• Published 25th Aug 2013
  • 10,165 Views, 354 Comments

Just Horsing Around - Darkness Shade



Seemingly lost in his life, a young man finds himself waking up in a strange new land populated by some curious residents. When certain truths are revealed and he finds there's more to his appearing there, how will he adjust to his new life?

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7th Harvest

After getting changed into his swimsuit, Ryan joined the others who were already on the beach and doing various things; spending most of the day relaxing under the umbrellas, he just enjoyed the sights and sounds while getting a little rest after waking up earlier than usual.

As the clouds slowly began to roll in, Rainbow Dash finally got him to come out and splash about in the water for a little bit before they felt the rain begin to fall; with that it was a bit of a mad dash to get everything they'd brought down and then get back to the rooms before it all began to pour.

"Ack! I'm getting absolutely soaked!"

"Rares, we were already wet from the waves."

"...and?"

"Anyway, did we get everything?"

"CMC's reporting we did big bro!"

"Hey wait...where's Spike?" Twilight asked as she looked around, "Wasn't he behind us?"

"...he's hiding in this bag." Ryan rolled his eyes and dumped his little buddy on to the floor, "Spike dude, what were you doing?"

"...hiding from the rain? Look, I told you dragons and water don't usually mix."

"...at least that explains why it felt so much heavier sugarcube." AppleJack remarked before staring out the window, "Tarnation it's coming down."

"Well, let's get cleaned up and start dinner early just in case the power goes out."

With that Ryan took his leave to get cleaned up in his and Apps' room while the others unwound or went to get cleaned up themselves; all the while the storm raged on, thunder clapping and lighting flashing which left a few ponies feeling a bit jumpy.

"Eeep!" Fluttershy gasped at a particularly loud clap of thunder, "Oh...rain, rain, rain..."

"My.....pony.....little...pony...."

Those in the living room were looking about, curious where the singing was coming from but as far as they could tell they weren't sure who was singing.

"Is...is it a ghost?" Fluttershy asked from her spot hiding behind the couch.

"I reckon ghosts don't sing Fluttershy...it sounds like it's coming from the room I'm sharing with Ry." AppleJack noted, looking puzzled when the singing got louder, "What in tarnation?"

"Dude, is Ryan singing?" Rainbow Dash chuckled, "Oh! There was this function he showed me."

Fiddling with the camera, she was able to get it on and flicked a little switch to a position over what looked like a film reel.

"Rainbow Dash, what are you intending to do with that camera?" Twilight asked, sighing as she could sense more shenanigans in the air.

"Just catching some gold for future use." She snickered in reply, heading towards the closed bathroom door, "As I thought."

Sure enough, Ryan was indeed the one singing...and a familiar song at that; opening the door a crack, Rainbow Dash made sure she was catching this for future studies.

"My little pony~, My little pony~. Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, Ahhhhh~! I used to wonder what friendship could be. My little pony, yeah my little pony! Till you all shared it's magic with me. My little pony, yes mah little pony!" He sang, though in a different style than those realizing the fourth wall is being broken might know, "Big Adventure! Tons of Fun! A Beautiful Heart! Faithful and Strong! Sharing Kindness, it's an easy feat! And Magic makes us all comple-e-ete~! My Little Pony! My Little Pony! Don't you know you are mah very best friends! My little pony, mah little pony...don't you know you are mah very beeeeeest friends!"

"...he's actually got a nice singing voice." Sweetie Belle remarked although Scootaloo gave her a look, "What? He does."

"...darlings? Darlings? Oh, here you all are." Rarity asked, walking in to the room with a towel wrapped around her mane, "I didn't see anypony in the living room and..."

"Shhhh...Rarity, listen; this is hilarious." Rainbow Dash shushed her before listening as Ryan continued singing.

"My little pony, friendship is our way. Mah little pony, yeah mah little pony! That's all it takes for us to save the day! Mah little pony, yes mah little pony! Honesty and Loyalty, Laughter and Generosity, Kindness and Magic make the Harmony which marks the end of villainy-yyyyy~! My little pony, my little pony, don't you know you are my very best, very best, very best, very best, yeah! Mah little pony, mah little pony, we'll be friends to the end! Mah little pony, mah little pony, there is nothing our love cannot defend! Friend-ship! GO!"

Not really sure where all that came from himself, Ryan felt pretty proud about the fact that it almost sounded like some epic battle music that represented his friends well; as he shut off the water he couldn't help but hear the undeniable sound of snickering and laughter being held back.

"What the hay?" He noted, peeking his head out of the shower curtain and seeing the door open, "Wha...? I thought I closed...that..."

It was then he caught sight of the light shining on something and that was when he realized what he was seeing.

"Rainbow Dash!"

"Oh man, we're busted but that was amazing!" Rainbow Dash giggled, quickly stumbling over the others as she tried to get away.

"Just you wait till I get dried off and dressed you goober! And don't think I don't know Apps had a hand in this as well!"

"Oh buck...ahm gonna get it fer sure." AppleJack huffed, giggling herself as everypony made way to clear out of the bedroom before Ryan was able to act on his words.

Twilight looked up from the book she was reading and could only shake her head as she heard Ryan's irritated yelling and then the trouble-makers causing such irritation trip all over each other before landing in a heap in front of her.

"...you do realize I won't be helping you when Ryan decides to get revenge right?" Twilight remarked, looking over at Pinkie Pie who was cooking dinner, "Out of all of you, I'm quite surprised though that Pinkie was the only one to behave."

"Oh that's because I could hear him quite fine! It was a lovely rendition of our theme song. I especially liked those new lyrics he came up with."

Everypony there looked at her oddly before Rainbow Dash spoke the question they were all thinking.

"What do you mean by our theme song?"

"Oh nothing! Anyway, it's a good thing I'm cooking this for dinner tonight, it should totally help calm Rysy-wysy's ragey-wagey. Otherwise he'd probably turn you all into plushies or something! Hee-hee!"

After drying off and getting dressed, Ryan calmly marched out into the living room and saw everypony acting super innocent as they waited for dinner to finish; upon seeing him, a good number of them began to act pretty nervous...including Apps who kept looking at him and glancing away.

"So......" Ryan smirked and turned to Pinkie, "What's cooking?"

"Oh just what seems to be yer favorite!"

"....I do have to question where ya keep getting hot dogs Pinkie." Ryan laughed softly, "Especially since we didn't buy any."

"Oh, I get them where I get most things from...you should know where I'm talking about."

"Haha, from there huh? I must say, that's pretty clever."

"Yeppers! It's where I got the veggie dogs for anypony that wants those instead from as well."

"Heh, well, let me know when yer done grilling then because I'm starving."

"Okie-dokie-loki!"

Still smirking, Ryan walked over and plopped down on the couch between AppleJack and Rainbow Dash who were a little unsure as to why Ryan was being so calm after being so livid earlier; gulping when he put an arm around each of them they could hear him laughing quietly.

"So gals...seeing as I figure you two were the masterminds...tell me...how'd ya like mah performance?"

"Uhm...I....it was...."

"And tell me...just what were y'all planning to do with that video?"

"Well, I...it just....we were...."

"I see....so then...is the video still on the camera?"

"Yeah, it's still their Ry-Ry."

"Hmmm." Ryan mused, picking it up and playing back the video, "Good, good....I should send these lyrics to Vinyl Scratch and see if she could come up with an epic battle theme to go with them then. Thanks."

"I er...what?"

"I'm with AJ on this one...say what?"

"Oh, well, I was a bit annoyed that ya butted in on mah shower time Dashie...but as I got dressed I had a thought and was all "well shoot, that means they're already recorded down fer me" which saves a heap a time in asking."

"So then...yer not upset with us?"

"Well I wouldn't say that." Ryan glanced at the two of them frowning, "I can't imagine you'd like it if I invaded yer private shower time ladies."

"...I bet sis wouldn't."

"AppleBloom!"

"Hahaha, okay, okay, maybe not but still, y'all get what I'm saying right?" He made a point to look them both in the eye, "Right?"

"Yes'm!"

"Good!" Ryan remarked, hugging them tight, "Now then, those dogs ready Pinks?"

"You betcha! And I got plenty of mustard and ketchup! Woooo!"

And it was at that moment a huge bolt of lightning cracked through the air and the room was shrouded in darkness; Ryan was dimly aware of someone jumping in his lap after screaming and when Twilight illuminated the room with her horn he wasn't too surprised to see Fluttershy sheepishly staring at him.

"Oh, u-uhm...sorry Ryan."

"Heh, it's okay Flutters; that was a mighty powerful showcase of nature. Somepony get a lamp out so we can see better."

"Already on it Ryan!" Spike noted, waddling back with a large lamp and turning the switch, "Huh? Oh dang it!"

"What's wrong Spike?" Twilight asked as she walked over to him, "Is it dead?"

"Yeah! But I don't get it! I just charged this thing before we left."

"Mind if I lend a hand?" Ryan asked, pulling out his wand after he carefully set Fluttershy down on the couch, "I've gotten pretty good with how magical electricity works after all."

Focusing for a moment and pointing at the lamp, Ryan sent out a burst of magic and enveloped it in it; slowly but surely the lamp flickered and then turned back on giving the room enough illumination to see.

"Thanks Ryan; being a nightlight is not one of my job descriptions." Twilight joked, "So I guess we should eat before it gets cold."

"Way ahead of ya!" Rainbow Dash remarked through a stuffed mouth, "I love barbecue chips!"

"So...since the powers out, and we're eating hot dogs, how about we tell a story?" AppleBloom suggested as she got settled around the light.

"Hmm, but what story?" Scootaloo wondered before grinning, "How about a Rainbow Dash tale?"

"Nah. Nothing against Dashie but I've heard plenty of her tales." Ryan snickered when she glared at him, "How about you Rarity?"

"Me darling? Hmmm....I don't know if I have anything that anypony but my sister would like."

"Your bedtime stories are really nice." Sweetie Belle took a bit of her hot dog before shrugging, "I don't know...with the low-light I'm thinking maybe a scary story would work."

"Scary, you say?"

"Oh sweet applesauce; ah know that look on yer face Apple Ryder...what have you concocted now?"

"I think I have a somewhat spooky tale I can weave...if'n yer game."

"Wheeee! Scares are just as fun as laughs after all...especially on campouts!"

"...Pinks, this isn't a campout."

"Close enough!"

"...anyway, this is a story that takes place one day as the sun was setting one day in Ponyville, near the Everfree Forest..."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

<"Why did you wave yer hands all about?">

<"Duh, Rysy-wysy was making it seem like the scene was dissolving into another, duh!">

<"....I haven't even started yet and you guys are already interrupting. Sigh...and you said duh twice Pinks...">

"Well howdy there Twilight; where ya off to?"

"Hi AppleBloom. I'm heading to Zecora's to return these books I borrowed."

"Really?" AppleBloom gasped, "Can I come with ya?"

"Well...it's very dangerous in the Everfree Forest."

"Please...?"

"And it's almost sundown as well."

"PLEASE?"

"It's just that it won't be safe."

"Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease?"

"...very well, come on."

And so little AppleBloom and Twilight made their way through the mysterious Everfree forest, eventually finding their way to Zecora's house and returning the books.

"Thanks Zecora, these books were quite an interesting read."

"Of this you are welcome, Twilight my dear; although with great haste you should leave from here."

"Is something wrong Zecora?"

"Little AppleBloom, this forest is quite tricky; and with how things are tonight staying would put you in a situation most sticky."

"If you think there's danger ahoof we'll leave as quickly as possible. Thanks again."

With that AppleBloom and Twilight left, though the little filly was not really sure what Zecora had meant by sticky situation; as it was she walked right into Twilight who had stopped to remove a log in the road.

"This is easy enough!" She remarked, lifting and tossing it aside...only to see more in the way ahead of them, "Oh for crying out loud...this might take a while."

As AppleBloom paced in her impatience, she caught sight of a young filly that quickly ran into the forest after being spotted.

"Hey, wait up!" She shouted, though the other filly did not stop, "Now I think she went this way."

Little AppleBloom ran and ran for what seemed forever until finally she came out in a brightly lit...town?

"Where in tarnation am I? It kind of...looks like they're having a party."

<"Oh! I love parties!">

<"Pinkie...stop breaking the atmosphere! Ahem! Where was I?">

"Why hey there little filly, welcome to Sunny Town!" A grey colt greeted AppleBloom as she walked in, "My name is Grey Hoof, I hope ya enjoy yourself!"

AppleBloom was a bit taken aback by his super upbeat attitude...but something else sat in her mind and set her at unease; it was the fact that despite being roughly the same age as her big brother Macintosh, this colt had never found his cutie mark.

<"Whoa, whoa, whoa...wait! No cutie mark?">

<"...yes Scootaloo, no cutie mark. Ugh...any more interruptions?">

<"Big bro...why does this story have me in it?">

<"Because using someone you know makes it more tense, now shush; I'm approaching the climax!">

Looking around, AppleBloom could note the cake and punch on display seemed a bit off; taking a bite and a sip confirmed that as she spat it out and threw her cup angrily at the ground.

"That was awful..." She mumbled, venturing further into the town and noting two ponies staring at each other, "Well what's that all about?"

After inquiring with the colt, whose name was Roneo, about the situation, it turned out that he was missing a red stone he was going to give to his gal; realizing she'd picked something like that up while she was wandering earlier she gave it to him and watched as he excitedly ran over to her and they both fawned over one another.

Rolling her eyes a bit, AppleBloom wandered into the house and noted it was almost like a maze...as if somepony wanted to keep something a secret; after winding her way around everything (and picking up an oddly placed metal crank of all things) she found a pony chained up and who seemed pretty sad about something.

"It's not fair....the same thing..."

"Mam, are you alright?"

"The same thing! OVER AND OVER!" the mare shouted before going back to heavy sobbing.

"...alright then, I'll just be leavin'."

Still not sure what to make of this town, and wondering where that filly from before she saw was, AppleBloom continued forward till she ended up back in the Everfree Forest; the glow from the lanterns lit up where she was standing but the rest ahead of her was the same inky black as before...and then she saw her!

"Hey wait! Come back!" AppleBloom shouted as she chased after her...and came to a dead end at a cottage that looked to be in pretty bad shape.

The creakiness as the drafty wind rattled the shingles, the vines that had slowly consumed the outside of the house, and the cracked panes of the window made it clear that this house had not been lived in for some time.

"Darn it! Locked!" AppleBloom grumbled after she tried the door, "Ah wonder how I can get in there?"

Searching about and seeing a well that didn't have a crank, she put two and two together and sure enough...CLINK!

Winding the crank, she slowly brought up the bucket and, of all things to find, there was a key sitting in it; figuring that it couldn't possibly be what she needed, she still put the key in the door and sure enough it opened with a slow, creepy creak.

"...that wasn't unsettling, not at all." She remarked as she walked in, only to cough at all the dust, "This house doesn't look like anypony has been living in it for a long time...but I know I saw her come in here! But...it's empty. Everywhere I look it's empty!"

Giving a huff, she plopped down in front of the burning fire and stared at it, trying to make sense of this whole situation; that was when she saw something in the logs, that themselves seemed like they were not all that right either, and she leaned in to take a better look.

"What in tarnation....some kind of white...oh no."

AppleBloom paled as she realized these white things formed a shape of some kind.

"No, no, no, no, no."

A shape that she recognized all too well.

"No, no please..nonononono!"

They were the bones of a pony...somepony that had died...or as she figured, somepony that was murdered!

<Just then, a giant clap of thunder struck the room and all the girls screamed, nearly deafening poor Ryan and burying him in a pile of panicky ponies. "Hmm, I love the attention, but is it worth the pain? Either way...where was I?">

Knowing she had to find somepony, anypony that would listen, she made a beeline for Sunny Town; yet, as she made her way to where it had been, she only saw darkness as the town revealed it's true self.

The collapsed and crumbling ruins of the buildings, the now thick stench of rot permeating the air, and the once vibrant grass was now sticky mud and dirt; all life had disappeared from here.

"She was going to spoil it..."

AppleBloom jumped out of her skin as she heard the creepy, distorted voice and began running...only to halt in her tracks at seeing...whatever this was.

In front of her was what had once been a pony, but was now a hideous, distorted vision of rotten flesh, torn muscles, and exposed bone covered in layers of grime.

"The curse...it befell her this night..."

"I...I...."

"She had the mark...she had to go....stay with us AppleBloom...we'll protect you from it. You can live with us...FOREVER!"

That was all AppleBloom had to hear as she began to run for her life, dodging more zombie ponies as they rose from the ground; as she neared the entrance back to the forest she skidded to a stop when another rotting pony stood in her tracks.

This one seemed different though, she wasn't nearly as rotten and her eyes were different; though red like the others, a single tear fell from hers and AppleBloom knew it was the one from before who had been crying.

"Even in death these fools have not learned. I should have protected her, but I made my choice." She spoke, her voice not echoing like the others, "This is our punishment for the sins we've committed...what we deserve."

Walking passed AppleBloom, she gave a sigh as she saw the others approaching and readied herself.

"NOW RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!"

Not taking one moment to look back, AppleBloom ran as fast as she could, dodging the zombie ponies that arose in front of her until she finally found the moonlight poking through the thicket.

"Ahm almost there, almost...ack!" She gasped, feeling a slimy hoove wrap around her and drag her down.

"We'll protect you for-"

"Shut yer trap!" AppleBloom growled, rearing back, cracking the pony's head and thus breaking free from its grasp.

Unfortunately for her, she could not seem to find any way out...and indeed it seemed the forest has completely surrounded her.

And yet, the noises from before, the moans and groans, they had passed...and in the light up space she saw hoofprints leading her out...possibly.

"What have ah got to lose? I'm lost anyway." She huffed, following them and then finding a ghost, but this ghost seemed...familiar.

"Hi."

"It's you! From before!"

"I'm sorry about all this. I was just curious."

"Ah shucks, it's okay; ah don't blame ya." AppleBloom remarked, smiling as the ghost filly smiled back, "I'm AppleBloom by the way."

"My name is Ruby. As you can see, my cutie mark is a magnifying glass."

"So it is! That's amazing!"

"Thanks...but I know now what that means." Ruby remarked as the low moaning slowly built back up, "I'll find a way out of this for you!"

Just as the zombie ponies surrounded them, and seemed poised to finish them off, a bright white orb appeared over AppleBloom and exploded like a firecracker, crumbling the ponies to dust and lighting the forest back to normal.

"APPLEBLOOM! Where are you!"

"Twilight!" AppleBloom shouted, running towards the purple mare when she saw her, "Ahm so glad ta see ya!"

"What are you doing out here? Didn't I say to stay put? This place is dangerous, especially at night!"

"Ah know...ahm sorry."

"Heh, it's okay, come on! Let's get out of here!" Twilight remarked, making sure AppleBloom was ahead of her this time as they made their way back to Ponyville.

Just as they exited, AppleBloom took a moment to turn back and saw a golden glow coming from the forest; there stood Ruby, smiling happily.

"See you later...friend."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"And that, mah dear mares and fillies (and little dragon dude), is the Story of the Blanks."

"B-Big Bro? Ahm...feeling kind of off now."

"I can't blame ya AppleBloom." Scootaloo shivered, "That story was pretty messed up; and you were in it!"

"Ah know!"

"....uhm...was it, maybe, too creepy y'all?" Ryan asked, a bit worried he overdid it.

"I don't think so Ry-Ry, but it was pretty atmospheric." AppleJack admitted, "Even I feel a bit freaked out."

"I wasn't scared at all!" Rainbow Dash boasted, despite being curled up tight against Ryan, "Well...I mean...I knew the big guy was a bit shook up telling the story so I had to comfort him!"

"Haha, yeah...I bet." Ryan teased, "Any who, it looks like the storm is still gonna keep on going...and it's gotten a bit late. Man, that story took a long time to tell."

With that Ryan yawned, patted Rainbow Dash on the head before gently tugging her off of him, and then stretched before smiling at everypony.

"Goodnight y'all; hopefully the rain lets up tomorrow. Nothing worse than being at the beach but stuck all cooped up in the room." Ryan remarked, motioning for Apps to join him as they headed to their bedroom.

"R-Right! Need that sleep and stuff." Rainbow Dash nervously replied, "Goodnight big guy."

"...AppleBloom, are you okay?" Sweetie Belle asked, noting her friend's shaking form.

"Y-yeah, of course I'm okay!" She wavered in her reply, "It's just a story...nopony is gonna hurt us for getting a cutie mark so...we...we're fine!"

"Come on Spike, I'm tired too." Twilight yawned, "See you in the morning everypony."

With that they all slowly made their way back to their rooms as the storm raged on outside; while Ryan and AppleJack had been able to fall asleep easily enough, the Cutie Mark Crusaders had huddled up together hoping to calm their nerves.

Indeed, even though others had claimed they were okay, the darkness of the night mixed with the intermittent flashing of lightning had them all on edge.

"Hmmmm?" Ryan grumbled, feeling something small nudging his arm, "Who? AppleBloom?"

"Big bro...we're all a little on edge from yer story." AppleBloom whispered, "Do...do ya think we could sleep with ya tonight?"

Sleepily smiling as he looked at the three fillies whose eyes were full of fright he slowly nodded and shifted with Apps to make room for them.

"Yer such a sweetie." AppleJack quietly teased, "Like ah said, good with kids."

"Heh, funny."

"Oh thank ya big bro!" The CMC's remarked as they curled up around him, "...good night."

"Goodnight you little goobers."

About an hour and a half later...

Ryan felt somepony else nudging him from his slumber and he couldn't say he was surprised to see who it was.

"Hey Dashie...come to make sure I could sleep?"

"...." Rainbow Dash said nothing, but her eyes spoke all they needed to about the situation.

"...and I see yellow so Flutters is with ya. Heh...thank goodness we've got such a big bed in here; come on, join the fluff puddle pile."

"Th-thank you." Fluttershy remarked, settling in near the foot of the bed.

"...heh, it's getting a bit crowded eh Apple Ryder?"

"Well, I can't say no to mah friends when they need me Apps." Ryan quietly replied, laughing when he felt Dashie nuzzle his hand, "Hey."

"Shhhh, maybe now you'll finally get some sleep." Rainbow Dash teased before closing her eyes and falling asleep.

"I bet he will!"

"...Pinks? When did you get here?"

"I came with the CMC's; did you think I'd miss out on a sleepover slumber pile?"

"...silly me. Now shhhh, I'm sleepy."

Meanwhile...

"....I know I said that story didn't bother me but..." Twilight huffed, rolling about in her bed, "...darn it Ryan, why did you have to tell it so well? And have me in it as well?"

That's when Twilight had an idea, she'd seek out Spike, who was no doubt afraid from the story, and then he'd want to not sleep alone out of fear so then she wouldn't be by herself: it was brilliant!

Or it would have been if she hadn't found Spike was with a quite nervous Rarity who was squeezing him rather tightly.

"Ack!" Rarity screamed when she saw the glow from Twilight's horn, "Oh darling, it's just you Twilight."

"Are...are you okay?"

"...Ryan is a dear man, but his storytelling is too good at times; even my poor Spikey-Wikey can't stop my jumpiness."

"...I kind of can't breathe." Spike gasped with a huge grin on his face, "But I'm loving every moment of this."

"Well, maybe if we go ask to sleep with the others it might calm our nerves; we can't be the only ones panicking."

"That's a great idea dearie!"

Rarity hopped up, though kept her hold on Spike as they slowly walked to where Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy were sleeping...and didn't see them there.

"Oh dear....you don't think...." Rarity looked about and screamed when lightning flashed through the room.

"Rarity, relax; maybe they had the same idea." Twilight tried her best to stay calm but Rarity's nervous state was setting her off as well, "Come on...let's try with Pinkie and the CMC's."

But, as with the previous room, this one was empty as well with no sign of anypony which didn't help Rarity at all.

"Oh goodness; they're going to come for us next!" Rarity bemoaned, hugging Spike closer, "Oh Spikey-wikey I....oh...hold on."

"....gasp!" Spike took a deep breath after feeling her grip loosen, "Rarity..."

"Sorry Spikey; so what now Twilight?"

"Well, there's only one last room to check...." Twilight didn't want to say she was getting nervous, but their rooms had been too quiet and everypony was missing, "...let's just go check Ryan and AJ's room; I'm sure they all just had the same idea."

As they were crossing the living room, Twilight went wide-eyed when the lighting illuminated a shadow that looked just as the zombie pony Ryan had described and freaked causing both of them to bolt into Ryan and AJ's bedroom and quickly climb in with the others.

"Oof!" Ryan grunted in pain, "Who's poking me with their hooves? And is that a horn jabbing me...huh? T-Sparks?"

"I'm sorry, it' s just your story!" Twilight cried from the stress and flopped on her friends for comfort.

"Hey sugarcube, it's alright." AppleJack remarked, gently caressing her mane, "Come on, this bed is plenty big fer all of us so relax."

"Oh thank goodness. I'd begun to think you'd all been eaten by those awful zombies." Rarity remarked as she slid in with the others, "...I feel a bit silly. It's so unbecoming being a grown mare and afraid of ghost stories. "

"Heh, well, I can assure you that's no rarity, Rarity." Ryan joked, "I must admit, if I didn't have Apps to begin with I'd be a bit wrecked by mah own story."

"Hey...quiet down you guys." Rainbow Dash groaned, rolling over and laying her head on Ryan's stomach, "I was having this great dream about being awesome..."

"Sorry." Twilight squeaked out before getting settled, "...heh, this would make one crazy letter to the Princess, that's for sure."

"I'll say...now shhh, let's get back to sleep everypony." Ryan whispered, closing his eyes and smiling; despite it being a bit crowded now, he couldn't be happier to be surrounded by all his friends...and his sweetie-pie Apps.

Soon enough, the rainstorm wasn't even an issue as everypony drifted into a peaceful sleep...

The next morning everypony was still sleeping soundly as the rain continued falling outside; while some of them had woken up thanks to their natural rhythms, after hearing the storm still continuing and realizing how warm and comfy it was with everypony, they just closed their eyes and went back to sleep.

Eventually, around noon, the rain began to taper off and the sun finally started poking through the clouds; at this point Ryan finally figured it was time to get up but there was just one problem with that.

"...well, this is a curious situation." Ryan remarked as he realized that with how everypony was in bed, he was effectively in the middle and fully surrounded, "...how to get out? Hmmm..."

'...and just why would you want to get out of such a pleasant position?'

Ryan blinked and looked about again, hearing that same gruff voice he had heard way back at the art gallery but this time he swore whoever was saying this had to have been grinning by the sound of things.

"That....hmmm...."

"Shhh, I'll help." Twilight remarked, winking as she concentrated and lifted everyone off the bed just high enough for Ryan to slip out, "There you go."

"Thanks T-Sparks." Ryan made a quick stop in the bathroom before heading into the kitchen to work on some lunch as he was pretty sure everypony would be up soon.

'What to make for lunch? What to make, what to make?' Ryan poked about what they had left for their final full day here and eventually settled on pancakes, 'After all, we missed breakfast, so why not breakfast for lunch?'

As he waited for the griddle to heat up, he went to work cutting some of the fruit they had up to go with it and pulled out some eggs as well to go with them; soon enough he was working like crazy cooking up enough food for all of them and smirked when he heard a few murmurings coming from the bedroom.

"Mmmm, something smells good."

"Tarnation! Rainbow Dash yer butt is in mah face!"

"Sorry AJ, but at least yer view is twenty percent cooler."

"Hey, where's big bro?"

"I bet he's the cause of that delicious smell."

"Darlings, please, so much noise in the morning."

"U-uhm...Rarity, it's after noon; it just seems like the morning because it was raining for so long."

"Oh then...it would seem we've overslept then my Spikey-Wikey."

"Gosh Rarity, I don't mind that."

"Heh, you would lover boy." AppleJack teased before stretching, "Well come on everypony, y'all should get up so we can eat and go enjoy the beach while we've got the sun back in our favor."

"She's right! Time for Cutie Mark Crusaders Chow Time!"

With that everyone began to pile into the living room and eagerly stared at the huge plate of pancakes Ryan had cooked up as well as all the rest of the lunch he'd gotten prepared; making sure everypony was good he then joined them and enjoyed a quiet lunch with his friends.

"I assume y'all slept well?" He asked with a smirk, "I certainly did; maybe I should tell scary stories more often."

Ryan didn't even bother ducking when AppleJack threw a strawberry at him, even going so far as to just catch it and eat it.

"Well, that's a yes from Apps; anyone else?"

"If it gets me more snuggle time with Rarity, you can tell all the scary stories you want Ryan." Spike joked, fist-bumping him and sharing a smirk.

"You two are just incredible." Twilight sighed, even if she was smiling at how well everypony got along, "...I do appreciate your understanding last night; even with all my knowledge I still get wrapped up in such illogical things."

"Hey, what are friends for, right?" He winked before finishing up, "Besides, when it comes to the human...pony...er...when it comes to the mind it can often be a very illogical part of a person."

"Yeah, especially with Pinkie Pie." Rainbow Dash joked, to which Pinkie just smiled and stuck out her tongue, "Okay! Time to hit the surf!"

"Yeah!"

And so their final day their went along swimmingly, though apparently Fluttershy and Rarity had made an error with their tanning and burned themselves slightly.

"I....that...I still don't get how that works! You have hair...fur....same difference so shouldn't that...ya know...keep it from happening? And why did the fur turn red like it burned?" Ryan had asked in complete disbelief, his head short-circuiting at the lack of logic, "I....I guess it doesn't really matter."

Sensing he needed a break from that, AppleJack had suggested they go scuba-diving with Rainbow Dash to adventure at the bottom of the lake in search of, what else? Sea Ponies.

"Only this time there won't be a risk of unpleasantness." Ryan remarked with a laugh, though he had some trouble with the equipment, "Hmmm....time for a little magical reworking!"

Focusing with his wand, Ryan did his best to reconfigure his scuba set to be more human friendly and, though it wasn't as good as he had hoped, it still worked enough for him to go diving with the two of them.

Under the water it was pretty peaceful and it surprised him just how quickly Dashie could move through the water as well; as it was they saw a few things resting at the bottom of the lake: a ship wreck, though there was no treasure, lots of what appeared to be seaweed, plenty of fish, but no sea ponies.

"I told ya we wouldn't find any." Ryan remarked, amazed at how clear his voice came out, "Huh."

"Ah think Ry-Ry's impressed we can talk underwater with these things." AppleJack remarked before pointing towards something shining in the distance, "What do y'all think that is?"

"I don't know but let's find out! It could be sunken bits!" Rainbow Dash took off, with Ryan and Apps doing their best to catch up to her.

The shining turned out to be something partially buried in the sand that took a bit of tugging for them to break it free; when they did they couldn't believe what they had found.

"A treasure chest!" Ryan had shouted, "Should we drag it back with us?"

"Buck yeah!" Rainbow Dash replied as the three began pulling it behind them back to shore, "...this thing is kind of heavy."

"I'll say...thank goodness it isn't bigger though."

"I'll say Apple Ryder...then we couldn't move it at all."

"I say darling, is that AppleJack and the others slowly coming ashore?"

Fluttershy peeked up from under the umbrella she was avoiding the sun with and saw a distinct rainbow-colored mane poke up above the along with a blonde one and a darker blonde one.

"I...I think it's them; did they find something?"

"Hey gals, look what we found! It's pretty heavy..even more so with it out of the water." Ryan noted before finally getting it settled with Apps and Dashie's help, "I wonder what's inside?"

"Well open it!" Scootaloo shouted, "I bet it's a whole bunch of bits!"

"It could be anything huh big bro?"

"Well that's true AppleBloom, but it seems like it's locked...and we don't have a key." Ryan smirked before looking at AppleJack, "We don't need a key though when we've got Bucky McGillicuddy and Kicks McGee to lend a hoove."

"Sure enough sugah, let me at that lock!"

AppleJack readied herself, reared back, and kicked at the chest as hard as she could; at first it didn't seem as if she'd busted the lock but soon enough the lock cracked a little and then shattered leaving the treasure chest to spring wide open and shine forth with the flashing color of...

"Gems? Just gems?"

"Uh...what do you guys mean by just gems?" Ryan asked, a bit puzzled, "Do you know how much those gems would be worth in mah world? Like...it'd be enough to set somepony up for twenty lifetimes!"

"Ah yes darling, but don't you remember?" Rarity asked, looking them over, "I'm always putting gemstones in my dresses."

"Yeah, and I eat them as snacks." Spike added, "Why would they be so worthwhile on your Earth?"

"...I guess I never really thought about it." Ryan mused as he picked up a bright orange one and smiled, "Gemstones seem super abundant here so they're pretty worthless as currency huh?"

"Yep! That's why the Princess uses bits as the currency."

"So then gold is your currency T-Sparks?"

"No, gold's about on par with the gemstones in terms of rarity." Twilight explained, "I'm not sure what bits are, but it's what the Princess came up with to keep the economy stable."

"Not that I've noted people charge much for things anyway; y'all are pretty friendly and such when it comes to trade." Ryan nodded his head, "Anyway, I'd like to keep this one if nopony cares; as for the rest feel free to share them how ya wish."

"Really darling? Oh that would be so wonderful." Rarity gasped as she began rooting through the gemstones, "So many beautiful gems; I can only imagine the outfits I could create with them."

"So Ry, are gemstones rare on yer world?" AppleJack had asked after picking out one for her own reasons and walking off with him to take a rest under the umbrellas.

"More or less; it all depends on the type. We actually learned how to make artificial ones that are almost indistinguishable from the real thing unless you've got a keen eye. Anyway, I've been thinking about something and this shade of orange is perfect for what I want to have made."

"Do tell?"

"Heh, well it's something I'd like to have to protect mah friends if I have to fight......what the?"

"Sugah?"

Looking in the direction he was staring, AppleJack blinked as well as the water of the lake seemed to be changing color somehow; it started blue, then faded to red, purple, green, yellow, orange, and then flashed rapidly before finally going back to blue and stopping.

"Ah...did anypony else see that?"

"You mean how the lake got all Technicolor?!" Pinkie nodded her head rapidly, "Of course! Who couldn't miss the lake having fun as well?"

"Lakes aren't supposed to do that...." Twilight huffed, tilting her head in thought, "Weird."

"....that did seem odd; and then there was those weird incidents reported in the paper the other day." Ryan frowned, his thoughts thinking on something, "Hold on a second."

Pulling out his device, he quickly typed up a message and sent it to Celestia; a few moments passed before he got a reply and, while it surprised him, his frown remained all the same.

"What was that all about big guy?"

"...nothing Dashie, just...just something I had to confirm with Celestia." He explained before putting it away and smiling, "So then, who wants to play some volleyball?"

While his words hadn't reassured all of them, they decided to let it go at his mention of volleyball...all but Spike that was.

"Ryan...is this about...ya know...at the castle gardens?"

"...I asked her if he was still there and she said he was...but...these acts...they seem right up his alley if I'm not mistaken." Ryan grumbled, "...still, it could just be something else though. All the more reason to start training the other way I want to."

"Other way?"

"Heh, don't sweat it little bud; now come on, let's go have some fun with everypony."

After a game of volleyball in which poor Ryan ended up getting beaned something fierce by a spike from Rainbow Dash, he had simply watched the others play before the sun began to set; realizing this was his chance to get that sunset walk in with his sweetheart, he and AppleJack had headed off down the beach.

They walked a while, making foot and hoof prints in the sand as the waves quietly splashed on shore; the setting sun seemed to make everything glow as it slowly descended in the distance.

"Heh, Celestia sure knows how to put on a show huh?"

"I'll say Ry-Ry." AppleJack remarked, before pushing up and glomping him from behind, "So then...is this how you imagined it'd be when ya always thought of talking a sunset beach walk with yer sweetie pie?"

"Goober." He reached behind himself and tickled her belly, smirking when she giggled, "But yes...it's pretty nice; this has been a fun trip."

"Hee, you silly man, tickling me like that." AppleJack laughed softly before nuzzling his neck, "Mmmm...that gal you were with must've been crazier than Screw Loose."

"What d'ya mean hon?" He asked, a bit puzzled as he caressed her mane and stared at the sunset with her.

"Yer clearly a sweet fella...and caring ta boot. How she could be crazy enough to toss that away I just can't rightly figure out."

"Well, humans, much like ponies, can be very irrational at times; all I know is I'm glad I'm not alone anymore." Ryan whispered, turning around and kissing her deeply as the sun finally dipped below the horizon, "So magical."

"Hee, the sunset? Here? Or little old me darlin'?"

"Haha, all three mah sweet little Apps." Ryan chuckled, kissing her again before letting her down, "Now then, I think we should head back to our friends; I'm ready fer dinner!"

"When aren't ya sugah?" AppleJack teased, poking his tummy with her head and smiling at his amused laughter.

"True...but I tend to forget mah appetite when a certain pony has mah attention." Ryan smirked, and put his arm around her as they walked back, "Ah wonder who that could be?"

"Ah don't know darlin', but she sounds like a lucky mare."

"Oh she most certainly is, and he's a lucky stallion."

"A stallion huh? Hee, I suppose that's fitting fer ya mah Apple Ryder." AppleJack winked, laughing as she took off running.

"Such a goober." Ryan remarked, shaking his head before chasing after her.

Dinner was pleasant and rather quiet as most everypony was now rather tired from their adventures the last three days; as it was Ryan and the others had no trouble falling asleep that night.

The next morning they all awoke rested and ready to head home; after packing up and making a sweep to make sure they didn't miss anything, they checked out and headed to the train station to head back to Ponyville.

"So lil' sis, you and yer friends have fun? You feel less mopey about school starting?"

"You bet! This was really fun with everypony here!"

"...it's just too bad we never saw the Sea Ponies." Scootaloo grumbled, "I guess they really aren't real huh?"

"Hey, never give up hope kid." Rainbow Dash ruffled her mane, "Maybe we're just looking in the wrong place."

"Rainbow Dash is right; if you believe hard enough who knows?"

"AppleJack, I hardly think that believing hard enough will make something happen."

"Uh, Twi, I hate to say this, but hasn't that kind of been the guiding way fer us in all the troubles we've dealt with?" AppleJack retorted, smirking as Twilight fumbled over her words, "Right! The train's here y'all; all aboard."

As they boarded the train, Ryan noted that Twilight seemed a bit bothered by something as she looked over her checklist one last time.

"Something wrong T-Sparks? Heh, Apps' words getting to ya?"

"Huh? No it's not that, it's just...we followed my checklist perfectly except....there's this last thing that I don't remember being on the list but it's there and I'm not sure how to accomplish it."

"Let me take a look." He stated, putting his bag away and taking the list, "...what the hay? "Have Pinkie mention a moment that breaks reality and makes no sense"? So we're just waiting for Pinkie to be Pinkie..."

"I know, weird right? I didn't write that but it's in my handwriting." Twilight gave a sigh and rolled up the paper, "Oh well."

Getting settled in their seats, Ryan and the others looked out the window as the last images of the lake began to disappear from view; tilting his head at something he had to do a double-take.

"Uhm, Dashie...are ya...are ya seeing what I am?" He asked, pointing specifically at the lake.

"Ryan, what are you....sweet rainbooms!"

"What has gotten into...you...two?"

"Tarnation! They're real!"

Sure enough, in the distance they could see, dancing on the top of the lake, what was clearly Sea Ponies; even though it was impossible for it be true, they could almost swear they heard the "Shoop-be-doo's" as they bounced back and forth.

"I....this doesn't...how can?" Twilight fumbled for an answer, her head short-circuiting from the realization, "I....."

"Hee, don't ya see Twilight?" Pinkie asked, waving at the Sea Ponies, "If ya believe hard enough, anyone can break the fourth wall and change reality!"

Twilight went to form a response, couldn't think of anything good, and so just checked the last box on her list before stuffing it away and then covering herself with a blanket as the others continued staring at the Sea Ponies till they were out of view.

Author's Note:

The Story of the Blanks isn't mine obviously, it belongs to Donitz (http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/573755); I just figured it was a good story to use to induce the whole cuddle puddle pileness of warmth and happiness that is also magically friendship based. X3

Also, this version of the theme was what Ryan was singing to: (http://youtu.be/5UAXJHF--5A). As for the second verse, yeah, I hammered that out mahself because why not? XD

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