There are so many references :P
I love having all the characters from MLP have some kind of roles in my stories, which i hope you all find enjoyable. You will find, everyone...and I mean, EVERYONE in these bits of fiction.
Leave a comment, watch, message, whatever you feel like doing, I am open book. :)
Back inside the hall, in one of the second floor rooms, Dash was plopped on a divan of sorts, her wounds being medicated and bandaged by Doctor Julian Whooves. After putting a drop of a vibrant green potion on a gash on her flank, he covered it with gauze and taped it in place.
“There, the potion should fully kick in in about an hour. For what that stallion was talking about, I’d say you got lucky walking away with the injuries you had, and not much severer ones.” Many of the six nodded, except Fluttershy, who gulped in fear. He turned to face his patient. “Just try not to strain yourself for that time. Some of the bruises are muscle deep and will take longer to rectify.”
“Thanks for coming here, Julian. We didn’t know who else to call.” Rarity thanked. Whooves chuckled at the comment, given the fact that he was currently the only doctor in Ponyville. The other four had left for Manehattan to observe the Summer Sun Celebration there.
“Well, the only reason I was close at all was because of Ditzy. She managed to sneak out of the hall and ran to come and get me. I guess she figured someone was going to get hurt.”
“And she was right too.” Twilight added, with gloom in her tone. Twilight took a seat next to her multi-colored friend, who was starting to feel the slightly loopy effects of the potion. “Dash, do you remember what did you saw in that cloud?” The cyan Pegasus nodded.
“Oh yeah, I remember. It was like some kind of portal, because when I leaped in, I landed in this sort of cave. It was nearly pitch black, but in the distance I saw those two foals!” Rainbow grunted as she accidentally strained herself in the aggravation. Taking a deep breath she lay back onto the bed, trying to relax herself as she continued to reminisce over the enraging events.
“They were standing next to a cliff, and it looked as if they were talking down into the hole. They seemed really into their conversation with whatever was down there, so I dashed in and made a grab for the Elements. Those three managed to slip through his hooves, and I rushed back as quickly as I could. But Nightmare used her horn to lob some boulders at me.” She turned over so a large bruise on her neck, now wrapped, was facing her friends. “She got a few good shots in.” Her gaze fell to the floor as she sighed. “I wish I could’ve gotten them all.”
“Regardless of whether or not you retook all of the elements or only some, that was an incredibly brave thing you did for all of us, Rainbow Dash.” Celestia marched into the room as she commemorated the cyan Pegasus. Instinctive bows came from all the other ponies but their ruler almost immediately dismissed them. “Hold off your bows every pony, we have more important things to focus on than acknowledgement, like finding out where those two foals have run off too.”
“And who that one Pegasus is, too. I’ve never seen any pony like that, ever. Not in Ponyville, Canterlot, or anywhere else in Equestira.” Twilight informed. The rest of the Mane Six concurred with Twilight, this black stallion was completely off-radar…until tonight. Rainbow Dash crossed her hooves in frustration.
“Well, then how do we fight against some pony we’ve never seen before?” Everyone pondered for a moment, trying to dig up an answer to this dilemma. A while passed by without a single word, even the Princess was stumped. But finally, Rarity raised her hoof to grasp every pony’s attention.
“If we’re trying to combat something that isn’t from anywhere familiar, maybe we should talk to someone who also isn’t from around here.” The stumped expressions on each pony’s face resumed their prominence, and Rarity’s hoof met her face, followed by a groan. “Who is the only one we know that isn’t from a place in Equestria, that we know of?” More silence poured into the room, as if everyone was waiting for the purple haired unicorn to burst out with the answer. The shout came, but from the opposite direction, stemming from the wide open maw of Pinkie Pie.
“ZECORA!” She blared, repeating the name about four more times before she would allow gravity to bring her back to ground level. “No one around here knows where she’s from! Maybe she’s seen this pony before back home or lurking around the forest!” The alicorn nodded before turning towards the door to alert transportation.
“Good, I’ll have the chariots escort you all to the forest entry, but they can’t enter any further than that. The trees will knock them clear out of the sky.”
“That’ll be okay, Princess, we remember the way to her place from there. C’mon every pony, let’s get going!” Twilight rallied. Everyone stood up ready to get this venture rolling, but Dash’s efforts to get off the bed were for naught. She plopped back into the bed like a sack of potatoes. “Sorry Dash. You need to stay here and recover, we’ll go and tell you what happened when we come back.” Dash groaned at the unicorn’s proposal. She always hated being on the sidelines, but knew that if she strained herself, she wouldn’t be doing herself any favors. Her hot-headedness had cleared out a bit over the course of the year.
“Fine then, make sure you guys come back and tell me the whole thing. You fight any monsters out there, tell me. The trees come alive and try to eat you, tell me.” Pinkie Pie bolted over and shut Dash’s mouth with her hoof, as she had seemed to forget that Fluttershy was still in the room, her eyes wide with sudden caution. But regardless, the five of the six quickly maneuvered out the door to get ready for this new trek. No telling what could be lurking in the Everfree Forest now, especially with this new threat in place. As the last colorful pony tail disappeared behind the doorway’s edge, Celestia turned to look outside the window. The moon was beginning to set for the seemingly final time, and the sun was rising, under the same circumstances. She focused on both celestial bodies as she dove into contemplation of everything that was happening, because in truth, this was not a foreign threat to the alicorn. She had kept this story hidden from Twilight and all of Equestria, the only person who was the wiser was her sister, and she had just been overtaken by some sort of controlling darkness. In this deep state of thought, she didn’t even notice that Rainbow was staring at her own gawking to the sky. “Um…princess? Are you okay?” The acknowledgement snapped Celestia back into reality. She turned to her subject.
“Oh! Um, yes, Rainbow. Just lost my train of thought.” She lied. “I need to take care of some things back at Canterlot, but I’ll return for your friends’ news.” Rainbow nodded in understanding but buried her head into the pillow in annoyance at her predicament. The princess chuckled. “Don’t worry Dash. You’ll get your chance to face them again. Knowing your friends they’ll certainly rattle this new villain’s cage somehow. Then he’ll have to come up from his little hideaway to see what the problem is. Then that’s your moment.” Dash smirked and nodded in agreement, before the alicorn opened the window so she could make her exit. “But for now, try to get some rest. A good sleep will do you good.” With that, the ivory wings spread and Equestria’s ruler was airborne.
Moments later, the echo of signature Pegasus snoring poured out into Ponyville through the left-open window.
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“Eugh, I always hate coming to his disgusting place.” Rarity complained. Several of her friends nodded in agreement, but only one spoke.
“Believe me; I don’t want to be here anymore than you do, none of us do.” Applejack retorted. Behind her was Fluttershy, who carried on the row of complaints with a mere whimper. The speculation of horrors Dash carelessly spewed out only moments before still lingered in her head, taking visual form. But Pinkie Pie continued to push her on, with Twilight leading the pony troupe. “You sure you know where you’re going Twilight? I don’t want to spend any more time then I have to in this Celestia-forsaken place.”
“Trust me Applejack, I know where we’re going. I drew this up last time we visited incase we’d need to come back.” Floating in front of Twilight was a crisp beige map, drawn with exact precision and proportion to the actual forest. “There’s a fork in the path coming up, everyone stay to the left side. The right just leads to the ruins of Old Canterlot.”
“Old Canterlot?” Applejack asked. “I didn’t know there was an ‘Old Canterlot’.” Twilight let out an ‘mmhmm’ in response.
“Thousands of years ago those ruins were once the royal palace and plaza of Canterlot. Everything that we’ve seen in the royal city now, used to be here instead. But apparently the forest had a sudden overgrowth and consumed the entire city, and no pony’s magic or labor could stop it. So they were forced to build a new one, high up on the mountain it’s on now. All we’d find there is a bunch of abandoned buildings and an old fort.” Everyone let out murmurs of understanding, before meeting up at the predicted fork in the path. Every pony followed the unicorn’s instruction and kept on the left side, trying to avoid looking into what lay in the right. But Fluttershy’s will to blot out her curiosity wasn’t strong enough, and she snuck a peek into the corridor of dead, entangled trees.
Standing at the far end like nothing was the shape of a normal pony. She couldn’t tell which kind it was in fault of the distance, but it wasn’t the body that captivated her gaze…It was the pure, shimmering white eyes that seemed to stare directly into her own, regardless of space or the fact that the being owned no pupils. The blank stare caused Fluttershy’s heart to sink in pure fear; she had no sort of idea what the intent of this gaze was. It looked like one of wonder, but the lack of blinking shrouded it in a cloak of eeriness. Their clashing glances held against one another for a while, until a tap on the head caused the Pegasus to nearly fall over.
“Hello, anyone in there?” Pinkie Pie joked as Fluttershy tipped over. “What’re you looking at?” The earth pony popped her head out of the bushy wall and into the wooden laden path. But nothing of interest lay at the end, just a tunnel of growing darkness. Pinkie Pie propped Fluttershy back up and dragged her along the path in attempts to catch up with the group. As she floated off the ground from the speed of the pony’s galloping, the Pegasus tried with utmost effort to contemplate what, or who she just saw. Someone was following them, and every pony had to know.
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“Well, we’re here everyone.” All five ponies glanced up to the home of Zecora, completely unchanged since their last visit, minus the addition of some black lanterns with green lights glowing inside of them. “Alright, let’s see if Zecora has anything we can use.” Twilight began to make her way up to the door to knock, but she was stopped by a tapping on her flank. Curiously she turned and met Fluttershy’s worried gaze.
“Um…Twilight? Um, I think that…you should know that…I-.” Stuttering left several glitches in her nervous sentence.
“I’m sorry Fluttershy but could you just spit it out? We don’t have a lot of time here.” Applejack did nothing to hold back the tone of annoyance in her voice. Fluttershy took a deep breath, hoping to have smothered the stutter away.
“Back at the fork…I saw someth-.” The sound of an unlocking latch cut off the Pegasus, followed by the creaking of a door. Knocks on wood grew subtly louder as a figure emerged from the blackness behind the doorway. Out of the cloak of black came Zecora, eyes fighting to stay open, battling the lingering grasp of tiredness. The troupe had just woke her up with their short-lived but loud noise. Using a hoof to rub her left eye, the zebra spoke.
“Are you not at all aware of the time, my friends, why do you disturb this nap of mine?” Twilight stepped forward right after the shaman-esque zebra finished her rhyme.
“We’re sorry for disturbing you Zecora, but this is an emergency. Ponyville’s been attacked by some sort of Pegasus, and we were hoping if you knew anything about it.” Zecora’s face instantly morphed to from groggy and half-awake, to confused and interested. She had been sleeping for the past few hours so she had no instant bringing of attention to the events occurring in her neighboring town, so she turned and signaled for the group to follow her inside. She would have to consult her crystal ball.
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The gathering of seven watched the previous events unfold once more behind the spherical screen of Zecora’s enchanted orb. The black and white animal studied each vision that focused on the new enemy Twilight spoke, eyes narrowed in effort to try and remember any sort of sign of something even remotely related to the creature. But her memory was blank of any sort of character resembling this new foe. Finally the fog containing the images dissipated, leaving the interior of the orb empty and green. Zecora looked up to the group, all wearing gazes of hope that the zebra would have an answer. But their hopes dashed away as Zecora shook her head left and right.
“Nothing?” Twilight asked, even though she already knew the answer. It was only to this, that Zecora would nod.
“This new evil is surely not one I have seen.” Zecora turned back to face her wall, feeling a bit depressed that she couldn’t aid in her friend’s investigation. But suddenly, something had sparked in her thoughts. “Wait! Could it be the ruler of those repulsive changelings?” Every pony suddenly started to mumble and think themselves as to if this mysterious creature was a conjuring of Chrysalis. Murmurs emitted from every pony…accept Fluttershy, who had spent the entire time staring out the window of Zecora’s dwelling, with the uneasy feeling that an invisible pair of eyes was watching over them.
“It could be Chrysalis, but none of us know for sure. I mean, it had feathers like a Pegasus, but no horn or thorny features. The only person who I think would know 100% would be Rainbow Dash. Ergh! But she’s back at Ponyville recovering!” Twilight tried desperately to keep herself from smashing anything of Zecora’s in a blind lashing of anger, managing to only hammer it against the floor. Applejack quickly came to Twilight’s side.
“Relax, sugar cube. None of us think it was her, so I think it’s safe to say Dash would agree with us on this.” The lot of them nodded, minus Fluttershy, gaze still being held by the one she knew lay outside. Rarity then decided to pitch her idea.
“Maybe we should go to Canterlot, take a look in some of the Ancient Pony Archives. There could be something in there.” Every pony nodded in agreement.
“Yeah Twilight, you love reading up on old stories right?” Spike joked, which was met with a long annoyed sigh from the purple unicorn.
“I guess that would be the ideal place to keep looking.” Twilight agreed. She then meant to say something else, but Zecora’s clearing of her throat cut her off.
“Well, there is one thing I think may help all of you, but it may be quite dangerous for you to try and do.” Questioning looks morphed onto each pony’s face.
“Please, Zecora…at this rate I’m willing to try anything if it means figuring out who this stallion is.” Twilight announced. Zecora then opened one of her many books, a brown one with black markings across the edges and corners. She turned to a page where the image of a sort of web was printed. Sketches of monstrous creatures and evil looking beings took place in the spaces between the strings of the web, and the zebra began her revealing.
“In my culture, it’s believed that when evil’s alone, often finds comfort and coherence amongst its own. Those who are of evil, or commit deeds in its name, will know of the others who involve themselves in the practice of the very same.” Every pony was dumbfounded, as Zecora’s habit of rhyming had forced her words to jumble and become elaborate to fit her expressive preference.
“What...in the hay does that mean?” Applejack asked, scratching the back of her head in completely confusion. Uhh’s and umm’s droned from of the Mane Five, until Twilight’s logic finally shaped what seemed like a decent conclusion.
“I think it means that if we want to find out about this evil…we should speak to someone who is evil.”
“But who do we know that’s evil and had their flanks bucked already?” Pinkie Pie blurted out. At that moment, only one answer came to each pony’s mind. But while they all knew who it was, they all kept silent, thinking that the others would call them crazy if they suggested it. Finally, Twilight came out with it.
“…Discord.” Five gulps played out practically in order.
“But didn’t we buck his flank too? Well…he doesn’t really have a flank, so then we bucked his-?” Applejack wrapped a hoof around Pinkie’s mouth to keep her from falling into a complete ramble fit.
“That’d be true, Pinkie, but we also have him frozen in the holding chamber of Canterlot. But there’s no way that Celestia would let anyone near that creep, let alone unfreeze and talk to him.”
“Maybe, but we still have to try. It may be the only way and if Celestia knows that, then she’ll have to let us at least try it.” Twilight proclaimed with a sort of determination in her voice. The conversation was completely blocked out by Fluttershy, as she stared off into the darkness of the forest for any sign of alien life. In the whole half-hour she had spent on this reconnaissance, not one thing moved within the trees that seemed out of order, until they were back again. The same pair of pure white eyes that she caught sight of back at the fork. But this time, they were not open or devoid of any emotion, they were narrow, furrowed, and seemed to collide against Flutteshy’s own stare. Fear sank into the Pegasus, forcing her to have to do something she has done only a total of three or four times in her life. She yelled.
“THERE’S SOMEONE OUTSIDE!” Every pony jumped at the cry, getting a good two feet off the floor before landing on their flanks in the confusion. Twilight rolled back upright and rubbed the part of her other hoof that she landed on.
“Geez, Fluttershy. You could’ve just tapped some pony’s shoulder…and what’s outside?” Twilight moved up to the window and looked out, taking only seconds to catch the two bulbs of white in the botanical darkness. She gasped. “Fluttershy’s right, someone’s watching us, and it looks like it’s been for a while now too.” Applejack’s brows pointed down.
“I don’t very much appreciate being watched. Let’s go see who our little peeper is!” Following behind the earth pony were the rest, the last being Zecora, and Pinkie Pie who was dragging the frozen Fluttershy. After climbing down the steps and forming a sort of circle in the front yard, the Mane Five each looked out to their own little section of view of the forest. Applejack was the first to call their stalker out. “Whoever you are, come out and show yourself! Why in the hay are you following us anyway?!” There was no answer, save for a few birds fleeing to Applejack’s shouting. Growling she stood up on her hind legs and lobbed her front hooves back and forth. “If you don’t come out by yourself I’ll come in there and drag you out! I’m not in the mood for any games! SHOW YOURSELF!” The earth pony’s apparent anger caught the attention of her friends, but this wasn’t the time to bring up anger issues. After that last threat, the figure owning the white eyes began to slowly move towards them. Every pony took battle and pounce ready positions, should the thing emerge with a harmful agenda. But as the amount of trees covering the being lessened, the blackness began to fade away. A familiar hat and cape outfit colored blue came into sight, the pattern of white stars seeming to come later. White mane, blue coat, and narrowed purple eyes all came into view as the all to reviled form of the “Great and Powerful” Trixie came to prominence. Mental groans scoured each pony’s mind as her presence scoured their sight, except for Fluttershy, who only noticed that the white eyes she saw before had seemingly morphed into Trixie’s own. Twilight was the first to speak.
“Trixie, what the…what are you doing here?” The unicorn asked. The star-clad Trixie only smirked at first, keeping her head slightly downward, allowing her eyes to barely show under the edge of her hood’s rim. Then she responded, her normal voice seemingly darker in tone.
“I should be asking you the same, this place is dangerous you know?” She seemingly mocked. This fueled Applejack’s anger even more.
“That’s no one of your business, Miss Fireworks. I’m sure you’ve got your own sort to attend to, one that involves playing with your little smoke and mirror kit. If that joke was too elaborate for you, to put in simply, get out of here and leave us alone.” The threat was very real, accompanied by Applejack’s scraping of the ground with her hoof. Trixie merely whipped her head up, her curled white bang lashing up and out of her eyes. Her smirk had straightened out to a flat line at the insult. Then, out of nowhere, came the infamous, unexpected Pinkie Pie witticism, which had now become expected of her.
“Well wait a minute Applejack, Trixie’s kind of evil, let’s ask her about the Pegasus!” Pinkie Pie joked. There was a moment of silence, but the Mane Five could not keep their teeth clenched, and bursts of laughter began to blare from them all. Even Applejack, with all her present annoyance, was hysterically chortling with uncontrollable hilarity. Trixie’s line curved to a frown as the sounds of amusement continued to play out. After a while they started to get annoying, so she decided to break it up with a retort of her own.
“You know, you do look a lot better with your hair straightened, Pinkie. Pity it can only loosen like that during times of loneliness.” The laughter immediately left the voices of every pony as the magician unicorn continued. “Like that time no one would come to your little birthday party for that cross-eyed pet alligator of yours?” Pinkie’s gaze lowered to the floor as her thoughts reverted back to how she felt that day. Trixie was right about her feelings: that moment of forced solitude did tug at her heartstrings with sharp nails. Applejack saw this reversion, and relapsed back to her previous fury.
“I believe I told you to get, Trix! Unless you have a reason to be here, which I highly doubt, get to stepping.” Trixie’s smirk had returned, and she continued.
“I find it funny how you seem to be the only one defending your friend Applejack, while the others lay back and stay silent. You’ve always had the burden of carrying the world on your shoulders. Like when you had to buck the apples of your entire farm, or win all those races in hopes of get the money that Ponyville needed…and failed.” Applejack’s eyes were reddening now with anger. But while all she could see was a trash-talking pony in need of a lesson, the others saw something else. They watched as a webbing-like blackness began to emerge from behind the wizard-garbed unicorn, slithering across her skin and outfit. The tendrils slowly made their way towards her eyes from behind her head, and she sustained her threatening discourse.
“You know what? I find a lot of things funny nowadays. I find it funny that your beloved Princess sends her subjects out to do the work of finding the enemy, especially when her sister is the one in danger. I also find it funny that you still believe that you have a chance to save Equestria. Tenacity is often more annoying than comical, but under these circumstances, it’s definitely the latter.”
Trixie started to laugh, and as she did so, her voice seemed to split into two different tones, speaking in unison. One was her normal, somewhat whiny voice, and the other was some sort of demonic alteration. The black web circled around her eyes like sharks circle around prey, and as they finally filled the bit of blue hair in the center, the white, soulless eyes familiar to Fluttershy flashed back to subsistence. With the cackling seeming to never end, the possessed unicorn ascended off the ground and into the air, assuming power over the six friends.
“I knew deep in my heart I wanted to rid this world of you nosy ponies. I told myself time and time I again, that I hated you, but I’d never do such a thing like that…when in reality, that is what I craved. I just never realized it could actually be possible…until NOW!” Trixie’s horn flashed up with blackened energy, and with no hesitation, fired off five beams of power one by one at each pony. Applejack dived out of the way, barely managing to regain her footing, and sped off to the left towards the trees, hoping they would shield her from the Trixie’s rays. The others scrambled away from the rain of energy, with Twilight forming a barrier between herself and the attack. Catching up Rarity and Pinkie Pie, the unicorn then shoved them behind a large boulder for cover, all the while Fluttershy had flown up into the air in a panic, the beams barely missing her by inches. Watching the Pegasus shuffle around in the air entertained Trixie, but a blaring cry from her right took her away from her fun.
“Now you asked for it!” Applejack charged from the woods as fast as she could, reaching the semi-distracted unicorn in seconds. Right before she could blatantly collide with her, Applejack dug her back hooves into the ground and rose up onto her hind legs. By now her front hooves had the force and strength of new giant steel mallets, and she hammered them down to her enemy. The magician caught sight of the enraged pony last second and threw herself backwards, with Applejack’s hooves shattering the earth she had just stood upon.
Trixie released her control and turned her full concentration on the furious farmer. Even with the missing her initial strike, Applejack kept on thrashing at the wizard. Hoof after hoof Trixie avoided each hit, either by swooping left and right, or slapping them away with her own two hooves. Each deflection bought more rage, more rage bought more oomph in the strikes, but the more oomph, the less speed between hits. Applejack’s attacks became slower and slower, but they would have shattered bones had they made contact. But Trixie just kept on dashing away, almost purposely allowing the wind of the blows’ speed to brush the hair of her mane up and around. The sixth attack would’ve been enough to crush the boulder Twilight and the others were hiding behind to dust, but sadly it only met contact with the dirt, for Trixie rose up on her own hind legs to avoid it. The pony quickly pulled back to ready for another strike, but this time, her hoof had been trapped between the jaws of the earth, holding her in place temporarily for Trixie to do as she pleased.
“My turn.” She taunted. Trixie then took a single jump, using it to spin so that her backside was facing the vulnerable Applejack, and with magical force empowering her, shot her two back hooves out like rockets. The blow bashed Applejack’s face, sending her on an aerial flight back towards the boulder. Finally touched onto the grass Applejack spun several more times, before coming to a slow, scratchy stop. Scrambling to get back on her feet, an explosion of magical energy fired right behind her, as if someone had stood on a land mine. Trixie had continued firing her rays. The earth pony sped for the boulder, galloping furiously and then leaping the last few feet. Landing on the inner edge of its cover, Applejack flustered up against the rock wall, panting with exhaustion. On the other side, Twilight popped in and out of the rock’s cover, firing her own bolts of energy during these intervals.
“That…Trixie…is a lot…tougher than I thought.” Rarity noticed Applejack’s sudden appearance, wincing at the sight of the long scratch across the side of her cheek from the wizard’s kick. The farmer pony wiped the trickle of blood from the scrape, giving not even a smidge of concern for the miniscule sting it bought. She then turned to her friends. “Anypony have any ideas!?” Applejack shouted over the roar of the neighboring magic battle. Twilight whipped herself back behind the rock as a massive blast fired past her, landing in the trees with a fiery burst. Twilight searched for a means of either escape from their corner or to fight Trixie. A tree that had fallen over from an earlier explosion caught her eye. It was at least fifteen feet in height and two feet in thickness, definitely something someone would want to avoid being crushed by.
“I got it! Rarity, do you see that tree over there?” Twilight pointed at the torn log, and the white unicorn nodded. “Do you think you can lift it up and over the rock?” Rarity pondered the thought for a moment, trying to think of all the heavy things she had lifted in the past. In the end, she gave a slightly reluctant nod.
“I believe I can, but for what purpose?” Twilight smirked slightly.
“I can draw Trixie’s attention away from you. Once she’s turned around, you lift that tree up and lob it straight at her!” Twilight’s hoof pointed from the tree to the area she had been peeking over to return fire. Rarity’s face expressed confusion.
“But wouldn’t she just catch it? She’ll probably throw it back even harder!”
“Exactly, magic requires constant concentration on the thing you’re trying to manipulate. If we can turn her attention away from us with a distraction, that’ll give us an opening to attack at the same time. She can’t hit all of us at once if we’re in front, behind, and all around her.” Twilight’s deduction skills had proven invaluable yet again. As she finished her explanation, Applejack stood back up on all four feet.
“I’m going with you, Twi. She’ll have a lesser chance of hitting us if she’s got two targets.” Twilight didn’t have time to disagree or convince her friend otherwise, for their rock shelter had begun to breakdown from the constant assault of magic. The purple unicorn took a deep breath, readying her nerves and hooves for the desperate run, and leapt out in unison with Applejack, each from a different side. Trixie targeted Twilight first, knowing she would be the main source of resistance to her attack. Beams lashed out at the purple pony’s feet like aggressive rattlesnakes, but dashing from side to side allowed her to avoid being tripped up. The wizard turned her attention to the plethora of trees that lay in front of the galloping horse.
As Twilight ran through the forest, hoping the trees to her side could provide shielding from the blasts she predicted Trixie would fire, and continued to look back to see if Rarity had begun lifting trees. One peek and she was disappointed, as the tree had not been moved an inch. She hurriedly faced forward once again, but this time an eerie aura had fallen over the woods before her. Then, out of nowhere, long dense tree branches started to drop down from the leafy ceiling, like hands trying to grab or hit Twilight and knock her off course. Pivoting left and right to dodge the tree arms, Twilight didn’t notice that Trixie returned her attention to Applejack.
The farmer was like a lemur in the trees, using the trunks to kick off and upwards into the foliage. The leaves soon became a quilt that cut off Trixie from catching any sight of her target. In this cover, Applejack slinked around the forest, and peeked through a hole between the branches. There, like a panther, she awaited to pounce. The lack of pony-sighting began to probe at Trixie’s patience, shown by the gritting of teeth.
“Come out and face me you lot of prancing ponies. All you’ve done is run and hide from me so far, except for one!” The wizard felt something at that moment, two taps on her shoulder. She whipped around and was shocked by the ever-so wide signature grin of Pinkie Pie.
“Ahem, I believe it’s two of us.” A powerful bucking kick from Pinkie sent the off-guard wizard soaring back a good ten feet. Skidding on the ground the last third of the way, she quickly rose back up, whipped her dirty, grass-covered mane back, and now focused on the pink party-thrower. Trixie fired, the blast hit, and the smoke cleared. Pinkie was gone. “I’m sorry was that for me?” The bubbly voice taunted out of sight. Trixie frantically looked around, seeing the pony had buzzed to the side like a frenetic wasp. The wizard growled and fired again. Blast hit and smoke cleared, but Pinkie dashed off again, this time ending up on the top of a tree branch. “I’m sorry; it’s a force of habit. I usually don’t get hit by magic so it’s natural to bounce away. Like this!” Pinkie hopped back down to the ground, right as another magical beam blew the branch to splinters. Trixie had enough of this joker, and charged her horn for an all out rain of energy. Like an automatic rifle, she fired beam after beam of magic at the balloon-marked pony. But Pinkie was just too fast, becoming a pink blur between the cracks of smoke each crashing bolt left behind. The fired of frustration burned brighter with every miss, and Trixie eye’s narrowed with hatred.
Twilight had become fixated on the battle between Trixie and Pinkie. She watched as the pony bounced in between energies like a pinball. But then a rogue blast fired straight at her from the massive fog, and she desperately dug her hooves into the ground to stop. Her eyes met the glimmer of the energy blast at nearly half-inches, but she did not halt.
Pinkie Pie grinned at her opponent, smug with the demonstration of her speed and agility. But that smile broke into a gasp as an explosion erupted from the bit of forest behind, the bit that Twilight had been running through.
“TWILIGHT!” Pinkie cried out, her hair losing some of its curls from the sudden despair. But despair changed to anger, and she shot her gaze back to Trixie’s direction. But a bolt of magical energy clouded her vision, and the sent her flying into one of the trees behind her. As the party pony slid from the bark onto the grass, Trixie moved in for the final blow, tittering with sadistic glee as she neared her prey.
“Nice work, Pinkie. All your dancing and bouncing around was so funny to you, wasn’t it? Well Twilight doesn’t seem to be laughing now, huh?” Trixie taunted, repaying the party pony for all the jokes her spewed out. As she slowly trekked towards the disoriented Pinkie, the trees behind her began to rustle and shake violently. Then a figure burst forth from the gate of branches.
“NOOOOOOOO!” Applejack howled as she leapt out, hooves of iron aimed at Trixie’s face. The wizard had no time to turn around, and the hoof met with the skin and bone of her nose. Applejack’s weight and speed caused them both to fall backward, to which Trixie pushed the farmer off with all she had. After hitting and bouncing against the ground, she slid up next to her pink ally. Trixie stood up, clasping her snout with one hoof in pain, blood squeezing through and dripping on to the ground. Muffled grunts and curses sputtered from Trixie’s covered mouth as she glared up at her assailant.
“Okay, you two want some real fireworks? FINE! I’LL GIVE YOU FIREWORKS!” Trixie’s eyes shut as she willed all of her magical power into her horn. Pulsing with black and mauve energy, a collection of fist-sized sparks collected and revolved around the appendage. Finally, the wizard leapt from onto her hind legs, let out a howl of pure malice, and brought herself back forth, firing the spell. From her horn came ten sparking bolts akin to firework discharge, accompanied by the tell-tale scream of their travel. The two ponies had nowhere to run. While Pinkie’s eyes widened with fear, Applejack sought to brave the assault, standing firm and clenching her eyes shut. She would not stay down if she had the will to stay up. The flares homed in towards their targets, and then collided into bursts of dissolving spheres of light.
Pinkie felt weird. She expected the blasts to have some sort of shocking, painful feeling. But instead she felt nothing, not even a prod or touch. She removed her hooves from over her eyes and discovered the bolts had hit something else.
Before her was a wide shield of energy, widen enough to cover both her, Applejack, and even three other ponies if needed. It was golden in color and transparent in view, and before the barricade stood a silhouette of pony-like features. The figure turned around and the light of the colliding magics revealed her face.
“Zecora!” Pinkie exclaimed, back up in spirits that her friend had come to help. The fireworks pounded against the barrier like snowballs against a tree, shattering to sparkling bits when they rammed against it. The zebra showed strain as she held up the shield, her eyes glowing the same exact color as the shield. Noticing this, Trixie fired more and more bolts of energy, knowing she was wearing down the shaman-esque animal. I wasn’t long before Zecora was forced to take a knee from the stress, and that was when Trixie moved in with everything she had. The shield began to exhibit cracks and breaks from the barrage of magic, looking like a broken mirror, which distorted the vision of Trixie before them into multiple sights of the pony.
“You think your magic is enough to stop me? If Twilight couldn’t best my abilities, what makes you think you can, foreigner?!” A cackle followed the taunt, as Trixie pushed on. At this point it was a reverse tug-o-war, pushing against one another instead of pulling away. But as the feud raged on, a lengthy shadow slithered over the wizard pony. It grasped her interest once it moved over her visibility-limiting hat, and she turned to see what great thing could cast such a dark double.
Rarity, had lobbed, not only one tree, but three trees, all the same gargantuan size, straight at Trixie’s position. The wizard let go of her hold on the firework spell and desperately fired at the aerial arms of nature. With little time before they would crush her, she shot as many bolts as she could to tear the wooden poles of apart, only managing to break them into many, spread out pieces. Normally her spells would’ve sent them flying back or disintegrating into splinters, but she had spent all of her magical ability fighting off the Mane Five. She could only run, but the enlarging shadows of the falling trees surrounded and trapped her, as did the shield.
From within the barrier, the three watched as Trixie was lost in the pile of crashing wooden pillars. The sight caused Zecora to lose concentration, and thus, when bits of the trees smashed into the shield, it finally shattered to bits. All three of them were sent flying back into the forest, where the rest of the wood poles were ensnared in the grasp of the protective trees. Pinkie was lobbed into a bush, as was Applejack, while Zecora rolled into a pile of tall grass. No rustles or movements sounded from Trixie’s direction, so the three simply lay still, taking this moment of peace to relax in their leafy cradles. Pinkie wiggled out of nature’s arms and onto her feet after snuggling in for a minute. She looked around the woods for her friends, catching sight of both Applejack and Zecora right next to the fog of smoke from Twilight’s affliction. The farming pony rolled out from her bush, stumbling back onto her feet.
“Huh...is...every pony...okay?” She asked. Both Zecora and Pinkie Pie nodded weakly, before turning over to the pile of smolder before them, where Twilight once was. The trees slanted and bent away from the crater, as if they were trying to get away from it. Pinkie looked down while Zecora and Applejack sighed. “Maybe the blast flung her into woods or something? I mean, c’mon? This is Twilight, remember? She’s always got something planned. She’s gotta be lurking around here somewhere.” Zecora’s ear twitched as a distant, seemingly muffled sound flew into it. She turned to try and hear better, and the faraway sound of several other ponies came into prominence.
“I can’t see them anywhere.”
“Check by the smoke pile! Rarity, do you see them at all?”
Behind the three friends, the trees and leaves began to rustle, like something was trying to tear through it to get to them. Still battle-weary they took attempted ready stances for another fight, even though their bruises, scratches and fatigue were predicted to work against them. After a few moments of shaking noises getting louder and louder, a lone white hoof punched through the vegetation. Then another hoof came, then a purple mane, and then the whole rest of the pony.
It was Rarity, mane filled with leaves that were soon shaken off by her jolting movements. She smiled and looked upwards to the sky.
“Fluttershy, I found them! Down here!” Moments after she called out to them the sound of rapid flapping was heard. From a small hole in the trees that the sun had brightened up, Fluttershy flew on through. But she was carrying something. The silhouette kept the three from recognizing it until close, to which joy and relief would begin to emulate.
It was Twilight, latched onto Fluttershy’s arms. They landed right before the other three, before taking a gander to their left. There lay a hole the size of three Mack trucks stacked upon one another, spawned from the intense battle that occurred. Twilight smirked.
“Now who did tha-?” The pony was nearly tackled to the ground from the force of Pinkie’s dive. The party pony lashed hers arm her friend in glee.
“OH! Twilight I thought that blast Trixie threw exploded you into a million million tiny pieces! I’m was sooooooo so so so scared!” Twilight chuckled nervously as she coughed from the near-strangulating embrace.
“Sorry I…scared you Pinkie.” Twilight squeezed through and broke the tight hug, landing back to a stable stand. She then continued. “I thought I was done for when I saw that blast. But Fluttershy dived in and caught me at the last second.” The cream-colored Pegasus blushed at the recognition, to which Applejack chuckled and tipped her hat.
“Well shoot, that’s some speedy flying there, Fluttershy.” Applejack playfully nudged her shoulder as Rarity nodded in agreement. “Rainbow Dash would be mighty proud.” Twilight smiled as Fluttershy silently accepted her compliments. But her leer quickly flipped over to a frown as she looked back at the pile of trees, where she was sure housed a beaten-down Trixie.
“C’mon girls, we shouldn’t keep Trixie waiting.” Everyone followed behind Twilight as she trotted towards the wreckage, all eager to get some answers to this whole mess of events…even if it meant a few nice, firm bucks to the face. Undoubtedly, Applejack would be the one handling that, with exquisite enjoyment.
Rarity, Zecora and Twilight tossed several of the tree chunks off one another, peeking through each crack and opening for any sign of Trixie. One by one, the mountain of leaf and bark was taken apart and tossed onto the ground, the ponies squirming in through the breaks like burrowing moles to search. After breaking down almost a third of the tree pile, Rarity caught something.
“Everyone, down here, I think I’ve found her.” The five other seekers plopped down into the opening Rarity was in, and there they saw their mark. Trixie was lain on her side, wounded by the barrage of trees crashing and pounding against her in the hectic landing. Her hat and cape were muddied and torn and her right hind leg seemed to be broken from a wood pillar landing on it. The look on her face appeared to be one of extreme concentration, as if she was trying desperately not to focus on her injuries. But like a mosquito’s constant buzzing around, its presence could not be ignored. The six all circled around the wounded mare, each with looks of disappointment, inquisition, or a slight bit of satisfaction.
“So much for the tree’s being a distraction, huh Twilight?” Applejack joked. She overlooked the hurt Trixie, taking interest particularly in her shattered leg. “I think its time we got some answers from little Miss Fireworks.” The cowpony quickly trotted over to the front, and leant down to meet the wizard face to face. “Who sent you over here, Trixie?” The cyan mare slowly opened her eyes to gaze up at Applejack. They were no longer a ghostly bright white, but the black outline of faded tendril designs still scoured the edges. She coughed out some sort of muck before responding.
“I think you already know the answer to that question.” Applejack sighed with annoyance before bowing down closer, enough that her and Trixie’s snouts were almost touching. Her forest green eyes narrowed with extreme hostility against the wizard’s seemingly weak yet apathetic blue ones.
“We know who he is, but we don’t know his name. What is it?” Trixie scoffed at the question.
“A name won’t do you any good; you won’t find anything in the history logs or story books about him.” Applejack nearly hissed at her enemy, but Twilight held up her hoof, silently asking to calm herself. She had some of her own questions.
“I assume he was the one that gave you these new powers? Because we know, for a fact, that you don’t practice this kind of magic in your spare time.” Twilight announced, joining Applejack in the shooting of gazes towards the wizard.
“No, you use that to figure out new stories to tell about yourself, don’t you?” Pinkie bitterly added. Trixie just let out a weak chuckle.
“Go on with your insults and your jeers…I don’t care anymore. Even with this new power I still can’t best any of you…” Twilight and Applejack looked up to one another, both thrown off by Trixie’s sudden change of tone. “I’m still the pathetic trickster you all made me out to be.” Twilight sighed with annoyance.
“You did that to yourself, Trixie. You filled everyone’s heads with your false stories and fake accomplishments, but when push came to shove you fell over on your flank side. We just cleaned up your mess.” Applejack was getting antsy, irritated with all of this depression and self-loathing. Clasping a hoof onto Trixie’s cheek she forced her gaze to meet hers.
“Enough with the sob-stories! All of Equestria’s been put at stake here, and you’re helping it ride the wrong side of the track.” Applejack used her other hoof to push down on Trixie’s other, undamaged leg. “Now you tell us who that black stallion is and what he’s after, or I’ll be completing your pair of broken hinds!” Applejack’s rage had hit new heights, ones that even caused her friends to shy back. Twilight especially was concerned, she had never seen her friend threaten someone with bone breakage.
“Applejack?” The unicorn tried to reach out to her, but the infuriated farm pony cut her off.
“This looks like the only way we’re gonna get any answers from this dang stubborn foal, Twilight. I didn’t come here to hear the sad life story of Trixie the Trickster, I came here for answers!” This tirade forced Twilight to join her friends in this shying away. This fire was too big to put out right now. Still, even with what the wizard had done, Twilight feared for Trixie’s safety. Anyone with a brainstem could figure out that Applejack’s hooves already had the strength of steel sledgehammers, and with this rage tightening its grip around her rationality and actions?
The status of Trixie’s wellbeing would be decided on her next words. Twilight stared down at her, and was disappointed. The next words out of the wizard’s mouth her not words at all, but chortles.
“His name will give you no aid, and defeating me has brought you nothing as well. Don’t think I’m the only one whose given myself to this new power, there are others that scour this forsaken land under his grip, waiting to pounce at the exact moment. I was merely sent here…to stall.” With her last word Trixie’s body began to slowly disintegrate into a sort of ashy blackness, piling onto the grass like crushed up autumn leaves. Even in this strange state of slow decay, Trixie continued. “You only have the rest of this day to exist, I’d say make the most of it but I know you’ll spend it fighting until the last bit of sun illuminates the battleground. Even with no hope, you will push on and on…I guest hat deserves some sort of recognition:
“You look for the one with the curved meteor for a mark, you look for the alicorn with no horn to fit the name…you look for the one, named Darkest Night.”
The Mane Five’s faces all morphed into some look or fear, horror, worry, or tension, all the while Trixie laughed her existence away. Her cackling followed her until the last of her being was now that strange dark dust. They all gazed upon the pile, and Rarity gulped with fear.
“Is…is she?” The others whipped their heads back and forth, seeking answers they knew they wouldn’t find from one another. But it came on its own, as the massive pile suddenly leapt up into the air, like a whale lashing out of the water to snatch its meal. All of the ponies flew backwards from the sudden burst of force, scrambling to get back up onto their hooves.
“She’s gettin’ away!” Applejack cried, charging after the slithering wave of ashy particles. Its movements mimicked that of a tidal wave, soaring up off the ground before rolling back down against the dirt. Twilight and the rest of the ponies barely managed to keep up alongside the black mass, galloping at the fastest speeds they could muster.
“Girls, try and catch some of it!” Twilight announced from the rear of the pack. She herself attempted to carry out her own order by collecting some of the entity and trapping it in a sphere or magic. The orb seemed to have totally isolated the creature with no problem, until it rematerialized into the form of massive jaws, and ate through the trap, crunching through the glass-like shielding like a kid biting a lollipop. It then slithered to join is massive other body. Applejack whipped her head back, letting her hat fly up into the air, before leaping up and clamping the edge of it between her teeth. Then closed in next to the massive being, and jammed her hat inside, hoping to scoop out some of the essence. When she pulled it out, inside she saw the ashy bits starting to eat their way out of her hat, like termites through wood. Avoiding contact with the little fragments of darkness, Applejack whipped her hat away.
“Nothings working!” The hatless cowpony shouted between pants and wheezes, finally losing her speed and letting the colossal mass put distance between them. It dived for a darker, deeper part of the forest with all it had, knowing the ponies couldn’t navigate through such a nature dense, tree cluttered path. Two massive paws grew out of the massive locomotive of a heap, and with them it fired itself into a dolphin dive, straight into the trees. The whip-like tail of the mass was the last to attempt to enter the forest, but something came between it and slashed the appendage from the rest of its being. Pinkie Pie dived through the back, whipping her hoof around the black substance in mid-air, before landing on the ground near-seamlessly. The monster formerly seen as Trixie had already gone, so the Mane Five simply stopped by the party pony to see what she had done. With her back facing the ponies, Pinkie grunted and muddled to herself as her hooves fidgeted and tinkered with something concealed. Applejack tired to look over her friend’s shoulder. “Uh, Pinkie Pie, what’re you-?”
“SSSSSHHHHHHHH!” Pinkie silenced Applejack with a sputtering shush, and then returned to her task. A few seconds passed before Pinkie’s fluttering finally ceased. She then whipped around to present her feat.
The five found themselves gazing upon one bit of the monster, twitching and throwing itself against the prison Pinkie had trapped it, in a pink rubber balloon. Dumbfounded faces surrounded the creature, as it bashed against the elastic walls of its prison. It then took the previously seen form of a pair of jaws, and bit into the balloon’s side. Every pony flinched sharply, awaiting the loud, startling pop. However, it never came. Twilight was the first to open her eyes, and the dumbfounded look over too her previously clenched face.
“Pinkie…how did you...?” The party pony held up the party favor with a sense of delight and success.
“You guys remember that time Pokey Pearce nearly popped all of my balloons at my last party?” Every pony took a minute to consciously search for that moment in time. Quickly the image of the blue-coated, white-haired unicorn splitting every rubber orb at Pinkie’s party came into view, startling the nearby fillies and colts. A drawn-out “Ohhhhh” floated out of every pony’s mouth as realization came, with Pinkie nodding. “Remember that day went to Manehattan for some shopping? I bought myself these new, unpopable balloons!” Pinkie giggled at herself, feeling unintentionally clever and witty with her tactic. Twilight and the rest didn’t bother to question her as to why a set of balloons were on her person, they had come to accept such surprises and discovery of random possessions on the pink pony. All they cared about was what they had just collected from all their strife against the powerful Trixie: