time we stopped for today,” Blitz said, noticing the mare once again setting up the board.
Twilight looked at the clock, and her eyes grew slightly with surprise. “I suppose you’re right. Besides, Spike will probably be back soon anyways.” she said as she began searching for the box that the chess board and pieces went in.
“Yes, he’ll probably be wanting to fix lunch. In which case I should probably leave, I don’t want to burden you with my presence.” Blitz said as he thought about the small dragon. Twilight said she gave him the day off, or something. He hadn’t really been paying attention. He only made a visit to assess Twilight, and knowing what sort of shenanigans her assistant was up to wasn’t something that he was concerned about.
“Oh, it’s alright. I gave him some bits before he left so he could buy something if he ever got hungry.” she said simply. “You really like that hat, don’t you?” Twilight asked, noticing Blitz flip the black bowler hat he owned onto his head.
“I do, in fact. I’m glad Rarity let me have it for free. I can see why she’s the Element of Generosity. And given her nature, I can see why she’s only the third.” Blitz responded, heading down the stairs in order to leave.
At hearing this last bit, Twilight’s eyes narrowed as she thought. “Alright, hold it right there!” Twilight said with a raised voice, as she used her magic to close the door Blitz had opened. “That’s the fourth time you’ve said something like that. What do you mean, third Element of Generosity?” Twilight was demanding, rather than asking, to know.
Blitz’s wings unfurled slightly at the shock of having the door slammed in his face. He turned back to Twilight, an annoyed look on his face. “It’s not exactly a secret that you six are the Elements of Harmony. You’ve saved Equestria twice, and even had a ceremony in your honor at the palace! Given that four of you are or were famous, it’s rather surprising Ponyville isn’t crawling with paparazzi.” Blitz replied, wings fully extended now out of annoyance. He really did not like having doors slammed in his face.
“That’s not what I’m talking about! Why do you say ‘third’ as if there have been others before us? We’re the first bearers of the Elements!” Twilight’s voice was raised more out of confusion than anger, but raised nonetheless.
“The first in a millennia.” Blitz lowered his voice at this, once again donning the quiet tone he first displayed a week ago. “You’ve read about the Elements before, surely you must know this?” Blitz asked, wings furling back to his sides.
“Well... no. The only things I know are from folklore and legend.” Twilight said, dropping her voice back to normal as well.
“You used to live in the Canterlot University Library, you can’t tell me you didn’t read up on them more leading up to defeating Nightmare Moon.” Blitz said flatly, a bit of skepticism in his voice.
Twilight shook her head. “After my initial discovery, I wrote to the Princess right away. She sent me here to Ponyville almost immediately, and I didn’t have time to look further into it. So I had to make due with the encyclopedia’s that were here in this library.” Twilight explained, looking off in the direction of the books in question.
“Ah. Well, in the oldest, dustiest part of the Royal Library, there are ancient books of folklore. And there is always some truth behind lore and legend.” Blitz said, as he grabbed a book and opened it to a page about the Elements of Harmony.
“These books, these... Legends. They tell of ancient heroes and heroines, who are so kind, so generous, so loyal, that they could change lives, defeat monsters, and save Equestria.” Blitz finished, pointing to different pieces on the Elements.
Twilight just stood there, staring at the passages. Could there really have been other Elements? As she thought about it, she decided yes, there must have been ones prior to her and her friends. They were, after all, as old as Celestia herself. Perhaps older.
Blitz opened the door once again, but turned back to Twilight before exiting. “It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the heroes and heroines spoken of in the lores were the Elements of Harmony. While I myself do not know much, what I do know I shall have to share with you for another time. I have some things I must do, and I’m sure you yourself have much studying to catch up on.”
Blitz yawned as he closed the door to his house. It wasn’t much past five in the afternoon, but he was dog-tired. His brain was burnt out from the hours of playing chess with Twilight.
She needs much work, Blitz thought, as he looked up at his map. Work suddenly took on a heavier meaning in his head. His deadline was fast approaching, and he’d have to make his decision. And as much as he hated to admit it, that decision most likely wasn’t going to be good.
Twilight lost her concentration, and the five books she was levitating crashed into the ground. She turned her head to the direction the loud noise had come from, just as three fillies almost barrelled into her.
“Girls! Be more careful. You can’t come running in here. You could break something,” Twilight said as she picked up the books and slid them into their appropriate spots on the shelves. She moved to face the group of three fillies that had dubbed themselves the Cutie Mark Crusaders and said, “Now, what is it that has you needing to come to me?”
It was Applebloom, who more often than not took on the role of the leader in the group, that spoke for them. “Well, we was wonderin’ if you could help me and the gals here with... Uhmm.. What was th’ word again?”
“Towtering!” replied Scootaloo.
“I think it was tooting, Applebloom.” chimed in Sweetie Bell
“No, that doesn’t make any sense! Why would we need Twilight’s help on farting?” came Scootaloo.
“Hey, I’m just trying to help!” said Sweetie Bell.
“Do you mean tutoring?” interrupted Twilight, before the two fillies got into an argument.
“Yeah! We need yer help tutorin’ our class!” Applebloom exclaimed, face full of glee and hopefulness.
Twilight got a puzzled look on her face at hearing this. “What? Why would you need to tutor your class? This isn’t one of your schemes to try and get your cutie marks, is it?” she said, the tone of her voice indicating a stern scolding if it were the case.
“No!” all three Cutie Mark Crusaders said, simultaneously.
“Well, then why is it?” Twilight asked, unconvinced.
The Crusaders all suddenly looked uncomfortable; they looked at each other, worry on their faces, with Scootaloo shifting slightly on her hooves. Applebloom looked at Twilight, the fillies’ mental debate seemingly over.
“Alright, but you gotta promise not to say anything!” Twilight merely nodded her head at the request, a small smile on her face. Applebloom leaned in close to Twilight’s ear and whispered, “We think Miss Cheerilee’s gonna get fired!”
“What?!” Twilight exclaimed, the suddenness and volume of her voice causing Applebloom to jump back several paces from the unicorn. Her eyes were still wide with surprise when Sweetie Bell spoke.
“We were thinking that if we helped everyone get smarter that Miss Cheerilee wouldn’t lose her job!” she said. She was about to continue, but Twilight suddenly picked all three of the fillies up with her magic.
“Come on girls,” Twilight said as she trotted towards the door, the three confused fillies floating behind her. “Let’s go visit Miss Cheerilee.”
Cheerilee was in her classroom preparing for the start of the new school week tomorrow when Twilight came in. The Cutie Mark Crusaders were no longer in her magical grasp, but still following behind the mare as she trotted in.
“Oh, hello Twilight. Hello Applebloom, Sweetie Bell, Scootaloo. Is there something I can do for you?” she asked, moving aside some papers she was grading.
“Cheerilee, what’s this I hear about your job being at risk?” Twilight asked, concern and worry plastered across her face.
“W-What?!” Cheerilee stammered, her face paling underneath her coat. “I’m at risk of being fired? Oh, how can that be? How do you know?” Cheerilee’s voice was quavering, the idea of her job being taken from her absolutely horrific.
“Well, when the Cutie Mark Crusaders came to me asking for help, I asked them what for, and they said-” Twilight stopped herself after she registered what she had said. She turned her head to the three fillies, who all looked up at her with questioning expressions. “Why is it you think that Miss Cheerilee’s going to lose her job?” Twilight asked the small fillies.
“Um... Well, we saw Miss Cheerilee talking to that green pegasus dude and he was asking her questions about the school and stuff. He didn’t seem to like what she was saying though, so we thought that she was gonna get fired...” Scootaloo said, her voice trailing off at the end.
“Oh! She’s talking about when, oh, what was his name... Blitz? I think that was it. Yes, after school ended for the week Blitz came up to me and asked me some questions. He asked about the literacy rate here in Ponyville, the ratio of ponies who drop out to those who graduate, things like that. Since this is a rural town most students drop out to help with family shops, farms, things like that. He never really did say why he was asking. He just ignored the question when I brought it up.” Cheerilee explained, having calmed down with knowing her job wasn’t really at risk.
“Hm... Well, thanks Cheerilee. I just wanted to get that cleared up.” Twilight said, eyes scolding the Cutie Mark Crusaders for jumping to conclusions.
Her thoughts drifted to Blitz on the walk home. She admitted, it was a little odd of him asking such things. Maybe he just wanted to know a bit about Ponyville since he was going to be living here, she thought. Or maybe he planned on raising foals and wanted them to have a good education.
No, that probably wasn’t it, she told herself. He hadn’t come here with a mare, and when he went out of his house he really only spent time with hanging out with me- Oh. Twilight was caught midstep as the notion struck her. She blushed a little as she dismissed the absurd thought, focusing on more important matters, such as the best way to organize her to-do lists.
When Twilight got to the clinic, she immediately ran to the front desk. “What room?” she asked hastily. The blue earth pony behind the receptionist’s desk quickly gave her the room number, not needing to ask what patient she was visiting. Twilight rushed to the room, only slowing down in order to avoid crashing into the door.
She had been enjoying a nice cup of apple juice and a daisy sandwich for lunch when she heard a knock on her door. She had closed the book she was reading and trotted down the stairs to see who it was. It turned out to be Rarity, who promptly informed her Rainbow Dash was in the clinic. She had been so scared that her friend was severely injured, that she didn’t allow Rarity time to explain what Rainbow was there for before she took off towards the clinic.
When she entered the room, she saw her friends Applejack, Fluttershy, and Pinkie Pie standing around one of the beds. The occupant was sitting on her haunches on the bed, looking lazily in the direction of Nurse Redheart, who was looking over what seemed to be a medical chart.
“What happened?” Twilight asked Rainbow Dash, as Rarity, out of breath from trying to catch up to Twilight, trotted into the room behind her.
Nurse Redheart spoke for her. “She had a mild condition of heat stroke. She’ll still need to rest for today, but she should be fine come tomorrow morning. She’s lucky your friend Fluttershy brought her here when she did, otherwise it could have been much more serious,” she said, and knowing what question was to follow, she added, “it was most likely cause by Rainbow not taking any breaks during long periods of strenuous exercise.”
At the last bit, Applejack snickered. “That wouldn’t happen t’ have anything t’do with that race you an’ Blitz had a week ago, would it?” she asked, teasing at her friend’s humiliation.
“Ah, shut up.” Rainbow Dash responded, glaring at Applejack.
“Oh, are you sure you’re feeling alright? You need to remember to take breaks when you’re out training! You could have been seriously hurt!” Twilight exclaimed as she walked up to Rainbow Dash, trying to put a hoof to her forehead to check her temperature.
“Yeah, I’m fine! I’m only a little light headed. Sheesh, Twilight, you’re worse than my mom!” Rainbow exclaimed in annoyance, waving off Twilight with one of her hooves.
“Aww, you’re feeling fine?” Pinkie asked, disappointment in her voice. “That means I can’t throw a ‘Get Well Soon’ party!” she said, before her eyes got wide and she gasped loudly. “But I can throw a ‘Congratulations On Getting Well!’ party! Oh, it’s going to be so much fun!” Pinkie yelled, the bubbly mare bouncing about the room.
“Can I leave now, doc?” Rainbow Dash asked Nurse Redheart, obviously not content with sitting in the bare white room.
“Hm, I suppose. As long as you rest for the remainder of the day. That means no strenuous exercise, and you need to be drinking water often.” Nurse Redheart emphasised, to which the group began shuffling out of the room, with Rainbow Dash taking the lead.
Twilight was about to head out of the clinic when she felt the tap of a hoof on her flank. She turned around to see Nurse Redheart standing behind her. “Blitz is that green pegasus Pinkie held a party for a week and a half ago, right?” she asked.
“Yes, why?” Twilight asked, not quite sure why Nurse Redheart would be asking who Blitz was.
“I was just wondering. I figured you knew who he was since I’ve seen him visit the library often. He’s a strange pony. Came in here about half a week ago asking questions about the clinic. Never did figure what that was all about.” Nurse Redheart said as she looked over the empty lobby of the clinic.
“Oh, did he now?” Twilight was rather intrigued now. This was the second time she had heard of Blitz asking odd questions to the residents of Ponyville.
“Yeah. Was asking things about mortality rate, birth rate, things like that. Thing is, Ponyville’s not exactly the most... stallion-filled town, so we don’t actually get that many births happening.” she said, glancing back towards the clock above the receptionist’s window. “I have to get back to work. I need to fill out some paperwork and clean up Rainbow Dash’s room. I’ll see you later, Twilight.” Nurse Redheart said, waving back to Twilight as she walked down the hall.
As Twilight walked back towards the library, she couldn’t help but think of Blitz. He didn’t seem any different a few days ago, but now she’s suddenly hearing how he’s been asking questions about the state of educational and health offices? It was a bit odd, but Twilight figured it was nothing. It was probably just an odd way of getting to know his new town. Right?
“Twilight, are you comin’ or what?” Rainbow Dash shouted back to her friend as they were leaving the library.
Twilight shook her head and jolted herself from her trance. “Oh, sorry. I’m coming!” she replied, galloping in order to catch up with her friends. She had zoned out momentarily there; everything sort of faded out of existence around her while her mind kept working. It was an odd feeling that didn’t happen too often, but when it did it was normally in rather awkward situations. She was told it was due to her mind thinking faster than her body could respond, which in itself was caused from, well, thinking too much.
It was the time of the week where her and all her friends- well, until two months ago all her friends excluding Rainbow Dash, would get together in the park with their pets and hang out with one another. It also served as good exercise for their pets, who almost always insisted on chasing one another.
Twilight was actually glad Rainbow Dash had a pet now; aside from the obvious fact she could spend more time with the rest of their friends on their weekly outing, the pegasus also took it upon herself to make sure on that one day of the week, the weather was perfect. And that’s exactly what the weather was today: perfect. A slight breeze, just the right amount of clouds, and not a grey one in sight.
When Twilight reached the spot in the park they normally gathered at, she found her friends and their pets were already having their fun. Winona had already started chasing Opal, with Rarity complaining to Applejack that her dog was terrorizing her pet. Owlicious (who flew ahead with the rest of the group earlier) seemed to be in a race against Tank in his flying contraption, with Gummy trying to latch onto Rainbow Dash, who was refereeing the race. Pinkie seemed to be arguing with Angel over something incomprehensible to Twilight.
Twilight was in the middle of talking to Fluttershy whilst they overlooked their pets, when a green blur flew just above the treeline (If you could call it one, as there was only one tree in the immediate vicinity) overhead.
“Oh, my.” Fluttershy said quietly, as the wind from the object passing above blew her mane back slightly.
“Was that Blitz?” Twilight asked, turning her head in the direction the object flew in.
“Ah think it was.” came Applejack’s response.
“What’s got him in such a hurry?” Rainbow Dash said as she flew over to the rest of the group.
They all sat there for a moment in silence. They were about to resume their activities before Twilight spoke up. “Has anyone thought Blitz has been a bit... strange, lately?”
“Strange? Oh, I think so. Have you seen that hat he’s been wearing? Had I known he was actually going to WEAR such a dreadful head piece, I never would have let him have it!” Rarity remarked, visually scoffing the stallion.
“Yeah! I mean, he spends more time inside reading his books than you do, Twilight!” Pinkie chimed in, suddenly appearing in the middle of the group. “And he doesn’t like my strudels!”
“I’m being serious, girls!” Twilight exclaimed, scolding her friends.
Her friends shrank back some from her stern look. It was Applejack who spoke next. “Well, he did come t’ th’ farm a coupl’a days ago askin’ some mighty odd questions.”
“What sort of questions?” Twilight asked solemnly. She was sure she knew where this was going.
“Well, he was askin’ things like how much of our apples were sold t’ Ponyville, how much we shipped off t’ other cities, and how many apples we grew each year. Figured there weren’t no harm in him askin’, hay, Ah thought he may even be wantin’ t’ invest in Sweet Apple Acres.” the orange earth pony said. “There somethin’ wrong with him askin’ stuff like that, Twi?”
“Well, no, it’s just... Well, he’s been asking questions like that all over town. It’s just a little strange, is all.” Twilight was once again deep in thought as she tried to piece things together.
“Hey, yeah! I even saw him poking around that field that I practice in! I told you, he’s a spy!” Rainbow Dash said proudly, admiring her own ability to sniff out evil-doers.
“Oh, there’s plenty of explanations for that. He said his special talent is that he’s very knowledgeable in history. Maybe there was a battle or important even that took place there at one time.” Twilight countered.
“Hmph, more like he’s trying to scout out suitable areas for the enemy to have a battle!” Rainbow Dash gruffed in response.
“If you think he’s acting strange, why not just ask him about it?” Fluttershy suggested quietly.
Twilight sat quietly for a moment, trying to think of something wrong with Fluttershy’s suggestion. After nothing turned up in her mind, she sighed. “I suppose you’re right. I’ll stop by his house tonight and ask him about it.” she said, as she looked over at her pets. “But for now lets get back to what to what we originally came here for.”
“Hey Twilight, it’s almost sunset!” Spike called up to Twilight, who was laying on her bed reading a textbook over physics.
“So?” Twilight called back. Spike knew better than to interrupt her when she was reading.
“Well, weren’t you gonna go talk to Blitz, or whatever his name was?” he responded, as he started putting away books that were turned in earlier that day.
Twilight looked lazily out the window; it was indeed almost sunset, with Celestia’s sun just above the horizon. Luna’s moon would be out shortly after, and many ponies would be turning in for the night. If she didn’t go talk to Blitz now, chances were she’d have to wait until tomorrow, and if she was to get answers, she’d much prefer it be now than tomorrow.
She got up and levitated the book back into her personal shelf, then trotted down the stairs towards the door. “You’re right. I’ll be back soon.” she said to her assistant, then closed the door behind her.
On the way to Blitz’s, she couldn’t help but think of what sort of explanation he might give. Was he just trying to learn about his town? Maybe he was documenting some things, he was a historian after all. She couldn’t really place one that seemed right. What was she supposed to assume about somepony acting suspicious?
She reached his house on the other side of Ponyville, and stood there for a moment. There were lights on inside the house, so she figured he must be home. She knocked three times, then waited. After a moment of no response, she knocked a little harder. The door opened slightly under the pressure of her hooves.
Twilight peeked her head in the house, checking to see if anyone was home. She couldn’t see anyone in the main hallway nor the living room, so she stepped in further.
“Blitz?” she called. No response. She rounded the corner and checked in the kitchen. Nothing. She went around the other side of the living room and into what she assumed was his bedroom. There were books and papers strewn about the room, but no pegasus pony.
“Blitz?” she called again, hoping he would respond if he was there.
After checking a few more rooms, she decided he wasn’t here. She walked back into his living room and sighed. The room looked a lot nicer from the last time she saw it. There were no longer any boxes, nor any wildly placed books. The only thing that was the same from her first visit was the couch and the map.
Wait, the map. There was something different about it compared to other maps. It looked like a normal map of Equestria, but it had red writing all over it. As she examined the map, her expression turned from one of questioning, to confusion, then to shock, and finally to horror.
Over every city was one word, and either a circle or an X. Over nearly every major city was a circle and the word ‘INDISPENSABLE’ while over almost all of the small villages was an X and the word ‘DISPENSABLE.’ Twilight wasn’t sure what she was seeing, but her eyes slowly drifted down to Ponyville, which had fresh red ink written over it.
Twilight spun around and met the eyes of Blitz, who was standing in his open doorway. The sacks of food he had bought at the market were dropped the moment he saw Twilight. “What is this?” Twilight asked, a mix of confusion and desperation in her voice. She pointed a hoof at the map behind her, not once taking her eyes off of the green stallion.
Blitz’s eyes became hard and focused as he stared at Twilight. “Look. I can explain.” Blitz said. He took a step towards the unicorn, only to find his muscles locked in place, and a faint purple glow surrounding him. Twilight had trapped him.
“No! Who are you, Blitz? Who are you?” she demanded. Her eyes were frantically searching his, looking for anything, any sign that what she was thinking wasn’t true. She found nothing.
Blitz closed his eyes and clenched his jaw, speaking through gritted teeth. “You weren’t supposed to find out like this,” he growled. “Not now! Please, if you let me go, I’ll explain everything. Just let me go,” he pleaded, looking across the hallway with apologetic eyes.
Against her better judgement, Twilight complied. As Blitz was released from his magical hold, he opened his wings in order to loosen up his muscles. “Alright. Now, explain this, Blitz.” Twilight said, motioning once again to the ominous map behind her. “I’ve heard that you were acting strange the past two weeks. I didn’t want to believe that you were up to no good like some ponies have suggested. I still don’t...” her gaze fell to the floor momentarily as she trailed off her sentence, but they immediately shot back up to attention. “Now tell me what you’re doing, otherwise I’ll have to inform the Princesses.”
Blitz briskly trotted up to Twilight and spoke in an urgent tone. “Go gather up your friends and bring them to the library. Meet me there soon.” he ordered, going past Twilight and towards his map.
Twilight teleported herself back in front of Blitz, causing the stallion to stumble slightly as he stopped himself. “No! You said you would explain!” Twilight shouted, volume just shy of a yell.
“And I will!” Blitz said reassuringly, trying to keep his voice at an appropriate level. “Just go get your friends and bring em’ to the library. Wake Spike up too, if he’s gone to sleep.”
“What are you going to do?” Twilight asked. She had questions. So many questions. And she wanted answers.
Blitz dawned that cocky expression and sly smile he normally wore when he felt he was being brilliant. “I’m going to inform the Princesses.”
Everypony was sitting uneasily about the room as they waited for Twilight and Blitz to finish their conversation up above in the loft. While it wasn’t nearly that late at night, some ponies, such as Rainbow Dash and Applejack, had gone to sleep early. While Applejack’s habit of waking up before dawn to start the day on the farm served as her explanation, Rainbow Dash’s consisted of her stating she just wanted to sleep.
“Oh, finally, darlings. You’ve been up there for a while now. Can you please explain what it is that was so important you had to drag us all out here?” Rarity asked as the two ponies in question trotted down the stairs.
Blitz and Twilight looked at one another, silently debating the question between them. After a moment of raised eyebrows and stern looks, Twilight nodded and Blitz flew up the stairs back to the loft. He came back down carrying a large rolled up piece of paper with one leg.
Twilight used her magic to move a table over to the middle of the room, which everypony crowded around. Blitz placed the large piece of paper on the table and unrolled it, revealing his map.
Everypony was silent as they looked over the map. Blitz’s face morphed into that emotionless wall again as he silently looked between the five mares. Rarity was the first to speak.
“Um, Twilight, what is this?” she asked flatly, bewilderment plastered on her face.
“It’s a map, silly!” Pinkie said cheerily, her foalish personality not letting it be known whether she grasped what the map could entail.
“We get that, Pinkie.” said Applejack. “But uh, what exactly does this mean by ‘dispensable’?”
“Yeah! Are you trying to destroy Equestria?” Rainbow Dash piped, flapping her wings to hover off the ground aggressively. “I told you he was a spy!” she said, just before charging Blitz.
“Oi!” Blitz exclaimed as he flew straight up in order to dodge the speedy mare. She quickly redirected herself just as a flurry of exclamations of surprise rose up from the group.
After Rainbow Dash’s second attempt to tackle the stallion, Twilight took hold of her with her magic and quickly put her back on the ground. “What was that about?” she asked her, slightly enraged at the brash pegasus’ actions.
“He’s obviously up to no good, Twilight! Right, girls?” Rainbow Dash responded, looking to her friends for support.
The four mares looked between each other uneasily. They didn’t want to go claiming plots against the crown, but it was hard to rationalize what was in front of them.
“It is rather... suspicious.”
“Ah admit, Ah can’t think of anything else.”
“Oh, um... it is a little... odd”
“Why can’t we just ask him to explain it!”
Nopony could argue with Pinkie’s suggestion. They all looked to Blitz, who had settled back down to the ground, with questioning eyes. Some, such as Applejack and Rarity, had raised eyebrows.
Blitz looked between the friends, and gave his answer. “I can’t explain.”
“What?!” Twilight exclaimed, a little anger seeping into her voice. She wasn’t getting her answers, and she was growing impatient.
“I can’t explain. Not now. Not here.” he responded, looking up through the window in the loft above to the moon, bright and full amongst the hundreds of stars in the night sky.
“Well, when can you explain?” Rainbow Dash demanded, staring daggers at the stallion.
Suddenly, three quick knocks came at the door. All the ponies except Blitz turned their head towards the door, surprised that a visitor would arrive at this time. Twilight walked towards the door and opened it with magic, revealing two pegasi Lunar Guards. Their gray coats, shimmering purple armor, and not to mention their bat-like wings, gave off an eerie aura about them.
“Ah, good! We can leave now.” Blitz said as he trotted up to the guards and nodded. They returned the gesture, and stepped aside, revealing a rather large chariot, with two other Lunar Guards already hitched up to it.
“Leave? What? Where are we going?” Rarity asked, eyeing the two uniform guards.
“Canterlot.” Blitz responded flatly, slinging his saddle bags he brought from his home over his back.
“Canterlot? Why are we going there? Why are we going anywhere, for that matter?” asked Twilight. First it was to gather her friends, now a trip to Canterlot? And still no answers. She was growing VERY impatient.
Blitz sighed as he began explaining. “Who do you think I had Spike send a letter to? I did tell you I was informing the Princesses, did I not? And the palace is in Canterlot, so obviously we’re going to go there.” he stated simply as he began walking outside, the others following suit.
“Wait, what happened to the other guys? The white ones in gold armor. Where are they?” Rainbow Dash asked as they were leaving the library.
Blitz simply looked at her and pointed a hoof at the moon. “It’s night time. That means it’s Luna’s court. All royal matters and such, including transportation, are handled through the court that is currently in session. If it was day time, Celestia’s Royal Guard would be transporting us. But since it’s night time, Luna’s court presides, so the Lunar Guard will be escorting us.” he explained, as Rainbow Dash was eyeing one of the guards hitched to the chariot a little too close for comfort. The guard simply snorted at her, causing Rainbow Dash to rear back.
“That’s breaking bearing.” Blitz said jokingly at the guard. The guard simply snorted again, to which Blitz chuckled.
As the other two guards and the rest of the group, except Rainbow Dash, began climbing on the chariot, Twilight stared at Blitz curiously.
“What?” he asked, noticing her look.
“First, this... map. Then you have my assistant send a letter to the Princesses, and now you have a royal escort to Canterlot. Who are you?”
Blitz sighed as he walked up and put a leg around Twilight. “I’ll explain everything when we get to Canterlot, alright?” he said, leading her towards the chariot.
The flight to Canterlot was an uneventful one, to say the least. Everypony sat quietly within the chariot, with the occasional whisper and sideways glance at Blitz. Twilight saw that he was looking out over the land in his seat near the side.
He seemed to have only done that the entire trip. Either looking up at the moon, or at the ground as it passed below. Occasionally he would stare at Rainbow Dash, who took preference to flying off alongside the chariot rather than sitting with them.
Twilight brushed her mane out of her face as the wind blew it to and fro. She turned back to see Canterlot not more than two miles away. The city was lit up with the lights of homes, parties, and various other events the ponies of Canterlot took to doing in the nightlife of the capital. Twilight could make out the individual spires of the castle as it towered above the city, the shining marble structure standing out from the dusty gray of the mountain it was built in to.
She could feel the light G-Force tugging at her as they started their descent. Within moments they touched down just inside the walls of the city, with Blitz being the first to hop out.
“Ah, Canterlot! The most magnificent city in the world! The capital of Equestria!” he exclaimed, turning in circles in order to take in the beauty of the surrounding city.
“Why didn’t we go directly to the palace, Blitz?” Twilight asked the enthusiastic stallion, as the rest of the group got out of the chariot.
Blitz sighed, “Twilight, I lived in Canterlot for four years. Then I took a job that would require me to... travel. I haven’t been in Canterlot for nearly a year. I hope you don’t mind, but I’d like to see a bit of Canterlot on the way to the palace. Besides, a little fresh air and exercise never hurt anyone. And the nightlife of Canterlot is simply wonderful!” he explained, waving a hoof across the sky to exaggerate his claim.
Twilight was about to argue that they should just go straight to the palace, but the chariot and its four guard escort suddenly took off overhead, leaving them with only one method of travel.
“How long of a walk is it from here to the palace?” Rarity asked, trotting up to the two ponies.
“Not long.” they both replied simultaneously.
“Perhaps ten minutes,” Blitz added, giving Twilight a sidelong look.
“Come on, girls. Let’s get going.” Twilight called as she started on the path to the palace. The sooner they got there, the sooner she would get answers.
Twilight knew that the nightlife of Canterlot was an active one. She did, after all, live in Canterlot most of her life. What she didn’t know was how much energy it emanated. While she spent her nights up in the high tower of the Canterlot Library, the other college students were out partying.
Even just passing by the occasional club on the way to the palace, the music and sound of ponies partying filled her with gusto and energy. The group even had to fetch Pinkie Pie once or twice when she tried slipping off to join them.
As they neared the more proper and “fancy” central area of Canterlot, they began seeing more art galleries, opera houses, and theatrical events were the highlight of the night. And they saw quite a few famous ponies too. Some artists, others actors and actresses. At one point they even encountered the supermodel Fleur.
“Ew, gross!” Rainbow Dash commented, noticing Blitz’s wings unfurling slowly as he nonchalantly looked back at Fleur’s flank as she passed the group.
“You’re just jealous.” he replied, turning his eyes to the front once more as they neared the palace gates.
When they approached the massive, golden gates set into the walls around the base of the mountain-set castle, the two Lunar Guards posted there immediately opened them once they caught sight of the mare- or stallion, for Twilight could not tell which of the two the guards had opened the gate for, at the front of the group.
When they entered the castle proper, a rather important looking pony (she just looked like a fancy courier to Twilight) came up to them. “The Princesses have requested your audience in the Royal Parlor.” she said formally, before heading off into another room.
“Ugh, the parlor.” Blitz groaned.
“What’s so bad about the parlor?” Pinkie asked.
“About the parlor? Nothing. The giant flight of stairs you have to walk up to get to it? Everything.” he replied to the pink mare.
“You got wings, don’t you?” Rainbow Dash asked flatly, pointing to the green appendages at Blitz’s side.
Blitz stretched out his wings and looked back at them before responding. “S’pose you’re right.”
And use his wings he did. While Applejack, Rarity, Twilight, and Pinkie Pie had to walk up the flight of stairs (Granted, Twilight had climbed these steps so many times she knew how many there were- 206, to be exact- and Pinkie Pie had no trouble hopping up 5 steps at a time), Blitz, Rainbow Dash, and Fluttershy on the other hoof took advantage of their gift of flight to ascend the tower much quicker.
As they reached the top of the stairs, they were met with a rather fancy looking beige foyer. At the other end of the room was a large doorway about about as tall as three ponies, with two pegasi Lunar Guards standing post.
“We’re here to see the Princesses,” Twilight said politely to the two stallions guarding the white door as the group approached. The stallions both looked at Twilight and Blitz, and after a moment of silence they nodded at the two, indicating that they could go in.
Blitz opened the door and allowed Twilight to go in first. But as the rest of the group began to follow in after Blitz, the two guards’ wings shot out in an ‘X’ formation, blocking the way for them to continue.
“Hey, what’s goin’ on here?” Rainbow Dash questioned. The other friends in the group followed with their own complaints.
“They’re my friends, let them through!” Twilight exclaimed, having doubled back to the entrance to address the guards.
But the two grey guards stood their ground. “We are only authorized to let Twilight Sparkle and Blitz into the parlor room.” the guard on the right said.
Twilight opened her mouth to complain, but Blitz quickly stepped in front of her. “Twilight, they’re only following orders from the Princesses. You can tell them what is said later.” he said, before turning his eyes back at the group, specifically Rainbow Dash. “But for now, they’re going to have to wait out here.”
Twilight would have contested, but an order from either of the Princesses wasn’t one to be disobeyed. She gave her friends an apologetic look before turning back and closing the door behind them.
When Twilight got a better look at the parlor room, she noticed both Princess Celestia and Princess Luna seated on opposite ends of a table, with tea cups and a tea pot sitting on the table between them. Twilight quickly trotted over and bowed in front of the sisters, with Blitz quickly following up and doing the same.
“Rise.” Celestia said simply, her regal voice gathering the attention of the two ponies before her. As long as she had known Celestia, she still couldn’t help but be in slight awe as she gazed upon the two sisters. Luna was still remarkably shorter than her sister, but carried as much authority and charisma about her. Twilight’s eyes were drawn to behind them, where their ethereal manes flowed in the same direction on non-existent winds.
“Princess Celestia, what’s going on? Why did Blitz bring us to Canterlot?” Twilight had so many questions, she couldn’t get them off fast enough. Before she could continue, though, Celestia held up a hoof to silence the purple unicorn.
“Patience, my student. In the letter sent to me by Blitz, he specifically requested to be the one to answer your questions. He mentioned that he felt obligated to, after putting you through so much confusion in the past few hours.” the princess stated.
When Twilight went to turn to Blitz however, she found the space next to her empty. She looked to her other side and saw that he was putting his saddlebags down next to a small table near the Princesses. He noticed her looking in his direction and motioned for her to sit on the small pillow that served as the seat at the other end of the table.
Twilight reluctantly trotted over and sat on the pillow. Much more comfortable than the hay stacks they have at the restaurants in Ponyville, she thought. They both sat there in silence for a moment, staring at each other. Blitz was the first to speak, sighing heavily before he did so.
“Alright, I know you have questions, and I’m sorry for not being able to answer them. But I can now. At least the ones Princess Celestia and Luna will allow me to answer.” he glanced over at the princesses before continuing.
“I’ve never really had to apologize to anyone, but I am now. So, go ahead. Ask your questions, and I’ll answer them as honestly as I can.”
Twilight thought for a moment, deciding which question would be best to voice first. But really only one sprouted in her mind. “How come you say ‘anyone’ and ‘somebody’? It’s not proper Equestrian.”
Blitz opened his mouth to speak, before the nature of her question processed fully in his brain. He procured a puzzled expression for a moment before answering.
“Well, it’s simple, really. There’s plenty of sentient beings in Equestria that can talk and have their own societies. You have Griffons, Dragons, sea serpents, et cetera. Hay, even cows and sheep can talk! And while ponies are the dominant species in Equestria, I just feel I’m being a little prejudiced saying ‘somepony.’ Not that I won’t, but only if I’m talking about ponies.” he explained, still a little surprised that her question wasn’t focused more on things like the map he had in his saddlebags.
Twilight nodded her head as she fiddled with his answer in her head. Odd, but reasonable. Her next question wasn’t quite a surprise to Blitz: “Who are you?”
Blitz took a deep breath and closed his eyes as he began reciting his story that he had gone over a thousand times in his head, just for this moment.
“My name is Blitz. My special talent IS military history, but I’m not a historian. To put it simply I’m Royal Equestian Military’s primary strategist.” he paused for a moment to let it sink in. “I’m a very good strategist. Years of studying the different battles that have been fought, the methods used to fight and win them, have all allowed me to become one of the best in the art.”
“As a colt, learning about history and the wars fought throughout it, I was bound to have an interest in joining Celestia’s Guard. And as soon as I was old enough, I did. I got put in with an airborne patrol unit. Needless to say, it wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be. Going on patrols and flying. And more flying in our spare time. That’s why I was able to outlast Rainbow Dash during our friendly competition, you know. I honestly can’t wait to see her in the Wonderbolts...”
“One day, when I was up near the border to the Dragon Territories, I began writing. Mostly just fictional situations, us versus whomever. I would think up reasonable yet ingenious plans and tactics to win. Just something I did to pass time. Entertain myself.”
“Then my mates found it. I came back to our small outpost from exercising one day to find they were all reading it. They all pretty much laughed at me, saying how I needed to stop thinking of fantasies. I asked them to put it down and leave it at that, but one of ‘em decided to go show it to our CO. I was mortified. But he didn’t think they were just silly match ups and situations. No, he saw something else in me.”
“Eventually Princess Celestia was forwarded my journal plus a few recommendations, and I was off to Canterlot. A month or so later I was given the position of Royal Military Strategist and Tactician. Though really, I’m just a theoretical tactician. I can’t actually put any of my tactics to work. No fighting going on in order to do that. Hasn’t been any fighting for a millennium.”
Twilight remained silent after Blitz finished his story. As she thought over it, she couldn’t help but wonder the answer to her next question.
“So, what’s that map about?”
At this Blitz visibly tensed up. Obviously this is something he didn’t want to talk about to the mare, but reluctantly he began his explanation.
“To explain the purpose of the map, I would have to tell you what happened nine months ago-”
Twilight and Blitz both turned their heads to Princess Celestia, who had raised a hoof to accompany her command. Twilight had completely forgotten the two sisters were still in the room with them, overseeing their conversation. Blitz snapped his mouth closed to let the Princess speak.
“My sister and I decided that this should be explained by her. It is, after all, her mistake.” Princess Celestia said, turning her eyes upon her sister. At this, Princess Luna lowered her head out of shame and walked over to the two ponies seated at the table.
“Princess Luna, what is she talking about? What mistake?” Twilight asked, only recalling the Nightmare Moon incident to be the only ‘mistake’ Luna had made.
“Twilight, a thousand years ago when we- I mean, when I turned into Nightmare Moon, I had undergone my transformation out of jealousy and spite.”
Twilight nodded her head, having heard this several times.
“But upon being trapped on that which I controlled, my anger grew. I had begun plotting my juvenile vengeance against my sister. But over time I grew bored, and lonely. And while the Elements of Harmony confined me to that desolate rock, they hadn’t completely hindered my powers.”
“I still couldn’t manipulate the stars or the moon itself, but I could still conjure magic to entertain myself. And one day I was fed up with being lonely and all by myself. So I created a pony. Just like me and my sister had done eons ago. I conjured a dome of air so it could breath, and food for it to eat.”
“And then in one of my many relapses of rage and spite, I had an idea. I would create an army. And when my beloved stars set me free, I would unleash them unto Equestria and have my vengeance against my sister.”
“So for several centuries I bred an army. I built a city for which my soldiers would shelter in. They all obeyed my words, for my word was law. They knew nothing more than the hate for Celestia they were brought up with.”
“As my time for freedom was nearing, I decided I would deal the most crushing blow to my sister: take over Equestria by myself. I would then bring my warriors upon Earth and destroy Equestria, so I could rebuild it anew. As you know, that luckily did not turn out in my favor.”
“But I kept the civilization I had created secret. Both out of fear of my sister and because I thought without me there, they would slowly die off. They were no threat upon my moon. But I was wrong.”
“Several months after the Summer Sun Celebration and my separation from Nightmare Moon, I received a message. It was similar to the way your dragon Spike can receive messages. Except it materialized in the form of an image, rather than a piece of parchment.”
“I was in my sleeping chambers when I felt a surge of magic. A strange mist had appeared in front of me, and upon it was a face. I recognized it as one of the commanders from my army. He asked me when I was going to be transporting the soldiers. My initial surprise had given way to fear. For I did not know what my sister would have done had she found out my shameful secret. I quickly separated the mist with my magic and fled my chambers.”
“I had thought my troubles were over, but they were not. A month later, they contacted my sister, and I was forced to tell her everything. Luckily for me, she was not angry and forgave me for keeping it secret.”
“Celestia then began talking with them. Secretly, for my sake. But the hate they harbored for her caused it not to go well. I was then the one to speak with them. They demanded to know what I had done with their ruler. When I told them it was me, they said Celestia had corrupted me. Turned me into a monster. They vowed to take over Equestria and restore me as Nightmare Moon.”
“And that’s where my part comes in,” Blitz said, once Luna had finished speaking.
“When these negotiations were brought to my attention, I had to prepare for the worst. I was- er, am fully confident in Celestia’s ability to make sure nothing resorts to violence,” he said, glancing at the large white alicorn.
“But of course I had to do something. I decided I’d take it upon myself to travel to the various cities of Equestria, and evaluate them. Should things resort to war, I need to be able to plan which cities are vital to Equestria, and which ones... aren’t.” Blitz said the last word rather reluctantly, not wanting to have to say any villages or towns aren’t important to Equestria.
“But Celestia said that, if I was to undertake such a task, Ponyville was to be my last stop. And when I had gotten to Ponyville, and evaluated it accordingly, I was to bring you to Canterlot to inform you of the situation.”
“But why?” Twilight asked, turning her head towards Celestia. “Why wait months to tell me? Why not inform me as soon as this happened?”
Celestia remained silent for several long moments before replying. “Because, Twilight. Reading your reports on the magic of Friendship, I did not want to interrupt that. I did not want to pull you away from your friends. I wanted the bonds you were forming to grow strong.”
“But why? I could help!” Twilight exclaimed, standing up from her seat.
“That’s precisely why she didn’t tell you.” Blitz interrupted, before Twilight could continue.
“If you understood the magic of Friendship, harmony, yadda yadda,” he said, waving a hoof in circles. “Then you could serve as a good negotiator. Convince them not to try anything violent. Show them friendship.” he said, rolling his eyes.
Twilight thought on that for a moment before something else struck her. “You say they’re on the moon? How would they be able to get here without Luna’s help? I can understand the images for communication, but how would they be able to teleport an army of ponies to Equestria? The moon is 238,857 miles from Earth! All the unicorns on the planet combined wouldn’t be able to teleport an apple that far!”
It was then Celestia’s turn to do some explaining. She stood from her seat and walked to the entrance to the balcony that the parlor was connected to. “Come, my student.” she said, motioning with one hoof for the unicorn to follow.
Blitz also began to follow the princess, but was stopped by Celestia. “I wish to speak with Twilight alone,” she said. Blitz bowed and skulked back over to his seat. He watched as the pair went out onto the balcony, with Celestia closing the glass doors behind them.
The night was surprisingly mild. A slight chill was present, but not very noticeable to Twilight. Twilight watched as Celestia walked to the edge of the balcony and sat on her haunches. Twilight, having spent numerous nights talking with her mentor on similar balconies, sat next to her.
They sat in silence for several moments. Celestia was looking up at the stars, a practiced passive expression on her face. Twilight looked at the alicorn for a moment, before joining her in her stargazing.
“Twilight, tell me. How would you describe the night?” Celestia asked, keeping her eyes on the stars and moon above.
Twilight stared hard at the dark sky above. Stargazing was something the mare had done for nearly her entire life. She looked at all the different stars, twinkling and shining in the black abyss above. She could name every major star, every nebula, and every constellation there was to be seen. She had spent numerous nights outside with a telescope, counting ever single star there was to count. Though even with all her knowledge about the wonderful things above, there was only one way could describe it.
“It’s... magical.” she said, awe that never ceased itself when she looked up at the sky filling her voice.
“Yes. Magical. Twilight, there is something that only a few ponies have ever known, and none that still live to know it. Luna, while younger than I, has always been stronger with magic than myself. Though she has not yet fully mastered her full potential, much like you.” Celestia said, not once taking her eyes off the sky.
Twilight turned her head back to look through the glass at Luna, who was speaking with Blitz, as Celestia continued. “By comparison she is much like you. Powerful, but has only discovered a fraction of what she can do. I was given the superior wisdom and foresight, and Luna was given the superior magical ability.”
“There was a reason I needed the Elements of Harmony to banish Nightmare Moon. While I could banish Luna by myself, when she transformed into Nightmare Moon, the evil that consumed her also unlocked her full magical ability. Our battle destroyed our old castle, the same one you defeated her in when she returned. She was too strong for me to defeat by myself, and even stronger still that the Elements themselves could not return her to normal, only assist me in doing the only thing I could. Banishing her.”
“You wonder how her creations could travel to Earth without her aid. Long ago, before any life had been created, there was Luna and myself.”
“When we first decided to create the life around you, we chose to create ponies first. At the time we had not given them a name, but only an appearance similar to ours. We decided it would be best not to bestow upon one being all three gifts we possessed. Nor did we give them our power. It would have destroyed them.”
“I created the Pegasi and Unicorns, and Luna created the Earth Ponies. I had specifically assigned myself creation of Unicorns, because I feared Luna would make them too powerful. And what we needed was Balance. Even with just the Earth Ponies as her creations, she still almost went overboard. Earth Ponies do not lack magical abilities. They have a strong connection with the soil they walk on. The Pegasi were given the Sky, the Earth Ponies the Earth. And to the Unicorns, the Cosmos.”
“When Nightmare Moon had created her ponies, she gave them power. You ask how they could transport themselves here, and that is how. Nightmare Moon, with all of Luna’s power, filled her unicorn beings with tremendous power. It is still only a small amount compared to herself or I, but I believe them to easily be as powerful as you shall become.”
“According to Luna, there were a breed of unicorns that, should Nightmare Moon somehow be unable to, could transport chunks of their army at a time. They were trained their entire lives, honing their power for one purpose only. They could not transport all of them, for they would die trying, but they could move a sizable amount. And their resting time Luna estimated to be several weeks.”
“What worries me is that we do not know how powerful Nightmare Moon’s soldiers are. That is why I need your assistance in convincing their leaders not to take action. I do not know if the Equestrian Guard could stand to them should it come to war.”
There was a sense of desperation in Celestia’s voice that Twilight had never heard before. And it scared her. But if Celestia was asking for help, Twilight couldn’t say no.
“Okay.” she said, looking her mentor in the eye. Celestia smiled, and opened the balcony door, their talk over.
“Wait, Princess?” Twilight called as Celestia began walking back into the parlor.
“Why can’t we just use the Elements and stop them?” she asked, the idea popping into her head.
Celestia turned back to her student as she gave her her reply. “Twilight, the Elements are... complicated. They work to bring harmony when forces that cannot be dealt with are causing disharmony. Nightmare Moon, Discord, they are immortal forces with supernatural powers. Normal ponies would not be able to defeat them. The Elements are an equalizer. From what I understand, Nightmare Moon’s soldiers are mortal. Therefore they can be dealt with and defeated, unless we are defeated and a new harmony is brought about under the rule of the enemy.”
“But of course, I’m sure we can reason with them before things resort to that.” Celestia quickly added, so as to not worry her beloved student.
“Yes... of course.” Twilight repeated, following her mentor back into the parlor room. Blitz and Luna had seemed to have discontinued their conversation, and had taken to sitting on opposite sides of the room.
“Celestia, the Lunar Court is about to start. We must go,” Princess Luna said, noticing the pair returning from their discussion on the balcony.
Celestia gave a nod to her sister, before turning her head towards Twilight. “I must go, my student. Royal duties, and all,” she said, rolling her eyes.
“But wait!” Twilight called to the princesses. But it was too late; in a flash of light, they had gone.
“Hmph,” she said, ears drooping. “What am I supposed to do now? Go back to Ponyville?” Twilight asked, directing the question to Blitz.
It took the stallion a moment to register he was the one being spoken to, his muzzle buried in a rather large document. “Oh, what? Oh,” he said, raising his head towards Twilight. “Celestia wanted you to stay here until the scheduled negotiations- if you can even call them that- start.” he said simply, yawning after he finished.
Twilight yawned too; it must be after midnight, after all. She became aware of just how tired she was. And having to take in all this shocking information didn’t help her any.
“But what am I supposed to tell my friends? I can’t leave them for Celestia knows how long!” she protested, pointing a hoof at the door, which her friends lay behind.
“Actually, Celestia DOES know how long,” Blitz said, standing up. “They’re supposed to contact us again in a week. And I’m pretty sure Celestia would allow your friends to stay, too.”
“I can’t ask them to do that. Most of them have jobs. And Fluttershy has her animals. Plus, I can’t leave Spike all alone at the library for a week.” Twilight said. Oh, she hoped the little dragon wasn’t worrying too much.
“Applejack has Big Macintosh and all the farmhoofs to run the farm. I’m sure the Cakes wouldn’t mind Pinkie Pie taking a week off. Rarity could work from here. Rainbow Dash could get somepony to take her shifts. And Celestia could send some ponies to go take care of Fluttershy’s animals and check up on Spike. Or Spike could come here. Or you could just not stay. Though I wouldn’t recommend that.” he said, putting the large document back into his saddlebags.
“Well, I can’t just say no to the Princess.” Twilight said, a hard look on her face brought upon by the amount of thinking she was doing.
“You know, your friends could help out while they’re here.” Blitz suggested, heaving his saddlebags over his back.
“Pinkie Pie could help out in the kitchen. Rainbow Dash could assist with the Guard training, I suppose. She could still practice for the Wonderbolts that way. I suppose Applejack could do the same. Not too many apple trees in the garden...” Blitz chucked at his own joke.
“Speaking of the Guard, there’s always accidents happening in the sparring room. I guess Fluttershy could help out in the medical department? I have no idea what Rarity would do. Redesign their armor, maybe.” The last bit he said sarcastically, rolling his eyes while he did so.
They sat in an awkward silence for several seconds. Blitz, looking at Twilight, who had her eyes closed. Twilight, whose eyes were closed because she was in deep thought.
Blitz began to walk towards the door when Twilight spoke. “Why, Blitz?”
“Hm? Why what?” he responded, standing back in place.
“Why’d you decide what you did about Ponyville?” she asked simply, opening her eyes to look at Blitz.
That’s when Blitz’s face turned hard and cold. “Let’s not talk about this, please.” he said to Twilight.
“My friends and I live there, and their friends!” she said, accusingly.
“Twilight, I don’t want to talk about this...” Blitz was starting to raise his voice.
“Innocent ponies who have never done a bad thing in their lives live there!”
“Foals live there!”
“DON’T YOU THINK I KNOW THAT?!” he shouted loudly, flaring his wings and stamping a hoof. The two guards from outside opened the door at the commotion, only to get a death stare from Blitz that caused them to quickly close the door again.
Twilight backed up from Blitz when he shouted so suddenly. She had obviously unintentionally struck a nerve.
“Do you know,” he said in a much quieter, yet still dark tone. “what it’s like, to go from town to town, and having to decide whether it’s good enough to be protected?”
“Do you know what it’s like to see the happy and smiling faces of ponies, of foals as they played with one another, just knowing that you’d be the one responsible for turning their world upside down?”
“Do you know what it’s like knowing that because of you, some pony’s home could be destroyed, their life torn apart because they wanted to live a quiet life in the country?”
“Do you know why I had so many books in my house, Twilight? It wasn’t because I was overly enthusiastic about reading. It was to avoid having to go outside. Because I couldn’t take it. I couldn’t take looking at all the happy ponies around me, just knowing that because of me, their lives could be ruined.”
Twilight couldn’t bring herself to look Blitz in the eye. Truth be told, she didn’t know. She couldn’t imagine. No wonder he was so emotionless. He had to be. Otherwise he’d go insane.
She was about to say something, but Blitz held up a hoof to stop her. “No. Don’t say anything.” he began, as he walked towards the door. “Negotiations start again next week. I expect you to be here and be ready.” he said darkly, slamming the door shut behind him.
Twilight sat with her head still down. She was just beginning to notice the signs of what Blitz was going through. But what she didn’t notice, was the very small puddle of tears that had formed where Blitz had stood.
Blitz jerked his head up suddenly upon waking from his slumber. As he sat there for a moment, the piece of paper that had stuck itself to his forehead slowly peeled itself away from the stallion and fell to the floor. He sat there staring at it for what seemed to him like an hour, as he gathered his wits and attempted to shake the after effects of sleep from his mind.
He lazily looked around his room; papers were scattered about, with many stacked upon one another on his desk. In one corner was a trash bin that was overflowing with discarded pieces of paper. The one window in his room had blinds pulled over it, and the little rays of light seeping in through the sides made it look like it had its own square corona.
In another corner of the room sat his mattress; an odd combination of material and tightly woven layers of cloud. It was an ingenious little thing, made by an old pegasus mare that had lost her wings in an accident. She invented it so that earth-bound pegasi like herself could still enjoy the softness of a cloud, albeit hindered a little. It was a real hit with earth ponies and unicorns, though. And it served him wonderfully throughout his travels, when making himself a cloud house was too unconventional.
A sudden rapid succession of knocking snapped Blitz out of his hazy mindset. He looked around for a moment in the dim lighting before he spotted the source: his door. He realized that this was what had woken him up, and he wondered how long he had kept whoever it was waiting. His next thought was, ‘Who the hay would wake me up as such an absurd hour?’
“What?” Blitz asked grumpily as he opened the door, shielding his eyes from the light flooding in from the hallway with a hoof.
“Blitz, did you just wake up?” a mare’s voice asked in reply.
As his eyes slowly adjusted to the light coming from outside his room, Blitz lowered his hoof from over his eyes. Before him stood Twilight Sparkle, an eyebrow raised to accompany her question.
“Yeah, and I could’a slept a few more hours too.” he said, a scowl on his face. “What do you want?” he demanded, a little more snappily than he intended. He softened his expression some, attempting to give the best ‘apologetic’ look he could muster.
“Blitz, it’s twelve-thirty in the afternoon. You were late for lunch.” Twilight said, disregarding Blitz’s tone.
“I never show up to lunch anyhow,” he said with a yawn. He was too busy with work to be able to make the trek to the dining hall, so he almost always had some odirectionsf the servants bring him whatever was on the menu.
“No, but we expected you to show up today,” Twilight replied.
“And why’s that?” Blitz asked, tilting his head slightly.
At this Twilight sighed, and gave Blitz a stern look. “Do you even know what today is?”
Bliz unfurled his wings and looked back at them, inspecting the feathers as he stretched. He turned his head back towards Twilight, looking off into space as he contemplated the answer. “Sunday.” he said flatly.
Twilight brought her hoof to her face and inhaled deeply. “No, Blitz. Think, why is it I am here in Canterlot?”
“Oh...” he said, his expression dropping. “Has it been a week already?”
“Yes, it has.” Twilight affirmed, not catching that it was a rhetorical question.
Blitz shook his head some to get rid of the last remnants of sleep that held its grip around him. “Well then, I suppose I should go eat,” he said, stepping out into the hallway.
“Shouldn’t you brush your mane first?” Twilight asked, pointing at the black mess on his head.
Blitz stepped back into his office-turned-bedroom and looked into a mirror hanging on a wall. Yikes. His mane was sticking up in every direction possible, and even in some directions he didn’t think were possible. He looked back at Twilight, who still stood in the doorway, before slicking back his mane with a hoof and grabbing his hat and flipping it onto his head. “Done.”
Twilight was never one to really care about a ponies looks, but even she was a little offset by the lack of care Blitz took for himself. “Oh, um, alright, then. I guess we should go.”
“So what’d they have for lunch today?” Blitz asked as they navigated throughout the halls of Canterlot Palace. The walls and floor were all disturbingly clean and shiny, and the echo that resonated from their hooves as they struck the floor helped increase the feeling that the palace was nothing but a vast maze. The only thing that helped hinder this feeling was the sight of the occasional guard as they patrolled select regions of the palace.
“I don’t know. I didn’t go.” Twilight responded, giving a guard a small smile as they passed him.
“Why not?” Blitz asked, raising an eyebrow in question to the mare.
“Because I had to go find you,” she said simply.
“Why would you miss lunch just to come get me?” he responded.
Twilight smiled at such a simple question. “Well, one, you had to wake up some time today. Two, I want to talk to you about something, and three, I’ve only seen you once or twice since the night I got here,” she said, “I figured since we’re friends we could talk some since I’m going to go back to Ponyville after we get this whole matter cleared up.”
“If we get it cleared up.” Blitz said, his pessimistic nature taking over. “And what is it you wanted to talk about?”
“Let’s talk about it over lunch, okay?” Twilight asked. Blitz just shrugged in agreement and continued walking along in silence.
By the time the pair reached the dining hall, lunch was already over. Though the two of them together held enough prominence in the castle to convince some of the chefs to fix them a small meal. Though what constituted as a “small meal” was obviously different between the pair; Twilight had requested a simple dandelion and daisy sandwich with a small glass of lemonade, whereas Blitz requested spaghetti with garlic seasoning, steamed alfalfa, and two brownies as a treat.
“Hungry there, Blitz?” Twilight teased as Blitz munched on his meal. She had long since finished her lunch, a simple sandwich taking much less time to prepare than spaghetti and brownies. But the chef had prepared a serving for Blitz large enough to make a hoofball player feel overloaded. Blitz had graciously split the mountain of pasta with Twilight, who found her appetite was larger than she had expected.
“Mmph buffph grmm.” Blitz mumbled unintelligibly.
“I’ll take that as a yes, then,” Twilight chuckled, taking a bite of her portion of the pasta. She wasn’t much of a fan of the garlic, but it didn’t bother her too much. She twisted her fork in the noodles as she waited for Blitz to swallow his mouthful of food and respond.
“Yes, I am,” he said, taking a bite out of a brownie. “Now, what is it you wanted to talk about?”
Twilight took a sip of her lemonade in an attempt to wash the garlic taste out of her mouth. “Well, Blitz, we all know what today is. And I’m not going to lie, I’m a little bit nervous. I mean, what if I mess up? What if they attack? What if they destroy Equestria! I mean, I could get everypony ki-”
“Woah woah woah, calm down there, Twilight,” Blitz interrupted. He didn’t want to have to deal with a mare on a nervous breakdown first thing in the morning- er, afternoon. Let alone a mare like Twilight. “No one’s gonna die, nopony’ll mess up. You’ll be fine, trust me.”
Twilight, on the other hoof, wasn’t quite as sure. “What do I do, Blitz? I’m a good speaker, but I’ve never done negotiations like this!” Blitz signaled for her to take a moment and breathe some, before she started melting down again. “Can you give me any advice?” the unicorn asked, once she was calmed down again.
Blitz slurped up some of his pasta as he thought on what to say. “No.” he said bluntly.
Twilight was visibly confused. Did he just refuse to help her? Does he not understand the magnitude of the task she has later today?
“Not that I wouldn’t love to give you advice, it’s just that I can’t,” he continued, taking a swig of his water. “You forget I joined the Royal Guard. Not Foreign Relations.” Blitz finished the last of his brownies before resuming talking. “Though, if you want advice on how to take an objective or march in formation, I’ll be the stallion to ask!” he finished, a sarcastic smile on his face.
Twilight sighed loudly, and a thump could be heard as she promptly dropped her head onto the table. “What am I going to do?” she asked, voice muffled by the wood her muzzle rested on.
“Ask somepony for advice.”
“Oh, hardy har har, Blitz. That’s soo funny.” Twilight mused, rolling her eyes.
Blitz’s face remained impassive, though. “I’m being serious. You’ve probably had dozens of ponies- ponies who would kill, quite literally as well as figuratively, mind you, to be in your position- come talk to you and give you advice and help you with what to say and all that nonsense, right?”
Twilight nodded her head.
“Then ask them for advice. That’s their job. A grunt like me isn’t going to give you good advice on how to talk. Not what I was trained for. Stab first, ask questions later, right?”
Twilight remained silent as she thought over his words. Blitz could be very sarcastic, and outright disrespectful, even. Not normally somepony Twilight would like to associate herself with, but he was right.
“But that’s not what you wanted to talk about, was it?” Blitz asked, just as Twilight began to get up.
Blitz smiled slyly as Twilight sat back down. “Ah, yes. I had almost forgotten.” Twilight said, sitting back into her seat. “You know, a few days ago, I went to the Royal Canterlot Library. I remembered you saying how you thought some of the heroes and heroines were past Elements of Harmony. So I went to check out the books and give them a read myself. Though, I looked everywhere, and I didn’t find a single book on old lore and mythology.”
Blitz chuckled nervously at hearing this, his eyes darting to and fro. “Aha.. ah, well, you s-see, someone probably checked them out,” he said, stuttering his words.
Twilight leaned forward as she whispered, “I checked the library’s records, it says they were never checked out.”
Blitz leaned back and snorted. “Fine. I stole them. The library would never let me check out books for months. And I didn’t feel like having to deal with a hefty fine when I got back either. Besides, nopony in castle reads old tales. No one would miss them.”
“Could I please have them?”
“I lost them.”
“Moving as much as I did, stuff was bound to get lost.”
“You’re lying, aren’t you?”
“They’re good stories. I have no regrets.”
Blitz remained adamant on his standing to not return the books. Several moments were engulfed by the staredown Blitz and Twilight were having with one another. Eventually, Twilight was the one to talk.
“You really like folklore, don’t you?” she asked, having once shared that same type of feeling when she was a filly.
Blitz nodded his head. “Yes, I do. It mixes a bit of history with fantasy, and fiction works have always been my favorite. And it’s really quite obvious if you read the stories that some of the heroes were the Elements. I mean, have you not heard the tale of Cloudswitcher the Truthful? Who brought down tyrants and Griffon Kings with mere words alone? It’s quite obvious that he was the Element of Honesty.”
Blitz could tell Twilight was intrigued. “Do you want me to continue?” he asked, to which Twilight nodded slowly, listening intently.
“There’s a few interesting things I noticed: the heroes I suspect to be former Elements, they weren’t all ponies. Some were Dragons. Others Griffons. But one thing that remained consistent? Magic. Magic wasn’t like Loyalty, or Generosity, or the other Elements, which could be anything. Earth Pony, Dragon, Griffon, Pegasus, it didn’t matter with the other Elements. But Magic has always been a unicorn. Well... both times, anyways,” he finished, scraping the remnants of his spaghetti and alfalfa into his mouth.
“Wait. I remember you mentioning other Elements in Ponyville, but the numbers were inconsistent. I’m the second Element of Magic, Pinkie’s the eighth Element of Laughter? Why are they so different?”’
This was the part Blitz was a little hesitant about explaining. “Well, you see, those heroes? The first Element of Magic? She lived for hundreds of years.” he said, lowering his voice as he spoke.
“W-what? How is that possible?” Twilight stammered, unable to understand that a pony other than Celestia or Luna could live that long.
“Tell me, Twilight. Statistically, which race of pony lives the longest?” Blitz asked, resuming his usual tone.
That was a simple question. “Unicorns.” she responded.
“Exactly.” Blitz said. “Unicorns. And what do unicorns have? Magic. If you look at Starswirl the Bearded, he lived for, what, a hundred and twenty years? He was a powerful unicorn. There’s a connection between a unicorn’s magical prowess and their life essence. But when you are the ponysonification of the oldest and strongest magic known to ponykind- the Elements of Harmony- you could, in theory, live forever.”
Blitz paused for a moment to let that sink in. He feared what would come next. Getting told you will live forever? That’s some big news. Then again, Blitz could be wrong and she’ll die just like everyone else. But he didn’t feel like mentioning that.
“Well then how could there be more than one Element? Two Elements of Magic? Eight Elements of Laughter? What’s the explanation behind that, Blitz?” Twilight asked, completely ignoring the information she was just given.
Blitz remained silent for a moment in order to gather his thoughts. “Well, you see, all those heroes and heroines? They died in battle. Or they got assassinated. Or died from illness. As far as I can tell, you could live forever, but you’re not invulnerable. You could get your head loped off just like any other pony. Take a look at Laughter; they all shared the idea that laughing at monsters makes them go away. They were always care free. Didn’t acknowledge danger. And they paid for it.”
“So Elements share the same type of personality, then?” Twilight asked. She really wished she had some paper and pencil right now. She’d really have to do some research on this when she got back to Ponyville.
“From what I can tell from the stories, more or less. If you were a living magic that could imbue your power and very essence into that of another living being, you wouldn’t just pick any old creature, would you?” At least, Blitz hoped she wouldn’t.
As if she could read his mind, Twilight shook her head. “I suppose not,” she replied, looking at the clock. She yipped quietly then began to get up. “We should really get going Blitz. One of Celestia’s advisers told me we need to be in the negotiation room at four,” she said as she levitated their empty plates, glasses, and other dishes towards an attendant, who promptly took hold and trotted through a door with them.
Blitz glanced at the clock and noticed it was indeed dawning on four o’ clock in the afternoon. He did remember somepony say that the final negotiations would take place at six. He quickly got up and followed Twilight Sparkle out the door.
The designated negotiation room was abuzz with ponies. Stallions and mares were all running about, some with papers, others helping to set up. Blitz felt slightly overwhelmed in the space he found himself in. For every step he took, he had to take two back just to avoid a hasty pony crossing his path. Eventually, though, he and Twilight were able to make it across the room to where Princess Celestia, Princess Luna, and several of their advisers stood.
“Twilight Sparkle. Blitz.” Princess Celestia said as the ponies in question bowed. She nodded her head and the two stood from their positions. “It is good that you could make it on time.”
“Celestia. Luna.” Blitz mimicked, tipping his hat to the two alicorns. This was immediately followed by glares from several of their advisers. “Ahem. Princess Celestia, Princess Luna,” he corrected himself, never having been one to use titles unless he had to.
“I take it you are prepared, my student?” Celestia asked, waving off all those but Luna, Blitz, and Twilight.
Twilight nodded her head. “As ready as I’ll ever be, Princess. Though I’m- Applejack! Fluttershy! Girls! Over here!” As she was speaking, all five of Twilight friend’s entered the room. It didn’t take them long to find Twilight- after all, she was standing next to Celestia, who towered over everypony else- and make their way over.
“Boy, I’ve never seen so many ponies packed into such a small room before.” Applejack said, looking over the crowd.
“Excuse me, ladies, sir, Princess,” a golden coated stallion with a light red mane said, walking up to the group. “We must prepare Twilight Sparkle.”
Celestia and Twilight both nodded. “Come on, girls!” Twilight called to her friends as she navigated her way to the other side of the room. Her friends quickly followed suit, Blitz giving each a friendly nod as they passed.
“I take it her friends are here to give her support?” Blitz asked Celestia. Both ponies were looking over at the group of heroines as some professional-looking pony spoke with them.
“In a sense, yes. Twilight thought that if she were going to try and show them friendship, it would be best to have them there,” responded Celestia.
“But they’re not actually going to say anything, are they?”
“Should they not?”
“I’d advise... against it, yes.”
“Well then, I suppose that is why you are not one of my advisers, Blitz.”
Blitz snorted at this. Princess Celestia could really annoy him at times. And that was precisely the reason he favored Luna, despite the fact because of her Equestria could potentially be destroyed, depending on the outcome of the talks today. Blitz decided to change the topic of discussion.
“So, how come these are the last negotiation attempts? Generally there’s no set date negotiations have to come to a close at.” Having been away on his personal assignment for the past months, Blitz was absent when the first negotiations were taking place.
“Not unless something must be fulfilled or returned,” Celestia pointed out.
Blitz nodded in agreement. “So what is it that they want?”
“Luna.” Celestia said simply. “Or, more accurately, Nightmare Moon.”
If Blitz had thought there was any chance of this thing ending with these talks, they had just been crushed. There was no way in hay that Celestia would allow Luna to be given over to her monstrous creations, let alone turn her back into Nightmare Moon.
Then all hell broke loose.
The room was suddenly bathed in a tinge of dark blue, much akin to Luna’s coat. Immediately everypony dropped what they were doing and fled to the walls. Luckily, many ponies scurried out of the room. Everypony else however, the Princesses excluded, was packed as tightly together as possible, making as much room in the center as they could.
“Celestia, what’s happening?” Blitz asked the princess hurriedly. He had no idea what was going on around him.
“It’s starting. They’re transmitting a signal to communicate with us.” Celestia replied, remaining calm. It was, after all, her duty as co-ruler of Equestria to be an example as to how everypony else should react. It was not working.
“What? Now? I was told it wasn’t supposed to happen for another hour and a half!” Blitz exclaimed, checking a nearby clock to make sure his sense of time wasn’t failing him. It indeed read 4:30 PM.
Princess Luna was the one to answer him. “When you live on the dark side of the moon, and do not see sunlight for extended periods, your sense of time is slightly distorted compared to ours. It is no surprise they are contacting us early.”
Blitz could see how that might affect timing. After all, his own schedule had gotten off track several times after many a night spent locked in his office. He turned his attention back to the chaos around him. It had calmed down significantly at this point, and Twilight was moved out to the center of the room.
Something caught his eye. Towards one side of the room, a shape was taking form. A square, by the looks of it. No, a head. A ponies head. There was a ponies head forming in the rough indigo square of magic that had materialized in the room.
A collective gasp came from the lips of the ponies, including Blitz, that had not been present before and therefore not witnessed such a thing.
As the figure in the square began to take shape, Blitz could make out a thick jaw line. His eyes were mesmerizing; the type that you could look into for days without knowing why. His other features were obscured, as the pony was wearing what appeared to be armor. Although Blitz could make out a dark colored coat beneath the metal plating.
As the figure's image sharpened, another collective gasp came from the same group of ponies. Before them was the image of a stallion who looked just like Nightmare Moon. There was no horn on his head, and wings were not visible from their point of view, but aside from those differences he looked just like the spawn of the Queen of Nightmares herself. His coat was pitch black, his eyes the exact same shade of blue, and his indigo armor was an exact mirror of Nightmare Moon’s.
The room was bathed in silence. Not a soul dared speak.
Blitz looked at Twilight; to his surprise, she simply stared at the pony. Not in awe, or even fear. Her expression was one that Blitz wore often. Fearless, one could call it. Somewhere inside Blitz, a spark formed. A spark of admiration and hope, for he knew that if anyone could convince this pony to not do anything rash, it was Twilight Sparkle.
"Greetings. I am acting High Commander, General Nightwind"
Blitz honestly had no idea what he was expecting. A monstrous, booming voice? A distorted and foreign language? He had no idea. But whatever it was, he did not expect the pony’s voice to be so... normal.
"Hello. My name is Twilight Sparkle. I will be negotiating with you today." she said, trying to sound as professional as she could.
General Nightwind looked over Twilight. His eyes were darting from left to right, as he took in her features. “So you are the newest attempt to sway me?” he said, squinting his eyes at the mare. “Where is that blue stallion? The one that spoke with me before?”
“He has been replaced.” Twilight answered, wanting to get to the business at hand. “Now, we must start with the formalities. The Empire of the Moon wishes for Equestria to return their ruler, Nightmare Moon, by Equestrian midnight tonight, or action shall be taken to reclaim and return her,” Twilight finished reading off of a piece of paper she was given, no doubt outlining their demands. “Is that correct?”
“Yes,” General Nightwind replied. “But before we continue, true formalities must be addressed. After all, we are two ponies vying for victory over two very different goals. Tell me, Twilight Sparkle, how did you come about to receive the duty of speaking with me today? Tell me about yourself.”
Blitz could tell Twilight was caught off guard. No doubt she planned this to be a straightforward deal. “Well, I was born and raised here in Canterlot, and attended the School for Gifted Unicorns here at the palace.”
“And how, dear Twilight, did you come to be where you are right now? ‘Negotiating’ with me on the fate of my ruler and my people.” General Nightwind said, not once taking his eyes off the mare.
“I was given this assignment because I am Princ-” Twilight suddenly cut herself off, having noticed a flurry of signals from ponies near the wall to not mention Celestia.
“Ahem, I was given this assignment because I... work closely with the Princesses,” she said.
General Nightwind considered this for a moment. “Very well. Please, continue, Twilight Sparkle.”
Twilight cleared her throat as she once again began reading off of stacks of paper before her. “And the kingdom of Equestria has stated that it cannot do that, and in return shall offer all citizens of the Empire of the Moon full citizenship, housing, education, and assistance with adjusting to Equestrian way of life within Equestrian borders, so long as you forfeit all hostility and demands toward and against us.”
“And the Empire has responded that if you think we will simply give in and not seek restoration of our Queen, then the kingdom of Equestria is poorly informed.” General Nightwind responded, with a faux attempt at being formal.
Twilight of course was prepared for this. “You say she needs restoration, but she doesn’t!” Twilight exclaimed. “Princess Luna is co-ruler of Equestria, and will see to it that your people are happy and treated fairly if you take our offer!” By this time, of course, formalities had been dropped.
“I would advise against mentioning that... creature you address as the former Queen of my Empire.” Nightwind responded coarsly.
“Your ‘Queen,’ General,” Twilight began, “was a monster! But we were able to restore her to normal again! Back to being good!”
General Nightwind snorted his reply. “You use ‘good’ and ‘evil’ as if they have meaning. What is good to you is evil for me. What is evil for you is my way of life. Are you insulting my way of life, Twilight Sparkle?”
Twilight faltered a little in her reply. “N-no, but I’m trying to show you what we showed your ruler!”
“And what would that be?” asked General Nightwind. “A false way of life? A life, undoubtedly condemned to prejudice and scorn for past ‘mistakes’? I do not think so.”
“We can’t give you Nightmare Moon. It’s impossible!” Twilight exclaimed.
General Nightwind looked hard at his enemy. “As I have said before, if you cannot deliver her, we will have to come get her.”
“You don’t understand!” Twilight pleaded, “It is impossible. You would never be able to turn her back into Nightmare Moon. And then what? You will not have a Queen, and your only offer of friendship will be lost!”
“Pah!” General Nightwind grunted. “All transformations can be reversed. And we do not need friendship, pony.”
Twilight decided that this was the perfect time to unveil her secret weapon. “We showed Princess Luna friendship! Kindness! It was us,” At this point, she motioned for her friends to step into view of General Nightwind. “Six friends, from Ponyville, the Elements of Harmony. We helped to show Princess Luna kindness, and change her back to her normal self. Back from the evil Nightmare Moon and into the wonderful Princess Luna. And we wish to do the same with you! You and all your citizens! We can help you get rid of your hateful life and live happy in Equestria!”
Many in the room were silent. A few were even visibly touched by the emotions brought about by Twilight Sparkle’s speech. But the same could not be said for General Nightwind.
“You!? You are the ones that transformed our Queen?” General Nightwind barely talked above a whisper, but it held the same weight as if he shouted to the heavens. Blitz could tell the anger was welling up inside him from realizing this mare helped the steal his Queen from him.
“SILENCE!” General Nightwind commanded, pausing as he collected his thoughts.
“You refuse to return our Queen to us. And it was none other than you who took her from us. And now that we know who you are, we will make sure you pay for your crimes against the Empire.” Something out of view of everypony caught the General’s attention. After a brief moment, he turned back and spoke again.
“And you say you are from where? From... Ponyville?” General Nightwind asked.
It took him a moment, but Blitz realized what was happening.
“Ponyville. The home of the... Elements of Harmony. The group that took our Queen from us. Transformed her into your puppet to rule alongside a tyrant. Yes, you shall pay, indeed. And you will pay dearly.”
And just like that, the image dissipated. The magic having been cut, the connection was lost.
Everypony was silent. Still trying to comprehend what happened and what he meant. Blitz however, was already on point. “Princess! Send soldiers to Ponyville! Now!” he shouted, turning himself to face the Princess.
“Why?” Princess Celestia asked, the situation not having clicked in her head.
The room was suddenly and briefly filled with a bright, light purple light. Everypony turned their heads to the various windows of the room, searching for the source. Blitz ran to the nearest one, one that overlooked a vast region of the land. But he didn’t need to look. As much as he hated to admit it, he knew where the light came from: Ponyville.