"Are you sure nopony has seen them since yesterday?" Twilight Sparkle asked her friends. She and her five closest friends, and one other had gathered by the Cutie Mark Crusader clubhouse. All present were worried, as the three fillies had been missing all night, and nopony seemed to know where they were or could have gone.
"They couldn't have gone far, they left the wagon and scooter here. I know Scootaloo wouldn't have gone far without it," the yellow pegasus with a long pink mane known as Fluttershy said quietly.
"Did you check with Scootaloo's parents?" Twilight asked.
"I couldn't find them. Nopony seems to know where they live," replied the older sister of Sweetie Belle; Rarity.
"Well we can find them easily. I learned a tracking spell last night. All I need is a personal item belonging to one of them," Twilight explained.
"I'll grab the scooter then," said the cyan pegasus called Rainbow Dash. She flew up into the small building. Glancing around she spotted the little scooter leaning against the wall. She turned to leave when something caught her eye. Something clicked in her mind, but she left to rejoin the group quickly. She knew what it meant but opted not to tell the rest just yet. She carefully placed the scooter on the ground before Twilight.
"Alright I haven't done this spell before, but it should tell me where they are, or at least where Scootaloo is and they are probably all together," Twilight said. She closed her eyes and concentrated. A red aura formed around the horn on her head then it enveloped the scooter as well. After a few seconds the glow vanished. Twilight opened her eyes wide with concern.
"Somethin' wrong, sugarcube?" Applejack asked.
"I'm not sure. Maybe. This spell was the best I could find. It tells me in what direction what I'm looking for is in and roughly how far away it is. It's not exact for distance; it can be off by more than a mile."
"And that's bad because?" Applejack asked confused.
"Remember how our magic kept getting drained the past couple days?" Twilight asked Rarity.
"I don't like where this is going," Rarity responded.
"I cast a similar spell the last time I felt the drain. Whatever was causing it, the girls are very close by, maybe even the same location."
"So what are we waiting for? Let's go!" shouted the hyper pink pony, Pinkie Pie.
"Are you coming too, Big Macintosh?" Twilight asked the seventh member of the gathering and the only stallion present.
"Eeyup," replied the large red stallion like he usually did, "Ah care about mah sister and if what yah say is true, she's going to need a lot of help."
"Ah can take care of mahself Big Mac," Applejack said defiantly.
"Ah meant Apple Bloom," Big Macintosh replied smiling slightly.
"Oh, right. Let's get goin' then," Applejack said embarrassed, "where we headed?"
Twilight pointed and the rest of the group groaned.
"It seems like every time something is messed up, that forest is why," Rainbow Dash grumbled. "Well maybe they're at Zecora's or something."
"Um, her house-" Fluttershy said quietly.
"All night? In that place?" Rarity stammered. "Sweetie Belle's mane will be an absolute mess!"
"Um-" Fluttershy tried to start again but was interrupted still.
"Ah think she's taken a real likin' to Apple Bloom, but to let the rest stay over, Ah dunno," Applejack added.
"Um, excuse me," Fluttershy said a bit louder. Finally the rest looked at her. "Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt."
"It's okay, what were yah gunna say, sugarcube?" Applejack asked.
"Well it's just that Zecora's house is that way." Fluttershy pointed in a direction well away from where Twilight had gestured.
"Well if we're lucky they've gone on a walk, or something," Rainbow Dash suggested. "Maybe one of Zecora's potions is messing with the magic."
"That's impossible, and even if it was it's still a different spot from what was draining my magic," Twilight countered.
"Maybe she moved," Pinkie thought out loud.
"Maybe but how could a potion siphon magic? Before it happened I wasn't aware anything besides Discord could do something like that," Twilight stated.
"Maybe it's him!" Rainbow Dash suggested.
"I think the Princess would have noticed," Twilight said shaking her head.
The sound of hoof on wood silenced the group. As one they turned towards Big Macintosh with one hoof planted on a tree.
"Ah don't see the point of all this talk when we should be finding them. We can ask them what happened when we find them," he said simply. "Now, Ms Sparkle, if you could show the way."
"Right," Twilight said, snapping herself to attention. She turned and walked off in the direction her horn told her, her target was.
"Who are you? And what are yah gunna do with us?" Apple Bloom demanded. She still couldn't see their captor.
"My name is of no importance. You may simply call me sir. You'll learn to soon enough. Or just professor if it suits you," the voice said coldly, "and I brought you here because I need your help with a little experiment I'm doing."
"Are you gunna let us go after?" Apple Bloom asked afraid of the answer.
"If it fails I might," the voice said, making a sound resembling a chuckle. "Are you little ponies familiar with all the pony races?"
"We just learned about them today," Sweetie Belle answered.
"Really? And what did they tell you about the first ponies?"
"That there used to be just two kinds of ponies. Earth ponies and alicorn ponies and all ponies around today came from them," Sweetie Belle summarized, better than the other two could hope to do.
"Even modern earth ponies were different from the ones back then," Apple Bloom added.
"How do you girls remember this stuff?" Scootaloo asked.
"Cause we don't sleep through class," Sweetie Belle answered snidely.
"Hey, I'd pay attention if it wasn't so boring," Scootaloo said proudly.
"So they told you about the earth and alicorn ponies then," the professor said ending the argument, "well we prefer the name terra pony, but it means the same thing," he said; coming into Apple Blooms field of view first. He seemed almost indistinguishable from any other pale green earth pony.
"Liar," Sweetie Bell said simply.
"Oh? And what makes me a liar?" the professor asked, pretending to sound shocked and offended but couldn't quite pull it off.
"Ms. Cheerilee said all the old earth ponies went extinct a long time ago," Sweetie Belle explained.
"That is what that cow and her idiot sister want you to believe!" the professor shouted, sounding angry now. "That's how the alicorns operate! They take what is rightfully yours, then erase you from the world and the history books! I'm surprised they haven't tried claiming there were no terra ponies at all, ever!"
"Who-" Scootaloo started to ask, but the professor continued, circling where they were contained.
"That tyrant ran us into hiding. Us. The very ponies that had worked so hard to make Equestria what it was. The very ponies that gave them power!"
"I'm so confused," Sweetie Bell said.
"Oh yes. We the terra ponies are the ones who made the alicorns what they became. Before that they were just another tribe. They owed us everything, and they turned around, and drove us from the land! But they couldn't get rid of us completely. We may not live as long as them, and we may lack their wings or magic or strength, but we were smart. We did everything we could to stop them. We stopped the planet's rotation, but they just used their magic to keep it turning. We unleashed a being of pure chaos to hinder them, but he turned on us and began helping them abuse the lesser ponies!
"I don't know what they tell you now, but the alicorns were not nice to the other ponies. They felt that anything that lacked wings and a horn was inferior. The sea ponies left the land to escape them. We enlisted the fairy ponies to help, but the damned alicorns used their magic to render them annoying but mostly harmless insects. Eventually Discord turned on them, and we thought maybe we would have a chance to free the world from our creation. But they defeated him in the end, just two short of total annihilation.
"But once they are disposed of, the terra ponies can return and reclaim our home. We can restart the planet's rotation. We can make the world a better place. But not just yet. They have the masses on their side now. We have been forgotten. The sea ponies would help but what use are they in the ocean? We are few in number. But if we could make an army we could finally free the land of our greatest mistake.
"And then we come to you. This is why I need you. Without you, Equestria will forever be under the hoof of those traitors Celestia and Luna!"
"We ain't helping you with anything!" Apple Bloom shouted.
"Yeah! Even if that did happen everything has been great for a thousand years! Why would we let you change it?" Scootaloo cried in agreement.
"Oh you were under the impression you had a choice. My mistake," the professor said, smiling very sinisterly at the filly before him; Scootaloo.
"What are you going to do to us?" Sweetie Belle asked.
"I suppose I should tell you though you will be finding out soon enough," the terra pony said shrugging. "As I said the alicorns controlled everything. However we devised a way to create artificial alicorns ourselves to counter them recently. They're not quite as powerful, nor do they live as long but it's something. We just take three regular ponies; one unicorn, one pegasus, and one earth pony, and make an alicorn from them. But don't worry. You won't feel a thing. None of the others have. Not that they've been coherent enough to say so."
"Others?" Apple Bloom gulped.
"Well most haven't fared so well, but I bet you'll be the second one that succeeds. And look at that. The machine is ready to be used again, so let's get this party started," the professor said feigning a cheerful attitude.
Rot sat happily gnawing on a leg bone beneath a tall tree. Test 7 had been quite tasty. He probably should be getting back soon; he could hear the far off sound of the professor's machine starting up. Most animals wouldn't notice what it was, or would assume it was background forest noise, but Rot had heard it enough to know he needed to get back.
As he stood to leave he heard voices coming right for him. He quickly climbed up the tree, and hid in the upper branches. He hid in the thickest bunch of leaves he could find. He could take most ponies in a fight but if he wasn't paid to do it, why bother? Besides, it sounded like a lot of ponies.
"How much farther is it?" a blue pegasus asked impatiently.
"I told you the spell is a bit vague with distance, but I think we're still kind of far," answered a purple unicorn, who then stopped.
"You felt it too?" asked a white unicorn looking at the purple one.
"Yeah. That magic drain is starting again. I won't be able to maintain the spell much longer," the purple unicorn said, her nervousness painted all over her face.
A big red stallion stopped in his tracks and looked up. He stared at the sky for a few moments.
"Ah know which direction to go, Ms Sparkle," he said, "Ah can keep us going the right way until yer magic comes back."
"I didn't know you could tell direction just like that," a yellow pegasus said amazed, her voice half of a normal pony's volume.
"It's an old earth pony trick involving the sun. Applejack could learn to do it too, but since it's not useful on a farm, she doesn't want to," the red stallion explained.
High above Rot listened with total disinterest. Just some traveling ponies, he guessed. Then he noticed where they were headed; right for the professor. Alarmed, he looked at them closely to size them up. Two of those magic ponies, two flying ones, and three of the strong ones, he counted. Only two of the strong ones and one flying one looked like they could fight. And that purple, horned pony. He had been warned to avoid those. The professor is going to want to know about this.
Once the group passed by, Rot climbed down the tree silently and made his way to one of the tunnels he had dug through the forest. The ponies could not hope to match his speed underground. He would be back in minutes while they would take hours getting to the lab.
The girls screamed as the machine came to life around them. Soon they couldn't hear each other, then themselves over the roar of the machine. The terra pony deafly worked the controls. Soon bolts of light filled the air. The process had begun.
Apple Bloom was terrified beyond belief. The disk on the wall of her prison had begun glowing. But that wasn't the scary part. The scary part was that parts of her were vanishing before her eyes. First her hooves were simply gone, then her mane and tail. Then she was just a pair of eyes. Then there was blackness.
And then there was light. So much light. So much light that even when she forced her eyes closed as hard as she could it was still too bright. As quickly as it had come the light vanished and her eyes began adjusting to the dark area she found herself in. There were no bars now, just a glass wall. The glass retreated into the depths of the machine and she could see out into the room. Far away beyond a control panel the professor watched intently.
Shakily Apple Bloom walked out of the chamber. Something was wrong. She was covering more ground per step then she should have, and half the time it felt like her legs wanted to a different direction. She made it out the door before passing out.
"What do you think, boss?" Greg asked once the machine had died down. He was standing over the unconscious thing on the floor.
"I'm not sure if it worked," the professor said, pulling a syringe out of his lab saddle, followed by a small bottle of clear liquid. "Good thing I refilled the stimulants this morning."
"Bosss, we got a problem," Rot said, entering the room quickly, but out of breath
"Rot, where were you?" the terra pony demanded.
"I got held up. We have incoming trouble," Rot said panting. "Sseven ponies are headed sstraight for uss. I think they're after one of the poniess I caught," Rot explained.
"Well deal with them," the terra pony said annoyed.
"I can't handle that many on my own. Ssome of them looked like they could handle themselves in a fight." Rot replied. "There were at least 2 magic poniess, 2 flying poniess, and 3 of the sstrong ones," Rot recited from memory. "I remember one of the poniess was one you warned me to avoid. That Twilight pony."
"This isn't good. If Celestia's student comes here, the cow may follow and ruin everything. We need to deal with this quickly. Gore, put Test 9 in the holding cells, then help Rot eliminate the intruders," the terra pony ordered. "Better yet, capture them. What better to use against the 'Princess' then her own student," the terra pony almost spat the word Princess.
"Yes sir," Greg saluted, before picking up the unconscious pony and carrying it away.
"I will ready mysself for the fight," Rot said, bowing out.
"Test 9, unknown result. Subject passed out upon exiting chamber; probably due to the age of the components. It was coherent enough to walk out on it's own power. Test 9 moved to holding cells for further evaluation," the pony said into his recorder.
"Oh hello, Greg," Trixie said, bored.
"Hello there, Trixie. I brought you some company. Maybe," Greg said, placing the unconscious creation a few cells down from her. "Not sure if the mind is whole like yours, but we will soon find out."
"It was getting quite quiet in here without adoring fans," Trixie whined. Greg walked over and put some more hay through the bars, but this time included an apple he had stolen from a nearby farm.
"I'll be gone for a while. Some ponies are headed here, so we're going to have to deal with them," Greg explained.
"I hope they beat you so I can get out of here," Trixie said without sounding interested.
"They very well might. One of them is Celestia's personal student," Greg said producing a stone and running his talons along it. A relaxing activity for griffons that served a dual purpose, calming them down, and sharpening their talons.
"Celestia's personal- You mean Twilight Sparkle?" Trixie said, perking right up.
"You know her?" Greg asked, raising an eyebrow. "We make sure to avoid certain ponies connected to royalty so we can fly under the radar. If she's coming here, it can only mean bad news for us."
"Let me out," Trixie said quietly.
"And why would I do that?"
"That jenny ruined me, that's why!" Trixie shouted. "Let me out! I'll fight her myself! Because of her and her Apple friend's stupid relatives everywhere, I can't even get into a town before they start mocking me! If it hadn't been for her I would still be the Great and Powerful Trixie!" she shouted louder and louder, "not this," she said quietly, almost whispering it.
"I'll talk to the boss," Greg said with a slight smile.
"King Ra, it seems the griffons have been harassing an earth pony town on the southern border. Shall I order some flying troops there to help?" asked a horned pony
"No, we need them here," the King, a pony with wings and a horn replied. They didn't, but he really didn't care.
"Yes, your majesty," the horned pony said, bowing.
"Now isn't this an odd sight," commented a strange figure, walking into the throne room like he owned it. It had the head of a pony, but a body made from all sorts of random animals. He levitated the unicorn into the air and looked at him closely. "This is new."
"I don't know who you think you are, but get out of my throne room!" King Ra demanded. The figure ignored him and instead began striding around the room. The unicorn was levitated back to the floor and he galloped off a quickly as he could. He stopped when he saw a winged pony maid fly by as she cleaned the higher areas of the room.
"That's new too. And what do they call you, miss?" the bizarre figure asked the maid, stopping her from fleeing with his power.
"I'm just Honeysuckle, the maid, sir," the pony responded quietly.
"No, what are you. I've never seen a pony like you before."
"We're pegasus ponies, sir."
"Huh, so there are more of you? Well only alicorns are on my list, so you won't be facing my wrath today," the figure said.
"I will not be ignored in my own palace. Get out at once or you will be executed!" King Ra roared.
"And who's going to make me?" the figure taunted. He snapped a paw. In a flash, the royal alicorn guards were replaced with balloons in the shapes of ponies.
"How dare you-"
"You may call me Discord in the brief moment before you die," Discord said, slowly advancing on the King. "You might want to get out of here. It's not going to be pretty," he called to the pegasus. In terror, she galloped from the room.
"Bring it!" King Ra spat, drawing forth a battle hammer.
"You have no idea who you are dealing with, do you?" Discord asked snidely. "I killed King Apollo with only one hand. Let's see if I can do you in with just two fingers."
"Do not insult me!" King Ra shouted, swinging the hammer. Discord stopped it with just two fingers like he had promised. As hard as he pressed, he could not even budge the draconequus's arm. Enraged, he drew back, and swung again, but Discord vanished and the alicorn was left swinging at air. The hammer kept its momentum going and slammed into the stone floor, but when it did so, it squeaked.
Wide-eyed, Ra looked at his hammer in surprise. He swung it again, and again it squeaked. Furious, he threw the war hammer across the room where it was caught by just two talons.
"You shouldn't throw your things, just because you have a temper tantrum," Discord chided. "Somepony might get hurt!"
Discord wound up, and flung the hammer back at the King. King Ra threw up a magic barrier, but the war hammer smashed through it. Of course it had, it had been enchanted to do just that. King Ra had barely enough time to remember that before the metal hammer met his skull at a high velocity.
Calmly, Discord walked over and examined the broken body.
"Two fingers, just like i promised. I'd love to stay and play with the other alicorns, but it seems some donkeys have built their city where they shouldn't have, and I must deal with them first. Good bye," Discord said before vanishing into thin air.
"I hope we get there soon, my hooves are killing me," Rarity complained. Most present silently agreed.
"We'll get there when we get there," Applejack replied.
"Rainbow Dash, could you be a dear, and fly above the trees to see if you can see anything?" Rarity asked.
"Huh?" Rainbow Dash said, confused. She had been staring at the sky with an expression of deep thought on her face.
"What is it?" Twilight asked. Her magic had come back, but Big Macintosh's sense of direction was so good they didn't need the tracking spell. Plus the original spell had been broken, and they would need something to recast it.
"It's just, I think I hear a griffon flying nearby, but we're miles from any griffon city," Rainbow Dash said, eyes skyward.
"I don't hear anything," Fluttershy said.
"I don't like this. My Pinkie Sense is going nuts!" Pinkie Pie said, spazzing out.
"EVERYPONY SCATTER!" Rainbow Dash shouted. Reflexively about half obeyed. Applejack grabbed Rarity and ran over to the base of a tree. Fluttershy got low to the ground and covered her head with her hooves. Pinkie Pie ran for cover by a log. Twilight, unused to fighting stood there until Big Macintosh shoved her out of the open before picking up Fluttershy by the mane and sending her hurtling through the air in the same direction. Twilight noticed just in time and caught the frightened pegasus with her magic.
Rainbow Dash saw the furred and feathered attacker coming and swerved to avoid it but it changed direction mid dive and flew into her. The gray griffon pinned her to the ground and held all four of her legs with it's own.
"Struggle and I start pecking," the griffon threatened.
"Peck this!" Rainbow Dash shouted before headbutting the griffon. It staggered back from her, clutching its head. She hadn't faired much better; a line of blood was running down her face, getting in her eyes, obscuring her vision. She looked over to see why Big Macintosh wasn't helping, but saw he was being held to the ground by two massive arms that seemed to come out of the very earth.
"Ah'm comin,'" Applejack called, galloping toward her brother. The griffon had regained itself and leaped to intercept. It did a somersault over the earth pony, but mid spin, grabbed her and upon landing, flung her away. Luckily Applejack didn't hit anything more solid than a shrub before stopping.
Meanwhile Big Macintosh's captor had emerged from the ground. It was a diamond dog. One much larger than the ones they had dealt with before. This one was lifting the stallion clear off the ground and was crushing him with his arms. Big Macintosh struggled to breathe under the bone breaking force but could only wheeze.
"I'll handle this," Rarity said bravely stepping forward. "Why are you doing this? It's not very nice. You're going to hurt him," she said in the whiniest voice she had ever done.
"Shut up pony," the canine snarled. Big Macintosh passed out in his clutches from the lack of oxygen.
"Why are you so mean? You shouldn't be doing this. I just want my sister," Rarity continued.
"I said shut up!" the diamond dog barked. To emphasize his point, he lifted Big Macintosh over his head and hurled the unconscious stallion at her. The two collided and took the pair out of the fight.
At the same time Rainbow Dash and Applejack were a two pony team against the griffon. It could barely block their relentless assault let alone counter or retaliate.
"I'd have expected more from a member of the Fook (foo-ck) clan!" Rainbow Dash taunted, dodging a weak swipe, noticing the coin shaped mark on the griffon's thigh. "The Qnak (nak) clan says hi!" she added, delivering a kick to her opponent's head who deftly blocked it.
"A blood-sister huh?" the griffon said surprised. "This should be a good fight."
"What the hay are you two talking about?" Applejack asked, catching her breath for a moment.
"I'll tell you about it later."
Applejack rolled her eyes and bucked at the griffon before them. It caught her legs and swung her whole body into her friend sending the two crashing to the forest floor.
The diamond dog stomped toward the remaining ponies.
"Stay back!" Twilight warned. The dog ignored her so she charged up some magic in her horn and fired the raw energy at him. He easily dodged out of the way and kept stomping closer.
"Hey, leave her alone!" Pinkie said appearing on the dog's head. He roared and swung his fist at the pink pony but she had vanished and he was left punching thin air. She reappeared by his knee. "You used to be a nice dog then you took an-"
"THAT JOKE IS TOO OLD!" he shouted swinging at her again. This time he hit his own knee and howled in pain.
"Look a cupcake," somepony said.
Pinkie Pie perked up and looked around. Sure enough sitting on a stump was a cupcake. Just sitting there. Cupcakes are meant to be eaten! This injustice had to be corrected! Pinkie ran over to the pastry but as she lunged at it, her head collided with something very solid and her mind went blank. The cupcake and stump vanished and was replaced with a tree.
"An illusion spell? But diamond dogs and griffon's can't do magic!" Twilight wondered, very confused. The canine was closing in.
"Back off. She's mine."
The dog stopped. Then turned and moved to assist the griffon instead,
"Who are you?" Twilight shouted.
"You mean you don't remember me? After you ruined my life?" The voice was familiar. Very familiar.
"Trixie?" Twilight asked out loud.
"Look at the smart pony. She figured it out! She remembers me even though she ruined me," the voice mocked. "Everypony give her a round of applause. Maybe an award for her achievement. How about a medal, or another window in Canterlot?"
"Show yourself!" Twilight growled. As a response a cloud of dust appeared several yards away. When the cloud dissipated, a pony stood in its place.
The cape and hat were familiar, though undersized for the pony that wore them, and this pony did not look very much like Trixie. This pony was much taller. Taller than any pony in Ponyville. The mane and tail were different styles and colors; a sandy yellow with pink highlights. The body was a patchwork of orange, blue and brown hair that seemed too haphazard for a natural pattern. Her cutie mark was different. Instead of the crescent and wand before, it was the crescent,with a feather replacing the wand, and what looked like a pear behind it all. Only the horn on its head carried the look of Trixie. That, and the eyes. The eyes bore right into Twilight with a tangible hatred.
"Hello there, Twilight Sparkle," the pony said.
"Trixie? Is that you? What happened? And where are the fillies? Are you the one behind my magic being drained?"
"It is I, the Great and Powerful and Improved Trixie," Trixie said, with a flourish. "You'll soon find out what happened to me. The foals already found out."
"If you hurt them-"
"Do I look hurt?"
"If you want to see them again, you have to beat me," Trixie said. The diamond dog and griffon had stopped fighting. Rainbow Dash and Applejack both lay beaten on the ground. "Ignore them. This fight is just between you and me. No interference. Is that understood?"
"Yes," the griffon replied.
"Whatever," the diamond dog grumbled.
"Fluttershy?" Twilight looked around, waiting for some response, but the poor pegasus had simply fainted during the melee.
"Just you and me in the magic fight that was always meant to happen," Trixie said excitedly.
"We don't have to fight," Twilight said, trying to reason with her opponent.
"You're right." Trixie said, looking a bit reluctant. Twilight smiled slightly. "I could just hold you down and let them beat you until you can't move. Or break your horn off."
Twilight's smile vanished.
"Now see, I'm willing to give you a fair shot. Just a one on one magic dual. Sure if you win you still have to fight them, but then it's only two on one."
"But I don't even know that much combat magic! I never studied it!"
"Shame," Trixie said. Her demeanor changed, and she fired a bolt of fire straight at Twilight. The purple unicorn leaped out of the way just in time. "Word of advice. If you're going to get into a fight, don't tell the pony you're fighting you don't know how to fight."
"I'll keep that in mind," Twilight shot back. She lowered her head at Trixie, dug her hooves into the ground, and snorted. Then she charged her strange enemy. Before she got close, Trixie leaped over her head. Twilight turned around and saw that hidden beneath Trixie's cape were two small orange colored wings. Trixie used the things to glide effortlessly to the other side of the battlefield. Twilight's eyes went wide at the sight.
"Like them? Like I said, I'm also improved," Trixie said, before firing another magic blast, this time a wave that chilled the air as it passed. Twilight jumped over this attack before firing a blast of her own. Trixie simply blocked it with some magic of her own.
"Those wings aren't going to help you win. Those things are tiny!" Twilight taunted. It must be the adrenaline. This behavior is so unlike me. I'll have to study the effects some more.
"That's not all I got," Trixie yelled back. Building up her magic, she teleported right in front of Twilight, and bucked her square in the jaw. Twilight fell back, her vision blurred from the pain. "You are a pathetic excuse for a magician," Trixie taunted. "And to think I thought you were better than I. You're all strength and no talent."
Twilight tried mustering her magic, but Trixie just put her hoof on Twilight's horn. Twilight stopped out of fear. Breaking a unicorn's horn was about the worst thing you could to a unicorn. It would grow back eventually, but it would take years to do so. Trixie relaxed her hoof.
"You're lucky he wants you intact," was all she said before hitting Twilight with a knock-out spell.
"Whah do Ah keep waking up like this?" Apple Bloom grumbled rubbing her aching head. Blinking her eyes, she saw her scenery had changed again. Below her was a metal floor and all around there were metal bars. The cage she was in was much larger than the one she had been in previously, but beyond that, it was too dark to see. "Sweetie Belle? Scoots?"
"I'm here," Sweetie Belle replied from somewhere close, but Apple Bloom couldn't identify the source.
"Me too," Scootaloo said. She too was impossible to locate by sound.
"Everypony okay?" Apple Bloom asked.
"I'm alive," Scootaloo replied.
"My head hurts but I'm okay I think," Sweetie Belle answered.
"Sweetie Bell could you maybe use your magic to make it less dark?" Scootaloo asked.
"I'm not very good with magic, but I'll try," Sweetie Belle said trying to sound confident. She forced the magic in her young body into her horn and cast one of the few spells Rarity had taught her. Pleasantly a small orb appeared in the air before her and gave off a bright light. The other two girls fell eerily silent.
"Sweetie Belle, did you cast that in front of you?" Scootaloo asked finally.
"Then how come I can see it but not you?" Scootaloo asked, sounding very scared.
"Can you see me now?" Sweetie Belle asked, raising a hoof towards the orb.
"Hey! That's mah leg!" Apple Bloom shouted.
Sweetie Belle looked at the hoof and shrieked. Her hoof was yellow. Yellow? Her head moved and surveyed the rest of her.
"Hey, mah head is moving on it's own!" Apple Bloom said confused.
"I don't think it's your head," Scootaloo said quietly. Sweetie Belle focused her magic again and cast one of Rarity's favorite spells; the mirror spell. Immediately a patch of air on the other side of the light source solidified into a mirrored surface. All three cried out at once.
Where there should be three little ponies there was now one big one.
"What happened to me?" Apple Bloom wailed.
"You mean us!" Scootaloo corrected.
"We look like one of mah old dolls Applejack made for me outta old cloth!" Apple Bloom cried.
"Rarity is going to freak out about this!" Sweetie Belle whined.
"Girls! Calm down! It's not that bad!" Scootaloo shouted. "We're still alive right? And we're all talking."
Every time one of them spoke the big pony in the mirror opened it's mouth but sounded different each time.
"I guess," Sweetie Belle said sniffing.
"And we have wings and a horn just like the Princess!" Apple Bloom pointed out. She stood up and examined her reflection.
She- or rather they, were the size of an average adult pony. From the neck up their hair was white, while all four legs and most of their flank and plot were bright yellow. The rest was orange. Unheard of in most ponies, their mane and tail were vastly different colors. Their mane was a combination of Scootaloo's purple and Apple Bloom's red, while their tail had both of Sweetie Bell's mane colors separated by a bar of Scootaloo purple. Their eyes were a bizarre mix of colors they couldn't pin down or describe that seemed to fluctuate.
"I wonder if we can fly," Scootaloo thought out loud.
"Try it," Sweetie Belle suggested.
"This cage is too small," Scootaloo answered.
"I sure hope somepony can fix this," Sweetie Belle said.
"Ah bet Twahlight could have us, us again in a jiffy," Apple Bloom said confidently. "We just gotta get outta here."
"So what do we do now?" Apple Bloom asked.
"Until we can get unstuck together, we're going to have to work together," Sweetie Belle stated.
"Yeah. It seems like we share moving like we do talking," Scootaloo pointed out, shaking a hoof and shaking their head to emphasize the point. "But I think we should divide up who does what so we don't get confused. Apple Bloom, you handle walking. I've got flying. Sweetie Belle, you handle the magic. We can just share talking and stuff."
"Makes sense to me," Sweetie Belle said.
"Alright," Apple Bloom agreed.
"Now all we need is a name," Scootaloo said, making them collectively smirk.
"Why?" Sweetie Belle asked.
"Yeah. Ah don't want to be stuck like this," Apple Bloom added.
"Well just for now. How about Sweet Appaloo?" Scootaloo suggested.
"I like it," Sweetie Belle said happily. "But I'd rather not stay like this forever."
"Fine, if it makes yah happy," Apple Bloom said.
"Hey, Apple Bloom, could you get us over to the door? I want to try picking the lock." Sweetie Belle requested.
"Where did you learn how to do that anyway?" Scootaloo asked.
"Rarity taught me. She taught me a few things like that."
"Why would she teach you how to pick locks?" Apple Bloom asked, sitting their body down by the door to the cage and relinquishing control of their shared front hooves.
"She always told me that there were bad ponies that would try to hurt ladies like us," Sweetie Belle explained why, reaching into their mane and pulling out a small metal hair clip that has somehow survived the machine. "So she taught me a couple spells to get away from them and how to pick locks so I could escape," she continued. She stopped talking to bite the metal band and twisted it to her liking before reaching through the bars and feeling around for the lock with her free hoof.
"Why didn't you use that before now?" Scootaloo asked.
"He took me by surprise, okay? And I couldn't find the lock on the thing he put us in," Sweetie Belle said. She located the lock and gently inserted the hair clip into it and began the delicate process of working the tumblers. "Plus my spell only stuns and wears off quick."
"Think yah can do it if we run into him while we get outta here?" Apple Bloom asked.
"Definitely," Sweetie Belle replied. There was a small click and the other two felt the smile. Sweetie Belle pushed the door but was dismayed to find it still locked. Confused, she used her magic to move the light source out of the cage. Now she could see what happened.
"You picked the wrong lock?" Scootaloo groaned seeing she had unlocked the door to the right of them. Sweetie Belle sheepishly removed the lock pick but as she did so heard a snap as the hair clip broke with most still in the lock.
"Perfect," she pouted.
"Put them in a holding cell for now," came an echoing voice. The three, now one, fell silence. Sweetie Belle instantly extinguished the light and got rid of the mirror. Apple Bloom moved them back to where they had woken up and laid down. They collectively kept one eye open.
Just then the diamond dog that had captured them and a griffon strode into the room carrying some things. They opened the cage on the left side of the girls They deposited four figures inside and shut the door. Then moved one more away and placed three more in that one.
"What a day," the griffon said.
"Yeah. At least we don't have to do anything until the morning," the diamond dog agreed.
"So where do we sleep?" asked a third creature entering the room, a gentle light coming from a horn on its head. The girls nearly gasped at the sight. It looked like they did now. Sure the colors were different but the pieced together appearance was uncanny. There was something familiar about that hat.
"The henchpony barracks are this way," the griffon said, walking out of the room. The other two followed him out.
"So we're not the only ones," Sweetie Belle said when she felt sure the three had gone.
"Yeah, but that one is working with him," Scootaloo added.
"Yah know who that was? Trixie!" Apple Bloom said.
"That loud mouth that came to Ponyville last year?" Scootaloo asked. "Said she was better than Rainbow Dash; as if."
"Yeah. Ah'm sure,"
"Well it clearly wasn't all of her there," Scootaloo said trying to be funny but nopony laughed.
"Sweetie Belle, could yah please-" Apple Bloom began but their unicorn third had already begun casting the light spell again. Once the orb of light was in the air she maneuvered it to the nearby cells. The three gasped as one as they saw the seven ponies. Their friends and for two of them, family.
"This just got really bad," Scootaloo said, her fear beginning to show.
If you like this story, you should check out some of my other works:
My tumblr, an alternate universe mixing MLP and Cyborg 009.
Forever a Changeling, my latest story starring Rainbow Dash as a changeling.
Samurai Applejack, a drastically different kind of story. It’s rated mature for violence and some suggestive lines.
Night of the Werepony, what I consider to be my worst story, but it’s my most popular. It’s just one chapter long.