“Welcome back, Master Rainbow Dash,” Luna greeted from her throne. Celestia sat in hers as well and gave a polite nod. Luna continued, “I have been informed you wished to see me specifically. I hope my sister’s presence is not a problem for your visit. I am certainly intrigued by your young companion.”
“Thank you, Princess Luna,” Rainbow bowed in turn. Sweetie Belle followed suit with a bow yet staying quiet like Celestia did. “Princess Celestia may stay for our meeting. I will explain my companion’s presence here shortly. Let me get straight to the point. I have come to request permission to eat your magic.”
“You cannot be serious,” Celestia said.
Sweetie took a timid step closer to Rainbow Dash.
Luna raised an interested eyebrow without a word at first and put a hoof out to try and calm her older sister’s protective instinct. “Might I ask why? You cannot touch the moon given the nature of your powers.”
“I know,” Rainbow said. “The powers that move the sun and moon are powers I am never allowed to have. They are what hold power over me, a significant balance.” She paused to give a quick glance at Sweetie Belle, hoping the unicorn filly understood the information was for her benefit. Sweetie nodded to indicate she understood Rainbow’s meaning. “It is not the moon I am interested in. That magic will stay with you, of course. The magic you have that I want for my purposes is that which connects to dreams and the night, not the part that transitions day to night, the part that stays awake during it: nocturnality.”
Luna was quite intrigued but sensed Rainbow Dash intended to continue, so she simply listened more.
Celestia sensed it as well though the request silently bothered her more. She knew master mevs were affected by the night so strongly that they barely slept, making them already both diurnal and nocturnal.
“As for why, my companion here, Sweetie Belle, has offered to serve my efforts, and I have accepted. We have made a necessary bond for that arrangement, but as you know, my magic does have certain guidelines on how and when it is used. I would like to use your magic to allow her to stay awake throughout the nights in which her assistance would aide me in my work. For example, primarily Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Our pack meetings are on Tuesdays so having her available before and after would be useful,” Rainbow answered.
“You have yet another servant?” Celestia asked.
“Sister, please. The Master is here to speak with me,” Luna pointed out.
“Sorry Luna,” Celestia said and returned to listening quietly.
“What of Thursdays?” Luna inquired.
“Thursdays are the night of her sister’s flexchange,” Rainbow explained. “That would be for them in return for their service.”
Both Luna and Celestia smiled with a knowing look in their eyes to such an idea while Sweetie Belle blushed and gazed down at the floor. “And the dream magic?” Luna wondered.
“I have it in mind for a possible job. I do not wish to give the details because I hope to accomplish the job without it, but I do still think it would be wise to have that type of magic in my reserve for maybe other jobs,” Rainbow Dash explained. “I am hoping that I have come to you at a time where you can handle a few days without it. I have eaten alicorn magic once-“
“You have?” Luna interrupted, a little startled. Celestia herself silently looked at Luna as well, an expression of equal alarm on her face.
“Princess Twilight Sparkle, Your Majesty,” Rainbow said with careful respect. “We are good friends, and she wanted to learn more about mevs while helping me at the same time. Another friend of ours, Starlight Glimmer, did help convince her, but Twilight came through the whole experience just fine. As you know, she is one of my fledglings now.”
“Oh, of course,” Luna remarked in understanding. “Do continue.”
Neither alicorn could hide a blush at so quickly not putting the obvious together. Celestia managed to again stay quiet for Luna’s sake in this conversation.
“The recovery time was three days compared to one week,” Rainbow Dash informed Luna. “You would have your magic back Wednesday around the same time I bit you if I bite you today.”
Luna could not help scratching at her neck for a moment in thought. “If I decline, Master?”
“Then you decline,” Rainbow replied. “I will seek a different solution to do what I wish to do. No harm, no foul. I certainly want to keep good relations with you and your sister. Princess Celestia’s letter to Queen Novo helped my mission in Mount Aris a great deal.”
Celestia bowed her head respectfully at that piece of information.
“Perhaps you could regale me with your time there,” Luna requested.
“Oh certainly,” Rainbow replied with a smile and lifted into an animated hover. Sweetie Belle sat on her haunches to listen to Rainbow Dash retell the tale, this time not leaving out anything as she had with the Cutie Mark Crusaders. She watched the moon princess listen intently. Luna seemed to at least not disapprove and even smiled at Rainbow’s own excitement telling of Blitz’s time to roam freely in the ocean. Celesta’s reaction was actually no different.
“Thank you very much, Master,” Luna said when the story was over. “Am I to understand then that if you eat my magic today, I will not be able to help ponies in their dreams or stay awake throughout the night? I will be sleeping as most ponies do, with the exception of when I must raise and lower the moon.”
“Yes,” Rainbow answered honestly. “If you need me or perhaps one of my fledglings to act in your stead while you recover, I will have that arranged.”
The two sisters glanced at each other. Sweetie Belle watched with careful, quiet interest. That issue had not occurred to her. Luna was clearly considering it, and Celestia certainly did not seem as irked as before.
“Starlight Glimmer would probably be best given her time spent with you in the past, and she is my first fledgling with already exceptionally strong magic,” Rainbow recommended, then added, “She is quite special in my pack.”
Luna’s expression softened into a wistful smile. “She would and is indeed. Now, my dear sister,” Luna turned to Celestia, “what do you think of the master mev’s request?”
“I do not like it,” Celestia admitted honestly. “She does not need another servant. She already has six, seven if you count the dread. Why would she need another? And I cannot imagine any need for dream magic.”
“I beg your pardon?” Luna asked, obviously offended.
“No, sorry, I didn’t mean…” Celestia stopped herself. “I’m sorry. Your dream magic is something I have only ever touched once. You saw how that went, and I am just having a hard time picturing its use out in the world a master mev manages.”
“Aide in healing, Your Majesties,” Rainbow said, drawing attention from their argument back to her. Sweetie thought about Scootaloo in a realization of that part of this request. “That’s one idea. Without further details, I’m aware that I could not use it alone. If I ever find myself wishing to use that magic, I likely would need to combine it with something else in the reserve. Magic develops and grows while there and would be ready to return to you, Princess Luna, if you ever find yourself without it through some other means, excluding my own berserk of course.”
“Of course,” Luna agreed. She became contemplative and tapped a silver-plated hoof to her chin. “This is by no means a decline, but I am curious about the other point my sister brought up. You have no need for an eighth servant to your cause. What exactly brought this about?”
Sweetie Belle stepped forward as if she wanted to say something and looked at Rainbow Dash, making eye contact. Rainbow looked to the rulers of Equestria. “My Rhezenda will tell you in her own words.” She stepped back to allow Sweetie to speak, a gesture of giving the filly the floor.
“I offered myself because this is something I wanted to do, to grow and learn about mevs. I chose the title ‘Rhezenda’, to act as her right hoof. The Master Mev gets to learn about magic on a different level than other creatures. I want to be a part of it. I was with her in Mount Aris for my own mission as a Cutie Mark Crusader. I saw so many amazing, wonderful things there, and if I’m with Rainbow Dash, I’ll see more because my work will be to help her work. We think it will help Equestria in the long run because we’re working together to do exactly that. Beyond Equestria, even.”
Luna smiled in approval and looked to Celestia. Her older sister blushed and bowed her head in equal approval. “So be it, Master Rainbow Dash,” Luna said. “If you can substitute for my dream duty for three nights, you may have my dream and nocturnality magic to use as you see fit.”
Sweetie tugged at Rainbow’s forelimb. “Master, if you eat today, meaning she doesn’t have her magic back until Wednesday, that’s Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday night to cover for her. Tuesday is the night of the pack meeting.”
“Hmm, good point,” Rainbow agreed.
“Is there a problem?” Luna asked.
“Nothing we can’t handle,” Rainbow replied. “Primeva,” she called out.
Starlight Glimmer appeared in a flash. The unicorn got her bearings of where she was and who was around before smiling to say, “Master,” with a polite bow of her head. “How may I be of service?”
Rainbow drew in closer to where Starlight stood and quietly explained the situation with Sweetie standing near. The young unicorn listened to Rainbow catching her Primeva up to the current circumstances. They nodded and talked. The royal sisters watched and waited at their thrones, able to pick up on pieces given that the conversation was hardly a secret. Finally, a hovering Rainbow Dash moved away from Starlight to address Luna. “Starlight Glimmer is available to act in your stead for the next three nights if you are ready today, provided a small window of time she cannot do so for our flexchange is acceptable on Tuesday night. They only take a few minutes.”
Luna nodded before saying, “I could not help overhearing, but the two of you spoke of a pack meeting and magic lessons. You have resolved those matters?”
To that, Rainbow Dash answered, “We’ll move the pack meeting to earlier in the afternoon before sunset and figure out the magic lessons later. That’s good enough for us.”
“Very well then,” Luna said with authority. “Let us be done with it. Please come with me. Your companions may wait here with my sister.”
Celestia nodded in understanding and acceptance of the decision. Rainbow gave a friendly wave to Starlight and Sweetie Belle as she departed with her upcoming meal. It was then that she finally let herself revel in the idea of eating alicorn magic again. It might not be Twilight’s alicorn magic, but she was certain it would be delicious nonetheless.
Luna led Rainbow Dash to her bedroom.
“Before I allow your bite, let me explain to you how to cast nocturnality on another pony,” Luna offered. “You envision the dark night air as you see the pony before you, and you link them. Since you are nocturnal as well and have this bond you described with Sweetie Belle, it should be quite easy. There is not even an aura. It is akin to a switch.”
“Got it,” Rainbow replied. “Thanks very much. We have more than one hour before the sun sets, right?”
“Yes,” Luna answered.
“Good. You’re going to sleep for one hour after I bite you, so that means your day will go about as usual once you wake before you raise the moon tonight,” Rainbow explained. “My magenta eyes are going to turn red. I’m going to leave my enchantment on, so that you can look at me. It’s best to seriously look me in the eyes, and the bite won’t actually hurt.”
Luna listened intently and sat on her haunches upon her bed. “Do I need to stand?”
“No, actually, you’ve picked a perfect spot since you’ll go right to sleep,” Rainbow said. “I just need you to let me know when you’re ready.”
Luna smiled, gave a little nod, and said, “I am actually looking forward to sleeping at night for the better part of three nights.” She paused in contemplation, discretely biting down on her lower lip. She decided a chance like this one was worth the shot. It might not happen by her again. “You know, I have an appreciation for bat wings…” the moon princess hinted.
Rainbow Dash stared at her feathered pegasus wings and unfurled them, transforming them to the desired shape to show Luna, who stared at them for several seconds. The princess of the night did not smile, but her expression was a concentrated look of the afore-mentioned appreciation for their existence.
“You wish to touch?” Rainbow asked, sensing the unspoken longing.
Luna blinked and met her eyes. “You do not mind?”
“Consider it payment,” Rainbow decided with a sly smile. “Plus, your pleasure at this will enhance my own when I eat.”
Luna smiled too and blushed. She removed the plates on her hooves and stroked Rainbow’s left bat wing with her right forehoof. “They are lovely,” she noted.
Rainbow blushed this time and lightly wiggled her other wing for it to receive attention as well. Luna smiled at that and did the same with her other forehoof. Feeling the proper time had approached, “I am ready…Master,” Luna announced.
“Cool. Look at my eyes,” Rainbow said as she turned them to their vampire red. Luna complied and felt the tug of the enchantment right away. Rainbow Dash flew closer and bit the moon princess’ neck. As other creatures before her, Luna felt warm and some pleasure as she started to feel sleepy, drifting into a peaceful slumber. The mev gently guided her to fall perfectly in place on her bed. Still flapping her leathery wings, Rainbow wiped her mouth with a small smile. “Beautiful,” she remarked. The black pupils of her red eyes sparkled with no witnesses around to appreciate the effect. She reset her wings to their feathered form before leaving. The master mev returned to the Canterlot throne room and spoke to the others waiting. She requested a private room for her and Starlight to pass on the proper magic, which Celestia granted.
Once inside, Starlight swallowed nervously. “I bite first. No exchange?”
“The magic just got in the reserve, so it’s best, yes,” Rainbow answered.
“Will it hurt you?” Starlight wondered with the underlying hint that she hoped Rainbow’s instincts knew.
“Primeva, I’m not supposed to know everything. We just try it and find out. I don’t imagine it’s that bad since I don’t sense any danger in it,” Rainbow explained. “You focus on getting the dream stuff. I need the nocturnality for Sweetie Belle, and you won’t need that since you being a fledgling vampire doing this work for your master will handle it. Got it?”
“Right, okay,” Starlight said with a nod. “No enchantment I can do to you, huh?”
Rainbow smirked at that and told her in a gentle voice, “You do it all the time.”
Starlight blushed. “But this isn’t an exchange.”
“I know. It is service!” Rainbow whispered excitedly. Her wings splayed out and feathers wiggled in excitement. Her eyes flashed to red momentarily, and her fangs could be seen as she spoke.
Starlight blushed with a tiny smile. Seeing her master so thrilled by the idea was good enough for her. She cleared her throat and nuzzled with Rainbow Dash.
“Mm, see. You know what to do,” Rainbow told her with a playful and contented smile as she closed her eyes and nuzzled Starlight back.
Starlight giggled. “Here I come,” she warned, feeling her fangs take shape. She bit right in, easily and quickly finding Luna’s dream magic. It felt light and airy. Rainbow Dash tensed for a mere second. The lilac unicorn pulled away. “I’m done, Master. Did I separate them right?”
Rainbow opened her red eyes that quickly faded into magenta. “Yes. See, just a pinch. No big deal.”
Starlight nodded in agreement. “I won’t fail you.”
“I know,” Rainbow said with a smirk, lifting Starlight’s chin with a hoof. The two nuzzled again, making Starlight blush once more. “We better not keep the outsiders waiting any longer,” Rainbow told her.
Starlight obliged, and the two mevs returned to the throne room.
“Everything is in order?” Celestia asked.
Starlight stepped forward. “I have Luna’s dream magic for my part. As we discussed while Master was gone earlier, I will stay here with you in Canterlot. I can summon Rainbow Dash easily if we have any problems since it’s best these two get back to Ponyville for any other business before tonight’s flexchange.”
Celestia nodded. “Very well. I hope my sister’s magic serves you and Equestria well, Master. Have you any further business here?”
“No, Princess. I am done, and I thank you for your part in all this,” Rainbow Dash replied with a bow of her whole body.
Sweetie Belle silently copied the bow.
“I was suspicious and hesitant, I admit, but I appreciate your Rhezenda’s sincerity. Congratulations on your success, young Sweetie Belle. You two are dismissed,” Celestia told the pair.
Rainbow Dash met eyes with Starlight Glimmer, each nodding professionally to the other as they parted. With a satisfied gleam in her eyes, Rainbow beckoned Sweetie Belle to follow her. Sweetie smiled back at her master and was more than happy to do exactly that.