The Elements of History
“Twilight!” Spike was pacing up and down the familiar hallways in the giant tree that stood as Ponyville’s library, and doubled as Twilight Sparkle’s home. “Ugh, where could she have gone off to so late at night?” Panic started to rise in the pit of his stomach.
He continued his search for the purple unicorn, but to no avail. He looked in the main library, her bedroom, the kitchen, the small living room, and even the bathroom, and she was nowhere to be found. He checked under her bed, the balcony, and all of Twilight’s favorite reading spots, but still no Twilight. After more fruitless searching, he gave up and went down to the kitchen to make a sandwich and bumped into her on the way down.
“Oh my gosh, Twilight where have you been? I’ve been looking everywhere for you!” Spike shouted, while running up and giving her a giant hug. “I thought that maybe you left me all alone so late at night and…” He looked down to try and hide his flustered state from Twilight.
“Now Spike,” Twilight interrupted. “Why would I go off and do a thing like that for? You are just a baby dragon after all.” She nudged him lovingly on the cheek, “I was in the basement looking for some more books to read. It seems that I’ve read just about every book about magic that interests me, except this one.” She pointed with her nose to a dark colored book in her saddle. “But I have no idea what it’s about.”
Spike scratched his head. “I didn’t know this place had a basement?”
“Really Spike, you should be more aware of your surroundings.” She raised an eyebrow as she spoke, “We have been living here for quite some time now.” She said in a matter-of-fact sort of tone.
Spike crossed his arms. “Well excuse me.” He moved around Twilight and continued to walk down the stairs. “If you need me I’ll be in the kitchen making a sandwich. And I’m not a baby dragon anymore!”
Twilight rolled her eyes at the statement, and trotted up the stairs to her room. She emptied the contents of her saddle on the bed. It only had two books in it, one about astrology and the other a rather thick book about, well she didn’t know exactly, because there was no title. She tossed the astrology book distastefully aside and levitated the other book onto her desk. It was a large gray book that had a thick layer of dust covering the cover of the book. She scraped some of the dust off with a hoof and blew it away gently, only to find that there where deep scratches where the book’s title would have been.
“What a shame to see such a nice book in such an atrocious condition.” She said to herself. Twilight had spent most of her free time reading, and it pained her to see a book mistreated as such. She sighed in disapproval at the former owners, and nudged the book open. To her surprise the first few pages were torn out, only jagged edges of paper near the spine were visible. With the first few pages gone, it made it impossible to find out who wrote the book and, more importantly, what the book was about. She had opened to the first chapter only to find some mysterious symbols where the header should be. She quickly flipped through the pages, and to her dismay, the entire book was written in the same incoherent gibberish of strange symbols and crazy markings.
She flipped through the pages again hoping to find something that was legible, but nothing. Why would this book even be here if nopony could read it? She had never read or seen a language similar to this one before. She wondered what it’s about. Her train of thought was interrupted by Spike entering the room rather noisily with a half-eaten sandwich in hand.
“Hey Twilight what’cha readin?” He asked in-between bites.
“Spike what did I tell you about knocking first?” There was more than a hint of anger in her voice. “It’s rude to just barge in on someone with the door closed… It’s not like it mattered anyway.” She sighed deeply. “I haven’t a clue as to what this book is about, only that it’s really old.” She held up the book to examine it more. “Have you ever seen anything like it before Spike?”
Twilight pushed the book in Spikes direction. He looked at its pages with an almost troubled look on his face. He began to say something but choked on a piece of sandwich. After regaining his composure, he continued. “I’ve never seen anything like this before. Maybe it’s some sort of foreign language… Wait a sec.” His eyes narrowed. “You said that this is a magic book, right?” He waited for Twilight’s nod and continued. “So if you can’t read it, then how do you know it’s about magic and not about nest making or something?”
Twilight took a moment to think about her answer. “Well you see, Spike. All objects infused with magic, and those that teach us about magic have a magical mark or stamp on them.” She levitated one of her old university books from a small bookshelf by her bed over to Spike, and opened the cover.” You see this mark?” She pointed to an emblem of a unicorn on its hind legs with its horn glowing. “This is the royal mark of Arcane Studies and magical development. It is on everything that is infused or associated with magic in anyway.”
Spike nodded in agreement. “But the book from the basement doesn’t have any markings on it, does it?”
Twilight levitated her old book back to the bookshelf and picked up a different one from the same shelf. It was a rather old brown book, with faded, torn leather binding it together. “Now, this book is also a book on magic.” She opened the cover just like the first and pointed to where the emblem should have been. “As you can see there is no emblem. This is because the process of marking everything associated with magic with a physical emblem wasn’t put into practice until about 625 years ago.”
“Woah, wait a minute. What do you mean by a physical emblem?” Spike asked confused.
“Yes I was just getting to that.” Twilight was mildly annoyed but glad that at least Spike was paying attention. “Like the first book I showed you it had a physical emblem to where everyone can see it. Well the same cannot be explained for this book and our mystery one on the desk.” She gestured at both the books with her hooves. “These books have a mark that is entirely different. It is a mark that can only be sensed by other unicorns to let them know that it is infused with magic.”
“So you’re telling me that everything that has something to do with magic that is really old has the marked fused with it, instead of stamped on?” Spike asked trying not to sound too confused.
Twilight nodded in excitement. “Precisely. But what intrigues me most about this book is that its magical mark is extremely difficult to sense compared to all my other magical artifacts. So it either wasn’t put on properly, which means that it would have been done by an amateur book writer. Or, that whoever put it on was hiding it so that only certain unicorns, or those talented enough, could sense its magical capabilities. But that would defeat the purpose of even writing about magic in the first place.”
Spike let out a deep yawn, and after a “lecture” like that he was ready for bed. “Well it’s a good thing that you are so talented and smart or you would have never found the book in the first place.”
Twilight blushed at the comment, “I wish I knew something about this book… Thanks Spike.” She went back to studying the book intently, her eyes focused almost as if she would miss something if she didn’t look hard enough, but nothing. The symbols just sat there taunting her curiosity knowing that their secrets would remain hidden.
Spike noticed this and nudged Twilight. “You could always try a reveling spell, that might help if there is something hidden in the book.”
Twilight gasped and gave the small dragon giant a hug. “Spike you’re a genius! I’m positive this book has to be hiding something, or it wouldn’t have such a strange mark!” She put him back on the ground and lowered her head towards the book, shutting her eyes tightly. Excitement ran through her giving her hope that the mysteries the book held might soon be revealed. She focused, trying to remember the specific thoughts and feelings that went into the spell. The horn on her head glowed brightly and the book started to levitate off the deck. She concentrated harder and the purple glow around her horn changed to that of a bright yellow. The book began to spin slowly as the glow around Twilight’s head got brighter still. She felt shreds of pain flood through her body as she pushed herself harder. Her legs quivered under her while a second glow surrounded her horn. She gasped in pain as the book began to open slightly and glow. Pain surged now, dulling her concentration.
A bright orb appeared out of Twilight’s horn and approached the book. However, with her concentration dulled she lost her focus and the orb hissed violently and exploded in a bright flash of light. Twilight was sent flying back, and smashed into the end of her bed until collapsing on the floor.
Spike ran across the room, fearful that Twilight might be seriously hurt. “OH my gosh, Twilight! Twilight?” He moved the astrology book that managed to land on her head in the explosion. “Twilight are you ok?” Panic flared in Spike as he passed back and forth, not sure of what to do.
Twilight slowly got up and sat on her haunches. Her mane was in a wild mess and small black patches of singed hair were all over the front of her body from the explosion. She blew some of the strands of hair out of her eyes. She wasn’t scared, or even hurt. No, she was angry.
“Twilight, are you ok? I mean you were just thrown across the room like a-“
“Yes Spike, I am quite alright.” She had a sinister calmness to her voice after just being thrown like a ragdoll across the room. “However, the same cannot be said about this… BOOK!”
The book had landed back on the desk innocently. It was completely unscaved from the explosion, and sat there mocking her.
She got up, although a little wobbly, and walked back over to her desk. “Well at least I now know that you are hiding something aren’t you?” She was pointing a hoof at the book as though accusing it of something and letting out a sudden abrupt laugh.
“Ummmm… Twilight you do know that that’s a book right? It’s not going to answer you.”
“Oh please Spike. You make it sound as though I’m crazy. Well, I’m not crazy. And this book is going down!” She stamped a hoof in frustration, and charged at the book as though it was her enemy. She stopped inches away from it. “No more Mrs. nice pony!!”
She shut her anger filled eyes and levitated the book off the deck. Her horn glowed the same bright yellow as before, only much harsher. Her Horn flared and a second glow surrounded the first one. Then a third. The glow from her horn erased all of the shadows in the room with its intensity. Spike jumped behind the bed in fear and excitement. He knew all too well that if the spell went wrong this time that there would be a much larger explosion.
Pain surged through her body again, but she ignored it and pushed on. She wasn’t going to be beaten by book, especially one in such a lousy condition. The intensity of the light around her horn increased suddenly and the small orb appeared out of her horn again. Pain screamed at her to stop as her body quivered feeling betrayed. Inaudible gasps and grunts escaped Twilight’s mouth as she powered through knowing that if she didn’t stop soon something, she wasn’t sure what, would go wrong. The orb finally moved and didn’t explode like the last one had. It floated gingerly over to the book and engulfed it in a bright light.
The book opened suddenly, its pages turning madly by some unseen force until it stopped at a spot about half way in the book. The strange symbols glowed ominously and began to shift, changing from symbols to words. Spike gazed with big eyes upon the glowing book from behind the bed until it stopped and flopped back onto the desk.
Twilight fell back on her haunches again, breathing heavily. Sweat trickled down her forehead and her hair was soaked. Her little “bout” with the book had completely drained her. “Wow… I can’t … believe how…” She managed in between breathes, until calming down a bit. “Whoever was hiding these secrets in this book defiantly did not want them to be read by anypony.” The seething anger she had a moment ago had disappeared and her gentle voice returned. “I thought for a second there I was going to…”
“Twilight, look.” Said Spike pointing at the book. The symbols and markings that were on the pages were gone. They were replaced by a picture of a beautifully ivory coated unicorn wearing the most beautiful gold armor Twilight had ever seen. He was standing on his hind legs, ready to attack his unknown adversary. His horn was glowing a dark red and his eyes were shut tightly, showing his concentration. There were blocks of text surrounding and underneath the unicorn.
Twilight leaned in closer. “Proelium magia? I’ve never heard of anything like that before, have you Spike?” Said Twilight through confused eyes.
“Beats me, but at least you can read it now.” Said Spike while starting to yawn acting as though nothing had really changed from their usual nightly rituals. “I’m going to bed so let me know if anything happens, IN THE MORNING. Don’t come waking me up in the middle of the night like you always do.”
“Okay, well good night Spike.” She watched him crawl into his little bed and almost instantly fall asleep. Her mind immediately went back to the book. This was the only part of the book that had something hidden in it; the rest of it still had those strange symbols. The words looked familiar to Twilight but she couldn’t quite remember what language it was, or if it was even one she actually knew. The only thing she could think of was that it was possibly a dead, long forgotten language by looking at the age of the book and the way the words were structured. If only she knew what language this was then she could just use a simple translation spell and bingo, legibility.
Her thoughts lingered for hours, thanks to a little “potion” in her nightstand for those late night study sessions. She flipped from book to book looking for any clues as to how to decipher the unknown tome. She looked through all her notes about dead languages, old languages, and even foreign ones, but all of them failed her. After another hour or so of looking through old notes and dusty books she finally gave up and just stared at the picture of the unicorn on that page. Whoever he was, Twilight thought he was gorgeous.
There were eight pages that reveled themselves after her spell and all of them were just text, except the one with the unicorn picture. The armor on the unicorn looked similar to the guard ponies that protect the princess, but so different at the same time. It was golden armor, just like the guards wore, but it was much more extravagant. He was rather handsome and stood proudly. His armor covered his cutie mark, and most of his body. But the way his horn glowed really caught her attention. She had never seen anything like it before. A red aura around a horn? She had never even heard of any spell using magic with such a sinister red glow, which meant that it must have been some sort of old magic that nopony used anymore. Or forbidden magic. She thought of olden times when magic was still largely unknown.
Her thought process was interrupted when she realized just how quiet it was. Twilight loved when it was quiet, but not this quiet. She sighed softly, shut the old book in front of her, and turned off the lamp with her magic. She made her way to the window in front of her bed and opened it letting in the cool night air. Twilight always enjoyed the night, there was just something so beautiful and peaceful about it that just made her feel incredible. After a moment, she got into bed and just laid there, here mind racing with thoughts about her evening and that book. However, it didn’t take long before she was sleeping peacefully, thoughts of new magic running through her mind.
She dreamt about a meadow and three unicorns in the distance that remained unseen through the glow of the setting sun. They were doing something, but what? It was incredibly peaceful and made sleep that much more rewarding.
“Twiiiiiiilight…” Came a voice from a distance, it sounded so far away. “Tttwwiiiiiiligghtttt…” It sounded closer but still as though it was from afar.
“TWILIGHT!!!!!” Twilight woke up in a start clenching her headboard and shacking from fright. She turned only to find her friend Pinkie Pie standing at the end of bed grinning for ear to ear. Somehow that didn’t make her feel much better.
“It’s time to wake Mrs. Sleepy head!” She said while hoping around Twilight’s bed. “You don’t want to spend the whole day in bed do ya?”
Twilight slowly climbed down from her headboard. “Well good morning Pinkie Pie.” She answered until realizing that Pinkie Pie was in her room. “And how did you get in my room?”
“I used the window you silly filly.” She said as though it was obvious. Twilight turned her head and saw the top of a ladder sticking through her window. “And it’s not morning anymore it’s noon. So would it be good noon, or good midday.” Pinkie brought up a hoof to her mouth deep in thought. “Oh, I know, how about good lunch time, I LOVE lunch. There’s so much you can have for lunch! You can have breakfast stuff or dinner stuff. Well I guess if you have breakfast stuff then it’s technically brunch, and not lunch. But anyway, I remember this one time that I had about a dozen…”
“Wait, what time is?” Twilight asked frantically searching for her clock as though it was misplaced. Her talking and searching didn’t seem to distract Pinkie from naming off stuff that she had eaten for lunch before.
Twilight glanced at the clock at the end of the room and was shocked to see the time. “1:13!! How did I sleep in so late! Oh my gosh, half of the day is gone, what am I going to do?” Twilight hoped out of bed and levitated a brush over to brush her mane frantically.
Pinkie Pie stopped naming foods and walked over to Twilight. “What’s got you all jidderly Twilight? It’s not like late for a date or something, or are you?” Asked Pinkie while cocking her head to the side.
“Well, I’m not sure exactly, and no I do not have a date.” Twilight added, “I guess I just don’t like waking up so late when I could have gotten something done instead of just sleeping.” Twilight said while lowering the brush back on her desk. There wasn’t anything planned for today, and it’s not like she could really catch up on reading, because there wasn’t much that she wanted to read, but there was that book.
“What’s got you all in la la land Twilight?” Pinkie Pie walked up to Twilight and sat down so close to her that their shoulders were touching. Pinkie was never one for personal space.
Twilight wondered if she should tell Pinkie about the book or not. It’s not like she would even care about it, right? “Ummm it’s nothing really. Just got a lot on my mind is all.”
Pinkie just smiled at Twilight. “Please Twilight, you might be able to lie to other ponies about your problems but not to Pinkie!” Pinkie somehow managed to scoot even closer to Twilight. “Your auntie Pinkie is here and she’s all ears.” Pinkie wiggled her ears in that creepy way that she does.
“Well you see.” Twilight hesitated for a moment biting her lip. “I was up late last night trying to learn more about this book I found and-“
“You mean to tell me that you’re all down in the dumpsie-wumpsies because of a book?!” Pinkie nearly recoiled back at her own question. “I can’t believe that that scary explosion and bright lights was all over a little book.” She said while gesturing a hoof at Twilight.
“Yes, as a matter of fact all that commotion last night was over a little…” She had to stop herself suddenly coming to a realization. “Wait a sec… How did you know about that explosion last night Pinkie? Were you… Were you spying on me?” Twilight asked through narrowed eyes.
Pinkie laughed awkwardly. “What? Me? Spying on you? Come on Twilight, that is Craaaaazeeeey.” She laughed again as she batted a hoof at Twilight.
There was a painfully awkward silence as both of them just stared at each other. Until Pinkie broke the silence.
“Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh!” Pinkie shouted. “Today is the day, that… well ya know! I’ll catch ya latter Twilight.” Pinkie pranced out the window and slid down the ladder. She then picked it up and ran back into town.
Twilight sat there blinking blankly for a moment. “Know what? I haven’t heard anything about, well anything happening today.” Twilight said to herself.
“It doesn’t surprise me, you have been locked in your room for the past couple of days Twilight.” Said Spike making Twilight jump from his remark.
“Oh, Spike, do you know anything about that nonsense that Pinkie said?
“Of course I know, but if you want to know it’ll cost ya.” He said with a big grin on his face that quickly vanished when he received a nasty glare from Twilight. “Righttttt… well every once in a while, these merchants come in town from all over Equestria. And they set up shop selling all sorts of weird things. I really would like to go and check it out. Apparently they sell a whole bunch of stuff that nopony has seen before. Sounds cool right?”
“Cool? COOL?! It sounds outstanding!” Twilight shrieked giving him a hug. She bounded down the stairs and made her way into the kitchen, levitated an apple off the table and began to eat it quickly.
“Twilight!” Spike was running down the stairs after her, only to find that she had already left. “Jeez once you get a thought in that unicorn’s head there’s no changing her mind.”
Twilight ran down to Ponyville’s town square, even as she left her home the town was bustling with ponies trying to make their way to the square. The town square was usually a peaceful part of the town, but not today. All of the shops that were normally open had closed signs hanging from doors and windows. The first thing that caught Twilight’s mind was all of the empty stalls that crowded the square. They covered windows and doors, and were placed in spots that seemed too small for a stall to fit in. They came in all sizes and shapes, different colors even.
“Wow this is incredible!” Twilight was looking around in amazement like a filly in a candy store.
“Mighty glad ya like em’.” Came a familiar voice from behind her, it was none other than her friend Applejack. “We spent all week makin’ these here stalls for all the nice folk comin’ t’ town today. Some are a tad… strange. But there’s no harm in strange.”
“Wow Applejack, you made all of these?” Twilight looked around at the dozens if not hundreds of stalls that lined the town square.
“Why of course Ah did.” She said proudly. “Mind you Ah did have some help from Big Macintosh an’ Applebloom, but Ah did most of the work mahself. And besides how can somepony even call herself a work horse if she can’t even make nuthin’ with her own hooves?” Applejack raised her hooves to Twilight’s face putting emphasis on her point.
“I guess so.” Twilight brought a hoof to her chin to think for a second and asked. “So why are a bunch of ponies coming to town today? And why didn’t they come last year?”
“Hmm, beats me.” Applejack shrugged. “All I know is that every so often the mayor gets a letter from someponies tellin’ her that they’ll be comin’ t’ town in a couple o’ weeks. Rather frustratin if ya ask me.”
Twilight frowned. “So your telling me that every so often, not even annually, these ponies just send a letter to us saying that they will be here in a couple of days? That seems really irresponsible and rude for them just to demand that we host their little get together.”
“Now what’s got you all saddle sore about Twilight? These ponies come all this way a-”
“WAAATCH OUUUUT!!!” Came a scream they knew all too well. Twilight and Applejack quickly dove out of the way with seconds to spare as a rainbow colored blur came crashing down to the ground. A small cloud of dust lingered for a moment and Rainbow Dash came out of covered in dirt.
“Hey AJ, hey Twilight, what’s up?” She said through her usual cool smile. She acted as though she had just walked up to them, rather than crash to the ground like a dead weight. “Hope I didn’t scare ya guys, I was practicing a new move and well… it still needs work.”
“Gosh darnit Rainbow! Why can’t ya just walk up and say howdy like every other pony?” Applejack fumed, “You could of destroyed some of the stalls Ah’ve been workin’ all week on!”
“Please.” Rainbow dash flicked her mane out of her eyes. “Do you know who you’re talking to? I’m Rainbow Dash! And I’ll crash where I want to crash, and I don’t want to crash in your dumb stalls.”
“Ohh, is that so?” Applejack was right in Rainbow’s face. “So you’re tellin’ me that the great an’ mighty Rainbow Dash is soo… er, great. That she chooses where an’ when she takes a tumble?”
It was Rainbow Dash’s turn to get in Applejacks face. She got so close that their foreheads were touching. “Heck ya!” She pushed her head against Applejacks. “Sounds like you’re jealous.”
“Ha! Me, jealous?” She laughed as she pushed with their heads meeting in a deadlock. “If Ah’m anythin’, I ain’t jealous.”
“Well then don’t get you braids in a bunch…” Dash Smiled devilishly. “Sally!”
“WHAT DID YOU CALL ME?!” The rage in Applejack’s voice brought attention to the small group of ponies as all heads were turned to them. Rainbow Dash took to the air laughing. The two chased each other for a minute until Rainbow Dash stuck out her tongue blowing a raspberry and in a flash she bolted off, her wings beating wildly.
Applejack took off in hot pursuit after the rainbow maned pegasus. “Rainbow Dash you get back here ya yellowed bellied filly!” Applejack was bounding off after Rainbow Dash running past other ponies with no disregard when she ran into a couple of them. In an instant they were gone.
Twilight shook her head a few times. “I’ll never understand those two.”
She walked down the street until she came to Sugar Cube Corner. The doors were open and there were ponies lined outside the door. She guessed that’s why Pinkie was off in such a hurry. She thought while getting into line with the rest of the ponies. Her stomach rumbled angrily and she blushed when some of the ponies in line turned in her direction.
“Sorry, not much of a breakfast this morning.” She laughed nervously.
The line remained still for a few minutes until there was a sudden commotion and all of the ponies started darting past Twilight, all running to the same direction. They were heading to the center of the town square where a podium was set up and the mayor of Ponyville was talking to another pony. She shooed the other pony away and walked right behind the podium.
She cleared her throat a couple of times, as noise in the crowd suddenly died. “Welcome everypony! I do hope that you all are as excited as I am to hear that the merchants that come to Ponyville will be arriving shortly, so greet them with warm smiles and fond memories so that they will come back next ye, er… sometime in the near future.” She started to get nervous as a clocked pony approached her. “Today we have a special guest speaking for many of the ponies showing up today, so please do be kind to her.” She adjusted her glasses with a hoof as she continued speaking. “Anyway, without further ado, let me introduce you all to Miss Willow.” She stepped aside and a dark brown pony wearing a yellow cloak with a dark green tail took her place. She removed her hood with magic so that everypony could see her face. It was covered with strange tattoos and her dark green mane flowed out of the hood and around her head.
“Thank you all.” She said it deep, but surprising clear and deep sort of voice that didn’t suit her well. “We are very grateful that you would again allow us to come to you humble town and sell our various wares. My ponies and many other ponies from all over Equestria will be ever so grateful that you built all of these marvelous stalls for us to use.” She bowed her head tenderly and low to show her full appreciation.
“On another note, I would ask all of you if you would treat them with extra patience as it is a very long trip to take on hoof, and it would be fair to say that they will be more than tired and irritable when they arrive.” All of the ponies stomped the ground in approval. She waited for them to settle down before continuing. “Again thank you, and I do hope that everypony enjoys themselves!” The crowd erupted in a roar of applause and cheers, while Twilight looked around bewildered.
The yellow cloaked pony bowed again and stepped down from the podium. The crowd dispersed quickly and everypony went back to their daily routines. Twilight wondered around for a while hoping to run into one of her friends. She saw Lyra and Bon Bon gossiping in the corner. Ditzy Doo was flying awkwardly overhead while Mr. and Mrs. Cake were strolling along. She knew all of them, but well enough to just go up and start a conversation.
She could see the awkward situation playing out in her head of just trying to talk to Mr. and Mrs. Cake. Twilight blushed slightly at the thought, realizing that when it came a deep meaningful conversation, she was just fine. But when it came to small talk, she was just as awkward as a two headed mule. There was the sudden sound of bells ringing and ponies cheering loudly. Twilight nervously looked around not wanting to miss a thing. Everypony’s attention was on the west entrance of the town square as the ponies started to arrive.
Ponies filed in through the entrance of the town, all of them were wearing cloaks similar to Willow’s and were carrying large saddles filled with oddly shaped objects. The myriad of ponies that came in was unimaginable; there just was no end to them. There didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason as to how they entered the town, just as long as they got in. They broke off into groups and started picking stalls to set up their odds and ends.
“Sure is amazing isn’t it?” Twilight turned to see the mayor standing next to her and nodded in agreement. “They come by the hundreds from miles around and walk the entire distance here. I surly hope that you have saved up some money; you’ll find it easy to empty your purse when you see all of their amazing wares they offer. Enjoy yourself Twilight.” She said waving farewell to Twilight and trotted off.
Twilight waved back and started making her way towards some of the stands that already had ponies behind them. After waiting for what felt like a century, some of them started to open and crowds of ponies were already forming.
The first stand she approached had a cauldron brewing something foul smelling and masks hanging from the top of it. There were a couple of zebras behind it still placing weird statues and totems on the shelves for ponies to purchase. They seemed to be arguing in the same language that Zacora spoke when she first saw her.
“Oh wow, these look just like the masks that Zacora has back at her home.” She said while moving along to other stands. She saw Rarity at one of the open stalls that had weird bottles and oddly colored fabrics lined across the counter of the stall.
Twilight approached the stall and made her way right next to Rarity. “Hey Rarity.”
Rarity turned to see Twilight and a big smile broke out across her face. “Why Hello Twilight. Fancy meeting you here?”
“Well, only the entire town is here, so it’s not like I’m going to miss it.”
Rarity pulled down a piece of fabric to see it better in the light and quickly folded it back up and placed it back with a disgusted look on her face. “You have been holed up in your room for quite some time darling. Some of us were starting to get worried that you wouldn’t show.”
“I’m sorry, but I’ve been extremely busy studying. And just the other night I found this old book that’s in a language that I’ve never seen before, and it has me stumped.” Twilight was hanging her head tiredly as the defeat of the book came flooding back to her.
Rarity placed a hoof on Twilight’s shoulder for reassurance. “Honestly dear, you shouldn’t spend so much time in those books of yours. Twilight was mildly annoyed by the comment but let her friend continue. “You do know that they can only teach you the steps, but it is up to you if you ever want to use those steps and form a dance.”
Twilight was shocked. “Wow Rarity. That’s a brilliant analogy. I never looked at it like that before, but you still can learn so much from books.”
Rarity gave some shining coins to the stallion behind the stall and placed a couple of bottles in her basket which was levitating by her head. “Why yes, I’m not arguing with you there dear. All I’m saying is that it’s not healthy to strain yourself, and be alone for such long periods of time. That’s how you get crow’s feet and we all know that’s the last thing anypony wants.” She looked away in horror just by thought of them.
Twilight looked at the basket floating by Rarity’s head. “So why did you buy those potions?”
“Oh?” Rarity levitated one of the potions out of the basket to show Twilight. “This is not a potion. It is a dye. And a fabulous one at that.”
“Well you see.” Rarity took a moment to search for the right words. “This dye is infused with a powerful magic that allows the user to change the color of the garment applied to, to any color that they can think of. A must have for the pony on the go.”
“How clever.” Twilight wasn’t so amazed by what the dye itself, but more on how the magic infused with it worked. “So I could be wearing a red dress and if I just thought of a color, like violet. Then I could be wearing a violet colored dress?”
Rarity dug at the ground for a moment. “Well that is the idea.” She wore a big fake smile. “But if I do make a dress for you with this dye, you should refrain from thinking about violet.” She raised a hoof to gesture at Twilight. “Violet would clash with your coat and mane, and we can’t have that, now can we?
Twilight looked over herself, surly she wouldn’t look that bad in violet?
They walked together for a while, going from stall to stall. Most of them had little to nothing of interest to the two, until Rarity spotted a rather handsome looking stallion behind a stand selling gemstones.
“Oh my goodness, Twilight! Look at that handsome devil of a stallion over there!” She gushed. “Quick, how is my coiffure? What about my tail?” she franticly turned herself over looking for any imperfections.
“I thought that you were waiting for prince to sweep you off your hooves, not some gem salespony?” asked Twilight with concern.
“Yes of course dear, but that’s marriage. This is just for fun.”
“Fun? What kind of fun?” Twilight asked hoping that they weren’t thinking about the same thing.
“Flirting of course. It’s fun, and makes haggling a synch.” Rarity had a coy smile on her face. “But he is Dreamy, so how do I look?” Her gushing concern with her looks returning.
“You look great as always Rarity.” Murmured Twilight rolling her eyes.
“Oh?” She almost sounded offended. “I Know I look great, but I want to look amazing! Especially for somepony like him, and especially somepony selling gemstones!”
Twilight was getting tired of Rarity’s gushing and put her hooves and Rarity’s shoulders. “Rarity you look amazing! Spike tells me every time we see you, so just go over there and talk to him already.”
“But what about-“
“RARITY!” Twilight pointed a hoof in the direction of the stallion to prove her point. The stallion was looking over Rarity and quickly adverted his gaze once she looked at him.
Rarity’s ears lowered and she sighed deeply. “Thanks Twilight. I’ll see you later, oaky?”
Twilight nodded and Rarity trotted off to the stall with the stallion. She was a little upset to be alone now, but glad to have some time alone with her thoughts. Questions assaulted her mind about that book, and all of them didn’t seem to have an answer that satisfied her.
She was going over new scenarios in her head on how to solve her little problem until a stall caught her eye. It was one selling… Books! And it had that interesting pony that gave the speech earlier behind the stall selling them. Twilight quickly made her way over to it making sure not to bump into all of the ponies blocking her path. She had no idea where all of these ponies came from, but it seemed as though they were placed there just to get in her way.
“Excuse me… Oh sorry, I didn’t mean to step on your tail… Excuse me, I’m trying to get through…. Argh!!” Twilight pushed, shoved, and squirmed her way through the massive onslaught of ponies but there were too many. In a moment she felt swarmed. Ponies just seemed to be coming from everywhere, and they were blocking her path.
Anger swelled in her. “Enough!” Twilight’s horn glowed brightly and the group of ponies parted, pushed by her magic. It looked like a pair giant invisible hooves had parted and moved the ponies. Gasps and angry comments erupted from the small crowd, but Twilight ignored them.
“Well that wasn’t too hard.” She said to herself trotting over to the stand. Her mind began to wonder as she approached the stall. What kind of books does she sell? Will any of them be about magic? Maybe she can even help with-
“Hey look everypony that stand is giving away free candy!!!” Came a shout from an unknown colt that made Twilight jump.
She didn’t even have time to react. She was instantly swept away in an avalanche of parading ponies all converging to one stall. There was a commotion of shouting and cheering so loud that Twilight couldn’t even hear herself think. It got louder and louder, almost to the point at which it was deafening. Twilight put her hooves over her ears in hope of drowning out some of the sound, but in doing so made her lose her balance and trip. She pushed and shoved again, hoping to get the mass of ponies off her but they would not budge. All she could feel was the weight of other ponies crushing her, making it harder and harder to breathe. She scrambled frantically to free herself but a sudden kick to her face quickly halted her movements.
Twilight sat there dazed for a minute, her hooves covering the area where she had been kicked. Her head throbbed with the rhythm of her heart as pain coursed through it. She was overwhelmed by an invisible vertigo that made her feel like she was spinning.
It took her a moment but she finally realized that she wasn’t being crushed anymore. In fact there wasn’t anything anymore. She slowly opened her eyes and gasped in horror. The herd of ponies that were tramping her was gone, in fact there wasn’t a single pony to be seen in any direction. And all of the stalls were empty and barren. And it was…
“Night! But that’s impossible, surly I haven’t been unconscious for hours, have I?” Her mind raced madly trying to piece together what was going on. Did everypony forget about her? Did her friends really forget about her?
Twilight tried to get up, but found it near to impossible to move. With great effort she found movement in her legs and feverishly got up. It was only when she stood up that she really took in her surroundings. She gasped in astonishment at the sight before her. It was all wrong!
The once clean and professional looking stalls were now crude and jagged. Their sharp edges protruding like daggers trying to slice the quiet night air. The colorful and cheerful stores had broken windows and charred siding that assaulted her senses. Even the colors themselves changed. The bright yellows and greens, the bold reds and blues, and even the calming pinks and browns were replaced with dark, unpleasant purples and horrifying dark blacks. The once proud and beautiful moon stood alone in the sky. All of the bright stars that occupied the sky were gone, and the moon’s lively, silvery color was replaced with a dull and ominous red.
She decided to move on hoping that this was just some prank or something, but how could this be a prank? Panic and fear swelled in Twilight as she walked on. Not only was she in a worse state of vertigo, but her mind seemed to be playing tricks on her as well. As she continued walking the destruction to the shops and buildings became more evident and intense. The stores were no longer just charred with broken windows; roofs were caved in, walls smashed, and entire stories gone. And the once small stalls now looked impossibly tall, reaching out into the deserted sky. What was Ponyville’s town square was now a ravished battlefield with devastation at every turn and black smoke creeping up the buildings.
Fear began to swell in Twilight as her analytical mind tried to piece together how all of this was even possible, but found it to be a losing battle. She had read many stories to where the protagonist meets adversity much like this and just breaks down into a heap pity and despair. Twilight was determined to make sure that didn’t happen.
“No. No. No. This can’t be real, it just can’t. There has to be some sort of logical explanation for all of this.” Twilight spoke to herself softly just in case she wasn’t alone. “It has to be a dream, there’s just no other explanation for it.” She stamped her hoof in approval but a jolt of pain ran through her head. It made her gasp in pain and in horror. You couldn’t feel pain like that in a dream, could you?
“It… was that kick… its making me… have hau…”
She was cut off by a loud shrieking scream. A scream that made her tail go stiff and her blood run cold. It was the scream of a little filly, and it seemed to come from every direction, almost as if she was rooted into Twilight’s head. It made her dizzy and her limbs go numb. Her hind legs gave out and she found herself sitting, and eventually lying flat on her stomach. She put her hooves over her ears hoping it would help, but the sound only grew louder.
The screaming became more abrupt and was now being paired with heart wrenching crying. As time went on, it went from a scared scream to that of something of sheer terror and blubbering. The little foal’s screams and sobbing were becoming too much as Twilight frantically looked around for the poor little filly. But as Twilight looked the filly’s screams grew louder still. It powered through all of her senses draining her of everything that she had left. Its intensity grew and grew until finally, Twilight’s determination failed her and she broke down.
Tears were welling up in her eyes. “Stop. Please. Make it stop! Oh, merciful Celestia make it stop!” Fear had won over, she was terrified and she resorted to the only thing she could think of in a situation like this. Misty eyes became tears and eventually sobbing. But she was stronger than this, why was she crying? The horrible screaming continued, feeding off her despair until it stopped abruptly. Twilight listened intently through ringing ears, hoping it wouldn’t return.
The screaming stopped but the panic went on. It made it hard to breath and she couldn’t find it in herself to stop crying. She just wanted to go home and be with her friends, where everything made sense, to where everything was normal. This abstract world made of fright and despair had derailed her entire thought process, and clouded her judgment.
Footsteps echoed in the distance. Twilight quickly raised her head only to be greeted by a very large pony wearing a black cloak. Her ears lowered and with a horror-struck face tried to scream, but nothing came. The black cloak it wore combined with the darkness of the night made the pony menacing and impossible to distinguish any characteristics of the pony.
“So... you’re the one?” The pony spoke in a dark low voice that made Twilight’s hair stand on end. It was dark as the blackest night, but also silky smooth and calm, “Ha. Pathetic.” The clopping from his hooves echoed in Twilight’s mind every time he took a step, closing the gap between them.
“I swear I don’t know what the holders see in ponies like… you.” His voice was filled with hatred and anger, but remained calm and peaceful. “Such weakness.” He sighed loudly. “Groveling on the ground like a little foal that lost its mother.” The pony started circling around Twilight until stopping in front of her, their faces almost touching. “Oh well, it won’t be much of a concern for much longer.”
He laughed and Twilight realized that there was defiantly something wrong with it. It rang in her ears making her entire body shake. He moved his head back as though to meet her gaze, but she knew that whatever was under that hood wasn’t normal. Tears were still flowing down her cheek as she tried to regain her composure.
“Do you really think that you can break-“
“SILENCE!” Just the mere utterance of his voice was enough to make her recoil back. And before she knew it, she felt herself being picked up with a red glow coming from under the pony’s hood. With what strength she had left she kicked madly trying to break free, but with a flash her legs were bound and she was defenseless and completely immobile. The pony moved her closer to him and she averted her gaze to the side, not wanting to even look at him.
He laughed again. “What’s the matter little foal? You don’t want to see my face? Well… we can fix that.” With a flash of red Twilight’s head moved right in front of the hood the pony was wearing. She tried to move her head but it wouldn’t budge. She was his puppet, obeying every command willingly. He slowly brought his hooves over the edge of the hood and lifted it back. Twilight gasped at the sight. She was immediately greeted by his blood red eyes. They had no pupils or irises, just deep, dark pools that stared straight into her soul. Ripples of black and dark red snaked around inside them. It contracted with his dark purple coat that was a surprisingly similar color as hers.
Then she saw his mouth. It stretched from ear to ear inpony like. It was a mouth suited for a snake or a dragon, for as he smiled it showed rows of sharp teeth that looked at her hungrily. Twilight tried not think of what he did with them.
Twilight looked at him in complete shock and fear. His smile just grew bigger. “It’s the teeth isn’t it?” When he spoke his mouth would open wide showing his sharp teeth. “It’s always the teeth. It is one of the marks of a ne…” He stopped suddenly and chucked. “Hmm, almost let that slip.”
Twilight tried using her magic, but found it impossible to even do the simplest of spells in the defeated state she was in.
He laughed at her feeble endeavor, and then sighed with disappointment. “It’s been fun, but this game has grown… tiresome. And I’m afraid that my time is up, but not to worry, we will be seeing each other in the near future.” He looked at her and with his emotionless eyes and opened his mouth. It opened impossibly wide, more than enough for her entire head to fit in. She gazed into the black abyss and screamed. It engulfed her, making everything around her spin impossibly fast. She found movement in her legs again and began to kick wildly hoping that something would connect. But there was nothing… nothing.
Twilight felt herself falling and twisting in the air as she fell. The rushing air was making her mane and tail whip at her body as she continued to plummet into the dark abyss. She had given up trying to comprehend what was happening as her current events had proven that she was crazy or, well she couldn’t think of anything else. There was no explaining, no reasoning, no comprehending, no anything! What was happening was happening and she just let it. She felt lost in the limbo of her mind and the falling abyss. Was this how it felt to pass on?
Then a spark. It stated small, but grew as she fell becoming more brilliant and intense. Its harshness blinded her and made her senses go wild. What was an abyss of black was now a sea of light that embraced her making her fell warm. Making her fell like everything was back to normal. She couldn’t help but feel like it was the work of Celestia, but that would be impossible. Her falling suddenly seized and everything went black.
There was noise, voices and the hard ground underneath her. The blackness she was experiencing wasn’t from unconscious, but from her eyes being closed. She opened them slowly, letting them get adjusted to the light. It took a moment for everything to come into focus. The light cleared and she could see. She could see all of the ponies in the town square gathered around her, looking through concerned eyes. Even her friends where there, and they shared the same expression that everypony else had. Concern and shock.
“What happened to me?” Was all Twilight could manage before finally loosing consciousness.
“What’d ya mean YOU DON’T KNOW?” It was the fuming voice of Rainbow Dash. She was inside Ponyville’s Clinic talking to nurse Redheart. She quickly realized she was shouting and quieted herself so she wouldn’t wake any of the sleeping ponies.
The nurse sighed heavily from frustration and exhaustion. “Rainbow Dash, I understand your concern for Twilight, but there simply isn’t anything further we can do for her.” She had a pained expression on her face. “She suffered a painful kick to the head, and while there is no hemorrhaging, she seems to have suffered some severe mental anguish.”
It was Rainbow’s turn to sigh in exhaustion. She put a hoof to the bridge of her nose to massage it. “I know something is wrong… but it’s nothing Twilight can’t handle. She’ll be back to her old self in no time!” She reassured herself with a hoof stomp.
Redheart looked at Rainbow with sad eyes before adverting her gaze towards Twilight. “I certainly hope so, but she’s been unconscious for three days know. And after a patient has been in this kind of state for more than 72 hours without having any major surgery done.” She stopped herself for a moment to gather her thoughts. “We have no other choice but to announce that she’s in a-“
“Don’t. Say. That. Word.” Rainbow Dash interrupted with a threatening tone. Mentally she was fighting off tears, but she wouldn’t dare show them. Not now.
“I’m sorry Rainbow Dash, I really am. But my hooves are tied.”
“You weren’t there!” The intensity of her voice returned as she cut off Redheart. “Do you have any idea what it’s like to see one of your BEST friends perfectly fine one second and when you come back later she’s… she’s like this!” Rainbow pointed of hoof at Twilight. “To see her with a bruise on her face and, and…” Her voice started cracking and she had to stop.
Nurse Redheart walked over to Rainbow and draped a hoof over Rainbow’s shoulder. “Rainbow trust me… I’m a nurse,” she gave Rainbow Dash a warm smile. “I know what it’s like. I’m here every day attending to sick ponies and worried families. Why don’t you head home, get some rest, and come back tomorrow morning?”
Rainbow Dash looked at her through bloodshot eyes. She was incredibly tired and desperately wanted some sleep. Rainbow Dash had been by Twilight’s side ever since she was admitted to the Clinic over three days ago. She owed Twilight. She was the last of her friends to discover Twilight in the middle of Ponyville’s town square with a… bloody face. In fact, she felt like she was the only pony in all of Ponyville that didn’t know about Twilight’s injury until the nurses themselves arrived. She didn’t see it but apparently Twilight was screaming and flailing around like a drowning filly while she was unconscious. She tried to envision Twilight like that, but all it brought was pain.
She hated being the last at anything, especially when it came to helping her friends. She might not always show it, but her friends meant everything to her. Her life might seem amazing and full of excitement, but in truth, it was nothing without her friends. So she spent almost all her free time in the Clinic with Twilight to make up for it. It made her feel better at least.
“If you don’t mind, do you think I could be alone with Twilight for a while?” Rainbow’s voice was quiet as her mind wondered, deep in thought.
Redheart nodded, “Of course you can.” She walked over to a small bin containing pillows and blankets, and brought some near Twilight’s bed. “You can use these to catch up on some much needed rest. I’ll check up on both of you periodically throughout the night.”
“I don’t need sleep,” Rainbow huffed. She turned her head to the side so Redheart couldn’t see the dark circles under her eyes.
“Now Rainbow Dash,” the “nurse side” of her was coming out. “You’ve been here for three days now, and you NEED rest. Sleep deprivation cannot only cause minor to major fatigue, but it also hinders the immune system making you more prone to succumb to an illness. Not to mention its degenerative ability on cognitive functions.”
Rainbow raised an eyebrow as she starred at the white nurse pony, “Um, what?”
Nurse Redheart’s face lit up with shock. How could she have been so inconsiderate? She couldn’t talk to patients, let alone visitors in such a manor. She was hoping that she didn’t insult Rainbow, “I’m sorry Rainbow Dash.” She looked down trying to hide the obvious blush on her face. “What I mean is that if you don’t get some sleep soon, you won’t be in any condition to be with Twilight because you could end up being a patient yourself.”
Rainbow opened her mouth to argue, but remained silent. Instead she nodded and trotted over to the blanket by Twilight’s bed to lie down.
Redheart raised an eyebrow as she watched Rainbow. “Well I have to say I am surprised. No snide comment? No arguing?”
“Nope.” She said calmly pulling the blanket over her.
Redheart checked Twilight’s vitals one more time before leaving to attend with her other patients. Rainbow Dash waited until Redheart left the room before sitting up and walking over to the window. The sky was dark and gray with swirling clouds, thanks to her request that the pegasus ponies brew up a nice, long thunderstorm for tonight.
“It won’t be long now,” she whispered to herself dragging a hoof down the window. Never in her life had she ever felt this… defeated. This… useless. There lie her friend unconscious on a bed in the corner of the room, and she couldn’t do a thing about it.
She distracted herself by watching some of the ponies filling up the last of the empty spots in the sky with dark clouds like a giant fluffy puzzle. They were putting on the finishing touches as a low rumbling sound echoed in the distance.
Shortly after, the ponies disappeared above the clouds as the rain started to fall. Lightning cracked in the sky with thunder roaring shortly after. Rainbow always loved the rain; it just made her feel safe. It made her feel safe and happy, but she would never tell anypony that.
She went back to the blanket on the floor and starred at Twilight before laying her head down. Something inside her would claw at her every time she had to leave Twilight’s side. It was something new, something foreign, something she never felt before. It was like a strange pain that would that prodded at her soul. Ever since Twilight’s accident, Rainbow has been overcome with guilt and that other emotion, at least she thought it was an emotion. She didn’t know what it was, but it was definitely strong.
Sleep didn’t come easy for the rainbow maned pegasus.
Thunder startled her from sleep’s gentle clutches several hours later with its low rumbling aftershock lingering afterwards. She glanced at the clock on the wall through foggy eyes, and stomped the ground a couple of times in frustration. How could she have awoken so easily from mere thunder, yet Twilight still “slept” like a foal?
She walked over to the window to rest her head against it. Its icy embrace calmed her and relaxed her as the pitter-patter of rain pelted the glass. She opened her eyes to gaze out in the darkness of night. Ponyville remained hidden in the blackness of the storm, only appearing in the flashes of light from the lightning before quickly disappearing again. It made Ponyville seem like a place of darkness and solitude, rather than the cheery town it was.
Rainbow wasn’t sure how long she had been staring at the rain, but it felt like hours. She always wondered how something so dark and depressing could be so peaceful and calming at the same time. She opened the window just enough to let the soothing noise of the rain in, and its annoying wetness out. She was sure it would take her no time at all to fall back asleep, and it might even help Twilight if she can hear it.
There was an incredibly bright flash as lightning danced across the sky, but that wasn’t the only thing in the sky. There was something else. Rainbow squinted her eyes to try and see past the darkness, but found it impossible. Another crack of lightning and the world glowed for an instant.
It was a pegasus!
“Oh my gosh!” The words escaped her as she planted her hooves against the window trying to get a better view. Her mind raced. There was no way a pegasus would be out in a storm like that unless it was…
“Ditzy!” Rainbow shouted, panic racing through her as she galloped out of Twilight’s room and down the hall. “Awww that featherbrain!” Rainbow grunted, nearly running into a teal-maned nurse in the hallway.
Ditzy wouldn’t have known that a storm was scheduled for tonight. Especially if it was done by Rainbow’s request, on the same day!
Her heart felt like it was going to beat out of her chest as she galloped out of the Clinic and into the pouring rain. Within seconds she was soaked and the pelting rain made it difficult to see anything. Winds gusted pasted her almost making her loose her balance and its intensity deafened her hearing. She remembered asking for a “nice and quiet” thunderstorm, not this behemoth!
Her gaze darted across the sky trying to find the missing pony. It took nearly a full minute until another strike of lightning illuminated the sky and Rainbow could just make out the silhouette of a pony high in the clouds.
“Hang on Ditzy, I’m coming!” Rainbow tried yelling over the storm but her voice was drowned out over its rampaging intensity. She took off, her wings beating madly as she tried to fight against the growing storm.
Something was wrong, this wasn’t the same storm she had been watching. This wasn’t calming and soothing, it was intense and monstrous. The pegasus ponies would never make a storm like this one, not without Celestia’s permission, and especially not on such a short notice.
The lightning’s ferocity had increased tenfold. The small bolts from before had transformed into massive pillars of light that branched off in all directions. They seemed to fracture the sky itself with every eye splitting flash. Leaving an overwhelming smell of ozone in its wake that assaulted Rainbow’s senses.
Rainbow Dash was breaking one of the main rules that all pegasus ponies learned in flight school, she could hear her instructor’s voice in her head.
“Now you all know that it’s not the wisest decision to fly late at night. But you should never, I repeat, NEVER fly in a lightning storm! Why you may ask? Well, lightning loves to hit the highest thing in the sky and that’s probably you. And remember nature isn’t kind, it doesn’t have feelings, so it won’t care if it frys you to a crisp. ”
She felt a bit of nostalgia wash over her as she relived the speech she heard probably a hundred times, and now here she was flying smack dab in the middle of the worst thunderstorm she had ever seen. Oh if her instructors could see her now!
A mammoth sized strike of lightning quickly snapped her back to reality. Panic raced through her for her own safety, and that of the mysterious pegasus in the sky. She knew lightning was extremely dangerous, but she had never even seen lightning this intense before. If she didn’t find that pony soon she would have no choice but to leave, it would be foolish to stay.
After more searching she finally found the mysterious pony in the sky and made a bee line straight to it. To her surprise the pegasus was just hovering there as though the storm around it wasn’t a concern at all.
After fighting with the storm for a few moments she finally made her way to the pony. There was a strange glow animating around the pony that and, for whatever reason, it was wearing a dark cloak in the middle of the night.
She approached the hooded pony and noticed that the strange glowing was coming from an object it was holding. It was a dark colored sphere about the size of an apple, but she disregarded it and shoved the pony immediately getting its attention.
“Do you have a death wish or something?!” Rainbow shouted over the storm.
The shove along with the shout was more than enough to startle the pony into dropping the sphere. As it did it let out a terrifying scream and dove straight after it.
Rainbow Dash acted quickly and flew in front of the diving pegasus just in time before a massive strike of lightning flashed only a few yards away. The pony let out a terrifying screech and charged straight at her.
Rainbow Dash barely had enough time to react as it whizzed right past her head. “What is wrong with you!” She managed to shout before it swooped around for another attack. Rainbow Dash out maneuvered it again, but the wind and lightning were making it difficult. The no sleep thing wasn’t helping much either.
The thing let out another bone chilling screech, not that it was hard for her to be chilled with all of the rain, and rushed at Rainbow Dash for a third time. She moved, but this time the pony connected smashing hard into her side with its head.
It didn’t hurt at the time but it knocked the wind out of her, and before she knew it, she was falling, fast. She plummeted for a second before instinct and her training took over. She immediately fanned out her wings and went from falling to gliding. After a brief moment to recoup, she flapped her wings and bolted off in the direction of the pony. She wasn’t going to be showed up by some crazy pegasus that liked to play in the rain.
“You wanna dance, Then let’s dance!” She shouted at the top of her lungs. She didn’t know what came over her. She knew she could be a little hotheaded sometimes, but was she really fighting some crazed pony in a lightning storm?
She charged as fast as her wings would let her, but she quickly stopped as a bright light shined around the pony. It engulfed the pony forming a giant sphere around it, and in a bright flash, it was gone. Vanished.
Rainbow Dash just hovered there, awestruck. Was all of this some crazy mind trick from lack of sleep, or was it real? A crack of lightning soon halted her thought process, again, and brought her back to reality as she quickly dove done and landed on the muddy ground. Her landing wasn’t exactly graceful but it got the job done. She trotted back towards the Clinic, her body shacking. In all of her excitement, she didn’t realize that the rain was freezing her.
Her trot turned into a gallop as she raced to get out of the rain, but it doing so, tripped and fell into a puddle of mud. She looked to see what she had tripped over and found the object the pony was holding. She picked up the apple sized object and ran back to the Clinic, not stopping until she was inside the lobby.
Nurse Redheart came running in after all the commotion, she had a fearful look on her face when she saw Rainbow Dash out of breath and covered in mud. “Oh my goodness! Rainbow Dash what have you been doing outside?”
Rainbow spat out the gray sphere and started telling her about the pony outside, but all that came out was a groan, and she felt herself falling again. She barely heard Redheart yelling to summon the other nurses as consciousness slipped away from Rainbow Dash.
Rainbow Dash had never blacked out before, and she certainly didn’t like that fact of waking up in one of the Clinic beds. The events from last night, at least she thought it was the next day, came flooding back. Did all of that really happen, or was it all a dream?
She felt incredibly weak as she strained herself to sit up. She felt like everything was in a haze as she sat there until she noticed she was in a bed similar to Twilights. Great now she was a patient. She looked around, taking in her surroundings, as something on the small desk by her bed caught her eye. It was gray, had some sort of strange marking on it, and it was roughly the size of an apple.
Rainbow gasped. “So, I… I wasn’t dreaming?” There was a certain shock in her voice from the realization of last night.
“Unfortunately, you weren’t,” Rainbow turned to see nurse Redheart trotting into the room, and she wasn’t pleased. “So are you going to tell me why you had such an urge to go for a joy flight in the middle of the night, and in a thunderstorm no less?” She asked with an unpleasant sharpness.
Rainbow wasn’t sure how to answer, but just decided on telling her the events of last night. Which she found to be much more of a challenge than she realized.
Redheart had a very quizzical look on her face. “So you’re telling me that you were attacked last night by another pony?” Rainbow nodded, “Another pegasus pony, in a thunderstorm?” Rainbow nodded again and Redheart sighed, “I’m sorry Rainbow Dash, but that’s utterly preposterous.”
“But it really happened!” Rainbow gaped and looked around trying to think of something that would prove her story, until her gaze came across the strange stone. She fumbled for it trying to show it to Redheart. “See,” She held up the stone in a hoof. “That crazy pony was holding this… thing. So that proves it,” she said with a smirk.
Redheart looked at her with a blank stare. “A rock…” Redheart paused just long enough to make Rainbow feel uncomfortable. “A rock proves your story?”
“This isn’t just some rock. It was glowing and stuff,” Rainbow corrected.
“Well it’s not now, and it looks like a rock,” Redheart blew her mane out of her eyes. She had to pull an all-nighter last night, thanks to Rainbow Dash. And her tidy mane was desperately trying to escape the clutches of her nurse hat, with moderate success. “Forgive me if I don’t believe you, but not only is your story highly unlikely. It’s also probably all in your head.”
“In my head!” She shouted banging her hooves on the bed. “I’m pretty sure I knew what happened last night.” She turned her head away in a snobbish manner.
Redheart looked shocked at Rainbow’s outburst, but brushed it off. “I have to say that I’m surprised that you were able to make such a decent recovery in only about nine hours of sleep. You were suffering from mild hypothermia, and major sleep dev-“
“I slept for THAT long!” Rainbow Dash had jumped out of her bed and was now floating in front of Redheart. “Tell me doc, how is Twilight doing?” Her voice softened and was now filled with guilt.
“Well technically, I’m not a doctor. But she woke up a few hours ago, and is resting now.”
Rainbow had a look of pure joy as she turned around and started flying off, but soon realized she wasn’t going anywhere. She felt a pressure on her tail and looked around to see Redheart biting onto her tail much like Applejack had done so many times before. She quickly dropped down and looked at the exhausted mare.
Redheart spat out Rainbow’s tail, “Now, I know you’re excited, but you can’t go barging in her room like a Manticore out of the Everfree Forest!” Rainbow went to say something, but just let her continue instead. “I know this is going to be hard for you, but you’re going to have to be gentle. Twilight has gone through a lot, and she’s not as… tough as you are. The last thing she needs right now is you coming in startling her or worse. Okay?”
Rainbow nodded and smiled. “I’m sorry about all the trouble I’ve caused you Redheart, and thanks for everything.” And with that she turned around and started trotting out of the room, but remembered that strange stone. She picked it up with her mouth and put it under her wing.
Maybe Twilight knew what it was.
She trotted down the hall until she reached Twilight’s room. The door was closed and she took the opportunity to think of what to say to Twilight. She could her voices from inside the room. One was Twilights and the other she couldn’t make out because it was too quiet, but she figured it was probably Fluttershy.
She opened the door gently with her nose and saw both Twilight and Fluttershy looking at her as she entered.
“Hey guys,” She managed while walking over to Fluttershy by Twilight’s bed.
“Oh, hi Rainbow dash.” Fluttershy said in her timid voice. “Is everything ok?”
“Yeah why wouldn’t it?” Responded Rainbow.
“Oh, I’m sorry.” Fluttershy lowered her ears and looked down from Rainbow Dash. “But, umm I just heard from one of the nurses that you blacked out last night… and I was making sure that you were okay.”
Rainbow Dash facehooved as she heard the news from Fluttershy. If Fluttershy knew, then everypony would know that she passed out.
“Oh, it’s nothing to be ashamed of,” Fluttershy said trying to reassure her friend. “I do it all the time and it doesn’t bother me.” Fluttershy laughed softly.
“Ya, maybe for somepony afraid of her own shadow, but not a pony like me!” Rainbow flew into the air, but in doing so, made her drop the strange sphere. It bounced loudly before rolling near Twilight’s bed.
Fluttershy let out a small “Eep” as she jumped out of the way of the rolling ball. It rolled all the way to the desk near the bed before finally stopping.
“Rainbow, what is that?” Twilight’s voice hadn’t fully returned, but sounded superb for being out for over three days.
Rainbow Dash scratched the back of her head with her hoof in embarrassment. “Sorry Twilight, I guess I should’ve been more careful.” Rainbow walked over and picked up the stone in her mouth.
“No it’s quite alright, but what is it?” Twilight asked again.
Rainbow set the stone on Twilight’s bed. “Well, I was hoping you would help me on that, because I have no idea.”
Twilight picked up the stone in her hooves to examine it. But as she picked it up, it started glowing dimly. Fluttershy hide behind Rainbow and Twilight immediately dropped it.
“Wow Twilight!” Rainbow beamed. “What did you do? I held it a bunch of times and it never did that.” Excitement flooded through Rainbow as she couldn’t help herself but to start hovering in the air leaving Fluttershy on the ground by herself.
“Well I’d certainly say so, because this thing is filled with an immense amount of magical energy.” Twilight had a troubled look on her face. “I’ve studied magical objects for years, and never once have I ever held something that actually gave me a rush of magical energy like this one.”
Rainbow’s excitement quickly died at the expression on Twilight’s face. She grounded herself and walked up to Twilight. “So, is that a bad thing?” Even Fluttershy poked her head out from behind a desk to get a better look.
“Well, I’m not sure,” Twilight said. “The only thing I can think of is a talisman, but that’s impossible because all of them were destroyed eons ago.”
“Oh, that sounds scary Twilight.” Fluttershy had built up enough courage to stop hiding behind the desk and approach Twilight. “So, what’s it supposed to do?”
Twilight cleared her throat, more than happy to give her fiends a lesson on history. “Well, it is believed that they were used by our ancestors to perform extremely powerful spells. Spells that would normally drain all the magical energy of a unicorn in seconds. So, they built talismans to augment their magical abilities, allowing them to do certain magic for hours on end, instead of just seconds.” Twilight took a moment to catch her breath.
“Please Twilight, don’t stain yourself for us.” Fluttershy’s worried voice even had Rainbow concerned.
“Thanks Fluttershy, but I’ll be fine.” Twilight Readjusted herself in her bed before continuing. “As I was saying, these things carry some pretty incredible magic. And the only way to make one was by getting a group of about 50 unicorns together, so they could perform the crafting spell.” Twilight looked off into the distance. “Just imagine the sheer amount of magical energy needed to perform just one spell.” Twilight nearly zoned out as she spoke.
Rainbow Dash picked up the stone sphere and looked it over. “Doesn’t seem all that magical to me.” She lied. After hearing what Twilight said, she was certain that it was this “thing” that made the storm so intense last night.
“How did you even find it?” Twilight asked with concern in her voice.
Panic spread throughout Rainbow Dash as she thought about what happened last night, and if she should tell anyone. “Oh, ya know,” She wavered a hoof at Twilight. “I was just walking outside when I tripped over it.”
“You just found it on the ground?” Twilight asked skeptically.
Rainbow nodded. “Yup, so it’s probably just some regular old stone and not one of the tally-things, or whatever you called them.”
“Talismans,” Twilight corrected. “And I can’t know for sure unless I actually use it.”
After seeing what it did to that storm last night, this thing could blow up for all Rainbow knew. And it definitely didn’t seem like something Twilight should have with all her magical talents. So she decided to get rid of it. Even if it wasn’t a talisman, it was still probably bad news.
Rainbow jumped as the sphere started to glow and float out of her hooves, but it wasn’t doing so on its own accord. Twilight was using her magic to levitate it back over towards the bed, before dropping it in her hooves.
She let it roll in between her hooves examining it. It started glowing a dim gray, and the marking in the middle lit up.
“How strange.” Twilight said examining the strange orb closer. She let out a soft sigh before continuing. “If this is a talisman, than all I have to do is accept its magical capabilities, if there is any of course. And I’ll be able to see if it’s for augmenting spells, creating spells, or something completely different entirely.”
“Um, Twilight?” Rainbow Dash was hesitant at how to form her words. “Before you go and do that, I have a question.” She waited for a second before continuing, “Can non-magical ponies use talismans? Like pegasus ponies?” Her question didn’t roll of her tongue easy as she wanted it to as she remembered the events from last night and the mysterious pegasus that was using that orb.
Twilight brought a hoof to ponder the question for a moment. “Well… I believe so.” She racked her brain trying to remember the information in one of her old books about ancient magical items and tomes. “If memory serves me right, a pegasus or earth pony could wield talismans if they themselves were already given an object that gave them some sort of magical ability. It of course would be fake, like an augment of an augment. But would work nonetheless.”
“An-augment-of-a-what-now?” Rainbow Dash tilted her head to the side as she spoke.
“Let me see… Oh, I know!” Twilight said raising a hoof in the air. “Let’s say an earth pony was given a necklace that would supplement their endurance so they wouldn’t burn out after a hard day’s work. Much like they would have eons ago.” She added. “But if you really wanted to increase that pony’s performance you could use a talisman, along with the necklace. And in turn, would basically turn the pony into a machine, never tiring out as long as the talisman is working with the necklace.”
Rainbow Dash bit her lip. “What about if a unicorn casts a spell that like… I don’t know, affects an entire area of something.” She tried to think of a good example, but just fell onto the events from last night. “Like if a unicorn casted a spell to cause a thunderstorm, could a pegasus or earth pony use it to make it stronger?” She already sure what the answer was, but she had to confirm it with Twilight.
Twilight looked at Rainbow Dash with astonishment. “Why yes… that is exactly how one could be used, if you had a unicorn strong enough to make an entire thunderstorm and the correct talisman to amplify it.” Twilight paused wondering why Rainbow Dash was still asking questions about something that she normally would look twice at. “But not in Ponyville, because the weather is made by pegasus ponies and not directly by magic.”
“Oh okay…” She thought for sure that’s what the pony last night was using it for. “Oh well, I guess I’m just-“She had to cut herself off, she didn’t mean to say that OUT LOUD!
“You guess what?” It was Fluttershy’s turn to ask a question. She turned to look at Rainbow Dash and noticed she was uncomfortable. “Oh… well if you don’t want to answer… that’s okay.”
Rainbow Dash looked around a bit nervously. “Hey Twilight weren’t you gonna show us what that talisman thing does?” She asked, quickly trying to change the subject.
Twilight gasped and looked at the sphere nestled between her legs on the bed. “Yeah, I completely forgot about it.” Twilight picked up the orb and cradled it in her hooves. “Now this takes concentration, so please try not to disturb me.” She warned her friends.
The sphere began glowing again as Twilight held it. The rush of magical energy she was receiving was intense and surprisingly calming. She felt all of her worries about everything just lift and melt away. It left her feeling oddly satisfied and fulfilled. However, the feelings were off-putting… they felt forced. She knew the feelings were fake, but there was something else underlying them. She couldn’t quite put her hoof on it but it just made her feel uneasy.
“Okay, I’m about to start.” Twilight informed her friends as her full attention went back to the sphere. Instead of just activating it and hoping that nothing serious would happen, she just decided to use a revealing spell, much like the one she used for the book. Her horn glowed a dull yellow as she concentrated on the sphere. She thought the reveal spell would be just as difficult as it was with the book. However, unlike the book, the orb gave to the reveling spell with relative ease. Before she knew it, she was rooting around inside the spell matrix of the sphere.
It was so simple! She would have jumped for joy if she was so in-tuned with her spell, and confined to a bed. It was also unlike anything Twilight had ever experienced before. She was sitting in a limbo of blackness, with bodies of text and diagrams floating around everywhere. And she could just walk over to one and start reading it. It was just like reading the contents of a book, well if those books were like posters floating around in midair. It was like looking at a giant map floating in her head. All she had to do was just find the information section of that map and she would be golden.
Before long, the entire map was hers, and it only took a second to find the information section. She let out a satisfied sigh when she finally found it. To her surprise it was a talisman, or at least it shared the same properties as a talisman, but it was crude and quickly put together. There were gaps all over the matrix map that confirmed this, and she was disappointed to discover that it was built for only one purpose. All it did was augment the visuals and amount of rain in a… thunderstorm?
While it was crude and felt rushed on the maker’s end, it was still incredibly complex. It was nowhere close to a real talisman, but still had so much potential that someday it might be nearly as powerful as its ancestor.
She rummaged around the matrix for a little longer, taking mental notes and looking for more information. She was about to leave, until she came across a strange caption that caught her eye. She looked through it and found a body of text, it was a trademark of sorts.
“Original design and concept based off General N’s idea for Combat Ready Magical Amplifiers or CRMAs for short. This IS a prototype version and won’t do any real damage, but will sure scare the hell of someone when they experience it! We’ll show those bastards that war can be a mental game as well as a physical one. Again all respect and praise goes to the General.
unicorn division of magical technology.”
Twilight continued looking through the wall of text floating in her head. She was looking for something else that might be useful, something that would tell her about the history of it. She was hoping to see a date or something listed at the bottom, but instead was a picture. A picture of a larger unicorn with gold armor, the same unicorn that was in her book! Only here, he was listed as “General N”. There was something else past the picture, a letter:
Please forgive me for using one of these orbs as a host for my letter to you, but this lack of communication is unnerving. I’ve tried talking to my brother about how we should use these as weapons, and he said we shouldn’t. I should have known he’d say something like that. My brother was never one to embrace new ideas, but he follows orders and is pretty dependable in combat, so I can’t complain. I swore I saw him take out three of those demons all by himself. They weren’t fully matured warriors, mind you, but still impressive all the same. I don’t even think I could have done that…
On a different note, we finally have a prototype version of a CRMA and its all thanks to you of course, but I’ve yet to see much use of such objects. Sure, they’re fun to use and give one hell of a show, but they’re just illusions right? I mean, they manifest and project magical energy, but it doesn’t seem like much of a weapon. But of course, this is just what I’ve seen and heard. I have no idea what you see, but I’ve seen crazier things happen so I’ll just sit tight and wait for further orders.
One of my younger stallions was looking through some of the specs you sent us for new designs. I have to say, if what he says is true, then I’m not impressed. One that simulates a sunset, are you serious? How is that any use to us at all! What are we going to make them do, sit on their rumps and watch the pretty sun go down while we slaughter their kin before them? You always told me to tell you if a plan or design would fall short of your expectations, but I think it’s your entire plan that’s the problem. Maybe my curiosity wants more than just weather manipulation and I can’t see a bigger picture you have painted in your mind, but something to go on would be nice.
I also received the letters you sent me, you know, the ones only meant for my eyes and my eyes only. I spent several hours reading over them, and I have to say that you’ve really outdone yourself this time sir. But the only thing is, well… I’ve never even seen magic like this before. I can’t say that my brother would approve, but screw him and his self-righteous ways! He doesn’t like change! His mind is closed tighter than a mare’s training barding clasped onto a pig! But this isn’t about him, so back to the matter at hand, this is some really powerful stuff. If everything in those letters is true, then… Is this really what this war has escalated to? If so, then those bastards deserve everything that’s coming to them!
I do believe that if we train our soldiers to
your faithful Commander”
The letter ended abruptly, probably changed by somepony trying to keep the rest hidden from prying eyes such as Twilights.
Twilight’s mind was racing. When in all of Equestria’s history was there a need for magic to be used in combat? When was there a need for combat? Equestria had a General? THERE WAS A WAR?! Who was this Lieutenant Bluemoon? As her questions blossomed, she lost control of her spell and the world around her shattered, returning her to the real world of inside the Clinic.
Twilight was flustered and breathing a little heavily as reality snapped back into place.
“OH my goodness!” Fluttershy shouted, which wasn’t much louder than a normal pony talking. “Twilight, are you okay?”
“Yup just fine.” She said calmly after regaining herself. Twilight’s mind wasn’t racing anymore, it was exploding! She had hundreds of questions about the “talisman” she held in her hooves, about how it might be related to the mysterious book she had at home, and about Rainbow Dash.
Rainbow Dash is never curious about stuff that was for “eggheads,” as she would say. Yet she was awful curious about this magical stone. Twilight wasn’t exactly sure if Rainbow was hiding something or not, but fact that she specifically asked if it would augment the weather and, in turn, that’s exactly what it was designed for. Along with the fact that she passed out last night
after coming in from a thunderstorm. There’s no way that was all coincidence. Rainbow Dash knew something, and Twilight was determined to find out what.
“So did you find out what that Stone thing does?” Rainbow Dash asked interrupting Twilight’s train of thought.
Twilight gazed at Rainbow, Her mind quickly hatched a plan to get the two of them alone for a while at least. “Well sort of, but I’m going to need a couple of books to confirm my theory.” She looked at Fluttershy. “Fluttershy I’m sorry to ask you this, but would you do me a favor and go to my house and pick up a couple of books for me?”
Fluttershy had an apprehensive look on her face for only a moment until nodding he head. “Of course Twilight, but ummmm… I’m not sure I’ll be able to find them for you. You do have quite a collection of books.”
Twilight levitated some of the stationary from the desk near her bed and starting writing down the titles of the books she “needed.” “Don’t worry Fluttershy, I only need two books and they shouldn’t be hard to find.” She tore off the sheet of paper and floated it over to Fluttershy, “If you have any problems, just ask Spike, he should know where they are.”
Fluttershy took the piece of paper in her mouth a nodded to let Twilight know she understood.
“Thank you so much Fluttershy!” Twilight hugged Fluttershy the best she could in bed. “It should only take about 15 minutes, maybe longer depending on if you fly or walk.”
Fluttershy nodded again and trotted outside of the room. Twilight waited until the clops from Fluttershy’s hooves were hardly audible until turning to Rainbow Dash.
“Soooo Rainbow Dash,” Twilight said with a smile on her face. “You said you found this on the ground?”
“Ya,” She gulped. “Where else would you find a rock?”
Twilight didn’t like “beating around the bush,” so she just came out with it. “Rainbow did you have a dream last night, that didn’t turn out to be a dream?” She was hoping that maybe Rainbow had a similar experience that she had a few days ago.
“I… I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Rainbow said almost stuttering.
“Oh come on,” Twilight held up the talisman in her hoof. “One doesn’t simply just ‘stumble’ upon something like this.”
“Well I did!” Rainbow shouted crossing her hooves in defense. “There sure are a lot of clumsy ponies in Equestria, maybe somepony important dropped it.”
“That’s valid reasoning,” Twilight spoke softly. “But there still is one more question that needs answering.” Twilight took Rainbow Dash’s confused face as reassurance to continue, “Why did you go outside last night?”
The question threw her off guard and she quickly thought of a lie, “I wanted to go for a little flight. I just wanted to clear my head, that’s all.” She said calmly, hoping it would seem more convincing.
“In a thunderstorm, when pegasus ponies are not permitted to fly?” Twilight asked skeptically.
Rainbow Dash opened her mouth, but the only thing that came out was a defeated sigh. “I guess there’s no getting anything passed an egghead like you?” Rainbow smiled softly and sat on the far end of Twilight’s bed.
Rainbow Dash told Twilight everything about the previous night’s events.
“I see…” Was all Twilight could mutter after what Rainbow told her about the savage pony in the sky and the storm.
“I bet you’re thinking I’m crazier than Pinkie Pie right now, arnt’cha?” Rainbow asked twiddling her hooves in her lap.
Twilight beckoned Rainbow to move closer, and closer until their faces were only inches apart. “Now, did you tell any other pony what happened last night?” Twilight’s whisper was so soft that Rainbow still had to strain to hear what she asked.
“I told Redheart, but she said it was all in my head or something,” Rainbow said, and was immediately hushed by Twilight.
“Keep your voice down,” Twilight said double checking that the room was empty. “I had something very similar happen to me only it felt like a dream,” Her voice was shaky but remained calm. “I don’t want anypony else knowing about what really happened to us, I don’t know if there is a connection between them or not. However, in the meantime it’s our secret, okay?”
Rainbow Dash nodded and moved to the far end of the bed, it was fair to say that it might have been just a little bit awkward if anypony came in with the two of them so… close. And not a moment too soon as Rarity trotted in the room, her delicate hooves clopping louder than usual due to her being slightly encumbered by two massive saddle bags strapped to her back.
“Why good afternoon Twilight,” Rarity said. “It’s so nice to see you among the living as they would say.” She gave a slight chuckle and looked at Rainbow Dash, “And how are you doing my dear? From what I heard you really shouldn’t be walking around just yet.”
“Well I’m standing here aren’t I?” Rainbow retorted.
Rarity walked closer to Rainbow Dash, “What happened last night darling?” Her voice was calm and full of concern.
The question came quick and unexpected. Rainbow looked towards Twilight only to receive a silent shushing motion to remind her of their secret. “Well the storm woke me up and…” Rainbow dash bit her lip trying up a convincing lie, “and… I was just watching the storm when… when I saw a pegasus outside and...”
“Oh my goodness,” Rarity interrupted. “Nopony in their right mind would ever fly in a thunderstorm unless it was…” Rarity gasped at the sudden realization, “oh dear.”
“Exactly,” there was almost a cold sternness as rainbow spoke. “So when I saw the pegasus in the sky, I acted instead of thinking.” She lowered her head; for the most part she was telling exactly what happened last night. “But once I was out there, there was no pony… it was all in my head.”
Rarity walked up and gave her rainbow maned friend a hug. “Oh you poor thing,” She let go of the hug and looked at Rainbow with her big eyes. “You might be brash and daft at times, but your heart is always in the right place.”
“Ya I guess,” Rainbow sighed. “But how in the heck does everypony know that I’ve been in the Clinic?” She beat her wings madly before jumping into the air, “Is there a sign over my head or something?”
Rarity stepped back and let her friend finish her litter outburst before talking. “Well… when you were under some rather popular ponies decided to visit Ponyville looking for none other than you.”
“Oh ya,” Rainbow said with an I-don’t-care attitude. “Well who was it? Hoity Toity wanting me to model some more of your dresses again?”
Rarity’s face twisted in nervousness as she spoke, “Well not exactly darling,” She paused as she bit her lip.
“Well than who was it?!” Rainbow shouted, she was in no mood for a guessing game.
“The Wonderbolts…” her voice almost sounded distant as she spoke.
Rainbow’s eyes widened to the size of saucers as her wings failed her and she landed on her rump. “Th… THE won… Wonderbolts…” she stuttered, “came looking for m-ME!” She pointed to herself as she spoke.
Rarity nodded in excitement, “Yes darling, they arrived earlier this morning looking for you. They wanted to apologize to how they ignored you at the Gala, and wanted to spend the day with you.”
“Bu-But it’s been months since the Gala,” Rainbow said in disbelief. “Surely they wouldn’t come all the way to Ponyville… just for me?”
“Oh but darling they did, they even stopped by the Clinic to check up on you, but Redheart wasn’t allowing ANY visitors. She’s dedicated to her job to say the least,” Rarity spoke from experience as she too was denied visiting her friend.
Rarity saw the concern and fear on Dash’s face and tried her best to calm Rainbow, “Now if you hurry you can still catch them in Ponyville’s Town Hall.”
“But I can’t just le-“
“Rainbow Dash listen to me,” Twilight interrupted. “You’ve been with me for far too long. I wouldn’t have even asked Spike to help me as much as you did.” She smiled warmly, “You’ve done more than enough and the only way I can repay you is to ask that you do me a favor.”
“You want to repay me with me doing you a favor?” Rainbow asked confused.
Twilight laughed, “I know it sounds strange but hear me out. You being around me all this time is making me feel guilty and anxious.” Twilight coughed several times trying to sound dramatic, “And if I’m ever going to get better, you’re going to have to leave.”
Rainbow Dash almost felt hurt by what Twilight said, “Twilight… are you sure?”
“Positive,” Twilight shook her head. “And after what happened last night, you definitely deserve a break.” Twilight coughed again, “Now go before you make me feel even worse.”
“Aye aya!” Rainbow saluted as she quickly raced for the exit of the room, but paused once she got there. “Thanks Twilight…” and in a flash she took off, feeling relieved that her friend was better and that strange feeling was no longer present.
Twilight always admired Rainbow Dash, but she never knew that her friend was capable of such… compassion. She stayed with Twilight for over three days, passed out from trying to save a confused mare in a thunderstorm, and still felt guilty not being by Twilight’s side on only a few hours of sleep. Her loyalty towards her friends was certainly uncanny.
Twilight chuckled at the thought; she was the element of loyalty after all.
“Oh how could I have been so forgetful?” Rarity whined breaking Twilight’s concentration. She searched through her saddle bag for a moment until pulling out a small, neatly wrapped, golden scroll with her magic. “This was given to me yesterday morning by one of the handsome guard ponies… oh what I would give to be to have all those guards at my every beck and call…”
“A letter from the Princess?” Twilight asked while going to break its seal but noticed it was already broken, but read the letter regardless.
Twilight Sparkle, my faithful Student,
How are you? I received word yesterday that you were in some sort of accident, and have been hospitalized for over a day now. I heard it was a possible trampling. If that’s the case then there is going to be some major changes next time the traders come to Ponyville. However, I regret to inform you that I will not be able to visit you in-pony, for my royal duties come first it seems. There is a lot of commotion coming from Manehattion lately. About strange ponies showing up and then suddenly disappearing, and unfortunately I’m the only one that can fix such problems. If things worsen you can always write to my sister, Luna. She’ll be more than willing to help if anything serious comes up. But please, do so only in an emergency, as she is busy as well. I do hope you get well soon.
Your proud teacher,
PS: I sent for Spike to stay at Canterlot with me until your condition improves, so you won’t have to worry about him. You should see him in about a week’s time.
“I’m sorry dear but the guard asked me if I would read the letter as well.” Rarity said nervously, “Otherwise I never would have read it.”
“Rarity you don’t have to apologize for that.” Twilight was slightly depressed. With Spike being away in Canterlot, that meant she had no choice but to stay in the Clinic until she recovered fully. She could probably do just fine by herself, but there was no getting pass Redheart, especially after being unconscious for such a long time.
“Don’t worry Twilight; I know what you’re thinking.” Twilight looked at Rarity with a quizzical look on her face. “You’re thinking that you can’t stand to stay in a place like… this, for any longer.” Rarity stuck her nose in the air, “And I couldn’t agree with you more, so that’s why I’m taking you home and watching over you for the next couple of days.”
Twilight was shocked. Why were all of her friends so generously giving up their time just for her? “Rarity I don’t expect you to do something like that…”
“Oh nonsense dear,” she walked closer to Twilight. “It’s the least I can do for you, and for Rainbow Dash. Celestia bless her, she’s been here so long.”
Twilight looked down, guilt forming in the pit of her stomach. “I didn’t ask her to stay here the entire time…”
“You didn’t have to dear, she did it all on her own accord.” Rarity placed a hoof on Twilight’s shoulder for reassurance, “Now nurse Redheart will be in here shortly with a wheel chair to take you home. And if there’s ANYTHING that you need darling, anything at all, just let me know.”
Twilight simply shook her head and leaned back in bed. It was going to be nice to be back at home and away from this Clinic. All she could really think about was that book she had at home. Last time her and that book met she was victorious in revealing some of its secrets, secrets that led to more secrets unfortunately. She thought for a moment, should Rarity know about the book, or the talisman? Is that really something to concern her with? However, Rarity was a unicorn, and a fresh mind might be able to shine some new insight on her ordeal.
“Twilight,” Rarity’s voice was smooth and full of concern. “Are you sure that there isn’t anything I can help you with, you look awfully deep in thought dear?”
Twilight shook her head again as nurse Redheart walked in pulling an old, battered wheelchair that squeaked nosily as it moved. She walked over to Rarity and undid the crude harness around her neck and shoulders.
She cleared her voice and said, “I’ve been informed that you are the one who will be taking care of Twilight while she is at home recovering. Is this correct?” She waited for Rarity’s nod and continued, “In that case, you will have to give her one of these every 6 to 8 hours for the pain.” She floated a white colored pill bottle over towards Rarity. “Also, you will have to wake her every hour while she sleeps.”
“Why must I do that? I thought you were supposed to rest when you were ill?”
Nurse Redheart sighed, “Yes that is true when somepony is ill or has a normal injury, but it is possible that Twilight might have a slight concussion from the wound she suffered. And if that’s the case then you MUST wake her every hour while she sleeps as a precaution.”
“Well if you don’t mind me asking,” Rarity said, “why didn’t you do that while she was unconscious for so long?”
“Twilight was in a coma like state for that amount of time.” Redheart’s words were cold and stern, “Now, will you be able to wake her every hour, on the hour?”
Rarity nodded in agreement and Redheart trotted over to Twilight.
“Now,” Redheart said, “I’m not comfortable with you leaving the Clinic after just recently waking up, but your friend over there was pretty persuasive.” She sighed, “And of course make sure you eat, get plenty of rest, and for the love of all Celestia, don’t overexert yourself!”
“Don’t worry Redheart, I’ll be careful,” Twilight reassured. Then Redheart and Rarity carried her to the wheelchair and strapped the harness to Rarity. Rarity wasn’t pleased having the harness strapped onto like some sort of pack mule, but she brushed off the feeling for Twilight’s sake.
“I sure do hope that you appreciate this dear,” Rarity chuckled.
“Rarity you have no idea how much-“
Rarity shushed her before Twilight could finish, “You don’t need to say anything Twilight darling.” She said, leaving the Clinic and making her way towards Twilight’s home.
“I have to say, that’s quite a fascinating story you have there, “Rarity said while helping her friend into bed. “I would be more than glad to help once I have all of our stuff unpacked.”
“You mean once you have all of your stuff unpacked,” Twilight smiled. “All I really have is my medicine.” Twilight laughed snuggling into her own blankets for a change. She didn’t care how comfortable the bed at Clinic was, nothing compared to her own bed. Its fluffy mattress, warm blankets, and soft linen sheets would calm even the angriest of dragons. Also, she could rest in ease knowing that all of her friends were safe at home. Even Fluttershy, who they met on the way to Twilight’s home carrying nearly half a dozen of books back to the Clinic.
Rarity chuckled “Oh, and this…” Rarity floated out the talisman, “Thing.” She eyed it over for a moment before asking, “Twilight, what is this thing? I saw it on the edge of your bed so I thought it must be yours.”
Twilight facehooved, hitting off to the side of her face so she wouldn’t hit the wound on her face, how could she have forgotten about the talisman? It was the only lead she had for the book and she would have forgot it back at the Clinic if Rarity hadn’t grabbed it.
“Oh thank you Rarity,” Twilight would have given her a hug if she wasn’t confined to her bed. She then levitated it over towards the bed. “This marvelous little thing is a talisman, and it’s the only link I have with the book I told you about and… well, anything.”
Rarity looked at the talisman and back at Twilight. “I’m sorry dear, but I just don’t believe that that is a talisman.” She walked over to Twilight’s window and fixed the curtain with her magic. “Besides it’s much too small, isn’t it?”
Twilight’s jaw dropped, she had no idea that Rarity had knowledge on talismans, let alone anything magical besides anything that had to do with appearance. “Rarity how… how did you know that?”
Rarity laughed lightly, “You’d be surprised at the kinds of classes you need to take to run a boutique as marvelous as mine.”
“Classes?” Twilight asked confused.
“Why of course darling,” Rarity said. “You have to take classes if you want to be granted a license for… this or that.”
This was all new for Twilight, but then again she never really studied up on the legal system in Equestria when she was in school. “What sort of licenses would you need Rarity?”
“Oh…” She brought a hoof to her mouth to ponder for a moment. “Well there’s one if you want to open a business, one if you want to manage said business, one for allowing me to sell magically infused attire, one for selling anything with magic, and there’s the one for…” Rarity paused and looked down in dread for a moment.” There’s the one… I had to file to make me the legal guardian for Sweetie Belle.”
“Rarity I’m sorry I didn’t mean to bring up anything that might have been painful.” Twilight said with sincerity.
“Oh it’s quite all right darling,” she gave Twilight a warm smile. “The past is the past and there is nothing you can do about that. Now, isn’t it time for your medicine?”
Twilight glanced at the clock and nodded at Rarity. With all of the talking she hadn’t really noticed the pain creeping across her forehead.
Rarity floated out the small bottle from Twilight’s desk and opened it with her magic. She placed two of the pills on the bed, and capped the bottle. “I’ll fetch you a glass of water dear, don’t worry I’ll only be a moment.”
Twilight watched Rarity graceful leave the room until she slumped down in her bed. Her head hurt but it wasn’t so bad that she needed to be bed ridden. But she wasn’t certain what the other ponies saw when she was unconscious in the town square. She had heard from Fluttershy that she was failing around so much that Applejack had to hold her down just restrain her. She had half a mind to just fall asleep, but didn’t want burdening guilt of having Rarity wake her every hour, on the hour.
Then her eyes caught a glimpse of the gray book lying hidden in the dark corners of her room where the light of the lamp failed to reach. She sighed knowing that it was useless, especially in her present state, to try and discover any of its mysterious meanings.
Boredom won out over logic and she levitated the book off the desk and straight onto the floor with a loud “THUD” as it landed flat on its side. A sharp pain jabbed at her head and made her concentration fail, causing her to drop the book.
Twilight heard the soft clop of Rarity’s hooves as she raced up the stairs and burst into the room with a mostly full glass of water floating at her side. “I heard a crash, are you okay darling?”
“Just fine Rarity,” Twilight said grunting through the pain as she rubbed the sore area around her horn. “I just wanted to look at that book… but it was too heavy and I dropped it.” She pointed to the massive book on the floor.
“Oh thank goodness,” Rarity said relieved. “For a moment I thought that you had rolled out of bed or something.” She laughed slightly as she picked up the book with her magic, “This thing has caused you quite a bit of problems, hasn’t it dear?”
Twilight took the book and glass from Rarity, “You could say that again. You have no idea how much anguish just a book can cause me.” She took her medicine. The pain numbed almost instantly as she swallowed, “Whoa, these are amazing!”
“Now that you’ve had your medication, I think it’s time for some rest.”
There was a slight side effect from the medicine that made Twilight feel woozy, but other than that, she felt great. She picked up the large book with her magic, while there was pain again, it was greatly diminished.
“Oh Twilight dear,” Rarity said with concern. “I really don’t think that you should be using your magic so extensively.” She formed her own magical aura around the book and pulled it away from Twilight. “And besides, isn’t time you had some rest?”
Twilight felt Rarity’s magic overpower her own as the book started to float to Rarity’s side. “Actually I’m feeling much better now,” the glow around her horn increased in size as she dragged not only the book but Rarity as well closer to the bed. “All I want is to just do some light reading before bed.
“But darling?” She asked while planting her hooves in the ground, “You’ve had a very long day and I do think that there will be plenty of time for reading in the morning.” She grunted trying not to lose her balance. She increased her magic as well and pulled the book back towards herself.
Twilight laughed through gritted teeth, “Rarity I don’t know what game you’re trying to play, but it’s one you and I both know you can’t win.”
“Oh is that so?” Rarity strained herself as she focused most of her magic around the book, and with a hard jerk, broke it from Twilight’s telekinetic grasp. A bright spark of magic filled the room as Twilight’s hold of the book suddenly broke.
Rarity flew back a couple of feet now that there was no opposing force holding her in place. “HA! Know you have no choice but to fall asleep.” She waved the book back and forth in triumph.
Twilight laughed lightly for a moment, “Rarity, I’m sorry but you brought this upon yourself.” Twilight said in a playful manor.
Rarity planted her hooves in the ground once her and focused all her magic on holding onto that book. Twilight’s horn flared up and her magical aura enveloped around the book again. Rarity braced herself waiting for Twilight’s counter, but it never came. She just watched as a second glow around Twilight’s horn appeared, indicating that her magic was going to be much stronger this time.
“Oh dear…” Rarity barley had enough time to say as Twilight’s head quickly snapped to the side causing the book to be pulled right in front of her head. However, Rarity’s hold on the book never broke, so it created an invisible chain that connected her to the book. And when Twilight pulled the book over in such a violent matter, Rarity came along with it.
Twilight’s magic was so powerful that Rarity was airborne, and she was on a collision course with Twilight! It all happened in a matter of moments, but Rarity took to action. She quickly pointed her head up, so she wouldn’t impale Twilight with her horn, and desperately tried to spread her legs so her hooves wouldn’t pummel Twilight.
Time seemed to slow down as Twilight watched her friend soar through the air. She quickly dropped the magical field she had around the book and focused it on catching her friend. Light illuminated around her horn as her magic formed in an invisible blanket around Rarity, almost stopping her immediately. Their faces were just inches apart as Rarity came to a halt, but due to the awkward position of Rarity’s head, Twilight’s magic didn’t stop their horns from touching…
Both ponies gasped simultaneously, as they were briefly assaulted with each other’s thoughts, emotions, and memories. Their minds weren’t the only things intertwined in this crazy predicament; for at that brief moment they were both using magic. And as their horns touched the magical aura around them merged in a twister of brilliant purple and azure light. It spun and hissed for a second before discharging in a bright array of sparks and rays of magical force that threw Rarity halfway across the room, and sent Twilight smashing in her headboard.
Twilight groaned as she rubbed the back of her head with a hoof. Her head felt like it was in a pain inducing vice. That little “accident” and enough force to smash the back of her head, ironically into her bed’s headboard. New pain mixed with old pain as her bruised forehead ached and throbbed in an awkward unison with the back of her head.
She probably would have sat there in silence rubbing her head for a long time if it weren’t for a strange tingling sensation around her midsection. She looked down slowly expecting the worst. Had the spell turned her into some grotesque creature? Had it paralyzed her, horribly disfigured her in some way?
A quick look over herself alleviated those worries, but brought a new one. The book that was floating in front of her was still floating, and neither one of them were using magic anymore. She reached out of hoof, but the book backed away, it literally backed away! As though it had a mind of its own!
Twilight went to say something but was cut off by the book; its glow grew brighter as it lay on its side and opened. Pages magically flipping until it reached a spot near the end of the book. Twilight had hoped that another section of the book was revealed, but as she looked at the contents of the page, it was the same as before.
“Nothing but gibberish,” she sighed slouching in her bed. Anticipation still flowing through her in the hope that maybe, just maybe, that something new decided to reveal itself.
The book gingerly floated back towards Twilight, she had an odd suspicion about it. She reached for it again but it backed away, just as before. It crept annoying close again and just floated there, inches in front of her face. It floated in a slight swaying fashion, mocking her as it flew up and away every time she tried to grab it.
After another minute or so of playing this “game,” Twilight’s patience wore thin and she just decided to ignore the dumb thing. After all, what else was she going to do with it if it just darted away every time you wanted to hold it?
She threw her covers off her and was getting out of bed to check on Rarity, for she was still lying of the floor, but a low humming noise stopped her. She looked around her room to find where the sound was originating from, and of course it was coming from the book. She annoying swatted at it, as though it was a bothersome insect. It swiftly moved out of her reach and continued to hum.
She wanted to scream! The pain in her head was washing away thanks to the medication, but she was still angry for it being there in the first place. Her friend lay across the room in a heap, hair a mess. And Twilight knew she wasn’t going to hear the end of that for some time. And then there was this book, this book that has caused so many problems for her that she just wanted to burn the thing.
The humming stopped and was replaced with an even more annoying clicking noise. This time she really did scream, “Why are you so annoying!” with all her bantering, she didn’t even notice that Rarity had walked up beside her.
“Twilight, darling… I’m so-“
“Yeah yeah, I know.” She interrupted know throwing whatever she could find at the hovering book. “I know you’re sorry for what transpired just moments ago, and blah, blah, blah. Just help me catch this Celestia forsaken thing!”
“Why in all of Equestria do you want it so badly?” She asked looking at her friend with concern for her unusually behavior.
Twilight sighed, “Because I want to burn it. Do you have any idea how much confusion, and anxiety this thing has caused me?”
Rarity stepped back a few foot from Twilight, “That seems a bit brash, don’t you think darling?” She said trying to reason with Twilight.
“Oh, and ripping it away from me when all I wanted to do was look it over before bed, wasn’t brash?” Twilight snapped confronting Rarity.
“Well, I… I just wanted to help,” she managed backing away from Twilight. “If you don’t get some rest that wound on your head is never going to heal.”
“Rarity I know that but...” Twilight began to say but was distracted when the clicking sound from the book suddenly stopped, and a voice started speaking.
“Spell matrix continuity returned to normal, scanning in progress. Please wait a moment for magical network scan to finish.” It was the voice of an older mare, smooth and refined, but also had a slight crack as she spoke.
“Scan? Scan for what?” Rarity asked hoping Twilight would have some sort of explanation for what is going on.
“I have no idea,” she replied, dumbfounded. “I’ve never heard of any magic that acting like this before.” She didn’t even know what category that this type of magic would belong to. It was almost like it was being run by a computer, but given the age of the book, that’s impossible.
“Scan complete,” the mare’s voice said. “Results show two magical unicorn entities… access granted.” The book just floated there, almost like it was waiting for something.
“Umm, hello,” Twilight said breaking the awkward silence in the room.
“Greeting acknowledged, please say a command.” The mare’s voice ordered.
“What does it mean by a command darling?” Rarity asked looking at Twilight.
Twilight met Rarity’s eyes with the same level of confusion, “I have no clue,” she shrugged. “Maybe it wants us to say something that will activate a certain spell?” She looked towards the book, “is that what you want?”
“Invalid response,” the mare’s voice barked.
Twilight furrowed her brow, “Guess not.” She sighed and fell back on her haunches. She had spent so much of her free time wondering about the mysteries of this book, and now that it was available to her, she had no idea what to do. Did it have a connection with the talisman that Rainbow Dash found? Or was it just some diary that belonged to a long forgotten pony?
“Tell it to do something specific, Twilight.” Rarity said, her eyes filling up with excitement.
“Like what?” Twilight asked giving her a skeptical look, “It’s not like a computer. For all we know it could be looking for a password or something.”
“Well I don’t know,” She stated. “Magic’s your forte; can’t you think of anything that might work in a situation like this one?”
Twilight sighed again, and glared at the book floating patiently in the air. It was never something easy, there always had to be a challenge. She pondered for a while, what command could it be looking for?
She cleared her mind and tried to piece everything together. Okay, she knew that the book was old, possibly over a thousand years, and if that was the case then it would have a spell network that would be completely foreign to her. It was most likely about magic due it having a similar picture that the talisman bore, and the fact that somepony went through a lot of trouble of hiding a small amount of text inside the book only strengthened its magical background. Also, if the book needed this command function spell, or whatever it was, then it probably needed it for organizing and securing its contents. Which means that if it needed a separate spell matrix just for organization, then it must be packed with hidden information, logs, and possibly even notes.
A wry smile perked at her lips as she came to a sudden realization, if the book acted like a computer, then why not treat it like a computer. She cleared her throat and said, “Run last spell imprinting.”
There was a loud clicking sound before it spoke, “Location of last known imprint is damaged or unknown, shall I play the most recent imprint available?”
Play? What did it mean by play? She thought before answering book with a dry, “Yes.”
A dark horror shot over Twilight. She had no idea what sort of spell would be “playing” from the bothersome book. For all she knew she could have awoken some terrible beast from an eternal slumber, or set forth the actions that would end all of Equestria!
Her foolish acquisitions were quickly dismissed when she heard the voice of the book speak once again, “Audio imprint AQ7-11 found, beginning audio playback now.”
“Is…. s…ing… wor…” The voice that came across was so gargled, and scratchy it was nearly impossible to determine who, or what was said.
“Oh what a stroke of bad luck dear.” Rarity said with dying enthusiasm.
Twilight went to say something, but was cut off by another voice that was slightly different than the first.
“Jus… m…to… ix…” There was a slight pause that was interrupted by a harsh clicking noise that made both of the ponies jump.
“There... it should be working know sir.” Said a stallion with a gruff voice that mirrored his experience and age.
“Thank you commander, you have my sincerest gratitude for making the repairs in a shorter amount of time than I requested.” The voice that came across this time was one that would have been the exact opposite of the first one. It was incredibly smooth, refined, charismatic and just plain beautiful. Twilight found herself wanting to hear more of him.
“It was my pleasure, General!” The first voice said with respect, and most likely habit.
The overly-charismatic stallion chucked for a moment before continuing, “Oh commander you flatter me, but if it’s not too much trouble, would you kindly escort yourself from my chambers for the duration of this recording. I wish to proceed with this one alone.”
There was a shuffle of hooves against hard stone and an almost inaudible “sir” as the stallion most likely saluted his superior and left the room.
There was a pause before the stallion continued.
“I know it has been a great deal of time since we last wrote to each other, let alone had the pleasure of gracing ourselves with each other’s presence. However, war doesn’t seem to mind whatsoever if it inconveniences us in even the most horrible of ways.” He laughed lightly. “I couldn’t tell you how many years I spent telling myself that this will be the year, this will be the year that we finally… win the war. It would be the year that everypony would be given the gracious gift of returning to their loving families and all of Equestria would rejoice and bask the sweet glow of victory, and a job well done. I couldn’t tell you how many times I played out that exact scenario in my head, when all of Equestria would return to its former glory and our differences reconciled over tea instead of magic and blood.” He laughed again.
“It was a colt’s dream… naïve and foolish, and certainly not one suitable for a General. And I cannot waste what precious time we have any longer. This war has aged us all considerably, and if it doesn’t end soon, then I fear that it may threaten the very foundation of Equestria. A foundation that is strong and proud, but not impervious to destruction and annihilation.” He sighed deeply and scratched an unknown portion of his body.
“Through vigorous research, I have discovered a possible solution. It is one that I don’t necessarily agree with, and definitely one I wouldn’t have even considered when I first agreed to become General. But war changes us, it changes everything. Its malice to destroy innocence and benevolence is uncanny to anything that I have ever experienced before. I commonly tell myself that the war hasn’t changed me; it is I that has changed it. However, with each passing day, I’ve come to believe that is only half of the truth. While I have changed war as we know it in a copious amount of ways, it seems to have done the same to me. I can’t even…”
He was cut off by a loud banging noise and the clop of hooves in the distance. “General, forgive me for my intrusion,” said the commander pony. “But everything is ready just as you requested.”
“Thank you Greenstar, I will be finished in just a moment.” There was a similar banging sound and the General was alone again. “It looks like I’m going to have to cut this shorter than what I previously anticipated. There’s really no other way to say this, so I’ll just be blunt. We are using new weapons against our enemies tonight. They’re ones of great and unimaginable power that will change the tide of war in our favor.
The sky demons won’t know what hit them until it’s too late. We’ve tried reasoning with them, but nothing seems to get through their ironclad skulls! I know the family will not approve of the choices I make tonight. They shall meet their unholy retribution swiftly and without being malcontent! As this is the year… no, this is the NIGHT that the war with dragons and ponies ends forever!”
There was an odd clicking noise as the magic around the book imploded and it fell to the floor.
Twilight yawned loudly as she strained herself to not let sleep overcome her, but she found it to be a losing battle. She always remembered her professors’ lectures being informative and well thought out, all except for those of Professor Shooting Star. Most of his lectures were dull and uneventful, but this one was just… terrible. Not to mention, almost all of his lectures were mostly inaccurate and full of bias. Definitely not something a teacher needs to pass along to his students.
He was just rambling on about how mystery and curiosity go hoof in hoof. How one leads to the other, and how many of Equestria’s brilliant thinkers and inventors had mastered the art of using their curiosity to solve puzzles that were once deemed unsolvable. Twilight thought such an accusation was a joke.
However, Twilight always thought of Professor Shooting Star as a joke. His big red, squared glasses fitting tightly on his face, his bright orange mane and tail curling about in all directions, his dull gray coat, and his generic purple shooting star cutie mark wasn’t exactly a combination that breed excellence. Not only was his appearance dully generic, but most of his students shared the same feelings Twilight portrayed towards him. Boredom.
He was a great astronomy teacher back in the day, when he still taught astronomy instead of psychology. His older students used to brag and boast about how amazing his teaching style was, back when he still had a passion for teaching. Back when he could still, well… teach. But, the Department of Arcane Studies and Magical Development decided that four astronomy teachers were one too many, and cut one of them to be a psychology teacher. Unfortunately, Shooting Star was chosen as the, “lucky pony to expand eager minds in the growing and fascinating field of psychology!”
Nonetheless, Twilight still put forth the effort to meticulously take down notes, and prepare for his ridiculous tests. Even if she was possibly teaching herself falsified information, she still needed a good grade in the class if she wanted to keep her reputation of excelling in everything. She was suddenly brought back to reality by a loud coughing fit from the teacher. He just brushed it off and continued on with his “class.”
Usually Twilight at least paid attention to his babbling nonsense, took done notes, or at least acted like she was paying attention, but today all of those seemed exceeding difficult. His lectures usually lasted about half an hour and he would assign some mundane assignment and head back to his desk to sleep or just pass the time so he could give the same unappealing speech to a similar group of unenthusiastic ponies in his next class. But today he was feeling slightly crueler than usual and his lecture was creeping by at just over 45 minutes.
“Now before I assign your scroll work,” He said in an almost monotonously, “are there any questions… comments… concerns about today’s lecture?” He was walking back and forth in the front of the class like a robot, no varying movement and no emotion.
Most of the time, nopony had any questions or comments in the sake of just getting their work so they could leave the dreadful class. Most of them had concerns as well, but the professor wouldn’t care and probably wouldn’t even dignify a serious response if anypony brought up their concern. However, as if today wasn’t bizarre enough as it was, the pony sitting in front of Twilight raised his hoof. Twilight didn’t recognize him, so she thought he must be new and was still ignorant as to how the class functioned on a daily basis.
Shooting Star sighed and pointed a hoof at the purple coated stallion in the desks. He acknowledged the point as a response to his raised hoof and said, “If you don’t mind professor, I would like to add a little to your lecture?”
Shooting Star was almost surprised at the stallion’s question, but sighed again. “Feel free to say whatever it is you wish to say, just as long as it makes my life easier, I don’t care.” He said lying his head down on his desk.
“Thank you sir,” there was a strange assertiveness in the way he spoke, it seemed oddly familiar to Twilight. “Now, you said that mystery can stimulate a pony’s curiosity, and that curiosity can lead to discovery. Isn’t that correct?” The professor didn’t answer and waved a hoof to make him continue. “Well, what you didn’t say is how deep a pony has to dig in order to make a discovery. What kind of secrets and truths they will uncover. And if any of it is even real, or if it was all covered up eons ago...”
The stallion know had to full attention of Twilight, she hadn’t heard the professor’s lecture but found it interesting as to what the stallion had to say. He suddenly turned around to face Twilight, “Isn’t that true Twilight Sparkle?”
An explosion of fear shot over Twilight as she was face to face with… him. The same purple coated, nightmare fueling unicorn that she had the pleasure of meeting a few weeks ago when all of the merchants from all over Equestria arrived. His deep red eyes of swirling black hate gazed right past her physical exterior, and right into her quivering soul. And his dagger-laced smile sent shivers down her spine, while she forced herself not scream.
It was at that moment that Twilight realized she was dreaming. She was no longer at Canterlot U, or had her boring old psychology professor. And she certainly, has never seen THIS unicorn when she was conscious; at least that’s what she thought.
Ever since the night when she first met this Celestiaforsaken pony in Ponyville’s town square, she has been burdened with horrible nightmares almost every night. Some were sick and twisted, the ones that needed to be repressed to the deepest darkest places of the subconscious. And yet, some were just innocently crazy. The best way to describe them would be Pinkie Pie crazy. They would be randomly crazy or heart wrenching sad. Twilight honestly felt like her dreams were taken over by a TV network, rather than being controlled by her unique mind.
However, in all the madness of her nightmares, this was only the second time she “met” this pony, and the first time she spent over three days in the Clinic. It wasn’t as terrifying as the first, yet she still felt like her heart was going to beat right out of her chest and on to the floor.
“Don’t fret young magician,” He said in his disturbingly clam voice, “I don’t wish to hurt you, but do not think I won’t.” The sternness in his voice almost made Twilight jump, ”You are of great use to me, and I can be of a great use to you.” His mouth opened wide with each word he spoke, but his words still ebbed Twilight’s fear, for the moment.
“Why?” She asked trying not to sound like a scared little filly, with little success. “Why are you here? What do you want? What-“
His sudden laugh cut her off and the points of his exposed teeth made her cringe. “Oh such a young mind, filled with so many questions that are just dying for answers.” He smiled, a smile that didn’t bring warmth and kindness like a smile usually does, but one that brought only fear and panic. “Unfortunately, I cannot answer most of those questions at this time. In fact, I cannot answer any of your questions at this time. So, if you wish to keep yourself and your friends safe for the time being I suggest you sit and listen like a good little foal.”
Twilight was confused to say the least. Was this the same unicorn that caused her so much pain just a few weeks ago, and was now offering her his assistance? Was this all really just a dream, or was he using magic to somehow contact her in her dreams? Whatever the situation may be, she thought there could be no harm done in just listening to what he has to say, even if he was just some fear induced apparition created by her wondering mind.
Satisfied with her silence, he continued, “After our first encounter, I’ve decided to handle things in a different way. One less violent for the time being… it feels better that way.” Twilight wasn’t sure what his definition of ‘less’ was, but she let him go on. “Due to certain…limitations, I am not in as much control as I would like to be at the moment, and the only thing I can tell you, and you especially, is to be on your guard at all times.” He hissed driving the point forward, “For the time being, your friends should be safe, but watch out for yourself. If you are concerned with your friends check up on them if you must, but you must stay safe. I will not let years and years of planning go to waste, just because I’m so limited and you’re so weak.”
The words stung as he spoke, Twilight wanted to call him out, ask questions, or maybe even run. But previous experience proved that that probably wouldn’t be the best approach. So she just kept quiet and let him speak.
“Expect the unexpected, prepare for the unpreparable, and a letter will be your only hope at a time of most desperation.” There was an awkward silence until he resumed, “You will discover a lot of truths and secrets that were meant to be sealed away forever. Truths and secrets that brought nothing but pain and misery. And with those, you will forge your own destiny and opinions.” He sighed, “I do not wish for us to become enemies, there is much that we can both benefit from if we remain neutral partners, or dare I say friends?” Twilight felt uneasy at the very thought of ever being this pony’s friend, “But, I do fear that it is unavoidable with your moral stature along with the ones of your friends.”
There was a bright crack of light as the left side of the classroom twisted and swirled and the students and desks merged together in a giant, discolored blob. Twilight felt her hooves lift off the ground as the right side of the room mirrored the left side.
“Ah! I do say that I timed this one almost perfectly!” He shouted, “Know remember Twilight, protect yourself, and expect the unexpected… and the letter!”
Everything in the room, including Twilight, collided in the center of the room as she felt herself spinning. She spun faster and faster as all the colors in the room combined into an incoherent mass of color, and Twilight found herself surrounded by darkness and falling… again.
Twilight woke up peacefully in her warm bed. A welcome change, from being startled awake from the night terrors and dreams she’s been having. She wasn’t sweaty, or panicky, or even stressed. She was content, and pleasantly confused. However, her mind wasn’t even given time to wonder when Spike came bursting through the door in a hurried panic. If he was up then that just means she overslept, again.
“Twilight, what are you still doing in bed!?” He shouted at the top of his lungs. He raced over to the side of the bed and began pulling Twilight out of bed.
“Ow!” She responded to being stabbed by one of Spike’s claws, and pushed the dragon away. “What has gotten into you Spike? I’ve never seen you this worried before?” In truth she hadn’t, not even that time when they both were fleeing from a massive dragon in the Everfree Forest was he as nervous as he was now.
“No Twilight you don’t understand!” He pleaded and went back to prying her out of the bed, “If we don’t leave now, then we will miss the announcement!”
“What announcement?” She asked pushing Spike away again.
He sighed in defeat and gave up his hope of removing Twilight from her bed, “Seriously Twilight, for a pony as organized as yourself, you really have been slacking lately.” Twilight went to say something but was immediately cut off by Spike, “Well…last night something terrible happened… something very bad, and the mayor is making an announcement about it in the town square any minute now!”
Twilight gasped, and in one fluid motion jumped out of bed, floated over her brush and walked over to the mirror in a desperate hope to conquer her nasty bedhead. If it was a bad as Spike said it was then it’s something she definitely did not want to miss.
“Spike, why didn’t you just say so in the first place?” She asked annoyed, “it would have been much easier, not to mention, faster that way!”
“I tried!” He threw up his arms in a desperate attempt to convince her of his intentions, “But you just stayed in bed and pushed me away… Twice!”
She finished brushing her mane and set the brush down and turned towards Spike, “Now Spike, this is not the time to be arguing,” she said turning to walk out of her room and Spike followed her. “If we just sit here and fight, then we will never make it to the square in time!”
Spike hopped on her back as she opened the door that led outside, and she started galloping to Ponyville’s town square.
The town square was filled to the brim with bickering, confused ponies all wondering what the big announcement was. Twilight thought that the town square was packed whenever the mayor gave her last speech on the arrival of the merchants, but due to this one being mandatory the crowd was nearly twice as big as her last one. The Mayor had her podium set up, just as before and yellow coated unicorn was standing beside her.
Twilight almost felt like the Mayor’s eyes were alone on her until she merged in with the crowed. Shortly after, the Mayor gave a notion to the unicorn and his horn flared and a bright orange light that enveloped around her neck.
She cleared her throat and spoke with her voice amplified several times by the magic, “Greetings everypony, and thank you all for showing up on such a short notice.” Twilight felt like the mayor’s gaze was still affixed on her, glaring at her. Not only was it nerve racking, but it almost made Twilight highly uncomfortable. “And thank you Twilight Sparkle for showing up, what’s the matter? Have a late night last night? Be that as it may, your… expertise will be required afterwards, so if you could kindly meet me in the town hall building I would be grateful.” A large blush broke across Twilight’s face as almost every head in the crowd turned to look at her, she lowered her head and wished she had something to hide behind. But after a moment many of the ponies diverted their attention back the mayor. Twilight felt the uneasiness of all those staring eyes leave almost as quickly as it appeared.
“What the heck was that about?” Spike asked.
“I have no idea,” Twilight responded bewildered. “I don’t know why Miss Mayor would call me out like that in front of the whole town, and right before her big announcement.”
Twilight was quickly shushed by other ponies around her when the mayor started speaking again. “Many of you know that my speeches are meant to inspire and promote events going on around Ponyville, but unfortunately, this time is not such a case.” The Mayor paused choosing her next words very carefully, “I regret to inform you all that there will be… one less pony that will be joining you in your daily lives and festivities in Ponyville…” Twilight did not like where this is going, and that the mayor needed her expertise on something that might be a serious matter only made things worse, “And in the near future I hope there will be two ponies unable to join us, instead of just the one.”
Twilight and many of the ponies around her looked around in confusion. What did she mean by there would be one less pony joining us? Did they move away? Twilight thought thinking that it was either that, or that somepony was in an accident.
“Now some of you may be confused as to what I’m hinting at, so if you don’t mind, I’m just going to come out and say it…” She took a moment regain her composure, “Very early this morning, a crime was committed…” She looked around at the crowd, “A crime that I hoped I would never see during my time as mayor.” She stopped again, only this time she had a look of pure defeat on her face. It took her a couple of tries before she could continue on with what she had to say. “I-it was a crime that hasn’t been committed for more than 85 years in Ponyville.” Now Twilight really didn’t like where this was going. “This wasn’t your normal theft or destruction of property, or even assault that when tend to get from time to time, oh no. This was much more severe… it was a crime, of murder…
A flood of gasps and other indistinguishable sounds erupted from the audience and panic ran up Twilight’s flank as several of the ponies around her were glaring at… her! The mayor gave everypony a moment to adjust themselves before she continued. “Now you may be asking, ‘What is it that we are supposed to do in a situation like this?’ And that’s not easy to answer. There is information that I cannot give, and there is some that I can. For starters, a letter has already been sent to the princess… um, princesses. And they will be sending a squad of their Royal Guard to handle such situations. I was informed that they are shorthooved at the moment, so the guards they send might not be exactly appropriate, but they will be Royal Guards nonetheless.” Twilight was confused, who could the Royal Guard, the hundreds of protectors of the princess be shorthooved?
“Also, the princesses themselves will be stopping by at their next convenience, due to the fact that they are currently at Manehattion because it is having a very similar problem that we are experiencing and they were already in Manehattion when said incident occurred. So, in short, Manehattion has priority over us.” The Mayor almost seemed hurt by what she said, “Now before I dismiss all of you, there are going to be some rules enforced until some new light is shined on the situation.”
There was a loud uproar from the audience, as many of the ponies shouted their disapproval. Twilight didn’t mind, just as long they as everyone’s attention was elsewhere, and not focused on her.
“Now, now,” the mayor put up a hoof in an attempt to quiet the crowd of unhappy ponies. “I know that many of you will be unhappy, but these rules are set into place for your protection.”
There was another uproar from the crowd as shouts and threats came in at all directions at the poor mayor. She looked at the unicorn standing by her side and he just shrugged his shoulders. Twilight feared if she didn’t get control of the crowd soon, the crowd might angrily disperse, and disregard everything the Mayor just said. Or worse… riot.
The mayor tried shouting several times in hope of stifling the crowd, but failed miserably. The crowd of ponies was becoming uneasy, and even some of the pegasus ponies had taken flight and were voicing their harsh words at the mayor in midair.
Spike looked at the audience of ponies with alarm, as more and more of the ponies joined the chaos. “What’s going on Twilight? Why are all the ponies yelling at the mayor like that?” Spike shouted over the crowd.
“Well,” she shouted back, “Once I started living in Ponyville, I decided to catch up on some of its history. And, as you know, they were started a long time ago by earth ponies, and one aspect they undeniably took to heart was freedom. And as you can see,” Twilight gestured with a hoof at the madness unfolding before their very eyes, “everyone in Ponyville still holds their personal freedom close to their hearts.”
Suddenly the bright orange glow around the Mayor’s neck intensified and her already augmented voice became even louder. “QUUUIIIEEEEEETTTTT!!!” The mayor’s voice boomed over the entire crowd, grounding the pegasus ponies and instantly shushing the rest of the crowd. Not a single word was spoken as all eyes were on the mayor. Some of the ponies had shocked looks on their faces, while others showed fear. Twilight could hear the mayor’s uneven breathing from all the way in the back of the crowd, and she had to say that even she was impressed at the reaction the crowd gave the Mayor.
The glow around the mayor’s neck diminished slightly before she spoke, “Thank… you,” she took a minute to catch her breath. “From that little demonstration, I can see that you all take your freedom very seriously. And as an earth pony myself, I couldn’t agree with you all more completely. However, in light of what has happened, we will have to take precautions if we want everypony to be as safe as possible.”
The mayor looked at the mass of ponies around her, expecting yet another outburst, but they just kept their opinions to themselves. “So, rule number one, a curfew will be put into effect immediately from the times of 8:00 PM to 6:30 AM, until the one responsible is caught, or you all are otherwise told differently. And that means you are to be inside your home at 8:00 not head home at 8:00. Anypony found outside without proper exclusion, will be punished and fined. Severely. Now, the reason the curfew is in effect is because it is believed that the perpetrator is not someone we are unfamiliar with, but more likely, someone right here in Ponyville.”
Twilight expected the crowd to once again uproar in either anger or shock, but not a sound was made. They all just let her continue in either new found respect or fear. “Rule number two, all unicorns will be given a mandatory restrictor bracelet that is to be worn around either of the forelegs. A restrictor bracelet does none other than restrict a unicorn’s magical ability to only a few spells, or none at all. For the time being, all unicorns will only be allowed to use their lavation magic.”
Twilight knew all about restrictor bracelets from when she was back in school. Everypony was given one when tests were issued to cut down on the amount of cheating. They were also given to those whose magical abilities were far below average so they would have extra encouragement to push themselves to improve. Nonetheless, they were quite effective at hindering a normal unicorn’s magic useless; however, they were put on a unicorn that had a talent for magic. When put on a unicorn that even had just an above average talent for magic, and the bracelet would become nothing more than just an everyday bracelet. That is because the bracelets work by absorbing all the magic that flows through a unicorn when they charge a spell, and dispersing it out of the unicorn’s body before that spell can properly form, creating wasted energy on the unicorn’s behalf. However, if the unicorn’s magic is too powerful for the bracelet’s inhibitors to handle, like Twilight’s ability of magic, then the bracelet will just simply overload and will cease from working. Even though such bracelets have always been mere toys to Twilight, the fact that the mayor would got to such lengths to “protect” Ponyville’s inhabitants was unnerving.
“Rule number 3, once the royal guards have arrived you are not allowed to distract or harass them in any way, shape, or form. Anypony caught doing so, will be fined and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. They are also allowed to use any resources they please if it helps in their investigation. I know that may seem intrusive to some of you, but that comes directly from the princesses... Thank you all, you are now free to leave.”
“I can’t believe that those dumb Royal Guard pegasus ponies can just come down to Ponyville and do whatever they want!” Rainbow Dash shouted throwing her hooves in the air, “It’s not fair!”
“Do I sense jealousy?” Rarity asked sitting off in the far corner at Ponyville’s town hall. Some of Twilight’s friends decided to meet in the town hall after the Mayor’s request for her. They thought that maybe Twilight or the Mayor could shine some light on the situation.
“Jealous? Jealous! If I’m anything I’m not jealous.” She said flapping her wings in anger, “I just can’t stand ponies like… Them!”
“Like what dear?”
Rainbow grunted, “You know, the ones all high and mighty? Strutin’ around like they own the place just because they’re Celestia’s ‘elite’ guards.”
“I’d hate to burst your bubble dear, but that sounds an awful lot like you,” Rarity huffed, ignoring the menacing glare Rainbow Dash was giving her. “Maybe now you’ll realize just how annoying and improper you can be at times.”
“I know I have an ego out to here,” she stretched out her hooves as far as they would go expressing her agreement with Rarity. “But, if there is one thing I don’t do, it’s exploiting others!” She walked up to Rarity, “Do you know that one of those ponies asked me to clear the skies twice for him, because the clouds were interfering with his concentration?”
“Well it is your job, isn’t it?” Rarity said, defending the guard ponies, “And how hard can it be to clear the sky if you do it every day?”
“Ah’m sorry Rarity, but Ah got to agree with Rainbow Dash on this one,” Applejack said, cutting off Rainbow Dash before she could snap back at Rarity. “Ya see, just shortly after the mayor was done with all her talkin’. Ah went back to the farm t’ check up on one of mah sick apple trees, only to find one of those gosh darned guard ponies beaten’ on mah front door madder than a jackrabbit with its feet glued t’ the dirt!”
“Well he must have had a good reason to come knocking on your door in such a fashion? It’s not like he was just doing it for fun.” Rarity added.
“Ohhh, he had a reason all right,” Applejack said with her eyes narrowing in anger. “He has the nerve to fly over t’ me after almost knockin’ down mah door and demands that he speak with the owner of the farm.” Applejack rolled her eyes, “Well Ah told him he might as well be talkin’ t’ me, since we all own the farm. And you know what he says after that?” Applejack asked annoyed.
“What?” Rainbow and Rarity say in unison.
“He said he was commandeerin’ our farm for the duration of his stay in Ponyville!” Applejack nickered in anger, “An there was no ‘please’ or ‘thank ya,’ or any courtesy at all. But don’t worry, he doesn’t plan on kicking us out, Oh NO! If he did that, then who would cook him an’ his stallions breakfast an’ supper.” Applejack was now fuming with anger as the situation with the guard replayed in her mind. “And then after all that, he tells me that if Ah ever wanted some… dessert,” she said with a disgusted look on her face, “after supper, then all Ah would have t’ do is just look him up in one of the rooms he would be stayin’ in and just waltz right in!”
“No!” Rarity gasped putting her hooves over her mouth, “What did you tell him?”
“Ha!” Applejack shouted while pointing a hoof in the air like she had a stroke of genius. “Ah told that sack o’ apple cores, that he might as well be barkin’ up the wrong apple tree, since I would sooner fool around with another mare than with him!”
Rarity smirked and Rainbow burst out laughing so hard she hit the floor and started rolling. “Yeah, you tell em’ AJ!”
With all the commotion, the Mayor stepped out of her office, “What’s going on out here?”
“Nothing but Applejack telling those snobby guard ponies how it is!” Rainbow stated from the ground, almost bursting into laughter once again.
The mayor’s eyes lit up in horror, “Applejack… what did you tell them? They have the right to any, and all of Ponyville’s resources, surely you didn’t deny them of something, did you?” She asked confronting Applejack.
“Well shoot,” AJ whistled, “They already have mah farm, and mah food. And Ah don’t care who they are… Ah’m off the menu!” She shouted with a hoof stomp.
“Oh,” She said with an awkward disposition. “Well then, under those circumstances then it seems that you had the right to decline… whatever his offer was.” She said uncomfortably, “But, these are still the Royal Guards we’re talking about. If you don’t show them respect, they can take you straight to the princesses themselves, and that’s the last thing anypony needs right now.”
“Ah did show em’ respect!” Applejack argued, “Ah gave them everythin’ but the hat off mah head without complainin’, and he still wanted more… he wanted ME!”
The Mayor walked to one of the chairs positioned neatly in the room and sat down. “Applejack… I know this is a tough time for everypony, and I thank you for your patience. But, all we can do at this time is just cooperate with them until this whole ordeal is sorted out.” The mayor grabbed an apple from the bowl of fruit on the table near her chair and took a bite from it.
“By the why,” she said in between bites, “was the guard that stopped by your farm a unicorn? I find it hard to believe that such a handsome pony as the one this morning would have acted in such a foalish manor.”
Applejack cocked her head to the side and looked at the gray maned earth pony with a quizzical look on her face, “No, he was a pegasus pony… why?”
They mayor stopped eating her apple and set in back on the coffee table, “That’s strange, I would have sworn that he would have went to see you, or any of you.”
“Who?” Rarity asked.
They mayor cleared her throat, “Well, early this morning, before I even gave my speech, one of the royal guards stopped by this building to get some information on Twilight, and all the rest of you as well. Even Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie.” As she spoke Rainbow Dash and Applejack looked at each other in confusion. “He was a unicorn, and a striking one at that. He looked nothing like the gray unicorn guards that Celestia has, which struck me as odd since all of the Royal Guards look exactly the same.”
Rainbow Dash took a moment to think about what the Mayor had just said. She did find it odd that all of the guards looked nearly the same. For all she knew, they could be clones. It’s not like crazier stuff has happened with magic before.
The Mayor picked up the apple again and took another bite from it before she continued, “He was tall and had broad shoulders, not typical for a unicorn. He had a beautiful ivory white coat, and he was wearing gold armor that was much more extravagant than the ones the pegasus guards you all were talking about wore. Even the emblem on his armor was different. It was-“
The mayor stopped talking whenever the front door opened, and Twilight trotted in, “Sorry I’m late everypony, but I had an emergency back at home, and I was a bit… tied up.” Twilight had an almost angry look on her face as she walked into the town hall building, followed by two of the Royal Guard ponies.
“Ohhhh, we understand,” Rainbow said with her eyes narrowing as she darted them back and forth at the pegasus guards.
The two pegasus ponies had stern expressions on their faces and they puffed out their chests to look as intimidating as possible. “Please excuse this pony’s absence,” the larger of the two guard ponies said in a deep voice while pointing at Twilight, “but since she is the best magic wielder in Ponyville, we thought we should personally attach her restrictor bracelet, just in case any of you incompetent ponies forgot.”
“That’s probably not the only thing she’s best at.” The smaller one snickered before both of them burst out laughing and ended their little outburst with a “brohoof.”
Twilight rolled her eyes, “Pigs…” she said just loud enough for them to hear as she walked over to where Applejack and Rainbow Dash were standing.
“What did you say you little-“
“Now Stallions…” The guard was cut off by yet another pegasus guard standing in the doorway, only this one was the biggest of the lot, and he had more armor covering his body than the other two. “You wouldn’t be harassing some of the ponies on my ‘list’ would you?” he asked with a certain assertiveness that made the previous guards tense up.
“No sir, please forgive us!” they shouted together.
“Don’t worry, all is forgiven. But for future reference, the purple one and orange one are off limits.” He walked over towards Twilight and put a hoof around her shoulder, “Isn’t that right honey?”
Twilight tried her best to push him away with her hooves but he was too strong, so she just stepped back, and slipped out from under his grasp. “Get away from me you creep, and I’m not your HONEY!” She shouted.
He laughed putting his hoof back on the ground, “As much fun as it would be to role play right now, I sadly don’t have the time. Some of us have to actually do some work around here. I will be commandeering this town hall as a resting hall for me and my stallions. But not to worry,” he walked up to Twilight again, “If you find yourself lonely tonight, all you have to do is come back here, and we’ll show you a good time.”
Twilight looked at the stallion with a revolted look on her face, “Not in a million years!”
The pegasus smiled and looked at the other two guards in the room, “They always reject you at first, but not to worry. She’ll be crawling back to me tonight!”
The other two guards chuckled at the joke, but quickly stopped laughing when he began speaking again. “Unfortunately, we do have work that needs to get done, so for the meantime I bed you all farewell.”
Twilight raised an eyebrow at the largest of the guards, “I’m sorry, but the term you are looking for is ‘I bid you all farewell,’ not bed.”
“Oh no,” he said with a coy smile, “I meant to say bed, since you will undoubtedly want to share a bed with me before the night is over.”
Twilight wanted to say something, but Rainbow Dash intervened before she had a chance, “Now look her bub.” She had taken to the air and was poking the pony in the chest with her hoof, “Twilight said NO. When are you going to get it through that thick skull of yours that she is not interested!”
The pony laughed at Rainbow before nudging her away with his hoof, “Damn! you’re feisty… and I llloooovvvveee feisty!” He exclaimed giving Rainbow Dash a look over.
She turned away from the guard, the mere thought of them was making her nauseous. “LOOK!” She shouted finding her vigor once again, “If you don’t cool your jets, then I’m gonna show you feisty!”
He laughed a big hardy laugh and his subordinates joined in as well, “Baby, you can cool my jets anytime.”
Rainbow Dash screamed in frustration, and just flew away from the guard before she did something she would regret.
The guards laughed again, “Look at that stallions, leavin’ em’ speechless!” He shouted before gesturing his bucks outside, “Now if any of you are still here when we return, then we’ll see it as in open invitation that you want to spend the night with us.” And with they took to the sky with big dorkish smiles on their faces.
“Well, Ah never,” Applejack said when they were just out of earshot. “Ah reckon Ah ain’t never seen anyponies act like that before.”
“I couldn’t agree with you more darling,” Rarity said flipping her mane out of her eyes. “I will never understand how such… brutes, were allowed to become Equestria’s Royal Guards.
“I concur,” Twilight added, “Celestia will definitely be receiving a letter after this little incident.”
“YOU CALL THAT A LITTLE INCIDENT!” Rainbow exploded from all the pent up rage she was harboring from the argument with the guard pony. “They were probably the worst sack of horseapples I have ever seen! He’s lucky I didn’t buck him in the face and break his snout!”
“I’m certainly glad that you didn’t resort to physical violence, or else we’d all be in trouble.” It was the Mayor’s turn to speak. “Assaulting a Royal Guard, under any circumstances, is punishable with many severe consequences.”
“But Miss Mayor, you saw what happened,” Applejack pleaded, “If anythin’ we should have the right to protect ourselves.”
“Yes I understand Applejack, but it would save us all a lot of fuss if we just ignored it for the time being.” The Mayor sighed and brought a hoof to the bridge of her nose. “I completely forgot what it was that I wanted to talk to you all about, in the first place.”
The stress was getting to her. In all her years as mayor she had never came across a situation as tense as the one now. She took her hoof away from her face, but while doing so she accidently knocked her glasses off and they fell to the floor, broken.
“Oh horseapples!” She yelled, “Those were my only pair. I don’t have the time to get a new pair this late in the afternoon.”
Twilight walked over to the glasses and picked them up with her magic. She floated the yellow framed glasses closer to her face to inspect them. The left side was perfectly fine, but the right had a huge crack running along the center. After a brief moment of thought, she closed her eyes and the magic around her horn flared brightly. The magic around her horn engulfed the glasses and in an instant, the crack in the glasses mended.
She walked over to the Mayor and gingerly floated the glasses back onto her face.
“Oh my goodness,” she said while trying to look at the glasses resting on her face. “They’re as good as new! You even fixed the scratches on the lenses.”
“It’s the least I could do after everything you’ve been through, Miss Mayor.” Twilight said with a warm smile as she walked closer to the older earth pony, “It’s been a long day for us all, why don’t we just call it a day and get some rest?”
“Yes…” she agreed, “but only after I have a word with you about something important.”
“I originally wanted to speak to you in private about this, but it doesn’t really matter.” She sighed again, “As you know, my speech today was not a pleasant one. Now if any of you are uncomfortable with death then I suggest that you leave now.” She said sternly looking around the room filled with ponies.
“Very well…” she continued, “This morning a body was discovered, but as you know, death happens from time to time. Some ponies fall off the roofs of houses, drown while playing in the river, or choke on food. Those are all accidents and are impossible to avoid. However, this pony did not die from old age, or an accident. They were murdered.”
“Who was… Ya know?” Asked Applejack, almost not wanting to hear the answer.
“The name of the individual will be kept confidential for the time being.” She said coldly, “But you might be wondering how we knew it was a murder. Well, the victim was found with multiple lacerations throughout the body, so our initial guess was that the victim was stabbed to death.”
Rarity let out a gasp that nearly made all of the others in the room jump.
Twilight thought for a moment before asking, “What do you mean initial guess?”
“Well…” she said looking at the floor, “in situations as severe as this one, we had to call in an expert to verify that everything is accurate. He is in charge of properly handling the body, clarifying how the victim died, and taking care of the body.”
Twilight cringed at the word “body.” She never thought that she would ever have to hear it used in such a way. “Well what did he tell you about how the pony died?”
The Mayor looked at the ground again before looking back at Twilight. She took a deep breath before she spoke, “He said that the victim did die from blood loss, but the lacerations were not caused by knife or any type of weapon.”
“Then what were they caused by?” Rarity asked with her revulsion ebbed by her curiosity.”
“Magic.” The Mayor deadpanned.
“Magic!” Twilight exclaimed nearly jumping into the air, “How is that even possible? Magic can’t be used as a weapon!” Her mind was racing at a mile a minute and her mouth could barely keep up. “That was the FIRST thing we were taught at Canterlot U! Magic CANNOT be used as a weapon.”
“That’s what I thought as well,” the Mayor agreed, “but Doctor Caduceus examined the pony said it was done by magic.”
“Wait…” Twilight said with a shock, “The Doctor Caduceus told you that.” The Mayor nodded, “Only the most famous and well respected doctor and scientist in all of Equestria?”
“I was just as surprised as you are Twilight.”
Twilight wasn’t just shocked, she was nearly horrified. Here she had been told all her life that magic couldn’t be used to cause any real physical harm. Sure you could use it to tie a rope around somepony, or use it to play a practical joke, but never could somepony use it to literally kill something.
Twilight didn’t want to believe it, not for a moment. However, if Doctor Caduceus said it was true than it might as well have been made law. Calling him great or even well respected was a massive understatement. He just wasn’t some doctor that went around fixing up ponies, he was THE Doctor. He has created and mastered more spells than Twilight could ever hope to dream of. He not only found the cure for Terrorsprite Flu (a very serious virus that resembled chicken pox and killed thousands of ponies as ravaged Equestria for decades), but he also created many of the medical spells used today for mending broken bones, repairing ruptured organs, and even killing cancer cells. Needless to say, if there was anything a unicorn wanted to know about magic or medicine, he was the pony to ask. Some even say that he is immortal. It was a little embarrassing, but he was her only other role model that she looked up to, besides Princess Celestia of course.
“I just can’t believe that… that something like this would happen with magic.” Twilight finally said.
“I couldn’t agree with you more Twilight darling,” Rarity stated. “Just the very idea of using magic in such a revolting way is horrible.”
“That’s not the worst of it,” the Mayor said in an incredibly soft tone. “He also said that magic of such a caliber could only be performed by unicorns with superior magical capabilities.”
Twilight looked at the Mayor with a strange look on her face. She did not like were this conversation was going. “So, he said that the unicorns with the highest capacity for magic were the number one culprits.” She dug a hoof into the wooden floor, “And those that ‘picked’ to be the most powerful unicorns were given more powerful restrictor bracelets that don’t even allow the use of levitation.” She looked down at the floor, “And you were given one of those bracelets Twilight…”
Twilight’s heart broke as the Mayor’s words washed over her like ice water. She felt betrayed as she looked at the magical bracelet digging into her foreleg. “Mayor… do you believe that I-“
“Oh heavens no dear,” The Mayor said bearing a look of pain on her face. “I would never believe that you of all ponies would be capable of such things. But Twilight you must understand,” she pleaded almost on the verge of tears. “I had to give you one or else they might show suspicion if you were treated differently than everypony else.”
“Well that makes me feel much better,” Twilight said relieved that she wasn’t necessarily a suspect. “But how strong of a bracelet did they give me, do you know?” She asked the Mayor.
“All I know is that it’s the strongest one they have.”
This news didn’t come easy for her. She tried using her magic, but nothing came. She tried even harder, and still nothing but a small burst of energy releasing from the bracelet.
“Twilight I wouldn’t waste your energy on such a bracelet.”
She ignored the Mayor and concentrated harder. The visions of last night’s dream came floating back to her as she remembered what the pony had said to her, and she did want to be without her magic if she was to protect and prepare for the unpreparable. She arched her back and gritted her teeth as she forced a fair amount of magical energy through her body, but the bracelet held its own. In one final attempt she forced most of the energy through herself and the bracelet feverishly tried keeping up. In one short flash it cracked, releasing an intense amount of magic that arched in the shape of a lightning bolt and collided with the floor. She was victorious but, the floor now had a smoking, black hole from where the magic had struck.
“HOLY CELESTIA!” Rainbow screamed while putting her hooves over her head it an attempt to protect it if the whole building came tumbling down. “What in all of Equestria was that?” The others scooted away from Twilight and shared similar expression to that of Rainbow.
“Sorry about that,” Twilight said blushing. “But I had to overload this bracelet or else I wouldn’t have been able to use my magic.” She turned towards the chair on the far end of the room. Her horn started glowing and she levitated the chair back and forth, making sure that everything worked to her expectations.
“You never seem to amaze me with all that ability you have darling.” Rarity said walking closer towards Twilight, “But next time, warn us when you’re going to do something as scary as that.” The others nodded in agreement and Twilight blushed deeper shade a reddish purple.
“Ah’m a might sorry t’ burst ya’lls’ bubble like such, but if we don’t hurry along with this little shindig o’ ours. Then we’re gonna miss the curfew.” Applejack noted while pointing a hoof at the clock on the wall. “Not t’ mention, that Ah don’t want to be anywhere close t’ here when those guard ponies come back.”
“Oh havens is it already that late?” the Mayor gasped, “All I wanted to do was inform you all about how the murder took place and to remind you all to be on guard. If the one responsible is still in Ponyville, or is a resident, then you and your friends Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy might be targets. Since you are the holders of the Elements of Harmony.”
“Right O’ Miss Mayor!” Pinkie Pie shouted while giving her a salute. The rest of the ponies nearly jumped out of their skin at Pinkie’s unexpected entrance.
“Holy Celestia!” Rainbow said again holding her chest, “All you crazy ponies are going to give me a heart attack, and Pinkie Pie where in the heck did you come from?”
“Sorry Dashie,” she giggled, “but I have a letter for Twilight and I was told that this is where she was.”
“Oh?” Twilight said curious about who could have sent her a letter at this time of day, but more so of who would entrust Pinkie to deliver it. “What kind of letter do you have for me Pinkie Pie?”
“The kind with words. Duh!” Pinkie shouted, “What other kind of letters are there Twilight.”
“No pinkie, who is it from?”
“Who is what from?” Pinkie asked cocking her head to the side.
“Oh, that’s right,” she said placing a hoof to her chin. “I have a letter from Spike.”
“Can I see it?” Twilight asked annoyed.
Pinkie Pie laughed, “I didn’t write it down silly, it’s all up here.” She clopped her hoof on her head a couple of times driving the point forward.
“So then it’s a message, not a letter?” Twilight corrected.
“What’s not a letter?” Pinkie asked confused.
Twilight facehooved, she loved Pinkie, but sometimes she could be just so… well Pinkie Pie. “Pinkie, just tell me what Spike told you to tell me.”
“Ohhhhh,” she said with a big innocent smile, “of course Twilight. Well, he said that after you left he got roped in with the Cutie Mark Crusaders and was going to spend the night with them at Fluttershy’s place. And that’s where I’m staying as well, since those mean guard ponies said,” she got up on her hind legs and put on a grouchy face that mimicked theirs pretty well. “’We’re taking this bakery to feed me and my bucks while we investigate, but you’re more than welcome to stay around and show us your cookies.’ And I was like, AS IF! I’d rather eat baked bads again then hang out with you perverts!”
“So Spike is going to be at Fluttershys tonight, and I’m going to be home all alone with these morons roaming the streets.” Twilight rolled her eyes, “Who knows if they will decide to come in my window or not.”
“I just don’t understand why they think that everypony has the irresistible urge to sleep with them,” Rarity added. “I mean one would think that after so many failed attempts, that they would catch on.”
“They definitely ain’t the sharpest ponies Ah ever seen,” Applejack added.
“Girls, come on!” Rainbow shouted trying to get their attention, “The longer we spend here, the greater the chance that they could come back!”
If Rainbow Dash could predict the future, then she better buy a lottery ticket, since not a moment later the door burst open and the “leader” of his group of misfits walked through the door laughing about something.
His attention quickly diverted from laughter as he noticed the group of fillies in the room.
“My, my,” he said in his loud voice. “Lookie here bucks, what did I tell you? They all stayed, and not even that, but another one joined the group as well!” He walked over to Pinkie Pie and draped a hoof over her shoulder, “Now… you want to hang with us tonight sweetie?”
“Nope.” She said before kicking him in the exposed part of his stomach and hopping outside humming a tune. The guard grabbed his stomach and nearly doubled over in pain. Rainbow and Applejack put hooves over their mouths to cover up their smiles and Rarity just looked away.
“Shall I go after her sir?” The littlest of the guards asked frantically.
“No, no, not to worry there are still plenty left.” He grunted gesturing with a hoof at the fillies like they were on sale.
“And with that, I’m going home.” Twilight said while trotting towards the door, but one of the guards quickly cut her off.
“Now where are you go-“He began to say but was quickly cut off when Twilight’s horn started glowing and she pushed him aside with little effort thanks to her magic.
With the path now clear Twilight trotted out of the room with Rarity following close behind, “I dare say that I’ve never met a worse bunch of brutish perverts as yourselves.” She said trying to avoid contact with them at all costs.
Rainbow Dash followed Rarity, “Do yourselves a favor and get those ideas out of your heads, cause none of its happening.” She said before quickly flying outside.
“Sir, they’re all leaving.” The smallest one noted with concern.
“No…” the leader said calmly, “they’re not. Divide and conquer Bucks!” The lead guard shouted before pushing Applejack away from the door. The smallest one raced out the front door and shut it behind him.
“What the hay?!” They heard Applejack shout behind the door.
“Wh-what’s going on?” Rarity asked flabbergasted.
“Don’t worry your pretty little head off sweetie, you’ll get a turn once they’re done with that little cowgirl friend of yours.” The pegasus pony said with a laugh that quickly vanished once he realized that most of them didn’t have a concerned look on their face.
“I feel sorry for your friends in there,” Rainbow Dash said with a grin on her face, “they picked the wrong filly to mess with, especially on a day like to today.
There a loud commotion of moving furniture and stomping hooves coming from inside the town hall. The faint scream of Miss Mayor could still be heard throughout it all.
Rarity was the only one panicking as she looked at her friends dumbfounded. Twilight shared her concern, but really she believed that Applejack could handle Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dumb.
“Am I the only one concerned with Applejack?!” Rarity yelled, “She could need-“
She was cut off by a thunderous explosion of glass and wood that erupted out of the window just to the right of the door, as one of the pegasus guards went flying through. Shards of glass and wood pelted the area just to the side of them as the guard pony laid in the dirt gasping for air. His armor had offered little protection to the sharp edges of the glass that riddled his body with nasty looking cuts and gashes. He cried in agony as he began rolling around in the glass covered grass smearing it with blood and ultimately just making his condition worse.
There was more commotion behind the door until Applejack’s fuming voice cut through it, “Ah can understand ya’ll comin’ on t’ a pony like me, but it just burns me when ya go after somepony like the Mayor!”
The pegasus guarding the door had a look of horror on his face as their plan was quickly backfiring. He was about to turn around and help his fellow guard, until the other guard collided through the window to the left of the door in a much similar fashion as the first one did. Thanks to his armor though, he sustained much less injury than his subordinate, but he was still unconscious.
“Hey Applejack,” Rainbow shouted, “The third one is standing behind the door!”
“NOT FOR LONG HE AIN’T!”
The last of the guard ponies went to take off, but he was too late. In much like the same way the windows blew out, the door exploded in an array of splinters and twisted metal as Applejack bucked clean through the door with her anger fueled rage. The pony flew straight back, his body contorting strangely to the sheer force of the kick. He went flying like a pony sized bowling ball, just narrowly avoiding Twilight and Rarity as he smashed face first into the dirt about twenty feet away.
Applejack stomped out, eyes filled with anger, but she also had a smile on her face. “Serves em’ right!”
“What a show darling!” Rarity shrieked clopping her hooves in applause.
“Yeah Applejack, we knew you were strong, but not THAT strong!” Rainbow said taking off into the air thanks to her excitement.
“Aw shucks,” she said blushing at the comment, “Well Ah’d say Miss Mayor probably won’t be frettin’ bout this here incident. Ah just hope Ah don’t get in any kind of trouble after what happened.”
“Don’t worry Applejack,” Twilight reassured her. “A simple letter to the princess will clear all of this up in the morning.”
“Ah’m mighty grateful Twilight, well see ya in the mornin’ then.”
The friends said their goodbyes and headed in separate directions towards their homes.
Twilight Sighed when she shut and locked the front door to her home. She hoped that what happened to the guards at the town hall building wouldn’t haut them later in the night. Hopefully the others would just laugh at them instead of getting angry, and possibly wanting revenge. And Twilight didn’t have Applejack’s apple bucking strength to protect herself if they did choose revenge. So, without taking any chances as she propped a chair behind the door for added measure.
She did a quick check to make sure every window and door was locked before crawling into her bed, but she couldn’t sleep. Her mind was racing from all the excitement that happened throughout the day. There was a murder, assaulted Royal Guard ponies, and the truth that magic can be used as a weapon.
Twilight tossed and turned for a good twenty minutes before finally admitting defeat thanks to her active body and mind. She tossed the blankets off her and opened the drawer to her nightstand. She floated out a couple of bottles and squinted at them trying to see through the darkness. She wanted to make sure that she chose the potion that helps her sleep instead of the one that keeps her up all night.
After finally finding the correct one, she quickly downed the bittersweet concoction and lied back down. Within moments she was in a deep peaceful sleep.
Twilight shut her eyes tight, deep in concentration. The magic around her horn suddenly expanded as she moved bushel after bushel of apples into their respective bins. She always loved helping during Applebuck Season. The smell of the freshly cut grass and recently bucked trees, the warm embrace of the sun beating down on her, and the delicious fresh squeezed apple juice were more than enough to entice Twilight to lend a helping hoof season after season. All in all, being on Applejack’s farm was peaceful, plus she was with all her best friends and that was always a blast.
She levitated another bushel of apples into a bin a turned around only to be face to face with him, again. Twilight let out a shriek as she jumped back away from him. She quickly looked around only to find that all of her friends had stopped in awkward positions, frozen in time.
“Really? You invaded my dream again?” There was almost no fear in her voice as she spoke this time.
He only stared back at her with is emotionless Celestiaforsaken eyes for the second time in the past 24 hours.
“So any advice this time Mr. crazy pony?” She asked with a sarcastic tone.
He still continued to look at her until finally asking, “What did you take before you went to sleep?”
Twilight recoiled back in shock. How did he know she took something to help her fall asleep? “I took a sleep additive to help me sleep.” She stated plainly.
“Fool!” he shouted, “Did you not heed my advice?” Twilight started to explain to him that his advice was a little to board for her standards, but he quickly cut her off. “How can you prepare for the unpreparable if you are incoherent and groggy when you wake up?”
“Look you,” Twilight said approaching the pony head on. “I just want things to go back to normal and for you to stop parading around in my dreams.” She turned her head to the side, “And you can keep any advice you have to give me this time to yourself, I’m no longer listening to you.”
She turned to meet his gaze, and really wish she hadn’t. His piercing stare caught her off guard, for the first time he had a look of anger on his face. Twilight thought he looked menacing when he just looked normal, but he was downright terrifying when he showed anger.
A magical aura appeared around his ghoulish looking horn as he picked up Twilight and brought her closer to his face. “Listen here you ignorant little foal!” His words were harsh and cut into Twilight making her gasp as he spoke. “Everything I’ve told you was to help you. I told you, due to my limitations I’m not in control.”
Twilight gulped deeply as she gathered her courage to ask, “Not in control of what?”
There was a sudden look of shock on the pony’s face, just as though he just realized something horrifying. “Listen Twilight, and listen good.” The seriousness in his words somehow scared her more than when he was shouting at her. “There is not much time now, and I will do everything in my power to try and counteract the effects of the sleeping potion you took, but after that you will be on your own.”
“Be on my own with what?” She asked frantically.
He just continued speaking as though she hadn’t said anything at all, “When you awake be on guard, for you will not be alone.”
“What do you mean-“
He cut her off again, ”Now… time to stimulate your autonomic nervous system.”
Twilight didn’t even have time to pop another question off before the glow around his horn intensified as his telekinetic grasp around her strengthened. It didn’t hurt at first but that quickly changed. The magic emanating around her body started growing brighter, and she found herself being crushed. Every inch of her being screamed as the magic dug deeper and deeper into her body. Panic rushed through her as she found it impossible to breathe. She wanted to kick her hooves, use a spell, do anything to make the agonizing pain stop but she was completely immobile.
His horn glowed even brighter as a shining ball of light appeared on the tip of his horn. “Now prepare yourself Twilight, for this night marks the night that will change you forever.” The ball of light exploded and her entire world became nothing but a bright limbo of luminescent light. In a flash it all disappeared and Twilight found herself sitting up in her bed.
Her breathing was uneasy and lacked rhythm. Sweat ticked her face and neck. She licked her dry lips with an even drier tongue as she smacked her dry mouth. She brought a hoof to her chest as she continued to hyperventilate, feeling her heart wanting to beat out of her chest.
In her heightened state of awareness, she heard a soft “click” that made her gasp and look in the direction of the door. She watched with fretful eyes as the door to her room slowly but surely click unlocked and creep open.
The feeling of uncertainty, it haunts everyone with its coldhearted mysteries of the unknown. Like an imaginary apparition preying on the weak and deceiving the strong. Mysteries that lead some down a path to glory, happiness, and serenity. While for others, it leads them down opposite paths of deception and revenge.
Fear petrified the poor unicorn while the door crept open. She wasn’t sure what to expect. An angry Royal Guard bent on revenge from the day’s earlier activities? A common household burglar? Or was it the horrifying pony that’s been haunting her nightmares?
As the door opened she prepared for the worst, for what appeared before her very eyes as it slowly walked up the stairs was none other than…
“Spike?” Twilight asked moving her head to try and get a better view from behind the cloud of darkness. She turned on the lamp in her room and sure enough Spike was standing in the doorframe leading into the room. He jumped and shielded his eyes from the lamp’s bright light.
“Oh… Twilight, you’re up,” he managed to say, “I thought you would have been sound asleep at such… a late hour.”
Twilight threw her covers off and jumped out of bed, “What are you doing home, I thought you were staying at Fluttershy’s cabin tonight?” She asked walking down the steps leading towards Spike.
”Well, you see… “He replied twiddling his thumbs and looking down at the ground, “I just couldn’t sleep without you by my side.”
“What?” Twilight questioned looking at him with an awkward disposition, “That’s never stopped you before. Why the sudden change in your sleeping patterns, Spike?”
“Well…” He began to say, but Twilight quickly cut him off with an angered hoof stomp.
“And do you have any idea what time it is?” She demanded lingering over the small dragon. Spike silently shook his head and gave her a strange smile. “It’s 1:43! You could have been in a lot of trouble if you were caught by one of the Royal Guards. You… you could have been severely punished.”
“I just wanted to go for a moonlight stroll before I came home and went to bed. What’s so wrong with that?” He asked nearly shouting at Twilight.
“A moonlight stroll? Seriously?” Twilight retorted meeting Spike’s level of volume, “It’s like I don’t even know you sometimes.”
A look of fright crossed Spike’s face as he stumbled with his words, “W-well I just ge-get confused sometimes…”
“Honestly Spike, do you ever pay attention? It was only hours ago when the Mayor announced that a curfew was put into effect from 8:00 to 6:30.”
“I wasn’t around when the Mayor gave that speech of hers,” he said finding his voice while looking at the floor again. “I was off doing something else when I got held up at Fluttershy’s house.”
Twilight took a nervous step away from Spike, an odd but frightening feeling washing over her. “But you were riding on my back when the Mayor announced the new rules in Ponyville. You were by my side the entire time. ”
“Was I?” He scratched at the back of his head and looked away from Twilight, “Well, I guess I just got confused or fell asleep throughout the whole thing then.” He smiled warmly at Twilight but that only made matters worse.
She took another step away from Spike, “No…” she shook her head, “you were asking me questions throughout the whole thing.” Fear began to crawl up her flank as she glared at Spike, hoping that this was all just some dumb prank. But would he really pull a prank like this, and risk walking all the way from Fluttershy’s home, and not get caught?
Spike continued to fidget his claws while Twilight studied him. Spike would have never woken up in the middle of the night to do anything that demanded physical exertion, let alone tread all the way across town. He would also never break such a strict rule like a curfew, especially if it was just enforced. Not to mention, that he would have have never gotten through the front door with it being locked and secured with a chair.
The evidence was mounting as Twilight glared at the dragon, her eyes forming slits as she whispered, “Who are you?”
Twilight continued her advance away from the green colored dragon that was “Spike,” until he began to laugh. The laugh was bone chilling and well-practiced, certainly not the laugh of Spike. “Busted…” Was all he said before a small eruption of purple dust swirled around the small dragon, consuming him. Twilight couldn’t help but notice that the color of the dust looked awfully similar to the mane of Nightmare Moon.
As the magical dust cloud cleared Twilight gasped at what she saw. It was a unicorn, much bigger than herself. It was nearly the size of Princess Celestia, except without the wings. It wore bright leather and metal barding that fitted tightly to its exterior. Its dark black coat contrasted beautifully with the brightly colored armor, and its deep violet mane was only just a few shades lighter than its coat. Its horn was nearly twice the size of Twilights and its red eyes looked all too much similar to the ones of the pony that frequented her dreams.
Twilight couldn’t quite put her hoof on it, but there was always something disturbing about those blood red eyes. So out of place and so corrupt, she felt a shiver run up her spine just thinking about them. It definitely made her tense and uneasy.
It shook its head a couple of times before speaking, “I really should have thought that one through.” Her voice was deep and held a bold ambiguity. It only added to how intimidating she truly was. “I should have known better than to use someone so close to her as a decoy.”
Twilight looked with uncertainty at the mare standing before her. How was she to protect herself or prepare herself from somepony like that? Nevertheless, Twilight mustered up enough strength to ask, “What have you done with Spike?”
She smiled as she glanced at Twilight, luckily her teeth didn’t resemble the aberrant knife-edged likeness much like the other pony’s had, “What have I done with your little dragon friend you ask?” She laughed as she spoke and started walking towards Twilight, “Why, I haven’t done anything to your cute little dragon, he’s probably snoozing his head off as we speak. Enjoying the company of… friends.”
Twilight tried to distance herself the best she could, but was quickly running out of space. “Then how did you look just like him a moment ago?” She demanded still trying to keep her distance and sound as assertive as possible.
The unicorn let out a snort and stopped her approach on Twilight. “I was told that you had magical prowess, and a vast magical knowledge to back it up.” She sighed, “However, I wasn’t told that your ignorance was great as well. I guess if you’ve never seen doppelganger magic before, then you must have never seen any form of Necromancy. Which means, that all your talent must be strictly modern magic.” She smiled again and began walking up the stairs that led towards Twilight’s bed, “Which means you’re about as dangerous to me as a newborn baby foal.”
Twilight’s eyes went wide when she heard necromancy. “Bu-but necromancy is just an old mare’s tale, it was never actually practiced… ju-just like curses.” She stammered.
“What… are you serious?” The large unicorn questioned before letting out a bellowing laugh, “That princess of yours really has you pathetic ponies trained well doesn’t she?” She took a moment to put a hoof on her face as she continued to laugh almost uncontrollably.
“What’s so funny?” Twilight insisted not wanting the Princess’s good name tarnished.
“You! my pretentious little foal.” She grinned evilly, “I’ll let you in on a little secret, okay? Necromancy, and curses are very much real…” She advanced towards Twilight until their faces were just inches apart before smiling and turning away.
“And don’t you even think for a second that I’m making any of this up. After all, that’s all it would take to completely and utterly destroy you.” She said while brushing her tail up and across Twilight’s face, bringing her level of comfort down to a level she didn’t even know existed.
“Why are you here then?” Twilight asked almost disgusted.
“Oh that’s right…” She remembered, “I forget myself sometimes. It’s just so… difficult, to carry on the task of killing such a beautiful pony as yourself.” There was almost a sense of despair and loss as she spoke. “Oh, but I do have a surprise for you!”
The unicorn’s horn lit up brightly with magic and Twilight braced herself for the worst, but nothing came. She slowly opened her eyes and saw the same cloud of dust from earlier, swarming around the black unicorn. In a sudden “poof,” the dark cloud vanished and what stood before Twilight was… Twilight!
It was a nearly perfect copy of herself. It had her grayish purple coat, dark blue mane with the pink and purple stripes running through the middle, and even her violet eyes.
“Amazing isn’t?” The clone of Twilight asked in a voice that perfectly mimicked her own. She took the time to thoroughly look herself over, “Oh, my, my. I do have to say that I am one stunning filly, don’t you agree dear?” She purred licking her lips, “Imagine the looks on your friends faces when I show up tomorrow… as you.”
Its voice, mane, coat, and even eyes were an exact copy of Twilight. It was almost as if she was looking into a broken mirror that wouldn’t mimic her motions. Everything perfect, except it had a bare flank. It didn’t have Twilight’s cutie mark.
“How can you go around as me if you don’t even have my cutie mark?” Twilight swallowed, “You won’t be able to fool anyone with such an inadequate disguise.”
Twilight’s clone frowned before clearing her voice and putting on an innocent face, “You mean when I was trying a very difficult spell last night, and it backfired leaving my flank bare and nearly destroying half my home?” She said puffing out her lip as though she was answering one of Twilight’s friends. “Oh, and thank goodness that Spike was at Fluttershy’s humble little cabin or else he might have gotten himself caught in the back draft,” she cried while putting a hoof over her head to add more hype to her overly dramatic performance.
As much as Twilight hated to admit it, her friends and probably everyone in Ponyville would believe such a story due to all of their ignorance in the field of magic. A fresh surge of anger swirled deep inside her, why hadn’t she thought of sleeping at Fluttershy’s home along with Pinkie Pie and Spike?
The clone stretched in its new body, “And once they believe that I’m you. We’re all going to take a nice little stroll in Whitetail Wood, to find the exact flower that doesn’t exist to reverse the effects of this spell.” To Twilight’s surprise the unicorn walked back down the stairs to the entrance she came in from. “And once they’ve gotten themselves comfortable, I’ll trap them, and slowly kill each one.”
Panic and a seething, white hot anger swarmed through Twilight as she watched the unicorn transform back into her original self. How could she just steal Twilight’s appearance to deceive her friends in such a way? The thought of it disgusted her and filled her with fear.
It had already dawned onto her that the unicorn before her could very well be the last thing she ever sees. Twilight shook her head, “No, get it together Twilight! If I can just get outside… get outside to the Royal Guards than I should be safe.” Twilight thought as her eyes briefly darted towards the window by her bed. She gasped in horror as she discovered that there were thick bars across every window in her room.
The black unicorn noticed this and let out another snort, “Remember when I told you I would trap your friends before I killed them?” She looked at Twilight with a devilish face, “I don’t intend for you to escape. Being out in the open would totally ruin my plans, and I’m not going to allow such a thing to happen.”
The unicorn got on her hind legs and kicked at the air, “Prepare yourself Twilight Sparkle! For I will be the last thing that this town ever sees before I burn it to the ground!”
Twilight stood petrified before the battle-readied unicorn. She tried to force her legs to move, but they wouldn’t budge. Fear embraced her as she watched in horror as the unicorn’s horn started to glow a dark chaos black.
Twilight couldn’t help but wonder why she was so scared of the black unicorn before her. Had she not charged head first at a rampaging hydra? Defeated an angry Ursa Minor bent on destroying Ponyville? She even thwarted the all power Nightmare Moon’s rein over of all Equestria! So, why was she scared stiff over an overgrown unicorn that knew magic? Necromancy or not, she was still just a unicorn and Twilight could at the very least, not act like a scared little filly.
She felt her strength flooding back, almost as though it was being stifled by some unforeseen force. Her courage returned, beating away her fear and panic. And anger ran through her as she imagined what the unicorn had planed for her friends. If there was anything that made Twilight more determined right then and there it was the thought of her friends. Her friends meant everything to her and she was not going to let them down.
Twilight took a battle stance of her own. She sprawled out her legs, grounding herself the best she could and lowered her head. If that unicorn was going to use some kind of spell to attack her, then she was going to be ready for it. She was not going to let her friends’ last thoughts be of a Twilight impersonator destroying them!
There was a small blast of red sparks that imploded across the unicorn’s face. Her magical field vanished and she brought up a hoof to grab her head while screaming in agony. The armor wearing unicorn thrashed her head around before screaming again.
“What just happened?” Twilight asked herself as she looked down at the flailing unicorn and around her room. Surely she didn’t cause the unicorn such an injury, did she?
“HOOOOOWWWW?!” The unicorn screeched as it finally took its hoof away revealing thick streaks of blood dripping from her closed eyes. “How did you break my Glare of Petrification with, with… Willpower?!” The unicorn hissed with her face twisted in pain and anger. She slowly opened her eyes revealing blood shot, yellow eyes.
“What happened to your red eyes? Did I cause that?” Twilight asked almost concerned about the now furious mare standing below her.
“Your ignorance knows no bounds, Twilight Sparkle.” The black mare grunted through clenched teeth, “Prepare yourself.” The eeriness in her voice rekindling Twilight’s fear.
The unicorn’s horn flared suddenly, the chaos black aura returning. The magical field around her horn then split off into four different orbs of twirling black magic and began glowing ominously. Twilight watched as the swirling masses of magic danced majestically around the black unicorn. It was beautiful, but she couldn’t fully enjoy something that was probably as deadly as it was beautiful.
The unicorn kept her eyes closed the entire time the spell was in effect, concentrating deeply. The floating orbs suddenly stopped before they let out in intense white light that nearly blinded Twilight.
Once the light subsided, the black orbs of magic were reformed into floating daggers of contorting blackness. Twilight was unimpressed. All that work and all she had to show for it was that she could conjure up some knives? Twilight could conjure up entire walls and doors in a matter of seconds, what made these daggers so special? As long as she kept her distance she should be fine.
Twilight’s plan quickly shattered when the unicorn whipped her head around in a swooping motion and one of the daggers flew past Twilight’s head with blinding speed. It stuck into the wall just behind her, only missing by inches.
“Well I guess that changes things,” Twilight chucked before the unicorn whipped her head around again. Twilight quickly fell to the floor and put her hooves over her head. The remaining three daggers whizzed past her head with such a speed that her mane whipped at her neck and face. She turned her head to look in horror as all the daggers stuck into the wall behind her, buried to the hilt, before exploding into a fine magical dust.
In one elegant motion, the black unicorn jumped up to the same level as Twilight and landed only feet away. A fierce purple emanating from her horn, before a dark violet ball of fire sparked at Twilight. She quickly ducked as the glowing fireball exploded on the bookshelf just next to her. In an instant, the entire bookshelf was engulfed in the dark flames that popped and screamed as the shelf continued to burn.
A new wave of horror washed over her when she noticed that the bookshelf wasn’t burning much like one might expect when something was set ablaze. The dark violet flames weren’t consuming the helpless shelf to a pile of ash. They were melting it.
The shelf bubbled and popped as its rigid frame fell victim to the enraged flames. The wood and paper of the books melted like they were made of chocolate and candy. Twilight feverishly backed away from the bulbous, gelatinous mass that was her bookshelf, a look of pure terror on her face.
The black unicorn noticed this and grinned devilishly, “Ohhhh, I certainly hope I’m not scaring you my dear.” She broke into an ice chilling laugh that would make even the most hardened of ponies cower in fear, “Let’s see, how should you meet your demise, oh I know,” she said a sudden thought striking her. “How about you decide.”
“Um, okay,” Twilight played along, “how about I die of old age after a fruitful and happy life with my friends.”
The unicorn let out another laugh of amusement, all Twilight could think of was how old it was getting for the unicorn to break out in laughter every five seconds. “Wow, they have you whipped good don’t they?” She chuckled, “Twilight… Sweetie. No matter what happens tonight, there is one thing I can promise you. You will never die of old age.”
Twilight lowered her head and ears, the sudden realization of death weighing her down. If she died tonight what would become of her friends? Would they meet the same fate? No. That was not something she was going to allow. She may not have the magical ability needed to defeat such a unicorn, but maybe she had enough to at least get outside.
Her horn glowed its bright purple before she was enveloped in a bright cloud of magic. All she needed was enough magic to teleport outside and be home free… sort of.
She felt her body become light as air as her magic flowed through her entire being, making every cell in her body excite to a level of pure euphoria. A supernova of serenity engulfing her body, before a bright flash of magical light filled the room and she disappeared. About fifteen feet away, she reappeared on the lower level of the floor.
She looked around frantically, confusion overcoming fear for a change. “What happened? I should be outside, not in here.”
The black unicorn only smiled and shook her head, “You bounced baby…”
Any hope she once had of escaping this demented unicorn was crushed. If this unicorn had the power to bounce her teleport spells and make them useless, then she might as well as rip off her horn and throw it at the beastly mare. Twilight didn’t have any spell close to combatant the unicorn’s level of magic either, let alone her experience in actual battle.
“Finally coming to a realization, haven’t you dear?” The unicorn questioned with a stillness in her voice that sounded loving… caring… almost motherly. “Just accept it… just accept death’s sweet and gentile embrace.”
“Never,” breathed Twilight.
“Honey… just think about it. No more studying, no more chores, no more pain.” The mare diligently proposed with a certain glamor that made Twilight shiver. “Never again will you have to worry about tomorrow. Never again will you have to worry about life beating you down, kicking you while you’re down, and then ruthlessly beating you again…” The experience in her voice showed pain and sorrow, almost wishing the same could be offered to herself. “And you will never be lied to again…”
“I don’t th…“Twilight lost her train of thought to a soft clicking noise as she suddenly noticed the clock across the room, and apparently so did the unicorn.
“Oh my, look at the time. I do get carried away don’t I?” She asked herself, “Unfortunately, I can’t play all night, I’m on a strict schedule. And it seems I’ve already overstepped my bounds. So why don’t we just settle this quickly and quietly.” Her horn glowed a dark crimson and a bolt of energy erupted out, sparking at Twilight. It struck her straight in the chest, splashing out in all directions as it hit her like a giant water balloon.
There was no pain; there wasn’t even a feeling to where she had been hit. In fact there wasn’t any feeling at all, as a strange but warm numbness started to creep around her body. Twilight felt it surge through her body draining her of energy and demanding more. She shook her head, her eyes were getting heavy and becoming more difficult to keep themselves from closing. Not only were her eyes putting up a brutal fight, but she found it exceedingly difficult to keep herself standing. A strange warmth flowed through her, basking her in calmness. She fell back on her haunches and began to breathe heavily.
“Don’t worry it won’t take long… and it’s incredibly peaceful…”
The unicorn’s words held truth. Twilight was overcome with emotions and feelings that begged her to just submit to the strange magic coursing through her. She never felt so safe in her entire life then at that very moment. She could feel her body giving up on her, succumbing to the silently, oppressive magic flowing inside her. Her body began to shut down and all she could do was refrain from losing conscious for maybe another couple of minutes.
The black coated mare walked with a careful grace up to Twilight, “Such a shame to see something as beautiful as you just given to death at such an early age.” Her eyes were no longer filled with hatred or cruelty, but with sorrow. “To die so young, and not even given a chance to fully understand the powers you possess.” She smiled warmly at Twilight, “I’m so sorry, but it’s the only way.” With those final words, she leaned back and closed her eyes.
It was at that moment that Twilight realized her horn was still glowing the same dark crimson color. She wasn’t leaning back for a moment of silence for Twilight, she was concentrating. All Twilight needed was to break that concentration and her spell would fall apart. But how was she supposed to accomplish such an endeavor? She was at the point to where her breathing became extremely short and distant, and her eyes struggled to keep themselves open.
It would have been Twilight’s last moments if it weren’t for a loud, panicked scream that jolted her back to life. The black unicorn’s magic imploded, shooting sparks of bright crimson as she feverishly tried to beat away her attacker with a hoof.
“Owlowiscious!” Twilight screamed in excitement and concern. The small horned owl had stopped the unicorn’s spell and was viciously clawing at her face.
Twilight took the opportunity to recover and scramble to her hooves while the unicorn was distracted with Owlowiscious. She took off, galloping as if her life depended on it, at the large beast. In mid run she quickly pivoted on her hooves, and raised her hind legs high in the air. The unicorn noticed this but didn’t have time to react. With all her might, combined with the momentum of her running, Twilight bucked the unicorn. Her hooves connecting in the breast and lower neck of the larger unicorn. She didn’t fly back as much as Twilight hoped for, but it was enough for her to lose her hoofing and fall backwards down the stairs in a thunderous crash.
“Thank you Fruit Bucking 101,” she gasped trying to catch her breath. Thankfully, that book had a section for smaller ponies to use their momentum from a run to help knock fruit out of trees if their strength wasn’t enough. It seems it works well with oversized unicorns as well.
Twilight acted quickly, she floated down one of her heavier bookshelves near her bed and placed it in front of the stairs. This would by no means keep the unicorn out, but it would at least buy Twilight some precious time.
“Owlowiscious, you have to get out of here it’s not s-“A large concussive blast cut her off. Splinters and books flew out in all directions with lethal speed. Luckily, none of them hit her. She looked at the top of the stairway only to get a stare of pure anger return her gaze. The unicorn already had the dagger spell up and ready to go as she whipped her head in a familiar fashion. The daggers took off with great speed, darting right for Twilight. However she was quicker, picking up a larger piece of the now mangled bookshelf with her magic and using it as a makeshift shield from the cursed blades. She closed her eyes, and turned her head away in an automatic response that in doing so might offer even more protection. She could feel each one of the blades rip into the piece of wood that was feebly acting as her only barrier of protection.
Twilight slowly opened her eyes, only to see four shiny blades staring back at her. She couldn’t help but to smile seeing as her plan actually worked. Her smile quickly disappeared as the unicorn screamed out in an anger that was unparalleled to anything she had ever heard before. A dark black aura overtook Twilight’s own magical aura on the piece of bookshelf, as she felt it torn from her magical grasp.
The unicorn floated the “shield” away from Twilight before violently throwing at the wall. It shattered into splinters and small chunks of wood that went flying. Judging by the look on her face, Twilight could see that her patience had run dry. Very dry.
“I wanted to make this easy for you!” She growled, “But no! You had to go and make things difficult.” A bright red glow overtook her horn as she continued to speak, “But don’t worry, I have just the thing for such stubbornness!” The bright red glow her horn was emitting grew stronger as a second layer of magic engulfed the first one. Sparks and rays of the magic showered the black mare as a large ball of energy began to form at the tip of her horn. It grew and grew until it was nearly the size of a watermelon before an intense flash of light signified that her spell was complete.
“How about we end this with a bang, Twilight Sparkle?” She roared before whipping her head around in a similar motion as she did with the dagger spell. The ball of magical energy left her horn eagerly, hissing as it rolled through the air seeking its target.
Without skipping a beat, Twilight’s horn started glowing as she picked up random piles of books that happened to land close by and combine them together to use as a shield. If it worked before why wouldn’t it work again?
The red ball of energy smashed into the group of books with such a force that Twilight felt herself slide backwards, but they held strong. What struck Twilight as odd was that the glowing ball of magic didn’t explode or even rip through her book-shield. All it did was stick to the first book it made contact with and start convulsing violently, compounded by a loud hissing sound. Her eyes grew big with horror as the magical orb of red energy started growing and becoming volatile.
“Oh no you don’t!” The black unicorn bellowed readying herself for another spell. Owlowiscious noticed this and dove for the unicorn once again. His talons lashing out at her soft face, ripping and clawing as she screamed in agony.
Twilight would have jumped for joy, if not given her current situation. How could somepony fall victim to the same form of distraction? Nevertheless, Twilight seized the opportunity for the second time and gathered her magic around the pile of books holding the red orb. With as much force as her levitation magic would allow, she threw the magical orb back at the distracted unicorn. Owlowiscious flew away just in time as the barrage of books and magic headed straight for its new victim. The unicorn tried to jump out of the way of her own spell, but an ill placed book caught her hoof and caused her to trip. Those long legs may be good for running or jumping, but they didn’t fare so well when it came to moving around in such close quarters.
The unicorn’s reversed spell hit her on the flank, gluing itself in place. She let out a terrifying scream of frustration before she teleported away. Twilight was relieved to watch the unicorn leave, but not so much when she noticed that her spell remained behind.
“Owlowiscious! Come here quick!” Twilight shouted. He obeyed, proudly flying over to her as he landed on her back. With the unicorn gone, her teleport spell would no longer bounce. In a bright flash they both teleported outside, about twenty feet away from the front of the door.
There was already a small group of ponies and guards collected outside wondering what all the noise going on inside Twilight’s home was about. They gasped as soon as Twilight appeared before them, not used to her ability to teleport.
“Get down!” She shouted putting her hooves over her head before a massive and ear ringing explosion lit up the night sky. Twilight found the force of the explosion lifting her off the ground and throwing her into the group of ponies. The ground quaked from the authority of the blast, the ponies looking directly at it were blinded by its intense contrast to the night sky, and any pegasi in the air were brutally forced to the ground from the thunderous shockwave. Many let out screams of terror and started panicking as Twilight tried to pick herself back up.
She brushed herself off the best she could before looking at the smoldering mess that was once her home and Ponyville’s library. All that remained was a blackened trunk jutting outward into the night sky.
It stated snowing ash and other pulverized materials from whatever was inside her home. The warm ash falling to the ground and the dark cloud blocking out the moonlight made for an especially eerie sight that tugged at Twilight’s heart. That was her home, and now it was reduced to a miserable pile of rubble. Owlowiscious landed back on Twilight’s back making her jump.
“Oh Owlowiscious! You saved my life!” Twilight said nearly bursting into tears as she lovingly nudged her pet owl. He replied with an affectionate coo before picking out one of his feathers with his beak and offering it to Twilight.
She hesitated, “That’s sweet, but what am I supposed to do with one of your fea… “Then a sudden realization shot over her, “Owlowiscious, you’re a genius.” She floated the feather near her head. If she could gather the materials needed to write a letter to Princess Celestia, then maybe she could shed some light onto this miserable situation. “Now all I need is my… saddle bag!” Twilight shouted noticing one of her many saddle bags had reluctantly survived the blast.
She raced over to it and fished out a now yellowed piece of paper and an inkwell. Using the bag as surface to write on, she immediately began writing her letter of tonight’s experience. Some of the ponies were starting to come to, noticing her in a somewhat suspicious looking pose. After who else would feel compelled to write a letter immediately after their house blew up? She knew there would be a lot of questions being asked, and she didn’t want this getting out of hoof without the Princess knowing. Many of the ponies didn’t take to kindly to excessive magic, so this was probably going to cause some tension.
She quickly signed the letter and neatly rolled it up. She then gave it to Owlowiscious who happily accepted it into his beak.
“Okay Owlowiscious I know you’ve already done so much for me but I need you to do me another favor.” He nodded and she continued, “Great. I need you to take that letter to Princess Celestia as quickly as possible.” He turned his head around to get a look at Canterlot sitting on the side of a mountain, but more importantly how far away it was. He gave her a fretful look but nodded anyways.
Twilight smiled at the little horned owl, “Oh don’t worry about the distance.” She reassured, “You’re small, so I should be able to teleport you pretty close to the Princess’s castle, but not all the way there.” He gave her a muffled hoot as he took to the air.
“Thanks Owlowiscious.” She said before her horn started glowing a bright purple. It was going to be difficult, but she should be able to manage. She grinded her teeth together as she wrapped her little avian friend in a purple sphere of magic, and in a flash he was gone. She just hoped that she got him close enough to the castle so the Princess would send a letter or, well she wasn’t exactly sure what Celestia would do in such a situation.
“Oh my goodness Twilight, what happened to your lovely home?” Twilight turned to see Rarity trotting past some staggering ponies, careful not to let any of them touch her, and up to Twilight. She embraced Twilight in a hug before asking, “Darling, what happened?”
“I was attacked,” She said breaking the hug, “and luckily no one was hurt.”
“You were attacked?” Rarity asked a bit skeptical. “It wasn’t an Ursa again, was it dear? Or those god-awful Parasprites? ”
Twilight shook her head, “Nope, I was attacked by a unicorn.”
“A unicorn?!” She shouted much louder than Twilight would have wanted, “You’re telling me a unicorn did…” she looked at the gnarly remains of the library, “That! To your home?”
“Look at what that Twilight did to our precious library!” Came the voice of a light blue coated unicorn with a dark blue and white mane and tail.
“Excuse me?” Twilight asked annoyed, “I wouldn’t cause an explosion that destroyed my own home.”
“Well who else could have caused an explosion as cool as that one?” It was the voice of Snips moving his way to the front of the crowd followed by Snails. “And you are the most powerful unicorn in all of Equestria!”
Yeah in all of Equestria!” Snails repeated meeting a parrot’s level of annoyance, but probably not a parrot’s level of intelligence. A parrot was much smarter than Snails.
“Yeah and since she is the most powerful she probably blew up her home to remove any suspension that she was the one that murdered that poor pony!” The light blue unicorn with a hourglass cutie mark exclaimed trying to turn the ponies against Twilight.
“What!” Rarity shouted at the pony, “My friend would never harm another pony, let alone murder one.”
“Well than why was she writing a letter and giving it to her pet owl then?” The blue unicorn asked, “Probably sending it off to her fellow magicians, letting them know she failed.”
“If you know what’s good for you-“Rarity was cut off by some colt from the crowd of ponies.
“I bet she sent a letter to that Trixie that brought the Ursa to Ponyville!” The crowed of ponies gasped at the notion, and then agreed with a cheer of shouts and threats.
“You know I heard that she turns ponies she doesn’t like into plants.” Said an unknown voice from the crowd of ponies.
“Yeah and I heard that she spends all her nights cooking up evil spells while she used to write letters to Nightmare Moon!” Said a different voice that made the crowd gasp.
“What?!” Twilight shouted a new fear starting to crawl up her exhausted flank. “That’s preposterous! I write letters to Princess Celestia, not Nightmare Moon.”
It didn’t take long before the entire town was woken up and the crowd of hateful ponies started to grow.
In about twenty minutes, the entire town was awake and bustling with hatred at poor Twilight. Luckily, Spike and all her other friends had showed up and were all defending her the best they could from the onslaught of hateful comments by the crowd of what seemed like hundreds of ponies.
Applejack walked closer to Twilight, “Ah don’t right know what ya did t’ make all these here ponies so angry at ya, but Ah reckon we ought t’ go inside before this gets outa’ hoof.” Applejack suggested as the crowd of ponies started to close in on them.
“Oh yeah? Inside what?” Rainbow Dash answered, “Half of Twilight’s home is gone, remember!”
“Oh yeah, right…”
“Geez Twilight you sure know how to throw a party when nopony is looking to party!” Pinkie Pie added in her more than chipper voice.
“Pinkie Pie, this is no time for shenanigans.” Rarity said, “If we don’t figure out something soon, they might turn… violent.” A shiver running down Rarity’s spine.
“And what do you propose we do about that?” Twilight asked.
“Panic…” Fluttershy muttered with her voice nearly drowned out by the crowd before them.
Thankfully the Royal Guards started actually doing their job as many of them flew in between the crowd of angry ponies and Twilight. They started creating a line of guards that acted as a wall of segregation from Twilight and her friends, and the unhappy crowd of ponies. Thankfully, many of the Ponyville residents at least held respect for the Royal Guards. For as soon as they started flying down many of them went quiet and even backed away.
“Why are you looking at us?” Came the voice of pink coated earth pony, “Arrest them! They are the ones that destroyed our precious library.”
Then the Captain of the guards flew in the middle of the line making the pink pony nearly trip as she found her place back in the crowd. “Listen here citizens of Ponyville!” He shouted with an authority that made some of them jump, “I find it aggravating that I must remind you all that you are breaking the new curfew rule that was put into place not even twelve hours ago. Don’t think that just because you are great in number, that we won’t fine and prosecute each and every one of you.” There was a small outburst of mumbles from the crowd of ponies.
The Captain cleared his throat, immediately silencing the crowd. “If you chose to leave now and go home, then we will drop all charges held against you. But only if you go straight home and not leave until the time you were previously instructed to do so. Do I make myself clear?” The crowd of ponies agreed with a sea of nodding heads before they dispersed.
“You know… he’s actually somewhat attractive when he does his job and isn’t a pervert.” Rarity chimed, “But he’s still a disgusting pig.”
Twilight was starting to get worried about Owlowiscious, it has been nearly forty minutes and she still hasn’t heard anything from him, or Celestia.
She looked at the bandaged Captain, commanding his subordinates to put a perimeter around Twilight’s home before finally trotting over to her and her friends.
“Thank you for clearing out that crowd of ponies Captain.” Twilight said trying not to arouse his ego too much.
“Not a problem sweetie, but my services don’t come free.” He purred locking onto Twilight, “I see that you don’t have a place to sleep tonight, so why don’t you just come on back to the town square for some… alone time.”
“Um, no thanks,” Twilight groaned with a disgusted look on her face. She thought all this mindless perversion was behind her, no pun intended.
“It wasn’t a suggestion,” there was an unnerving sternness to his voice. “Either you head back to the town hall with me or I make you.”
“Oh yeah, and you remember what happened last time you tried something like that?” Rainbow Dash barked at the Captain.
“As a matter of fact I do,” his assertive voice making Rainbow back down, not expecting such a reaction. “You and your friends assaulted three Royal Guards during a very sensitive investigation of a murder of a fellow Ponyville resident. Even if the orange one did all the kicking you all are still accomplices to such a heinous crime. A crime, in which I may add, that could give each and every one of you up to ten years of imprisonment.”
The group of fillies gasped, “You can’t do that.” Twilight reasoned, “It’s my word against yours when it comes to Princess Celestia, and I’m her personal student.”
He let out a short and abrupt laugh, “Haven’t you ever heard of Checks and Balances sweetie?” He asked.
Twilight hated herself, but when it came to Equestria’s legal system, she knew very little.
“Well, let me tell you,” he said grinning ear to ear. “Just because you’re friends with the Princess doesn’t mean you’re above the law. Sure you may get out early because you hold such a close connection to her, but don’t expect much more than that. And as for your friends, they wouldn’t last long in prison.”
Twilight was crushed, after everything that happened tonight and she still had to deal with this. It was unfair, just plain unfair. “You can’t pin assault on us, we were defending ourselves,” Twilight muttered as she racked her brain trying to think of a way to get them out of this situation.
“Yeah!” Applejack shouted, “You were forcin’ yerselves ont’ me an’ the Mayor! We had a right to defend ourselves!”
“Defending yourselves? from what?” He answered, his toothy grin getting larger, “You and your friends led me and my subordinates on before tricking us with your… promiscuous ways. Which confused us, before then assaulting us.”
Spike poked Twilight in the leg, not fully understanding the situation playing out before him, “Twilight what does promiscuous mean?” He asked.
“Not now Spike,” she said irritated.
Pinkie pie brought herself down to Spike’s level before saying, “Well you see Spiky, promiscuous means-“
“Pinkie Pie!” Twilight shouted cutting Pinkie off, “He doesn’t need to know what that means!”
“Well he did ask,” She retorted, looking away.
Twilight growled trying to re-rail her derailed train of thought, “We never did such things, you’re nothing more than a low life liar.” Twilight gasped looking at the Captain with such a disgust she thought she might vomit.
“Maybe…” He agreed, “but it’s me and my dozens of buck’s word against you and your friends. Not to mention, that you sent one of my lieutenants to the emergency clinic with a shattered wing, several broken ribs, a punctured lung, and lacerations running along his entire body from his little trip through the window. He nearly died. So, either Twilight comes to spend the rest of the morning with me, or I have you all locked up for a very long time.”
All of Twilight’s friends glared at the abusive guard before them, but that was all they could do. Twilight sighed and walked slowly forward, “This is unfair, please don’t make us do this.”
“It would be fair if none of you decided to kick us,” he snorted before glowering over Twilight. “And there is no ‘them,’ only you. So what is your decision?”
Twilight was torn, surely she didn’t want to spend even one second alone with this creep. However, it would be selfish of her to make each one of her friends waste ten years of their life for just a few hours of hers. A few horrible, unmentionable hours.
“I-I agree…,” Twilight stuttered before walking closer to the Caption’s side.
“Twilight, darling. You don’t have to do this.” Rarity pleaded, “We’ll think of something else, after all he could be lying.”
Twilight sighed in defeat, “It’s ten years for all of you, or at least AJ since she’s the one that actually did the kicking. Or a few hours of my time. It would be stupid to pass up such a deal.”
There was a sound of somepony clearing his throat as Twilight and her friends looked at the Caption, who adverted their gaze to a unicorn leaning against the wall eating an apple. He had on similar gold armor as the Captain, but instead of a blue star in the middle of his breast was a strange symbol. It was Celestia’s sun cutie mark with Luna’s crescent moon cutie mark, adorned in the middle of the sun. He had a luscious ivory coat with a long dark blue mane and tail. His tail grew down until it nearly touched the ground, it wasn’t trimmed short like all the other guards wore their tails. He also wasn’t wearing a helmet, and he had an abnormally long horn jutting out from his head.
“The Equestrian legal system at its finest,” he chuckled with a voice that was deep and smooth.
“And just who are you?” The Captain asked his eyes narrowing to slits, “I wasn’t informed that they would be sending any… unicorns to help with my investigation.”
“My name isn’t important,” the ivory coated unicorn said finishing his apple. “And even if you were told that unicorns would be sent to help you, you wouldn’t have been informed about me.”
“Oh, is that so,” the Captain grunted as some of his subordinates started to land behind him, as back up. “Do I need to remind you, that you are a long way away from home, and that you are in the presence of a Captain?”
The unicorn smiled, “And do I need to remind you of week 33 of your Captain training?” He replied with a touch of anger in his voice.
The Captain went to say something but immediately shut his mouth as if he just came to a realization. “There were over a hundred and thirteen weeks of Captain training, how am I supposed to remember a specific one?”
“Ah, so you do remember. That is good.” The unicorn trotted over to the door of the now destroyed library building and opened it with his magic, and the headed inside. “let’s see…” He said from behind the wall, “they usually take off their… Ah there it is.” Shortly after, he exited with a pitch black cloak in his teeth. He then spit out the dark cloak and quickly caught it with his magic before it fell to the ground.
“Surely you remember this…” the unicorn then unfolded the cloak revealing an insignia embezzled on the back. It was a dark green star with matching green cobra coiling about the star with a red rose in its mouth.
The Captain gasped and backed away in sheer terror, before bowing his head. “Terribly sorry, sir. My stallions and I will vacate the premise immediately and leave you to your work.” The Captain whimpered, “Bucks we leave… Now!”
“But sir?” One of the guards asked until he got a threatening stare from the Caption that quieted him.
“Oh and Captain, don’t forget about Twilight and her friends,” the unicorn ordered.
“Of course sir,” the Captain turned around and trotted back to Twilight almost as if he functioned by speech commands. He then bowed so low his nose touched the ground, “Twilight and friends, a thousand pardons to you and your friends for all the rudeness and anxiety I and my subordinates have caused you. Please forgive our stupidity.” He then took to the air with the rest of his guards following shortly after.
Twilight and her friends stood awestruck at what had just played out before their very eyes. Rainbow Dash was the first one to break the silence, “What in the heck just happened?”
The armor clad unicorn laughed softly to himself before walking over to the group of fillies and Spike, “I do hope he didn’t cause you all too much trouble. Pegasus guards are often paired with the misconception that they are the best guards, and are irresistible to women.” He rolled his eyes at his own comment.
Twilight walked up towards the unicorn and wrapped her neck around his, hugging him. She felt his body tense from her unexpected hug. She then stepped back not wanting him to feel uncomfortable, “Thank you very much. If you hadn’t shown up when you did, well…” Twilight mumbled looking at the ground.
The stallion cleared his throat in an attempt to hide the slight blush on his face, “It was nothing, just doing my royal duty.” He said proudly.
“I’ll say dear,” Rarity beamed, “You just waltzed right up to those ruffians waving that cloak around, and they all went running with their tails behind their legs like the bunch of colts they are.”
“Yes it was impressive,” Twilight added, “but if you don’t mind me asking what are your royal duties?”
He bowed, “forgive my rudeness, but I do believe that introductions are in order.” He voiced with an appeal that held respect for what the guards stood for. “My name is Aqueous, Commander and Chief of Sector Zero of the Equestrian Special Forces, Team one, tier ten.”
“Well, that’s a mouthful,” Applejack drawled, “An’ a mighty strange name if Ah might add.”
“Yes, well that name was given to me a very long time ago…” He began to say, his eyes distant in thought, “and it just stuck.”
“That’s fine an’ dandy, mah name’s Aple-“
“Applejack.” Aqueous interrupted, “Sister to Apple Bloom and Big Macintosh, and grandchild to one ‘Granny Smith.’ Farmhand on Sweet Apple Acres as well as a renowned cook. Commonly seen with the ends of her mane tied up and wearing a worn, brown cowboy hat. You enjoy baking, rodeos, rope tricks, the company of your friends, and… your honest nature.”
“Whoa now, jus’ hold on a second. How on earth do ya know so much about me?” Applejack demanded confronting Aqueous.
“Like I said, “He replied to Applejack’s aggressive demeanor in a much calmer fashion. “It was one of my Royal duties. I had to gather information on each and every one of you.”
“But why would you need to gather information on us?” Twilight asked.
“I can’t say much at the moment, but it has to do with the fact that you six are the holders of the Elements of Harmony, and the destroyers of Nightmare Moon.” He said slowly looking at each one of them, “And that it is my duty to protect you for the time being.”
“Protect us from what?” Rainbow Dash asked annoyed.
“Well for starters, power hungry Captions. And from whoever caused that…” He pointed a hoof at the remains of Twilight’s home. “Twilight was lucky enough to survive her attacker, but I fear that the rest of you may not fare as well as she did at this time.”
“Wait, you seem to know an awful lot about us and the situation that took place in my home. You probably know who attacked me don’t you?” Twilight pressed, “Because if you do I would like some answers.”
“I’m afraid I’m limited to what I can tell you at this time,” he sighed. “But… Twilight, you were attacked by a Necromare… An extremely powerful and dangerous pony that uses Dark Magic, curses, or magical weapons to either kill its victims or torture them.”
“Oh my,” Rarity added.
“Sounds scary,” Fluttershy whispered.
“Whoa, whoa,” Twilight argued quieting her friends. “So you’re telling me that there are more than one of those… Necromares and they’re hunting us down, why?”
“Yes, and as for why. Well, I’m afraid that I’m not permitted to tell you.”
“Well then who is permitted to tell me then?” She asked. Aqueous opened his mouth to say something, but was cut off by a bright flash as Owlowiscious and Twilight’s letter appeared out of thin air.
Aqueous turned away, “Them…” he whispered before bowing low to the ground. Not a second later, two brilliant, bright purple flashes filled up the night sky. It wasn’t more unicorn guards or a letter like Twilight had thought, oh no. For standing in front of her was none other than Princess Celestia herself. She was accompanied by her younger sister, Princess Luna. And they didn’t look pleased.