It was Monday night in Ponyville, and Lightning Dust wanted to see Rainbow Dash one last time before leaving town the next day. Her Washouts teammates convinced her she had been out of line and taken things one step too far once she basically forced a scared child into danger during their stunt show. With that thought and the memories of someone on her rare skill level befriending her, however briefly the two times they’d crossed paths, she hoped to somehow set things right, or at least better, than where they would stand if she left without this effort.
Lightning Dust found the cloud house easily enough, guided by residents of Ponyville who knew of the sky blue pegasus’ home. One neighbor remarked that Rainbow stepped out for at least a little bit most nights lately. Lightning took barely a second to stare upward at the cloud house before flying to see it at eye level instead of from the ground.
Despite barely taking any time to look at the place even at eye level, it was just long enough that Lightning heard a strange diabolical chuckle from inside that sounded rather close to one of the open windows in view. Curious, Lightning Dust peeked inside. Straight in view of her line of sight stood Rainbow Dash looking up at a tall translucent serpent towering over her.
“Yeah, right there, I think that’s the perfect spot,” Rainbow said, pointing her hoof.
The serpent turned its head in Lightning’s direction. Lightning gulped as she realized it must have seen or sensed her and was now slithering through the air in her direction. It stopped a few feet from within the house in front of her and stared blankly. Soon, Rainbow joined its side and looked at Lightning. “A visitor?” Rainbow said with an interested smile, her fangs quietly peeking out as she spoke. “To my domain. At night.”
The visitor in question was not sure if she was properly recognized. Rainbow Dash didn’t address her by name.
Magenta eyes shimmered into a bright red glow before dimming while remaining red in color. “Do come in,” Rainbow said with an inviting voice and flew back as if in a swimming backstroke before a twirling flow, her body moving further into her house to allow space for her visitor. “You too, Blitz,” she commanded. The dread silently followed Rainbow’s path.
Lightning Dust found herself compelled to obey and did exactly as told.
Together, the three reached the empty open area where Rainbow Dash and Blitz had been standing moments ago. Satisfied to have the visitor drawn into the domain, Rainbow deactivated her eye enchantment while keeping the vampire red eyes.
“Are you Rainbow Dash?” Lightning Dust asked while maintaining a hover but struggling to maintain her composure. The snake, the fangs, the eyes, the very aura of this place and these creatures made her apprehensive. Just as she was starting to realize that was what she felt, a red circle formed below her standing hover.
“Oh,” Rainbow ignored Lightning’s question, distracted as her eyes locked onto the circle her mev instinct made with fascination. “I didn’t know I could do it in the air too,” she told Blitz. “But you know what? How about…let’s make it vertical.”
Lightning Dust watched with growing fear and confusion as the circle below her hooves tilted, tilted, tilted to stand upright, making her look as if she were standing halfway into a red circle hoop in the air. She tried to fly away from it, flapping her wings, and found that she couldn’t. She was stuck like a fly in a spider-web.
“Looks like it still works,” Rainbow said to Blitz. “You’re ensnared,” she told Lightning with a sly smile. Blitz slithered into a figure eight, inspecting her master’s work before backing away with an ever so subtle nod of approval. She descended to midway between the floor and hovering pegasi, then coiling herself into another few figure eights before resting her head to watch her master have some fun.
“Who are you and what you have you done with Rainbow Dash?” Lightning Dust asked, growing a little angry, even if still scared..”Or are you her? Just what are you?”
The mysterious figure swayed from her own left to right with a drawn out, raspy laugh, then positioned herself upside down, face to face with her prey. “I wonder which answer frightens you more,” Rainbow said, her voice airy and amused. “That the Rainbow Dash you know is not someone you know at all or that I am someone else completely?” She glided down and up to face Lightning right-side up once more.
“Why won’t you just answer me?” Lightning wanted to know.
“Because I’m playing with my food,” Rainbow Dash said cutely as she put a hoof up to bop Lightning Dust’s nose. She air swam a horizontal circle around the vertical red circle holding her meal in place as she talked some more. “I do hope it’s the first one. You know, if it were the second, it wouldn’t be the first time that happened. I’ve been changeling-replaced once. Changelings can trap ponies, just like me, but their snares are different.”
She paused in her swim, back to an upright hover with her forelimbs in front of her chest. Her red eyes lit up to a glow again as she said in a darker growling pitch, “I must seem like Dark Rainbow Dash to you,” and suddenly all of her teeth looked sharp. She returned to her casually swimming about the air, her voice returning to a flighty tone. “It wouldn’t be too far from the truth, I guess.” Another pause in her flight as she outright cackled, and most of the sharp teeth were gone. Only the two from when Lightning first arrived could be seen.
“So, you are Rainbow?” Lightning Dust asked.
“Surprise!” Rainbow Dash said, raising her forelimbs up and out with a bright smile as she flapped her still-feathered wings, her remaining nocturnal sharp teeth that much more pronounced with her every syllable.
“And just what are you? Why do you have me trapped like this?” the captured pegasus pressed for more answers.
“I am the Master Mev,” Rainbow nearly sang the words and continued swimming about the air as she twirled herself upright. She fluttered upward all the more before starting to descend again as she said, “And any other information will cost you.”
The mev approached closer and smiled. “One bite and one week without pegasus magic.” Rainbow Dash put her right hoof to her waist and held up her left, speaking with authority as she closed her eyes, still smiling. “No refunds.” She opened her red eyes again, hanging her forelimbs in front of her chest and made a mock biting motion followed by a hiss to emphasize her sharp teeth.
Lightning flinched within the snare, her heart almost jumping out of her throat. A few seconds passed, and the self-proclaimed master mev had not bit her. The trapped pegasus swallowed. “You’re some kind of vampire?” she started to realize.
“Hark, she knows!” Rainbow declared and chuckled wickedly in Blitz’s direction. After that, she turned her back to Lightning in her standing upright hover, stretching her forelimbs wide. Her feathered wings transformed to bat-like flaps as further confirmation. Rainbow Dash looked over her shoulder with a proud glint in her eyes.
“You mean to tell me this whole weekend, this is who’s been talking to me and that little pegasus filly about danger and safety rules?” Lightning Dust queried in disbelief.
“Uh-oh,” Rainbow kidded with Blitz some more, “I think she’s about to figure me out.” She went into a fit of evil giggles. Wind whirred through her house around her. She paused in her fit, a quiet stand within her hover. “Oh, that’s new, I think.”
Blitz finally raised her head and slithered upward to align herself to Rainbow’s side once more and gazed on at the master mev.
“By all means…” Rainbow Dash gestured her hoof in Lightning’s direction.
Blitz looked at Lightning with a menacing glare.
Lightning Dust could hear her own heart pounding in fear but glared back without a word.
“Mm,” Rainbow said. “That hit the spot, thank you.” She pet the dread as best she could manage. “I think that’ll hold long enough.” With a playful thrust of her left forelimb, she boomed, “Master Rainbow Dash dismisses thee, Blitz!”
Blitz swiftly flew straight into Lightning’s face, at which the ensnared pegasus literally screamed, only to realize that the sea serpent had gone right through her and disappeared into the circle holding her in place.
Rainbow meanwhile stood in the air with her eyes closed and smiling as she soaked in the scream with delight. Once satisfied, she said, “Ha! A perfect finish if I do say so myself.” The red circle disappeared.
Lightning Dust felt released, catching herself to hover in place, instinctively sensing she should stay and dare not flee. With her eyes fixated on the strange Rainbow Dash vampire, she descended to land on the floor.
Rainbow descended as well but remained hovering. Her mev red eyes shifted back to their pegasus magenta. Her leathery flaps became feathered. Her fangs stayed. “So, why are you really here?” she asked with as much sincerity as her pegasus self could muster given everything that happened the past weekend.
“Just like that? You’re going to pretend what you just did to me didn’t happen?” Lightning asked angrily, gesturing outward with her right forelimb.
“Who’s pretending?” Rainbow remained unbothered with a twirling shrug. “I told you I’m not giving you any more information unless you pay the price. You have yet to give me an answer. Care to give one now?” Her eyebrows waggled over her magenta eyes with an inviting smile.
Lightning gulped nervously, looking at the sky blue vampire and then to the side at nothing in particular as she thought, but only for a fleeting second. “I can’t go a week without pegasus magic,” she spoke as if defending her hesitance. “I won’t be able to fly. What would I even tell the Washouts?”
“Is that a ‘no’?” a very unsympathetic and unconcerned mev dryly asked with a raised eyebrow.
The visitor began to pace. She could pretend she had some weird sickness. It wasn’t even pretending, really. It was just a week, after all. But was it really worth it to know? She pieced most of it together already. Rainbow Dash was a vampire that could eat pegasus magic with a scary ghostly pet snake. She could trap ponies into some red circle thing and seemed to have a thing for…fear. “Can you at least tell me if the bite turns me into a vampire?”
“That was not named in the price,” Rainbow Dash pointed out, folding her forelimbs, still hovering and flapping her wings, “so what do you think?”
Lightning Dust looked side to side at the floor. “N-n…fine! Yes, alright. Yes. You can bite me. Then you’re going to tell me more,” she gestured forcefully with her right forelimb trying to assert her place in this situation, “and I’m going to know that I was able to survive an actual vampire.”
“Yes!” Rainbow said and pumped a hoof. She chuckled wickedly to herself yet again and back flipped to land on the floor. Her eyes changed to red immediately, and Lightning watched in quiet trepidation, feeling herself locked into the enchanted gaze. No red circle trapped her this time. The vampire sauntered closer and, without another word, bit her. Lightning felt her pegasus magic draining, but it surprised her that it didn’t hurt. It was actually rather pleasant. Then it was like she was getting sleepy. No, she was getting sleepy. And then, she was asleep. The master mev smiled at the taste of her prized victory.
At sunrise on Tuesday morning, Lightning Dust opened her eyes on an unfamiliar bed in an unfamiliar room. Recalling the events of the previous night, she scanned her surroundings in the hopes that it was some kind of nightmare. Instead, she saw the familiar figure of Rainbow Dash sitting on the floor at the bedside reading a book about pegasus anatomy. The sky blue pegasus looked concentrated and calm in comparison to her manner from the night before.
“Why are you reading that?” Lightning found herself asking before thinking to say or ask anything else.
Magenta eyes looked up to see her. “Business,” Rainbow answered simply. No fangs could be seen in her mouth. She closed the book and set it aside. “I need to get ready for work soon, so I don’t have much time to answer everything. Now’s your chance.”
“Why did you trap me like that last night?” Lightning remembered that much of the things she asked at the time.
“I wanted to toy with you and eat your fear,” Rainbow told her. “It was fun,” she added with a sincere smile.
Lightning Dust shifted uncomfortably, wishing she could deny she was scared, but her flinching and screaming at the time gave it away. “So, what, you’re like evil at night?”
“I can certainly give that impression,” Rainbow Dash conceded.
“You’re telling me you’re not? You trapped me, toyed with me, and ate my fear. How is that not evil?” Lightning asked sharply though as the words left her lips, subconsciously, she realized it actually didn’t sound that bad.
“Are you evil during the day because you put other ponies in danger to perform stunts?” Rainbow shot back.
“Hmph,” Lightning muttered. “You’re definitely different at night somehow. What is it?”
Rainbow picked up a different book sitting on the floor beside her and showed the cover with the title, Mevs: An Explanation. She moved closer to the other pegasus on the bed, opened the book, placed it in Lightning Dust’s hooves, and pointed to a paragraph noting master mev behavior at night, assuming that to be what her guest really wanted to understand.
“Nocturnivlair?” Lightning asked.
“It can happen during the day too,” Rainbow Dash noted, “but is more obvious at night and the book doesn’t say it but as I’ve figured out living as a master mev, it is even stronger here.” She gestured to her house. “I don’t get many visitors, so it was a new experience for me too. I enjoyed myself a great deal, I’ll admit.”
“So, this nocturnivlair is all a big act?” Lightning wondered aloud.
“Mostly a big act,” Rainbow corrected. “I scared you on purpose. You yourself just indicated you think that was evil on my part. It certainly wasn’t a nice thing for me to do, and to be honest, I’m not at all sorry. You’re a grown mare who even likes dangerous situations. If preying on your unwitting fears last night makes me evil, so be it. Yeah, I guess I am, just not as evil as the act implies. I wasn’t going to do anything worse than scare you while you were trapped. I only bit you after you gave permission and even then, I told you what would happen.”
Recalling the stated price, Lightning Dust flapped her wings to confirm she could not fly.
“I gotta get going,” Rainbow said, “but I can carry you and drop you off wherever you need to go in Ponyville.” She took the book back into her possession.
“Wait, can’t I read the whole thing?” Lightning asked.
“This book stays here,” Rainbow Dash insisted. “It is my personal copy, and I re-read it a lot to understand who and what I am. It is not leaving this cloud house.”
“Are there any other copies?” the curious visitor wanted to know.
Rainbow half-frowned at the book, contemplative for a moment as she remembered a spell she saw Starlight use to make copies of a book. “I can have one made tonight,” she stated.
“But my train leaves at noon,” Lightning informed her.
Rainbow Dash sighed. At this point, the situation qualified as something she could not do without magic, but it wasn’t magic she knew herself yet. “Primeva,” she said.
“What?” Lightning asked.
In a flash, a unicorn Lightning Dust did not know appeared in the room with them. “Master,” Starlight Glimmer said with a bright smile. “How may I be of service?” she put her right hoof to her chest in a polite bow.
“Make me two copies of this book. Now. One is for my guest here,” Rainbow gestured in Lightning’s direction where the other pegasus observed the scene with bewilderment, “and the other will be a spare in case I find myself with yet another guest who wants a copy. I want to learn the spell myself tonight if you think it’s not too advanced.”
“As you wish,” Starlight bowed again and her horn cast its magic glow wherein Lightning watched as the original copy was raised and two other glowing book shapes of magical color appeared to its sides. Copied pages swept out from the source into the other two shapes. Starlight guided one to Lightning Dust and the other to Rainbow Dash.
Rainbow examined it. “Nice work.”
“My pleasure,” Starlight replied.
“You just…she…you really are a master? You have a unicorn servant?!” Lightning Dust was truly startled by the way these two interacted.
Starlight giggled, putting a hoof up to her mouth and then pointing. “She’s funny.”
“I’ll tell you more later,” Rainbow said with a playful smile to Starlight.
“Just how much were you holding back from me this weekend? Does that little pegasus friend of yours even know what you are?” the guest pegasus sounded annoyed or angry.
“I hold back most of my mev-ness during the day and even at night when I’m around other ponies who don’t know what I am,” Rainbow answered. “You got lucky, or unlucky, depending on how you look at it, ha. Scootaloo doesn’t know everything, but she does know I am a master mev. And yes, part of my mastery is having a unicorn servant. Now, are you satisfied with your book copy?”
Lightning only looked on as she tried to register the flurry of information so easily and openly given to her after all the toying coyness of the night before. Finally, she looked at the book given to her and nodded, “Yeah, it’s fine.”
“Great! Starlight here will escort you wherever you need to go,” Rainbow Dash announced.
The unicorn bowed in polite compliance.
“Don’t keep her long,” Rainbow continued. “We both have school today. Thanks for dinner.” A friendly wink. She turned to Starlight and gave her a tight hug, grateful to be able to call on exactly who and what she needed to fulfill her task at the moment. “Thanks for your help this morning. I’m lucky to have you as Primeva. See you at school.” She gave a salute and flew out the room to tend to Tank before leaving the house.
Starlight waved with a smile.
“What does Primeva mean?” Lightning asked.
“It is my title given to me by my master, for her address or refer to me. My name is Starlight Glimmer, and most ponies just call me ‘Starlight’. For the record, you’re free and encouraged to call Rainbow Dash ‘Master’ to your heart’s content since that is her title and has a much stronger link with outsiders. Where are you headed this morning Miss Lightning Dust?”
After several hesitant seconds of more and more questions that she knew she could not have answered now, Lightning finally said, “The Ponyville Inn,” feeling defeated.
Starlight did as Rainbow tasked her to do and politely bade farewell to the daring pegasus who traded one week of flight for the chance to know about the Master Mev.