“What did you have in mind?” Rainbow Dash asked.
“First, a question,” Scootaloo replied. “Is it only at night that you get to use as much magic as you want? Not during the day at all?”
“That’s right. It’s special to Nightmare Night itself so only once the sun is fully set,” the mev explained.
“Can I have the nocturnality you give Sweetie Belle some nights for just the night as well?” Scootaloo asked.
“Well, I’d certainly like to,” Rainbow Dash said, “but what about what your family expects of you?”
“I know!” Apple Bloom lit up with a hop in place. “I could invite her over for a sleepover at the farm. With the nocturnality, she won’t be in bad shape during the next day. I’ll go to sleep like usual.”
“Don’t you want nocturnality too?” Sweetie Belle suggested. “Then we could all hang out all night together…assuming Master doesn’t need me for anything after the show that is.” She blushed and looked up at Rainbow Dash.
“Hmm,” her master said thoughtfully. “You should stay awhile to talk to the audience afterward, since that is part of your role as a link to the outsiders, but that won’t take all night. They have to go to bed too.”
“Oh. Well, would that be alright Master Rainbow Dash?” Apple Bloom asked. “May I please have nocturnality on Nightmare Night to hang out with my friends after your show is over? We’ll be good at school the next day. We promise.”
“The whole night too,” Scootaloo added.
Sweetie Belle nodded in agreement with her two friends.
“You may,” Rainbow Dash said with a gleeful red shimmer in her eyes. “Same goes for you Little Sister.”
Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle jumped for joy.
“I’d jump too, but I don’t want to mess this up,” Scootaloo said from the cloud where she sat. The tiny stream of magic was nearly halfway to the crown. “I think I’ll watch the show with Apple Bloom.”
Apple Bloom nodded pleasantly at the idea. Then suddenly she blushed and smiled, meeting eyes with Rainbow Dash. She gulped. “And c-could I be a pegasus to fly a little with them too?”
“Oh please please please Master,” Sweetie Belle begged, eagerly latching onto the idea.
Scootaloo blushed with a tinge of jealousy but nodded and smiled. “Yeah, that would be a lot of fun – if you don’t think it’s too much trouble that is, Master.”
Rainbow rubbed a thoughtful hoof to her chin. She eventually closed her eyes with a pleasant smile and nodded. “Alright. Don’t make me regret it.”
“We won’t. That’s a promise,” Apple Bloom assured her.
The fillies went on to talking about school and their own work as Crusaders until the stream of magic finally reached the crown. Once it did, the stream itself expanded a little before finishing its journey inside.
Sweetie Belle knew it was time to move the crown to Rainbow’s reach so did it without prompting using her unicorn magic. Rainbow Dash removed her wing that had been embracing Scootaloo the entire time and put the crown on.
She explained, “Typically, I don’t eat magic from objects but living creatures. However, this crown is special to me. For mev work, I can eat from it in cases where I can’t actually bite the source of the magic.
“Like kids,” she added with a friendly wink at Scootaloo. Her eyes turned red. Soon, the same stream that Scootaloo put into the crown worked its way into Rainbow Dash’s mouth.
“That’s the first part,” Sweetie Belle reminded the other two. “Now we have to get Master’s mev magic into Scootaloo.”
The master mev sent magic from herself back into the crown, then removed it from her head. She placed it on top of the helmet in Scootaloo’s hooves. She guided the filly’s right forehoof to touch the crown and keep her left forehoof on the helmet, holding the two headpieces together in place.
“We repeat the same process, only you touch the crown this time too. Think of it is growing closer to the mev bond itself.
“You still hold your helmet now with your other hoof, stay on the cloud, and think of the same things as before. Except think a little more in the now and the future you hope to find yourself in with this change,” Rainbow explained. She placed her wing around Scootaloo once again. “It will take maybe half the time as putting the magic in the crown.”
Scootaloo obeyed, and she chatted with her friends a little more. Once the stream looked really close to reaching her own body, the group stopped talking to simply watch and wait. The stream was evidently reaching for the pegasus filly’s wings. On instinct, Scootaloo recognized it was time to remove her helmet from her grip. She said so aloud, and Sweetie Belle used her magic to pull the helmet away from the younger pegasus. She guided it into a saddlebag. At last, the stream reached Scootaloo through her wings. She felt a small surge of the power spread throughout her body. “This is it!” she exclaimed, looking at Rainbow Dash. The master mev smiled, still keeping her wing in place. Scootaloo hugged her. “Master,” Scootaloo said with a warm smile and closed eyes. She blinked and looked up at Rainbow’s magenta eyes. “It feels even better to say it now.”
“That’s just like what Sweetie Belle told us,” Apple Bloom remarked. “Does this put her in your circle now?”
“Just inside the border,” Rainbow Dash admitted. “No one else can get as far in as Rhezenda. That would rather defeat the point, wouldn’t it?”
Sweetie Belle blushed and smiled, nodding in agreement.
Apple Bloom smiled as well. “That’s kinda cool, don’t you think, Master? Sweetie Belle gets close inside, Scootaloo at the border, and I watch from outside…though I admit, I’m getting a little tempted just watching the whole thing. Do you want another bodyguard?”
“Ha, you two would be like my Secret Service then,” Rainbow remarked with an amused laugh.
All three Crusaders laughed together at that.
Then the mev answered, “You let me know when your temptation has fully drawn you in, and we’ll figure it out then. Find a calling if you can. And yes, another bodyguard would be just fine.”
Apple Bloom nodded. “Fair enough. Don’t think I’m quite ready to commit yet. I can’t wait to hear about where ya’ll are going next and if Scootaloo gets to go.”
“That will have to wait, but since Scootaloo will be my daytime bodyguard, that means that right now, we have to test a couple of things before I dismiss her,” Rainbow announced to the trio.
Scootaloo’s eyes lit up and she placed both her forehooves over her mouth. Rainbow Dash lifted her from the cloud to set her down in the house. She bucked the cloud away with ease.
“First up, adult pegasus form with wings of expected size. Just like Rhezenda, I’m going to change a color on your cutie mark. The wing inside the shield will turn red,” Rainbow explained.
Scootaloo nodded and stood still as Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle watched. The filly grew into a pegasus mare.
“Wow, way to go Master,” Apple Bloom gazed on excitedly.
“Up next, let’s add in a touch of pegasus magic to give you flight and make sure that works,” Rainbow said. “Test it out. We have to be brief to conserve the magic.”
Scootaloo nodded and flew upward with ease. “Wow, it’s a lot easier than the test run,” she remarked.
“That’s because it’s fake and very much temporary. We’re getting some help from a combination of chaos and pegasus magic. We’re in easy mode. The test run was as close to the real thing as I could get you. At least for now. That used unicorn magic for the growth with no pegasus magic at all, instead relying only on what’s in you.”
“Oh,” Scootaloo said from a hover. She flew in a few loops, up, and down, slow, and fast, before finally landing and instinctively knowing that the turn was over.
“Back you go,” Rainbow said, turning Scootaloo into her usual filly self.
“That is so cool!” Apple Bloom exclaimed.
Scootaloo hugged Rainbow’s left forelimb. “Thanks so much, Master.”
“My pleasure,” Rainbow replied with a warm smile. “Rhezenda will be a point of contact for us, just like she’s been, for when you are needed if you don’t hear it straight from me. We are probably going somewhere this weekend.”
“Can you girls give us a couple of minutes alone?” Rainbow asked.
The other two fillies nodded and made some distance.
Rainbow and Scootaloo talked back and forth briefly, Scootaloo giving a few nods, and the two ended with a hoof bump to each other. Scootaloo trotted over to her friends. “Rainbow Dash hasn’t forgotten about an idea we had. I’m giving a little stunt show on Wednesday afternoon. It’ll be short since she’s got her jobs, and we have our Crusader stuff. Still, we can work it in. Can you two come?”
“Of course,” Apple Bloom said proudly.
“I’m sure I can work it in too,” Sweetie Belle said with mock aloofness before breaking into an eager grin.
With that, all the ponies left together as Rainbow had to take care of a few weather jobs in the afternoon. The Crusaders agreed to stay at the clubhouse though Sweetie Belle wouldn’t be there long. After the quick weather work, the servant and master mev needed to make notes and plans for the Team Awesome pack meeting the following day.
That night, Rainbow Dash looked through her Rhezenda’s notes. “Wow, I’ve had a busy week. I need to talk about visiting Pee Wee and how that went. Then we’ll go over helping out Spike during his molt and encountering the roc. Fluttershy can give us an update on how he’s doing.
“We have a lot to report on Griffonstone, so I think we should start with stating we got the idol first and foremost. Then Starlight and Fluttershy can show off their new powers. We’ll get to Twilight’s light at some point. Then we can say what Grampa Gruff told us. From there, I expect the group to have some things to say. This trip was specifically for Project Mercury, so we won’t wait for the end of the meeting to go over it. I’ll note Gilda declining griffon magic in the reserve. After all that, we’ll talk about where we’re going next.”
“Have you decided?” Sweetie Belle asked her with interest.
Rainbow Dash took a deep breath. “I have, but it’s not the friendliest place.”
“The Dragonlands?” the unicorn filly pressed for confirmation.
“Right. It’s time. Mitria’s on the verge of getting her power and if there’s any place that’s granting her an earth-based power, it’s there. With the rocks everywhere and dragons liking gems too. She herself has been there twice and was with Twilight and Spike when they met Dragon Lord Ember, then Princess Ember, the first time,” Rainbow explained.
“You think the land is rushing the powers to all of you for Nightmare Night?” Sweetie Belle asked.
“Well…” Rainbow said, “It’s not as rushed as it might look. Think of it this way. Starlight and Twilight are first and last, darkness and light. They were supposed to get their powers at the same time. That’s why the staff glowed. The powers are related to each other, just like their placements in the order as fledglings.
“It is a big coincidence Fluttershy got something too, but she has been actively trying to work toward her own power by trying to get her bat pony form since our very first exchange.
“Three in a day can’t even happen again. The other two were decently spread. I do think you’re right in that the source of my power is in tune and agreement with what I want to do.
“I was chosen to be the Master Mev after all,” Rainbow acknowledged. “We don’t really use the powers for our work as mevs, not sure it’s even going to happen at this rate, unless the show counts. It will charge the atmosphere with communal friendship magic.
“That aside, these powers have just been the perks. In fact, this trip would be a great time for Fyra to enjoy hers. She can’t just shoot out fire like a dragon. She’s fireproof now too.”
“Are Scootaloo and I really going? The Dragonlands are more dangerous than the other places,” Sweetie Belle pointed out.
“Yeah, this is the type of place where I’d want you both in your adult forms the entire time,” Rainbow Dash said.
Sweetie Belle hesitated before asking, “Isn’t Scootaloo scared of bigger dragons? Maybe I would be too if I saw them live.”
“First of all, I haven’t even seen the bigger dragons around since my first visit there. Maybe because that was during the dragon migration. Secondly, even if they somehow are around, the mev bond will handle it. The bond’s not just about me having power over you but for you as well,” Rainbow reminded her. “We exchanged. I didn’t just take.”
Sweetie Belle nodded.
Rainbow Dash moved on. “We’ll see how things are going for Nightmare Night planning. If the group hasn’t already talked about using the powers for the show like Spike had in mind, we’ll do it then.”
“Are you going down the order of the fledglings this time too?” Sweetie Belle prodded, trying to make sure they had everything sorted. She knew they were nearly done with their agenda.
“Yeah, let’s do that right after the group talks about Nightmare Night and consider the meeting done,” Rainbow Dash decided.
“Maybe you should move Griffonstone to the start and talk about the phoenixes and molt at the end then,” Sweetie Belle advised. “That’s part of your turn, and you are the last in the line after the fledglings.”
“Very well, Rhezenda. Make it so,” Rainbow Dash agreed.
Sweetie Belle contentedly did exactly that.