The sun began to rise over the noisy city of Manehatten, and the young Applejack was awake to greet it.
“Cock-a-doodle-doo.” she said sadly, thinking back to last night’s ‘dinner’ where the proper ponies laughed at her talking about a rooster. “I wonder what Granny Smith and Big Macintosh are up to.” she mused. “I’ll bet they’re applebuckin’ their way through the Red Delicious trees.” she said with a smile. A sad sigh escaped her lips as she looked out on the sunrise. Oh, what I wouldn't give for just one bite...” As the filly thought back to her home, a tear rolled down her face. She watched the sky for a few more moments.
“Applejack, darling, come on out here!” came a sweet voice from outside her room. Applejack let another tear fall as she thought about Sweet Apple Acres.
“Ahm comin’ Aunt Orange.” She said with a sigh, feeling something was not quite right.
A young white filly sat sewing in her room, working her orange fabric through the sewing machine, trying to find that final thing that would change her outfits from nice to beautiful, that would make them stand out like her one true talent would.
“Maybe I’m not meant to be a fashionista after all.” The young Rarity moped as she looked sadly at th costumes for the play that would open the next day. Something was missing…but what was it? She looked down at her cloth, ready to give up when…
FWING! Her horn glowed an intense blue and carried her out the door and outside.
“What’s going on!?” the filly wondered aloud as she tried to stop her horn from carrying her. After a minute, she resisted, allowing her horn to take it wherever it was going, knowing unicorn magic doesn’t happen without a reason. Her horn dragged her through forest and desert, over mountains and finally into a rocky wasteland. While she didn’t know where she was, she knew it had to do with her love for fashion, no, her destiny. She abruptly stopped when she crashed into a large boulder.
“A ROCK?!” she yelled. “That’s my destiny? What is your problem, horn?!” she shouted, frustrated. “I followed you all the way out here for a rock?” she said, still shouting at her horn. “Dumb rock!” she growled at the unmoving monolith. She turned and kicked the rock, resulting only in hurting her hooves. Well, what was she going to do now? Her horn had dragged her all the way out here, there had to be something…
After waiting a full minute, Rarity screamed and ran back the way she came, hoping she could make it back in time to do at least one last touch on her costumes before it was too late.
An excited purple filly ran ahead of her parents, eager to get to the school she had studied so hard to get into.
“Come on!” she shouted happily, unaware of what would happen once inside.
Twilight Sparkle practically hopped the whole way through the school, until she reached a large set of double doors. Each door became outlined in a different color before swinging open and allowing her and her parents inside.
“Well, miss Sparkle, are you ready?”
“Ready for what?” Twilight asked somewhat nervously.
“The entrance exam, of course.” One of the unicorn instructors said calmly.
“I didn’t know there was an entrance exam!” The filly began to panic and the four unicorns scribbled something on their clipboards. The doors opened again, this time revealing an Earth pony pushing a cart carrying a spotted purple egg into the room. As he left, Twilight noticed the sign on the cart. She had to hatch the dragon egg with magic.
“Well, miss Sparkle?” a yellow unicorn asked. Twilight chuckled nervously as the four unicorns raised their clipboards. Not wanting her nervousness ruin her chances, she immediately tried her magic, but nothing she tried worked, not a single spell even worked, and the unicorns grew impatient. “We don’t have all day, miss Sparkle.” Twilight put one last push into her magic, succeeding only in getting two sparks to fall on the floor.
“I’m sorry I wasted your time.” The young unicorn said sadly. The unicorns started scribbling on their clipboards again, but Twilight could only look down in shame. After a few seconds she walked to her parents.
“Let’s just go home.” she said quietly with tears forming in her eyes.
A sad pink pony walked across a barren field, pushing together a pile of rocks while her sisters did the same not far away. The rock farm was a depressing life for any pony, but this pony seemed especially put down by the lack of talking and smiling. She rolled another rock onto the pile, wondering why in Equestria they needed to move the rocks across the fields. She looked to the sun, the closest thing to happiness that could be found in the desolate rock fields and had the strange feeling something was missing in her life, but she had no idea what.
Her father rang a bell, indicating it was time to come in. Her sisters walked inside, heads down, but Pinkamina stayed outside for a minute, looking out in the distance, wondering what was out there besides rocks. She stared at the bleak sky, almost expecting something to jump out at her, but nothing happened. After a few more seconds, Pinkamina sighed and followed her sisters into the house, knowing many more years of rock farming were ahead of her.
“Come on Clutz-er, Fluttershy, you can do it!” yelled an excited cyan filly.
“O-okay R-rainbow.” Fluttershy stuttered as she flapped her wings.
“There you go! Keep it up, Fluttershy!” Rainbow cheered as she started flying herself.
“Whoa, whoa!” the lanky yellow filly squeaked.
“C’mon, Fluttershy, you gotta learn to fly sometime!” Rainbow Dash vainly cheered on her friend.
“I dunno Rainbow, I’m thinking I should just go back home and give up.” Fluttershy whispered as she landed on a cloud and started to run.
“Nuh uh!” Rainbow yelled, flying in front of the timid Pegasus. “If you want those bullies to leave you alone, you gotta be able to fly!” Rainbow encouraged.
“I-I don’t think so Rainbow…” Fluttershy whimpered.
“NOW FLUTTERSHY! GO GO GO!” Rainbow ordered. “The sooner you do it the sooner you’ll be done.”
“Uh, uh…I dunno about this Rainbow Dash you know I think I can take the bullying.” Fluttershy said quickly as she slowly rose in the air.
“Hey Clutzershy! How you doing today?” Hoops yelled.
“Oh! Well, Rainbow is teaching me-” Fluttershy began.
“Rainbow Crash? Rainbow Crash can’t teach you anything Clutzershy, you’re better off not flying!” the young colt laughed.
“Yeah, all Rainbow Crash could teach you is how to…uh…crash!” Dumbbell continued. “Even if you could get up in the first place!” The two colts laughed.
“Hey! Leave her alone!” Rainbow yelled as she noticed her friend’s wings pumping faster.
“Oh yeah, what are you gonna do about it, Rainbow Crash?” Hoops mocked, laughing at their names once again.
“Keep making fun of me and find out!” Rainbow said smugly.
“What’s that supposed to mean, uh, Rainbow, uh, Crash! You and Clutzershy gonna do something?” Dumbbell laughed. Just then, a flash of yellow bolted from her spot in the sky to the two Pegasus ponies’ faces.
“How dare you! How. Dare. You! Listen here colts! Just because I’m small and can’t fly doesn’t mean you get to be a bully! YOU MAY BE BIGGER THAN ME, AND YOU CAN FLY BETTER THAN ME, BUT YOU DO NOT, I REPEAT DO NOT. INSULT. MY. FRIENDS!” Fluttershy exploded at the two bullies, now both horrified at the sight of an enraged Fluttershy. “YOU GOT THAT?!” she screamed.
Not wanting to find out how much angrier the yellow Pegasus could be, the two colts dashed off as fast as they could.
“Wow! Fluttershy that was amazing!” Rainbow laughed.
“Well, I couldn’t let them keep insulting you like that. I hate it when people make fun of my friends. Friend.” She whispered at the end.
“See, I knew you had it in you! And did you see yourself fly! I told you you could do it. C’mon,” she said, taking to the sky herself, “Now I gotta show you what flying’s really about…”
Applejack stared out at the landscape that had called itself her home for over three years. She had dealt with Manehatten, but she could not call it her home. The rising sun cast light on ponies running to and fro, doing dozens of meaningless tasks, she thought bitterly. She turned to look at a mirror hanging in her room, finally sick and tired of her mane done up, fed up with measly city pony meals and how the city ponies treated her. She had stayed because she had believed her destiny to be here, and the allure of a cutie mark had kept the filly there for some time. But spending nearly four years here and not even coming close to what she was meant to do, Applejack knew there was only one thing left for her to do.
“Applejack, dear, are you coming down? Our guests are here and would love to hear your latest stories!” called Aunt Orange a little too happily.
“I’m finished with this city pony show.” Applejack grumbled. Shaking her mane out to her preferred longer state, the mare charged for the window and jumped, not even wanting to go downstairs.
A white mare with a mangled purple mane lay in a ditch, staring up at the sky. The unicorn had thought she had discovered who she was a few short years ago, but it had turned out to be a dud. The implacable rock had shattered her confidence, and the effect carried on to her dresses, which had once been elegant for a filly, became mediocre, and soon plain bad. Rarity had given up on her dreams, and had tried her hoof at dozens of tasks, her ineptness and depression combining to make her fail almost anything she tried.
“Rarity!?” came a shrill voice from above the unicorn’s head. “What are you doing in a ditch!?”
“Sweetie?” Rarity mumbled.
“Obviously! Mom and Dad have been looking all over for you. They got so anxious when you never answered any letters!”
“Letters?” Rarity asked, still dazed and motionless.
“Augh, you don’t remember anything!” Sweetie Belle yelled, causing her sister to wince. “I’m just going to get Mom and Dad and tell them to leave you here, if that’s what you want.” Sweetie Belle said before running off. Rarity paid the little filly no mind. Nothing good had happened for her in the past year, so this was nothing new. The unicorn tried to turn to block the sun from her eyes when a light blue aura surrounded her horn.
“Dumb horn.” Rarity groaned. “You didn’t do any good last time.” The magic faded before picking up again, growing enough to drag Rarity from the ditch and though the streets of Ponyville, still lying down, oblivious to the ponies she was knocking over and the things tearing through her mane and fur.
“When you’re finished alphabetizing those books, you can go to the back room and tidy that up too. You let a few colts get in there when you weren’t paying attention and there are books everywhere.” Ms. Atter continued piling demands on the tired purple unicorn. The librarian continued for several seconds before realizing Twilight’s attention had drifted and stomped her hoof.
“Twilight! Pay attention!” the elderly tan pony growled.
“Yes, yes, alphabetize colts and tidy attention everywhere, boil a rag and recalibrate the windows.” Twilight blurted before realizing what she had said.
“Twilight Sparkle! I know you are better than this. Do not fall behind on your duties, or I’m afraid you won’t be able to stay here much longer.”
Like that matters, Twilight thought. I’ve been working here for two years and haven’t heard so much as a compliment, let alone a cutie mark, she continued bitterly, not realizing she was allowing her magic to work on its own. After the failure at Princess Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns, Twilight had been a bit of a wreck. Not wanting their little filly to grow up in a city that would everyday remind her of her failures, they moved to the quiet city of Ponyville and hoped it would help her. To some extent, it had. After a few years she had recouped enough to find work at the local library, although secretly the unicorn hated working for the oppressive Kyur Atter, she knew she had to make it up to her parents for her past failures.
“TWILIGHT SPARKLE!” came an enraged voice from several feet above her. She had been so deep in thought that she had let her magic control itself, and in its emotional control it had picked up Ms. Atter, several books and countless other objects in the library.
“Hehehe…” Twilight chuckled nervously, slowly allowing everything in her magical grip to the ground.
“Get out of my library you ignorant mare!” Ms. Atter yelled, not caring who heard her. She hadn’t needed to even say the words though, for the purple unicorn was already charging out of the tree library.
A quiet yellow Pegasus walked down the fluffy roads of Cloudsdale, opting to walk rather than fly like most of the other ponies. She was seen as an oddity in the clouds, but Fluttershy had preferred being an oddity talked about behind her back than ponies laughing at her for her lackluster flying.
She had done what might be called training with another pony named Rainbow Dash a few years ago, but the blue Pegasus had grown tired of the slow life in Cloudsdale, and somtime last year had left on a quest to discover who she was. Fluttershy resisted looking back at her own ‘blank flank’ as she continued down the road. The other ponies in the sky had become accustomed to the shy pony, but there was no reason to bring attention to herself.
The yellow pony slowed as she reached the large marketplace that hid in Cloudsale. Most ponies didn’t know the place existed, but many things that loved at the ground level were created in these booths and shops. Fluttershy walked through the sprawling market, losing many of her items to a faster Pegasus.
“Oh…that’s okay, I didn’t really need it.” Fluttershy muttered as another item on her list was snatched up by a flying pony. She turned to look for her next stop when she noticed a blue pony with a shock of rainbow hair walking down through the streets, her head hung low.
“Rainbow Dash?” Fluttershy said with more confidence. The blue pony may not have been able to help her fly better, but having a friend had helped Fluttershy break out of her shell, something she had barely done for the past year. Rainbow looked up at the sound of her name, trying to find the source. A familiar yellow pony trotted to her side, and Rainbow smiled at the first friendly face in days.
“Hey, Fluttershy.” she said distractedly. “How’ve you been doing?”
“About the same as before you left.” Fluttershy said with a smile, “But now you’re back. It’s been…different without a friend.” she said with a hint of sadness in her voice. “Oh, um, how did things go for you?”
Rainbow sighed. She’d been dreading this since she returned, but guessed it would be fine telling Fluttershy. It’s not like she would tell anypony…
“Not so hot. Well, hot in some ways,” she said with a small smile, pointing to a patch of burnt fur. “but nothing…helpful.”
“We need to do something about that, Rainbow.” Fluttershy said worriedly.
“Nah, it’s been there for a week, it isn’t going to hurt me anymore than it already has.” Fluttershy smiled and moved her head slightly, unnerving Rainbow. She knew she couldn’t hide it much longer. She decided there wasn’t any point.
“So, I uh… didn’t find it.” she said sadly, lowering her wings to reveal an unbroken blue coat.
“It’s okay, Rainbow Dash.” Fluttershy practically whispered, half wanting to be quiet for her friend, half for herself. “I, uh, didn’t have any luck either.” she said as her head dropped.
“But you’re Fluttershy!” Rainbow protested. “I was cool and fast and…and…” she trailed off. “Sorry.” She finally mumbled.
“Maybe we should go to my house, if you don’t mind, that is…”
“Lead the way.”
“Pinkamena, are you ready?” called an older brown pony. A pink mare with a downcast face and straight mane approached her father. “Good, now get in the back. We can’t have all those rocks falling all over the place.”
The pink pony climbed into the back of a covered wagon as her father walked to the front. It was a long and bumpy road towards the markets where the Pie family tried to sell their rocks, and somepony had to sit in the back and make sure they didn’t fall off the wagon or break on the way there.
After a few moments on the road, Pinkamena worked up the nerve to ask a question, something usually frowned upon in the dreary household.
“Where are we going?” Pinkamena asked, trying to be heard over the wheels and through the covered wagon.
“Place called Ponyville” her father grunted. “We usually do pretty well there.
The orange earth pony charged down the streets, not caring who or what got in her way. Her hooves were thunder on the paved streets. In seconds, Applejack was off the main roads and headed towards Ponyville. She hadn’t been there in nearly four years, but she was told there would always be a place for her. She hoped this was still true.
“Alright Pinkamena, get those rocks out of the back.” Her father shouted from out of the wagon. The wagon lurched to a stop and Pinkamena gathered up the rocks the two had brought, hoping somepony here would find enough use to keep them alive.
The pink mare dropped the boxes of rocks on the stand her father had set up. She turned to the other shops set up and her eyes widened. Color was everywhere. All throughout the market music was playing, ponies were playing, laughing, dancing. It was all too much for the pony to take in at once. Her eyes grew even wider, and then her hair exploded. It was a strange sensation, her hair inflating, poofing from its flat state to a crazy chaotic knot. Pinkamena looked from the cupcakes to the balloons to the happy ponies everywhere and let out a happy squeal.
Her father had left, so Pinkamena had no choice but to stay, but that didn’t stop the pink pony from staring at all the new things that surrounded her. Everything around her just made her feel happy, and she felt the need to share this joy.
A noise came to Pinkamena’s ears from someone in need of her new need. Pinkamena looked out at the roads where a white unicorn was dragging herself through the roads of town. It seemed to PInkamena she was coming right toward her stand. Pinkamena smiled as the unicorn bumped into her stand, then was pulled up by her horn. The pony’s magic stopped, leaving the unicorn to drop in front of the pink mare.
“Hiya! she yelled at the dirty unicorn. “See something you like?” The dazed unicorn looked over the rocks, and her horn glowed again. A few of the rocks floated, covered in a blue aura. Pinkamena smiled as the unicorn looked on, bored. The rocks fell, each cracking on the stand. The unicorn showed interest in this, and her jaw dropped as a sparkle could be seen on the rock.
Wordlessly, the unicorn dropped a pile of bits on the counter, then grabbed as many rocks as she could. The unicorn looked at Pinkamena and gave a small smile.
“Here, let me get that for you.” she said, a blue aura surrounding her horn and Pinkamena’s hair. “A little…something for your trouble.” the white unicorn smiled as she turned Pinkamena’s chaotic hair into a less crazed but still ridiculously happy style, and Pinkamena laughed at it and the crazy unicorn.
“Wow, my first day and look how well I did!” she cheered at the pile of bits as the white unicorn ran off.
“So, do you, uh, wanna talk about it?” Fluttershy asked the sullen pony beside her.
“Not really.” Rainbow Dash sighed. “I went off in search of who I was and came back empty-hooved. I tangled with a dragon. Sort of.” The Pegasus pony was too disheartened to fly, opting to walk beside her old friend. “So, what about you? What have you done?”
“Uh, you know.” Fluttershy muttered. “Stayed here, did what I could and stayed out of the way.”
“Wait, you haven’t left? Like, ever?”
“I’ve never had a reason to…”
“Well. We gotta get you down there.” Rainbow said, gaining some confidence. “Nothing beats Cloudsdale, but there’s some pretty cool stuff on the ground level too.” she said with a smile. “You know what? That Summer Sun thingie is in Ponyville this year. It’s just a short flight there.”
“Flight?” Fluttershy said timidly. “Ground?”
“Obviously, Fluttershy. Did you want to jump?”
“It’s just, I’ve…I’ve never actually.”
“Trust me, you’ll be fine.”
“I…I don’t know Rainbow.”
“Come on Fluttershy? For me?” Rainbow practically pleaded.
“O…Okay Rainbow. For you, I guess.” Fluttershy stammered.
“Awesome! Let’s go!”
“Yes Fluttershy, now.”
Night descended on the ponies of Ponyville, but not a single one could sleep. For the first time in years, the Princess was coming to Ponyville raise the sun for the Summer Sun Celebration, the longest day of the year. The event had brought ponies from all walks of life, farmers and pegasi, librarians and ne’er to well ponies. Any minute now the Princess would arrive on the scene and bring forth the longest day.
One pony, however, was not concerned with the rising of the sun. An orange pony ran into town, breathing heavy as though she had been running for the whole day. As she slowed to catch her breath, she noticed ponies flocking to Ponyville’s capitol building, which was regularly empty the last she knew of it.
“Hey, hey, what are y’all doing here?” she asked, still trying to lose her city pony accent.
“Haven’t you heard, the Summer Sun Celebration’s in Ponyville! It’s brought ponies from everywhere to watch the Princess raise the sun!”
Ponies from everywhere? Maybe Granny Smith or Big Macintosh’ll be in there, she thought hopefully. Oh well, worth a shot.
“Isn’t this exciting? Are you excited? Cause I’m excited, I’ve never been so excited!” a crazy pink pony said uncontrollably to anypony who would listen as she jumped around the room, turning into a bundle of happiness and excitement, and making many who saw her grin.
One such pony was a white unicorn that nopony in town could have recognized from that morning, because she had managed to help herself during the day. What was once a tattered purple mane was now washed and painstakingly perfect, her torn coat covered by a sparkling dress the renewed unicorn had managed to create for the festivities. She owed many thanks to that crazy pink pony, and hoped that her constant smile, the only thing the bouncy pony had asked for, would please the mare.
At the high ceiling a dozen Pegasus flew, including a rainbow headed one who seemed anxious to go on with the show and a yellow one close by who seemed to be in constant indecision whether to keep flying or land. The rainbow haired one would scold the shy one, which only caused the cycle to repeat itself.
A tired purple unicorn walked through the thick crowd, hoping that the festival could throw off some of the pain of this morning, but knew that staying up all night was only going to make her worse tomorrow, even if it did help. The unicorn smiled at a pink earth pony jumping around until she realized it was a grown mare and not a filly, making the whole thing seem rather silly.
Birds began to sing, and everypony looked to the front as the mayor began her anouncment.
“Fillies and gentlecolts. As mayor of Ponyville, it is my great pleasure to announce the beginning of the Summer Sun Celebration!” All the ponies cheered. “In just a few moments, our town will witness the magic of the sunrise, and celebrate this, the longest day of the year! And now, it is my great to introduce to you, the ruler of our land, the very pony who gives us the sun and the moon each and every day, the good, the wise, the bringer of harmony to all of Equestria, Princess Celestia!” A fanfare went up and a curtain was drawn, but the Princess was nowhere in sight. Ponies gasped and began to murmur.
“Remain calm, everypony. There must be a reasonable explaination.” The mayor said hopefully.
“Oooh! A guessing game!” shouted the bouncing pink mare. “Is she hiding? Ooh, she disguised herself as a little pony! No, she’s got a surprise waiting for us outside, no, wait!”
“She’s gone!” yelled a pony from a balcony.” Everypony in the room gasped.
“Aw, I should have thought of that!” the pink one complained.
A violet mist began to form where the Princess was meant to raise the sun, and every pony stepped away from the balcony as a slender black alicorn covered in blue armor materialized.
“Ah, my beloved subjects. It’s been so long since I’ve seen your precious, little, sun-loving faces.” She said with disgust.
“What did you do with our princess!” a blue Pegasus yelled, attempting to jump at the alicorn, but held back by a newcomer, an orange pony who instinctively bit the tail of the Pegasus.
“What, am I not royal enough for you ponies? Do you not know who I am?”
“Ooh, ooh! More guessing games!” the pink one cheered again, receiving a few scared glances. “Uh, Hokey Smokes!, No, Queen Rein! No no, wait, Calamity Mane! Calamity Mane!” A pony shoved an apple in the over-excited pony’s mouth to quiet her down.
“Is my crown no longer worthy since I have been imprisoned for a thousand years?” she boomed at the room. “Did you not recall the legend, see the signs?”
A little purple unicorn struggled under the gaze of the alicorn. She did know who this was. She had read about her legend many times. But the alicorn’s presence stilled her tongue.
“Enjoy this day, my ponies, for it will be your last. From this moment on, the night will last forever!” The alicorn laughed at the ponies, now running before her, before returning back to a kind of blue mist and leaving the room. The blue Pegasus broke the earth pony’s hold on her and chased after the mist, only to have it easily outrun here. The Pegasus grumbled at the fleeing mist as she turned back to the capital, seeing a purple unicorn sprinting in the same direction of the mist.
“Where is she off to?” Rainbow muttered to herself before flying off.
“Oh, wait Rainbow Dash!” Fluttershy called. “Wait, Rainbow…”
“Follow me, sugarcube.” called an orange pony that ran by. “I don’t rightly know where they’re goin’, but they seem to know.” Applejack grunted as she galloped to keep up with the Pegasus.
“Ooh! Is this another party?” the ecstatic pink pony yelled. She grabbed the pony nearest to her, a white unicorn in a fancy dress. “Hey, you look familiar!” she said with a big grin. “Come on, let’s go get em!” she yelled before hopping off after the other four ponies.
“Maybe this is what my horn meant.” Rarity mumbled. “What if it wasn’t leading me to the rocks…but to her?” Rarity looked up to see the pony bouncing out of sight. “Hold on, dear pinkie…uh, whoever, wait!”
The purple unicorn tore apart the library, trying to find the one book that could help her. Books fell all around her until she finally spotted it, a book of so called pony-tales. The pages flew by until the mare came across the Mare in the Moon. As she scanned the book, clattering hoofsteps could be heard outside, then the door burst open as a blue Pegasus flew in, followed by a determined earth pony.
“Alright, you, what do you know?” the Pegasus demanded. “I saw you running after that, that thing!”
“You did the same thing.” said the earth pony. “And what do y’all know?”
“Nothing…”Rainbow admitted sheepishly, “But she, but I, oh forget it.”
“But I do know something.” Twilight said, then quickly following “I had read about the Mare in the Moon before, I just couldn’t recall the rest of the legend. It says that the only thing that can defeat Night Mare Moon and restore the day is the Elements of Harmony.”
“Well then, what are we waiting for?” Rainbow exploded. “Let’s go find them!”
“Well…no one has seen the Elements for hundreds of years. I don’t even know what they look like, let alone where to begin looking.”
“Huh, look at this. Ten Ways To Spruce Up The Home!” the unknown pink pony squealed with delight. “And look here next to it, The Elements of Harmony: A Reference Guide. Man these shelves could use some organizing.”
“That’s it!” Twilight yelled, lifting the book of the shelf. “How in Equestria did you find it so quickly?”
“I was trying to find a good book on growing rocks, silly.” the pink pony said sincerely with a happy grin on her face. The other ponies turned from the crazy pony to the book in front of Twilight.
“There are six Elements of Harmony, but only five are known; Kindness, Laughter, Generosity, Honesty and Loyalty. The sixth is a complete mystery. It is said that the last known location of the five Elements was in the ancient castle of the Royal Pony Sisters. It is located in what is now known as the Everfree Forest.”
The six ponies stared up at the imposing forest. Nopony was brave enough to go into the forest during the day, but the entire search would have to be done in the darkest night. Five ponies looked at the ground and waited for someone else to start.
“Whee! Let’s go!” yelled the clueless Pinkie Pie.
“Wait!” Twilight said nervously. I think I should go alone. None of you know the forest as well as I do, and we shouldn’t risk all of us.”
“I won’t have it.” Applejack said. “No one is supposed to go in the forest at all, let alone…alone.” The orange pony looked down and shook her head. “Ah reckon we should all go, there’s strength in numbers.” Rarity looked to Applejack at the pony’s change in accent.
“Yeah, no dumb forest is going to stop me from saving the day.” Rainbow asserted before dashing into the forest.
“Save the day! Hehehe!” the pink pony giggled as she followed Rainbow through the faint path into the forest. Twilight sighed as the other ponies walked in too, before uncertainly following as well.
The once great path meandered through the forest, showing off some of its hideous landscape to the scared ponies.
“So, Twilight. How far into the forest have you gone?” Applejack asked, trying to distract everypony from the eerie world around them.
“I, um, haven’t actually been in the forest.” Twilight said quietly as the path sloped up a cliff. “I-I’ve only read what little there was about it, and seen some maps.”
“You know why nopony knows about Everfree?” Rainbow asked. “They say its unnatural and almost nopony dares to go in it.”
“But what about those who d-do?” Fluttershy squeaked behind her. A purple mist floated beside the path, unseen by the ponies.
“Nopony who has gone into the forest has come back out!” she shouted, turning to the ponies behind her. Fluttershy and Rarity jumped, then the ground rumbled and collapsed, sending the ponies without wings tumbling down onto sloped ground.
“Fluttershy, quick!” Rainbow yelled as she darted for the sliding ponies. Fluttershy panicked but flew after her Pegasus friend, grabbing the white pony by the tail as Rainbow lifted Pinkie Pie from the ground. Applejack managed to grab a root as the pegasi towed their catches over the dead drop of the cliff. Twilight screamed as she kept sliding towards this drop.
“Hold on, I’m a comin’!” Applejack let go of the root to catch up with the falling pony, who had managed to slow down near the end. Still falling rocks caused Twilight to roll back further, nearly slipping over the edge before Applejack was able to grab Twilight’s hoof.
“What am I going to do?” Twilight panicked. Applejack looked around desperately and smiled.
“Are you crazy?”
“Twilight, ah may have lived a lie, but what ahm saying is the honest truth. If you let go, you’ll be safe.” Twilight had no idea what the pony was talking about, but looking into her eyes she knew she was telling the truth. She closed her eyes and released Applejack’s hoof.
“AAAAAAUUGGGGG-OOF!” Twilight slowly opened her eyes to find herself floating alongside the cliff with a pegasus on each side of her. She managed a smile before the two ponies nearly dropped her, and only managed to not panic by seeing Applejack uncertainly jumping down the rough surface of the cliff. On the ground the other two ponies were shaken but standing, much like all the others. None of them noticed the purple fog that tore through forest.
“I-is everyp-pony all right?” Twilight asked uneasily. A roar of sheer pain echoed throughout the forst before anypony could answer and the six turned to its source. A dark mass charged toward them, showing off a lion’s body and the tail of a scorpion as it came into the light. It stopped not far from the ponies and roared, revealing its claws and spreading its wings.
“A manticore?” Twillight yelled, surprised.
“It doesn’t matter what it is, we have to get passed it!” Rainbow said. “Go away!” she screamed as she flew at the monster, giving it a swift kick in the face. Fluttershy cowered as the creature ran at them, only accomplishing to get a similar reward from Applejack.
“Feels good to be fightin’ again!” she whooped. “Come on an’ try again!” The manticore was smarter than to attack the orange pony again, and turned to roar at the cowering yellow Pegasus. It began to run, but found itself being lifted off the ground by allied magic. The monster flapped its powerful wings, breaking free of the magic and soared back, grabbing the two unicorns and taking back to the skies with them.
“Hey!” Rainbow yelled, darting after the flying creature.
“Go Rainbow!” the ecstatic pink pony cheered, still blissfully unaware of the dangers of the forest. With unnatural speed, the flying monster hurled a unicorn at the cyan Pegasus, knocking Rainbow out of the sky and taking out a bouncing pony on the ground as well. The manticore turned his other pony into a weapon, hurling Rarity into Applejack and giving both ponies a hard knock on the head.
The manticore dropped down in front of Fluttershy, and the yellow Pegasus tried to make herself invisible. The manticore walked to the pony, and Fluttershy noticed the beast limp. She stood up as the beast drew nearer.
“Get away from her you monster!” Rainbow yelled as she got back up.
“No!” Fluttershy yelled at her friend. “Watch.” The manticore reared up and rose its paw.
“No!” Rainbow yelled as she bolted towards the manticore. The other ponies were about to follow her when:
“WAIT!” Fluttershy demanded. She smiled at the manticore and pointed at its paw with her hoof. Seeming to understand, the beast lowered its paw to her, revealing a nasty thorn digging deep into the manticore’s paw. “Aw, did the little baby get hurt?” she asked.
“Little?” Pinkie Pie laughed.
“Baby?” Rainbow snorted, forcing herself not to dart in.
“But it’s just a little thorn.” she continued. “You wouldn’t even know if I-“
“FLUTTERSHY!” the ponies yelled, ignoring the Pegasus and running at the monster. Fluttershy merely laughed.
“See, that wasn’t so bad.” The manticore licked its paw and then the pony, grateful for her help. Now soothed, the great beast retreated into the forest.
“How did you do that?” Rainbow said wide-eyed.
“I saw it was hurt so-“
“No, it was gonna swipe you and…and it didn’t.”
“I’m just good with animals I guess.” Fluttershy started muttered, noticing everypony was staring at her.
“That’s more thank good with animals darling, that’s a gift!” Rarity said, still dizzy.
“A…a gift?” Fluttershy said slowly. In the quiet woods everypony could hear the small sound of magic and turned to see a circle of magic fading from Fluttershy. Three pink butterflies adorned her flank, and the pony could only stare.
“Rainbow! That’s why I could never get it! My talent was animals and I was always in the clouds!” she squealed.
“Yeah…that’s great Fluttershy.” Rainbow said, trying to hide her disappointment.
“We need to keep moving.” Twilight reminded them. The other ponies trotted off and she turned to Fluttershy. “How did you know it wouldn’t hurt you?” Fluttershy thought for a second.
“I guess I didn’t. But sometimes all you need is a little bit of kindness.” She smiled and followed the others.
“Ugh, my eyes need a break from this hideous place.” Rarity complained.
“Well, look!” Pinkie smiled as the tree cover grew thick enough to block out the little moonlight that was coming through.
“The ruins could be right next to us and we couldn’t even see it.” Twilight said.
“How did the path get so positively muddy?” Rarity asked no one. Fluttershy screamed.
“It’s just mud.” Applejack said, turning to Fluttershy to see a horrible toothy face behind her. She let out a yell and the other ponies turned to find many more of them. Five of the ponies ran around panicked, trying to escape the ubiquitous monsters. One pony merely laughed.
“Pinkie, what are you doing? Run!”
“Oh girls, can’t you see?” she said with a grin. “When I was a little filly and the sun was going dooooown.” she began to sing.
“Tell me she’s not.” Rainbow said, staring.
“The darkness and the shadows they would always make me frooooown.”
“She is.” Twilight sighed.
“I’d hide under my pillow, from what I thought I saw, but Granny Pie said that wasn’t the way to deal with fears at aaaaaaall!”
“Well then what is?” Applejack interjecting, hoping to end the singing.
“She said: Pinkie you gotta stand up tall, learn to face your fears. You’ll see that they can’t hurt you, just laugh and make them disappeeeeear! Ha ha ha!” she laughed at a terrifying face. The ponies gasped as it turned into a normal tree once more.
“Sooooooo giggle at the ghostly, guffaw at the grossly, crack up at the creepy, whoop it up with the weepy, chortle at the kooky, snortle at the spooky!” The ponies couldn’t help themselves from laughing as Pinkie jumped happily around the forest, each giggle making another face vanish.
“And tell that big dumb scary face to take a hike and leave you alone and if he thinks he can scare you then he’s got another thing coming and the very idea of such a thing just makes you wanna ha ha ha ha ha he he, laaaaaaaaaaaugh!” she spouted off rapidly, the endless laughs from her and the others vanquishing every face in the forest. The ponies were laughing so hard they began rolling on the floor, unable to stand.
When the ponies collected themselves and were finally able to stand, Rarity noticed something different with Pinkie.
“Pinkie darling, did you have those before?” Rarity asked as the ponies continued, most still laughing. Pinkie turned around in circles a few times before Rarity placed her hoof on her flank to stop her. Three balloons adorned Pinkie’s coat.
“My..my cutie mark!?” the pony shouted excitedly. “I always thought it was going to be some boring ol’ rock. Whee!” Pinkie yelled, bouncing around the others.
“All right,” Twilight said with a small smile. “But we need to keep moving, or we’ll never find the Elements. Come on everypony!” she urged them all. But just outside the lightless canopy lay a river, one that may have been easy enough to cross normally, but today was anything but normal.
“What a world, what a world!” an enormous purple serpent cried as he thrashed in the river, creating huge splashes and currents, making it impossible to cross by hoof.
“No sad snake is keeping us out!” Rainbow yelled, jumping to the sky. In a moment she dodged a flailing tail, then had to move as the beast thrashed again. No matter where she bolted the serpent was there. Rainbow began to panic until she couldn’t dodge, leaving the distressed serpent to easily flick her back to shore.
“Well, that ain’t gonna work.” The dazed Pegasus sputtered. Twilight turned to the purple serpent.
“Excuse me, sir, what’s wrong?”
“Well…well.” The serpent tried to calm himself. ‘’m just sitting here, minding my own business like every other creature in the forest when this tacky purple cloud shot right past me, s-shredding half of my prized moustache!” he began to scream again.
“That’s what this is about?” Rainbow demanded. “A stupid moustache?”
“Of course it is!” Rarity declared. “And look at the poor fellow, how can you be so insensitive?” the serpent sniffled. “Just look at you, beautiful scales, expertly styled mane, and a fabulous manicure. But without your lovely moustache, it’s all ruined.”
“I know, I know, I’m hideous!” the serpent cried, growing more upset.
“Come here, I refuse to let such a crime against fashion to go uncorrected!” The serpent drew close to Rarity before wondering the meaning of her words. The unicorn knelt down to the serpent.
“OHW! What did you do that for?” the serpent screamed as the pony jerked one of his scales free. Rarity held the razor-sharp scale up, almost threateningly.
“Rarity, what are you doing?” came a concerned chorus.
“Wait!” the serpent yelled before Rarity brought the scale…down on her own tail. The serpent fainted. Rarity merely smiled as she lifted her severed tail towards the serpent, using her magic the coil it over his butchered moustache. The purple serpent opened one eye.
“Ooh! My moustache!” he yelled happily. “Oh thank you, how do I look?”
“You look smashing.” Rarity said with a smile.
“But Rarity, your tail…”Twilight trailed off.
“It’s nothing dear. And besides…short tails are in this season…I think.” The serpent swam off and Rarity turned from the ponies to the serpent, then back to Pinkie Pie with a knowing smile.
“All right, enough mushy stuff, we can cross now, let’s move!” Applejack brought them back to reality, charging across the shallow side of the river.
“Okay, the path is getting wider, we must be getting closer.” Twilight said excitedly. “Keep a look out for it!” The ponies started glancing in all directions, trying to find anything resembling a ruined castle. As they came to the top of a small hill, they found the search unnecessary.
“That’s gotta be the ruins!” Rainbow pointed ahead at a fallen tower. The ponies ran and could see more of the fallen castle as they drew closer. The other ponies turned to the path and skid to a halt, but Twilight was too excited to see where she was going.
“Wait Twi!” Applejack yelled, running towards the unicorn.
“NO, we’re almost th-woah!” Twilight stumbled, then looked down the cliff, seeing no ground beneath the mist.
“Hon on, eh getcha.” came a muffled voice. Twilight winced as the orange pony hoisted her back up by her tail, but was grateful someone had been watching for her.
“What is it with you and falling off cliffs today?” Rainbow smiled.
“It was only twice.” Twililght huffed as the other ponies suppressed a giggle.
“So, uh, what now? Pinkie asked, looking at the chasm that was too long to jump.
“There is…or was a bridge.” Twilight said as she realized the bridge was hanging over the cliff.
“Come on guys, give us some credit. Come on Fluttershy!” Rainbow called as she dove into the chasm. Fluttershy whimpered and took a step back, but Rainbow flew back out of the mist with both ends of the rope bridge easily enough. She landed on the other side and a thick mist began to draw around her.
“Rainbow….Rainbow…” came an eerie voice from behind.
“Who are you?” Rainbow said, dropping the ropes. “Show yourself!”
“Rainbow…” came a voice from somewhere in the mist. “We’ve been waiting for the best flyer in Equestria.”
“Who?” Rainbow asked, trying to locate the speaker.
“Rainbow, is everything all right?” The distant voice was barely audible.
“You of course.”
“Me?” Rainbow asked. “Er, I mean, oh yeah, me!” she said with a grin. “You wouldn’t mind telling that to the Wonderbolts, would you? I’ve been trying to let me join for like, ever!”
“No, Rainbow Dash, we want you to join us, the Shadowbolts!” the voice grew louder as three ponies in dark uniforms became visible. “We are the greatest flying team in Everfree Forest, and with you we will be the greatest team in all of Equestria! Your Wonderbolts will pale in comparison. But first…we need a captain.” A wide smile spread over Rainbow’s face. The only mare in the group started to fly around Rainbow.
“Captain of a team better than the Wonderbolts? Best. Day Ever.” She whispered to herself.
“But we need the magnificent,”
“The bravest flyer in all the land,”
“Yes.” Rainbow said with a laugh. “It’s all true.”
“We need, you.”
“YES! Sign me up!” Rainbow said with glee. “Just let me fix this bridge, and we’ll be good to go!” Rainbow turned the way she came.
“No!” the mare yelled, somehow in front of her. “It’s either them or us.” Rainbow looked at the ground.
“Fluttershy, go see if Rainbow’s hurt, I don’t like this…” the rest of the voices were cut off as the fog surrounded Rainbow and the Shadowbolts.
“Thank you. For the offer I mean. But, I’m afraid I have to say no.”
The Shadowbolts grinned. “Oh, you’re not going with them.” Rainbow ducked as the three Pegasus flew over her head, then turned to find the three gaining altitude. As one, the three came down like an arrow, and Rainbow barely dodged the insane Pegasus. Despite crashing at top speed into the ground, all three were back up in an instant, but Rainbow was already in the sky.
“Come and get me, stupid Shadowbolts!” she taunted. Three blurs of purple shot in the sky and Rainbow pumped her wings, desperate for speed.
“You should have joined us, Rainbow Dash. We would have been great.” the mare growled. Rainbow banked to avoid the Pegasus under her, then spun to confuse one of the stallions. Rainbow couldn’t help but smile at annoying her pursuers. She hadn’t had this much fun in years.
“Oh no.” Twilight said back on the ground. A rainbow streak was darting around the sky, revealing erratic purple streaks from time to time. Rainbow was in trouble in the sky.
“Uh, Fluttershy? Do you think you can help?” The yellow Pegasus merely shook her head. There was no way should could catch her cyan friend.
“Ha, let’s see you guys do this!” Rainbow closed her eyes and spiraled out of control before flipping and landing on a rock. The two stallions flew on and crashed into the cliffside, but the mare managed the same trick. Rainbow launched off again with the Shadowbolt on her tail.
“Fine. Let’s see you pull this one.” Pulling up, Rainbow flew almost vertical, reaching for every inch of air she could get, feeling the breath of the Pegasus behind her. Finally, when she could go up any higher, she dove.
“What is she doin’?” Applejack wondered aloud. As high as the clouds, a small rainbow streak came down, immediately followed by a smoky purple one. The rainbow grew longer and faster, and the air began to create a cone around the Pegasus. The five ponies could only stare as the cyan Pegasus dove into the chasm beside them at the speed of sound.
Rainbow didn’t know what it was, but she knew it had to be good. The Shadowbolt was losing her, and the air itself seemed to be moving out of her way. But now the ground was coming awfully close. She fought to pull up, but found herself unable to. She struggled as she seemed to go faster and faster toward the ground that was growing ever larger.
Five pairs of eyes stared down the canyon wher Rainbow had disappeared. The two Pegasus had drilled two holes in the mist, but other than that the ponies where blind to the events below. None of them expected the blue flash that shot out of the mist, and no one was prepared for the earthshaking sonic boom or explosion of colors that followed Rainbow. The bewildered Pegasus flew in a tall arc, creating a rainbow as she landed, fixing the bridge as fast as she could.
“Well, that was fun.” she yelled as she flew back to the other ponies. “But I could never leave my friends hanging.” she said with a dazed glanced and a smile.
“Rainbow!” Fluttershy gasped. “You finally did it!”
“Did what?” she asked confused as the others crossed.
“Your cutie mark!” the Pegasus blurted.
“Huh?” Rainbow turned to find a cloud with a tri-color lightning bolt on her flank. “I-I…my cutie mark?” she said, now feeling dizzier than before.
“This is all great, but we have to hurry!” Twilight yelled back at the pegasi. “Let’s move!” Twilight ran back to the other ponies and the pegasi ran to catch up.
The six ponies walked into the ancient building, each looking around for anything that could be the Elements of Harmony.
“Up there!” Pinkie pointed to a bizarre structure holding up a number of round stones.
“That’s it! Those have to be the Elements! Careful!” she called as the two Pegasus flew up to recover the heavy stones.
“One, two, three, four, five!” Pinkie counted as they came down. “There’s only five!”
“Where’s the sixth?”
“The book said when the five Elements are present, a spark will occur to make the sixth one appear.”
“What in the hay is that supposed to mean?” Applejack questioned.
“I’m not entirely sure, but I think I have a plan. Step back, I don’t really known what might happen.” A violet aura surrounded her horn.
“C’mon y’all, let’s leave Twilight alone.” Applejack trotted off. “It’s in her hooves now.”
As the other ponies trotted off, a purple mist came into the room unseen, surrounding the Elements while Twilight focused on her magic. Wind began to shake the Elements and Twilight looked up in fear. The purple smoke swirled, creating a tornado containing the five stones. She jumped into the swirling winds, but before she could save them, the purple tornado vanished.
“Twilight! What happened?” Five ponies yelled, rushing in to find nothing but an empty room.
“Where did she go?” The ponies ran around panicked, searching for the unicorn.
“Twilight, where are you?” Applejack called.
“Look!” Rarity yelled from the window. The ponies crowded around to see light flashing from the windows of the crumpled tower.
“Come on!” Apple jack yelled, leading the charge out of the room.
Twilight coughed as the tornado dropped her, but jumped to her feet, ready to go. When she saw the five Elements floating around the dark alicorn Night Mare Moon, her spirit fell. Night Mare laughed at the pathetic unicorn. Twilight looked down then smiled. She stomped her front hoof.
“You’re kidding.” Night Mare said. “You’re kidding, right?”
Twilight merely stomped again, letting magic surround her horn. Then she charged. Night Mare Moon narrowed her eyes before doing the same, lowering her horn to easily take out the small pony. But as the two would have hit, a flash of light blinded Night Mare and teleported Twilight to the Elements. She collapsed from exhaustion but pulled herself back up. Night Mare roared and tuned to the unicorn.
“Just…one…spark.” she whispered. Magic surrounded the five stones and a shock sent Twilight flying back. Night Mare stepped back between the Elements, who sparked to life creating a pentagon of light around Night Mare. Then, the magic failed, and the Elements became still rock once more.
“But…where is the sixth Element?” Twilight yelled over Night Mare’s cackle. The alicorn stomped, shattering the five stones around her.
“You little foal! Thinking you could defeat me! You’ll never see your Princess, or your sun. The night will last forever!” Night Mare laughed at Twilight’s failure. Voices came from the stairs, but only Twilight could here them under Night Mare’s laughter. Then she understood.
“You think you can destroy the Elements of Harmony just like that? Well, you’re wrong, because the spirits of the Elements of Harmony are right HERE!” she yelled at the alicorn as the five ponies jumped into the room behind Twilight. The shattered Elements started to shake and rise.
“What?” Night Mare asked worriedly.
“Applejack, who reassured me when I was in doubt, represents the spirit of Honesty!”
One of the shattered Elements glowed orange and hovered around the Earth pony.
“Fluttershy, who tamed the manticore with her compassion, represents the spirit of Kindness!”
Another Element sparkled and rose to surround the airborne Pegasus.
“Pinkie Pie, who banished fear by giggling in the face of danger, represents the spirit of Laughter!”
Pinkie smiled as a third Element floated around her.
“Rarity, who calmed the sorrowful serpent with a meaningful gift, represents the spirit of Generosity!”
Rarity looked down with a sad smile at the stones that floated around her.
“And Rainbow Dash, who could not abandon her friends for her own heart’s desire, represents the spirit of Loyalty!”
The final element rose from beneath Night Mare and the shattered stones began to orbit around Rainbow.
“The spirits of these five ponies got us through every challenge you threw at us!”
“You still don’t have the sixth Element!” Night Mare panicked. “The spark didn’t work!”
“But it did. A different kind of spark.” Twilight said with confidence. She turned to the five ponies behind her. “I felt it the very moment I realized how happy I was to hear you all. To see you, how much I cared about you.” Twilight looked down the row of smiling ponies. “The spark ignited inside me.” Tears began to well up in Twilight’s eyes. “And I realized that you are all my friends!” she declared, stomping at Night Mare Moon.
With the stomp came a flash of light. The six ponies looked up while the alicorn tried to shield herself from the stinging light of a spherical stone engraved with a six-pointed star, the sixth Element of Harmony.
“You see, Night Mare Moon, when those Elements are ignited by the spark, the spark that esides in the heart of us all, it creates the sixth Element, the Element of Magic!” Night Mare Moon winced as the light from the Element intensified.
The stones floating around the ponies changed colors and spun faster as the ponies themselves began to levitate, coming together around each pony’s neck to form a necklace emblazoned with their cutie mark. The five ponies stood as the final Element descended on Twilight’s head, creating a large crown with the six pointed star on top. Twilight floated between the other five ponies, and they all began to glow. Twin rainbows shot from the collection of ponies, spiraling around each other before colliding and falling back down to earth.
“NOO!” Night Mare shrieked as the massive rainbow barreled towards her. The rainbow swirled, and Night Mare’s cries could be heard as the rainbow formed a tornado trapping the alicorn. Twilight Sparkle opened her pupil –less eyes, and the explosion rocked them all.
Rainbow rolled off her back with a pounding headache and not sure where she was. “Oh, my hea.” She groaned as she noticed the others likewise sprawled across the room.
“Everypony okay?” Applejack managed.
“Oh thank goodness!” Rarity squealed.
“Oh Rarity, it’s so, lovely.” Fluttershy said happily.
“I know I’ll never part with it again.” Rarity laughed as she rubbed her regrown tail against her face.
“No, I mean your necklace, it looks just like your cutie mark.” Surprised, Rarity struggled to see the purple diamond shape on her necklace, then compared it to her cutie mark she had just gotten the day before. She turned back to Fluttershy.
“So does yours.” she pointed to the pink butterfly shape.
“Look at mine, look at mine!” Pinkie giggled at the blue balloon shape as she bounced around. Rainbow grinned at her red lightning bolt while Applejack merely smiled at the sight of the orange apple shape.
“Hey, hey Twilight, look!” Pinkie shouted excited. “Your sparkly thing looks like yours!” Twilight was confused by what Pinkie meant, but the others nodding prompted her to look back. Six stars, one indeed similar to the large one on her Element seemed to shine on her purple coat.
“My cutie mark?” Twilight squealed. “Oh yes, yes” she stopped sheepishly as even Pinkie Pie was staring at her funny.
“Ya know Twi, Ah thought you were just sayin’ a lot of nonsense, but Ah don’t think anypony could do anything like that… now ah reckon we really do represent the elements of friendship.” she said with a small smile.
“Indeed you do.” An unfamiliar voice filled the room. The ponies looked towards the window, where the sun was rising high in the sky. Light began to fill the room, and soon the unmistakable form of Princess Celestia filled the room. The ponies bowed before the princess of Equestria.
“You have all done very well. With the help of each of the Spirits of the Elements of Harmony you were able to overcome the greatest threat that Equestria has ever faced, because six ponies were able to let true friendship into their hearts. Let us hope there will be one more today. Princess Luna?” A small gasp came from among a pile of debris where Night Mare Moon had been standing. “It has been a thousand years since I have seen you like this. It is time to put aside our differences, we were meant to rule together.” Everypony got as close to the princesses as they dared, but neither alicorn was paying attention.
“Will you accept my friendship, little sister?”
“I’m so sorry! I missed you big sister!” the smaller alicorn cried, jumping up to her sister.
“I know…I missed you too.” Celetia said, tears falling from what the ponies had always assumed an imperturbable princess. Tears began to form in some of the ponies eyes as the two sisters hugged after a millennia apart.
“Hey!” Pinkie yelled. “This calls for a party!”
Princess Luna smiled at all the smiling faces of Ponyville. She knew most of them smiled for Celestia and the ponies that returned the day, but she pushed the thought out of her mind. She had no reason to be jealous, and some ponies were smiling for her, she realized as two fillies put a flower necklace on the small alicorn. The alicorn smiled, the strange jealousy gone.
Twilight laughed as the colts and fillies ran through the streets of Ponyville without a care. Last week she may have barked art them for running like hooligans, but she could no longer feel mad at anypony, and she noticed that the other ponies seemed nicer to her. Even Ms. Atter had smiled at the purple unicorn.
“No you can’t make me go back!” Pinkie Pie yelled at an old brown pony.
“Pinkie, we need you at the farm.” Clyde tried to convince his daughter.
“No you don’t. You and the sisters will do just fine without me.” Pinkie said. “I’ve never belonged there, I’ve always known it. I belong here with my new friends!”
“I should have known you would leave us eventually.” her father sighed. “If you really want to leave us all behind.”
“Hey, I never said you had to stay, silly-willy! You can move to Ponyville! It’s so much fun here, right guys?” Pinkie shouted at the celebrating ponies. Clyde only smiled and walked back to his rocks.
“Oh Sweetie Belle, isn’t it just beautiful?”
“Uh, Rarity, you’ve said that four times now. We haven’t been able to see them for ten minutes.”
“Still.” The white unicorn sighed. “So, what did mom and dad say?”
“What do you mean what did they say? About you wasting your life away in a ditch?” Rarity gave her sister an angry glance. “Oh, the wasting your life making dresses thing. I think they said just don’t ruin yourself and live in a ditch again.” Rarity laughed at her sister.
“So what are your plans after this Fluttershy?” Rainbow asked as she darted across the sky, admiring a view an earth pony would do anything for.
“I-I might stay here.” The yellow Pegasus stuttered. “With Rarity and Pinkie. There are so many little animals on the ground that could never reach Cloudsdale.” she said with a smile. “Besides, no one will miss me up there.”
“Yeah…” Rainbow said with a bit of sadness in her voice. “I don’t know what I’m gonna do yet. After all, there’s a great big world out there.”
“Just remember there will always be friends in Ponyville.” Fluttershy smiled.
An orange pony walked past a faded barn, following a beaten path she had not been down for years. Most of the apple trees were untouched, only a few had been harvested, and it wouldn’t be long before the apples started to rot. She thought she heard apples falling, but ignored it.
Applejack drew closer to her old house, which looked many times worse than she remembered it. She timidly knocked.
“Yeah? Who’s there! I’ll show you a thing er two about old ponies!” crackled an old mare.
“Granny?” Applejack yelled at the door. “It’s me.” The door swung open to reveal an aged green pony squinted at the visitor.
“Is it really you?” the old pony asked in disbelief.
“Of course it’s me, Granny.” Applejack said. “I’m home.”
Celestia thanked her subjects of Ponyville before following her Royal Guards just outside the city.
“Stay here.” Celestia said before disappearing in a burst of yellow light.
Twilight Sparkle retired to her small house as the party died down and the Princess left. They had managed to avoid too much attention for her and it friends, but she doubted it would last long. As if to qualify her fears, a flash of yellow light appeared in the middle of the room, revealing the tall white alicorn to Twilight Sparkle.
“Princess Celestia!” Twilight blurted before hastily bowing.
“It’s all right Twilight Sparkle. I am here for you. Due to your powerful magical talent, I am here to personally invite you to Canterlot to be my own personal student.”
Twilight’s jaw dropped. Apprentice to the Princess? It was something far beyond her dreams, learning with the most powerful being in Equestria, learning everything there was to know about magic…but….
“I’m sorry.” Twiliight said. “But I can’t leave. What I’ve learned this past few hours, who I’ve met, I…I,” Twilight struggled for the right words.
“I understand.” the Princess smiled. “I cannot tear you from your new friends. Stay safe and be strong, Twilight Sparkle.” A yellow blast filled the room and she was gone.
When the two Princesses arrived at the great castle, Luna gasped at its size. She had not seen the castle in many years, and it had grown since she had last ruled in it.
“Show her to her chambers,” the Princess told her guards. “I will be along in a few moments, I have some business to attend to. Alone.” she added when a guard started walking to her side. “I shall be with you in just a moment, little sister.”
“Okay big sister.” The smaller pony said with a smile, then walked off with the Princess’s nervous royal guards.
Celestia waited a minute while the other ponies went into the castle, then spread out her wings and took to the sky. It was not often she could get away from the guards, so she tried to enjoy these few moments alone in the sky. Eventually she knew she had a job to do and flew over the large labyrinth in the castle’s garden. She touched down as she reached the statues that were spread through the garden. While normally full of fillies and colts, the statues had no audience this time of night. Celestia walked through the museum of statues, past dozens of imposing ponies that seemed almost sinister in the dark. She stopped at the strangest statue in the garden, a creature that had a head resembling a pony, but the remaining parts were a mess of other crreatures.
“Discord.” Celestia boomed.
“Oh, you’re no fun.” came a voice in her head. “I thought for sure it would work.”
“Well, you can see that it hasn’t.” she said flatly, not taking her eyes off the statue.
“At least the ordeal wasn’t a complete loss.” An eerie laugh accompanied Discord’s words.
“You must undo this!” the princess demanded.
“You are in no position to make demands, Celestia.” the voice echoed in her skull. “There is nothing you can do to me.” Another unnerving laugh.
“There is much I could do to you.” Princess Celestia growled.
“There is much I can do too. What do you think will happen to poor Twilight if she regains her memories from before? Or if I remove yours?” The princess hesitated. He was trapped in stone, but that had not stopped his trickery.
“So you’ve won your game. This battle, perhaps. But my sister is free. The Spirits of the Elements of Harmony have met and discovered the Elements. They will still win the war.”
“My dear Celestia, why come out when I can do so much from right here?”
Celestia turned to leave. She couldn’t win. If she left him here, he would wreck more destruction, if she removed him, they would be stuck, the true reality she barely remembered would be lost forever.
“You win, Discord.” The princess sighed. A laugh entered her head and she kicked, her strong legs cracking the statue. The laugh turned to a scream as the statue tipped and fell to the hard ground, shattering into dozens of pieces.
The princess looked at the ruined statue, the only thing keeping the old reality real, and felt tears grow in her eyes. No, she had to be strong, she thought. She turned back to the statue and wondered why it was broken. She wondered what she was doing in the garden while her sister had just returned. Confused, the alicorn took to the skies, heading to the castle as fast as she could.
On the ground, a stone eye winked.
Miles away, a purple pony screamed.