• Published 5th Jul 2015
  • 3,823 Views, 325 Comments

The Phantom Pony of Everfree - LightningSword

Who is the Phantom Pony of Everfree? What is he? And can he be approached with anything but fear?

  • ...


“Hmm . . . I wonder if Fluttershy's back yet.”

Rainbow Dash trotted briskly to the edge of the Everfree Forest. She'd been waiting all day for Fluttershy to come back from Zecora's house so they could get together for Rainbow Dash's daily workout (Fluttershy had promised to help her stay in shape for her probable re-entry into the Wonderbolt Academy). She'd reached a point where she'd become eager enough to make her way to the edge of the woods and meet her on her way out.

Dash stopped at the edge of the forest and peered inside, hoping to see Fluttershy coming out of the trees. No sooner than the moment she sat down, she heard what sounded like a roar of some kind. It came from well beyond the border to the woods, and seemed animalistic in a way. When the sound finished, Dash held back a shudder when she realized the roar sounded somewhat like the word “out”. A split-second later, Dash heard a scream—one she could place instantly.

“Fluttershy!” she gasped, standing up straight. She rushed to the edge and stuck her head inside the dark woods, calling out for her friend, “Fluttershy! Hey, Fluttershy, was that you?! Are you all right?!” Not receiving an answer right away, Dash prepared to jump in and save her from whatever perils she had seen. Just as she jumped past the border and into the woods, a yellow-and-pink blur came speeding out the other way. The sheer force of its speed knocked Dash back out of the forest and into the grass.

Dash glanced back and forth from the woods to the direction of the yellow blur. “Fluttershy . . . ?” There was no doubt that it was her; Dash had even briefly heard heavy crying as she came running out. She combined this with the fact that she'd ran fast enough to almost beat Rainbow Dash's best flight time (almost, she stressed in her thoughts), and her mind began to buzz with confusion and worry. What could possibly have upset Fluttershy so badly? How could a simple trip into the Everfree Forest to visit Zecora, possibly end with poor Fluttershy being frightened to tears?

After sitting dumbstruck for a few seconds, Rainbow Dash finally spoke, “This looks pretty serious. I'd better get the others . . . .”

Rainbow Dash gathered Twilight Sparkle, Rarity, Pinkie Pie and Applejack and informed them of the situation. In little time, all five were united and approaching Fluttershy's house. Inside, Fluttershy's sobs were clearly audible from as far back as the mailbox.

“Okay girls, we have to ease in,” Twilight warned the others earnestly. “We need to find out what was in those woods without scaring her again, so try not to upset her more.”

Rainbow Dash shook her head. “I don't think that's possible, Twilight. You should've seen her. She was really shaken up. If we bring it up again, she'll definitely get worse.”

Applejack turned to her and rebutted, “We gotta say somethin', Rainbow. Whatever she saw in those woods, it's gotta be dangerous. If you saw somethin' in those woods that done scared your mane off and sent you home bawlin', would you want it to keep runnin' around free?”

Rainbow Dash considered this, and relented with a nod, “Good point . . . .”

With that, Twilight carefully knocked on the door, and for a few seconds, there was no answer. Finally, the door began to open, and Angel, wearing a coat of sopping-wet white fur and a deeply annoyed expression, stood on the other side.

There was an awkward pause of a few seconds before Twilight asked in a neighborly tone, “Uh, hi, Angel. Can we speak with Fluttershy, please?”

Angel backed up and allowed the ponies to enter. In the back, Fluttershy was curled up on a pillow, shaking and sobbing.

As the group walked in, Twilight leaned toward Rainbow Dash and muttered, “Gosh, you were right. She looks terrified.” Dash could only nod. As much as she wanted to get to her training today, this had to be addressed, and dealt with as soon as possible.

“Oh, dear!” Rarity gasped and raced inside, sitting beside the shaky Pegasus and patting her gently on the head. “Oh, Fluttershy, darling, are you quite all right?”

Applejack approached next, her concern much more subtle than Rarity's. “How ya feelin', sugarcube?”

Fluttershy slowly picked up her head and struggled to reply, “I . . . I s- . . . I saw him . . . .”

There was another pause, this one more ominous than before. Twilight broke the silence by asking, “'Him', who?”

“It was . . . . him . . . he was . . . so scary . . . he . . . I . . . .”

“Calm down, Fluttershy,” Dash spoke as she stepped up, “just start from the beginning, and tell us what happened.”

Another disconcerting pause later, Fluttershy finally explained, “Well . . . I was . . . . coming back from Zecora's house . . . and I got a little lost . . . . and I heard noises. I thought it was nothing, but then I saw . . . .” she sniffed, hesitating to reveal her encounter, “I saw . . . .”

“WHAT!?!” Pinkie Pie finally squealed, looking and sounding almost tortured by the suspense. “What did you see?! Was it a dragon? Was it a monster?! Was it a hundred-foot marshmallow man?! TELL US—” One quick, admonishing look from Applejack quieted her down.

It was too late. Pinkie's raving had upset Fluttershy more. “It was him!!” she repeated, the tears coming back with a vengeance. “The Phantom Pony! The one everypony talks about! He was as scary as they say he is! It was awful!!” The memory seemed to intensify Fluttershy's state, and she was no longer able to go on. Fluttershy promptly buried her face into her pillow and went back to sobbing and shaking.

Rainbow Dash processed what Fluttershy had said, but could not take such a fanciful explanation seriously. “'Phantom Pony'? You mean the Phantom Pony of Everfree? Come on, Fluttershy, you should know that the Phantom Pony doesn't exist! You probably just saw another Pegasus or something, or maybe a really big bat. You shouldn't make everything out to be so horrible—”

“What Rainbow Dash is trying to say,” Twilight interrupted with a growl (more at Dash than anypony else), then directed the rest to Fluttershy, “is that it's very unlikely that it was some 'Phantom Pony'. After all, ghosts don't really exist—”

“I saw him!” Fluttershy shrieked again, still shaking and shedding rivers of tears. “It was him, I know it was! He had big, ugly, scary bat wings, and he looked at me with red eyes! Red eyes! So help me Celestia, red eyes! And they glowed! He was mean, and scary, and he yelled at me and I don't even know why! He was . . . he was horrible!!” Fluttershy's face went back into the pillow.

“Why, this vicious, inconsiderate brute!” Rarity huffed angrily. “And to make our Fluttershy cry like this! Shame on him!” She then turned to Fluttershy and continued to assuage her, “There, there, darling, you're safe now. That beastly cur won't dare come after you with us around! Why, if you ask me, that despicable creature owes you an apology!”

Fluttershy sniffed and picked her face up from the pillow long enough to speak. “I don't . . . want him to apologize . . . .” she hiccuped, her voice weak and shaky, “I . . . I never want to see his horrible face again . . . .”

There was another long pause, this one quite somber and only punctuated by Rarity's continuous fussing. After a few more seconds, Rainbow Dash tentatively asked, “So . . . I guess you won't be able to help me with my training today?” Applejack looked at her with the same admonishing face she'd given Pinkie Pie, this time joined by the same look from Twilight. Feeling an awkward sense of having broken a boundary, Dash replied uneasily, “. . . What?”

Twilight broke off her gaze and suddenly gasped. “Uh, Fluttershy,” she said warily, “you might have to risk it. Your saddlebag . . . it's gone.”

Fluttershy's face left the pillow again, and she gasped as well. She looked behind her, and saw her bare back. “Oh, no!” she squealed. “I must have dropped it when Nocturne scared me!”

Another awkward pause later, and Pinkie asked the necessary question: “'Nocturne'?”

“Oh, that's what he called himself. The Phantom Pony. He called himself 'Nocturne'. I . . . I don't know why, but . . . oh, you're right, Twilight, I have to go back. That saddlebag had all of Zecora's medicines in it! My animals need it for whenever they get sick!” Fluttershy stopped for a second, then the shake crept back into her voice as she resumed, “Oh, but . . . I can't go back . . . I can't see him again . . . I can't even think about him again . . . .”

“Don't worry, Fluttershy,” Twilight encouraged her, “like I said, there's no such things as ghosts. Besides, you have to remember, this wouldn't be the first time we've all jumped to conclusions about somepony before we got to know them. This could be just like that situation with Zecora. You probably just bothered him, or maybe he was feeling cranky. Either way, I doubt he'll actually hurt you if he sees you again.”

Fluttershy continued to sniff and stutter in response, “I just . . . I just d-don't kn-know . . . .”

Rainbow Dash then stepped up to Fluttershy, throwing a foreleg around her shoulders. “Don't sweat it! I'll go with you! Even if there is such a thing as a Phantom Pony, he can't get the drop on both of us!”

Fluttershy looked back at Dash with wide, still-wet eyes. “You'd . . . you'd do that for me?”

“Course I would! We'll go in, you can show me where you dropped your stuff, we'll grab it before that 'Phantom Pony' spots us, and we'll slip right out, no problem! And even if he does spot us, I ain't afraid of no ghost! I'll lay him out for you, and then we'll split. You'd have your medicine, that silly ghost story won't know what hit him, and we'll still have the rest of the day for my workout session!”

At this last part, Pinkie Pie frowned, Applejack sighed, Twilight rolled her eyes, and Rarity scoffed, “Really, Rainbow Dash . . . .”

Dash looked at each of them with a confused glance, “What?”