The Steel-Hearted Pegasus
Chapter 1: Introductions
When you see a friend in need do you help
them because it's the right thing to do,
or because you care for them deeply?
It was a beautiful spring morning, not a cloud in the sky, a small swarm of butterflies was flying over the town of Ponyville. Their appearance caused a few of the ponies below to gaze up and look in awe, most of them little fillies and colts. The crowd was held in such a state of wonderment, no one noticed the light squeaking sound off in the distance, coming from a lone cart down the road. At last someone noticed the noise and turned to see who it was. She as well as everybody else were surprised to see this new pony.
It was later in the morning when the swarm of butterflies had made their way to the outskirts of Ponyville. There they came upon a large natural cottage that looked like it had been built into the hill rather than on top of it. There were several small bird houses scattered across the property and various other animal dens such as an otter den that laid beneath a bridge. Some of the butterflies separated from the rest of the group and appeared to be floating toward the garden that was next to the house. One of them landed as delicately as possible on top of a pink mane that seemed to move when the butterfly made contact.
“Hello little friend”. A soft delicate voice said.
The creature held out a hoof for the butterfly to rest on. The little insect agreed and glided onto her hoof, then it turned to see this gentle spirit and saw that it was none other than Fluttershy. The young Pegasai was well known throughout Ponyville as the main care taker for most of the woodland critters around town. She had a bright yellow coat and a hot pink colored mane and tail that ended in a curl. Her eyes were a beautiful shade of cyan that radiated a sense of care for all living creatures big and small, which could also be told through her cutie mark of three butterflies that signified her delicate touch when dealing with her woodland friends. She had a somewhat thin figure but not in the sense of being a twig, she managed to keep herself well nourished.
As she looked at the butterfly on her hoof, she couldn’t help but think of the recent Grand Galloping Gala that had passed a few weeks ago. ‘Maybe next year will be our best night ever.’ Fluttershy thought as she turned her attention towards Canterlot Castle in the distance. Ever since that first night at the gala four years ago, she and her friends had always spent their time together, hanging out and sharing some laughs. Although the young mare and her friends enjoyed it, there was still a little part of her that wished things would go differently. That for just one night, both she and her friend’s dreams would come true. But Fluttershy quickly put it behind her, remembering that she was needed around the house.
It was around this time of day when the yellow Pegasus was playing with her pet bunny, Angel and singing a soft melody just for the fun of it. After a few minutes into her song, Fluttershy began to hear a song similar to hers coming from far away. One of the key differences she noticed was that it sounded more like a stallion was singing it, she looked to see where it was coming from and could tell it was coming from the forest in front of her cottage. She was curious as to who or what was making such a beautiful sound and decided to go and investigate. Angel wanted to go with her in case something happened and so the both of them delved into the woods.
As Fluttershy and Angel walked deeper into the woods, the light from the sun began to diminish as the trees got closer to each other. Fluttershy wasn’t scared as there was still enough light to see what was in front of her, but she used the semi-darkness to keep herself hidden. As the young mare got closer to her destination, the singing started to grow louder and she could see a bright light up ahead. Suddenly, she came upon a wide grass field in the middle of the forest, where she found a foundation for a building being measured out across the plain. Looking past it, she saw a cart full of personal belongings and a work table where a pony was analyzing the blueprints for what she assumed was his house. Her heart pounded hard against her chest as she pondered weak and weary over this mysterious Pegasus. Trying to get closer for a better look, Fluttershy accidentally stepped on a branch and almost yelped which alerted the mysterious pony. As he turned around to see where the sound came from, he uttered but a few words in a light well-toned voice.
"Hello, hello, is there somepony there? ... Must have been my imagination." He said as he turned back toward his blueprints.
While Angel was trying to keep his owner from letting out a small yelp, Fluttershy tried her best to remember what the pony looked like without turning around. He was a Pegasus; he had a light brown coat, and sepia colored hair that was brushed back. She didn't know what to think of him, he had a singing voice more beautiful than anything she has heard before. The yellow Pegasus didn't want to miss this chance to see who is was and decided to go and say hello. But before she could do so, the mysterious Pegasus' clock began to ring as he spoke,
"Oh no, I'm late!! I hope they haven't started the party without me!"
He dropped what he was doing and flew off as fast as a Pegasus could at average speed, leaving a small trail of dust behind him. Fluttershy leaped out of the shadows and tried to greet him, but he was already out of earshot, leaving her sitting on the ground with disappointment. Then for some reason she had a small feeling in her chest, it pinched at first, but then it started to feel warm like a hug from somebody dear to her. The only time she's ever felt like this was when she first came to the ground when she was only a filly. When she opened her eyes, they began to shine as if the sky itself reflected off of them, showing her hope to one day meet this pony face to face.
As the shy mare walked back to her cottage, almost in a trance like state, she suddenly heard a familiar pony running down the path to her house calling out.
"Fluttershy, Fluttershy, are you home!?"
She whipped her head around to see that it was Pinkie Pie, as sugar happy as ever, trying to get her attention with what seemed like big news.
"What is it Pinkie?" The yellow Pegasus asked.
"You're not going to believe this, there's a new pony that just came into Ponyville, he said he’s moving here and he’s a Pegasus." The hyperactive mare said bouncing up and down. Fluttershy was more or less surprised by what her friend had told her, but thought it was too much of a coincidence.
"Um I don’t mean to be rude Pinkie, but there are other Pegasai in town besides me and Rainbow Dash you know.” She said raising an eyebrow.
"Yeah, but he was sent here from Canterlot by Princess Celestia herself, so I'm throwing him a big welcome party over at Sugar Cube Corner and all of Ponyville is going to be there and I saw that you weren't around which was why I was running all the way here calling for you so that you wouldn't miss out." Pinkie Pie said with a large grin on her face.
“So, should we get going then, to the party I mean?” The young mare asked.
"Oh that's right, THE PARTY!" Pinkie said skipping on down to the bakery.
While trying to catch up with her, Fluttershy was putting the pieces of her memory and Pinkie Pie's conversation together. The Pegasus pony she saw in the woods said he was late for a party, and Pinkie is holding a party for a new pony coming to town. The shock that ran through her mind suddenly gave her a jolt of energy, which made her burst into action and flew straight to Sugar Cube Corner as fast as she could.
As they approached Sugar Cube Corner, Fluttershy slowed down to a steady trot and allowed Pinkie Pie to pass her. Soon she came to a complete stop as she started to worry about her appearance. She didn’t know why she was so hesitant but she just couldn’t find the strength to move her legs. Before entering the bakery the pink mare stopped and looked back to her friend to see her standing completely still, so she decided to see what the problem was.
"What's wrong Fluttershy, you know this isn't a royal ceremony or anything, it's just a casual welcome into the neighborhood, are you nervous or something?" She asked. Coming back to reality, the young mare responded to Pinkie's question with a light smile on her face.
"Oh, I-it's nothing, come on we don't want to keep him waiting do we?" She said trying not to worry her friend.
"You're right, we shouldn't be worrying, we should be partying." Pinkie said as she zipped through the doors.
"She always knows how to put a smile on somepony's face." Fluttershy giggled as she walked in.
Entering the bakery, she saw uncountable amounts of confectionaries spread across the shop ranging from cupcakes to pies and to triple layer cakes. The kitchen could be seen off to the side and the walls were covered with many festive decorations. Looking around, the yellow Pegasus saw that all of her friends were there; the Cutie Mark Crusaders were by the punch bowel discussing what to do next to try and get their cutie marks, Ditzy was over at the dessert table grabbing as many muffins as she could onto one tiny plate, and Vinyl Scratch was playing one of her hit singles from her latest album to entertain the crowd. Looking around she saw Pinkie Pie waving to her, telling her where all of her best friends had gathered to greet the new pony. Trying to navigate her way through the crowd, Fluttershy was pushed forward by one of the dancing ponies and caught a small glimpse of the stallion before landing in front of the small booth where all of her friends were sitting and laughing.
"There you are silly willy, what took you so long?" Pinkie said fluttering her eyes. Fluttershy gave her a sarcastic look while blowing her mane out of her face.
"Fluttershy, I'd like you to meet our new friend, Caster Forge." The pink earth pony said as she pointed a hoof toward her new friend.
Suddenly a Pegasus from the back of the booth stuck his head over the table to get a better look at her. Seeing him look at her directly made the shy mare blush slightly.
"O-oh, u-um, h-h-hello there" Fluttershy said trying to stand up.
"Hello to you too, why don't you have a seat, it's definitely more comfortable than the floor." Caster said with a light smile on his face.
Hesitantly she got into the seat next to Caster and started to analyze him as quickly as she could without acting suspicious in any way. He was just like how she remembered him, a Pegasus with a light brown coat and sepia colored hair, but looking at him up close, she saw there was more to him than that. His hair was brushed back very expertly but not showing any Canterlot originality. It also went down the back of his neck slightly pointed. His eyes were of a deep shade of green that resembled the color of summer tree leaves. He had a small beard growing along his chin with a somewhat darker color than his natural hair. He seemed a bit lengthy than most of the ponies in town, he didn't look as strong as Big Macintosh, but he wasn't scrawny either. He had just the right frame to handle a fair amount of physical labor when it was called for. His wings held an impressive wing span that almost reached above his ears. His tail was a bit wavy and seemed to flow freely of its own accord. But what really caught her eyes was his cutie mark; it was a bolted steel plate which had the roman numeral 15 emblazed upon it. She was curious as to whether the number was drawn on, or actually a part of his cutie mark, seeing as how ponies normally only have one cutie mark in their whole lives.
"Um, can I help you with something Fluttershy?" Caster said noticing her looking at his hind quarters.
Without even realizing it, the young mare had been staring at the stallions flank for the past two minutes and was almost at a loss for words.
"Oh my goodness, I'm so sorry, it's just that, well, um." She tried to say something as her coat started to turn as pink as her mane, she had never been so embarrassed in all her life, and the sound of her friends giggling was not helping.
"You were just curious about my cutie mark weren't you?" Fluttershy looked up with a surprise on her face.
"Don't worry about it; I get that sort of thing from almost everypony I meet, curiosity I mean. So please stop hiding that cute face of yours, you're making me feel bad" Caster said brushing the hair out of her eyes.
Looking at his head this time with a light blush across her face, Fluttershy saw him rubbing the back of his neck with his right hoof and lightly chuckling which gave him a small blush on his cheeks.
"Well either way, that's a story that I'll save for later. Right now, I want to learn more about all of you. I've already met Pinkie Pie here, so let's start with, you there with the lavender coat."
"My name is Twilight Sparkle; I'm Princess Celestia's personal and faithful student from her school for gifted unicorns; and this little guy here is my best friend Spike whom I've known since he was hatched from an egg." She said pointing to the baby dragon next to her.
"Wow, I've never seen a baby dragon before, matter of fact; I've never seen a dragon at all." Caster said with excitement gleaming off of his face.
"Would you stop calling me little Twilight, I may be short, but I'm at least sixteen years old now." Spike said with a grumpy look.
"Yes, but you're still technically five in dragon years." The lavender Unicorn said pointing out facts as usual.
"Shut up." The baby dragon said crossing his arms. Twilight couldn't help but laugh.
"So from what I've heard, you're here in Ponyville to discover the magic's of friendship and anything else that comes across." The light brown Pegasus said trying to calm himself.
"Yes I have and I must say it's been great living here for the past four years; I've made so many new friends and it feels like we're all a part of one big family." She said looking around the table.
"Well, I hope this means I can be a part of the family too." The stallion said glancing slightly at Fluttershy for a quick second. Twilight Sparkle paid it no mind and reassured him with the sweetest words anybody could hear.
"Caster, you became a part of this family the moment you set foot in Ponyville." The young mare said.
Caster couldn't help but smile from what he had just heard his new friend say. "Moving right along. How about you in the stenson hat?"
"Well howdy doo there partner, names Applejack and I run the Sweet Apple Acres here in town, with apple trees growing as far as the eye can see." Applejack said shaking his hoof up and down like crazy.
"So it's just you working the farm all by yourself." He said trying to stop himself from shaking and looked back at the mare.
"No, there's also my older brother, Big Macintosh, but we like to call him Big Mac for short and my little sister Apple Bloom. We also have our hired hoof Caramel, he's a bit clumsy but he still knows how to get the job done; and then there's Granny Smith but she's been getting too old lately and is close to retirement. I do admit the work is a little tiring at times, but it's still worth it if it means keeping food on the table." Applejack said trying to work up a smile. Caster could tell how worn out she was from working the fields and thought that he should help out.
"Well then, how about I come over tomorrow and help pick a couple of apples for you?" He offered.
"But don't you have to work on building your house and starting your duties for the Princess?" The farmer pony asked a little surprised.
"It's alright; Princess Celestia said I don't have to start my job until my house is finished and I can get that done in no time at all. Plus the building supplies won't even arrive until tomorrow afternoon." The Pegasus said reassuring her.
"Aw heck, I've never turned down an honest worker before, all right then, be at the barn at about half past nine, I'll be sure to save a couple of those red beauties for ya." Applejack said holding in her appreciation for the helping hoof.
"Wonderful I’ll try to get their on the dot as best I can. Man, all this talk of apples has gotten me pretty hungry." Caster said noticing his growling stomach. Suddenly, from out of nowhere, a small red coated squirrel jumped over his head and landed on the table with a cupcake on its back.
"Hey there Nina, I was wondering where you went. Everypony, I'd like you to meet my pet squirrel and longtime friend, Nina." He said while biting into the delicious pastry.
"Aww, she's so cute." Fluttershy said while cooing at the little critter. Nina then started to crawl up her mane and then came out on top of her head.
"She seems to have already taken a liking to you." The stallion said giving out a slight chuckle.
"Well communicating with animals is my specialty, so it's no surprise that I'm like a friend to them." She said while cuddling the creature in her hooves.
"Yes, and in her case, she's going to need all the friends she can get." He said with a small tear rolling down his cheek.
"Are you okay Caster?" Twilight said noticing Caster’s predicament and levitating a napkin towards him with her magic.
"Huh, oh I'm fine It's just that, well, I'm the only real friend she's ever had. You see, even though she is not of the same species, she was raised by a family of flying squirrels. Every day she had to watch as her brothers and sisters flew across the skies while she was stuck in the trees being teased for her inability to fly. Then one day, when she was only three years old, her adoptive parents kicked her out of the nest and let her fall to the ground. Luckily, I was there at the time to catch her before she would've broken one of her tiny limbs. She explained everything to me as best as she could with her gestures. I knew that confronting her parents would serve no purpose at this point, so I did what I thought was right, and took her for a ride across Canterlot. Afterwards she followed me home and she's been my best friend for the past five years." The light brown Pegasus finished his story with Nina sitting on his shoulder and rubbing against his cheek.
"Oh my, that's such a sad story. Don't worry Nina, you have lots of friends now and I promise we'll never think badly of you for who you are. Ooh, I have an idea, I can introduce her to my pet bunny Angel, he gets so lonely sometimes when I'm not around and he could really use a playmate." Fluttershy said while taking a sip from her tea cup.
"Are you sure about that Fluttershy? Nina’s cute and all but she can be a bit a hoofful sometimes if you know what I mean.” He said with a hesitant tone.
“Don’t worry, I’ve dealt with plenty of animals before and none of them are as tough as Angel.” The young mare said seeming a bit prideful.
"Well, all right then, thanks a lot I really appreciate it. Now back to our friends here, who else wants to have a go?" He said looking around the table.
"It's a pleasure to meet you dear. My name is Rarity and I run the Carousel Boutique down the street, where every outfit is chique, unique, and manufique." She said while trying to look as fabulous as usual.
"Well I can certainly see that your looks live up to your reputation Miss Rarity." Caster said acting as humble as he could.
"My, aren't you the gentlestallion, and I must say your mane is absolutely fabulous dear." The fashionista said blushing a little at his comment.
"Why thank you Rarity, I guess you could say I inherited some fashion from my time in Canterlot I suppose. Plus my mother’s always been on my back about proper grooming, but I digress. Either way I'd love to come by your shop and see your work, maybe even get some new ideas for armor design." He said while finishing the last of the cupcake Nina brought him earlier.
"Did you say armor?" Rarity asked with a curious tone.
"Oh that's right, I haven't told any of you what I do yet; I'm a blacksmith." The Pegasus responded while wiping some frosting from his upper lip
"What's a blacksmith?" Pinkie Pie asked slightly turning her head.
"A blacksmith is someone who makes armor and weapons out of steel, metal, and other fine grade materials through the process of heating, cooling, and bending it over and over again until it reaches the desired shape." Twilight said with a confident look on her face.
"Very good Twilight, I can see why Celestia took you under her wing." Caster said admiring her extensive knowledge.
"Well I'd certainly be glad to share some of my designing secrets with you, maybe you can bring some of your work by the shop and we can both help each other out." The white Unicorn said giggling with delight.
"Sure why not, I'll bring some pieces over tomorrow after I help Applejack at the farm." He said while biting into another cupcake.
"Alright, so I've already met Pinkie Pie, Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Rarity, and thanks to Nina, I know a lot about you now Fluttershy." Fluttershy couldn't help but blush a little. "So that just leaves-"
"The most amazing pony you will ever see in Ponyville, the one, the only, Rainbow Dash!" She said cutting off his sentence and posing.
"Wait, Rainbow Dash? Aren't you the one who pulled off that Sonic Rainboom in the best young flyer competition three years ago?" The stallion said shocked to meet a legend.
"That's right; you must be another one of my numerous fans." Rainbow Dash said with a smug look on her face.
"Of course, after all I was there in the stands when it happened; my jaw was hanging for so long that I didn't think it was going to come back up. Oh my gosh, this is so exciting, could I get your autograph?" He said as he pulled out a quill and a piece of paper from out of nowhere.
"Sure it would be my pleasure.” The cyan Pegasus said writing down her name and a picture of her cutie mark onto the paper and then handed it back to him. "Hey I know how about tomorrow you and I have a race and I'll see what you can do."
"BEST, DAY, OF, MY, LIIIIFE!!" Caster shouted with joy, which caught the attention of a few party guests.
"Well, we've all introduced ourselves, so what about you." Twilight asked.
"Yeah, I want to hear how you got that weird cutie mark of yours." Rainbow Dash asked being so persistent.
"Well alright, but I'm going to have start all the way from the beginning." The smithing pony said preparing for what seemed like a long story.
"Although I was raised in Canterlot, I was actually born in Cloudsdale. My parents were jewelry designers who handled mostly orders for wedding bands and anniversary gifts. But as you can tell, jewels are not easy to come by in the sky and some that get imported take weeks to be delivered. So they decided to move to Canterlot where there are not only more gems, but also a wider range of customers. It was nice at first, but like a box of chocolates, good things never last. You see back at my old school I was constantly teased for my excessive height, as you can see I'm not the same height as most of the ponies here in Ponyville; and I thought that some things would change in this new school, but unfortunately nothing seemed to have changed, in fact they only got much worse. All of the colts and fillies still made fun of me for my height and they even laughed at me for having a blank flank, I wasn't sure if I was ever going to find my special talent. The only thing that could ease my pain was making little figurines out of the metal scraps that were left behind from my parents work; they weren't exactly fine art, but they were still nice enough to put on the mantle in the living room. I didn't think much of it before, but then fate gave me a chance to prove their worth."
"It was two years since we made the move to Canterlot; Princess Celestia had decided to hold a contest to see the artistic skill of the fillies and colts in Canterlot. The grand prize was an entire day with Celestia herself and an invitation to join her school for artistic ponies. It was like a sign, to show what I was made of and possibly to help me find my cutie mark. Luckily she gave us all a whole week to come up with ideas for our projects; however mine didn't take that much effort. All I did was put together a small sculpture of the princess that looked almost identical to her. But I knew it wasn't enough, I had to think bigger, much bigger. So for the next seven days, I went around the city trying to find as many pieces of steel and metal as I could and incorporated them into my final project. My parents caught on to my plan, and chipped in by bringing a couple of steel plates from the nearby supply store. I had spent several days and nights in my parent's private workshop working in secret before I was finally finished. The day of the competition had arrived and the Princess rode into town with her recession and everypony was bowing before her. Many of the fillies and colts were standing in a row to the side so that each of their artworks could be viewed one by one.”
"All right my little ponies let me see how much creativity can come from such young minds." Celestia said trying not to intimidate the children. "Ooh what lovely birds; I can see that origami is really your forte." She said passing a small green unicorn. "My, you certainly know how to capture a view of Ponyville with just a few strokes of a brush, well done." She said while walking by a peach coated earth pony.
“Meanwhile, back at the workshop, I had overslept and was about to miss the competition. So I put a cover on my masterpiece, pushed it onto the cart, strapped myself in, and pulled it as fast as I could. Thanks to my figure, I had more strength than the average ten year old pony should have. My parents also flew in to help me pull it so I could get there as fast as I could. Back at the town square however, the judging was almost finished when the Princess came up to her nephew, Prince Blueblood, who had been dying to get into that school for years the hard way, and had crafted a lovely glass window of the royal castle and the city of Canterlot.”
"Well Blueblood, I can see that you've finally found your calling in art." The tall Alicorn said seeming a bit surprised by her nephew’s skill.
"I do what I can Aunt Celestia." Blueblood said with a large smug look on his pompous face.
"I think we've found our win-"
"WAAAAIIIIIIT!!" I shouted at the top of my lungs.
All of the ponies reacted to the loud shouting coming from down the street. I had arrived just in time before I collapsed from exhaustion.
"Sorry that I'm late everypony, your majesty." I proclaimed while taking a bow.
"Well I'm afraid you're too late, my aunt here was just about to name me the winner." The Prince said confident that he was about to win.
"Now Blueblood you need to play fair, I wanted to see everypony's talents, and I have yet to see his. You aren't denying the request of a Princess, are you?" Celestia said glaring down at her nephew.
"Oh all right, but make it quick." He said pouting. As I got myself out of the reins, I began to unveil my masterpiece.
"Fillies and gentlecolts I give to you, our Princess of Steel!" My parents pulled off the covers to reveal an exact replica of Princess Celestia herself made entirely out of plates of steel and metal. The entire crowd was stunned to see such a display of artwork before them; except for Blueblood who could only laugh at my work.
"You call that art? Pu-lease, art is a skill that takes years to master, it isn't something you can whip together in a few days." The colt said with a snobbish Canterlot accent.
"You're wrong." The Princess said correcting her nephew and walking towards me. "Art is something that shows who we are inside, that helps us express the essence of our very souls. It isn't something that you take advantage of for your own personal desires. Young colt, what is your name?"
"My name is Caster Forge." I told her.
"Well Caster, you seem like a pony who truly understands the meaning of art. So I hear by declare the winner of the contest and the new student at my school for artistic ponies, Caster Forge." She proclaimed. Everypony was cheering for my achievement, even the fillies and colts that used to make fun of me in school.
"Could this day get any better?" I asked. I suddenly felt the Princess tap my shoulder as she pointed towards the cutie mark of a bolted steel plate that had appeared on my flank. "Yes it can!" I shouted with glee.
"I would hardly call that a cutie mark." Blueblood said scoffing at me.
"Well it's better than nothing; isn't that right Blueblood?" I said as I watched him covering his blank flank while all the other foals were laughing at him.
Later that day we went to one of Celestia's favorite restaurants where we talked about things that we liked. Such as books, music, favorite foods, and what I would be doing at her school.
"So Caster, what do plan on studying at your new school?" She said while eating a salad.
"Well, to tell the truth princess, I didn't actually use any kind of art subject when I made that statue, I just used some of the tools around the house to put all the plates together. Although I like making art, I want to create things that actually serve a purpose in life, not just make art for the sake of enjoyment." I said hoping she would understand.
"Hmmm, Caster have you ever heard of blacksmithing?" So for the next two hours, she talked to me about how being a blacksmith could let me put my talents towards something useful and still let me keep my position at her school.
"But I thought this school was meant for actual art, like painting and stuff like that."
"Well you're half right; my school not only teaches art, but also skills meant for artistic creations such as designing, jewelry refining, and of course, weapon and armor forgery." She explained.
"All right then, I guess being a blacksmith is what lies ahead of me." I said with a big grin on my face.
"I'm glad to hear that, now what say we finish off the rest of our food, you've got a big day heading for you next week; and please remember when we're not in public just call me Celestia; after all we're friends now."
"Yes your highness, I mean Celestia." I said as I dove back into my meal.
"And that is how I got my cutie mark and started my profession as a blacksmith." Caster said with an out of breath look on his face.
"Wow, what an amazing story." Twilight said astonished.
"That there's a mighty fine talent you got there." Applejack said patting him on the back.
"You certainly showed that despicable Blueblood a thing or two. I guess time can't change everypony." Rarity said thinking back to the Grand Galloping Gala.
"But that still doesn't explain that number fifteen on your cutie mark; what is up with that?" Rainbow Dash shouted with impatience.
"Oh right, I almost forgot about that. For the next couple of years, I studied the workings of how to properly make weapons and armor. It didn't go too well at first, but then I entered what I called the "lucky" stage of my life. In the past few weeks a lot of good things started to happen to me, all strangely involving the number 15, such as finishing a study report in only fifteen minutes, getting fifteen servings of pie in the cafeteria for no charge just because I was chosen to be a student by Celestia, and even earning fifteen new friends in one day. Granted that was due to all the pie but nevertheless; I started to think that 15 was becoming my lucky number." Caster had to stop to catch his breath from talking so much.
"Are you all right Caster?" Fluttershy asked a tad nervous.
"I'm fine Fluttershy I just don't usually talk this much in one go. But anyway, back to the story. One day, I awoke to find a strange symbol on my cutie mark. I tried to wipe it off, but it wouldn't go away. I showed it to my parents and they didn't have a clue of what it was either. So I went to the one pony that I knew would have all the answers, Princess Celestia. Upon showing her the weird marking, she seemed quite surprised and told me that what had appeared on my flank was a lucky mark." The stallion said with everybody trying to make sense of what he just said.
"What the hay is a lucky mark?" Pinkie Pie asked more confused than before.
"A lucky mark, she told me, is what appears over a pony's cutie mark when he or she has something that can truly bring them good fortune in life. It can be a simple number like mine, an animal, or a natural charm that brings good luck. I asked why she was so surprised to see one and she told me it was because nopony has had a lucky mark for the past 500 years. She said that Equestria had faced a terrible lack of luck at one point in time and afterwards nopony seemed to be able to get a lucky mark anymore. It was like no one even knew what true luck felt like anymore. She told me that it was nothing to worry about and that I could continue with my studies; and that's all I can really say on the matter." Caster said taking a break from his life story.
"I've been the Princesses student almost all my life and I've never heard anything like this." Twilight said shocked about what she just heard.
"Yeah, but still, why did you decide to move to Ponyville Caster?" Spike asked taking an interest in the conversation.
"Well it wasn't my idea; Celestia requested that I move here. Because of my incredible skill with making weapons and armor, she decided to make me her royal blacksmith, after all even high quality gear can get old and rusted after a while you know. Unfortunately there wasn't that much property space left in Canterlot and the castle didn't have any spare rooms to house a large forge. So she found me a small location in the forest just outside of Ponyville where I can work in peace and not interfere with anypony's business in town. Afterwards I packed up all of my personal belongings and furniture and flew down to the outskirts of town with the escort of some of the royal guards. I came walking into town where I saw a bunch of butterflies flying overhead and then bumped into Pinkie Pie here. I told her what I came here for, and she decided to throw a party for me; and the rest you pretty much know already." He said finally done explaining everything to his new friends.
"Oh dear would you look at the time." Rarity said pointing towards the clock on the wall that was pointing towards seven. "I think it's about time we all went home now."
"Oh right, there's something I'd like to ask you all." Caster said trying to get the ponies attention but seemed a bit hesitant. "D-do you think I could stay with one of you tonight, because after all, my house hasn't been built yet and I need a place to sleep?"
"I'd invite you over dear, but unfortunately my little sister and her friends are having another sleepover at my place so the guest room is taken." Rarity explained a bit disappointed.
"Yeah and the library is piled to the ceiling with newly shipped in books right now, plus Spike accidentally burned my spare bed last week." Twilight said looking at Spike.
"How many times do I have to say I'm sorry?" Spike told her trying to push away the incident.
"Can't help ya there feller, the barns currently infested with some pests' right now, so we're going to be crashing in Applebloom's clubhouse for the night" Applejack said tipping her hat.
"Sorry but my house is being refurbished to make room for some new furniture." Rainbow Dash said.
"And I'm on baby-sitting duty again for the Cake twins." Pinkie Pie stated seeming more happy than sad.
"I know, why don't you stay with Fluttershy, she's got some spare room at her cottage." Twilight suggested. The yellow Pegasus could only blush at the thought of another colt staying with her.
"I-is that alright with you Caster." She asked him nervously.
"Sure that would be great, and hey, it will give Angel and Nina here a chance to get acquainted." He said giving his pet squirrel a rub under her cheek.
"All right then, sees y'all tomorrow." Applejack said heading for home. All of the other ponies said their goodbyes and left for the night.
The walk back to her cottage seemed to take longer than Fluttershy remembered. She couldn't get her thoughts off of whether the Pegasus walking next to her was the same one she met in the woods earlier or not. Caster noticed Fluttershy was giving him a quick glance every chance she got thinking he wouldn’t notice. Curious as to what was up, he tried asking what the problem was.
"Fluttershy, is everything all right?" Caster asked in a slightly worried tone.
"Huh, oh yes everything's fine, why do you ask?" Fluttershy said trying to reassure him.
"Well I’m only asking because you keep looking at me like there's something on my face, is there?" The Pegasus said.
"Oh, it's nothing don't worry about it." She said looking on ahead.
"Well, all right then. Oh, I almost forgot, I need to go and get my cart just in case somepony might steal it. Do you mind if we take a little detour, it's only a short walk from here?" He said hoping she wouldn't mind.
"Well, Ponyville doesn't have much of a problem with burglars, but I guess we can make a little stop first." The shy mare agreed hesitantly as they turned left through the woods towards the clearing where his house was being built.
As they entered the clearing, Caster saw that everything was still there from the measuring layout of his house to the cart full of personal belongings that he was looking for. After getting back his stuff, he and Fluttershy continued their walk back to her cottage. The small natural home then came into view as they made their way out of the forest. Caster parked his cart by the side of her cottage and walked towards the door.
"Here we are, home sweet home as it were." Fluttershy said trying to be an honorable host.
"I’ll be inside in a second, first I have some unfinished business to take care of.” The stallion said with a light smile
"What do you mean?” She asked.
"Well, every now and then I like to give Nina a ride across the sky and it's been so long since she's felt the wind blow through her fur. So could you wait while I give her a quick flight?" Caster asked her as Nina popped out of his mane.
"That sounds lovely, all right then, maybe I'll make a quick dinner for us while you're gone." The yellow Pegasus nodded in agreement.
"That would be nice, oh and see if you can round up a few acorns for Nina, bye." He said taking off into the evening sky.
Back in the kitchen of her cottage, Fluttershy was preparing a couple of dandelion sandwiches for her and her guest, but even that wasn’t enough to take her mind off of her new friend. He was tall, kind, compassionate, had a love for animals like her, and if she was right, had a beautiful singing voice to boot. Her knees started to feel a bit wobbly as images of his smiling face ran through her mind. She had a deep blush on her face as she tried to shake these images out of her head. Before she even realized it, the sun had already gone down for the night with Luna’s moon slowly rising over the horizon. Caster had already returned from his flight and proceeded up the small hill leading into her cottage with Nina sitting on his back. As the light brown Pegasus entered the homestead, he couldn’t help but feel a sense of serenity while inside. Sure it was filled floor to ceiling with little animal houses, but all things considered he really liked her home.
"Nice place you have here, it seems more relaxing than all the hustle and bustle up in Canterlot." He said walking into the kitchen.
"Oh, well um, thank you I’m glad you like it here. Have a seat, dinner will be ready in a few minutes. Angel, come in here and say hello to our guest, he's got a friend for you." Fluttershy called out before going back to making their food.
The stallion looked to see where she was calling out and, in the corner of his eye, saw a little white rabbit then came running into the dining room to see what all the commotion was about. Angel stopped in front of Caster and gave him what seemed to be a glare. He paid it no mind and just smiled at the rabbit.
"Hey there little guy, my name is Caster, and this here is my friend Nina, she's going to be your new playmate from now on." He said as the squirrel crawled down his hoof and stood next to Angel.
They stared at each other for a few seconds before Nina jumped off of Angel’s head indicating him to chase her. The white rabbit grew frustrated and did what the red squirrel wanted but in an enraged attitude. They chased each other around for a few minutes as Caster just sat at the dinner table and watched.
"Oh Nina, what am I going to do with her." The smith pony said while face hoofing himself.
"Don’t worry about it, Angel gets upset very easily so you really shouldn’t blame her for it. Besides it’s kind of cute to see them play together don’t you think?" Fluttershy said placing the food onto the table.
“I guess you’re right.” Caster said as he noticed the food. “All right you two stop playing around it’s time for dinner.”
For the next hour or so, everyone ate their food in perpetual silence. The two Pegasai ate a couple of daisy sandwiches and drank some lemon tea. Angel had a plate of steamed carrots and a bit of lettuce on the side and Nina was snacking on a bowl of acorns that Fluttershy had picked earlier. When the meal was finished, the pink haired pony took the dishes to the sink and then led Caster and his squirrel friend upstairs to the guest room. The room wasn’t overly spacious, it had a twin sized bed, a green night stand with a yellow lamp on top, a window to the side that let in Luna’s moonlight, and a small blue rug on the floor.
"Here you go, I know it isn’t much but, I hope you like it." The shy mare said hoping he wouldn’t be too disappointed.
"Well it's not like my room at home, but it's all right none the less. Thank you very much for letting me stay here tonight Fluttershy." Caster said in an appreciative tone.
"It's my pleasure." She said with a modest smile. She was about to turn around and leave, when she suddenly felt something wrap around her. She looked to see it was Caster himself embracing her in a hug.
"This is just my way of saying thanks." The stallion said seeming happily content.
Fluttershy didn't know what to think of this. Never before has a colt or stallion other than her father held her like this, normally she would’ve fainted from shock. But for some reason she liked it, she couldn’t explain why but it felt nice to her. All she could do was return the favor with a hug of her own as her eyes slowly drooped. The moment was short lift as Caster soon broke the hug, he then allowed Nina to climb into the bed first with him following shortly. All tucked in for the night, the young stallion looked back at the yellow Pegasus who was standing in the doorway.
"Well good night you two, sleep tight." Fluttershy said trying not let the blush on her face show in the moonlight.
“Good night to you as well Fluttershy.” Caster said as he laid his head down on the pillow and closed his eyes with Nina snuggling next to him.
As the young mare closed the door, she couldn’t help but look upon his delicate face as he slept and see the last bit of light fade from it.
The next morning, the sun had started to rise above the hills and Caster and Nina were awoken by the crow of Fluttershy's chicken Elizabeak. Caster yawned trying to open his eyes but the sunlight suddenly hit him in the eyes making him shut them tight. ‘Ugh, it’s too early for this, I’m going back to sleep.’ Caster groaned in his mind as he turned away from the window. Suddenly he felt something light and fluffy brush against his nose. He opened his eyes a tad to see it was Nina using her tail to try and wake him up.
"Alright I'm up, I'm up. Geez you sure are persistent aren't you?" He said looking at the red squirrel that was grinning a little.
As the Pegasus pony got out of bed, he did a couple of stretches to relieve the tension in his joints and took a minute to bask in Celestia’s morning sunlight. Afterwards he walked down the stairs to find Fluttershy in the kitchen preparing some hay bacon, eggs, and fresh squeezed orange juice for breakfast. The yellow mare noticed Caster and turned to give him a warm smile.
"Good morning Fluttershy." He said smiling back at her.
"Good Morning Caster. How did you sleep last night?" She asked him while squeezing some oranges.
"I slept very well thank you for asking. Hey um, before we eat do you mind if I use your shower real quick, as you can see my mane is in a bit of a damaged state right now." The stallion said pointing out all of the curls running across his hair.
"Oh sure, it's no problem at all. The bathroom is down the hall, second door to your right." Fluttershy said pointing across the hall.
"Thank you, I'll be out in about twenty minutes." Caster said heading down the hall.
A few minutes later, after Caster had just gotten into the shower, Fluttershy could hear singing coming from the bathroom. She knew it was him of course, but she wanted to get closer to confirm that it was the same voice as yesterday. As she got closer the singing started to get louder and the vocals clearer. Putting her ear against the door, she could vaguely make out the lyrics to the song he was singing.
"Tonight I'm gonna have myself a real good time, I feel alive. And the world, I'll turn it inside out, yeah. I'm floating around in ecstasy so don't, stop me now. Don't, stop me 'cause I'm having a good time, having a good time. I'm a shooting star leaping through the sky like a tiger, defying the laws of gravity. I'm a racing car passing by like Lady Godiva, I'm gonna go, go, go there's no stopping me. I'm burning through the sky yeah, 200 degrees that's why they call me Mister Fahrenheit. I'm traveling at the speed of light; I wanna make a supersonic man out of you. Don't, stop me now I'm having such a good time, I'm having a ball. Don't, stop me now if you wanna have a good time, just give me a call. Don't, stop me 'cos I'm having a good time, don't, stop me yes, I'm having a good time, I don't want to stop at all, yeah."
As his song continued on into the second verse, the young mare walked back to the kitchen with a small grin on her face; satisfied that all of her questions had been answered. A couple of minutes later, Caster turned off the water and went to grab a nearby towel to dry himself off with. Then he picked up a nearby brush and used it to brush his mane back to its normal state. Soon after, he exited the bathroom looking fresh as a daisy and went back to the dining room to get some breakfast. Upon entering, the light brown pony saw Fluttershy preparing the table with a few plates and utensils.
"Hey Fluttershy, thanks again for letting me use the shower. Also for everything else you’ve done for me" He said trying not to hug her again in fear that she might be offended.
"It was nothing really, you’re my friend and I always look out for those I care for.” The Pegasus mare said in a soothing tone. Then a thought popped into her head and thought of something to say. “By the way, I just wanted to say that you have a lovely singing voice.”
Suddenly Caster felt weak in his stomach. His jaw dropped and his eyes started to bulge out as his face started to turn crimson red.
"You heard me singing. Oh my gosh I am so sorry, I thought I was being more quiet than that." He kept on stuttering before he was cut off by Fluttershy.
"Wait a minute, I didn’t say it was bad, I liked your singing. Why would you think I wouldn’t?" She asked curious about his self-consciousness.
"Well it’s not that I thought you would hate it, it's just that I was afraid you might’ve yelled at me to be quiet.” Caster said as he sat down in his chair. “You see most of the ponies I’ve known are always telling me to keep my voice down because I’m distracting them from their work. While I can honestly agree with that, I kind of find it hard not to sing. I always feel so free when I sing, even if I sometimes can’t do it out loud. I know that just sounds silly doesn’t it?”
The self-conscious Pegasus awaited a response from the mare next to him, but it never came. Suddenly he felt a hoof press on his shoulder and looked to see Fluttershy giving a very compassionate look.
"I don’t think it’s silly at all. I feel the same way when I sing too. However I do have to agree that you can’t always sing whenever you want, some ponies need to concentrate on their work. So maybe you could find a time of day to do a little singing when you’re alone.” The yellow Pegasus turned away hoping he wasn’t hurt by her comment. “But um, I’d like to hear you sing right now, if you want to of course.”
"Well okay, but nothing over the top I can promise you that." Caster said seeming to have gained a bit of confidence.
As he stood up from his seat, he cleared his throat and took a few deep breaths to prepare himself. He thought for a few seconds on what to sing. Soon an idea popped into his head as he opened his mouth and sang the notes in a slightly deeper voice. "A-a-a-ah." He let the last note hang in the air for a bit before the room went quiet.
"That was beautiful Caster. I’m surprised ponies don’t applaud you when you sing" Fluttershy said seeming to have enjoyed his little demonstration.
"Well um, thanks, to tell the truth Fluttershy, you're the only pony other than my parents to say that to me." The Pegasus said while chuckling.
"Glad I could give you some other pony's opinion.” Fluttershy said blushing a little. Then a curious question came to mind. “By the way, I've wanted to ask you if it's not too much trouble; do you have any siblings or are you an only child?"
"I just have a brother and sister; my brother is a year and a half older than me and my sister is older than the both of us, in fact I've actually lost track of how old she is.” Caster said laughing at his own lack of knowledge. “My brother still lives in Canterlot with his marefriend and our sister has moved to Fillydelphia where she is settling down with her husband and step son."
"Do any of you even talk to each other anymore?" The Pegasus mare asked.
"We used to see each other every now and then, but we’ve all kind of drifted apart so to speak." He told her. “We still get together for Hearth’s Warming Eve but other than that we just send each other letters.”
"Well I hope we can all get together soon. Pinkie Pie will probably throw them a big party" Fluttershy said with a motivational smile.
"No doubt about that, I can’t wait to show my brother all of my new friends. Now what say we eat this breakfast of yours before it goes cold?" Caster said pointing towards the table.
During breakfast the two ponies made idle chit-chat about each other’s families, such as family history and how both of their parents got together. After the food was gone, Caster grabbed a set of saddlebags and went off to Sweet Apple Acres to help Applejack pick some apples like he promised, leaving Nina with Fluttershy. Although the shy mare wanted to go with him, she had to feed all of her little woodland friends and make sure none of them were sick or injured. But Angel and Nina could sense the feelings between their owners, even if neither of them were fully aware of how they felt. So they decided to give them a little push towards each other and tried to get Fluttershy to go after him.
"But what about all the little creatures, they need me to take care of them?" The yellow Pegasus asked. Nina and Angel of course offered to look after their friends while she was away so that she wouldn't have to worry about them.
"Oh thank you both so much, I don't know what I'd do without you." She said giving them a big hug as she tried to catch up with Caster.
"Caster, wait!" Fluttershy said coming to a stop in front of him and trying to catch her breath. "I'd like to come with you, to help pick apples of course, I mean if that's all right with you."
"I'm certain that Applejack would appreciate some more help, but don't you have to take care of all your little friends?" Caster asked curious about her sudden interest with picking apples.
"It's okay, Angel and Nina volunteered to keep an eye on them while I'm gone." The exhausted mare said regaining her composure.
"Well, all right then, after you." He said pointing a hoof towards the farm. 'Why is she being so nice to me?' Caster thought. 'I know she let me stay at her house and all, but it was all Twilight's idea in the first place. But she did say that she's just trying to be a good neighbor and all. Plus, she's kind of cute too.’ He reconsidered while trying to avoid eye contact with Fluttershy. In doing so however, he couldn't help but examine her figure. Every part of her frame seemed perfect in his perspective, she was unlike any mare he had ever met in his life. He then turned his attention to Fluttershy's eyes which he had been trying to avoid. 'I could go for a swim in those blue eyes.' Eventually the two ponies found themselves just outside of Sweet Apple Acres. Fluttershy was about to introduce the farm to Caster, but when she turned around she came face to face with a pair of large dark green eyes looking straight into hers. They stared at each other for a couple of seconds, seeming unable to look away from one another. They soon realized what was happening and turned away from each other blushing wildly.