It was dark and scary, over whelming to say the least. The trees seemed to get more twisted and mangled as we walked deeper into the forest. Some of the trees didn't look quite right, like they were the twisted souls of some unlucky ponies screaming out for help. At least that's how it felt to me as Fluttershy, Rarity, and Ah walked through the dense forest towards are destination.
“Are you sure we're heading the right way dear Fluttershy?” Rarity looked more anxious to me then Ah was. You could just tell by the way she seemed to slow a little with each glance she took, only for her to speed back up again when she realized she was falling behind.
“Yes.” the simplest answer Fluttershy could give. She was walking along keeping her eyes trained on the ground as she walked. It was almost crazy how calm she looked. In the couple of days Ah had gotten to know her, it had seemed like almost anything could scare the poor girl out of her wits. But know she looked almost perfectly at easy in this dark and creepy forest.
Ah however had my mind on other things. Something was starting to bug me about what had happened over the past couple of days. First my attack, which had led to my memory loss. Then there was the fact ah had part of this creature stuck in my head, and it was trying to keep me from remembering things from my past. Next the creature that had attacked me and the rock that had knocked it unconscious, that had just seemed a little bit on the lucky side at the time, but maybe there was something more to it then that?
“Ohh . . . my . . .”
It was then that my train of thought crashed and Ah was pulled back to reality. Fluttershy had stopped along with Rarity right behind her. Both were looking ahead with disbelief and Ah understood why. There was fork in the road, leading to different ways and the tracks we had been following were going down both roads.
Just great, last time this happened we got attacked. But with a sigh I could only hope that maybe this wouldn't be as bad as last time.
“Shouldn't we just follow the freshest set of tracks, deary?” Fluttershy and Ah turned to look at Rarity in surprise. She took notice of our looks at her and looked at us as if she was a little upset. “What? Where you not expecting me to say something smart?”
Ah shook my head 'no' letting my mane sway back and forth before Rarity looked at me with an accusing glare. “Not at all Rarity.” I say with a smile, “Ah just didn't expect advice about this type of thing from you is all.”
Rarity turned her nose up a little, her lips turned down in a slight frown. “I have had to learn some tracking tricks to keep myself safe when it comes to my gem hunting.” Her accent was slightly thicker as she spoke in a frustrated tone. It was interesting hearing how think her accent was getting.
“Alright Rarity.” With a couple of steps ah moved closer to Rarity and placed one of my hooves around her neck. She tensed up a little as her eyes moved to look at me. “Don't forget. Ah lost my memory and ah couldn't have known that before today.”
“Oh . . .” came the deflated word as it escaped passed Rarity's lips. She looked down a little at the ground, obviously beating herself up about the fact she had forgotten. She had probably been to scared by the feeling that the forest had been exuding. “I'm sorry . . . Jackie.”
Ah pulled her closer and gave her a smile. “Hey you're doing fine.”
Slowly Rarity got a gentle smile to grow ever so sweetly. “Thank you . . .”
“Oh, that's so sweet.”
Rarity and Ah turned to look at Fluttershy, a sly smile was draped across her face. That made the heat seem to rush to mine, and before we knew Rarity and Ah had pushed each other apart awkwardly. “Let us never speak of this again.” Rarity said bluntly.
My face got hotter and the best Ah could do was turn my face away and hope it wasn't as red as Ah thought it was. “Agreed.”
My slight embarrassment was suddenly pushed to the back of my mind as Ah spotted something move between the trees. Suddenly Ah felt alert and my every sense was heightened to crazy degree. Although the air was cold their was cold, an almost chilling warmth had settled on the back of my neck. A slight moisture in the air was collecting on the trees and ground making everything slippery. And Ah could swear the iron like smell of blood was gently wafting through the air, it was subtle, but definitely there. That's about when ah heard the gentle chuckle.
Ah took a defensive position ready to bolt for it if ah had to.
“Jackie?” I chanced a glance towards the voice that had called out my chosen name. Fluttershy was looking at me worriedly and Rarity was starting to take notice as well. They were obviously concerned about my actions and sudden change of attitude. “What's wrong?”
Taking a deep breath to calm myself down a little, “I think we may have company.”
The affect was almost instantaneous as Ah saw the both of them change there demeanors. Fluttershy looked worried, and quickly to refuge behind me and Rarity who had taken up a position similar to mine. But something had caught my eye as Ah Rarity took her position. Her eyes seemed to have changed color from baby blue to emerald green, and back again. Ah ignored the odd little detail, Ah figured it was just a trick of the eye.
Shadows shifted behind the trees, setting my nerves on edge. There was more then one enemy this time and that didn't bode well for us.
Ah kept my eyes one the passing shadows, watching as they moved with intent. They seemed to be jumping from tree to tree, but one figure in particular was darker then the rest and almost familiar. My gaze kept jumping and following the figure as if there was some type of force was drawing it their.
Eventually Ah found my gaze locked on a pair yellow eyes, the same ones that had haunted my nightmare from before. They were cold, distant, shining bright with intelligent, and had a look that pierced my mind sending fearful shivers down my spine. The familiar feeling of paralyzing fear began to settle on me again.
Ah couldn't help it, the feeling of helplessness that began to take me over. My hooves began to buckle and fell to the ground with a hollow feeling hitting me like a burst of magic compressed into a tightly packed force filled beam aimed straight for my chest.
“Jackie?!” Ah heard Rarity yell. This broke me out of the feeling just as Ah felt my hope begin to die in my chest, and with a quick turn that hope that had just barely survived died in less then an instant.
As my eye met Rarity's ah felt the cold chill of despair rip through me. Her eyes had gone from their beautiful baby blue into the emerald green that Ah thought Ah had imagined, but the thing that terrified me in that moment was the golden yellow flames that were burning brightly from the corner of her eyes. It was unnerving and scary, in a way it was worse then seeing the yellow eyes because now both were cold and unnerving. But it was worse with Rarity because the gaze was coming from the mare Ah was trusting with my life, not from a dark and unruly beast that Ah didn't even know.
My body was shaking and the feeling of fear that surged through me was causing it to tremble. There were no conscious thoughts running through my mind and the feelings that were piercing me were forcing my body into action.
Rarity lifted a hoof towards me and Ah moved without a thought of what Ah was doing. Ah ran, just ran, the fork in the road had been just to my right and Ah took the first path that had been there. My emotions and the adrenalin that coursed through my system pushed me harder and faster then Ah could have normally done. The ground blurred and the trees seemed to fuse into walls, every moment Ah ran the world seemed to lose more focus.
The fear took over and my mind kick started into a tirade of thoughts and questions, that made me more and more afraid. Each passing moment blurred into the next until eventually the ache in my hooves began to burn until Ah couldn't run anymore. Slowing down into a stop Ah began to calm down, my mind was starting to relax and the rest of my body felt like collapsing.
“Where am Ah?” Ah ask aloud once Ah had calmed down enough to think rationally. My surroundings weren't as dark or frightening as before, as a matter of fact the trees almost seemed to be glistening with heart warming light, a field of flowers could be seen in the distance, and smell of roses began to gently float into the air.
My body moved almost automatically, pulling me towards the light, and it was in that moment that Ah some how found myself in beautiful field of tulips, daisies, and some type of dark green flower. The aroma was overpowering to say the least, each flower was producing a scent that mixed with the others. Roses surrounded the field forming some type of barrier between it and the forest. The suns light lazily drooped out over the mountains, painting a spectacular sunset, where on the other side of the sky the moon was just barely peaking out over the horizon with a few stars.
“Where am ah?” A wind picked up and Ah start feeling slightly woozy. This time Ah could feel the sensation starting to take me over, and Ah could even try to fight back.
It was however a losing battle. My consciousness was fading quickly and my body felt heavy. The sensation was overwhelming and forced my body to start collapsing. Ah hit the ground but Ah was still conscious. My eye lids were lazily hovering open as fought to keep myself awake.
A small patch of dark green flowers hazily floating in my vision, and an unfamiliar smell found its way to my nose. The scent was a light, and sweet, with very subtle hits of something that Ah could only describe as 'sour'. My breaths felt heavy and labored.
Something sounded strange to me all of a sudden. I could barely make out the sound at first, then the sound got sharper and sharper. My blood got colder as the sound drew closer once I realized it was the sound of hoof falls.
“Jackie?!” yelled a frightened voice. It was familiar but my mind was to clouded to realize who it belonged to.
Suddenly Ah felt weightless, and Ah realized Ah was being lifted off the ground in someponies magic. The subtle hints of a dark green aura surrounded my sight. Who was this?
Helplessly ah watched as the field ah had entered slowly became a distant memory. Whoever this pony was they were carrying me away from the field as if they wanted to be as far away from it possible.
“Jackie that field had Asphidil plants in them.” The voice said in sweet yet, knowledgeable kind of way. “They live in remote regions, like this forest, and exude a special form of gas whenever they feel threatened by some creature that happens to be passing by. The gas sends the body into a comatose like state, leaving the mind only partly active.”
Slowly Ah started to realize what the voice was saying. That plant had done this to me, but that didn't answer my question, who is this pony?
Before ah had a chance to continue thinking who it was that was helping me, ah felt the cool ground slowly press itself against my side. “You are lucky that we were there to help you.”
Slowly ah could feel my mind and body beginning to wake up again. “If it weren't for the fact we had been keeping an eye on you and your friends you might not have lived.” another voice said, this one was more masculine compared to the first, meaning ah had two ponies who had just helped me, one a mare, the other must have been a stallion. “The plant would have kept you in that comatose state for quite a while, even to the point that you would have died. They are rather unforgiving little things.”
“But,” The female voice said, and Ah could feel my mind starting to process things better. “You are lucky that the plants do not have a very strong scent, and that the gases effects fade rather quickly. On that note, we shall be taking our leave, but do remember Jackie. You'll have to look past what you see if you want to be able to move forward from this point on.”
My breathing became steady and the muscles in my body finally started listening to me. But before ah had the chance to even look at the two who had stayed out of my vision ah heard the lightest popping sound and Ah knew they were gone.
Ah got to my hooves as quick as ah possibly could, and ah felt as if ah had just woken up from a long rest. But my mind was still filling with questions, Who had those two been? How did they know about me and my friends? How did they know my name? And probably the most important question of all, what had that mare meant when she said 'You'll have to look past what you see if you want to be able to move forward from this point on.'?
Those questions kept running through my head like tornado. That is until Something at the back of my mind registered movement to my left.
Quickly Ah dove towards the nearest bush and hid myself from whatever was on it's way here. My breathing slowed and my whole body became as still as a rock. Slowly the sound of hoof falls started to increase, and a pair of voices started to make themselves known.
A heavy sigh escaped from one of the ponies, “what do you think happened to her Rarity?” One of the voices asked in a quiet almost hushed voice. It was obvious to me who the voice belonged to in that moment.
“I wish I knew dear Fluttershy. But something tells me that we will be hard pressed to find her if we don't do so soon.” The light accent ah had come to know as Rarity's tickled my ears, But ah remained still. The memory of what Rarity had looked like suddenly flouted to the top of my mind.
Rarity passed by the bush ah was hiding in and ah couldn't help but look at her as she passed. Her eyes were still the same shade of green they had been when ah had run from her not a few minutes ago. The flames yellow flames that were emitting from her eyes seemed to defy physics as they flowed outward in a horizontal direction either going to the left or right based on the respective side they were on. She had tied back her mane, probably trying to keep her hair from burning, the natural curl allowed her mane flow like a waterfall down her back.
Shivers ran down my back as she walked past, almost everything about her had seemed to make me scared out of my wits. “I just hope she's okay.” Ah hear Fluttershy say.
My line of sight moved from the frightening mare to look at Fluttershy only to feel an even more powerful fear hit me. Ah almost lost it, my whole mind went blank and the only thing keeping me from running for my life was the fact ah know that ah had to remain still if ah didn't want to be spotted.
There was Fluttershy walking along carefully watching for anything that might jump out and attack, but she didn't look like Fluttershy. Her normally flowing mane looked wild and mussy, the tips of her ears were pointed and split, her eye had gone from their usual light blue to an almost crimson red. Her wings had shifted in form to look more thin like skin, took on a web like appearance, and look much more bony. But the thing that caught my attention the most and had me scared was the fangs that seemed to glisten whenever she opened her mouth.
“Me to, deary. Me to.”
As they both waked past I was stunned, silent, and unmoving. This was dangerous, ah had to get out of here before they could find me. But as ah try to get up and run away from the pair that had just passed me by, something seems to be keeping me in place. 'Why is it ah can never seem to move when ah want to?!'
The thought fade from my mind as ah looked down to see that ah had a bunch of scratches all across my body. “What the . . . ?” It was in that moment ah realized that ah jumped into a thorn bush, Ah was scraped up like there was no tomorrow and several of the scrapes were just barely bleeding. But, ah didn't feel anything, not a single thing.
That's when what Luna said at the hospital came back to me. The signs that ah would be dying soon. The hallucinations that separated me from others, that was supposed to be the next thing to happen to me. “And it has!” Ah say suddenly realizing why Rarity and Fluttershy looked the way they do.
“Emotional and Physical numbness . . .” My body wasn't even registering that ah should be in pain. Ah had jumped into a thorn bush and was cut up, yet I was completely numb to the feeling.
This time when ah tried to move my body cooperated and ah was out of the bush. Ah still couldn't feel the pain as ah stepped onto the dirt path way, yet ah knew ah was supposed to be hurting. But ah still felt worried, scared, and most of all a little relieved. A light chuckle made its way up and ah fought to suppress the urge to laugh. Ah was still scared. That meant Ah still might have a chance here.
My eyes moved down the path that Rarity and Fluttershy had taken. That's when a cold chill hit me, they were heading towards the field!
Kicking it into overdrive ah ran so fast ah bet Rainbow dash would have been impressed. My hooves carried me quicker and quicker towards the other two. Until ah was standing outside the fields.
Both girls were looking up at the now star riddled sky, but they looked unsteady on their hooves. “Get out of there, quickly!” ah yell to them.
Both girls turned and spotted me, just in time for them to fall over.
'Dang it!' ah thought as solutions started to flow into my head, the best course of action seemed like the direct one. Ah just had to go in grab one of them and get back before the flowers could effect me.
That's when things went horribly, horribly bad.