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“You're sure this is safe?” Twilight Sparkle bit her lip as she glanced at the large dark cloud over her home. A couple of pegasi flew around it, tapping it here and there and producing a few raindrops. Some drops landed on Twilight's back and she wiped them off with a hoof.
“Don’t worry about it,” Rainbow Dash said while floating in the air near Twilight. “You said the tree was beginning to feel dry anyway. A nice rainstorm is just what it needs.”
“I know.” Twilight smiled up at Dash. “It’s nice that you’re doing this and all, but I’m still a little worried about the books.”
"Eh, watering one tree is nothing compared to when we have to roll out the big storms," Dash confidently replied. She flew away from Twilight and over to a section of the cloud that was dispersing rain at a much faster rate than the rest of the cloud.
“Don’t worry, sugarcube," said Applejack as she gave Twilight a reassuring pat on the back. "Your tree has stood up to much worse... Ah think Rarity and Ah can attest to that."
Twilight giggled a little. “I guess you’re right. I’m still a little anxious about the books. Some of them were on loan from the Canterlot Library."
Applejack raised an eyebrow.“Why do ya need books from there? Ain’t ya got all the books ya need here?”
“Normally, but I’ve been trying to find books on Tartarus and only the Canterlot Library has anything on it.”
“Why even bother studying about that place? From the way ya looked after coming back from there, it seems like a mighty nasty place.”
“That’s the thing, I didn’t actually go there." Twilight trotted back and forth as she spoke. "There’s just this really big gate that leads to Tartarus and that’s what Cerberus guards. I mean, the gate looked pretty solid, I couldn’t even see the top of it, but I’m still worried. What if one of the monsters inside escapes? We were able to get Cerberus back to the gate this time, but what if it happens again?”
Something tugged at Twilight's mane. She looked down and was met with Spike's concerned expression. “Um, not to use a really bad pun, but shouldn’t you just let sleeping dogs lie?”
“Not if the sleeping dog is something like Discord,” Twilight replied. “Besides, it’s not like I’m ever actually going back there. I just want to know what's in Tartarus.”
“Okay.” Spike slanted his eyes at Twilight. He knew Twilight’s quest for knowledge often overwhelmed her common sense, “Just be ca— jeez!” Spike ducked just as a lightning bolt zoomed past him, singeing his tail.
“Derpy!” Dash yelled.“Again?”
Applejack looked up at the cloud and then at Twilight. “Maybe it would be a good idea to move those books.”
The hairs stuck up on Fluttershy’s neck as she trotted through the Everfree forest. Angel had an upset stomach and nothing she’d tried had helped. Twilight was sorting out a mess that arranged storm had caused over her house earlier today, so Fluttershy didn’t want to bother her. That left Zecora as the only option. “Come on, Fluttershy, you can do this,” she said to herself as she walked through the dark forest. “It’s for Angel’s sake. Besides, the Everfree isn’t so scary when you th—”
A loud thud caused Fluttershy to jump a few feet into the air, but she quickly fell to the ground and hugged herself. “W-what was that?” Her eyes darted around the forest as she cowered on the ground. “Oh, please don’t be a monster.” She listened closely for any more noises, but didn’t hear anything. “M-maybe whatever it was went away. “Oh, I hope it didn’t hurt any animals..."
Fluttershy pushed her hooves into the ground and got back up. She took a breath and stared off in the direction the noise had come from. Her hooves silently trotted along the forest floor as she made her way over to where the sound had come from. Something crashed down in front of her and made her dart behind a tree. Her heart felt like it was in her throat. She swallowed and managed to peak her head around the tree.
The forest was silent once more. The only thing that had changed was a large broken branch now stood a few feet ahead of where Fluttershy had been standing. She went over to check on the branch and drew in her breath when she saw the way it was snapped clean from whatever tree it had come from. "W-what could break a tree l-like that?"
"Mugha," a voice moaned.
The voice made Fluttershy freeze. Her eyes slowly crept to her left. Broken branches were scattered around a single spot: gigantic paw print. Her eyes widened when she noticed the unmistakeable shape of a pony in the center of the print. A blue vest rested over his tan coat and a yellow straw hat with a a red stripe sat ajar his black mane.
“Oh no!” Fluttershy rushed over to the pony and quickly tossed him on her back and glimpsed a hat on his flanks that matched the one on his head. “It’ll be okay! We’ll just get you to Zecora! Oh, how could I have not noticed an Ursa minor!"
“... so I picked him up and brought him here as fast as I could,” Fluttershy finished explaining to Zecora.
Zecora nodded and then looked over to her bed. The tan pony rested in it, oblivious to the world. She noticed one of his eye twitch. “It seems our unfamiliar friend is about to awaken once again.”
“Oh, thank goodness, I was so worried.” Fluttershy trotted next to bed.
The pony slowly opened his eyes and yawned. He smacked his lips started to push himself up. "Ugh, I'm hungry.
Fluttershy gently laid a hoof on the pony's chest to prevent him from straining himself. “It’s okay, you’re in Zecora’s hut... oh, but, um, you probably wouldn’t know that if you’re from out of town.”
“A tourist would be most likely to tread through the Everfree so lightly,” Zecora cautioned.
“Whoa! A talking zebra!" The pony immediately pushed past Fluttershy's feeble restraint and darted over to Zecora. He circled around her with an excited expression on his face and examined her from various angles. "That’s so cool!”
“Oh my, you seem quite energetic and a little hectic.” Zecora backed herself to a wall, so that, at least, the pony couldn't get behind her.
“I’m just glad he’s okay,” said Fluttershy.
Fluttershy's words brought the pony's attention over to her. “Oh, wow! A talking flying horse!" He abandoned his interest in Zecora and started examining Fluttershy instead. "I mean, there was Pierre in Skypeia, but he couldn’t talk! That’s awesome!”
“I... um...” Fluttershy choked on her words. Oh, he’s like Pinkie! I don’t know how to deal with that much energy in a stallion! “Are... are you feeling okay?”
“Hmm? Well...” The pony brought a hoof up to his muzzle. “Ahh!”
“What?” Fluttershy instinctively cowered and covered her head.
“I have hooves! That’s so weird!” The pony turned his head and looked over his body. “What did that bear guy do to me?”
“Oh no! Zecora! I think he lost his memory!" Fluttershy exclaimed. She turned her attention back to the pony. “Okay... okay... take this slow. Nice and slow. Do you know who you are?”
“That’s a stupid question," the pony nonchalantly replied. "I’m Luffy, the future pirate king.”
“Y-y-you’re royalty?" Fluttershy stuttered. "But... but I thought only the Princesses could be rulers.”
"No, no, not like an actual king..." Luffy paused and tapped a hoof to his chin. "... I think." He then looked down at his hoof as it tapped at his chin. "Whoa, that is freaky."
"Oh my.” Fluttershy turned toward Zecora, her eyes were wide like dinner plates. “I think he must have hit his head too. Is there anything you can do to help?”
“Regarding loss of memory, I am unsure if I have the proper remedy,” Zecora replied.
“Um...” Luffy patted his stomach with a hoof. “Just wondering, do you have any food?”
“I have many types of berries that I'm sure with make you merry," said Zecora. "I also have other different plate of mine on which you can dine."
“Ya got any meat?” Luffy interrupted.
“Meat?” asked Fluttershy.
“Ya know, cows, pigs, fish... just something to eat.” Fluttershy’s face drained of color with each animal Luffy listed. “You okay?”
“Eeeee!” Fluttershy's wings flapped open and she fled out of Zecora's hut.
“What’s her problem?” Luffy asked Zecora.
“Perhaps return of memory is the right cure,” Zecora anxiously looked at Luffy,”for you see, of meat ponies do not usually procure.”
“Eating meat is most forbidden, for ponies of that I am certain.”
“Noooo!” Luffy's body went limp and he collapsed to the ground.