"NEXT STATION, PONYVILLE!" I hear the conductor bellow across the speakers.
I rub my eyes in an attempt to wake mah self up but I still feel tired, but I know the girls are feeling the same.
I look around the compartment and see that most ponies had left but there were a few stragglers still waiting. Looking at the sleeping form in front of me, I lean ma hoof forward and jab it.
"... I'll do the clouds later, dad" I hear it mumble.
"Last time I checked, I ain't your Pa, get up ya lazy sod" I reply while grabbing my bag off the shelve.
I watch the form sit up and opens its rose-tinted eyes and I see it sleepily look around the cabin.
I see a hoof come up to rub her eye and afterwards watching her maw open with a yawn, her wings stretched at the same time which I thought clever.
"Apple.. ughh… Applejack, what's up?" I hear the mound of feathers speak.
"Getting close to Ponyville, Dash, come on and get your bag" I reply while chucking her bag at her.
"Yeah, yeah… I'm coming," Rainbow says as she starts flapping her wings.
We manage to get off the train on time start heading home.
"So… ughh… Twilight said 'to get all our affairs in order', right? I'm thinking we split the houses and meet at twilight's Castle." I hear Rainbow say above me.
I ponder for a moment and say "good idea, but remember that we got to bring the pets to the farm. Hopefully, Granny can help keep care of them. Ahm headin' there first to check, I need to have a talk with her anyway. I'll take Fluttershy's an' Pinkies house, they are closer to the farm anyway."
I hear the flurry of wings above me as I start walkin' through town, that mare lives in a constant sprint, she's going to get herself hurt sooner or later. As I walk through town, I check out the markets to see if Mac had set up yet.
"Hey, Sis" Mac states as I get closer.
"Hey Mac, how's the stall?" I reply,
"Ain't busy, but think we can unload the apples by the end of today. How's the princess?" Mac responds while counting the bits.
"She's good, but it looks like me and the girls are going to be away from home for a while, she has given us a whopper of a mission. Do you think we'd be fine around the farm?" I reply.
"Ahm sure we'd be fine, Ah can get 'Bloom to help around if needed. Might want to talk to Granny though, she is goin' to worry"
"Ahm on my way now, need me to bring anything back?"
"Naw, Ahm good. See ya later, Sis" Mac says with a wave.
I walk away from the stall and start heading up the road. Walking past the Sugarcube Corner, Ahm tempted to go in and grab that 'Gator Gummy so I don't have to make a return trip but I#d imagine it'll Granny wouldn't be none too pleased with that.
It takes me a few minutes to get to the farm and I start doing some checks on the trees as I am walking, a habit that just can't be dropped, and I start seeing the barn come into mah view.
As Ahm approaching the farm, I notice Granny sitting on her ol' rocking chair under the porch and I give her a wave.
I see Granny lean forward, and after a moment, wave back.
It takes me a few more minutes to get to the house and I wipe mah hooves on the mat at the base of the stairs before going up and sitting next to Granny.
"Hiya 'Jack" Granny says while rocking her chair.
"Hi Granny, how's the hip?" I say while relaxing on the bench.
"Damned thing seems to have relaxed today, at least. Fight anything while you were gone?"
"Nah, The princess just wanted a talk. Which is what I wanted to talk to you about." I respond with a somewhat serious tone.
"Ahh, so something did happen then," Granny responds.
"Yeah… Me and the girls have to go and find somepony."
"Somepony? Tad strange for you, normally its some big monster. What's this pony done wrong to get you six after them."
I sigh and say "Ah want to tell you but I don't know if Ahm allowed. The princess wanted us to keep this secret."
"Don't worry 'Jack, I've been keeping secrets from before your parents were born. You can trust me" Granny responds while rockin' her chair still.
Taking a moment to think, I then say "Alright but you can't tell Mac or Bloom. I hate keeping this a secret but we need too. Princess Celestia told us that we are looking for this Necromancer Doctor pony. Necromancy is…"
I watch Granny stop rocking her chair and turn towards me to say "I know what necromancy is. And I had hoped that foul magic never needed to be spoken of in this house."
I look at Granny in shock, unable to say anything.
"It was a story mah Granny said to me, it's been 'round the family for centuries, but she told me how some ponies stole our dead and did their dark magic on them. They started attacking their own brothers and sisters, it was a dark time for the Apple family. Apparently, the family had tried to save the ponies and managed to get a few of them back home where the ponies started being friendly and remembering their past and when the families went to bed for the night, the dead woke up and started killing them in their own beds. It's foul magic, anyone practising it should be strung from a tree. Granny said with a spiteful tone.
I feel a mix of emotions writhe through me: anger, sadness and shock. When the princess mentioned it was earth ponies that had gone through this suffering, I had felt like someone had stabbed me in the back. But finding it was family was like the knife being twisted in my back. If that had happened to us, Ma and Pa… I couldn't let that happen.
"That just confirms it then, Ahm going after that varmit. Would it be okay if we brought mah friend's pets here Granny?" I say with a tinge of anger creeping into my voice.
"Sure Applejack, Farm's big enough for it anyway. Just promise me, you won't get hurt." Granny says to me while holding mah hoof.
"Wouldn' let that varmit touch me anyhow. I don't know how long Ahm going to be gone but thank you, Granny." I say while heading inside the house.
Leaving the house, I sling my saddlebag over my shoulder and as I start heading down the steps, I notice a multicoloured blob that seems to be fighting with itself, after a while it seems be coming in our direction.
I look back up to granny with a smirk and turn back to watch as Rainbow comes into the land and instantly drop the mass of fur she was holding at arm's length.
"I'm going to contact Tartarus! Where in Equestria did Rarity get this she-devil!?" Rainbow says while pointing her scratched up fetlocks at Opalescence.
As Rainbow is pointing at the "Hell-cat", I watch the cat climb the steps of the house and leap on to Granny's lap, do a spin, and lay down to start purring.
I raise my eyebrow and look at back at Rainbow, who is gawking at the sight.
"Bu.. but. But, She's EVIL" Rainbow frantically gets out.
"Of course she is, You got tank?" I replied attempting to change the topic.
"Ye...Yeah, He fell asleep on my back on the way here. You pick up the others yet?" Rainbow responds.
"Naw, Trying to pack my bags first. Needed to grab some stuff from Sugarcube corner anyway." I state as a matter of fact.
"Bags… I forgot to pack my bag." Rainbow says while slapping her forehead.
"Go pack your bag and we'll stick to the plan of meeting at Twilights," I respond while tightening my shoulder strap.
I watch Rainbow nod and turn around to take off in the direction of her house.
I turn around again and sat "Granny, you seen 'Bloom anywhere? Wanted to say goodbye."
"Nah, her and the other two youngin's went off on a trip today to get their marks again. I'll tell 'em when they get back" Granny responds.
I nod and start heading back down the road.
After getting Pinkies 'Gator back to the farm and checking into Fluttershy's cottage, she told me that Angel could take care of himself and the other wildlife, I start heading towards the castle.
I see Rainbow standing in front of the castle looking hesitant to go in.
"What's up Dash?" I call out.
I watch Rainbow turn around and as I get closer say, "It feels wrong just going in without Twilight here."
I can appreciate what she means this is the most separated us girls have been through our friendship but there's not much we can do, its a big country and we have to split up.
"Come on we just need to mark the map. It's going to be quick." I say while heading through the door.
It was an idea that Twilight had, the map in the castle was a perfect representation of Equestria and could be used to find obscure towns and we could mark off any place confirmed to not be influenced by that filth.
I mark Canterlot and Ponyville off the map.
"Alright, the train should be here soon. Anything else needs doing?" I ask Rainbow.
"Nope, Bags are all packed and pets are on the farm. You sure you got her address, right?" Rainbow responds while flying out of the door."
"Yarp," I say back "the address of one Bellatrix Lulamoon, Manehattan here we come."