• Published 29th Dec 2015
  • 1,384 Views, 21 Comments

The Elements of Friendship - VioletHeart77

Friendship is Magic, but what makes Friendship possible? Starlight Glimmer must find out as she, with the help of five other ponies, seeks to stop an ancient evil.

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The Winter Night Festival

"Ugh! All the ponies in this town are crazy!" Starlight shouted. "Are there no civilized intellectuals among them? At least now we finally have some peace and quiet!"

A sign to her right told her that the reference books were upstairs, so that's where she decided to begin looking. After searching the entire floor, she finally found a book that looked like it would be helpful.

"A Brief History of Equestria. Perfect!" It was a thick, heavy volume that clunked to the floor no sooner than she had used her magic to pull it off the shelf. With some struggle, she opened it near the back and began to flip through the index. As she reached the S section, though, she noticed the faint sound of music coming from outside, but decided to ignore it. But by the time she'd scanned several pages, it had grown too loud to tune out, and she was only up to sp-.

"What is going on out there?" she wondered aloud. Seeing that Wishful had fallen asleep, she went to open the window and see for herself.

There seemed to be at least a hundred ponies partying in the street, far more than Starlight would have expected to live in such a tiny village.

"Starlight!" She looked up and saw Night Glider flying towards her.

"Party Favor's made a balloon dance floor! You gotta come check it out!"

"But . . . ahh!" Before Starlight had a chance to argue, Night Glider had pulled her through the window and was flying her down to the street to join the party. Sure enough, in the center of town there lay an enormous mat made entirely out of the same skinny balloons used by Party Favor before, arranged and tied together to form large colored squares. As Starlight watched the ponies dance bouncily, she couldn't help but wonder what in Equestria those balloons were made of that kept them from popping under all that weight.

"Come on!" Night Glider exclaimed. "Let's boogie!"

"But I don't . . . woah!" Starlight suddenly found herself thrust onto the dance floor, which was even bouncier than it looked. As she bounced around uncontrollably and flailed ineffectively in the air, her only comfort was the fact that if she were on solid ground her dancing would have been even more embarrassing. When she finally reached the edge, she attempted to step off gently, but instead succeeded in landing smack on top of a bystander.

She stood up hurriedly. "Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry! Are you okay?"

The pony stood and turned. "Of course, I'm fine . . . oh, hi Starlight!"

Oh, no! Of all ponies, why did it have to be him?

"I was hoping I'd bump into you again." Sunburst smiled warmly.

"Oh, that's nice." With that, she turned and walked towards the snack table.

"Starlight, wait!" Sunburst ran to catch up with her. "I only saw you for a second earlier, and I wanted to talk to you."

"Hm, that's funny, 'cause I don't want to talk." They arrived at the table, where Sugar Belle was serving refreshments.

"Hi Starlight!" Starlight didn't respond, instead taking a muffin and stuffing it in her mouth to keep from having to talk to Sunburst.

"Starlight, please, just hear me out. We haven't seen each other in forever, and . . . well . . . I know it wasn't exactly on the best of terms . . . I mean, I was really happy, but I just left you there, and . . . oh, no! Starlight, please don't cry!"

Tears poured out of Starlight's eyes almost as fast as the smoke billowing from her ears. To say that her mouth was on fire was a major understatement.

"What do you think of my chocolate-habanero muffins, Starlight? You're the first pony who's ever tried one."

In less than three seconds flat, Starlight downed the entire pitcher of punch, including the ice cubes. When that didn't work, she desperately dove into a nearby snow drift and found herself licking the snow like a maniac. Ordinarily she would have, at the very least, checked to make sure it wasn't yellow, but at that moment she didn't even think to care.

"Starlight, are you okay?" Double Diamond grabbed her tail and pulled her out of the snow drift. She stood up and opened her mouth as if to speak, but all that came out was a puff of steam.

"Hey guys!" Party Favor came running over. "The sun's almost set! It's time!" As soon as the words left his mouth, all of the ponies in the street assembled in a mob and headed toward the east end of town.

Only Starlight hung back for a moment. She turned to look west, at the library, at the research she hadn't finished in time. Behind the library, a fiery red line ran across the horizon, indicating that the sun had set.

I hope the princess is right . . . I hope it really is just an old ponies' tale . . . She sighed and followed the rest of the crowd.

The royal guards had assembled a magnificent stage at the east end of the village, decorated with the royal banner and a pair of violet curtains. The guards along the edge of the stage began to play the fanfare, and a stately orange pegasus stepped to the front.

"Mares and gentlecolts of Our Town, it is my great pleasure to announce the beginning of the Winter Night Festival!" The ponies in the audience applauded wildly.

The pegasus continued: "In just a few moments, we will witness the magic of the moonrise, and celebrate the longest night of the year! And now, it is my great honor to introduce to you the ruler of our land, the very pony who gives us each night and every day, the good, the wise, the bringer of friendship to all of Equestria, Princess Twilight Sparkle!"

As the curtains parted, the roaring cheers quickly dissolved into a collective gasp. Starlight's heart skipped a beat.

"She's gone!" somepony shouted.

Before anyone had time to react further, the stage was set ablaze! Guards began to leap off the edge to the ground in terror.

Suddenly, a small shadowy figure appeared in the heart of the inferno. Within seconds, the figure grew to an enormous size and glowed red, revealing a horrifying winged demon! A distorted cackle filled the air.

"Ah, my beloved subjects," the demon hissed. "It's been so long since I've seen your precious, night-loving faces."

As the crowd stood frozen despite the heat, Party Favor, of all ponies, stood up. "What have you done with the princess?!"

"Why? Am I not royal enough for you? Don't you know who I am?" No answer came.

"Does my crown no longer count now that I have been imprisoned for a thousand years?" she snarled as the flames intensified. "Did you not recall the legend? Did no one see the signs?!"

"I did!"

All eyes turned to Starlight.

"I did, and I know who you are, Sunflare Scorch!"

The demon laughed. "Well, well, at least someone remembers me. And I'm sure you also know why I'm here . . ."

"You're here to . . . to . . ." Dread caused the words to stick in Starlight's throat, and she swallowed them.

"Remember the night, my little ponies, for you have seen your last. As of this moment, the day shall last forever!"