• Published 26th Nov 2011
  • 5,374 Views, 163 Comments

My Little Pony: Prime - Brony Tom


A sinister poison corrupts ponies and twists them into horrid mockeries of their old selves.

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6: Stirring

Part 6

The gray pegasus fluttered haphazardly along the familiar path towards Zecora’s house in the Everfree, her mailbag empty except for one last letter. The ‘show’ earlier that day had turned into a nightmare, but Ditzy had no intention of letting that get in the way of delivering the mail. She’d never missed a day, not in all her years of working as a mailmare.

One of the perks of being the mail carrier was that everypony knew you, and you knew everypony else, and one pony- or rather, one zebra- that Ditzy had gotten to know pretty well was Zecora. Even though not much was sent to the zebra through the mail, Ditzy had had enough letters and packages come through that she’d become fast friends with the striped mare.

So today, when Ditzy arrived to find Zecora spreading glowing green powder around her house with deep chants and a good amount of dancing about, she was surprised enough to forget to flap her wings, and fell to the ground unceremoniously. Whipping around into a defensive posture, the Zebra settled when she saw it was just Ditzy, she eased her stance.

“A pleasant sight to sore eyes, Miss Doo.

It’s always good to see a friend like you.”

Frowning, Derpy pulled out the letter she’d brought and passed it to her friend, who opened and read it on the spot. She also frowned in turn.

“Uh, Zecora, what exactly is going on? Why are you putting up a barrier around your house?”

The zebra sighed before beginning to speak.

“Something dark in the forest stirs,

A sinister presence amongst the firs.

I know not what it has in mind;

And to find out I am not inclined.”

Zecora turned and resumed working on the green, misty barrier.

“But enough about me and my troubles, dear.

What are you up to, are you in good cheer?”

Ditzy ignored the questions she had about the letter and the thing that Zecora sensed in the forest.

“Well, I ran into Rainbow Dash again,” said Ditzy almost routinely. At Zecora’s curious look she elaborated. “No, Zecora, I didn’t remember the trick you suggested; I still babbled out ‘muffin’s. Anyway, do you remember that time I told you about that showmare that came to town, ‘The Great and Powerful Trixie’?” Ditzy asked. Zecora nodded, so the mailmare continued. “Well, she came back today to do a show, but it turned out that... she wanted revenge, instead. She had some kind of bone to pick with Twilight, so she and Twilight ended up battling in the middle of Ponyville.”

“Surely somepony intervened to stop the fight?

I can’t imagine one to enjoy such a sight.”

“Well, that’s just it, Zecora. Trixie was really powerful, she put up some kind of magical barrier that nopony could break through.”

Zecora frowned again.

“Such magic I’ve not heard done by any but the Princess,

Yet you say this mare cast it under duress?

I do not feel this bodes us well, my friend,” said Zecora, pausing. After some thought, she continued.

“I think, however, you should leave before day’s end,” suggested the black and white equestrian as she gestured towards the darkening evening sky. Ditzy nodded reluctantly in agreement, still curious about the letter and a host of other things. She flapped her wings and took off for Ponyville, leaving the striped mare to her zebra magic.

She didn’t notice that she was being watched.

-----

Princess Celestia sat serenely in her study, looking over some old texts about Changeling society and psychology. Her setting sun cast long shadows throughout the room, giving the air a strangely immutable feeling, as though the sun would always hang just over the horizon. The Princess of the Day was enjoying the quiet solitude, as times like these were hard to come by.

So, when a loud, hard knocking sound came at the door, Celestia sighed deeply, then opened the door with her magic, not even bothering to turn around.

“Yes?” she asked, skillfully keeping the annoyance out of her voice.

“Princess, I know you asked to not be interrupted, but...” began the Captain, one of the few times he was at a loss for words. “Celestia, there’s been an incident.”

“Yes, Captain, there are many ‘incident’s that occur. Perhaps you could be a bit more specific?” inquired the Princess, an air of unease about her. She'd rarely heard Shining Armor address her as just 'Celestia'.

“Well, Princess, it’s- it’s Twilight, Your Highness. She’s been injured. Badly. She might not make it.”

The Princess’ insides tied into a Gordian knot and her blood turned to ice in her veins. Using every trick she’d learned over the last thousand years, she managed to maintain her composure even as her mind was cast into turmoil.

“Twilight was injured?” asked Celestia evenly. She finally turned to face the captain, who had an intensely worried look in his eyes. She took a deep breath, knowing what needed to be done. “Please, Shining Armor, you will fill me in as we go. Arrange an escort to Ponyville for myself and Luna, if she is awake and feeling well enough to travel. I assume news of this... ‘incident’ has made it to the press?”

“Yes, Princess, Equestria Daily ran a special evening print not an hour ago,” he said. The Captain lingered for a moment, staring straight through Celestia’s mask, until with a gentle nod she dismissed him. He trotted out of the room, and the Princess thought she heard a sniffle.
Twilight, hold on. Just hold on, I’ll be there soon, and everything will be better, I promise... Celestia thought as she stared out the window, a few rainbow-colored tears leaking out of her eyes.


Luna was lazily weaving her way through the royal garden, having decided to deal with the important budget work in a little while, when she was more focused and alert. The Night Princess stopped to look at her reflection in a little pond, marveling at the smooth, crystalline rendition of the sky and clouds above, as well as of her own regal demeanor. She thought she saw a faint light blue coloration in her normally darker eyes, but upon closer inspection it proved elusive. Shrugging, Luna continued on.

She wasn’t quite sure how she’d gotten to be in this situation. All she could remember was her encounter with that strange mare outside of Ponyville, then waking up in her room the next evening with a pounding headache and a heavy sense of deja vu and lethargy.

The Princess heard another pony approaching, and by the weight of the hoofsteps she was reasonably certain that it was Captain Shining Armor. She turned to acknowledge him, and saw by the look on his face that something was wrong. The white unicorn took a deep breath and began.

“Princess Luna, your sister inquires whether you feel well enough to make a trip to Ponyville with her,” said the captain, using formality as a crutch with which to maintain his impassive demeanor. “Celestia’s personal student, Twilight Sparkle, was injured, and the Princess is going to Ponyville to see her; she also requested your accompaniment.”

Luna frowned; she’d only recently gotten to know Twilight, after the adventures of Nightmare Night, but the fact that Twilight was hurt and Celestia was going to see her was unsettling. Celestia had always told Luna that they, as alicorns, should not use their powers to play favorites, or help one pony over another. After all, if they healed one pony of a disease, everypony would want the same treatment when they got sick.

Now, considering that Twilight was her sister’s prized student, Celly seemed to be breaking her own rule, and that made Luna question just what was going on with her sister. After a moment of thought, she addressed the captain, mimicking his formal tone out of sympathy for him.

“Very well, Shining Armor. Inform my sister that I shall accompany her to Ponyville. Where is the escort? I assume she’s arranged for one.”

“The escort will meet you in front of the palace, milady,” said the captain before turning and marching away.

What are you doing, Celly? wondered the Princess of the Night as she flew back to her room to fetch a few things for the journey.


Celestia trotted towards the chariot waiting for her at the entrance to the castle, a flock of guards accompanying her. Luna was already inside the chariot, waiting for her. The white alicorn passed through the large entryway and hopped into the chariot, and then they were off. As the royal chariot lifted off into the sky, Luna leaned over towards her sister and whispered into her ear.

“Celly, what are you doing?”

“Visiting the site of a terrible disaster, in which several ponies were injured. As the Princess, I- we must show concern for our subjects,” said the Day Princess, her voice much more smooth than it should have been.

“I know that this visit has something to do with Twilight, sister,” bluffed the dark blue alicorn, hoping to draw out some hint that her assertion was true.

“Indeed it does, Luna,” Celestia said evasively. “Twilight was one of the ponies injured, not to mention the pony who... who killed another.” The white princess stumbled a bit on this last bit.

“Celly, what exactly happened in Ponyville?” asked Luna, surprise and curiosity overtaking her.

“Well, Luna, a few months back, only a little while after your return, there was a traveling unicorn showmare that showed up in Ponyville,” explained the elder sister. “If I recall correctly, Twilight wrote of her as ‘Trixie’. There was the mishap with the Ursa Minor; I believe you’re familiar with that one. As I was informed by the captain, this mare, Trixie, came back to Ponyville, looking for trouble. She was particularly incensed with Twilight, and was apparently much more powerful than she should have been; she somehow acquired a pair of wings.”

“What?!” Luna burst out, surprising the guards and causing them to tighten into a defensive formation. “Sorry to scare you all like that,” she apologized. “I was simply surprised, that’s all.”

The pegasi returned to their normal formation, and Luna turned back to her sister.

“Celly, you say she had wings? And a horn? How did she become an alicorn? The only way to do that is to-”

“I know, Luna, how a pony might become an alicorn. I do not know whether or not this mare possessed the means to do so, which is the part that bothers me. What other power could there be that she could have used?

“Anyway, sister, Trixie found Twilight and trapped her in a containment spell, then fought her to the death. Only, it ended up being Trixie who died, and the two had an incredibly destructive battle. Twilight almost died, and is still in mortal danger if I don’t-” Celestia caught herself before she finished that sentence. The two alicorns were silent for the rest of the journey, neither wanting to say what was on their mind and hanging over their heads.

-----

The entity was only vaguely aware of its existence, phasing in and out of consciousness in the painful haze of its being. It was like she had been torn into a million minute shreds, and now was slowly, sluggishly weaving herself back together. The very slowness of the process seemed to increase the pain she felt, and no matter how hard she tried to thrash around or alleviate it, there was no escape. The half-pony felt like she would go mad if this went on any longer; or rather, become more insane than she already felt.

That’s when she realized that she could feel. And see. And smell. The wretched thing took stock of its surroundings, and recognized it’s location. It was lying on the ground near a lake of a shimmering, quivering blue gel that radiated a feeling of life and energy. Nearby was her cart, right where she’d left it. Feeling a bit stronger, the pain fading just slightly, the thing rose to its hooves- or rather, what could only be described as vaguely resembling hooves, underneath the claws that were growing out of the ends of her limbs. She looked into the pool and was able to see a reflection of herself.

“Trixie is not pleased,” said the thing. She held up a hoof-appendage, and was able to see through it like it was near-invisible glass. The mare stared right on through it, her face an unreadable mask of glowing, translucent granite.

After an indeterminate amount of time, during which the agony of reassembly continued unabated, Trixie turned and trotted away, only to feel the pain double in intensity. She dropped to the ground and felt herself forcefully dragged back towards the pool of Phazon, eventually submerging into the frosty, nurturing depths.

-----

Applejack trotted slowly out of the hospital room, an exhausted frown on her face. She slowly, gently tapped the door shut behind her, hoping to avoid disturbing her other four conscious friends inside. She moved at a snail’s pace, eventually making her way to the front lobby. It felt strange sitting in the room again, two times in as many days. It reminded the farmer of the time that she and her friends had masqueraded as Mare-Do-Well, because there seemed to be a streak of accidents shaking up the town non-stop.

The room itself was fairly bland, a decent number of chairs, benches, and tables spread throughout the plain white-walled room. There were several other ponies in the room, most of whom were hoping to hear some news about Twilight. After the initial swarm of questions, Applejack sank into a chair, the reality of the day’s events only starting to fall into place in her mind.

“The doctors don’t know,” said the orange mare, hoping to appease the crowd’s curiosity. Many of the ponies’ faces fell, most trotting out of the room as if running from the truth of it.

Applejack heard a wheezing cough from the hospital wing, one that sounded familiar. Turning her head, the farmer saw the gray mare, Puzzle, limp out of the hall and into the room. She had a few bandages on her, the most obvious of which was all over her neck. Applejack figured the white strips were covering up the scorch marks that splotched her fur. The stetson-wearing pony watched the sunglasses-wearing one make her way to the door.

Applejack felt herself standing up and trotting towards the door, making it there before Puzzle. She nudged open the door for the gray mare, who glowered at her from behind the tinted lenses.

“I can get the door myself just fine, thanks,” protested the gray unicorn. Frowning, Applejack allowed the door to swing shut, and Puzzle snorted as she leaned into the wooden frame. She paused for a moment, breathing in, and she shoved open the door. A gasp of pain escaped her lungs, but she trotted triumphantly out the entryway despite that.

“Are ya okay?” asked the orange mare, somewhat patronizingly, although with a hint of real concern tucked away in her tone.

“Fine.”

“I’m sure.”

Puzzle huffed, and the two strolled through Ponyville aimlessly. They trotted past almost every store in the town, some multiple times. It was like the two were battling each other not physically, but mentally, seeing which would be the first to give in and go home. Applejack dug in her metaphorical hooves, determined to win out in their small-scale struggle.

Having practiced against Rainbow Dash, Applejack had a distinct advantage, and it proved decisive; after almost an hour of wandering, Puzzle turned exasperatedly to her shadow.

“Why are you following me?” asked the gray mare, conceding.

“I don’t rightfully know, but I’d like to,” replied Applejack. “I guess I’m jus’ confused; ya didn’t seem like the type who’d give a darn about another pony.”

Puzzle was silent for a moment as they continued along, passing Sugarcube Corner for a third time.

“Why does that concern you?” she asked at last.

“You almost died,” said the farmer flatly.

“Why does that concern you?” Puzzle repeated, overtly sarcastic, but Applejack’s keen sense for ponies picked up a tinge of genuine curiosity.

“You didn’t have to do it.”

“And?”

“Not every pony would,” pointed out the orange pony.

“I know,” said the gray mare evenly, but the farmer knew better; she could tell that something was bothering Puzzle.

“Is there anything I can do for you?” asked Applejack, almost afraid of the answer; however, she knew that in order to get to the bottom of this, she’d need to put some things on the line.

“I don’t need your help,” grumbled Puzzle. Applejack smiled smugly and let silence do the work that no words she spoke could ever hope to. Again locked in a contest of wills, the two mares continued their perpetual trot around Ponyville. They were actually beginning to garner some stares, more so than an injured pony might warrant in the town. Deciding to give up the battle before she got too invested in it, Puzzle broke the silence.

“By Celestia’s Beard, you are a persistent little bugger!” she exclaimed. “If you care so much, then yes, there might be something you can do.” The gray mare paused as long as she could, putting off the inevitable by distracting herself with her fetlocks, or adjusting her sunglasses. At last, she ran out of excuses, and mumbled almost inaudibly, “I’m kind of strapped for cash... As in, I have no money, except for what I’ve got on me. Could you maybe, um, get me a job?”

“Aw, shucks, sugarcube. If all ya needed was a few bits, why didn’t ya jus’ say so?” asked Applejack, her tone softening. “It’s almost Applebuck Season, I’m sure we could use an extra set of helpin’ hooves around the farm.”

Applejack thought she saw the gray mare twitch, but couldn’t be sure. The gray pony certainly had a stony expression, almost completely unreadable even to the orange farmpony.

“Yeah. Applebucking. Great. When can I start?” asked Puzzle, her voice slipping back into that annoying tone that grated on Applejack’s nerves. “And more importantly, what’s the pay?”

I’m gonna regret this, ain’t I... thought the farmer to herself. Outwardly, she smiled slightly.

“Well, ya can start right now, if ya want, and we’ve got a spare room in the house if ya need it. We’ll talk about your wages when we get there.”

The gray mare simply nodded and trotted off, Applejack looking after her with a puzzled expression on her face.