by SoloAcapello

Chapter 4: Chapter 3: Elementary, My Dear!

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Chapter 3: Elementary, My Dear!

Chapter 3

Elementary, My Dear!

Hours went by. Hours of nothing but arguing, fighting, and excuses from both sides. Applejack would insist that the three boasting ponies were doing nothing but causing trouble, but Fluttershy would immediately try and soften the earth pony's harsh words, creating a vicious cycle of insulting and backpedaling. Neither side was gaining any ground, and after the first hour, the once excited crowd began to wander back to their homes.


Eventually, the unicorn musician, who had been waiting in the back, decided to make her voice known. “Uh, Red, you do realize that you just scared everypony away, right?” she asked. The unicorn had a low alto voice with a bit of an edge, belying just how frustrated she was becoming. "Something tells me that wasn't the point of this little pep rally."

Red, the burnt orange pegasus with the megaphone, which had thankfully stayed at her side once the argument broke out, shook her head. “Look, I'm just trying to make sure everypony knows that they're safe!” she shouted.

The off-white unicorn, sighing, motioned around to the empty square with a hoof. “Considering that they've already left, you're really beating a dead horse here.”

“That's a tad morbid, ya know,” quipped the male pegasus with the cap, grimacing. The stallion's cockney accent was rather thick, giving Twilight the impression that he wasn't a local. “Watch your language, yeah? We kinda need to make a good impression here, Chess.”

“Would you stop calling me that?!” the unicorn, apparently not named Chess, blurted out. Taking a deep breath, she turned to face Twilight, her emerald green eyes glinting in the midday sun. “Sorry about that. I think we got off on the wrong hoof. I'm Caesura, not Chess.” She made sure that her dislike for the nickname was known. “I’m the one mare band around here, but if you want me to play for a party—”

“Oh my gosh! I should totally hire you sometime!” Pinkie Pie suddenly shouted, bounding excitedly up to the surprised unicorn and rambling at full speed. If anypony mentioned the 'P' word around Pinkie, they were in for quite a surprise. “That was amazing, by the way! I never got to tell you because I was having so much fun playing the drums, which I saw you didn't have, so I thought that I would be a perfect addition to your one mare band, but then it would be a two mare band, which doesn't have the same ring to it, but we could still—”

“Pinkie!” Twilight shouted, saving an increasingly flustered Caesura from having her ears talked off. “I'm sure you two can play together sometime later. For now, we've got a serious problem on our hooves.” Twilight gave the frightened unicorn an apologetic smile. “Nice to meet you, Caesura. My name is Twilight Sparkle. Could you please let whoever is in charge of Everdale know that we would like to speak to them?”

Caesura stifled a laugh, a bit of her scraggly black mane getting tangled around her horn. “Your friends have already been yelling at her for about an hour now, I think she knows you're here.”

Caesura took the opportunity to go check on her instruments by the fountain and protect them from Pinkie Pie, who was beginning to inch closer to them. Hesitantly,Twilight turned her head to meet the proud gaze of the orange mare with the megaphone, who had the smug grin of a foal who had just won an argument.

Usually the pony in charge, like the mayor of ponyville, had a cutie mark that corresponded to some sort of governmental work. Instead, this energetic pegasus had a picture of three finely sharpened pencils emblazoned on her flank, all of them arranged neatly in a row. If anything, Twilight would have guessed that this pony did secretarial work.

Twilight swallowed air, afraid that she was going to have to do a lot of apologizing to set the record straight. “Uh, sorry! Your name is Red, right?” Twilight mumbled, anxiously drawing circles in the dirt with her hoof.

Red, instead of acting as haughty as she appeared, shook her head and plopped down on her rump. “Nah, it’s all good!” she replied gracefully, her bombastic flair from before fading away. “But yeah, I’m Red. That’s Preston over there with the hat, and that’s Chess—”



“Close enough for government work. Anyway, Twilight, I guess you do have a point. I was just trying to get everypony excited again, since it’s been kind of depressing here recently.” Red’s eyes drooped a little bit, losing some of their luster, but her mood remained casual. “Still, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t take some credit for saving somepony last night! I’ve gotta ask, though. How in Equestria did you know who was going to be taken? Kind of tough to save somepony if you don’t know who you’re saving.”

The small amount of patience that Twilight had managed to muster was starting to wear thin. She clenched her teeth and took a deep breath through her nose before responding. “I’ve already told you! All six of us slept through the entire night. We didn’t even know what was going on here until princess—“

Twilight cut herself off, drawing unwelcome stares from all nine ponies remaining in the square. She was about to say that Luna had given her instructions in a dream, but then she remembered about the gag order she'd been given.

Red’s stare immediately became one of suspicion, forcing Twilight to awkwardly excuse herself. “Sorry, sorry!” she laughed, waving a dismissive hoof in front of her as she sat down. “I just…. Well, I’m supposed to be secretive about my conversations with the princess, that’s all.”

While it was not a complete lie, Twilight knew that the other ponies would assume that she was talking about Princess Celestia. Twilight was still a little upset that she had to keep the secret from her friends though. Why had Luna insisted on that, anyway?

“I completely understand, actually,” Red responded with a sympathetic smile.

“Well I don’t.”

Page’s familiar voice rang out in the nearly empty square as she trotted up to the group. Her forceful voice was rendered ineffectual by the yawn that followed it, but her intentions were clear. Nightowl followed close behind her, stifling his own yawns as well.

Red’s wings exploded outwards as she shot up into a defensive stance, her curly, strawberry blond mane bouncing from the sudden motion. She held up her megaphone and shouted at full force. “Page, don’t even start with me!”

Twilight, ears ringing, began to step out from between the two before she got caught in the crossfire.

Red, instead of continuing angrily, sighed and lowered her megaphone. “Just go get some sleep so you’re ready for tonight, okay? The Elements are going to need your help, after all.”

Page, with dark circles under her eyes, stamped her hoof on the ground. Nightowl looked like he was about to say something, but he silently looked over at Caesura and Preston with a worried glance. For a moment, nopony said a word, but after a silent exchange of nods, Page ended the standoff and turned towards the row of houses behind the fountain.

“Thanks,” Page muttered uncaringly, refusing to make eye contact with anypony as she trotted off. Nightowl, offering an apologetic glance to all of them, galloped up behind her to try and calm her down.

The atmosphere thickened as Twilight and her friends tried not to look at the other three ponies’ pensive expressions. The more Twilight saw about how the ponies interacted here, the more confused she became. It was like she was walking into a play during the second act!

Finally, somepony broke the silence. Pinkie was hopping alongside Caesura, who seemed desperate to find a place to hide so that she wasn’t receiving the full force of Pinkie Pie’s nonsensical ramblings. “But c’mon, Chezzy, you should totally do it! If you levitated me and my drums, we could totally make the coolest music with you spinning me around like ‘Whoosh!’ and—“

Twilight, determined to save the poor unicorn from an untimely pink doom, quickly turned towards them. “Now Pinkie, levitating a pony is extremely tricky! You have to account for movement and distribution of weight, which makes it easier to lift pegasi, but even then it is still quite a feat.”

Caesura gave Twilight a weary smile. Pinkie, successfully distracted, had already pranced over to Rainbow Dash to bother her.

“Now, where were we?” Twilight asked, turning back to Red and Preston. “I wanted to ask Red, but also everypony here, about what’s been happening. Does anypony have some information that might be related to these disappearances? It could be something about crystals growing in the area, or maybe even somepony with a grudge against this town. We just need to figure out why ponies are disappearing. Then we can figure out the who and the how.”

Nopony responded. Preston and Red shared a few glances but said nothing, giving Twilight the feeling that they were hiding something. After a few more uncomfortable moments, Twilight noticed Preston beginning to separate himself from the small groups that were beginning to form. It was surprisingly quiet.

As he disappeared around the other side of it, Twilight trotted around the other way to meet him, her curiosity drawing her over. She didn’t want to think that this olive pegasus was intentionally hiding something, but the way he had wandered off made him look suspicious.

As Twilight came around to the other side of the fountain, she found her target staring intently at the marble centerpiece. The middle of the fountain held a statue similar to the ones in Princess Celestia’s garden, but this one that depicted two identical pegasi flying side by side, a symbol that Twilight didn’t recognize. Twilight took a moment to marvel at it before her eyes trailed down to see what Preston was so curious about.

It didn’t take long to find. There was a bright pink slip of paper with the words “Welcome to Everdale!” written neatly across the top. Beneath it, written over a faint picture of the fountain it was posted on, was some hastily scrawled writing.

“This is a ransom note. I make my demands clear. The Elements of Harmony must abandon their mission and report their success to the princess. The entire town of Everdale is my hostage, so if you do not comply, Everdale’s population will drop to zero when Celestia raises the sun again.”

As soon as Twilight finished reading, she hesitantly turned to look over at Preston, who was already staring wide-eyed at her. Those brown orbs were fearful, but Twilight knew that she was sporting the same look. This was a note from the culprit, possibly King Sombra, meaning that Twilight and her friends were interrupting something extremely important! As ominous as it was, Twilight was relieved to know that they were on the right track.

“Now, what in the hay are you two doin’, sneaking off like that?” came the Applejack’s startling voice from behind. Both startled ponies jumped around to notice that everypony else was there as well, having slowly migrated around to see what Twilight and Preston were up to.

Applejack, spotting the bright pink paper, hopped smoothly over the side of the fountain to reach the statue, splashing noisily through the water, but the pink slip was immediately enveloped in a bright blue aura and pulled back towards Rarity.

“Really,” Rarity sighed, sounding upset about something. “Who would use pink for a tourism brochure? It jumps out way too much and makes it seem like you’re begging for attention! No offense, Pinkie.”

“None taken!”

Twilight watched as her friends read over the writing. But as she turned to look back, a cyan blur shot across her vision. In the blink of an eye, Preston was flat on his back in the shallow fountain, staring up at the rainbow-maned pegasus that was mercilessly pinning him down.

Rainbow Dash grinned as she stared down at a bewildered, hatless stallion. “I knew we couldn’t trust you!” Rainbow shouted victoriously, her wings fully extended. “You shoulda thought twice before messing with us!”

“Rainbow!” Twilight blurted out, immediately hopping over the ledge and splashing into the shallow pool. Thankfully, the olive pegasus wasn't drowning, but he definitely looked like he could use a helping hoof. “Rainbow, what is wrong with you?!”

As Twilight attempted to pull Rainbow away from her prey, the pegasus let out a victorious laugh and turned her head to face Twilight. “Aha!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed, turning her vindictive stare back to the terrified pegasus beneath her. “I finally got one up on you, Twilight! I already know who placed the note!”

Blinking a few times, Twilight couldn't help but feel rather skeptical at her friend's confidence. “Um, Rainbow...? You do realize that anypony could have put that note there, right? Just because Preston was the first to find it doesn't mean that he's guilty! Didn't you learn anything from those mystery novels I lent you, or maybe even something from our little caper on the train?”

“She didn't, but I did!” Pinkie Pie interjected excitedly, leaping gracefully into the shallow pool and splashing around like a little filly. “Dashie was one of the culprits back then, so of course she didn't learn anything!”

Rainbow, deflating a bit, turned back to look at Pinkie Pie with a grimace. “Just because I messed up doesn't mean I didn't learn anything,” she grumbled, unable to hide the hint of guilt in her voice. “I learned how to solve a mystery after all! And this shifty-eyed pegasus is the one who did it!” Rainbow's gaze shot immediately back to the captive culprit, who was absolutely pitiable in his soaked, terrified state.

“Okay, I'll bite...” Twilight sighed irritably, tilting her head to the side. She had to help the poor stallion out somehow. “How do you know that it was him?”

“Easy!” Rainbow Dash began, making her explanation as grandiose as she could by punctuating it with a puff of her powerful wings. “When I got back here from our investigation, I came from that side of the hotel.” She quickly raised a hoof and pointed to the hotel's right side where a row of townhouses stood before slamming it back down on poor Preston, who let out a strained cry. “Now, me and Rarity were the first ones that came back out of our group. When I flew on over to see what was going on by the fountain, you think that I would've noticed some bright pink slip of paper on a gray statue. But it wasn't there! Now c'mon, Twi, go ahead and fill in the gaps.”

As much as she hated being put on the spot like this, Twilight had to admit that her friend's deductions were really starting to gain momentum. “So you came here from the street right behind us, meaning that you would have seen this slip of paper when you arrived. Rarity, can you confirm this?”

“Of course!” Rarity announced, keeping her distance from the fountain so that she didn't get wet. “Any other pony might have missed it, but my discerning eye would have caught that shocking shade in a heartbeat! No, there was nothing there when Rainbow and I arrived. I can guarantee that.”

“Good,” Twilight responded before turning back to an expectant Rainbow Dash. “So, your point is that the note could not have been placed before Preston found it. But what about the big speech? By that logic, anypony could have done it. The whole town was there. It would have been easy for somepony to slip away and put this on the statue.”

Rainbow Dash paused for a minute. “Uh...” she mumbled, looking anxiously down at Preston, who offered Rainbow a pleading smile. “But what about, uh...? Aha! Got you this time!” Rainbow stamped her hoof again, once more causing a little shout from the poor pegasus beneath her. “This note was placed on the opposite side of the fountain, meaning that it would have been obvious if anypony had walked around and placed it there! Not to mention the fact that everypony was looking in this general direction, since their eyes were on these three crazies over here!”

Twilight had to admit that she had a good point, but it was a little shaky for an accusation. “Hold your horses, Rainbow,” Twilight stated plainly, earning her a confused stare from Preston. “Oh, uh, not literally. Stop holding Preston. Seriously. But really, I can vouch for him. You're going on the assumption that Preston placed the note here immediately before he and I found it, right?”

Rainbow nodded with a self-satisfied smile, glad to have her work acknowledged. Twilight rolled her eyes and looked over her shoulder at the ponies behind her. “It's possible, but very unlikely. I didn't hear any splashing when I walked around to meet him, you know.”

“But that's just what he wanted!” Rainbow exclaimed triumphantly, folding her wings so they were flush against her sides. Twilight guessed that this was her trump card. “I know where you're going with this. You were going to say that the he would have had to trot through the fountain in order to place the note on the statue, right?”

“Actually... yeah,” Twilight replied, genuinely surprised.

“Twilight, oh foalish Twilight. It's elementary!” Rainbow Dash's tone became patronizing. “He's a pegasus after all. All he had to do was take advantage of the moment when the statue was blocking your view! Then he could fly over the water, post the note, and fly back just in time to let you see him staring at it. Elementary indeed!”

“Rainbow... you've been reading too many of my mystery novels lately,” Twilight groaned, lowering her head a little bit. Despite her annoyance with Rainbow Dash's use of demeaning cliches, she was proud of her friend for making so many deductions in such a short period of time.

Somehow, Pinkie Pie had managed to find her detective's cap and bubble pipe while Twilight had been looking away. “Invariably so, Dashie!” Pinkie stated with authority, blowing a few bubbles from her pipe. Her voice had miraculously morphed from helium-induced rambling to snobby Canterlot diction in the blink of an eye. “But, you overlooked a simple detail! If you would please, dear Dashie, flap your wings for us.”

It took a moment for the pegasus to respond, but she finally acknowledged Pinkie with a defiant glare and began to idly flap her wings. The sound of whooshing air reached Twilight's ears, but there were also some small ripples on the surface of the water.

“Good thinking,” Twilight responded with an appreciative nod. “She's right, Dash. Even if he didn't touch the water, he would have made a sound by flying over to place the note.” Twilight paused for a second before adding her own conclusion, which had been her original rebuttal to Rainbow Dash's theory. “Also, it would have been incredibly risky to try and place the note in such a small window of time. If he wanted to put it there, he would have done so earlier, when nopony was around.”

All of the fighting spirit seemed to drain out of the proud pegasus' body. Rainbow lowered her head in defeat. “Man, I thought I had it,” she grumbled with a deflating sigh. “I was sure I was right! What the hay happened?”

“Pinkie Pie happened,” Twilight responded with a light giggle, turning proudly to her pink assistant, who was suddenly distracted by the bubbles that were coming out of her novelty pipe. “I don't think I would have noticed the fact that flying over the water would make small ripples, but the sound it would have made makes it decisive evidence. But, I have to admit, that was some really quick thinking! Maybe next time you should wait a little bit before jumping to conclusions. Okay?”

“Yeah!” Pinkie squeaked, biting her bottom lip to keep from laughing. “Sorry Rainbow, but it looks like your hopes of catching the culprit have been... dashed!

Pinkie immediately collapsed into the shallow pool, rolling around and creating a mix of giggling, gurgling, and splashing.

A collective groan rose from the rest of the ponies. Twilight rolled her eyes and turned back to Rainbow, who was staring daggers at Pinkie. “And while we're on the subject of bad jokes, you can stop holding your horse, now.”

Rainbow, her anger fading and face flushing, quickly stepped aside and let Preston sit up. The poor pegasus looked absolutely miserable, thanks to the way his wet mane clung to his head in a spidery, brown mess.

“Sorry,” Rainbow apathetically apologized.

“It's all good, mate,” Preston mumbled, still recovering from the sudden fright. Idly, he leaned over and grabbed his sopping hat from the fountain between his teeth before flipping it upwards and catching it on his head. “Still, there's somethin' botherin' me. We should be puttin' all our attention on the note itself, not who put it there.”

Twilight's sense of accomplishment began to fade as she remembered what the note had said. “This is a ransom note. I make my demands clear. The Elements of Harmony must abandon their mission and report their success to the princess. The entire town of Everdale is my hostage, so if you do not comply, Everdale’s population will drop to zero when Celestia raises the sun again.” 

This was obviously written by the culprit, but they were claiming that they could make the entire population of Everdale disappear overnight! There wasn't a single spell that Twilight could think of that could accomplish such a feat.

It was then that the she began to hatch a plan. “Red. I need your opinion on this.” Twilight turned around and hopped out of the fountain, accidentally spraying a bit more water on Preston. “Do you think that the culprit has the power to make 30 ponies disappear tonight?”

Everypony backed away from Red, who was staring intently at the pink note on the ground. Twilight couldn't blame her for taking her time, especially considering that she was the current mayor of Everdale. The thought made Twilight's heart sink, imagining all of the pressure that Red was feeling. It was amazing that she still had the spirit to hold that rally in town square.

After a few moments of deliberation, Red looked up from the note and leveled her gaze at Twilight. There was no malice or sympathy in her fixed expression. “Twilight Sparkle,” she flatly announced with a soft, serious tone. It didn't sound like she was going to answer the unicorn's question. “You and the other Elements of Harmony need to pack your bags and go back to Canterlot. You're not welcome in Everdale anymore.”

The words hit Twilight like a train, stopping her breathing for a few tense moments. Red's icy expression didn't falter in the slightest. Did she really think that the culprit could carry through with their threat? If she believed that, then this pegasus knew more than she was letting on.

“Hey, Red?” came a hesitant voice. Oddly enough, it belonged to Pinkie, who was hopping out of the fountain and trotting up to the pegasus. She was still wearing that ridiculous detective's cap.

Red met the pink pony's dejected gaze, but she had to avert her eyes to keep her stony mask from crumbling. “Yes?” she responded with a somewhat shaky voice.

“Why are you named Red anyway? You're not Red at all! You're more like a rusty orange, or maybe like— Oh! You're like Scootaloo, just a little darker! Maybe I should call you Rusty, or—”

Red immediately stamped a powerful hoof onto the ground and brought her megaphone right up to Pinkie Pie's ear. “Rusty?!” she shouted at full volume, making Twilight's ears ring, even from a few feet away. Pinkie's detective cap went flying into the fountain, making her mane even more frizzy than it already was. “Rusty?! And what am I supposed to call you? Pinkie?!”


Red stared at grinning pink pony in bewilderment from the other side of her megaphone, jaw still hanging open. Twilight could see the mare trying to put together some kind of response, but instead....

She burst out laughing. Just like dominoes, everypony, Twilight included, found it difficult to stay on their hooves. In mere seconds, the square was filled with raucous laughter, everypony's voices mixing together in the din. Everypony's voice but Pinkie’s. She just stood there with a frown.

“What?” Pinkie asked, genuinely confused as she turned around to see what was going on. “Why's everypony laughing?”




In the end, nothing had changed. Red had stood by her decision to banish the Elements of Harmony from Everdale, regardless of the consequences. Both Preston and Caesura had remained silent, neither voicing a complaint against Red's decision, but their hesitant expressions had spoken volumes. Twilight wished that she could have apologized to them before Red had stormed off, dragging her two friends with her.

“Um...” came Fluttershy's quiet voice, snapping Twilight out of her silent trance and bringing her back to reality. Fluttershy's worried expression was dimly lit by the setting sun in the background, bathing the desolate dirt road in a bright orange light. “Twilight, are you sure it's okay? I mean... what are we going to do?”

Somehow maintaining her focus on the luggage barrier, Twilight looked over at Fluttershy, whose pitiful expression made her heart nearly melt. “Don't worry, Fluttershy,” Twilight whispered, casting a glance over her shoulder. The guard shack behind her had a small light on, meaning that Nightowl and Page must have gone on duty shortly after they had left. “I've got a plan. I wasn't sitting around and twiddling my hooves while we were arguing.”

“Oh, good!” Fluttershy exclaimed, managing to sound energetic despite her hushed tone. “I was so worried that you were really giving up! But what are we going to do?”

“We're going to have to wait another night,” Twilight began quietly. “We need to see how our culprit operates. Tonight, I will consult with the princess and ask her advice. Our best bet is to set up a trap so we can catch the culprit red-hoofed.”

“No.” Fluttershy's voice was soft, but strong. It had so much presence that Twilight nearly lost control over the barrier for a brief moment. “Er, I mean... wait, I mean no, actually. It's not a good idea. Sorry...!”

Twilight sighed. “We don't have much of a choice, Fluttershy. We're going to need the princess's help with this one.”

Fluttershy hesitated before responding. “Um, I don't mean to be rude, but how are we going to ask the princess for help before tomorrow? I mean, she's probably busy, and you don't have Spike here to send letters, so, um, maybe we should rethink things....”

Twilight's reaction must have been noticeable, because Fluttershy immediately trailed off into yet another string of apologies. Pangs of guilt struck at the unicorn's heart as she tried to think of a way to change the subject. Silently, she cursed the mysterious Princess of the Night for making her keep that silly secret.

“Well... either way, Fluttershy, we just spent at least six hours trying to change Red's mind about banishing us. I don't think we'd be met with open arms if we marched back in there.”

“I do, actually.” The pegasus paused, biting her bottom lip. “She kind of reminds me of Angel.”

“Your bunny? Really? I know Red can be a bit temperamental, but not like that crazy pet of yours.”

“Twilight!” The way Fluttershy said her name made Twilight feel guilty for talking about Angel like that. “Angel needs my help. If he were to go and live in the wild, he wouldn't last a day! Poor thing. When Angel gets upset, it's usually just because he needs something, you know. He acts so stubborn whenever he gets lonely, but that's how I know what he wants. He just wants somepony to care for him.... That's all.”

The words began to sink in as Twilight realized how horrible her plan was. She was going to let somepony get foalnapped just so they could learn more about the culprit! “So you’re saying that Red kicked us out because she wanted us to stay?”

“Well, when you say it that way...” Fluttershy mumbled, trailing off. “It does sound kind of silly. But! I could tell. She was upset because she wanted attention. She just wanted somepony to care for her....”

Twilight took a deep breath, starting to see what Fluttershy had seen. Red had sent out a giant S.O.S. when she sent Twilight and her friends away. The weight on that pony's shoulders must be absolutely unbearable, since she was responsible for the lives of all of the citizens of that small town. And Twilight had nearly abandoned her.

        “Thanks Fluttershy,” Twilight whispered, earning a warm smile from her friend. “Girls! Change of plans!”

Fluttershy nodded approvingly as she flew back to make sure that Rarity and Pinkie Pie would be able to hear.

Once she had everypony's attention, Twilight raised her voice a little more. “AJ, Rainbow! We're turning this cart around! Let’s head back to Everdale! I have a plan, but if it's going to succeed, we're going to need to work quickly.”

Twilight noticed Rainbow Dash begrudgingly give a few bits to Applejack, who smirked and took them without gloating. Rainbow must have lost a bet.

Giggling, Twilight turned to face Rarity and Pinkie Pie. “Pinkie, you packed your emergency party supplies, right?”

“Absolutely! What do you think all these suitcases have in them? Bricks?”

“Not gonna answer that,” Twilight quickly responded, desperate to stay on topic. “We're going to need a surprise party in the hotel, stat. Absolutely everypony is invited. Can you handle it?”

“No problemo, or my name isn't Pinkamena Diane Pie! Which would be weird, considering—”

“Rarity, you're in charge of decorations. Fluttershy and Applejack, you're making refreshments. Rainbow Dash, you're coming with me on guard detail. Page and Nightowl could use a night off.”

Twilight's snappy instructions left little room for rebuttal, but Rarity wasn't going to play along without an explanation. “A party? Really, Twilight! We get banished, and the first thing you want to do is go back and throw a party? I would expect this from Pinkie, but I thought you would have more tact than this.”

“Trust me, Rarity. I don't care if King Sombra really did come back. I dare the culprit to try and crash this party! We know they're coming. We know who they're targeting. But best of all, we know when and where they're going to strike.”

Rarity still wasn't buying it. “And, pray tell, how are we supposed to know all of this?”

With a confident grin, Twilight looked back over her shoulder towards the quiet town of Everdale. “Elementary, my dear Rarity!” Dash shot an acid glare at Twilight, but the unicorn wasn't going to let anything dampen her spirit. “The culprit will strike at midnight in the hotel.”

Before Rarity could interject, Rainbow Dash jumped in. She looked like she wanted revenge. “Okay, I normally wouldn't do this, I'm siding with Rarity here. How can you be so confident about this?”

        “Simple,” Twilight stated. “It'll be on the invitation.”

Next Chapter: Chapter 4: Inviting Misfortune Estimated time remaining: 9 Hours, 42 Minutes
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