On Tuesday afternoon at Sweet Apple Acres, Apple Bloom attended to her chores of moving apples in barrels to help her older sister Applejack. The red-maned filly heard a familiar swooshing sound of a fast-flying pegasus and looked up in the sky to see a cloud formed into the shape of a large check mark.
Applejack gazed up, waved her hat, and Rainbow Dash bucked the check mark cloud away, leaving a rainbow trail behind her as she left the area.
“Is that some kind of signal to you for somethin’?” Apple Bloom asked.
“Sharp as whip; that’s exactly what it is,” Applejack confirmed. “Come on, let’s take a break inside. I got something to tell you.”
Apple Bloom followed, surprised to find herself led all the way to Applejack’s bedroom. “What are we doing here? Couldn’t you tell me downstairs in the kitchen or somethin’?” Apple Bloom wanted to know.
“No, I could not,” Applejack said with strong conviction in her words. “This here’s a secret, alright? Rainbow’s been telling other ponies left and right, and that makes sense for who she is and what she needs, but we got a big family. This is definitely something that we don’t need to be bothering Granny Smith and Big Mac with. Or any other Apples in our family for that matter. The thing I’m about to tell you is something you only talk about with Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle if you feel you must talk about it. If it were up to me, you wouldn’t.”
“Alright, alright. You got me real curious; I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so nervous to tell me anything and yet I can talk to two of my friends about it,” Apple Bloom noted.
“Yeah, well, that’s ’cause it’s weird even by Ponyville standards, and unlike Rainbow Dash, I can’t rightly prove it fresh to you during the day either,” Applejack told her younger sister.
“Prove what?” the younger earth pony eagerly wished to find out.
Applejack sighed. “Rainbow Dash turned into some kind of vampire a couple of Fridays ago.”
“What? But we just saw her, out in the day, being a regular old pegasus,” Apple Bloom pointed out.
“It’s not like the vampires we hear about in scary stories,” Applejack explained. “This one eats magic instead of blood. It’s got all sorts of powers that I can’t rightly be bothered to remember, but I know enough.”
“Rainbow Dash? Really?” Apple Bloom wondered.
“It’s called a ‘mev.’ In her case, a ‘master mev,'” Applejack continued to tell her sister more.
“That does sound weird,” Apple Bloom quietly noted.
“Mm-hmm. Master mevs need to eat magic once a week or they go all haywire and start attacking other ponies cause they are starving,” the elder sister went on.
“She’s been a vampire for longer than a week if it happened a couple of Fridays ago,” Apple Bloom realized aloud.
Applejack nodded and readied herself. “Right. There are ways to handle for it and one of them is that masters can get help from their friends, turn them into vampires too-“
“Whoa, wait a minute, are you telling me that you’re a vampire now as well?” Apple Bloom asked in alarm.
“Let me finish Apple Bloom,” Applejack insisted. “Yes. Yes, I am, but it’s different, alright? I’m barely a vampire in comparison. I do it to help Rainbow. Once a week, she and I can exchange magic and it helps keep her under control. She’s the master, and I’m one of her fledglings.”
“I don’t believe this,” Apple Bloom said with an annoyed and exasperated tone but very much clearly believing it.
“Nopony gets hurt this way. I’m still me, ya hear?” Applejack said sharply.
“I just…did she hypnotize you into it or somethin’?” Apple Bloom asked with an accusatory tone.
“Just forget that, will you?” Applejack continued on the defensive. “I am what I am now, and it don’t change nuthin’ about being your big sis or working here on this farm. I’m telling you because Rainbow wanted to tell Scootaloo. I’d rather you hear about her condition, and mine in relation to it, from me than anypony else, even one of your best friends.”
Apple Bloom sighed and calmed herself down. If Rainbow was taking the time to do that, she couldn’t be that terrible. “Alright. So, is that what the signal was? Scootaloo knows.”
“Yes,” the older sister confirmed.
“Rarity’s in on all this and going to tell Sweetie Belle?” the filly asked.
“That’s the plan,” Applejack confirmed.
Apple Bloom sighed again. “Alright, fine. I get it. But as your younger sister, I will be looking out for you and what this vampire ‘condition’ does.”
“That’s fair, little sister,” Applejack noted with a firm but agreeable nod.
Rarity stepped out of Carousel Boutique, scanning the sky. Her younger sister Sweetie Belle followed and looked upward to see a few small clouds and not much else. Several seconds passed, and the older unicorn’s gaze remained fixated.
“Rarity, what are you looking for?” Sweetie Belle asked.
“Rainbow Dash. I just need to see her make a pass right through there,” Rarity answered and pointed with her hoof up to their left.
“Why?” Sweetie questioned.
“All in good time, dear Sweetie. For now, let me focus. I don’t want to miss it,” Rarity said.
Soon after, Rainbow appeared in the spot indicated. She dipped down in a small arch before rocketing into a larger, longer curve. Her prismatic blur trailed behind her, leaving the path and appearance of a large check mark. It was very much like the one she had done with clouds earlier in another part of Ponyville at Sweet Apple Acres. She looked in Rarity’s direction and gave a smirking salute before flying away.
Rarity nodded and waved back.
“Now can you tell me?” Sweetie asked.
“Indeed, let’s go inside and have a little talk, just you and me,” Rarity led her younger sister back in and made sure to indicate her already empty shop was closed. They went to the kitchen, and Rarity prepared them some tea.
Sweetie Belle waited with a mildly expectant frown.
The older white unicorn finally began her tale with their drinks ready. “Not too long ago, Rainbow Dash turned into a magic-eating vampire. We all call it ‘mev’ for short.”
“Magic-eating?” Sweetie Belle honed in that part.
“A worrisome turn of phrase to be sure,” Rarity agreed with her focused interest. “Unicorn magic like ours would be her main sustenance if it weren’t for the alternative we discovered of how to keep her fed.”
“And just how is that?” The young unicorn grew ever more curious, learning forward in her seat.
“Well, you see, Rainbow’s a specific type of mev called a ‘master’,” Rarity explained.
“I’ll bet she just loves that,” Sweetie said with a wry smile and rolled her eyes.
“I know what you’re thinking, but to be honest, the word itself has a lot of power beyond even Rainbow’s own pre-mev ego,” Rarity informed her sister. “But that’s beside the point. Let me continue to answer your question. Masters have the ability to make other mevs of a very different sort called ‘fledglings.’ Together, they are able to exchange magic instead of lose it because the exchange itself has its own special magic to feed both mevs.”
“Are you one of her fledglings?” Sweetie began to piece things together.
“That I am,” Rarity admitted. “Mitria of pack Team Awesome, at your service,” she gestured her right forelimb outward with a proud air.
“Is that like your fledgling name?” Sweetie Belle wondered aloud.
“Close enough; we call it a title,” Rarity was happy to answer.
“What are the other girls’ titles? Are the others who I think they are?” Sweetie became full of more and more questions.
“Oh Sweetie I’d love to tell you everything about everything, but I really shouldn’t be announcing the other girls’ titles without Master’s permission. Fledglings hardly reveal themselves as fledglings to outsiders at all. We made an exception because Rainbow wished to tell Scootaloo. Knowing what close friends you are with her and Apple Bloom, we older sisters decided to do our best to tell each of you separately at as close to the same time as we could manage,” Rarity explained.
Sweetie Belle was unbothered and replied, “Oh, neat. Thanks, Rarity. You really do call Rainbow Dash ‘Master,’ huh?”
“This much I can tell you, little sister,” Rarity said, nearly whispering. “I do it on instinct as one of the fledglings but really, it’s generally a good practice to use by other creatures as well, even you.”
“Wow, do you think I should start using it then?” Sweetie Belle was quite intrigued.
Rarity admitted, “Well, it’s not a bad idea, but I speak from experience when I advise you to choose wisely when you do. Be aware of who’s around. I got a funny look just yesterday from Sassy when I let it slip in front of her. We managed to make it look like a silly inside joke we were having.”
Sweetie Belle snickered into a laugh, picturing the exact incident.
“Hear ye, hear ye, I now call this meeting of the Cutie Mark Crusaders to order,” Apple Bloom announced from her podium in the clubhouse on Wednesday afternoon. “We all found out the thing our sisters wanted to tell us, right?” she asked the other two.
Scootaloo looked to Sweetie Belle, then to Apple Bloom, “Rainbow said I’d find out more from the two of you. The part she told me is that she’s some kind of vampire now, and that your sisters help feed her.”
“She didn’t tell you how?” Sweetie Belle asked.
“No. Just that they’re fine,” Scootaloo forlornly admitted.
“Fine?” Apple Bloom asked, annoyed. “Scootaloo, she turned Applejack into a vampire as well, probably Rarity too.”
“She did,” Sweetie said with a smile.
“Wait, she did?!” Scootaloo worriedly asked.
“Why wouldn’t she tell you?” Apple Bloom set her annoyance aside and moved onto wonder.
“I think each sister mainly told us about themselves and Rainbow, so in her case, just herself,” Sweetie Belle hypothesized.
“I guess…” Scootaloo figured that made enough sense.
“You think it was something else?” Sweetie Belle prodded.
“No, it’s just that…she came in right after I kicked out the Rainbow Dash fan club to start my first ever Washouts fan club meeting. Ever since, I just feel…I don’t even know, but it’s not good…”
“Awkward. Wait, you’re not even a fan of hers anymore?” Apple Bloom asked. “When did that happen?”
“Talk about bad timing,” Sweetie Belle chimed in. “I bet she wouldn’t have bothered if she had known you moved on. She probably only stuck it out because Rarity and Applejack were waiting on her. They had an actual signal planned.”
“Hey, I never said I wasn’t a fan of hers any more…” Scootaloo began to argue.
“I think the clubhouse decor speaks for itself,” Sweetie Belle pointed out.
Although Scootaloo had hidden away a lot of the more overt and large Washouts merchandise, the only picture of Rainbow to be seen was with Applejack and Rarity. The trio stood in blue jumpsuits when they helped the younger sisters make go-carts for school. The clubhouse often had a standing balloon figure of Rainbow Dash on an end table by a wall. Such a balloon figure was gone and replaced by one of black and green.
“I’m just into them a lot at the moment. It’s different,” Scootaloo insisted. “In fact, despite everything, Rainbow’s actually taking me to see their show this weekend. I’m going to show her why they’re super awesome. She’ll understand.”
“I guess that’s nice,” Apple Bloom considered.
“If you say so,” Sweetie Belle finally conceded. “So, if she didn’t tell you about our sisters being fledglings, what did she tell you?”
“Fledglings?” Scootaloo asked.
“Yeah, that’s the kind Rarity is, and I assume Applejack too,” Sweetie Belle explained. Apple Bloom nodded to confirm while Sweetie Belle continued and said, “The other type of mev.”
“Oh,” Scootaloo realized. “Well, she told me…not much…to be honest, the main part I remember is that she showed me her fangs and told me she could change her appearance whenever she wanted though she still looks like a pegasus most of the time.” She couldn’t think of anything else to add just then.
“That is so cool,” Sweetie Belle said with evident fascination. “I didn’t even think to ask Rarity if I could see her fangs.”
“You seem just a little too into this,” Apple Bloom dryly remarked. She narrowed her eyes as if suspicious of Sweetie Belle.
“It’s interesting,” the white unicorn said with a sincere smile. “They even get their own titles in the pack, like a secret code name.”
“Really?” Now Apple Bloom herself sounded interested as well.
“Mm-hmm. Rarity is ‘Mitria’, and the name of the pack is ‘Team Awesome.'” Sweetie Belle was happy to be the pony in the know compared to the other two at present.
“Ha, ‘Team Awesome’, that is so Rainbow,” Scootaloo said in amusement.
“I was so worked up talking to Applejack, that kind of thing didn’t even come up,” Apple Bloom realized. “I kinda want to know her code name now too.”
“Rainbow didn’t bring up hers either.” Scootaloo offered her small contribution, or lack thereof, to this piece of information.
“Rainbow’s title is obvious and easy,” Sweetie Belle spoke with authority. “It’s ‘Master.’ Rarity said the word itself has power, and that it’s a good idea to use it, provided no one who doesn’t know she’s the master mev is around.”
“I’ll try it this weekend if the chance comes up,” Scootaloo decided, now curious. “Say, how do your sisters feed Rainbow anyway?”
“Something about exchanging magic once a week,” Apple Bloom said. “Applejack didn’t get any more detailed than that.”
“Rarity mentioned the exchange too though I didn’t know it was once a week,” Sweetie Belle added. “But if they’re vampires, even if they are different than most stories, I’m pretty sure they bite each other. We know Rainbow’s got fangs. I bet Applejack and Rarity do too.”
Scootaloo and Apple Bloom made confused, then nearly disgusted faces. As the image sank in, all three of the CMC started to laugh together.