My Little Pony Fan Fiction ❯ Ruby Hearts ❯ Star-crossed 5 to 7 ( Chapter 5 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
The first half of this part has some development for the sub-plot and the second half has the prescribed dose of Sparity, enjoy. :)


Part 5: Mystery

"Happy new friends party to you!" Pinkiepie's voice hit a high note as she reached the end of her song. "Are you happy? Are you happy? Did you get your memories back?"

Mystery shrunk back like Fluttershy. She wasn't as meek as Fluttershy, but Pinkiepie was able to overload just about any pony. The enigmatic white unicorn had a blue mane in a very similar style as Twilight, except it was all one color, a deep royal blue. Her eyes were deep near-black brown that made the irises and the pupils blend in visually. Her coat was ivory just as Rarity's was.

Her cutie mark held a seven pointed blue star with a zig-zagging light blue line inside it. Around it there were what could have been little sparks, some lines and others tiny circles. Pinkiepie thought they resembled miniature mozzarella sticks and cookies. Twilight thought they were ones and zeroes, thus encouraged Mystery to take a math test, albeit the results disappointed the purple unicorn, as Mystery's mathematical skills were barely average at best, and certainly no where near Twilight's own.

Mystery seemed content enough listening to the tales Twilight shared, to try to help her get to know the group and thus establish a friendship with them, that would hopefully help her recover. That make Twilight think she might have an interest in stories, thus books, but she seemed to lack the patience for them. "Are you sure you don't know of a spell to make the books talk? For some reason, I was sure these things could talk. Sorry, I just don't like reading; I wouldn't mind listening to more stories though."

The reaction of the newcomer only made Twilight more confused. How could she have such a liking for stories and such bored disdain for books? Perhaps where she was from she had someone who read to her, or the people there really did know a spell to make books talk. It was possible since she came from the future. It was too bad she couldn't remember it; Twilight would have loved to hear about the latest developments and discoveries of society.

Twilight's failed cutie mark deciphering experiments prompted Pinkiepie to test her theory and drag the uneasy amnesiac unicorn to Sugar Cube Corner. Mystery certainly loved to eat sweets and happily partook in that, but her baking and cooking skills were well below average. By then Twilight have come up with another theory concerning Mystery's cutie mark, as the group hoped to help the unicorn find herself by remembering her talent. As the cutie mark vaguely resembled Twilight's own, a magic test was in order. Mystery proved to be skilled in magic, but not significantly more so than a fairly talented or well practiced unicorn. She was good, but not quite at the level of Twilight or even Trixie, thus it was concluded that magic was not her talent after all.

Rarity thought that maybe the lines and circles were rectangular and circular gems with the rest of the cutie mark representing the glitter of jewelry. Mystery did enjoy the creation of jewelry under Rarity's guidance. She certainly wasn't as bad as Twilight with such labors, as the nest incident Rarity once dreadfully witnessed during winter wrap some time ago proved. Yet Mystery was still at an average level of skill.

Bucking apples only seemed to tire out Mystery after just one buck and cause her to take refuge inside the Apple home, expressing her dislike for the bright sunlight, the trees and the outdoors. Though Applejack wasn't exactly happy with the discovery, at least they knew what Mystery wasn't good at. Racing was definitely not her forte either, as Rainbow Dash eloquently concluded by claiming that she had seen faster snails. Although she might have been exaggerating, after Applejacks and Rainbow Dash's reports, it was safe to rule out sports as a possible talent. Not that Twilight understood why such testing was done in the first place if Mystery's cutie mark didn't look like anything sporty anyway.

The day was long, especially for Mystery, who seemed more so interested in fleeing Ponyville than recovering her memories. It all culminated with a party arranged by Pinkiepie, who sang and cheered while Fluttershy's shy voice was lost in all the noise. "Girls... I think she needs some room to breathe," the quiet yellow pegasus suggested.

Though no one actually heard Fluttershy, Rarity did notice that their new friend was looking rather overloaded. "Everypony, give her some room to breathe!"

As soon as she saw an escape route, Mystery made a bee line for the library door, the place were the party was held and where she was supposed to be staying. Yet at the time, she just wanted to get away. "Thanks for the party and everything," she spoke in a rushed voice. "I really should get going now, goodbye!" Then she dashed out the door.

"But you're supposed to be staying here," Twilight reminded a little too late.

"I'll go find her," Rarity offered. Her attempt to discover Mystery's talent had been the most tolerable for the amnesiac unicorn.

"Not alone!" Spike rushed after Rarity. "In fact, you shouldn't go out there at all. That metal pegasus is still looking for white unicorn mares to hunt down."

"All the more reason why we should retrieve poor Mystery. If she gets attacked, that creature would surely ruin the hair clip I made for her, and it does look lovely on her mane, which must remain tidy for the clip to fit it," Rarity argued. "Besides, the mayor did advise you to stay indoors as much as possible until that ridiculous business with your false accusation blows over."

"Which is why neither of you should go," Twilight stepped forward.

"Um... girls..." Fluttershy tried to speak, but her voice was lost to all the others.

"Leave finding her to me," Applejack volunteered.

"You know, I could just fly out and drag her over here myself." Rainbow offered. "If she really has some important information to tell us she should hurry up and remember and she won't be able to do that if she doesn't try harder."

"Slow down there, sugar cube, this has to be hard on her. Not knowing who she is, where she came from, who her friends are or if she even had friends," Applejack argued.

"What? You mean maybe she has no friends to remember?" Pinkiepie gasped in disbelief. "That would be so sad!

"Um... girls..." After a long while of continuously trying to be heard, Fluttershy was finally noticed. "Mystery isn't gone," the shy pegasus silently pointed out. "She's just outside, right in front of the library."

A chorus of "oh..." invaded the atmosphere when they realized that the holder of the unknown and likely vital clue to prevent an enigmatic disaster was still near by and in one peace.

Spike poked his head out of the library door and in as much of a none pressuring way as he could muster, he invited. "Mystery, do you want to come back inside?"

"Every pony here is crazy," Mystery grumbled under her breath.

"That's funny, Twilight said the same thing when we first came to Ponyville," Spike recalled.

"I want to go back to Canterlot," Mystery grimaced. "Actually, I'd rather go home, but I don't know where that is, so Canterlot is the next best thing."

"Canterlot, that's it!" Twilight suddenly exclaimed. "You're not used to the outdoors or physical labor, you like fancy sweets and shiny jewelry. Why didn't I realize this before? Even if your home is in the far future, its past incarnation must be here. You're a city pony and your home might just be Canterlot!"

"I suppose..." Mystery agreed unsure. "I rested for a while after my arrival at the Crystal Empire, Princess Cadence and Prince Shining Armor were very kind to me. He was the one who found me and took me to the castle infirmary actually and Cadance nursed me back to health. Then I was sent to Canterlot, but I spent most of my time in the castle and didn't see the city. Princess Celestia and Princess Luna tried to help me recover my memories, Luna especially since I liked to stay up late at night and sleep in during the day. But it didn't work out, then I came here."

"Even if it is in a past form, maybe seeing Canterlot will jolt your memories," Twilight theorized. "Besides, I've heard the night life is more active there lately since the return of Luna and you do sound kind of nocturnal. No wonder you've been yawning all day. Tomorrow we'll-" Fluttershy made a barely audible whimper, which Twilight miraculously caught. "Oh that's right, you were supposed to be going to Fluttershy's place to see if your talent was something similar to hers. I don't think it's likely-" Another look at Fluttershy's shy and disappointed face because everyone else got to share their talents with Mystery and she didn't, made Twilight add, "but you can still go. We'll just take the evening train to Canterlot."

After the plans for the next day were established, everyone decided to call it a night. Pinkiepie was reluctantly coaxed into ending the party early and going home, allowing Twilight and Mystery to settle in for some sleep. Spike walked Rarity home and offered to stay at the Carousel Boutique guarding her.

xoxox xox xoxox

The Carousel Boutique was fortunately intact and the neighborhood as a whole seemed to be at relative peace, which meant the metal pegasus had not resumed his hunt. He was pretty damaged and even if he was able to repair himself somehow, it was only logical to think that it would require time. Rarity and Spike went inside the Carousel Boutique yawning tiredly, with Rarity using her horn to light the way, as the sun had already set when they arrived. "All this stress is making me tired. We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow in Canterlot, but it'll be good, a change of scene is nice now and then, especially if the other scene is Canterlot. Plus since we'll just be showing Mystery the sights and not really going on a specific business appointment, I'm sure the girls won't mind if we take some time to ourselves."

"Then we can do on another date when we get to Canterlot?" Spike eagerly inquired.

"Of course," Rarity smiled, then another yawn escaped her. "We'd best turn in for the night. Let me go get things ready for you."

"That's not necessary," Spike insisted in what he thought was his most dashing tone. "I don't need a place to sleep; I'm going to stay awake by your bed side, guarding you all night long."

"But Spiky, you'll be exhausted," Rarity logically pointed out. "Then we won't be able to go on our Canterlot date." It was hardly the time for a date really, but Rarity was so stressed after her experience that she felt that if she didn't clear her mind a little, she wouldn't be able to function. Besides, they were just grasping at straw with trying to find ways to cure Mystery's amnesia anyway. Maybe if Rarity cleared her head, she could come up with an idea.

"I'll sleep on the train, every pony will be there, so you'll be safe," Spike reason.

Rarity sighed as Spike followed her to her room with a firm determination. "Are you sure you want to stay up all night watching me?" Deep down, the fashionista knew that she wouldn't be able to convince the dragon to do otherwise.

"Absolutely!" Spike assured.

"Alright, if you say so," Rarity got ready to turn in for the night and lay down on her large bed, which could easily fit three or four ponies with room to spare. She took off her element of harmony necklace and levitated it to the nightstand, gently rubbing her bruised neck with her hooves.

Spike frowned at the marks of the attempted murder that were still visible on Rarity's neck, then the room turned dark as Rarity allowed the light of her horn to fade. Soft hooves steps sounded off outside as the police ponies sent from Canterlot to reinforce public safety made their rounds on the deserted streets of Ponyville. It was still rather early for any pony except the particularly tired to be asleep, but no one felt safe enough to go out at night for the time being after what happened.

Albeit it was dark, Rarity could still feel Spike's eyes on her. After a while, his eyelids felt very heavy and he closed his eyes, falling asleep. Rarity opened her eyes, having purposely pretended to sleep, secretly staying awake waiting for Spike to fall asleep. She levitated the covers off, then focusing her magic, levitated Spike very gently on to the bed without waking him. She covered them both with the soft blankets and finally fell asleep with a soft whisper of, "good night, Spiky-wikey."

xoxox xox xoxox

Rarity woke up early the next morning thanks to Opalescence jumping on her back. The unicorn had left food and water out for the cat, but apparently it had since been consumed and Opal wanted her breakfast. Still tired, Rarity groaned softly as she lifted her head a little. "Okay, okay, I'm getting up..." She laid her head back down, mumbling, "in a few minutes..." Her bed felt too warm and comfy to get out of so soon.

The texture was peculiar though, firm but smooth and very warm. Furthermore the mattress moved with a steady rhythm as if it were breathing and it had a heartbeat. Rarity was about to allow the sensations to lull her to sleep when a shriek of impatience from Opalescense forced her to grasp the living world more firmly. Her bed should not be acting in such a way, no inanimate object should.

A little more awake by then, Rarity blinked away the remaining slumber from her eyes and realized that she was sleeping on top of Spike, who was sprawled out to take up most of the room on her bed, snoring softly. "Spiky?" She blinked in perplexity before her memory reconnected with her brain and she recalled how he got there in the first place.

Carefully so as to not wake him, Rarity began to get up. Spike mumbled something in his sleep and turned on his side, taking Rarity with him and trapping her in a subconscious protective embrace that made her blush. Opal had enough of waiting and attacked Spike full force, but it took a moment for her claws to dig deep enough on his dragon scales. That, combined with her catty shrieks, finally woke the dragon.

Spike came to his senses to a stinging pain on his back, the unpleasant sound of a screeching cat and the heavenly feeling of Rarity in his embrace. The elegant unicorn was scolding the aforementioned cat as best she could. "No, Opal, stop it! Bad girl!"

Wondering if he was still dreaming, Spike picked up the cat by the fur of her back, leaving her to swipe her claws at empty air, hissing continuously. With the motion of getting up, his other arm still around Rarity, he pulled the unicorn onto his lap. "Um... is this a dream?"

Rarity bid Spike good morning by cuddling closer to him. "It's not a dream, you spent the night over to guard me, remember?"

"Oh, yeah!" Realization suddenly hit Spike, "I fell asleep, sorry."

"Don't worry about it, I'm glad you got some rest, we both needed it. As much as I would rather just stay here and cuddle, I have to get up, feed Opalescence and pack for the Canterlot trip, all before this evening!" Rarity exclaimed, her voice going up in pitch with each word as she realized just how much she had to do in so little time.

"There's plenty of time for that." Spike tried to assure her, while at the same time secretly hoping that she would agree and cuddle longer.

"Oh no! There's hardly any time," Rarity gasped. "This is Canterlot we're talking about, Canterlot! I must choose my attire carefully. We might be invited to the castle while we're there and I must wear something grand in front of the princesses to make up for my lack of preparation the last time I saw them. Besides, what if Fancy Pants or another of my Canterlot friends invites me over? Oh no, I just recalled, I promised Fancy's wife, Fleur, that I would bring her a new hat on my next visit and I haven't even started making it! Plus with the possibility of disaster right around the corner, I must make sure to pack not only for the glamour of Canterlot, but also for the possibility of a dangerous mission. Not to mention that I need to have my element of harmony necklace on at all times as Princess Celestia said, thus all my outfits must properly match it!" Now stressed, Rarity jumped off Spike's lap and began to pace, not sure of where to get started.

By then Opalescence had stopped fussing, as she realized it was useless, and Spike finally set her down. "Why don't I start by taking care of Opalescence and making you breakfast, then you can focus on fashion and not worry about anything else."

"Oh thank you, my Spiky-wikey, you're always so helpful!" After her exclamation of gratitude, Rarity gave Spike a quick kiss on the lips and ran off to start simultaneously crafting Fleur De Lis' hat and choosing her attire for the trip. Spike was left with a content expression engraved on his features that not even Opalescence's clawing at his tail could erase.

To Be Continued

xoxox xox xoxox


Part 6: Enchantment?

When the afternoon rolled around, Rarity had finished packing for Canterlot and preparing the hat she had promised Fleur De Lis with time to spare. Since she was ready, she decided to take a walk around Ponyville with Spike. A few ponies were still a little doubtful about their dragon citizen, despite the assurances from the mayor, and their stares were making Rarity's blood boil as she felt Spike tense up next to her. She took a sharp turn and quickened her pace, with Spike following her without questions, until he realized that they were heading in the vague direction of Fluttershy's cottage. "Are we going to Fluttershy's?" Spike finally asked, not standing the silence any longer.

"More like her yard," Rarity replied. "I really wanted to take a nice walk with you and no one is going to take that away from me," she stated with determination. "We can take a walk through the gardens Fluttershy has been tending to near her cottage. I'm pretty sure this is a shortcut." Rarity turned towards a path between bushes. She wasn't bothered by the surrounding flora, as it was well groomed and not at all wild. Finally starting to relax, Rarity commented, "Sweetie Bell, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo have been coming over to help Fluttershy with her garden."

"Trying to get their cutie marks in gardening?" Spike inquired as he lazily draped his arm over Rarity's shoulders.

She smiled and leaned into his warmth, "they never give up."

The couple continued their pleasant little walk until they were interrupted by a familiar white rabbit bolting past them full speed. The rabbit was followed by a unicorn, who didn't seem particularly pleased to set hoof outdoors, even if it wasn't exactly in the wild. "Come back here!" Mystery stopped, realizing she had lost track of Angel. Spotting Rarity and Spike, she hastily inquired. "Have you seen a misbehaving white bunny around here? Fluttershy had to take care of an emergency and asked me to watch him. I thought he was cute, but he's such a total brat! Dealing with animals is definitely not my talent."

"An emergency?" Rarity asked with worry.

"Oh no," Mystery shook her head in assurance. "It's not a real emergency, even though Fluttershy was calling it one. The eggs her chicken laid are hatching and she rushed off to make sure the chicks are okay."

"Ah, I see, that does sound like Fluttershy," Rarity nodded. "Well, we did see Angel Bunny rush by-" Rarity's reply was interrupted by the same missing rabbit rushing back towards the unicorns and dragon, looking startled and somewhat shocked.

Angel hopped up and down, pointing at the direction from where he came, as if he had seen something particularly unusual. Mystery responded by picking him up in her psychic hold and trapping him firmly with her glowing horn's magic. "Got you! Maybe Fluttershy has a kennel or something I can put you in until she comes back." She glared at the rabbit, though he stare was not quite as potent as Fluttershy's. Then she addressed Spike and Rarity before leaving. "See you later, sorry to have interrupted your romantic moment like that."

Rarity giggled and Spike blushed, "we weren't doing anything..." he shifted shyly.

"Well I'm leaving, so now you can," Mystery smiled teasingly before trotting off with the protesting Angel in her grasp.

"It looks like Mystery is starting to warm up to us if she can tease us," Rarity laughed.

"I guess so," Spike agreed with a mischievous smile, "she has a good point though. I mean we're here, all alone, in a romantic garden..."

Rarity giggled and batted her eyelashes, "what ever did you have in mind?"

"Possible target located," a dreadful monotone broke the sweet moment. The metal pegasus had found Rarity again.

Spike immediately pushed Rarity behind him and assumed a defensive stance. "That thing..." Rarity felt her neck ache just thinking about when the creature almost strangled her to death. "That thing was hiding so close to Fluttershy?" Granted that her friend was not a white unicorn, but if the spell or whatever was powering that killer metal doll malfunctioned enough so that it attacked all white unicorns instead of just its target, then who was to say it wouldn't further go crazy and attack Fluttershy? Besides, it had sent several police ponies to the hospital after labeling them as obstacles. "Run!" Rarity pulled Spike to follow her. "We have to gather the girls, the elements of harmony!"

Spike ran along with Rarity, allowing her to remain a few feet ahead so that the pegasus had to go through him in order to get to her. The terrible enemy took to the skies and flew over Spike, swooping down towards Rarity, who dived out of the way at the last second. Spike caught up to her, realizing that his plan to serve as a wall between Rarity and danger was not working. He helped her to her hooves only on time to push her out of the way when the metal pegasus swooped down again. The enemy rammed into Spike, who was thrown several feet back. "Ugh, I was still sore from when Opalescence used me as a scratching post."

"All obstacles must be eliminated." The pegasus announced.

"Spiky!" Rarity called out, fearing for his safety.

Spike did not stand down. "That's right, you chunk of metal, if you want Rarity, you'll have to get through me."

Just as Spike was making his brave declarations, Mystery returned again. "Oh... This isn't the right way at all. There are no signs or anything and I'm so lost..." She looked up from her voiced musings and dropped Angel in shock as she saw what was before her. The rabbit scurried away full speed, as unlike Mystery, he did know the way back to the cottage.

"Second possible target identified." The pegasus announced, setting his sights on Mystery.

Surprisingly, Mystery wasn't frightened, but curious. "I feel like I've seen him before..."

"Maybe because that's the monster that tried to kill you before?" Rarity shrieked.

"Get out of here you two, I'll take care of that thing, I beat it once and I can do it again!" Spike jumped towards the pegasus, who simply flew higher and out of reach.

"Commencing counter attack." A bolt of electricity came from the pegasus, crashing against Spike, leaving him in a pained daze.

"Spiky!" Before the second bolt could hit, Rarity used her magic to intercept it and redirect its path, sending it to crash against a near by tree.

As if held by a trance of the memories that wanted to resurface, Mystery fearlessly approached the metal foe. She had been told about him and knew that he was likely there to kill her, but she held no memories of ever meeting him before this time, albeit she knew she must have. "What... who are you?" She allowed her horn to glow gently and focused her energy around the pegasus.

"Counteracting magic," the metal creature announced.

"No, Mystery, let it go, it'll electrocute you!" Rarity warned.

"Error... error..." The pegasus began to chant in a monotone. "Error... error..." Suddenly, his glowing red eyes became similar to those of a real pony, though with a glassy quality to them, as he was not made of flesh. Harmless, almost friendly blue eyes stared at Mystery for a moment and in a more naturally intoned voiced, the metal pegasus spoke, "Digital Fantasy..." A wave of electricity surrounded the pegasus all of a sudden and his eyes flashed from an eerie red to a pained blue rapidly for several seconds until he declared, "system crash! Emergency shut down!" Then he fell motionless, crumpling to the ground as if the incantation that animated him was gone.

The gentle glow faded from Mystery's horn as she went into shock. Most of her memories were still locked away, but broken pieces kept flashing through her mind in a nonsensical parade of dispersed fragments. Feeling a wave of dizziness overtake her, Mystery fainted.

By then Spike had recovered from the attack, but certainly not from the shock. "What just happened? Did that thing hurt her?"

"No..." Rarity gasped. She went over to Mystery and took a closer look just in case, "she fainted." With fear still reflected in her eyes, the element of generosity glanced at the metal pegasus. "I think... I think it's over. I don't know how, but it looks like Mystery dispelled whatever magic made that thing animated." At least that was the only conclusion that Rarity could currently reach.

"I'm going to tare it apart while I have the chance just in case!" Spike roared.

Before the dragon could proceed with his plan, Rarity stopped him. "Don't! We need to show that thing to every pony in Ponyville, then they'll have to believe the mayor, this is your undeniable proof of innocence. I don't want them looking at you like a monster. I absolutely can't stand it and if I hear another nasty whisper I'll kick some pony."

Spike stared at Rarity in her outburst. He thought it was very sweet how she worried about him, though he didn't like the idea of keeping that metal doll whole, but he didn't want Rarity to suffer because of the ignorance of a few gossiping ponies. "Alright, I'll take this thing to Poniville. Who knows, maybe it is best to keep it whole, that way the princesses can have a look at it and maybe get some clues. It did say something strange."

Rarity nodded, musing over the last words of the pegasus. "Actually, everything that thing said was strange, but it did catch my attention how it started speaking differently and had those eyes as if he were a real stallion, except for the part about being made of metal and having no cutie mark."

Spike reluctantly picked up the metal pegasus and held it firmly as if he feared it would spring to life and attack at any random second. Rarity picked up the unconscious Mystery with her levitation and they began to head towards Fluttershy's cottage to let her know what happened, since she was the closest of the elements.

They didn't have to go all the way to the cottage though, as the aforementioned yellow pegasus rushed towards them. "Is every pony okay? Angel Bunny came to get me when I was with the newborn chicks; the chicks are just fine, by the way. Anyway, Angel was terrified. I tried to ask him what was wrong and why he wasn't with Mystery, but he just went to hide in the chicken coop and it scared me because I thought something terrible had happened, but I knew I had to be brave and make sure Mystery wasn't hurt and I didn't realize you were here too and... and..." she hyperventilated.

"Fluttershy, slow down and breathe." Rarity placed a comforting hoof on her frightened friend's shoulder. "The danger has passed, Mystery is fine, she just fainted."

"Oh, that's a relief." After having calmed down a little, Fluttershy registered just what Spike had in his arms and gasped in alarm. "Is that a metal pegasus? The one you told us about?"

"Yes, but I'm pretty sure Mystery somehow managed to dispel the incantation that animated it. It's just a creepy metal doll now." Rarity assured, hoping that her theory was not mistaken.

"Oh my..." Fluttershy breathe uneasily.

"Can I put Mystery down to rest at your place? Spike and I are going to the police station. When Mystery wakes up, you two should gather the girls and meet up with us at the station," Rarity instructed.

Fluttershy could only nod silently, as her voice had escaped her.

To be Continued

xoxox xox xoxox


Part 7: Canterlot

The remainder of the day felt like a blur for Rarity. She went to the police station, purposefully crossing the town square so that the gossiping ponies could see the metal doll from the mayor's, according to them hard to believe excuses, with their own eyes and forget about the thrill of stupid dragon terror stories. Rarity and Spike were still at the station when a distraught and somewhat disoriented Mystery arrived, claiming that she had to take the metal doll with her. Fluttershy was with her, fussing all the way, worried about her new friend's odd behavior.

It wasn't long before Twilight showed up and was updated about the happenings. She wrote a letter to Celestia and included in it the narration of the day's events as well as an expression of her intentions to journey to Canterlot on that very evening. Thinking that the metal pegasus, which seemed harmless enough for the time being, was the key to awakening Mystery's memories, Twilight decided that they would take it with them and also that way, they could show it to the princesses.

The evening fell upon Ponyville and all the elements of harmony gathered at the train station. Spike was also there, and of course, Mystery, who had since recalled that her real name was Digital Fantasy. "What's a digital?" Rainbow Dash had inquired in confusion.

"Digital is... digital... not physical or magical, but digital." Needless to say, Fantasy's explanation failed to clarify Rainbow's doubts. Seeing that fact clear as day reflected on the speedy pegasus' face, the unicorn added. "Sorry, my memories are an incomplete mess of broken pieces, so it's hard to explain."

"Well we can at least theorize that your talent is related to the creative arts, judging by your liking for stories and drawings, and now you know your name too so that's progress," Twilight tried to encourage.

"Maybe I just need to express that talent digitally," Fantasy mused, though at the moment, it didn't really help much.

Just as the train was about to receive its evening passengers, several ponies came to Spike with gifts, mostly gems. They didn't directly say why they had brought them, but Rarity suspected that it was to ease their guilty conscience about having gossiped so terribly about sweet Spike. Spike happily accepted the gifts and made no effort to bring up the nasty subject, preferring to simply leave it behind.

As the group waited at the train station, Derpy flew by to deliver a letter addressed to Spike. She bumped into a dark cloud overhead, which Rainbow should have cleared, but forgot about given the circumstances. The cloud shot out a bolt of lightning that hit Fantasy dead on. Derpy landed and apologized continually, while Rarity, without the need of being prompted, rushed to kindly brush Fantasy's mane back into place. With no real harm done, the clumsy mistake was forgiven and Derpy made her delivery.

The letter was from the mayor, assuring Spike that his name had been completely cleared even in the mind of the doubtful, as she had personally observed while discreetly taking a walk through town to gather the general state of the public. "In other words, she was eavesdropping." Rainbow commented from her position looking over Spike's shoulder. Twilight gave her a look of irony, but didn't verbalize her observation.

With the use of few words that characterized him, Macintosh caught up to the group at the train station and delivered a basket of various apple based goodies and sweets. The action earned him a knowing look from his sister and a smiling, "thank you," from Twilight. Though the purple unicorn did love Sweet Apple Acres products, she seemed more interested in the fact that Macintosh had taken time out of his busy schedule to come see them off. She knew that he would be even busier at the orchid with Applejack gone for a few days, albeit the exact period of time was as of yet undetermined.

The ponies arriving from Canterlot finished getting off the train and it was made ready to receive new passengers. Spike picked up Rarity's massive mountain of luggage and, along with the seven mares, he boarded the train to the capital.

Fantasy's only prominent comment along the way was an observation about how slowly the train moved, albeit the other mares mostly agreed that it felt as if it was moving faster than in other occasions when they had ridden it. Celestia's sun sunk in the horizon and was replaced by Luna's moon at the center of the skies. Most of the passengers turned in for the overnight trip and slept, though Fantasy, who was unusually energetic following her accidental encounter with that bolt of lightning, stayed up all night long, tinkering with the metal pegasus in hopes of unlocking more missing memories. She looked at it with a strange fondness despite the fact that, not too long ago, it was set on killing her and anyone who shared her race and color.

xoxox xox xoxox

When the group at last arrived at Canterlot, Fantasy started to get sleepy. They headed straight for the castle and reported to Celestia, who offered them accommodations and reviewed what had happened thus far. After their meeting, the group was allowed to split apart for the purpose of looking around Canterlot and figuring out what localities may serve to jolt Fantasy's memories, as soon as she was awake enough to visit them. Celestia allowed it; though she cautioned them not to go too far in case an emergency reunion was needed.

Twilight remained with Celestia, observing the metal pegasus while Fantasy went to sleep in her room. The strangest thing that Celestia found upon examining it was that it lacked traces of magic other than the time travel that brought it to their era. "Are they truly from far away, or does it only feel that way because of the distortions in magic?" Celestia had mused allowed. For a moment, Twilight thought she saw the faint light of recognition in her mentor's eyes. Yet the princess looked as if she was recalling something tragic.

Then, unexpectedly, a sleepy Luna arrived in the secured room where the metal pegasus would be kept at the castle. The night princess took a long hard look at the creature and glared fiercely. "Do you know who this reminds me of?" Luna half growled, very much resembling Nightmare Moon in her upset.

"Yes..." Celestia quietly agreed.

"If it is him and if he's closer than it appears..." Luna threatened.

"We will face him together," Celestia half assured and half ordered. Luna huffed and left the room. "Luna!" Celestia called after her. "Please excuse me, my faithful student." Leaving her perplexed protege standing there in shock, Celestia ran after her upset sister.

xoxox xox xoxox

Meanwhile, Rarity had a social call to fulfill and she had no intentions of making herself a liar. She hurried towards Fancy Pants' manor, levitating the carefully wrapped package that contained Fleur's hat beside her. Spike hurried along the streets next to her, following her lead to a destination he had not visited before.

The pair arrived at an elegant residence and, before they even knocked on the door, a butler was already letting them in. The butler led them towards a luxurious tea room where Fancy Pants and Fleur De Lis were waiting.

After exchanging greetings, Rarity felt the curious need to inquire, "how did you know we were coming?"

"I do wish I could say it was by happier means that I deduced this," Fancy began with a solemn expression. "But it was because of an article in the newspapers about a stream of break ins and strange happenings at Ponyville that I guessed you would be here." Fancy had since their previous meeting learned that Rarity was the element of generosity. "I thought that you and your companions might be needing to meet with the princess soon."

"Ah yes, we did," Rarity admitted.

"But let's not spoil the mood with too much seriousness," Fleur suggested. "You can take some time off and clear your mind while you're here. Now tell me, who is this fine gentlecolt accompanying you this morning?"

"Oh, how rude of me not to introduce him, this is Spike." Rarity signaled for the nervous Spike to come forward.

"Um... hello... pleased to meet you..." Spike shyly greeted the upper class ponies. He was so worried about embarrassing Rarity that he could hardly speak.

"Oh my! He's just as charming as you described in your last letter!" Fleur squealed in delight.

"Mr. Spike, I must say, it is a pleasure to finally meet you," Fancy Pants announced.

"It is? I mean, the pleasure is all mine!" Spike exclaimed in surprise.

With a burst of sincerity, Fancy Pants made a blunt revelation. "Dragons have reached a position of high esteem among the creme of Canterlot lately. There are only so many out there that are willing to befriend ponies." Thus making them rare, exclusive and therefore worth knowing in the opinion of the upper class, if only so they could brag about being the personal friend of a dragon. "I would be honored if you could come to count us as friends."

Spike smiled in a friendly manner, feeling more confident now. "That sounds great."

Rarity had a certain level of influence in the positive outlook on dragons when she dropped the name of Spike by accident one day. The natural slip up warranted an explanation for the curious ears that wished to hear if that Spike was her coltfriend. He wasn't at time, though Rarity did speak highly of him before later revealing that he was a dragon. A tense silence had hung over the group she was meeting with at one of Fancy's little get togethers and Rarity stood at the ready to defend Spike if anyone dared to speak ill towards him because of his species. However, with an exclamation of "fascinating!" From Fancy Pants, being a dragon living among ponies became a good thing.

"I have a little something here for you, Fleur." Rarity announced as she levitated the wrapped box towards Fleur.

The slender pink haired unicorn took the box in her psychic hold with an excited expression upon her face. "Oh, is it?" Like a filly on Christmas morning, she unwrapped the present and retrieved her new hat, which she guided to elegantly perch atop her head. The varying shade of pink complemented her mane nicely, while the golden details adorned with amethyst matched her elegant eyes. "It's beautiful!" Fleur exclaimed as she levitated over a hand mirror from who knows where.

"I must say, that looks quite lovely on you, my darling," Fancy Pants complimented. "As thanks, I do hope you allow us to show you some hospitality. I know you must have business to tend to at the castle, but whenever you are free, both of you as well as the other elements of harmony are very welcome to dine with us, starting right now, if you would like to join us for breakfast."

xoxox xox xoxox

The day with Fancy and Fleur went rather well. Spike had a feeling it would after Fancy's revelation about dragons and it was confirmed when he realized that they've even taken the care to instruct their cook to include gems in his fancy sweet cinnamon pancake. The group was invited to attend an exclusive night club owned by Fancy, an offer which, in everyone's name, Rarity readily accepted. She would think of a way to get them all to attend.

Thus through the fine art of persuasion, Rarity did manage to get all the elements of harmony plus Digital Fantasy to join her at the club. Spike was of course by her side the whole time. Fantasy left shortly, claiming that parties were not her thing and muttered something about the nights best being spend playing video games, though no one really understood what she meant.

Pinkiepie was doing all sorts of extravagant dances that the posh ponies frowned at until they realized that, silly or not, the pink pony was still one of the elements of harmony and a personal acquaintance of the princesses. Applejack somehow got herself into a drinking contest, which she easily won as the "baby stuff" they served at classy Canterlot was no where near as strong as her family's "special cider." Twilight had once gotten curious and had Macintosh bring her some of that cider to sample. After a cup, she spend the rest of the night singing mathematical equations, a horrid experience for all who had the displeasure of listening to her.

Fluttershy was being her usual shy self, though she at least had Twilight to keep her company as the scholarly purple unicorn had little interest in the social topics of conversation that dominated the atmosphere. Rainbow Dash was sure that she had seen Soarin' somewhere in the crowd saying something about a pie, thus she was quick to order a pie and fly off with it to find the Wonder Bolt.

Rarity was the most comfortable of all in the situation. It was not so for Spike, though he was content enough as long as Rarity was close by. He spent most of the time not really understanding what elicited the fond little laughs of Rarity's Canterlot posse or what was so fascinating about dragons that they had to stare at him for so long. It all made him cling to Rarity. Though he was willing to protect her from any danger, he was the one in need of protection from being overloaded with curious stares and nosy questions.

Taking note of Spike's distress, Rarity managed to escape the crowds and find a quiet corner where she and Spike occupied a somewhat secluded table. There they were finally able to get a breather, plus some drinks and snacks. "Am I really that fascinating?" Spike asked between calming sips of his crushed gem drink.

"Of course you are, darling," Rarity laughed. "But if you're feeling uncomfortable..." She didn't finish the sentence even though it was obvious that she was suggesting they could leave. It was also obvious that she didn't really want to.

Spike shook his head. "Nah, I know you want to be here and I'm happy as long as I'm with you, so it's okay. Besides, this drink with the crushed gems is pretty good."

Rarity's eyes lit up at the prospect of staying there all night. "The night is young, we have such a lovely time to look forward to," she almost squealed.

The festivities were interrupted when the bouncer began to call after some pony rather loudly. He positioned himself between the door and the as of yet unseen uninvited pony, ordering the unwelcome party crasher to leave. The invader in question forced his way in, tossing the bouncer across the club. The bulky white pegasus stallion with small wings and a weight as a cutie mark, skidded across the dance floor, knocking over any ponies in his path as if they were bowling pins.

Rainbow Dash, pie still in hoof, recognized the pony as one of her classmates from the Wonderbolt Academy. He wasn't particularly speedy, agile or skilled, but he was exceptionally strong. For someone like him to be tossed aside so easily, the pony who had forced him out of the way must have a lot more strength than any normal pony would. The glint of metal in the club's multi colored magically powered lights confirmed the identity of their foe. The metal pegasus had escaped its confinement, his eyes rapidly changing from red to blue at random as he eerily chanted, "error, error..." in a distorted voice.

"So you were the one who bought the last pie." Soarin' emerged from the crowds next to Rainbow, as the other ponies backed away.

"Girls!" Twilight called her team of elements of harmony to assemble.

"Here, you can have it," Rainbow gave Soarin' the pie and hurried to join her friends, who gathered around Twilight.

"Let's end this once and for all!" Twilight called out. The necklaces and tiaras of the elements of harmony glowed, their magic assaulting the metal pegasus.

The foe seemed to be somewhat disoriented, his eyes still constantly changing from red to blue unaffected by the elements of harmony. After an apparent inner struggle, the metal pegasus' eyes settled at an angry red and his voice turned to a monotone again. "Counteracting magic attack." Waves of electricity filled the air, however, the elements of harmony protected their wielders and they were not damaged by the counter attack.

"There he is!" A royal guard suddenly rushed in, pointing at the fugitive they were after. Digital Fantasy and none other than Princess Celestia herself, rushed in along with a few more royal guards.

"Counter attack ineffective, recalculating strategy." The metal pegasus declared.

"He'll probably try a physical attack since his electricity isn't working," Fantasy stepped forward. "But I'll stop him first, Cyber Wing, go back to how you used to be!" Her horn glowed brightly, causing the pegasus to stop, as if in a trance. His eyes once again changed from red to blue rapidly and Fantasy tried to focus on an unusual kind of magic that made sparks like little lines and circles appear.

"My little ponies, keep the elements of harmony strong, Twilight, cast a come to life spell with me and all your friends!" Celestia's horn began to glow, covering the metal pegasus in light. She pushed out all her magic until she could give no more.

Something changed in the metal pegasus. Inexplicably, he now had a cutie mark where there had previously been none and he seemed to be affected by the elements of harmony. The pegasus finally gave into the glow of harmony and his eyes settled to a relived blue. Confused, he looked towards the unicorn he had formerly served. "Digital Fantasy..." His voice was no longer a threatening monotone. With his systems exhausted, he softly whispered, "emergency shut down..." and once again became still.

A tense silenced reigned over the club as the elements of harmony finally allowed their magic to stop flowing and stood there uncertain with heavy breaths and tired eyes. Then suddenly, everyone assembled burst out in a wave of loud applause that echoed like a massive stampede. "My little ponies..." Celestia breathed. "Please continue with your festivities." Needless to say, Celestia's words were only directed at those not involved in the recent matters, as she discretely signaled for the elements of harmony to follow her out, along with the castle guards and Fantasy, who had picked up the metal pegasus she referred to as Cyber Wing in her levitation.

To be Continued

One more chapter to go!