“Here you are, Rhezenda,” Rainbow said, holding the special heart case with a hoof, moving it closer to Sweetie Belle. “What did I tell you?” the master mev said with a smile. “Your drawing is what helped us mold this Amara into a proper shape. I promise you the outsiders’ appreciation for that will only add to the magic.”
Sweetie beamed as she took the case into a telekinetic field to guide it into her saddlebags. “Yes, you did, Master.” Her tail flicked back and forth. “So, the idea is that if I get good, we can do something like this for other relics?”
“Sure, but it goes a little beyond that too. The idea is that we can create, bend, and mold physical items to what we think is needed, or in the case here, optimal, for a job. I could not have done this work as a pegasus, and it’s best that when we try to use chaos magic, to not rely on it too heavily and instead join it up with other types like we did here,” Rainbow explained.
“Wow, it is definitely motivating now that I’ve seen what this new kind of mixed magic can do,” Sweetie said.
“And you have a new object to look after at home,” Rainbow reminded her. “One of the reasons I wanted this case is so that I’ll feel comfortable enough to put it in that trunk.”
Sweetie nodded. “Hey, Master…” she started.
“Yes?” Rainbow Dash inquired.
“When you activated my adult unicorn form, my musical note wasn’t just red. It was shimmering, like how your eyes sometimes do. Why did that happen?” Sweetie asked.
Rainbow stared at her with a warm smile. “I’m casting magic for you to cast magic. I use the shimmer to signify to others that my magic is active or for dramatic effect. This was magic casting. I don’t have a unicorn horn like you do. By now, I could probably grow one if I wanted, but I like having my special eyes. They’ve got vampire flair. Anyway, point is, it’s an indication that me, and in turn you, because of the bond and assignment thing we have going on, are casting magic, doing our work. Cool, huh?”
Sweetie nodded with a smile. “Very.”
She hugged Rainbow’s forelimb from the ground. “I wanted to hug you so badly earlier, Master. I’m so proud of us.”
Rainbow blushed and stroked the filly’s mane. “I would have liked that and am proud too, but you made the right decision. I needed to focus to get this case done too.”
“Is every job going to feel this awesome?” Sweetie asked.
“Hah, wouldn’t that be something? I honestly don’t know. All I can tell you is that so far, it’s just like I said before. I’m having loads of fun with this stuff,” Rainbow answered.
“Me too,” Sweetie agreed. “How much of all this fun can I tell Apple Bloom and Scootaloo?”
Rainbow Dash’s expression grew thoughtful as she met eyes with Applejack and Twilight Sparkle, respectively. The other two mevs looked at her with warm, hopeful smiles of their own.
“They’re here!” said a delighted Apple Bloom hopping place.
Scootaloo fluttered up in place as well. “Finally!”
The train arrived, and a door swished open to reveal Twilight and Spike first. Soon, after Applejack stepped out. “Applejack!” Apple Bloom exclaimed running to nuzzle with her sister.
“Hey there sugarcube,” her older sister greeted.
Finally, Rainbow Dash and Sweetie Belle stepped down too, Sweetie carrying her important saddlebags with items of interest.
“Master Rainbow Dash! Sweetie Belle!” the two fillies exclaimed at the same time.
“Hi girls,” Sweetie said.
“Are you coming over with us to the clubhouse before you go home?” Apple Bloom asked.
“Actually,” Applejack interjected, “we thought the two of you might want to join the five of us at Twilight’s castle for a short while. Then I’ll escort you girls home right around sunset.”
“Us? Really?” asked an excited Scootaloo.
Sweetie nodded quietly and seriously.
“Of course we’d want to!” Apple Bloom declared. “Then you can tell us how the trip went, right?”
“We’ll see about that,” the older earth pony sister said, “but we need to get a move on.”
At the throne room of the castle, Rainbow, Twilight, Spike, and Applejack sat at their designated thrones. Since it was not a pack meeting, Rainbow advised Sweetie simply sit in Starlight’s throne. Scootaloo chose Rainbow’s other side and sat in Fluttershy’s seat. Apple Bloom sat in Rarity’s.
“Now can you tell us?” Scootaloo hoped.
“Soon,” Applejack told them, “but you got to listen to Rainbow first.”
They directed their attention to the master mev in question.
“This is privileged information,” Rainbow told them. “You cannot tell anyone else about this. Do you understand? If the three of you are going to talk about it, and I know you will, you’ve go to do it in your clubhouse with no one else around or, of course, here with us now.”
“And with Applejack at home if it’s just the two of us?” Apple Bloom hoped.
Rainbow nodded though her expression remained stern as she did.
“We promise!” Apple Bloom and Scootaloo said in unison.
“Alright then,” the master mev relaxed and glanced over to her left. “Rhezenda, if you would do the honors.”
Sweetie smiled and she used her unicorn magic to open her saddlebag at her side on the floor to lift the miniature heart in its case and set it on the center of the table for everyone to see.
“Oh, it’s a little heart,” Apple Bloom said with a charmed smile.
“Is that it?” Scootaloo asked as if mildly disappointed.
“This isn’t just any little old heart,” Applejack informed them. “It’s made from a shard of the actual Crystal Heart relic in the Crystal Empire fused with our own mev reserving preserving magic into it. She’s even got a name from Princess Cadance herself. This is Amara. And that case she’s in is downright unbreakable. Not only that, but…well, maybe it’s best I not rain on Sweetie’s parade. Why don’t tell your friends about your part in how it was made, sugarcube?”
“Check this out,” Sweetie said, and she used her magic to show the colored drawing she created.
“Hey, that looks just like…wait…” Scootaloo realized.
“Ya’ll made that little heart by using Sweetie’s artwork?” Apple Bloom asked in amazement.
“I got to use my adult unicorn form too,” Sweetie told them. “It’s got a special connection to Master’s mev magic, so it gave me an extra boost for my part in the whole thing.”
“Just what was the whole thing?” the earth pony filly wanted to know.
Twilight glanced Rainbow’s way with an eager smile and clapping front hooves. Rainbow nodded to indicate it was perfectly fine for her Rexa to explain both phases of the entire process. Apple Bloom and Scootaloo listened intently trying to understand following one channeled stream into the next. During the explanation, Apple Bloom rose from her seat and sat on the table close to her sister while listening to Twilight.
“So, is it like you,” Scootaloo said referring to Rainbow Dash, “can’t eat magic from relics but the fledglings can?”
“Actually, I think I could,” Rainbow admitted, “but having a fledgling do it instead to help me is better. Like way better. With a full pack, I really shouldn’t be eating directly from a relic. There’s a specialty in the transfer, just like there is in an exchange. All of us working together is part of what makes Amara special compared to me just sucking some amount of the Crystal Heart itself all on my own and storing it in my body.”
Twilight nodded. “It’s my theory that mev packs had a very advanced understanding of friendship magic in conjunction with other magic compared to even what my group of friends have done before we were a mev pack with the Elements of Harmony, the Tree of Harmony, our journal, this castle, all of it. Maybe the land even gave Rainbow her powers as a next phase or upgrade for our group.”
“That’d be so cool,” Scootaloo thought aloud.
“Does Applejack get some kind of cool crystal power like how Pinkie has a mirror pool copy?” Apple Bloom queried from where she sat on the table.
“That remains to be seen,” Rainbow told them. “It would certainly make sense, but you have to remember, Pinkie already copied herself before we bonded with Penny. It was sort of an established power of its own. I just redirected it in a way to serve our work. Applejack doesn’t have much connection to crystal beyond what the rest of us do, except that she ate from that shard and helped me to give it back today. If something does happen, it might take longer to find out what it is. And even then, something might not happen. We’re all kind of wanting or hoping that Fyra gets fire, aren’t we?” Rainbow said with a playful smile.
“Can fledglings pick?” Apple Bloom asked, standing herself upright. Then she turned to her older sister, “What kind of power would you want if you could, Applejack? Crystal or fire?”
“Heh, you got me, sugarcube. I don’t know. They both sound mighty fine. I guess whatever would be more useful to Master and the work we do,”Applejack admitted.
“Oh that’s no fun,” said the younger sister spinning about in a small couple of hops before facing Applejack again. She sat down on her haunches once more, gesturing emphatically with her forelimbs as she continued, “Fantasize for a minute. What if it wasn’t work? What if you could just do some magic thing you can’t do as an earth pony?”
Applejack rubbed her hoof to her chin and stared upward in contemplation. “Call me ‘simple’ but yeah, doing something with fire as Fyra is something I’d like very much.”
In response, from within the case standing on the table, the small crystal heart shot a tiny white horizontal line a few inches away and then a small orange wisp of flame formed outside the strong encasement. Numerous pairs of eyes widened. One little yellow-coated filly gasped as she stood once more, clearing herself from the space between the flame and her sister, this time moving closer to her own empty seat that was Rarity’s throne. “Look, Applejack! The heart’s giving you fire!”
Indeed, the small flame levitated its way to stop right in front of Applejack seated at the table. “Master?” she asked and looked up with apprehensive eyes to ask Rainbow what it meant.
Rainbow smiled. “She’s right. It means Amara wants to help you, to give you the power you want. Put your hooves around the bottom like it’s offered food and then eat it. It is magic. And you are a mev.”
Team Awesome’s Fyra did as instructed, and her entire body felt warm. She burped a tiny orange flame. She put her right hoof up to her mouth and found the fire did not burn when she tried to settle it. Then she looked at Rainbow Dash. “Now what? How do I…use it?”
Rainbow looked at her, at the heart, then at Spike.
The small dragon blinked curiously at her. “What?”
Rainbow looked to her side at her Rhezenda. “Sweetie, get me some parchment,” she ordered. “Roll it up like a scroll and then pass it to Applejack.”
The unicorn filly did as asked, and many at the table were now guessing what would happen next.
“Blow on that scroll as if you’re Spike sending a letter to Princess Celestia,” Rainbow commanded.
Applejack gave a small blow, and sure enough the scroll was set on fire turning to ash that fell on the table. The ash itself soon faded away.
“Whoa!” Spike said, looking at it.
“Boy howdy, would you look at that?” Applejack clutched at her hat with a tickled smile, “I can breathe fire like a dragon, haha! How do you like them apples?”
“You did it! You really got fire power!” Apple Bloom said hopping about in excitement.
Twilight herself was now rubbing her hoof to her chin, studying everything she saw Rainbow looking at a moment earlier. “Master, could you tell us all what happened just now?”
“Isn’t it obvious?” Apple Bloom said. “Applejack got fire power!”
Twilight giggled. “I know that, but I’m curious to know how. I’m pretty sure I know what happened, I’m just hoping Rainbow can confirm.”
“I don’t get it,” Apple Bloom said. “What else is there?”
“She means she wants me to say that Applejack can breathe fire like a dragon because Spike is a dragon. He is the dragon whose friendship magic is protecting the heart. The heart has access to that power,” the master mev explained.
“Whoa, for real?” Scootaloo asked.
“I could do that?” Spike asked, pointing at himself innocently.
“And I do thank you kindly,” Applejack told him.
“Oh,” he blushed, rubbing one of his cheeks. “It was nothing.”
“See,” Twilight said. “This is what I meant by advanced friendship magic. It’s all connected together, and every step we took had to be genuine in the hope of helping the Crystal Empire. Rainbow wanted to use the crown, but she knew she shouldn’t until she had a proper reason to do so. Once Applejack gave one, we were all able to pull together to create this special heart, Amara, here and the case to protect her.”
“Does it matter that the color is different?” Scootaloo asked. “Spike’s fire is green, but Applejack’s fire is orange.”
Rainbow answered, “Hmm. Amara was created with the help of both of them, and Applejack’s coat is orange. Maybe it’s optional like my own appearance magic. When I transform, it’s mev magic so doesn’t take from the reserve. Pinkie’s power with Penny doesn’t take from the reserve either, so it’s also mev magic. I’m willing to bet that this fire for Applejack is mev magic that doesn’t take from the reserve too. We used multiple points of mev magic to create this special heart and the case for it. The fire can probably be summoned as often as Fyra wants.”
“Can I try?” Applejack asked. “I don’t want to go burning down the castle or nothing.”
“Blow it out to linger like the flame Amara gave you, then try to suck it back in this time instead of burning a specific physical thing,” Rainbow commanded. “You’re summoning a temporary flame. I don’t think it can get as big as the fire Spike can do when he really tries.”
As predicted, the orange flame hovered in place, not burning anyone or anything. It stretched itself as far is it could into a pony shape like Applejack herself until it looked like it could stretch no further.
“Move it around a little in the air with your heart in where you want it to go,” Rainbow suggested.
The flame pony moved to Applejack’s left, then up a little bit, then right in front of the orange earth pony mev. She smiled at it before closing her eyes to call it back into herself. “Oh my stars,” she uttered.
Apple Bloom hugged her. “My sister’s a fiery Fyra indeed!” She stopped. “That one was alright, right Master Rainbow Dash?”
Rainbow smiled. “Yes, that was fine.”
“Can you do it as a green flame this time?” Scootaloo asked.
“It’s worth a shot,” Applejack decided. She repeated the process, and it was indeed optional as Rainbow guessed it might be. “How kind of the mev magic to let us play with such gifts,” the earth pony remarked. She looked over at the small crystal heart in its case on the table. “Thanks very much, Amara.”
A subtle diagonal shimmer passed over the heart in response to say that the earth pony was welcome.