• Published 17th Nov 2011
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Twilight Then, Twilight now - Paradise Oasis



From across time, Two different ponies named Twilight are drawn into a mystery transcending the ages

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chapter 18

Chapter 18

Then...

"All right, have that crane fit the beam into place, gently now....!"

It was mid-afternoon in the everfree forest, and things were not as quiet as they had been a mere few weeks before. The sounds of hammering, sawing, and machinery could be heard echoing deep through the woods, and the citizens of Ponyville were both confused and unnerved by the army of construction ponies they had witnessed marching deep into the forest they so feared.

Sky Runner was on a small hill, overlooking the site where those very construction ponies were currently hard at work. Before his eyes, the edifice of the Palace of the Two Sisters was being gutted, and the stone quarried for quick building materials. Inside the hollowed out shell of of the ruin, the new stone walls of Dream Castle began to rise.

The cornerstone of Princess Luna's Dream Valley project, Dream Castle would be the ultimate showpiece of Ponykind's future. The Unicorn Mages were weaving spells into the walls, that would make the castle far larger on the inside that it appeared on the outside. The castle's pastel pink walls and girly exterior, hid state of the art magic fireball cannons, and an energy shield that could even block Discord's most powerful spells.

As he watched the construction below, he could hear the sounds of dynamite explosions behind him. The Pony techs were tunneling out caverns in the mountain near the castle, and hollowing out tunnels deep beneath the castle's foundations. These would be converted into laboratories and repair bays, where Luna's mages and scientists could work on new projects. Tambleon was becoming far too dangerous a place for some of the Dream Valley project's experiments, being out beyond the borders of Equestria. The Princess of the night wanted these projects moved closer to home.

"You have done well in your work, our dear Sky Runner." Princess Luna teleported in behind him. "We are well pleased in all that you have accomplished."

"Thank you, Princess." He replied, turning towards her and bowing. "Though I trust there is another reason you have come here besides to praise."

"Unfortunately, thou art correct." Luna shook her mane in dismay. "We hath lost contact with the ponies in Tambleon, and we fear something may have gone amiss there."

""This is troubling news." Sky Runner replied. "Has there not even been any word from Midnight?"

Luna hesitated for a moment, before replying. "We fear Midnight may be at the heart of these matters, given his ill-favored disposition and temperament."

"What?!?" Sky runner snorted in shock. "Princess! I learned magic with Midnight at university! He would never turn against us!"

"Nevertheless, we wouldst havest thou investigate these matters personally." Luna replied. "We hate to pulleth you away from your work on the rainbow of light, but ..."

"Say no more, Princess." The obsidian unicorn replied with a bow. "I shall go to Tambleon, and determine what is transpiring there."

As Sky Runner began to trot away, Luna spoke up again. "There beith one more thing, Sky Runner, that we need to ask you... hast thou been making contact with the gnomes again?"

. "Yes, my Princess, it's true." Sky Runner sighed. "I have been maintaining a correspondence with gnome mages, over my work on the rainbow of light."

"But why? You knoweth it is forbidden for there to be contact with they or the elves!" Luna whinnied in concern. "The public must not learn of their existence, and we can only protect thee so much!"

"But there is so much we can learn from them!" Sky Runner protested. "Ponkind cannot bury it's head in the sand forever, and the pony populace will learn of their existence sooner or later!"

"Sky Runner...we...'I'.... care for thee a great deal, and I do not wish something bad to happen to thee." She trotted over, and nuzzled the stallion who was her court chancellor. "Please... for our sake... be careful, okay?"

"As you wish, Princess." Sky runner replied, shaking his mane. "Ohhhhh my my my, this is a bit outside decorum, is it not?"

"Good Grief, Sky Runner." Princess Luna said with a laugh, licking him. "Thou hast spent so much time amongst the gnomes, that thou is starting to sound like one..."

...

"Move it ponies, NOW!"

Rainbow Dash's yell caused all four ponies to scatter, and the gigantic troll brought his massive wooden club down. The blow shattered a tree to splinters, even as the Troll was swinging again.

"Hopper, look out!" Rainbow Dash yelled. The earth pony barely got out of the way, as the club came down with a mighty crash. A third swing almost caught Sureshot, as the troll swung to the left, and he went to the right.

The troll let out a terrifying howl, angry that it's meal was putting up so much of a fight. The four terrified equines moved away to regroup.

"We need to get out of here!" Sureshot exclaimed. "But let's take grusome there down first!"

"Ah have a plan! Sureshot, Dash, y'all distract him in the air!" Applejack snorted. "Hopper, grab that vine over thar, an' help me wrap it around his legs!"

"Got it!" All three ponies said in unison.

"Hey ugly! Bet ya can't catch me! Nyeeeeh!"

Rainbow Dash made a face at the troll, and the beast let out a roar of anger. It swatted this way and that, trying to swat the two Pegasus down. Shureshot and Dash darted to and fro, barely avoiding the monster's vile clutches. At the same time, AJ and Hopper took a long vine from the ground, and stretched it out in front of the troll.

"Now, you two!" Hopper yelled. "Get him to run across the vine!"

The two Pegasus darted forward, and as the beast came forward, it got it's feet tangled. With another horrible yell, the enormous beast came down with a mighty CRASH!

"MOVE! NOW!" Sureshot yelled. The four ponies bolted away as fast as their legs and wings would carry them. But as the four fled, the goblins began firing arrows at them. Several arrows shot straight towards the galloping Hopper... and one struck him right in the flank.

"ARGGGHHHH!" The earth pony stumbled and fell, an arrow sticking out of his left side.

"HOPPER!" Rainbow Dash and Sureshot zipped back, and lifted the injured stallion into the air. They all fled back towards the walls of Tambleon, barely escaping with their lives.

....

Back in the town, Pinkie Pie and Rarity were standing on the wall, waiting for the four of them to return. It wasn't long, before the unicorn saw the apporaching fliers.

"Pinkie, Look!" Rarity called out. "It's Rainbow Dash and Sureshot. And they're carrying..." The unicorn's eyes went wide. "Oh no..."

The two Pegasus flew over wall, and lay the still form of the green earth pony on the street. Pinkie came galloping up.

"Hopper?" she asked timidly, gently nudging him. He made no sign of moving, save a black liquid oozing out of the wound on his backside.

Booker came galloping up, and pulled the arrow out with his teeth.

"Oh scrap!" He yelled, examining the black goo dripping from the arrow tip. "It's been dipped in the sap of a flores flower! The toxin is spreading through his body too quickly!"

"HOPPER!" Pinkie shrieked, her hair deflating to it's flat, depressed 'Pinkemina' style. “NO! NO! NO!"

"Avian, Slick.... help me get him to the infirmary." Booker snapped. "The rest of you... stay here!"

Pinkie glared and snorted steam at Booker, snarling. The Stallion merely nodded.

"All right, you can come too. Just don't get in the way."

The three stallions carried him out, as Pinkie trotted along beside them, her eyes never leaving hopper. A few minutes after they had left, Bronco gave out a snort of contempt. "Good grief, she sure is freaking out, over a stallion she met just over a week ago."

"We mares from emotional attachments extremely quickly, it's part of the equine herd instinct." Twilight Sparkle snorted angrily, furious that Bronco had even shot his mouth off. "I became close friends with these five after only knowing them for two days, when we were searching for the elements of Harmony."

"It's even worse fer a Mare who's formin a emotional attachment ta a potential mate ." Applejack glared a him. "Her feller gettin' hurt is enough ta send a mare into insanity."

"That’s why we guard our emotions so carefully… and get into relationships so rarely. A stallion wouldn't understand." Twilight snapped, before the two of them trotted off. Bronco just glared after them.

"Sellin you losers out just got a little easier," Bronco muttered under his breath, before trotting off.