Shylight - Chapter Two - An Accidental Alicorn
"Surprise!" Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Rarity and Spike all shouted.
The small beige alicorn in the center of the room shrieked. Instinctively, she darted out of sight and hid beneath the staircase. "I'm sorry," she pleaded. "I... I don't know what is happening..."
"That wasn't Twilight," Pinkie said, confused. "That sounded more like Fluttershy..."
"...But that was Twilight's teleporting spell," Rarity said. "I can tell."
"Did something happen to Twilight?" Spike asked, concerned.
The alicorn curled up into a ball under the stairs. Her mind was full of confusing sensations and memories. She knew all those ponies, yet she didn't. She had an idea of who she was, but she couldn't remember her own name. She knew she had asked... herself to go into the Everfree Forest to look for a plant, and that's where everything got confused.
Rainbow Dash approached the stairs slowly. "Are you alright?" she asked gently.
"I... I'm... Rainbow Dash, is that you?" the alicorn stuttered. "It's so hard to tell right now... Everything is so mixed up."
"Yeah, I'm Rainbow Dash," she said, confused. "Do you have a name?"
"Fluttershy," the alicorn answered quietly, audible only to Dash. "No, wait, I'm Twilight Sparkle... I... I... I don't know..." She screamed in that subdued manner Fluttershy was known for, but there was a hint of growling in the scream as well, as Twilight would do whenever frustrated. "I don't know what I am..."
"This is bad," Dash said as she looked back to the others. "She just said she might be Fluttershy or Twilight... and if she's Twilight, there's no way she's in any shape to figure out what's going on."
Applejack looked over at the alicorn, who somehow managed to become even more hidden as she sensed AJ's glance.
"Okay, guys, who do we know besides Twilight who could figure this out?" Dash asked.
Spike spoke up first. "I could try writing a letter to Princess Celestia," he offered.
"Meantime, Ah could be grabbin' Applebloom." Applejack suggested. "Maybe she learned somethin' from Zecora that could help us here."
"Good idea, but we might need Zecora herself," Rarity said. "No offense, but I'd rather have the teacher over the apprentice."
"It's pretty far to Zecora's," Rainbow Dash said. "I'll go, I can get there quickest. Maybe I can get her to come here."
"It's settled, then," Rarity said. "I'll try to see if I can figure anything out myself. Pinkie Pie could stay here and help me keep the poor thing company."
"Prolly not a good idea," Applejack said. "As skittish as that filly is, Pinkie may be the last thing she needs. No offense, Pinkie."
"None taken," Pinkie said, smiling. "I know I'm a little of an acquired taste."
"I don't have to go anywhere to send the letter," Spike said as he was in the process of writing it out. "I'll help Rarity out here."
"Pinkie, go with Applejack," Rainbow Dash decided. "If Applebloom is with her little friends, you might need to keep them occupied while we get her here."
"Will do!" Pinkie said as she bounced over to Applejack.
"You should go ahead and get moving, Dash," Rarity said. "You will need all the daylight you can get."
"Right," Dash said. "Let's move!"
It only took a few minutes for Applejack and Pinkie Pie to reach Sweet Apple Acres.
"You keep up awful fast considerin' all you do is bounce," Applejack observed. She had been in a full gallop since leaving the library.
"Never question an all-dessert diet!" Pinkie said, laughing. "I'm starting to get tired though."
"Proteins," Applejack snarkily replied. "Gotta keep some balance."
Big Macintosh looked up as the two young mares ran up to him. They had interrupted him taking a rest break. "Somethin' wrong, sis?" he asked.
"You could say that," Applejack said. "You seen Applebloom about?"
"Eeyup, but she ain't here now," he said as he got up. "One of her friends came by a little bit ago an' said somethin' about some new thread. Ah think they went to Rarity's."
"Dang," AJ said. "Come on, Pinkie, Ah don't think this here's gonna be as easy as Ah thought." She went back into a full-speed gallop again. "Thanks, bro!"
"Yeah, thanks a lot, big guy," Pinkie said, smiling, as she resumed bouncing after Applejack.
"Mmm-hmm," Big Macintosh said as he went back to work.
Princess Celestia was walking to her chambers after finishing yet another excruciating day of court. "Still want this job, Sister?" she said.
"Ugh. Not after our nephew's outburst," Luna said as she followed her sister. "All he ever does anymore is whine about that one mare at the last Gala."
"Personally, I figure it would be good for him to get knocked down a few more pegs," Celestia said, laughing. "I might have to have a word with his father."
"Don't try it," Luna warned. "He makes Blueblood seem like the perfect gentlecolt by comparison."
Celestia stopped for a moment and shuddered. "Ooooh, scary thought," she said. "Don't do that to me!"
"Sorry," Luna said.
A magical letter soon appeared in front of the Princesses.
Celestia opened it up with her magic and took a look at it. She soon frowned.
"Celly?" Luna asked. "What is it?"
"There's been an accident. I'm needed in Ponyville right away," Celestia said. "Could you put the sun away for me tonight, please?"
"Of course," Luna said.
Celestia ran back towards the throne room as quickly as her majestic legs would allow.
Once her sister was out of sight, Luna picked up the letter and read it.
Dear Princess Celestia,
This is Spike writing. Something has happened here at the library. It may involve Twilight Sparkle. There's a small alicorn here who is claiming to be both her and one of our other friends, Fluttershy. Could you please take a look?
"Oh, dear," Princess Luna thought. "I know that magic... it's old magic I traded to the zebras long ago!"
"Sister, wait!" Luna shouted as she ran after Celestia.
Rainbow Dash flew deftly through the Everfree Forest. As long as the sun was still out, she could fly at a fast enough speed and still see the obstacles in her path. She had to hurry, though. She was close to Zecora's hut, but there was still the matter of getting back out of the forest before nightfall.
"Spike, you shoulda asked the Princess if she could keep the sun up a little longer," Dash muttered as she continued to evade the natural obstacles at somewhat unsafe speeds.
It took another ten minutes or so, but Dash finally made it to the hut. She landed and knocked on the door. "Hey, Zecora, you home? It's Rainbow Dash. I need your help."
A groan could be heard from inside. "Dash, if it's help you seek, you could have picked a better week..." Zecora said, weakly.
"I'm sorry... it's an emergency. It's about Twilight," Dash said apologetically.
"Did she botch another incantation? I warned that girl about bad information," Zecora said as she struggled to reach the door.
Dash laid her eyes upon a Zecora that was a few shades more green than usual. "Whoa... what happened to you?" she asked as she covered her face with her hoof.
"Just an annoying autumn flu," Zecora said as she motioned for Dash to come in. "Be thankful ponies can't get it too."
Dash breathed a sigh of relief as she walked in. "Remember that book of spells you loaned Twilight last week?" she asked, getting straight to the point.
"Yes... I remember that tome. Did she misplace it somewhere in her home?"
"No... though the book was missing," Dash mentioned. "She was looking for a plant for one of the spells, and I think she tried to teleport home for some reason... then something weird happened."
"She traveled through space and time? I hope the book was elsewhere, child," Zecora said, shocked.
"Okay, that was a poor rhyme," Dash quipped.
Zecora laughed between coughs. "Considering how badly I'm under the weather, I'm lucky I can still string words together."
"Fair enough..." Dash said. "So, do you think the book might have had something to do with it?"
"To be certain, mine eyes must see, the result of Twilight's catastrophe," Zecora said as she packed a few books into her saddlebag. "Let us be off, making haste. At night, we don't want to be in this place."
"Need a lift?" Dash offered.
"It would be far safer to walk, than to risk a crash in the dark," Zecora said, declining the offer. She began the trek through the forest to Ponyville.
Dash wasn't far behind.
The alicorn was still hiding underneath the stairs. She was sobbing quietly, but hadn't said a word since Dash and the others left.
"The poor dear's so frightened," Rarity observed.
"If she really is both Twilight and Fluttershy, it must be painful for her," Spike said softly.
"How so?" Rarity asked.
"Well, we've seen how timid Fluttershy can be," Spike said. "The thing is, Twilight isn't exactly social either. If she's both of them, she must be scared out of her mind just by existing."
"If only there was a way to get her to open up," Rarity sighed. "The others are trying to get all the expertise here they can find, but the only one who can tell us what really happened is hiding in that corner."
Suddenly Spike had an idea as he remembered back to when he and Twilight first met Fluttershy. "Rarity, could you go into the kitchen for a few minutes?" he asked. "I'm going to try something."
"Sure," Rarity said. "I could probably use some tea or something anyway. Do you want any?" she asked as she turned toward the kitchen.
"I'm good," Spike said. "I had an entire plate of aquamarines earlier. Our little friend might want one, though, so just keep an ear out."
"Indeed," Rarity said as she disappeared into Twilight's kitchen.
Spike crept up to the little beige alicorn. "It's safe. It's just the two of us now."
"No..." the alicorn wept. "It feels like three. You, me... but it feels like someone else is watching."
"It's just us, Twilight," Spike said as he crept closer, very careful not to frighten the alicorn. "Are... are you scared of other ponies right now?"
"I... I don't feel like Twilight," the alicorn said softly. "I don't exactly feel like Fluttershy either, but I know I'm both of them. I don't even know what to call myself." She began to weep again.
"There, there, don't cry," Spike said as he reached very slowly to wrap the alicorn in a hug. "Want me to figure out a name for you then? How about Fluttersparkle?"
The alicorn pouted. "That just sounds weird, Spike..."
"Well..." the dragon paused as he thought about it for a moment. "Shylight, perhaps?"
"Shylight... Shylight? I... I think that'd be okay," she said. "Shylight. Yeah. I'm Shylight."
"Cool, Shylight," Spike said as he slowly let go of the hug. "I have to go tell Rarity what's going on."
Shylight cringed. "Is... is she going to come back in here?"
"Well, this is the center of the library," Spike said sadly. "Hey, why don't you go upstairs and wait for me? That way you don't have to see Rarity until you're ready, and the others won't scare you when they come back. Is that okay?"
"I... I think that'd work..." Shylight said as she slowly emerged from her hiding spot. She took a quick glance around, then ran up the stairs as fast as her legs would carry her.
Spike sighed as he turned to go into the kitchen. This was going to take a lot of work...