The wind was picking up again. Twilight shivered, chilled by the wind. Normally she could devise a spell to protect her from the wind, but now there were more important things to do with her magic. The fact that she'd almost exhausted her magic for the day was another factor. She looked around at her friends. Rarity, Applejack and Rainbow Dash were all panting, and even Pinkie seemed more subdued than usual. Fluttershy was using this brief respite to collect some berries to help them last.
"So Twi, that was the last of them, yeah?" Dash asked. "I mean, no more monsters will attack tonight?"
Twilight shook her head. "I'm afraid that there'll probably be more. We've got to maintain our guard until daybreak, that's the only time for certain that they'll stop attacking."
It was a red moon tonight, often known as a blood moon among the more superstitious ponies. It was believed to be an ill omen, a sign of bad things to come. And Twilight had to reluctantly agree that this much was true. For whatever reason, on a night with a blood moon, the wild creatures of Equestria became extra hostile, attacking anything on sight. In most cities this wasn't too much of a problem, but in towns that boarded on wild forests such as the Everfree, monster attack was an all too real problem. This meant that Ponyville was under threat this night. Princess Celestia was attending to the defense of Fillydelphia, another town close to the Everfree, but on the opposite side from Ponyville. This meant that the job of protecting Ponyville lay to Twilight and her friends. Twilight didn't anticipate any problems, but just in case she had Spike nearby, ready to send a letter to Princess Celestia if things became too dangerous.
"What I don't understand is why Princess Luna would let the moon cause such problems in the first place," Rarity said. "Can't she do something about it?"
"From what I've heard, the blood moon is caused by a powerful spell, the last one Nightmare Moon managed to cast before she was banished. Princess Luna has tried to find a way to solve the problem, but she's hasn't met with any success yet."
Fluttershy was coming back now, her saddlebags bulging. "I found lots of wild raspberries over there, so hopefully there'll be enough to keep us going." She emptied a small pile of them just in front of Twilight, and then went to do the same for the others.
"Whew! Thank ya kindly Fluttershy," Applejack said as she received her pile. "Ah had a long day of apple bucking today, so between that and them monsters, I'm just about spent. This should be a good pick-me-up though."
Pinkie, still standing guard, started shouting. "Girls, we've got incoming! My knee's gone pinchy, and we know what that means!"
Even though she had a grasp on the more common types of Pinkie Sense, Twilight still couldn't remember what all of them meant. She looked at the others, who'd had more experience with Pinkie and her strange signals.
"Pinchy knee? But... but... that means something scary is about to happen!" Twilight wasn't sure how Fluttershy had managed to get behind her so quickly, but right now that wasn't the important part.
"Something scary?" Pinkie nodded.
"Yup! And whatever it is, it's super big!"
Dash chuckled. "Heh, scary for you maybe. I'm not scared of anything. You know what they say, the bigger they are, the harder they fall."
A roar broke the silence of the night, and the wind intensified ten-fold. Twilight looked around, trying to figure out where the new monster was coming from. There was no movement from the trees on the left or right of them, except for the wind. The wind which had suddenly picked up? She looked up, and there, blotting out the blood moon, was a wyvern.
A wyvern was among the deadlier creatures in Equestria, although there had been no sightings of them for centuries. A creature as big as a dragon, with a comparable, if not larger wingspan, and two claws armed with sharp talons. In many ways it resembled a cross between the biggest bird you could think of and a dragon, and just as fearsome. Twilight turned to Rainbow Dash.
"Still not scared?" She called out. She tried to keep her tone light, but inside she was terrified. They might need the Princess' help on this one.
Dash tried to smile, but it seemed to flee before the wyvern. "No problem, right? I'll take the fight to this bad boy!" Before anyone could respond, she took off to the skies, charging straight at the wyvern. It wasn't easy, she was fighting the wind caused by the creature's wingbeat, but in just a few more seconds she'd make it.
The wyvern wasn't giving her that kind of time, and swiped at her with one of it's powerful claws. The blow connected, and it sent Dash flying back to earth. She was knocked into a tree, and it gave a sickening crack as she slammed into it. She slumped to the ground, her body limp.
"Rainbow! Are you okay?" It was a stupid question to ask really, Twilight could tell she wasn't okay. That crack wasn't just the tree. She turned to Fluttershy. "Fluttershy, you've got to get Dash out of here. Get her to Nurse Redheart, quickly!"
Before Fluttershy could act though, one of the trees braches, loosened by Dash's impact with it, gave a loud snap. It fell, and before than anyone could look away, it landed. On top of Rainbow Dash.
"RAINBOW DASH!" It was impossibly to tell who had just cried out. It seemed every one had at the same time. Fluttershy was the first to break out of the shock.
"HOW DARE YOU!" Now it was her flying towards the wyvern, tears in her eyes, a look of determination on her face. She was going to stare the beast down. "HOW DARE YOU HURT MY FRIEND!"
This seemed to give the wyvern pause, and for a second it seemed it was going to give up. And then reality played it's hand, and its hand was filled with sharp talons. The wyvern snatched Fluttershy up, trapping her in its claw. And it started to squeeze. The screams could be heard over the wind, and it was the most awful thing anyone had ever heard. Then, it stopped, and Fluttershy was plummeting to the ground below. She landed in a tangle of limbs, lying limp in a puddle of red.
Pinkie Pie was by her before anyone else could act. She looked down at her friend, tears in her eyes. "Fluttershy? Please tell me that's just berry juice. Please just be berry juice, please just be berry juice, please just be berry juice. Ok, haha, make believe-time is over! Fluttershy? Oh Celestia, oh Celestia, oh Celestia..."
Twilight forced herself to look away from the sight of the pink pony cradling Fluttershy's body, tears flowing freely. She instead caught sight of Applejack, preparing a lasso. "Applejack, no, we can't fight this thing! We need to get Princess Celestia!"
"Consarnit Twi, that thing has just killed-" Applejack spat out the word they were all dreading. "-Killed two of our friends! I'm not going to let it get away with that!" She let the lasso fly, snaring the wyvern around the neck. "Now... help me... pull this overgrown chicken... down!"
The lasso was nothing more than a minor nuisance to wyvern. It simply increased its altitude, leaving Applejack dangling off the other end of the rope like a fish on a line. With some effort, it managed to grasp part of the rope it its claws, and started swing Applejack back and forth, building up speed.
"Applejack!" Twilight struggled to make herself heard. "Let go of the rope before things get any worse!"
As if on cue, the wyvern swung Applejack like a conker, knocking into Rarity, sending her flying backwards into a tree with a sharp crack. Applejack hadn't managed to keep her grip on the rope, and she too had gone flying into the tree with Rarity. The tree snapped along its middle, and the top half, after debating which way to fall for a moment, fell on top of the pair of ponies.
Twilight could now barely see for all the tears in her eyes. She managed to make a out a pink blur in the middle of the clearing. She wiped away what tears she could, and managed to focus on Pinkie Pie, shouting to the sky.
"COME DOWN HERE AND FIGHT ME YOU BIG MEANIE!" She turned to Twilight. "Twi, run, get Princess Celestia. But I'm going down fighting, like the others." She returned to yelling at the sky. "GET DOWN HERE SO I CAN MAKE CUPCAKES OUT OF YOU!"
The wyvern graciously accepted the invitation, folding its wings and diving straight at Pinkie. Moments before impact, Pinkie pulled a knife out from somewhere in her mane, and clasped it in her jaws. She leapt, and managed a slash across the wyvern's eye. The creature bellowed in pain, momentarily blinded, and crashed into the ground. Pinkie wasted no time, darting around the wyvern, getting in quick slashes here and there. But it couldn't last, and the beast managed a lucky blow with its powerful tail, smashing Pinkie into the ground. The knife dropped from her grip, as the wyvern smashed her again and again with its tail.
Twilight turned, and began running towards Spike. "Spike! Please tell me you managed to send a letter to the Princess!"
"I tried, Twilight, I did!" Spike's desperation was audible. "But the wind's too strong, it ripped the scroll out of my hands before I could send it!"
"Then get back to the library and send a new one! And hurry! Things look really really bad!"
Spike ran as fast as he could in the direction of the library. Twilight turned back to face the wyvern. Too late to dodge the tree trunk flying towards her.