The first thing Sweetie Belle got to do with her new master Rainbow Dash was go shopping, which was certainly a surprise to the unicorn filly. She didn’t mind though, and it made sense that Rarity would accompany them, given her own sister’s contribution to her new bond and already existing fondness for shopping. They bought a white trunk with a gold trim and light green jewel as part of its clasp. Rarity thought it suited Sweetie nicely, and Rainbow said it would do for its purpose.
“What is its purpose?” Sweetie asked.
“We’ll go over that later,” Rainbow said.
Rarity enthusiastically offered up more suggestions of other items for Sweetie’s new room to be at the master mev’s house. They bought a bed with some nice sheets and a comforter. For more reasons not stated, Rainbow picked up some art supplies: papers, paint, pens, pencils, and markers. At Rarity’s suggestion, she bought a drafting table too. Rainbow Dash determined these items were sufficient for today. Sweetie Belle hauled the trunk over her back, where the art supplies were stashed away for the time being, and Rarity hauled a wooden cart with the bed items and drafting table. “Perhaps we could do a little more,” Rarity considered aloud.
Rainbow hovered and flew beside them as they made their way to her home. “We have plenty. It’s Sweetie’s first day and possibly night. I want some time for the two us to settle and kind of get used to each other. We don’t spend nearly as much time together as either one of us does with you. Besides, just because somepony has bits to spend doesn’t mean they need to spend them. I can reserve money too, you know.”
“I simply want what’s best for my sister while she’s in your care,” Rarity defended.
“Then let your sister guide me on what she needs in her time staying with me,” the pegasus instructed.
“As you wish,” Rarity conceded. “Is there anything else you need Sweetie?” the older unicorn asked with a sly and hopeful smile, fluttering her eyelashes.
“No, I really do want to get to Rainbow’s to find out what the trunk is for. It’s not just for my stuff because she could have just said that,” Sweetie said.
Not long after this conversation, they arrived at the home in question.
“I’ll handle the cart,” Rainbow offered.
Rarity nodded and unhitched herself from it. She and Sweetie Belle used the elevator platform that worked as it did the past Thursday night they visited. They watched as the sky blue pegasus gnashed her teeth, flapping her feathered wings lifting the large cart under some strain. Rarity used her magic to open the wide doors of the house, allowing Rainbow Dash to place the cart inside.
“So you can’t use magic for something like this?” Sweetie asked once all three were inside, gesturing at the heavy cart. “Or is your magic not strong enough because it’s too heavy?”
“I could, but as a master mev, I try to keep my magic usage low. For the rare instances I would need it, my magic doesn’t care about weight. Maybe I’ll show you sometime,” Rainbow said.
The trio moved on to selecting the room for Sweetie Belle and putting everything in place. With that done, “Now can you tell me about the trunk?” Sweetie asked.
“Sure,” Rainbow said. “This trunk is going to be for us to take care of items like this tiny piece of pearl,” she pointed to the necklace she was still wearing and removed it from her neck. “Magic attached to solidity is quite special. This piece is a token of my bond to Mount Aris. As it is now, the piece is better served to stay there for if and when I, as Master, need to use it. You, as Rhezenda, are now in charge of the safekeeping of these items. I expect to find more in our work. Consider it your first responsibility.”
Rainbow Dash passed the necklace to her. Sweetie Belle happily accepted and tenderly set it down in the trunk where it looked quite isolated and small.
Rarity scooped up her younger sister with an enthusiastic nuzzle. “Oh, my sweet little Sweetie Belle, you make this Mitria so proud.”
“Rarity!” said a slightly annoyed but also touched Sweetie Belle who was then promptly set down. She looked up at Rainbow Dash, who was hovering in place. “What about the art supplies?”
“You’re going to learn how to draw…well,” Rainbow told her.
“Huh?” Sweetie asked.
“I’m the master,” Rainbow Dash reminded her.
“Yeah, I know, but why? It’s not a special talent of mine, and how does it help you?” Sweetie wanted to know.
“There is some artistry in music, right?” Rainbow asked.
“Think of it as expanding your horizons, which is what you wanted. As for how it helps me, well…call it a hunch,” Rainbow noted with a casual shrug in her hover.
“A master mev hunch?” Sweetie asked.
Rainbow Dash nodded. “Expect it to take time, that’s a thing for mev magic, so don’t get discouraged. It’s development outside your comfort zone. You live with a vampire part-time now.” She gestured with a forelimb down at Sweetie with a friendly smile.
The two sisters looked at each other with a knowing glint in their eyes and sly smiles, then at the hovering figure.
Rainbow chuckled wickedly back at them with a quick flash into her red eyes, soon followed by her wings turning into bat-like flaps.
“I suppose you have a point,” Rarity replied. “It is different.”
Satisfied, Rainbow turned back into her pegasus form without a word.
“I could help teach her how to draw well,” the older sister offered.
“Would you really?” Sweetie asked, her voice full of surprise and hope.
“Of course,” Rarity said. “I’ll get to help you both and Team Awesome altogether.” She clapped her forehooves together. “In fact, I do have time for a quick first lesson right now. Thankfully, Master summoned me on a day when I had time to spare.”
“Okay then,” Sweetie agreed.
With that, Rainbow left the two unicorns to teach and learn while she went to check on Tank. Her pet tortoise smiled at seeing her. “Hey buddy,” she greeted, giving him a pat on his shell. “Can you believe it? A unicorn filly friend of mine is going to be staying with us to help me out around here. Master mev stuff. She won’t be around every day or night, but we’re going to have more company all the same. Kinda strange after it’s been just you and me, huh? First Blitz…now this…I’m not complaining though. She’s real sweet. It’s even in the name. Sweetie Belle. She’s Rarity’s younger sister.”
“Cool, cool,” Rainbow said with a nod. “Well, just checking in, making sure you know this pegasus hasn’t forgotten you. I know I wasn’t around much yesterday, but Fluttershy did her part, right?”
Tank nodded again.
“Awesome,” Rainbow Dash replied with a satisfied smile and a firm pat.
After Rarity left, Rainbow Dash and Sweetie Belle had some time to simply chat. They sat in Rainbow’s living room on a couch. Sweetie held the red-bound Mevs: An Explanation book with her magic and flipped through the pages, not skimming or reading just yet.
“I read that my first night,” Rainbow told her, gesturing at it with a hoof. “I’m pretty sure at least one pack or at least their master helped write it though they aren’t directly credited. You’ll notice at the end is when it addresses outsiders with more direct advice. A lot of it guided me into forming my pack and understanding certain rules and ways of my being a master mev now.”
Sweetie closed the book and switched to holding it in her hooves, glancing from it to her new master.
“I’m going to tell you a couple of things in there, but you should probably read it at least once yourself and soon,” Rainbow advised.
The filly nodded.
Rainbow began, “First thing is something you actually kind of already know; we’ve just never named it for you. Nocturnivlair.”
“What’s it mean?” Sweetie Belle asked.
“Nocturnal, evil, flair. It’s used to describe my tendency to seem more evil than I am, especially at night. Since you’re staying with me, you need to know, it is strongest here, my domain.” She gestured at the whole of the house they sat in. “I’m gonna laugh and cackle and hiss, you know…you’ve already seen it. Blitz and I are going to play. And if some hapless grown adult pony stops by, I am going to toy with them. I’ve done that,” Rainbow told her. “You do not repeat this to your friends. Lightning Dust came here. I ate her fear, and with her permission after I was done with that, I ate her magic too.”
“You did?” Sweetie’s eyes widened. “Wow…she’s okay though, right?”
“She’s alive, and I’m sure one week without pegasus flight magic is manageable. We’ve injured our wings and been grounded before. But you know…that experience is going to stay with her. Did I traumatize her? Probably not; she’s Lightning Dust. I certainly left her bothered though. You’re going to have to accept that this is who I am, and if given the chance, I’ll do it all over again,” Rainbow told her. “I try to be nice enough out there, but in here, well…not so much, just like that time I warned you.”
Sweetie nodded. “Right. And I’m sure she didn’t know she could call you ‘Master’ to help herself out.”
“Right you are,” Rainbow agreed.
“If it happens while I’m here, could I….could I watch?” Sweetie asked.
Rainbow’s lips curled into an amused smile, and her red eyes surfaced in momentary excitement. She cackled even then. “I like you,” she said honestly. “I’ll consider it. For now, no.”
“Okay,” Sweetie replied.
The master mev continued, “And when it comes to my eating magic, do your best to steer clear. I don’t like being watched. But if you are kind of living here, and I have six different ponies that may or may not stop by…I’m aware it could happen.”
“Yes, Master,” Sweetie said.
“Up next. The berserk. If I do not eat magic once a week, I will go berserk for an entire night. According to that book, that means I’m going to do what I can to seek and eat food. I’ll be able to talk to my fledglings, but they won’t be able to reason with me. I’m starving and just want food. You’d be safe from me eating your magic because you are a child, and master mevs don’t bite children, even while berserk,” Rainbow said.
“Do you know why?” Sweetie asked with mild intrigue. “Or sense?” she added.
“Hmm,” Rainbow grew thoughtful. “I’ve certainly taken note of the fact that children seem more susceptible to me scaring them. During a berserk, I might try harder to scare them to eat their fear, maybe because I can’t eat their magic and it’s still food of some kind.”
“Oh wow,” Sweetie said.
“Yeah,” Rainbow agreed, not all too proud of that fact. “But you know, maybe you and I did something together today with the bond we formed. You are my connection to outsiders, especially younger ones. You’d probably be the most safe from me though I don’t think you could reason with me any better than my fledglings.”
Sweetie openly wondered, “Do you think it will happen one day? Going berserk?”
Rainbow Dash heaved a heavy sigh at that question, clearly having pondered it in her own time. She answered in a serious tone, “I’ve got a full pack and powerful magic to reach them. That will greatly lessen the chances.”
“But…” Sweetie prodded.
“The possibility still exists. It must,” Rainbow informed her. “How? I’m not sure. I hate to think of any power that could take my fledglings or even volunteers from me for a full week. One possibility I’ve considered is to bypass that entirely with an unnatural passing of day and night. That book specifies that a berserk ends on a genuine sunrise. Without saying the rest, I do believe that means fake days and nights can trigger it but not stop it. Celestia and Luna are not the only beings capable of moving the sun and moon. Discord did it the first time he escaped his stone prison. The Storm King did it with a staff.”
“That is scary,” Sweetie said.
Rainbow nodded. “It’s the worst part really. The rest of this business? I’m having loads of fun to be honest.”
Sweetie smiled. “Yeah, I’ve had fun with it too. Maybe…maybe you could talk to Princess Celestia or your pack or somebody about preparing for if it happens. You know, helping everyone get better the next morning, making sure Equestria can handle one week without magic. Just the week.”
“Good idea. Write it down or remember it, but bring that up on Tuesday night for our pack meeting,” Rainbow said.
“I get to go?” Sweetie asked with a smile.
“Of course,” Rainbow asserted. “You’re my Rhezenda now. I’m going to need to figure out how to let you stay up late for those nights and maybe certain other nights as well. Tuesday nights are super busy for me. Not only do we have the meeting and I have my flexchange with Starlight, they’re also the night of my magic lessons. Hmm, maybe I can ask Luna. I wanted to see if I could eat her dream magic anyway.”
“You can do that?” Sweetie asked, full of awe.
“We should ask today. You and me. Let’s take a trip to Canterlot,” the master mev suggested with a sly smile.
“Seriously? What if she says no?” Sweetie sounded worried but hopeful too.
Unfazed, Rainbow Dash informed her, “Then I’ll figure something else out. I’ll be disappointed but not mad. It’s business, Rhezenda. You wanted to be with me and learn more about magic and the world. Here’s a chance for us to do that.”
“Okay,” Sweetie said with an eager nod.
“Before we go, a few more things,” Rainbow decided. “This is the secret stuff you really don’t share, and I’m sure is what you were hoping to learn. Understand?”
“So far, every meal that’s not with a fledgling was done with permission. I’ve consumed magic from creatures four times. My first time was Twilight on my first day, as in during the day. She slept for one hour and because she is an alicorn, her magic returned within three days. That will be something we need to remember to tell Luna with my request.”
Sweetie Belle nodded and continued listening seriously.
“My second meal was Discord himself,” Rainbow said.
“What? Really? He let you?” a shocked unicorn filly asked.
Rainbow Dash nodded. “That he did. He’s actually been super cool about this whole thing, even after having bad experiences with mevs way back. He helped us make the games when I formed my pack and tutored me last week once his magic fully recovered. It’s thanks to him that I’ve learned to do some amazing things with Blitz like what you saw just yesterday. You respect the Lord of Chaos when we see him.”
“Yes, Master,” said a clearly enthused Sweetie Belle.
“That one was done at night. When I eat at night, the creature I ate from sleeps until sunrise,” Rainbow explained. “My third meal was Lightning Dust, and I can admit that I ate her fear without her permission. I have told her and admitted as much that no, it wasn’t nice of me and can be considered evil. I did make an agreement with her when it came to her magic.”
Sweetie said nothing and still listened.
Rainbow went on, “My fourth meal was Princess Skystar during the day at Mount Aris.”
Sweetie’s jaw dropped. “You ate her magic during your mission?”
“As part of my mission, yes,” the mev answered. “My body hosts a reserve of magic. It’s going to develop and grow and if someone like Tirek or something else ever happens again, I’ll be able to help other creatures out, now as far as Mount Aris because they are linked to me through the reserve. It’s kind of funny because it would sure be useful after a berserk, but I’m guessing recovering from a berserk is not that simple.”
“Oh wow, I didn’t even think of that,” Sweetie remarked.
Rainbow continued, “I made my request formally to Queen Novo, and Skystar volunteered. She is young but considered an adult in her culture. I let the queen watch. That meant the magic lacked flavor, and I didn’t get to savor it, but as she pointed out to me, it was her daughter. Given what I wanted, the terms were reasonable. The queen willingly let me have that tiny piece of pearl that I have already used to bind you to me, and she let me let Blitz loose in the ocean to learn and experience more about that magic. My performance was part of my payment.”
“Ohhh,” Sweetie realized.
“My intention and hope as the Master Mev is to eat magic with consent whenever possible,” Rainbow explained.
“But fear?” the filly asked.
“Fear is different,” Rainbow Dash said. “I am not actually taking it away. The creatures I affect know it and feel it and remember it. It’s like soaking in the feeling. If they want that fear, it’s still with them. It doesn’t drain them like my magic-eating does. If they don’t want it, I cannot take it away. I do risk traumatizing them, I know, and all I’ve got is that it’s in my nature, part of who and what I am. I work on it, but I’m not as in control about it compared to the magic consumption. In fact, let me tell you about the students to explain all of this better.”
“What happened?” Sweetie Belle prodded.
“Before my friends were the fledglings in my pack, we all decided together to try not to bring attention to Twilight’s magic being gone for those few days or my transformation and hopefully we wouldn’t have to tell any of the students at the school,” Rainbow began.
“But you had to?” Sweetie speculated.
Rainbow admitted, “Not sure I had to, but I did it still. We have five students from other kingdoms. They are not ponies, and they are a close group of friends that does include one pony in their group. Together, they realized something was up and asked me about it. I decided that if anyone should tell them, it should be me.
“When I did tell them, it was like something came over me. I instinctively cast my first fear snare. I wanted them to see me and to hold their attention. I think it was my nocturnivlair acting but during the day. Blitz came out for the first time, and I was vaguely aware that some awesome power was acting on my behalf. She had no name yet. She closed in on them and then flew down through them, and a few seconds after that, they all, in their heads, became aware of the word Master. Another few seconds, and Gallus, the griffon in the group, said it. That snapped me out of it.”
“Whoa,” Sweetie said.
“I told them all as best I could what just happened. When I gave Blitz her name later that night, she admitted to me that she was the one who told them my title. Aside from special stuff I picked up from practicing with Discord’s magic recently, she cannot really talk, not verbally aloud for creatures to hear. So, even though she helped me with the trap I set, she knew to pull me back by helping the students know my title,” Rainbow Dash explained.
Sweetie smiled. “She’s amazing.”
Rainbow smiled too. “Yes, she is. Now that I know I can summon her and cast the snares, I’m able to better control it. But still, when Lightning came here, whew…domain nocturnivlair. It was done on instinct, and I was fascinated more than anything.”
“Well, you were already mad at her about Scootaloo. Maybe it was kind of a vengeful thing,” Sweetie theorized aloud.
“It wasn’t,” Rainbow admitted with certainty. “While true that I was mad at her about Scootaloo from the day before, revenge is not what I had in mind. I certainly wasn’t mad while she was here. Seriously, Sweetie, I wanted to play with her as a vampire, so I did. It was that simple.”
“Heh, okay,” Sweetie acknowledged with nervous amusement.
“Let’s stop there for now,” Rainbow decided. “If I think of any more interesting things to tell you, it will have to be another time. We need to get moving to Canterlot.”
“Okay,” repeated an enthusiastic Sweetie Belle with a hop off the couch, and the two were on their way.