• 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 4

Four

Now…..

It was mid afternoon, as Six mares set out from Dream Castle. As they crossed the drawbridge, they could hear the thunderous roar of Fluttershy Falls cascading down the mountainside behind them, it's multicolored water flowing down into the castle's moat, then out into the Rainbow River beyond. From the mountain's peak, the rainbow bridge stretched high into the sky, disappearing into the heavens. The bridge was Dream Valley's precious connection to the Human world…. the place where legend said the ancestors of all ponies originally came from.

"Come on, girls! Try to keep up!" Glory laughed, a spring in her step.

"We're going on an adventure! I can't believe it!" Firefly yelled, soaring overhead. "Finally, something to do besides sitting around the castle, and flying in loops all the time!"

"Do we really have to go?' Medley replied nervously, trailing behind her. "I just know something bad's gonna happen!"

"Would you stop being such a worry wart, Medley?" Bow Tie grumbled. "It's very unladylike, and it gets annoying fast!"

Behind them, Applejack looked back, staring up at the castle turret. From the nursery window Ember, Baby Bow Tie, Baby Firefly, and all the other foals watched them go, looks of sadness on their faces. The Orange earth pony's gaze lingered particularly long on Baby Applejack.

"She'll be fine, AJ." Twilight reassured her. "They'll all be fine. I'm sure Sundance will take good care of the colts and fillies while we are gone. "

"It's still not easy leaving for a long period of time, Twilight." Applejack replied, reluctantly following after the other five ponies. "I learned long ago not to let family slip too far away from you... or you can lose them."

"I know how you feel, though." Twilight sympathized. "I'm not exactly thrilled about leaving Ember behind."

Despite Twilight having no children of her own, Applejack realized this was true. Ember wasn't Twilight's own flesh and blood, but she had taken the young filly under her own hoof, after Ember's parents had fallen to a bunch of hungry trolls looking for a meal.

"I hope this trip is worth it, Twi. That's all I have to say." Applejack grumbled.

As they trotted though Dream Valley, they noticed the trees becoming more and more frequent, and soon came into the edges of the Mastificent Forest. The two Pegasus took turns circling overhead, keeping an eye out for any danger that may lie just out of sight.

"Think we'll run into any trouble out here?" Bow tie asked Glory.

"We're still inside Dream Valley, so we should be safe." Glory replied.

"You know this whole valley used to be covered by these woods? Of course, back then it was called the Everfree forest" Twilight noted. "Our ancestors used to live in Ponyville the next valley over, until they fled to the safety of the walls of Dream Castle when the dark times began."

"Why would they just abandon their home?" Bow Tie asked sadly. "It would be simply awful if we ever had to leave Dream Valley!"

"The Arrival of the Humans and the Elves into Ponyland, pushed all the ponies of Equestria back into their fortified castles." Twilight replied. "What was once the city of Manehattan is now the capital of the Human kingdom, ruled by King Scorpan. And the abandoned Fillydelphia became the Capital of King Phillippe De Banforr, ruler of all of Ponyland's elves."

"A bunch of people who intruded where they don't belong." Applejack grumbled. "Equestria once belonged to ponies, and ponies alone."

"Applejack, how can you say that?" Firefly snapped, landing near the group as Medey took off for her turn at scouting ahead. "The Humans are dear friends of ours, and the elves were always our allies! It was the danger from the goblins and trolls and other monsters that we left the towns and cities for the Palaces!"

Applejack just snorted angrily, and trotted ahead.

"Good grief, Twilight! What's her problem?" The Exasperated Firefly asked.

"She's always been like that, as long as I've known her." Twilight replied sadly. "Glory and I first met her about six years ago, when she just... showed up at Dream castle one day, hungry and looking for food."

"Queen Majesty insisted we take her in. But she refused to talk about her past, or where she had come from." Glory continued. "She settled into the Dream Castle community, caring for our orchard. She even married one of the Big brother ponies, and had Baby Applejack."

"But for some reason, she started to hang around me a lot, and we became close friends." Twilight Added. "When I asked her why, she said it was because I reminded her of an old friend of hers that she once knew."

"Huh, and I never knew. Remember, Medley and I only moved here from Fort Rainbow Dash three years ago." Firefly replied. "Now there's a place to go if ya want to look at ruins, Twilight! Our castle stands right next to the ruins of the old Equestrian town of Trottingham."

"Medley told me you two grew up there." Bow Tie said with a laugh. "You must've had fun time exploring those ruins as a filly."

"You bet! Medley and I use to sneak out at night to sneak around thought the old city wall." Firefly explained. "Until one time she got freaked out by a giant spider we ran into there. She's been kinda timid ever since."

"What about you, Bow Tie?" Glory asked. "Didn't you grow up in the town of Bright Valley?"

"Yeah, I'm a city girl." Bow Tie smirked. "I grew up in a town, with my family having their own house, unlike you feudal manor ponies."

"Why on earth did you leave?" Twilight inquired, curiously.

"Lets just say that thanks to an evil cloud genie named Arabus, the town suddenly became quite a gloomy place one day." Bow Tie replied, shivering at the memory. "I was away on an errand at the time... came back to find my family and friends had become zombified versions of their former selves, and it was in my best interests to vacate the town as quickly as possible."

"And then you ended up at Dream Castle." Twilight replied. "Wow, it's amazing with how long we've all been friends, how little we all know about each other."

It was not long before they came to an old rickety rope bridge, that crossed the Rainbow River that wove it's way though the entire valley.

"All right girls, lets be careful. We all know what happened when we tried to cross this very bridge a year ago, during our battle with Tirek."

"Yeah, Megan and Applejack almost fell to their doom." Medley replied nervously, coming in for a landing.

"It's a shame Megan couldn't make it this time." Firefly shook her head. "She said something about 'evil math teacher' and 'study for exams."

"I think her education comes before going on adventures with us, Firefly." Twilight smiled. "Now see if you and Medley can fly Applejack across."

"Hey, I can walk across this bridge fine by myself, thank you very much." Applejack snorted.

"Just like you did last time?" Firefly replied sarcastically. "If the sea ponies hadn't been there to fish you out, you and Megan would have been clam food!"

"You can't take a step without falling into a ditch, Applejack!" Glory grumbled.

Applejack snorted again, and started to gallop over the bridge, leaping over the spots with the broken planks.

"Applejack, No! It's too dangerous!" Medley wailed.

It was at that moment the rope snapped, and the bridge began tumbling downward.

"APPLEJACK!" Twilight yelled. all the ponies ran to the side to see the Orange earth pony on the other side of the cliff, hanging onto the broken bridge rope by her teeth.

"Applejack, Climb!" Firefly yelled. "It's too narrow for a Pegasus to fly down there!"

Twilight's horn began to glow. "I wish... I wish... I wish..." She concentrated, trying to form a bubble around AJ. Blast it, levitation spells were easy for her! But when Twilight was stressed, her unicorn magic was totally worthless!

The rope suddenly snapped, and Applejack began to Tumble downward. It was at that moment a bubble formed around the earth pony, and carried her up to the opposite cliff.

"Good going Twilight!" Firefly said with a cheer. The other four ponies congratulated her, as well.

"Thanks girls, but now's not the time!" Twilight snapped back into leader mode. "Firefly, Medley, carry us across one by one. We need to keep moving!"

Looking across the ravine at Applejack, she saw a strange look of approval in the earth pony's eye. A wave of confusion hit the young unicorn. If she didn't know better, she would think that AJ had planned this morale-boosting move for the unicorn in the first place...

...

As the group pushed on into the neighboring valley, the six of them saw a pinkish purple pony with a red and white mane, and a pair of twinkling Jeweled eyes running towards them. A very familiar figure, whom they had not seen since they had not seen in several months.

"Galaxy! Is that you?" Twilight yelled in surprise. The two unicorns ran up, and gave each other a hug. "What on earth are you doing this far from the castle?"

"Hello Girls!" Galaxy replied in greeting. "North Star, Wind Whistler and I heard that you were going to investigate the ruins. So the three of us wanted to show you the excavations we've been doing there!"

"You three have been digging up the ruins?" Applejack yelled. "Without Queen Majesty's permission?" The Earth pony felt creeped out in the presence of Jewel-eyed ponies... their eerie gemstone eyes staring at her, looking glass-like instead of flesh. She felt like they were always watching her...

"Sure! The Ponyville ruins are outside of Dream Valley, aren't they?" She motion with her horn. "That's outside the Queen's jurisdiction. Now come on, the other two are waiting!"

The six ponies then followed their unicorn friend down the path. They were so wrapped up in their journey, that they failed to notice the four Strydons, each with a Troggle riding on it's back, circling overhead. Nor did they see the monsters and their mounts silently tracking their movements from above...