• Published 22nd Mar 2012
  • 14,427 Views, 742 Comments

Silent Ponyville 3 - SamRose

Twilight must confront a town overcome by a demonic fog.

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Chapter 4

Chapter 4

The warm foggy air hit like a wave in comparison to the cooled interior of the library. Twilight shook her mane as the breeze blew past her.

She carefully walked down the front steps that lead to the building, looking back up to the sky as she watched the flakes of ash still falling slowly. A thin layer was beginning to form on the ground. She could see the footsteps she was leaving behind as her hooves stepped on the ground.

She turned and looked back at the building. It didn’t belong in Ponyville, its look and architecture didn’t belong standing next to the simple designs of the other buildings. Ponyville was a relatively small, though growing and rather robust village.

Twilight let out a soft sigh, turning to look at the building fully. Though she had managed to sneak her way outside, the building still held things inside of it. There were still those strange, book eating monsters inside of its walls. There were broken doors and piles of books. What seemed most strange was the simple look of its disuse despite knowing that it had to be a facility that was often used.

But the most important thing of all was that it contained a pony that was watching over a dragon. Her number one assistant who she knew had to be kept safe and protected. Though Magus didn’t give her the best of first impressions, leaving Spike with a pony seemed to lift a burden that she hadn’t realized she was carrying since she left the library. Even if she wasn’t completely sure she could trust Magus, she knew that he had written his books in order to benefit Equestria and make it a better place. If nothing else gave her confidence, it was the thought that Magus wanted what was best for everypony, even if it didn’t show on his face.

Twilight’s horn lit up as she reached into her magical pool once more, gripping the key that magus had given her and pulling it out into the world. She’d just tucked it into her magic for the moment because she was ensuring Spike was going to be safe, but now that she was alone in the quiet air of Ponyville she had a chance to examine it.

“Hey, wait a minute.” Twilight said looking at the end of the key. She wasn’t sure how she hadn’t recognized it right away at first, but now that it was in plain light she could easily identify the key now.

It was a long skeleton key with the three blue diamonds on the end of it. Shaped and placed the exact same way as Rarity’s cutie mark.

“Rarity!” Twilight said suddenly feeling a sense of urgency for finding her unicorn friend. She quickly swapped the key for her map and checked her location in Ponyville. From the buildings around her and the direction she had run from Sugar Cube Corner, she had to be on the intersection of Pen Street and Kat Street. If she wanted to make it to Carousel Boutique, she’d have to go down the street and cut across the town square.

“Town Square…” Twilight murmured to herself scanning the area with her hoof. “It’s wide open and going to be covered in fog. I could easily get surrounded or ambushed…” Twilight gulped at the idea of being surrounded and chased down by those creatures again. She didn’t have Spike with her this time, she could fight one off if she had to but she knew she couldn’t handle more than that.

Twilight considered her options. She knew heading back towards Sugar Cube Corner lead to more of those creatures, the only other directions she had was to head back home or to head through the plaza. As much as she didn’t like the idea she was quickly beginning to realize that heading through the plaza was going to be her only route.

She put the map away and stared down the fog filled road. With a soft gulp, knowing she was all alone and that she couldn’t rely on being backed up by anypony, she began to walk down the street.

Each of her hoof steps that had once echoed loudly now only created dull echoes. The ash was muffling each of her steps and she was beginning to grow thankful for it. She didn’t like the idea of being covered in the ash, but it was something she’d have to deal with until she could be inside once more.

The eerily looming buildings of the town seemed to tower over her, as if glaring at her for even being outside. The thick smell of the air seemed to clog her senses, unable to smell anything but the ash that hung in the air. The warm muggy air was beginning to give her a soft sweat allowing the ash to stick even more easily to her coat. She could hear every step of her hooves, every groan of the town as the houses shift, of the wind blowing through holes and openings in the buildings.

A shiver ran down her back. She didn’t like being alone like this. She hadn’t realized how comforting having that weight on her back was, knowing that even during the silence she could at any time turn to someone and just talk. She could distract herself from the situation she was in just long enough to not be afraid anymore.

Though he was safe she no longer had that buffer of comfort to help her. She was on her own now. She would have to be the one that was strong.

But it was hard. She’d come to Ponyville and she’d learned what it meant to have true friends. Before them she would’ve preferred to be alone, enjoyed not being held back by the thought of others or being inconvenienced that she had to go and save ponies who should be able to help themselves.

That was exactly why she was going to Carousel Boutique now. The key was to Rarity’s house, or at least she assumed it was, and to have gotten a key to her house only meant one thing to Twilight. Rarity must be in danger.

If Rarity was in danger she would go to help her friend. The only wish she had was for Rarity to be okay. She hoped her gut instinct was wrong and that when Twilight opened the door she’d find her friend obsessively cleaning the mess that had become of her house because of this fog.

She could picture it now.

Rarity would be moving about quickly as she unlocked the door and pushed it open. Rarity would be carrying her duster and cleaning every dusty spot that had emerged into her store.

“Oh this filthy grime! Where did it come from? I’m always so clean, so meticulous! This is unbecoming of a fine ladies shop!” Rarity would grumble and moan before turning her head to see Twilight standing there, covered in sweat and ash, her mane and tail a mess.

“Oh my stars DARLING!” Rarity would drop everything and rush over to her messy friend, “Twilight what happened!? Oh you poor dear! Oh this simply cannot do! You come with me right now and we’ll get you cleaned up!” And although Twilight would struggle against her friend, telling her there were more important things to take care of, she’d be effortlessly whisked away to Rarity’s bathroom where the prim and proper unicorn would take care to groom all the dirty grime off of her body.

“A wandering mind will make one blind.” A deep female voice suddenly said.

Twilight instantly jumped back and whipped the sword out from her magic pool, pointing it in the direction the voice had come from. She could feel her heart beating fast, having been lost in her thoughts and not realizing she had wandered distracted.

Only about a foot away, the figure of a pony in a black cloak that covered her face stood there once more.

“The end is meant to be a surprise; but some foolish ponies will seek their demise. Do you seek the end Twilight, or do you seek the new dawn’s light?” The strange pony asked Twilight.

“I… I don’t know!” Twilight replied in her hasty confusion. “Who are you?! How do you know who I am?”

“From beginning to end I shall watch all depart, all journeys find me at their start.” A cold breeze suddenly blew through the town and Twilight shivered at the stark contrast in temperature. “Time seems long and vast in this open world, yet its brevity is shown to all unfurled. You have the chance to make all things right, but fate is not kind and it will fight.”

A second breeze blew through the town, shifting the fog to once more cover the cloaked pony.

“No! Wait! Come back!” Twilight cried, rushing forward to where the pony had been standing. Just a few feet away and the figure had disappeared, devoured once more by the fog of the world.

Twilight looked around and swung the blade trying to clear the fog, but no matter how harder she swung the blade, the fog refused to clear. Twilight softly huffed, annoyed, before putting her sword away.

“I don’t know what’s going on… she couldn’t have been a hallucination, Spike saw her too.” Twilight shook her head. That mare wasn’t Zecora, they didn’t even sound similar, but she spoke just like the zebra. Figuring out who she was came to her mind, but was pushed aside when she paid attention to her surroundings. Ahead of her was town square, a wide open area where ponies would normally be gathered to check out several of the market carts or to meet up with friends or even to head for town hall.

This was where Twilight had feared to be. She couldn’t see the nearest buildings, but she knew that if she could get across the open field that she would make it to Carousel Boutique. She had to go help Rarity.

Twilight drew her sword, swallowed her fear and began to walk forward.

She knew how long the town square was. She walked it quite frequently, be it to see her friends or hang out with the mayor. But with it so devoid of life, Twilight knew that the only thing that was waiting for her in the fog were monsters.

Each hoof step felt like they inched her along. She was traveling miles in what should only be yards.

The sight of the buildings behind her faded into the fog, she kept moving forward determined to see the other end of the square. A breeze blew through that brushed her mane, coating it with another layer of ash. She snorted softly, getting the ash out of her nose. She tried to control her breathing; she had to make it across before anything found her, before anything bad could happen to her. She had a promise to keep to Spike.

Her medallion began to buzz and Twilight stopped in place. She knew it had been coming, but the sound of the buzz instantly struck her heart with fear.

She spun her head around in the fog. She instantly caught sight of the shadow in the fog that was beginning to approach her. As soon as she recognized the figure she could hear the clacking of the metal shoes and the dragging of the metal along the ground. It was still away from her, she could run from it.

She turned back to the direction she was headed and began to run. She wanted to get away from that creature with the weapon.

Her hooves skidded to a halt however; several figures appeared in the fog before her now. The sound of clicking metal against cobblestone was intensifying. Twilight’s heart leapt into her throat as she instantly recognized this pattern. She turned to her right and started to run, when she saw the figures in the fog there too.

Her head darted back and forth, spotting figures all around her. It was exactly what she had feared.

She was surrounded.

She backed up a few feet, her sword shaking as her magic became unstable. She couldn’t believe she’d fallen straight into this trap. She knew it had been coming and yet she had foolishly walked straight into it.

The creatures soon made their way through the fog. She could discern them again, several pony-like creatures, all wearing that same ancient armor. Each carried a different weapon that they dragged along the ground. Swords, axes, spears, all seemed to be sharp as they cut into the ground as they dragged.

Twilight twirled herself, feeling sweat drip down her forehead as she began to panic. She couldn’t take them all on. She counted; there were at least twenty of them surrounding her. They seemed to form a perfect circle around her, slowing to a stop as they made their formation.

She was backed into a corner. They were all hunters and she was their prey.

‘Spike… forgive me.’ Twilight silently pleaded to herself, already realizing the reality of her situation. She couldn’t escape now. The only way she could was possibly making a break through the line, but that would never work. She would be skewered and chopped before she would manage an escape.

The creatures were drawing closer, her medallion was buzzing louder. Her sword shook more as her body joined it. She couldn’t handle this. She was going to die. She was going to die and she knew it.

All she could do was try and brace herself. Their weapons would start swinging and if she was lucky it would only hurt for a little while. She glanced around, trying to discern how much closer they would get.

It was that moment that she blinked, a hint of confusion crossed her mind. They weren’t advancing anymore. Instead they all had craned their heads up, as if looking at something she couldn’t see.

She slowly turned herself around, looking at each of them, but they seemed to have stopped advancing towards her. Instead, they all were looking up into the sky. They weren’t paying attention to her movements anymore. A though struck her mind.

‘Perhaps this is my chance to escape!’ Twilight looked around quickly, trying to discern which of the soldiers were far enough apart to attempt a break through the line. ‘If I put everything I have into breaking through the biggest opening between them, I might have a chance of getting out of here ali-’

A huge rush of wind suddenly blew through the town, tossing her mane across her face. She coughed at the sudden ash that had been flung into her face, but froze as her ears perked up. The wind had come from a creature. A creature with gigantic wings that was flying right above them. Her heart sank at the realization of what was going on.

They were distracted because something much worse was right above them.

A loud roar punctuated the air and Twilight clasped her hooves against her ears. The very ground she stood on shook, tossing her to the ground as she tried to stop the deafening sound from destroying her ears. She winced at the impact before opening her eyes to try and figure out what was going on.

The creatures that had once surrounded her were no longer in their formation. They were now running for their lives. Twilight lifted her head up as the creatures ran past her, dragging their weapons along with them. She watched them in awe, the creatures that very easily had the chance of slaying her, the chance of drawing her blood like they wanted, were running in fear. They feared for their lives more than taking hers.

Another deafening roar broke through the air causing the earth beneath the unicorn to shake with tremors once more. Her hooves instinctively clasped back to her ears from the pain. She knew she was defenseless lying on the ground protecting her ears, she couldn’t continue to lay there. Letting go of her head she scrambled to a standing position, just as another earthquake struck the ground attempting to knock her over once more. This time the quake had been caused by something large landing.

Twilight’s eyes slowly lifted up, the gigantic creature coming into her view. She had to crane her neck to get all of the creature within her vision. She wished she hadn’t.

Its skin was black and rotting. At several locations on its body it had worms digging into its flesh and wrapping around to cover holes in its muscles. Its two wings were leathery and riddled with holes, as if they wouldn’t hold it in flight. It had several razor sharp spines running down the length of its back. Its head was large, falling apart in several places. She could see rows of razor sharp teeth jutting from its mouth. Its eyes were pure black, bleeding from the sockets. It let out a growl and smoke billowed from its nose.

Though it looked like it shouldn’t be alive, the shape of the creature meant it could only be one creature. It was a dragon. It was unlike any dragon the unicorn had ever seen before.

Twilight shakily tried to stand up. Her senses felt dulled. She’d come face to face with a full grown dragon before. Every day she dealt with a baby dragon as her assistant. But the presence this creature gave off sent fear straight down her spine. She was only barely able to make it to her hooves, her legs shaking fiercely as they tried to support her weight.

The dragon moved its head, its entire neck letting out audibly snaps as it jerked with its movements, as though its spine was misaligned. Twilight froze hearing the sound, chills running through her as the dragon lowered its head to ground level with the lavender unicorn.

Twilight stared into its black, oozing eyes as the dragon stared at her. The sword she had been wielding that whole time fell, her magic no longer stable enough to grab hold of it. It clattered loudly onto the ground.

She could feel her entire self trembling, the monstrosity before her was staring her down. Its hot, disgusting breath washed over her as it breathed through its nose. Her mouth quivered to yell, to scream, to shout, to do anything, but nothing could form within her throat. The hot breath rolled over her body once more as she could hear a low growl come from the back of the dragon’s throat. Her eyes darted to the edges of its mouth, certain she’d spot them moving into a devil’s grin.

The rotted, gaping mouth of the dragon opened. Twilight stared straight into the gaping jaw, the near-searing breath instantly choking her. The foul odor only punctuated the site. The rows of jagged, uneven fangs were hanging on by oozing and rotted gums. The mandibles were held together by the wriggling, writhing of maggots that formed at the back of its throat, acting as though they were muscles for the jowls. Seething red fire grew in the back of its throat, as if being summoned from the pits of hell itself.

Twilight couldn’t move. Her mind no longer understood what it meant to move. She had to move, she had to run, she had to get away from its mouth or else she would die. The hell fire in the dragon’s throat began to grow. The blaze roared loudly shooting straight up from the throat. Twilight stared straight into the flames as they flew straight towards her. They felt slow, as though the world itself had slowed down just for her to behold the flames that were heading straight for her. There was almost a serene grace to the sight. She couldn’t feel the heat or the panic anymore, she could only stare into the flames heading for her, as if a moment given to her by fate so that she might relive her life a last time.

“We’ll name her Twilight.” The sound of a loving parent.

“She’s so smart, always reading.” The praise of a loving parent.

“Twilight, we’ve enrolled you into Celestia’s Academy for Gifted Unicorns!” the encouragement of a loving parent.

“Twilight Sparkle, I’d like to make you my own personal protege here at the school.” The moment that changed everything.

“You’re improving with incredible speed. Here, lets try a harder spell.” The encouragement of a mentor.

“You know that I trust you completely, my faithful student.” The trust of a mentor.

“And I have an even more essential task for you to complete. Make some friends.” The first words that lead her to her friends.

“She must continue to study the magic of friendship. She must report to me her findings, from her new home in Ponyville.” The life altering words of her mentor.

“I’ve been having nightmares Twilight. Awful, horrible, relentless nightmares.” A friend that spoke out in need.

“Fluttershy's been having some nasty nightmares that've been keeping her up. She's unable to sleep and she dreads having to go to bed.” The second time a plight was presented to her.

“Thank you for seeing me in any case miss Sparkle. Your rather...unpleasant blue friend out there tells me you might have a spell to treat my problem?” The third time she had encountered the same problem.

“I didn’t intend for the spell to have those effects. And you should’ve seen what their problem was when you cast the spell.” The words of the only unicorn who might have known what the horrors meant.

“I do trust you. And you better come back for me! I won’t forgive you if you die on me!”

Twilight felt something in the back of her mind smack her back to reality. The roaring flame was bearing down on her with increasing speed.

The inferno flooded the town square, flames spreading quickly across the ash-laden ground. The cobblestone itself appeared to melt under the heat. The fires of hell had been unleashed upon Ponyville with a single breath.

The lavender unicorn rolled against the hard stone ground. As she came to a stop she could feel the weight of her breath with every breath. She stood back up on her trembling hooves, having narrowly escaped her brush with death. Her blurred vision slowly cleared as she made out the view of what looked like lava burning in Ponyville. The cobblestone was heating up rapidly, glowing red like coal stones. The dark red flames ate away at everything they touched.

The dragon’s head twisted, the distinct sound of bone bopping echoed above the roar of the flames. Its neck and head turned quickly, coming to face in her direction once more. The black, soulless eyes stared directly at her. The blood oozed thickly from its sockets as it stared. Twilight could feel it staring at her, as if somehow its very gaze was a weapon it had.

She broke her gaze away from its eyes not wanting to stare into the empty voids any longer. She eyes shot down to where she had been standing moments ago before the dragon. Just outside the edge of the blazing fire she could spot the rusted and jagged blade of her sword. It hadn’t been caught in the fire.

Twilight looked back up at the dragon’s head. The creature stepped towards her, smoke billowing from its nose as she heard the low, piercing growl echo from it. She didn’t have much time to stop and think. She had to act and she had to act now.

Fire began to spill from the edges of the dragon’s mouth. It was ready to unleash hell once more upon the lavender unicorn. Twilight’s horn quickly burned with magic as the dragon reared its head back. The sword was instantly surrounded with a lavender aura as the creature thrust its head forward.

In that instant the sword seamed to gleam as it sailed through the air. It struck its mark true, slicing straight through the dragon’s jaw.

The effect was immediate as the dragon’s head went skyward, its mouth opening and spewing its stream of hell fire straight into the air. The dragon roared in pain, shaking the ground once more with its deafening cry. Twilight’s ears flattened against her head as she pulled the sword out of its jaw.

The blade dripped with blood as she quickly pulled it back to her side. The dragon’s neck popped and cracked as its head wobbled from the pain of its new gaping wound. The dragon shifted its head to once more look at the lavender unicorn that had dared to strike it. Twilight posed the sword before her. She felt a confidence rising inside of her now. She had struck the creature and hurt it, she could do it again, she could kill the dragon.

The dragon saw her stance, realizing it as a challenge. His mouth opened once more, the ear shattering howl erupting from the dragon once more. Twilight stabilized herself, lowering her stance as the ground quaked below her. She huffed loudly, glaring at the dragon. Sweat poured down her forehead from the blaze surrounding her and the dragon, but she could not be swayed from her stance.

Fire brewed within the dragon’s mouth once more. Twilight knew it was going to unleash its hell fire once more. She scraped a hoof against the ground and grit her teeth. She had to make her blows count, she had to bring the creature down before it could do the same to her. The sword shifted in her magical grip, ready for her to deliver her strike.

Twilight’s hooves struck forward, running straight for the dragon. The dragon thrust its head forward, the inferno in its mouth being unleashed once more upon the world.

The fire struck the cobblestone, wrapping the square in the blazing heat. Twilight’s eyes widened in shock as she saw the flames heading straight for her. There was no way she could move in time to avoid the flames. The flames rushed upon her and instantly overwhelmed her. She was engulfed in the flames, burning alive. Searing heat lapping at her skin and flesh. The fire washed over her, covering her in the fires of hell. Within the flames she turned to ash.

The world came rushing back, Twilight gasping for air as though she had been submerged underwater. She was disorientated, certain she’d just been roasted alive by the dragon.

The dragon pulled its head back, the fires licking at the edges of its mouth as it prepared to spew forth its destructive blaze.

Twilight’s eyes widened watching the dragon’s movements. She had no time to think anymore, whatever just happened she didn’t have the luxury to worry about it now.

The fire raged forth, the heat being felt immediately. Twilight no longer wasted a moment, raising her body and forcing herself to move. The confidence she had to strike the dragon vanished from her body just as quickly as it had come as her hooves struck the cobblestone. The intense heat struck behind her as she felt the end of her tail singe. She cried out in pain, the intense heat lapping at her skin, slowly beginning to burn her flesh.

Her hooves struck hard and carried her body. She began to make her escape from the heat as she felt cooler air wrapping her body.

She looked over her shoulder the silhouette of the dragon and the burning flames in Ponyville disappearing into the fog. She watched the dragon’s figure raise its head into the air of Ponyville and unleash one of its earth-shaking roars.

The unicorn didn’t stop running for a moment. She ran as fast as her hooves could carry her. As far away from the dragon as she could go.

The blaze of the fire died into the distance, the dragon’s roars seeming to grow fainter, the buzz of her medallion began growing quiet. Soon she could hear the strikes of her hooves against the cobblestones, her heavy panting as air rushed to fill the need in her lungs, feeling the air return to its cooler, muggy self.

She skidded to a stop, as the cobblestone gave way to dirt. Before her was the small river that flowed straight through Ponyville. The medallion had grown to a very faint buzz and she could no longer see the flames of the town square. The only thing she could hear was the distance roars of the dragon, as if it had lost its prey.

She knew she had to keep moving. To stand still outside only meant death. Be it from those strange soldier creatures or the dragon catching up to where she had run off.

Looking into the river’s stream reminded her that she was still on a mission. She had to get to Rarity’s house and make sure she was okay. If she was near the river, that meant that she would be near the home as well. It could also mean that it might provide shelter, a place to hide from the dragon out to roast her alive.

Without hesitation she summoned her map once more and reviewed it quickly. The river at the edge of town square would lead her straight to Carousel Boutique. She didn’t need to be told twice. Putting the map and her sword back into her magic she began to run once more alongside the river.

As she ran further from the town square her medallion became silent. Just as she was thankful for the silence the familiar bridge to cross the river to Rarity’s boutique could be seen. Twilight wasted no time crossing it, the wood creaking with every quick step she took.

The familiar round building appeared through the fog. Twilight stopped for a moment to stare in shock at the state that had become of the building. If not for knowing the building so well she might have not recognized it.

Several of the decorations had fallen from the store and lay scattered in the yard. The familiar plywood was nailed to cover the windows, though several sections of the wall were busted open, as if something had been striking against it. Mold and grime climbed the sides of the building and made it look unused for years.

She didn’t waste a moment longer and quickly ran up to the door, knowing full well the silent peace could be disturbed at any moment. She pressed her hoof against the handle and tried to push the door open. The door jammed with a ‘click’, telling her it was locked from the inside. She scanned the handle and saw an opening to place a key inside to unlock the door.

Without even hesitating she pulled out the key that had Rarity’s cutie mark on it and placed it inside of the lock. With a quick turn the door let out a ‘click’ and began to creak open. Twilight pushed the door open and slammed it closed behind her.

Finally, inside of the familiar building, not being attacked by monsters or dragons, her medallion silent, Twilight let herself collapse. She closed her eyes and rested on the cold floor of Rarity’s boutique, just panting.

The realization of what she saw began to slowly sink in.

“I… was going to die…” Twilight whispered softly to herself. She had seen it. If she had attacked the dragon like she had planned, if she had rushed it and sent the sword into its body once more, the dragon would’ve hit her with its fire. The fire would’ve taken her life in a matter of seconds.

But she had avoided death. She had avoided it by the no more than the skin of her teeth. That vision…

“That vision…” Twilight’s eyes opened slowly as she began to realize it. “That vision was just like… just like the vision I had with Spike…”

Her body shifted, sitting up slowly from the laying position on the ground.

“No… no they were different…” Twilight spoke aloud to herself, wanting to hear the comfort of a voice right now, even if it was her own voice. “The vision of my death happened seconds before it was going to happen… with the vision about Spike… it wasn’t an imminent threat… but if she had left him there it would’ve been the last chance she had to save him.”

Twilight closed her eyes and she gripped her head in her hooves. “What’s happening... None of this… none of this makes any sense.” She shook her head as shivers ran up her body. She could feel tears trying to form at the edges of her eyes.

In the span of a day she had brushed with death more times than she ever had in her life. She had never felt so terrified for her own safety as she did right then, the gravity of her situation fully sinking in for the first time. Before now she’d had Spike with her, before she had to protect him, before she wasn’t alone.

But she had left Spike behind. She had left him behind where it was… where it was safe.

“I… I have to find my friends…” Twilight rubbed her face, shuddering as she tried to hold back her sobs. “I… have to find Celestia… it’s my… my responsibility.” She forced herself to believe it. “I wield the Element of Magic… I bring harmony together.” She took a deep breath, calming her heart.

“…Rarity?” Twilight called out quietly, lifting her head to look into the boutique. It was only then that she realized that she couldn’t see, the building was too dark to see anything.

She lifted her hoof up to her pendant and pressed against it. The familiar white light lit up and for the first time she was able to see the insides of Carousel Boutique.

Everything looked like it had been destroyed. Many of the mirrors were cracked and shattered, mannequins were torn to shreds, dresses and curtains lay ragged across the floor. The once beautiful boutique now sat in utter ruins.

“Rarity!” Twilight called out louder this time, looking back and forth across the large show room. The building creaked softly as it settled into place. It didn’t even look like the white unicorn had seen the state her home and business had become. No doubt one look at the mess and Rarity would’ve been frantic to clean it.

Twilight got up from her sitting position back onto her hooves. Just as quickly as she did she found herself falling to the ground. She grunted in pain as her chest struck the ground before the rest of her body followed.

She hesitantly raised her front hooves and lifted her body, turning her head to look at her back legs. She could see the hint of red running down the length of them. Though she hadn’t felt it at first, she was able to realize it now.

The heat of the fire had burned her legs.

It wasn’t a severe burn. She could move her hind legs and if she was careful she could walk on them.

She stood up once more, being cautious about the amount of weight she placed on her back legs. She winced as the pain shot through her legs, but they held her weight. She gingerly walked further into the boutique, trying to adjust to the pain.

The debris crunched under her hooves as she walked. She didn’t know what she might be looking for, but she wanted any clues that might tell her what happened to the boutique.

When she had awoken at her home, everything was perfectly fine except for being boarded up and locked inside of the building. However, it seemed that something serious had happened at the boutique. Twilight didn’t see any cuts or scratches that would indicate weapons like the creatures outside used. She wondered if something else had come into the store and attacked Rarity.

“Please be okay Rarity…” Twilight spoke quietly to herself.

She swept her light back and forth, trying to get a better look at everything in the room. Her light hit the three mirrors used to show off the dresses that the ponies in her shop would try on. Surprisingly, of all the mirrors in the shop, those three seemed to have suffered the least damage, only have a few minor cracks running through them.

“Oh, hey, there’s something there.” Twilight spoke, continuing to keep her voice hushed, as she walked over to the mirrors. As she reached the platform, she spotted what looked like a piece of paper attached to the mirror with some tape. She grabbed the paper with her magic and floated it in front of her to read.

It was still the eve of that cold winter’s night. It was now just the two of us alone in the cabin, trapped in the woods while the blizzard raged outside. I kept thinking back to the events that had lead up to this moment, only to still be baffled as to how it had come to this.

“Here, drink this, it’ll warm you.” Daniel’s sultry voice washed over me once more sending a chill down my spine. I looked up to see the warm cup of cocoa he had brewed for me floating from his magic. I raised my hooves to grasp the cup and he let it go.

“Thank you.” I cooed, though not meaning to. A soft blush formed on my face as I tried to sip my cocoa. It was as though I was once more a young school filly with a crush.

“It was no problem at all.” That voice sent me into chills. The hunk of a stallion then sat next to me and I felt my face flush harder. His flanks were so close I could feel them rubbing against mine. I wanted to resist him, but the fires in my body yearned for his embrace.

With just the two of us alone in that cabin I didn’t know what to think. The only thoughts that ran through my head was about the ways he could make me his on that night, each scenario steamier than the last. My face felt like it could glow in that darkly lit cabin.

“You look like you’re cold, here let me warm you.” Daniel spoke softly as his magic touched a blanket and brought it towards us. I soon found myself wrapped tightly within the bundle, right next to the stallion that sent my heart beating. “I couldn’t live with myself if I let a young mare go cold.”

Oh Princess, his words were electric.

This had to be a page from one of Rarity’s romance novels. She always enjoyed the rather ridiculous storylines, the corny dialogue and hammed-in plot that worked around the fact of two ponies that barely had anything in common falling in love; always with some strange plot twist towards the middle and, more often than Rarity liked, one of the main characters dying at the end.

Twilight wondered what the page was doing taped to Rarity’s mirror. Whatever the reason may be Twilight vanished the page into her magic. She turned to look back at the mirror.

The medallion began to blare its buzzing as Twilight screamed, scrambling away from the mirror. A large shadowy figure of a pony had appeared in the mirror, a red eye gleaming from it.

Her back legs struck a fallen table causing her to trip. She fell backwards and struck her head hard against the ground. She yelped in pain, quickly reaching up and grabbing hold of the sore spot that had struck. However, the blaring of the medallion snapped her back to her senses and she scrambled to her legs to look back at the mirror.

The figure was gone just as quickly as it came. Twilight panted as she felt her heart beating in her chest. Whatever that figure was it had been bigger than a normal pony. It was almost as if the pony had been as tall as the Princess.

Twilight’s ears perked as she still heard the buzzing of her medallion. She looked around quickly, not seeing a creature of any sort that would trigger the buzzing of the medallion.

Wood snapped loudly behind Twilight, causing her to jump once more. She twirled around and faced the front door, spotting an axe head that had just struck its ways through the door.

“Oh no! One of those things knows I’m here!” She cursed loudly to herself, backing away from the door. Her horn lit up as her sword was pulled forth from her magic.

The axe head pulled itself from the door, causing a large gash to appear from the force. The axe struck through the door once more, splintering wood struck the ground and scattered. The axe was forced through the door once more, the hole growing larger.

Twilight grit her teeth hard, preparing herself for the creature to break through.

A shattering crunch of wood echoed through the boutique as the axe destroyed the door. Twilight covered her face as dust and wood flew past her. She coughed as she stepped back further, turning to look at where the front door used to be.

The metal clicking of armored hoof steps walked into the boutique. Twilight could view the creature now, illuminated by the light of her pendant. The chunks of rotting flesh with bone showing through, the thick and ancient armor over its body, the hefty double-headed axe it dragged with its mouth. It was definitely one of the creatures that seemed to litter the town now.

Every step drew the creature closer to Twilight. There was no way around the creature and it was clearly on a mission. It was out for her blood.

The creature lifted the large axe with its mouth, raising it to strike down on Twilight. Twilight jumped to the side swiftly, getting out of range of the creature. The axe came striking down right where she had been standing. She skidded to a fast stop at the creature’s side and concentrated her magic. She commanded the sword to swing with a mighty blow down at the creature. The sword flew swiftly through the air, straight at the creature.

A sound of metal clashing echoed through the boutique. Twilight cursed at herself, she’d struck the armor of the creature. The armor didn’t even have a dent from her strike.

The creature pulled the axe out of the ground and began to turn towards Twilight, readying to strike once more.

Twilight looked the creature over quickly, trying to find openings in the armor. The armor was packed tightly around the creature. The biggest openings seemed to be around the face. The helmet covered the entire head and the bridge of the nose, but the eyes and the mouth were wide open. Twilight cursed her luck at having such a small opening and one directly within the line of fire.

The axe came swinging down and Twilight jumped back. She felt the force of air blow past her quickly from the force of the swing, the axe embedding itself into the ground. Twilight raised her sword and put a hoof down on the handle of the axe. As the creature tried to force the axe out of the ground Twilight pushed against it, keeping it there.

The creature let go of the blade and lifted its head. It opened its mouth wide, a growl piercing from its throat. It lunged forward, the jaws looking to sink into her flesh.

The sword was plunged straight into the creature’s mouth. Twilight didn’t let up on the force for a moment, the sword driving straight through bone and muscle as it became buried handle deep inside the creature.

A piercing wail of pain cried out as Twilight jumped back. The creature tried to thrash about, digging the sword around its insides deeper. Blood began to ooze from its mouth and through the openings in its armor. Twilight grimaced at the awful sight occurring before her, putting a hoof up to her mouth. The piercing wail felt like it struck at her soul, realizing she had purposely brought this upon the creature.

With a final shriek the creature collapsed onto its side. Blood pooled quickly under the creature as it oozed from every open spot it could.

“Forgive me…” Twilight closed her eyes and whispered her apology. She swallowed her nausea and carefully walked up to the creature. She still needed that sword, but now it was lodged inside of yet another creature that she had killed.

Twilight’s ear perked up. Something was happening. She could hear something, but it wasn’t her medallion buzzing. No, this was something coming from the town itself. A sound she recognized.

It was the siren.

The siren was going off in Ponyville. Twilight looked out the broken front door, the world was being devoured by darkness. The darkness spread through the open door and began to devour the inside of the boutique as the siren seemed to blare even louder.

“W-What!?” Twilight cried out, stepping back from the darkness that was encroaching upon the home. Twilight’s pendant began to flicker, growing dim.

“No! NO NO NO NO NOT NOW!” Twilight tapped against the pendant. The light of the pendant went out and suddenly she was in pitch darkness. She wanted to scream, but the sound couldn’t escape her throat.

The world was shifting all around her, she could feel it, she could hear it. Fear ran straight down her spine as she heard the crawl of something all around her.

She was all alone in the darkness. Even the sound of civilization had left, the siren’s blaring growing dimmer before growing silent.

Her world was deathly quiet.