The chaotic serenity permeated under the canopy of Everfree Forest, it’s natural beauty displayed, all for itself. Nopony was present to appreciate it for its glory. Nopony would want to. This was a forest that is shrouded in mystery, protected by fear instilled by old folk tales and the stern warnings of protective parents. Vicious creatures wandered these vegetated grounds, unchecked by the control of Equine society. They fended for themselves against predators who, too, reigned over the wilds.
A lone stag, majestic and stoic amongst the thick, dark atmosphere and the brooding trees wandered out into a small patch of short grass. Ever wary, he kept his ears perked under the weighty antlers that adorned its head as he bent to chew on the sought after shrub. His hooves shifted on the short, green carpet. Everything seemed silent.
A twitch. A flash. Eyes dilated. A breath inhaled. Head raised. Muscles tensed, ready to flee.
Movement exploded out of the brush. It caught the stag and sent him flailing across the clearing right into the immovable, blackened bark of a tree. The stag connected with a sickening crack, spine completely severed in several places. He fell to the ground, dead, with a wet, meaty thump.
A throaty bellow. The sound of heavy stomping. A mountain loomed over the corpse. A limb was raised and driven downwards with unholy force, meeting the lifeless head. Antlers broke. Blood spattered. A crack-thump resounded. Another limb was raised and driven down again, this time meeting the ribs. Bones cracked. The hide split. The grass was speckled with crimson. Another crack-thump.
The mangled body was distorted into an red, unrecognizable, leaking pulp under the relentlessly brutal fit of rage and agony. A wail. A yowl. A painted mess was thrown from its epicenter in all direction. It stained the brush. It stained the trees. It stained the dirt. The mutilated stag continued to be slammed further into a growing crater of earth.
Then, it slowed, and finally stopped. All that remained was a heaving breath. Two swollen paws reached to the ground and scooped gigantic handfuls of bloody mush. It was brought up, up past bulging pectorals, past putrid craters covered with rapidly regenerating flesh. It was brought to a jaw-less maw, which stank of rot and tooth decay. The pulp was forced in, ruby lines ran downwards on top of rippling muscle. A gurgle, a grunt of frustration as the mass slid down its gullet and into its toxic stomach. It continued. It continued to feed until its belly bulged, until nothing was left but splattered life-fluid.
Bone fragments needled the inside of its hardened throat. It brought pain.
Everything brought it pain.
Moving brought pain. Yelling brought pain. Hunger brought pain. Thinking brought pain. Living brought pain. All it ever knew was pain. Constant. Intense. Pain.
Only violence, only feeding made it subside. Only the feeling of inflicting something else on its numb, unfeeling skin. The smell of blood... The taste of meat...
It was euphoric.
But it always subsided. It always went away. It growled in anger and hate as the pain returned, faster than last time. It slammed its limbs into the ground in a gorilla-like fashion in hopes it could shake the pain away. It came regardless.
Not the pain...
Anything but that...
The very forest shook as a deafening roar tore from its vocal chords.
After Rainbow Dash’s... episode... Twilight had opted to relocate to her library. Fluttershy offered to stay behind and coax Pinkie Pie out of hiding while Applejack volunteered to converse with Mayor Mare about setting a town meeting and subsequently find Rarity to meet Ellis. In the meantime, Twilight would ask the human choice questions and rouse Spike to write a letter to the Princess.
“Twi, you sure about this?” Asked the farmpony.
“Of course, Applejack. He’s not dangerous, so what’s the risk of him being alone with me and Spike for a short while?”
Applejack looked at Ellis nervously while he nonchalantly strolled alongside the two down the empty streets of Ponyville. “Well, the ‘misunderstanding’ wasn’t all of Pinkie’s fault. He’s... excitable. Scared me for a good while, too. He said he hunted zombies where he came from.”
Twilight blinked. “Zombies?” She snorted. “Zombies are impossible, Applejack. He’s probably just pulling your leg.”
“He ain’t lying, Twi. He’s got the blood on his knife tah prove it.”
The unicorn eyed his machete, still strapped to his back like he completely forgot about it. “Well, it may look like blood, but we can’t be sure. From the impression I’m getting, there’s no way the guy could be capable of harming anything.”
”That’s what I thought, too...” Applejack monologue'd inside her head, but she didn’t speak about it. Ellis was still an enigma to her, she wasn’t sure about him or what he does at all. He could be a master dissembler, one that could fool her! That couldn’t be it... she was just getting paranoid...
“Don’t you worry, AJ.” Twilight continued. “If he tries anything, intentional or otherwise, I can take care of myself with my magic.” It was a simple fact, not a boast. There was no better precautionist than Celestia’s prodigy. Applejack seem to be convinced enough.
“Alright, ah trust ya. Just, don’t get him too worked up in his stories.” Twilight didn’t know exactly what she meant by that, but she trusted her word and made a mental note.
They came upon the door of the libra-
“HOLY SHEEIT ya live in a tree?!”
Twilight raised an eyebrow at his reac-
“How the hell is that even possible?”
She began to explain the concept of shaping the gro-
“I’d imagine that’d be a huge-ass pest problem...” He realized the purple unicorn was glaring at him. “Oh... sorry. Go ahead.”
“Nevermind.” She sighed. Applejack gave her a “see-what-I-mean?” look. Twilight didn’t directly acknowledge her gesture, but instead pushed the library door open and invited the human in. He obliged, taking care not to bump his head on the low, pony-sized door frame. Applejack merely waited outside, seeing them off before she went to the town hall.
“Ellis, I’ll be gone fer an hour er so and come back with Rarity! She’ll love tah meet ya, ahm sure!” She called inside.
Ellis turned back and gave her a thumbs up. “Alrighty. Lookin’ forward to it!”
The library door closed behind him. She hesitated a moment, feeling disoriented with his talkative presence now gone, before slowly turning around and cantering off in the direction of Ponyville’s mayor.
As soon as Twilight closed the door, her demeanor shifted dramatically. She loosened up on the professionalism she had been calmly playing and started to nearly vibrate with excitement. A new creature! Intelligent, capable of speech and complex emotional expression! Something like this was unheard of.
And she would be the first to find out everything about him.
Ellis, meanwhile, was listlessly browsing the bookshelves, thumbs in his coverall pockets. The spines were titled and labeled, but he didn’t recognized the writing. It was all strange symbols that usually had to do with equine things. Runes that looked like horseshoes, yokes, hay, etc... It was ridiculous. Why is it that they spoke the same language, yet had completely different written symbols?
“Ellis?” Twilight called from across the library. “You think you can come over here? I just have some questions to ask.”
Ellis broke out of his thoughts and whirled around on his foot. “Sure thing, ma’am.” He strode over to a low table where Twilight prepared a quill, ink well, and parchment, ready to record everything that human would say. Smiling, and close to bouncing in Pinkie Pie-esque elation, she waited for him to sit down at the other side before mentally preparing her questions.
“To start off, what is your full name?”
Ellis took off his cap and ruffled his short, greasy hair. “First an’ last? It’s Ellis McKinney.”
She levitated the quill with her magic, dabbed it in the glass inkwell, dripped off some of the excess, and brought it to the parchment.
“How do you spell that?”
No response. Ellis was too preoccupied by his mind being blown out of his skull.
“How the... what the... who the...” He sputtered senselessly.
He pointed at the purple aura that encompassed the writing utensil. “How the hell are ya doing that?!”
Twilight only broadcasted a perplexed look. “It’s only magic.”
“Magic?! Are you kidding me? That’s kinda a big deal!”
“Not really... all unicorns can use magic.”
Ellis rocked back and forced out a breath of air. “Ok... magic...”
“Ellis? You ok?”
“No, yeah, ahm fine. What did you want?”
“How do you spell your name?”
He spelled it for her, taking care to clearly enunciate each letter sharply. Twilight didn’t recognize any of the phonetic pronunciations.
“I’m not exactly sure on what you’re saying.”
Ellis shrugged. “I saw yer writing doesn’t look like any of mine. You could probably jus’ spell it like it sounds.”
The unicorn sighed and wrote it down to her best guess. A question came to her mind.
“How is it that we speak the same language but have different writings? How is it that we speak the same language AT ALL?” Something like him had never been seen before, and yet he speaks perfect Equestrian. Twilight contracted her brow as she mentally prepared to ask him more questions. Spike was still sleeping upstairs, she didn’t feel the need to wake him now. The letter to Celestia could wait. This was going to require further investigation...
The walk to the mayor’s office was short enough, but the town was so eerie when it was empty. Everypony was still cowering in their homes waiting out a monster attack that never came. To Applejack, it was frustrating. She wanted to yell at them for mindlessly listening to Pinkie Pie like she was some kind of pony prophet. Even she could make mistakes, too! Applejack knew it was all the fault of her Pinkie sense; predicting the future without fail is an amazing gift, but not when the sway she held on the townfolk could cause more problems than it could solve.
Applejack rapped her hoof on the door of the town hall. No response.
“Mayor Mare? Ah know yer in there. It’s me, Applejack! C’mon an’ let me in so I can talk to ya!”
Still no response. She could hear some hushed whispers behind the door.
“Miss Mare, this is important! Ah need tah talk to ya!”
Faint clops were heard from the other side as Mayor Mare slowly paced to the door. She cracked it open just enough to see the pony on the other side.
“Applejack? What are you doing outside? The monster could get you!”
The hat-wearing farmpony rolled her eyes in exasperation. “That what ah need to talk to you about! Now, will you please let me in?”
The door was shut for a moment as the mayor slid the door-chain off. She re-opened it, waving her in while eying the empty streets outside cautiously. When Applejack was inside, the door was slammed, the chain replaced, and the deadbolt was locked.
“Ok, what is it that you wanted to talk about?”
Applejack recapped the events of the day, explaining the misunderstanding to the aged mare. Mayor Mare was skeptical.
“So you say that this... thing means no harm?”
“YES!” Applejack exclaimed. “That’s why ah need you to tell the rest of the town as well!”
“Are you sure, Applejack? If what you say is true, then Ellis... he still has his knife with him?”
The orange pony bit her lip. She had completely forgotten about it. “Uh... yeah...”
“And you brought him into Ponyville?!” Her stress-wrinkled eyes narrowed.
“Well he ain’t done no harm! Ah can vouch fer that personally!”
Mayor Mare shook her head. “You of all ponies! So naive! That doesn’t matter if he’s carrying a weapon! He’s dangerous either way!”
Applejack’s face got hot. “He only has it because he was fighting for his life before he got here! Fer all the things he’s been through, don’t you think he deserves some kindness?”
The mayor huffed. “Just what makes you think he won’t hurt anypony? How can we trust him?”
“Because the first thing that ah did when ah met him was buck ‘em between the legs!”
She winced visibly. Applejack was the strongest mare she knew. “And...?”
She looked to the floor, the guilt of hurting the human resurfacing. “He didn’t get angry. He didn’t try tah hurt me back. He jus’ smiled an’ fergave me, before ah could even fergive mahself.”
Mayor Mare hesitated. “But... how is it even possible? He’s so... strange... and...”
Applejack interrupted. “Haven’t you learned anything from when Zecora first came to Ponyville?” She placed her hoof on the mayor’s back. “Miss Mare, you have mah word that no harm will come to anypony from him or anything that has tah do with him, ok? Me an’ mah friends’ll look out for him. I swear it as the most dependable pony of Ponyville.”
The brown-grey pony sighed, defeated. “Alright, Miss Applejack, you’ve convinced me.” Her gaze hardened. “On these conditions! You have to follow up on your word to watch him and,” She paused and added extra sternness to her voice. “You have to confiscate his weapon. I don’t care if it belongs to him. He doesn’t need it anymore, and we must compromise for the sake of the citizens’ safety and peace of mind.”
Applejack smiled. She could settle on that. “Alright. Can you round up the townfolk for a meeting?”
Mayor Mare turned to her office door. “Yes, in a few short hours. I need to inform the authorities and arrange a public announcement. He’ll be welcome before evening.”
“Thank you very much, Miss Mare. Ah won’t ferget it!”
The mid-aged mare looked back at Applejack. “I don’t trust him, but I trust you. I trust that you and your friends can make sure he won’t disturb the peace that I work to maintain every day. I’ll grant him a welcome, but after that, he’s your responsibility.” She closed her office door without another word.
The farmpony released a breath she didn’t realize she was holding. ”That coulda gone better...” She exited the mayor’s home and set off to find Rarity.
Twilight Sparkle’s eyes shimmered in fascination as Ellis explained how an “engine” worked.
“...So, these little controlled explosions push the cylinder up alongside other cylinders doin’ the same thing, an’ that makes the axle turn, which goes to the drive belt an’ then to the wheels. That’s only the basics of it, but you can kinda get the idea.”
Everything that he said so far had been furiously recorded onto parchment, the notes already made and inch-thick stack by her side. The inkwell was nearly gone, and she broke her quill and had to replace it at one point. Good thing she always had extras. She wouldn’t want to miss a second of this.
The world he had so far described was unreal. Impossibly tall buildings with frames made of strengthened steel, automobiles, computers, advanced technological and medicinal feats... why hadn't she heard of this place before? Was it part of the unexplored territories of the world? Why hadn’t any humans been here prior? Twilight furrowed her brow in cognition. She had to know exactly where he came from.
“Ellis,” She held up her hoof to stop him. “Before you go on, I need to know where exactly where you’re from.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Didn’t ah already tell ya? Ah came from Savannah, in the state a’ Georgia.”
She shook her head. “No, I mean where on the map.” Using her magic, she carefully cleared a place on the table. Then, she levitated a rolled-up map of the know world from across the room, unfurled it, and flattened it on the wooden surface. It was old, yes, the parchment was cracked in some places and the ink was starting to fade, but it was still consistent.
“Can you show me where it is?”
Ellis scratched his rough stubble while he studied the map. None of it was familiar. The water bodies were out of place. There were too many land masses. It had been a long time since he actually looked at a world map, but he knew that this looked nothing like it.“Naw, man, this map ain’t right at all. There must be something wrong here.”
Twilight blinked. “The map is as accurate and up-to-date as any!” She placed the tip of her hoof on a large, bordered province near the center of the map. “This right here is where we are, in Equestria. Do you know where Savannah is from here?”
“Nothin’ on this map is right, miss. Ahm no collage professor, but ah know what the world looks like.” He pointed to the various land masses. Twilight noticed that his hand was trembling. “This shouldn’t be here... and this... and...” His chest began to heave. His forehead broke into a sweat. The map doesn’t match... The map doesn’t match... His memory flashed back to the bridge... the tank... the explosion... the water... Ellis, like when one realizes they are in a dream, started to realize something was amiss in his current reality. Talking ponies? Pegasi? Magic? It didn’t make any sense!
Twilight noticed Ellis was straining when he stopped in mid-sentence and started to mutter inaudible things under his breath.
“Ellis? Where did you come from? How did you get here?”
He merely gazed forward, locked in a thousand-mile stare. “Ah... ah died...”
“Ah died... oh God... oh God!”
With a clipped yelp, he attempted to stand up too fast, only to stumble back onto his back again and simultaneously kicking the table over. Twilight evaded it in a daze of confusion while Ellis scooted his heels until his back was against the far wall.
“Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit...” He hyperventilated. “This can’t be real... this ain’t real!”
The purple unicorn realized that he must be suffering some kind of delayed shock. She started to panic. She had no idea how to deal with this kind of situation, especially since it involved a being that she had no knowledge about. He might have a completely different psychological order!
“Ellis! Please! Tell me what’s wrong! Why did you say you died?”
He buried his face between his knees, gripping his hair between his fingers. “Ah fell off a bridge! You don’t fall sixhunnerd feet face-first into a river and live!”
Twilight decided that keeping him talking might keep him from the deep end. “What were you doing on a bridge?”
“Runnin’... runnin’ from the zombies... They had us a way outta that hell. We were runnin’ to safety!”
She slowly stepped towards him, not sure of the validity of his story. For all she knew, the events he was detailing may just have been figments, hallucinations. “We? Who were you with?”
“Mah friends... Nick an’ Coach an’ Rochelle... we were fightin’ through the infected.”
As Twilight inched closer, she cradled the fear that Applejack may have left her with a madmare. Why does he reject his reality? Why hadn’t he shown signs of this instability before? She was within a few feet of him by then. She could see the beads of sweat on his face. She could smell his absolute terror.
“What happened? What happened next?”
“Then... then the... the...”
He fixed his stare on Twilight and pointed a twitchy finger at her. “I shouldn’t be tellin’ you! You ain’t real! None a’ this is real! It can’t be real...! Ahm dead, man!”
She couldn’t let him go insane. She couldn’t possibly tell Applejack that she failed at keeping him safe and sound. So, she had to take immediate action. Rearing up on her hind legs, she climbed on top him, firmly placed her hooves on his chest, and asserted her voice over the din of his hysterics, face to face.
“LISTEN TO ME, ELLIS! YOU ARE NOT DEAD! This is all real! I’m real! You’re real!” Ellis only stared back into her violet eyes, silent. Twilight pressed on. “I don’t know how you got here, but you’re here, ok? That’s a fact! SNAP OUT OF IT!!!”
She panted, exhausted from shouting at the top of her lungs. Ellis remained in place, blankly gazing into her eyes. No expression could be read on his face. The stillness was suffocating and Twilight began to fear that she had somehow made it worse. Then, Ellis slowly raised his arm from his side and placed it upon the side of the pony’s neck, feeling the softness of her coat, clinging to the sensation as his mind’s lifeline to the truth. Twilight shuddered at the contact; his hand was cold, but it was strangely gentle. His hand slid up to her muzzle, rubbing the finer, softer fur of her face in a trance-like state. She still did not move, but a blushed surfaced under her eyes. Her heart, she realized was fluttering with such an intimate contact.
“You’re... you’re real...” He finally spoke. His eyes misted. “Yer real!” Twilight yelped as she was pulled into his arms. She sighed in relief as the tension was lifted from the air while Ellis continued to embrace her. She had averted that crisis, at least, there was no telling what would have happened if he went over.
Twilight tried to wrap her forelegs around his broad chest, failed, and decided to hang one over his shoulder instead. She patted her hoof on his back as his joyful tears moistened her mane.
“It’s ok, Ellis, there’s nothing to be afraid of here. Nopony would ever hurt you.” She was unsure of whether her comforting words affected him or not, but she did conclude that, considering what had happened today with Applejack, he could be a bit touchy-feely. Honestly, she thought, the hug wasn’t really necessary.
“Ok, Ellis, that’s enough hugging.”
“Really, I mean it.”
He still persisted.
“ELLIS! LET GO!”
“Oh shit, sorry.” He released her from his grip and sat up. Twilight huffed.
“Honestly, do you just have get that close to everypony?”
Ellis twiddled his fingers. “Sorry ‘bout that. Ah guess ah lost mah head there for a bit. This still doesn’t make any sense, though.”
“What doesn’t make any sense?”
“How ah got here and all. I remember free-fallin’ off a’ that bridge. Ah blacked out and the next thing ah knew ah was in Applejack’s apple grove.”
The unicorn was, too, perplexed. It didn’t make any sense that he would wind up here right before his... death. Magic, maybe? Did somepony bring him here? Why him? Why in Sweet Apple Acres? It was moot, anyhow. Neither of them knew the answers. Instead, she decided to ask another question.
“Ellis, do you think you could tell me about your friends? About these ‘zombies’?”
Applejack clopped through the empty market to the food store. The town’s mood was starting to change. After an hour of waiting, some of the ponies had started to peek out their doors and windows. A few of the braver ponies started to re-populate the streets, albeit most were still locked inside their homes. She came into the entrance of the quill and sofa store, musing that she still had no idea why the store’s owner would choose such an esoteric pair of products to sell. An even greater wonder is why it was still in business. Not a lot of ponies had a constant demand for quills and sofas, save Twilight and some others for quills, but sofas aren’t something that ponies purchase on a daily basis.
Stepping inside to the cool interior, she only had to look briefly to find the alabaster fashionista. She was inspecting a plush piece of furniture with her hoof holding her chin, perplexity on her face. To make it even more obvious, she was wearing a big light-green, feathered hat. Applejack approached her.
Rarity noticed her presence and glanced in her direction, double-taking as she realized it was her friend Applejack.
“Applejack!” She exclaimed in mild surprise. “So good to see you today! I thought you were at the farm working. What brings you here?”
“Ah think we both know exactly what brought me here.” She gestured her head to the window overlooking the empty streets outside.
Rarity rolled her eyes. “Oh, that whole charade? Honestly, there needs to be more ponies in this town that have more sense than to listen to Pinkie Pie’s overreactions. A giant knife-wielding monster? It’s simply ridiculous!” She turned back to mulling over the sofa’s details. “Well, at least I can shop for decor in peace. What do you think of this one? Does it like like it will fit in with the lounge?”
Applejack sighed (YET AGAIN) and remembered the virtues of patience. She didn’t want to get herself worked up more than she needed to. “Rarity, ah came to see ya so you can meet a new feller.”
“Really?” She raised her eyebrow. “What does that have to do with Ponyville in panic?”
Applejack explained the situation to her as she had done with Mayor Mare. Rarity held herself with genuine interest.
“A new creature? Oh, do tell, Applejack, what does he look like?”
“You can see fer yerself, Rarity. Ahm here tah take ya to see him.”
“Really? Haven’t you told him anything about me?”
“Well, no... but he did say he was looking forward tah meetin’ ya.”
Rarity looked at the sofa she was examining. “Well, I suppose I could...” She turned to Applejack, resolute. “Let me finish up a few things here and I shall meet you at the library. Tell Mr. Ellis that I am eager to meet him.”
The farmpony nodded. “Sure thing, Rarity. I’ll go an’ see him now. Hopefully, he hasn't driven her up the wall yet.” With that mixed message, she turned to exit the store. The violet-maned unicorn called after her.
“Don’t worry, Applejack! I shan't be long!” When Applejack left the store, she returned to engrossing herself into the sofa, suddenly wondering why she was so indecisive...
While Ellis’s previous stories have been fascinating, the story of him killing his way to safety and survival had been terrifying in its implications. Twilight listened with a heavy heart as he described how a vast majority of his hometown’s population became sick with an incurable disease, called the Green Flu. He said that all the people who have been exposed would eventually lose their rational thought and turn into what he called “infected”. Humans who have been debased to mindlessly violent animals who hungered for uninfected flesh. He also explained that they weren’t actually undead, which made his claims more plausible for Twilight. She knew that once a living thing died, it could not be reanimated by any kind of virus. He only called them zombies because they looked like and acted like the unliving legend.
What really caught her ear, however, was Ellis’s friends that he made during this event. Three other beings thrown together with him into a fight for survival, they all slowly settled their differences and worked to help each other. He described Coach, an aging man with plenty of leadership qualities, even though eh was a bit overweight. Rochelle, a kind, professional journalist who didn’t seem like the type at all to be in that mess. Then, he told Twilight about Nick. Nick was a conniving con-man who drifted into Savannah at the worst possible time. Ellis’s description of him reminded her of Trixie; narcissistic, snarky, and intent on making gain off of others’ ignorance and gullibility. She couldn’t possibly imagine being stuck with him for any amount of time, but then Ellis told of how, over weeks of battling infected city after city, he transitioned from what he was to a man who held at least mutual respect for the rest of his teammates, although begrudgingly.
It was friendship forged by fire. Alliances bonded through depending on each other in times of violence and war. Twilight had heard tales of such things, but she had no idea they held true. Such traumatic experiences have never occurred in Equestria. No wars had ever been fought since Princess Celestia began her rule.
“Ellis,” Twilight implored “Can you tell me exactly what happened on that bridge before you fell?”
The human adjusted his sitting position. “We were crossin’ the bridge to the other side where the last of the military evacuations were. It would have been the last leg of the run, too, before we were gonna be flown outta there. We started crossing, which came with fighting more zombies an’ shit, but at first it went off without a hitch. We were halfway through when the tank showed up...”
“Tank?” She inquired.
“Some of the infected, over time, and for whatever reason ah cain’t explain, they started to mutate into something else. The ‘special infected’ are tough sonsuvbitches. There are many kinds, but the tank... the tank is the toughest of them all.”
“What do you mean?” Twilight asked tentatively, uneasy on whether or not she actually wanted to know.
Ellis suddenly got on his feet for the purpose of adding effect. “Think of me, ‘cept nothin’ like me. A tank is a guy with huge-ass muscles all over his body, more than humanly possible! It’s like some sorta zombie Hulk, they can charge through walls of solid concrete, throw cars on top of ya, and launch a grown man 50 feet through the air!”
Twilight gasped. Such a powerful thing, only dedicated to wanton violence and killing. Such a prospect was unthinkable.
“He came along, right between us and the way to the chopper. We all tried to kill ‘em, but he decided to come after me. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but I was runnin’ from him when some explosion threw me an’ him off the bridge.” He paused, suddenly melancholy, a mood she had never seen him in. “Ah hope the others got out alright...”
Twilight was about to respond when a knock came to the door. The unicorn used her magic to open it.
Applejack invited herself into the library. “Hey y’all! Hey Ellis.”
Ellis made a tip-of-the-hat motion, but his cap wasn’t on at the moment. It was a library, after all, and he took care to mind his manners.
“What’d you two do while I was gone?”
Twilight waved her hoof to the hefty stack of parchment on the table. “Ellis and I were just talking about where he came from. It’s quite fascinating.” No need to mention his breakdown, though. She justified that it was no longer relevant, since he seemed to be accepting his disposition.
“Ah hope ya didn’t get him too worked up.” She chuckled. Twilight and Ellis shifted uncomfortably.
“Did you get Mayor Mare to hold a town gathering?”
Applejack nodded. “She said It’ll be goin’ in a few hours.”
“What about Rarity?”
“She said she’s on her way. She’ll be here soon. Y’all wanna wait outside? It’s kinda stuffy in here...”
The two noticed that it was indeed getting warm and stale inside. They both agreed and left through the front entrance.
It was now mid-afternoon outside. Twilight realized that they must have talking for over an hour. She inhaled the cooling air. Even though she was a bookworm she still enjoyed being outside at times. Nature had its own intellectual beauty. The trio passed the time out of the front steps talking about small things when Applejack saw her friend in the distance.
“Hey it’s Rarity!” She waved at the white unicorn in the distance. Ellis did likewise. Rarity approached the group, tipping her hat up to catch a view of the newcomer. What she saw caused her to intake a sharp breath.
She choked. She shrieked. She made several frantic and unknown signs to ward off evil, and swore on many old, long forgotten fashion saints. Before her stood a swirling, twisting nightmare of everything she held to be wicked. An enigma of practicality and void of all divinity. Pinkie was right, she thought, this is a monster!
Those pants! “Dirty!”
That shirt! “Ugly!”
That hat! “Garish!”
Rarity’s eyes turned to fiery passion as she glared daggers, knives, swords, axes, halberds, safety pins, and any other sharp tool or weapon known to pony and mankind directly at Ellis.
“This! This I cannot allow to exist within the same plane of existence as I! Your garb is an affront to fashion. IT MUST BE DESTROYED!!!” Seemingly from nowhere, the alabaster unicorn levitated scissors, thread, sewing needles, and several rolls of fabric. Her magical blue aura burned with a furious zeal. She was fear incarnate. On the soon-to-be receiving end, Ellis had been paralyzed with almighty terror.
“Ellis.” Applejack said as the fashionista broke into a juggernaut charge, her instruments of both destruction and creation trailing behind her.