• Published 6th Aug 2014
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The Royal Apples: Into the Land of Neverwere - Radical Gopher



Mac finds himself uncertain as to his role as the new Prince of Equestria.

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Chapter 16

The changelings advanced menacingly into the library, spreading out to prevent any of the ponies in front of them from escaping through the main door. The girls all backed up slowly, trying to keep some distance between themselves and their opponents, all that is except for Rainbow Dash and Babs.

“All right you bug eyed monsters... You want a piece of me? You’ve got it,” snarled the cyan pegasus. Like a bolt, she shot forward and spun in mid-air, landing a solid left rear hoof against what she thought was the leader. The changeling tumbled back into its companions, knocking one over before coming to a stop. It rose, then hissed angrily. Rainbow back-flapped trying to gain enough range for another flying kick. In the process she lifted several feet into the air, then bumped into one of the cobwebs running between the ceiling and floor. Within seconds she found her wings completely ensnared by the sticky material.

“Arg! Let loose, let loose!” she swore, pulling desperately against the spider silk.

“Hang on!” called Rarity. She quickly studied the webbing, then her horn lit up. She grabbed a loose thread with her telekinesis and pulled. The entire structure trapping Rainbow unwove like a piece of knitting. Diving free the pegasus landed next to the fashionista.

“That was pretty cool... thanks.”

Smiling the unicorn aimed her horn again. “If you think that was something, watch this.” She pulled on several different threads simultaneously. An entire section of cobwebs came free and dropped on two of the changelings, tangling them in a mass of translucent silk. “Never mess with a seamstress where cloth is involved,” she grinned wickedly. Seconds later a heavy, leather bound book struck Rarity in the face, knocking her momentarily senseless.

“That is no way to treat a book!” Trixie yelled indignantly. Her own horn dropped and a blast of magical energy nailed one of the changelings in the face. “Or a lady!!!”

One of the little monsters charged towards Babs, its jaws wide and long, sharp fangs exposed. Instead of retreating however, she calmly reached under her jacket and pulled out her service revolver. Seeing the weapon pointed at its head, the changeling screeched to a stop. “Aww! The poor little thing. Youse brought yer TEETH but didn’t know this was a gun fight!”

The creature ducked, then turned and ran back the way it came. Babs smiled. “That’s right... youse better run!”

Rarity picked herself up of the floor and put a hoof to her muzzle. “Ow!” She then looked over at the police pony. “I thought you once told me that the only thing the Manehatten police carried were rubber bullets?”

“Well... He didn’t know that. And what he doesn’t know won’t hurt us.”

“Looks like we’re whittling them down to size,” grinned Rainbow. A moment later at least nine more changelings pushed their way into the library. The grin faded. “Or not?”

“We’ve got to protect the stones...” said Trixie. “They’re our only clue to the elements.” She blasted yet another of the monsters in the face. As she did, two more slammed into her. One tried biting down on her leg, but broke its fangs on her brace. It rolled away holding its front hooves to its mouth. Rainbow gave the other one a solid kick, sending it across the room and into one of the bookcases. Its impact buried the monster under a small pile of books.

Off to one side Pinkie was aiming a large, colorful cannon she’d pulled out of her mane. “Okay you evil, grinning minions. It’s your choice. Cake or Death!” Three of the creatures charged her even as she pulled the lanyard. “Okay... CAKE IT IS!” A huge cannonball that looked suspiciously like a pineapple upside down cake flew from the cannon’s muzzle, blasting them back out the door. They hit the far wall of the corridor and found themselves glued there by the splattered, sugary confection.

Five more changelings joined the fight, driving the six ponies back towards a corner of the library. They quickly discovered they were being crowded into an area too small to fight in. Desperately, they continued to kick, butt, slam and bounce against their opponents. More of the creatures joined the struggle making resistance harder and harder to manage.

Just as it looked as if the six friends would be trapped, a black curtain seemed to descend on the room. Within seconds Chrysalis’ minions found themselves being inundated by thousands of the small star spiders. Spinning their webs furiously, the arachnid army bound the changelings so tightly they could not move, let alone attack the others. The library abruptly went silent, save for the muffled moans and hisses of the chitin clad creatures.

“What just happened?” asked a mystified Trixie. “Who got the spiders working for us?”

“Um... I guess I did, sort of...” muttered Fluttershy in a very timid voice.

“Youse?” asked Babs.

“Well, not me, really,” Fluttershy replied, holding out one of her wings, upon which sat a slightly larger than normal spider. “It was Wilbur. He was kind of upset that his library was being damaged, not to mention their homes.”

“HIS library?”

“Uh huh. I explained to him about the changelings and he and his friends decided to help us.”

“Way to go Flutters,” grinned Rainbow. “I didn’t know you spoke star spider.”

“Well, actually I don’t, but I have talked to the spiders around my house occasionally, and their language is very similar, except for the way they conjugate their adverbs and use double negatives as a positive pronoun.”

“Bilingualism aside, we really need to get out of here and find someplace safe from any more changelings,” Trixie pointed out.

“Wilbur says he knows a place.”

“Okay then Wilber... Youse can lead da way,” Babs replied.

Spinning a tiny thread, the spider lowered itself from the yellow pegasus’ wing and scuttled across the floor. When it reached the bookcase along the far wall it clambered upward then across to one particular book which it then tapped on several times.

“I think he wants somepony to pull that book out,” said Fluttershy.

“I’ve got it.” Rarity’s horn glowed and the heavy tome tilted outward until there was an audible click. The entire bookcase recessed into the wall, then slid aside revealing yet another secret passage.

“Ooo! This looks interesting,” said Pinkie. “I wonder where it goes?”

“Someplace away from them, I hope,” Babs responded pointing at the now silent changelings.

“Well, there’s only one way to find out.” Trixie strode boldly into the corridor, lighting her horn so they could all see. “Bring the stone orbs,” she called over her shoulder. “But make sure you’re carrying one without your cutie mark.”

All five mares scooped up the rocks and followed her. As the last of the ponies passed through the door, it slid shut behind them, leaving a library full of scuttling spiders and screeching changelings.

**********

“I swear, I am going to FIND who’s responsible and then I will SUCK THEM DRY!!” A very angry and thoroughly drenched Chrysalis slogged into the throne room, her wings, mane and tail sloppily trailing behind her. Bits of moss hung from her chitin and filled numerous holes across her body. A lily pad hung, impaled, from her horn and her crown had now become the throne for one of the resident frogs.

Sombra couldn’t help but gloat. “Enjoy your dip in the moat? I must say, that new look suits you perfectly.” His ersatz compliment was rewarded by the wet slap of both the lily pad and frog in his face.

Five of the queen’s changelings surrounded her and began fanning her with their wings, blowing away the excess moisture from her body and drying her mane and tail. A sixth worked to remove the moss from her holes. Her attention was abruptly drawn away from her servants by the sound of a loud moan.

“Ooohhh! What just happened?” Flim slowly rose from the floor and put a hoof to the side of his head, his eyes screwed tightly shut. “Why do I feel like I just drank several gallons of cider?” He wobbled for a bit, then settled back on his flank. “Say Flam... you wouldn’t have a couple of aspirin on you?” The lanky, white-furred pony started moving his hooves slowly around his face. One hoof touched the broken stub of his horn. His eyes shot open. “MY HORN!”

“It’s alright brother... It will grow back eventually,” replied Sombra as he quickly shifted into the mustached form of Flam and put a hoof on his shoulder.

Flim looked up at his brother, then noticed the ruined throne room. His eyes wandered about. “Just where in Celestia are we? Last I remember, we were trying to hock some cheap looking jewelry to a museum claiming they were ancient artifacts. Flim’s gaze came to rest on the chrystal imprisoning Big Mac. “SWEET MOTHER OF EDISON...! is that an...an...alicorn PRINCE??!!”

“Yes indeed, brother of mine,” Flam replied. “As a matter of fact, I was just wrapping up negotiations with our client here to take him off our hooves for a rather tidy sum.”

“How much?” Flim whispered, reaching out to touch the chrystal.

“Enough to take care of both of us for the rest of our lives, in luxury.”

“Well that’s certainly nice, but it doesn’t explain why my horn’s broken or how we got here. Why don’t I remember seeing this before?” Flim asked, turning to face his brother. As he did his eyes caught sight of the Changeling Queen. “AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH! CHRYSALIS! CHRYSALIS! CHRYSALIS!” He jumped up and climbed Flam’s back like a mountain, screaming incoherently the whole time.

Chrysalis sighed in annoyance and shot a flick of energy from her horn, striking Flim in the eyes. He immediately sagged and rolled off of Flam’s shoulders, dropping heavily onto the floor where he started quietly snoring. “That was mildly annoying,” she said.

“Yes,” Flam agreed as he shifted once more into the form of Sombra. “Perhaps now would be a good time to add him to your....’collection?’”

Before she could reply, an out of breath changeling burst into the throne room. “Poniesss... Poniesss in library. Come quick, quick.... catch them.”

“You found the library?” smiled Chrysalis.

“Yes, majesty... Poniesss there now... hurry.” The queen looked over at Sombra.

“Would you be kind enough to take my minions, gather up our want-to-be heroes and bring them back here, along with anything they may have found. I’ll take care of your ‘brother’ and keep an eye on our mysterious friend here.”

“As you wish. Just remember... HE will want to deal with the alicorn himself,” the king reminded her before galloping out of the room, the changelings buzzing madly around him.

Chrysalis smiled. “Oh I’ll remember.” She slowly sauntered over to the unconscious Flim and examined him for a moment. “Even with your horn broken, you’ll make a wonderful addition. I just have to think of an appropriate pose.”

Trapped in the chrystal, Big Mac could only watch out of the corner of his eye as the queen walked hungrily around the slender pony. Raising her tail, there was a brief flash as it suddenly transformed into a long, tapered appendage with a tuft of fur on the end. The tuft then shaped itself into a set of fingers and thumb before snapping loudly. There was a flash and the pony vanished. Once the spell was finished, the queen’s tail reverted to its normal form.

Looking up, Chrysalis saw that Big Mac had been watching her. She smiled wickedly. “Wheels within wheels,” she chuckled, “but being nobility you are undoubtedly familiar with that... Or are you?” She walked back to the dais, avoiding the thrones this time. “Don’t worry... soon you and your friends will cease to be a threat and I will have all Equestria, and the world, for my very own...forever.”

**********

The passageway was not very long at all. Within moments the six ponies found themselves in a small room off the main library. It was much cleaner than the previous room, with not one cobweb anywhere in sight. “There’s a lot more innate magic here. It’s much more concentrated as well,” Trixie observed.

“What kind of magic are we talking about?” asked Babs.

“Preservation spells for the most part. Not just on the books, but pretty much everything here. I also feel several different kind of concealment spells. I don’t think this place will be easy to find, for either Sombra or Chrysalis.”

“It looks rather like a reading room,” Fluttershy said. “Just look at the way the cushions are arranged.”

“A lot fewer book cases as well, and fewer books.” Rarity looked around briefly. “We must have stumbled upon one of the pony sisters’ rooms.”

“Judging from the design on the window, this place must have once been Princess Celestia’s private retreat.” Every pony looked where Trixie was pointing. Sure enough, the stained glass window depicted several stylized images of the sun, each reflecting one of the four seasons.

“If this place is concealed the way you said, maybe we can hide here long enough to figure out these stone symbols,” offered Rainbow Dash.

“Good idea,” said Pinkie. “The sooner we do this, the sooner I can get back to entertaining other ponies.” Everypony agreed. Each then took out the orb they had been holding and placed them in a circle on the ground.

“Alright,” instructed Trixie. “We each have to touch the orb with our cutie mark on it. Fluttershy, you were going to be last the last time we tried this, so why don’t you start off?”

“Are you sure,” she asked.

“Aw come on Flutters,” urged Rainbow. “Just do it.”

Carefully, the yellow pegasus reached out a hoof and placed it atop the stone with her three butterflies. The orb glowed in response.

“Kind of weird that these stones all have our own cutie marks. Why do you suppose that is?” asked Rarity.

“Maybe we all have some kind of connection with the elements. Heck, as far as we know, we might even be the elements.” Pinkie grinned and reached out a hoof , touching the stone with three balloons on it. The others all followed suit. As soon as the last pony had their hooves touching the orb there was a brilliant flash of light. When it cleared they all saw the stone orbs had all shattered to gravel.

“Okay,.. What next?” Babs asked. They didn’t have long to wait. Six translucent chrystal shards rose from each pile of debris and slowly began circling the five ponies. The shards began spinning faster and faster until they were a blur.

“This is weird,” said Rainbow. “I think I’m starting to hear some kind of echo in my head, like a song, but it only repeats one word.”

“So do I.”

“Me too... me too!”

“I hear it as well, darling.”

“I think we all hear it.” Babs looked over at Trixie noting the confused expression on her face. “Don’t you hear nothing?”

“No,” she admitted. “I don’t. What words are you hearing? The girls all answered at once, creating a cacophony of sound.

“Charity...My word!”

“Honesty...Yowsers!”

“Loyalty...Whoa... cool!”

“Laughter... Hee, Hee... it tickles!”

“Kindness...Oh my!

As each word was spoken the shards vanished and were replaced by a gold necklace that trailed around the neck of each pony. Every necklace contained a gem the same color and shape as the bearer’s cutie mark.

“Hey, looky here!” cried Pinkie. They all followed her gaze. In the center of their circle a silver light began coalescing. As they watched, it took on the shape of a wand and crescent moon.

Rarity smiled. “I think this one’s yours, Trixie.”

The silver maned unicorn looked up at the glowing symbol. “When the first five elements are found, the sixth shall appear.” Stepping into the center of the circle she slowly raised a hoof to touch it.”

“Which element is it?” asked Fluttershy.

“Magic,” Trixie whispered as her hoof touched the glowing icon. There was a multi-colored flash of rainbow light and the world just... vanished.

To be continued......

Author's Note:

And here we go again. Please read, enjoy and comment.