Earlier, in the dungeon beneath Canterlot.
An interrogation had been underway for a short time now, as Princess Luna tried to get whatever information she could out of the captured Pegasus.
Soarin reeled in uncontrollable laughter, as Princess Luna continued to tickle him with a feather.
“Has thou had enough yet?” Luna asked the Pegasus, still tickling him.
“Yes! Ha ha ha! Please stop! Ha ha ha! I’ll do anything! Ha ha!” Soarin responded, between laughs.
“Then tell us where her majesty, Queen Chrysalis is.” Luna replied, ceasing her tickling for the stallion to speak clearly.
“I told you your highness, I don’t know where…” Soarin began to say, before Princess Luna continued her tickling once more. “Ha ha ha!”
“What were thou doing in Canterlot?” Luna asked.
“Like I said, I was sent here to be evaluated by Queen Chrysalis herself, so that I could join the Wonderbolts. It’s what Captain Spitfire told me…” Soarin responded, before being tickled again. “Ha ha ha!”
“Does thou wish to take her place!?” Luna yelled at the Pegasus in her Equestrian voice, while gesturing towards Fluttershy in an adjacent cell.
In the other cell; Fluttershy was huddled underneath several blankets, shivering horribly.
“We would hath left her stranded on the moon, if it not for the words of reason from our dear sister! Unless thou wishes to experience the same ordeal, then we suggest that thou start speaking the truth!” Luna yelled again.
“I swear…ha ha ha! I’ve told you everything I know! Ha ha ha!” Soarin replied between laughing fits.
“That’s enough Luna.” Princess Celestia told her sister.
Luna ceased her tickling of the Pegasus, before starting to walk away.
“Very well sister. We shall let thou deal with him then. We’re going to continue the search for her majesty, and the ponies that escaped.” Luna told her sister, before leaving the dungeon in a flash of her own magic.
“Well I suppose that went fairly well. Although, it would have been interesting to have seen ‘her’ methods of interrogation, over your own Celestia.” Discord spoke, before laying back in a floating lawn chair.
Celestia thought about Discord’s words, but was still glad that she had talked her sister into dealing with the pony in a calmer way.
Soarin finally stopped laughing, as he tried to catch his breath once more.
“Tell me about the ponies that left you.” Celestia asked the Pegasus.
Upon hearing the Princess talk about Rainbow Dash, and the other ponies that were with her, Soarin suddenly got down on himself again.
“You mean…Rainbow Dash?” Soarin asked.
“Yes. Her, and the other two.” Celestia replied.
“Rainbow Dash and I live up in Cloudsdale. She’s a Wonderbolt who works with Captain Spitfire, while I’m still trying to join them as well. We’ve know each other for a long time, but I don’t know why she would suddenly abandon me like that.” Soarin responded.
“And what about the other two?” Celestia asked.
“Who?” Soarin asked back.
“The Unicorn and baby dragon with her.” Celestia replied.
“Oh, them. They were the ones that caused the flood in Ponyville.” Soarin told the Princess.
“Go on.” Celestia spoke.
“Well; after they caused the flood, and the waters receded, the Gypsy Zecora came and took them away. I thought she was going to deal with them, but I guess they escaped.” Soarin replied.
“And that was the last time you saw them until now?” Celestia asked.
“Yes. The Gypsy wanted Rainbow Dash to help carry them, and I asked Rainbow Dash to keep an eye on them as well.” Soarin spoke.
“Did she ever tell you anything further about them?” Celestia asked.
“No.” Soarin replied.
“Hmm, very well. Now, back to what you were doing here this late at night.” Celestia spoke.
“Please your highness, I keep trying to tell you that…” Soarin started to say, before the Princess held up a hoof, cutting him off.
“I already know ‘why’ you said you were here. I wish to know more about what led up to your coming here.” Celestia asked.
Soarin sat quietly for a minute, thinking back to everything that had happened earlier that day.
“I was sitting on a cloud in Cloudsdale, waiting for Rainbow Dash to come back from helping carry the ponies.” Soarin spoke.
“Go on.” Celestia replied.
“That’s when Captain Spitfire showed up, and told me that the Wonderbolts were going to start recruiting again. She said that I should head to Canterlot, where new recruits were going to be evaluated.” Soarin spoke.
“And she told you that Queen Chrysalis herself was going to be the judge of the new recruits?” Celestia asked.
“Yeah. She told me that both the Queen, and Canterlot, had finally seen the importance of the Wonderbolts, and wanted to give us a chance to recruit new members, so we could grow.” Soarin replied.
“And where exactly, were you supposed to report for this evaluation?” Celestia asked.
“Captain Spitfire said that I needed to go to the Queen’s Royal Chambers, but I didn’t know where they were when I got here.” Soarin answered.
“And that’s why you started flying around, trying to find the room, correct?” Celestia asked.
“Yes ma’am. Captain Spitfire told me that everything had already been arranged for me to make my way to the Royal Chambers without any problem, but she forgot to tell me where they were, and nopony was around to guide me.” Soarin replied.
“So you never meant any harm to her majesty with your visit then?” Celestia asked.
“Of course not! That’s why I was really surprised when Princess Luna found me, and she told me that she didn’t have any clue about the evaluations.” Soarin responded.
“And that’s everything that you can remember about what led up to you being here now?” Celestia asked.
“Yes your highness.” Soarin replied.
Soarin watched as the Princess nodded her head, and was about to take her leave, when something popped into his head that he had forgotten.
“Wait! There was something else.” Soarin told the Princess.
“Hmm, what is it?” Celestia responded, turning back to the Pegasus.
“Before I encountered Princess Luna, I saw a shadow flying around the palace.” Soarin replied.
“Can you describe the shadow at all?” Celestia asked.
“No ma’am. I thought it might’ve been another Pegasus here to be evaluated as well, but when I tried to chase after it, it was gone.” Soarin told the Princess.
“Did you by chance see where it came from, or where around the palace it was headed to?” Celestia asked.
“It looked like it came from the north, but that’s all I could tell before I lost sight of it.” Soarin responded.
“Hmm, and that’s all you remember?” Celestia asked.
“Yes.” Soarin replied.
“Very well then. Thank you my little pony. I’m sorry that you had to go through all of this.” Celestia told the Pegasus.
“You’re welcome Princess, I hope what I said helps.” Soarin replied.
“With that said though, you’ll still have to stay here for now. At least until Queen Chrysalis is returned safe and sound.” Celestia told the Pegasus.
“I understand.” Soarin spoke.
“Very well. We’ll be going now.” Celestia replied, looking towards Discord, who had fallen asleep in his chair.
“Wait your highness.” Soarin spoke.
“Yes?” Celestia replied, looking back to the Pegasus.
“If…if I may. Could I ask…a small favor?” Soarin nervously asked.
“What is it?” Celestia replied.
“If Rainbow Dash is ever brought back here; I’d like to talk to her.” Soarin spoke.
“If we are able to retrieve your friend, then I’ll do my best to try and accommodate that request.” Celestia replied, a smile on her face.
“Thank you your highness.” Soarin responded, bowing his head, before lying on the ground.
Celestia then turned around, and started to make her way out of the dungeon.
“Come along Discord. It’s time to go.” Celestia spoke to the sleeping Draconequus.
Discord let out a yawn, finally waking up. He began to rub his eyes, before he noticed Celestia walking away.
“Finally.” Discord spoke aloud. “Cop dramas always put me to sleep.” He spoke again, before disappearing in a flash of his magic.
Believing himself to be alone once more, Soarin let out a sigh, before talking to himself.
“Why Rainbow Dash? Why did you leave without me?” Soarin spoke to himself.
“Sounds like you’ve had a rough night pony.” A voice spoke from across the room.
“Huh? Who’s there?” Soarin called out.
“Forgotten me already huh? You ponies are all the same.” The voice responded, before approaching the bars of his cell, revealing himself.
Soarin saw that it was the same changeling that he had seen there before.
“Oh, it’s you! You’re still here?” Soarin replied.
“Yes, I’m still here! My queen said that I failed her, and had me tossed in this cell because of it. Add onto that; this cell is lined with magic that prevents any other magic from interfering, so I can’t even change my appearance to fool others into letting me out!” The changeling responded.
“Wait, how did you fail her? Aren’t you changelings always loyal to her?” Soarin asked.
“Yes, we are always loyal to our queen! However, when I told the queen that pony and dragon were taken away, rather than being swept away by that flood, she got mad and had me banished down here.” The changeling replied.
“Huh? Why would the Unicorn and dragon be swept away by their own flood?” Soarin asked, a confused look on his face.
“Their flood? They didn’t cause that flood.” The changeling told the pony.
“What do you mean? Then who did?” Soarin asked.
“It was Princess Luna that caused all that water to appear, and sub-sequentially, the flood.” The changeling replied.
“What!? There’s no way that Princess Luna would do that!” Soarin spoke, surprised.
“You better believe it pony. It was the Princess that caused all that mess. She caused me to give bad news to the queen, and it sounds like she’s caused you a lot of grief too.” The changeling replied.
“But…I thought that the queen had decided to let the Wonderbolts start recruiting again. Why wouldn’t she tell the Princesses as well?” Soarin spoke aloud.
“Let the Wonderbolts start recruiting? Ha! There’s no way my queen would let your pony ranks increase like that. She knows better than to let you fliers get out of control.” The changeling responded.
“Captain Spitfire said we were supposed to come here together. So why?” Soarin spoke to himself again, looking away from the changeling.
“Who? You and her?” The changeling asked, looking over at the still shivering Fluttershy.
“No. Rainbow Dash and I. We were supposed to come here together, so she could help escort the recruits.” Soarin replied.
“Oh, I get it now. Instead of getting involved with that ruse, your friend decided to let you take the fall, and instead escape with those other two. How sad.” The changeling spoke, giving a little chuckle.
“No. That’s not like Rainbow Dash. She wouldn’t…” Soarin spoke, turning to the changeling again.
“Don’t stress yourself out pony. What’s done is done. Your friend decided to trade you for them, and save her own tail.” The changeling told the pony.
“But, she was asked to go with them.” Soarin spoke.
“Yeah, yeah. She was ‘asked’ to help take those two away. A little too convenient if you ask me.” The changeling replied.
“No…she…” Soarin spoke, turning away again.
“She got ‘selected’ to leave you behind, and when she caught wind of what was really going on; instead of coming to your rescue, she decided that she was going to stick with them, and let you take the fall.” The changeling told the pony.
“No…she would never…” Soarin spoke, his voice getting lower.
“Face it pony. Your so-called ‘friend’ betrayed you. Get over it. I may have been betrayed by my queen, but you don’t see me complaining about it. Do you?” The changeling responded.
“She wouldn’t betray…that’s not who she…but…” Soarin spoke softly.
“But what?” The changeling asked.
“But she said that they were her friends, and that she didn’t remember…” Soarin began to respond, before the changeling cut him off.
“Brainwash. A classic excuse. She probably claimed that they were her friends, and that she forgot everything about you, as a way to say; ‘We were never friends. Get lost!’”
“But…” Soarin spoke.
“Just give it a rest pony. With any luck, my queen will return by morning, and you’ll be able to go back to your little home in the sky. I’ll still be stuck here, but at least ‘you’ll’ be free. Now be quiet, I’d like to get some sleep.” The changeling told the pony, before going to the other side of his cell, and laying down to sleep.
“Yeah. I guess…you’re right.” Soarin replied, before lying back down, and shutting his eyes.
With the conversation over; the only sound that remained was the shivering and chattering teeth of the yellow Pegasus, as she kept herself wrapped in her blankets.