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It was well past curfew. At this time, every hall of the School of Friendship was likely dark and empty. Occasionally, a custodian would be lurking the halls to finish up their cleaning duties for the night. None of the doors were ever locked, except for some of the faculty offices. There was never any reason to fret on some creature sneaking into a classroom. Maybe one day, a student who was a huge prankster would give the school a reason to lock its many corridors, but for now, the closed campus was surprisingly pretty open.

 

Silverstream is no prankster, but she did have reason to be up at this late hour. She recently felt inspired to do some extracurricular activities that involved some study and planning. She started a habit of just minding her own business, and was sometimes peculiarly solo on her interests. She gets excited all the time and loves to share her musings with her friends and teachers. But too many goofy looks on her friends' faces whenever Silverstream would hold up a chart about hydraulic rams gave her pause on how much she should be sharing this extra enthusiasm. She wasn't nearly as embarrassed as she was disappointed that her friends didn't also think hydro-kinetic engineering was fascinating. Eventually, she would shrug it off and plan to spend some of her alone time with these daydreams of unpredictable learning rabbit holes.

 

After the students' quarters were good and quiet, Silverstream softly opened her door and closed it behind her, tip-toeing her claws and hooves across the carpeted stone flooring. She made her way to the exit to make her way through the courtyard. Her destination would be a place where she hoped no one would be. It's a good thing she waited until this late hour, so that none of the other students would be disturbed by her night-crawling expedition.

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The others were right. The water looked incredible! Nice and clear and she could see all kinds of fish! What a fool she was! She originally just wanted to stay home and grumble to herself and read her favorite magazine, 'Grumble Weekly'.
 
This was the best field trip EVER! They got to see some pretty awesome sights like waterfalls, old sea forts, legendary mini-islands that were supposed to hide secret pirate lairs and soon they would be heading over to a old amusement park called the ‘Kick & Canter Park’. They had ten wooden roller coasters! Ten different kinds of churros! SIXTY kinds of fried foods! And sadly, only one first aid station.
 
 
Today, they were going to do a little snorkeling with her group. The young dragon made sure she had everything on claw. She had her bathing suit, which she looked pretty darn good in. She wasn’t ready for a bikini, but this look, she could handle. She had her snorkel gear and flippers. There was also this water-proof camera that she was going to use to take some pretty awesome photos. And not just the sad, sad sight of a soggy Gallus! Nope! She was sure she would have time for maybe two or three photos of some fish. Nah. she couldn't lie to herself. It was all going to be soggy kitties. And maybe a pic of one big wet Yak.  As she slid the flippers on, an eerie voice could be heard.
 
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While the voice was kind of creepy, dragons don't scare easily.  As long as 'vampony books' aren't thrown into the loop. She wasn't scared. Nope. But she was polite. "Nah, I'm good. I have all the gear need and dragons have really great lungs." But the voice continued and while Smolder could ignore it, this time it was backed with magic, evil magic!
 
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"No. I do have a choice. Which is no. What are you doing? Please no!" Her cries were ignored. Horrible magic covered the helpless dragon. She let out a scream as the painful spell transformed her into a ugly, ugly monster. Curse you Silverstream. Was the last thing the poor creature could think before she took the form.
 
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"WAAGH!"
 
Thank goodness it was only a dream.
 
As Smolder got into a seated position, she wiped the flop sweat from her brow, which confused her as she was pretty sure dragon's didn't sweat. Her other claw was holding her festive little blue pillow so tight, she was surprised it didn't explode and send feathers all over the room. That was the second time this week she had that dream! Spike was the true king of horror! The little dragon told her not only was he turned into a dog in that other world he was in, he was also transformed into a puffer-fish when he visited Seaquestria. Why a dog or a puffer-fish? Dragons were awesome. He should have turned into an cool scaly lion or a sea-dragon!
 
But that park looked really. Oh poop. She had already forgotten about the dream. Or at least the good parts.  She was going to need a drink of water. So with her pillow still in hand (it was stuck), the heroic young dragon climbed down from the top of her bunk-bed and proceeded to amble towards the mini-fridge. She had a full bottle of Cantermart Drinking Water waiting for her. Nice and chilly. But something was wrong? Where was Silverstream? She never wakes up early! The bathroom door was cracked partially open, so she wasn't using that, and it was forbidden for students to wander around the campus during the night. They would lose House points! And um. Wait. That was also from another dream she had. And like the one piece bathing suit, she also looked pretty darn good in green robes. At least she could remember that. Oh no. She forgot it again.
 
Something else caught her eye.
 
New issue of 'Grumble Weekly' arrived! Score!
 
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Gallus was an exceptionally light sleeper. 
It had once been something he was pretty proud of. Growing up in Griffonstone, it was the heavy sleepers- the rockbeaks and birdbrains- who kittens like him could get away with practically anything against. Sleeping light meant if somegriff tried to paw your stuff you could stop it, or at least alert one of the handlers or watch volunteers or whatever other system for protection they came up with. Even when he had moved in with Grandpa Gruff he awoke very easily. Made it so that he rarely missed early morning chores (and when he did it was out of spite or laziness, not sleeping through it). Never missed an early morning delivery, either. 

 

Now though it was a problem. Those instincts weren't needed here, or so he was told. Ponyville, and indeed Equestria, was as crime free as any population could realistically claim. Nothing of his had been stolen, nocreature tried to take his bed and blanket from him, and the small place where he habitually hid some of his 'treasures' was safe and secure against all those who would seek it...if anycreature was in the first place. No, he had no real need to rely on those street instincts, and nothing about his current situation demanded he be a light sleeper. 
Still though.

 

He was sleeping well enough when the sound of claws and hooves drifted into his ears. Again. The sound had become so second nature to him and a sign of friendliness that he didn't even really wake up all that much. Just a slight opening of the eyes (as per usual) and then he tossed to the other side of his bed, falling back asleep. It was only when a second set of sounds reached his griffon hearing that he was fully awoken. A set of light steps from a dragon- and for a dragon to boot, it was plenty loud to him- followed soon enough by some grumbling. Normally the sound wouldn't mean anything to him but the sounds of sneaking had him on the verge of waking up anyway. 

 

So he woke up, rising fro the top bunk of his shared bunk with Yona and gently hovering into the open air, shaking the cobwebs away quickly. Part of being a light sleeper meant he was a quick riser. Still, he was frustrated he was awake at all. Why? Smolder was up and somecreature was walking in the hall....which was a banned activity. 

 

Something seemed fishy about that, or so his woe begotten street instincts told him. Gallus flew silently to the door and creaked it open slowly and solidly so as to produce as little sound as possible before pushing his head out, looking both ways. Whatever it was that was causing the feathers on the back of his wings to stand up on edge, he was ready to see it through...and maybe justify his pointless talent of sleeping lightly.

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Ocellus was already wide awake, hearing all the commotion from outside her bed. She was tucked in snuggly, her pillows extra fluffy and soft, just the way she liked it. The little changeling liked the feeling of safety and protection, which her bed arrangement did serve. After everything she went through growing up, being the odd one out for being so shy and generous, she wanted to feel comfortable. Her bed did make her feel that, not necessary when her friends were walking about, seeming to be quiet. The blue bug could hear everything though, since she's been awake for a while. 

 

Before then, she was off with her family. Ocellus missed her family dearly, and needed to see them. She honestly wanted to tell all the things she learned from all her professors. She was very knowledgeable in random facts about Equestria's history. Like in the bonding of the three pony tribes, Ocellus learned that Princess Platinum wasn't wearing a purple gown, it was actually more blue to make her eyes pop more. That made the little play the ponies made a little off in their costume design, but that was just a little fact she read in the book 'The Bonds Within the Three Tribes', which was something Professor Twilight recommended to her. She read that book in a day, which was probably the best decision she could've made.

 

Anyhow, the young changeling came back to the dorms an hour ago, right when every creature was already asleep. She knew her friends didn't know she was there, as they didn't bother waking her up. She knew at least Smolder would smother her into waking up. Since she didn't, Ocellus slowly got up herself, squinting at any light that was pouring out from the door. Rubbing her unadjusted eyes, she slowly crawled off her bunk, letting her hooves land on the ground with light taps. She followed close to the door, opening it slightly so glance down the hall. 

 

Ocellus got a little nervous, as she saw the almost empty hallway stand quietly before her. She didn't know why every creature was so prone on checking things out, they were just too curious she guessed. Normally she would just stay snuggled in her bed and wait for it to get light outside, just in case she wouldn't get too scared. She was a little braver now, knowing Gallus was up. Only from his softer steps from his paws. She could also hear more heavier steps, which she could define as Smolder's. She didn't hear Yona awake yet, though. Those would be even heavier steps. 

 

The changeling felt herself overthinking and standing there. Getting more and more nervous. What if there was a big monster? What if something was invading the school? Was there security even at the school? Was she safe enough to venture out?

 

She took a deep breath, remembering she wasn't alone. She's dealt with bigger things than this before. She was going to be okay.

 

Finally she took a step out of her dorm room and looked around, spotting Gallus peaking out. She then felt some creature behind her, making her turn around. She got a little frightened, realizing it was Smolder. She blushed, then took a look at both of them. "Are you guys up because you heard something, too?" she whispered.

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Though Silverstream was confident she was able to leave her room without anycreature noticing, she failed to keep the sounds of her talons and hooves from making any noise. A simple glide would have solve that problem, but maybe her wing flapping would be detectable as well. She walked down the hallway to leave the building. From there, she would trek towards the main part of the campus where she would find the window that was always left cracked open by one of the professors. Before she was able to do this, however, she left the door of the student's quarters cracked open indicating that someone had used the door recently.

 

It was a clear night and the breeze was wispy. Luna's moon was brightening up the ground where shadows would allow it, which painted the campus in various hues of darkness. Silverstream normally flew when outdoors anyway, so she unfolded her wings and quickly flew to the window she discerned would be left unlocked. And she was right, a quick pull and the window would hinge outwards. She made the window wide enough so that she could climb through, but only just. When she squeezed herself through, a lock of her tail hair was cut by the sharp edges of the window. Whoops! Though she could have closed the window, she left it hanging open.

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Smolder noticed Ponyville's own resident Donkey, Cranky Doodle Donkey was cover-boy AGAIN on her magazine. Geez. Try someone else. Smolder could be a good cover-girl. And with her hot dragon face on the cover, the subscription rate would double to possibly four readers! Maybe five! With slight disgust, she tossed the magazine on the top of her bunk. Hopefully they bothered to read and reply to her letter.
 
But there was still the mystery! Where was Silverstream? And why did the dragon care? She was a big bird! She would be back. Smolder could return to her bed and get some needed sleep. The Hippogriff would be back in her back when they all awoke. Maybe she just snuck off to have a late night snack. The Cakes did make an incredible Genoise Cake that went well with Prench lessons. "C’est un délicieux gâteau, indeed!"
 
As she made her way back to her bed. Images started to pour into her head. This was something a dragon would normally not think of. Images of what could happen. She pictured the horror on the Hippogriff's face as she accidentally turned into a seapony and for some reason she couldn't turn back! And she was now flopping around a dark hallway, gasping for air! And oh-oh! There was that creepy janitor! He looks like a guy who would try to eat a sea-pony! Yep! He's wearing a little bib with her friend's face on it! Watch out Silverstream! Another image had her locked out of the school and she could not get in! Was that an adult coming towards her! Oh no! It was Princess Twilight and she wanted to tell her about the latest boring book she just read! Silverstream, being the polite sort, listens and eventually dies of boredom!
 
Not wanting to have any of these silly, made-up fates, the dragon slowly tip-toed out of her room. She did not want to wake up the others. Once out, she turned her head only to see Gallus and his tiny beak peek out of the doorway. What was he doing up? Ocellus was now also up. "No, I was just worried about Silverstream. She was not in her bed. Have you two seen her?", she whispered to the two.
 
If she had external ears, they would have perked up. She was sure she heard something. "Window?", she muttered. Oh no! Thieves! Kidnappers! She could see it, creatures dressed in dark clothing with poor Silver stuffed into a bag. Probably snatched by those weird brothers Professor Applejack hated. Crim and Cram? She silently nodded her head towards the noises. Hopefully they had to have heard it! She was going to be put on display for a bunch of slack jawed yokels to stare at!
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What started in solitude would always blossom into a group effort as long as the School of Friendship was operating at full effect, or so he wanted to tell himself as his friends started to gather one by one (head by claw by nose) in the hallway, all investigating the noise. That was what he wanted to tell himself anyway. Truth was, teenagers of all species were snoopy and viewed privacy and personal space as luxuries to be afforded and discarded with equal swiftness. It was an ironclad contract you signed as far as Gallus was concerned: Love, support, and defenders on all corners but...ya know. Up in your grill all the time. He might act like he hated that deal but truth be told he loved it.
And whoever was making their way through the window? Yeah, they loved it too, despite their rule-breaking. Or maybe exactly because of it.

 

"Yeah," he whispered loudly across the hall to Ocellus. He hadn't thought it was her. She was the most rulebound member of the group, even if that didn't count for much. Plus she wasn't someling who'd be prone to mystery outings anyway. "I think I know who it is, based on who we're not seeing. Or smelling," he said as he looked at Smolder with an innocent expression. He didn't know if she smelled or not (this whole place smelled like Yak as far as his nose was concerned) but he would never waste a chance to poke her. She rarely did herself, after all. "Worried about her too. But ya know, wouldn't want to be a rabble of troublemakers running around, now would we?" He said with a wink as he hovered out of his room and closed the door silently. Keep Yak asleep.

 

He flew to the door which was left cracked open- so, yeah, it was a student- and opened it wider, beckoning the others to follow with a firm nod towards the exit of the student dorms. He kept flight as his sharp eyes pierced Luna's lighter light, which didn't need much work to pinpoint the open window. "Well, we know where our criminal went at least," he said as he rubbed his forelegs with his paws. "Brrr. A little chilly tonight, or am I just crazy?" He asked as he looked around. It was the late summer and he didn't think it had any right to be this cool, but it was probably him just being coddled by a warm blanket for as long as he was. And wished he still could be but this was at least more entertaining.
 

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"Oh, no I haven't," the little changeling said, responding to Smolder's question. She added a little head shake as she spoke. She glanced at Gallus down the hallway, as he mentioned he knew who it was. It wasn't really hard for Ocellus to figure out who. The smart bug already had everything playing in her head. It obviously wasn't herself, or Gallus, or Smolder, not even Yona. If it was Yona, it definitely would be more smellier in the hall. Gallus was 100% correct on that notion. The claw steps about be way louder too, and heavier. It just didn't ass up.

 

That left Silverstream, which no creature had seem. It wouldn't be her first rodeo, escaping the night and all. It just made sense that the hippogriff took action to leave.. right out the window. 

 

"Well, I guess we know who left then. I certainly haven't seen her recently," she yawned suddenly, as no sleep was starting to get to her. But she shook it off, quietly buzzing her way to the clearly open window, right behind Gallus. Just right where he motioned the group to go. She couldn't help but chuckle as he commented on the cold air. "It's not that cold, Gallus." Her voice was soft and sweet, as she giggled again.

 

Ocellus opened the window a little more, letting in more cool air. As she did this, she noticed a little lock of hair sitting by the window, clearly cut by the sharp edges. It was kind of hard to see the color of the hair, so the changeling made the smart move to transform into a firefly!

 

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She used her butt as a light to illuminate the hair, which showed the stripped colors of blue and lighter blue. Getting down this big lead, she changed back into her original form. "If we were questioning who this creature was before.. I think I’m beginning to get a good idea." She gave a cute smile towards the other two, the flew slightly out the window.  

 

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After climbing through a classroom window, she could tell which classroom this was. Even in the darkness, the shiny instruments and lined music sheets indicated to her this was the music room. Sometimes it was Instructor Octavia's space to do her lessons, but mostly it was just Professor Pinkie Pie's tuba-playing designation. Even though the earth pony's spontaneity was vital to the lessons on Laughter, the headmare had designed the school's many rooms so that some of the more loud teachings would be concentrated away from other classrooms that demanded a more subtle quieter tone. Silverstream made sure she carefully traversed the room without knocking over any equipment and walked to the door to the hallway. It was unlocked.

 

The hallway was dark as well, and fortunately for Silverstream, not a peep could be heard. No sign of janitors, and no baby dragons trying to find their misplaced comics. The hippogriff then decided to ditch her four-legged effort of mobility and started a light hover. She flew gently through the halls of the school looking for a particular room. It was easy for her to find her bearings normally, but the darkness of the halls made the school look like a much different place. It even looked haunted if one's imagination could rest on that idea.

 

She found the door she was looking for. It was a bigger door than the others, because this door led to a very important part of the school, the library. Here, she hoped to find the correct information that would guide the rest of her evening. And no creature had to know about but her.

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With a shake of her left claw, she was finally free of her pillow. She would have to fix the little holes later on. This, along with her rather school-inappropriate shirt were tossed into the room.  The dragon did a quick little shake, which allowed her scales and quills and whatnots fall back into place. She was still a little sleepy, but she could manage. Hopefully they would soon find their runaway roommate and she could get back to sleep! She soon focused on Gallus and that weird thing he was doing with his beak. Opening and closing it, which she believed was called 'talking'. She gave him a dirty look. Dragons were never rabble, nor did they rouse any rabble. And any trouble they created was well deserved. He was right, there was an odd chill to the area. Maybe she should bring a jacket? Considering she was probably not going to leave the school, it probably would be for the best that she just handle the cold for now.
 
Smolder grimaced as her friend turned into a tiny little firefly. It never failed to make her a little nervous when the Changeling turned into something so small. She worried that there would be a time where some annoying little fly or gnat would annoy the dragon, and instantly she would swat it with a newspaper or magazine, only to find out she just smooshed her friend!
 
Thankfully this only lasted a moment, and she soon was back in her proper form. "So, what did you find out?", the dragon asked with a yawn.
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Yona yawn and flipped over, a huge snore erupting from her muzzle. It was such a loud snore that it roused the yak from her slumber. He ears perked and she quickly sat up.

 

"Yona not sure but Yona not like..." She glanced up, noting that the bed above her was not occupied by the usual griffon. "Oh yes, Yona not like being waked up in middle of night!"

 

She rolled off the bed and trotted to the door, which was still open a crack. She poked her head out into the hallway.

 

"What in world?" She mused to herself and started down the hallway. Something was totally up! She could hear the voices of her friends not too far away. 

 

"Gallus? Silverstream?" She let the names echo down the hallway, being the best version of yak 'quiet' she could be. 

 

They were climbing out a window? In the middle of the night? And they hadn't told her? Yona snorted and trotted right up to the marauders. 

 

"Why you leave Yona out of..." She glanced around. "Out of whatever you're doing. Yak's a re good at...climbing out windows! Yes that's it! I want to come too!" She stomped the ground in excitement. 

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Ocellus held the piece of hair with her teal hoof. Lifting it up, she showed her two friends what she found, and she was rather proud of herself for finding it. A proud grin stretched out her little face as she said, "It's Silverstream's mane!" She moved it closer to her face, getting a good look. "She definitely went this way.. but why would she leave in the middle of the night like this? It's just not adding up.." 

 

The little changeling suddenly started bouncing about as the ground she was on started to shake. She got a little frightened, jumping right next to Smolder. Hiding behind her buddy, she then peaked out, "Oh.. it's just Yon-" She was interrupted as the big Yak starting rambling on about not being invited. Not going to lie, Ocellus would feel bad too. Why wouldn't her friends want to invite her? But of course, this wasn't a matter of being invited. They just ended up waking up at the same time.. besides Yona. 

 

"Oh! We're sorry Yona," the shy changeling whispered. "We just didn't want to wake you up." The yak was rather loud, which freaked Ocellus out. They could easily blow their cover, since they were supposed to be sneaking around in the dark. Every creature had to be quiet..

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The not entirely mysterious mystery of who the unseen rule-breaker of the School of Friendship was...turned out to not be as mysterious as even a less mysterious mystery. Yeah it was pretty obvious it was Silverstream. Ocellus' sleuthing confirmed it but really, who else could it be? Other students may be liable to sneak out at night but they had a good idea of where the scoundrel had started. That rules out a lot of creatures. Then you could seriously cut down on the possibility by acknowledging that it was too quiet. That knocked out Yona but also most Earth ponies and other ground-pounders. It all added up to one awfully strange and delightful answer that Gallus wasn't too surprised to hear. "Good job, Ocellus. Wouldn't be the first time she's done something like this. Remember the cockatrice?" He asked as he started poking his head in to get a good look. "Smolder, if you want to take the lea-"

 

"Why you leave Yona out of..." Oh Boreas it was Yona!
"Out of whatever you're doing. Yak's a re good at...climbing out windows! Yes that's it! I want to come too!"  STOMP STOMP LOUD NOISES.
 

"Yona, quiet!" He whispered swiftly, turning around quickly and putting one claw up to his lips. He liked Yona. She was a good dorm-mate and a really fun Yak. He didn't much care for her at first because he took her personality to be very self-centered, but that was just his ignorance of Yaks showing through. She was probably the most level-headed and aware of the lot of them, as much as it pained him to admit. 


But she wasn't quiet. 
She was the loudest creature in the world and that was bad. 

 

"Sorry. We weren't trying to leave you behind. We're just following the trail of somecreature- okay, we're sure its Silverstream- who is doing some late-night rule-breaking and we wanna know what the score is. But we gotta be quiet, or else we'll be the ones in detention. Again."

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