Little, peaceful, and a bit under ripe in experience; not the most promising of candidates but, in this case, they must do. Vinyl stood there looking at the group before her, eager looks glued to their faces ready for the opportunity of a life time. Yet Vinyl could only do so much in her decision.
“Okay, before we move on, I have one more question to ask you.”
The three fillies looked at Vinyl, nodding their heads, waiting for the question to be asked, hoping that their chances would be increased rather than dashed. Vinyl opened her mouth to speak.
“No need to continue the interview, these three are good enough for me,” whispered a voice behind her. “Go ahead and bring them back; gently though, these ponies might be the world’s greatest hope in survival.”
Though nopony could see, because of her glasses, Vinyl closed her eyes. Grateful that she no longer needed to search for the ‘chosen,’ as he called them, yet dreading what they would be tasked with. When her master assigned her to find the chosen, she never thought they would be so young. For crying out loud, they don’t even have their cutie marks yet!, she thought. Vinyl opened her eyes and looked at the fillies one more time before giving the news.
“Well, what’s the question?” asked Scootaloo
“Oh, is it if we’ve ever tried jumping off trees before? Because the answer is yes!” implied Sweetie Belle
Apple Bloom looked over to Sweetie Belle, then back at Vinyl. “Yha, and we can tell you how many ounces of sap will get stuck on ya before ya hit the ground.”
Vinyl gave out a small laugh, if there was one thing these fillies had, it was chemistry. “No, I’m not going to ask you that question.” The looks on their little faces nearly took out Vinyl’s heart as she became more attached to the little ones before her, they were young and their future would be rough.
“You three follow me, but before we go, there are some rules you have to follow: First, don’t speak until you are asked a question Second, if you see something cool, don’t touch. Third, if you want to look at something, do so while walking because it’s very important that we stay together as a group. Do you three understand?”
Vinyl watched as all three fillies smiled and nodded their heads. Vinyl’s imagination must have been active because she could have sworn she saw halos appear above each of their heads.
“Okay, then follow me.” Then Vinyl motioned the three members of the Cutie Mark Crusaders down the hall to her master.
Sweetie Belle was in deep thought, so even as they all walked she didn’t notice all the treasures and pictures which were displayed in the halls. However, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo did notice and were in awe. There was one picture filled with color, the title was ‘In Days Past’ and there were two ponies that the two could recognize, one more than the other. The first pony that caught their attention was a pony whose coat shone white above any other coat, wings that would expand above three times her natural length, and her horn that was sharp and long, gleaming dominance over all around her. Yet, what Apple Bloom and Scootaloo saw in her eyes told them that the great princess of the day was not as wise back then as she was today.
The second pony was one they only knew in tales told by Princess Twilight Sparkle, for this old pony was her role model and icon. All that Apple Bloom knew of him, though, was his great work in advancing the magic of all unicorns. She also knew, based off of Twilight’s lectures, that Princess Celestia and Starswirl the Bearded were great friends and many of Celestia’s wisdom were brought by the experience she had with the bearded stallion.
The three continued to walk down the hall, observing art works that ranged from baby hydras being raised by said bearded stallion, to works dedicated to show all eyes the lost lands that were never seen; scenes of chaos would show in many frames: ponies floating in the air, having food so close to them yet unable to reach. Houses that changed halls as one would walk through, making them lost and trapped day in and day out. In others though, the sun would shine brightly over lush green fields as ponies played and worked.
Soon Vinyl stopped them, and motioned to the door. “Here you three go, he is waiting to speak to you.” She opened the door for the three as she watched them eagerly trot inside. Vinyl then closed the door, leaving the three in complete darkness.
Sweetie Belle blinked, realizing she could not see. “Girls, are you there?” she asked, uncertain of what was going on.
“Shhh,” her friends replied, unaware of her dilemma.
Sweetie Belle began to panic; Why could she not see? Why were her friends so calm?
“Girls, I think I’m blind!” Sweetie shouted, then feeling a hoof slap the back of her head she heard Scootaloo say something in her ear. ‘What did she mean, I’m in a dark room?’ she thought but it was all she needed to calm her nerves.
“You know I’ve been expecting you three for a while,” said a voice none of them heard before. “Here I thought I was going to search for another bunches of years before I found you girls, and now, I see you have found me instead.”
“What?” asked Scootaloo.
“Search for another bunches?” questioned Applebloom. “Sir, you speak funny.”
“Yes I do, and I’m proud of it, but the way I speak is unimportant right now.” A moment of silence filled the room before he spoke again. “I could just hug you three right now, but in my current state… that would be rather awkward don’t you think?”
The Cutie Mark Crusaders stood there for a while, questioning the sanity of whoever this stallion was. Both Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle felt three taps on their shoulders. From past councils in the clubhouse, they knew it was Apple Blooms signal to get ready to defend themselves.
A while back all three of them decided to put together a silent code of protection. All three had agreed that they were living in darker times where harmony was constantly at war. None of them knew if anything bad was going to happen just seconds later from a ‘perfect moment,’ so the three fillies got together and made a code that if any of them felt threatened they would either tap something three times or tap each other on the shoulders three times. Least to say right now, Apple Bloom felt endangered.
“Where are my manners? I still need to introduce myself. My name is Starswirl, but you three can call me Stars. All my closest friends call me Stars.”
“Closest friends? We barely even know you!” shouted Scootaloo.
“I’d be worried if you did know me, that would mean something is wrong with the universe,” he replied calmly. “Come now, Scootaloo, no need to be defensive. After all, I know exactly how you feel.”
Apple Bloom whispered into Sweetie Belle’s ear, “Ya, this guy is crazy.”
“Though I do have one word that can explain all this to you, just one word,” said the stallion. “Time Travel”
“What!” shouted all the fillies in unison. After a moment of shocked silence, both Apple Bloom and Scootaloo started to laugh. “You expect us to believe that?” they said together.
“No, but I do expect Sweetie Belle to believe it.”
A dim light slowly turned on, allowing sight to become possible. Scootaloo and Apple Bloom looked over to Sweetie Belle only to see her on the floor crying.
In rage Scootaloo turned around as Apple Bloom laid down next to her unicorn friend to give comfort.
“What did you do to her?!”
“I spoke with her explaining everything, giving her all the important memories. All except the important ones that will bond all of us together. You see, once you head on this quest… she will be your source of answers to many questions.”
Apple Bloom whispered into Sweetie Belle’s ears. “Is this true?”
All she got from Sweetie Bell was a nod as she continued crying, rivers of tears flowing from her eyes.
“That still does not excuse the fact that you are making her cry,” shouted Scootaloo.
“Scootaloo, if you saw what she saw, you would be in the same boat as her,” said Starswirl
Another question came to Scootaloo’s mind as she stood her ground. “Show yourself,” she commanded.
"I missed that," said Starswirl in daze. "You were always the bold one. Very well, I’ll show myself. Be warned though, once you see me you are locked into a spell that connects you to my universe. It will be some time before you find yourselves back here. That is why Vinyl wears her glasses, not because it makes her look cool. Even though she does look cool in them, but to keep her off from my spell. I’ll ask you this once, are you sure you want to see me?”
The two fillies looked at each other, “Can we think about it?” they asked in unison.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said ‘Starswirl’ confidently.
“Sweetie Belle, of all the things he gave you… is there any truth to it?” asked Apple Bloom.
“I… I think there is,” sobbed out Sweetie Belle.
“And if it is true, do we need to do what this guy says?” asked Scootaloo
“If what I see is true and real, we must do what Starswirl says,” answered Sweetie, not confidant but scared, as if she is remembering a ghost that is about to return.
“Why Sweetie Belle? I need ya to tell us why.”
“Because if we don’t, the world we know today will be gone forever.”
Scootaloo got up, having made her decision. “Fine! We’ll do it, now show yourself.”
All three fillies lifted up their heads to the table in front of them. And from behind came a stallion, whose age shown beyond the fragments of time. He was in a chair with wheels and the first thing the fillies noticed was the fact that he had no rear legs. The second was the outrageous length of his beard.
“Starswirl, when they say bearded, they weren’t kidding,” said Scootaloo. “So tell us, what happened to your legs.” Having said that, she felt Sweetie Bell hit her in the back of the head. “You had to cut his legs off, Scoot’s, in our future.”
That was when things kicked in for Scootaloo, there was no going back. “Starswirl, why have you brought this upon us?”
“Because, I am in need of you.”
“What the hay is that supposed to mean!” shouted Applebloom.
They saw the old handicap look at the wall behind them as his face grew serious, serious enough for anypony around to recognize the wisdom shared.
“Our time together is ending, I can only give you this one piece of advice; think and act quickly, you three are going in hotter than freshly baked cookies!”
Then everything went dark, and all Scootaloo could feel was the drowning of reality as she sunk into a void. Then after a few moments, what she saw changed her life forever. Before all three fillies, shown the smallest but most grand part of the universe. The place where stars bow and the heavens worship, and then it started to change from a magnificent green to a dark blue. Rings and Planets, moons and stars, cosmic wonder that would stamp to the fillies’ lives for all eternity. For what they were looking at was their home.
Things went dark again.
Apple Bloom stirred, hearing sounds of metal to metal. Angry shouts and cries of pain. She opened her eyes to see the nightmare before her. In school she had learned about the great Griffon and Pony War, but never had she thought it to be real. Around her, she saw massive bird-like monsters flying through the sky, dressed in the darkest of steel and sharpest of claws. Around her were ponies dressed in the bronze of Equestria, ready to defend their homes.
Apple Bloom looked over to her friends who were staring at the scene before them.
“Girls, we need to think of something, quick!”