Cutting Ties

by fic Write Off

The Secret of Ponyville

“Hey Twi’, where does this door lead?”

Twilight looked up from her latest report to the Princess. “What door? We’ve lived here for several months now and there’s never been one in the kitchen other than the one leading in.”

“No, I’m pretty sure that there’s a door here. Either that, or I’m going through some weird dragon phase,” Spike called from the other room. “And how would you know? You rarely ever go in the kitchen.”

Twilight sighed and rolled up the piece of parchment she had been writing on. Carefully placing it at the head of the desk, she walked around it. While she headed to the kitchen, she occasionally stopped to straighten a book or brush a bit of dust off a shelf.

Spike called from the kitchen again. “Come on, hurry up!” He fell silent for a few seconds. Suddenly, he gasped. “Whoa! I don’t think a whole pack of candles could even light this place up.”

Her curiosity piqued, Twilight put down a scroll she had been dusting underneath and hurried to Spike. “Okay, okay. I’m coming. Now what’s so important about this?” she asked. “I mean, it’s not like anything is down there, especially if we didn’t know...” She stopped short and blinked in surprise. Her mouth formed an ‘o’ and she trotted up to Spike.

“Yeah, oh. Doors don’t just appear from nowhere like this. Any idea where it could lead,” questioned Spike.

Twilight merely shook her head. “Nope, but I’m going to find out.” Putting on a brave face, she took a tentative step into the darkness. She looked back at Spike, who gave her an encouraging nod. She gulped and took another step in, lighting her horn.

The sound of a creaking door caused her to spin around. “Spike! Don’t let that—” she grunted in pain, the door having slammed right into her face. Stumbling back a few paces, she hit the fall wall. Leaning against it, she brought her hooves to her nose and they came away smudged with blood.

“Ow, ow, ow. Spike!” she called, but received no response. Walking over to the door, she pounded on it. “Spike! This isn’t funny. I think you broke my snout.

Wait a second. Why is the light green? My magic is... Twilight whirled around. In the center of the room was a large tome. It looked as if it were a thousand years old. The binding was torn and the pages were yellowed with age. The cover appeared to have been ripped off recently by somepony and the letters T. P. F could be seen clearly on the first piece of paper.

Looking around, Twilight tried to see if there were any clues about the room. There were none. It consisted of four walls, rotted with chipped paint. Nothing more.

Turning her attention back to the book, she approached it cautiously. As she went, she summoned a magical barrier between it and herself. Under the green glow of the tome, her shield shimmered a near transparent bluish brown.

As Princess Celestia always told me, “You do not approach any unknown magic without protection.” Carefully, Twilight extended a hoof wrapped in a protective bubble to touch the book.

Just before her hoof made contact, a white light exploded from the pages. A fierce wind whipped her mane around. Staring in horror, Twilight watched as her shield dissipated into fragments that blew away before fading.

Then, she screamed. Her forehoof had caught fire. In agony, she tried to cast spells ranging from cooling to water magic to no avail.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, she passed out.

“Ah good. She appears to be coming around, hehehe.”

Twilight slowly opened her eyes part way. She found that she had fallen flat on the ground. In front of her, just beyond her hoof were the legs of a yellow pony.

Wait! Beyond my hoof! Her eyes shot open and she stared in amazement. Her leg looked to be in perfect condition. In fact, when she stood up, the only evidence that there had ever been a fire were the bits of charred skin float around her.

Backing up in shock, she said, “W-who are you? Where a-am I?”

“I am sorry about the... crude teleportation spell. But it was necessary to get her here.” The pony, a yellow unicorn with a light green mane, turned and walked off into the gloom surrounded the area. “As for who I am? Ehehehe... why would she want to know that? She should know already. It was written on the book.”

“But, there I couldn’t see the cover and the only letters on...” Twilight paused, and frowned.

“Yes? Go on.”

“T. P. F” Twilight shook her head, confused. “But that can’t be it. That was the title.”

The pony appeared right beside her, causing her to cry out and jump back. “She’s partially right. It is the title... the title they gave me. For some reason, they found it necessary to state where I was from. In the end, I became The Ponyville Farmer. But the mare can just call me the Farmer.”

Twilight held her chest, trying to calm her racing heart before speaking. “O-okay. But farmer of what? The only two farms I know are Carrot Top’s and Applejack’s.”

The Farmer grinned wickedly and cackled, “Hehehe... no, the Apple family and the Carrots weren’t the only two around. Though, mine wasn’t very... well known until the later years.” He put a hoof around Twilight and pulled her close.

Looking into his lavender eyes, she could see that one pupil had shrunk to a portion of the size it should have been. The other was enlarged to be nearly twice the normal size. Looking down slightly, she could see that he was smiling toothily at her. What teeth he had were rotten, crooked, and filled with holes.

Twilight shoved him away and glared at him. “Please don’t do that again. And I would appreciate it if you could at least tell me where I am so I can teleport out.”

The smile faded off the Farmer’s face, replaced by an expression of anger. “I cannot do that. Do not ask again.” He passed Twilight and beckoned for her to follow. “But since she passed the first challenge, I can show her.”

Somewhere far above them, lights flickered on. And then Twilight screamed in pure terror. The room stretched on, disappearing into blackness. Along the sides were the bodies of many ponies evenly spaced out. Blood stains ran down the walls, along the floors, and into drains in the center of the room. Turning around, there were even more corpses. This time, she could see the far back of the room.

A table cluttered with bloody surgical instruments had been placed against the wall. On it lay a body fresher than the rest. Blood still fell to the floor from underneath it and flowed into a nearby drain.

Twilight closed her eyes and curled up and began to whimper.

“Get up! I’m about to initiate the second test. If she survives all three, she’ll be my new soul harvester,” the Farmer snarled.

“No! I won’t participate in any sick-minded thing you come up with,” Twilight cried.

The Farmer cackled insanely. “Hehehe... Oh, I think she will. Pain changes things. And being eaten alive hurts very much.” A click sounded in the distance.

Twilight could hear the sound of ponies groaning all around her. She grimaced as all around her, hooves hit the stone flood with a clack, and then shuffled slowly around.

Suddenly, a sharp pain erupted in her flank. Whinnying, she leapt to her feat and whirled around. The undead pony that had bitten her flew into another nearby zombie, knocking it over.

Twilight cast a quick healing spell and the marks in her flank disappeared along with the streaks of blood. Then she tried to teleport. But no matter how much she strained, no magic came to her.

“That’s the beauty of this place. Unless I say so, no pony leaves. Hehehe... Now dance,” the Farmer’s voice echoed around the room.

“You’re a sick, sadistic pony!” shouted Twilight. “I’ll.. I’ll...” She didn’t finish as the once living ponies slowly closed in.

Without another thought, she cast a magic bolt, sending a group of zombies flying. Strange, my magic seems to work fine unless... She tried to teleport again. Unless I try to leave.

With renewed hope, she cast a shield around herself and spun around. Lashing out, her hooves found zombie after zombie, either sending them flying or causing them to crumble into dust.

The undead bounced off her magical barrier for the most part, but a few managed to slip through. They bit and scratched at her, causing her to grit her teeth, a new determined look in her eyes. Quickly dispatching them, Twilight would turn her attention back to the main mass of rotting corpses.”

They began to dogpile on top of her. Struggling, she dropped the shield and sent bursts of magic through their ranks, but for every one she dropped, another two would replace it. Screaming in agony, she finally couldn’t take it anymore. With a violent burst of energy that radiated off her whole body, the entire pack of undead dissolved.

Once again surrounded in charred flakes of skin, Twilight collapsed heavily onto the ground. She was bruised, battered, cut, bleeding, and close to passing out.

“Excellent.” The Farmer trotted out from the shadows across the room. “she may be the one I’m looking for.”

“I’ve played your twisted game, now let me go,” screamed Twilight.

He levitated her off the floor and floated her over to a table, laying her down gently. When she began to struggle, he said, “Not yet, there’s one more challenge. Now quit struggling, she must not struggle. I don’t want to look into her and see what makes her tick... yet.” He leaned close and grinned. “No, she would not last if I just let her go.”

Twilight panted heavily, sweat pouring down her forehead. “Fine, what is this... test?”

“She must let go. Yes, yes, she has the skill. But can she actually do it? No... I do not think so. But only time will tell. Hehehe.” He backed up and disappeared from view. “Just cut the ties and she’ll win. Yes, maybe she can.”

“Let go of what?” Twilight shouted. “How can I cut the ties if...” She fell silent and stared in awe at the bright light that had appeared from nowhere.

From the light, marching towards her, where her friends. Rarity led the group. Behind her, Pinkie Pie bounced around, balancing a beach ball on her head. Rainbow Dash followed, helping Fluttershy carry a cooler. Applejack trotted up last. She had a beach umbrella leaning against her shoulder.

“Hey there, Sugarcube. We’re about to go to the beach. Want tah come?” Applejack tipped her hat.

“Oh yes! Please do, Darling. It just wouldn’t be the same without you,” gushed Rarity. The other ponies nodded in agreement.

Twilight looked around and in frustration yelled, “Is this it? You’re going to torture me with visions of my friends?”

The Farmer replied, “Oh no. She does not get it does she? They are her friends. She just has to... let go.”

Twilight looked back at her friends who stood there eagerly. Examining them closely, she slid off the table and slowly approached them. They seemed to nod a little faster, grow a little more antsy as she approached them. A few hoof lengths away, she stopped. Twilight glared at them suspiciously.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Pinkie Pie scratch. A small chunk of her mane fell away, revealing the skin underneath... or rather what had once been skin. Twilight backed up swiftly.

“I-I’m sorry girls. I can’t and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to.”

“Why not?” asked Rainbow Dash, a look of puzzlement on her face.

Twilight looked away and sighed sadly. “Because you’re not my friends.” As she said it, she could sense them fading away. The light disappeared along with them and she felt as if the room had grown dark, despite the magic far above her.

A flash of light in the center of the room caused her to look up. It was accompanied with a loud bang. A pony stepped out of the light. To Twilight’s amazement, it was Princess Celestia.

“Quick, my faithful student! If we hurry, we can get past The Ponyville Farmer before he realizes I’m here.” Celestia turned back to the light and frantically beckoned for Twilight to follow. “Quickly now!”

Twilight didn’t budge. “How do I know you’re the real Princess Celestia. I’m sorry, I will not go with you.”

“Yes, I am the real Princess. Now run through the portal or we’re doomed.” Celestia strained in an obvious effort to keep the gateway open. “If you don’t go now, we’re both trapped.”

Twilight closed her eyes. “I’m sorry Princess.” Running a quick spell through Celestia’s body, Twilight could feel the massive amounts of energy radiating from the alicorn’s body. “But I guess you are really the ruler of Equestria. I won’t ever doubt you again.” Twilight grinned, relieved at the good news. She broke into a run towards the portal.

Just before she reached it, and she could see Ponyville on the other side, something hit her hard, sending her flying into the wall and away from the portal. Groaning, she slowly stood back up, rubbing her head.

I’ll feel that one later. If I escape this mad world. Twilight looked up just in time to see a rotting version of Celestia charge her. Without thinking, Twilight rolled to the side, and the undead alicorn crashed into the wall.

Dazed, it stood back up and leapt at Twilight. With a quick burst of magic, she blasted it apart. It faded from view, leaving no trace of the zombie.

From the shadows came an insane laugh. “Hehehe... she nearly became another body. But in the end, she let go of her beloved... mentor,” spat the Farmer. “Now, for the final part.”

“Twilight?” The voice was shaky, scared.

Behind it, Twilight could almost hear the whimper. Turning towards the voice, she found herself nearly face to face with her family. Frightened, she backpeddled away. “Y-you’re not real!” She prepared a spell and sent it flying at her parents.

“Wait!” Shining Armor darted in between the magic and the rest of the family. A shield erupted from his horn and the spell ricocheted off of it. “It’s us... the real us. The Farmer locked us in another room. He said that we wouldn’t be able to see you unless you passed the tests.” He darted over and drew Twilight into a hug. “See? No tricks this time.”

Twilight’s will nearly broke then and there. This cannot be a trap. If it was anything like the others, I would have been killed when he hugged me. She looked over at her parents who stood there, their hooves spread wide waiting for a hug. She could see the fear in their eyes. They seemed to silently plead with her. But then again... nothing was as it seemed.

“I’m sorry... I-I can’t trust you.” Twilight had to choke out the words as she shoved her brother away. “I want this to be over as much as you, but I don’t know...” Tears threatened to overwhelm her and she blinked rapidly to hold them back.

Finally, she gained control of her emotions. Gulping hard, she turned away. “Good bye.”

“Ehehehe. She is ready.” The Farmer jumped from a ledge somewhere above and landed next to Twilight. “She passed the first test to see if she was smart. She passed the second test to see if she could handle herself in a dangerous situation. And the last test to see if she could let go.”

He ran his hoof through her mane. “Such a delicate looking thing. Didn’t look like she would survive, but go she must. Collect her first soul she will.”

Twilight closed her eyes, resigned to her task. “I’ll go.”

The Farmer laughed loudly, but as he did, it slowly got further and further away.


Twilight stirred slightly and opened her eyes and then quickly closed them.

Spike stood over her holding a lantern. When she twitched, he backed up. “Oh, I’m glad to see you awake! You took a nasty hit there. I look away for one second and the door whacks you. I managed to drag you into the kitchen and stop the bleeding.” He grabbed some kleenex off the table and handed her a sheet. “Though, it might start again.”

Slowly standing up, Twilight looked towards the door questioningly. She trotted over and heaved it open.

Is this it? He just sends me back and I collect something for him? But how do I know who to talk to?

Spike noticed this and walked over. “Still curious, huh? Don’t bother, it’s just an old storage room.” He shut the door before Twilight could see inside properly. “Remember when I asked you to help me move the fridge?”

Twilight nodded mutely.

“You sorta did it without looking. You were busy that day if I remember correctly. Funny that neither of us noticed the door. You’d think it’d be obvious,” Spike said. He shrugged and went over to the oven. “You were out for a long time. I thought you might be hungry.”

Twilight shook her head and blinked. “Sorry, I was only partially paying attention. Yeah... I am a bit hungry now that you mention it.”

Or maybe the door wasn’t there before and only revealed itself when the Farmer needed me.

“Spike, I need to leave now.”

Spike turned around and raised an eyebrow. “You what?”

“I need to leave.” Twilight frowned and turned towards the library exit. “I have to cut all ties to this life if I’m going to do my task.”

Because I might be called upon to collect your soul someday. Twilight thought sadly. She trotted out of the kitchen and took a look around her beloved library one last time.

Everything was as she had left it hours ago. Books were piled on each other in the center of the room. Dust had started to settle on the shelves again. Even the report to the Princess lay untouched on the desk.

“Twi’ look at me.” Spike’s voice came from directly behind her, an edge of desperation in it. “Just look at me and we can talk this out. Please. I don’t want to lose you forever,” he pleaded with her.

Slowly turning around, she said, “Fine, but I...” She screamed at what she saw.

Spike had transformed, taking on the appearance of a vicious, spiked thing. She wasn’t quite sure what it was.

“Now die!” the Spike abomination yelled.

Twilight closed her eyes, it being too late to cast even a simple shield spell.

This can’t be real. It has to be a dream. When will it end? When will I be free from the horrors of my own mind?

The screaming continued for a few more seconds before Twilight realized the cries of terror belonged to her.

“Whoa! Twilight! It’s me, it’s Rainbow Dash! Stop thrashing or you’ll hurt us both!”

Twilight struggled for a few seconds more, a pair of hooves pressing firmly down on her side. Finally, she stopped and looked up. She saw the concerned look of her friend and quieted down.

“Done?” Rainbow Dash backed off. “That must have been one heck of a nightmare.” She brushed her brow, panting heavily. “I didn’t think anypony could flail around that hard.”

Twilight looked around in a panic. “Quick! What time is it?”

“Five in the evening, when I always come to pick up the latest Daring Do adventure.” Rainbow Dash looked at Twilight quizzically. “Why?”

Strange. When I saw Spike, I felt like I had to let go immediately. Now... I don’t. Twilight sat back and looked at her hooves. They were perfect, as if she had just come from the washtub.

“So it was just a dream?”

“What was?” Rainbow Dash questioned. “Oh... probably. Though, you should watch where you decide to take an impromptu nap. It looks like you hit the desk pretty hard with your face.” She shrugged and picked a book off a nearby shelf. “Anyways, I got to go.”

Twilight rubbed her nose and a little blood came away. She examined it curiously and then called to Dash. “Wait, before you go... was there ever a crazy murderer in Ponyville?”

Dash turned and looked at Twilight strangely. “Why do you ask?”

“Umm... I’m s-studying criminal psychology,” Twilight said, stumbling over her words.

“Yeah, I think so. May have just been an old mare’s tale used to scare foals on Nightmare Night. Lemme think for a second while I remember his name. At least I think it was a stallion.” Dash tapped her chin thoughtfully.

Twilight leaned forwad, her heart pounding. She held her breath. “Yeah... what was it? Come on, think Dash!”

“Ah, I remember now. But only the name the ponies at the time gave him.”

“Well?” Twilight looked at Rainbow Dash expectantly.

“The Ponyville Farmer.”