“A fear snare,” Twilight quietly muttered.
Everyone expected to be in the pack and Spike sat in their respective seats of the throne room. Starlight stood between Twilight and Applejack since she had no designated seat. It was Monday after school and before sunset.
Spike scribbled on a scroll to record everything Rainbow just told them about the ability in question. “Did you name the leviathan dread?” he was genuinely curious himself.
“Blitz,” Rainbow answered simply.
“So is the fear snare like a way for you to eat from kids since you can’t eat their magic?” an intrigued Pinkie Pie wondered.
Rainbow rubbed the back of her neck with her front right hoof in contemplation. “That’s one way of looking at it.”
“You seeing something else?” Applejack asked.
“It’s a trap,” the mev replied. “I don’t think it only happens with kids though maybe they’re more susceptible to it. Now that I know what it is and that it happens, I’ll have more control. I’m sorry, Twilight. I didn’t mean to scare them. I was trying to make sure they’d believe me. I assumed since I wouldn’t bite them that…that they were safe from me.”
“And they were safe,” Fluttershy placed a gentle hoof on Rainbow’s. “You didn’t lay a hoof or a feather or a fang on them. Even the leviathan dread couldn’t actually touch them. It’s a natural thing you did. It’s not unheard of for some creatures to make themselves appear scary as a defense mechanism from predators.”
“But Fluttershy, it was not a defense,” Rainbow protested. “I was the predator here. I had them in my clutches.” She held out her forelimbs in a gestured demonstration and smiled evilly. “They were playthings to me.” She paused and frowned at herself for again thinking it before admitting, “I enjoyed it.”
“Rainbow, listen to me. You’ve become something new and exciting, but it’s clearly got ways to keep you in check. No one got hurt,” Fluttershy assured her.
“Maybe not physically,” Pinkie interjected, “but she may have emotionally scarred at least some of them.”
The others shifted uncomfortably without a word.
“Or not,” Pinkie smiled guiltily. “None of them dropped out of school or ran out of the gym screaming, right? Heh heh heh.” She laughed nervously.
“It’s alright, Rainbow,” Twilight finally said. “We all know that this transformation has its difficulties for you, but we also know that it’s not as dangerous as one might think at first so long as we’re prepared. But if something like this happens again…”
Rainbow nodded. “I might not be able to stay on as a teacher.”
“Maybe…” Applejack started. “Maybe we should announce it after all.”
“Applejack, how could you suggest such a thing?” Rarity asked. “You heard how those poor students reacted to the news. They took it in stride eventually, but she gave them quite a fright.”
“No, just hear me out. If the kids know, then we can tell them to start using the proper title for Rainbow. That’s how this group got out, right?” Applejack reminded everyone.
“Just how did they figure that out anyway?” Pinkie Pie wondered.
“According to them,” Rainbow explained, “the word entered their heads at the same time, like as if my own power was literally sending the message.”
“From the dread?” Twilight theorized aloud.
“Maybe,” Rainbow said. “They couldn’t tell if it was to save them or scare them, but Gallus figured it was worth a shot to say aloud.”
“That’s a relief,” Starlight remarked. “The thing is, if you tell the students, they’re going to tell their parents. Word will spread throughout the whole town. Everypony will know.”
“I’m telling you girls, the town will get over it,” Spike said. “It’s not a big deal.”
“It is if they’re scared at first, just like the students were, and Rainbow has some kind of reaction to that, especially now that we know she has an extended power like Blitz,” Fluttershy pointed out.
“Oh,” Spike realized. “I didn’t even think of that.”
“What do you think about my idea, Rainbow?” Applejack asked.
“I don’t want to do it, if that’s what you mean,” Rainbow told her. “I know one day we might have to, but I don’t think it’s tomorrow. That’s a day, well night really, to start forming this pack for real with my first fledgling.” She smiled with her eyes closed as she lifted into a hover up from her seat.
“You really think Twilight’s magic will be back?” Rarity asked, looking upward at the sky blue pegasus.
Rainbow nodded and looked down where she sat and at Starlight since she was near. “Which of you wants first?”
“Oh I would be honored,” Rarity said happily, holding a forelimb out and then pressing her hoof to her chest. “If that’s alright with Starlight, of course.”
Everyone looked expectantly at Starlight for a response.
Starlight looked at everyone with a nervous smile, eyes darting side to side. “Oh, well, it’s, you know…” her voice trailed off. She walked behind Applejack’s throne to stand closer to where Rarity sat. She took a deep breath and cleared her throat to announce to everyone else, “Actually, yes, I would like to be first too.”
“You two could just flip a coin,” Applejack suggested.
“Where’s the fun in that?” Rainbow asked. “If they both want first, they should have to earn it.” She smirked, knowingly folding her forelimbs with her maintained hover.
“What are you thinking?” asked a suspicious Pinkie Pie with narrowed eyes and a slow voice.
“Masters do love a game of cat and mouse. I mean, I love games anyway, but my point is, I have two mice right here.” She gestured with her forelimbs to the two unicorns. “Whoever I catch first will be the fledgling.”
“Shouldn’t it be the other way around since they both want to go first?” Twilight suggested.
Rainbow shrugged. “Whatever. I just want to hunt. What do my mice think?” She glanced over with an inviting smile.
Rarity and Starlight were both staring up at Rainbow’s hovering figure and slowly moved their eyes to look at each other. They both smirked. “It’s on,” they said at the same time.
“Jinx,” Rarity added with a giggle.
Starlight coughed. “And I think who you catch is the loser, so the first fledgling is actually whoever lasts longer.”
“You’ll find no argument from me on that point,” Rarity said.
“Oh Rainbow, I just had the most brilliant idea!” Fluttershy fluttered up to join the other pegasus in the air. “We should ask Discord to make the stage for the game. I’m having Tuesday Tea with him tomorrow. Do you want me to ask him then?”
Rainbow smiled wickedly. “Yes, that would be just perfect.”
With that, Monday’s meeting drew to a close.
Later that night in her cloud house, Rainbow Dash stood on the solid floor within, staring out one of the windows to see the stars. A red circle formed on the floor around her hooves and the leviathan dread from earlier that afternoon lifted up to face her. The circle easily disappeared in a quick fade.
Rainbow studied the magical sea serpent. She was much smaller than her appearance in the gym, so like Rainbow, that meant she had some control over how she looked. Two long horns curved down with the tips of their ends pointing behind her. She had several fins on her back that looked like shark fins. At the end of her tail, the fins flared out with three combined on each side and ending in a longer tip.
The color was hard to tell because she was still translucent, but Rainbow understood she was supposed to be silver if some magical force could make her solid. None of Rainbow’s elementary magic books covered something like that. The fins and horns were darker than the main scales though not by much. The lines to indicate her body were white instead of a darker shade of her main color like Rainbow herself or so many other creatures in the land, presumably to indicate her ghostly essence. She didn’t look fierce to Rainbow as she did to the students. Instead, she stared blankly and patiently waited for her master to finish the examination.
“I’m naming you Blitz, alright?” Rainbow told her.
The sea serpent vision nodded.
“We’re going to be more careful about that snare from now on, now that we know about each other. Got it?” Rainbow sounded stern.
Blitz nodded again.
“Thanks for your help today. If I were an evil vampire for real, that would have been awesome. Well, okay, it was awesome, but we messed up where and when. I’m a teacher, and if I want to stay a teacher, and I do, I can’t go trapping kids in their own fear like that. Unless they get a kick out of it on like Nightmare Night or something,” the fanged pegasus explained.
Blitz swirled and snaked her way around Rainbow’s body, then wrapping around her neck to align her snout to to the left side Rainbow’s head.
“Niiiice,” Rainbow remarked. “Talk about nocturnivlair. This would definitely make me look threatening, like I could sic you on someone.”
The sea serpent essence appeared to chuckle in her movement though she could make no sound. She unraveled herself from Rainbow’s body, did a spin, and swirled a bit in the air before coming face to face with the mev. Rainbow lifted a hoof and waved through the body, feeling nothing. She moved her hoof just at the tip of where she would touch the bottom of Blitz’s mouth if the dread were a solid being, and a cold shiver ran through her veins.
“Icy,” Rainbow realized with an interested smile. “You are the embodiment of ‘you have nothing to fear but fear itself.’ You know that?”
Blitz nodded in pleased agreement.
“I take it you can’t talk except to message my title to others,” Rainbow surmised aloud.
Again, Blitz nodded.
“Thanks, then, for that too. It all worked out in the end,” Rainbow told her.
Blitz raised the tail end of her body, curling it in a way as if to give a “thumbs up” signal.
“Come with me,” Rainbow commanded, “I need you to meet someone. He’s an important friend of mine. Don’t scare him on purpose.”
Blitz nodded and followed along. They made their way to Tank’s room. The tortoise was still awake though his shift into sleep was near.
“Hey Tank,” Rainbow greeted.
He looked at her, and his mouth hung open at the sight of Blitz.
“This is Blitz,” Rainbow told him. “Blitz, this is Tank. Blitz here is part of my new master mev powers. She’s called a leviathan dread?” Rainbow turned to ask Blitz for confirmation.
Tank seemed to start shuddering.
“She’s not here to fill you with dread buddy. She’s kinda like a new pet too,” his fanged pegasus owner explained.
Blitz circled around Rainbow’s figure quickly with a fervent nod, liking the notion quite a bit.
Tank stopped shuddering upon recognizing Blitz’s body language toward Rainbow Dash as friendly. He nodded in acceptance of the news. The mev and dread soon left him on his own to his room though Tank didn’t much mind. He had gathered enough information the past few days and nights that Rainbow Dash was a different sort of creature at night, even if she still visited and talked to him either time of day. It would make perfect sense if he were like her daytime pet and Blitz were like her night-time pet.
Indeed, Rainbow enjoyed the rest of her night, not minding the presence of her unusual ghostly snake companion one bit. She even chose to skip sleep altogether between her reading and a brief excursion to work out at the school gym.