by Celefin

Chapter 1: Shyboom


A peculiar V-shaped formation sped across Equestria's skies in the late afternoon sun: a pack of four griffins following the lead of a yellow Pegasus with pink mane.

"We must get there in time! We must!", Fluttershy asserted before adding in a much smaller voice: "Uh… I'm sorry. I Didn't want to sound pushy…"

The large black and white griffin closest to her just rolled his eyes.

"You're already setting quite a pace for a pony, don't overdo it. We'll get there."

"We. Must!", came the reply between two heaving breaths.

Their long shadows speeding along on the soft whiteness below them were suddenly distorted by a fifth griffin breaking through the thick cloud cover, her golden feathers glistening with a wet sheen.

"Magpie!", she called out to Fluttershy's winggriffin. "I think I've found them! But it's real nasty weather down there!"

She pointed forwards to one of several imposing cloud formations rising from the fluffy white plain.

"Below that one over there."


From a small hill, Chrysalis watched the scene with a satisfied smile. She wouldn't even have to get her hooves dirty by the looks of it. Her four remaining adversaries were out-ponied and out-magicked, surrounded by a whole swarm of her changelings. The blue Pegasus with the impossibly coloured mane lay unconscious on the ground, the badly limping pink one trying to wake her up.

The others had formed a protective circle around their friends outside which lay a steadily growing ring-mound of gray bodies. The orange earth-pony's lethal kicks missed their targets ever more often while her elegant white unicorn companion was showing clear signs of exhaustion, now almost dropping to her knees every time she telekinetically flung changelings onto changelings.

Their leader still stood strong though, layers of overglow from her horn illuminating the scene as she threw magical fire at the attackers while simultaneously maintaining a so far impenetrable shield spell.
The next changeling threw itself against it.
It flickered.
The queen smiled.


"Down there!"

The turbulence around the storm had ripped open a few holes in the clouds through which Magpie spotted the scene of battle.

"You stay out of this lady, we'll get them out."

With that, he dived beneath the clouds, the other griffins following him wingtip to wingtip.

Panting from exertion, Fluttershy flew in slow circles while trying to get her breath back. The griffins would get them out.
"Yay", she allowed herself to softly think.

Her smile began to fade when she got another peek at the ground through the swirling mist. She had planned on the griffins lifting her friends out of danger, maybe fighting off some changelings. What she hadn't planned for was Twilight's shield spell keeping the griffins out as well. Chrysalis practicing skeet shooting with those griffins hadn't factored into her deliberations either. The queen hadn't been here when she'd left to get help, had she?

"Oh no, this is bad. This is awful. Oh I should never have left…

As she had flown ever wider circles, frantically fluttering about to get more peeks at the ground, she'd strayed under the towering cumulus cloud and right into its rotating updraft. She soared upwards at a dizzying speed.

"Ow. Ow! Oooow!"

The swirling raindrops that had engulfed her on her spiralling ascent had turned into small hailstones in the thickening darkness in which Fluttershy flapped her wings for dear life. Rolling in the battering currents she began to cry, slowly ceasing to fight the storm, only for the cloud to mockingly grant her a last glimpse of the ground far below her: at griffins dodging green flame and of Twilight's purple shield spell collapsing. Then another powerful turbulence gripped the Pegasus and catapulted her sideways and out into blinding sunlight.

She was exhausted, disoriented, sore, soaking wet and freezing cold and it was So. Not. Fair. After a few moments, she got her bearings back. Her jaw set. She was dismayed at her useless self, angry at the horrible storm cloud and absolutely, monumentally furious at Chrysalis.

The little hole left by the yellow Pegasus plunging back into the top of the thunderhead gave the cloud a somewhat startled appearance.


They were fighting beak, talon, teeth, hooves and horns but they wouldn't be able to hold on much longer, even if Pinkie succeeded in waking Rainbow by making stupid faces and trying to tickle her. Suddenly, she froze in mid-tongue-lolling-silly-monster grimace and looked up at the murky skies above.

"Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Something's gonna drooo-oooop!" she squeed, hobbling around on her three good legs. She drew a very deep breath. "BUTTERFLIES AND CUPCAKES!"

Every combatant in earshot paused, startled by what was probably so far the most creative battle cry in Equestria's history, and gazed upwards.

Lightning flashed, for a split second starkly illuminating a spear of white vapour tinged with gold and rose that was darting towards them at impossible velocity. Magpie cast one very quick glance upwards before crying out at the ear-piercing top of his griffin voice: "DUCK AND COVER!"

The griffins unceremoniously landed on top of the ponies, burying them under a shallow mound of feathers. There was a disgusted 'eeew' kind of sound under a slight bulge in Magpie's left wing before he used sufficient force to press the pony in question muzzle forward down into the mud.

"What the hay?! Y'all get off me this instant ya – "

All sound vanished, the eerily silent cloud-spear seemingly sucking it up as it arced closer to the ground and headed directly for the hunkered down group of friends. A bow wave ploughed through the nearby lake, the spinning vapour trail sucking up water droplets… followed by shoreline mud, grass, twigs, shrubs, small trees and finally forty-five changelings who had all locked their gaze on the pony-shaped projectile shortly before disappearing into the solidifying vortex it was creating. The white arrow raced directly at Chrysalis in total silence.

There was a deep, drawn-out sigh, soft and a little but not quite admonishing in nature, and a pulse of friendly golden warmth. Millions of ethereal yellow butterflies washed over the landscape in a deafening whisper of their fragile wings, trailing just barely visible ribbons of pink light as they began to wink out of existence while the sonic shyboom bathed the countryside in its unobtrusive light.

The storm clouds lit up like enormous muffins before gently dissolving into puffy white dots on a peaceful azure sky.

Fluttershy disappeared behind the hills, trying very hard to steer and trailing singed feathers and a whiff of ozone.

Sound returned to the world with an impressive splash as the changeling queen was buried under forty-five highly accelerated Fluttershies drenched in muddy water and assorted botany.


"You did it!"

"Oh my goodness… I… I did?"

"Yeah! And. It. Was. AWESOME!"

Rainbow Dash swayed a little, holding a fore hoof to her head right above an impressive bruise almost the same colour as her mane. She gave Fluttershy a lopsided grin.

"Oh… your head hurts? Sorry… Was it… was it too loud?

Five ponies and five griffins shook their heads and broke down laughing, Fluttershy giving them a careful smile.

But a very happy, careful smile.

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