• Published 16th Apr 2014
  • 14,736 Views, 734 Comments

It's a Dangerous Business, Going Out Your Door - Jetfire2012

When an accident leaves Twilight Sparkle seriously ill, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and Rarity must undertake a perilous journey to find her a cure. What adventures await them beyond Equestria's borders?

  • ...

Chapter 20

In a flash, they were all back in the Ponyville library, landing in a heap, the shock of warmth and shelter nearly overwhelming for the three travelers. Twilight Sparkle got to her hooves and turned to face them. “Are you all right?” she asked, worry in her voice. “I got to you as soon as I could! I couldn't even be sure I would get to the right place, I just had a vision to go by, and- what was that thing?”

Applejack, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash stared at her for a moment, lying sprawled across the wood floor. Then they all gave a tremendous SHOUT, and leaped at each other, screaming and crying and laughing, grabbing for each other with their hooves, nuzzling each other, tumbling over each other on the floor, rolling over cushions and stray books. The commotion drew Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Spike, Apple Bloom, and Zecora out of the upper rooms. No sooner had they emerged on the stairs than Dash shot to them, trying to hug them all at once, while Rarity and Applejack galloped to Twilight and tackled her in a furious embrace, nuzzling her, even licking her- wanting to make sure she was real! With a squeal of delight Pinkie Pie bounced down into their midst, and the white unicorn and the orange earth pony embraced her as well, nuzzling her with delight, and even Fluttershy was caught up in the joy of the reunion, flying over to join the hug, and Dash flew back and picked up Twilight in a great four-legged hug that lifted her off the ground, then Spike leapt into the fray and everypony gave him a nuzzle, and Apple Bloom joined them next, laughing and giggling and Applejack took her up and was crying as she nuzzled her. Every one of them then looked over at Zecora, who started to say something in rhyme but didn't get very far because they all charged her and wrapped around her in a hug that really became everypony hugging everypony.

Ten minutes of hugging and nuzzling and laughing later, the wild energy of the reunion finally abated somewhat, and Rarity found her voice. “Oh, Twilight, you're all right!”

You're all right!” Twilight said with a smile. “It looked like I got to you just in time!”

“You saved our hides, sugarcube, no doubt about it!” Applejack said, sitting back and holding Apple Bloom in her lap.

“But Twilight, however did you find us?” Rarity asked. “How did you get to us?”

“It was the Beneviolet!” the lavender unicorn said. “It didn't just heal my Horn Rot- it supercharged my magic! And I was able to find you because... well, the Horn Rot was giving me visions, and I had one just a while ago about the three of you, so I knew exactly where you'd be.”

“I thought you didn't believe in visions,” Dash said with a grin.

“I still don't,” Twilight said with firmness, “but whether I believe in them or not, I was able to find you because of what I saw, so I'll take what I can get.” Her violet eyes widened. “But seriously, what was that huge thing? It was bigger than any animal I've ever seen!”

“You saw an animal?” Fluttershy asked, her curiosity piqued. “A really big animal?”

“Well, we reckon it was a world snake-” Applejack began.

“Ooo! You did see a world snake! That's what my twitch was about!” Pinkie Pie squealed. “Was he as big as the world? I bet he was!”

“Not quite as big as the world,” Dash said, bravado creeping into her voice, “but darn near. Nothing my awesome lighting powers couldn't handle, though.”

“Lightning?” Twilight said.

“Well, yeah-” Dash began, rising to her hooves. Rarity and Applejack did the same, Applejack setting down Apple Bloom as she did.

“Holy cow!” Spike cried. “Look at you girls!”

The others pulled away to take in the sight of the three ponies, and what a sight it was! All three of them, even Rarity, had grown leaner, firmer, more solidly built- even Applejack's considerable muscles had been added to. Their coats were rougher, slightly longer, but their colors were as vibrant as ever. Applejack's Dale Guard armor glistened in the light of the library, the dark red leather rich and waxy, the golden stitching flickering as she moved, along with the golden symbol of Gildedale on the cruppers, while the emerald on her champron shone brilliant green. Rainbow Dash's scarf hung around her neck, while the dark blue sigils of the pronghorns swirled all over her body, making her look fierce and tribal. Rarity had the presence of mind to strike a pose, and her deerish armor gleamed brilliant, dazzling silver, the crystal crests on her helmet and the crystal streaks on the torso and the greaves sparkling.

“Where did you get that armor?” Fluttershy asked, her turquoise eyes wide.

“Well, it's a bit of a long story,” Rarity began. “My armor and Applejack's don't come from the same place.”

“Yeah,” the orange earth pony said. “See, my armor comes from Gildedale-”

“Where's Gildedale?” Apple Bloom asked.

“It's the country just on the other side o' the mountains from Equestria,” Applejack said. “It's full o' earth ponies.”

“Full o' earth ponies?!” the little yellow filly said with delight. “What're they like?”

“They're a mite different than Equestrian ponies, but deep inside they're really a lot like us,” Applejack said. “This is the armor of the Dale Guard, the patrols o' warrior ponies that keep Gildedale safe.”

“Warrior ponies? Ooo, this is gonna be good!” Pinkie Pie said, pulling a bag of popcorn out of nowhere.

“My armor, meanwhile,” Rarity said, “isn't made by ponies. It was made by the deer of the Shimmerwood.”

“You met deer?” Fluttershy asked with amazement.

“We met a whole forest of deer!” Rainbow Dash said with a grin. “We also met some pronghorns, and they're the ones that gave me these sigils!” She spun around in the air.

“I was going to say, it was fresh in my mind, those drawings do seem to be pronghorn designs,” Zecora commented.

“Pronghorns?” Twilight repeated. “You met pronghorns?”

“I met three of 'em!” Dash said with a grin. “Wait, how did you know about them?”

“They stop by the Palace of the Sun a lot, delivering messages to Princess Celestia! I used to always see them when she was giving me private lessons,” the lavender unicorn explained.

“Messengers? Do they risk hoof and head boldly ensuring the dispatch goes through? Oh, brave and noble servants of the global order!” Pinkie Pie said dramatically, holding a hoof to her forehead.

Twilight laughed. “Something like that. They ride lightn- hey! You mentioned lightning!” she said to Dash. “Is that where you got lightning powers? From the pronghorns?”

“Sure did!” the sky-blue pegasus said.

“This is such a neat-sounding story!” the pink earth pony exclaimed, bouncing up and down where she stood. “You should tell it to us! You should tell us right now!”

“Story?” Rarity repeated. She shared a glance with Applejack and Rainbow Dash.

“Huh,” Applejack said. “Y'know... thinkin' back on the whole ordeal... it does make quite a story.”

“And I for one want to hear every bit of it!” Twilight Sparkle said with a smile.

“I gotta warn you, sugarcube,” Applejack said, “it's a real long story, too.”

“We've got all day!” Spike said, pointing up at a window. Sure enough, the sun hadn't even reached its apex- it wasn't even noon.

“Hmm,” Applejack began. Suddenly, a long, gray length of rope dropped out of the air right in front of her. She squealed so loudly the other ponies drew back. “ROPEY! I really can’t lose ya! Oh, Ropey, you’re the best rope ever!” She hugged it close.

“Okay, now I have to hear this story,” Twilight said with a puzzled smile.

“Well...” Dash said, a note of uncertainty in her voice- but she was playing. Rarity wasn't the only one who knew how to handle an audience.

“Please tell us,” Fluttershy said; even she sounded excited.

“I'll lend you my ear, I would much like to hear,” Zecora said, trotting over and sitting down amid the others.

“I suppose you all deserve to know,” Rarity said. She used her magic and removed her helmet, shaking out her violet mane. “At the very least, you deserve to know why it took so long.”

“I'm okay with tellin', provided we can stop for lunch at some point,” Applejack said, setting her rope aside. “I got a hankerin' for fresh apples from Sweet Apple Acres!”

“Sure! We'll tell you everything!” Rainbow Dash said. “In fact, I bet you two will like some of the parts of the story I have to tell!” she glanced at Rarity and Applejack. “I didn't really go into detail about what happened with Niles and the other pronghorns.”

“I got some stuff that happened twixt me and Ashtail... maybe I'll say it,” Applejack said, and Pinkie grinned at the change in her voice.

“I also had things happen to me that you two weren't around for,” Rarity added. “Hm, I suppose now we're all going to learn the full story of our journey.”

“I gotta go get Sweetie Belle an' Scootaloo!” Apple Bloom cried, bouncing to her hooves. “They're gonna wanna hear this too!”

“Yes, please go get Sweetie!” Rarity said with a smile. “Oh, I so want to see her!”

“Go an' get Big Macintosh, too, why don't ya?” Applejack said. “An' tell him to bring apples!”

“Sure will!” Apple Bloom said, dashing for the door.

“I got a feeling we're gonna need some tea,” Spike said, standing up and heading for the kitchen.

“Good idea, Spike!” Twilight Sparkle said. She smiled. “And once you've got the kettle on, go get a quill- and plenty of paper.”

That night, high above the fields of Equestria, in the great shining city of Canterlot, deep within the Palace of the Sun, Princess Celestia sat in her private chambers, a fire blazing in the enormous fireplace to keep out the chill that still pervaded the spring nights. A short ground desk sat in front of her, and next to it was a large stack of official papers: dispatches, reports, proclamations, orders for the various ministries that helped Equestria function. Flipping through a report on imports, she told herself for the hundredth time that she really should have been in bed. She didn't need to sleep- not with her divinity- but she liked it, liked the chance to rest her mind and dream. Since Luna had retaken control of the night and all its business, she had been able to reclaim the full night off she used to enjoyed more than a thousand years ago. So she really should have been in bed. But old habits died hard, and a thousand year habit of burning the midnight oil was a difficult one to break. There was another, even older habit at work also: her tendency to want to know as many details of the country's functioning as she could. When she had been much younger, her urge had been to micro-manage everything she could get her hooves on. Thousands of years of life had taught her to be more relaxed- but the impulse to be controlling was still there.

Still, she squelched it now, as she had learned to do, and with a golden shimmer of her large horn she set the report aside. It could wait until morning. The white winged unicorn rose to her hooves, her shining aurora mane billowing in divine wind. Stretching her great wings briefly, she turned and began to head for her bedroom. She had barely taken a step, however, when a trail of shimmering purple energy slithered down from a high window, stopping just in front of her. It sparkled briefly for a moment, then swirled, and a rolled-up scroll popped into being, tied with red ribbon.

Oh, Twilight, Celestia thought with a smile. She had wondered when she would be getting her student's next friendship report. In fact, it had worried her for a while: Twilight Sparkle hadn't sent her a report in almost two weeks, and she usually managed at least one report weekly. Still, Twilight was learning about friendship at her own pace, and it wasn't Celestia's business to hurry her, or to pry. She had done enough to set her on the path. Catching the scroll with her telekinesis, the Regent of the Sun was surprised to see that it was not the typical friendship report. Where those were thin, a single sheet of paper, this was a very thick roll, comprising multiple leaves, dozens of pages. No sooner had she begun to ponder the meaning than another cloud of purple magic wafted in through the window, swirling around and materializing into another scroll thick with pages. Then another cloud of magic flew in, and one more, both of them coalescing into rolled-up bundles of numerous pages. As she levitated them all before her, Celestia noticed they were numbered, 1, 2, 3, 4 written on the blank side of the outermost page. Then, a thin stream of purple magic, a fifth one, came in through her window, and when it swirled around it revealed a much thinner scroll, a single page more like what she was used to. It had PLEASE READ FIRST written on the outer side of the page.

Curious, Celestia trotted back to her cushion and settled down upon it, setting the scrolls on the rug beside her. Levitating the indicated scroll, she unwrapped it and unfurled it, reading:

Dear Princess Celestia,

My sincerest apologies for not writing to you over the past twelve days. Unfortunately, I have spent most of them in the grips of a particularly bad case of Horn Rot.

“Oh, dear!” Celestia said softly. “I wish she had told me.” Granted, Horn Rot was a nasty disease, and it would be particularly so for a pony as powerful as Twilight Sparkle. It was also difficult to cure with healing spells, because it just fed on the magic used and caused the victim more pain. Still, Celestia was certain she could have helped- if nothing else, she could have put Twilight into suspended animation while the cure was brewed.

In that time, my friends Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy, along with my other friends Zecora and Apple Bloom, took the best care of me they could, keeping me entertained and tending to me when I became bedridden by the intensity of the disease. In this they were ably assisted by dear Spike.

“My goodness,” Celestia murmured. So it had been bad.

However, I am now completely healed, in as good a health as I was before, so you need not worry. The reason I am so improved is due to the actions of three of my other friends, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and Rarity. They undertook a long journey to the Archback Mountains to find a flowering plant called the Beneviolet, which ultimately cured my Horn Rot and saved my life.

“The Archback Mountains?” Celestia repeated. They were very far away, even on the wing. For three ponies, two of whom she knew were not pegasi, to make such a journey across strange lands was a sign of great bravery indeed. She began to suspect the reason behind the four scrolls, but she continued to read Twilight's letter.

On their journey, they encountered many strange and fascinating lands, and met many amazing and wonderful creatures. These included the ponies of the Kingdom of Gildedale, including their King, Hammer Hoof,

“Ha! So they got through Gildedale?” Celestia smiled, wondering how on earth they had convinced the Daleponies to let them pass. She knew young Hammer Hoof had been quite adamant about keeping magic out of his lands; he had written as much to her in more than one letter. Then she recalled that she had yet to inform Gildedale about Luna's return. She had wanted to go in pony and tell Lord Hammer Hoof herself, but she simply hadn't been able to find the time. Perhaps I should make time, she thought.

three pronghorns from the Pronghorn Network,

“I wonder if they met Clive?” she said. The stoic old pronghorn had been handling her dispatches for almost sixty years now and showed no signs of slowing down. The more recent additions to the route that included Equestria, Niles and Audrey, were also very pleasant- more pleasant than Clive, really, who tended to be a bit stiff and formal. He could also get a bit pompous when he tried to talk about the Dreaming, even to her- who was in the Dreaming all the time anyway.

and the deer of the Shimmerwood, including their ruler, Lady Falalauria.

“They met Lala!” Celestia cried, smiling enormously at the thought of her very old friend. She hadn't seen her in... not terribly long in the grand scheme of things, but far too long for her liking. Then and there she made up her mind: she was going to go visit Gildedale within the fortnight to tell them about Luna, and she would swing by the Shimmerwood as well. Luna could run the country just fine for a day or two.

Through their whole journey, they persevered, drawing strength from each other, learning and growing through their experiences. They have shared their tale with me and my other friends, and I have had Spike transcribe it. It is contained in the other four scrolls I sent you, and I hope that you will read it as well. In my humble estimation, it is a tale worthy of the Royal Archives, a grand story of endurance, courage, and hope.

My own experiences, and the experiences all my friends have shared with me, have taught me a very great lesson about friendship. It is easy to be a friend of somepony when times are good, and all is well. Yet when times are bad, when darkness falls, that is when true friendship shines. A real friendship endures even the stiffest challenges, and a real friend will be by your side to lend a helping hoof not only when you are at your best, but also- especially- when you are at your worst. A real friend will give up much for you- perhaps even their own life. And if you would truly be that pony's friend, you must be prepared to give up just as much in turn. I can only hope that if I am ever called to struggle and sacrifice as much for my friends as they have for me, I will prove worthy of the challenge.

Your Faithful Student,

Twilight Sparkle

Celestia smiled broadly as she finished the letter. She could feel the love and the friendship radiating through Twilight's words- it was obvious she had been touched very deeply by the things her friends had gone through on her behalf. You grow more and more wise every day, Twilight Sparkle, she thought, and so do all your friends. That could only mean good for the world.

With such a strong endorsement from her prized pupil, Celestia could not resist. As she had told herself earlier, it wasn't as though she needed to sleep. She certainly never got tired. Seeking out the first of the four scrolls, she levitated it up with her magic, removed the ribbon, and unfurled it. “I do so love a good adventure story,” she said as she began to read.


Author's Note:

Thank you for reading, everybody! I hope you enjoyed it.

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Comments ( 359 )

Oh look what got posted. This sat in moderation for awhile.

I have fond memories of this story.

So what is it about? Other than Applejack dressing up as Kaine from FF2.

This was one of the first big fics in this fandom wasn't it? Hard to believe its been so long since it was written. It has a few problems with the world-building if I recall but overall its a pretty solid fic.

Is this...?

Is this truly it?

~Skeeter The Lurker

Oh hey, I remember this one. It makes me want to go marathon season one.

Oh hey, one of the epics of yore. It aged well. Still awesome.

Favorite for the title alone. Will read momentarily.

Arzoo #9 · Apr 16th, 2014 · · 1 ·

Description should describe the story. What's currently there is much more of an Author's note kind of thing (no one would complain if you put it at the top of the first chapter). Not everyone knows what your story is about!

It...its here! ITS HERE! ITS HERE!!

The fic that got me back into fanfiction. The fic that got me my writing mojo back and made me love reading fanfics again. You wonderful piece of fiction you! Welcome to the site you wonderful piece of writing!

Oh the things I want to say about this, the reasons why I love it and why it is a fantastic piece of brony fics! This is the stuff I look for in good writing.

I owe so much to this fic, that I can't put it into words.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I remember this. I LOVED this. I need to read it again. (Although I do agree that maybe you should put an actual description at the top of your description, so that people who haven't been reading ponyfic forever will know what this is about.)


...Gonna be reading the SHIT out of this.

~Skeeter The Lurker

Oh hey, look, the fic everyone says is good.
Time to go on an adventure! :pinkiegasp:

Oh, My gosh!:rainbowkiss:

I read this fic so long ago, it was one of the first MLP fics I ever read, and now I can put it in my favorite lists with Fallout: Equestria and the Moonstone Cup! Thank you oh so much! I love you forever!:rainbowkiss:


What he said. This brings back fond memories of the early fic scene in the fandom. For real, this was the first epic-length fic I ever read, and it's still one of the best. Also the first fic I ever marathoned, that is I read it all in the span of two days. At work. Instead of doing my job.

So glad you finally moved it here. :ajsmug:


4240224 Actually, yeah, what he said. Your description isn't really adequate in this state. Would you mind sticking in a short blurb so people know what happens in this story if they haven't read it before?

This was the fic that really got me into ponies. and now it's here :pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy:

Hey there! Welcome to FIMFic. Saw your prior to moving to FIMFic, good to see you here.

Anyhow, best of luck!

Yeah, gotta agree with this dude, only the short description really gives a clue to the reader what the actual story is about. :twilightoops:

Um ,what is this and why is everyone making such a big deal about it?
(Joined the fandom in late 2012)

4240269 Twilight is injured in a magical accident and Rarity, Applejack and Rainbow Dash have to go find a cure for her. Worldbuilding ensues
Basically, this is ponies as written by Tolkien

Oh my gosh! It's finally here! I plan on rereading this soon enough and properly commenting. Just want to say, I loved this story when I first read it! It is truly one of the best MLP fanfictions ever written. :pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy:

Oh I remember reading this way back, good old classic =)

Read this fic back in the day, was one of the first fics I ever read, and it was friggin' epic. Loved the shit out of it, even if it hit its high point rather early on.

Instant Like and Fav. Welcome to fimfiction, Jetfire.



It was one of the best fan fics of 2011, when season one was pretty much over if I remember right. Basically, it's Lord of the Rings meets Friendship is Magic.

You have to understand the context of the fandom when this was written. This was one of the first major full-length fanfics for Pony at the time. Prior to this, most everything was one-shots posted on 4chan and capped by Seth or the like. There was the occasional multi-chapter fic, but nothing of this length or quality.

I joined in late 2012 and I've heard of this story. Read it back when it was on Equestria Daily. This is an MLP fanfiction classic. Probably one of the best MLP fanfictions ever written.

Congratulations on hitting the front page... :)

4240269 There was a time when this story was just as popular as Fallout: Equestria.
You get the vibe of Lord of the Rings from its worldbuilding and action.

The general plot is a group of three finding a purple flower that can cure an illness that happens to be guarded by a giant worm
Actually, that sounds like Three's a Crowd.


Its like


Said, this one of the first epic fics that came out around the time when Season 1 ended. In the midst of things like Fallout Equestria and Past Sins, this one came out in the midst of those two legends. This fic was one of those that was just accessable enough to new readers that it could draw us in. It was one of those that just appeared hen we weren't sure we could have things like FOE and Past Sins, a Fimfiction, or anything we have now. Also, it was the first to be completed and most like the show to keep the people entertained.

4240269 As far as I know, this story pretty much invented a bunch of concepts, too. It was the first story I ever saw with earth pony magic, for example. And I definitely blame this for the deer=elves thing that is super-common in pony fantasy stories. This was hugely influential.

*cough* Forgot the ribbon.*cough*

So happy to see this fic here at last! I've been waiting to be able to put this on my user page favorites for 2 years, and now I can :pinkiecrazy:


Whatever. Read the fic.

~Skeeter The Lurker


At work. Instead of doing my job.

So what you are saying is that nothing has changed. :trollestia:

Cheers, guys. I thought Fimfiction was the only place that pony fanfics were ever published, so pardon my ignorance.
On that note, looks like I have a new project to begin...
Edit: Top of the feature box. Well, that was quick.

Instant like, instant favorite, instant feature.

Sounds about right for what's probably one of the top(est) shelf fics in the fandom.

Going by the fact that the title is a direct quote from The Fellowship of the Ring, this had best be some sort of LotR crossover, or at least an adventure like that...

Son, I read this fic before we even knew Twilight had a brother :moustache::trollestia:

Now I feel old...

Holy crap, it's here.

If I hadn't read this story in those halcyon days of 2011, I would never have started writing fanfiction. Not just fanfiction about ponies -- fanfiction at ALL. Horrendously opposed to it before, actually.

For what my gratitude is worth, thanks for posting this here. Looking forward to reliving my earlier participation in the fandom by reading this soon. :D

Oh man, now this takes me back. To like, this time in 2011, but still.

Seriously, this is like Tolkien for the fandom in some ways. Deer!Elves, Earth Pony Magic, Horns generalized as magical implements regardless of species, huge influence on the early thinking about the geography of Equestria. Good stuff.

You trying to tell me this wasn't here before? That's crazy! I remember reading this while waiting for Season 2, had the fantastic luck to discover the series in the break between the first two seasons really shortly after the first one ended, and I got super hooked to it. So in a desperate attempt to get more pony, I turned to fanfics.

Boy, was I glad I did when I found this one.

And I'm freaking reading it again to commemorate, aw yeah!


I was meaning to read this about two years ago. Then I forgot. Crap.

But now it's here, so I can have my favorites tracker constantly nag me about it. Hooray!


>before we even knew Twilight had a brother

So, what, late S2? This was written just after S1.

I think I read it on the post season 1 hiatus, actually. Feels like forever ago.


Thank God I'm not the only one who saw that! :derpytongue2:

No issue, brah. The story isn't perfect, as it suffers from a giant, glaring plothole the size of Phoenix... but I will guarantee you will not even notice it until after you read it. It has flaws, but it doesn't detract from the story.

Pretty much. It was a gateway story. All downhill from there...

Author Interviewer

Oh good, I wasn't happy with the first chapter of my audiobook for this, so now I have a good reason to start over. Welcome to Fimfic! :D

Mark everything as read, upvote, fav, comment because of awesomeness.

I remember when i read this back on EQD, i was so hesitant to do it for some reason, don't remember why but i had it on my list of things to read for months, and once i started i was so captivated by it that i blasted through the entire thing over a weekend. :twilightsmile:

This was - and is - still just about my favourite pony story, and I still have yet to see one it's equal. There have been others that were good in different ways, but so far, only Under the Northern Lights and Tears of Gaia have come close to hitting the same tone. (The fact that Lord of the Rings is my favourite book has, of course... actually probably quite a lot of bearing on it!)

And... you say what you "will write next..." Is... that a suggestion you intend to write a sequel...? Because... I have no words...

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