• Published 7th Sep 2013
  • 16,572 Views, 1,249 Comments

Courage - scion



Evil has come to the Everfree and Ponyville. The Elements must stand against it... but they will not be alone. The mysterious blue-eyed wolf will aid-or hamper- their efforts to bring harmony back to Equestria.

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It Begins...

Applejack trotted through the trees of her farm, blissful and happy in the beautiful afternoon. The apple trees around her were in full bloom, a result of plenty of water from the weather team and the encouragement that Applejack and her family, as earth ponies, provided. Her nose twitched, smelling the scents of her beloved apple trees as she continued her brisk trot through the orchard.

Farm life was unique. During harvests, the pace was breakneck as the family tried to harvest their produce and livelihood; working until past nightfall only to rise before Celestia’s sun the next morning was common during those times. But in the spring, when their apples had yet to bloom, the pace was far more sedate; there were chores, slopping the pigs, talking to Betsy and the other cows, and there was maintenance work to be done, certainly, but a farmer had free time after all was said and done. To that end, Applejack chose to spend her time today among her trees, checking for parasites and other bad signs ostensibly but really just enjoying the rare time she had off.

A flash of color brought a grin to her face and a change in direction. A few seconds later she stopped, standing below a chromatic spectrum of color made of hair. Following said tail hair up to the body, the apple farmer beheld a particularly familiar sight; a rainbow-maned cyan-blue pegasus, sprawled between the branches of one of her apple trees like a cat. And also like a cat, she was napping, her eyes closed as her hooves and wings twitched.

Rainbow Dash was the laziest pegasus Applejack had ever known. Laziness was not something that Applejack had ever really approved of- hard work was the only thing that kept a farm afloat, and so it was hard work that Applejack respected. Still, that being said, the pegasus was a good friend, and after spending time around her Applejack had come to realize that Dash worked hard when she was motivated, and that there was never a more true or loyal friend.

Still, on a day like today, something deep in Applejack told her that her good friend had the right idea. Just lie down, take a nice little nap, and let the world go by. It wasn’t something she would ever admit to doing, lest others believe that she was just as lazy as her layabout friend. But it also was necessary sometimes to stop and smell the flowers. On a day like this, with her chores done and no place to be until supper, it would be nice to sit and watch the world go by.

Sitting down and leaning back against the tree, Applejack tilted her Pappy’s hat down over her eyes so she could grab a little shuteye too.

---

Fluttershy smiled softly as the family of squirrels gathered around their late lunch. Helping animals was something she would never tire of; all life was precious, even the smallest of little fuzzy creatures. Her cutie mark attested to her passion, a talent only surpassed by her unique ability to understand the creatures around her.

The pink-maned, butter-yellow pegasus loved animals because they were uncomplicated. Ponies were nice, but there were so many things and social rules that had to be followed, and she always came off embarrassed and worried that everyone could see everything she did wrong. Animals were different. They did not judge, they did not make snide comments behind your back, they did not tease you about how you couldn’t fly; no, if you gave them love and respect, then they gave you unconditional love in return. It was simple.

Not that she didn’t have pony friends, oh no. Rainbow Dash had always been her friend since Flight School. More recently, four other mares had come into her life, Twilight Sparkle the Princess’s Protégé/Librarian, Rarity the Dressmaker, Applejack the Farmer, and Pinkie Pie the Party Pony/Confectioner. Fluttershy did not know how she had ended up with so many friends, but she would do anything for them. Still, her job, and indeed her passion, were animals. There was only one other place she would rather be than watch the family of squirrels daintily eat the assorted nuts she had set out for the, and that one place would be with her friends.

The squirrels before her scattered without warning. Alarmed, Fluttershy flared her wings and looked around for what/who had startled them. When she looked immediately behind her, she jumped ten feet into the air and into a tree with a shriek.

Below her was a contrite-looking manticore. He gave a few soft meows. Fluttershy sighed, then flared her wings as she dropped back to the ground, landing gracefully.

“Mr. Manticore, I know you’re sorry, but please don’t do that again,” she told him softly. Mr. Manticore was not often seen by Fluttershy. He was very much a wild animal, and a predator as well, and much preferred to live as nature intended deep in the Everfree forest. Still, after the debacle with Nightmare Moon and the thorn that Fluttershy had removed, he had been open to visits from the demure pegasus. It wasn’t often, but he occasionally sought her out if he had injuries or if he felt like it. She was hoping to convince him to come more often, and perhaps go on an all-fish diet so that her little critter friends wouldn’t be scared of him, but such things had not happened yet. She had to be patient with him to win him over. The manticore yowled softly at her.

“What do you mean?” she asked. Fluttershy hadn’t sensed anything wrong. He yowled at her again, before ending in a pathetic mewling that in no way befitted a fearsome predator of the jungle. Fluttershy then noticed that Mr. Manticore, one of the more fearsome predators of the Everfree forest, was shaking like a leaf.

“Wh… whha… what do you mean?” she stammered out. A short meow answered her. Fluttershy’s wings clamped to her sides as her eyes went wide in understanding… and horror.

“Ohhhhhh dear… oh dear… ohdearohdearohdearohdear-“

She was cut off by a scream that seemed to tear reality itself. Before her very eyes, the world changed. All Fluttershy could do was look on, wide-eyed, as Mr. Manticore collapsed in a trembling heap and the very reality of the world around her shifted sideways.

---

Something roused Applejack’s consciousness from its drowsy state. Without opening her eyes, the mare tried to divine what it was that had forced her from near-sleep to fully awake.

Not sound, not touch…. Sight?

Her eyelids were no longer light, meaning it had gotten dark.

Ah swear ah hadn’t even got t’ sleep…

Applejack opened her eyes under hat, confirming that it was, indeed dark out. Pushing her hat up, she saw more. Something wrong. She shot to her hooves.

There was no moon or stars, like Princess Luna’s night. There was no sun, like Celestia’s day. It was both, yet neither, a darkness that was not complete, a light that was not bright. The world seemed… greyer as well, less colorful than before. But what really got her attention was the wall.

It towered from the ground to as far up as the eye could see, a black mass with what looked to be glowing red glyphs inscribed into it. It was all around, as far as she could see, extending well into the distance around the Everfree and around Ponyville as well.

This was not good.

“Rainbow, wake up!”

“SSNNNKKTtt huh…” the Pegasus trailed off as she shifted. Applejack didn’t try to wake her with words again, the layabout wouldn’t do anything to disturb her nap until it was necessary. No, time to get her out of that tree the old fashioned way. Applejack cocked her legs and bucked.

“HHHHSSSSS Ouch that buckin’ hurt!”

Applejack lay on the ground as her hind legs ached painfully from hitting them against a tree. Normally, such an action would have caused ripened fruit, or in this case, napping pegasi, to fall from said trees, but for some reason that didn’t happen this time. It had also hurt. A lot. As Applejack rose gingerly to her hooves, she decided against trying again. Probably some voodoo magic that the great wall and scenery change had brought with it, either way she wasn’t ready to try bucking a tree again quite yet.

Still, she had to get that lazy Pegasus out of that tree. Applejack eyed the muted rainbow tail, and after a moment of intense contemplation, jumped.

“huh WAAAAAAA ooof!” The cyan Pegasus fell out of the tree with all the grace of a brick.

“Applejack! What the hay!? That was NOT cool!” she scolded as she got to her hooves.

“Ain’t time t’ be nappin’, Rainbow. We got a problem on our hooves.”

“Problem? What are you talking abou….” Now that she was up, Rainbow saw what her friend was talking about.

“What… the… buck…”

“Ah know. C’mon, we gotta get-“

A scream pierced their thoughts, the high pitched scream of a filly. It was joined by two others.

“Applebloom!” Applejack cried out. She took off towards the Crusader’s clubhouse, where her younger sister and her two friends had been enjoying the day.

Rainbow Dash instinctively flapped her powerful wings, to get to the younger ponies as fast as she could. But she wasn’t in the air. She flapped again, harder, and rose perhaps a hoof off the ground. She couldn’t hover, she couldn’t fly for some reason.

Rainbow almost started to panic. Her wings were an inescapable part of her very being, to have such skills inexplicably useless left her nearly in shock. Only one thought stopped her from outright breaking down and crying in terror. Her friends still needed her. Applejack needed her. After one more fruitless flap, she took off after her best friend on the ground, uttering something she never thought she would ever have to say.

“Applejack! Wait up!”

---

Inside a tree in the center of Ponyville, a certain lavender-coated unicorn was doing what Rainbow managed to avoid: panicking.

“It’s not working!” she cried out in confusion and fear. She tried again to lift the book sitting on the floor in front of her, and once again she felt no magic, saw no horn flare. She sat down heavily on her flank.

“This… this can’t be happening! First the Sun disappears, but the Moon and stars don’t rise, then magic goes away? It’s impossible! SPIKE! SSSSPPPPIIIKKKEE!”

A small, bipedal, purple-scaled and green-spined dragon ran into the room. In his little hands he held a scroll of parchment and a feather quill.

“Ready!” he saluted. Twilight swallowed and took a deep breath before she started to dictate to her number one assistant.

Princess Celestia,

Something has happened in Ponyville, something disastrous I fear. Even as I write I can see the town panicking, and beyond I can see the black wall that has surrounded our town. I have no doubt that you can see it from the castle in Canterlot. Worse still is the loss of magic- I am unable to lift even the slimmest of papers with my levitation, and based on my observations of the other ponies out the window, and those in the library when the event occurred, I have no doubt that this has happened to every pony encompassed by these walls.

Looking at the sky, I cannot see either the Sun or the Moon in the sky- only a murky type of twilight, neither light nor dark. It scares me, but the implications scare me more. I only hope I am wrong.

Please, send help.

Your faithful student,
Twilight Sparkle

“….. Twi-light Spark-le!” Spike finished. He took a deep breath, then blew on the now rolled up parchment.

But there was no flame, no magical sending spell. Only a piece of parchment, still in one purple claw, now bent from the force of his blow. Spike coughed.

“Heh, sorry Twilight. Must have forgotten… somehow… let me try again!”

Another blow, harder even than last time, but there was still no flame. No sending spell. Only a bent and now slightly damp piece of parchment, holding their one and only hope for outside help.

Twilight’s pupils contracted to pinpricks as both she and Spike stared at the piece of parchment in shock and despair.

---

Celestia felt the disturbance immediately. It was her connection to the Sun; somewhere on Equestria, the Sun was blocked; she could feel it. Despite the implications, she remained calm. Centuries of self-control and discipline squashed the panic before it even fully formed; indeed, to her subjects in the Court, it appeared as only a minor twitch and a falter in the smile of their benevolent idol. She even finished listening to the plea of the pony before her, a farmer who had come to tell her of a particularly insidious loophole in her property laws that the nobility was now using to swindle him out of his farm and livelihood. Celestia nodded graciously, as expected of her, as the farmer finished.

“Thank you, Corn Husk, I will look into this matter immediately,” she said with a regal smile. The golden pony with tan hair bowed before turning and leaving. Before the next petitioner could be announced, Celestia made her move.

“I apologize for the inconvenience, but I am afraid I must cancel court for the rest of the day. All petitioners in line will be accommodated in the Royal Suites. Notary Scribe, please tell the Captain to arrange the accommodations. I am afraid I must take my leave,” she told her secretary.

She was out the door before the announcement was finished. It would have taken a practiced eye, one that would have taken more years than a mortal had, to notice the slight increase in her gait as she headed for her sister’s room.

The doors to Luna’s bedroom were ornate; hoofcrafted by the most exquisite artisans from the past one thousand years, they were as ornate as the doors that lead to the throne room itself. Celestia had never had a desire to have such ornate doors, she was far more simple, but she knew her sister well- presentation was everything to Luna. Show; theatre; perception; such things, while utterly lost upon Celestia, were practically second nature to her younger sister. The doors were important to her younger sister; a piece of her image as Princess Luna Immortalis Noctum, diarchic of the great state of Equestria.

Celestia slammed them against their stops.

Luna was already awake, likely for the same reason that Celestia had cancelled court.

“Sister, what hast happened?!” A recently awakened Luna, complete with sleeping mask hiked up over her horn, was the sight that greeted Princess Celestia Solaria Invictā.

“I do not know, Luna. But whatever it is, it was enough to rouse you from your slumber,” noted with some amusement. She raised the blinds to her sisters bedroom- only to frown. “I do believe I have found the source.”

Luna, now out of her sumptuous bed and slightly awake, saw what her sister had revealed- her pupils expanded in awe and fear.

“Sister, what is this sorcery? If this is one of thy tricks…” she warned.

“No, Luna. This is not a trick. There really is a great black wall in the southeast of our kingdom- and no explanation as to why it is there….”

Author's Note:

Well, first story on the site. What do you think?

Also, people, PLEASE tell me WHY you dislike my story if you downvote it. So far the only reason I've heard for a downvote is grammar issues, which is fair. However, since no one has told me of any OTHER reasons why they dislike my story, I can only assume that the 16 downvotes I have gotten have all been for grammar. If you have a different reason, please tell me!

EDIT: removed some of the last little bit of this chapter- keep reading to find out where it went.