(Sugar Cube Corner)
Fluttershy took another sip of fruit juice, glancing at the stairs with a worried expression on her face.
About an hour ago, she had heard a few noises from upstairs and had almost ran up there, certain that the babies were hurt, getting into trouble, or both.
Twilight had calmed her down by saying that Velvet and Libby were probably just levitating and dropping toys in their sleep. Rarity confirmed this, saying that Sweetie Belle had done it all the time when she was just a little foal.
Knowing that her friends wouldn't lie to her about something as important as the wellbeing of their foals, the pegasus with the pink mane allowed herself to relax a little.
The fact that she hadn't heard any other sounds from upstairs since the first soft thumps had helped to calm her nerves quite a bit, allowing her to enjoy the party.
An hour later, however, Fluttershy found herself feeling uncomfortable. She couldn't really explain why she was so nervous; something just didn't feel right.
"I'm going to go check on the babies" she said to Rainbow Dash, who sighed and told her that the babies were fine.
Fluttershy nodded, but headed upstairs anyway.
She stepped as quietly as she could, not wanting to disturb either the possibly sleeping foals in Pound and Pumpkins room, or the ponies partying downstairs. She felt herself relax a little when she reached the room where the six foals were supposed to be napping, seeing that the door was still closed, locked, and undamaged. Being as quiet as possible, she unlocked and opened the door before looking inside.
Almost immediately, her calm state of mind vanished as she realized that the babies weren't just being very quiet; they were gone.
Fluttershy was amazed that she didn't blow out her vocal cords with how loudly she had screamed.
The sound of the scream had terrified the majority of the ponies at the party; they had immediately stopped dancing and had begun looking around frantically, apparently trying to find the source of the horrible sound.
Caramel stepped over to the stairs, calling up to ask Fluttershy if she was alright. It was easy enough to determine that whatever had actually done the screaming, it had come from upstairs, which meant the butter-yellow pegasus was very likely still with whatever had made the noise.
His call was very quickly answered…by the gentle pegasus running past him and nearly knocking him over, not even pausing as she apologized to the stallion.
Fluttershy panted as she stopped running, stopping in front of Rarity, Applejack, and Rainbow Dash, who had all come over to see what had gotten their usually timid friend so worked up.
"Fluttershy, what's wrong, darling?" Rarity questioned, using her usual term of endearment for her closest friend.
After taking a few more seconds to catch her breath, Fluttershy answered, her voice somewhat raspy.
"They're gone…" she said, and the others all went pale, even the ivory-colored unicorn.
"Who's gone?" Applejack asked.
Fluttershy didn't say anything, but the look on her face made it obvious who she was talking about.
Almost immediately, Rainbow flew over to Pinkie Pie, who was dancing in a small group along with Twilight.
Noticing her partner in pranks, the pink pony slowed her dancing slightly and asked her what was up.
"The babies are gone!" Rainbow Dash informed the earth pony and the unicorn, who both froze in place.
"WHAT?" Pinkie asked loudly before running over to the music player and turning it off.
"Party's over" she told the guests, who all voiced their annoyance at the sudden end to the fun, but left anyway; after all, if Pinkie Pie was ending a party early, it had to be for a good reason.
Soon, the only ponies left in Sugar Cube Corner were members of the Cake family, as well as their employee and her five best friends, who instantly began turning the shop and living quarters upside down, searching for their offspring.
"Maybe we shouldn't have come in here…" Meadow Lark said, her voice soft as she flattened her ears against her skull.
Most of the others ignored her, preferring to look around at the dark forest. Only Libby and Firestorm seemed to even notice that the brown-maned filly had said anything.
The white filly simply gave her half-sister a little nudge, seemingly to try and reassure her.
The golden-eyed colt, however, allowed his ego to take control of his actions and decided to basically force the others to pay attention to him. He flapped his wings and fluttered into the air before turning to face the other pegasus with a cocky grin on his face.
"Don't worry, Meadow," he told her. "If anything tries to bother us, I'll just kill them with my awesome."
None of the foals responded to the statement for a moment or two. Then, Velvet began to snicker.
Firestorm's eyes narrowed as he asked the blue filly what she found so funny.
"You're going to kill them with an adjective? Yeah…good luck with that" she told him, trotting past him with a smirk on her face.
His ego now bruised, Firestorm lowered himself to the ground, completely ignoring Meadow Lark when she asked if he was alright.
After traveling for a while longer, the six foals found themselves feeling rather desperate for a meal. Most of them hadn't eaten anything since dinnertime, which had been hours earlier, so now they were rather hungry.
Unfortunately, they couldn't see any animals that they could hunt, and while there were plenty of plants, none of them appealed to the young hybrids.
The fact that they hated eating grass and flowers anyway really didn't help matters.
Suddenly, Butterscotch lifted her head and began sniffing the air like a dog.
The corners of her mouth turned up in a manic grin as she ran off towards the smell, her hooves blurring and moving as though they had turned into wheels.
The others followed her, coughing due to the dust she was kicking up.
Soon enough, the six foals reached a large patch of what seemed to be blue flowers.
"This is what was making you go so crazy? Flowers?" Firestorm questioned Butterscotch, confused as to why she was apparently so desperate to get to a bunch of flowers. After all, none of them could stomach the taste or even the smell of flowers.
"Smell them; they smell good" the butterscotch-colored filly demanded to her brothers and sisters before she took a bite of one of the strange-looking plants.
The other five decided to humor her and took a quick whiff of the flowers, expecting to be totally repulsed by the smell. To their surprise, the flowers smelled wonderful, like baking cookies or something similar.
"Well, they do smell really good" Roxbury said, tilting his head to the side.
The colt seemed to be working something over in his mind. After a few seconds of thought, he bit off one of the blue petals, chewing it slowly before swallowing. His red-and-yellow eyes widened and he quickly devoured the rest of the plant before moving onto the next one.
The others each took a bite of the strange flowers, clearly unsure if they actually tasted different from the flowers they saw in Ponyville, or if Butterscotch and Roxbury had just suddenly developed an odd sense of what tasted good and what didn't.
Soon, the six foals were happily munching on the bright blue flowers, almost completely oblivious to their surroundings.
Libby's ears flicked slightly and she turned her head away from the flower she had been eating.
"You guys hear that?" she questioned her half-siblings.
Before any of the others could answer her, a large bird swooped down from what seemed to be nowhere, dive-bombing the six infant ponies.
The foals screamed and, having never dealt with something like this, began running around in their panic. Their fear was only intensified as the bird was joined by another of its kind.
The two bird opened their beaks, revealing tiny but sharp teeth, and screeched before going to attack the young ponies again.
The larger of the two (though both were huge, the smallest being larger than a bald eagle) went after Libby and Meadow. The two fillies were running side by side, and apparently the bird wanted to get a two-for-one deal on its newest meal.
They managed to "wisp" themselves behind a nearby tree and away from the talons of the monstrous raptor, though not before receiving a few rather nasty scratches on their backs from said talons.
Libby and Meadow poked their heads around the tree in order to see what happened with the rest of their siblings.
The smaller of the two raptors targeted Firestorm, who was currently hovering a couple inches off the ground, using the lack of traction to try and move faster. Unfortunately, he wasn't quick enough and the bird caught him.
"Let go!" he screamed, whimpering in pain as the bird squeezed his hind leg, resulting in a painful-sounding crunching sound.
Instinctively, the cyan colt took a deep breath through his mouth and snorted the air out of his nose, bursting into flames as he did so.
The bird that was holding him screeched in pain as his feet and the feather near his groin were scorched. He released his grip on the foal he had been planning to make a meal out of, causing the poor pony to plummet towards the ground, a good twenty-five feet away.
Firestorm quickly opened his wings, allowing himself to glide to the ground and avoid what would have been a very painful landing.
As soon as he touched the ground, he galloped over to the tree where Libby and Meadow Lark were hiding, wincing in pain every time his broken leg made contact with the solid earth. Once he was certain that he was safe, the colt joined his two sisters in watching how the others dealt with the birds' attack.
"Shouldn't we help them?" Meadow questioned, gasping in horror as the larger bird picked up Velvet and lifted her into the air.
"What can we do?" Libby asked sadly. "Those birds are like, ten times our size and they can fly a lot higher than we can reach".
Meanwhile, the little blue unicorn struggled in the grip of the large bird, who was currently taking her higher and higher.
She threw her head back, hoping to jab him with her horn, but he seemed to barely notice; her horn just wasn't sharp enough.
Suddenly, a thought came to her.
The filly squeezed her eyes shut and her face scrunched as she concentrated.
A moment passed and, at first, she thought something was wrong, but within another moment, she could feel small, sharp barbs begin to emerge from her back.
She was surprised that the process was actually hurting her, as it never had before, but she ignored the pain. After all, the pain she was currently in would be nothing compared to the pain she'd be in if she didn't escape.
Her eyes flew open and she gasped in pain as the foot long barbs emerged fully from her body.
The bird gave a single screech of pain as the barbs entered his body, before going silent and plummeting to the ground, still talons still keeping a tight grip on his would-be prey, even in death.
Velvet struggled to free herself from the bird's talons, but the tight grip, coupled with the fact that the barbs in her back were stuck in the raptor's belly, made that pretty much impossible.
"Better get out of there, Velvet" Butterscotch called up to the unicorn, just barely dodging the living predator who had tried to grab at her.
The unicorn rolled her red-and-yellow eyes and muttered sarcastically, "Now, why didn't I think of that?"
Realizing that the ground was coming up quickly, and that she most likely wasn't going to pull herself free, the little unicorn foal began to panic.
Her first reaction was to attempt to "wisp" to the ground, but all she managed was to produce a bit of smoke from her body; the weight of herself plus the bird, coupled with the distance she'd have to travel in order to actually reach the ground prevented her from actually using the ability. The fact that growing the barbs had taken so much out of her certainly didn't help.
So, she decided to try her next option: her horn began to glow, as did the wings of the giant predatory bird.
The wings opened fully, allowing the body of the bird to glide to the ground, guided by the unicorn's magic.
Once they were close enough to the ground, Velvet used her magic to make the bird go to his side, before simply allowing them to fall to the ground.
"You okay?" Butterscotch called, once again jumping out of the way of the remaining raptor.
Unfortunately, she wasn't quite fast enough and the bird's talons closed upon her left hind leg, stabbing into her hoof.
The bird landed, apparently having learned from his companion's mistake, and raised his head, clearly preparing to smash the filly's head with his sharp beak.
However, before he could make contact with the young pony's skull, a small rock smacked into his skull.
"Hey, Toothy! Pick on someone more your size!" Roxbury called, using his tail to whip another pebble at the bird.
The bird turned his attention away from Butterscotch and towards the colt.
Butterscotch took full advantage of the bird's loss of interest in her; she jumped into the air and ran as fast as she could, not stopping until she was several yards away….though the leg that the bird had grabbed stretched like warm taffy, rather than going with the rest of her body.
The bird turned his attention back to where he believed the filly still was, and gave a surprised screech as he noticed she was gone, save for the stretched out leg that was still in his grasp.
Angered, the bird released his hold on the leg and turned his attention back to the green colt who had distracted him.
As the bird began to rise into the air, Roxbury chuckled nervously before trotting away.
While the bird rose higher and higher into the air, the earth pony filly decided to fix her leg; still behind the rock she had been hiding behind, she grabbed her left hind leg and began to pump it up and down, causing her stretched leg to go back to normal, though her hoof was still rather bloody.
Meanwhile, Roxbury had finally tired himself out from running. He fell onto a fairly large stone, panting.
Up in the sky, the raptor's eyes gleamed; he knew he was going to finally get a meal out of this. He rose higher into the sky, before diving towards the colt on the rock.
Still exhausted, the green earth pony looked up and saw the bird diving towards him, sharp beak aimed right at his body.
Knowing that he wouldn't be able to run away in time, he closed his eyes and activated his ability, morphing his body into the stone that he was lying on.
Seeing that the pony had apparently transformed into stone, the bird tried to stop his dive, but it was too late; he collided with the now rock-hard body of the young pony with a sickening crack before falling to the ground, a small pool of blood forming at his skull.
Now that the threat was gone, the hiding foals came back into the open and Roxbury allowed himself to morph back to flesh and blood.
"You guys aren't healing right, either?" Butterscotch asked Libby and Meadow Lark as they helped pull Velvet away from the body of the larger bird.
The white unicorn and yellow pegasus shook their heads.
"The bleeding stopped, but the scratches are still open" Libby explained while Meadow attempted to lick the injuries on her back, wincing from the pain caused by her tongue on the raw skin.
"Well…let's get out of here" Firestorm finally said, landing on the ground (though he kept his injured leg-the swelling had gone down a bit, but it was clear it hadn't healed entirely-off the ground).
Velvet, who had just retracted the barbs back into her body, leaving small, bloody puncture marks in her skin, agreed.
"Who knows how many of those things live around here?"
The others nodded and the six foals moved away from the patch of delicious blue flowers.
"I don't get it" Twilight said as she stepped out of the library.
She hadn't gone there to look for her daughter and the children of her friends; she knew that if the foals had gone to the library, they would have woken Spike, who would have sent a message to the mares telling them that the foals were there.
No, she had gone back to the library in order to find a locator spell, one that was supposed to be able to detect specific ponies within a fifty mile radius.
"Don't get what?" Rainbow Dash questioned, landing next to the purple unicorn.
The six mares had been going to each of their "grounded" homes (since none of the foals would have been able to reach Rainbow's cloud home), in search of their offspring, coming up empty-hoofed each time. Twilight's library was their last stop before going to Fluttershy's cottage.
"This spell is supposed to find ponies no matter where they are…but when I try using it to find Velvet" Twilight began, her horn glowing for a moment before going back to normal, "I get nothing".
The others seemed to consider what this could possibly mean. Finally, it was Fluttershy who came up with a possible answer.
"…They aren't ponies" she said in a soft voice, which the others picked up easily.
They all realized that was the most likely reason the spell couldn't be used to locate their children; while the babies looked more or less like normal foals, they were hybrids, not even pure equines, let alone ponies.
"Well, looks like we gotta search the old fashion way" Applejack said, starting towards Fluttershy's cottage, the last of the places they figured the foals would have naturally gravitated towards.
The others instantly started trotting in the same direction.
Fluttershy gently shook Angel Bunny awake, receiving a tired glare from the small creature as he finished yawning.
"Sorry for waking you, Angel, but have you seen Meadow Lark or her friends?" the gentle pony questioned her pet.
The rabbit seemed to considered the question for several seconds before shaking his head and lying back down, clearly planning on sleeping for the rest of the night.
Fluttershy frowned; she had been hoping that her pet had heard the foals come in. That way, she and her friends could finally relax, knowing that their babies were safe. Of course, they had no such luck, at least so far.
"You think they went in there?" Fluttershy heard Pinkie Pie's voice from outside her home. She poked head out of the window to see what the pink earth pony was referring to, only to see that the party pony was pointing towards the Everfree Forest entrance closest to her home.
The others didn't seem to think it was very likely that the foals had gone into the forest.
After all, what would posses them to go into such a dark, omninous place, with no-pony to look after them? The foals may have been brave, but they definitely weren't stupid enough to enter a place where they had no idea what they could encountered.
"We have to look for them" Fluttershy said, suddenly feeling quite a bit more bold as she climbed out of the window.
"What if they are in there? They could be scared, or worse" she said as she realized the others were staring at her, amazed that she was actually suggesting that they enter the Everfree.
"Don't worry, Fluttershy" Rarity said, placing a reassuring hoof on her best friend's shoulder. "We'll find them, and bring them right home, safe and sound".
With that simple statement, the option of staying out of the forest vanished, and the six mares stepped inside the dark, wooded area.
Ocean Breeze sighed in relief as the demons finally stopped moving. She had been watching them ever since they had gone into the forest, making sure to keep herself hidden from view.
The last thing she needed was for them to be aware of her presence, and attack.
Every-pony said they were harmless enough, but she knew better.
She knew they were monsters who would destroy any creature who tried to stop them.
Unfortunately, she was the only one who knew the truth and actually decided to be cautious around the horrible, horrible abominations.
The unicorn looked to see where the foals had decided to rest.
It was near a river…Ocean Breeze's lips turned up in a smile.
"Perfect" she muttered to herself, being careful to keep her voice low.
She had learned quite a bit about the demons through her observation, namely from watching the recent fight with the birds of prey.
From that encounter, she had realized that eating the Poison Joke plants did something to the creatures, made their healing abilities not work to their full extent.
Maybe now she could finally rid the world of these cursed animals…Her magic was water-based, they were near a body of water…If the princesses questioned her, she could easily say it was an accident, that they had fallen in…She didn't have to take any blame.
That settled it. Her horn began to glow, as did some of the water in the river.
Suddenly, something, a rather large something, emerged from the water.
The blue mare nearly fell over in shock as she stared at the large purple serpent with an orange mustache and hair came out of the water and stared at the sleeping demons.
'Well…I was going to drown them, but I suppose letting them be eaten would work just as well' she thought, lowering herself to the ground in order to watch the show without risking being seen.
"Oooh, you are just so precious" she heard the serpent coo, causing her to smack her face into the ground.
"Don't worry, Uncle Stevie will keep you safe until your mommies come to take you home" the serpent, apparently named Steven or something like that, said to the young foals.
Ocean Breeze slammed her head into the ground again. Clearly her plan to get rid of the demons wasn't going to work this time.
Her ears perked up as she heard hoofsteps. She lifted her head to see the mothers of the monsters coming towards the river. They didn't even seem to notice the giant serpent that was barely ten feet away from them.
The "babies" opened their eyes, and five of them instantly ran over to their mothers to embrace them.
Only the cyan colt remained where he was, flattening his ears against his head and looking at the ground as his mother scolded him for apparently leading the others into the forest.
"Seriously, what were you think-" Rainbow Dash stopped speaking abruptly as Firestorm grabbed onto her foreleg and buried his face on it.
If the wetness she was currently feeling on her coat was any indication, he was crying.
"Can we go home now?" he mumbled into her leg, still holding tightly to it.
Rainbow Dash took a few seconds to respond, but finally nuzzled her son and said, "Yeah…Let's go home."
Sorry there wasn't a lot of the Mane Six here. I promise they'll have a much bigger role in the next chapter. And, don't worry, the lack of healing for the babies is only temporary. By the next chapter, they'll all be back to normal.
Also, if anyone can say where "Kill them with my awesome" is inspired from, you get a free internet cupcake.