Well folks, this is it. The finale chapter of, "Crusader Chronicles." After all, there are only three crusaders, so it should be fitting that there would only be three chapters. I had a lot of fun typing this and I hope you all had even more fun reading it. Please recommend this story to other friends on FIMfiction and review it as much as possible. Please follow me too because I have a lot of really good story ideas coming up for other fics. I think I may post this on my deviantart page as well, as soon as I can get some sketch art for each chapter. I have also posted this on fanfiction so if any of you are on that sight; please review it there as well. In the mean time, sit back, relax, and enjoy the finale chapter of "Crusader Chronicles."
She vomited once again. She had been vomiting continuously now for the past 30 minutes. She couldn't help it. It was all impulse. It was all nerves. And yes, even though it was all bull she couldn't do anything about it. Her body naturally reacted to these situations like this; with heavy doses of continuous trumpet puking followed by a few tears of anxiety and then when it was all said and done, she would play a killer show. That's just how the world of professional musicianship worked for her, apparently.
Suddenly, she was able, for a few bleak seconds, to find a peaceful pause; a silent moment of bliss; where the pain dissipated and comfort returned and enveloped her mind once more. And it came with a talon lightly patting her on the back, while a wing draped over her shoulder. Sweetie Bell still sat there on the floor, half her face still hanging over the toilet, as her lead singer and close friend said some consolidating words; which was very rare.
"Relax kid," Gilda commanded nonchalantly towards Sweetie Bell. "You're a yacker. Always have and always will."
"Funny thing is," Sweetie Bell commented, "No matter how many shows I'll play, no matter how many interviews I'll give, it will always taste like some deformed version of spinach salad."
And with that, her body reacted as if on cue, with more vomit.
"Sweet Celestia," Gilda commented in an open gasp as she studied the contents of the toilet bowl. The vomit was so red it almost looked nuclear. "What have you been eating?"
"I thought some Black Cherry Alcohol might take the edge off tonight's performance," Sweetie Bell retorted.
Gilda laughed. "Bad idea kid. Going on a stage drunk usually ends in disaster."
Sweetie Bell laughed as she flushed the toilet; feeling that all familiar feeling of that burn in her stomach, telling her that her routine was over and it was now time for phase two; the actual performance. "Yeah, you of all people should know the dangers of going on stage drunk."
Gilda laughed. This girl had spunk, talent, and quick wit. That was probably why they became friends so quickly once she joined the band. "It's different for me. All I have to do is rap and scream. That doesn't take much. You on the other hand, have some guitar solos to pull off. Just imagine one of your guitars solo's while hammered."
"Maybe you're right," Sweetie replied as she stood up.
"I know I am," Gilda replied with a smirk.
Typical Gilda, Sweetie Bell thought to herself. She honestly didn't know why her older sister hated Gilda so long ago. Of course, Gilda made her amends to Rarity and her friends including and especially Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie for whatever Gilda must've done in the past. Gilda was now practically a member of the family and she, along with the rest of the guys in the band, was allowed to hang around. Still, Sweetie Bell couldn't shake this feeling that Gilda and Rarity must've had some bad past together. That'd explain why Rarity reacted so strangely when Sweetie first met Gilda. She could remember that experience like it had happened only yesterday. It was a very memorable day after all. It was also the same day Sweetie received her cutie mark.
The set of events which lead up to Sweetie Bell's cutie mark began two weeks before the actual date. And it all began when Rarity and some of her friends had their annual tea with Mr. Fancy pants. After the Royal Wedding, Rarity had re-established contacted with Fancy Pants and by doing so, they became close friends once again. They became so close that eventually, twice a month, Rarity would go out of her way to meeting Fancy Pants at his elaborate, luxurious and beautiful house for an afternoon of tea and casual conversation. It was on that particular day, two weeks before Sweetie Bell got her cutie mark, that Rainbow dash got to visit Fancy Pants's place for the first time.
Rarity felt as though she made a huge mistake.
She hated using such a derogatory term to describe her friend, but honestly, Rainbow Dash just didn't know her place. A house guest respects the home. A house guest is quiet in their motions and calm with their expressions. Rainbow Dash, on the other hand, acted like a feral mare, and just couldn't stop touching anything. Just one piece of furniture. Just one. Could Rainbow Dash just not stop touching everything? Apparently so, because for the next 2 and a half hours, Rainbow Dash proceeded to touch every piece of art and pottery around the mansion, humiliating and embarrassing Rarity in front of Fancy Pant's.
The well-established Fancy Pants just watched the turn of events with a smile, laughing once and a while. That was why he and Rarity became such close friends. He was a forgiving stallion. A kind and sweet and gentle stallion, who knew pony's for what they were and didn't care how they treated him just as long as he treated them with kindness and respect.
After the first thirty minutes of the grand tour, the group finally managed to sit down and have polite conversation. And thus began the conversation which changed everyone's lives forever.
"So Rainbow Dash," Fancy Pants began as his butler poured her more cider, which was her choice of drink when asked if she would like anything else besides tea. "I heard that you've now finally been accepted into the Wonderbolts."
The correct definition of the term to describe the noise which Rainbow Dash made upon hearing those words, would've been 'squeam.' "I know. It's been, like, my dream forever and now I finally got in. I can't believe it either." She started smiling a smile that could've warmed the hearts of millions, while simultaneously scaring the living daylights out of others.
"Is there any special process of events that one must have to go through when joining?" Fancy Pants acquired.
Rainbow Dash paused and thought about this for a moment. "Not really. I mean, there's the usual initiation process that every newbie has to go through. I couldn't sit for like a week. But honestly, that's all. Save for the fact that we have to develop an identity."
"Pardon?" Fancy Pant's asked, not fully sure what Rainbow Dash meant by that.
"Oh well, when you join the Wonderbolts you have to designate what makes you, you," Rainbow Dash described. "You see, each member of the Wonderbolts has something different and charismatic about them. Really, it all comes down to what move becomes you're signature move and what song introduces you over the loud speakers."
"I suppose that you're signature move is the sonic rainboom, correct?" Rarity asked.
"Actually, no. I haven't fully decided on that one yet. But I've already picked the song."
"Which is?" Fancy Pants asked.
"Oh, um… "The Blister Exists by SlipFoal." Rainbow Dash replied. To which Rarity responded with the roll of her eyes along with a strange disappointed sigh.
"Honestly, I don't see what you see in that sort of music," Rarity told Rainbow Dash. "I mean, the music sounds so plebeian and is just too crazy for any sane mare to bear, don't you agree?" She asked Fancy Pants with the last question.
And that's when he surprised everypony in the room, including the butlers, which practically knew Fancy Pants their entire lives. "Actually, no. I love SlipFoal and I've seen them twice in concert."
A pin could've been dropped a mile away and still, everyone could've picked up the noise. That was how quiet the room became with Fancy Pant's reply. "…..What?" Rarity asked in disbelieve. It just sounded so absurd. Fancy Pants, one of the most popular and famous ponies in Canterlot, save for the actual Princesses themselves, listening to…SlipFoal? The heavy metal band? The band notorious for their wild stage antics and use of fake blood and pyrotechnics? Fancy Pants saw them in concert? Fancy Pants paid for a ticket?
Rainbow Dash, however, was most amused. "Well, look what we've got here. We got a rocker on our hands."
Fancy pants smiled and simply gave a polite head nod. "Please, please. I'm not as they call them, a metal head. But I've had my fair share of problems as a foal and when I was at my lowest; heavy metal music actually picked me up the most."
"So what are some of your favorite bands?" Rainbow Dash asked as Fancy Pant's as his butler came by and refilled his cup with tea.
"Of all time or just metal bands?" He asked politely.
"Just metal bands," Rainbow Dash replied. She was now leaning in, paying supreme close attention to each word Fancy Pants was saying.
"Let me think for a moment," He said as he leaned his eyes down, thinking very intuitively about the question. "It's been a long time ago." He replied. "I usually listened to metal bands in my youth. However, there is a new group out which I'm particularly enjoying. They call themselves, 'one day as a griffon,' and they're incredible."
"What's their music like?" Rainbow Dash asked.
That's when Fancy Pants shot them a look that confused and baffled both Rarity and Rainbow Dash. He raised one of his brows, as if confused and bewildered himself. Then, after a strange and melodramatic pause which seemed to have lasted ages, he continued. "It's like a combination of rock and hip hop. There are only 3 members in the band. There's the bass player, the drummer, and the lead singer who also performs the electric piano. But honestly, I just can't believe that you haven't heard of them before Rainbow Dash."
Rainbow Dash paused mid-sip through her cider. She placed the cup back and this time, it was her who shot the inquisitive look at Fancy Pants. "Why's that?" she asked.
"Well, you and the lead singer are friends right?" Fancy Pants stated.
"….what?" Rainbow Dash asked confused by the situation. She knew a lead singer in a metal band?
Fancy Pants shook his head, as if he was trying to evaluate the situation he was in. it seemed as everything he assumed to be true had just been proven false. "I just can't believe it. I mean, I could've sworn that you and Gilda Griffon were roommates in Flight School."
Rarity and Rainbow Dash bother heard the sound of glass shattering. Of course, that was all just an illusion their minds pulled on them. They were just so completely shocked by what Fancy Pants said that they felt they had just lost their minds. Their eyes went wide and their jaws smacked the floor and stayed there, gaping open. "…WHAT!" they both replied.
Fancy Pants lead them both into his music room where vast amounts of albums, sheet music, and instruments alike filled the room. Amongst the records, he pulled out a particular one. It was a CD/DVD pack of something. When he showed them the cover, they realized that it was the band 'One day as a Griffon.' And then, after opening the case and shuffling through photo's they found it. They both couldn't believe it, but there it was; black and white and with a scowl that clearly showed that it could be no one else on the page. Gilda Griffon was a lead singer in a rock band.
Before they left, Fancy Pants handed them both a copy of the CD along with the DVD which played some of their music videos. It was just so strange. They all listened to a couple of the track and honestly, as much as their resentment to Gilda could cloud their judgment, she was a pretty good songwriter and singer. In fact, she was particularly amazing. The lyrics had a lot of meaning to them and were well thought out and written. Her singing, while mostly just rapping, had a ferociousness and rage behind them that could only have belong to none other than Gilda. It was as if on each song, she was eating the microphone, tearing it apart, and spiting it out back whole. And the particular musicianship of the band as a whole was just astonishing. Each thing, the bass, the drums, the keys, and the rapping, all worked together to create fantastic music.
But Rarity could no longer listen to them again after that afternoon in Fancy Pant's mansion.
Rainbow Dash eventually went on later that week to forgive Gilda. And when they would meet again, they both would concurrently forgive each other.
But Rarity needed more time. She just still couldn't handle the fact that this Griffon, this Griffon who came into Ponyville and wreaked havoc, was now a lead singer in a band. More importantly, she just couldn't believe that she was actually any good. When she got home to her boutique, she placed the DVD into a drawer where she kept the rest of some movies she owned, and then went to bed. She honestly didn't think about hiding the DVD any more. She didn't feel any need to conceal the movie any more than it already was.
She should have. Or maybe, it was for best that it was left out in the open. For because of this, it would help push Sweetie Bell down the path towards her cutie mark.
The next morning, Rarity was sick. She didn't know what it was. The common cold maybe? A terrible case of the flu? Whatever it was, it left her deprived of energy and made her unable to get out of bed the next day. She had to call Spike to help her cancel orders or at least postpone them until she was better. Spike took good care of her, treating to her every need. But eventually, everything that she was asking for could've been settled with just good companionship, which is what Spike brought.
However, this sickness lasted for two days. And on the second day, she had so little strength, that she couldn't even tell her little sister, 'no, we are not having a crusader's campout tonight in my boutique.'
So of course, the campout continued as planned. The only thing added to the list of agenda's for the crusaders was for them not to, under any circumstances, disturb Rarity from her slumber. She was extremely tired and couldn't do much of anything. Which is why, of course, when Sweetie Bell entered her room, asking if they could watch a movie that night, she didn't put up any fight whatsoever.
Sweetie looked around her sister's room, and when looking into a drawer, she found a particular item that aroused her curiosity. It was a DVD with a picture of a talon scrapping what appeared to be an amplifier. And at the very top of the case, light blue titles read 'one day as a griffon: collection of music videos.'
Sweetie remembered coming down with the DVD that night and showing it to all of her friends. She remembered the giddiness she possessed as she waved it around in enjoyment. She remembered that not one of them had any idea or vague conception of what a Griffon was. But, they knew that the cover had a picture of a talon cutting up an amp, so that had to have meant that this movie was going to be awesome.
She also remembered, from that night, the exact moment when the movie began to play. And Sweetie Bell's world would never be the same again.
It was music that Sweetie Bell had never experienced before. It was powerful, overwhelming, and it was simply in your face. The music had no end point. After each song, you craved more. What really completed the musical experience for Sweetie Bell, was the fact that the music was filled with emotion. But it was an emotion that Sweetie never saw in music. It was anger; pure, downright, unfiltered anger. and being a young, confused mare at the time with no cutie mark, there was no better emotion to place in those songs.
The next day, Rarity was feeling much better. The sickness appeared to be out of her system, and she was actually able to have the strength to walked downstairs and fix breakfast. Meeting her at the kitchen table, was her little sister, and in front of her was…oh sweet Celestia no. did she watch that last night?
Sweetie bell looked up at Rarity, whose mouth hang open in shock. And as they made eye contact, Sweetie said only 4 words.
"I need a guitar."
And so, 5 days later, after Sweetie Bell had acquired the money through some daily chores around the house, Sweetie went out and bought herself her first guitar. It was a nice one too. Sweetie Bell was able to pick up on the guitar and learn it very quickly. She mostly played by ear, but learning chords and reading tab charts just came naturally to her as well. Even Rarity was surprised by how quickly Sweetie Bell was able to play, and play well. A lot of unicorns used magic to pluck the strings, seeing as how having no fingers to form the chords or clutch the pick made it almost impossible to play. But Sweetie Bell astounded everyone by the fact that she could play with her bare hooves alone. Eventually, the guitar became part of an everyday routine with her. Go to School, hang out with friends, homework, and then guitar.
About 10 days had passed by since Sweetie Bell first saw 'One day as a Griffon,' on DVD. And she kept up to date with the latest news of that band, much to the disappointment of Rarity. However, there was one piece of news that slipped by her. And it was revealed to her at a crusader campout. At the club house, Apple Bloom opened up with, "So Sweetie, did you hear about the latest news?"
Sweetie Bell was confused. "What news?"
"You know, the news involving 'One Day as a Griffon?'" Apple Bloom continued.
Sweetie Bell smiled and cocked her head. She always kept up to date with the latest in 'One Day as a Griffon,' News; considering how they had became her favorite band. But, deciding to let Apple Bloom rejoice in saying the words, Sweetie replied, "No. No I haven't."
"Well, they broke up," Apple Bloom commented.
Sweetie's eyes enlarged themselves by three times their normal size. She looked as though she had seen a ghost. She ran up to Apple Bloom's face and, while staring at her dead in the eyes, she screamed, "WHAT!"
Apple Bloom was not shocked to see this kind of reaction from Sweetie Bell. However, she was still taken back by how forcefully Sweetie went up to her face. Apple Bloom, in this position, began to explain. "They're not completely shattered. Their just changing their name."
Now, Sweetie was less shocked but more intrigued. "Changing their name?"
"Yeah," Apple Bloom stated. "Yeah, apparently, Gilda was getting sick of playing the keys so she decided to ditch them off to the side and work solely on song writing and vocals. The rest of the band was a little concerned with the fact that the keys were gone; being that the keys had been such a crucial key element in their music. And so, they decided that if there was going to be no keys, there was no 'One day as a Griffon.' Their still together, but they are changing their name and becoming an entirely new band with an entirely new sound."
"Huh….." Sweetie stood for a while in shock. The news didn't sadden her, nor did it enrage her. It just made her feel…..strange. "That's…kind of odd."
"Yeah, but now get this," Apple Bloom said with excitement. "I heard that they really need a guitar player, but that they are looking for fresh new faces and young talent. And so, they are holding open try outs for the public."
Sweetie Bell could've passed out at that moment. It sounded way too good to be true. She felt excitement tingle throughout her body. Her favorite band was looking for a new guitar player. Maybe she could be the one. However, as part of her brain jumped to the conclusion that she could achieve her wildest dreams, another part of her brain, the rational side, concluded that it was strictly fantasy. Firstly, what would a great band want to do with a blank flank? And secondly, she didn't even know where they were having their try-outs.
She didn't have to. For as soon as those words were uttered by Apple Bloom, something strange happened. Sweetie Bell's horn began to glow. It had a strange aurora of white light and looked as though she was about to exploded. Everyone in the club house stood in shock as they saw this happened to their friend. They paused, unsure of what was going to happen next. Suddenly, Sweetie's guitar, which was perched in the corner, picked itself up magically by itself, and strapped itself upon Sweetie's back.
Scootaloo raised an eyebrow. "Sweetie, what are you doing?" she asked.
Sweetie, even more shocked than the rest of them, said with a pleading voice, "I don't know! I can't control it!" and then, all of a sudden, she began to get pulled by her horn. Her body was dragged by her hooves towards the club house door. Apple Bloom, sensing that something was amiss, immediately pounced upon Sweetie Bell and held her back as soon as she began to move.
"Sweetie, where you going?" Apple Bloom asked as she began to feel the actual pull that was happening in Sweetie's body.
"I don't know," Sweetie screamed in fear. "It's like my horn has a mind of its own."
"Does this usually happen to unicorns frequently?" Scootaloo asked as she assisted Apple Bloom as well.
"No," Sweetie replied. "This only happened once with my sister, remember? And when it happened it…." And that's when it clicked in Sweetie Bell's brain. This was her destiny. Her horn was about to lead her to her cutie mark. So, with a smile that could've sent millions of warriors fleeing the battlefield, Sweetie Bell chuckled and exclaimed, "Girls, I'll be fine."
"What?" Both Apple Bloom and Scootaloo asked in shock.
"Just let me go," Sweetie commanded. "Go find my sister and tell that I'll be fine. And don't forget to mention this."
"Mention what?" Apple Bloom asked as both her and Scootaloo obeyed Sweetie Bell's request and let her go.
Sweetie Bell went forward and her magic, which was beyond her control, opened the door of the club house for her, and lead her out the door. As she moved along the country side, toward whatever the future had in stored for her, she screamed to her friends, "DESTINY AWAITS!"
She traveled for what seemed like ages. It was only two days, but with the combination of no food and no water, Sweetie felt as though she was losing her mind. This magic stuff really needed to work out like a break time; like, a time for at least a sandwich. But she received nothing, and so, two days later, when she found herself finally stopped in front of a strange door in a strange house in Canterlot, Sweetie Bell didn't even think about where it was she was at, and only thought, 'Does this place offer food?'
Suddenly, the door in front of her opened. And that's when Sweetie Bell recognized the place. 'Oh no….oh dear luna no….no.' she recognized the place, for she recognized the person standing in front of her. She was tall, extremely tall for even a lady; but then again, this woman was a Griffon so being tall was a given. She had on aviator shades which blocked out her eyes and in her talons was a cigarette. She examined Sweetie Bell for a second, and then turned her head around and spoke to whoever was inside.
"Hey Guys, looks like we got another one," Gilda proclaimed.
A few second later, one stallion and one dragon showed up right alongside Gilda. The Stallion was brown with a blond mane, and the dragon was black with a yellow under belly and spines. Their names were Beats and Thunder; the drummer and bass players for 'One day as a Griffon.'
"Another one up for auditions?" Beats the dragon asked as her twirled the drumsticks around in his hands.
"Well no duh," Gilda pointed out as she motioned her hands towards the terribly frightened and petrified Sweetie Bell. "I mean, why else would she have on a guitar?"
"Hey kid," Thunder asked as he flicked his mane out of his eyes. "You know who we are?"
Sweetie Bell tried to speak, but her voice cracked and it came out in a whisper. "You're….you…..are…"
"Hey Kid," Gilda asked as she snapped her fingers, wondering what was up with this strange mare in front of them. Was she psychotic? "You ok?"
And to this day, Sweetie Bell is still embarrassed when this moment gets brought up in conversation. The first words, the first words out of her mouth, as she was standing right in front of the band she worshipped, apparently ready for an audition, the first words that went flying were, "….do you guys have food?"
There was a slight pause from the entire group as they just stood there and processed what Sweetie Bell had said. Then, like an explosion, they erupted with laughter. "That's rich," Gilda proclaimed as she wiped away a tear from her eye. "Sure kid. We got food. Follow us inside. Maybe if you play a good enough guitar solo, we might fix you a sandwich."
At that's how Sweetie Bell found herself sitting across from her favorite band in a recording studio while eating a sandwich.
"So kid," Gilda began as she wrote down something on a piece of paper. The entire band was eyeballing Sweeite Bell at this point, analyzing her, seeing if she had that certain something that this band needed. "Where you from?"
"Ponyville," Sweetie Bell replied.
Gilda immediately picked up on that. "Oh, really?" she asked with a smile that symbolized nostalgia, not anger. She no longer felt hatred for those of Ponyville. It had been replaced long ago with memories and curiosity. "So how's Rainbow Dash?"
Sweeite cocked her brow. "She's fine, as far as I know. But she lives in Cloudsdale," Sweetie mentioned.
"I know," Gilda said as she continued to write. "But I know that she hangs out a lot with the residence of Ponyville so you've probably seen her more than those who live in Cloudsdale."
"How do you know Rainbow Dash?" Sweetie Bell asked completely out of curiosity.
Without missing a beat and or looking up from her paper, Gilda commented. "Me and her were roommates back in Flight School."
…Sweetie Bell's mind = blown. She just couldn't believe it. The mare that was already 20% cooler than everyone else just got 20% even more cooler. Would that make her 40% cooler? It was hard to say. But whatever the case, Sweetie Bell's head was swimming at the time so it was hard for her to work out exact math.
Then, finally, she looked up at Sweetie Bell, placing her pen down. The rest of her band mates copied this action as well. "So…..Sweetie Bell…..if that is your actual name…how well can you play the guitar?"
Sweetie reacted simply off instinct. It was only until later did she realize how silly she sounded. "Oh, I'm very good. I've only been playing for 5 days and I'm already better than most people I know who play guitar."
A small cough of hilarity could be heard coming from Beats. Thunder was trying his hardest to suppress a smirk. Even Gilda found the situation somewhat humorous. But out of all of them, oddly enough, it was Gilda who was able to cool them down and continue by saying, "Alright everyone. Alright." Then, looking at Sweetie Bell once again, and with the biggest welcoming attitude that she could possibly muster, Gilda told Sweetie Bell, "So here's what we need you to do. Take your guitar and if it's acoustic just start playing away. If not, we have a batter operated amplifier and a small chord in the back, just take them up with you. Got that?"
On the surface, Sweetie Bell looked calm and controlling of her emotions as she smiled politely, gave a head nod, and went to the back to grab the amp and chord. On the inside, it was a whole other story. She felt as though any second now, she was going to throw up. What made it the worst was the fact that she felt her legs starting to buckle. On top of that, she knew that the rest of the band was getting a kick out of her. She was just going to embarrass herself. She was right about one thing, the band mates were trying their hardest to hide their smirks and chuckles, but it couldn't be helped. Even Gilda was thinking the same thing. 'We are about to watch a lamb being brought to slaughter.'
Sweetie got the amp, plugged it in…..
And blew their minds!
She was just incredible. Gilda felt her jaw go slack and her mouth came open in shock when Sweetie began to play. She started out with what appeared to be a riff of some sort; but riffs were never meant to be that fast and or intricate. It was like she was coming from another world. This was just amazing. Then came her actually solo and that was really stunning. It was hard to believe she was playing all those notes with just one hoof. Maybe she was using her magic to help her. Gilda, in a daze, looked at Sweetie Bell's horn, and then back down at Sweetie Bell's hoof, and recognized that her suspicions were true. This was all natural playing and Dear Celestia was it good.
But the part that blew everyone away; the part that set her apart from the other guitarists the band had seen, was what she did next. It would eventually become her trade mark, signature, guitar move, where if anypony were to copy it from then on, another would reply, "Oh, are you trying to play like Sweetie Bell?"
Sweetie Bell, while holding down a chord, turned the volume of the rhythm side of her pick-ups all the way down, while keeping the treble side as loud as possible. Then, she dropped her pick. She would no longer need it. She dragged one hoof across the strings while the other flipped the knob between the two pickups frantically. This created a catastrophic effect where the guitar sounded no longer like a guitar, but more like a turn table. DJ PON3 would've been supremely impressed. It was magnificent.
Gilda jumped up when this happened, and began to wave her arms about. "Whoa, whoa, whoa!" she screamed as this new, delightful sound struck her ears. Sweetie, noticing this, stopped immediately and ducked her head down low in embarrassment. What did she do wrong?
"How long have you been playing again?" Gilda asked baffled.
"5 days," Sweetie Bell announced timidly.
"And you pull THAT off?" Gilda proclaimed now even more excited than ever. "Damn Kid, you got some talent!"
"I say we let her in," Thunder commented.
"Yep," Beats added. "There's nowhere for this to go but up," he stated this as he rested his head and began to lean back on his chair.
Gilda then held out her talon, a gesture rarely seen by many who knew Gilda, but it was appropriate. Sweetie stared at the talon, flabbergasted. 'Is this really happening?' she thought. 'Is this real?'
"Kid, welcome to the newest band to hit the airwaves. Welcome, to RAGE," Gilda then shook the dumbfounded pony's fore-hoof.
Suddenly, a white light emitted from Sweetie Bell's flank and a strange tingly sensation filled her head. And then, suddenly, that white light flooded the room.
"SWEETIE BELL!" Rarity screamed as she ran through the street's of Canterlot. She was frantic. "SWEETIE BELL! WHERE HAVE YOU GONE?" after the news of what had happened to Sweetie Bell reached the ears of Rarity, she rounded up a search party of her, the rest of the main six, the rest of the cutie mark crusaders, and Big Macintosh, and they began to search far and wide for her sister. They found the track of where Sweetie's magic pulled the poor filly from the clubhouse and followed it into Canterlot. But once they got inside the city, the tracks stopped because they couldn't be seen. She was basically being pulled across marble, not dirt. So the group separated and tried to find the filly following their own paths. Rarity took a fairly simply approach, and just decided to run around the city frantically screaming her head off. Eventually, someone would be bound to notice her and help her out at least.
But this didn't seem to work and after a few hours of desperate searching, she resorted to crawling into a corner and crying. It was all hopeless. She would never find her sister in this glamorous city. It was over. No one could hear her cries. The city was frankly just too loud.
And that's when she noticed something. She picked up on a noise that she never thought she would hear in the city. Music, but not just any music; rock music. And it was coming from far away. She curiously followed the noise until she found herself in front of a strange house. It was placed in the middle of nowhere. No other houses were besides it, and it kind of just stood out in the middle of the street. On top of that, it wasn't even a big house and in Canterlot, that was a rarity. *wink wink*
Standing outside the door, Rarity raised her hoof to knock on the door, when she realized that it was open just a tad. She had a minor self conflict with herself about what she was going to do next. After all, in legal terms, what she was about to do was considered breaking and entering. But, feeling the strangest of needs rising up in her, she pushed the door open even more, and walked inside.
It was then she realized that she had just stumbled into what appeared to be a record studio. There was a desk in the front where a receptionist would usually set, but there was also a sign which stated 'be back in 30,' so the mare was probably on a lunch break.
Rarity continued following the source of the noise, and it lead her upstairs, and into a room where she received the biggest shock of them all. She found herself looking into a room, where Gilda Griffon sat. It didn't take long for the Griffon to notice her, and as soon as the two made eye contact, rarity received an even bigger shock.
The Griffon was happy to see her.
She obligingly opened the door and brought her inside the both. As she did so, she talked frantically about some new tour or something to do with an album. But what struck her oddly enough was that she was directing these things towards her, as though she had something to do with them. "Yeah, and she walked in," Gilda continued. "And we were all thinking that this kid was just going to eat it but holy crap, she is super good! We've been writing songs all afternoon for the new album and I think we'll end up using most if not all the material we've written today. She's a natural, but you probably know what I'm talking about."
"I'm sorry," Rarity said with a polite demon and she pushed the griffon away. "But whose 'she?'"
"Hi Sis!" Sweetie Bell exclaimed.
Rarity turned her head, and saw someone who looked like her sister behind the glass, but it couldn't be her sister. She just couldn't. First of all, she had never seen her sister that happy before. Secondly, she never wore hats and third of all, and most importantly, her sister had not received her cutie mark. This mare obviously had a cutie mark, and a strange one at that. It was a guitar that appeared to have been set on fire. She didn't know if that meant her talent included destroying guitars or what, but whatever the case, it just proved that this figure, though eerily very similar to Sweetie Bell, could not have been Sweetie Bell.
But then Rarity took a good long look at her face. And then noticed the guitar. And then she remembered where Sweetie got that guitar, and knew at that moment, that this person behind the glass was none other than her sister. And she had just received her cutie mark…playing for Gilda Griffon.
The stress was just too much, and Rarity passed out.
When Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Diamond Tiara stumbled out of their limousine a little dazed from the backseat partying, they realized that they were the only ones there who looked…..normal. With the exception of their limousine, everypony who was at this event was dressed in much esteemed attire and was brought in with nothing less than elegance. The carts looked fantastic. The ponies looked amazingly rich. This confused Apple Bloom greatly. Were these ponies going to see the wrong band? This was RAGE; the same band that ended every show with pyrotechnics and destruction of equipment. These high and mighty, rich, elegant ponies, were going to go see THAT BAND?
As Apple Bloom contemplated the audience that was going to witness tonight's performance, she felt a hoof pat her on the back as Diamond Tiara spoke. "Welcome to Equestrienne Hall; the most extravagant, expensive, and elegant music hall in all of Equestria."
"Hard to believe a band like RAGE is going to perform here tonight," Scootaloo commented.
"Keep in mind its Princess Luna's Birthday Celebration," Apple Bloom replied. "I heard that she's a big heavy metal queen."
They stood outside and looked at the crowd gathering in for a few more minutes. It was still a strange sight to see. Monocles, top hats, bowties and elegant gowns were being brought in to see possibly one of the most quote unquote 'layman,' bands of the century. Then, Diamond Tiara smiled.
"You still got the tickets?" she asked Apple Bloom.
This snapped her out of her transfixed phase and she began to riffle through her purse for the envelope which contained the tickets. Once she found it, she pulled it out in extreme excitement. "Got it,"
"Alright then," Diamond Tiara announced as she rounded up her 'friends.' "Let's head on in."
Once they got inside, they realized that the hall had been altered quite tremendously for tonight's show. The music hall was somewhat in the style of an Opera Hall. There were about three floors of seating along with a contemporary ground floor for those who wanted to get an up-close view of the stage. But for tonight, the entire ground floor seating chairs had disappeared. This not only baffled Apple Bloom and her gang, but those starting to come in as well. Some recipients would ask ushers the meaning for this transaction. Others would simply pile into the middle just standing up. Apple Bloom immediately recognized this as a mosh pit and immediately smiled in deviousness. 'So Sweetie Bell wants to see if these stiffs can bust loose,' she thought. 'Clever Girl.'
Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Diamond Tiara were on the second level. After all, that's where the hall went into. One had to go 'underground,' to get to the floor seating, just like in a stadium. They scanned the area for quite some time, looking at the people coming in while also trying to find some adequate seating. And then, they spotted something strange.
"Holy Discord," Scootaloo breathed as she saw the sight bestowed in front of her. "Is that who I think it is?"
Near the ledge, a table was sat up. It was a stylish table, made of wood, that seemed to have been transported from some type of established royal dining facility. 5 chairs were put into place. Two of the chairs were occupied…..by none other than Princess Celestia and Princess Luna.
"What the?" Apple Bloom was simply speechless. They were on the same row as ROYALTY!
As the three stared in awe at this fantastic sight, Princess Luna turned around. The three literally did the 'look-away' and averted their eyes hoping to Celestia (even though she was sitting right in front of them) that Luna didn't catch them staring. Unbeknownst to them, Luna did the exact same thing. After a little while, Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Princess Tiara got back into a normal stance. As they looked at the princess while trying to look normal, they noticed that she began leaning over to her sister, and started whispering to her. It was strange. What made it even stranger was the way she acted as she whispered to Celestia. It was as if she was trying to inform her of someone while they were standing close to her.
And then they noticed Luan's eyes, and how they kept twitching back to them.
And Scootaloo got it, and almost shrieked in excitement. "I think she's talking to Princess Celestia about us."
And then, the princesses got up from their chairs, turned around, eyed the group down, and started approaching them.
Their legs started to buckle and feel wobbly. Any second now, they would be unable to support themselves up. The very idea of what was even taking place was so unrealistic that in their excitement, the three started to question whether they were even in reality anymore. They were about to talk….to royalty.
Once the princesses stood in front of them, all other sound became obsolete, save for Princess Luna's own voice. "Excuses me," Luna began. "Is thou art the artist Apple Bloom?"
Even though Apple Bloom and Scootaloo could rarely ever understand Royal lingo, they picked up on it almost immediately. "Yes?" Apple Bloom replied.
And then, a great surprise happened. The Princess held out her hoof, awaiting for it to be shaken. "My sister and I are great admirers of your work," Princess Celestai stated. "We find it absolutely dazzling."
Apple Bloom was going to freak. Timidly, trying to hide her own excitement, she began to shake their hooves. "Thank you. Thank you very much."
"Why in fact," Princess Celestia continued. "My sister and I were going to attend your auction in Ponyville. It was yesterday if I'm not mistaken right?"
Apple Bloom would remember the date all too well. It was where Diamond Tiara showed up after all. "Yes," the country pony replied.
"How was it?" Princess Luna acquired.
Now, Apple Bloom was going to be nonchalant about the whole situation. She was going to reply with something stereotypical, such as 'it was ok,' and just continue on with the conversation normally. But before Apple Bloom could even get a word in edge wise, Diamond Tiara responded with something that made everyone's eyes go wide. "It was terrible," Diamond Tiara spoke. "She never got up to original asking price with any of her portraits. One of her best ones she wanted 60 bits for and no one would even pay up to 50."
"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that," Luna announced.
"Yeah, it was bad. I eventually got one of her paintings over the original asking price." Diamond spoke. Apple Bloom continued to look at her wide eyed, trying to figure out just what this pony had planned. "I just wish there was something we could do to get more cash."
Then, it hit Apple Bloom. 'is she…trying to get me a job offer from the princesses?'
It worked like a charm. After thinking for a while, Princess Luna responded. "Actually there is."
"There is?" Princess Celestia asked, unsure of what even her own sister was thinking.
"There is?" Apple Bloom and Scootaloo stated with wide frantic eyes.
"Well you see," the princess of the night began. "Princess Cadence and Shinning Armor are expecting their first child soon, and as tradition, we usually welcome every single newest member of the royal family with a photo of some sort. Maybe we can break some mold. Apple Bloom, would you like to paint the family Portrait of Princess Cadence, Shinning Armor, and their new child?"
Apple Bloom was on the verge of passing out. "That….th-th-th-that would be w-wonderful."
"Great," Princess Luna stated with a smile. "it will surely be nice to have one of my favorite artists painting a picture of such close value to me."
Apple Bloom could've blushed. The comments were flattering. "Why thank you," she said.
"So, why you guys sitting up here?" Scootaloo asked. "Is it like a royalty thing?"
"Somewhat," Princess Celestia stated.
"What are the other three chairs for?" Scootaloo continued, now feeling comfortable talking to royalty.
"Oh, those are for Twilight Sparkle, Princess Cadence, and Shining Armor actually," Princess Celestia replied with a smile.
Apple Bloom cackled. "Really? Has Twilight Sparkle ever seen this band or heard them before?" Apple Bloom asked this with the biggest smirk ever.
"Not at all," Princess Luna stated with a smile. "MY sister invited her and she's coming, hoping to achieve a 'cultural experience.'"
"She sure will," Scootaloo commented under her breath with an equally large smirk.
"Wait, how do you know this band?" the Night Princess asked curiously.
"We were friend's with Sweetie Bell all the way from Elementary school to High School," Apple Bloom proclaimed. It only took a few seconds to realize that not EVERYONE in her group tonight was considered a 'friend.'
Luna's expression was priceless. They had never seen a member of Royalty look so excited before. "Are you serious?" the Princess asked, trying to retain all her emotions.
"Yeah," Apple Bloom responded.
Suddenly, something strange happened. The princesses once again began having a conversation in silence. They whispered something to each other very quickly. And then, afterwards, they looked back at Apple Bloom and Scootaloo. "You know," Princess Luna began. "Cadence and Armor are running a little behind schedule so…..on the occasion if they don't show up…would you guys like to sit with us?"
Apple Bloom was about ready to pounce on the offer immediately, when out of nowhere, Diamond Tiara astounded her friends once more. "Thanks for the offer," she began, "but actually, we are going to go to the ground floor tonight. I feel like moshing."
'Is there anything this pony can't do to surprise me?' Apple Bloom thought to herself.
Meanwhile, backstage, the band prepared for another concert. They stretched out, they limbered up, and they took as many fluids as they could into their bodies as possible. Most of the time, all the band members drank water, but Gilda, along with her water, also knocked down a shot of flaming Everclear to get the adrenaline going through her body. If she was going to be the demonized, destructive stage presence she was on stage tonight, then she needed to be extra hyperactive, and nothing arouses the body more so than drinking FIRE!
Sweetie Bell, however, had a different approach to these moments. After the excessive vomiting, she would follow the rest of her band mates out onto stage and would take a seat behind the curtains, and began to get into what she and Gilda called, 'The Zone.' The Zone was a strange place. A place of no thoughts, no sights, and no sounds. It was like a strange form of meditation, but even in meditation, one would recite a mantra. Sweetie Bell recited nothing. She took in nothing as well. No lights, no sounds, no thoughts. Just nothingness. It was true rebirth, because after a couple of seconds in the zone, each show would feel greater and better than the last. It was as if she was replaying her first gig all over again.
Thunder and Beats took a very different approach when show time would arrive. They both simply acted…..normal. Thunder, at this point in time, was peeping out of the curtain studying the audience that was coming in. "Sweet Celestia," he commented. "Everyone out there looks like a bucking stiff."
Suddenly, Gilda was finished with her stretching. She placed her wing and talon out, and proclaimed, "Alright everyone. Band huddle."
It was a tradition amongst the band members to get into the huddle before every show. It helped them stop being 4 beings and instead become one. A powerful entity known as 'Rage!' they all placed in their hooves, talons, and claws. When Beats placed in his claw, that's when Gilda noticed something out of the ordinary.
"What the buck is that?" she asked Beats more out of shock and less out of anger.
Beats shrugged as she looked at the gloves he was wearing. "I thought I'd wear them tonight. It would give me more of a theatrical feeling." The gloves looked very wood-nimph like. It felt something more out of 'Mid-summare night's dream' than a rock concert.
"It looks like you tapped sticks to your hands that you found in a forest," Sweetie Bell said with a laugh.
"Whatever," Beats snorted.
Then, it was serious time.
"Ok now," Gilda said, bringing her voice to a low and serious tone, stressing how hard she was trying to get them focused into becoming one band right at that moment. "We've played a lot of shows and played infront of a strange variety of groups before, but nothing like this. These guys may appear to be pamp and proper but Sweetie Bell, you know as well as I that even Rarity can bust a move to our music once in a while."
Sweetie Bell laughed at that comment.
"So let's make these buckers do the same," Gilda shouted. "Let's get them rilled up. Let's make them forget who they are and rest only on primal instincts. Let's turn these buckers into bucking animals. You ready?"
"YEAH!" the band shouted back.
"BEAT'S GLOVES SUCK ON THREE," Gilda proclaimed. The band laughed for a bit, and then they got back into the zone once more.
"BEAT'S GLOVES SUCK!"
As Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Diamond Tiara finally got into their place on the ground floor, the lights began to dim. The crowd reacted in one of the strangest ways ever. In a normal rock concert, the audience would be going wild. They would be yelling, screaming, shouted in approval at the arrival of their favorite band. This was not the case with the Canterlot crowd. They responded in silence. It was out of respect, like an audience does in a movie theater, but it still came off as extremely awkward.
However, as the curtains pulled themselves apart, all of that strangeness melted away with Sweetie Bell's opening riff. To the rest of the audience, they were completely blown away by the type of music they were being presented with. It was a strange and foreign to their ears. To Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Daimond Tiara, they all recognized it as the intro for their new classic "Sleep Now in the Fire."
The spotlight shone on Sweetie Bell, who wore her traditional hat and stood on two legs. It was what separated her and Thunder from most musical equines, the fact that they were bipedal when performing. She had this great smile on her face. She enjoyed the very job that she did. She looked around the entire circumference of the stage and the crowd that stared back at her, smiling so wildly and happily. She continued with her riff, her iconic riff, and then two more spotlights beamed themselves on, and revealed both Thunder and Beats providing backing rhythm. Beats played his drums like he was going to kill them, like the drums said some degrading things about his mother. Thunder played the bass so smoothly that he should've been dressed in a tux, all swagged out. After 4 measures of this great build-up, the moment finally arrived. For the previous moments leading up to it, Gilda had been standing in the center of the stage, in the darkness. She had closed her eyes and shaken all of her limbs loose. She was getting into her natural zone. She was bouncing a bit, and when it came time for it, she released everything, all of her energy, into one long courageous yell.
"YEAH!" she screamed as powerfully as she could.
And then the song officially started. The bass and guitar played the same exact riff together in synch. The drummer played a great rock beat with dotted eighth notes on the snare drum and just eight notes on the bass, creating a hip-hop vibe but with such furiosity and power that it could've been mistaken for a thrash metal song. The entire band was jumping to the sound, even Sweetie Bell, while not even missing a beat of her chords. Gilda was the craziest; bringing her hind legs all the way up to her chest as she jumped about the stage. She could've easily been a pro athlete with a vertical jump such as that.
Now normally, the crowds at their shows at this moment would be jumping along with them. Sadly, this wasn't the case. And if caused them all to fear that they weren't welcomed there. But suddenly, the mood of the crowd gradually changed around verse 1, when a lone soul in the crowd jumped for a bit; just for a bit, and caused the audience to wonder what would happen if they did the same.
The pony, was Diamond Tiara.
And it first, it totally baffled the crowd for quite some time. In fact, even Apple Bloom and Scootaloo, who otherwise would've been the first to start the chaotic fun, were perplexed and baffled by Diamond Tiara's sudden burst of eagerness. When she stopped she looked at Apple Bloom and Scootaloo, and instead of stopping awkwardly and embarrassingly hiding her face, she smiled greatly, and cocked her head, as if to say 'join me.'
Apple Bloom smiled wickedly, and after a few more seconds, both of them proceeded to jump.
Eventually this lead to Scootaloo joining the fun. Eventually, this lead to the people behind them to move as well. Eventually, all of that culminated into one big mosh pit which lasted the rest of the night, and the only time it stopped, was during each of Sweetie Bell's solos. The Solo for "Sleep Now in the fire," came right as soon as everyone started to finally jump. Suddenly, when it was her time, everyone exited the riff except for her. She continued playing the riff for 4 more measures, before Gilda came in with another shriek to transcend into the solo. The solo was one of a kind. Sweetie would pluck a harmonic note, and flip the treble and rhythm switch back and forth, just like she would do with her solo on "Bulls on Parade," but instead, the amp would be shrieking really loud and she would use the whammy bar to lowered the note and change it. It was truly bizarre, and it was epic. The crowd was now frantic, and when she finished her solo, she realized that nothing could come this close to her happiness
"SLEEP NOW IN THE FIRE!" Gilda sang as she jumped. "SLEEP NOW IN THE FIRE!" the band was in synch and playing as one being for the end of their song. "SLEEP NOW IN THE FIRE!" there was only one more measure left. "SLEEP NOW IN THE FIRE!"
And in an explosion that could've rocked the foundations of the entire pony universe, the song ended.
The crowd screamed.
When Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Diamond Tiara arrived back stage, the reaction Sweetie Bell gave was very casual and predictable. She greeted her friends with smiles and hugs; happy to see them after so many months apart (the touring could be brutal to the Cutie Mark Crusaders), and then she eyed the newest entity in the room. When Tiara introduced herself, Sweetie's jaw hung slack. She was flabbergasted, in fact, she was literally speechless.
It took some time, but eventually, they both started a conversation. It started off as simple. 'how've you been?' 'fine, thank you.' 'the show was really awesome tonight.' 'really, aw thanks.' And then, somehow, the topic of their conversation got brought around to crazy things they seen at live shows; and that was when instantly, Diamond Tiara and Sweetie Bell became best friends.
"You saw SlipFoal in concert?" Sweetie asked amazed.
"Yes," Tiara replied with a smile.
"SlipFOAL!" Sweetie Bell still couldn't believe it.
"The one and only," Diamond Tiara replied. "It was such a crazy show, so many people got injured."
The Crusaders, along with RAGE were now sitting at a table, sharing a bottle of AppleJack Daniels passing it to and fro. They had been laughing, cohering, and carrying on about life in general happily. Translation; the typical backstage pass talk. It continued on as such, as Sweetie Bell talked about some of the injuries she and her band mates endured during live shows, when the manager came to ask he could talk to the band. As Gilda, Thunder, and Beats got up, Sweetie asked if she could stay behind for a bit.
"Sure," Gilda stated. "just don't wait to long. I have a feeling that our manager may have something important to tell us."
And with that, she left.
There was a small silence that filled the room. Everyone looked at eachother, unsure of what to say to break the silence. It wasn't awkward, and it wasn't tense, it was just…..silent. Then, finally, Sweetie Bell spoke.
"You do realize," she said in a monotone voice filled with nostalgia and self-reflection. "that ten years ago, we were blank. ….Ten years ago, we had no clue where we were going. We had nothing. We were wander's of a wasteland looking for some food….shelter…..just something to call our own. We were looking for destiny…and we have it now."
"Boy, we sure did some stupid stuff to get it," Scootaloo chuckled. They all giggled at this comment.
"…but now that we have them…we still experience lost," Sweetie Bell stated. They all looked down with this comment. She was right. "We thought everything would be better once we got them, and it is, but we still feel. We still fail….we're still crusading for something better."
"Was it worth it?" Diamond Tiara asked curiously.
After another moment of silence, Apple Bloom raised her glass in the air.
"On the count of three," Apple Bloom said. "We will clink our glasses together and shout BUCK YES! You with me?"
They all nod their heads and raised their glasses.
Thank you for the love. Thank you for the toleration. Thank you for the support. Thank you for the comments. Comments more and pass around this story amongst friends. I will soon watch all of ya in the future but my Java script sucks right now. But in the mean time, I hope I keep in contact with you all so I can alert you when my next story comes out. Until then, I just want to say thank you, and that this, is officially….