*If you're a newer fan of the show, you can go ahead and skip this "Past" chunk. All I do is give a brief summary of the major events that have happened so far.*
Home to the most magical and interesting ponies you'll ever find. Within this land live many iconic figures. Figures that would have gone unnoticed if had not been for the thinking of Princess Celestia to send a young unicorn into the town of Ponyville. Twilight Sparkle was sent to observe preparations for the Summer Sun Celebration, with an additional request from the Princess to pull herself out of he books and make some friends. Upon entering Ponyville, Twilight bumped into several ponies that didn't seem very interesting at first. Pinkie Pie, the town's leading expert in parties, was introduced through an awkward meeting. Applejack seemed forceful, constantly wanting Twilight to sample everything. Rarity, a fellow unicorn, wouldn't stop trying to fix up Twi's appearance. Rainbow Dash, a pegasus, was always showing off. Fluttershy, also a pegasus, had a very hard time opening up and talking until she saw Spike the baby dragon, also Twilight's assistant. All of them (except, of course, Pinkie, who wasn't seen again until later that night) became even more excited and unbearable once they heard Twilight was from Canterlot, home of the Princess herself.
Within the first evil, an entity known as Nightmare Moon, came their first adventure. Nightmare Moon appeared at the Celebration, taking the place of Princess Celestia, and seeking to trap Equestria in eternal night. Twilight and her new, still a bit awkward friends wouldn't let that happen, chasing down the devious Mare while tackling every challenge she threw at them. With every challenge, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Rarity and Fluttershy all proved their worth and importance in Twilight's heart, and Twilight herself came to trust each and every one of them more and more. When the time came to face Nightmare Moon, Twilight and her friends rose victorious. Using the Elements of Harmony, they exposed Nightmare Moon for what she was: the young alicorn sister of Celestia, Princess Luna.
Much happened between that encounter and the next, with the friends behaving just how all friends do.
Disaster struck with the return of Discord, god of chaos and disharmony. Discord had ravaged once before, but was thwarted by Celestia and turned to stone. After a difficult struggle with her friends, all of whom were acting drastically out of character (much to the thanks of Discord himself), Twilight Sparkle and the others defeated the god of Chaos and Disharmony, sealing him once again in a stone prison. Twilight herself felt Discord's touch when she completely gave up on herself and her friends. However, her faith was restored after another direct intervention from Princess Celestia. After restoring her friends, one by one, to their original state, they once again won against the dark force.
Their most recent victory was against the Queen of the Changelings: Chrysalis, an Alicorn disguised as Princess Cadance and seeking to marry Twilight's brother, Shining Armor, to feed off of his emotions for her own power. Twilight knew from the start that something was off when she first encountered the disguised the queen. Cadance had been partially responsible for Twilight's up-bringing, and the two were very good friends. Twilight spoke out against Chrysalis, only to find everyone terribly disappointed with her. The Qeen trapped Twilight in an underground cave, where she ran into the real Princess Cadance, mistaking her at first for the imposter. The two escaped just in time to stop the wedding and reveal Chrysalis's true figure. Once again, the Elements of Harmony were needed for this battle. Chrysalis, however, had other ideas. She sent her seemingly endless army of Changelings to stop Twilight and her friends. Victory was achieved in the end, as always (though this time without the Elements), and the real Cadance finally married Shining Armor.
Everything has been pretty quiet since then.
Almost too quiet.
It was nearly nightfall in wintertime Equestria. Very soon Princess Luna, younger sister of Celestia, would take over and bring night to the land. She knew many things had happened since those six ponies from Ponyville broke her from the nightmare she had become. Every once in a while she'd work herself up again about how everything interesting seemed to happen while she slept during the day, but wouldn't let what happened before happen again. Besides, what was night without day? What was good without evil? You couldn't have one without the other.
But that was just it. She didn't know what was doing it but 'nearly nightfall' seemed to be taking much longer than usual. She knew her sister liked to joke around from time to time, but for three hours straight? It had to be her imagination, or the clock moving too fast, or something. Anything!
There was something in the room with her! No, wait....no. AH! THAT SHADOW MOVED!!! Oh... it was just the curtain.
This is starting to get to me. The young Princess thought to herself. Oh, I hope Celestia gets back soon!
Celestia had gone to Ponyville to visit with Twilight and the others. It started out as just a visit, but had since escalated to each of the ponies showing her something of their own. She knew being otherwise occupied didn't have any effect over her sister's control over the sun, but that was hours ago. The clock was about to strike the fourth hour of Luna's growing panic when...
"Luna." A voice came from outside. It was Celestia, finally returning. "Are you all right? I apologize for not setting the sun, but you wouldn't believe what happened."
The door opened and the Princess walked in, worry in her stride and panic in her eyes. When she noticed her sister on the ground looking like Twilight when she was late to send a letter, she allowed herself a quick chuckle before continuing.
"I would've set the sun a few hours sooner, but upon my return I noticed that the statue in the Royal Garden... you know the one I mean... was missing."
This, as you would expect, did nothing for Princess Luna's nerves. The sun still hadn't set completely and the statue was missing. She was sure she knew the culprit, too.
"I wouldn't say missing, dear Princess." came another voice from the darkness. "If you'd ask me, I'd say it just grew legs and walked away. If you catch my drift."
The voice was all too familiar to the sisters. But this was impossible! Nothing could have broken him out again! Unless, of course, Miss Cheerilee decided to bring those Crusaders on another field trip to Canterlot.
"Discord! What are you doing out again?" Celestia demanded. The entity of chaos laughed at the remark.
"I would've thought it obvious, Princess." A large pair of eyes opened in the shadows. "What am I always doing when I'm not trapped by you or your little ponies?"
Luna got to her hooves and stood by her sister, trying to look stronger than she felt at the moment. Once again, Discord laughed.
"I almost forgot," He finally stepped into the light, his lion arm extending. "I have to thank the one responsible for my escape."
He bowed low, his mischievous eyes not leaving the young Princess of the Night. "Thank you, Luna."
"Luna?" Celestia turned to her sister, shocked.
"I wouldn't be so surprised, Princess." Discord continued, turning his gaze to the elder sister. "I should also thank you. After all, you were the one who didn't set the sun at the right time. Luna here has been stressing and panicking for several hours now, poor thing. As an Alicorn, and Royalty, her power almost matches yours. So, in her state of *chuckle* mild disharmony from the normal routine, I was able to break free." He looked again toward Luna. "Much more power than those three fighting fillies, even if it was a different wavelength."
Princesses Celestia and Luna were now backing up to the door. If they could just make it outside...
"Oh, I wouldn't try that way." Discord's talons snapped, and the door was gone. Another snap and the windows vanished as well. The only light in the room was now coming from a candle burning in the corner. The god of chaos thought for a second, then smiled again. With a final snap, the horns and wings of the Alicorns disappeared. The sisters looked at eachother, then at themselves. Shock and panic worked their way onto the mares' faces.
"How is this possible?" Celestia gasped.
"Oh really, Princess, you do ask the most obvious, boring questions sometimes." Discord began pacing the sealed room. "And once again, it has an obvious answer. With your sister's power melded with my own, I'm much stronger than the last two times you tried to stop me. Now, if you don't mind," Five necklaces and a crown fell to the floor. The Elements of Harmony. "I'm going to keep these here. I'll see you two later."
With a final guffaw of laughter, Discord vanished. Luna turned to her sister, eyes welling up.
"Sister. I'm sorry."
Rarity was beat. She had just finished displaying her new dress design to the Princess, proceeded to make adjustments to the already perfect design, then made five more. If that wasn't tiring enough, she also had to keep the Cutie Mark Crusaders in line AND try to stop Opalessance (several times) from shredding her design plans. Now that Sweetie Bell, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo were finally asleep, she could lay down as well. She was just about to drift off when a thump came from outside, followed by frantic knocking on her door.
"Oh, dear," Rarity sighed, rubbing her eye and yawning. "Whoever could be calling at this time of night- er, morning."
Sleepy and sluggish, she dragged herself downstairs. The knocking hadn't stopped. If anything, it had gotten louder.
"Yes, yes, hold on." She opened the door to find Rainbow Dash flying in place on the other side. Quick as a bullet, she zoomed inside and buried herself in a pile of fabric.
"Rainbow! Is there something wrong?" Rarity asked, surprised.
"Something wrong!?" came Dash's muffled reply. She poked her head out of the pile."SOMETHING WRONG!?"
"Please, keep it down. I just managed to get the girls to sleep."
"Sorry Rarity, but I'm a little freaked out right now."
The white unicorn closed the door and walked over to her friend.
"You remember Derpy, right? She destroyed town hall the day Applejack left for that rodeo."
"Yes, I remember her." Rarity replied after a few seconds. "The one with the goofy eyes?"
"That's her. You won't believe what I just saw." Rainbow Dash took a deep breath. "I saw Derpy and Screwball flying around the Weather factory up in Cloudsdale."
Rarity looked at Rainbow Dash for a few seconds.
"ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Do you know what this could mean for Equestria? Almost an entire month's worth of weather problems!"
"Yes, well, maybe you should go and talk to Twilight about this."
"Good idea. I'll head there no-"
"Tomorrow." the unicorn grabbed Rainbow by the tail with her magic, stopping the pegasus before she could zoom off. "I'm sure she's sleeping, just like the rest of us should be." She turned her gaze skyward. "Although I don't know how anypony is able to sleep with the sun still out."
Sleep was the last thing on Twilight Sparkle's mind. She had been pacing around the room with worry since Princess Celestia returned to Canterlot.
"I don't know what could be wrong, Spike!" The purple unicorn wondered out loud for the hundredth time. Hearing no response from her assistant, she turned to look at him. Sleeping.
The baby dragon jumped a few feet in the air, landing with a soft thud back on his bed. He took a second to look around before realizing it was Twilight that woke him up.
"How could you be sleeping at a time like this?"
"What're you so worked up about this time?" Spike yawned, rubbed his eyes, and looked out the window. "Huh. I wonder why the sun's still out."
Twilight sighed with annoyance and returned to pacing.
"Oh come on, Angel. You know it's time for bed."
Fluttershy had been trying for the past-hour-and-a-half to get her mildly bad tempered bunny to get to sleep, but her efforts were to no avail. Angel refused her requests, hopping outside in defiance. He turned and blew a raspberry at her before slamming the door behind him.
"Well, I guess you can stay up for a little while longer..." The pegasus sighed.
Applejack, having tired herself out over the course of the day, was fast asleep. She had helped her sister, Applebloom, get ready for the CMC Sleepover At Rarity's, helped Big Macintosh finish up some work on the farm, and hung out with her friends while the Princess visited. It had been a long, eventful day, and sleep was a perfect reward for a job well done.
Her prize was interrupted, however, when an urgent hoof shook her awake.
"Huh, whoozzat?" She asked groggily. A jittering pink blob took up her vision. Applejack's suspicions were confirmed when the blob spoke.
"Awake yet, sleepy head?"
"Ah am now, Pinkie." Apple yawned. "Whut'r you doin' here, wakin' me up like that?"
"You know, I was thinking that myself." Pinkie Pie began bouncing around happily. "I asked old Granny Smith where you were because Twilight said she wanted to see you and she said you were inside and you were all plum tuckered out and sleeping so I came in to wake you up because I couldn't understand how you sleep with the sun still out and then I thought wel-mmph!"
Applejack couldn't take much more of this, especially this soon after waking up.
"Pinkie, why don't ya just tell me what Twilight wanted? Ahm sure she wouldn't want us t'be late." She carefully removed her hoof from Pinkie's mouth as an expression of pure joy overcame the pink mare's face.
"That's a GREAT idea!" She bounced over to the door of Applejack's room. "She wanted to talk to all of us. She said something about 'Equestria being in danger' or something."
With that unmistakable Pinkie charm, the party pony bounced out of the room without a care in the world. Applejack, however, was starting to get antsy. Her exhaustion wasn't helping, either. If Twilight wanted to talk to them this late, however bright outside it may be, it had to be important.
*WARNING!!: Cheesy book titles ahead!*
Five ponies and one baby dragon were gathered in the front room of the library that served as Twilight's home in Ponyville. Pinkie Pie was doing her best to sit still, Rarity was fussing over her mane, Rainbow Dash looked worried beyond reason, Fluttershy was waiting quietly, and Applejack was still trying to wake herself up. Twilight was still pacing the room, even after everypony showed up. She stopped suddenly, shocking Fluttershy in the proccess, and turned to look at her friends for the first time since they arrived.
"Thanks for coming, girls. I've been thinking and thinking for hours now, but no explination I come up with seems to make sense." She started pacing again. "I was hoping you'd all be able to help."
Before any of them had a chance to say anything, a book flew from one of the shelves and landed in the middle of the floor. Rainbow Dash picked it up, examining the cover.
"'Daring Doo and the Caverns of Treasure'?" Dash looked back up at her friend. "When'd this one come out?"
"Earlier today." Twilight replied absentmindedly. She took the book from Rainbow Dash with her magic and set it back on the shelf. "Could you keep your mind on the task at hand, please? Equestria may be depending on us again!"
No sooner had the book been replaced, it jumped from the shelf again, this time smacking the purple unicorn in the back of the head. Following the "Daring Doo" book was another piece of literature from across the room. Several other books fell, too, all from different sections of the library and all landing on Twilight. Tiny laughs issued from the empty spaces on the shelves and few sets of eyes poked curiously out from their hiding places, wondering if the books had hit their intended target. The small pile of books burst apart, leaving an annoyed Twilight Sparkle where they had once been.
"All right," the unicorn began, trying to be heard above Pinkie's laughter. Her horn started glowing. "Whoever's there, show yourself!"
The "Daring Doo" book floated up in the air behind her, surrounded in an orange aura. The five other ponies watched in wonder as it hovered over to Twilight and nudged her shoulder. As she turned around, the book twisted in the air and smacked her in the face. The other books that had fallen rose into the air next to it, all bathed in the same faded orange glow. They each darted after the other ponies. Applejack was the target of "On the Farm" while Rarity held her own against "Dressmaking Secrets", Rainbow Dash tried (and failed) to dodge the "Daring Doo" book that had been tormenting Twilight, which had been replaced with a ferocious copy of "Spell-casting for Intermediates", Fluttershy was being backed into a corner by "Caring For Animals", Spike was loosing ground in his escape from "Rubies, Gems and More!", and Pinkie couldn't get enough of hopping over and under "Instant Party Planning".
Amidst the battle of the books, Twilight managed to catch her attacker and pin it to the ground. Concentrating as hard as she could she managed to round up the rest of them, tearing them from the powerful magical grasp that controlled them. Once the books were returned to their shelves again the ponies moved back to the center of the room. Something caught Fluttershy's eye, though, and she cautiously crept closer to the window.
"Please tell me that wuz yur ahdeah of a joke, Twilight." Applejack rubbed her head where her floating attacker had hit her, now fully alert. The unicorn shook her head.
"I have no clue what just happened, but there was something strong was controlling those books."
"Um, Twilight?" Fluttershy's quiet, panicked words were impossible to hear from across the room.
"Maybe it was just a joke!" Pinkie chimed in happily.
"I hardly think anypony could set up a prank like this." Rarity said, her voice changing to a worried tone. "Erm, could they?"
Suddenly everypony was talking over eachother with their own theory as to what had happened. After several more failed attempts to get her friend's attention, Fluttershy switched from Normal to Assertive. She took a deep breath and shouted just loud enough to be heard over the commotion. Everypony stopped what they were doing and stared at the yellow pegasus.
"Sorry if I startled you," Fluttershy quickly faded back into Normal, glancing down at the floor. "But I think you should see what's going on outside."
The ponies made their way over to stand next to their friend, following her gaze out the window. They were stunned with disbelief at what they saw. Despite Equestria being the middle of the winter season, there was absolutely no snow anywhere.
"Uh, wasn't it snowing just a few minutes ago?" Rainbow Dash asked to no pony in particular, glancing skywards. "Where'd the pagasi on snow duty g- OH NO!!"
Without another word the rainbow pegasus darted away, slowing only to open the library door before zooming off to Cloudsdale. Twilight and the others stared after her in wonder while the "Daring Doo" book hurled itself at the purple unicorn once more.
Rainbow Dash practically kicked the doors open to the Winter section of the factory, expecting to see Derpy and Screwball fiddling with the controls and commands on the countless number of buttons, switches and knobs. What she saw instead stopped her in her tracks.
Parasprites. Thousands and thousands of them all crammed into the room with barely any room to fly around, feasting on the machinery that produced the winter weather. There was little Dash could do, having no magic to distract them nor the instruments needed to lead them away safely. She meerly stared in disbelief. How was it possible that the parasprites were back, especially in Cloudsdale? They hadn't been seen or heard from in months!
"Amazing creatures, aren't they?" came a voice not too far away. It sounded familiar, but Rainbow Dash couldn't quite place it.
"I don't think so." She answered defiantly. "Who's there?"
"You mean you don't remember me?" The voice sounded like it was coming from behind the pegasus now. "After everything we went through?"
"I'm pretty sure I'd remember." Dash turned and unfurled her wings, preparing to jump at the first thing she saw move. The parasprites had now stopped their feeding and were simply watching. A deep laugh issued from somewhere next to her, slowly moving all around until it sounded as if the room itself was amused at her intentions. A box, wrapped in blue paper and tied with a yellow bow, slid out from the shadows in the corner of the room. A present.
"Perhaps this might help your memory." the voice chuckled back. Timidly, Rainbow Dash unwrapped the mysterious gift, taking in a slow breath before flinging the top off.
"What!?" The surprise on her face mixed with horror as she sunk through the cloud floor. My wings?
The last thing she remembered hearing was the wind whipping past her ears as she fell to the ground mixed with the harsh laughter of the voice. The last things she saw were the Parasprites swarming out of the weather factory.
And the last thing she thought?
After the disappearance of Rainbow Dash, the other ponies decided to go check up on their own areas. Fluttershy flew back to her home at the edge of the Everfree Forest, Rarity (remembering she'd left the Crusaders at the shop) dashed back to the Carousel Boutique to make sure it was still intact, Applejack was probably back at the farm by now, and Pinkie Pie decided it was a good time to eat candy at Sugarcube Corner. With everypony away for the moment Twilight tried cleaning up the library a little bit. The books, however, refused all efforts to be removed from their position. It wasn't until she had the patience to read the titles that the gears in her head began moving again.
"There has to be some sort of meaning here," She murmured to herself, "but what?"
After an hour more of trying to pick them up, she looked closer at their order on the floor.
"'Daring Doo', 'Instant Party Planning', 'Spell-casting for Intermediates', 'Caring for Animals', 'On the Farm', 'Rubies, Gems and More', and 'Dressmaking Secrets'. What could it mea- Hold on..."
If she was seeing correctly, the first letters of each title were giving off a dark orange glow.
"Interesting. Let's see: Di-" The unicorn stopped there, frozen with fear. Behind her a faint chewing could be heard. As soon as she could move again, Twilight spun to find a large number of adorable, insect-like creatures feeding on her books.
The shop hadn't been ravaged by Sweetiebell and her friends. That much was clear to Rarity as she stared at the chaos that had been several dresses in progress. Bite marks that were much too small for their mouths to make covered the fabrics and mannequins, as well as small chunks missing from the room itself. She was still wondering what had happened when a loud shout from upstairs made her jump a few feet in the air.
"CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS: PARASPRITE REPELLERS!!" came the mingles cries of Applebloom, Sweetiebell and Scootaloo, followed by several thuds and crashes.
"Parasprites!?" The white unicorn exclaimed. "MY DRESSES!!"
She bolted up the stairs to her room, stopping at the sudden silence in the building. There was no buzzing, no excited shouts from Sweetie and her filly friends, no sounds of mass destruction. It was utterly silent. A blinding flash of light issued from Sweetiebell's room, followed by three solid thuds. Then screaming.
"RARITY!" came the frightened squeal of Applebloom. "RARITY, HELP!"
Her screams were cut short by another flash. Rarity took a few steps back.
"No," She told herself sternly. "The girls are in trouble, and you're the only one here. You've got to do this."
She collected all of her effort and courage and set off running down the hall, which seemed to be getting longer with every door she passed. A guffaw of sinister, yet amused, laughter caught her off guard.
“Why, hello there, Rarity.” The door at the end of the hall, her target, slammed shut, and in the shadows two amber eyes appeared. “It has been a long time, hasn’t it my generous little pony?”
There was no mistaking that voice. Anyone would’ve known just from seeing the eyes.
“Tell me what you did to the girls!” the unicorn shouted, her eyes narrowing and her horn beginning to glow.
“You think I did something? Oh, Rarity, I’m hurt.” Discord’s voice mocked sorrow. “Besides, even if I was the one behind what has befallen those three young ponies, there’s nothing you can do to set it right. If I remember correctly, it was meek little Fluttershy who bested the Cockatrice.”
“Cockatrice?” her voice carried fear. “What about the parasprites?”
“Even your extensive collection of formal wear, complete or not, wasn’t enough to fill their appetite.” A toothy grin appeared under the eyes, growing wider and wider the more the unicorn cried out in anguish.
Unlike everypony else, Fluttershy seemed to be getting the short end of the stick as far as odd happenings. Sure, something would move in the shadows every now and then, or something she needed would go missing for a few minutes, but other than that things were pretty normal.
That is, until the hen-house exploded. Chickens were scattered everywhere around a tall pillar of multicolored smoke. Almost instantly an entire swarm of parasprites burst from the cloud, chewing and devouring everything they could get to. Thankfully, the hens didn’t seem to be their priority meal at the moment. The house, however, was a completely different story. The walls were quickly becoming a smaller and smaller shield each minute, and every second that passed Fluttershy hid herself farther and farther into the only corner left in what once was her front room.
“Ah... Ah just don’t believe it.” Applejack choked, her throat dry and eyes tearing up.
The parasprites came and went like one of Rainbow Dash’s clouds. Now, there was nothing left of the orchard. Not even a sapling. She, Big Macintosh and Granny Smith were staring at the wasteland that was once their pride and joy. Everything she grew up with. Everything she’d worked with. Not even the surrounding areas of ground were untouched. Applejack was sure glad her younger sister wasn’t here to see this. Even if she’d find out later, at least she didn’t witness it. The feeling of helplessness that surrounded them as they could do nothing but watch was weighing them to the ground, slowing their movements and thoughts. Applejack was almost positive she’d seen a face smiling at her from within the swarm, but she must’ve just imagined it from the shock.
Out of the corner of her eye she saw Twilight running up the hill. The unicorn stopped as soon as she caught sight of the once great apple orchard, falling silent for almost ten minutes before AJ snapped her out of it.
“Whut’s the matter, Sugarcube?” she asked her friend sullenly. Twilight jumped a little from the sudden break in silence.
“I know what’s happening.” She stared right into the farm pony’s eyes. “We need to find everyone. Now.”
Pinkie Pie was hopping back to the sweet shop, intent on sampling the Cake's newest confection of sugary treats, when she heard a scream from inside the shop. She flung the door open to find parasprites taking up every inch of the room. The candies were diminished, the treats were close to extinction, and what little remained of the cakes and pies was hardly worth a small nibble. Mr. and Mrs. Cake were huddled in a corner, shaking more than they had when they left the MMMM in the care of Pinkie and her friends. The Party Pony knew exactly what to do.
“Hold on, Mr. and Mrs. Cake! I’ll be back in no time!” With that, she whizzed upstairs to her room. The chest by her bed contained all of the instruments she needed to keep the parasprites at bay until they could all be rounded up. Almost as soon as she reached it, her tail gave a massive twitch. The next second, a colorful blur crashed through the roof, slammed onto Pinkie, and sent both through the floor into the kitchen below. The pink pony smacked her head off of the floor and was instantly knocked unconscious.