In the Ponyville library, two creatures stayed awake together.
"Hoo?" spoke the small owl to his companion.
"I don't like it either Owlicious," Spike replied. He kept his voice low so he wouldn't wake up the phoenix chick in the room. He still couldn't understand Owlicious, so he just filled in what he thought the owl was saying.
If I'm not back by midnight, send this letter to the Princess Immediately.
Twilight’s words echoed in his mind as he glanced up at the clock. 12:07.
"Well, time's up," he said. He picked up the scroll Twilight had left. He took a deep breath and when he exhaled, an emerald flame emerged from his jaw. The paper turned into a fine mist. The mist wisped away through the window and out into the night.
"Hoo?" Owlicious hooted.
"Don't worry. I'm sure the Princess will bring her back home alright," Spike said, trying to sound confident.
The last nine alicorns strode bravely into the twisted throne room. The walls changed colors ever other foot, the pillars that should have held up the ceiling twisted around and instead connected the floor to random parts of the walls, other parts of the floor, or just ended in mid air. The floor was like a waterbed, constantly fluctuating with each step they took.
As they crossed the long expanse from the door to the throne, they were dismayed to find the room devoid of their target. On the far end, on a raised platform, below a wide balcony on a higher floor, sat a lone throne but with no occupant. The throne actually stuck out because it was not warped or twisted at all. It seemed rather normal in the chaos around it.
"He's not here," Corporal Thick Hide, a rather squat alicorn grunted.
"You can't fool me, Discord," Luna growled, "that's not a very good disguise."
At her words the throne itself began to melt away, replaced by a horrific figure. A pony's head perched on top of a slender furred body, with limbs borrowed from other creatures sticking out.
"Oh, you are just no fun," the figure said, crossing its front limbs.
"Is that all you have to say?" Celestia snarled.
"No. It would seem my genocide failed. I'll have to amend that," the draconequus said, looking at them. "Guards?" he called.
At once a legion of griffons raced to the balcony and stood at attention, spears in talon.
"Kill them," Discord said, with a lazy wave of his paw arm.
"No," one of the griffons said.
"What?" Discord shouted, flying up to their level.
"No," the griffon repeated.
"Have you forgotten our deal? I could very easily unmake your whole race!" Discord snarled, picking the griffon up and throttling him. "You get to come back as a species and you serve me! Now do it!"
"The deal did not include taking our sentience," the griffon shot back. Several more leaped from the balcony, and swung at the draconequus with their spears, forcing him to let go of his captive and move back.
"You'll regret this!" Discord threatened, jabbing a talon at them.
"You'll regret turning us into beasts," the griffon replied. "Fight your own battles, for we shall never again serve you, betrayer!"
"Fine!" Discord shouted wheeling around to face the alicorns. "Subjects. Can't live with them, can't live without them. Am I right?" he said in a taunting manner. "Now then, where were we... oh right. I was extinguishing the royal line," he snarled and charged the last alicorns.
Sweet Appaloo awoke suddenly to the sound of crashing metal. They had done their best to stay awake all night, but it proved too much, and they had given into sleep eventually. From the dim light casting shadows everywhere, they could guess it was mid morning.
They turned to the sound, but made sure to do it slowly and quietly. They didn't want their captors to know they were awake yet. The trio of minions they had seen last night had opened the far cage, and had extracted the ponies within. Scootaloo and Apple Bloom whimpered when they saw who was being taken, but Sweetie Belle forced their body to remain silent.
The three thugs carried Twilight, Rainbow Dash, and Applejack from the room, the three still unconscious. Slowly the remaining four began stirring, woken up by the noise. The four got up, rubbing their hurts and looked at each other in the dim light. They could barely make each other out.
"That cupcake didn't taste very good," Pinkie Pie complained, still tasting bark in her mouth.
Fluttershy hid behind her mane and said, "I'm sorry I didn't help."
"Everypony stay calm. We don't know where we are or what's goin' on," Big Macintosh said, taking charge, "and we're missin' Ms. Sparkle, Ms. Dash, and Applejack."
"And how will we ever rescue the girls while we're stuck in here?" Fluttershy added.
"I suppose I could pick the lock," Rarity suggested, running a hoof through her mane then her tail. Her face turned to one of dismay, "Shoot, I always keep a hairpin on me for just such an occasion, but it must have fallen out. Maybe I can.." then a look of horror crossed her face.
"What's wrong?" Fluttershy asked.
"I... I can't feel my magic," Rarity said, staring off into space.
"It's the collar," Pinkie Pie said simply.
"What coll-" Rarity started, then noticed the band of metal around her neck. "What is this?"
"Magic blocking collar," Pinkie explained, "keeps the pony wearing one from using magic. You just need to hit it with some magic to open it."
"How do you know that?" Rarity asked.
"I have one at home," Pinkie replied, "don't you?"
"Why would you have something like that?" Fluttershy asked.
"You never know when you'll need one," Pinkie answered, “or if Pumpkin Cake gets really out of hoof, I can rein in her magic.”
"So, no magic. Now what?" Rarity asked.
"We buck our way out!" Pinkie suggested.
"Nnnope," Big Macintosh said, shaking his head, "these bars are way too thick. Ah doubt Ah could even bend them."
"So we're stuck in here, while who knows what is happening to the girls and our friends," Rarity pouted.
"Actually we're over here," a familiar voice called out.
"Sweetie Belle?" Rarity called, happiness returning to her voice.
"Ah'm here too!" Apple Bloom replied.
"Me three," Scootaloo piped up. The four captives began looking around for the source, but the only thing they could see was a single figure in the next cage. It was in shadow, and held itself well away from the bars on their side.
"Apple Bloom, where are yah at?" Big Macintosh called.
"Ah'm right here," Apple Bloom replied. He turned his head towards the source.
"We all are," Scootaloo added.
"Here, let me get that," Sweetie Belle said. The collar around Rarity's neck glowed white for a second, then fell away.
"Ooh that's much better!" Rarity said happily. "Now let's get some light," she said, letting her horn glow blue.
"That's a bad idea," Sweetie Belle warned. "It's not good."
"Don't be silly," Rarity said ignoring the filly. She cast the light spell, creating an orb in the air to give off some light. She then moved the orb towards the figure. Four clunks could be heard as four jaws dropped together.
"She did warn you," the 'thing' spoke in Scootaloo's voice.
Rarity's eyes went wide as dinner plates. "What did they do to you?"
"And where's mah sister?" Big Macintosh demanded.
"Ah'm right here," the creature spoke again, this time sounding like Apple Bloom.
"Like I said, we all are," It said sounding like Scootaloo again.
"Oh dear. Are you all alright?" Fluttershy asked.
"We're not hurt," Scootaloo replied.
"You look so silly!" Pinkie said laughing.
Their shared body frowned. "We noticed," Sweetie Belle answered.
"We need to get out of here right now," Scootaloo said.
"Ah knew that," Big Macintosh said.
"Yeah, but they just took Applejack, Twahlight, and Rainbow Dash," Apple Bloom explained.
"They've got some sort of machine. You put ponies in it and they come out all mixed together like this," Scootaloo continued.
"He said only one other one came out okay though," Sweetie Belle added.
"Who is he?" Rarity asked.
"Dunno. He said tah call him professor," Apple Bloom replied.
"He said he's one of the terra ponies," Sweetie Belle added, "one of the earth ponies that were around a long time ago."
"A... terra pony...." Pinkie said worriedly.
"Never heard of terra ponies," Fluttershy said quietly. Big Macintosh and Rarity shrugged their shoulders.
"Look we need to get out of here now! They're going to do to Rainbow Dash what they did to us!" Scootaloo shouted.
"Well without a lock pick or some way to break out, we're stuck for now," Rarity said. "I hope this can be fixed so we can get you three apart again."
"Are they all in?" the professor asked. Rot gave a thumbs up as he closed the door on the last pony. The three were starting to wake up.
"What hit me?" Rainbow Dash wondered, flexing her wings.
"Let us outta here!" Applejack shouted, bucking at the bars holding her in but the blows didn't seem to do anything.
"Kick all you want pony. Those cages were meant to hold stronger ponies than you," the diamond dog taunted.
"You'd better let us go now," Twilight threatened. The leader stepped in front of her cell. She eyed him but didn't recognize him at all.
"And why would I do that? I hold all the cards. I have you. I have your friends. What could you possibly do to make me let you out?" he said smirking at her.
"I'm Princess Celestia's personal student!" Twilight said boasting for once.
"That's why you're still alive," the pony smiled back.
"She's on her way right now!" Twilight said confidently. "I sent her a letter detailing where we were headed before we came here."
"I don't believe you," the pony said simply. The more Twilight looked at him, the more something nagged her mind.
"I know what you are," she said mostly to herself.
"You're a terra pony. I learned all about your tribe at the last hippopology convention in Canterlot. But you're supposed to be extinct," Twilight said smiling that she had figured it out.
"Correct. I dare say I'm pleased somepony could figure it out."
"So what are you doing now? You can't be trying to kill me," Twilight tried reasoning it out.
"I'm here to give you a gift," the terra pony said getting closer.
"I'm not interested in anything you could have."
"How would you like to be an alicorn just like your precious Celestia?" the terra pony asked getting quite close.
"I'd say you're lying," Twilight spat, pressing her face to the bars hard enough to leave marks.
"You'll find out," the terra pony said slyly, before turning and walking out of her view. "Gore make sure to feed the others. They're next."
"Got it boss," Greg said walking off.
"Anything for me?" Trixie asked. Normally she would never take orders from anypony, but he paid his minions well, and she would need a lot of bits to get her show pony career started anew. Wagons cost a lot.
"Not right now. You'll be useless once the machine is on anyway. It sucks up all the magic for miles," the professor said.
"Alright ponies, time for your grub," Greg said, walking into the holding cell room. The first thing he noticed was all five were awake. "Oh good you've woken up. The boss will be glad to see that."
"He can go to the moon," the alicorn said, crossing its front hooves.
"And you can talk just fine. Also very good."
"Excuse me Mr. Griffon?" called an indigo maned pony.
"What is it?" Greg asked, picking up some hay and bringing it over to the cages.
"I was just wondering what a proud griffon like yourself is doing working for some pony," the pony said, batting her eyes at him.
"He pays me," Greg said, ignoring her attempted advances. "Don't bother trying to bring out my griffon pride, I'm a mercenary. I do what I'm paid to do."
"How much does he pay?" Rarity asked, dropping the allure in her voice.
"We'll give you three hundred bits right now if you let us out of here," Rarity said, holding up a bag of jingling coins.
"Princess Celestia is probably already on her way here," Pinkie Pie spoke up.
"You'll have enough time tah get away," Big Macintosh said.
"Alright. Deal," Greg said, holding his talon out for the money.
"Oh no. Open the door first," Rarity said, pulling it back.
"Smart pony," Greg said, pulling out a key ring and proceeded to unlock the door. The four leaped out of the cage. "My money?"
"Here's what we owe yah!" Big Macintosh roared. He reared up on his front hooves and delivered a devastating buck to the griffon's face, cracking his beak and sending him hurtling into the cage. Fluttershy slammed the door shut and locked it.
"I suppose I had that coming," Greg moaned, rubbing his beak tenderly.
"Now then we need a plan," Big Macintosh said turning to the mares.
"If you can distract that dog, I'm sure I can free our friends," Rarity said.
"I'll keep the professor guy busy!" Pinkie said hopping up and down.
"Let us out! We want to help!" the girls said before giggling at the sound of all their voices coming out in unison.
"No. It's too dangerous," Big Macintosh said.
"But what are you going to do about Trixie?" Scootaloo asked, "They made her into an alicorn like us."
"Rarity, you'll have to fight her. None of us can do magic," Fluttershy said.
"Me? But I don't know how to fight with magic!" Rarity said shocked at the suggestion.
"Why not use this?" Pinkie asked, holding up a metal band.
"Stop her from usin' magic? That will help," Big Macintosh agreed. "Ms. Fluttershy, if you could get that on her-"
"Me?" Fluttershy whimpered.
"Ah'll have mah hooves full with that dog, Ms. Pie has got the doc, and Ms. Rarity is freeing the others. That leaves you, unless you want to fight the dog instead," Big Macintosh stated.
"I'll do what I can," Fluttershy said, gripping the collar.
"Once I free the others we can help subdue them," Rarity said.
Suddenly a noise began deep within the building. A dull roar, building to a howling racket.
"It's starting!" the girls cried.
"GO!" Big Macintosh shouted, leading the charge to save the rest. Sweet Appaloo slumped against the bars of the cage.
"Idiots," Greg said pulling out a spare key ring and unlocking his cage.
"Hey! Let us out!" Sweet Appaloo cried.
"As if. I'm getting out of here."
The terra pony stood behind his control panel waiting for the machinery to fully power on. Suddenly a pink ball of sugar appeared before his eyes.
"Hi there! Do you like cake? Cause I like cake! And the Cakes! Though you shouldn't try eating them. They probably wouldn't taste very good," Pinkie Pie shouted rapidly over the din of the machine. "So you're a terra pony huh? Wanna know a secret?"
"Gore where are you?" the terra pony shouted. "Rot get over here and kill this thing!"
"Coming boss!" Rot shouted back, but was caught off guard by a charging stallion. Limbs flailing, he wrestled with the strong stallion.
"Trixie!" the professor called.
"On my way," she said, but a yellow pegasus blocked her path.
"Sorry, but I'm going to have to stop you," Fluttershy apologized, before grabbing the alicorn loosely.
"I don't have time for this," Trixie said, brushing the delicate pony aside but Fluttershy came back and held on tighter, trying to get the collar on. Trixie simply picked Fluttershy up with her magic, and tossed her aside before turning her magic to Big Macintosh, easily tossing him aside as well.
"The collar!" Big Macintosh shouted. The metal band had fallen to the floor. A blue glow erupted around it, and it was tossed into the mess of pipes and wires on the far side of the room.
"You don't stand a chance," Trixie taunted, throwing him around some more.
"Maybe not like that," Applejack fired back, tackling the show pony.
"How did they get free?" the professor shouted.
"We're just that good," Rainbow Dash answered, plowing into Rot as the canine was trying to get up.
"Out of my way!" The terra pony shoved Pinkie out of his way and pulled a large lever on the control panel. At once the machine began quieting down.
"Girls, lets get them!" Twilight declared. However all of them were picked up by magic, and tossed together in a big pile.
"Please. You can't hope to beat me with magic," Trixie boasted. "I'm much stronger than you now. Only another alicorn could match me."
"I'll take her. You get the other two," Twilight declared, powering up her horn.
"Please, we've done this dance before," Trixie shouted firing magic.
"This won't be like the last time."
Meanwhile the others had set about subduing the diamond dog who couldn't stand up to the combined assault. Pinkie and Rarity together tackled the terra pony who couldn't put up any sort of fight. Together they dragged them away and locked them in a holding cell.
"You did it!" Sweet Appaloo cheered in the voice of all three.
"Sis!" Apple Bloom said, making them smile.
"What the hay?" Applejack cried. "Who are you?"
"Sweet Appaloo!" Scootaloo declared.
"Aay Jay, that's the girls," Big Macintosh said.
"That machine mixes ponies together and makes them into that," Fluttershy explained.
"Can we fix it?" Rainbow Dash asked.
"We'll find out once we finish with Trixie," Rarity said.
"Can we get out of here now?" Sweet Appaloo asked.
"Sure," Fluttershy said, unlocking the cage.
"Hey, where did that griffon go?" Big Macintosh asked.
"He had a spare key," Sweetie Belle replied.
"Come on, we gotta help Twilight!" Rainbow Dash declared. The group nodded to each other then galloped off.
Entering the main room, they saw Twilight and Trixie in a dead heat. Twilight looked worse for the wear, her body covered in burns. Trixie was in much better shape, but was exhausted. She could barely dodge the magic blasts fired at her, and wasn't throwing anything back.
"Give it up. You're on your last legs," Twilight declared.
"And you are too weak to beat me," Trixie spat.
The two stopped as they heard the horrific sound of grinding metal and cracking cement. They looked up towards the source and saw a massive hole being torn in the ceiling above them. Through the hole she saw a sight that told her everything would be alright. There in the light hovered a giant white figure surrounded by several other flying figures in gleaming golden armor.
"Is everypony alright?" Princess Celestia asked flying down into the building, flanked by a dozen royal guards.
"Princess!" Twilight sang, happily.
"Yay!" one of the alicorns cheered in a multitonal voice that visibly startled Princess Celestia but she quickly composed herself.
"You'll have to tell me how this happened later," Princess Celestia said to her student while rallying her magic. She looked about the room and was struck by the two multicolored alicorns in there. Surely there weren't more survivors.
"Princess be careful. We need that machine intact to fix them," Twilight said. Princess Celestia nodded, before stepping forward to help Twilight. The brown and orange alicorn fired a blast of magic right at the Princess of the sun.
She didn't move. She didn't even blink as the magic rolled right over her, the spell not even dirtying a hair. She simply charged a spell, and fired it at the offending pony. It sent Trixie back several feet and knocked her out cold.
"Now then. What is going on here?" Princess Celestia asked, turning to Twilight, who stood, amazed at how calmly her mentor had handled a direct assault.
"I'm not really sure," Twilight replied.
"Ah know!" the other alicorn said in one voice this time.
"Okay, so this pony, who said he was a terra pony, was kidnapping ponies and mixing them together to make alicorns," the pony said in a different voice.
"He did it to her, and us, and was gonna do it to them," It said in a third voice. "He said some mean things about you," it added a bit quieter.
"You'll have to tell me all about it," Princess Celestia said.
"First things first, can yah get them apart?" Applejack asked.
"I'm afraid that is beyond me. While I'm sure magic was involved, I simply have no idea how to undo it," Princess Celestia explained.
"What if we put them back in and throw it into reverse?" Rainbow Dash suggested.
"We have no idea how this thing works. We could end up doing more harm than good," Twilight replied. "It might not even have a reverse function."
"Maybe you could read a book about it," Pinkie Pie said, trying to be helpful.
"Why would there be a book on this?" Twilight asked, rolling her eyes at the pink pony who could be trying at the best of times.
"I dunno," Pinkie Pie replied, "but I found this one over there." She said holding a massive book in one hoof and pointing to a small cabinet mostly hidden by a pipe running in front of it.
"'The Pony Blender Mark III: a complete guide to construction, operation and maintenance.'" Twilight read out loud. She flipped it open and read the table of contents. "Chapter 37 The Reversal Process."
"Wow Pinkie how did you manage to find the one thing we needed?" Rarity asked.
"I was looking for some candy when I found it. I didn't even have to break the fourth wall to do it!" Pinkie responded.
"What the hay are yah talking about?" Big Macintosh asked her, but she was already busy making faces at a nearby reflective metal panel.
"Ah don't like this. If there's a manual on how tah build these things there might be more of em," Applejack realized.
"And Mark III? There has to be more," Fluttershy agreed.
"Quiet please," Twilight barked, her nose in the manual. "Okay. First it says you have to step into the chamber at the bottom."
Sweet Appaloo nodded and stepped into the machine. Twilight pressed a button on the console and the door closed behind them.
"This isn't good. Rainbow Dash, I'm going to need your help."
"Me? But you're the egghead," Rainbow said, shocked.
"Yes, but this machine drains the magic from nearby ponies, and it says reversing it takes even more magic than normal. Even with the Princess here I don't think I'll be able to stay focused enough to follow the instructions," Twilight explained.
"But why me?"
"Because, Rarity will be affected as well, Applejack, Big Macintosh and Fluttershy are not fast readers like you and I, Princess Celestia is too big for the controls and Pinkie Pie is well, Pinkie."
"Guilty!" Pinkie sang. Rainbow Dash glanced at the pony inside the machine.
"Alright I'll do it."
Twilight smiled and began. First she flipped the large switch that powered on the machine. She alternated between reading the next line in the book, and taking the appropriate action on the controls. Soon the machine was alive. Her horn began glowing of its own accord, and magenta colored bolts of light flashed out and into the machine. Rarity's and Celestia's horns began glowing as well, and blue and yellow magic was added to the mix. Bolts of magic seemed to come out of nowhere into the machine, sparks of all kinds of colors.
"Turn the flux dial ninety degrees to the left.Turn the flux dial ninety degrees to the left." Twilight read. She couldn't focus anymore.
"It's your turn Rainbow Dash," she mumbled, incoherently falling to the side. Rainbow Dash pushed her friend out of the way gently, and continued where the unicorn had left off.
A bright light filled the chamber at the base of the machine. The noise of gears and the crackle of electricity grew louder and louder, but through it all Rainbow Dash worked diligently making sure to hit everything in the proper sequence. The light in the lower chamber vanished, and appeared in the upper trio of chambers. After a few more tense minutes, Rainbow Dash turned one final dial then hit the power lever.
"Done," she said, wiping the sweat from her brow.
"Did it work?" Twilight asked, trying to get up, despite a splitting headache.
"We shall soon find out," Princess Celestia said. Fluttershy had flown over to the machine, and had opened up the first chamber she came to.
"Oh my," She said faintly. It wasn't audible over the remaining sound from the machine, but others noticed her expression.
"Are they alright?" Rarity asked.
"Ah can take it. Ah just want to know if they're okay," Applejack said bravely.
"Eeyup," Big Macintosh said in his usual way.
"You were really talkative before. What happened?" Rarity asked.
"Ah only speak up when Ah have somethin' to say," he said simply; "anythin' else is just wastin' breath."
"I think they're okay," Fluttershy said, from where she hovered. "They're asleep but, well...." she trailed off.
"Let us see," Celestia said gently. Fluttershy reached in, and pulled out Scootaloo.
"She looks fine to me," Rainbow Dash commented.
"Look," Fluttershy said turning over the unconscious filly, showing off her sides.
Sure enough this was the magenta maned orange pegasus filly but something was wrong. Her wings were still there but her flanks were different colors; one white, the other yellow!
Fluttershy placed the sleeping filly on the floor gently before moving to the next chamber. There she pulled out Sweetie Belle and placed her beside her friend. Like Scootaloo, her flanks were discolored as well, one orange, one yellow. Her white horn still on her forehead. Lastly Fluttershy removed Apple Bloom. No pony was surprised at that point by her orange and white flanks.
Applejack nuzzled her sister. "Ah hope that's still our Apple Bloom in there."
"Do you think if we sent them through again, we could fix this?" Rarity asked Twilight.
"I think that would be a bad idea; it might make it worse than discolored flanks," Twilight replied. "Besides the book says this machine needs several hours to cool down between uses."
"It seems to me that all this means is they will always carry a mark of their friendship," Princess Celestia said smiling at the sleeping foals.
"Eeyup," Big Macintosh agreed, picking up Apple Bloom with his mouth. He then deposited her upon her big sister's back. Rarity simply levitated Sweetie Belle onto hers.
"I'll make sure she gets home safely," Rainbow Dash said, surprising everyone by picking up the remaining filly, and securing her between her wings.
"We don't even know where she lives," Fluttershy reminded her.
"I'll figure it out, and I think I have an idea where to go," Rainbow Dash replied.
"Now then we just have to wait for this thing to cool so we can fix Trixie," Twilight said. She looked around but found the new alicorn had vanished.
"Where did she go?" Rarity wondered.
"I'm sure she'll turn up," Princess Celestia said.
“Hey somepony took my change purse!” Rarity exclaimed. The group rolled their eyes.
"Now then, where is the pony responsible for all this?" Princess Celestia asked.
"We got em hogtied over this way Princess," Applejack said leading the way to the holding cell. Princess Celestia looked in at the diamond dog and terra pony.
"I'm surprised. I never expected to see one of your kind again," the Princess said venomously, her eyes narrowing. Twilight was startled. She had never seen her teacher nearly this angry.
"Oh the great Celestia has graced me with her presence. I am so honored," the terra pony said, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
"Princess?" Twilight asked questioningly.
"This pony is a member of an ancient race. They lived alongside the alicorns. They were much more technologically advanced than other ponies and over time began using that to abuse the other ponies. The alicorns did what we could to protect the rest of pony kind but we were confused by their actions. After all, the other pony races were our mutual offspring."
"Wha?" Twilight uttered, confused.
"We drove them from the land to restore peace but they created the being known as Discord. Before my sister and I could stop him he had wiped out our people. We thought the terra ponies had gone extinct but now I see we were very wrong. I don't know where you have all been hiding these past centuries, but you should have stayed there. Be glad I've mellowed with age; I probably would have turned you inside out for what your kind have done, in my youth."
"Princess!" Twilight shouted, surprised at the regal pony's words.
"Isn't that a bit harsh for ancient history?" Pinkie Pie asked.
"This tribe's actions resulted in the death of every alicorn in the world save Luna and I, plunged Equestria into almost seven hundred years of war and torment, and nearly doomed the entire world. Yes Pinkie, it would be harsh but their crime is severe enough to warrant it. I can see they have not changed their ways these past two thousand years and I shall deal with them as I must."
"Your ancestors were fools to try and kill us. You will never defeat us. Already we have infiltrated your cities, your armies, your country. The terra ponies will return to reclaim what is ours by right. The rule of the alicorns should have ended with Sol but now it shall end with you! The age of the alicorns shall end soon! My comrades will finish what I started," the mad pony shouted. He then reached into his lab saddle and pulled out a small pill which he popped into his mouth.
"That's cyanide! Stop him!" Twilight shouted but it was too late. Within seconds the scientist was dead.
"Guards, bring the other one to the palace for questioning," Princess Celestia ordered. "Twilight, I'm afraid I have to leave you and your friends now. If the terra ponies are returning, this is a matter that will need my immediate and full attention."
"I still don't know what is going on," Twilight said confused. The rest had given up trying to follow along long before.
"Don't worry, my faithful student. I'll explain everything to you soon but if there really are terra ponies in Canterlot I must deal with that first."
"Should I do anything for now?" Twilight asked.
"Learn as much combat magic as you can. You will need it if the terra ponies are back in force. Just remember a terra pony cannot be trusted," the Princess said. They had walked back to the hole in the roof. The Princess took flight and her guards followed dragging the henchdog by some chains immobilizing his limbs.
"Don't want to forget this!" Pinkie said retrieving the metal collar.
"What is that?" Twilight asked. The object was quite unfamiliar.
"It stops unicorns from using our magic," Rarity answered, "it is most.... unpleasant."
"Yeah, but a great way to stop bad unicorns," Pinkie replied.
"I guess I'll hold onto it," Twilight said, picking up up delicately.
"You just need to hit it with some magic to open it," Pinkie stated. "Which works great cause they have to find another unicorn to help them."
"Let's get these poor fillies home," Rarity said, trying to move on.
"Where am I?" Trixie wondered, shaking off the stunning spell.
"We're on a small ledge on a cliff side about a mile from the lab," Greg replied. Trixie noticed immediately the crack running the length of his beak.
"Why have you brought me here?" Trixie asked, folding her legs into herself, and tried to seem small.
"It's not because I like you," Greg replied. "But I know you like money and so do I; and seeing as we both just lost a job, I figure the two of us could go into business together". He held up a small sack of bits. "I have some money to get started."
"Why should I work with you?"
"Well you need someone to do all the hard work and I need somepony to pay me. Being minions is what my clan is known for. Plus if I hadn't gotten you out of there when I did, they would have made you a boring old unicorn again."
"I must admit I'm surprised Celestia didn't kill me outright."
"What did you do besides join us and beat up her student?'
"I kind of attacked her," Trixie said, trying to blow it off.
"So it would be a very bad idea for either of us to stay in this country," Greg reasoned.
"I suppose we could try working together," Trixie said, thinking. "But first I need to see a stylist. Brown and orange is not my color."
"Of course, boss," Greg said, bowing. "Where shall we go first?"
"I heard there's a stylist that can do permanent dying somewhere in Prance."
"To Prance it is," Greg said, lowering his chest to the ground. She looked at him confused. "You can't fly distance with those tiny wings. Just hop on."
"Alright then," Trixie said hesitantly. She clambered onto his back between his large wings. With a stomach lurching jump he leaped from the cliff and the pair flew off, leaving Equestria.
"Ah think visitin' family will have to wait," Applejack said as the group reached Ponyville. The trek back had taken up most of the day and the sun was now setting.
"Yes, I think I'll keep Sweetie Belle here for now. Mom and dad are sure to be shocked by this," Rarity agreed.
"I'll see you girls in the morning. I'm gonna head home now," Rainbow Dash said taking to the air carefully to make sure Scootaloo stayed in place.
"What about Scootaloo?" Fluttershy asked.
"Don't worry, I'll make sure she gets home," Rainbow said flying off.
"I'd better go make sure Spike is okay," Twilight said.
“Why did you keep that book Twilight? I know you live in a library, but what if some pony takes it?” Fluttershy asked
“Applejack made a good point. If this book exists that means there may be more out there. I'm going to read this thing and learn what I can about how it all works,” Twilight explained, “if there are more out there, we'll need a reliable way to split ponies apart again.”
“Good thinking there. Maybe you can make one yourself!” Pinkie Pie suggested.
“I was thinking something like that,” Twilight admitted. “If Princess Celestia is worried, then this is big and we're going to need every edge we can get.”
Slowly the friends went their separate ways.
"Granny Smith?" Applejack whispered as when she opened the door. Not hearing a reply, she walked inside the old farmhouse. Walking quietly through the house, followed by Big Macintosh, she saw their grandmother had fallen asleep in the living room waiting up for them. Smiling she headed up stairs while Big Macintosh placed a blanket over the elderly mare. Silently she willed the old steps not to creak and wake their grandmother.
Applejack entered her little sister's room and deposited her tiny charge on the bed. The three fillies had all slept through the entire day but after what they had been through she wasn't surprised. After tucking Apple Bloom in, she left the room as silently as she had entered and answered the call of her own bed. Too exhausted to get in the bed properly she fell on top of it and fell asleep.
"Sleep tight, Sweetie Belle," Rarity whispered; nuzzling her sister. "I sure hope that's you in there."
The sleeping filly turned over and pulled the blankets closer.
Rarity nuzzled her sister again before leaving the room to join her in the realm of sleep.
Rainbow Dash headed over Ponyville so the rest would not notice what she was doing. When she was confident her friends couldn't see her, she made a sharp turn and headed to her cloud home. She walked inside silently, a challenge made easier when your floor is made of cloud.
“Hey, Tank,” she greeted. The tortoise looked up slowly but by the time he had, Rainbow Dash had already passed by.
She walked through the lower floor to the living room. When she reached the couch she carefully removed the young pony from her back and placed her on the cloud couch. Quietly she walked over to a closet and removed some blankets and a pillow. She wrapped the filly in the blankets and gently placed the pillow under her head.
"Sorry I don't have a spare bed, but I don't get many visitors living with earth ponies," Rainbow Dash whispered, rubbing Scootaloo's head. The child pegasus yawned in her sleep. Rainbow Dash could feel her own eyes begging to shut. Giving in, she laid down on the floor by the couch and fell asleep. A floor or bed didn't matter much when everything was made of cloud.
If you like this story, you should check out some of my other works:
My tumblr, an alternate universe mixing MLP and Cyborg 009.
Forever a Changeling, my new story starring Rainbow Dash as a changeling.
Samurai Applejack, a drastically different kind of story. It’s rated mature for violence and some suggestive lines.
Night of the Werepony, what I consider to be my worst story, but it’s my most popular. It’s just one chapter long.