Forest – Priestess of the Forest
Deep in the lush greenery of Canterlot Forest, the latest girl to be sacrificed to their masters was being brought to the tribute site. Though she was screaming and begging everyone to release her, the young red haired girl's cries fell on deaf ears. They didn't want to do this to little Apple Bloom, but they didn't have a choice.
Further away, her older sister “Applejack” was frantically screaming at the elders to release her little sister. Sadly, all she could do was watch helplessly as they bound the girl's wrists behind her back and then tied the rope to a tree, preventing her from running away.
“No!” Applejack screamed, “Let sister go! Please! I be sacrifice instead!” one of the men pulled Applejack away as the group left the little girl, “Apple Bloom! APPLE BLOOM!!!”
“APPLEJACK!!!” Apple Bloom screamed. Unfortunately, the crowd left, leaving the poor preteen girl alone in the forest. She pulled frantically at the bindings, but it was futile. She was bound too tightly to the tree. All she could do was weep loudly and await her fate.
The true owners of the forest would come and claim her soon.
Elsewhere in Canterlot Forest, the young priestess of the village hid in the bushes watching a pack of deer graze. She knew that the Chief didn't approve of her leaving the village to hunt, but she couldn't stay cooped up in the village. She may have been a woman, but she had the blood of a hunter.
The priestess pulled out her dagger and was about to lunge at the game in front of her, but an odd sound caught her and the deers' attention. It sounded almost like something opening. Sadly, the animals were startled by the sound and ran off, leaving the pink haired priestess alone in the forest.
She sighed, but then put her attention to the odd sound ahead. Something was calling her there. She probably should have gone back to the village soon, but this was something she just couldn't ignore.
Rarity and Twilight emerged from the portal in what appeared to be a lush forest. Rarity stepped forward and looked around before groaning in frustration.
“Hrm… this isn't my world,” Rarity said. Twilight turned around to the portal and saw it close, vanishing from sight. She laughed awkwardly and nervously.
“There goes the door,” Twilight said, “I hope my teachers aren't upset at me for missing midterms.”
“Strange,” Rarity said, “There doesn't seem to be any civilization in sight. There's just an endless forest.”
An animal growl caught their attention. They turned around and saw two large wild boars growling at them. They looked larger than most boars, almost looking like monsters.
“My guess,” Twilight said nervously, “any humans alive were probably eaten by those!”
“Remember when I said to stay behind me?” Rarity asked holding her broomstick at the ready, “Now's the time to exercise that!”
The boar on the left charged at Rarity, who pushed Twilight out of the way before taking the blow head on. She flipped to her feet and charged at the boar and swung her broom at the boar. Sadly the “weapon” broke on contact.
Shoot, Rarity thought. Now she really needed a real weapon.
The second boar rushed at Rarity, but she jumped to the side out of the way near Twilight, who was sitting on the ground helplessly.
“Try using that black thing!” Twilight suggested.
“I need to build up energy to use that, and the only way is to attack! I can't do that without a weapon!” Rarity shouted. The boars circled around the two girls as they huddled together.
Right before they could charge at Rarity and Twilight though, something charged past them at high speed knocking one of the boars to the side. Rarity and Twilight looked to see who their savior was, and neither one of them knew what to make of it.
It was Fluttershy.
This Fluttershy had super long pink hair that was extremely full and fell over her shoulders along with going past her waist. She wore a light brown bra shaped top to loosely cover her bosom, a long loincloth that fell to her knees matching the bra that also had a long tail falling behind her, and dark brown boots. On her face were six black markings that looked like whiskers, and she had two daggers in her hands along with a spear strapped to her back.
“Holy…” Twilight said, mirroring Rarity's shock, “That looks like… Fluttershy.”
Tribal Fluttershy hunched forward like a beast, actually growling at the boars. They charged at her, but she jumped over them landing behind the animals. She then rushed over to one and slashed at it a few times. To Rarity, it seemed like she was choosing to modulate her attacks by impact, making some slashes stronger than others.
After a while, she jumped away and began charging up green energy. She then pointed both hands forward, creating two sharp gusts of wind at the second boar, actually knocking it far back. Rarity shot up and ran over to the tribal version of Fluttershy.
“Can I borrow your spear?” Rarity asked, afraid that this Fluttershy wouldn't have understood her. To her pleasant surprise though, she nodded and handed her the spear.
“You use spear! Fight other one!” Fluttershy requested. Her English was broken, but Rarity could understand her well enough. Rarity took the spear and nodded. She got back in her fighting stance and engaged the boar that Fluttershy just hit, this time actually hurting it.
Once she gathered enough energy, Rarity charged up her element, launching her Shadow Ball at the boar. When it fell back, it didn't wake up.
Rarity turned to the other boar just in time to see this world's Fluttershy deliver the finishing blow to it. She couldn't believe her eyes. Seeing Fluttershy take a life, and fight on such a professional level threw her for almost as much of a loop as seeing her as a bully.
Twilight ran over to Rarity and embraced her.
“Oh my God, that was too close!” Twilight cried, “I thought we were going to die!”
“Shh, it's alright darling,” Rarity said comforting her friend, “Everything worked itself out,” Rarity noticed the tribal Fluttershy circling them closely, “Um…”
Tribal Fluttershy started sniffing the two of them, getting super close to them, to the point where Twilight was clearly starting to get a little uncomfortable.
“Uh… Rarity… she's smelling us,” Twilight said.
“I realize…” Rarity said, smiling calmly. Something told her that this Fluttershy was more animal like than just cosmetically.
“Smell like fruit,” Fluttershy said softly, “Strong smell, but nice.”
“You understand us?” Rarity asked tribal Fluttershy.
“I understand,” Fluttershy said, “You speak man speak, like people from village.”
“That's right,” Rarity said placing her hand on her chest, “I'm Rarity. This is my friend Twilight,” she continued, pointing to her friend.
“Rar…ity… Twi…light…” tribal Fluttershy held her hand to her chest, “Fluttershy.”
“Oh, so you have the same name as-” Twilight was cut off by Rarity hitting her arm.
“It's truly a pleasure to meet you, Fluttershy,” Rarity said, “Do you live here alone?”
Fluttershy shook her head, “Village home. Come, I take you there where safe.”
Fluttershy turned and walked deeper into the forest, Rarity and Twilight following closely.
“I am so not used to seeing Fluttershy act so nice,” Twilight whispered.
“This is refreshing for me,” Rarity whispered, “Except for how she's dressed and the way she talks, she seems more like the Fluttershy I grew up with,” Rarity ran to Fluttershy's side and held the spear to her, “Here, I think this belongs to you.”
“You keep,” Fluttershy said, “I only bring as last resort, but prefer daggers.”
“Ahh,” Rarity nodded, “Where is this place?”
“This Canterlot Forest,” Fluttershy said, “Share forest with Wolf Tribe.”
“Are there any cities anywhere?” Twilight asked.
“Cities…?” Fluttershy asked turning her head in confusion, “What is cities?”
“You know, large buildings, cars, TVs, things like that? Things outside of the forest?” Twilight pressed. The way Fluttershy looked at Twilight was both sad and hilarious.
“Nothing is outside of forest,” Fluttershy said, “Forest is all there is.”
“How can that-” Twilight asked, but Rarity grabbed her arm.
“Excuse us Fluttershy,” Rarity said leading Twilight away a bit, “Twilight, we're confusing the poor thing.”
“She's confused? What about me? How can there be nothing outside of the forest?” Twilight asked.
“You were talking about that Butterfly Effect thing, right?” Rarity asked, “What if this is the result of that? Could the Butterfly Effect change the world to be a forest like world?”
“Hm… come to think of it, that could be possible,” Twilight said, “The change would have to have occurred sometime thousands of years ago, but essentially yeah. There could be a world so drastically different from ours that it resulted in this.”
Twilight screamed in shock as Fluttershy now stood next to them, “Fluttershy, don't scare me like that!”
“You say different world?” Fluttershy asked tilting her head to the side, “What is “oifferent world”?”
“Ahh, that's a little complicated,” Rarity said, “You see darling, I don't know if you'd believe us, but Twilight and I-” they heard a girl scream in the distance. Fluttershy immediately turned in the direction of the scream.
“Apple Bloom!” Fluttershy cried out. Rarity ran after her without question, but Twilight looked around nervously.
“Oooh, I pray this doesn't become a habit of hers!” Twilight said running after her friend and their guide. The three of them stopped seeing what looked like three anthropomorphic wolves, two with spears, and one holding a bow with a quiver of arrows, circling around a young girl with long messy red hair wearing a one piece dress made of the same animal fur as Fluttershy's, but much less revealing as she was a child.
A child that looked like Apple Bloom.
Fluttershy growled and rushed at the wolf men standing in between them and Apple Bloom.
“Fluttershy!” Apple Bloom cried happily.
“You not take Apple Bloom!” Fluttershy stated, “Leave now!”
“Child latest sacrifice,” the wolf man in the middle said, “Unless you want sacrifice yourself, High Priestess.”
High Priestess? Is the Fluttershy here someone if import?
“I not give myself to you or Chief!” Fluttershy said, “Free like wind! No man take away freedom!”
“This is getting intense…” Twilight said, “Come on Rarity… let's get out of here…”
“No,” Rarity said gripping the spear tightly.
“No?! Rarity, this isn't our business!” Twilight said.
“Fluttershy didn't abandon us, so I'm not going to abandon her,” Rarity said. She then ran over to Fluttershy's side, “I'm helping!”
Fluttershy nodded and pulled out her daggers. Twilight shook her head and ran to untie Apple Bloom while her friends engaged the wolf men.
The two with spears engaged Rarity, who immediately began to notice the difference between her self taught skills and their professional fighting prowess. She was easily getting overwhelmed.
“Ugh! This is harder than I thought!” Rarity said, holding her spear in front of her to defend as one spear wielding wolf kicked her into a tree.
Fluttershy slashed her opponent and kicked him back, and then turned to Rarity's fight. She charged up her element and shot her wind blade attack at one of the wolves, catching his attention. Rarity used that as her chance to get a few lucky slashes in with his back turned, and then charged up her element, firing her Shadow Ball at the wolf behind Fluttershy, killing him.
Fluttershy rushed over to the second spear wielding wolf and grappled him to the ground while Rarity continued to clash weapons with her opponent.
After Apple Bloom was untied, Twilight looked at the fallen wolf and ran over to him, grabbing his bow and an arrow. She pointed the arrow at the wolf Rarity was fighting, and shot him point blank in the back.
Rarity tripped him and knocked him to the ground before turning to Twilight, “You're an archer?”
“I took lessons back home,” Twilight said, “I'll be fine using this weapon.”
Rarity ran over to Fluttershy just as she was kicked off her opponent. Rarity stood in front of her and charged up her element, once again launching her black hole attack and knocking the last one out.
Fluttershy slowly rose to her feet and looked at Rarity wide eyed.
“Are you okay?” Rarity asked Fluttershy, who immediately embraced her tightly, “Uh…”
“You save me and Apple Bloom,” Fluttershy said sweetly, “When one act to save another, it sign of eternal friendship.”
“I see,” Rarity said smiling and returning the embrace, thinking about the irony of the situation, “Well then, I suppose that makes us friends.”
Fluttershy released Rarity and walked over to Apple Bloom, “You safe now, Apple Bloom.”
“Fluttershy, I sacrifice to Wolf Tribe…” Apple Bloom said sadly, “Why you save me?”
“I not agree with tribe law,” Fluttershy said stroking Apple Bloom's face lovingly, “Come, we take you home now. Sister will be happy.”
Fluttershy took Apple Bloom's hand and walked off as Twilight went over to Rarity's side.
“You heard that, right?” Twilight asked Rarity, “She was a sacrifice?”
“Mm hm,” Rarity nodded folding her arms, “I'm willing to bet there's a lot more to this. Come on.”
Twilight tied the arrow quiver to her back with Rarity's help, and they caught up with Fluttershy and Apple Bloom, both anxious to see what would happen at Fluttershy's home.
As they left, Pinkamena walked out from behind a tree watching them leave.
“Oh Rarity, you're so naive,” Pinkamena said shaking her head, “No good deed goes unpunished, and I'm going to have to show you exactly why that is.”
She sauntered over to the leader and slapped him in the face, “Hey, wake up.”
“Hrm… who are you…?” the wolf man asked.
“Someone that's gonna soon become your best friend,” Pinkamena said with a sensual smirk, “Take me to your leader, and I'll make sure those girls pay for backing out of the tribute.”
“We could just take you,” the wolf man said gripping Pinkamena by her hair, “You fertile woman.”
Pinkamena giggled, “Sorry hon,” she grabbed his neck pinning him to the ground and making him release her, “I'm off the market, and you're not my type. Now, are you ready to listen, or am I going to have to play a little rougher?”
Rarity thought that a village of people who lived in the forest would be dirtier, but she was surprised by how clean everything was here. There were different smells, mostly earthy scents, but nothing unpleasant. Actually, she was initially surprised by how pleasant it was to be around Fluttershy, who since the last fight had become somewhat clingy to Rarity. It seemed that she had somewhat imprinted onto Rarity.
Well, she didn't mind. Actually, she could remember a time when her Fluttershy would lean into her holding onto her arm just like this.
When they arrived in what Rarity and Twilight had learned was called Canterlot Village, they saw a familiar blond sitting under a tree crying her eyes out.
“Sister!” Apple Bloom cried out. The woman, confirmed to be this dimension's Applejack, perked up at the sound of Apple Bloom's voice. When she turned to Fluttershy and her group, she teared up covering her mouth in shock.
“Apple… Bloom…?” she asked trembling, “Apple Bloom!”
Apple Bloom and Applejack ran into each others arms and embraced. Applejack then turned to Fluttershy holding her sister in her arms.
“You save sister?” Applejack asked.
“Not alone,” Fluttershy said pulling Rarity and Twilight forward, “These friends now. They save Apple Bloom and me.”
Applejack went up to Rarity and Twilight and hugged them, “Thank you for saving sister!”
“It was our pleasure,” Rarity said, she and Twilight returning the embrace.
“Fluttershy!” a familiar authoritative sounding voice called out. They saw this world's Luna walking up to them, flanked by this world's Macintosh and Shining Armor. She was wearing a dark gray wolf skin two piece dress and a head piece that looked almost like a crown made of animal fangs. She did not look happy, and the air she was giving off scared Rarity a bit.
“Chief Luna,” Fluttershy said stepping forward and bowing. Chief Luna walked over to Fluttershy and slapped her.
“Hey!” Rarity shouted.
“What was that for?!” Twilight asked.
“Inside hut, now!” Chief Luna ordered, storming deeper inside of the village. Rarity walked over to Fluttershy and placed a hand on her shoulder.
“Fluttershy, is everything okay?” Rarity asked.
“Come with me to chief's hut,” Fluttershy said, “You learn everything there.”
Fluttershy led Twilight and Rarity to the chief's hut, where they saw Chief Luna kneeling in the middle of the hut waiting for them. Fluttershy knelt down in front of Chief Luna, and Twilight and Rarity knelt down next to her.
“You not only interrupt tribute,” Chief Luna said sternly, “you also bring outsiders. You bring ruin to our village.”
“Wolf Tribe not use women to appease Lavos!” Fluttershy retaliated, “Wolf Tribe use women as playthings! They not believe in Lavos! Also, outsiders are friends! They save life! I bring them to village because they have nowhere else to go!”
Chief Luna shook her head, “Too kind, Fluttershy. One day, kindness will get you and everyone in trouble.”
“Um, excuse me,” Twilight said raising her hand, “Could I ask why that girl was left outside? Those men looked like they were going to hurt her.”
Chief Luna sighed, “Wolf Tribe own most of forest. They stronger than us, and are ones chosen by Lavos, God of Forest.”
“Lavos again…?” Rarity asked herself, remembering when Twilight brought up Lavos briefly before.
“They say, in order to appease Lavos, we must give female children as sacrifice,” Chief Luna continued.
“Wolves lie,” Fluttershy said folding her arms, “Lavos not real. They just use Lavos as excuse to steal women and take freedom.”
Rarity thought that was interesting. Not a lot of people knew that her Fluttershy was actually an atheist. Even though she grew up from a strict Christian household, Fluttershy herself was apathetic to spirituality, believing that people needed to be kind to everyone regardless of who was watching, and hated how people used religion as an excuse to be nice one minute yet criticize people the next.
This Fluttershy had a lot in common with her Fluttershy.
“You are High Priestess,” Chief Luna scolded, “Why continue to deny Lavos?”
“I not believe or support God that endangers tribe,” Fluttershy said, “I go to lake now. Wash off hunt.”
“Fluttershy!” Chief Luna called out. Sadly her words fell on deaf ears, as Fluttershy ignored her and walked out of the hut. Luna pinched the bridge of her nose, “That child will be death of us.”
“We didn't mean to cause you any trouble,” Rarity said, “We're searching for someone named Pinkamena, and we have reason to believe she's somewhere in this wor- er, forest.”
“We don't have anywhere else to go,” Twilight said, “Could we possibly stay here until we find the person we're searching for?”
Luna considered them for a long time before she sighed, “I must talk with sister. She is Village Seer, so she know what to do. For now, you may stay in village, but you will be Fluttershy's responsibility.”
“Thank you,” Rarity said, she and Twilight bowing. Both of them stepped out of the hut, unaware of the other figure watching them leave. They looked intently at Rarity, and then stepped back deeper inside the hut.
“Well, we're going to be here for a while,” Rarity said, “What are you going to do?”
“I think I want to take a look around,” Twilight said, “It's not every day that you end up in another dimension, you know? What about you?”
“I'm going to search for Fluttershy,” Rarity said, “The Chief said we're her responsibility, and there are a few things I wanted to ask her.”
“I know that the Fluttershy you're used to is really nice, but to me, this is just so weird,” Twilight admitted, “She looks like her, sounds like her, but acts completely different.”
“I know,” Rarity said, “But to me, this is more like how Fluttershy is supposed to be. Kind to a fault, affectionate, and full of courage.”
“Your Fluttershy sounds wonderful,” Twilight said wistfully, “I wish I could have met her.”
“I wish so too,” Rarity said, starting to feel a little misty eyed thinking about her best friend, “I think I saw a body of water down this pathway.”
“Rarity,” Twilight touched Rarity's shoulder, “Do you miss your Fluttershy?”
“She was my dearest friend back in my world,” Rarity said, “I guess… seeing a Fluttershy that's so much like my own… I just want to get closer to her is all.”
“I think I understand,” Twilight said before looking back at the hut they left with an odd smile, “So question… if you meet someone in another dimension who's another imagining of a sibling… is it still considered incest?”
“Twilight!” Rarity shouted aghast, “You were not eyeing Shining Armor!”
“He wasn't wearing a shirt!” Twilight whined, “He's like, a total dream boat!”
“I am not having this conversation with you,” Rarity said, trying not to laugh.
“Come on, just tell me your opinion!” Twilight urged, “I need to know if I'm creepy for thinking that an alternate version of my big brother best friend forever is totally hot!”
“Good bye Twilight,” Rarity said waving her off and walking away.
“I'm going to do it,” Twilight said, “I'm totally going to flirt with him.”
“I'm looking for Fluttershy,” Rarity said.
“I'll put in a good word for you!” Twilight said. Rarity ignored her friend and continued to make her way to the lake. She didn't know if her Twilight was so flirtatious, but if she was, that meant they actually had a lot more in common than Rarity thought, which was nice. When she made it back to her dimension, she'd have to go shopping with her Twilight.
It didn't take long to find the lake. She did have to ask around a bit, but the locals were all friendly enough and led her in the right direction. When she arrived at the lake she saw Fluttershy's clothes hanging on a nearby tree branch.
Realizing that Fluttershy probably wasn't decent at the moment, Rarity was about to rush away, but was caught off guard by someone rising out of the water suddenly. It was Fluttershy, and goodness gracious she was beautiful.
Fluttershy turned to Rarity and smiled warmly, her long hair covering her breasts perfectly and her lower body still submerged in the water. Rarity didn't know if she were lesbian or bi-sexual, but seeing another girl naked was definitely a little embarrassing.
“Friend, you search for me?” Fluttershy asked.
“Um, I was hoping we could talk for a bit,” Rarity said, her face turning red as she looked away, “but you look like you might want privacy, so I'll just leave you be.”
“No!” Fluttershy called out stopping Rarity, “I not mind. Please stay. It nice to have friend to talk to.”
Rarity sighed and sat down on a nearby stone as Fluttershy turned her back to Rarity and continued to wash. This gesture was actually really intimate, but Rarity figured that it was just the norm for tribe members to see each other like this.
“The Chief said that Twilight and I are to stay with you,” Rarity said.
“Good,” Fluttershy said, “I not have many friends in village.”
“Is it because you don't believe in Lavos?” Rarity asked, “I wanted to ask, why don't you? You're the High Priestess of your village, right?”
“I am,” Fluttershy sighed looking forlorn, “Not always without faith. When I become High Priestess, believe in Lavos. But then Wolf Tribe leader begin asking us to give us women from our tribe, using Lavos' name to control us.”
“I see,” Rarity said, “After that, you lost faith in Lavos. After all, what sort of just God would give his power to such disgusting people?”
Fluttershy nodded, “People stop coming to shrine for worship. Religion become tainted, and stop making me feel good. So, I use worship time to hunt instead. Hunt make me feel strong. It empower me.”
“I wish the Fluttershy I knew could become strong like you,” Rarity said softly, catching herself when Fluttershy turned to her, “Oh sorry! I guess that sounds weird to you.”
“No… I assume you not from forest,” Fluttershy said, “You and Twilight dress funny, and you not smell like forest. Also, I hear strange sound before you appear. Was that from other world?”
“It was,” Rarity said hugging her knees, “I'm not sure if you'll believe me, but Twilight and I are from another world.”
“I not understand,” Fluttershy said stepping out of the water and going to her clothes, which were now dry.
“It's really hard to explain, but I guess where we're from, there isn't a lush forest like this, nor is there magic and monsters. Twilight and I aren't from the same world though. I was pulled from my world by some sort of creature, and a friend of mine is in a lot of danger,” Rarity teared up a bit, “Oh, I miss my friends so much.”
Fluttershy, now fully dressed, knelt down next to Rarity and began nuzzling her lovingly.
“You sad, sad person,” Fluttershy said, “I not completely understand, but believe you.”
“You do…?” Rarity asked, once again surprised by how quickly someone believed her.
“You not lying. Tears are genuine,” Fluttershy said, “You feel sad, I feel sad. That sign of bond. I not believe in Lavos, but I believe in you.”
“Fluttershy…” Rarity said, touched by Fluttershy's kind words. Looking into Fluttershy's eyes, she saw a brief flash of her Fluttershy, gazing into Rarity's eyes with the same kind, loving expression.
“When you one day go, I feel sad, but I still help you,” Fluttershy said looking into Rarity's eyes, “Seer says that in world, there are people destined by stars to be close. I believe that us. You and I… sisters under stars.”
Rarity smiled taking Fluttershy's hands, “I would love that, Fluttershy. Thank you.”
Fluttershy beamed, and then hugged Rarity tightly. It was sudden, and Rarity's heart was racing a bit from the intimacy of it, but she soon returned the gesture, silently wishing she were hugging her Fluttershy in this manner.
You're not my Fluttershy… but you're close enough.
After spending a bit more time with Fluttershy, Rarity decided to head back to the village. Fluttershy offered to go with her, but Rarity suddenly felt really emotional and wanted to be alone for a bit. As she walked through the village, she saw a familiar woman sitting in front of a fancy statue looking up at the moon. She wore a long white animal skin bra top, matching skirt that was long and open on both sides, and had multicolored hair and a fancy head piece.
Is that… this world's Celestia?
Celestia turned to Rarity, smiled, and beckoned Rarity to come closer. Rarity looked around nervously, and then walked over to Celestia, who continued to regard her with a warm smile.
“Had feeling I meet you here,” Celestia said warmly, “Waited for long time to meet you, Rarity.”
Rarity's heart was racing. She had never been to this world, and as far as she knew, memories didn't carry over between alternate selves. That being said…
How did this world's Celestia know Rarity's name?