“Something about all this jus’ ain’t sittin’ right...”
“We have to.”
“... I know... don’ make this feel no better though. Don’t think I’ve ever seen her look so worried... the both of them.”
“I... none of that matters. We know what we have to do. We’re here. Let’s do it.”
“I don’t mean nothin’ like that... just feels like we’re missin’ something here, y’know? Like they’s keepin’ something from us.”
“I know... I feel the same.”
“Are you two ready?”
“As we’ll ever be.”
Debris rained down around them as the snake smashed into and then through the column. As Fluttershy skidded along the floor and lifted herself back into the air, it pulled itself from the ruins, dust and stone falling from its dark flesh. It let out a rumbling growl as it turned to face the flapping pegasus, scaly lips twisted in a maniacal grin.
Fluttershy had only time to let out a gasp before immediately dropping her altitude, dropping just beneath the serpent-like demon as it shot through the air just above her, the scales scraping through her extended feathers.
Mouth agape, Fluttershy watched as yard after yard of monstrous beast coursed by above her. Her wings seemed to move in slow, blurring swirls of feathers as she studied it the fleshy armor..
The beast seemed endless.
“It doesn’t matter where we are! You won’t win!” the pegasus yelled out, shaking herself from her reverie as the serpent looped around itself to face her once more.
Fluttershy could feel the dread that threatened to overwhelm her as she studied the gnashing teeth and the long, thick fangs that hung from its maw. The felt the tell-tale tremble of her muscles as they threatened to give out.
“You won’t win, I won’t let you!”
The beast merely laughed, sending a shudder coursing down the pegasi’s spine. She wanted to run, to flee from the monster before her, but she suppressed the fears and held her head high. Swallowing hard, the pegasus stayed put, glaring daggers at the beast as it reared to attack once more.
It launched itself at her, serpentine body cutting through the air at the yellow pegasus as she felt the familiar power building inside her.
She didn’t move save to flap her wings as the beast drew nearer and nearer. The gaping black of its open throat threatening to consume her, she merely stared at the approaching doom.
At the last second, she folded he wings and dropped beneath its hurtling form only to flare her wings out. She flipped in the air, bringing her hind hooves to bear before bucking the beast right in its expansive underbelly with a resonant thump.
The beast’s angered roar filled the air as it was sent reeling back into the darkness, red eyes glinting with anger as dark energies bled from the spot of the blow. Fluttershy lowered to the ground, her hooves crackling with electricity as her body began to radiate a pink light. The pegasus couldn’t help but grin at the beast’s apparent pain as the dark tendrils that attached itself to the room receded into itself to care for its wound.
“Hmph... Old tricks.” the beast grimaced before grinning anew. “How about we try something new?”
With a roar that sent Fluttershy scrambling into the air, the beast lashed out with a trio of shadowy tendrils, sending chunks of the floor flying into the air as it dug three deep divots into the stone. The pegasus weaved through the flying debris before she felt something slam into her, sending her tumbling through the air. She cried out in pain as she smashed into the top arch of the entry wall before collapsing to the floor with audible thump.
Coughing, Fluttershy rose back to her hooves, one wing limp at her side while the other snapped to her side, trembling uncontrollably. She stared at her hooves as she took a few weak, unsteady steps towards her opponent. At a tremor of laughter, she glanced up to find that the nightmare had begun changing once more.
Rippling tendrils of dark energy snapped and pulsed, forming a broad torso from which a pair of wickedly clawed arms sprouted. Behind it, Fluttershy could see the changes continuing, sinewy muscles forming a pair of limbs that speared out from the beast’s back, skin forming between long fingers of bone soon wrapped in the taut, black flesh, becoming the wings of a--
Dragon... Fluttershy thought to herself, her legs already quaking at the prospect of the nightmare’s transformation. Oh, please not a dragon...
“Oh... but, of course, dear little Fluttershy,” the beast growled as its once blunt, serpentine muzzle lengthened into the long, curved snout of a true dragon. It grinned, now with a new mouth filled to the brim with razor sharp teeth and, with a snort, black fire shot from its nostrils. “What kind of host would I be if I didn’t... indulge my guests?”
“She cannot help you here, I’m afraid,” the new-formed dragon declared with an insidious grin, flaring its wings as its lower body finished forming, a pair of wicked talons digging into what little remained of the floor, what remained of its serpentine body swaying across the floor in long lazy sweeps..
Fluttershy scrabbled backwards, just missing the stairs as she pressed herself against the side of the entry as the nightmare strode forward, teeth shining at the center of its dark visage. She could feel the strength draining from herself as her heart thudded in her throat and stomach twisted endlessly around itself.
“Less a challenge then I’d thought,” the dragon breathed, dark, purple flames punctuating its words as it drew nearer. “Let us make this quick then.”
Fluttershy swallowed hard as the beast loomed large in her vision. It smiled as it began to draw in breath, a fireball growing in its maw as it smiled, open-mouth and maliciously down upon her. Suddenly, however, something familiar caught her attention: a familiar whistle.
Both Fluttershy and the dragon glanced over to see the brilliant orange silhouette of a pony, a long glowing rope hurtling towards them. The dragon’s eyes went wide as the rope ensnared its muzzle and, as Fluttershy watched with her mouth agape, pulled it down towards the hard hind hooves of the orange pony.
The beast fell back with an enraged growl as the rope dissipated into nothingness, leaving a scar across the dragon’s face.
“You bring them here?!” the dragon yelled out, fire spilling through its teeth as it lept back to its claws. “You wish such suffering?!”
Fluttershy turned from the dragon to the orange mare to find the silhouette beckoning her towards the stairwell. A sudden roar drew her attention and Fluttershy gasped as she glanced back at the dragon, finding her vision filled by the massive purple flame before something slipped about her middle and she was pulled roughly into the stairwell.
Looking back, she could see the fireball hit, a large section of the archway simply ceasing to be as it was struck by the purple flame as the dragon let out another ear-splitting roar. Fluttershy found herself thumping hard against the orange silhouette’s back as the dragon pursued them, flames leaking from its maw.
Instinctively, the pegasus grasped at the pony beneath her as it reared up and shot down the stairwell and away from the enraged dragon. The dragon reached the start of the stairs before it vanished around the bend. After a moment, it seemed that its pursuit had ceased as its angry roars were replaced by the echo of the orange pony’s gallop. Fluttershy felt her nerves calmed by constant clatter of nail on stone as the orange silhouette galloped down the stairs.
“Who are you?” Fluttershy whispered quietly as she stared up at the orange silhouette pony. She could feel it staring back, seeming to radiate a comforting warmth despite lacking any discernable facial features. Save for the mane and tail, it was a blank slate of an earth pony, not unlike the statues she had come across previously.
Soon enough, however, the pegasi’s relative calm was interrupted by the renewed roars of the nightmare coming from all around them. The orange silhouette drew towards the inside of the stairwell as the roar localized beyond the walls. Just outside, the pegasus spotted the beastly silhouette approach through the windows lining the exterior of the stairwell.
The wall beside them burst inward, a dark scaled talon scraping overhead as the pair of ponies slid just under before having to leap upwards as the first talon’s sibling crashed through the wall in front of them. With a well timed buck of its hooves, the orange silhouette set itself back on the path down the stairs and sent the dragon back with a yelp of pain.
Looking up as the roar reverberated through the stairwell,, Fluttershy watched the silhouette of the dragon pass by, sending tremors through the stone steps.
With a squeak of fear, Fluttershy pulled back on the orange silhouette, flaring her one good wing as she tried to halt the other pony’s momentum. The orange pony’s hooves scraped loudly against the stone steps as it saw what Fluttershy had, the stairwell in front of them crumbling as the dragon’s claws split open the stairwell and it jammed its head wholly into the stairwell.
“Nowhere left to flee, little one!” the dragon roared, red eyes alight as noxious smoke spilled from its maw into the curved stairwell.
The orange silhouette glared at the hulking beast before it, hoof pawing at the stone step upon which they had stopped.
“Oh... no...” Fluttershy groaned, clutching at the orange pony, eyes wide as she stared into the gaping maw of the dragon, ready and able to swallow her whole if it wished to.
Fluttershy could feel a rumbling coming from the orange silhouette as it stood and faced the dragon, the orange mare’s tail flicking about in agitation. Fluttershy clutched at the orange pony’s mane, burying her face as if she believed she could disappear into it.
“Hmph, another brave one,” the dragon smirked, its noxious breath flowing over them, choking the air as the stairs seemed to dim and fade. “Will you really sacrifice them? I wonder...”
The orange pony stomped a hoof aggressively, pawing at the ground as as if to charge the dragon. The nightmare simply grinned, smoke replaced by flame as it concentrated once more within its mouth.
“No...no, don’t...” Fluttershy muttered fearfully as she peered through the orange mane at the dragon’s blood red eyes.
Suddenly, she felt a wave of calm coursing through her, the orange pony’s sightless face staring back at her. She could almost feel the pony winking at her as if to tell the pegasus that everything would turn out just fine before it turned back to the dragon. The silhouette gave another brazen stomp of its hoof, snorting before it reared back on its hind legs and charged the dragon.
The nightmare’s eyes widened slightly, the omnipresent smirk widening before, with a roar it sent flames cascading into the stairwell towards the charging ponies.
Fluttershy screamed as they charged at the approaching flames, clutching tight the orange pony as in barreled downwards before veering suddenly to the inside of the stairwell. The orange pony ran hard, jumping onto the inner wall before hurtling itself and Fluttershy over the encroaching flames towards a window.
“NO!” Fluttershy could hear the dragon swear as they broke through what remained of the ancient glass and tumbled into the darkness.
Flapping her good wing in a panic as they tumbled uncontrolled through the air, Fluttershy stared back as well as she could to watch the dragon pulling its head from the ruins of the stairwell, stone and dust falling about it. What little remained of the tower crumbled before the pegasi’s eyes, leaving nothing but an ashen-colored cloud where the old castle had been.
“You will not get away from me!” the dragon roared from within the gray cloud of debris as Fluttershy flared her good wing in a desperate bid for control, the wind tearing at her.
“Oh, pleasepleaseplease,” she squeaked out in fright, invoking anypony able to aid them as she clung to the orange silhouette pony for dear life as they fell, tears streaming from her face as the winds whipped at her eyes.
Oh, please, Celestia, Luna... anypony...
Fluttershy prayed silently, burying her face into the back of the orange silhouette as she slowly gained control over their descent. They were no longer tumbling, uncontrolled, through the air; they were now dropping like a barely controlled stone into the seemingly infinite dark.
Oh, please just let us land someplace soft...
Fluttershy could feel the silhouette beneath her tense the moment before they hit with a dull squelch.
The pegasus found herself suddenly surrounded on all sides by some mysterious goop pressing in on her from all sides. Her grip on the orange silhouette slackened as she began trying to extricate herself from the strange slop into which they has fallen.
Slowly, she began to swim in the direction she hoped was up, hearing her hoof slaps against the thick liquid as she breached the surface and threw herself over the lip of the tub.
She could taste the fruit on her tongue as she finally opened her eyes to find that they had landed, watching as the juice sloshed over the side of the oversized barrel. Slowly, the pegasi's eyes went wide as she looked over the edge of the barrel at the inexplicably smiling orange silhouette, her savior standing in the middle of an expansive orchard of apples.
She was cut off by the sudden draconic roar that filled the air and shook the trees. Before the pegasus could even glance towards the beast, she felt something loop around her waist as she was yanked roughly from the tub, landing on the orange pony with a loud “Oof!”
“Get back here, you little foals!”
She could hear the beast roaring in a rage as the orange pony reared up and shot forward into the orchard, following the well-worn main path through the trees. Wrapping her hooves tight around the pony's neck once more, Fluttershy glanced back to find the nightmare descending upon them, dark flames bleeding from its maw. The beast dove down towards the tree line, eyes glinting maliciously as it opened its mouth.
“Watch out!” Fluttershy cried out, twisting the orange pony's neck to the right as the dragon cut a swath through the orchard. The orange pony shot to the right, giving the pegasus a quick look as, behind them, full-grown trees were reduced to cinders. The yellow pegasus breathed a sigh of relief as they disappeared into the orchard proper, the orange silhouette weaving through the trees in a seemingly random pattern.
Did we lose it? the pegasus wondered idly as she glanced up, trying to spot some sign of the beast through the thick rows of apple trees. She felt a sense of calm settle around her even as the orange pony slowed her gallop to nervously glance about the sky for their pursuer.
“I think...” Fluttershy trailed off as she slumped down onto the orange pony's back. “I think we're alright n—”
She was interrupted as a spear of an apple tree pierced the land before them, sending the Fluttershy to the ground as the orange pony reared back in a panic.
“Oh, surely you didn’t think it would be so easy,” the beast cooed, a tree clutched in each claw as it hovered, an almost bemusing smile on its scaly features. “Now, be good little ponies and hold still!”
Fluttershy felt herself freeze for a moment as the dragon bore down upon them, but, with a quick nudge from the orange silhouette, she rolled onto hooves under her and took off. She galloped back towards the main orchard path, the orange pony just ahead, leading her through the dense rows of apple trees.
“Oh, good., I was hoping we could make a game of it!” the beast growled, pitching its ammo at the pair.
Fluttershy gasped, the wind whistling through the branches of the projectile apple tree as it hurtled towards them. She felt the orange pony hit her, sending her into another row as the falling tree impacted the ground between them, sending a tremors through the orchard.
“Yes! Yes!” the dragon called out, sending tree after tree shooting through the air at the pair of fleeing ponies as its mocking laughter surrounded them. “Scurry like rats!”
Fluttershy found herself dodging and weaving through the orchard, feeling the constant vibration as projectile after projectile impacted the earth. The pegasus found herself gasping for air by the time the pair made it to the main road.
“We... can't...” Fluttershy spoke through staggered breaths as the orange silhouette lead her down the middle of the road.
They were utterly exposed as the dragon reached break in the orchard, following them easily now that they had ceased bobbing and weaving through trees, and begun following the linear path of the road. Fluttershy moaned out in fear, glancing back to see the dragon with a malicious grin on its face, hefting a rather sizable tree in its clawed talon.
“We have to move, it's gonna get us!” Fluttershy veritably squeaked out, trying to press the orange pony towards the tree line.
It didn't break for the trees, however. It wouldn’t break for the trees.
It simply maintained its line through the orchard, staring up at their pursuer with a determined glint in its featureless eyes.
Fluttershy felt strangely at ease beside the pony, but, with the dragon so close, she couldn't help but tremble at the thought of what approached. She could feel her good wing locking up at her side, her legs threatening to give out each time they contacted the hard, packed earth. She felt the sweat of exertion mingling with that of fear as a creeping shudder coursed its way from her tail all the way to her skull..
“Oh... you make this far too easy, elements...” the dragon spoke as it hovered closer, its clawed fist wrapping tightly about its chosen munition.
Fluttershy glanced from the orange silhouette to the dragon. The pegasus bit her lip, her mouth filling with a distinct coppery taste as she did so. She stared at the orange mare with a growing fear plain in her eyes, but the orange mare simply stared at the dragon, its brow furrowed in concentration.
“We have... to get off... the path,” Fluttershy gasped out before a sudden roar drew her attention back to the nightmare in pursuit of them.
Oh, no... Fluttershy mewled silently, staring at the tree now hurtling straight for them.
The pegasus hurried her gallop before she felt herself suddenly pulled from her hooves. She landed on her rump, dazed and confused before glancing down to find a glowing orange rope tight around her middle.
“What are you doing?!” Fluttershy demanded, her voice high and panicked as she stared back at the now stationary orange silhouette.
The silhouette simply stared, hooves planted solidly in the dirt as it watched the tree hurtle towards them. Fluttershy scrabbled for footing before the mare gave a subtle tug of the rope, glancing over as if to plead for trust..
Fluttershy simply stared in return, her body trembling as she realized what was about to happen.
Please... she silently mouthed, voice choked by fear.
Just before the tree impacted, the orange silhouette reared. Fluttershy felt the rope tighten about her middle as she was pulled hard towards the orange mare. She cried out as she was sent in a wide arc, first towards the incoming tree before the orange silhouette slammed her hooves down and sent Fluttershy careening through the rest of the loop and away from the dragon.
Hurtling through the air, Fluttershy stared at the orange mare as the tree impacted.
“Something’s wrong... we need to call it off.”
Fluttershy watched helplessly as the tree struck the silhouette, the orange mare bending and warping around the blow before she simply shattering in a burst of white and orange light, the rope that had been looped around the pegasi's waist slipping away into nothingness.
“Applejack!” Fluttershy cried out as the orange sparks dissipated into nothingness. With a grin, the dragon once again focused its attentions upon her. She felt a shudder course through her as the beast's red eyes locked onto her hurtling form.
The dragon beat its wings and took off through the now crumbling, ashen orchard, the once green and vibrant foliage fading to a deathly gray as the nightmare flew overhead towards the far flung mare.
As her senses returned to her, Fluttershy feebly opened her wings, able to manage little more than a controlled glide.
“Oh... poor Fluttershy... abandoned once again...” the dragon mocked, its voice dripping with malice as it drew closer. One of its claws dipped into the orchard to pluck another tree from the earth, the leaves and bark of the tree cracking away until nothing but an ashen spear was left. “How does it make you feel? To be sacrificing them so.”
“Shut up,” Fluttershy snapped, tears staining her cheeks as she tried to propel herself forwards.
Below, she could see the orchard fast running out, the trees ahead fading away into the all-consuming dark.
“Give up, little one,” the dragon cooed, “Surrender yourself and this could be so much easier for all of us.”
“I said shut up!” the pegasus cried out as she slowly lost altitude, the wind tearing painfully at her battered wings.
I won’t give in... Fluttershy stated silently, breathing hard through gritted teeth. Out of the corner of her eye she could see the feathers tearing from her wings. She was bound to lose control at some point, but until then she simply stayed her course. I won’t give up...
“Have it your way, foal,” the dragon spoke as it drew to within just a few yards behind the pegasus.
She could feel it
Its hot breath coursing through her fur.
She closed her eyes, waiting for the worst to come.
“This isn’t normal...”
“No. It isn’t.”
“But you won’t stop it.”
“Because I can’t.”
Fluttershy glided, eyes screwed shut, through the air as the nightmare laughed merrily, tree still clasped in its claws. It grinned as it watched the diminutive yellow pegasus plummet slowly towards the ill-defined ground of the shadowy plane.
“Oh, why do you make it this easy?” it complained, hovering listlessly as it waited for the pegasus to impact.
Fluttershy, for her part, simply bit her lip as she felt the winds cutting through her fur and then...
...nothing. No wind, no rush of air and no impact.
Fluttershy could hear the disbelief in the nightmare’s voice as the winds about her had suddenly ceased.
Opening her eyes, the pegasus found herself surrounded in a soft blue aura as she was lowered slowly to the ground. As she turned to look for her savior she found a unicorn standing beside her, a well-coiffured mane falling beside the purple silhouette’s horn as it glowed softly in the darkness before fading away.
“Th-thank you,” Fluttershy stammered out uncertainly as she stood unsteadily on her hooves, her lame wing dragging in the dark earth. She felt herself calming slightly before a tremor coursed through the ground.
“Oh, how sweet this is,” the nightmare cooed as it dropped heavily to the ground at the edge of orchard. “So willing to sacrifice... So willing to throw them all away,” it mused to itself as it plucked up a second apple tree in its free claw, bark and leaves burning away. “Is that how you will play this, Fluttershy?”
Fluttershy simply stayed silent as she turned to face the beast. She glared, biting her already torn lip as the purple silhouette interposed herself between the pegasus and the nightmare.
“Have it your way, little one,” the nightmare mocked before hurling the tree at the purple silhouette pony with a roar.
The pegasus could feel her heart leap into her throat as she immediately grabbed onto the purple silhouette, trying to force it out of the way as the twin spears hurtled through the air towards them.
“We have to go!” Fluttershy grunted as she pushed futilely at the stoic, purple silhouette. The silhouette wouldn’t move as Fluttershy felt her hooves slipping against the black earth, sending her collapsing to the ground.
The silhouette simply gave a little snort and stood tall before the falling, projectile tree, horn flaring into life. Brow wrinkled, the purple pony stared down the hurtling tree.
Just before burying her face in her hooves, Fluttershy saw something hurtle from behind them and, moments later, she heard a thunderous crash issue forth. But there never came the the impact that she had been expecting.
Peering out from between her hooves, she watched a pair of now badly dented ponyquins settled before her. As the pegasus stood, she found that the twin spears had embedded themselves in the dirt.
“What?” Fluttershy cocked her head to the side. “Where did... how? What?”
“With the... and the... What?”
The purple silhouette simply huffed at the shared confusion of pegasus and nightmare.
“How did yo-” Fluttershy was interrupted as a shudder coursed through the ground, her hooves splayed wide as she tried to keep her balance.
“Ah... another sacrifice.” The dragon smirked as it took a step forward, flaring its wings out menacingly.
The purple silhouette did not back down, a half-dozen ponyquins coming between her and the dragon, hovering in front of them.
“Let us proceed then, element,” the beast spoke cooly as Fluttershy glanced between the it and the silhouette. Then she saw something shimmering in the darkness behind her.
“What is tha-AaaaAaat!” Fluttershy cried out as she was pulled quickly into the air and away from the nightmare, crashing hard onto the back of the already galloping purple silhouette, the ponyquins flung at the dragon.
It merely batted away the ponyquins, roaring with frustration as the silhouette streaked towards the object in the dark.
As they drew closer, the beast lifting back into the air, Fluttershy saw a door shimmer and warp into existence before her. With a tug of her blue aura, the silhouette slammed it open. As Fluttershy peered into the new found doorway, she saw a long hallway the seemed to go on forever, arcing gently to the right. She could hear the sound of the silhouette’s hooves shift as the muffled clops of hoof on dirt gave way to the echoing tap of the hard linoleum floor of the hallway.
Turning back, Fluttershy saw the nightmare hurl itself after them before the slamming of the entrance cut it off from her sight, its muted roars still sending trembles through the hall. They stopped for a moment, watching the closed door.
The roars persisted for a moment, the door warping before their eyes before vanishing back into the darkness from which it had come, taking the sounds of the beast with it.
Fluttershy let out a sigh of relief as she slipped her hooves about the silhouette’s neck to stabilize herself. The silhouette was silent, breaking into a steady trot as the echoes of the nightmare fell completely silent. Fluttershy glanced around the long hall to find it strangely devoid of detail, dark save for the light of hanging lanterns. Gradually, the silhouette slowed again to a stop, ears twitching in an agitated manner.
“W-where are we going?” Fluttershy queried, but received not answer from the unicorn as it glanced around. “I guess I’ll just walk on my...” Fluttershy fell silent as she moved to dismount the purple silhouette, but found herself unable to, a soft blue glow holding her in place.
The purple silhouette turned to face her, shaking its head slowly.
“Are... are we safe here?” Fluttershy asked, tightening her grip slightly.
The silhouette glanced downwards, shaking its head before continuing its quiet trot into the seemingly endless hallway.
Then there came a tremor, the only sign of it being the gentle swaying of the lanterns overhead.
Then there came another.
A lump caught in Fluttershy’s throat as a chill coursed down her spine. The purple silhouette turned and Fluttershy followed its sightless gaze back down the hall from which they had come. From around the bend of the hall they saw a glow, the glow growing as the tremors increased in intensity.
“Oh... no... no, no...” Fluttershy muttered ceaselessly, her head throbbing as she sensed it, the purple silhouette stepping backwards as it kept its attentions on the glow.
Above, the lanterns began to swing and tremble mightily, their flames clinging weakly to life within their glass cases.
“Come back, Fluttershy,” a familiar voice whispered, a chilling wind blowing through the hall.
One-by-one, the lanterns flickered and went out. It was dark for but a moment before a soft blue light filled the hall, the silhouette’s horn glowing as her brow furrowed in concentration.
“Don’t abandon them, Fluttershy.”
The floor trembled and rolled unnaturally beneath the silhouette’s hooves. Fluttershy found herself lifted from the purple silhouette’s back and set back down on the floor just behind the unicorn.
“Don’t leave them, Fluttershy,” the voice continued to whisper, echoing in the constricting hallway, the walls seeming to pulse and throb around them in time with the pegasi’s heart, the ceiling threatening to press down on them.
Fluttershy’s focus shifted between the purple silhouette and the encroaching darkness. The voice seemed to come from everywhere at once, seeming to issue forth from the walls themselves and to echo softly in the back of her thought at the same time.
“Don’t leave us, Fluttershy. Stay with us... don’t abandon us like they did...”
“No you aren’t!”
“Yes? What is it? What can I do?”
“You don’t feel it, Luna?”
“No... no, sister, I do not.”
“Milady... what is happening?”
“Exactly what is supposed to.”
“Don’t abandon us like they did...”
The words hung in the air as the hall suddenly stilled. The lanterns burst into life once more and Fluttershy was left alone with the purple silhouette, its horn going dim as it glance about the hall.
“W-we sh-should keep m-moving...” Fluttershy stammered, hooves uncooperative as she stood, stuck to the spot and staring into the darkness.
The silhouette stepped past the rooted pegasus and, with a burst of soft blue magic, dragged Fluttershy behind her a bit down the hall before Fluttershy found her hooves.
As Fluttershy took a few, steadier steps, the magic surrounding her weakening its hold and she trotted to catch up with the unicorn.
Her eyes went wide as the voice echoed, spinning to face the way they had come to find nothing there. Glancing over her shoulder at the silhouette, she found it unaware or unperturbed by the echo.
Fluttershy... where are you, Fluttershy?
The pegasus found herself suddenly relaxing, the silhouette’s magic releasing its hold on her as she took a few tentative steps, trailing the silhouette by a few yards.
Fluttershy... where have you gone?
She slowed a moment, glancing from side to side as she trotted slowly and carefully, the purple silhouette trotting ahead, seeming wholly unaware of its charge’s hesitance.
I thought you were lost, Fluttershy...
The fur on the back of her neck stood as an involuntary shudder coursed through her being.
But now I’ve found you...
She found herself stopped in front of a familiar door.
Come in, Fluttershy.
The door swung open...
Come in, my darling Fluttershy.
...and into the darkness she vanished.
Author's Note: One more and a little epilogue for the part to go... None of it written though. Maybe around Spring Break. But, for now, Midterms await.
Writing Log is here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Q7vHC7GVVGp_vvc6j0MqwOFv6-2tV_ylyKHBBh35iPA/edit?hl=en_US