Tuesday night approached, and Team Awesome was ready. It was time for an update on Project Mercury and what happened at the Crystal Empire over the weekend. Some of them knew, and some of them didn’t, for each part. As their master said time and again, these meetings made sure every pony in the pack stayed up-to-date. Discord, Spike, and Sweetie Belle joined them, as had become the tradition.
“Alright, let’s get started,” Rainbow announced to the group. “First up, let’s tell you all about our trip to the Crystal Empire. Rexa Twilight, bring them out…”
Twilight used her magic telekinesis to place the crown and Amara in her case on the table. The Awesomevs who didn’t know what they were could now capably recognize that each item was magical and interesting, even if they couldn’t know why in full detail yet.
“The crown worked perfectly, Primeva,” Rainbow told Starlight. “It’s now got a little something special in connecting itself to me as a master mev with how we made the heart.”
“That’s wonderful, Master,” Starlight Glimmer said proudly.
“Are you going to name it?” Pinkie Pie asked.
Rainbow Dash rubbed a hoof to her chin in thought. “Maybe…but not yet. I want some more time with it as a mev.”
“And that heart…” Starlight continued. “Tell us more. Is that straight from the Crystal Heart?”
“It’s made from the Crystal Heart, yes, though it made a few passes through mev magic to be created. I’m sure Twilight would like to give the explanation again,” Rainbow remarked with closed eyes and a proud smile as she lifted her hoof up with a matching air of confidence.
Twilight happily did exactly that, and since Rainbow could freely use chaos magic for pack meetings, she put her lesson from the previous week to use. She projected out her memory of how it went during the lecture. The Awesomevs unfamiliar with the process were very happy to hear the news.
“And Amara left us with a gift,” Twilight finished, looking over to Applejack.
Applejack smiled pleasantly and let out a small fire breath.
Pinkie’s jaw dropped. “Fyra, you got fire!” It was the first time a fledgling called another by their title, but the group hardly noticed or cared, so happy were they for their number four.
“That I did,” Applejack told them proudly, “and it’s mev magic. Just like Penny, there’s a limit to how much the fire can actually be, but I can summon it whenever I want. I even tried it out on making some stew at home last night.”
“Oh how wonderful,” Fluttershy noted with a sweet smile.
Discord approached the table to hover and looked more closely at the case holding Amara. He snapped his talons and found himself hurled over to the wall with a large boom and lingering red smoke.
“Discord,” Rainbow said with an exasperated sigh. “Dude, seriously?”
The draconequis stood and dusted his arms off, waving the red smoke clear. “I was just testing it for you, Master. I promise. Surely, you can appreciate the proof that your spell is working perfectly intact.”
“I am, but you can get hurt trying stuff like that,” Rainbow pointed out.
“I’m fine,” Discord told her, easily concealing the fact that he was rather touched by her concern.
“Very well. Thank for your help all the same. It really sealed the deal for this job,” the master mev told him.
Discord blinked an appreciative smile of being appreciated and made a tree behind Fluttershy where he could perch and continue watching the meeting.
Rarity moved the topic of discussion along as she said, “So, I take it that Cadance and Shining Armor know Applejack is a fledgling. What about you, Twilight dear? From your explanation, you didn’t use any mev magic yourself in all this.”
“I told them when Rainbow revealed and announced herself as the Master Mev. They were very understanding. Even Sunburst found out during the process when I explained to him how the case worked,” Twilight informed her friends.
“He did?” asked a slightly concerned Starlight Glimmer.
“Yes. None of us told him about you as Primeva though he might figure out or assume you are a fledgling, just because he knows our group in general,” Twilight pointed out.
“You don’t think he’d be mad at me for not telling him, do you?” Starlight maintained a worried tone. “It didn’t come up during our trip to Sires Hollow. I didn’t want to be like, ‘Hey, by the way, I’m a vampire servant now,’ without a better reason than just admitting it.”
“No, I don’t think he would. It was almost like a passing mention of my own fledgling status because he wanted me to finish explaining how the case worked,” Twilight noted.
“I can vouch for that,” Spike offered. “Really, he’s cool with it.”
Starlight breathed a sigh of relief at that.
“Time to move on,” Rainbow Dash decided. “I want each of you to take a turn. Tell us what’s happening with you as a mev, if anything at all. Let’s go down the line. Primeva, you’re number one.”
“Heh heh, funny you mention that Master. I told Trixie about my being a fledgling and when she tried to call me ‘Primeva,’ I actually stopped her. She asked if she could call me ‘number one,’ and I told her that was okay.”
“Oh that’s cute,” Rainbow replied with a playful and approving smile.
Starlight blushed. “Thanks. Like I just said, I passed on a chance to tell Sunburst. Past that, I haven’t really done much except what we did yesterday.” She looked at Rainbow and made eye contact.
“Right, I should probably be the one to say that part. I guess I’ll go last as a number seven,” Rainbow said.
Sweetie Belle immediately scribbled the decision in her notes.
” Alright then. Segunda, number two,” Rainbow moved on.
“Oh, nothing really. I mean…” Fluttershy paused and hesitated.
Rainbow blinked with a small, encouraging smile.
“Okay…” Fluttershy decided. “I have a little confession to make.”
“Oh do tell,” said an interested Rarity.
Fluttershy gulped a little nervously. “Well…I’ve been trying to get a vampire bat pony form again.”
“Oh, so that you can have one like Rainbow’s?” Pinkie asked. “That would be so neat! And then you don’t have to just think about eating apples!”
Fluttershy blushed. “Yes, exactly that.”
“And?” Applejack prompted for more.
“We make a little progress every flexchange,” Fluttershy admitted. “My right wing will turn into a bat wing if I try after a flexchange. I can’t do it anytime at night, just sometimes. The closer I am to my own turn, before or after, is when I can do it the most. I can always change it back easily.”
“Wow,” uttered Twilight, glancing down to make sure Spike was writing that part down, which he was.
“And,” Fluttershy continued timidly, “I have a feeling we’ll have it soon, as in…” she smiled, “…right before Nightmare Night.”
The Awesomevs all loudly cheered together.
“Master!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed. “Tell me we’re having some kind of super awesome party for that night. We simply must! I can feel it! Like not just Pinkie party pony feel it, which I can, but also awesome Awesomev mev feel it!”
Sweetie Belle looked at Rainbow Dash with a big smile.
“My Rhezenda reminded me of such a night yesterday,” the master mev told them with a smile of her own. “And I can tell you all are as excited as I am. We will most certainly be doing something. Fluttershy, does this mean you’ll be joining us this year, for real?”
Fluttershy blushed with a happy, bashful expression. “Yes, Master. I would very much like to be a vampire bat pony on Nightmare Night with you.”
“Let’s talk about that soon but after the turns, alright?” Rainbow addressed her team. “Anything else, Segunda?”
“No, Master. That is all,” Fluttershy replied.
“Mitria, number three,” Rainbow prompted.
“Oh, how I do like this calling,” Rarity admitted with pride. “I aided Master in a test confidence run for Project Mercury. It went well. I’m sure we’ll set aside time for that in more detail later. Nothing else to report from my end.”
“Fyra, number four,” Rainbow said.
“As ya’ll know, I got this fire power gift from Amara,” Applejack said. “Apple Bloom pointed out that it might be about time I told Big Mac and Granny Smith, especially since the fire is something I can do whenever I want. So I did as of yesterday. Every pony at Sweet Apple Acres now knows a vampire fledgling lives among them.”
“How did they take the news?” Rarity asked.
“Swell. They was already onto me and Rainbow getting a little time every Friday night. I guess I was worried over nothing. They really have seen enough weirdness living in Ponyville all their lives that it ain’t no big thing. Just like Spike said way back. It probably did help that I have something convenient and useful, I’ll admit,” Applejack said. “They found the fire a little funny even. ‘Side from that, I was there to watch the test confidence run, but my main thing this past week was going with Master to the Crystal Empire. It was definitely a rewarding experience. That’s all from me ya’ll.”
“Quintaza, number five,” Rainbow called.
“Penny and I just keep practicing and having loads of fun for whenever we’re ready. She was kinda sad she missed out last meeting, so I told her I could summon her up for a hello to everyone tonight,” Pinkie told them.
“Very well.” The master gestured for her to go ahead.
Sweetie Belle watched in wonder since even though she knew about Penny, it was the first time she saw the summoning and met the copy. She didn’t know Penny looked slightly different from Pinkie Pie in mane and cutie mark.
Penny was just as fascinated. “You all have a little filly here,” she tilted her head as she stared closely at Sweetie on the edge of the table near where the young unicorn sat.
“That’s Sweetie Belle,” Pinkie told her. “She is Master’s Rhezenda, a helping hoof to outsiders and assistant type things.”
“Neat! I’m kinda like Pinkie’s assistant too,” Penny told Sweetie Belle.
“Wow, that’s wonderful,” Sweetie replied with interest. The two gave each other a cute hoof shake.
Soon after, Penny was dismissed.
“Nothing else to add,” Pinkie announced to everyone.
“Rexa Twilight, number six,” Rainbow stated.
“Well, I already told you all about the Crystal Empire, but I did have another assignment this past week. Yesterday, I spoke to Princess Celestia and Princess Luna about berserk aftermath.”
Discord leaned his long neck down and in a little closer from his perch to indicate this topic was one of the more interesting ones to him.
“So, what did they say?” Fluttershy asked.
“They said that they will handle it. While no one in living memory knows what other communities did after a berserk, besides the little we know from Discord, the book we have makes it sound like they must have been able to recover to some extent since a berserk was regarded as an emergency.
“In fact, they brought up the point that in a way, the berserk isn’t just an emergency for the master mev to eat magic for the reserve. It could protect the day and night cycle as well. If some other magic force, like what Discord and the Storm King did, tried to cycle through more than seven days, now that a master mev lives among us, the seventh night would stop that accelerated cycle. The night must pass in full for the master to…well, be berserk…sort of.”
“Sort of?” Applejack asked, confused. “Wait, does that mean there weren’t any master mevs around when those things happened? They been extinct?”
“Not exactly,” Twilight replied. She went on to explain in more detail, “It means there weren’t any in our zone. A zone is like a…dimension in a dimension. The other kingdoms, believe it or not, are in different zones that let us link to them more often and more strongly as our friendships deepen. Their sun and moon is only controlled by someone or something in our zone if there is an Equestrian presence because of the magic.”
“Wow,” Sweetie Belle uttered, not looking up from scribbling her notes.
The other unicorns present smiled warmly at her fascination.
The young unicorn sensed their watchful eye on and looked up. She blushed, hiding behind her clipboard.
“It’s nothing to be ashamed of, Rhezenda,” Rainbow Dash told her. The master mev leaned in and whispered, “That is why you wanted to be here, right?”
Sweetie Belle smiled modestly with a nod. Still blushing, she magically lowered the clipboard so that she was no longer hiding. She looked over to Twilight Sparkle. “Go on,” she implored.
Twilight addressed everyone once more. “Zones sometimes have fluidity with each other, and sometimes don’t. While master mevs may not actually be extinct, in practice for us, they may as well be. Remember, our ancestors migrated here. Master mevs predate Equestria and even Starswirl. We are very likely cut off from their territories due to both time and distance.”
“Agreed,” Discord chimed in.
“Okay,” Applejack replied. “What’s that mean for us then?”
“It’s Princess Luna’s theory that even though the book names a genuine sunrise as how to end a berserk, it might not be the only way to end one,” Twilight informed them all.
“Really?” Fluttershy blinked and spoke softly with a hopeful tone.
“Plus, Rainbow Dash being a master mev is extremely different than past masters,” Twilight added.
“I don’t understand. What’s so different?” Rarity asked.
“For starters, she is likely the first in our zone at all. We have an alicorn in our pack. The book doesn’t mention alicorns at all. Rainbow’s not allowed to eat magic that moves day to night like what Princess Luna has, but she has eaten Luna’s other magic with permission. Luna is also an alicorn. The two of them are closely linked just by being ponies with special connections to the night itself,” Twilight explained.
“So, what, if she eats from every alicorn, everything somehow turns out okay?” Pinkie asked.
Twilight thoughtfully tapped a hoof to her chin and then shook her head. “No, it means that we’ve got to remember that we can’t wholly rely on the book. We are different than the packs before us. There’s a good chance mev packs never had alicorn magic at all. Another point. We all know Rainbow has special instincts as the master mev,” Twilight reminded everyone.
The other Awesomevs and company nodded.
“We, her fledglings, have instincts too, even if it’s not on the scale of what Rainbow experiences. In a sense, a berserk makes her mostly inaccessible to us. Primeva will have to step up,” Twilight said with urgency as she tapped at the table with a hoof three times. She continued, “We will need to work around or plan what we do because if Rainbow can talk to us while berserk, she might also be able to give commands that we won’t want to follow. But we must because of the mev bond.”
“I hadn’t thought of that. That makes this thing even scarier,” Applejack remarked in a worried tone.
“I really don’t think I’d command you all to attack anyone so much as stay out of my way,” Rainbow informed her.
The fledglings, Applejack included, all nodded with immediate realization and agreement at that.
“Which means we still have to work around you,” Fluttershy added.
Rainbow Dash herself nodded in response.
“I’m sure we can figure it out,” Starlight offered.
“Even if you do figure it out, our concern is the aftermath,” Rainbow said. “I’m sure that even if we find some miracle thing to end it early, I’ll need at least the one minimum. And it’s more likely I’d…” she swallowed with evident guilt. “…eat magic from more than one pony.”
“Yes,” Twilight agreed with a similar tone. “Luna made the point that a berserk is noted as being for an emergency, so even if we want to end it early, if it is something like an accelerated day cycle, we still might have to let it run its full course.” A tear streamed down Twilight’s face, and she wiped it away. “So, moving on, one idea was a berserk reserve.”