Hollyhoof Undead-Take 3:
“-it. Hunh?” Twilight looks around, finding herself once again in the center room of a room that is unmistakably familiar to her. The rows and rows of books, the center table and the peaceful quiet all tell Twilight that they have arrived almost instantly back in her library. However the peaceful silence that normally fills the library quickly finds itself replaced with an eerie calm as Twilight becomes aware that the place is devoid of anypony save her, Flash Sentry, and little Applebloom.
Looking around the dark and empty space, Twilight takes in the immense contrast between her own situation and that of the war-torn police station miles away, sighing heavily. “Great, you could have at least let me say goodbye.”
Twilight looks around and ignites her horn the dark, preparing to reignite the candles in the room. However the sounds of the horde off in the distance cause her to think twice; from the sound of it the army that is attacking the police center is a ways off, however it’s best not to draw any stragglers or random groups of the enemy to their doorstep. Casting a small personal light spell Twilight looks around, determining all her protective wards and locks are still in place, satisfied that Trixie and her friends would be sufficiently safe if the enemy decided to attack them here. “But I have to admit you got us here fast. Not many ponies could pull off an even a pre-programmed teleportation so easily. Why do you even have a teleportation mark in the library of all places?” Twilight asks off-hoofedly as she scans the library for signs of her friends.
Flash rubs the back of his neck. “Well, I may have borrowed a book from Trixie to read and not returned it yet. Besides, Trixie was our informant so I kept a mark here in case we needed to reach her.”
Twilight suddenly snaps to attention, her current quest forgotten in a rising tide of terror that the undead horde could not hope to reproduce. “Trixie! I completely forgot, I told her to watch the library!” Grabbing the stallion the mare shakes him violently in a blind panic. “Quick, did she change the library over to the dewey decimal system? Answer me! The fate of hundreds of innocent books depends on it! TELL ME!!”
Flailing about as the mare continues to shake him Flash barely manages to stutter out the answer. “N-N-No sh-h-he said that she did-d-d-dn’t have t-t-t-time.”
Dropping the stallion on the floor like a sack of potatoes the mare wipes her brow of sweat. “Whew! That’s a relief. If she had really had gone against my will and established her abhorrent system, not even seventeen cups of coffee could have saved her.” Twilight grips Flash’s collar menacingly. “And by that I mean that SOMEPONY would have RUED the day they were BORN!!”
Flash Sentry’s coat stands on end as a dark and cruel fire ignites in the mare’s eyes, only for it to be extinguished a moment later. “Alright then, that’s one worry down.” Twilight says as she tosses Flash Sentry backwards, looking around for signs of her friends. “Now all we have to do is get the others and get over to where those ponies Horseshoes and Crazy Priest Pony are. That shouldn’t be so hard.”
“Uh, Twi, where is everypony?” Applebloom asks as she looks around the empty foyer. “Didn’t yawl say that all yer friends were waitin for us here?”
Twilight’s attention snaps away from the stallion as her vision pans around the room, and sure enough she finds the library completely abandoned.
“Come ta think of it…” Applebloom taps her chin, “Applejack came home, so maybe the others left too?”
Twilight groans heavily. “Great. I give Trixie one task and she blows it. Well at least she didn’t rearrange the library while I was gone.” Twilight begins to trot up the stairs, turning back only to address the others a moment later. “Come on, Applebloom, Trixie’s probably upstairs. Flash, you watch the door, the last thing we need is a horde of zombies coming in from all sides.”
With practiced focus Twilight looks around the upstairs hallway for any sign of the mare, and coming to the door to the blue showmare’s room Twilight jostles the handle to find the door is locked firmly from the inside. “Oh, for crying out loud.”
Twilight knocks on the closed door. “Trixie? Where are you?!” Twilight demands as she knocks more furiously. “Why isn’t anypony here? Where are the others?! You were supposed to keep them here if we needed anything! Where are the rest of my friends?”
However, despite her heavy knocking the door remains firmly closed, unyielding to the purple unicorn’s inquiries. With no small amount of frustration, the mare stares at the door with a look that could scorch wood. “URGH! I don’t have time for this.” Grabbing the yellow filly to her side Twilight calls upon her inner reserves of magic, and she and the filly disappear in a flash of light to reappear on the other side of the locked door. “Alright we’re in. Now where are you, Trixie? This is the only locked door in the library and she has nowhere else to go, so she must be here somewhere.”
Twilight’s eyes once again scan over the room, taking in the chaotic organization that Trixie has utilized in order to instill some haphazard method of order in Twilight’s previously pristine guest bedroom. Scanning over the piles of junk that Trixie seems to have found all over Ponyville to use for her tricks, Twilight finds her senses overloaded by heaps of glistening scrap metal, unopened boxes with exotic labels and piles upon piles of books resting on the floor without any organization whatsoever. Her trained eyes glance over each and every item in the room, from jars of glitter to piles of colored wood, as the mare mentally catalogues and identifies every single item in rapid succession. With all the skill and perceptive abilities of a mare with an IQ over 180 she glances over the room only to find no trace of the mare of illusions; surely, Trixie must be a master of disguise.
“Uh, Twi?” Applebloom nudges the unicorn, pointing to a shaking mass of blankets sitting on the top of the queen-sized bed. “Yawl didn’t get some new vibrating blanket, did ya?”
“Of course not, Applebloom!” Twilight states condescendingly. “Vibrating blankets won’t arrive until Thursday! Now help me find…..”
Or she could have just been hiding under the blanket, in the first place any ordinary pony would look. Twilight tears her eyes away from the distracting clutter to stare at the shaking pile of blankets on Trixie’s bed, straining her ears to hear distorted muttering coming from under the thin sheets.
“S-stay away,” a small and meek voice cries out from underneath the shaking pile of blankets sitting on the bed.
Trotting over softly as a ghost to the shaking sheets Twilight gently prods the mass of blankets in hopes of eliciting a response from whatever is hiding under Trixie’s blankets. “Um, hello?”
In an explosion of the most high pitched and fillish screaming imaginable, the blue showmare leaps out from under the covers, clinging to the ceiling fan for dear life. Scrambling to put herself as far away from the intruders as possible Trixie cries out, clenching her eyes as tight as possible. “G-G-Go away! Don’t eat Trixie’s beautiful brains! J-Just leave me alone!”
Rolling her eyes at Trixie’s cowardly behavior, Twilight calls out from the floor. “Trixie! This is no time for shenanigans!” Twilight glances at the mare’s crumpled sheets. “And why were you hiding under the covers in the first place? There are ponies that need help, don’t you know what’s going on!?”
Trixie’s eyes widen as she immediately recognizes the sound of that voice. Looking down she sees not a group of zombies but a little filly and a mare whom she knows very well. “Twilight! And unnamed filly #4!” the mare cries out as she drops unceremoniously from her perch. “I was just… I mean Trixie was just… um, waiting for you to arrive and she was…. uh, securing the most defendable position waiting for and……”
Trixie prepares to continue her fibbing, however the skeptical look on Twilight’s face lets her know her story is getting her nowhere. “…You’re not buying any of this, are you?” Trixie asks.
Twilight shakes her head ‘no’, confirming Trixie’s fears and causing the Great and Powerful Trixie to sag noticeably in embarrassment. “Figured.”
“Don’t worry, Trixie!” Applebloom pipes up. “Twi’s here now and we’ve got this big plan goin on! Yawl don’t have to be scared of some dried up zombies!”
“Don’t worry!?” Trixie shouts as she straightens out her disheveled mane. “Well in case you needed glasses, little filly, the town is under attack by a horde of the undead that want t-t-to eat our b-b-brains!” Trixie stutters in fear as she gestures out the window. “This is the perfect time to worry!”
Twilight places a reassuring hoof on Trixie’s shoulder, calming the near-hysterical mare down. “I know Trixie, I know that things look bad now. But we have a plan now; all we need to do is get the girls together and defeat the Stand users that are leading this undead army.” Twilight pans the room as if searching for a sign. “By the way, where are our friends? They went to the library with you so I thought that they would be hiding here with you.”
“Them?” Trixie gasps with exasperation as she strikes the most offended look that she can muster. “Those traitors don’t care one lick about Trixie, so why should she care about them? They think of Trixie as garbage and left her to face the consequences of disobeying the direct order of Captain Armor! That’s a court marshaling offense, Twilight, Trixie can’t be court martialed! She’ll be sent back to….” Trixie gulps “…..Junior Boot Camp!!”
With a slap from her hoof the showmare knocks Twilight’s hoof off of her shoulder, crossing her arms in a grumpy pout. “So what if Trixie kept some secrets? So what if Trixie reported their movements to my superiors? Trixie is a Great and Powerful Stand Agent empowered by Celestia herself! If those ingrates really cared about Trixie they should respect her as such.”
To Twilight’s great dismay Trixie begins to literally turn about as she turns her back on Twilight’s pleas for help. “And they expect me to help now that they are in trouble? Give Trixie one reason she should bail those hayseeds out now that they need my help!”
“Trixie!” Twilight gasps at the show mare’s sudden profession. “How could you say that? Those are our friends we’re talking about.”
“And as I said before, Twi-Bright,” Trixie sneers, “Trixie has no Friends.”
“Besides, did you see outside?” Trixie gestures out the window to the shambling figures off in the distance. “Trixie isn’t going out there! There are z-z-zombies out there! Not that Trixie is afraid of zombies or anything, it’s just that…… well, Trixie has to secure this very defensible position under the bed! Yes, that is a perfectly reasonable explanation!”
And with that Trixie literally turns her back on Twilight, ignoring a pony in trouble out of selfish pride as she presents an indifferent and jaded font. Yet Applebloom, the pony that should be most offended by Trixie’s stubborn decision to abandon her sister to a horrible fate, only looks back at the show mare with a teary-eyed expression. “Trixie….”
Trixie, though obviously listening to the filly, remains with her back to the two ponies, her will and stubbornness unaffected by Applebloom’s pleas.
“Ah know that mah sis and her friends aren’t always nice ta you, an Ah have no idea what yawl are fightin over.” Applebloom sniffles in a such a way that not even Trixie can tell whether it is part of the yellow filly’s act or a genuine demonstration of her sorrows. “But yawl can’t just leave em alone. Yer a Stand agent! Yawl swore an oath ta protect everypony, even those ya don’t like, no matter what the situation is.”
“Mah…..” Applebloom looks down, her body shaking from fear. “Mah parents were brought out of the grave by that unicorn, Noteworthy. Ah… Ah barely even remember mah parents, an he dug em up and made them almost kill me. Yer not the only one who’s afraid…… Ah’m scared too……”
Trixie’s normally-steadfast demeanor dissolves under the filly’s confession. With painful slowness the mare turns around, abandoning her pride to watch the tears of the little filly pitter patter against the floor.
“Yer… yer so strong, Trixie…. Please, mah sis needs yer help….. Twi needs your help…. All of Ponyville needs ya. So please.” Applebloom’s teary eyes straight into Trixie’s soul. “Please help me……”
Trixie pulls her gaze away from the filly to the window outside, and all the horrors and terrors that are consuming the town as she sits there safe, hiding like a coward. Pulling her gaze away from the window she locks gazes with Twilight, who is asking her to go out into that terrible situation to save ponies who abandoned her at the drop of her magnificent hat. Then she looks back to the filly, a filly whom she doesn’t even know, who is asking her to risk her life to save her hayseed of a sister from the hordes of zombies that are running rampant outside. Yet under the tearful gaze of Applebloom, the Great and Powerful Trixie knows that she really has no choice in the matter. And with that, Trixie sighs, knowing deep down, despite her reluctance, that there is really only one real choice.
“Very well, little farm filly.” Trixie gives in, straightening her hat as her cocky grin returns. “Trixie will ‘mare up’ and face down this horde. If only to show that not even an army of the undead can face down the Great and Powerful Trixie!”
Twilight smiles at the mare’s sudden change of heart, extending her hoof to the cross-armed mare in a gesture of camaraderie. The showmare looks at the unicorn’s hoof for a second before grasping it firmly in a truce. “Just let me make this clear, Twilight, we are not friends, Trixie is just doing her job and nothing more. Do not mistake Trixie’s duty for altruism.”
“YES!” Applebloom hoof-pumps in the air as the two mares look at the excited filly with wide eyes. Her act over, the filly laughs out loud, wiping the crocodile tears from her eyes. “Another point fer the filly! Take that, Diamond Tiara! Ah can speak real good, Ah just choose not to speak all fancy like yawl do all the time.”
Both the adults look on as the previously-sobbing filly giggles to herself, both of them realizing that they have both been duped by a filly. “Well Trixie, fer a showmare yawl are pretty good at being suckered!” Applebloom snickers. “If yawl were mah sis ya would have seen through mah whole ‘mah parents are dead’ thing ages ago. Sides, everypony knows an Apple doesn’t cry!”
“Pft!” Trixie waves her hoof dismissively, breaking her grasp on the purple librarian’s hoof. “Your pathetic oration skills had nothing to do with it, hayseed. It was your annoying stare that changed Trixie’s mighty mind. Those class four cutesy eyes were almost as potent as Fluttershy’s and that is not something Trixie says lightly!”
Trixie clears her throat as a blush crosses her muzzle. “Plus, it would be unprofessional of Trixie to leave Twilight and her hayseed friends to die, even if they did deserve it….”
“What was that, Trixie?” Twilight asks with a slight grin.
“Nothing!” Trixie fumbles with her words, “I mean, Trixie meant her associates! Trixie would never call such losers her friends! It was a slip up. Nothing more.”
Twilight chuckles softly at Trixie’s antics as the crucial issue comes to mind. “By the way Trixie where are the rest of the girls? We really need to get them together if we’re to get on with our plan.”
“Yeah!” Applebloom perks up, “Where are the girls? They said they would arrive back at the library ages ago with their sleepin bags an stuff.”
“They were going to come back?” Trixie asks in surprise before quickly reverting back to her cocky, egotistical self. “I mean of course they would return! Nopony can stay away from the Great and Powerful Trixie’s unstoppable charisma for long! Trixie knew that those fools would come groveling back to me sooner or later! They just went off to get their sleeping bags so that they could obey Trixie’s command to sleep here for the night. How could Trixie have been so foolish?”
“No, no not those girls!” Applebloom corrects the confused showmare. “Ah mean Scootaloo an Sweetie Belle! They were supposed to arrive here for our sleepover ages ago! We planned out the whole thing so that we would all arrive in the library the night yawl returned.”
The hairs on the two mares’ coats stand on end as a horrible thought crosses their minds simultaneously. With a sickening gulp Twilight clears her throat as she turns to the filly. “Applebloom…. So you’re saying that Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle are walking here, tonight, in the dark, and completely and utterly without any form of adult supervision?”
“Well sure!” Applebloom smiles, oblivious to how wrong Twilight’s words sound. “The library’s all big an empty an perfect fer all those nighttime activities, so we all agreed to meet here for our sleepover! Pretty good idea, hunh?”
“Yes, Hayseed,” Trixie states with a dangerous mixture of fear and anger in her voice. “That was a very clever idea, to use the abode of a pony for a sleepover, WITHOUT asking them if it was okay.”
“Um, Trixie? Technically the library is my….”
“But you left out one teeny tiny piece of information.” Trixie throws her hoof to point out her window to the raging fires outside. “The entire town is under attack from a zombie horde! Do you KNOW what that means?!”
The filly taps her chin for a few seconds as she computes this new piece of information into her tiny filly brain. “….Cutie Mark Crusaders Zombie Slayers?”
Trixie facehooves. “NO! It means that your little filly friends are out there, walking the streets while the entire city is under attack!!”
Applebloom immediately snaps to attention as every potential horrible outcome crosses her mind in an instant. With a great deal of fear the filly recognizes the immense level of danger that her friends are currently exposed to as an indirect result of her plans. “Th-Then we’ve gotta save them! They could be anywhere! We gotta go out there and find them!”
“Hence our dilemma.” Trixie looks out the window nervously at the scene of carnage growing ever closer across the horizon. “Stop the Stand users and save the town.” The mare looks back to the filly, picturing the faces of two little fillies in deathly danger. “Or try to save as many lives from the Stand attack as possible.”
The room becomes dead silent, and were this a strictly comedy fan-fic the writer might use this opportunity to write some bad pun about it being as dead silent as the undead outside.
However, the far off screams that barely reach the cusp of the three ponies’ hearing tells them that this situation is not a laughing matter. Innocent ponies are dying at this very moment and the ponies that stand a chance to stop it are trapped in a moral deadlock. Either choice that they make will result in lives lost, and the danger that Applebloom’s friends are potentially undergoing makes the situation all the more real. Thus the three ponies sit around waiting for the first pony to make their point, to deliver their first blow in a debate for the lives of the town’s ponies.
A debate that is sidestepped entirely by the bravery of a small yellow filly. “A-Ah’ll go…” Two pairs of eyes turn to Applebloom as she clenches her hooves and straightens her body. “Ah’ll go help mah friends, ya have ta go save the town.”
“Applebloom…” Twilight recovers from her stunned state with a curt shake of her head. “I-I can’t allow that, I know that you want to save your friends but…..”
“Let me guess…” Applebloom cuts the mare off. “….. but Ah'm just a filly, right? Yawl can’t let me save mah friends cause Ah'm too little, right? Well you can just ferget about that, Twilight!” Applebloom leaps to her hooves. “Well guess what? Yeah Ah'm a filly! Yes Ah'm little, but Ah can still do great things, an right now mah friends need mah help!”
“Ah can do this, Twi,” Applebloom states, her voice softening. “Please. Please let me save mah friends.”
“Applebloom……” Twilight cringes on the inside as she suddenly realizes, in a small way, how hard it was for her brother to agree to let her go. “I know that you mean well and that you are already strong, just like your sister. But you can’t go alone even if your power can defend you.”
Applebloom’s previously-unquenchable resolve begins to fade a little as the door opens up behind her. Standing in the doorway, a strong, curt stallion salutes. “Well then, if she can’t go alone then I’ll just take her myself.”
Applebloom immediately perks up as Twilight responds “Flash? Were you listening in on us? Who’s watching the door?”
“Please, Twilight,” Flash sighs, “I’m in the army, and I know when I’m being given a bum job whose only purpose is to get a solder out of the way. Besides, the high-pitched scream I heard had me bolting up the stairs with all the haste I could muster. I mean, it’s not like I could let you die or something. What was all that screaming about, anyways?”
Trixie blushes profusely as she remembers her previous outburst, while simultaneously giving the purple librarian the universal stare for ‘tell and you die’. “Um, sorry Flash.” Twilight rubs her hoof. “I uh…… saw a mouse…..”
“A mouse? Seriously?” Flash scoffs. “You are fighting a zombie horde and a mouse scares you? I mean come on, what’s a mouse going to do?”
“You would be surprised what a mouse could do.” Twilight glares at the solder. “Or rather, what three mice can do.”
“Oh right, Turnip Truck.” Flash remembers the reports of the trouble the three mice gave Twilight’s Library. “Well fortunately, he’s still locked up tight in Canterlot’s holding cells so there’s no chance of him aiding in this attack.”
“In any case…” Trixie gets to her hooves, turning towards the purple mare with all trace of humor replaced with serious determination. “All of the hayseeds left for their own homes almost as soon as we arrived for…... reasons,” Trixie admits shamefully. “But if Trixie has learned anything, it’s that they are too tough to die. Trixie believes that they will be ready to fight if we can reach them.”
Twilight taps her horn proudly. “It’ll be difficult but I think that I can teleport us to each house to gather our team. I’m familiar enough with their houses to succeed in a teleport, the only issue will be teleporting so many ponies at once.” Twilight straightens out. “It’ll tire me out but I think that I can do it.”
“That’s probably for the best.” Flash brushes his blue mane. “Meanwhile, I’ll take Applebloom and hopefully we can find her friends as well as save as many ponies as we can. Then as soon as they are safe I can head out to get reinforcements.”
Twilight nods. “Then we have a new plan. Me and Trixie will gather up the girls while Applebloom….... gathers up the girls.”
Applebloom nods curtly. “Sounds like a plan! I just hope yawl don’t have too much trouble with Horseshoes an that nasty priest guy!” Applebloom’s suddenly looks back at the two adults. “Are yawl sure you’ll be alright?”
Both mares look at each other as they individually suppress their own doubts to put on a confident face. “Of course, Applebloom, those two may be tough but I’m no bookworm. And if Rainbow Dash gets her hooves on them, well, let’s just say it’ll be over in ten seconds flat.”
“Twilight is right, hayseed, there is nothing to fear.” Trixie raises her hooves to the heavens with dramatic flair. “After all, she’ll be with the Great and Powerful Trixie! And everypony knows that the Great and Powerful Trixie cannot be defeated.”
Before the filly can even protest she finds herself thrown up on the back of another pegasi as Flash Sentry crosses his eyes in a fit of concentration. “Alright then, hold on tight, Applebloom. I’ll take us close to the residential district where all this disaster is heading. Hopefully we can find Lightning and get your friends to the safety of the town hall.”
Flash’s outline begins to crackle with static as the filly’s head swivels around to take in her sudden position on Flash’s back. “Wait a second, where are we….”
The air around the two ponies crackles and finally pops as the two vanish into thin air, leaving behind a faint smell of ozone and electrified air. The two mares gape at each other’s new Afro manestyles, charged with static electricity, then quickly flail about to brush their manes back to their previous looks. Finally, after smoothing out her poofy mane, Twilight whistles in surprise.
“Wow.” Twilight blinks repeatedly. “That guy’s got to learn to slow down once a while and let ponies finish their sentences.”
“Forget about the filly, if half of what Trixie hears is true she can handle herself.” Trixie grunts as she straightens out her electrified hairdo. “What about our mission? Does the Bookworm think that we can take these Stand users out? They seem to have quite a combination going for them.”
Twilight opens her mouth to offer a ad-libed vote of confidence only to bite her tongue a moment later. “I…….I don’t think it’ll be easy if that’s what you’re asking me, Trixie. All I know for sure is that our enemies are well organized and possess shrewd tactics, capable of overwhelming an entire town’s defenses in under an hour. I know that we’re strong together, but these guys are on a whole different level.” Twilight gazes out the window with a concerned look on her face as she now tries to be brave for the mare in front of her. “But I know that together there is no obstacle that we can’t overcome. The entire town is depending on us, after all. There is no room for failure this time.”
Trixie, as if sensing the librarian’s worry, nods affirmatively as both mares bolster the other’s confidence. With their plan in place and their counter-attack underway, only now does Twilight begin to understand the destruction awaiting her. “One power controls the living and the other controls the dead; these two Stand users must be a frightfully competent and impressive team…….”