It wasn’t long before Rainbow and Discord had a setup they both found satisfactory. Afternoon gave way to evening and they, along with Fluttershy, made their way to Twilight’s castle albeit slightly separate from each other. The Lord of Chaos teleported himself and Fluttershy while Rainbow chose the long way of flying herself, insisting that such a teleportation was too much of a convenience considering how fast she was on her own and that doing so had no effect on her being able to start forming her pack.
Once there, the plan was laid out before the others. The magic ability rules were granted that Rarity, like Starlight, would be able to teleport, make herself invisible, and shoot magic blasts of energy for the duration of the game. Both unicorns could already levitate objects and use their horns as torches for light. They would be allowed to keep those abilities. They were both warned that casting magic highly risked Rainbow being able to sense it and track them down more easily.
The lobby of Twilight’s castle transformed into a flat square floor with tiles. From the cracks, solid concrete walls rose upward, allowing for gaps to create a simple maze. Some of those walls transformed into solid stairs. Some of those stairs turned sideways or upside down. Vines took shape along the parts of the maze that were still walls. Potted plants raised out from the floor to line the stairs. Ice crystals shot across some of the walls into others. The floor opened to gaps as fire shot upwards in some areas. The small flames would have to be jumped over by the two “mice.”
Surrounding the main stage, higher walls rose along each side and a balcony formed. With a snap of his lion paw, Discord grouped the observers. He and Spike were in one balcony, Applejack and Pinkie Pie in another, followed by Twilight and Fluttershy for the third. The fourth remained empty.
At the bottom along an entrance to the stage stood Rainbow Dash, Rarity, and Starlight Glimmer.
Spike tugged at Discord’s right arm and whispered something. With another snap of his lion paw, a microphone appeared in Spike’s right clawed hand. The draconequis looked downward to the entrance where Rainbow gave him an approving wave.
“So, how do we do this?” Starlight asked.
“You, here,” Rainbow said, putting Starlight to her right, “and Rarity here.” She put Rarity to her left. “Look away from me, like up at the balconies or something. You will see the magic and you will feel it. You’ll know. So will Discord. He’s going to put you in bubbles, shuffle you up a bit, and put you in the maze. Then he’s going to make the barrier before I head in. Are you two ready?”
“As I’ll ever be,” Rarity said, “Oh, this is so exciting!” She clutched her cheeks in her white hooves. She put a hoof forward, “May the best unicorn win.”
Starlight bumped it. “Right, let’s do this.” She looked upward to where Twilight and Fluttershy sat.
Rarity glanced up to Discord and Spike.
They both heard Spike begin, “Welcome everyone to the First Fledgling Hunt! The stage is set, and our players are almost ready.”
Rainbow closed her eyes and tilted her face up to the sky before opening her mouth. Her fangs were visible to her friends watching from the balconies. As if she herself were a fountain, a stream of magenta magical energy lifted out and then trailed toward the two unicorns to her sides. Starlight and Rarity saw the trail in their peripheral, each careful to not look at Rainbow as they watched the magic swirl around them before wrapping more tightly until it was absorbed into their bodies. They felt it, like an inner flash.
Rainbow closed her mouth and looked to her sides to see two beings that resembled Twilight when her friend was still a unicorn and were deliberately still looking away. “Now!” she shouted upward.
Discord snapped his talons, creating the same bubbles she described a moment ago. They spun around as others, except Rainbow, watched. The bubbles floated upward and landed on equally opposite ends of his labyrinth.
“And the chase is on!” Spike shouted as Rainbow dashed in from the main entrance.
Rainbow flew upwards in the center, squinting. She put a hoof up to her right ear and listened. She sniffed the air and shot to her left.
Starlight stared at three different fire pits ahead. There was just enough room to hop and land between them on the floor of the maze.
Meanwhile, Rarity saw icicles she’d have to crawl over or under. She heard movement: familiar, fast swooshing movement. She gulped and stared around her corner. If she just stayed put, maybe Rainbow would simply pass over her. The sound faded. She wiped her brow and daintily worked her way through. She was not exactly agile like her pegasus friend, but she was agile enough, with wishing to not freeze on contact with her coat, to slowly, methodically thread her way through.
Starlight listened carefully and glanced around as best she could. Upon realizing that the other two must have been on the opposite ends of the maze, she made her first hop. She skidded, landed ever so briefly in the pit and hopped to the next one. She shook her right front hoof to cool off the slight burn. Discord and Rainbow assured them they would be safe enough, certainly nothing life threatening, but to keep things somewhat interesting, some minor hazards like this were to be expected. The burn cooled easily.
Starlight continued listening. She thought long and hard. She could levitate herself or teleport. Just how strongly could Rainbow detect magic? No one had really tested it yet. What of their available spells used the least amount of magic? She took a deep breath, lighting her horn for half a second. She quickly looked left and right, still listening. Then she heard the familiar swish of Rainbow’s flight. She hopped again and darted to her left, the opposite end of the approaching noise.
Rainbow paused and flapped her wings, looking to where Starlight was a moment ago. Somepony had just tried magic, very faint, very quick magic. The other pony was very quiet, Rainbow having only heard faint taps of hooves on ice or on concrete. She landed and trotted in Starlight’s previous direction.
Rarity found herself on some stairs that winded to the side yet allowing her to stay in place and not fall to the floor of the maze below. As she continued, she realized she was upside down and as she gazed to understand her surroundings, she saw Rainbow standing in place, still, and waiting. Rarity gulped.
Rainbow suddenly felt she was being watched so turned her head to see a wisteria unicorn frozen in place. Smiling wickedly, Rainbow flexed her wings and shot upwards. “Gah!” Twilight’s voice said and shot a beam of magic at her. The beam ricocheted off Rainbow’s neck onto a wall, another wall, and eventually landing into Rainbow’s mouth.
“Gotcha!” Rainbow said, pouncing on her prey.
“Oh, fiddlesticks,” Rarity said. For Rainbow, the Twilight mask lifted to reveal her white unicorn friend. She held a hoof out to help Rarity stand up.
“Starlight Glimmer wins!” the two overheard Spike say as the barrier dissipated. Starlight herself teleported to where Rainbow and Rarity stood. The rest of the stage faded away, the castle lobby re-appearing in its usual form and the other friends standing near as well.
“I won?” Starlight asked with a smile.
“That you did, darling. Congratulations,” Rarity said, shaking her hoof. ” Rainbow should consider herself lucky to have you.”
“Oh believe me, I do,” Rainbow mischievously rubbed her front hooves together.
“I suppose it all works out for the best,” Rarity considered. “This result gives me a little more time for something I have planned.”
“What something?” asked a now curious mev.
“Oh, you’ll see soon enough, dear. I’m sure you’re quite eager to do…umm…you know…” Rarity said.
“Right, you all go wait in the throne room,” Rainbow suggested. “We could use a little privacy here.”
“But it only takes a couple of minutes,” Spike said.
Rainbow glared at him.
“Right, we’re leaving,” he said, and everyone else followed suit.
“I hope you don’t mind my asking,” Starlight said, “but is there a reason you don’t like others to watch?’
“Yeah, it’s kind of intimate. Plus, this one’s going to take at least a little longer since we’re doing an exchange,” Rainbow explained.
“Oh, maybe we should do it in my room?” Starlight offered.
“Good idea,” Rainbow agreed.
Once there, Rainbow began to give commands. “Stand here,” she told Starlight.
Starlight obeyed with interest and saw Rainbow staring at her exposed neck.
“Good,” Rainbow muttered with approval.
“You’re not going to bite me yet?” Starlight asked.
“Soon…” the mev said. “Close your eyes.”
Starlight did as told.
“Now concentrate on our friendship. We haven’t known each other as long or spent as much time together as all my other friends, but now here we are, and you’re going to be my first fledgling. First, Starlight! First! We’ve gotta make it special,” Rainbow emphasized.
Starlight kept her eyes closed and smiled. “Mm-hmm,” she agreed.
“So, think about the first time we met…now the first time we saw each other as friends…now anytime we’ve made each other smile…accepting my request to do this for me tonight…offering to mentor me on magic…admitting that you wanted to be first…you got all that?” Rainbow led her evening meal into a proper mindset.
“Yes, Master, I do…” Starlight realized she spoke Rainbow’s title on instinct in that moment before even being bit.
“Now open your eyes and look into mine. I’m right in front of you,” the master mev instructed.
Starlight fluttered her eyes open to see two red ones piercing into her.
“Do not move,” Rainbow ordered her.
“I won’t,” Starlight said, her eyes and standing form locked into place. She could not if she tried, she knew.
Rainbow couldn’t help herself and licked her lips with an excited breath. Dinner looked tasty, and she was on the verge of actually becoming a master to another vampire. “Are you ready?” she asked, more than ready herself.
“Yes, of course,” Starlight agreed as if hypnotized.
Rainbow stepped forward and leaned in. She hissed and bit into Starlight’s neck with her fangs, enjoying the sensation even more than she hoped.
Starlight closed her eyes as she felt the draining of her unicorn magic yet their friendship magic seemed to help her stay standing, propping her up. When at last, she sensed all unicorn magic gone from her, she stood trembling.
“Bow before your master,” Rainbow playfully commanded with an evil smile.
Starlight had no qualms obliging. She bowed, realizing the command wasn’t just Rainbow reveling in her new role. The act itself made it easier for the soft feathered wingtips to reach out and touch the sides of their target.
Rainbow Dash stood firm and proud, ready to share her gift. Red mev magic channeled down from her eyes to swirl around Starlight’s horn.
The first fledgling felt her own fangs take shape.
“Your turn,” Rainbow whispered. She coiled her wings and waited.
Starlight rushed to bite into her new master’s neck. Unicorn magic returned with new fervor, some of Twilight and some of Rainbow mixed within it. So delicious. It wasn’t long before she felt satisfied as it stopped. Her fangs disappeared. Rainbow did not falter or struggle or appear in any pain, still standing firm in front of her, their necks side by side, neither meeting eyes with the other. For a long time, they stood in silence. Starlight sensed some unspoken closeness that no pony, no creature, would ever know because it was special to only her, Rainbow, and this moment. “Master Rainbow Dash,” she finally brought herself to speak. “Did it work?”
Rainbow nuzzled against her neck for a moment before she backed away a few steps, traces of small tears in her eyes. She wiped the tears away with her right wing and fluttered both wings as she composed herself. “Well, you’re already calling me by my title on instinct so that part of it did.” Rainbow shook her entire body for a moment before instructing, “Try some magic, just not on me. Lift something in the room.”
Starlight glanced around and lifted a globe sitting on top of a book and set it down. “It did work!” she said excitedly.
“Awesome!” Rainbow gave her a quick hug. “Let’s go tell the others.”
Chatter died down as all heads turned towards the direction of opening doors in the castle throne room. “Did it work?” Twilight asked from where she sat.
“Like a charm,” Starlight lit her horn to show she still had magic as she trotted over to Twilight’s side.
Rainbow swiftly flew to perch down in her own seat.
“How did it feel?” asked a very curious Applejack.
“Surprisingly good,” Starlight answered. “You have to make eye contact, and then that puts you in a kind of trance, so that the bite doesn’t actually hurt and, like I said, feels good.”
“Wow,” Rarity uttered, breathless.
“You went through that part, right Twilight?” Spike asked.
“I did. It was just like that. What’s the second part like?” she asked.
“Well, I guess since we knew we were doing an exchange, I didn’t collapse. I managed to stand my ground. Rainbow instructed me to bow. I grew fangs long enough to bite her, and it felt even better than her biting me. I felt my magic, you, Twilight, and Rainbow, all sort of mixed in it, filling me up. It felt really special. I wish I could give it a better word, but that’s what it was,” Starlight told everyone.
“Do you feel like you need to do anything and everything Rainbow tells you to do?” asked Applejack.
Starlight gave it some thought. “I definitely felt that way with the enchantment, even just before it actually. I was already following commands even then.”
Applejack glanced over at Rainbow with narrowed eyes.
“What? She agreed to be my fledgling days ago. That means a permission pathway opened and our master-fledgling bond started forming early. She obeyed because we wanted the same thing, her to become my fledgling and eventually even the first fledgling. I have some instincts on how to get that done. I’m happy with the result and so is she,” Rainbow said defensively.
A parchment appeared in front of Spike.
“Write that down,” Twilight whispered, listening with fascination.
Sighing, the young purple dragon wrote down what Rainbow just said.
Applejack looked over to Starlight. “Reckon you feel the same way?” she asked.
Starlight nodded. “Yeah, I do. It falls perfectly in line with everything else we know. It seems the willingness of the meal is a significant factor in the master’s magic when not berserk. Fledglings are supposed to be a strong support for maintaining control. Plus, I was already offering to help Rainbow learn about magic as a mentor to help with the pack before we took this step tonight. It depends on the situation and what the order actually is. Of course I should follow her on actually becoming a fledgling. I’m sure I could question or defy orders for silly little things like boring chores she doesn’t want to do, if that’s your concern.”
Rainbow nodded as well, in full agreement and approval. “Which I wouldn’t do because one, we’re still friends and two, I want to be a worthy master.” She gestured with her feathered wings to count her points.
Starlight smiled. “Yup.”
“Well, alright then,” Applejack sounded satisfied enough.