The warming rays of Celestia’s delightful orange globe began to peak over the mountain top, cheerfully drifting down and kissing Twilight Sparkle’s cheek as she slowly opened her eyes into slits, gradually opening wider and wider. Her gaze meeting the end of her quilt, its design seeming as familiar to her as the back of her hoof. She swept it off of her with her teeth, placing each hoof on the ground and starring at her baby purple and green companion snuggled innocently in his basket. Her eyes tendered as she saw him, noting that Spike could use more rest before she pulled his small blanket further up his shoulder. She made her way down the stairs; her mood was delightful, as she had always been a morning pony. Trailing down to the library she opened her front door, the pleasant sights, sounds, and smells of Ponyville greeted her all at once, some ponies had already gotten up and were strolling about. Cheerilee on her usual rounds in the morning before school started, picking up supplies, Derpy Hooves on her usual postal route, flying clumsily about and knocking into almost everything. Twilight took a step out breathing in, today was going to be a good day, she just knew it!
Twilight paced about the shopping district, the sun had now crept further up the sky as several hours had passed. The district had become more populated and she soon stumbled upon Applejack’s shabby wooden stand, which by this time Twilight noticed that the sky had grown mysteriously dark, ‘Maybe the pegasei are just slacking off a little.’ Thought Twilight as she neared her friend though for some reason she doubted this as something in the back of her mind tried to warn her but she couldn’t place a hoof on it.
“Hey Applejack, how are you?”
The orange mare was turned at the time but once she heard the familiar intellectual sounding voice of her purple friend she turned after finishing with a customer.
“Well hey there Twi, I’m doin’ ay-okay, how ‘bout you? What’re you doin’ here all by your lonesome?” inquired Applejack, tilting her head in a curious manner as she smiled to her friend.
“Just going out for some supplies I needed in the library. Spike didn’t come though; he’s been a busy dragon so I’d thought I’d give him the morning off. Say, mind if I buy an apple or two?”
“No need sugar cube; this one’s on the house. Two apples commin’ right up!” Applejack exclaimed, her expression generous as she skillfully flipped two apples into Twilights saddle bag with her sporting blonde tail. Twilight smiled, she expected no less from the element of honesty, Applejack was a good mare, one of the best she’d ever met since her arrival in Ponyville about a year ago though she had four other friends that were just as good, she soon waved her hoof good-bye and was on her way but as she turned Applejack called after her, “Uh..Twi, y’all take care now, ya’ hear? Something feels kinda off so just be careful.” This troubled Twilight a bit but continued on. The sky had darkened even more than before, Twilight’s expression becoming slightly troubled, this was rather unusual, by now the weather patrol would have handled this. As she strode on, Twilight found herself walking along the outskirts of town, though the sky had grayed a bit in the pass few hours, if was still clear enough to enjoy. As she walked along, enjoying the sounds of the chirping birds and squeaking animals something passed by her, fast as bullet leaving a quickly dissipating rainbow trail behind it. Twilights eyes struggled to keep up with it as it darted about the gray sky. Eventually it paused on a cloud and she identified the pony none other than Rainbow Dash! The colorful Pegasus was flying about franticly, bucking clouds a fast as she possibly could, her face mixed with exhaustion and frustration.
As Twilight neared her friend she called out to her, “Hey Rainbow Dash!” A flash of rainbow dashed across the sky toward her, her carefully molded athletic figure tense with stress as she flew to Twilight Sparkle. “Twilight! You gotta help me, the clouds have been going nuts and the weather patrol staff is shorthanded! I’ve been working up here since earlier this morning, and the clouds just keep coming back!” Twilight looked about, her purple mane falling from side to side as she did. This was indeed not normal even on the cloudiest of days. “Okay, stand back!” Twilight commanded to her colorful friend as her horn began to shimmer with its usual purple glow as the Pegasus flew back, landing next to Twilight. Twilight’s eyes began to glow a faint violet also, as she was about to cast a rather large spell and in a second the clouds parted, giving way to the sun. Twilight and Rainbow Dash both smiled hopefully when almost as quickly as it had left the clouds zoomed back into place, this time more violently than before. Thundering and storming as if the suppressing magic filled it with resentment! Their beams of hope were wiped off their faces as a strike of lightning lashed out at the ground near them leaving a large scorch where fresh grass had just been. The blast’s shockwave knocked Twilight on her back as Rainbow Dash took to the skies, another bolt sailed from the agitated masses of gray right towards Twilight and she closed her eyes tight fearing the worse…was this really her end? Struck down by lightning and not even being able to say good bye to her closest friends?
The thundering strikes flew down and at that same instant Twilight felt the ground under her disappear. Though she was too afraid to even open her eyes, she noticed she felt unusually light. She thought to herself ‘Is this what it’s like be to be…’ She forced a disheartened gulp, ‘Dead?’ As the initial shock wore off she opened her eyes only to look down and see herself several miles from the Equestrian ground. She was alive! As she looked around for an explanation she saw someone she wouldn’t have expected. She gasped at her savior half in shock and the other half in inexpressible gratitude. Her friends flowing pink hair drifting in the wind as she sailed across the sky from the blast zone, noticeably struggling in carrying Twilight. They soon landed; the yellow furred pink maned Pegasus placed her gently on the grass near a cottage. Fluttershy was her savior! Which was quite the shocker, but she was grateful none the less. “Oh my, are you okay Twilight?!” asked Fluttershy in her usual hushed and submissive tone though more troubled than ever before. Twilight was still getting her bearings on the situation but proceeded to answer. “Uh…y-yes. T-thank you so much Fluttershy! Had you not been there I’d be…” She cut off as her pupils shrunk in fear from the recollection of what her fate could have been. Fluttershy put on a sweet face trying to calm her friend. “It’s okay Twilight, you’re fine now.” Rainbow Dash soon arrived on the scene, her rainbow trail following as close as ever before she landed gasping from worry. “Oh my gosh! Twilight, are you okay?! I-I tried to help you but I wasn’t quick enough! Oh, I’m sorry!”
“Its fine Rainbow, Fluttershy saved me. I wouldn’t have made it had it not been for her.” Remarked Twilight, to which Fluttershy just responded by stirring the rocks in the ground with her hoof sheepishly.
“How did you even get to her in time, Fluttershy?!” questioned Rainbow Dash who was genuinely intrigued.
“Oh….umm…I-I was just walking not too far away and I saw Twilight was in trouble, I just rushed as fast as I could to help her. I didn’t want her to get hurt, that’s all…” answered the gentle mare, her pink hair falling over one eye as she answered which exhibited to maximum levels of D’aww. Though their conversation was mutually cut short as they acknowledged the issue at hand; something was wrong. This was not natural so they decided to head into the Ever Free Forest and ask the one they knew most likely had the answer. As the trio traveled into the forest from Fluttershy’s cottage, the trees and undergrowth grew thicker and more eerie. The shadows of the trees were warping and contorting into the shapes of ghouls and other atrocities able to send a chill down the bravest pony’s spine. They pressed on, Fluttershy’s whimpers as frightened as ever, seeing as the mare was scared of pretty much everything. Being in the dark forest again after the Mare in the Moon incident seemed to frighten her even more. She huddled close to Rainbow Dash and Twilight who were almost equally as fearful. They soon came upon a hallowed out tree with various strange looking decorations. They knocked on the door of the tree, though there was no answer and staying any longer would probably make Fluttershy cry from fright. Just as they were about to turn they heard a rustle from inside and a familiar voice. “Who could that be, wishing to disturb me?” The door slowly creaked open revealing the black and white face of their friend Zecora, her shimmering golden necklace on as always. She looked down at the three, wiping her eyes sleepily with an equally black and white hoof stifling a yawn, “Oh my, what a fright. What do you ponies want at this time of night?” To which Twilight began to ramble on about the events of the day and how the sky was acting, all the while Zecora listened with various facial expressions to each event.
“Come inside young mares, perhaps we can figure out what gives you these scares…” was her final answer as she rounded about disappearing into her home, the three following. “So the skies have run amuck and you find yourselves stuck.” Stated Zecora with a final sigh as they circled around in her home. “Yes, we don’t know what happened, yesterday was fine and all of a sudden this happens! It can’t be natural Zecora; we figured you’d be able to help us.” Twilight replied. Zecora paced about deep in thought. She strode to her shelf of various books and began to dig through them in search of something that could maybe have an answer, but inevitably found nothing, “I am sad to relay that I have nothing for you this day. I am grateful for your trust in my loyalty but perhaps you should seek help from royalty.” Inquired Zecora as she pointed out her window to the general direction of the famous and regal city of Canterlot. The three nodded, and gave their thanks for the limited help the mysterious Zebra gave to them heading out the door and eventually (to Fluttershy’s relief) out of the forest. As they headed back to Ponyville, they discussed their preparations for departure, all the while keeping their sight glued to the relentless skies above which were still as mercurial as ever. Suddenly a small dot came from the clouds, slightly parting them only to have the hole plugged by another rushing wave of angry clouds. The dot began to draw closer and closer at an alarming rate. The size increasing as well as its detail, within moments a gold plated carriage pulled by two of the royal pegasei guards of Canterlot. They landed not far from the trio and one of them looked over to them. “Miss Twilight Sparkle, you have been summoned to Canterlot Castle by both Princess Celestia and Princess Luna collectively. You are to gather a Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, and Rarity to accompany you as they are relevant in this issue.”