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[Ponyville] A long story [Invite Only]


Dio
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Sugarcube Corner was much better known for its fresh-baked treats than its coffee and Shining Armor could tell. This was the epitome of office swill. But really, he couldn’t complain considering it was after hours, he was getting it for free, and well, he was the one who made it. There was only so much you could do with instant. The shop floor was cleared, its tables empty and its fresh display cases cleaned out for the night. The lanterns in the dining area were still lit, however, bathing the shop in their soft glow. The Cakes had been kind enough to leave the shop open for him which was fortunate given the circumstances.

The captain idly ruffled the pages of his newspaper, less concerned with the content than finding something to pass the time. A plate of cupcakes sat to his right, a single one of the dozen and a half floating idly next to his head. Shining Armor took a half-hearted nibble at the treat before setting it back down on his napkin on the table. He wasn’t hungry, but it was a courtesy to have them on hoof.

That said, cupcakes were the least of Shining Armor’s concerns. Across the polished white surface of the table sat a very dejected-looking lavender unicorn, her mane tangled and frazzled, ends split and knots going every which-way. Scratches and scrapes covered her front legs and face and the faint odor of burnt hair still lingered about her. Beside her, boosted by a small hay bale, sat an equally dejected-looking dragon. His short stature placed his arms at just about table height, the hay bale barely accommodating him as he stared intently into his coffee cup. The dragon was just as frazzled-looking, several of his spines crooked and some of his scales looking scuffed and charred. This wasn’t exactly what Shining Armor had been planning on his social visit to Twilight in Ponyville.

“So...” the captain began, not without a hint of awkwardness. “How exactly did this happen?”

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"I'm gonna go ahead and admit I have no idea how to raise a phoenix. Let's just start off with that." The quesion had likely been posed from unicorn to unicorn, Spike knew that one well enough. Still, he wanted to get that one footnote in the door before anything else. He scratched at a few charred scales absently, catching himself before he gave the itch too much attention with what were still fairly sharp little claws. It was amazing, really, he'd been able to belly-flop into molten lava without a scratch, but the cacophonious conflagration catastrophe charred his scales quickly enough, and left behind enough of a burn for it to itch. Rarity might have a fit later - for that matter, he fully expected to get an earful from the rest of Twilight's closest friends. After all, they were staying in Ponyville's now=temporarily-closed library; hopefully, Mayor Mare'd understand that it was an accident.

For that matter, he could practically hear each of them chastising him now, somewhere in the back of his mind. "Did you save the Daring Do books?! Tell me they're alright!" "Spike, Darling, you look a fright! Come here, let me take a proper look at you... oh, this is simply dreadful!" "Oh dear, I'm so glad neither of you were hurt! Is Peewee alright? Do you need help taking care of her?" "Well, I s'pose if yer liable ta play with fire, burns might happen now'n again. Y'all need a place to stay?"

...Oddly enough, Spike couldn't imagine what Pinkie-Pie might have to say on the matter. For that matter, knowing Pinkie-Pie, trying to imagine her reaction in her voice might just end up with her actually speaking from inside his own head. She'd already managed to appear on the other side of a mirror, it wouldn't be much more of a stretch for her to start speaking directly into his mind, then jump out of his ear.

But, they were not here; Shining Armor, however, was, and seeing as Twilight hadn't immediately polevaulted into an explanation, he'd try and start up the details. Another scratch at the back of his neck - ok, keep sharp claws off of damaged, itchy scales. So, instead, the baby dragon fidgeted a bit, though this quickly turned into hand gestures and accompanying shrugs, open-handed 'I don't know' looks, and counting the time off on his claws.

"See, the thing is, phoenixes are all about fire, but I didn't actually know what they do, so I kind of figured I'd just ask Peewee what she could do. But, she didn't know either, so we just sort of started practising outside, and she started figuring out how to... well, set herself on fire a bit, I guess. But then it started getting dark, so we headed inside, and after a while we all hit the sack... Actually, from there, I don't know what happened, but when I woke up, her perch was on fire, and she was trying to get my attention!"

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Twilight was sitting at a booth in the Cake's bakery, and it was quite clear that she hadn't had the best day ever. Her usually neat and clean mane was going in every direction and her coat still had a light layer of ash on it. Today was suppose to be a fun day, Shining Armor was going to come visit and Twi was excited to show him around her library. Unfortunately, touring the library was no longer an option, at least not for a while.

The purple unicorn's gaze drifted around the nearly empty bake shop, as if she was trying to look at anything but her big brother. He was reading a newspaper, so at least Twi knew that he wasn't watching her intentionally not look his way... probably. First she appeared to be almost entranced by the small flames flickering in the lanterns around the shop, and then she watched the leaves and petals swirl around in her daffodil tea like it was the most interesting thing she'd seen all day. After what had happened earlier to her poor library, she just wasn't feeling very talkative, she didn't know what to say. Luckily, Spike took the initiative and started explaining how this mess came to be.

Spike paused, as if waiting for Twi to continue the story, so after a small sigh, she told the beginning of her perspective on the whole thing. "Well, by the time I woke up, Peewee's whole perch and some of the floor was on fire." Twilight looked over at a small pile of books that were stacked near the table. The edges and covers were singed and some papers inside were clearly damaged. "Once I realized what was going on I tried to grab some of the rarer books in the room." As she let out another sigh she thought about all of the books she didn't manage to grab... and how some of those belonged in the Canterlot library in Princess Celestia's personal collection.

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  • 3 weeks later...

“A phoenix?”

Shining Armor raised an eyebrow at Spike’s mention of “phoenix.” As in the rare magical bird that his commander in chief had as a pet? Well then, that certainly made things interesting. Celestia owning one was plenty of trouble as it was. After that last incident in Ponyville, Philomena left quite the paper trail to clean up, especially after making complete buffoons of Celestia’s security detail. On the other hoof, who could blame them? They were bodyguards, not aviary keepers. Bureaucracy could be quite silly at times.

That Spike and Twilight had even seen a phoenix, let alone adopting one as a pet was news to Shining Armor. It was immediately clear from their story that neither really knew how to care for one. Even that one filly... what was her name? Shutterbug? Shutterfly? Fluttershy? Was given quite the runaround by Philomena; according to the guard reports, anyways. The captain’s curiosity got the better of him.

“How in Equestria did you manage to find one, let alone tame one?”

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"Well, I found her, as an egg, while on a trip with a bunch of other dragons. I just brought her back to the library and she hatched, really, nothing else to it! But... I'm not so sure that was a great idea. I probably should've brought the egg back to her parents."

A sigh from the under-aged dragon, a bit of a grim expression on his face. Given the sheer scale of property damage, and the fact that he really didn't know how to raise a phoenix... well, maybe he could ask Celestia? Or... maybe just try and find her a home where she belongs. It was a bit of a point of indecision, really, but that was not the point of the conversation at hand. He stopped, briefly, but quickly replaced his focus where it belonged - on recounting what had happened to the library.

"Anyhow, um, after that, I kind of tried to put out the fire - aaaand it turns out that Phoenix-fire burns way hotter than anything I ever had to deal with, so I kind of got burned. Which, uh, surprised me a lot, and I, uh, mighta sorta screamed a bit... aaaaaand I kind of lit the window-frame on fire by accident while trying to put my arm out." A wince, and a bit of a show of the burnt scales on his left arm. It hurt, certainly, and it was far from comfortable - but, baby or no, he was a dragon, and those didn't suffer injury easily. "It went downhill from there, because apparently some of the burning window fell down to ground level, and lit up some of the grass at the base of the library. That's what started getting attention. Unfortunately... Well..." He trailed off from there, giving Twilight another apologetic glance. She'd been a bit more aware of what was going on outside than he had, at that point, seeing as he'd been in something of a blind panic, and she was rushing books out of harm's way.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Twilight nodded as Spike told the story of how they found Peewee, although they had no idea how to really take care of the little phoenix.. the alternative to having kept her wasn't something that Twi wanted to think about. However, maybe the task of raising Peewee on their own was beyond the two of them. Mentally, she started considering ways to tell the princess about their new pet, and thinking of ways to ask for advice without seeming in over her head. Maybe the whole thing would just come up, considering she needed to confess that so many of her books were destroyed in the fire.

Spike got back to his story and Twilight couldn't help but wince at seeing his burnt scales, they looked painful. She listened and when he finished, she got back to her perspective on the incident.

"Ok well, by the time the window frame was on fire I was awake, and rushing books out of the library. Like Spike said, the window fell and caught the grass on fire, which meant I had to move the books I was saving even further away. By the time that was done and I looked back things were WAYYY worse" she waved her hooves a bit for emphasis "Spike sure wasn't kidding about phoenix fire burning really hot. By the time I got back into the library I couldn't get to the second floor bedroom so I yelled to Spike to get, Peewee, get out, and maybe do what he could about some books."

"By the time I started pulling books out of the ground floor rooms we may have been getting some attention from the neighors" Twilight recalled that at that point, a few of the neighborhood ponies were getting buckets of water or generally panicking. Unable to even consider the idea of ignoring the books to address the other ponies, she didn't do much about their presence.

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  • 2 weeks later...

"Ok well, by the time the window frame was on fire I was awake, and rushing books out of the library. Like Spike said, the window fell and caught the grass on fire, which meant I had to move the books I was saving even further away. By the time that was done and I looked back things were WAYYY worse. Spike sure wasn't kidding about phoenix fire burning really hot. By the time I got back into the library I couldn't get to the second floor bedroom so I yelled to Spike to get, Peewee, get out, and maybe do what he could about some books. By the time I started pulling books out of the ground floor rooms we may have been getting some attention from the neighors"

Shining Armor sipped at his coffee as he observed with detached curiosity. Twi’s description wasn’t so much a recount as a rambling run-on story listing each individual occurrence. It wasn’t surprising, really. It was very much like Twilight to get caught up in the details and with the burns still fresh and the adrenaline just now starting to wear off, he couldn’t exactly fault her for reverting to what she knew best.

“I guess the important thing is that nopony got hurt,” he said as he set his mug back down on the table. “Books can be replaced. Ponies and baby dragons can’t. Nor can phoenixes.”

The captain’s administrator side wanted to know more specifics. How were they going to pay for this? Who could they contract to fix it? What would Celestia say about them keeping a phoenix without telling her? Was there even a proper manual for phoenix care? What would this look like on the local guard report? Shining Armor shook his head as he gulped down more coffee. Reports were reports and work could stay at work. This wasn’t about graceless guards and puckish Princesses, it was about family.

“I can put up some bedrolls in the hotel room. I don’t think Cadence will mind if you stay with us for a night or two while we’re in town. We’ll try and get some better arrangements for you and Spike sorted out tomorrow morning. Then maybe we can go visit our little troublemaker PeeWee. Sound good?”

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“I can put up some bedrolls in the hotel room. I don’t think Cadence will mind if you stay with us for a night or two while we’re in town. We’ll try and get some better arrangements for you and Spike sorted out tomorrow morning. Then maybe we can go visit our little troublemaker PeeWee. Sound good?”

Sleep sounded good. Sleep sounded very, very good. In fact, sleep sounded like the best possible thing, disbarring only the ability to undo this whole disasterous evening. But, for all that rest was something every inch of purple-and-green craved, he made more of a point of defending his pet over snoozing. Spike managed to half-stifle a yawn, arching his back for a moment as he did so.

"I... yawn, I guess that'd be best. Though, uh, to be fair, Shining, I'm pretty sure Peewee didn't mean to cause any of this. She's a good bird, just... a little harder to take care of than I guessed... Heh" And, despite all the trouble PeeWee was causing, it struck him that Shining Armor might've heard that before about another small, rather young fire-breather that Twilight had to take care of. "You mighta heard that one before, hunh? Heh, heh... Y-yaaawwwn..."

Now that the nor-adrenaline was kicking in, Spike was really starting to nod off. "B-but I guess we can visit PeeWee tomorrow... or, later today. I'm sure Fluttershy can handle her for now... how much more trouble could she be? She's gotta be tired out by now..." Another yawn from the baby dragon, an idle itching at his burnt scales. Wow, he was nodding off fast. Not that it mattered - it was only getting later, and he'd had a blaze of a night. It was ok to be tired after all that, right?

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  • 3 weeks later...

As her big brother pointed out how books can be replaced, Twi couldn't help but cringe. She very despnately wanted to interrupt with the point that some of those books were quite rare and not exactly replaceable. However, he still had a point about nopony getting hurt and he was just trying to make her feel better. With a bit of a shy half sincere smile on her face, she looked up at her brother "Well yeah, I guess since books are mostly replaceable you've got a point. It could have been a lot worse.". Twi looked over at Spike and tried to put things in perspective, at least the two of them were able to sit here with Armie and explain the whole situation, and neither of them were badly injured.

Twi listened to the conversation between Spike and her brother but was only half paying attention. She couldn't keep out of her own head, and couldn't stop worrying about how mad Celestia would be about the books. As they started talking about PeeWee, Twilight started thinking about the little troublemaker. When Spike mentioned Fluttershy having her, Twi realized that Fluttershy DIDN'T HAVE HER.

The purple mare's eyes dilated as she stared off at the wall, realizing that she had no clue at all where PeeWee actually went. Twi snapped back and looked over at Spike, clearly panicked "Spike.... Fluttershy has her? When did you give PeeWee to Fluttershy? Because I didn't give PeeWee to Fluttershy and I thought you've been with me this whole time." by the end of the statement, she was nearly yelling, but nobody could get a word in before she started freaking out. Shining Armor's coffee was almost knocked off the table as Twilight jumped up and started pacing. "Oh my gosh, she's gone isn't she? this is all my fault I should have been watching her! How could I just LOSE her! ".

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  • 3 weeks later...

“Twilight?” Shining Armor cocked his head as Twilight zoned out for a moment, looking through him rather than at him. “Twilight? Oh, no...”

This was one of the things that she did. It didn’t matter how old she was. It didn’t matter how many assignments she’d turned in. It didn’t matter how many books had gotten coffee spilled on them. It didn’t matter that she was the Princess’ personal protege. Twilight Sparkle was having a freakout moment. Having known her for as long as he did, Shining Armor had seen his fair share of them. It was simultaneously comforting and exasperating that she had yet to shed the habit since her move to Ponyville.

“Twilight, why don’t--” Shining Armor was cut short by Twilight’s outburst.

"Spike.... Fluttershy has her? When did you give PeeWee to Fluttershy? Because I didn't give PeeWee to Fluttershy and I thought you've been with me this whole time!"

Twilight jumped up from her seat, giving the table a good knock and setting it precessing about its circular base. While Shining Armor saw it coming, his timing was slightly off, resulting in a fumbled attempt at recovering his half-full coffee mug which was now teetering off the edge of the table. One last grab with a combination of front hooves and the violet glow of unicorn magic and the cup shot upwards to the ceiling, hanging in the air for a moment before overturning, emptying its contents out upon Shining Armor’s head. The mug itself landed face down, squarely on the captain’s horn, gyrating around wildly until it finally settled down. Thankfully, the coffee itself had cooled to the point where burns were not going to become a part of the night’s course of events.

"Oh my gosh, she's gone isn't she? this is all my fault I should have been watching her! How could I just LOSE her! "

“TWILIGHT!” Shining Armor ordinarily didn’t raise his voice unless he was addressing hot shot recruits who had let their hormones and egos get the better of them. But when he did, he was heard; it was just part of the job. His voice seemed to echo all throughout the shop, ringing in everypony’s ears for a moment. “You need to calm down! We can find PeeWee, we just need to look. Can you remember where you were when you last saw her?”

The truth was, Shining Armor’s heart had skipped a few beats when his sister had pronounced PeeWee missing. A baby phoenix with no control over her powers and no idea where she was running around a mostly flammable town in a panic was a disaster waiting to happen. Still, he had to keep it together. Big brother, REA captain? That was part of his job description, wasn’t it?

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"Spike.... Fluttershy has her? When did you give PeeWee to Fluttershy? Because I didn't give PeeWee to Fluttershy and I thought you've been with me this whole time!

Oh my gosh, she's gone isn't she? this is all my fault I should have been watching her! How could I just LOSE her!"

Full-on panic attack. Classic Twilight Sparkle. This was, when Spike was in more speculative moods, why Twilight had been given a baby dragon in the first place - smart, intelligent, high-durability helper that would be able to actually withstand a magical maniac's genius, in times of both tenacity and turmoil, through sanity and a mild lack thereof. Would anything else be able to actually withstand a full-out Twilght Sparkle Panic Attack? He liked to think that the answer might be no, if only to boost his own sense of self-worth.

“You need to calm down! We can find PeeWee, we just need to look. Can you remember where you were when you last saw her?”

That was someting that both Shining Armor and Spike agreed on. But, the Canterlot Guard was assuming that Twilight did, in fact, have reason to panic. As far as Spike was concerned, he knew something that they did not, and thus felt there was no cause for alarm.

"Jeez, Twilight, calm down for a moment, wouldjya?" Another stifled yawn from the tired baby dragon - he wasn't panicking at all. "I didn't bring Peewee to Fluttershy. I told her to fly to Fluttershy's house - she knows the way by now, after all." This was, unbeknownst to Spike, a falsehood. The Baby dragon had conferred quietly with his pet phoenix, and the conversation had gone thusly :

Hours in the past, but not many...

The fires, mostly extinguished. The perpetrators, guilty and chagrinned. Spike thought he knew how to handle responsibility - this was probably the worst damage he'd ever seen done by a pet to a building before, and while he wouldn't blame the fledgeling phoenix, other ponies in ponyville might not be so forgiving, he wasn't sure. So, rather than have Peewee hang around and perhaps take more blame than a baby phoenix knew how to handle, the solution of having her stay at the house of the most forgiving and sympathetic of caretakers seemed obvious.

"Now, Peewee, I know this looks bad, but it'll be alright. You'll see, ok? We can fix it all up. It's just going to take a while, that's all."

The pyric bird murmured quietly, cooing a sorrow sort of tone. She wanted to apologize - she wanted to make it better!

"Shhh, it's ok. Nopony's mad at you, no-one's upset. Singed, maybe, but not upset. Look, how about we just take you to Fluttershy's for a few days, okay? She's always got room for a new friend, and maybe some of the other birds there can teach you a few things. Does that sound good to you?"

Go...away? The little bright bird didn't want to go! But, Spike would be there, he wasn't going away, surely! This was his nest, even if it smelled of smoke and burnt things. Still, she wasn't about to start arguing - she'd done something bad, and it needed to get better, so she'd have to leave her nest for a little while. The yellow bird-horse was ok, though. If she had to leave, then that's where she'd probably rest easiest. As such, the diminutive phoenix nodded quietly.

"You know the way there, right?"

The little bird thought she knew the way - and she didn't want to be more of a bother! So, again, the little phoenix simply nodded. She could figure it out if she got lost!

"There's a good little girl. We'll get this place fixed up again, you'll see. Now, you go off and get some rest at Fluttershy's. You're just a little phoenix, after all."

However, Spike was not a psychic, a mind-reader, or an omniscient creature, and thus he held what he thought to be true as reliable information in which he could find comfort. "Seriously, Twilight. If I went off to... yaaawn, Fluttershy's house after all that and you thought I'd gone missing, I don't know what you'd do. I had to... haaaawhn, stay behind." Spike's voice was getting progressively sleepier, his eyelids fluttering quietly. An infant or small child requires at least ten hours of sleep a day - Spike currently was running on just over two, and his body demanded he sacrifice his time to the lords of slumber.

He didn't even catch what Twilight or Shining Armor had to say in response - his senses had gone fuzzy and dulled by the time they'd even started talking again. Halfway through Twilight's response, whatever it might have been, Spike lost consciousness, slowly slid down from the chair, and simply turned into a curled-up pile of sleeping dragon. That was it for him.

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  • 3 weeks later...

[colour=#800080]Twilight was so busy pacing and worrying that she barely noticed Shining Armor getting coffee spilled on him. In fact, she really didn't notice much of anything until he yelled her name. As soon as SA yelled, Twi snapped out of it and looked at her brother.

Using her magic, Twi lifted the coffee cup off of her brother's horn as she listened to him. "Last time I saw her, she was outside of the library with Spike and I." Luckily, Spike had a little more information than Twilight did...

"You let her fly to Fluttershy's on her own?! Spike I really don't think she knows how to get there... which means she's lost!" The last part of her statement came out a little loud and panicked, but Twilight took a deep breath and tried not to freak out again. What she did do was nervously shuffle her hooves while wondering what was going to happen next.

Twilight was trying to think up a plan, and Spike was falling asleep. It wasn't his fault, he's a baby dragon after all and they do need a lot of sleep. She watched him curl up and fall asleep on the chair and then gently covered him with a blanket.

She whispered to her big brother "Spike will be okay in here for now, let's go outside and see if we can find PeeWee." With that, she quietly walked to the door, opened it and stepped outside, assuming that Shining Armor would follow her. [/colour]

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  • 2 weeks later...

[colour=#ff4080]Fluttershy frantically zoomed from house to house in Ponyville. When she had heard what had happened at the library, she had flown as fast as she ever had to get there. After seeing the damage, she began searching for Twilight and Spike, but had been unable to find them, She'd started questioning ponies she saw on the street, but nopony she had talked to had been able to tell her where the pair had gone. Actually, many of the ponies she had spoken to were so surprised at the normally shy pegasus' rapid questions that they hadn't been able to get an answer out. [/colour]

[colour=#ff4080]Fluttershy had nearly convinced herself that her friends were badly injured, and she had begun to fly to the hospital. Then, she spotted a familiar purple form leaving Sugar Cube Corner. With a gasp, she stooped like a falcon and grabbed her friend in a crushing hug. "Oh Twilight!" she cried out, "I was so worried about you! When I heard what happened I flew right here, but nopony would tell me where you were, and I got so scared for you! Where's Spike? Is he OK? What about Owlowiscious and Peewee? PLEASE tell me everypony is all right!" By this point Fluttershy was shaking the unicorn by her shoulders in her desperate attempt to get answers.[/colour]

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[colour=#800080] Twilight let out a little nervous noise as she got hug tackled from seemingly out of nowhere. She hadn't gotten more than 5 feet out the door before Fluttershy spotted her and swooped in. As soon as she realized it was Fluttershy, she switched right from startled to panicked.

"Fluttershy! We were just looking for you! Spike is fine, Owlowiscious is fine... but we have no idea where PeeWee went! Spike told her to fly to your house, but I don't think she has any idea how to get there." she frowned as she finished her statement.

The idea of PeeWee being scared and lost somewhere was deeply upsetting to Twilight. She was supposed to be taking care of PeeWee, and yet look what happened. Nobody had a clue where the little bird had flown off to and Twilight managed to let the library nearly burn to the ground.

"Spike is sleeping in the bakery right now. He doesn't do well on very little sleep and just needs a nap. He might wake up in a few hours but for now we should just leave him be and try to find PeeWee. He thinks that she knows her way to your house but I really don't think she does. However, maybe we should start looking in that general direction?"[/colour]

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  • 3 weeks later...

[colour=#0000cd]“Ugh, that’s going to stain for weeks... the Colonel’s not going to be happy,”[/colour] Shining Armor muttered as he hung the towel up in the Cakes’ bathroom. He shook his blue and teal mane out, letting the freshly rinsed locks fall haphazardly on his head.

[colour=#0000cd]“I guess it’s a good thing I was due for a manecut anyways,”[/colour] he chuckled as he trotted back into the cafe portion of Sugarcube Corner.

Noting the snoring dragon in the corner, Shining Armor grabbed a dry towel and a spare saddlebag with his magic and tucked Spike in, giving him a blanket and pillow to ride out the night while he and Twilight searched for PeeWee. That taken care of, Armor grabbed his own pack saddle, loaded up with first responder equipment like rope and a first aid kit, and clipped a lantern to the straps. Now he was ready.

Armor stepped outside just in time to see his sister tackled by a pink and yellow flash that fell from the heavens like a thunderbolt. He was about to leap into action until he realized just who it was. Of course, that was the problem. Shining Armor grinned sheepishly, rubbing a hoof at the back of his head as he tried his hardest to remember her name. Shutterbug? Flutterby? Something in between? Ah, Shutterfly. That sounded right!

[colour=#0000cd]“Oh hi Shutterfly, we were just looking for you!”[/colour]

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[colour=#800080]"Fluttershy! We were just looking for you! Spike is fine, Owlowiscious is fine... but we have no idea where PeeWee went! Spike told her to fly to your house, but I don't think she has any idea how to get there."[/colour]

[colour=#ff4080]Fluttershy gasped at the news, her hooves covering her muzzle. "Oh no!" she cried out. "The poor little birdy!" Fluttershy began flitting back and forth a few hooves above the ground as if she were pacing. Her worried mind started coming up with all the awful things that could have happened to the phoenix. "Maybe I shouldn't have left the cottage... What if she made it there and there's nopony around? What if she got lost on the way? What if something terrible happened to her?!" [/colour]

[colour=#ff4080]The pegasus was quickly working her way back up into a panic when she saw a familiar unicorn exit behind Twilight. Fluttershy hadn't really gotten a chance to know Shining Armor during the wedding preparations. She'd spent much of the time before the wedding working with the the palace's birds, and had mostly talked to Princess Cadance... or, the fake Princess that is... Anyway, she'd never really talked to the stallion before or after that crazy wedding day. [/colour]

[colour=#0000cd]“Oh hi Shutterfly, we were just looking for you!”[/colour]

[colour=#ff4080]Fluttershy dropped to the ground, bowing before Shining Armor. He was a Prince now, after all. At least that's what Rarity had said. "P-p-p-prince Shining Armor!" she stammered, nervously. "I-i-it's an h-honor to see you again..." It took her a moment to realize what the Prince had said. Shutterfly? Oh dear. The pegasus' yellow cheeks started turning pink with embarrassment. "I-i-it's... Fluttershy... your highness..." she said, her voice facing out till it was nearly inaudible. Unsure what to do now, she tried to hide behind her mane while still bowing.[/colour]

[colour=#ff4080]Twilight, though, was still explaining what was going on. Spike was OK, but sleeping. She wanted to start heading toward Fluttershy's cottage to look for the missing phoenix. Fluttershy shook herself to regain a bit of composure. She could do this. Helping lost and hurt animals was what she loved to do. Finding Pee Wee was more important right now than dealing with her shyness. "Ok, Twilight," she said, straightening. "I'll fly over-head and you can look on the ground. Hopefully Pee Wee's feathers will stand out so we can find her!"[/colour]

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  • 2 weeks later...

[colour=#800080]Twi stood up and watched as Fluttershy paced back and forth. Fluttershy seemed just as worried as Twilight was when she first heard the scary news, completely understandable. "Fluttershy! don't blame yourself for leaving the cottage, I think the best thing we can do is start looking for her ASAP!." As her friend continued to pace, Twi was not even sure if Fluttershy even heard what she was saying.

The purple mare couldn't help but cringe as her big brother got Fluttershy's name wrong, and then she blushed when Fluttershy started talking to him. At this point Twi wasn't sure what to do, she ended up just standing there awkwardly, hoping the moment would pass. Finally, after Fluttershy got quiet, Twi filled her in and suggested they start searching for PeeWee.[/colour]

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  • 3 weeks later...

Armor’s ears drooped a bit as he realized just how badly he’d butchered Fluttershy’s name. The captain forced a sheepish and awkward smile that only widened when Fluttershy bowed before him, her face retreating into her mane. A prince? He may have been married to Equestrian royalty, but he was still just Shining Armor! If all ponies started doing this for him, it might be a little too much.

[colour=#0000cd]“I’m sorry Fluttershy,”[/colour] he said. [colour=#0000cd]“I really should remember these things better. And you don’t have to bow; in fact I’d rather you didn’t. I’m not exactly--”[/colour]

Before he could finish, Fluttershy straightened up, fluttering up on wing and making for her cottage. Armor sighed. It was worth a shot. The captain followed along behind as it seemed Fluttershy had taken the lead.

[colour=#0000cd]“So... what exactly are we looking for?”[/colour]

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  • 5 weeks later...
[colour=#ff4080]Fluttershy knew that Twilight was right; she shouldn't blame herself for this. But it was hard to convince her heart of that when she was so full of worry.

Fluttershy thought back to the day she had tried to help Philomena, Princess Celestia's phoenix. After befriending the mischievous bird, Fluttershy had gone through Twilight's library for any information on phoenixes. Unfortunately, there was not much to find. Phoenixes were rare, and not many ponies had been able to study them in depth, some even saying they were only a myth. Tonight's accident showed just how little they still knew about the fiery birds. A nagging thought in Fluttershy's mind was saying that maybe if she'd learned more about phoenixes, she could have prevented this whole thing...

No, she couldn't let herself dwell on that. Peewee was in trouble! Twilight and Shining Armor were looking to her, seeming to trust her to know what to do. Indeed, Fluttershy had had to search for lost animals many times before. She called on her assertiveness training and said "Twilight, I need you and Shining Armor to start sweeping along the road out of Ponyville. Stay within sight of each other, use the light from your horns to keep track. I'll fly overhead, doing the same. Peewee is a phoenix, and her feathers should give off enough light to see her even now, but she's still a baby, so she could be flying or resting on the ground. If somepony finds her, call out to the others!" As she finished with her instructions, Fluttershy had a brief moment of panic. Despite his protests, Shining Armor was still a Captain in the Royal Guard, and a Prince, even if he asked not to be treated as such. Did Fluttershy have the right to give orders to a pony like that? In a lower, less confident voice, she added "Um, if that's OK with you, Your High... uh, I mean Shining Armor..."[/colour]
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  • 4 weeks later...

Twilight glanced at her brother and tried to think of what exactly they were actually looking for. PeeWee was not a big bird so she might be hard to spot. Luckily it was night time and she does glow, she also could have started more fires (but hopefully not!)

Just as Twi was about to start explaining what they should all look for, Fluttershy took the lead! There was always a bit of concern when Fluttershy got assertive, since it kinda went to her head sometimes. Luckily it looked like she was really on top of things tonight. As usual, when an animal needs help she gets down to business and gets the job done.

With a nod, Twilight lit her horn and looked to her brother [colour=#800080]"Okay, lets get moving!"[/colour]

Suddenly, doubt filled Fluttershy again and she was apologizing and being nervous. [colour=#800080]"It's okay Fluttershy, you're doing great!"[/colour] Twilight yelled. She briefly considered speaking for her big brother and yelling to Fluttershy that everybody was fine with the plan. It might have saved another moment of awkwardness for Armie, but she decided against it and instead just nudged him to light his horn and then took off running down the street.

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  • 1 month later...

It was about this time that Spike woke up with a jolt as he realised he was tucked in on the chair with a blanket - which had left him a little disoriented and uncertain of just what time it was, and where everypony had gone to...well, at least initially. Slowly fragments of the last conversation he'd had with Twilight filtered back into memory and, vaguely, Spike could recall something about Twilight saying something he barely heard before his mind had dedicated itself into sleepmode as he'd drifted off on the chair...

Sitting up, the dragon took a moment to think this over, face scrunching up a little in concentration as he tries to think back to what it was Twilight had said - now what was it again?.

"You let her fly to Fluttershy's on her own?! Spike I really don't think she knows how to get there... which means she's lost!"

" [colour=#008080]Oh., yeah - right...[/colour]! " Spike utters to himself as claw meets snout with a small sigh - he knew deep down that the whole idea had perhaps been a LITTLE bit of a silly one when he'd thought of it, but the intentions were honestly well meant...and he had figured that the phoenix would know where to fly to after having been around Spike for so long. It all had seemed reasonable to the dragon at the time of action, and if anything it was the first place he figured would be a good idea to head to right now, because surely the Phoenix woulda made it there and SURELY everypony else was there right now, waiting on him to arrive so they could tell him he'd been right and that they were sorry to have doubted him...right?

He slips off the chair and stomps towards the door with a growing sense of certainty - that had to be why he was alone right now, they'd left him to sleep it off whilst they all went to go check things out and totally confirm everything that he'd said...all the dragon needed to do was arrive and receive ALL of the praise he deserved for his obviously smart and not-at-all-rushed idea. "[colour=#008080] I'm sure everythings JUST fine[/colour]! " He mutters to himself, reaching up to open the door handle and making his way out of sugarcube corner.

"[colour=#008080] No, it'll be BETTER than fine, and everypony will totally see that I can TOTALLY be a responsible dragon...I can't wait to see the looks on their faces when they realise I'm right[/colour]! "

Spike charges off in the direction of fluttershy's cottege as fast as his legs can carry him - admittedly, he wasn't that fast...but hey, today he had more important things to care about.

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