The next day in the later afternoon, Rainbow, Starlight, and Fluttershy sat in the throne room of Twilight’s castle. Everyone else would be arriving later, and Twilight had no qualms with the still forming mev pack using it to their convenience.
“I felt it happen!” Starlight exclaimed. She sat in Twilight’s throne while the pegasi mevs stuck to their usual seats bearing their cutie marks. “I sensed a shift in…me. It was really small, but I just knew somepony had joined the pack.”
“Somepony?” Fluttershy blinked.
“Didn’t you know it was Fluttershy?” Rainbow asked.
“Well, yeah, but I mean, I couldn’t specifically sense it was her. If I didn’t know the plan, I’d have been none the wiser,” Starlight elaborated.
“Oh, gotcha,” Rainbow understood. “How’d it go with Ocellus?”
“I had her cycle through all of our forms, do some other ponies, other creatures, and she had no problems with any of them. It really is limited to just you,” Starlight answered.
“Do you think other changelings would also have this problem?” Fluttershy wondered.
Rainbow and Starlight looked at each other, then stared down at the map table, paused in thought. “Yeah, I do,” Rainbow eventually said. “But…I doubt any of them would know why.”
“How come?” Starlight wanted to know.
“It just seems important enough to have been noted in the book we have. The closest it comes to mentioning changelings is that I’ll have to do business with other magical creatures. Then again, that book is super old,” Rainbow realized. “I’m not sure we’re a commonly known thing. None of us ever heard of mevs before.”
“We don’t know how old Chrysalis is,” Fluttershy pointed out.
“Okay, maybe someone like her would know with having been the queen for some unknown amount of time. Authority figures might have some things told to them and only them,” Rainbow considered. “Still, she’s had no connection to her hive since Starlight dethroned her.”
“I didn’t dethrone her; her subjects did. I just…encouraged them in that direction,” Starlight said.
“Semantics,” Rainbow Dash muttered.
“You know, maybe I could ask Discord,” Fluttershy offered.
“Oh, is somepony talking about me?” Discord’s voice echoed as he soon materialized above the table. “I’m not eavesdropping, at least not on purpose. I happened to think I’d stop by early before the game began tonight. I figured Rainbow Dash and I could discuss a few changes given that two of the players are earth ponies.”
“How much did you hear?” Rainbow asked.
“Just the part where Fluttershy said maybe you could ask me. Ask me what?” Discord prodded.
“Do you know if changelings and mevs ever did business together?” Fluttershy told him her question.
“Well, I certainly kept my distance from mevs when I could, but I do happen to know the answer. Yes, they did. I’m guessing some changeling somewhere found out the master mev is off-limits for shape-shifting,” Discord said.
“You got it,” Starlight confirmed. “One of our students, Ocellus. She’s the only changeling who knows about Rainbow. She found out on Monday and since that was on her mind, she tried it only to find out she couldn’t. The full vampire form even gives her an electric shock.”
Discord snickered. “I remember that sensation. I never found out if it had a name, but it’s not exclusive to changelings. Some kind of feedback you might say. Rainbow here might even be able to use changeling magic for the number of attempts from your student.”
“Want to try it, Master?” Starlight proposed.
Rainbow transformed into the unicorn speaking to her with ease. She stared at her temporary lilac hooves. “Whoa!” she said and then reverted back to her standard daytime pegasus form.
“That’s amazing,” Fluttershy cooed.
“Remember, you’ve got a limit,” Discord explained. “At least until you eat changeling magic for the first time. Then you’re still limited by your usual rules of course but not a number of attempts.”
“Maybe Discord should mentor me in magic too,” Rainbow grinned, her mouth wide open as she pointed in his direction while looking at Starlight.
“You’re learning magic?” Discord said with sudden interest.
“Yeah, it’s one of the ways I’m allowed to use it. We figured I should learn for this job. This power’s so awesome, I just….I gotta be worthy of having it, you know,” Rainbow told him.
“How interesting.” He became thoughtful.
“Oh Discord, you totally should,” Fluttershy stated eagerly. “Our pack would be unstoppable if our master learned magic from you.”
“I shall consider it. But first….are you three done or should I make myself scarce?” Discord asked.
“No, we’ve covered our main points,” Rainbow said. “Let’s talk about the game.”
“Tonight is another Fledgling Hunt. Rainbow Dash has one hour to capture either Rarity, Pinkie Pie, or Applejack,” Spike announced. “Unlike our first two-player hunt, magic is banned for this round to even things out for our three competitors and up the challenge for our chaser. The cat must catch two mice for a winner to be declared. Rainbow is using another mask to disguise the difference in her prey, this time based on Fluttershy due to their recent exchange of magic last night. Our host, Discord, has added some new elements to the stage as well: contraptions and mirrors.”
Pinkie bounced around staring at mirrors contorting her image. “Wow, this is so much fun! WooOOOooo!”
Applejack found herself in a similar place but was not as entertained. She sighed in frustration.
Rarity traversed some stairs, eyeing the jeweled walls. “My,” she remarked. She looked at them and saw a particularly large diamond. Losing herself in the moment, she tapped at it and suddenly found herself switched to the other side of the wall. She heard a trot and desperately searched for a button to switch back.
Rainbow trotted at a casual pace. Tonight’s game was much more confined compared to the first. She could fly but not as freely. Still, she found Pinkie’s voice easily enough, pounced, and eliminated her from the game.
Applejack ran into a similar switch Rarity found earlier and found herself flipped over to right behind Rainbow Dash. Rainbow pounced. “Gotcha!”
The stage faded away with Spike proudly announcing Rarity as the evening’s winner.
The others left, knowing another game awaited them the next night.
“I have to admit, I am rather nervous,” Rarity told her friend. “If I may ask, can we do it at my boutique? I actually made some attire for us both.”
“Of course you did. You know it only takes a few minutes, right?” Rainbow asked.
“A very special few minutes based on what you and your fledglings say,” Rarity reminded her.
Rainbow smiled with closed eyes, reflecting a quiet content Rarity was not sure she’d ever seen in her friend. “They are.”
“So, you’ll do it?” Rarity asked, flirtatiously blinking her eyes with hope.
“Never said I wouldn’t. Let me see what you’ve got,” Rainbow replied.
The two arrived at the boutique and Rarity showed Rainbow Dash two dresses, the one for herself was a magenta that matched Rainbow’s own eyes with ruffled sleeves, gold trim, and small red gems. The one for Rainbow was a dark blue with silver trim. “A fine match if I do say so myself,” Rarity flipped her mane with pride.
“They’re great, Rarity,” Rainbow agreed with an admiring smile.
The two mares helped each other dress.
“Do we need anything else?” Rarity asked.
“We haven’t spent much time together lately,” Rainbow reminded her, “so just spend a few seconds remembering stuff between us. For me, it was when I saved you with my Sonic Rainboom and you saved me from being framed. But you know, go by what’s been special to you.”
“Oh, those were both…special,” Rarity agreed. She closed her eyes and smiled, recalling other times to add to the ones already suggested, such as camping together with Applejack and the Cutie Mark Crusaders.
“Are you ready?” Rainbow asked.
“I am, yes. So I just stand here and make eye contact with you?” Rarity picked her spot to face Rainbow Dash.
“Exactly. Prettify your mane a little and expose your neck first,” Rainbow told her.
Rarity blushed and did as instructed. “Satisfactory?”
“Perfect,” Rainbow said with approval.
Rarity stared straight ahead and locked eyes with the vampire awaiting her magic.
Like the others before her, Rarity fell into a pleasant enchantment. She felt the bite and the drain of her magic. Like Fluttershy the night before, she bowed before being told to do so. She felt her own fangs taking shape and receiving the transformed magic back into her. It was indeed a good feeling as the other ponies in the pack described. “Oh Master, that was exquisite,” she whispered in a quiet pleasure when at last she had her fill.
“That was hot,” Rainbow told her smiling. She stroked Rarity’s mane a few times in quiet fascination of its beauty.
“Perhaps you could keep doing that while I lie on the floor,” Rarity’s lips trembled as she squeaked out her desire.
Rainbow paused in her stroke, waited about two or three seconds in contemplation before a tiny devilish smile formed.
Rarity smiled back.
“Certainly, Mitria,” Rainbow said. Her magenta eyes shimmered to red for a moment to magically remove the dresses from their bodies.
“Mitria? What a lovely title,” Rarity murmured as she fell to the floor with contended closed eyes, feeling herself being pet more.
It didn’t last long, but it was certainly long enough to keep both mevs happy with how the night transpired before they decided to part ways. Rainbow even borrowed a couple of fashion magazines to Rarity’s pleasant surprise. The pegasus master explained that she was trying to add some variety to her nocturnal reading material and though she wasn’t sure how it could possibly help with pack business regarding this particular subject, her gut said being well-informed in general was beneficial to that end.
Friday night arrived.
Pinkie Pie hopped around the throne room, delighted for another turn at the game.
“Just us earth ponies left now,” Applejack remarked. “You up for a real challenge, R. D.?” she asked with a smirk.
“What did you have in mind?” replied an interested Rainbow Dash with a smirk of her own.
“I dare you to tie up those wings, just like old times. No magic. No wings. Just like any earth pony chasing another,” Applejack pointed with a hoof.
Rainbow unfurled her right wing and looked at it. “You want a basic hedge maze then?” she asked.
Applejack and Pinkie Pie nodded.
“That’s so mundane,” Discord noted.
“The castle’s got plenty of halls. I’m sure we can use the place itself as a maze without you if need be,” Applejack said.
“No, no, it’s fine, boring but fine. Do at least make the chase entertaining while the rest of us watch,” he said.
“Really? Thanks! You’ve made this whole thing so much better,” Rainbow told him and offered a hoof bump.
Discord felt a little unnerved while also pleasantly surprised. He complied nonetheless, finding the touch not at all harmful.
“Let’s make this one the last game,” Rainbow decided. Everyone agreed, and they all decided given the circumstances, it was best to reconvene Monday afternoon since the pack would be fully completed by then.
Rainbow Dash allowed Applejack to tie her wings, and Discord created a basic hedge maze soon after. As with past games, she used her mev magic to mask over the ponies playing as the mice of the game, appearing as Rarity to her.
The audience remained since everyone wanted to see who would win and in turn become the next member of the pack. A new rule was a time limit.
Rainbow listened and trotted. Pinkie Pie and Applejack hid and ran. Minutes wore on but ultimately Rainbow eventually spotted one of the mice of the game, pounced, and saw that she caught Pinkie Pie, making Applejack the winner.
“So, where do we do this thing?” Applejack asked Rainbow Dash.
“Let’s go to my place,” Rainbow offered, and so they did.
Once inside the cloud house, “Besides the eye contact, is there anything else I’m supposed to do?” Applejack asked.
“Memories help, anything special between us you can think of. If it were me, I’d go with the Iron Pony competition and Running of the Leaves. I know things got tense and messy, but it started off fun. We were happy on that last pass after the race,” Rainbow explained.
“You remember that fondly, huh?” Applejack asked with a half smile.
“Of course. I could never have that kind of fun with any of my other friends. You’re the only one who can even get, let alone put up with, my uh…what’s the word?” Rainbow said thoughtfully.
“Showboating?” Applejack offered.
Rainbow cackled. “Oh no, you’ve never been able to handle that. I mean my competitive streak. I get aggressive. I like it. But you know…remember buckball? You and I thrived on the idea of that challenge, that pressure. It was not good for Pinkie Pie or Fluttershy. I say I want to smash the competition, and you understand me.”
“Alright, I’m starting to get the picture,” Applejack said.
“But that’s just my take,” Rainbow reminded her. “This is about you finding moments you found special with me. Those are my special moments when I think of you.”
“No, those are good,” Applejack said. “Maybe add messing around in that old castle to the list. We all got scared over nothing.”
“Alright, Rainbow Dash, I am ready,” Applejack asserted.
“Stand over there and close your eyes. When I tell you to open them, do that and make eye contact with me. I’ll be right in front of you,” Rainbow instructed.
Applejack complied and heard Rainbow say, “Now.”
She opened her eyes and fell into the trance immediately at the sight of two red eyes. The process completed, and at the end, all she could muster was a near breathless, “Wow.”
She met Rainbow’s eyes again, seeing they had returned to their usual magenta. “I just don’t know what to say. You get that every night?”
“I taste something special and wonderful every night, but it’s different with each pony,” Rainbow answered. “You’re the first earth pony too.”
“It was good, I hope,” Applejack sounded unsure of herself.
“Of course! It was great,” Rainbow told her. “You?”
“Sure as sugar,” Applejack agreed.
“Glad to hear it…” Rainbow blinked, paused in thought, and said, “Fyra.”
“We get titles too, huh?” Applejack realized.
“I like it, makes me sound all fire-powered. Do we…do we get special powers like that? I know we somehow do something for keeping you all calm, but the rest is kind of murky for me,” Applejack admitted.
Rainbow didn’t mind explaining. She regularly re-read passages of her book, trying to grasp what she’d become and what she was doing to her friends. “You help me store the magic, not starve, have a special bond with me and through each other within pack. On the nights where it’s your turn for a flexchange, you can manage with little to no sleep, just like I can every night. Starlight’s the only one who has really used that ability so far. As for fire power…or new abilities…I think it can and will happen, but…not yet.”
“Well, alright then. I hope you’re right, Master,” Applejack said with a smile and a tip of her hat.
“So, you ready to wash my dishes tomorrow?” Rainbow teased. “As Master, I command you~!”
Applejack rolled her eyes, still smiling. “You know I won’t.”
“Just needed to make sure you knew it too,” Rainbow said.
“I do, Rainbow. We’re good,” Applejack replied.