Rainbow Dash and Starlight Glimmer entered a familiar shop to the sky blue pegasus. It was in better repair from her last visit in trying to acquire the idol of Boreas. Sweetie Belle and Fluttershy waited just outside the front of the shop for the two.
The shopkeeper smirked at the sight. She was a griffon who wore a blue beret and had light purple eyes. “You again?” she nearly taunted Rainbow.
Rainbow Dash happily smirked back, unoffended. “Yup it’s me,” she said with a touch of pride. “I’m back, and I brought a team with me this time. We could still use a little bit of help from your goods though.”
The smirking griffon raised an intrigued eyebrow. “Why would you go down there again? Still thinking we need saving by finding the idol?”
“Uh, no,” Rainbow Dash admitted. “I want to find it for a different reason.”
The shopkeeper scoffed but made no further comment on the pegasus’ motives. She actually was a little curious but did not want to show it. Besides, getting the idol was impossible, she told herself. Everyone knew that. Even this pegasus should have known from her last botched attempt. Regardless, the griffon shopkeeper set those thoughts aside. Business was business. “Well, what do you want from here?” she asked.
“We’ll take a spool of rope and two helmets with flashlights, please,” Rainbow said, her eyes surveying the rest of the shop as she did.
“Do you need a guide again?” the shopkeeper inquired, trying to figure out more, still without asking directly.
“No, I’ve got help this time,” Rainbow reminded her and gestured to the lilac unicorn with her.
Starlight put a hoof to her chest and proudly bowed without a word.
The shopkeeper nodded, gathered the requested items, and rang up the charge.
Starlight Glimmer magically passed her some bits for payment.
“Thanks for your business,” the griffon said.
“Our pleasure,” Starlight said with a nod and sweet smile.
“Yes, indeedy,” Rainbow agreed.
She and Starlight departed, joining their friends, and the quartet made their way to their intended destination. Rainbow’s second attempt to find the idol of Boreas was well underway.
The two unicorns and two pegasi stared down over a rocky cliff at the dark abyss below. Prevalent strong winds whirred noticeably just over the abyss yet not on the safe ground where they all stood.
“Alright,” Rainbow Dash said decisively, feeling strong and ready to tackle the task ahead of them. “Get the rope,” she ordered.
Sweetie Belle used her unicorn magic to carry the large spool of natural fiber rope from the shop.
“Draw,” Rainbow commanded.
The young assistant nodded and did as instructed. The shape was very simple, so her focus needed to be on the contours and texture to imagine the proper material. Thankfully, Rarity had been quite detailed in explaining these things to her younger sister. Sweetie Belle brought some markers and used a black one. Once finished, she showed the master mev her work on her drawing pad.
Rainbow Dash nodded in approval, shifted her eyes red, and activated the adult unicorn form for her Rhezenda. Sweetie Belle grew in size and channeled her magic into the drawing, just as she had done at the Crystal Empire. When she finished, the group saw a much thicker, stronger cable.
Starlight tapped at it to ensure it was stronger, as they had planned. “We’re good,” she said to the others.
Fluttershy tied the black cable to a nearby rock, and Starlight used her own unicorn magic to tie the cable around her barrel.
Rainbow Dash and Starlight Glimmer each put on a helmet with a flashlight on its front. They put on small saddlebags as well.
Sweetie Belle guided the Staff of Sacanas to Rainbow Dash, who lifted into a hover, standing upright.
The sky blue pegasus gripped the staff between her two forehooves the way she remembered Twilight did in the aftermath of the storm at Canterlot. Twilight herself had demonstrated the method earlier that morning, as a refresher. Rainbow Dash took a deep breath. “Here goes nothing.” With her still red eyes, a shimmer ran through her irises to activate the magic from her Rexa inside the Staff of Sacanas. She flapped her feathered wings and glided her standing figure to the edge.
As they all hoped, the winds lessened to something manageable.
Fluttershy glided down with her for a moment to test the generally acceptable radius since the winds did not halt entirely. It was more than enough. She descended several feet below Rainbow Dash as well before gliding right back up again. “Going down is fine,” she gently assured her master and the first fledgling.
The other two mevs nodded in acknowledgment and were pleased at that news.
“Good luck you two,” Fluttershy said to wish her two teammates well.
Starlight climbed down the thick black cable with Rainbow’s flying figure descending near her. The wind was strong enough to still lightly sweep both their manes and tails. “That is a deep abyss,” the powerful unicorn remarked. “It’s so dark,” she said with interest.
“You know, there’s a saying to be careful when fighting monsters or you might become one. And then it leads into saying that if you gaze long into the abyss, it gazes back at you,” Rainbow Dash informed her.
“Hmm. Aside from the roc you stared down a couple of days ago, which fits rather nicely with the abyss part of that quote, we haven’t really been fighting monsters since becoming mevs,” Starlight realized aloud.
“We kinda are monsters now, so it’s a bit too late to worry about becoming them,” Rainbow noted.
“Come on, Master. You know what kind of monsters they meant, and that’s not us. We’re far too polite, your instinctive fear snares and domain nocturnivlair notwithstanding. That quote must be referring to something like the Pony of Shadows who was actually Stygian and when we almost banished him,” Starlight said.
At first the master mev said nothing. Eventually, she conceded, “If you say so.” Another pause. “So is the abyss gazing into you?”
Starlight stared down. The chasm was deep, dark, and she felt drawn to continue her descent. “Yeah, it is,” she admitted with a smile.
“Let’s see what it wants with Primeva,” Rainbow said with a playful grin, and they continued their journey down.
“Don’t you feel anything too?” Starlight asked.
Rainbow stared downward. “It’s inviting me along,” she teased, baring her fangs as she did.
Starlight chuckled in amusement. “I think about now we should turn these flashlights on,” she advised. She used her magic to activate the proper switch for each of them.
Further they went until they reached the end of the line for the strong cable. By that point, the wind was no longer blowing, so Starlight levitated herself as she and Rainbow continued descending together until finally reaching the bottom. Both mevs were relieved that there was, indeed, a bottom to reach.
The fledgling plopped herself down and took the staff in her telekinetic grip. They had enough light from their helmets. The bottom was rocky, and they saw a small stream of water to their left. Rainbow deactivated the magic from the staff to see that the strong winds they had seen at the top did not blow at this ground level.
“We’re here,” Rainbow said. “Is our abyss friend telling you anything?” she asked.
Starlight Glimmer glanced around in careful contemplation. “Cast shadows to find the idol,” she guessed.
“That’s rather thoughtful of it,” Rainbow noted, and she did as advised, moving her head around as they walked at a small pace. Starlight did the same. They decided to trek down the path they faced, and then turn around if they reached an end or at least some part where Rainbow Dash sensed they were too far.
“We should split further apart so the lights cross over each other like an X,” Starlight suggested, “to give us two bigger shadows.”
Rainbow followed that advice too. “We’ve missed it,” she informed her Primeva. “Let’s try the other way.”
The two mevs turned around and followed the shadows, along with Rainbow’s ability to sense the idol.
“So, just how are you sensing it, exactly?” Starlight asked. “The magic inside? Your gut? What?”
“Gut. I think I have a little help from Gilda’s friendship,” the master mev admitted. She smiled. “Good thing we stopped for lunch.”
“Found it,” Starlight said with a quick, victorious proclamation. She had seen two large shadows of the shape matching the image of the idol in Twilight’s book about griffon history.
“Awesome.” Rainbow darted closer as Starlight maintained a smaller distance to keep the shadow easily visible. Rainbow picked up the object and held it upright with her forehooves as she sat on her haunches.
To both mevs’ interest, the idol reacted to Rainbow’s touch. The scuff marks it gained over the years disappeared, and it acquired a new sheen of a proper golden color.
“Wow,” Rainbow uttered, impressed.
“How’d you do that?” Starlight asked.
“Got me a full pack,” Rainbow told her with a sly smile and playfully elbowing her.
Starlight giggled. “Master,” she said, setting the staff down at the ground to her right. “Let’s try turning the lights off. This thing was supposed to be made from the dust of golden sunsets.”
“Go for it,” Rainbow agreed.
Starlight magically turned the helmet flashlights off, and they saw the red sphere of the idol faintly glowing in their presence. From the idol’s upper tip, a black tendril outlined in white circled out and upward into three coiled rings of dark essence. It then uncoiled like a snake to wrap around the outside of Starlight’s neck and stopped in front of her muzzle.
“What’s it doing?” Starlight asked.
“An offering,” Rainbow said. “Care to accept?”
“I don’t suppose you know what it is,” the fledgling noted hopefully.
“Darkness. The abyss is channeling it through the idol. Perhaps it wanted the idol to be found. It was gazing back at you, remember,” Rainbow said and winked. “We didn’t fight it, so I don’t think you’ll become any worse of a monster.”
Starlight giggled again. “Fine. How do I accept it?”
“Suck it in like a noodle,” Rainbow suggested.
The tendril flowed even closer to Starlight’s mouth, and Team Awesome’s Primeva slurped it in as the master mev suggested. “Mm, interesting,” Starlight remarked. “Is it like Applejack’s fire?”
“Maybe. Try channeling it out from your mouth, cast some darkness over the idol. Not the whole thing, it’s our only light source at the moment,” Rainbow suggested.
Starlight blew outward, and three black shadow lines formed over the idol where no objects existed to cast such shadows. Both ponies saw a blue light in their peripheral and looked down to see a faint blue glow from the crystal on the Staff of Sacanas.
“What does that mean?” Starlight asked.
Rainbow Dash gave it some thought. “Pull the darkness back in,” she commanded.
Starlight sucked it in as instructed. The blue glow from the staff disappeared. “I definitely want to see what’s up with that. Does your get tell you anything?”
“Maybe Twilight can tell us if we all put our heads together. It’s her magic in there after all,” Rainbow reminded her,
“I’m not sure this darkness has much practical use, but it’s definitely got some vampire flair,” Starlight remarked in amusement.
Rainbow chuckled in agreement. “Ready to head back?” the master mev asked.
“I am,” Starlight agreed. “We test it here, right?”
“Yeah, let’s find out if teleporting the idol is doable with unicorn magic.” Using a wing, Rainbow turned her helmet flashlight back on and hoofed the idol over to Starlight. The sky blue pegasus then moved several paces away, while keeping the lilac unicorn in range of the emitted light. “Teleport yourself and the idol to where I’m standing now,” Rainbow Dash instructed.
Starlight nodded and did as told with success.
“See? Easy,” Starlight said.
“Let’s try again with both the staff and the idol at the same time,” the master mev decided.
They repeated the process and still found success. Rainbow Dash took the idol in her hooves and carefully studied it to be sure. It glistened with its new sheen, as if in approval. That was good enough for her. “Take us up, Primeva. You, me, the Staff of Sacanas, and the idol of Boreas.”
“As you wish, Master,” Starlight said with a proud bow.