60w, 6dHuman in Equestria
55w, 2dSpacebattles Bronies
9w, 1dProtect Celestia
53w, 6dHumans Aren't Bastards
55w, 3dSB Fic.Group
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34w, 5hG1 Ponies: Credit Where It's Due
22w, 4dShining Armor and Cadence
12w, 6dFriends Of All Generations
18w, 6dPonies aren't Monsters
18w, 4dFirst Contact Stories
15w, 2dVallett's Private Library
8w, 3dThe Good HiE List
5w, 3dMegan is best pony
5w, 1dThe Peacekeepers
1w, 1dFillies Celestia and Luna
The world around Megan wobbled for a bit before it snapped back into focus. She looked up at the blue sky. "Is it safe?" she asked.
Twilight panted slightly and dropped down to her haunches. "Safe," she panted out. "Whew-I didn't know it'd be that difficult!"
Megan stood up. She looked around and drank in the scenery. A dark forest almost out of a fairy tale stood to her right. Her gaze drifted along a mountain ridge far in the distance, finally settling on an indistinct city set into the cliffside. "What is that?" she asked, her arm and hand raising almost involuntarily as she pointed.
Twilight followed her gaze and drew herself up. "That is Canterlot, our capitol. The princesses live there. And when..." She leaned forward as she saw Megan's expression. "Are you all right? You seem a bit... shocked."
"It's just so," bigger than what I remember, "big." Megan looked back over her shoulder and saw a group of ponies standing at the edge of a small town. She cleared her throat and held out her arms. "Hello, my name's Megan!"
A dull-pink Earth pony with a straight mane suddenly jumped into the air, gasping. Her coat suddenly... brightened, and her mane expanded not unlike a balloon. She ran up to Dash and tackled her, throwing her forelegs around the Pegasus' neck and crest. "Oh, Dashie!" she exclaimed. "I'm so glad you're all right and not incinerated by the mean old dragon!"
Dash grunted and pushed with her forelegs. "Pinkie Pie, get offa me!' she half-shouted. Her half-hearted struggles eventually died down. "Aww... thanks," she finally said.
Pinkie Pie hopped up and over to Twilight, wrapping her forelegs around the violet unicorn's neck and squeezing so hard she turned dark purple. "And you're alive, too!" She hopped over to Spike, and then finally jumped up at Megan. She grabbed onto Megan's neck, forcing her to hold out her arms in order to support the Earth pony's body. "And I'm really glad to see you!" she said, planting a kiss on Megan's cheek. "There's just one problem, though."
Megan stared at the pony in her arms, leaning back slightly and arching an eyebrow. "And that is..."
Pinkie Pie craned her neck around almost a hundred-eighty degrees. "Who are you?" Her head straightened out and she rubbed her chin with a hoof. "I know everypony-and I mean everypony-in Ponyville! So I know you're not from Ponyville. Then again, you're not a pony. Are you?" She twisted her lips around. "Are you from outer space? Or inner space? Or medium space? Oh, well. It doesn't matter!" She threw her forelegs up into the air and confetti and streamers suddenly began raining down from... somewhere. "You're new in town, so that means PARTY!" she shouted, grinning.
Megan swallowed and nodded, looking around. "Yeah, that's great. Really really..." She trailed off as a streamer fell on her head and over her face. She blew on it several times before it flapped up. "How'd you do that?"
Pinkie Pie jumped out as a white Unicorn and yellow Pegasus ran up, embracing Twilight, Spike and Dash in a series of complicated hugs and exchanges. The Unicorn kissed Spike lightly on the cheek and the dragon fell back, swooning as his face burned red. "Spike, I am rather glad you're all right," she said, batting mascara-outlined eyelashes at him. She suddenly looked up at Megan and smiled. "Darling, I don't know who or..."
"What I am?" finished Megan, winking at her.
"I concede," she said, blushing slightly. "But still, thank you for helping my friends." She looked her over. "Hmm, perhaps a new set of clothes when this is over? Functional but also fashionable?"
Twilight walked up to Megan's side. "Megan, you met Pinkie Pie," she said, pointing to the pink pony, now balancing a tray of cupcakes and muffins on her wild mane. She pointed to the Unicorn. "That's Rarity." She then motioned to the Pegasus hiding behind Rainbow Dash. "That's Fluttershy, who is..." She groaned. "Fluttershy, it's all right." She cleared her throat. "Everyone, this is Megan from... somewhere." She suddenly looked around. "Hey, where's Applejack?"
Fluttershy hopped out from behind Dash and looked to the ground. "She... she ran off into the Everfree Forest when we all thought you three were-were-" She hiccuped and tears fell from her big blue eyes.
Dash leaned in close and rested her head and neck over Fluttershy's neck. "Hey, hey," she said softly. "It's all right, Fluttershy. We're all right." She backed up and looked down into Fluttershy's eyes, reaching out and tilting her friend's head up with a hoof to the chin. "Now come on, did you really think some dragon can take out the best flier in Cloudsdale?"
Twilight, meanwhile, looked to the dark foreboding forest looming before her. "Applejack went in there? Is she out of her pony-picking mind?" She wheeled about. "What's she thinking, going into the Everfree Forest?" She tapped the side of her head. "Applejack, come in! I-" She suddenly felt the top of her head. "Ah, sweet Celestia the headset's gone!"
"It wouldn't matter," Rarity replied, pointing to the headset nestled on top of her expertly coiffed mane. "We all thought you were dead," Rarity said, holding up a still-dirty hoof. "And we all reacted somewhat differently. I think Applejack shouted something about going to kill the dragon, but we were all in too much shock over what happened to you." She arched an eyebrow. "What did happen?"
Twilight shook her head. "No time to explain. Now-" She suddenly looked up at Megan. "Are you all right?"
Megan swallowed and wiped her brow, noting sweat on her hand. "I'm fine. Just fine!" she gasped out, forcing a smile. Not the Applejack I know. Can't be! But what if it is? And Cloudsdale? They were just... "I assume this is the same dragon you were talking about back at my house?"
Twilight nodded. "Yeah." She looked around, glancing up. She suddenly trotted back, eyes wide. "Whoa, whoa WHOA!" She looked to Rainbow Dash and jabbed a hoof into the air. "Rainbow Dash, remember where you hit the sonic rainboom?"
Dash nodded, grinning. "Of course!"
"All right, fly up and see what's up there."
Megan looked up, following the direction of Twilight's hoof as the cyan Pegasus flapped her wings and flew up. She gasped as she saw a thin black line against the sky. Megan slowly backpedaled, keeping her eyes on the sky. "It's a hole!" she yelled, pointing up.
Dash stopped in midair right before the tear in space. "Yeah, you're right!" She pumped her hooves into the air. "I punched a hole in the sky! The Wonderbolts have to let me in now once I audition for them at the Gala!"
Twilight shook her head. "My teleportation and your supersonic speed simultaneously ripped a hole from Equestria to-" She suddenly stopped, shook her head and stomped on the ground. "We don't have time for needless exposition!" She looked around. "Okay, everyone. Gather 'round!"
Rarity, Spike, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie gathered around in a semicircle while rainbow Dash floated down and Megan stepped forward. Megan reached behind and pulled the rifle slung over her shoulder up and over. "Rescue mission to get Applejack?" she said, grinning from ear to ear. "Okay, we gotta-"
Twilight continued speaking as the ponies and Spike stood there. "All right, now Rainbow Dash, you-"
"-get in there and find Applejack. We need to maybe split up into teams and-"
"-go get our friend. We'd better stick together and keep low to-"
Twilight looked up and Megan looked down, the two locking eyes on one another. "What are you doing?" Twilight asked., the bottom of her right eye twitching.
Megan let go of her rifle with her right hand, letting the buttpad hit the dirt as she held onto the barrel with her right. "I'm trying to organize a retrieval mission into what appears to be a dense and dangerous forest to get a friend back who may be trying to kill a dragon." She leaned forward, looking down at Twilight.
Twilight glared right back up, meeting Megan's stare. "I'm trying to do the same thing, through a forest I've been through a few times already. With friends inside who might've been able to head off Applejack in the first place and why do you wince every time someone says her name?" she rose up on her hindlegs, planting her hooves onto Megan's shoulders and drawing herself up and the human down. "Why?"
Megan looked away. "I promise when we find her, I'll tell you." She stood up straight, shrugging off Twilight's hooves. She spun around on her heels and faced the Everfree Forest. "So, you've been here before?" At Twilight's nod, she sighed. "So stick together, then?"
Twilight nodded. She looked to everyone. "Dash, take point but keep in sight of us. Pinkie Pie, you're next. Keep your... Pinkie sense honed," she said, muttering the last few words. "Fluttershy, you're next. Then me and Spike, Rarity and finally Megan." She looked to the young dragon. "But first... I'd better write a letter to the princess, asking for backup. This dragon might be more than we can handle!" She trotted forward and lowered her head, butting against Spike and pushing him forward. "To the library!"
Megan shouted after her. "Can't that wait until after we get..." She trailed off as the Unicorn and dragon suddenly vanished in a ball of light. "Darn it," she sighed, kicking at the dirt.
Rarity looked to the other ponies still there. "What precisely just happened?"
Rainbow Dash opened her mouth, closed it and unfurled her wings, jumping up and hovering off the ground. "I got nothing. This has been one of the most random afternoons I've had in a while." She looked to Pinkie Pie as she was bouncing about. "And trust me, Rarity. That's saying something."
Megan lifted her rifle back up and began sliding cartridges out of the bandoleer around her chest and loading them into the magazine, one at a time. She glanced down as Fluttershy walked over, half her face covered by her pink bangs. She slid the safety on and knelt down onto one knee, holding out her free hand and smiling. "Hello, there. It's nice to meet you, Fluttershy. Don't worry, we'll get Applejack back!"
Fluttershy extended a foreleg and laid it against the palm of Megan's hand. "Oh, I know. That is... if you don't mind me saying so." She ducked her head down, her mane almost magically wrapping around her face. "If I may ask, Megan, what is that stick you have that you're putting metal bits into?"
Megan hesitated before reaching over and grabbing the butt of the rifle and holding it up. "This is called a rifle, Fluttershy. I'm putting little containers called cartridges that have an explosive powder in them. And when they're struck on the end, the powder ignites and sends a smaller bit of metal called a bullet out through the tube." She looked down. "It's a weapon, yes."
The Pegasus stepped forward and leaned back on her haunches, holding out both forelegs. "May I examine your teeth... if that's all right? I know it's an odd request, but it would help tremendously."
There was a pause before Megan lowered her rifle and opened her mouth. Fluttershy peered in, pushing her lips aside. "Ah, molars for grinding and incisors and canine teeth, all in one mouth." She let go and nodded, smiling. "You're an omnivore! That explains quite a bit!"
Rarity walked over, with Rainbow Dash hovering about and Pinkie Pie bouncing around. She tilted her head to the side and narrowed her eyes. "The clothes are nice for off the rack. But really, Megan, wouldn't you want something with a bit more pizzazz? A bit more glamor, a bit more in the way of haute couture?"
Rainbow Dash hovered over Megan's shoulder. "Listen to her. She might go overboard on the gems, but if Rarity makes you clothing, it's top-notch and makes you look awesome!" She flitted around a bit, staying just above her shoulders. "Although you look more like you'd be pretty comfortable around Applejack's cousin, Braeburn in Applaloosa."
Rarity batted her eyes in Dash's direction and smiled. "Why thank you, Rainbow Dash." She placed a hoof on her chest. "I created works of art for each of my friends to wear for the upcoming Grand Galloping Gala in Canterlot. Hopefully this little nonsense with a dragon won't spoil the festivities."
At the mention of Canterlot, Megan stood and turned, staring off at the far-off city built into the mountainside. "And it's the capitol now? When was it made the capitol?"
Dash shrugged. "Darned if I know." She flew around to look Megan in the eye. "Why?"
Because what happened to Paradise Estate? "No reason."
Spike groaned as he appeared in the library with a flash of light, Twilight beside him. "What'd I say about warning me next time?" he said, wobbling on his legs. He shook his head. "And couldn't this wait until after we got Applejack?" he groused.
Twilight shook her head as her horn glowed and a roll of parchment and quill floated over to Spike. "Sorry, Spike, but I didn't have time to run here. And I want to let Princess Celestia know we'll need backup concerning the dragon." She trotted over to a window and looked out. "And I need to let her know about Megan."
Spike unrolled the parchment and took the quill in hand. "She's a bit odd, but really, Twilight, she wants to help us. And she's pretty friendly, too."
Twilight's head drooped. "Be that as it may, the hole in space and her wanting to come back so strongly is rather suspicious. Besides, you've seen how she reacted to your name, not to mention Applejack's!"
She cleared her throat. "Dear Princess Celestia: I regret to report the dragon in the Everfree Forest has proven most hostile, nearly killing Spike, our friend Rainbow Dash and myself. Unfortunately, we will need help in dealing with him. Also, a... hole in space was created by Rainbow Dash's attempted rescue, leading to what seems to be another world." Twilight paused and collected her thoughts before continuing. "We encountered a creature named Megan, a biped wearing clothes. She's come back with us to help find Applejack in the Everfree Forest and..." She closed her eyes. "And... I remember something about her. But at the same time I don't." She stomped the ground and snorted. "Ugh, why can't I remember?"
Spike looked up. "Want me to write that last sentence down?"
Twilight glanced over and narrowed her eyes. "Spike!" She sighed. "If you know anything concerning her, please let me know. Your faithful student, Twilight Sparkle."
Spike rolled the parchment up and held it in his hand. He snorted and blew out a bout of green flame. The magic-enhanced fire enveloped the roll and it vanished, leaving behind a simple wisp of smoke that drifted out and to Canterlot. "Now can we go? We could've found Applejack five times by now!"
Twilight shook her head. "Applejack's one of the fastest of us on uneven ground and there were things we had to do before heading in. And she should be fine." She walked to the door and exited. "Now come on, Spike. Let's go!"
Spike hopped onto her back and Twilight galloped off to the edge of the Everfree Forest. She found Megan there, surrounded by her friends and staring off at Canterlot. "No reason," she mumbled.
"No reason for what?" Twilight asked.
Megan blinked and looked down. She swallowed and motioned to Canterlot. "Just admiring your capitol, Twilight." She hefted the stick and turned on her foot to face the Everfree Forest. "Ready?"
Twilight plodded forward. "Ready, Megan. Dash, you ready?"
Dash sighed and buzzed about. "About time!' she shouted before leaning her body forward and flying past the undergrowth into the Everfree Forest proper.
Pinkie Pie followed, bouncing along. She suddenly paused and her entire body began shaking. "Ooh, this is gonna be a big one!" she said, twisting her head around to look at Megan and Twilight. "I can't wait!" And with that, she bounded past some bushes.
Fluttershy followed, with Rarity next. Twilight glanced up at Megan as she walked into the forest with Spike on her back. "Thanks for coming to help," she said. "After this though, I've got some questions for you."
Megan nodded as she stepped around a small bush, glancing around. "I have some, too. Although time might be short." She held up her wrist and looked down at a small band wrapped around it. "My daughters will be home in about six hours, and my husband soon after." Megan chuckled and scratched the back of her neck. "Although explaining the rainbow and the hole..."
Spike chuckled. "I'm guessing a hole in the sky's not exactly common around where you live."
Megan rolled her eyes. "Not usually, Spike. Most of the time it's holes in socks, or holes in the ground. Not in the sky."
"Would you like me to talk to them when I teleport you back?" Twilight asked as she ducked a low-lying branch. "It could be very educational, at least."
Spike slapped his forehead. "Always thinking with your brain, Twilight. Why can't you think with your stomach for a change?"
Megan half-grinned at the young dragon as they kept pace with the other ponies. "I'd appreciate that, Twilight. Thanks."
Twilight paused. "The least I could do for a... friend."