Rise of the Elements Part I: The Lost Element

by Radiant Dawn

Chapter 4: Apples, Butterflies, and Alcohol

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Chapter 4: Apples, Butterflies, and Alcohol

I awoke feeling more refreshed than I had in...well, longer than I can remember. Next, I felt a pressure on my chest and looked down to see my sister snuggling against me. I chuckled at the sight, and my sister stirred and opened her eyes.

"What?" she says defensively.

I just laughed again and shook my head. "Oh nothing."

She stuck out her bottom lip, pouting. "I woke up at around 01:00. That couch was not as comfortable as a bed, and when I came upstairs to lay down in my bed, you were in it. So, I shared it with you. You're really soft now, so don't judge me horse-boy."

I glanced over at the two empty beds in the room. "Do you know where mom and Mason are?"

The young teenage girl nodded. "Yeah, they went downstairs with Twilight Sparkle for breakfast about an hour ago. I was too lazy to get up, so I just stayed here."

I laughed again. "Alright then, well my tummy's got the rumblies, so let's get cleaned up and join them."

It took awhile to figure out how to use my mouth and hooves for things I would usually use my hands for.

I was a little surprised when I found that there was some sort of sticky "field" that allowed me to grab things with my front hooves. 'There's so much stuff going on here that I can't explain. Oh well...different universe, different physics and laws of reality, I suppose.'

After taking quick showers and brushing our teeth, Jen and I went downstairs to find Twilight speaking with my mother, and my brother and Spike playing a card game of some sort. They all looked up as Jen and I came downstairs, and Twilight pointed to the kitchen.

"There's strawberries, apples, and coffee in the kitchen for breakfast. Eat up, there's a lot to do today." the unicorn ordered.

I cocked my head in confusion. "What do you mean? What are we doing?"

Twilight got up and put a book away before looking at me again. "Well your brother told me that he's decided on what form he wants to take, so I'll need to contact one of the princesses. Meanwhile, you still need to meet Applejack and Fluttershy. Lastly, Rainbow Dash said she needs to see you about something. She said she'd meet you at Fluttershy's house at around 17:00."

I nodded. "Okay, did Dash say what she needed to see me about?" Twilight shook her head. "Okay then. Let me get breakfast and brush my mane really quick and I'll get going."

I headed to the kitchen and put a few apple slices and strawberries in a bowl with some milk from the fridge, then grabbed a cup of coffee. Carefully balancing on my back legs, I walked to the reading table and started eating.

My mother laughed at me. "That looks a lot harder to do now that you're a...what did you say...alicorn?"

I chuckled and nodded. "Yeah. Different spine and hip structure. I can certainly walk on two legs if I want to, but it's more comfortable on four."

She grinned. "I bet. I think I've decided to just be a regular old pony. No magic or flying for me, thanks."

I swallowed a bit of strawberry and answered, "Well earth ponies - as they're called - tend to be physically stronger than unicorns and pegasi, and have better endurance. Applejack is an earth pony, and she's an apple farmer. I've never run a farm before, but I imagine you have to be pretty strong to do that all day long."

My mother nodded back. "Mhm. I think I'll just keep things simple."

"Understandable..." I said as I took another bite of breakfast.

I quickly finished breakfast and made myself presentable before heading out. Seeing as how Applejack was closer and I was to meet Dash at Fluttershy's cottage anyway, I headed towards Sweet Apple Acres first. It took asking a few ponies for directions, but I made it there at about noon.

I could hear the furious cracks of hooves against wood before I even got close enough to see anypony, but as I approached, I saw a large crimson stallion plowing the fields. He spotted me and stopped, unhooking the plow harness from himself before walking over to meet me. Amazingly, I was actually bigger than him by a small margin. All the same, I still wouldn't want to get in a tussle with the guy.

"Howdy pardner, welcome ta Sweet Apple Acres. Name's Big Macintosh, but ya'll can call me Big Mac. What can Ah do ya fer?" he said while extending a hoof to shake.

I took his hoof and shook it firmly. "Hey there, Big Mac. My name's Steelbreaker and I'm new around Ponyville. I'm friends with Twilight Sparkle and she said I should head over here to meet your sister, Applejack."

He nodded and gestured behind him. "Applejack'll be in the southern apple fields right 'bout now. Head towards tha house and take a left. Just follow tha noise and you’ll find her."

I nodded back. "Thanks Big Mac. Catch ya later," and with that he went back to his plowing.

I followed his directions and sure enough there was a blonde-maned orange pony bucking an apple tree. I found myself absentmindedly admiring her muscular physique. 'No, stop it! I know you're the same species, but at least talk to her first!'

She saw me approach and wiped some sweat off of her brow before trotting over to meet me. I stuck out a hoof to shake, but before I could speak she grabbed my left foreleg and shook it violently. "Howdy! Mah name's Applejack and I run Sweet Apple Acres with mah family. Nice ta meet ya'll!"

She released my leg and I rubbed my shoulder. 'That's gonna be sore later' I then smiled warmly and gestured to myself. "Nice to meet you Applejack, I'm Steelbreaker. I'm a new friend of Twilight's, and she told me I should meet you.” I took a good look around the fields and smiled. “This is quite the farm, ma'am. I'm impressed with the sheer size of it. I can only imagine how hard it is to keep this place going smoothly. You must be one hay of a hard worker."

The orange mare blushed a bit at the compliment. "Aw shucks, it ain't nothin'. Yeah it's hard work, but mah fam'ly and Ponyville depends on this here farm. Knowin' that our hard work puts food in tha bellies of tha ponies that live here makes it worth it."

I smiled at her. "I admire your work ethic, Applejack. Not many peo-er, ponies where I come from have the same values. The world could use a few more like you."

She blushed even harder. "Yer one hay of a sweet-talker Steel, but thanks."

I waved a hoof dismissively with a grin. "Don't mention it. Anyway, Pinkie Pie's going to be holding some sort of party for me soon, so we'll catch up there. I gotta meet Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash now. Can you point me in the direction of Fluttershy's cottage?"

Applejack nodded. "Sure thing." She then pointed at the forest in the distance. "That there is Everfree Forest. Follow it to tha left fer a stretch and ya'll will get there soon. Ya can't miss it. Make sure ta keep yer distance from tha forest though. There's all kines ah nasty critters in there."

I nodded. "Don't worry Applejack, I'll be careful. Thanks for the directions. I'll be seein' ya." With that, I trotted back towards town.

I ended up having to walk back to town and all the way across it just to get to Fluttershy's cottage, as I was not going to swim through the river. This ate up a good portion of the day so that by the time I finally got to Fluttershy's home, it must've been at least 16:00, as the sun was well on it's way down. I approached the house, and was stopped by a small white bunny before I could knock.

He held up a paw to stop me, so I lowered my head to him and said, "Ah, you must be Angel." He nodded. "Well, Twilight Sparkle is a friend of mine, and she told me I should meet Fluttershy. Can I?" The bunny seemed a little taken aback that I was actually asking for his permission. After thinking for a second, he nodded and opened the door for me, so I followed him in.

The house was cozy and for some reason induced a very relaxed feeling in me, and I noticed it was framed by a great number of small animal residences. Angel bounded up the stairs, I assume to fetch the shy pegasus, so in an attempt not to frighten her too much, I made sure to stay put in plain sight.

I could faintly hear Fluttershy's soft voice upstairs say, "Oh hello Angel, I thought you weren't going to be back until later. Oh, we have a visitor?" I could then her the clop clop of hooves down the stairs, and turned my head to find myself staring at a soft yellow pegasus with a pink mane. I stayed perfectly still otherwise, and allowed her to speak first. "Oh...um...hello. M-my name is F-Fluttershy."

'So cute!'

I nearly "dawwwed" right then, but somehow contained myself. I responded in the most gentle voice I could with, "Hello Fluttershy, my name is Steelbreaker. It's a pleasure to meet you. I heard you have quite a way with animals."

The timid pegasus smiled a soft smile, hiding behind her mane a bit. "Oh...um...yes. I love animals. I see you already met my pet bunny Angel. He was the one who let you in, so I guess you're okay."

I nodded. "Don't worry Fluttershy, I wouldn't dream of hurting you or any of your animal friends. Angel included." She relaxed finally and I breathed a sigh of relief. "So, I'm also supposed to meet Rainbow Dash here for something, but she wouldn't say what. Did she tell you anything?"

Fluttershy shook her head and gestured for me to sit on the couch behind her. "No, Rainbow didn't tell me anything about it. I didn't even know she was coming until you told me, but that's alright. She's my best friend, so I always like to see her."

As if on cue, we heard a knock on the door, and then said cyan pegasus enters. "Hey 'Shy, hey Steel. Good to see you guys!"

Fluttershy trotted over and embraced her friend in a hug. "Oh Rainbow Dash, it's so good to see you! It's been a long time...how have you been?"

Dash hugged the yellow mare back fiercely. "Yeah sorry 'Shy, my training schedule keeps me pretty busy and things have been kinda crazy lately with the weather team. I've been good though. I missed ya, pal." The duo hugged for another few seconds before breaking the embrace.

Fluttershy then headed for her kitchen. "Would anyone like some apple herb tea?" Dash and I nodded, and so the yellow pegasus scampered off to fix the drink for us.

Dash took a seat next to me, eyeing me with those pretty magenta eyes. "So," she started, "when are you going to let me teach you to fly?"

I flinched, then quickly cast my eyes to my sides. I saw no wings...how? I looked up at her in shock and asked, "How did you know?"

She giggled. "Twi's one of my best friends, Steel. I've been around her enough to be able to feel when there's magic around. Plus the fact that you're a lot taller than any of the other ponies around, Big Mac included, plus your horn is a lot longer than a normal unicorn's. Also, Twi told me." I suddenly started to panic a bit, but she placed a hoof on mine, calming me down. I brought my eyes back to hers and she smiled. "Don't worry, the average pony isn't going to look into things like I do. The only other pony who would have figured it out would be Pinkie, but I don't understand half the things she does anyway. She won't tell anypony about it though unless you tell her she can, so don't worry."

I was surprised at her behavior, and made my confusion known. "You know Dash, you're not what I'd expected."

She snorted a laugh at this. "You thought I'd be some impatient meat-head, right?"

I turned away in embarrassment, but nodded. "Yeah...sorry."

She patted me on the back. "Nah it's cool. Yeah, I can be that way, but I'm different with my friends. I don't have patience for ponies I don't know well."

I gave a confused look at this and asked, "Well what about me? I mean, you don't really know me that well. We just met yesterday. I mean I'm good at making first impressions, but we only spoke for like two minutes."

She nodded. "Yeah, but Spike's cool with you, and Fluttershy is too. That makes you okay in my book."

I shrugged. "Well that makes sense. Good to have the element of loyalty on my side."

Fluttershy then poked her head around the corner. "The tea is ready...I mean, if you still want some."

I grinned at the cute yellow pegasus. "Some tea sounds good, Fluttershy thanks."

Dash decided to come with me when we left Fluttershy's house, so we said goodbye and were on our way back to the library.

"So what ever happened to that thunderstorm that was supposed to happen today? I mean it wasn't too hot today, but I would've liked a nice storm." I inquired.

She huffed a bit. "Well I did say things were kinda crazy with the weather team...this was what I meant. Seems they forgot it's harvesting season for the Apple family, so at the last minute they decided to schedule the storm overnight so that Applejack could get her work done during the day. Nothing bad happened, but it's annoying that they can't get things straight."

I chuckled. "Seems we have a similar trait: no patience for stupidity." She barked a laugh at this.

By the time we got back to town, the sun had gone down and it had started to get cold. Dash was shivering a bit, so I gently placed a wing over her.

The cyan mare jumped at the contact and her face lit up bright crimson. "W-what are you doing?"

I shushed her and responded, "I run hot, so this is perfect weather for me, but you're shivering. Besides, no one is going to be out to see me at this time of night."

The athlete was still blushing a great deal, but she sighed and leaned into me, smiling.

When we reached the library, she reluctantly stepped away from me and opened the door. My family, Spike, and Twilight were all sitting around the table finishing up a dinner of roasted potatoes and carrots with some salad. Dash smirked and set down her saddlebag and opened it, producing six bottles labeled "Applejack hard cider".

I smiled at this. "Mmm...I've always wanted to try some of that stuff. What's the legal drinking age here?"

"Fifteen. That means that everyone except Spike can have one." Twilight answered.

Spike didn't seem all that put off by this though and responded, "It's okay, I'm good with just some regular cider."

Dash passed out the bottles, and we all took a seat in the main room.

About an hour later, we were all well alcohol'ed. My sister had luckily gotten tired and gone to bed after a few sips. Legal or not, I still feel bad about her drinking. Spike was playing quarters with Mason after my brother explained the game. It was kinda one-sided with only one person drinking alcohol, but it was definitely funny. My mother had headed upstairs with a book on Equestrian history, so that left Twilight, Dash, and myself on the couch together.

Twilight was laying her head in my lap and I was stroking her mane softly while the three of us talked about where I came from. Twilight was very interested in our magicians, until I told her that they don't actually do magic. She frowned a bit, but then instantly brightened up when I started talking about astrophysics and space in general. Dash looked a little forlorn as she didn't really have anything to say, and was sitting all the way near the armrest of the couch. Through experimentation and feeling all day, I'd gotten familiar with how to work my wings, so I stretched out a wing and pulled her up against me. Her face lit up a bright red and Twilight giggled at her.

"Aww...Dashie you're so cute when you blush." the violet unicorn said in a teasing manner.

With her face still a bright red, Dash glared at the purple mare. "Shut up, Twi. Don't make me tell him what's under your bed."

Twilight nudged Dash in the shoulder with a grin. "Ah c'mon Dash, I'm just foaling around. I'm supposed to be the up tight one. Maybe you need to have a few more drinks."

Dash rolled her eyes, but downed the rest of her bottle with a cough. I had a mischevious grin on my face, and winked at Twilight. I leaned over and breathed a warm breath on the side of Dash's neck. She shivered and her wings shot up.

"Ah c'mon Steel, that's not cool!" Dash yelled.

I burst into laughter and so did Twilight. The pegasus sent us both a death stare, and my laughing calmed down a bit.

I leaned over and planted a soft kiss on her head, only making her blush harder. "Ah Dash, you know we're just playin'. We mess with ya because we love ya." The cyan mare’s eyes twinkled a bit at this, so I nodded and added, "Yes Dash, I said I love ya. I love all my close friends, and you girls are closer friends with me than most of the people I knew back on Earth...which is kinda odd with us only knowing each other two days, but meh...whatever."

"Oh..." Rainbow Dash said, suddenly crestfallen.

I rolled my eyes and poked the flier. "Okay Dash, what's the matter?" She looked away, so I grabbed her face with my hoof and made her look at me, then planted a soft quick kiss on her lips. Her eyes went wide with surprise, but then she smiled again...and Twilight giggled. "Better?"

The pegasus rested her head on my shoulder and nodded with a smile. "Yeah. Thanks Steel. Seems you know just what to do to make me feel better."

I puffed out my chest and gave a smug look. "It's a gift, really." Rainbow Dash shoved me, and I laughed.

Twilight glanced at the clock and sat up in shock. "Oh buck, it's 02:00. Your brother has his meeting with Princess Celestia tomorrow. We need to get some sleep. You all better drink a lot of water, because I'll not have anypony or human complaining of a hangover in front of the princess." I nodded and sent my brother and Spike off to bed with Twilight's instructions.

The unicorn headed upstairs to prepare beds for Dash and I in her room, leaving the pegasus with me to clean up downstairs. The Element of Loyalty kept glancing over at me like she wanted to ask something, so I decided to try to speak to her in her mind like I did Luna a night ago.

'Okay Dash, I know something's bothering you, what is it?'

She jumped, definitely not expecting it. 'Whoa...you can do this too? I thought Twi was the only one who could cast that spell besides the princesses.'

'Don't dance around my question Dash, what's bothering you?'

She sighed in resignation. "Okay fine...I was just wondering how long you were going to be staying here in Equestria. I won't lie Steel...I...I really like you. I don't want you to leave. You're so much different than the other colts and stallions. If I didn't know better, I'd think you were as old as Celestia by the way you talk sometimes. How old are you by the way?"

I gave her a warm smile. "Believe it or not, I'm only twenty-five. I'm guessing that's not much older than you, right? And as far as how long I'm staying, hopefully forever. I'm an alicorn, and that means I won't ever have to worry about death by age. I'll stay as long as the princesses let me."

She gave me a surprised look. "Wow, you're only three years older than me. I'd have guessed you were thirty at least. Well I'm glad that you want to stay."

I gave her another warm smile. "You, Luna, and Twilight are my girls - my closest friends here. I couldn't leave you, nor do I want to." The pegasus smiled at this and continued cleaning.

After we had finished cleaning up the trash and dishes, Dash and I headed up to Twi's room to go to sleep.

I only saw one bed though...

"Umm Twi, where's my bed? Did you set it up in another room or something?" I asked quizzically.

The unicorn mare gave what I could only decipher was a seductive smile and patted the bed. "No, it's right here."

I rolled my eyes. "Twi, I know you're buzzing, but I'm not having sex with anypony any time soon...and definitely not while they're drunk."

She blushed furiously. "Oh no no no...I just like to cuddle is all. I'm not ready to do...that with anypony."

Dash giggled, and I sighed in relief. "Okay good. Let's all brush our teeth really quick and get to bed." The two mares nodded and followed me to the washroom.

After freshening up, we all climbed into the obnoxiously large bed.

"Twi, why do you have such a huge bed if it's just you sleeping in it?" Dash asked.

The violet unicorn smiled and moved closer to me. "Well like I said, I like to cuddle. It's a lot easier to do that at sleepovers if the bed is big enough so that no pony has to sleep on the floor."

Rainbow Dash laughed and replied, "I knew you wanted my body at the last sleepover." This caused Twilight to roll her eyes.

I spread out my wings flat on the bed, at which point Twilight and Dash got on either side of me and snuggled close. I wrapped my forelegs and wings around them, eliciting a sigh of happiness from both of them.

I kissed them both on the forehead and whispered, "Goodnight, girls. Sleep well." They both wrapped their forelegs around me and nuzzled into my sides.

'You are such a player, you naughty colt.' Luna quipped in my head.

'What do you mean?' I asked innocently.

'Two of the elements of Harmony all over you in bed? Well done. I am sure the other stallions would be very jealous.' she said with a mental smirk.

'How would you know that? Wait...can you see me right now?'

The moon princess giggled and responded with, 'Oops, I must have forgotten to mention that when we connect telepathically, I can see what you see if I choose to.

I growled a bit, but then smirked as an idea came to mind.'Well I'd hate to be seen as a player in the eyes of you, Luna. Don't worry, I'll make sure never to cuddle you.'

I could hear her gasp and even felt the shock from her 'N-no! I...I mean that is not what I meant to imply! I was just...'

I chuckled in my head. 'Oh my lovely Princess Luna, you should know I was just messing with you. If you were to be with us right now, I'd be more than happy to be your warm pillow.'

I felt her relax. 'I shall hold you to that oath.'

I smiled. 'Goodnight Luna.'

'Goodnight Drew. Sleep well.'

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