When Pinkie stepped into the hazy image, vibrant colors suddenly blinded her. Various fragrances and pleasant smells wafted around her nose, but at the same time greatly overstimulated her senses, leading her to stumble backwards before gaining her bearings. When Pinkie finally did recover herself, there seemed to a mist hovering over her mind. What’s going on?
When she finally opened her eyes, what she saw shocked her into next week.
It was a party. Ponies of all shapes and sizes were laughing and frolicking throughout what looked to be a grand castle. Streamers and confetti blew through the air as colts and fillies chased each other up and down stairs in a playful game of tag. The ceiling towered above Pinkie and ended in a skylight, but this was just the lobby of what appeared to be an enormous castle.
“It’s a party!” Pinkie laughed. “Hey, girls...!” Pinkie turned around to see that her friends had vanished. “Um... where did everypony go?” They probably just went off to join the party. And I don’t blame them; this looks like a super amount of fun!
Pinkie bounced down the carpeted stairs of the lobby toward the front gate, awed by the great amount of ponies that had attended this grand celebration. In the lobby alone there must have been dozens that were laughing, chatting, and snacking on the sweets that lined numerous tables all around. Pinkie’s mouth watered when she saw one of her favorite treats, a fresh-baked triple-chocolate brownie.
Not hesitating, Pinkie delved into the sweets. Yummy!
“Ugh, that’s so rude, stuffing your face like that,” a voice behind Pinkie said.
The pink earth pony turned around, but nopony looked like they were paying any attention. Huh? Disregarding the insult, Pinkie set the sweets aside and made her way to the dance floor. Everypony there seemed to be enjoying her Quadruple-breakdance-somersault-cartwheel until she heard another voice.
“No talent at all. No form, no nothing,” a voice said from behind Pinkie’s back. “What a waste. You should just go home.”
“Huh?” Pinkie asked. She carried on regardless, but soon became tired and moved on to the snack bar.
Glancing around, Pinkie now noticed various ponies were snickering at her. I just thought they were having a good time, she sighed. They’re laughing at me.
Absently, Pinkie stumbled into a white earth pony mare. “Oh, sorry!” she said.
The mare glared at her with a gaze so cold that the Pinkie stumbled backwards, landing on her rear. Laughter could be heard all around. The mare slowly advanced on Pinkie, her gaze colder than an arctic wind.
Everypony there was laughing at her, at her mistakes, and at her clumsiness. The white mare’s eyes turned to daggerlike slits.
Whispers traveled from around the room to Pinkie’s ears. You are a pathetic waste of space and an idiot. Who invited you to the party? Ugh, what a loser. Did you actually think you deserved to come here without an invitation? Nopony likes you. Nopony even cares for you. It wouldn’t matter to any of us if you dropped dead.
You don’t belong.
Pinkie was on the verge of tears as she stumbled back to her feet. “H-Hey, I know!” she said. “Let’s have a contest to see who can look the scariest! I’ll go first.” Pinkie prepared her best glare and looked at the mare with fiery intensity.
The mare didn’t even blink. She simply glared back at Pinkie.
“Aw, it’s no fun if you don’t play!” Pinkie said. “In fact, how about we all play?” Pinkie felt her mind clear up a tiny bit, the haze starting to evaporate.
Pinkie took turns feigning anger and disgust at each of the members of the party, who gladly participated. Soon the party was in full thrall again. The pink earth pony turned back to the white mare.
“Aren’t you going to play? It’s wouldn’t be as much fun without you!” Pinkie said cheerfully. “Don’t you know how to laugh?”
Pinkie yelped as her mind readjusted suddenly. The hazy image she had walked into returned to being just that: A hazy image with shapes and sounds that sounded only slightly similar to actual ponies.
Pinkie stepped out of the misty figures that danced about her, slowly backpedaling to the shaky path. The solid black space above and below the tiny island returned as her vision and mind cleared completely. The image broke apart bit by bit to form runes that sailed off into the distance. Only a few stayed to form the jagged shape of Verba.
“Yeah, yeah, um, pretty nice job there, Linky,” Verba began, looking at a clipboard that was also made out of multicolored runes. He pushed his glasses--also rune-based--back up on the bridge of what may have been a nose.
“It’s Pinkie Pie!” she corrected, “and don’t you forget it, mister!”
“I’ll be sure not to,” Verba chuckled, tossing the clipboard over his shoulder. It broke off into its base components and sailed off on an invisible wind.
“Where are my friends?” Pinkie asked indignantly, not afraid to show off her meanest look right in Verba’s face.
“Hey, hey, we’re all friends here,” Verba defended, taking a step back. “They’re back at the ruins. And did I mention how well you did, um, what’s your name?”
“Hmph! Thank you very much,” Pinkie said before bounding back off along the path.
“Jeez Louise,” Verba muttered, chuckling as he watched Pinkie hop toward the ruins. “She’s always quite the character. Wish she remembered me,” he mumbled before breaking down into dust.
Twilight gasped as she awoke, though she quickly regretted it due to her sore throat. After she finished coughing, she examined her surroundings. There was a bowl full of water in the middle of what looked like an ancient library. Bookshelves lined the walls, and two staircases wound their way to the top of a spire above her. There was a golden aura about the area as bright amber light cascaded through the windows into the small room.
Standing up, Twilight looked outside through the windows to see nothing but a barren desert as far as the eye could see.
“Any news?” she heard a voice ask from nearby. She turned to see a dark brown stallion who was conversing with a series of brightly colored lights. They chattered a bit before vanishing.
“You’re awake,” he observed, not turning around to face her.
“Who were you talking to?” Twilight asked. “And where are my friends?”
“That was my helper. He communicates with me on the happening of the realm. As for your other question or questions... we’ll see if I can answer them,” he said, paging through a tome in front of him. He brushed his shiny black mane behind his ear. “However, before I provide any more of my answers, you need to give me some of yours.”
“Why should I? You haven’t given me any reason to trust you,” Twilight said, taking a step back.
“You have every reason to trust me,” the stallion said calmly, turning around and finally meeting Twilight’s gaze. His eyes had no pupils; they were simply white irises. “However, if you do not answer my inquiries, I will not be able to help your friends.”
“J-Just... Just tell me where they are a-and I’ll tell you everything you need to know,” Twilight promised, though she was severely off-put by the stallion’s eyes.
The stallion chuckled. “I was hoping you could tell me.”
“What do you mean?” Twilight asked, confused.
“I have been trying to find you and your friends for quite some time now,” he began. “However, when you descended into my realm, you were the only one I could find. The others were stolen from my view.”
“Why were you trying to find us?” Twilight asked.
“I was trying to find you before your world collapsed. Or, rather, the copy of that world,” he added.
“Huh?” Twilight asked.
“You were in suspended animation. For how long, I’m not certain,” the stallion explained. “Tell me--you are aware that you are the Elements of Harmony, correct? What are they?”
Twilight stared at him warily. “My friend Applejack is Honesty, Pinkie Pie is Laughter-”
“Humor,” the stallion interrupted.
“Huh?” Twilight asked. “No... She’s Laughter. It says so in the Elements of Harmony reference guide.”
He raised an eyebrow, and he rubbed his chin. “There isn’t any reference guide... At least, there isn’t supposed to be a reference guide that I know of... At any rate, the Element of Humor is what you should call it, if you want to be precise.”
“Okay...” Twilight trailed off. Continuing, she said, “Rarity is Generosity, Fluttershy is Kindness, Rainbow Dash is Loyalty, and I represent the element of Friendship, or Magic.”
The stallion nodded. “Right. Do you know anything else about the Elements of Harmony?”
Twilight searched her mind. Hmm... well, we weren’t told much other than that. I don’t remember reading anything...
“Anything at all?” the stallion asked.
Twilight was put on edge by his demeanor. He seems really desperate. “Um, no. Should I?” Twilight asked.
The stallion shook his head and sighed. “Never mind.” He paused. “Are you aware of any other Elements?”
“No,” Twilight said.
The stallion exhaled. “Are you aware of my importance in the Elements of Harmony?”
“No…?” Twilight trailed off.
The stallion seemed agitated as he ran a hoof through his mane. “Do you know the alphabet, basic sentence structure?!”
“What is the point of all these questions? Of course I know the alphabet!” Twilight exclaimed. “If you want me to know, why don’t you just tell me?”
“You should have known all of this already,” the stallion said frustratedly. “What is going on?”
Twilight raised her eyebrows. “Don’t you know?”
The stallion shook his head, his glistening mane falling over his face. “You are already supposed to know all of the things I’m asking you about; telling you about them now would be useless. Celestia should have told you! It’s her responsibility!”
A powerful force washed over Twilight, making her shiver. “...Wh-What’s your name?” she asked hesitantly.
The stallion looked at her. “My name?”
“Please,” Twilight persisted.
“Obsidian,” the stallion said. “It appears times have changed since my last assignment. The Elements must not have been needed for a very long time.”
“No, that’s not true!” Twilight exclaimed. “Just over a year ago, my friends and I had to defeat Nightmare Moon with the Elements!”
Obsidian looked up and raised an eyebrow. “Nightmare Moon?”
“Yes,” Twilight said. “Nightmare Moon possessed Princess Luna one thousand years ago, but she escaped recently and we had to stop her.”
Obsidian’s eyes widened, then narrowed. “What did this… ‘Nightmare Moon’ look like?”
Twilight rubbed her chin, deep in thought. Why is my memory so fuzzy? “She looked a little like Luna. Okay, not really. She had a jet-black pelt and a pale blue mane. She was an alicorn, too. Um… her cutie mark had the same pattern as Luna's, but was green and purple instead of white and black. That’s all I remember.”
Obsidian stared at Twilight. “And where did Nightmare Moon come from, originally?”
Twilight was put off guard by the sense of urgency in the stallion’s tone. “I read in an old book that she was the sum of the bitterness and envy in Luna’s heart. That’s all I know, I swear.”
But Obsidian wasn’t angry. He wasn’t resentful; that certainly wasn’t the expression that was shown in his eyes. He didn’t even look like he needed any more information out of Twilight. What she said had been enough.
Obsidian’s eyes were alight with fear. A fear that was penetrating and real.
Pinkie bounced into the abandoned throne room to find her friends lying on the ground, unconscious.
“What happened?” she asked aloud, rushing over to Fluttershy. “Say something, Fluttershy!”
The yellow pegasus twitched a bit, her eyes opening slowly. “Wh-Where am I? Pinkie, is that you?”
“I think so,” Pinkie said, taking a glance at her hooves. “Yep, it’s me! Are you okay?”
Dash sat up and rubbed her head. “Ugh, what just happened? All I remember is trying to go into that misty whatever and then waking up here.”
Soon Applejack and Rarity were awake as well. Rarity was trying to get her hair to settle after laying on it for so long. Applejack stretched her stiff limbs while Pinkie told them what had happened.
“So we’re bein’ tested, is that it?” Applejack asked. “An’ we can’t do nothin’ but watch an’ wait while our friends are in danger?”
There was a great flash of light in the middle of the room. Glowing blue text started to appear on the carpet.
Those who triumph over their tests
Have endless positive hopes and dreams.
Ending Guilt is an important skill,
Unless you want to end your team.
“What an uplifting little poem,” Rarity muttered. “What are we supposed to do now?”
“I guess we have to keep on going,” Dash said, stretching out her wings. “Maybe then we’ll get some payback on the jerk that put us in here.”
“So what path are we takin’ next?” Applejack asked. “The orange one?”
“We might as well,” Rarity sighed, trying to fix her mane. It’s going to take forever to get this sand out of my hair. I want to go home right this instant.
“Um, Pinkie?” Fluttershy asked. “How h-hard was your test?”
“Easy-peasy, why?” Pinkie chirped.
“Because we’re all going to be tested, right?” Fluttershy asked nervously.
“Don’t worry about it!” Pinkie said, giving Fluttershy her biggest, brightest smile. “Let’s go!”
The group started down the empty orange path. When their hooves first touched the unstable, fragile pathway, though, they found that they were in a dank tunnel.
The walls of the small corridor were dark, black, and eerie. Echoes and cool wind blew through the corridor, and the group was put on edge by clinks and shinks that resounded from invisible sources.
Rarity quickly put a hoof over her nose to try and drown out the smell. “Celestia, that’s foul!” she coughed, wrinkling her nose. “Are we in some kind of sewage drain?!”
“Wouldn’t be surprised, from the look a things,” Applejack said.
“If you’ll excuse me, I shall be waiting back in the throne room,” Rarity said before turning around and slamming into the wall of the tunnel.
“Um, I-I don’t think we can go back,” Fluttershy stammered.
“What is this, some kind of cruel joke?!” Rarity whined, clawing at the now-solid wall. “I’m going to smell like dirt by the time I’m out of here!”
Fluttershy tried to wave the smell away from her nose, but it was ever-present in the area. Oh, I hope that isn’t what I think it is, she thought, eyeing the puddles of unknown substances on the ground.
“Well, this ain’t gonna get any better if we just sit here,” Applejack said. “We better git goin’.”
Somewhat reluctantly, or in Rarity’s case extremely reluctantly, the group started to traverse the narrow corridors. Aside from the smell and ambiance of the tunnels, the journey progressed rather smoothly with every squish and squelch of the group’s hooves.
This is NOT how I expected to spend my day, Rarity groaned to herself as she stayed in the shallowest regions of liquid possible. It really couldn’t get any worse.
After a few hours travel, Applejack spotted something in a long and winding tunnel. “Huh?” she asked herself. Is that a mare? Better go check. Picking up speed, she ran after the unknown entity.
Dash yelped as she smacked into an invisible barrier. “What?”
Pinkie pawed at the invisible wall. It moved suddenly, and she was thrown off balance.
“What’s this?” Rarity asked.
“It’s following Applejack!” Dash realized.
“But... What’s Applejack following?” Pinkie asked.
“I dunno,” Dash growled, “but we’d better go find out. C’mon!”
[Note]: I do not own anything in this story that already belongs to someone else.
This entire storyline takes place BEFORE season two, but AFTER season one.