The interior of the Everfree forest lived up to its sordid reputation. Everywhere Twilight looked, she received a terrifying reminder of why ponies feared it. The trees towered above them, reaching into the sky and blocking any sliver of sunlight that dared attempt to break through. Strange and alien plant life decorated the landscape, their hideous appendages sprawling across the ground, shielding the hissing shadows that stalked Twilight's every movement. Creatures beyond her comprehension reached out to her, speaking to Twilight in an indecipherable tongue that defied logic(Though that was mainly Pinkie Pie.). Twilight had never felt more ill at ease than she did right now. Compounding this unease was the fact that they, like Rarity, had gotten themselves lost.
Twilight hadn't intended to get lost, few do, but she was working at a higher disadvantage than most. When they first started to journey into the forest, Twilight had been leading them by sight. Following the landmarks she recognized from their last trip, she had been able to guide them about a third of the way when what little light they had in the forest disappeared. Unable to tell one hoof from another, let alone two trees, Twilight suddenly found herself without any idea which way to go. Pinkie Pie quickly offered her services as “map pony”, and in a lapse in judgment that Twilight wouldn't been able to explain for years to come, she agreed to let Pinkie Pie lead the way.
Several hours later, they were no closer to Zecora's hut than when they started.
“Pinkie, are you absolutely sure that you know where you're going?” asked Twilight.
Pinkie Pie, who was currently interrogating a branch that had fallen while they were walking, cheerfully turned around to answer Twilight. “Of course I do, Twilight! I'm going to Zecora's hut.” Twilight waited for her to continue, but she said nothing else. Sighing, Twilight tried to squeeze more information out of her.
“Okay, but how are we going to get to Zecora's hut?”
Pinkie Pie looked at Twilight incredulously. “Through the forest, duh.” Twilight slapped her hoof against her head in frustration.
“Yes, but where in the forest are we going?” tried Twilight.
“To Zecora's hut! Jeez Twilight, you ask the most obvious questions. It's a good thing I'm here to explain it, just think of where we would be if I weren't!”
Sensing the futility in this line of conversation, Twilight dropped the subject and turned her attention to trying to figure out where they were. Straining her eyes in the darkness, she could make out the vague outline of trees. Using this knowledge, she concluded that they could be literally anywhere in the forest. Twilight started to ask Pinkie Pie where they would be going next, but after observing her argue with what was a pile of branches now, she decided that this was as good a place as any to stop.
“Alright girls, let's rest up here. Walking around on tired hooves isn't going to help us find Rarity any quicker.”
A grateful Applejack plopped onto the ground, buckling under the weight of a terrified Fluttershy. Several miles ago, after a rogue encounter with a were-gerbil left Fluttershy frightened and unwilling to continue, Applejack agreed to carry her to Zecora's hut. Seeing as how they had never reached their destination, she had been forced to carry the surprisingly heavy Fluttershy far longer than she had intended. To her credit, Applejack had not complained the entire time, silently carrying her friend through Pinkie's bizarre directions. That was the kind of loyalty that Twilight appreciated.
“Twilight..” The voice of Fluttershy brought back Twilight's attention, and she looked at the quivering Pegasus that was picking herself off of Applejack.
“I was just thinking, we're kind of sitting in the middle of the forest, and, well, there are a lot of scary creatures out there...”
Twilight walked forward and put her hoof on Fluttershy's shoulder. “It's alright Fluttershy, there are five of us here, and I don't think there's anything out there that will want to attack all of us at once”
“Yes, but what if we get separated? Some ponies, uh, aren't so good at fighting.”
“Well, we won't get separated. You have my word.” soothed Twilight.
“Yeah, I mean it's not like any of us are out here in the forest alone or anything.” unsoothed Rainbow Dash.
Fluttershy whimpered and lied down in the grass. Twilight shot Dash an angry look, to which she just shrugged. Sometimes Dash's blunt honesty had its downfalls.
“Twilight? How do you know if you can sit on something?”asked Pinkie Pie.
That certainly came out of left field.
“What? Why would you even need to ask that?” Twilight was starting to grow impatient with her friends.
“I dunno, this thing just feels funny.”
“Is it trying to eat you?”
“Then you can sit on it.”
Having dealt with that 'situation', Twilight decided that she needed to find the path to Zecora's before she started pounding her head in the dirt. She started to think, perhaps there was some sort of spell that could help her. Then it hit her, My Light spell! How could I have forgotten! Twilight prepared herself, this would take a lot of concentration.
Twilight clenched her teeth and felt the magic rise and channel through to her Horn. She dug her hooves into the ground, this would be painful. A small ball of light formed at the tip of Twilight's horn. Slowly, it began to grow, until it had doubled in size. Twilight was shaking, but she had to make it bigger if she wanted to be able to see. The ball grew bigger and bigger, taking up more and more of Twilight's strength. She was almost there, just another minute and she wou-
The ball disappeared, and Twilight collapsed to the ground. Bitterly, she stood back up and barked at Pinkie Pie. “What? What is it now?”
“You know how you asked me about if my seat was trying to eat me?”
“Well I'd like to change my answer.”
Twilight turned in horror to see Pinkie Pie rise in the air, a mass of fur teeth beneath her. Pinkie screamed and jumped off, hitting her stride and running into the trees. The beast roared, and Twilight took that as her cue to leave. “RUN!”
A flying blur zoomed past Twilight, speeding into the trees after Pinkie Pie. Twilight cursed silently, she needed Rainbow Dash to help Fluttershy get out in time. Applejack rose clumsily, and the beast lunged at her, missing her head by an inch. It turned to strike again, but Applejack was well ahead of it, being carried off by a determined Rainbow Dash. Twilight searched for Fluttershy's outline in the dark, but it was nowhere to be found. She must've been the first blur thought Twilight, explaining things to the slower readers. The beast snarled, and set its sights on Twilight. Remembering that she too, was edible, Twilight high tailed it into the trees, hoping that the others hadn't gone too far for her to catch up.
The beast was right behind her. As she leaped past the fallen trees, it broke right through them. Ignoring the nasty scrapes it got on its shins as it did so. Twilight now knew that the situation was more serious than she had imagined. She turned a sharp left, and cut through some bushes. She wasn't sure if this was the way the others had gone, but right now it didn't matter. The beast didn't lose any speed as it adjusted mid stride to follow Twilight. It was gaining on her, a few more seconds and it would have her. She had to think quickly if she wanted to survive.
Luckily for her, she wanted to survive rather drastically. Remembering the teleport spell that she used often, and that the author had completely forgotten about, she concentrated and -poof- she disappeared, leaving the wild animal bewildered.
Unluckily for her, the author had actually not forgotten about her teleport spell, and she reappeared right behind the beast. Cursing the railroad plot she found herself in, Twilight began to run again.
Twilight dashed once again through the bushes, and found herself on the path she was on earlier. The beast roared, shaking the ground beneath her. Increasing its already impressive speed, it began to regain the ground it had lost. Twilight ducked under a branch and tried to think of another spell she could use to defeat the beast. There were only so many offensive spells she had, and most were of a smaller nature. Before she could finish thinking, the creature pounced on her. It drew its claws across her face, and Twilight squealed. It had her now, she had only one chance to save herself.
Twilight felt the creature bite into her leg. Oh Celestia, it's not even going to wait to kill me first!
Yet, it did wait. Its teeth stopped just inches from repeating its action, as did the rest of it. It didn't blink, and it certainly didn't continue eating. Twilight felt a little miffed, she was at the very least the tastiest of her friends. Then, however, she noticed the purple aura surrounding the creature, and she sighed a sigh of relief.
Even if she didn't consciously control it, her magic had saved her. I must've cast a freeze spell in my duress. It certainly wouldn't be the first time I cast a spell under stress. Having finished her mild exposition, Twilight cast another spell, and sent the creature into a deep sleep. Stepping carefully as to not wake him up, she tread further into the forest, hoping to find her friends.
She followed the trail of broken twigs, and trodden upon plant life for a good hour or so before she heard the familiar sounds of her friends' voices. Deeper still, she could hear Pinkie Pie giggling, along with what sounded like Rainbow Dash. Encouraged, she turned into high gear, and ran after her friends voices.
That sounded like Applejack. With any luck all of her friends would be there.
“It just doesn't make any sense!” cried Rainbow Dash's voice.
Twilight slowed down a hair, that didn't sound too good. Please, please don't let there be any trouble. I've already had enough for the day. As she slowed down, Twilight felt herself getting woozy. Her wounds ached, and she suddenly didn't feel fit to stand up. She had made it this far based on her focus, and now with that gone, the injuries she sustained were making their presence known. Twilight shoved aside the pain and continued, if she was going to make it to a doctor, she needed to find her friends.
She plowed through the last few trees that separated her from her friends' voices, and was relieved to find them in no danger. Applejack and Rainbow Dash's mouths were agape, but they looked otherwise unharmed. Fluttershy seemed to smiling. Pinkie Pie was jumping up down with a grin on her face in front of.... Zecora's hut?
You can't be serious.
“Oh I'm always serious Twilight.” said Pinkie, somehow reading her thoughts.
Twilight didn't know whether to be relieved or astounded. Perhaps worried would've been the appropriate emotion.
“Twilight! Well thank Celestia you're here! I was scared that you'd gone and gotten yourself eaten! We were plannin' to... Uh, Twi, you don't look so good.” said Applejack.
She didn't feel good either.
“I feel like I'm dying.” Twilight croaked.
“Well let's get you inside, I'm sure Zecora can fix you right up.”
And so the ponies walked inside of Zecora's hut, happy that they had accomplished something that day.