Twilight Sparkle burst into the tree library in which she lived, panting. “Spike, Spike!” she called excitedly, “come here I have something AMAZING to show you!”
Spike came hopping down the stairs, almost tripping in his haste to obey his friend, but caught his foot on a stair. He gave a cry and would have fallen had not Twilight used her magic to catch him and float him over to her.
“What is it Twilight? Did you finally perfect that transmutation spell? Or discover-“
“Spike, listen to me” Twilight cut Spike off, trotting from hoof to hoof excitedly, “I think I found a door to another world!”
“What?! How…where?” Spike exclaimed.
“Well, I was walking in the Everfree forest to help Zecora, when suddenly…”
Zecora’s Garden Trouble
The sunlight fell in dapper shades as Twilight made her way through the dense trees. Normally, she avoided the Everfree Forest, but today she had to make an exception. Zecora had recently sent word that she wanted to speak to the unicorn and Twilight was happy to oblige. She avoided the familiar blue patch of Poison joke and made it to Zecoras front door. She raised her hoof to knock, but before she could, she saw Zecora in the back garden where she grew some herbs. Twilight trotted over to her, happy to see her friend. She raised a hoof in greeting when she was near enough.
“Hi Zecora! I’m sorry I couldn’t be here earlier, but there was a small incident involving an exploding cake and a missing frog, so I had to help clean up…I swear, I don’t know where Pinkie comes up with these things.” Twilight was so caught up in her chatter that it took a moment for her to register the worry on her friends face. When she did notice it however, she said “what’s wrong Zecora? Are you alright?”
“No, not one thing here is alright. Something terrible happened last night.” She gestured to her garden. “All my plants, and herbs and roots, stolen from me…and eaten to boot!” Twilight looking past the zebra saw that she was correct; all of Zecoras plants had a half gnawed look, and many where scattered all over the ground, unusable.
“Wow, I’ve never seen anything like this before…what do you suppose made these marks?” Twilight used her magic to illuminate a large print in the earth. It was a large, 3 pronged food, and there were wicked claw marks on the toes.
“Whatever ate my plants in the ground, made those marks and is still around. However, I am like you; I have seen nothing like those marks, it is true. “ Zecora pointed off in a direction. “The tracks lead deeper into the wood; whatever made them is nothing good.
“Don’t worry Zecora, I’ll follow them, and I won’t return until I get to the bottom of this!” Twilight said determinedly. She set off at a slow pace through the thick brush, with Zecora waving from behind.
As Twilight went deeper into the woods, the darkness became oppressive and even though it was still day time, a chill settled over the air. Twilight began to see strange things in the fading light; eyes stared out at her, branches snapped when no one stepping on them, and once or twice she thought she saw something large stalking behind her, but every time she turned, she saw nothing but shadows. The leaves blowing in the air sounded like sighs, then when the wind picked up, shrieks. Twilight, normally a fairly brave pony, mentally chided herself for being so nervous.
“Get a hold of yourself, Twi” she said. “it’s only the wind” She shook her head, mane swishing in the wind, and continued, trotting a bit to keep warm.
Finally, the wind became so great twilight had to stop. It was freezing, and she had no coat. She wished she had asked Zecora, but neither of them had imagined this chill. Twilight settled in the trunk of a great tree, and curled into a little ball. Looking back, she wondered why she hadn’t asked Zecora for help. She knew the zebra would have gladly risen to the occasion; after all, it was her plants that had been eaten.
Twilight took a carrot from her saddlebag and gnawed on it thoughtfully. Suddenly, she tensed. Something was outside the log; snuffling powerfully, it seemed to be looking for something. She replaced the carrot and quietly inched forward before standing up and addressing what she assumed to be a large pony.
“Excuse me, but have you seen-“Twilight gasped. This was no pony!
As the creature turned, she saw the remains of Zecoras garden stuck in its teeth, which looked more designed for shredding than plants. Its long muzzle was coated in plant juices and dirt, while the eyes above it were set far back, and dull yellow and rheumy. Its fur was grimy and short, but it was covered by a faded and tattered yellow garment with even more faded red stripes. Its legs were short and bent backwards, like a dog, and on its feet were 3 long, wicked claws.
“You’re the creature that wrecked Zecoras’ garden! Don’t you know how hard she worked on making it perfect!” Twilight began one of her famous lectures. “She worked extremely hard on that and you just-“
Then came the last thing she expected.
“Sorry” said a gruff, raspy voice. “I was hungry, and the sheep were talking. I like meat that doesn’t talk back to me. I got nervous and wandered in here.”
Twilight had to do a double take to see such a horrible looking beast apologizing for his actions. In her experience, most of the Ever free beasts were monsters. This was the first time one of them had taken responsibility for his actions! She was taken aback, and tried to recover her footing.
“Um…yes, well.” she paused. “I’m glad you realize that what you’ve done is wrong, and you’ve apologized, but it’s not me you need to say sorry to, it’s the zebra you stole from. “ Twilight gestured back behind her. “We should go back and tell her what you told me.”
The beast nodded. “very well” he dropped to all fours and padded away in the direction Twilight indicated.
“Hold on,” she called, “Do you have a name?”
The beast paused. “Wolf” he said “Just Wolf”. He resumed his walk.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Chapter 1 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A Walk with Wolf.
Twilight had to trot briskly to keep up with Wolf’s long strides. As they walked along, she noticed his long nose continually sniffing for trouble to either side. Then she asked something that bothered her.
“Why didn’t you eat anything in the Ever Free forest? As a pony, I don’t eat meat, but I know some animals do; and you don’t look like you should be eating plants.”
Wolf was silent for a second, then he answered, “In my town, we do not eat flesh as it is found wild; we just…get it. I don’t really understand, because no one really needs to eat. I am one of the few that does, and our meat just appears as we need it.”
Twilight nodded. “I understand. “ The walked along again in silence.
“Also, I’ve never hurt a living creature in my entire life.” Wolf said quickly.
Twilight looked surprised. “I know I look scary,” Wolf continued, “but it’s just for show. Where I come from, we don’t hurt anyone. It would be a bad idea in our line of work. “
“What do you do in your town?” Twilight was curious now; her thirst for knowledge had been spiked.
“I scare people.” Wolf said proudly. “I was nominated this year for most bone chilling scream…but then the Jersey devil pulled one of his tricks.” He grunted. “One year, I’ll win it”
Twilight looked confused. “Your job is to scare people? What does that mean?”
Wolf continued walking, but slowed his pace to a more comfortable one for Twilight.
“Every year in our world, “he began, “There is a special time of year when our world connects to another world, one with Humans, who are soft, fleshy things, and easily scared. Our job, on this night, is to scare people as much as possible. But we aren’t allowed to hurt them. It’s all in good fun. We scare them, and on the dawn of the next day we disappear until next year.”
Twilight looked encouraged. “We have a night like that as well! We call it Nightmare night! It’s the night we pay homage to Princess Luna, the mare of the Night. “
“Our night is called Halloween, and a more glorious sight I haven’t seen in many a year.” Wolf said. “Every day in our town is Halloween, so, naturally, we call it, Halloween Town. Recently, though, our king has had a change of heart.”
“A king? Really? Equestria has a monarchy too, but now that Luna has been restored, it’s a dual ruling body. How long has your king been in power?” Twilight asked.
“He isn’t really a king in the usual sense. He just makes sure everything is set for each Halloween. The mayor is in charge of running the town, but mostly that’s left up to Jack too. “
“You’re Kings’ name is Jack? Rather simplistic.” Twilight remarked.
“His full title is Jack Skellington, King of Halloween, and master of Terror.”
“Oh” replied Twilight diminished. “So…what caused this change?”
“Well, he was sad that no one liked his holiday as much as others, because his was scary. Unfortunately, no one in town realized his feelings until he returned from Christmas town. Then, everyone pitched into help create Jack’s perfect holiday, but we failed. Our Halloween spity didn’t mix well with Christmas time, and we created chaos that would have cancled Christmas, if not for Santa himself. “ Wolf paused. “Jack was different after that, mostly in good ways of course. He found his wife, settled down, transferred more responsibilities to the mayor, and the town was happy. But Jack… Jack was determined to find other worlds, more than just the Holiday trees. He began to search for more ways to travel, and one day, Dr. Finkelstien, a scientist in our world, created a portal…”
Out with the Old, In with the New.
“Hurry professor!” Jack cried, his lanky form pacing back and forth.
“You can’t rush me boy! I don’t know how stable this will be for-“ the short man in the wheelchair was suddenly cut off by Wolf’s emergence in the lab, carrying what appears to be a small Dashhound; in fact, it was his arm…
“Doc,” he panted, “can you…can you, reattach my arm?”
“How did you come to lose it in the first place?” Dr. Finklestien snorted. “Arms aren’t easily detachable”. As he said this, he opened his head to scratch his brain.
“Um..i’m not sure…I think the kids were playing with the guillotine and I was asleep…”
Dr. Finkelstien sighed. “Fine, come over to the table, and will get you all fixed up.
As Wolf laid down however, there was a blinding flash of purple light and he awoke in the Everfree forest. At first, he assumed he was in the Haunted Woods, but once he looked around, he saw the quality of the light, and breathed the freshness of the air.
“And so, I arrived here” Wolf concluded. “I’ve been wandering for about 2 days, until I stumbled onto that garden.
Finally, they arrived at Zecoras back door. Twilight knocked while Wolf surveyed the damage he had caused with regret. Zecora slowly opened the door and peeked out.
“Zecora, this is the bea- I mean pon- this is the one who wrecked your garden. He didn’t mean it, but he doesn’t want to eat meat here.” Twilight stepped aside to reveal the fearsome creature. It was strange to see one such as wolf in Ponyville, but in the Everfree Forest, it was no problem. Zecora bowed gently at the newcomer, while Wolf stood wringing his claws.
“I hope you will not think ill of me, friend.” He said apologetically. “I am a stranger here, and was afraid to ask.”
“It is alright” Said Zecora. “But next time knock before you take a bite. “
“Yes ma’am” replied Wolf. He turned back to Twilight. “Is there any place I could stay? I know I look like a wolf, but part of me needs to sleep.”
“Of course. The library is cramped right now, we just got a shipment of books and I haven’t sorted them yet. C’mon, we’ll go see if Fluttershy can help. “ Twilight indicated a path that lead out of the Forest and to the right.
Wolf obediently bounded beside her, and they resumed walking, she trotting, he padding. Within a short time, they had reached the overgrown hut in which Fluttershy lived. Twilight indicated to Wolf that he should hang back, and he moved back into the shadows. Twilight raised a hoof to knock, and after a few seconds, a sleepy pink maned face poked out. Fluttershy yawned.
“Twilight? What are you doing here? It’s so late…or early.” She rubbed her eyes.
“Sorry fluttershy, but I have…an animal problem, kinda.” Twilight didn’t like withholding anything from her friend, btu she was worried the shy pony might bolt. “He need a place to stay, and I was hoping-“
“Oh Twilight, I’m so glad you came to see me!” Fluttershy’s face lit up, and her exhaustion seemed to disappear. She opened the door wider and stepped out, Angel the bunny following her with bleary eyes. “Where is the little guy?” she looked around in excitement.
“Um…he’s over here. But Flutt-“Twilight pointed to the bush, but before she could warn her friend, Fluttershy had walked over to the bush and was sticking her hoof in, in anticipation of petting something small.
Wolf was no naturally vicious, but he was taking a “cat nap” of sorts. So when he suddenly felt a hoof on his back, he did the natural thing; he growled and bit it. Not very hard, but enough so that he immediately regretted doing it afterward. Any creature would regret hurting Fluttershy, and seeing her lip quiver in pain before she began crying buckets. Twilight hurriedly surrounded the area in a force field to dull the sound, but unfortunately, it also resulted in filling the area with Fluttershy’s tears. Angel looked disapprovingly at Wolf, who was wringing his claws again. After a few minutes of consolation from Twilight, Fluttershy calmed down, and tried again. She extended her undamaged hoof in a hoof shake, and Wolf retracted his claws while Twilight explained the situation to Fluttershy.
“Well, I’m sure he can stay, but he’ll have to sleep in the yard. As long as he doesn’t bother the chickens. They’re already on edge from everything in the Forest. “ Fluttershy said after she had considered Twilights proposition.
“Great! Thanks Fluttershy!”
“Yes, thank you, yellow pony” agreed Wolf.
He obediently walked into the yard and curled up into the corner. For the first night since he had arrived in Ponyville, he slept soundly.
Flutershy, on the other hand, had a sleepless night. This was for two reasons. The first was that, kind as she was, the beast in her yard scared her. She was listening to the sounds of his snoring and the gentle sleepy clucking of the chicken.
The other was more ominous, though she didn’t know it yet…
The bite was tingling.
The moon was full.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Chapter 4 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Next Morning
“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” The scream could be heard all throughout PonyVille. Applejack started in horror at the ruins of her apple orchard. About half the trees bore long claw marks and other injuries, and all the apples had been eaten or trampled underfoot.
“Who in tarnation would do such a thang?” Apple jack wondered worriedly. “Musta been somethin’ from the Ev’r Free Forest!”
Granny Smith hobbled out to inspect the damage.
“Nah, werrn’t no timber wolf. Too big.” She concluded.
“Manticore?” Apple jack guessed.
“Too small.” Granny said. “Nah, twas…yer know, I dunno. I ain’t ne’r seen this mark afore, and I knows all the animals in that there forest.”
“Then what in tarnation!” Apple jack was beginning to wonder who could possibly be responsible for the crime when Rainbow Dash swooped in.
“Hey AJ. What happened? I heard you scream all the way in Cloudsdale.” Sher then looked over the field. “Oh…I see. Any ideas?”
“I was just about ta go see Twi, and ask ‘er if she has any books on creatures in that forest. Something musta done it, but I don’t know what, and Granny is emptier than a rain barrel in a desert on ideas.”
“Good idea. I’ll come with you.” The pair of friends went into Ponyville main and knocked on twilight’s front door. It was several seconds before Spike opened it.
“Hiya Spike” Said Applejack. “Is Twilight in?”
“Yeah, but she’s asleep, shhh” Spike said, putting a scaly finger to his lips.
“TWILIGHT!” The cry echoed up and down the street, and the trio flinched. Pinkie pie came hopping up the street, bouncing at a more furious rate than normal. The other odd thing was that she looked scared, instead of her usual smiling self. She skidded to a stop outside the door with Rainbow Dash and Applejack.
“Someone’s eaten all the cakes in the bakery!” She cried, bouncing up and down in excitement.
At that same moment, rarity came trotting up.
“Of all the things that could have happened, this is the WORST…POSSIBLE…THING” and she fell onto her chaise lounge.
“Ya really gotta carry that around with ya?” Apple jack sighed.
“Yes” Rarity said shortly, “I’ve been robbed! It’s real this time! Something has shredded all my fabric! ” She began to cry.
“Easy partner, easy” Apple jack comforted her, placing a hoof on Rarities shoulder. “We all been hit by whatever it was, so I assume we’re all here for the same reason.”
“And I think I have your answer, though it pains me to say it. “ Twilight came sleepily downstairs. “Spike told me why you’re all here, so I can assume you don’t know.” With a heavy heart she told them about Wolf, and his entrance into Ponyville.
“Well, let’s go see Fluttershy! If that creature is as dangerous as you say it seems, and judging from what he did to our stuff, we should get him!” Rainbow Dash said, about to fly off.
“Hold on there, partner,” said AJ grabbing RD tail in her teeth, and speaking through a mouthful of tail, “we got no proof as of yet. Let’s talk to him before we drive ‘im off.”
The 5 friends walked up to Fluttershys hut, and all gasped in surprise. The house was wreck! The windows were broken , the walls were smashed, the mail box was snapped, and there was mud everywhere. Long claws marks were torn into the dirt, and on the un-smashed walls. Twilights used her magic to move a large amounts of debrie from the door,a nd the team went inside.
“Fluttershy? Fluttershy?!” they called.
“She left” said a voice. It was unfamiliar to the other 4, but twilight said, “Wolf, where are you?”
“Here,” he said, crawling out from under an upturned table. “Your friend is quite violent, if I say so myself.”
“What! We all know you did this, you freak!” RD yelled, and prepared to dive bomb him. Wolf pit out his claws to retract from the wiseness of this idea, and RD settled down, ready to take to the air again.
“As you know Twilight, I bit the yellow one you called Fluttershy. I hoped that the bite, accidental, would not affect her as I thought it might. Unfortunately, it did; your friend is now a raging beast, and she will devour everything on the night of the full moon, such as last night.” He slumped over, defeated. “ I fear the only cure is in my homeland, since I doubt Wolfsbane is available here.”
Pinkie suddenly pointed her tail straight left. “She went that-a-way!” She then face planted into the ground, and proceeded to walk off, following her nose. The rest of the mane six followed her. Wolf tailed behind, still ashamed at what he had done.
They finally found Fluttershy sitting under a tree. She was covered in scraps of cloth from Rarities shop, frosting from Pinkies cakes, and apples scraps from Applejacks Farm. She was breathing heavily and rolling restlessly around. She was moaning in pain and self-regret. Twilight gently shook her awake, and Fluttershy groggily awoke.
“Oh…my…what…what happened?” She said. “I had such a strange dream last night…”
“Sorry, but that was real. We’re going to bring you back to Twilights library. Unfortunately,
the only cure is probably in Wolfs world.“ Rainbow Dash said.