“You put it back, right Scootaloo?” said Apple Bloom.

“Yeah, yeah.”

“Ya SURE?”

“Look, I put it back, okay? Sheesh!” said Scootaloo, as they trotted through the grass, skirting the stream that ran around town. The objective was ice cream, to celebrate making their new foal, and the path was around town and not through it, so they could enjoy (and snack on) the grass under their youthful hooves. Also, Scootaloo didn’t seem to want to go into town, for some reason.

Apple Bloom stared hard at her bestest friend, but the little pegasus’s affronted look didn’t seem too over-the-top and stagey. Scootaloo was probably telling the truth.

Apple Bloom turned to her other bestest friend. “That’s okay with you, Sweetie Belle? I know it was partly your idea an’ all. I jes’ feel it’s gone far enough…”

Sweetie trotted along serenely. “Yes, Apple Bloom. I feel much better now! And I’m so excited to have Crusader. It’s going to be so wonderful and adorable and cute!”

Apple Bloom made a face. “Uhhh… back before all this here was a thing, I saw my big sister a-running toward the pig pens. See, Daisy Mae was a-poppin’ out piglets right an’ left.”

Sweetie squealed in delight. “I saw piglets on your farm! They were super cute!”

Apple Bloom winced. “Um, well, this weren’t cute, exactly. Though it ain’t like they were that big or nothin’. It’s jes’ got me wonderin’ about all this, is all.”

“Wondering what?”

“Wonderin’ whether we should be askin’ the grownups for help,” said Apple Bloom.

Scootaloo broke in. “No! I did what you asked, I put the thing back. You gotta keep this secret Crusader business! If you go and tell Rainbow Dash…”

Sweetie added, “Besides, we’re not supposed to get help from grownups. Rarity said so! Grownups mustn’t help you with sex feelings. She was very fierce about it, so it must be super duper important!”

Scootaloo couldn’t leave it at that. “Just don’t, okay? Just don’t! Swear to me you won’t tell anypony, especially Rainbow Dash?”

Apple Bloom looked at her. “Awww… I’m sorry, Scootaloo. I know y’all got a mite upset with me. Uh… iffen it helps any, them wings of yours is real pretty and felt nice to munch on, I reckon boy pegasuses will jes’ love ‘em…”

At the mention, Scootaloo’s wings sprang up, violently erect and trembling. She glared at Apple Bloom. “Gee, thanks ever so much. Can you not talk about that ‘cause it feels really weird? And I didn’t hear you swear not to tell Rainbow Dash!”

Apple Bloom sighed in exasperation. “Fine! I promise not to tell R… eep!”

Scootaloo squeaked and tried to hide behind, then under, Sweetie Belle. As they’d approached Sweet Apple Acres, suddenly they weren’t alone—Lyra and Rainbow Dash had trotted briskly into view, engaged in an animated conversation.

“Yeah, I understand it’s scary,” said Rainbow, “but I still say it’s awesome. I’ll come along with you the whole way but you should go and talk to her alone. And hey—I want you to know I like you even better for wanting to do this. It’s just the pony thing to do, so don’t be too scared. I promise, Rarity’s nuts but she’s good at heart, she’ll hear you out… oh, hey kids!”

Lyra glanced at the three fillies, and raised a forehoof, shying away nervously at their odd behavior. Apple Bloom was grinning an excessive, ingratiating grin, and Sweetie exuded an aura of sensual bliss while Scootaloo attempted to hide under her, filly pegasus head lifting Sweetie’s hindquarters bodily, filly pegasus wings standing bolt upright and ruining her attempt to hide herself.

Rainbow Dash stared at this display in astonishment, then laughed raucously.

“Hey, sport! I think just maybe you’re a little TOO much like me! Take it easy, okay? No hurry!”

Scootaloo yanked her head out from under Sweetie’s rump, and Sweetie sat heavily on the grass with a quiver and a tongue-loll as Scootaloo stared wide-eyed at her idol.

Rainbow Dash grinned. “You guys! Stay outta trouble, okay?” She resumed her progress, trotting over the bridge into town as Lyra listened intently to her advice. “Now, the thing we gotta make sure of is that Trixie isn’t hanging out with Rarity, because from what you tell me, Trixie’s on a real tear. Your apology should help, but you know she’s gonna need time to cool off, right? Take it from me, I’m kinda that way too. The best thing you can do for Trixie is give her some space and help to fix the problems that made her mad at you…”

They disappeared over the bridge, and the Crusaders stared after them.

“Aw, shoot!” said Apple Bloom. “Now I wanna ask Rainbow Dash’s advice even more! Or my big sister—Applejack always knows the right thing ta do.”

“Nooo!” begged Scootaloo, glancing fretfully toward the bridge. “You can’t! It’s your fault anyway I did such a bad thing, I didn’t save my wings, Rainbow Dash can never know that I didn’t live up to what she wanted!”

Apple Bloom pouted. “I said I was sorry, okay? Consarn it. Fine, we won’t never tell nopony ever. Did it at least feel real good when I did it? Sounds like it’s s’posed to feel all kinds ‘a special.”

Scootaloo didn’t answer for a moment. She stared off into space, her eyes going a little bit dreamy and haunted as she thought back on her experiences. She shivered, and bit her lip.

“Oh yeah. Yeah.”

“Scootaloo?” said Apple Bloom. “Y’all just went a mite thunder-stinky on us. Jes so’s you know.”

She jumped back, for Scootaloo was suddenly in her face, glaring, saying “So what? Big deal, okay? I can handle it. Don’t touch me there any more! I’m gonna live up to what Rainbow Dash wanted me to do. I think I understand what she meant better now. Just don’t ever tell anypony, okay? Don’t ever tell!”

At this, Sweetie’s look of bliss wavered, as if she’d got an inkling of possible downsides to her sensual indulgences. She looked worriedly at Scootaloo. “We promise! It’ll be okay… can we go and get our ice cream now? Is this why you didn’t want to go into town?”

Scootaloo drooped. “Yeah. I’m scared ponies will guess what I did. I mean, what Apple Bloom did TO me.” She glared at her friend again.

Apple Bloom gave her the level gaze of a filly who wasn’t yet rocked by hormones. “You know full well that it’s you two who cooked all this up in th’ first place. If y’all want to have fun in gross, oozy, creepy, stinky ways then so be it, but don’t you go blamin’ it on me now, I am jes’ tryin’ to keep up with y’alls needs. Hear me?”

Scootaloo stuck out her lower lip in an outrageous pout, which made Sweetie quiver and gasp for some reason, and she said “Fine. Thanks for bearing with us, Apple Bloom. And promise you won’t…”

“Ah PROMISE!” said Apple Bloom. “Come on, let’s get our dang ice cream! My sakes, you guys. Can’t you make foals in a cheerful an’ nice way?”

“Ssshh!” demanded Scootaloo, and Apple Bloom and Sweetie were silent.

Rainbow trotted along, her huge belly dangling nearly to the ground. Lyra gave it a curious look. “Should you be helping me like this? Forgive me for saying it but you’re really, really pregnant.”

Dash scoffed. “I’m keeping in great shape! Well… considering Spy here, anyway! Don’t worry about it. I want to help you. We’re almost there. Actually, maybe I should go first, because Rarity’s so good at throwing fits and I might be able to soften her up, warn her, you know?”

“I thought you wanted me to talk to her alone?” said Lyra.

“I do!” insisted Dash. “You should! Thing is, though, we don’t know if she’s alone. If she’s hanging out with Trixie and Tw…”

Lyra had frozen in the street, refusing to go on. Dash laughed. “Exactly! Oh, settle down. I’ll protect you.”

“Sorry,” said Lyra. “I can’t sleep worth a damn lately, and I’m all jittery.”

“The fact that you’re trying to make things right, that should help, okay?” said Rainbow. “Sheesh. If you’re so scared to face Rarity, maybe I should just take you home for Applejack to play with!”

Lyra gulped. “Do you think that would be a good idea?”

Dash didn’t respond right away. She, in turn, stopped to look Lyra over from head to hoof, as if for the first time—her ruby eyes taking in the taut quivering flanks, elegant slim legs, the tidy waist so unlike Dash’s pregnant bulk—sides swelling as Lyra drew a deep breath, minty-white tail flicking with fitful energy over that dainty vagina, and those eyes, those gleaming golden eyes so full of life and so brimming with essence of unicorn crazy.

Dash’s gaze dropped, and she thought of herself, once so athletic and toned, now freakishly inflated through carrying Applejack’s foal, bloating out and bulging with new muscle from her determination to stay mobile and active.

“No… no, it really wouldn’t be a good idea at all,” said Dash. “So come on, seriously. Let’s straighten out your situation a little.” She set off again, thinking: and keep your damned pretty tail out of my situation! Dash marvelled a little at her change in attitude. It wasn’t really that much of a change, though—it felt more like a tactical maneuver. Lyra always had boasted a rather Dash-ly body, perhaps from all the nervous energy. Rainbow found herself determined to keep that hot body clear of Applejack until she could compete on an equal footing again.

Applejack probably had all sorts of notions about faithfulness, thought Rainbow, but that was her nature. Dash, in turn, had very specific notions about a hot lay and a smokin’ pony body, and Lyra was all of that, always had been. She hastened her lumbering trot, leading the reluctant Lyra towards Carousel Boutique and away from the distant Sweet Apple Acres. If Applejack had taught her anything, it was prudence.

It seemed quiet enough at the Carousel Boutique—too quiet. There was no sign of Trixie—but there was no sign of customers, either. Rainbow Dash tried the door, and it opened, but nopony was inside.


No reply.

“Maybe she’s shut up in the inner sanctum? It’s a thing she has, a room in there…” said Lyra.

“What, you mean past that open door?”

The sanctum was indeed open, as if Rarity had forgot to shut it while departing in haste. Rainbow called again. “Rarity?” Nothing.

“Oh, what do we do?” squeaked Lyra, trotting in place, her tail flicking about agitatedly.

“Does she usually leave that open?” asked Dash. “Because I haven’t seen it like that very often…”


“Huh,” said Dash. “Closed the place, ran off to do something—shopping, maybe? She can’t have gone far.” She set her jaw. “You wait here, in case she comes back! Got it? I’m going to go look around, see if I can scare her up for ya. Least I can do.”

She thought again about Lyra sashaying down to Sweet Apple Acres, parting her labia for Applejack’s iron pony phallus.

“You stay here! I’ll go get Rarity, right away, okay? Don’t leave!”

“Okay…” said Lyra, uncertainly, and Dash thundered off like a wrecking ball with pony hooves.

Trixie Lulamoon pouted, glancing sidelong at Twilight. She sat on the floor of the library, petulantly.

Twilight gave her a sharp look, and returned her attention to Rarity. “Yes! An intervention is exactly what it’s like. I think we can be pretty sure she’s still carrying that bit with her everywhere she goes. It’s affecting her mind—I slept near mine for weeks and got very worked up sexually, but even I didn’t wear it every waking minute!”

“Trixie wishes just five minutes with her!” said Trixie passionately. “Just five minutes…”

“Stop it!” snapped Twilight. “Just you, her—and that whip? Is that it?”

Trixie pouted again, sullenly. She seemed haggard, like she hadn’t been getting decent sleep for a while, and it only intensified the wild, dangerous look she’d picked up.

“You’re being awful!” said Twilight. “This is not very Ponyville! I’m not having you flogging her in the streets. What the heck is your deal? I just want to take that bit back so she can feel better!”

“She can feel my lash, better…” snarled Trixie.

“That’s enough!” insisted Twilight. “Upstairs! No more backtalk, you’re not contributing anything useful to this discussion, this is Ponyville business and the way you’re talking is just not how this town is supposed to be! Go on, go upstairs! You are grounded twice!”

“Fine!” wailed Trixie, and galloped up the stairs, to flump into Twilight’s bed.

“I’m sorry about that, Rarity, I thought she’d actually be useful,” said Twilight. “I don’t know what’s got into her, I’ve never seen her like this.”

“I think I understand,” said Rarity thoughtfully. “Twilight dear, Trixie considers me under her protection. I am her submissive, and yours—and it has offended her to the core that Lyra took me inappropriately.”

“I’d still like an explanation of what upset you, Rarity,” said Twilight. “I’ve decided it must be something to do with arcing, because you get uncomfortable around it. Did you have a bad experience with arcing at some point?”

Rarity’s smile shone out brilliantly, as if one could reflect inconvenient questions off it. “Darling! What ever would give you that idea?”

“Watching you fuck? Paying attention?” retorted Twilight.

“Ahaha! But you have known me for some time—and now, you have known me in a more intimate manner—and surely you’ll allow me the freedom to resort to my fainting couch? On just a mere random whim, for no reason? Must I prove cause? How uncourteous!” Rarity’s smile was tense, but very convincing, by necessity.

“Me, uncourteous?” squeaked Twilight. “Have some sense of proportion! Lyra jumped on you in front of your customers, fucked you silly, and came in you so hard you fell down and cried, and I’m the uncourteous one?”

“Ha!” came a mournful cry from upstairs.

“Shush!” yelled Twilight. “Mares are talking!”

Rarity’s smile did not waver. “Which returns us to our original intention—reclaiming the magic bit from her, so she can regain some stability and make more sensible decisions about things. No? Twilight, you know that is what’s really important. I’m really worried about Lyra’s place in Ponyville, now that she’s left Bon Bon and is running so wild. Please, do not wander off into things that don’t matter! We’re here to help Lyra, who is ill and not herself.”

Twilight looked suspicious. “I don’t know—even back when she was with Bon Bon and only Bon Bon, there was something about her. Bon Bon dumped her, too—you got that backwards. Maybe this is how she’s always been?”

“Then,” replied Rarity, “it falls to us to help her grow and learn to be a better pony. So she can find a place within our community. Correct?”

Twilight sulked for a moment, then said, “We’ll have to do it without Trixie. She’s way too into this, behaving terribly.”

“Is she spending too much time in proximity to your own bit, Twilight?”

Twilight shook her head. “No, I’m certain of it. She passed by it when I sent her upstairs—I’m keeping it on a bookshelf by the stairs, it’s not even in our bedroom at all anymore. Twenty feet at least—shouldn’t that be enough?”

Rarity nodded. “From my sense of the things, yes, that should be more than enough. Did you say she was grounded, twice?”

Twilight nodded. “I caught her lurking around Fluttershy’s place, with a big whip, right out in public. I can’t have that, you know I can’t. Trixie is absolutely required to not go and hunt Lyra any more, period, and she’s not happy about it.”

“I gathered,” said Rarity. “But, ‘grounded’?”

“Rarity, I told her directly to leave Lyra alone, that we’d go talk to her later. Miss Lulamoon didn’t want to wait until later. I also wouldn’t have brought along the whip. Yeah, she’s grounded. I expect her not to run off like some loose cannon renegade pony. Right, Trixie?” she called.

There was a sullen silence.

“I said, right, Trixie?”

Or, perhaps, an empty silence.

Twilight blanched, and charged up the stairs to her bedroom, Rarity behind her, and saw the curtains blowing in a chilly Spring breeze, an open window, and no Trixie Lulamoon.

The ice cream store mocked the Cutie Mark Crusaders with its offensive, gratituous closedness.

“Now what the hay would they go an’ do a thing like that fer?” sputtered Apple Bloom, outraged.

“Ohh!” wailed Sweetie Belle. “I need ice cream! I am eating ice cream for two now, I’ve gotta have some ice cream right away!”

Scootaloo reared, kicking the air, determination in her eye. “We’ll go to Sugarcube Corner! Sweetie Belle, do you think you can survive on fudge and possibly cookies?”

Sweetie gulped bravely. “Maybe… yes, dear Scootaloo, I can but try. Sustain me on fudge and cookies!”

Apple Bloom stared at her friends, her ears quirked to the sides. “Have y’all lost your damn minds? Nah, let me re-phrase that: have y’all lost the rest of your damn minds?”

“Scootaloo will protect me,” said Sweetie Belle. “She is the daddy, since I am the mommy.”

“And what do that make me then?” demanded Apple Bloom.

“Fudge-less?” suggested Scootaloo, which got her a bonk on the head for her trouble. “Ow!”

“You can help us plan for the baby!” said Sweetie Belle. “We’re going to need to build a crib in the clubhouse.”

Apple Bloom brightened. “Ah kin do that! We’ll make all sorts o’ things. Toys!”

“Yeah!” said Scootaloo. “And we’ll take the baby to school with us!”

“Naw,” said Apple Bloom. “Heck no—we’ll make our own school!”

Sweetie squealed with delight. “Wow! Cutie Mark Crusader Schoolteachers! We could make a teeny tiny adorable little chair for a baby pony to sit on!”

“An’ I kin make us a blackboard to write stuff on!” cried Apple Bloom.

“And I’ll steal us some chalk!” said Scootaloo. She spotted Apple Bloom’s horrified look, and corrected herself hastily. “I mean, buy it! That’s totally what I meant to say, okay?”

“Dang right,” said Apple Bloom. “We gotta be on th’ up and up, we’re gonna go through lots of chalk! That blackboard will get a workout, boy howdy! We’ll start by writin’ her—or his—name: Crusader!”

“And then we’ll teach him other words—he’ll learn how to spell!” crowed Scootaloo with glee.

“An’ do math!” added Apple Bloom.

“And raise the sun!” said Sweetie Belle.

Apple Bloom and Scootaloo stared at each other, speechless for a moment. Then they stared at Sweetie Belle, with even more amazement. “What?” they said.

Sweetie blinked happily back at them. “Well, remember it’s a unipegacornasus? Like Princess Celestia. Oooh! I have to make princessy robes for her. We’re having a special princess. And so we have to teach her how to raise the sun.” She batted her eyelashes again, adorably, secure in her logic.

Scootaloo and Apple Bloom exchanged another meaningful glance, and Apple Bloom said, “Uhh… Sweetie Belle, we don’t know how ta raise th’ sun.”

“How hard can it be?”

Country filly and tomboy pegasus shared yet another unspoken gaze. This time, it was Scootaloo who dared answer, with unaccustomed gentleness. “Why don’t you try it and find out?”

Sweetie plopped down on the grass and squinted up at the sun, concentrating, and Apple Bloom and Scootaloo held their breath, fascinated and half believing it would be that simple. Sweetie struggled, and then let out a satisfied little sigh. “There! Did it move?”

“Nope,” said Apple Bloom.

Sweetie pouted. “Darn it! Maybe after I have some fudge?”

Apple Bloom looked worriedly at Scootaloo, who gulped and spoke tactfully.

“I’m not sure fudge is gonna help us here…”

“Ssh!” said Apple Bloom. “Stop talkin’ about it, there’s Rainbow Dash again!”

Dash was panting, trotting heavily along while looking every which way. “Rarity?” she called, as the Crusaders watched, and then she froze, staring off into the distance, seemingly horrified. The three fillies followed her gaze but saw nothing but a flash of blue and a swirl of cape in the distance—Trixie Lulamoon, who was a familiar sight around town lately.

Scootaloo alone cringed to see her, because the memory of Trixie brandishing a whip was fresh—she hadn’t told the others about that part, because it quickly paled in importance to her discovery of the unattended magic bit on Fluttershy’s windowsill.

Dash did more than cringe. She squeaked, “Oh horseapples!” and took off at a thunderous run, back where she’d come from, though Trixie wasn’t actually heading that direction.

Sweetie Belle blinked in puzzlement. Now that the fillies weren’t talking, it was plain that there were hoofbeats all around, ponies running this way and that. She shook it off, and re-dedicated herself to her fundamental purpose.


Apple Bloom giggled. “All right—we’re almost there, come on!”

They ran merrily up to Sugarcube Corner, and burst in with a clatter of tiny hooves. Apple Bloom braced herself in front of the counter and Scootaloo leapt up with a mad flurry of wings to land on Apple Bloom’s back, a well-rehearsed routine that allowed Scootaloo to look Mrs. Cake right in the eye and say, “Hi! Can we have some fudge? It’s important!”

“Is it, dear?” said Mrs. Cake, smiling.

“Yeah!” said Scootaloo. “So can we have some?”

“You’re very sweet,” said Mrs. Cake, “but this is a confectionery store. Our best fudge is two bits per piece, though I have some lovely fudgey cookies for just one…”

Scootaloo didn’t even miss a beat. “Is Pinkie Pie here?”

At that, Mrs. Cake pursed her lips. “It’s not nice of you to take advantage of her like that, just because she’s easily charmed. And no, Pinkie Pie is not here, but I suppose you could try your luck with…”

“Girls!” cried that familiar voice, cranky-sweet. Scootaloo squeaked and tumbled off Apple Bloom’s back. Fluttershy had come out of nowhere and was standing right next to them, glaring.

She stamped a forehoof, and Scootaloo began frantically formulating excuses for the theft of her bit, but the butter-colored pegasus had other things in mind.

“Have you SEEN Rainbow Dash?”

Scootaloo’s jaw dropped. Sweetie considered her companion’s plight for a moment, then carefully closed the jaw with a gentle hoof and replied, “Yes!”

“Sure!” added Apple Bloom. “Lots of times!”

Fluttershy’s bluster deflated a bit. “No, I mean, have you seen her lately?”

“How come?” asked Scootaloo, suspiciously. “Is she in trouble or something?”

“She is running around—running! Like a mad-pony! And she is very near term! I don’t know what’s got into her, but if she is not made to stop it at once…”

“Here you are, Fluttershy,” said Mrs. Cake. “A pound of my best fudge, just as you wished!”

Fluttershy glanced hectically over at the shopkeeper. “Oh! Thank you…” She trailed off, as three sets of Crusader eyes pleaded with her. “Um… would you girls like some fudge?”

Three feverish nods answered her.

“Well then,” said Fluttershy, “perhaps you can earn it—have you seen Rainbow Dash just now, and did you see where she went?”

“Sure!” said Apple Bloom. “She went runnin’ off towards…” She oofed, as Scootaloo clouted her in the back of the head with a hoof, all the while smiling angelically. “Somewheres,” concluded Apple Bloom, glowering.

“Oh dear,” said Fluttershy. “That’s the best you can do?”

“It is, it totally is!” insisted Scootaloo.

“She was running very fast, too!” added Sweetie Belle, helpfully.

“Oh, all right. One piece of fudge for each of you—don’t eat it all at once, it is very rich and might upset your stomachs!” said Fluttershy. “I’d better go. I think I know who I should talk to, and I’m sure she would be every bit as worried as I am about it.”

“Don’t forget your cloud! It’s making a terrible mess!” called Mrs. Cake anxiously. “We don’t usually bring, ah, weather indoors…”

Fluttershy gave her an exasperated look. The kids followed Mrs. Cake’s gesture, to discover a small cloud sitting and leaking condensation in the corner—fogging up a nearby window and making a puddle on the floor.

“Thank you, it’s very good of you,” said Fluttershy, with just the hint of an eye-roll. “I really would not want to forget that!” The truth of this became immediately obvious. The hugely pregnant pegasus waddled uncomfortably toward the cloud and gave an awkward leap, flapping her wings frantically and blowing over a paper sign that gave the price of cookies. She landed on the cloud, squished it flat, and flowed out over it in every direction—but all the same, she floated into the air on its back, and as Apple Bloom ran to open the door, Fluttershy drifted toward it with easy sculling motions of her wings and a huffy look towards Mrs. Cake.

She floated out of the door, and the kids saw her beating her wings hard, picking up speed as the little cloud whooshed off towards Sweet Apple Acres.

Mrs. Cake sighed. “Oh, dear. I suppose that’s got you kids taken care of. I don’t suppose you could lend a hoof by mopping up that puddle over there?”

“After we eat our fudge,” remarked Scootaloo casually.

Apple Bloom’s eyes bugged out, and she whacked Scootaloo. “Before!”



Sweetie Belle jumped between them, before the expected scuffle could break out, and offered her diplomatic solution.


Country and pegasus filly glanced at each other, nodded, and the three went to find a mop, leaving a trail of fudge crumbs—and a ruefully chuckling Mrs. Cake—behind them.

Dash came thundering up, wings spread as if she was half galloping and half flying.

“Quick, you gotta get out of sight, you-know-who is on the loose!”

Lyra screamed, and trotted in place, turning back and forth and looking for a place to hide.

“Over there! By that tree, on the left!” cried Dash. “In the bushes, hurry!”

With a bound and a flick of the minty-colored tail, Lyra disappeared from view. There was a rustling sound, and then nothing could be seen but the golden glint of two huge frightened eyes peeking out.

“No! No eyes! Close ‘em, put your head down!”

The bush squeaked, and the eyes disappeared, lowering—and a spring-green horn poked out where the eyes had been.

“Gah!” choked Dash. She trotted forward, dragged a few leaves across the horn with her teeth, and then whirled, eyes wide, hearing a thrumming of hooves.

When Trixie ran up to the Carousel Boutique, she saw Rainbow Dash beaming and waving with a forehoof, well to the right side of the building. She looked exhausted. Trixie didn’t look much better—her weariness seemed greater than a brisk gallop would account for, but she trotted right up to Dash and demanded, “Have you seen Lyra?”

“Sure!” said Rainbow brightly. “Why, just a moment ago she was just over there!” She gestured generally away from the left side of the Carousel Boutique. “She was going away at a pretty good clip, too!”

Trixie lifted an eyebrow. “Really. ‘Over there’, eh? Are ‘over there’ and ‘away’ the same place, Rainbow Dash?”

“And just what’s that supposed to mean?” demanded Dash.

“Trixie just wonders what you’re doing standing in front of Carousel Boutique and waiting for her to arrive, if not to distract attention from something else…”

Dash gulped, and rallied. “Uh, uh… You caught me! I wanted a kiss from the greatest and most powerful kinky unicorn to come to Ponyville since Twilight. Hey, come to think of it, if I get a kiss from you, I bet you a dozen bits that I taste Twilight on your lips.”

“But what are you doing standing around, Rainbow Dash?”

“Have you SEEN me lately? You’re lucky I’m not lying around. Or rolling around! Ha!”

Trixie smirked. “Which parts of Twilight do you imagine you’ll taste, silly pegasus?”

“Surprise me,” grinned Dash, and waggled her eyebrows, and flicked her prismatic tail coyly.

“Oh, Trixie will surprise you… by searching this area you’re guarding.”

The grin dropped away from Dash’s face. “Now wait a minute! Guarding?”

“Trixie does not know why you’re doing it—it’s none of your business—but Trixie has been hunting for Lyra, and nopony else. You’ve heard about it, and you are interfering for some reason. All Trixie has to do is look where you don’t want her to look,” said Trixie, “and the mystery will be solved…”

Rainbow gulped, and lumbered forward hastily. “But all I want is for you to look in my eyes…” Her gaze went sensuous, and she licked her lips provocatively. “I never told you how arousing it was to feel your magic handling me…”

Trixie smirked again. “And whirling you around until you were sick?”

“Um, yeah, right,” said Rainbow. “But it was the way you did it!”

“Trixie tires of this foolishness! You are making excuses and getting between Trixie and her legitimate quarry!”

“Oh yeah? Well, you’re getting between Rainbow Dash and hot lesbian smooches! I can’t stand it any longer, either you’re gonna come and make out with me, or I’m gonna sit on you until you give in! If you’re good I’ll sit on your face so you can have fun while we wait for you to fall madly in love with me… hey, stop looking around, I’m talking to you! I… awk!”

Dash squawked and flapped. While she was face to face with Trixie and staring her right in the eyes, trying desperately to distract her attention, a sturdy rope had been flung over her, lassoing her, and Applejack’s laughter rang out.

“C’mere, you crazy varmint! Fluttershy says you need to go to bed, an’ if you’re so all fired horny you can damn well come to bed with me! Git away from that unicorn, you don’t know where it’s been!”

“Augh!” screamed Dash. “No, Applejack, not right now! You gotta let me stay here, for no particular reason! I’ll explain later!”

“I heard enough!” laughed Applejack. “Come on! You need a nap, missy, you’ve gone all light-headed!” She began dragging Dash away.

“Nooooo! Let’s just stay here all afternoon and talk to Trixie!” begged Dash, digging her hooves in and resisting for all she was worth.

“No way, no how!” said Applejack. “Fluttershy made me Pinkie Promise to come an’ get you and put you to bed. An’ you know that always does sound like th’ best idea ever, but if you think I’m breakin’ a Pinkie Promise ya really spit your bit on that one! You can come an’ play some other day, once I’ve done my duty. Hup!”

Trixie sat, eyes twinkling with amusement as she watched the tug-of-war. She marveled that the rope didn’t snap. Applejack dragged until the tendons of her neck stood out, her teeth bared as she hauled on the rope, but Dash had the weight advantage, and leaned hard in the other direction while bracing herself. It stopped Applejack cold, and she couldn’t pull Dash an inch by backing up.

The stubborn earth pony mare wasn’t so easily defeated, however.

Trixie’s eyes widened as Applejack gave a snort, and rotated decorously, showing Dash and Trixie her shapely rump. She even flicked her tail at them, mockingly. Trixie took a moment to admire the country girl’s ass, but Dash whimpered, and it didn’t sound like an erotic whimper, though Trixie had to reluctantly admit one was justified—Applejack’s rear view was powerfully motivating.

Applejack leaned forward, and her powerful hindquarters tensed, and then Trixie understood.

“Augh!” squealed Dash. She resisted as hard as ever, but her marefriend was like a pony locomotive, hind legs slowly chugging along step by step, digging huge divots in the ground and dragging Rainbow Dash with completely irresistible force. Trixie licked her lips, admiring the scene and smirking as Dash was forcibly removed, step by step, from the scene.

“Aaaaaaah! Dammit!” wailed Dash. “Sorry! Um… to anypony who was around here that I should be sorry to! I mean… to anypony who thinks I should be able to outpull my marefriend! Aaaahh! Ow, Applejack, that hurts!”

“Then c’me along, y’ crazy varmint!”

Dash still resisted halfheartedly, but Applejack was implacable. Trixie could also tell that Dash was getting excited by the marehandling—and on top of that, Dash kept looking at Trixie and seemed reassured by the sitting position and the smirk, as if she thought the distraction had succeeded. She began to grin as she resisted Applejack’s dogged pulling, and then she began to wink at particularly lusty tugs and even moan, “Oooh, harder!” and before long, the two were out of sight, the only sign of them giggles and squeals in the distance.

Trixie got to her hooves and turned, surveying the area, her smirk doubling.

“Exit one pegasus protectress,” she crooned, “and now… we shall see what we shall see.”

Languidly, she wandered over in front of the Carousel Boutique, looking around, taking her time. She could just about feel the tension in the air. It felt delicious.

“Hiding near here, eh?” Trixie mused. There was no response. She smiled.

“Now, where would a wicked little unicorn be? A little unicorn that needs punishing, nay, demands punishing. Even if it makes Mistress cross. But Mistress isn’t here to object… is she?”

Trixie spotted the bushes under the tree, to the left of the Carousel Boutique.

“Oh yes,” she purred. “Of course. You’ve heard the saying, oh naughty wicked little unicorn? Two cross unicorns in the library is worth ONE in the bush.” She began stalking, with deliberate slowness, toward the bushes, smirking terribly, half-aware of a sense of motion behind her…

“GOT you!” cried Twilight, and a birch rod cut through the air with a sound like tearing cloth, and nailed Trixie across both cheeks.

“Aiigh!” squealed Trixie. “Not now, not now!”

Twilight advanced like vengeance. “Whose little bitch-pony are you?”

“Trixie only needs to…”

Thwack! “Who’s your Mistress, Trixie?”

“Aaaaah! But…” squeaked Trixie, cowering back as Twilight reared over her. Behind Twilight, Rarity appeared, running fast.


“YOU are, Mistress!” wailed Trixie, and grovelled in the dirt, quivering.

“Rarity!” called Twilight. “Quickly—and thank you so much, I’ll bring it back when we’re done!”

Rarity barely broke stride as she ran into her boutique, and then into her inner sanctum where all the kink gear had been stowed. She emerged with a shiny black bridle, with a ball-thing where the bit would go.

Twilight was looking hectically up at the sky. “Please hurry, I want to get her home right away before the Princess sees. I can’t believe how complicated life is sometimes! Bad girl, Trixie!”

“But…” protested Trixie, “mmph!”

The ball went in her mouth, and Twilight’s and Rarity’s magic collaborated in a frenzy of buckle-fastening. Before Trixie could even draw another breath through her widely flared nostrils, she was bound up tightly in the kinky bridle, with Twilight holding the reins. She quivered.

“Stand up,” ordered Twilight, and she complied.

“You are triple grounded with nuts. ‘Cause you’re nuts,” explained Twilight. “You’re getting taken home, and tied up, and you’re in pony jail for a while, I don’t know how long.”

“It’s all right,” soothed Rarity. “I shall get by without your authority for a time, never fear. There are things I must look after—I’m afraid I had better set the life aside for now, if it is not already too late. More than ever, I must be the elegant and pristine fashionista and big sister. I promise, we will have fun again! When it’s safe!”

“Rarity doesn’t speak for me,” gritted Twilight. “You’re getting punished like never before, thanks to this stunt. I’m gonna make a special dungeon just to throw you in, and chain you up and spank you and hit you with the stick, I mean rod.”

Trixie’s eyes pleaded for an explanation—and Twilight’s stern look cracked into the hint of a smile.

“Never said I didn’t still love you, silly. Oh, and lots of oral sex and fucking. But you’re gonna learn to obey or I’ll turn Rarity loose on you!”

Trixie grovelled happily in the dirt, even as Rarity choked and sputtered, “Twilight! I cannot be available for such…”

Twilight wasn’t listening. She grinned down at Trixie, who gazed up at her in quivering adoration, and the birch rod twirled in the air and lashed down to smack Trixie’s ass once more. The blue unicorn thrashed and squalled through the ball-gag, and her cry was broken up by little spasms as Trixie came, wallowing in kinky ecstacy before her Mistress. Twilight twirled the rod in the air, and sent it at Trixie’s rump with a flourish, and it bounced off her ass and sailed into a nearby bush with a mysterious click.

“Up!” cried Twilight, grinning. “You’re gonna run! To your jail, right now, double time, move it!”

She hauled on the reins, and dragged Trixie along imperiously. Trixie moaned, her legs still quivering with orgasm and not supporting her—she fell once, twice, but struggled to her hooves each time and stumbled along in Twilight’s wake, giddy with the public scening and trying her best to do everything Mistress asked, without question.

Soon they, too, were out of sight, and Rarity stood alone in front of her shop. She took a deep breath, turned, and entered, shutting the door behind her.

Nearby, a head poked out of the bush—Lyra, holding the birch rod in her teeth, her eyes wide. She cautiously extricated herself from the foliage, trying to straighten her mane and managing to get most of the twigs out of it, and she placed the rod gently on the ground, as if afraid she would break it—or as if it was a precious thing she really shouldn’t be touching.

Lyra took a deep breath as well… hesitated… and then, approached the door of the Carousel Boutique.

“One moment, darling!” trilled Rarity. “How may I assist… oh!”

Lyra stood before her, woebegone and piteous. Thinking quickly, Rarity seized the elegant saddlebag in a firm magical grip and tried to wrest it from Lyra’s body, but the frazzled unicorn shied away, using her own magic to cling to the bag desperately, and pleading, “No, no!”

Rarity blinked. “What do you mean, ‘no’?”

“P…please no, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, Rarity…”

“Oh, darling, it’s not a punishment! I keep telling Twilight, it’s not that you’ve done wrong, it’s the influence of this bit of yours! We’ve just got to get it away from you for a while and you’ll feel much better…”

“No, please, hear me out! I need it! I’m leaving town, maybe forever!”

Rarity sat back, startled, and let go. The bag yanked back in Lyra’s grip, but Lyra didn’t turn and flee, she only gazed even more imploringly and begged, “I need you to understand, and I really need to say how sorry I am. I did everything wrong somehow. Please forgive me!”

“Did you say,” asked Rarity, “that you are leaving Ponyville? But why?”

Lyra bowed her head, tears coming to her eyes. “It’s my only hope. I ruin everything I touch. Bon Bon, you, making Trixie so angry… I even got Rainbow Dash in trouble… I’ve got to get out of here, I’ve got to! I have to find my place in life, I have to find a love I can’t break!”

Rarity’s lip quivered. “But… darling! We love you!”

“But you mustn’t, I’m bad! I do everything wrong and make such a mess…”

Rarity broke in. “First of all, no you do not and secondly, where ever do you expect to go, bringing that magic bit along to prey on your mind all the while, and find this love?”

Lyra gulped.

“I’m going to give myself to Princess Luna. I need her to take me, make love to me, and arc with me. I don’t know if I’ll survive—and I don’t care. I must have her! There is nothing else in Equestria for me. And so I need to have the bit. Please don’t talk about taking it away! I need all the help I can get!”

Rarity’s jaw dropped and she stared in horror at the trembling Lyra. After a moment, she said, unsteadily, “How do you know she wishes your attentions?”

“I don’t,” admitted Lyra. “But I looked in her eyes on Nightmare Night, and she is so sad and lonely… and I know she wanted Trixie, so she’s hurt too. I can’t bear it! I have to go to her, somehow. I can feel her in my dreams, but I never see her. I run and never find her, and all the time I feel her watching, feel that loneliness and I just can’t stand it, I can’t even bear to sleep anymore because of that…”

Rarity’s eyes were very wide. “But perhaps it is the constant wearing of the bit that’s causing…”

“No!” cried Lyra, shaking. “No! I know it isn’t. I can tell. Let me keep it! I’ll go far away, and Ponyville will never have to deal with me again. But you’ve got to let me bring my magic bit to Luna. I have to offer her myself in every possible way. Please!”

Rarity’s eyes dropped. “You should not have to exile yourself. You have done nothing to deserve that, Lyra!”

“I need to do this. Please, please, please understand? My heart cries out for it. She’s my last chance, I need her so badly, it’s gone beyond just sex now… there’s no way I could hurt her like I hurt everypony else, she’s so powerful and wise and my hurtfulness wouldn’t matter and no matter how intense and wild I get I couldn’t possibly harm her…”

“Oh, Lyra!” pleaded Rarity. “Don’t take on so! You’re clinging to this idea that you are some destroyer, I promise you it is not so! You’re a dear sweet young mare who deserves so much more than this!”

“Will you let me keep the bit?” said Lyra. “I won’t even listen unless you give me that, I’ll run away right now. Will you let me keep the bit, and try to make things right somehow, with those I’ve hurt?”

Rarity heaved a shaky breath. “Why… yes! As far as I’m concerned, you may keep it.”

“Do you promise not to tell Trixie and Twilight about what I’m doing? I’m afraid they’ll try to stop me!”

Rarity winced. “But, darling!”


Rarity gazed at the lovely, distraught spring-green unicorn, set her jaw, and said, “Yes. You may keep the bit, and I promise not to tell Twilight and Trixie of what you are doing. Now, darling, let us speak of this foolish guilt you feel! I hope my promises have earned your trust. Tell me what is troubling you, I implore you! Let me help you make it right.”

Lyra gulped, again. Her eyes brimmed with tears. “You don’t think it’s just because I’m horrible—even my magic, my essence, everything about me is horrible and too much?”

“Don’t think that!” begged Rarity. “How can you say such things, you are a darling sweet creature!”

“But I hurt you,” sniffled Lyra, “just trying to love you. I can’t forget how you looked! Trixie wants to kill me now… maybe she should!”

“No, no! It wasn’t about you at all!”

“Then,” said Lyra, “if it’s not about me… exactly why did you act like that?”

She stared earnestly into Rarity’s eyes, and the two fell silent.

Silent as Rarity fought with herself, trying suddenly to work out what she could tell this too-clever unicorn.

Silent as Lyra saw the sudden withholding, saw the concern—and interpreted it in her own way.

Silent as Rarity saw Lyra’s head begin to shake, the eyes fill with tears again, the tragic look come back with a vengeance.

Silent as Lyra saw Rarity’s anxiety soar, saw the fear.

Then, Lyra had whirled, and was galloping away as if a thousand demons were chasing her, and one anguished word was heard as she fled…


Rarity sagged back in despair, only vaguely registering a distant commotion. Lyra had run right into a couple of passing ponies, a gray one and a white one with sunglasses, who cried “It’s Lyra! Hey, what’s the matter?” and grabbed her, hugging the frantic green unicorn as she gave way to hysterics.

“Scratchie,” said the other, “something’s very wrong!”

“No kidding! Hey, kiddo! You’re coming with us, me and Tavi will take care of you!”

Rarity dully registered Lyra’s distant sobs as the two ponies rallied around her. Rarity was not comforted by their ponyish faithfulness, for she had other concerns, concerns both new and achingly familiar.

More secrets, more betrayals…

Rarity hid her head in her hooves, as the sound of distant sobbing faded.

“She was WHAT?”

The earth pony mare nodded sagely. “Rutted publically—by a very effeminate green unicorn colt.”


“Oh, yes! And we all thought she was so proper! Well… until recently, showing her… SPECIAL interests…”

Rarity’s mother did not reply at first. She gritted her teeth, eyes squeezed shut in shame or rage.

“I just thought I’d better tell you, because I know you’re letting your little filly go and stay with her, and it just seems to me that it might be a mistake letting Sweetie Belle stay in… forgive me for saying it… not quite a safe, healthy situation…”

The earth pony mare trailed off, for Rarity’s mother was fixing her with an alarming look, equal parts cold fury and ruthless self-control. Her jaw was tight, so tight that it barely moved when she spoke, and her voice was perfectly level with only the barest hint of tremor.

“Leave that to me,” said Rarity’s mother.