Flash cleared his throat. “Well, I’m gonna head out, Twilight. Have fun at your lecture. Soarin, Rainbow? Try not to summon a monster from another universe. And sibs? Good luck.”
“With the exams or mom?” Scootaloo whispered, a mischievous smile on her face.
“Yes,” Flash snarked, winking at them. “Take care, mom. I’ll pay you a visit when I get home.”
Solar took a deep breath and smiled as Flash prepared to leave. “Alright, dear. Bye!”
“Bye Flash!” First Base and Scootaloo waved.
“I promise nothing!” Soarin shouted.
“Later, cheeseball!” Rainbow grinned. As Flash vanished into the sea of students, Rainbow gestured towards Soarin.
“Come on, Highlane. We have a Summoner class to get to.”
He groaned. “This is gonna suck.”
“I know, I know. Let’s just get it over with.” Rainbow pushed Soarin down the opposite end of the hall. “See ya, squirts. Later Solar. Bye Twilight.”
They bid farewell to the teens as they trekked down the hall.
A yawn fell out of Rainbow’s jaw, her arms folded behind her head.
“Tired?” Soarin asked.
She nodded. “Yeah. I went to bed pretty late. Got caught up reading the latest volume of Flashing Life. Sun Star was fighting the Ebony King’s army to stop him from grabbing the Mirror of Ancients!”
“...And you made fun of my love for Masked Ranger.” Soarin barely stifled a chuckle.
Rainbow cocked a brow as she stepped in front of him. “What’s that mean, huh?”
“You’re a total Flashing Life fangirl.”
“Says the Masked Rangers fanboy,” Rainbow countered with a cocky grin. “Besides, I’m not a fangirl. I’m a, what’s that word? Enthusiast.”
“Which is just a nicer way of saying fangirl,” Soarin said with his own grin. Rainbow huffed as she pulled him into a headlock.
“Gaah, You’re crushing my neck!”
“Be grateful that’s all I’m doing!” Rainbow growled, squeezing more tightly. As she went about her mock attack, two girls took notice of the roughhousing teens and began to whisper. Rainbow saw them and hastily released Soarin.
“Dang it girl, you coulda killed me!” Soarin screeched, arms flailing like noodles.
Rainbow waved him off nonchalantly. “Yeah, yeah. Come on. We’re probably late as is.”
With a shrug, Soarin proceeded with Rainbow close behind. The two girls stopped talking to watch the two pass by, their gazes locked on Soarin.
“Hey, isn’t that… you know?”
“Yeah! He kinda looks like him. We should ask.”
Sharing a nod, the two students quickly walked up to Soarin. “Excuse me, but are you Soarin Highlane?”
Soarin nodded, smiling brightly. ”That’s right. What’s up?”
“So are you related to Wave Chill, the Wonderbolt?”
As soon as the name left her lips, Soarin’s eyebrows sank, his smile all but fading. “Yeah?”
The first girl squealed as she shook her friend. “I knew it, he kinda looks like Wave Chill, too!”
The second cupped her chin as she inspected Soarin, before giving a nod. “Yup. I’m seeing it now. Mostly in the eyes.”
Soarin gave a frustrated groan as they prattled on. “Was there something you needed?”
The first girl turned back, cheeks flushed a bright pink. “Um... Well, I was wondering if, maybe the next time you saw him, you could give him this?” She pulled a letter from her purse, before tentatively handing over to him.
Soarin carefully analyzed the letter before eyeing her. “And this is?”
“A confession of love. I know the Wonderbolts have a P.O. Box, but I thought it would mean so much more if I gave it to him directly,” she swooned.
“Through me,” Soarin muttered bitterly, though neither girl heard him. Sighing, he turned to the girl, a fake smile carved onto his face. “Sure. I’ll make sure he gets it!”
The girls cheered as they hugged each other. “Thanks soooo much Soarin. Bye!” Waving farewell, the girls happily walked away.
Rainbow gave them a confused stare at their backs. “Jeez. If those weren’t fangirls, I don’t know wha-” stopping herself, she eyed her friend, hands shaking as he glanced at the letter with empty eyes.
Her frown relaxed as she eased a hand onto his shoulder. Rainbow opened her mouth but closed it as an unexpected odor hit her nose. She sniffed deeply before looking down, her eyes bulging at the sight.
The letter clutched tightly in Soarin’s hands was slowly burning away. Acting fast, she snatched the letter away from him.
“Dude! Seriously?!” Rainbow hissed, shaking the letter in an attempt to keep the flames from growing. Soarin shoved his hands into his pockets.
“I get you’re mad, but you can’t just start burning crap!” Rainbow added as she blew on the letter.
“Yeah, yeah,” Soarin grumbled. “Don’t know why I’m even shocked. I mean, it’s not like this is the first time someone’s used me as Wave’s messenger boy, and it probably won’t be the last.”
“Come on, man. Don’t be like that,” Rainbow nudged him in the side. “Forget those chicken legs and forget Wave!”
“Yeah…” Soarin replied, balling his hand into a fist. Rainbow looked at him briefly, grunting quietly. Giving her cheeks a good slap, she pushed Soarin along. “We need to hurry up, Highlane. Can’t be late for Summoner class.”
Soarin nodded. Rainbow clapped a hand on his shoulder, her expression softening somewhat. “Hey, are you good?”
Soarin gave another nod. “Yeah. Peachy.” He slogged down the hall, shoulders slumped, head facing the floor. Rainbow stared at him, biting her bottom lip before catching up to his side.
“...And that’s why Star Ranger is the best of the Masked Rangers series!” Rainbow stated confidently, flexing her bicep.
“Sure,” Soarin said flatly. Rainbow gave a frustrated sigh and stopped in front of a classroom, folding her arms. Soarin noticed the brief silence and turned to find Rainbow glaring at him. Immediately, he straightened up. “Sorry, Rainbow. I was just… thinking.”
Rainbow pinched the bridge of her eyes. “Dude, are you sure you’re okay?”
A weak smile broke out on Soarin face. “Aww. Rainbow. I didn’t know you were so worried about me.”
A vein throbbed on her forehead as she pulled him into another headlock. “Ack, Let go, let go!!”
“Joke like that again, and I’ll bust your head open, Highlane!” Rainbow growled.
“Okay, okay, Lesson learned! Please let gooooo,” he pleaded. Satisfied, she released him. Hacking a cough, he glared at her. “Girl, you are crazy strong!”
Rainbow giggled at him. “Aw, ain’t you a sweetheart?”
“Yup. I’m the sweetest guy this side of AA!” Soarin grinned brightly. Rainbow stifled a laugh as she watched him.
Soarin turned back, his smile shrinking slightly. “Yeah. Thanks.”
Rainbow returned his grin with one of her own, slightly punching his arm. “You don’t have to thank me. We’re friends and partners. Gotta help each other out, right?”
Soarin nodded calmly. “Right. Sorry about being all moody and stuff.”
Rainbow shrugged. “No need to apologize, man. It’s in the past.”
“‘The past’ as in three minutes ago?”
Rainbow gave a fake laugh accompanied with a mocking clap. “Har-Har.” Soarin chuckled, arms resting behind his head. He looked past Rainbow at the classroom behind her.
“Yo, is this it?” Rainbow cocked a brow as she turned to face the large, wooden door before her. Pulling a piece of paper out of her pocket, her eyes traveled between the paper and the numbers which hung above the door. “Hmmm. Room two-one-three. Yup, this is it!”
A whimper of annoyance shot from the mouth of the swordsman. “This. Is. Going. To. Suuuck.”
Rainbow nodded bitterly, shoving the paper back in her pocket. “I know. Luckily, I came prepared!”
Soarin’s brow rose. “Really? How?”
Rainbow smirked, dropping her bag on the floor, she dug around for a few seconds, producing a comic book. “New volume of Flashing Life!” Rainbow tightly held her book as if it were a child.
Soarin shook his head and laughed. “Such a fangirl,”
Snatching a head full of his hair, she pulled him over to the door. As Dash and Soarin peered through the glass, they were met with the sight of long, wide stairs. Along each step sat desks, with rolling chairs behind them. A large mahogany desk sat before the rows of others, desperate in its longing for a teacher to sit behind it.
The walls were a pale green and adorned with a handful of wooden tribal masks. Various shelves filled with book upon book-lined the back of the room. They were introduced to a rare occurrence in any classroom.
The inaudible orchestra of quiet.
Soarin glanced over at the desk, “Teach ain’t here yet?”
“Looks like it!” Rainbow said cheerfully. “Ya know what that means?”
Soarin nodded, slowly yawning. “Yup. I’m gonna catch some Z’s.”
“And I’m gonna get started on my-”
They jumped and quickly turned around to find a dark-skinned woman, her piercing blue eyes partially obscured by her long hair, flowing down past her shoulders in stripes of ivory and black.
“Oh, Good afternoon Ms. Zecora,” Soarin greeted.
She gazed at the pair for what felt like an eternity before offering a smile. “Ahh. Rainbow and Soarin, do come in! Take your seats, we’ll soon begin.”
They nodded slowly and stepped inside the class, grabbing some open seats in the back. Once Zecora had walked into the class, she clapped her hands, gaining their attention.
“Quiet down class, and let’s get started. Give this your all, not efforts halfhearted.” At her words, the rest of the students snapped their gazes forward.
Zecora grinned at the sight before speaking again. “Before we start, I warn you all…” Suddenly, as if a switch had been flipped, her mood darkened. Her joyful grin had been replaced with the most austere gaze, which slowly shifted to each student’s face as she spoke. “Before we start, I warn you all. Pride always leads to one’s downfall.”
Just as quickly as it’d left, her smile returned, loosening the shoulders of everyone else in the class.
Rainbow quickly scanned the class and recognized one of the four other students. Seeing her, she smiled and gave Rainbow a quick wave, which she returned. Turning to Soarin, he had kept his word and fallen asleep. Shrugging it off, she brought out her comic and began reading.
“Summoner’s magic is simple, ‘tis true. Although that’s so, of us, there are quite few,” Zecora gestured to the chalkboard, where a detailed formula had been sketched. “Contracts required by spirits are needed. Their terms and conditions must always be heeded,” she explained, the class listening intently and taking notes.
Before Zecora could continue, a muffled laugh reached her ears. Her gaze shifted up to Rainbow, who found something exceptionally funny in her textbook. Zecora’s smile weakened in one moment and returned with a vengeance the next. She cleared her throat before continuing on.
“Rainbow Dash, I’ve a question for you. It should not be difficult to do.”
Rainbow jumped in her seat, dropping her book. “U-uh... What? I-I mean, s-sure! Lay it on me!”
Lips twisting into a smirk, Zecora spoke. “Keywords strengthen any magical act. For Summoners, our main keyword is…?”
Immediately, Rainbow paled. She swallowed hard, fumbling to find an answer. “Uh… is it, ‘deal?’”
Zecora’s smile morphed into a frown. “Pact, Ms. Dash. Now I’m quite disappointed.” She looked to her left, where an eager student had his hand raised. “Perhaps this young man I should have appointed.” Zecora gestured to the student who stood up from his seat and pushed his glasses up. “Micro Chips I believe is your name. I’ve questions in store if you feel yourself game.”
“Thank you, Ms. Zecora. You probably would have known the answer, Rainbow Dash, had you been paying attention in the mandatory Keywords class last semester.”
Rainbow crossed her arms, blowing a raspberry. “Smartass.”
Though the lesson continued, Rainbow wasn’t interested. She would have talked to Soarin, had he not been busy making a puddle of drool on his desk. Zecora’s dulcet tones combined with her rhymes and the -- to Rainbow’s mind -- boring subject matter, only served to lull her into a semi-conscious state. Up until Micro Chips was called to the front of the class, bouncing on his heels as a smile threatened to split his face.
“Class is nearly halfway done. What say we all now have some fun?” Zecora asked, adding a smile.
“What did you have in mind, Ms. Zecora?” Micro Chips asked. Zecora extended her arm towards the door, holding her hand outward, palm open. “Today I’ll call upon a friend, faithful and true until the end.”
She began to chant, a white aura surrounding her entire body. Before her, a large magic circle took form, like an of gateway made of light.
The students watched in awe at the site, various voices perking up to question Zecora or merely voice their intrigue.
Zecora then spoke in a powerful voice, “From aether and void, I call to thee! Behold the spirit, Pact: Loyalty!”
A large white, metallic hand sprung from the depths of the newly formed gate, followed shortly by a matching metallic foot.
Standing in the middle of the circle was a suit of armor, similar to a knight’s. He floated a few inches above the ground, his red cape fluttering as he gently bobbed up and down. Though his face was hidden behind the visor, the students felt as though they could trust him implicitly. The air around him was suffused with an aura of dependability.
Amongst the chatter, Zecora spoke. “This spirit’s name is Calibur, though I refer to him as Cal. We met many years ago; he is my closest pal.”
Calibur fixed its gaze upon Zecora. “Lady Zecora, I have requested many a time you do not refer to me by that.”
Zecora chuckled sheepishly, giving Calibur an apologetic look. “A contract is a sacred bond between companions, true. Remember that which binds you both, lest things go wrong for you.”
As the students sat in awe at the sight of the spirit knight, a knock on the door caught Zecora’s attention. At it was a woman with red glasses.
“Excuse me for interrupting your lesson, Zecora, but Headmistress Celestia requires your aid with a... Certain matter.”
“Thank you, dear Raven, I’ll leave right away.” She turned back to the class. “Your assignment’s on the board, please finish it today.” Afterward, she turned Calibur.
Extending a hand she spoke: “This lesson’s over, Calibur. Your presence I will miss. Until we meet again, my friend. Return home, Pact: Dismiss.”
Calibur vanished in a flash of white light. With that, Zecora disappeared down the hall with Raven in tow.
With Zecora gone, half the class dissolved into quiet chatter as they discussed her lecture. Micro Chips, however, merely stood in place, completely silent.
Fiddling with his glasses, Micro Chips walked forward. Scanning his notebook, a hand cupped his chin, a grin formed on his lips. As he began to recite the ritual, another student took notice of Micro and stepped forward.
“Um, Micro? What are you doing?”
Micro Chips turned to find a girl with light blue hair staring at him. “Oh, hello Coco. I’m trying to summon Calibur.”
Coco’s eyes shot open from his statement. “I don’t think you should. Ms. Zecora-”
“Coco, please,” Micro interrupted. “I come from a family of summoners and I have studied the materials thoroughly. I know what I’m doing.”
Coco spoke again, but Micro Chips paid her no attention. Sighing in defeat, she returned to her seat. Micro bit his bottom lip as the portal re-opened and Calibur returned from it. The spirit took a brief look at his surroundings, tilting his head in confusion.
“Zecora? Did you not just dismiss me? What’s-” the sound of a throat being cleared alerted him to Micro Chips. Calibur looked down at the bespectacled Hunter, clearly confused.
“Greetings, Sir Calibur!” Micro Chips beamed.
“Um… hello. Pardon me, child, would you happen to know where Zecora is?” Calibur asked.
Micro Chips nodded. “Indeed. She is presently tending to a matter at the behest of our Headmistress, Celestia. “
“Ah. I see,” Calibur said. “Then she clearly could not have summoned me.”
“That is correct. I did,” Micro Chip stated proudly. A low growl of annoyance rumbled from the spirit’s gut.
The reaction caught Mirco Chips off guard.” Um, Sir Calibur? Is everything alright?”
Calibur nodded with a sigh following soon after. “Yes. Young man, I understand your eagerness at forming a pact, but you must be careful. Had I been another, it’s possible this conversation would have ended much differently.”
“As an example, had you summoned a spirit of wrath, they would have beaten you to death.”
Mirco Chips swallowed hard from the spirit’s warning, his legs trembling. “I-I understand.”
“Now then, that having been said, I’d like to return home,” Calibur requested.
“Wh-what? No, please, not yet! I... I want to make a pact.”
If Calibur had visible eyes, they’d have bulged out of his head by now. “Excuse me?”
Dropping to his knees, Micro Chips plead with the spirit. “Please, Sir Calibur. Allow me to make a pact with you!”
Calibur sighed, and the sound of a gauntlet smacking a helmet was heard. “This is highly unorthodox, but… I suppose.”
Grinning from ear to ear, Micro Chips jumped up and hugged the spirit. “Thank you so much! I promise you won’t regret this.”
Calibur gripped Micro Chips by his collar and placed him back on the ground. “Ahem. That being said, are you prepared, young man?”
Micro Chips nodded. “I-indeed, sir!”
“Well, then! I, Calibur of Loyalty, bequeath a contract onto you. The condition of my contract is simple; once a week, you must aid a friend without wishing for anything in return.”
Micro Chips scoffed confidently. “Easy. I accept!”
Calibur extended a hand to halt him. “Be warned, youngling. Should you fail to accomplish your side of the contract, the consequences will be dire.”
“I understand.” Micro Chips spoke confidently, a smile breaking out on his lips.
Nodding, Calibur extended an arm over Micro Chips’ head. A blue light emitted from his arm and coated Micro Chips glasses. “Then the contract is sealed!”
Standing in shock, Micro Chip patted himself down. “Um... Wha… what just happened?”
“I sealed our contract within your spectacles. You now have the power to call forth a doppelganger of myself!” Calibur answered.
“Ah. R-right! Of course!” Micro Chips chuckled awkwardly, earning a groan from Rainbow.
”Thank you, Sir Calibur!” With a nod, Calibur vanished in a flash of white light.
Rainbow peeked up from behind her comic and let out a groan of annoyance. “Man, what a waste of an afternoon. This class was totally lame!”
Her complaint was meant with a snore from Soarin. Angrily, she gave him a harsh shove to wake him.
“Huh? What? Is class over?” he asked in a daze. Rainbow rolled her eyes. “Yeah. It’s over. And, what do you know, it sucked!”
“I’mma have to agree. I dozed off before it even began,” Soarin said with a yawn, stretching his arms upwards.
“Why do we even need to learn this? Neither of us are Summoners!” Rainbow questioned aloud, an equally loud groan following.
“Excuse me, but could you keep it down? It’s hard to focus.” Micro Chips turned to the pair, brows scrunched together.
His words caused her to momentarily stiffen up. “Okay, Micro. I’ll keep quiet.” She smiled through clenched teeth. Micro Chips adjusted his glasses and turned his attention back to the ritual before him.
Shooting her classmate a piercing glare, Rainbow dug around in her backpack for a few seconds, producing a notebook.
Soarin raised a brow as he watched. “You gonna take some notes?”
“Pfft. As if!” Rainbow scoffed, tearing a piece a paper from the book before crumpling it into a ball. With a grin, she turned back to Micro Chips, who remained unaware of the danger behind him.
“Rainbow? What are you doing?” Soarin cocked a brow. With a huge grin, Rainbow pulled her arm back and tossed the paper ball at Micro Chips, smacking him right in the back of his head.
“Huh?” Micro Chips quickly turned around, rubbing the back of his head. Rainbow stifled a giggle as he looked back to the scroll.
“Come on, Rainbow. Paper balls? Really?” Soarin questioned.
“What? It’s not like I’m hurting him or anything!” Rainbow shot back. Soarin shrugged before copying the assignment on the board.
Micro Chips began to recite the chant Zecora used, a familiar aura forming around him. A smaller circle as the one Zecora used before appeared before him. A grin slowly spread on his lips. From the gate, an armored hand reached out.
Then, something else struck the back of his head, closing the gate. Micro furiously turned around, only to find Rainbow with her face covered by a comic and Soarin twirling a pencil between his fingers. Cheeks flushed red, he turned back to the ritual.
“Ignore her, Micro. Just focus on the summoning.” Taking a deep breath, he began again.
Rainbow peeked from behind her comic, barely able to contain her laughter.
“Girl, this is gonna end bad for you,” Soarin commented, chewing on his pencil’s eraser. “Quit while you’re ahead.
Rainbow rolled her eyes, giving a small grunt. “Don’t be such a worrywart, Highlane.”
Soarin gave a shrug. “I’m just saying.”
Sighing heavily, Rainbow tore out another sheet of paper and crumbled it into a ball. “Fine, this’ll be the last one.” Rainbow locked her gaze solely on the back of Micro Chips, whose attention was focused on the swirling magic circle and the suit of armor stepping out. Gripping it tightly, she chucked it with great force.
Micro Chips grinned brightly as the armor walked out of the gate. Standing tall before him was a spirit identical to Calibur, albeit much smaller.
“Greetings, master. I am an extension of Sir Calibur’s will.” The clone bowed. “Give me an order and I shall follow it to the best of my ability.”
Micro Chips nodded confidently, adjusting his glasses. “Very Well, my first order is-” Micro was cut off by an object smacking him in the head, accompanied by the insane cackles of Rainbow.
“Bwahahaha!” Rainbow howled. A vein popped on the side of the teen’s head. Fuming, he stomped over to the pair, glaring intently at Rainbow.
“Can you please cease this juvenile act. Rainbow Dash?!” he snapped.
“What? I’m just throwing paper balls. No need to be so touchy,” Rainbow said nonchalantly.
Micro Chips growled. “What you are doing is distracting me from a very important task! Do you realize what would happen if I-” Micro’s rant was cut off when a loud, unearthly noise came from behind him.
Slowly, he turned back and paled. Soarin and Rainbow stood up and glanced over Micro Chips’ shoulder.
The clone of Calibur stepped forward, a red smoke pouring out of his eyes, gripping his spear tight enough that it threatened to snap in half.
“Uh… I’m no spirit expert, but I don’t think he's suppose to look like [i]that[/i],” Soarin stated, hand gripping the hilt of his katana.
The other students took notice of the glowing spirit, who shot a fearsome gaze in the direction of Soarin, Rainbow, and Micro Chips. Unleashing a bellowing roar, he charged the three. The remaining students all scattered about, barely avoiding the furious spirit. Thinking fast, Rainbow grabbed Micro Chips’ collar and jumped to the right, Soarin close behind her.
The spirit stampeded through every desk on its way up the steps, before having to make a sudden stop in the wall. After prying its upper body from the newly formed hole, the spirit quickly turned around. Grabbing a chair as it spun, the furious wraith sent the four-wheeled seat flying through the air towards Chips’ head.
The young man’s eyes bulged as he let out a yelp of terror, before quickly covering his head with his arms. Visions of broken bones, hospital trips, and even a small glimpse of a funeral all whizzed through his head like a movie at lightning-fast speed.
Thankfully, the chair did not.
Peeking behind his arms, he saw a giant circle made from ice standing before him. From behind, he could hear Soarin chuckle.
“Ice try, but not good enough!”
Rainbow let out a frustrated groan, accompanied by her hand slapping her forehead. “Really?”
“What?” Soarin asked.
Rainbow shook her head as she hopped to her feet, walking up to the rampaging spirit. “Forget it. Let’s just take knighty down.”
Grinning brightly, Soarin stood next to her, gripping his katana. “Time for this bad knight to say good night.”
Rainbow stopped mid step to give Soarin a sideways glare, before running past the ice shield at the spirit. She leapt high into the air, fell down like a comet, and landed a kick like a bolt of lightning on the thing’s armored forearm.
Despite the force behind it, all her attack did was slide it back a step.
Quickly, her leg coiled to spring her into a backflip away from the clanking suit of metal. After the three-point landing, she jumped to her feet, a vortex of wind surrounding a leg. Rainbow raised it high, yelling. “Gale Tech: Sylph’s Edge!” before dropping it into an axe kick.
A scything blade of wind cut through the air and into the spirit, sending it flying back into its hole in the wall.
Seeing an opening, Soarin quickly rushed past Rainbow. In an attempt to cleave the thing in two, he drew his sword it a horizontal slash, only to be blocked by the spear in its hand. With his sword momentarily lodged in the spear’s haft, the spirit kicked Soarin in the chest, sending him tumbling back to land at Rainbow’s feet.
Rainbow turned to the remaining students. “Hey, what are you chuckleheads doing?! Get out of here!”
Wasting no time, the students took her advice and bolted for the door. Micro stared in shock at the rampaging spirit, breathing heavily as sweat poured down his face.
“Hey Micro, move your ass!” Rainbow yelled, roughly shoving him towards the rest of the scrambling students. The spirit vaulted from the wall as Rainbow’s guard was down, but was stopped as a cat-sized ball of fire flew into its face.
Its eye sockets smoked more than before as it reeled back two steps, before falling to a knee.
Soarin smiled, his outstretched hand engulfed in flames. “Mess with fire, you’re gonna get burned, bro.”
“Seriously? Can you drop the lame puns, Highlane?!” Rainbow growled, launching a simple air-blasting kick. The spirit countered by crossing its arms in an x-block, unmoved from its kneeling position.
Soarin shook his head. “No can do, partner. I’m so hot, I’m cool.”
“That one was forced!”
Soarin shrugged, grin unwavering.
Groaning for a third time, Rainbow gave her knuckles a crack. “Let’s just take Mr. Knight down!”
Not sparing another second, they charged the spirit. They bobbed, weaved and dodged about it, Rainbow throwing a flurry of kicks engulfed in swirling winds as Soarin slashed from nearly every direction at once. Each kick was met with a gauntleted arm, while the blade only struck the spear.
Soarin briefly ceased his attacks, leaping backward as Rainbow continued her assault. Holding his sword sideways, he slid two fingers down the flat of the blade. From hilt to tip an aura of fire sprung from the sword, coating it in a ravenous flame.
“Arctic Sun: Blazing Sword.” Soarin pointed his burning katana at the spirit before charging forward at inhuman speeds. The spirit had no time to use its spear effectively, and so suffered having its hand impaled from the back, pinning it to the shaft for only a moment’s time. As quickly as he’d charged, Soarin removed the katana and jumped to the side, while Rainbow did the same.
As the spirit howled in pain from the attack, Rainbow flashed a smirk at her partner.
“Nice, you nailed him!”
Soarin returned her smirk with his own. “Guess I’m just too hot to handle!”
“Okay, I’ll give you that one!” Rainbow chuckled as she launched another Sylph’s Edge at the spirit. The students watched in awe from outside the doorway as Rainbow and Soarin fought off the furious being. Micro’s jaw hung open at the sight until Coco spoke and snapped him back to reality.
“I’m not sure how long they can hold that thing off. We need to get Ms. Zecora!”
Micro’s hand shot up like a bolt of lightning. “I’ll do it!”
Coco gave him a terrified look. “What?! No! You can’t-” it was too late as he sprinted down the hall at a near-blinding speed.
Another student walked up to her, scratching his head in confusion. “Uh, Coco? What’s wrong?”
Coco peeked back into the classroom and immediately paled. The spirit’s color had changed from its pristine white to a blood red. Soarin and Rainbow stood a few feet away from it, neither seemed to understand what was happening.
“Uh… Rainbow?” Soarin glanced at his partner, grip on his katana tightening. “Do you know what’s going on?”
“Maybe that last attack hit its weak point?” Dash shrugged, uncertain. An ear-splitting howl exploded from the vents in its visor, as rips and tears began to form across the armor. Glowing white light erupted through them like lava through a volcano.
Coco bit her lip hard. “You guys need to get away from it, now!”
The pair turned to find Tennis at the doorway. “What are you doing here?! Run!” Soarin shouted.
“You don’t understand! If a Summoner gets too far from their spirit-” Coco never got a chance to finish her warning as the spirit suddenly exploded.
With a final yell of terror, everything went black.
The first thing Soarin remembered upon regaining consciousness was a look of concern on the nurse before him.
“Ah, Mr. Highlane. You’re finally awake.”
“Yeah,” Soarin replied groggily. He looked around and found himself in the infirmary. A soft moan from the right side alerted him to Rainbow.
Soarin leapt off the bed and went to Rainbow’s side. She began to stir, another light moan coming from her. Soon, she rose from the bed, rubbing her forehead.
“What the heck just happened?”
“Rainbow, you’re okay!” Without thinking, Soarin threw his arms around the dizzy girl. Rainbow’s cheeks heated up, pushing Soarin away.
“Y-yeah… U-um… So, do you have any idea what happened?”
Soarin shrugged. “No idea. Last thing I remember was the spirit goin’ supernova. Next thing I know, I’m waking up with Nurse Redheart in my face.”
The aforementioned nurse gave a small chuckle. “Yes, well. You two gave us quite the scare. When we found both of you unconscious and hardly breathing, we feared the worst.”
The duo exchanged a look before shifting back to Redheart.
“We?” Soarin asked, brow raised.
Redheart nodded. Walking over to the door, she opened it and said something to a person outside. Seconds later, she stepped aside, allowing Zecora and a woman with long multi-colored hair, tan skin and a fierce scowl to walk in.
Soarin swallowed hard as Rainbow began to sweat. The woman walked over to them, arms folded and looking particularly aggravated. Rainbow’s eyes glanced over to Zecora, who looked just as furious. Behind the three women, tucked behind the door frame was Micro Chips, flashing a smug grin.
“U-uh, good afternoon, Headmistress Celestia. How’s it going?” Soarin asked, giving an awkward laugh. Celestia’s face remained unchanged.
“You look kinda... Really PO’d,” Rainbow bluntly stated, to which Soarin quickly jabbed her in the ribs.
“Dude, shut it!”
Zecora stepped forward, a vein throbbing on her forehead, nostrils flaring and brows lowered. Rainbow opened her mouth to speak, only for her to be hushed by Zecora.
“Listen well, don’t say a word. I’ve things to say. I will be heard.” The two nodded rapidly, shrinking from the fury of the Summoner.
“Hey, wait a sec!” Soarin spoke. “I didn’t do anything! Why am I getting yelled at?!”
“Mr. Highlane, you were aware of what Miss Dash was doing, yet you chose not to take action. You are just as much to blame,” Celestia stated. Soarin’s mouth slowly closed as he returned to his seat.
Zecora continued. “Your actions could have killed my students! Have you even one shred of prudence?”
“Why did the spirit blow up, anyway?” Soarin asked.
“Bonds between clones and Summoners are like a tether. If stretched too far, then the bond will sever,” Zecora explained. “Mana flows between the two. If too far apart... Well. You’ve seen what that can do.”
“I tried to warn her, Miss Zercora,” Micro Chips called from the hallway. “But, Rainbow Dash refused to listen.”
His mocking tone caused Rainbow’s blood to boil. Gripping her first, she had to fight the urge to launch a wind blast at his smug jaw. Zecora sharply turned to Micro Chips, gesturing him to come inside.
A brow raised and his head tilted, he slowly walked up to the angry Summoner.
“Uh… is something wrong. Miss Zecora?”
Zecora nodded, her gaze forced solely on him. “They’re not the only ones to blame. You too, young man, will suffer the same.”
Micro Chips’ jaw dropped, nearly hitting the floor. “W-w-what?! How? I’m a victim here, Rainbow Dash is the one who distracted me!”
Zecora’s glare intensified, causing Micro Chips to shrink in fear. “Your knowledge of summoning is akin to my peer. But after today, should you even be here?” Zecora shook her head. “You know what can happen if you lose concentration. You’re as much to blame for this whole situation!”
Micro Chips stood there in utter shock. “I… I… Oh.” With nothing more to say, he hung his head down, taking a seat next to Soarin’s bed.
Celestia cleared her throat as she stood in front of the three teens. “I am very disappointed with all three of you. This whole incident could have been prevented if even one of you had acted maturely.”
They said nothing, looking down in shame as Celestia finished. “Every choice we make has a consequence. Remember the ones you made today.”
“Sorry, Headmistress,” they spoke together, the somberness in their voices clear.
Zecora nodded, seemingly accepting the apology. Celestia stared at them, releasing a sigh. “As for your punishment; first, you all must pay for the damages done to the classroom. As such, for the next four missions, your payment will go directly to the school. Second, You will all re-take the class.”
A collective groan came from the teens. “Oh come on! Can’t you just give us detention?” Rainbow whined.
“You should be grateful this is all I am doing,” Celestia stated, her voice dripping with some restrained anger. With no other options, they nodded in agreement.
Celestia returned their nod. “Good. Now, then. Mr. Highlane. Miss Dash. Are you better?”
“Yes ma’am,” Soarin and Rainbow said simultaneously.
“Good. Free period will be over soon. Please return to your classes.” With that, Celestia walked out of the class, Zecora following after.
Once they had departed, Soarin collapsed on the bed as Rainbow’s head fell into her hands.
Turning to his friend and with a hand resting on his forehead. Soarin said. “Told ya this would suck.”
As the bell rung, the student body poured out of the school en masse. Some returned to their dorms, while others left the school entirely, either to go home or visit one of the nearby stores or restaurants.
Soarin and Rainbow walked past the gates, a yawn exiting the mouth of the latter.
“Aw, dude. I’m starving. Wanna hit up Sugarcube Corner before heading home?”
Soarin nodded. “I’ve been craving apple pie all day.” With their destination set, the pair walked down the long road.
As they walked, Rainbow, arms resting behind her head, turned to Soarin. “So you finally learned Blazing Sword, huh?”
Soarin nodded. “Yeah. Took me weeks to finally figure out the trick to it.”
“I bet Master Wind Rider was pretty ticked at how long you had to work at it,” Dash added.
“You’re telling me,” Soarin sighed. “Balancing fire and ice magic for the Arctic Sun style takes so much work it’s not even funny. I’m surprised I don’t sleepwalk with how much training I’ve had to do!”
After twenty minutes of walking, they arrived at Sugarcube Corner. Soarin briefly scanned the building, which bore a close resemblance to a gingerbread man’s dream house.
“You think this place would taste as good as it looks?” Soarin chuckled.
“Are you serious?” Rainbow asked with a raised brow.
“I’d say I’m about sixty percent serious, forty percent joking.” Shaking her head, Rainbow pushed Soarin forward.
The inside didn’t seem very busy. There were several groups scattered about, conversing on random matters. Soarin spotted a free booth and tapped Rainbow’s shoulder. The two made their way to the free booth. Seconds after sitting down, a blur of pink rushed over to them.
“Hiiii!” an exuberant pink-haired girl spoke. “Welcome to Sugarcube Corner! May I take your order?”
Soarin waved at the girl. “Sup, Pinkie? I’ll have a slice of your finest apple pie and a grape soda.”
Pinkie nodded rapidly as she wrote down his order. Once done, she turned towards Rainbow.
“Annnnnnd, what about you, Dashie?”
Rainbow simply shrugged. “Meh. I’ll just take a sports drink.”
“Oki-dokie-loki!” Pinkie smiled, bouncing back to the kitchen.
Soarin shook his head as he watched Pinkie leave. “Man, that girl is nuts. Cute, but nuts.”
“What? You got a thing for crazy girls? “Rainbow snarked.
“Haha,” Soarin replied, sticking his tongue out. Rainbow sighed as rested an elbow on the table. Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted a familiar white hood with light pink bangs sticking out.
“Is that?” she wondered aloud. Standing up, she called over the person at the corner. “Hey! Is that you, Fluttershy?!”
The hooded person turned, revealing a pair of aquamarine eyes, soft peach-colored skin and a passive demeanor.
She walked over to them, smiling brightly. “Rainbow and Soarin. How have you been?”
Soarin shrugged. “Good, for the most part.”
Fluttershy tilted her head. “Hm? Did something happen?”
Rainbow’s head banged on the table in frustration. “Yeah, something happened! We had to fight some crazy spirit off, then we got in trouble!”
Fluttershy let out a small gasp. “Oh, my. Is that true?”
“Well… not exactly,” Soarin said, rubbing the back of his head. “We had to fight a spirit only because Rainbow was screwing with the Summoner.”
Fluttershy quickly glanced at Rainbow, who did her best to avoid eye contact. “Rainbow…”
Before the girl could speak, another voice alerted Fluttershy. “Hey, sugarcube!”
The three looked over to see another teen walking towards them. Her blonde bangs bounced with every step she took.
Adjusting her hat, she noticed Rainbow and Soarin, giving the pair a friendly grin.
“Hey, Applejack,” Soarin greeted.
Rainbow gave a short wave to the blonde. “Yo.”
“Oh, I’m sorry for wandering off without telling you,” Fluttershy apologized. Applejack shrugged, placing a hand on her friend’s head. “Nah. You’re good, Sugarcube.”
This caused Fluttershy to smile with Applejack returning it. “So, whatcha talkin’ bout?”
“Meh. Nothing much. We saw Flash and Twilight earlier. Apparently, Flash broke the mirror of the horse statue,” Rainbow explained, fooling around with the salt shaker as she idly tossed it between her hands.
Applejack cocked a brow. “Flash? Like Flash Sentry? The angry-lookin’ feller?”
“Yuppers,” Soarin answered. Fluttershy gave her arm a light squeeze at the mention of Flash, her gaze falling away from the others. Applejack caught sight of the gesture and began to speak before stopping.
“Ah’ll ask later,” she mumbled.
“So, what are you two doing here?” Soarin asked.
Applejack shoved a hand into the pocket of her dark brown jacket. “We’re just takin’ a lil break before goin’ to grab some supplies. Got a mission tomorrow.”
“Ahh, “ Soarin nodded. “Well, good luck.”
“Yeah! Kick some major ass!” Rainbow grinned, pumping her fist in the air.
Applejack chuckled. “Ah, don’t think we’re gonna hafta worry bout much ass-kickin’. But thanks anyway.”
Fluttershy giggled. “So, um would you mind if we sat down? We’re waiting for our drinks.”
“Course, sis.” Soarin slid over, making room for Fluttershy to sit, as Rainbow did the same for Applejack.
“Thanks, y’all. We shouldn’t be here for long. Knowin’ Pinkie, Ah bet she’s nearly done.” Applejack lowered her hat. “She’s always been usually fast and crazy accurate when it comes to makin’ food or throwin’ parties.”
“AJ, you’re talking like you know her personally,” Rainbow pointed out.
“Well, she’s mah cousin, so Ah know a thing or two ‘bout her,” Applejack answered. “So, what have you two been up to?”
Soarin and Rainbow shared a look before turning back to their friends. Sighing, Rainbow spoke.
“Where to freaking start?”