Dr. Facilier cracked his neck left and right, and gave a malicious laugh while his shadow joined in a silent laughter of its own.
"Man, does it feels so good t' be me again!
Don' know what th' hell I was thinkin' back then!
But now's th' time to retract what I've done...
It's time for some change! It's time for some fun!"
He leered about his surroundings and noticed many trees casting available shadows in the pale moonlight and was pleased with what he had to work with. His horn glowed and he casted the 'Coming to Life' spell on each of the many shadows in his sights. Every shadow trembled and shook until they finally broke from their physical bondings and took different forms of shady monsters. They gathered around their master while he looked up with anticipating eyes and an ear-to-ear grin.
"Yeah, this really takes me back...
Now it's time t' paint Ponyville black!"
The Shadowcolt jerked his head towards the trail leading to Ponyville and trotted away with the several shadows he casted following him as they swooped through the trees in their ethreal splendor. Dr. Facilier jittered with excitement at the thought of causing some old-fashioned trouble before he would be casted back with his 'friends'.
From Canterlot Castle, Luna was able to catch the doctor's change with the help of the moon she raised in the sky, and she gasped at what happened soon after. She galloped towards her sister's bedroom posthaste to warn her about the imminent danger Ponyville was about to be placed in 'Surely this can't be real at all! To think that Dr. Facilier would resort to this unacceptable choice!'
The doors to Celestia's bedroom flew open as the Princess of the Night made her entrance with a look of concern and used the Royal Canterlot Voice to emphasize the issue "SISTER! THE DREADED SHADOWCOLT HATH REVERTED TOWARD HIS VILLAINOUS WAYS! WE MUST MAKE LEAVE FOR PONYVILLE IMMEDIATELY!"
Luna's volume was enough to make Celestia jump and glare at her younger sister, but when she processed what was said, she donned a look of dire seriousness "So he made his choice..." The solar princess hung her head down for a moment and closed her eyes "I suppose it was a mistake to bring him back and change him..." She then brought her head up and focused her gaze on Luna "Let us make for the Element chamber! The bet is loss and his fate is sealed!" Celestia hopped from her bed and the two princesses galloped out of the room.
Dr. Facilier hummed a jaunty and familiar tone as he casually strolled through the forest. He looked around with bored eyes and a devious smirk while he sauntered along the trail, and noticed Zecora's hut coming into view. With that, he and his shadow gave a crooked smile
"Before I go an' meet my friends...
I think it's time to cut some loose ends..."
The Shadowcolt trotted onto Zecora's door step and politely knocked on the door while the shadows projected behind him with wicked smiles on their faces. The zebra mare opened the door, and then gasped when she noticed the shadows surrounding Dr. Facilier. She uttered words in her native tongue while she took in the darkened scenery with widened eyes. This was enough for the doctor to grin his gapped teeth once more.
"Hey there, deary. Remember me?
I'll give ya til th' count o' three..."
The shadows revealed their forms along the vertical edges of the tree and leered at the zebra mare as she galloped back inside. Dr. Facilier chuckled to himself and brushed the collar of his suit with a hoof before he chose to make his way inside. But before he could step through the open door, Zecora came back with two items in her possession: A long and sturdy bamboo stick in her right hoof, and a vial containing a green powdered substance in her left. She glared at Dr. Facilier while he cackled at the small display of items
"Is that seriously all ya got!?
Ya know how t' make me laugh a lo-"
Zecora popped open the vial in her left hoof using her mouth and she waved the powder in front of her as it spread into a green mist and shrouded the Shadowcolt's eyes. It caused seering pain and the doctor clenched his eyes shut and yelled in pain as he rubbed them with his hooves. While he was distracted, Zecora dropped the empty vial, took her bamboo stick in both hooves, and swung it upside Dr. Facilier's face and knocked him to the ground. She then quickly hopped over him and avoided all of the monstrous shadows in her path as she galloped away from her home.
"His true intentions have taken form!
I need help to quell this awful storm!"
She knew she couldn't fight Dr. Facilier alone with what he had gained, so there was nopony else to turn to but the friends she knew most. The doctor recovered from both the powder's effect and the nasty hit on his head only to watch the zebra mare move out of sight with bloodshot eyes. He gritted his teeth and growled in anger as he turned to his several shadow demons and snapped
"Th' hell are y'all doin' gawkin' at my face!?
Hurry after that stupid bitch! Give chase!"
The shadows did as commanded and swooped along the trees leading to Ponyville. Dr. Facilier rubbed his eyes once more and joined his shady minions so he could take care of business.
Meanwhile in Ponyville, the element bearers gathered in town square to show they were all unsuccessful in locating Dr. Facilier. Fluttershy gave a saddened sigh with her failure, but her ears perked up when she heard approaching hoofbeats "Somepony's coming...Do you think it's him?"
Rainbow Dash glared and flared her nostrils as she hovered in the air "If so, then he's in for a world of hurt!"
Applejack looked over to where the hoofbeats were growing in volume, and gasped to see Zecora running with a bamboo stick "Hey, y'all! It's Zecora!" The others turned to see the zebra mare approach her friends with worry plastered on her face. She skidded to a halt in front of them and caught her breath after running. Applejack trotted to her side "Zecora, is there somethin' wrong? Do ya know where we can find Dr. Fa-cee-lee-ae?"
Zecora caught her breath and stared at her friends with a serious gaze.
"He is headed this way with a dark intent!
We must take the swiftest action and prevent
The horrible deed that he has planned
With shady demons in his command!"
Twilight perked up at this "Wait a minute...Did you say shady demons?" She thought about this for a moment 'So that time on the train ride to Canterlot was...' Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard several gust sounds and turned to the route where Zecora came from.
Several shadows with crooked smiles flew along the buildings in Ponyville and surrounded the group of mares. Everypony present moved back cautiously, whereas Pinkie was making silly faces at each one of the shadows leering at her and the others. Fluttershy cringed and looked around "Sh-Sh-Shadows!? But who would-" She heard a familiar laugh and gasped when she saw her coltfriend as he strolled into town with a dark grin on his face.
"Well well well, what have we here?
Seven little mares all filled with fear..."
Rainbow Dash flew in front of the group and glared daggers at Dr. Facilier "In your dreams, you jerk! You'll pay for making Fluttershy cry!!" She flew at the doctor with her hooves stretched forward. Dr. Facilier raised an eyebrow in arrogance and stamped at the ground with a hoof to command one of his shadows to swoop over and protect him. The shadow that approached the doctor melded itself into a shadowed wall in front of Dr. Facilier that could be seen on the ground with Rainbow Dash's. When she got close, she rammed into an invisible barrier that sent her back reeling.
The others gasped at this while the cyan pegasus recovered midair and rubbed her head. Dr. Facilier only laughed at her failure and stamped at the ground again as his protective shadow went out of its wall form and went on the offensive. It swooped over under Rainbow Dash and hovered over her shadow, then extended its claws and grabbed at the shadow's tail. When she felt her own tail being grabbed, Rainbow Dash yelped when she was yanked and swung in a circle rapidly before being tossed into a tree. Her head was stick inside of the tree and she struggled to get out.
Applejack saw this and glared at Dr. Facilier "Bad enough ya made trouble with yer marefriend, but with mine, too? Well Ah! Ain't! Happy!" She galloped over with anger in her eyes. Dr. Facilier grinned defiantly and stamped at the ground as he commanded another shadow.
Twilight saw this and called out "Applejack, wait!" But it was too late. The shadow that the Shadowcolt commanded planted an extended set of claws near the cowpony and waited for her to pass, only to have one of her shadows hindlegs get caught and make her trip. She brought her face from the dirt and looked up at the Shadowcolt, who waved at her before she was hoisted into the air and tossed over to the same tree as Rainbow Dash, only her back collided with the tree.
Dr. Facilier held a hoof to his head as he laughed at the couple's misfortune, and Fluttershy couldn't believe her eyes when she witnessed the pain of her friends at the hooves of her coltfriend 'No...No, this can't be him! This is a dream! This is all just a dream!' She disbelieved what all had just now transpired as she buried her face in her hooves. But then she realized that this was her coltfriend, and that she needed to see him for herself. She slowly rose to her feet and looked ahead at the Shadowcolt.
Pinkie saw her friends and growled at Dr. Facilier "You big meanie-pants! You're asking for it! I'm gonna settle things Pinkie Pie sty-Whoa!" She felt herself be pinned to the ground and she looked to see four shadows holding each of her legs. The party pony looked forward with a poker face "Poop..."
The Shadowcolt will not be bothered by that annoying pink mare and her ability to defy the laws of physics. She turned to the remaining set of mares being led by Twilight Sparkle as she glared cautiously at him. He smirked and tipped his hat.
"How's it goin', Twilight, my dear?
Can't say I fancy meetin' ya here!"
Twilight narrowed her eyes along with Zecora as they got in a defensive stance "Dr. Facilier, what is the meaning of this!? Why are you choosing to do this now of all times!? Do you not realize what you're doing!?" Her words fell on deaf ears when the Shadowcolt feigned picking one of his ears with a hoof. She went to lash out until she noticed Fluttershy trot forward with a neutral stare. Twilight, Zecora, and Rarity all watched in surprise and Zecora quickly got in the timid mare's way with a stern gaze.
"Fluttershy, you must not approach him!
His heart is dark, his intention grim!"
Fluttershy looked past Zecora to see Dr. Facilier staring back at her with his malicious grin. She looked down 'Just a dream...' To her, this could all fade away in her mind if she would just approach him and wake up. The timid mare ignored Zecora's warning and moved past her with her same neutral gaze. Dr. Facilier saw this and raised an eyebrow at her as he wondered what she would do to him. He made no motion at all while Fluttershy approached her, and when she closed the distance, she looked deep into his eyes "Dr. Facilier...This isn't you at all...is it?"
The doctor looked back at Fluttershy as the two stared for a moment. Applejack recovered and noticed the scene going on, followed by Rainbow Dash as she plopped her head out of the tree. Pinkie was still being held down by four shadows, but she, too, was enthralled with the sight. Twilight, Rarity, and Zecora were curious to why Dr. Facilier stopped.
Until it happened...
Fluttershy thought it was a dream, until she felt a hard and cold backhoof whipped across her face without hesitation. Her world slowed down, and her eyes went wide in disbelief as tears flew from her eyes. At this moment, she remembered the post script in the ominous letter she read earlier:
'Please don't look for me. Please, for the love of Celestia, don't look for me, Fluttershy. I don't want to hurt you...'
When she fell onto the ground motionless, everypony dropped their jaws at Dr. Facilier's act, while he only inspected his hoof for a brief moment.
"This isn't me? Get real, mare!
S'good thing y'all didn't use that stare..."
Twilight never expected this to happen to one of her friends, and her face slowly contorted into that of unbridled rage as she growled. In the next moment, her coat changed from purple to white while her mane and tail bursted into flames "You monster!! I won't forgive you for this!!"
For once, Dr. Facilier was taken aback at the new sight presented to him. He knew Twilight was a powerful magic user, but not THIS powerful. He waved a hoof and commanded a small slew of shadows to lunge at her from all angles. But before they could reach her, they all quickly reeled back away from the flames surrounding Twilight. They may be shadows, but that does not mean that they can't feel pain.
Other ponies began to wake up over the loud sounds going on outside, and they were instantly spooked at what was happening. They saw several shadows and a very pissed-off Twilight Sparkle about to go against Dr. Facilier. Everypony on the sidelines were both scared and confused as they stayed inside their homes where it was safe.
Dr. Facilier growled at the fact that his own shadows wouldn't touch Twilight in her new form, but then a thought hit his head. He looked down and noticed the motionless body of Fluttershy laying on the ground and gave a devious grin as he commanded one of his shadows to hoist her up. The Shadowcolt's horn began to glow as he aimed it for her chest 'If I kill 'er now...I'm a free man...'
Fluttershy looked at the doctor and noticed the killing intent on his face when he aimed his horn at her and she couldn't find the courage to believe what was about to happen "No...No, you can't..." she whispered sadly as she stared at the one who used to be her coltfriend.
Twilight saw what was happening and she along with the rest of the group, save for Pinkie, prepared to retaliate.
The voice of Princess Celestia boomed from above and earned the attention of everypony present. After the Shadowcolt's name was called, a light shined over Ponyville. The shadows were engulfed and convulsed in pain until they faded away in the intense brightness, while the Shadowcolt covered his eyes. The light then faded to reveal Celestia and Luna in their regal glory as they hovered over Dr. Facilier. Luna levitated a gem-covered box with her magic while she glared down at him along with her older sister.
Twilight snapped out of her enraged state and looked up at her mentor "Princess! How did you-"
Celestia turned to Twilight and spoke in a solemn tone "I gave him fair warning that I would know about the trouble he would cause..."
Pinkie hopped up from where she was being held and chimed in "Oh, the readers knew about that! Well, unless they skimmed along the story out of boredom..." She looked down and pondered this thought, oblivious to the matter at hoof. Dr. Facilier looked around to see that his shadows were gone, but he regained his vigor and feigned innocence at the princesses out of spite
"Oh my goodness, what have I done?
I only wanted t' have some fun..."
Celestia turned and glared at Dr. Facilier for his defiant behavior and signalled for Luna to open the case. The Princess of the Night revealed the Elements of Harmony, to which Twilight levitated and presented them to her fellow element bearers.
As they prepared for their attack, Dr. Facilier got more angry as he glared at his group of enemies now numbering nine. His shadow was the only thing showing cowardice as it hid behind the doctor and shivered. While he got angry, 'The Song' played once more, but this time, everypony present heard it. While they all looked around, Pinkie was hopping up and down in glee "Oh! Oh! It's playing again! But my record player isn't on..."
Twilight was oblivious to the source of the sound until she looked above Dr. Facilier with widened eyes "Everypony! Look!" The ponies, save for Dr. Facilier, looked up to see ominous floating masks with glowing green eyes appear while they scatted to a dark beat.
Dr. Facilier saw his enemies look above him and turned to see his 'friends' approach him, and he felt a small pinch of fear as he stared up at them. They glared back as they scatted and grinned as they sang
ARE YOU READY~!?
Dr. Facilier inched away from the floating masks and glared at them as they moved closer and closer without pause.
ARE YOU READY~!?
Around the doctor and the other ponies, some voodoo dolls resembling ponies emerged from the ground with pins in their hooves as they crawled out with stitched smiles. The Shadowcolt stopped in his tracks and yelled at his 'friends'
"No, I ain't ready! Jus' give me a minute or two!
I wanna have some fun and see this through!"
After his words, the large mask appeared behind the floating masks from a green aura and grinned deviously at his puppet.
'Look at that...I was right about the time it took you to see the bigger picture...But enough about that. Time to go, doctor...Let us be off...'
The large mask then opened its maw as a large shadowy claw extended from its mouth, grabbed Dr. Facilier's shadow, and pulled it and the doctor towards its glowing mouth. The Shadowcolt yelled and grasped at the ground while he was being pulled, much to the horror of the others despite them knowing about Dr. Facilier's evil.
"No no no! Jus' cut me some slack!
I ain't ready at all to go back!"
His face of pure villainy was now replaced with one of utter regret and begging while he grasped at the ground. Fluttershy saw the look in his eyes and yelled "No!" She galloped over towards the doctor, but was held back by Applejack and Rainbow Dash, who looked at the scene with horror and a small sense of pity towards Dr. Facilier. They didn't want to lose her to the shadows.
The voodoo dolls were banging on drums found out of nowhere with their pins while Dr. Facilier was being dragged back to hell. He yelled out to his friends while his face was plastered with regret and horror.
"I DIDN'T MEAN FOR MY PLANS TO COME TO THIS!!!
I PROMISE I'LL PAY Y'ALL BACK! I PROMISE!!!!"
With one final pull, Dr. Facilier yelled when he found himself inside of the large mask's mouth. It then inhaled as the masks, dolls, and drums were all sucked into its mouth as well. When it closed its mouth, it gave a thunderous noise before it winked out of existence in a flash of lightning. The battle was now over.
Everypony in their homes slowly crawled out of their doorsteps to comprehend what had just happened. They all traded glances and murmured in the crowds with worry in their voices.
Princess Luna saw her subjects in unrest and spoke towards them "Our loyal subjects! We art afraid it is best to say that the stallion known as Dr. Facilier was not meant to live here in Ponyville all this time! We apologize for any disturbance placed towards thee and shall grant a pleasant rest for all! Thou may return to thine homes and know that peace has fallen over your town once more!"
The citizens of Ponyville, comfortable with Luna's speech (especially since it wasn't in the Royal Canterlot Voice) did as commanded and went back inside their homes to rest. Princess Celestia looked at the spot where Dr. Facilier was taken away from and closed her eyes 'Perhaps I have been to naive for all the centuries I have lived in my life...' She turned to her subjects "My little ponies, you have witnessed a horrible act and have managed to overcome it with your spirits. It is my duty to apologize to you all for having you go through this little episode..."
Rarity trotted up and bowed to Celestia "Oh, you musn't be too hard on yourself, Princess! You only wanted him to change and he failed to do so. While I cannot fathom how he was taken away, you really do not have much to worry about knowing that everypony is safe and sound!"
Twilight nodded "That's right! We've been through worse and we managed to get past each trial presented to us in our lives!" She looked down "Although, I can't help but feel sorry for Dr. Facilier..." That's when she perked up and remembered "Fluttershy!" She looked over to see her timid friend's face buried in her mane "Fluttershy, are you-"
Fluttershy weakly wriggled herself out of Applejack and Rainbow Dash's grasp and slowly trotted back to her cottage. Everypony present saw her leave with sadness on their faces. Zecora closed her eyes and spoke in a calm tone
"She mourns the loss of the one she loves most
And how he was taken by a mysterious ghost..."
Twilight drooped her ears and watched her timid friend move out of sight "Fluttershy..."
Rainbow Dash looked and went to go comfort her, only to be stopped by Applejack, who closed her eyes and shook her head "She needs some alone time fer this'un, Dash. T'aint right t' make it worse on 'er..." The cyan pegasus went to object, but understood the gravity of her sorrow with who she shared her love with. Rainbow Dash only wished she could stick to her element and be there for Fluttershy when she needed it.
Celestia and Luna looked at each other and nodded and focused their gazes back to the others as the solar princess spoke "I'm afraid this is where we must get going, my little ponies. Have a good night, and please send my condolences to Fluttershy."
The Princess of the Night nodded "Ours as well. We wish her the best recovery...Til then, farewell!" The two princesses teleported away and left the remaining ponies and Zecora by themselves. Zecora turned to the forest and looked back at her friends
"It is very late and I must return to my hut
I hope that Fluttershy's mind won't remain in a rut..."
The remaining ponies waved Zecora off as she trotted back to the Everfree Forest. Rarity turned to the direction of the cottage with a look of pity on her face "The poor dear...I'll respect her wishes and give her some time to herself, but as Celestia as my witness, I shall make her happy when the moment is right!"
Twilight nodded to Rarity's proclamation and turned to her friends "We should get back to bed, too. We'll worry about Fluttershy in the morning." The ponies agreed and went to back to their respective homes to reflect on what had happened.
After they left, a certain unicorn DJ pushed what looked like a stereo on wheels towards where the battle had ended and looked around "Awww, horseapples! Am I late!?"
Fluttershy had left a trail of tears that led to her home, and she opened the door to see that the lamp in her living room was still on with her tear-stained eyes. She trotted over to see that everything Dr. Facilier left behind was still there, including his sorted potions and his vast collection of dolls. She wiped her eyes and sniffed at the sight of the dolls. They will now serve the purpose to remind her of the one that made her life so happy. She turned to the desk and noticed the doll of herself and gave a sad smile 'He was so creative...' Then she looked down where she noticed where she dropped both the letter and the wrapped gift that the Shadowcolt had left for her.
She went over the letter for the sake of hearing his voice with good intentions in her head, and then she turned to the gift. She remembered the letter saying that Dr. Facilier left something behind to remind Fluttershy that he loved her with all his heart. She took a deep breath, and she slowly unraveled the gift's ribbon, then popped off the cover to reveal what was inside. The timid mare's eyes widened and she gave a low gasp as more tears formed in her eyes.
It was a doll; A doll of the one she considered the best coltfriend she had ever had. The appearance made it seem almost lifelike. It was like staring at a miniature Dr. Facilier. She slowly took the doll of the Shadowcolt in her hooves and stared at it with trembling pupils, then cradled it as she began to sob to herself. Fluttershy now knows that despite what Dr. Facilier really is, he shall always be her true love.
So, it was back to this again. Back to the endless torture and everything that goes with it. Dr. Facilier never would have imagined he would repeat the same pathetic face he made as a human or make the same mistake of returning to his doom, but it didn't matter to him now. He was here; where his fate was sealed once more.
But then he realized that there are higher powers in the universe, and that one of them developed the tiniest sliver of mercy to grant him some freedom to do as he pleased once more. If it was possible, maybe it could happen to him again, and when that time comes, he could have more fun with no holds barred.
Dr. Facilier slowly cracked an ear-to-ear grin to himself at the thought of another powerful being wishing to take him away from this cesspool and grant him a new life and some freedom to make it better. All he can do is wait and see if that time will ever come to a poor sinner like him just like before.