Rarity walked through the ''castle'' with her candle in hand. It does not look much like a castle, when inspected closely. More like a mansion. The mansion was built from stone bricks held together by wooden beams. The dim moonlight shone through the windows, the hallways were neatly decorated. Dashing carpets, flower pots, paintings, all of the stuff rich ponies would own.
Somehow this place looks familiar…...
After the encounter with that thing, she became paranoid. She was worried if she would see it again. Is it still after me? She looked behind her. Nothing was there.
"I guess I am safe for a moment." She sighed in relief. She opened the door, finding a place to rest. It appeared to be a guest room, Rarity sat down on the couch and put the candle on the table. She placed both of her hands on her head. "What is this world?" Rarity asked herself.
Suddenly, she heard a foal laughing. Rarity raised her head.
"Dad! This place looks nice!" Rarity saw a ghostly figure of her foal-self, along with another figure that appeared to be her father. Hondo M. Flanks. Younger Rarity jumped onto the couch right next to her.
"You like it, don't you? I bought this from my cousin." Hondo chuckled. "He's used to spend his time here in spring and winter."
"Dad, can we move here? This is better than our house in Ponyville." Rarity could not help smiling, she remembered that time well. "Please?"
"Sorry, but you do know that you are studying with Ms. Cheerilee in Ponyville, right?" Younger Rarity's smile faded. "But we can spend our vacation here, if you want!" Younger Rarity cheered.
"Thank you, dad!" Both of them hugged each other, before fading away.
"Wait, this belongs to my family?" Rarity seemed to regained her memories, but she was confused at the same time. She knows that she could not remember it earlier, but why though?. She thought for a moment. "This cannot be right, it was destroyed years ago!"
“But…” Rarity tried to think, over and over again. She couldn’t get that specific part of her memory out. It felt like she knew it’s there but somehow she could not reach it!
Rarity grabbed the candle and walked into the hallway, she opened the door to the room next to the one she was in. It had a long table in the middle, shelves, cabinets and a drawing board. The room was filled with decorated pieces of cloth, ranging from hideous to stylish. This was the room she would practice her embroidery when she was a filly.
She walked into the room and her younger self appeared again. This time stitching and decorating pieces of cloth. Her younger self lifted it up to inspect it. She seemed to be happy about her work, then disappeared. Rarity looked at the pieces of cloth on the table. They were her first craftsmanship......or crafts-MARE-ship in this case. She smiled as she picked one up. It may looked ugly, but she couldn't deny how much she have become much more professional at it now.
It sounded like light, muffled breathing. Rarity's pupils shrunk, she stood up and slowly walked towards the dark corner to hide herself from the Seamstress. Rarity saw a bright orange ring on the wall and the stone bricks--both within and surrounding it--started to 'melt'. The walls liquefied and melt down like an ice cube near the fire. The droplets quickly evaporated, accompanied by sizzling sounds.
The Seamstress entered the room before Rarity could move. It let out a mix of terrifying shrieks and yells. It charged towards Rarity in an attempt to stab her.
Rarity tried to stop it by grabbing both of its arms, but its strength overpowered her. Rarity tried to push it back. It did not even flinch, it grabbed her neck with its left hand and pinned her against the dresser. Rarity choked as she tried to breathe, she grabbed the seamstress' another hand as it attempted to stab her again.
As Rarity struggled to breathe, she grabbed one of the needles that was impaled into the seamstress' body. She slowly pulled it out as the seamstress seems to reacted in pain. It twitched as she yanked it out of its body. She wasted no time and jammed it right into its spotlight head, shattering the glass on its spotlight head. It quickly let go off her and started squealing in pain. Rarity quickly ran out of the room but just before she could, the seamstress roared and concentrated its light on the ceiling.
The ceiling burst into flame with a whoosh. Half melted bricks and burning timbers rained down on Rarity as she tried to escape. She screamed as embers burned holes in her outfit.
"......No, not this again!" Rarity recalled this event. She saw something down the hallway.
She saw her mother, as a ghostly figure like her younger self and her father. She was carrying younger Rarity and was running towards the stairs, the pictures of this event snapped inside her mind which prompted her to follow her mother. She tried to not inhale the smoke which began to saturate the house. But no matter how hard she tried to not to, there seemed to be a small amount of smoke slipping past through her fingers that was covering her mouth.
After running down a few flights of stairs and following her mother's path, the path to go further down was blocked by debris. She turned right and see her father bashed the door open. Her parents ran into the room, so did Rarity. Rarity wheezed and coughed as she walked through the smoke.
It was a dead end.
Rarity looked around, the fire slowly creeped behind her and the smoke saturated the room.
…...Wait Rarity remembered something, if this was the fire that happened long ago, there had to be something to get her out. Rarity looked around and saw something she was thinking of.
Rarity saw a hole in the floor and jumped down and landed inside a dining room, landing perfectly on the long table. She looked around where they all went and saw them in the living room. She raced into the room as everything around was collapsing, as soon as she arrived at the living room, her parents ran out of the front door.
Running through the inferno filled Rarity's lungs with ashes and gas, just before she could reach the front door she collapsed. She was panting and tried to stand up, but the smoke was filling her lungs. She coughed rapidly.
"No. I must reach..." Rarity muttered under her breath. "....the exit."
Rarity heard something cracking above her. She looked up and saw the ceiling that held the chandelier was about to break. She gasped in terror as her adrenaline was suddenly at its limit. She got up and ran to the exit just before the chandelier came crashing down on the floor.
Rarity placed her hands on her knees and panted heavily, trying to catch her breath. She was coughing heavily like she was vomiting the smoke from her lungs.
She looked in front of her and saw her filly-self crying, resting on her mother's shoulder. Her parents were comforting her.
"It's alright now, Rarity." Rarity's mother said. "We can find a new one for you."
"But we just spend four months here." Rarity sobbed. "Nothing can replace it! What makes it special is it was a gift from dad's cousin."
Rarity was holding back tears, the manor was bursting with prized collection of luxurious objects. Something Rarity would hold it dear. Just after spending time in two winters and a spring here, everything she liked was gone. All consumed by the inferno. It was heartbreaking for her by the time it happened. Now it is here to haunt her again.
Suddenly, the area around her changed. The grassland outside the manor was replaced by a laboratory. The whole lab was very lit, unlike her family's manor from earlier.
"What?" Rarity looked around, confused. "This world is....eccentric and bizarre." Suddenly, she heard something out of nowhere. The sound was so high pitch it could make her ears bleed.
The sound was so intense that Rarity covered her ears. It sounded like a high pitch sound a speaker would make when it malfunctions. It was as if her head was about to explode. It was too much for her, she groaned as she collapsed. In mere seconds, she passed out.
Applejack arrived at the orchard. The farm looked empty and abandoned. Withered crops, trees with no leaves, even the barn was in a state of disrepair.
"Granny Smith? Apple Bloom? Big Mac? Anyone?"
She walked through the withered orchard, the smell of rotten apples was really overwhelming. "Somethin' tells me that somethin' must've happened to 'em. Ah don't think the farm would be like this if they were here."
When she reached the farmhouse, she noticed that the lights were on. The house was strangely in good condition. Applejack walked closer in surprise as she heard a humming.
Did someone sneak into my house? Applejack thought as she looked through the window. Her jaw dropped. She could not believe at what was in front of her. In the dining room, there was a mare sitting on a chair with photos of Applejack in her hands. That blonde hair and red coat, it can't be her......right?
"Mom? Mom! Is that you?" Applejack knocked on the window. The mare turned to face her.
"Applejack!" Her mother ran up to her. Applejack smiled at their reunion. "Come in, sweetheart!" Her mother said as she ran to the front door and unlocked it. Applejack ran to the door instantly.
Once the door opened, they hugged each other. So tight as if they were crushing each other's chests. Applejack's tears were streaming down her face. It felt like it has been forever since the last time they see each other. It felt like an eternity. According to her memories at the moment, at least.
"Ah thought we ain't gonna see each other again." Applejack choked between her sobs.
"It's alright, we're here together again." Applejack's mother patted her daughter's head. Her mother let go off her. "Come. I’ve just finishing cooking supper." Unlike her children and her husband, she does not possess southern accent due to she is not from Appleloosa like her father, instead she is from Manehattan.
Applejack wiped off her tears as the duo walked into the dining room. Applejack sat down on the chair. She really miss her mother's cooking, her apple pie is Applejack's favorite. The smell really made her mouth water.
“By the way, ma. Why does the farm look…..awful?” Applejack asked. Her mother did not answer. “Ma?”
“We can talk about this after our supper.”
Her mother walked out of the kitchen holding a pot. "Smell good, isn't it?" Her mother put the pot on the table, before she headed to the cupboard to grab some bowls and spoons.
"Thanks, ma." Applejack inhaled the smell. It smelled so good that she suddenly become hungry. She lifted the lid to see what's inside........it was different. Applejack's eyes widened and she gasped in shock. She expected it to be a vegetable soup, it was not. It was a soup. But instead of carrots and onions, it is filled with organs. Intestines, stomachs, hearts, brains and lungs, with crimson red soup. There was even live cockroaches inside it.
Applejack tried to hold back her vomit. "Ma, what is this? This ain't somethin' we eat!" Applejack spat. "Ma, please tell me!"
Her mother turned to her. "It's my special dish, you don't like it?"
Applejack gulped. "Ma, ah-ah don't think nopony in Equestria would ever.......eat this." Her mother replied by slamming the cupboard door shut.
"What did you just say?" Her mother responded in anger. "WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?" She threw the plates at Applejack. "I MADE THAT FOR YOU, YOU UNGRATEFUL FUCK!"
Her mother ran up to her and slapped her in the face. "Our reunion is ruined!" She ran back into the kitchen.
"Ma, what are you doing?" Applejack said in fear. Suddenly, a knife is thrown at her. Fortunately, it hit the wall next to her. "MA!"
"You ungrateful child! You damn HOMEWRECKER!" Her mother threw a spatula and a ladle at her. Applejack covered her face with her arms as she threw a cheese grater, a whisk, and other utensils at her. "I prepared this meal for you! FOR THIS FUCKING REUNION! AND YOU DON'T APPRECIATE IT? I wish you were never been born!"
"Ma, why did you do this?" Her mother ran up to her with a knife. Applejack grabbed her mother's arms. "Ma, please." Applejack was crying on the inside.
Her words fell on deaf ears as her mother kicked her back into the dining room. "You little bitch, stay here!" She repositioned Applejack onto the chair, before stabbing her left hand with the knife, it went through her hand and the table. A scream escaped Applejack's mouth.
Applejack gritted her teeth. "You are not my mom." Applejack stared at her "mother". "My ma is not like this. You are not her! You are not!"
Her "mother" quickly pulled the knife out, Applejack screamed again. She grabbed her 'daughter' by her throat and aimed the knife at her eye.
"What did you just say?"
Applejack used this opportunity to kick her before standing up and grabbed the chair and smashed her with it. She never wanted to do this, but she had to. The mare in front of me isn’t my mother. Whatever it is, it’s pretending to be my mother to mess with my mind. It’s not her. It’s not her. It’s not her.
"Ow, that hurts you fucker!" Applejack ran to the door, she was crying about what she had done.
"Ah'm sorry.....ah'm sorry." Applejack ran to the front door and slammed it shut. She ran and ran, without looking back. Tears were streaming down her face, she didn't want to hurt her 'mom'. But her instinct said it was not her, it was not the mother she loved and adored. Her hand were bleeding, thankfully, it did not seem too serious. As she heard the shouting from behind, she closed her eyes shut. She kept telling herself it was not her mother, to keep the guilt away from her.
Applejack came to a halt as soon as she opened her eyes. It was no longer a farm, but an abandoned building. Her sorrow was replaced by curiosity. How did I get here? What? She thought. I didn’t see this when I was walking towards the farm.
"Huh?" She looked around. "Ah come on, what now?"
She heard a stallion chuckle from the right. She turned to look at him and found a stallion sitting on a chair with his feet on a small table.
"Hey there, girl." The stallion smugly greeted her. "Remember me?"
Applejack raised her eyebrow. "No? Who are ya? Ah don't reckon seeing you before."
"Ah guess it doesn't matter." He stood up and glanced at her wound. "You look hurt, here let me patch ya up."
As the stallion approached her and bandaged her wound, Applejack's eyes widened as she recognized him. She have seen his face before.
When Applejack was a filly, she and Big Mac would take an annual trip with their parents to visit Braeburn and his family.
But there is one time, however........
Applejack was shopping with her mother inside the general store, she was looking for a souvenir.
It was a peaceful time for Appleloosa. It was after her second rodeo in her life.
Applejack looked around. There were so many objects she wanted to take home. Toys, colorful postcards, local food. Applejack always has to admit Appleloosans make good food. But the thing that caught her eyes was the brown stetson hat.
“Ma!” Applejack’s mother turned to her. “Can ah have this?”
“I thought you wanted postcards and food.” Her mother smiled as she took the hat from her before handing it to the cashier.
“Ah wanted them. But I like this hat more than them.” Applejack smiled.
Suddenly, she heard something outside. It sounded like someone was running away, in terror. She heard gunshots and ponies screaming. Two lumbering figures was outside the store. The taller, muscular one kicked the door opened, followed by a thinner, shorter one.
"Hand me every valuables ya have! Unless you want some lead!" The bandits aimed their revolvers at the clerk, Applejack, and her mother.
Applejack hid behind her mother as she cowered in fear.
"We don't have anything to give!" The store clerk begged. "Please!"
Her words fell on deaf ears as one of them mercilessly shot her in the head. Her body slammed against the counter. Applejack was shivering in fear.
"Now, lady!" The taller one aimed at Applejack's mother. "If ya don't want ta-"
A voice interrupted him.
"Nopony touches my wife and my child!" The bandits looked behind them and saw Applejack's father, with Big Mac and Sheriff Silverstar.
"Well, what do we got here?" The shorter bandit taunted. "Sheriff Silverstar and some white knights! Ya know it's best not to get yourself into this kind of trouble. Eh, Mr. Sheriff?"
The taller one spoke up. "If ya want to see both of their names on the obituaries. You got it!"
"Over my dead body," Silverstar growled.
Both of them laughed. Suddenly, two yellow earth ponies tackled them from behind. They were Braeburn and his father. They were hiding in the buildings next to the store.They both overpowered the thieves as Applejack's father and the Sheriff ran in to help. The Sheriff successfully put the handcuffs on the taller one. Applejack's father ran up to his wife and his daughter. His wife ran out of the store with her husband holding his filly in his hands.
The shorter thief punched Braeburn in the face and saw Applejack's father running, he aimed at him and shot him in the head. He grinned as the stallion fell onto the ground.
"DAAAAAAAD!" Applejack cried. She raised her head and saw the thief getting handcuffed by the Sheriff.
Applejack now remembered him. That stallion in front of her was a bandit. Who care not about other’s feeling. Sometimes, he even murders ponies just for the sake of his amusement.
"It's you," Applejack glared daggers at him.
"C'mon, the past is the past. Forget it, ah got arrested." Applejack punched him in the face. She was filled to the brim with rage. "And ah just helped you!
"It doesn't matter! Ya killed my parents! Ya killed my mother.....alive!" She grabbed him by his collar and threw him against the wall.
"Ya want it that bad, huh?" He pointed at the table. A pistol was sitting on it. "Well, then, shoot me. I dare ya."
Applejack wasted no time grabbing it. Once she turned to face him with the gun, the entire area disappeared. Around her was nothing but the void. His taunting laugh was heard. Applejack looked around to find its source, but it seemed to come from everywhere.
"Ya think it's goin' to be that easy?"
The area around her changed again. It was a huge area with multiple stone pillars with white tiles serving as the floor. The area seemed to be endless, the sky above her resembled a cloudy afternoon.
Applejack turned her head around. She saw his shadow in the distance, she quickly ran towards it.
While she was running, she heard a sound from the right. She turned to it and saw him. He had a gun and fired at her. She quickly hid behind a pillar.
She peeked and saw him. She fired at him, but he disappeared in black smoke before her bullet could hit him. He laughed at her again.
She flinched as she heard a bullet zipping past her. She turned right and saw him again. As he fired his next shot, she crouched to dodge it and fired at him. He disappeared into a black smoke, again.
Suddenly, she felt a hand touching her shoulder. She quickly turned around. He was there again. She punched the pistol out of his hand and shot him point blank. And he disappeared, again.
Applejack's seething anger caused her to groan in frustration. His taunting laugh that echoed throughout the place fueled her anger even more.
She looked around and saw him in duplicates surrounding her, ready to fire. She fired at them, one by one. But the bullets appeared to hit a glass in front of her and around her.
"Huh?" Applejack calmed down a bit and inspect it. She slid her hand around the 'glass'. They are mirrors. When did they appeared around her? It turned out the fact that she was surrounded was an illusion.
The area around her changed again. Now she was in some sort of hospital. Applejack groaned in frustration. "Coward."
Applejack walked down the hallway, she saw something in the distance. Blinded by rage, she assumed it was the stallion she was looking for. She chased him down.
"GET BACK HERE!" She ran towards the shadow as it ran away.
She ran into the ward. The hallway was well lit. She aimed her gun and look around.
"You're a persistent bastard, ain't ya?" She looked around. Suddenly, a shot was fired. It missed and hit the wall next to her. Applejack saw him at the end of the hallway, she quickly turned left and opened the door to a ward and used it as cover.
She peeked and retracted as a bullet hit the side of the door. She fired three shots at him in return. He flee and ran away immediately.
"Ah ain't done with ya yet!" She ran after him, she turned the corner and saw him pushed a double door opened and ran into a room. She quickly followed him, she aimed her pistol left and right. She slowly walked around the room, it appeared to be a small waiting room with rows of seats, a counter and four doors leading to the rooms.
She looked around and saw one door slightly opened. She slowly walked towards it and kicked it opened. The Thief aimed at her but Applejack fired first. She shot his pistol off his hand.
He cowered in fear.
"What yer gonna do now?" Applejack smirked. "You deserve what's comin' to ya."
He grabbed a nearby surgical tray and threw it at her. Applejack covered her face as it hit her arms. He then pushed a small cart at her, Applejack fell down and dropped her gun.
As he started to run away, she quickly dashed towards him and grabbed him by his shirt. She punched him multiple times that blood came out of his mouth. She then threw him back into the room.
He was trying to crawl away, but Applejack grabbed his head and slammed him against the wall. She quickly grabbed the pistol and pinned him against the wall. His face was close to hers and the gun was touching his forehead. His tears was rolling down his face.
"Goodbye." Applejack readied her finger on the trigger. "Forever."
"Applejack!" She sobbed. "Please....."
Wait.....she? Applejack blinked. She was holding about to shoot Rarity, not the thief. She gasped in shock as she quickly backed away from her.
"Rarity?" She could not believe it, she was actually chasing after Rarity and was brutally punching her. She slowly approached her and hugged her. "It wasn't me. It wasn't me." Applejack started to cry too.
"Why did you do that?" Rarity asked. Still crying. "I saw you and you started shooting me in all of sudden."
"I saw you as....." Applejack sniffed. ".....someone else." That also raised one question about Applejack. If she was shooting Rarity, where did all the bullets came from? She could have swore they felt so real.
"Here." She picked Rarity up and put her on the operating bed. She sighed. "Ah'll go look if there's anythin' to help us. We'll rest for a while.