Sunburst, Princess Cadance, and Shining Armor stared at the scene of three Awesomevs, one assistant, and one Rhezenda as they prepared to do a difficult task that required coordination and effort from each and every one of them. As Rainbow Dash had requested, a curtain surrounded them all.
Sweetie Belle stood off to the right side of the heart, clutching her drawing pad with the image she had created not too long ago. Applejack stood to the left side. Twilight and Spike were to Applejack’s own right and a bit in front of the heart from the view of the rulers and Crystaller of the empire.
Directly in front of the Crystal Heart, Rainbow’s wing crown stood alone on the ground. Rainbow Dash herself hovered directly above the heart to survey the positions she had laid out for her servants and Spike.
“Okay, let’s make sure everyone remembers their part in this,” Rainbow announced. “Princess Cadance will be retrieving a small shard from the heart for us, and she’s given me permission to do some extra things for the shard that we both hope will make for a better backup than the just the one shard itself.”
Cadance nodded. Sunburst adjusted his glasses to listen intently since he was not present for earlier planning. Shining Armor stood and listened as well.
“Applejack is going to eat all the magic from the shard Princess Cadance gets,” Rainbow explained.
Cadance nodded again, and Applejack added her nod to indicate she too understood her part.
“Then Applejack’s going to set the shard down on the ground right there.” The master mev gestured to the empty space on the ground between her crown and Sweetie Belle. “She’ll come back around where she’s standing now to stay out of the way of the other stuff happening there soon.”
Again, the master’s Fyra nodded.
“This is where it gets a little more involved. After that, Applejack’s going to channel that magic she ate into me. My body is the central point of Team Awesome’s reserve, so we want the magic we work with to go through there and mix and strengthen with all the other magic we keep on hoof, even just the traces left behind by magic stored in the other parts,” Rainbow explained.
At that, everyone nodded and waited for her to continue.
“Then I’m channeling the magic I’ve just consumed into the crown,” Rainbow pointed at it next. “Then I’m going to activate Sweetie Belle’s adult unicorn form because it will give her a mev magic boost.”
Sunburst raised his hoof. “How does that work exactly? She’s not a fledgling of yours, is she? Master mevs won’t bite children.”
“That’s right, we won’t. I dare say we can’t. So no, she’s not a fledgling,” Rainbow replied, “but she does have some of my mev magic. We have a bond even if it’s not a master and fledgling bond. This is a special kind of bond that’s not in the red book about mevs. I don’t know if other master mevs had a servant like my Rhezenda in the past. The point is, she’s got some mev magic in her, and I can give it a little something extra because I can activate this form. I’ll be using chaos-mev magic to do that.”
“Oh wow,” Sunburst muttered.
The master mev continued, “I’m giving Sweetie a boost because then she’s going to channel her own unicorn magic and the boosted mev magic into her drawing of the heart. Thankfully, it’s a simple shape, as are these crystals that hold it in place.”
“Why is that important?” Sunburst was still curious.
“You’ll see,” Rainbow assured him. “After I’ve activated the adult unicorn form and while Sweetie is channeling her magic, I am going to wear that crown and channel the magic I put into it into the shard Applejack set down earlier. Typically, the channeling with objects is done by my fledglings, but this crown has a special connection with me as a pegasus and with this particular job we’re about to do, will soon have a special connection with me as a master mev. The magic being channeled into the drawing will then automatically meet with the magic from the crown into the shard. And then if that goes well, we’re all going to see something special.”
Everyone smiled and nodded, eager to see, though most of them could reasonably guess given the equation of the magic elements involved.
“Princess Cadance, if you would start us off, please,” Rainbow said.
Cadance nodded, flapped her wings, and approached the heart. She concentrated on her own magic and retrieved a small shard, magically molding the rest of the heart to seal and heal itself, undeterred. She flew down and then held it in her hoof, standing by Applejack.
The orange earth pony mev licked her lips with interest and then opened her mouth to suck a small stream of magic energy into her. The others present at the scene managed to see her fangs. At last, the stream ended, and Applejack tipped her hat a bit to indicate her feeding was done. Cadance passed her the shard now devoid of Crystal Heart magic and with meager traces of master mev magic. Applejack set it down as directed moments ago before standing in her designated spot. She opened her mouth again and blew a stream of magic in Rainbow’s direction.
Rainbow, still hovering and flapping her feathered wings in place in front of the relic heart, opened her mouth to a small gap as she took the magic into her. It was like a distant, airy kiss between the two mevs. Sweetie Belle was mesmerized. Her lips parted slightly in awe as her heart beat loudly in her chest at being allowed to see the intimate vampiric transfer, even if there was no biting this time. The connection displayed was simply beautiful and while the other outsiders and Twilight may not have read the same stories she did, they did marvel and recognize that something special was taking place. The stream ended, and after a few seconds of flapping wings and a moment to let the magic sit in her, Rainbow sent the magical kiss she just received up into the air where it automatically streamed downward into the crown on the ground. When Rainbow felt ready, that the relic stream finished its journey, her eyes turned to their red-on-yellow chaos form.
Sweetie Belle felt her body grow as the mev magic activated in her. She stared at her cutie mark to see that not only was her music note red, it shimmered. She would have to ask about that later because now it was her turn. She concentrated and channeled the mix of unicorn and mev magic inside her into the drawing.
Rainbow Dash flew down to pick up her crown and placed it on her head to wear, standing not far from Sweetie Belle. The red in her eyes shimmered as she activated her own magic to channel a stream from the crown to the dormant shard. As predicted, the magic from the drawing was attracted to the magic in the shard, meeting with the magic from the crown.
Everyone but the Master Mev and Rhezenda working on the streams looked on in anticipation and wonder. A bright flash of light later, the phase was complete. On the ground stood a miniature Crystal Heart, along with two miniature crystals above and below it, all held together in place, just like the much larger relic and its crystal placeholders.
Sweetie Belle’s body had already returned to its proper filly state, and Rainbow’s to her typical day pegasus form. The young Rhezenda’s eyes lit up and a hesitant smile started to form. “Master, we did it,” she uttered in amazement. She wanted so badly to rush over and hug Rainbow and chatter away at their accomplishment, but she knew it would have to wait. Though her part was done, the job was not finished.
Rainbow eyed the little heart and placeholders closely from where she stood to inspect the whole of them together while still wearing her crown, just in case anything extra needed to be done. The others present gathered around to see it as well.
“That’s amazing,” Sunburst stated, speaking for everyone. “With this, you have a true physical backup in case something happens to the physical heart.”
“It’s so cute,” Shining Armor murmured through near-trembling tears forming in his eyes.
“A job well done, Master Rainbow Dash,” Cadance said as she gently pat her husband’s backside in comfort.
“It sure is a beauty,” Applejack agreed with the outsiders. “I’m certainly proud to have done my part. Heh, being a part-time vampire does have its rewards,” she remarked.
“Part-time?” Sunburst asked. He had figured out enough that Applejack was a fledgling, but it was his first chance to make conversation about it.
“I, good sir, am Fyra, number four of Master Rainbow Dash’s pack, Team Awesome. Much obliged,” she said respectfully as she put her hat to her chest proudly and respectfully.
Sunburst was breathless for a moment before uttering back, “Likewise. This is impressive work.” He glanced over to Twilight who had been noticeably quiet but smiling as she stared at the heart. Spike stood close to her side as he often was. The purple alicorn looked up long enough from the heart to see the exchanged words between himself and Applejack. She met his eyes but remained quiet and smiling before she looked at the small heart again.
“Our part is next then, Master?” Twilight asked.
“Right,” Rainbow Dash nodded. “Alright, show’s over for phase 1. Rexa and Spike are going to do phase 2.”
“There’s more?” Sunburst asked with wide curious eyes, barely registering the unfamiliar title in use.
Rainbow rubbed her hooves together. “You bet. This is going to be special too.” She removed her crown at last and wiped the front red, orange, and yellow scrappy scraps of her rainbow mane for a moment before returning the crown to Sweetie’s care. The unicorn filly smiled widely with hopeful eyes, and Rainbow gave a small smile back before she had to return to the work still in progress. “Alright, I need everyone but me, Spike, and Twilight to back away some. Give us some air.”
The others obeyed.
With an air of ceremony, Rainbow began, “Spike here has saved the Crystal Empire twice. The crystal ponies revere him, and they revere the heart. Our dragon friend even has a title in ‘Spike the Brave and Glorious’ with this place. Put simply, Spike is the Crystal Empire’s protector and as its protector, he’s going to help us protect this smaller heart.” She paused and looked at him.
Spike smiled enthusiastically and nodded before he readied himself to give a more subdued, gracious bow. “Yes, Master Rainbow Dash. I am ready when you are.”
Rainbow picked up the small heart crystal set and placed it into her friend’s claws. “You’re going to hold onto that, and you’re going to focus your energy, your thoughts, your memories of being that protector while you hold it.”
Spike closed his eyes and did as she said. White energy surrounded the object in his grasp, seeming to emanate from out of his heart.
“Rexa,” Rainbow said.
Twilight lifted herself into the air to flap her wings and concentrated magenta magic shot out of her horn with a determined expression. A vertical rectangular purple prism formed around the white energy and a few seconds later, the miniature heart was encased in what appeared to be clear glass panels pieced together with black frames holding the panels together. Rainbow’s magenta eyes flashed red-on-yellow for a moment, a moment so small and brief that Sunburst would have missed it if he were not trying so hard to not miss anything. The rectangular prism case, with the newly created miniature heart inside, fell to the ground with a clink, and nothing broke.
Sunburst adjusted his glasses. “You shielded it?” he asked.
“That we did,” Twilight said with a smile as Rainbow Dash picked up the case to inspect it. The purple alicorn of the group continued, “My spell is a basic unicorn spell to create the encasement that we can all see. Alone, it is as fragile as it looks and could shatter on impact as one would expect from regular glass. But, what we’ve done today is re-enforced it with Spike’s friendship magic and a little extra re-enforcement from Rainbow’s own chaos-mev magic.
“Normally, chaos magic alone has temporal limitations. The case would lose its strength over enough time and distance from the one who cast the magic. Chaos-mev magic does not have that limitation if the master casts the magic in service of her pack.”
“But this isn’t for her pack, is it? It’s for the Crystal Empire,” Sunburst remarked.
“Spike is a friend to both the Crystal Empire and to our entire pack,” Twilight pointed out.
“So, you are in the pack,” Sunburst noted.
Twilight smiled pleasantly. “I am.”
“Sorry. Go on,” Sunburst understood his alicorn friend had more to explain.
“Not only do we have the friendship to Spike, but we formed the pack specifically for this kind of work, so even if not in direct service of the pack, as in something the master did for her fledglings or herself, it is in service to the pack’s work. You combine that with Spike’s friendship, which is doing most of the protection really, and our own friendship to the empire, such as having permission to do this at all, the chaos-mev magic will hold up. It needed something extra, and we have that,” Twilight explained.
“Even so,” Rainbow added, “the little heart is coming with us. It will be in our care until it is needed, if it is ever needed.”
“Wow,” Sunburst thought.
“Oh Twily,” Shining Armor hugged his sister. Twilight, of course, hugged him back.
“This was truly an impressive show of power,” Cadance said. “I’m in awe of all of you.”
“Thank you, Princess Cadance,” Rainbow said. “I would advise giving this special heart a name. It is from the Crystal Heart but not the active Crystal Heart. It is born anew. Something of love, perhaps, given its shape, origin, and your own cutie mark magic as ruler of this empire.”
Cadance nodded, a small tear forming in one of her eyes. She took a few seconds to think it over, recalling names and words she knew as an alicorn princess of love. “Amara,” she finally said. “We’ll name her Amara. I can give it a gender too, yes?”
The heart itself from within the case seemed to shimmer as if in approval. Rainbow nodded with an equally approving, quiet smile.
Cadance wiped her tear away. “If I might have a word with just you, Master,” she said.
Rainbow Dash nodded, and the two of them made some distance away from the others who chatted together more on the magical feat they’d just seen and done.
“Thank you so much for the mini-heart. She really is beautiful, and I do hope we never have need of it, but it is such a comfort to have,” Cadance said.
“A pleasure to be of service,” Rainbow replied. “I take it you have answers for my other requests.”
Cadance nodded. “My answer to you is ‘not today.’ I will do what is in my power to find a good three days where I feel more comfortable with your request of my own magic. I will have to work with Shining Armor and perhaps Sunburst now that he knows of you to figure out how we could possibly ask one of our citizens to give up their magic for a week. You’ll be coming back sometime, won’t you?”
“Certainly,” Rainbow said with a smile. “I visited before as a friend, and I’d like to keep doing that and as a master mev.”
“When you do visit, do you think it would be okay to bring Amara with you, just so that we can see her?” Cadance asked.
“I think that’s a good idea actually. Some friendship connection magic might grow from stuff like that,” Rainbow remarked. “You’ve been most gracious, Your Highness.”
“Thank you, Rainbow Dash. While I’ve gathered from Twilight how much master mevs try to be respectful and are respected, I’d like it very much if you would just call me ‘Cadance’ when it’s just you and me, outside of the expected formalities in a throne room. I’ll still call you ‘Master’ sometimes of course because I know of the word’s power with you.”
“You’ve got yourself a deal, Cadance,” said Rainbow with a proud smile. She offered a hoof, and Cadance gave her a hug. Rainbow smiled at that too, patting her forelimb to Cadance, feeling she had enriched a friendship in her time at the Crystal Empire.