Rise of the Elements Part I: The Lost Element

by Radiant Dawn

Chapter 5: Tears, Changes, and Music

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Chapter 5: Tears, Changes, and Music

I woke up with Dash laying half on top of me, and Twilight nowhere to be found. It was still dark outside, so I gently lay Dash beside me and shimmied out of the bed.

I saw a silhouette behind the balcony window, so I slowly opened the door and found Twilight outside, gazing at the night sky. She had the remnants of tears on her face, and I instantly became concerned.

"Twi?" I whispered with concern.

The weeping unicorn jumped and turned to see me, quickly wiping her hoof across her face in an attempt to hide the fact she'd been crying. "Oh, hi Steel. I'm sorry if I woke you up."

I sat behind Twilight and wrapped her in my wings, shielding her from the chilly night air. "What's the matter, Twi?"

She let out a shudder and a sad sigh. "I had a nightmare. I've been having them more and more ever since the changelings attacked Canterlot. I'm just so afraid that this is all fake...that my friends aren't really my friends. I'm afraid that this is all just some ruse. I'm afraid my friends are going to leave." As her rambling died down, she softly laid her chin on the edge of my wing." I don't want to be alone again..."

I frowned and nuzzled her. "Listen to me Twilight, this isn't something you can conquer by trying to research or study it. You can't out-think this...you have to feel it. I know you have fears - we all do - but you need to stop thinking so much on it. Forget about what you think for a minute. What do you feel?"

The mare sat completely still...the only indication she wasn't a statue was her heartbeat against my chest. "I feel...I feel stupid for even questioning them, and guilty for it. I feel like somehow admitting that I'm afraid is betraying them."

I smiled and lay my head on top of hers. "That's your heart speaking, Twi. Your heart is telling your head that this fear isn't needed. You know who your friends are...you can feel who they are. I haven't even known them near as long as you, but I know that the connection you share with them goes beyond the Elements of Harmony."

Twilight looked up at me, confused. "What do you mean?"

I smiled. "You're the Elements of Harmony because you're friends...not the other way around. Think about it." And with that, I slowly stood up and walked back inside.

Unable to sleep, I quietly descended the stairs to the library floor. I grabbed my iPod out of my bag and a small speaker, then sat down at the reading table. I plugged the speaker into the iPod and then sat there, staring at it. 'Okay...no fingers...how am I supposed to do this? Man, I wish I had fingers sometimes...' I spaced out, thinking of some possibilities of what to do, and didn't notice a glittering, silvery aura surround my horn and my music player. I nearly jumped out of my skin when Metallica's "Mama Said" started playing. After my momentary surprise wore off, I looked inquisitively at the setup. 'Hmm...I wonder...' I focused on my music player, and imagined the song changing to "For Mom", by Buckethead. A silver aura surrounded my music player, and the song changed.

"SCORE!" I yelled, then immediately stuck my hooves over my mouth.

I heard the sound of hooves on the floors above and then a door opening. I looked at the top of the stairs to see Rainbow Dash standing at the top, a groggy frown on her face. "What the hay are you yelling about? Some of us are trying to sleep."

I smiled sheepishly and apologetically responded, "Sorry Dashie, I just got a little excited. Go back to bed...I'll tell you about it later." She rolled her eyes and headed back to bed. 'Almost four days without my music...I thought I was going to go insane. Thank God for this little discovery.' I then focused on Twilight, using that "Spellspeech" thing again. "Hey Twi, it's me. Come downstairs, I want to show you something I think you'll like."

I heard the faint sound of a door closing, and then hooves coming down the stairs. The unicorn trotted beside me and asked, "Hey Steel, what is it?"

I smirked. "Well it's two things. First of all, I wanted to show you some of my music I listen to when I'm feeling a little down. Also, I found out how to use some magic."

Her eyes widened. "How did you learn how to cast magic? Do you have any idea how long it took me to use my first spell?"

I chuckled. "Well, I am an alicorn. Don't feel too bad though, I wasn't trying...it happened on accident the first time."

She grimaced. "The fact that you weren't even trying doesn't make me feel any better..."

I chuckled and beckoned her closer. "Just come here, I'll show you."

After showing and explaining to Twilight how I cast the spell, I proceeded to show her my music collection. I was surprised that somehow my iPod had been changed from an 8G to a 64G, and it had all my music from my computer on it. Must've been Luna...I'll have to remember to thank her. Twi found that she liked a lot of my music, although she was a little put off by the thrash, metalcore, black metal, and similar genres. She was very interested in my player though, so I let her fool around with it while I decided to take an early-morning walk. It was only about 05:30 and the moon was just starting to reach the horizon, with the first rays of sunlight appearing in the opposite direction, so I decided to try and use my wings.

I headed over to the meadow where I first met Rainbow Dash so I'd have room to crash...as much as I hated the idea. I stretched out my wings straight and gave them an experimental flap, and much to my surprise, I actually lifted off the ground about three feet before landing. Remembering my studies during high school physics on how birds fly, I decided to give it a try. I crouched down low and jumped as high as I could, at the same time giving my wings a much more forceful flap. I shot up into the air much higher than I had anticipated, and before I knew it, I was level with a cloud floating a few hundred feet off the ground. I landed on it and found it to be very soft...almost like stepping on the softest pillow imaginable. 'I can see now why Dash likes napping on these.' Feeling that I had made enough progress by myself, I spread my wings wide and glided all the way back to the library.

When I arrived back at Twi's place, I found she was listening to some Issac Sheapard while reading a book. She glanced up and nodded at me before returning to her reading.

"Glad you enjoy the music Twi. You're welcome to it whenever you want." I said. She nodded again, not even looking up this time. I looked at the wall clock and saw it was only 05:45, so I headed back up to bed to try and get a little more relaxation before we had to get up.

When I arrived to the bedroom again, it was to see Rainbow Dash tossing and turning in her sleep, so I lay next to her. She stopped moving when her hooves touched me, and pulled herself up against me, a smile on her face.

'Bitches on my dick!'

I grimaced at myself. "Shut up brain...just...shut up."

I ended up falling back asleep, and before I knew it I was startled awake by a sharp pain in my right foreleg.

I blearily opened my eyes to see Rainbow Dash hovering over me, smiling. I growled out, "What the hay, Dash! I was having a good dream!"

The rainbow-maned pony laughed. "Well I tried being more gentle, but you didn't budge. Desperate times call for desperate measures." She then used her hooves to begin to push me off the comfy bed. "C'mon, get up. We got to get ready for the meeting with Princess Celestia." I grumbled, rising out of the bed.

Rainbow Dash and I then headed to the washroom to get cleaned up. She began brushing her teeth while I turned on the shower and stepped into the cool water. Once she noticed what I as doing, the mare blushed furiously.

"Umm Steel, you could've asked me to leave if you were taking a shower."


"Well...um...because you're taking a shower."


"So...aren't you embarrassed?"

"We walk around naked anyway, why does it matter?"

"Well...umm...hm. You know, I don't really know."

"We'll get you trained yet, young padawan."

"What's a padawan?"


After my shower - and Rainbow Dash's extreme embarrassment - we headed downstairs for breakfast, and I was quite pleased to find eggs and hash browns with toast.

"Ah wow...I haven't had a breakfast like this for years!" I exclaimed.

Twilight giggled. "Yeah, your brother recommended it. I have to say, I'm not sure why we never thought of this before. It's pretty good, and Spike is a good cook." Twilight's comment caused the young dragon to beam in happiness as I sat down with my family at the table, shortly thereafter joined by Spike, Twilight, and Rainbow Dash.

We talked about all kinds of things over the tasty food, ranging from magic to WWII. Twilight was intrigued, but also confused and saddened as to how humans could think it's okay to kill thousands of their own kind.

As I dipped a bit of toast in the yolk of an egg, I explained. "Humans are like that Twi. That's why in all honesty, I don't miss Earth much at all. Land disputes, religion, even something so simple as a pair of shoes...if it causes a disagreement between two parties, people will fight - and sometimes kill - over it. It's what we call human nature." I took a bite of the toast and chewed before swallowing, then continued. "That's part of the reason why the ponies of Equestria are so popular there. Equestria is the ideal paradise - where a great tragedy is considered to be cotton candy clouds raining chocolate milk. On Earth, we use our ingenuity to maim, kill, and destroy."

"But what about you...you're not like that, Steel." Twilight inquired.

I smiled sadly. "Not all humans are like that Twi, but the potential to be that way is always there. Here in Equestria the line between good and evil is well-defined. Humans don't have that...we have to make our own judgment on what's good and evil. I have a saying that so many people on my world doesn't agree with, probably because it makes them look at themselves introspectively...and that scares them. My saying is,'Good and evil are matters of perspective.'" I then paused as I chewed on a bit of hashbrowns before swallowing and nodding. "Okay, here's a perfect example for you: Luna became corrupted and then turned into Nightmare Moon, causing her own sister to have to banish her to the moon for a thousand years. Now on Earth, there would always be some people claiming that perhaps with some love and care, Nightmare Moon could have been sated and Luna would have returned to us."

"But that's not true. She was corrupted, so there was no saving her...not then anyway." Twilight retorted.

I nodded. "Yes, but therein lies the problem. Humans don't have that clear line to be able to distinguish between good and evil, Twilight. There would be many people of Earth claiming that Celestia was the evil one."

Twilight stomped her hoof, causing all of us to look at her, but she either didn't care or didn't notice. "That's ridiculous!"

I shrugged. "I believe that as well, Twilight, but that's what I'm talking about. It's the kind of decision that humans face every day. Then of course there's the fact that sometimes the ends justify the means. For example, assassinating someone is considered okay so long as it's 'for the greater good'...but where do you draw the line for what's acceptable and what's not? That's the question that no one can ever answer." The violet unicorn gasped in shock, but I waved a hoof at her, showing that I wasn't serious. "I didn't mean that was to apply to Equestria Twilight, I'm just saying that's another one of the things humans deal with."

Twilight furrowed her brow in thought. "Wow...I didn't know things were so complicated for you. Humans are much harder to figure out than I thought."

I cracked a genuine smile. "Well Twi in all honesty, there's still some things about myself I still don't understand, so I'm right there with you." She smiled back at me, and we all finished breakfast.

It was about 10:00 when the carriage Celestia sent for us arrived. The guards nodded at us as we all arrived outside, so we all boarded the carriage quickly as possible to avoid anypony seeing my family. We took to the air with a jolt that startled my sister a bit, causing her to cling to me.

I chuckled, but turned to Twilight with a smile. "So Twi, who all is going to be there?"

The unicorn put a hoof to her chin in thought before answering, "Well I know that obviously the princesses are going to be there, and all of the other Elements will be as well. Beyond that, I don't know. We'll have to hold a sort of conference with the ponies in Ponyville for your brother when we get back so that they don't fear him."

Twilight seemed nervous, so I placed a hoof around her shoulder. "Don't worry Twi. It'll be alright, I promise. I wouldn't even consider this if I didn't trust my brother."

She relaxed a bit and smiled weakly. "I know, it's just that I don't know how the ponies will act towards him. Spike's different because he's a baby dragon and everypony knows I raised him from a hatchling. Your brother is going to be taller than you, and a dragon that no one's seen before."

I smiled. "Well, if it takes me revealing that I'm an alicorn to ease things, I'll do it. The ponies in town are more likely to respect and believe an alicorn when he says, 'The dragon's ok.' I don't really feel comfortable with causing that sort of commotion, but if it comes to that, so be it."

Dash smiled at me and said, "You really care about your brother a lot. I wish I'd grown up with a brother like you."

I chuckled as I leaned back against the seat of the carriage. "Well Dash, believe me when I say that we've had our share of sibling rivalries and fights." I pointed to a scar above my eye, and one on my chest. "But yes, I trust him and he trusts me."

My brother laughed from the other side of the carriage while looking at the window. "You shouldn't have eaten my pizza."

We arrived at the palace gate about thirty minutes later and were quickly shuffled inside to the throne room by a large number of royal guards.

My family stopped dead in their tracks as the giant, ornate double-doors were opened.

"Whoa..." was my sister's only response.

The throne room was larger than our entire house had been back on Earth, and was covered in beautiful tapestries - red ones on the left depicting Princess Celestia's cutie mark, and navy blue ones on the right with Luna's. The rest of the Elements were gathered beside the princesses, and seeing a bouncing Pinkie Pie almost made me laugh.

The five of us slowly strode forward until we were at the steps leading up to the thrones, and we all bowed in reverence to the two monarchs.

A moment of silence, and then a warm, "Arise." We all stood again to see the princess of the sun smiling at us, and she continued with, "Welcome to Canterlot, the capital city of the kingdom of Equestria. I am Princess Celestia."

Luna smiled exuberantly and followed up with, "And I am Princess Luna. We have already met, but it is a pleasure to see you again under less tense circumstances." I stifled a laugh at this as Twilight and Rainbow Dash took their places near the thrones, next to their friends.

Celestia advanced upon my brother, smiling. "Hello Mason, Spike has told me much about you."

The tall human snorted, stifling a guffaw. "Nothing bad, I hope?"

Princess Celestia giggled and smiled warmly. "Don't worry, there is nothing wrong with enjoying yourself with friends. So, I've been told that you've decided to stay and have chosen a form. Am I correct?" Mason nodded, so she smiled and stepped closer to him. "Very well...let us see what we have to work with. I wish for you to envision the form you have chosen within your mind, as detailed as you can imagine." The tall human nodded and closed his eyes, and the solar princess placed her horn upon my brother's head while closing her own eyes. I watched as the magic horn gave off a soft golden glow, but she pulled away a few seconds later with a benevolent smile. "Ah, I see. Well then, we can do that. Luna, if you please." Luna walked up next to her sister, and they took places on opposite sides of Mason. Their horns began to glow brightly, so much in fact that I had to raise a hoof to shield my eyes from the intense light.

When the light faded, I found myself looking at a white and blue swirling cocoon-like thing. The "cocoon" congealed, and began to take shape. The vague shape of hands, feet, and a tail could be seen through the light, but with another bright flash, a figure stood where the orb had been. It was a tall black scaled body with a long barbed tail, wings, and small brown spikes protruding from its elbows. There were red spines leading from its tail up its back to the top of its head, with four rear-facing brown horns with red rings around them adorning the skull.

The being turned around to look at me, and I found myself staring at a large toothy-grinned face with pale gold eyes. Brown also was found on the chest and stomach, and the being gestured to itself. "Hey Drew, how do I look?" Celestia tapped him on the shoulder and gestured to a large mirror that hung on the wall behind the thrones, so he stepped up the stairs as the Elements made way for him. He gazed into the mirror in marvel at his new appearance, and even did a few flexing motions. "Oh yeah...I look goooood..."

I chuckled and shook my head. "Well I'm glad to see the change hasn't had an effect on your personality."

He glared at me in response and frowned. "Shut up...I look awesome. You're just jealous."

I sighed and rolled my eyes. "Okay, maybe a little. You do look pretty boss."

"Hey Steel, you do know that there's such things as transformation spells, right? Once you're powerful enough, you could change into almost anything you can think of." Twilight spoke in my head. I grinned and nodded to her.

After saying goodbye to the two princesses, we were ready to leave. Luckily the princesses agreed to just teleport us, and next thing we knew, we were all back at the library - the other Elements of Harmony included. Spike was busy cleaning up the library when we arrived.

"Oh hey guys, how'd it go? Did everything go accor-" the small dragon started, before stopping and staring wide-eyed at Mason. "Who's the new guy?"

I stood up on my hind legs and threw a hoof around my brother's neck. Luckily when standing on two legs, I was still taller than him. "Spike, this is Mason. Celestia came through."

The little purple dragon smiled so big, I was afraid his face would crack. "COOL! I'M NOT THE ONLY DRAGON ANYMORE!"

I laughed and said, "Nope, and I'm sure you guys will get into plenty of trouble-erm...I mean fun together."

Twilight glared at me, then looked sternly at the two dragons. "If you two cause any trouble, I'll banish you to the moon myself."

The two reptilians both rolled their eyes, and Spike said, "Ah Twi, you're such a killjoy."

The violet unicorn gasped. "Hey, I am not! I know how to have fun. I just don't want you two's fun to be at the expense of breaking everything around town."

Mason laughed. "Don't worry, Twilight Sparkle. We'll be good. Promise."

"You better..." Twilight mumbled.

It was only about 15:00 when we had gotten back, so we all ate a late lunch, much to the delight of our grumbling stomachs. Twilight had left shortly thereafter to speak with Mayor Mare to set up the announcement, and Rarity bid goodbye to us before heading back to her boutique...something about a huge order that just came up. That left Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Spike, my family, and myself at the library. Spike decided to head to the small field behind the library to teach Mason how to breathe fire (which I thought was a bad idea, but meh...whatever), and my sister and mother went upstairs to clean up.

This left me downstairs with four girls...all of them staring at me.

'Great...this has bad news written all over it.' Deciding to break the awkward tension, I spoke first. "So umm...lovely weather we're having, huh?" They all gave half-hearted agreements, and I sighed in annoyance. "Okay...what's going on? You're all looking like Pinkie did when she thought you girls didn't like her anymore."

Applejack laughed loudly. "Nah sugarcube, we're all raht. It's just..."

I cocked my head as she trailed off, and asked, "Just what?"

The farm mare sighed. "It's just that...well...ya'll are so nice ta us. Twi told us what yer world was like...and we just don' get it."

I was now even more confused. "What's not to get?"

Fluttershy finally spoke up, though "spoke up" is a bit of a stretch for her soft voice. "Well...umm...your world was so...mean. How did you turn out like you did? Umm...I'm sorry...I didn't mean it like that. I mean, you're just so nice to strangers. We're just not sure we believe what you told Twilight."

I sat down and closed my eyes in frustration. "Look girls, I told Twilight the truth. I was abandoned by both a father and step-father, I was bullied all throughout my school years, and I was alienated because of my thought processes. Could I be mean? Yeah. Do I get angry sometimes? Yes, I do. Do I get sad? Yes. A long time ago though I learned that happiness and kindness are not something that just happens to you - not just something you feel - they're a choice. They're part of who you are." I then pointed to the pink earth-pony. "Being - as Pinkie would call it - 'a mean ol' meanie mcmeaner pants' wouldn't change the past, and it would only hurt those around me. Besides, I have a new life here. I won't forget my past, but neither am I going to let it decide my future."

Applejack frowned. "How old are ya? Ya kinda sound like Granny Smith."

I chuckled and smiled at a certain cyan pegasus. "Rainbow Dash asked me the same question. The answer's the same - twenty-five, and full of life. Doesn't make sense, does it?"

Applejack's mouth hung open. "Wow...Ah'd ah thought ya'll were at least thirdy or somethin'..."

I grinned. "Thanks I guess? I feel old now, because Rainbow Dash said the same exact thing." They all laughed.

"Well," said Pinkie Pie, "we'll just have to make your party a 'Feel Young' party!" I burst into laughter, the rest of the girls joining in.

Shortly after my little discussion, Spike and Mason walked back in the house, the taller dragon covered in burns.

Mason was yelling at Spike angrily, "Well you could've told me it'd get that big! That hurt!"

I snorted a laugh at this and loudly remarked, "That's what she said! Use some lube next time!"

The black dragon glared at me. "Shut the fu-...just shut up."

Twilight then walked back in the front door with a very satisfied grin. "Well, everything's all set up. We'll be having the announcement in the town square at 17:00. I'll teleport Mason to the tent there so as to avoid a panic."

I looked at the clock...16:38. "Okay, well Mason, you should go get cleaned up. Meet us down here after you're done. The shower's kinda small for you though, so please be careful." The dragon nodded before heading upstairs.

Twilight looked over to me with a quizzical expression. "What happened to him?"

I laughed. "Fire...lots of fire. You can thank Spike for that."

She glanced at the small dragon and giggled. "Yeah...Spike had the same problem when he first started learning." She then stared at me. "So I meant to ask you...how did you figure out how to use Spellspeech and that other spell? The one you used on that music-thingy...I've never heard of a spell like that before."

I smiled and shrugged. "Well I don't mean to make you seem ignorant, but they were both accidents. The 'Spellspeech' as you called it was me just thinking a goodnight to Luna while thinking about her. As far as the other spell, it makes sense you've never heard of such a spell. As far as I know, mp3 players don't exist here, do they?"

Twilight tilted her head in thought. "Well, I don't know about if they're called mp3, but if anyone would know it'd be Vinyl Scratch, the DJ here in Ponyville."

I smiled. "I'll have to set aside some time to meet her at some point I'm sure she'll like a lot of my music."

Mason made his way downstairs and thankfully looked significantly less charred, at which point Twilight nudged me. "Okay, I need you to head to the square with the rest of the girls. Contact me when you're inside the tent, because I'll need you there to pinpoint where to teleport Mason." I nodded and strode out the door with Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Pinkie Pie.

The cyan pegasus huffed and complained, "Ugh...do we really need to walk there? This is going to take forever."

I smiled. "Well actually..." and with that I took off in the air.

Rainbow Dash just stared at me, dumbfounded. "How? Did someone train you in the few hours you were away from me?"

I laughed and shook my head. "Nah...remember when I accidentally woke you up this morning? Well I couldn't get back to sleep, so I went to that meadow where I first met you and practiced. Through my understanding with physics and air dynamics, I've got the basics down. I'm probably not going to be anywhere near as fast as you, but I can fly just fine."

She accepted this and smiled. "Well then, let's get going." I nodded, then looked at Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie.

"Go ahead you two. I'll walk with Pinkie and we'll meet you there." Stated the yellow pegasus.

I nodded with a grin. "Okay girls, see you later!" With that, Dash and I shot into the air.

Dash was ahead of my by a large margin, and flew on her back in a back-stroke motion, just to tease me. "C'mon Steel, you're too slow. I'm getting bored over here!" I growled and flapped my wings harder, shooting past her in a gust of wind. "Whoa..." she exclaimed as she tumbled a bit through the air. She grinned with a confident smile and chased after me, easily gaining and overtaking me. "Is that all you got?" she yelled back.

'Faster...' I thought as I furiously beat my wings. I felt a tingling in my wings, and then heat. To my surprise, I started gaining on her. All of the sudden, time seemed to slow down for a moment before I shot forward, my ears ringing from a loud boom. I looked in front of me to see a wave of crackling white energy spreading across the sky, but noticed all too late that I was on a collision course with my racing partner. Before I could turn to avoid impact, I slammed into her, causing us both to tumble from the sky. She was knocked unconscious, and my left wing had been dislocated. 'No, no no! I can't let this happen! Not now...' I used my good wing and adjusted my fall trajectory so that I could reach her, then reached out with both of my forelegs and drew her close to me. With a resounding pop and a scream of pain, I stretched out my left wing, forcing the bone back into place. A few seconds before hitting the ground, I opened my wings to slow our descent. The muscles burned like they'd been set on fire, but held and the fall slowed to a soft glide. As soon as I landed on the ground, I couldn't help but be thankful for the soft grass...and then I collapsed.

I was awakened a few minutes later by a teary-eyed Rainbow Dash, who was shaking me and screaming my name.

I opened my eyes all the way and coughed out, "Wha-what's going on? Rainbow Dash, are you ok?"

My voice startled the pegasus, but she quickly righted herself and embraced me tight, crying hysterically for a moment. I thought this rather out of character for the pegasus until she punched me on the side of the jaw with a hoof. "Ow! What was that for?"

She glared at me. "Don't ever do that again."

I grinned. "You can't stop me from flying Dashie."

The mare shoved me forcefully and held her stern gaze. "I'm not kidding Steel. I thought you..."

As she trailed off, the tears began to fall again, so as I was still laying on the ground, I reached out and pulled her close to me. "Shhh...it's alright Dash. I'm sorry I scared you. I'm alright though."

She collected herself and wiped her eyes, then smiled. "Okay. Just...just be more careful."

I cocked an eyebrow and remarked, "Miss Daredevil is telling me to be careful? Call the press! Alert the authorities!"

She pushed away from me and giggled. "Alright alright, enough. We still have to meet at the town square. C'mon, let's get going." I started to walk off when Dash stopped me by grabbing my tail in her teeth. When I turned around, she pointed to my flank. "Steel...y-you got your cutie mark!"

I looked back at my flank in surprise. I had honestly never even thought of not having a cutie mark once since I got here, but there it was. It was a silver shield in front of a shadow and in the bottom right corner of the shield...Dash's cutie mark? "Huh...that's odd."

"No, that's awesome!" Dash exclaimed.

I rolled my eyes. "No, I mean look in the bottom right of the shield. See that little mark? Do you recognize that?"

She stepped closer and squinted at it, then with wide eyes looked at her cutie mark...then back to mine... "Is...is that my cutie mark on your cutie mark? What's that doing there?"

I shrugged and stretched my wings, wincing a bit in pain. "Hey, I'm just as confused as you are. What do you think it means?" The rainbow-maned pony stared at my flank for a few minutes, and I smirked. "Like what you see?"

She blushed a bit at the realization of what she was doing, but quickly composed herself and shrugged. "It's just...I've never seen a cutie mark like that before. I think you should ask the princesses about this."

I nodded in agreement, but responded, "Okay, but in the meantime we have somewhere we need to be." She agreed with me and we headed into town.

We arrived at the square with a few minutes to spare, and I found the tent that Twilight spoke about. I stepped inside and focused on Twilight to make contact. "Okay Twi. I'm in the tent. You guys can come whenever you're ready. Try not to drop on top of me please."

I heard Twilight giggle in my mind as she responded, "No promises. Okay, here we come..."

I felt the air around me warm up a bit, along with the faint sound of an electric hum. A bright flash of purple light blinded me, and there was Mason and Twilight, standing before me. "Hey Twi, hey Mace. How nice of you to drop in." They both smiled, and I looked towards the tent entrance. "Okay, so are we ready to do this?" They both nodded.

Twilight looked to my brother and said, "Let me head out first with Steel and we'll introduce you. Wait until we call you."

The violet unicorn and I then walked out to the small stage that had been erected(giggity) for this event. Twilight stepped to the front of the stage next to the mayor, and I noticed her horn glowing softly.

The mayor turned to address the crowd, speaking in a magically amplified voice. "Citizens of Ponyville, as you can see, we've had a new addition to our humble town." She pointed at me and the crowd cheered.

I stepped forward. "Umm...hello there. My name is Steelbreaker, and it's a pleasure to be welcomed by all of you to your beautiful town."

The mayor nodded and then turned back to the crowd. "However, that is not the only reason why you've been gathered here today. We have another new addition to this town. However, this newcomer is not a pony. He is different, but I ask you to please accept and welcome him just the same as you would a pony."

Twilight stepped forward and nodded in agreement. "Yes...he is a personal friend of myself and Steelbreaker's. I want to let you know that you are in no danger, and I can assure you he is just like the rest of us. Please welcome Darkflight."

With that, my brother exited the tent, to a large collective gasp from the crowd, and he took his place next to me.

"Nice name." I whispered to him, and he cracked a grin.

The ponies all stared at him in...fear? Oh no...this isn't going like I'd hoped. I heard a pony cry, "You brought a dragon here? What's wrong with you?" Mason winced at this, and Twilight glared at the crowd.

The violet unicorn cleared her throat and prepared to speak to the crowd. "Did you forget Spike? He is a dragon too, and everypony in town likes Spike. Why should this dragon be different?"

The crowd didn't seem any less fearful, so I growled and contacted Twilight through Spellspeech. "Twi...I think I'm going to have to do it anyway." She closed her eyes and gave a sad nod. "Well I guess I won't be needing the enchantment on my wings anymore after this. Can you just remove it now?" She nodded again and her horn glowed brightly. I then flared my wings and the crowd gasped in shock.

Moments passed before anyone spoke. "A-a-an alicorn?"

The crowd began to bow, but I raised my hoof in an effort to stop them. "Please don't bow, I'm not royalty, nor am I related to the princesses. I did this to make a point...that appearances can be deceiving." I gestured to myself and stated, "All of you have been friendly to me...are all of you going to start treating me differently just because of what I am? I thought you all were better than treating someone different simply because of how they look."

A white unicorn with duel-hued electric-blue mane and goggles walked up. 'Vinyl Scratch.' She looked at me for a moment before shaking her head. "No...no we won't." The DJ then looked back at the crowd, "RIGHT?" The crowd hurriedly began shaking their heads no or voicing their negatives, so I grinned...as did my brother

I turned back to the crowd and said, "Good...then I am pleased. Well everyone, it's been a long day, and with that we'll take our leave." The crowed roared in thunderous cheers and the stamping of hooves for a number of moments before starting to clear out, so I turned to a smiling Vinyl Scratch and extended my hoof in greeting. "Hello Miss Scratch, my name is Steelbreaker. It's a pleasure to meet a fellow musician."

The white unicorn gasped and lifted her goggles off her face to reveal two crimson eyes. "You make music too? Thank Celestia! I thought Tavi and I were the only ones!" I was then on the receiving end of a happy tackle-hug, and I just chuckled.

I grinned down at the unicorn mare and quipped, "Whoa there cowgirl, you're gonna have to buy me a drink first."

She stepped off of me, blushing a bit in embarrassment. "S-sorry...I don't know what came over me."

I waved a hoof at her with a smile. "It's cool. Tell ya what, I don't think I have anything going on tomorrow, and I have some music that I'd really like to show you if you have the time. I have a feeling you'd really like the style."

Her smile threatened to pull her face apart, but she nodded vigorously. "Awesome! Sure, if you're free drop on by tomorrow. Twilight knows the address."

I nodded. "It's a date!"

The DJ blushed, her entire face turning red. "W-well...umm...ok."

I laughed. "I didn't mean it like that, Vinyl Scratch. I just meant we're meeting up to hang, and it just happens to be at your place." I then leaned in close and whispered, "Although I'm sure you'll get a kick out of Octavia's face if you told her an alicorn is coming over for a date with you."

She giggled. "Yeah, that could be fun. Okay then, I guess I'll see you tomorrow!"

Mason Twilight and I all arrived back at the library at around 18:00, the sun just touching the horizon and the air of autumn bringing about a slight chill to the air. We opened the door to find Luna speaking to Spike, and she turned her head to smile at us.

"Hi Luna!" I greeted.

The blue alicorn trotted over and embraced me in a hug. "It is good to see you, Steel. I just thought I would drop by with a gift for Mason, or Darkflight as he is now called."

My brother grinned and replied with, "Wow, thanks for the gift princess. What is it?"

The night princess then motioned to a door down the hall. "The only place it would fit was the basement. I hope you do not mind when you see it." The black dragon shrugged his shoulders, and we all headed down to the basement.

Where once was an unfinished basement was an apartment, complete with violet walls and violet carpeting. Lastly, was a large comfortable bed, which was built much taller taller than Twilight's.

Mason's eyes were wide and he was smiling in delight. "This...is...AWESOME!"

Luna smiled warmly and said, "Well I spoke to Twilight and it was her idea. The bed was mine though, so I hope you like it."

With that he lay down on the bed, and he fit. The grin on his face told volumes of how happy it made him, and he whispered, "Dude...this is one of the best gifts I've ever gotten." The black dragon then looked at me and said, "Screw an Xbox, screw Iron Maiden concert tickets...this is awesome!" He hopped off the bed and wrapped Luna in a bone-crushing bear hug...er...dragon hug I guess.

The alicorn coughed out, "Too tight...can't breathe!"

My brother released her and scratched the back of his neck nervously. "Heh...sorry about that." Then he walked towards Twilight, and she backed up in fear.

"No no! A thank you is enough, and you're welcome." The violet unicorn said quickly.

He smiled. "Thanks Twilight. I appreciate it...really."

The unicorn grinned. "Just don't set it on fire."

He laughed and glanced around the room. "It could use a little more of a personal touch though." He tapped a claw against his lips. "Hmm...I guess I better get started." We left him to do...whatever he was going to do and headed upstairs.

My stomach as well as Twilight's were roaring at us when we got upstairs, much to the entertainment of Luna, so Spike made us each a daisy and lettuce sandwich.

I just stared at the sandwich, and Twilight nudged me. "Aren't you hungry?"

I sighed. "Well yeah, but I'm not sure about this. I hope my taste buds adapted along with my new body..." and with that, I took a bite. The best way I can describe it was that it tasted just like a chicken sandwich with lettuce. Daisy = chicken...who knew? I smiled and wolfed the whole thing down. After wiping my mouth and letting out a delighted "ah", I said, "Wow...that was good. I'm kinda interested as to how the rest of your foods taste now. Thanks for the sandwich Spike!" Spike nodded with a smile and Luna giggled.

The lunar princess then stood and smiled at me. "Well it was wonderful to see all of you again, but I fear it is time for me to go for now. I hope to see all of you again very soon."

I stood up with her. "I'll walk you out, Luna."

I escorted Luna out and closed the door behind me, then looked into her lovely cyan eyes. "I want to thank you again Luna...I know I've already thanked you, but these few days in Equestria have been some of the best of my entire life."

She smiled warmly and embraced me in a tight hug. "It was my pleasure, Steelbreaker. Hopefully soon you and I can spend some more time together." She released me and hung her head a bit in frustration. "Things have just been very hectic at the palace lately." Suddenly, her ears perked up, and she said, "Tia has informed me that a 'break' of sorts may be coming soon, so gods willing I can make a personal visit for a few days."

I smiled. "Yeah...I'd like that. Don't be a stranger now, you can always write a letter to me or any of us."

The night princess smiled back and said, "I may just do that. Thank you Steel...I am glad you are here." Once more we embraced, and then the lunar princess flew off into the night.

After walking back inside I noticed Twilight had a big grin on her face, and she was staring at me.

I shifted nervously. "What? Do I have a booger in my nose or something?"

She giggled and then continued grinning. "Steel and Luna sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G..."

I rolled my eyes, then smirked. "Well fine then...since you like to make fun of ponies, no more cuddles for you."

She gasped. "But that's not fair!"

I laughed before nuzzling her. "Aw, I was only kidding Twi. Besides, you make a good teddy bear."

She looked confused and asked, "What's a teddy bear?"

"It's a stuffed animal toy. It's used for the same thing that you used to use Smarty Pants for. Nice to snuggle." I explained.

She blushed. "Well then I'm flattered."

I smirked as I looked her in the eye. "You should be. Not just anyone gets to sleep in the same bed as me." With that I walked to the kitchen to grab a glass of water, when Twilight's gasp stopped me. I turned around and asked, "What?"

She pointed at me. "You got your cutie mark!"

I growled and facehoofed. "Ah man...I forgot to ask the princess about that."

She looked confused and asked, "Ask her about what?"

I walked closer to her and pointed to the new mark on my flank. "Look at the bottom right of the shield. What does that look like?"

She leaned in a bit to get a good look, and her mouth dropped open when she realized what was there. "That's Rainbow Dash's cutie mark...why is that there? You have a cutie mark on your cutie mark!"

'Yo dawg, I heard you like cutie marks...' "Shut up brain...not now..." I mumbled to myself.

Twilight was still bewildered. "When did this happen?" I then walked her through the whole morning with Rainbow Dash. After running through it, she was staring at me pensively. "Well...a couple things have happened." she said thoughtfully. "One, it seems that you activated a wing-enhancement spell. Since alicorns are the only ponies to have both wings and magic horns, they're the only ponies that can cast the spell. What's confusing is that with this as well as the other two spells you've learned, you seem to be using spells without even learning them. Secondly - and I might be wrong on this - it looks like Rainbow Dash's cutie mark is on yours because you protected her. I have to say, I've never seen a cutie mark like that. We should really ask the princesses about this."

I nodded. "Yeah, Dash said the same thing regarding my cutie mark. If you can, please send a letter to the princess so she knows about this. I'd really like to know what's going on, and something this rare...I'm sure she'd like to know about it."

The violet pony nodded in agreement and took out a parchment, quill, and ink well. She scribbled furiously for a few minutes and then placed her quill in the ink well. "There...I think that should be sufficient. Spike? Can you come here please?"

'Hmm...I wonder...' I raised a hoof and said, "Hey Twi, let me see that...I want to try something." She looked confused, but nodded and pushed the scroll across the table to me. I focused on Princess Celestia until I could feel her presence, then imagined the scroll going to her...almost asking it to. The scroll floated into the air covered by a silver aura, and then disappeared with a small flash and *pop* sound. I did a hoof-pump and exclaimed, "Yeah! I didn't think that would work. Who da man? I da man..."

Both the unicorn and dragon were in shock, but Twilight recovered first and asked, "Did you just do what I think you did?"

I shrugged. "Only one way to find out." A few minutes passed, and then Spike burped a green flame, out of which a scroll materialized. Twilight grabbed it with her magic and began to read. After a few minutes, she placed the scroll on the table and stared at me. "Well?" I asked.

She was so surprised, she looked as if she'd seen a book for the first time. "Well, the princess definitely wants to meet with you as soon as possible. Also, she put in here how the scroll you sent appeared like it did, instead of by Spike's green flame. She's confused to say the least."

I nodded with a smile. "Okay, well I promised Vinyl I'd see her tomorrow if I had free time. If you can send a letter back to the princess and tell her I'd be glad to meet her in the early morning, that'd be sweet." Twilight nodded and began to write another letter, while I cantered over to the kitchen. 'Things just get weirder and weirder...' I walked out with my glass of water just in time to see Spike burn up the scroll, sending it off to the princess. "So, this has been one hay of a day, would't you say?" I quipped.

Twilight nodded. "You're just one mystery after another. I'd ask to study you if I even had the slightest idea of how or where to start, but I'm completely baffled by all this."

I nodded in agreement. "Remember Twi, you're talking to a former-human who used to think this world was somewhere he would never get to see in his wildest dreams. Yet here I am. Baffled doesn't even begin to explain the way I'm feeling." Spike and Twilight laughed, and then Spike burped another scroll out.

Twilight grabbed it and read quickly through it before looking up at me. "Okay Steel, she'll be meeting you in the throne room at 07:00."

I looked at the clock and sighed. "Ah buck, it's almost 23:30. I'm going to take a shower and then I'm off to bed, Twi."

The mare nodded and said, "Okay, I'll be up in a minute."

Spike was grinning. "Steel and Twilight, sitting in a tree..." his voice faded as I entered the washroom.

I quickly washed the day off of my body, wincing as I brushed my left wing. A quick drying and brushing of teeth, and I headed off to bed. Twilight was sitting out on the balcony with the door open, so I trotted out and sat next to her.

She was looking up at the stars again.

"You know," Twilight started, "I used to look out at these stars when I was little. I used to wonder if there were other worlds out there. I used to have little daydreams about meeting an alien or something. Now...here you are."

I laughed and responded, "Well I'm hardly an alien, Twi. I speak the same language, have a lot of the same mannerisms, and I'm now even the same species as the princesses."

She nodded with a grin. "Yes, but you still come from another world, where so many things are different. It's exciting in a way."

I chuckled as I extended my good wing to cover her protectively. "Well then your dreams have come true I guess. Don't worry, I won't be taking you to my alien mothership or anything."

The mare laughed loudly as she looked up at me. "Good. I'm not so good with flying."

We headed back inside and I plopped down on the bed, laying on my back. After closing the doors and turning off the light, Twilight joined me, snuggling into my chest. I pulled the covers over us and she wrapped a foreleg around my stomach.

For a moment the unicorn was silent before whispering, "Hey Steel?"

I looked down, seeing her face in the darkness. "Yeah Twi?"

She sighed a bit before continuing with, "Did you have a marefriend back on Earth?"

I shrugged and answered, "Well on Earth we call them girlfriends, but yeah...I've had a few over the course of my life."

She was silent for a moment. "Would you ever date someone like Luna, or Rainbow Dash...or me?"

I sighed...I knew this would be coming sooner or later. "Yeah...I suppose I would. I care about all of you a lot, and friendship is a great foundation for any relationship."

She yawned and nuzzled my chest again. "Okay...well goodnight Steel."

I was a little confused, but smiled and kissed the top of her head. "Goodnight, Twi."

Author's Notes:


In case you haven't noticed, I use a 24-hour clock when referring to time, so as to avoid confusion. If you're one of the people that has trouble with that, just remember to add 12 to any hour from 1:00pm on and remove the "pm" to get a 24-hour scaled time. The inverse is true if going from 24-hour to 12-hour (subtract 12 from the hours if time is 13:00 or later and add a "pm", otherwise it's AM[12:00pm noon is the exception]).

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