• Published 5th Jul 2015
  • 3,876 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?

  • ...
17
 325
 3,876

Phantom Revisited

“Well . . . . ?”

Once again, Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash stood before the haunting darkness of the Everfree Forest. Fluttershy shook slightly where she stood; just looking between the trees along the border, staring into the dark of the woods, made those horrible memories return. That booming voice. Those hideous wings. Those malevolent red eyes . . . .

“Hey! You in there? Come on, let's go!”

Fluttershy was shaken back to the present by Dash's voice. “Oh! Umm, I'm sorry,” she replied, uneasy, “I . . . I was just . . . thinking . . . maybe we should do this later . . . maybe when he's asleep?”

“Come on, Fluttershy, don't chicken out on me now! There's something in there that belongs to you! You want it back, so we're not leaving until we get it!”

“But . . . .” Fluttershy hesitated, “but . . . I don't know if I can do this . . . even if we'd come up with a plan, like Twilight said . . . there's still . . . him . . . .”

“Look, Fluttershy,” Dash confronted her, “if you want that saddlebag back, you gotta be assertive, like me! That means you have to shake off your fear! We're gonna march into those woods, find your stuff, and bug out! It's a no-brainer!”

“Well . . . .” Fluttershy couldn't help but hesitate again, “I guess so, but . . . what if something happens? That horrible phantom is still out there. You never saw him, Rainbow Dash. You never saw the way he looked at me. It was like . . . like he wanted to hurt me . . . .” she gulped, trying to force herself not to think about it.

“See? That's your problem! You can't let this so-called 'phantom' push you around! If you lose that way of thinking, you can stand up to him! If you stop thinking the worst of everything and go for it, you'll have nothing to worry about.” Rainbow Dash wound down from a borderline rant to a more soothing, coaxing voice, “Besides, you were the only one there when you lost your bag. So you're the only one who can find it. You may need me for this, but I need you, too.” She paused, then resumed in her tougher voice (though not quite as tough as before), “So, what do you say, Fluttershy? In or out?”

Fluttershy took a deep breath and sighed slowly. She did want her saddlebag back; it was too important to her to let it stay out there in those woods. Besides, it wouldn't be so hard if they could sneak in as quickly as possible and find it before “Nocturne” spotted them. Going into the woods to begin with was enough of a risk, but it paid off with a nice visit to Zecora and her invaluable assistance. In the end, she supposed that this was just the same trip as before, only with significantly more risk, and that much more necessity.

Finally, she took another deep breath and answered, “Okay. I'm in.”

“Good!” Rainbow Dash replied, and pushed her head against Fluttershy's rump, sending her into the shrubs and following her in soon after. “Remember, I got you covered. Once he gets a load of me, that Phantom Pony will never scare you again!”


Fluttershy slowly trotted along a trail in the forest, glancing back occasionally to see if Rainbow Dash was still there. She looked around, thinking back to her previous moment in these woods and trying to remember exactly where she'd been. She was still certain this was a bad idea, but the longer she trotted through the darkness, the more she realized that it wasn't as bad as it had been before. It could have been because Rainbow Dash was right behind her this time, or it could have been because that awful Phantom Pony, Nocturne, was nowhere to be found. She still jumped a bit from the occasional snap of a twig or rustle of leaves, but as of yet, there was no cause for alarm. In fact, if the situation continued to play out this way, Fluttershy was sure Rainbow Dash was right, that it would be simple enough to find what they came for and leave.

“EEP!” she squeaked when she heard more rustling in the foliage beside her. She turned and peered into the darkness, her sight only aided by the weakening sunlight poking through the canopy. Fluttershy feared for a moment that the Phantom had returned, ready to wreak his horrible wrath on her for returning to his territory. He would jump out from behind the shrubs, aim his deadly red eyes at her, spread his malicious wings—and this time, Fluttershy would not be fast enough to escape.

And from the sound of the rustling, he was only getting closer. Closer. And closer . . . .

“EEEEEEEEEE— . . . oh! Hello, little squirrel!”

The squirrel that Fluttershy had mistaken for a threat poked its fuzzy head out from inside a shrub. It jumped out of the bush, eyed Fluttershy strangely, then scampered quickly up into a tree and out of sight.

Fluttershy jumped when she heard another sound: Rainbow Dash's voice. “Really, Fluttershy? All that over a little squirrel?”

Fluttershy did feel silly, but Dash's words weren't helping a lot. “But, Rainbow Dash,” she said, her voice starting to shake again, “I . . . I really thought it was him this time . . . I thought—”

“Come on, relax already,” Dash replied as she trotted up to Fluttershy's side, giving her a friendly tap on the shoulder, “just shake off that fear. Like I said, if that Phantom Pony is around here, he won't be able to scare both of us at once. He'll be too busy tangling with yours truly! In fact, if he tries anything funny, I'll be the first pony to kick his . . . .” She trailed off as she noticed something in the distance. Squinting, she took two steps forward, stared for a few seconds, then turned back to Fluttershy. “Hey, is that it?” she asked, pointing a hoof into a clearing with a bit more sunshine than usual.

Fluttershy looked in the indicated direction, and saw, at the edge of the clearing, a torn saddlebag hanging from a dead tree, its contents spilled to the mossy ground around the rotted base.

Fluttershy gasped. “That's it! My bag! All of Zecora's medicines! Oh, what a relief!” She trotted quickly to the edge of the clearing, with Dash following behind, and the pair inspected the lost goods. Fluttershy counted all of the jars, remembering and accounting for each one. Dash broke the frail branch on which the bag hung and freed it, placing it back on Fluttershy's back.

“It's all here,” Fluttershy said with a nod as she and Dash put the jars back in her bag. “I'm so glad. It'll be a little difficult to keep all of them in one pocket until I can get it mended. I suppose Rarity could help me with that, though. Oh, but I'm just so happy this is all . . . over . . . .”

“Aw, come on, Fluttershy, was there ever any doubt?” Dash asked, brimming with confidence. “Like I said, this 'Phantom Pony' is just some silly legend, and even if he wasn't, I'd show him who was boss!”

Fluttershy said nothing.

“Hey, what's the matter? You don't believe me? Come on, I'd have laid out that nopony like a dirty rug! Mopped the floor with him! Taken him out like yesterday's garbage!”

Again, Fluttershy was silent. Except for the occasional soft whine that went with her suddenly fearful expression.

Rainbow Dash stared at Fluttershy in confusion. “Hey, snap out of it, Fluttershy! The worst is over! Now, we can take your stuff and split, and we can start on my workout in . . . record time . . . he's right behind me, isn't he?”

Fluttershy nodded, shaking loose a traumatized tear.

Dash looked to her side and turned her head very slightly. Slowly, she turned her whole body, finally seeing what Fluttershy saw: the glowing red eyes that struck fear into her heart the first time.

The red eyes blinked, the cold black wings slowly unfurled, and a chilling voice cut through the dark in a low, fiery growl:

“Get . . . out.”

Rainbow Dash's formerly confident expression slowly changed into a look of fear, similar to Fluttershy's. It came with a mixture of shock and awe, made more evident by her following words, “He . . . he does exist . . . .”

Fluttershy remembered how her fear had kept her from running before, and how much angrier it had made him. It gave off a cold, remorseless sense of deja vu that intensified as the Phantom's rage reached its peak once more.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!!!

Both mares screamed at the top of their lungs and ran from the clearing. As they raced back to the edge of the woods, Fluttershy's tears returned with a vengeance, while Rainbow Dash repeatedly muttered in a panic, “I don't believe it . . . I don't believe it . . . he's real . . . he's actually real . . . I just don't believe it . . . .”

As obvious as this already was to Fluttershy, her fear was still as strong as ever. She felt her heart threatening to explode in her chest and her blood rushing fit to start a fire in her veins. Sweat and tears cascaded from her face as she sucked in breath after desperate breath, her body hardly able to keep up with her hooves anymore. Only taking the occasional glance to her side, she saw and heard Rainbow Dash running just as fast right beside her. Another noise from behind, a series of breaking branches and crunching leaves, filled her ears as she raced, and once she knew for sure what it was, she felt another scream burst from her lungs.

The Phantom was following them.

“Look! We're almost there!” Dash called out, her voice strained and almost unheard. Fluttershy looked straight ahead, and saw sunlight peeking from between the trees. They were indeed almost home. Another few feet more, and Fluttershy pushed herself harder than she ever had in her life. In seconds she could reach out and bathe a hoof in the sunlight.

“WHOOOOOOAAAAA!!”

Both mares jumped forward and into the grass just outside the woods. Fluttershy rolled across the grass several times, and Dash piled on top of her, moaning in discomfort. They had made it.

Fluttershy looked around where she lie, and saw nopony else close by, aside from Rainbow Dash. The latter climbed to her hooves and continued moaning as she massaged her right wing.

“Oh, Rainbow Dash!” Fluttershy gasped, tending to her and looking over the injury. “Are you okay?”

“It's just a scratch,” Dash replied, waving her off. “I clipped a tree on my way out.” She pointed to a rotted tree at the edge of the woods; indeed, there was a large chunk taken from the trunk, as if it had been blasted away by something moving at high speed. It was even beginning to fall over on its side. “Hah!” Dash continued, finding the courage to resume her brassy attitude. “Not a bad amount of damage, huh? And that was after all that running! Boy, that Phantom Pony is lucky we didn't stick around—”

“Oh, no!!” Fluttershy squealed, interrupting her. “Run, little squirrel! Run!” Dash looked and saw the squirrel that had startled Fluttershy earlier, emerging from the same part of the trees that the two ponies had come from. It stood in the shadow of the falling tree, and glanced up at it long enough to gasp just as the weight of the plant came bearing down on it . . . .

Until a hoof emerged from within the woods and stopped the tree from hitting the ground, and the squirrel.

The little creature was frozen in shock, the bark of the tree about an eighth of an inch from touching its face. It glanced into the darkness of the woods, back at the tree, then squeaked nervously and scurried away.

Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash both sighed in relief, even as the hoof from within the woods disappeared and released the fallen tree. A split-second after the tree landed, though, the fear returned—Fluttershy saw the faint outline of a tall, slender pony in the shadows, complete with those fiery red eyes that pierced her with their glow.

“My gosh . . . .”

Fluttershy turned at the sound of a voice behind her, and was greeted with the unexpected sight of Twilight, Rarity, Applejack and Pinkie Pie. They seemed to have only just arrived, and saw those infernal eyes just as clearly as she did.

“It . . . it's true . . . .” Twilight continued in awe, “. . . the Phantom Pony . . . he really does exist . . . .”

“Well, I'll be . . . .” Applejack muttered, just as awestruck as Twilight.

Rainbow Dash seemed to see this as her time to show off her previously absent courage. “Hey, you!” she bellowed, trying her best to look and sound tough. “You better never scare my friend again, you hear me?!”

The Phantom saw them all and growled, his face the picture of evil that Fluttershy remembered. The glow in his eyes intensifying like two red suns, he slowly backed into the woods, his silhouette blending with the darkness until only his fiendish eyes remained. Soon, they too were gone from sight.