• Published 29th Dec 2015
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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 Elements of Friendship

Sunflare Scorch continued to laugh maniacally. Then, with a blaze of fire, she disappeared. The ponies of Our Town were left in an atmosphere of tension and fear.

"Where did she go?" "Where's the princess?"

After a few moments of anxious chatter, a scream rang out. Everyone turned and gasped in horror at the sight of the sun rising in the west.

Starlight couldn't take it anymore! She dashed away from the crowd and ran back to the library, where she used her levitation spell to fly through the still-open window of the second floor. "Wishful, wake up!"

Wishful sat up and looked around, dazed by the bright light outside. "Is it morning already? Did I sleep through the whole night?"

"No, Wishful, it's Sunflare Scorch! She's returned to bring eternal day!"

"Starlight! Starlight!" Starlight turned to see the other five running up the stairs.

"You said you knew about the prophecy!" Party Favor panted. "You knew about Sunflare Scorch! Do you know how we can stop her?"

Starlight started to answer, but her confidence quickly left her. "I . . . don't, actually. All I know is that some objects called the Elements of Friendship were used to stop her a long time ago, but I don't know where they are or how to use them. I don't even know exactly what they are!"

"The Elements of Friendship: A Reference Guide."

Starlight ran to the bookcase and pushed Night Glider aside. "How did you find that?"

"It was under E, duh."

Starlight opened the book. "There are six Elements of Friendship, but only five are known: Empathy, Fun, Encouragement, Endurance, and Trust. The sixth remains a mystery, but it will be revealed by a glimmer of light in the presence of the other five. The last known location of the Elements is the Castle of Dusk and Dawn, high in the Sabinria Mountains."

"That's the mountains just outside of town!" Double Diamond exclaimed. "We can help you get there easily!"

"Thanks, but no thanks," Starlight replied. "I think I'd better do this on my own."

"But Starlight, you saw that raging she-demon!" Sugar Belle protested. "It's too dangerous to go alone!"

"I'll be fine. What's the sense of putting all of you in danger?"

"Starlight, please." She turned to look at Sunburst. "You're a smart mare. You know better. It's simple math that your odds will be better with six against one than with one against one."

Starlight tried to stand her ground, but it was no use; Sunburst had appealed to her logic. Even if she couldn't stand these ponies, her odds would of success would be much greater with a larger group. And after all, it wasn't like she'd ever have to see any of them again after this, right? She sighed. "Fine."

"Woo hoo! Time for an adventure!" Night Glider pumped her hooves as she flew into the air. "Let's go!"

Starlight was the last one to file down the stairs. She turned to Wishful, who had fallen back asleep, and set him on her back. If she wanted to keep her sanity, her odds would be better with him at her side.


"So, do you guys come up into these mountains a lot?"

Double Diamond turned to face Wishful. "Yep! Night Glider and I come here all the time to go skiing." His voice fell to a whisper as they walked around a bend. "But you have to be careful in this area, or you might run into . . . "

CRASH!

The group looked up to see an enormous beast with shaggy white fur standing on the path in front of them. The beast stood up on its hind legs and let out a tremendous roar!

" . . . a yeti!"

"We have to get past it!" Starlight shouted. "Come on!" The seven charged into action, except for Sugar Belle.

"Wait a minute!" Alas, her suggestion went unheard.

There was a brief struggle, but the strength of five ponies and one bushwoolie was no match for that of one yeti. The yeti raised his arm and threw the six off of his fur and into the snow in front of them. He then began to stomp menacingly toward them. The six braced for the worst, until Sugar Belle stepped in front of them, reached into her saddlebag, and held up a muffin.

The yeti started to roar again, but stopped as the scent of the muffin reached his nose. He crouched down, took the muffin from Sugar Belle, and popped it into his mouth. "Mmmm!"

"There's plenty more where that came from!" Sugar Belle removed her saddlebag and poured an entire batch of muffins onto the snow. The yeti scooped them up with one paw and quickly gobbled them up. With that, he yawned, stretched, and climbed up the face of the mountain into a cave.

The others stood up. "Sugar Belle," Starlight asked, "how did you know that the yeti was just hungry?"

She shrugged. "I didn't know for sure. I just asked myself what might be wrong that would make him grumpy, and then I offered to help him. Anyways, we better keep going."

"Strange that we saw a yeti at all, though," Double Diamond commented as they continued onward. "They usually hibernate this time of year . . . " At that moment, if any of them had looked up, they would have seen a streak of fire float out of the yeti's cave . . .

"This one doesn't have any yetis in it, does it?" Starlight asked as they stood at the mouth of another, larger cave.

"Nah, this one's just a tunnel," Night Glider answered. "It'll take us to the other side of the mountain."

The tunnel was as long and dark as a frigid winter's night. Icicles and stalactites hung like dragon's teeth from the ceiling, and the stone floor was iced over in some places. After several minutes of walking, they came to a bridge of thick ice sprawling across a wide chasm, too dark for the bottom to be seen.

Night Glider turned to the others. "We're almost out now. The exit is right on the other side . . ." As her head was turned, a streak of fire shot through the air and into the center of the bridge.

Suddenly, a cracking sound echoed loudly through the cave. The group watched in despair as the bridge suddenly collapsed, leaving only a short stump of ice on each side.

"Oh, no!" Starburst exclaimed. "How are we going to get across now?"

"You could use your flying spell, Starlight," Wishful suggested.

"But what about the others? I don't think I'm strong enough to carry them across, even one at a time."

"Maybe Night Glider could help you . . . "

"I have an idea!"

The others turned to face Night Glider. "Stand back!"

She flew back about half of the distance they had come in the cave. Then she began to run forward as fast as she could. Faster, and faster, and faster, until she came to the ice and began to slide!

"Night Glider!" Sugar Belle gasped. "What are you doing?!"

Night Glider made no sound until she slid off the edge of the ice and began to sail through the air. "Woo hoo!" The others expected her to spread her wings any second, but she didn't. Instead, she kept sailing until she at last landed on the other side's ice and slid into the snow. She stood up, brushed herself off, and turned to her friends. "Okay, your turn!"

"Are you crazy?!" Party Favor shouted. "You're lucky you didn't fall in, and at least you had wings to save you if you did!"

"Well, do you guys have any better ideas?"

The six looked down into the chasm. Sure, Starlight could float them across, but she'd have to do it one at a time, and who knew if she'd have the strength? Besides, Sunflare Scorch needed to be stopped quickly.

Double Diamond sighed. He turned and walked to the point where Night Glider had started. After a pause, he took off for the ice. Faster, and faster, and faster, until he began to slide across the ice! He let out a scream as he flew off the end, but soon landed safely on the other side. As he brushed the snow off his coat, he slowly realized that he'd been just fine, and he laughed.

Sunburst went next, then Sugar Belle and Party Favor. Starlight turned to Wishful. "Hold on tight to my neck." With that, she dashed towards the ice and made her own flight across.

On the other side, the group couldn't help but laugh, until a thought struck Starlight. "Oh my gosh! I'm an idiot! Why didn't I just teleport us over here?"

"Because it wouldn't have been nearly as much fun." Night Glider grinned as they proceeded out of the tunnel.

They continued walking a short distance, until the ground started to lightly shake. They looked up the mountain and saw a wall of snow falling towards them!

"Avalanche!" Double Diamond shouted. The group barely moved out of the way in time as the snow came crashing down on top of the path, piling up too high to see over.

"Great! Now what?" Night Glider cried in exasperation.

"Can you teleport us to the other side now, Starlight?" Wishful asked.

Starlight shook her head. "Not if I can't see it. Besides, we don't know where the snow ends, so we might end up teleporting right off the face of the mountain!"

"We could dig through the snow," Party Favor suggested. No one else had any ideas, so that's what they did.

"How much further?" Sugar Belle called after an eternity.

"No one knows," Starlight answered. Another eternity later, soreness and tiredness forced them all to stop.

"What if we can't make it?" Night Glider asked exhaustedly. "We might be digging here forever!"

Double Diamond stood up. "It can't be that much further. We can do it if we all work together!"

"But what if it is that much further?" Starlight asked.

"Then we'll stop and take another break. But we can't give up now! We've come this far, and Equestria's counting on us!"

With that, they decided to start digging again. "Come on!" Double Diamond shouted. "We can do it! I think we're almost there!"

After several more minutes, Double Diamond reached out of the snow and felt open air. He reached downward. More air.

"Dig left! We're at the end!" Within a few moments, they finally broke free of the snow and tumbled forward, gasping for air.

"We . . . we did it . . . " Double Diamond panted. "I knew we could!"

After resting for about ten minutes, they continued until they came to a fork in the path.

"Wait a minute!" Party Favor stopped and rubbed his hoof on the side of the mountain.

"What's up?"

"I've been here before," he answered, "and there's a big crystal just up that other path. If you pull it, it opens a secret passage going up the mountain! It'll get us to the castle faster!" He dashed up the path. "Wait here! I'll only be a minute!"

After running a short ways, he came to the mouth of a large cave. "Weird," he muttered, "I don't remember this . . ."

The walls and ceiling of the cave were lined with shining red crystals. Party Favor proceeded with caution until he bumped into a large crystal growing from the ceiling. As he stepped back and looked at it, a horrifying face appeared and snarled at him!

"Ahh!" He jumped back, but bumped into another crystal. Another face appeared! He screamed and crawled under the first crystal, running toward the end of the cave. Faces, faces everywhere, each one more sinister than the last! What's more, a swarm of red bats suddenly dove from the ceiling and screeched as they flew toward him! He ducked and kept running until he slammed into an even larger crystal and fell to the ground!

"Party Favor . . . "

He shot up and looked around frantically. "Who's there?"

"Party Favor . . . " The voice was soothing, almost siren-like. He looked up at the crystal and saw that a dark red force was stirring inside of it.

"It seems that you've gotten yourself into a bit of trouble . . . if only there was an easy way out of here . . . " Suddenly, an orange and yellow light swirled in front of him to reveal a picture of Our Town. "Well, what have we here? It seems there is . . . "

The echoing screech of a bat caused Party Favor to jump.

"This portal leads to your village . . . " the crystal continued. "In an instant, you can leave this frightening place and be safe and sound at home . . . " It was a tempting offer, for sure, but . . .

" . . . what about my friends?"

"Your friends will be fine . . . " the crystal assured. "They don't really need you to open the shortcut. After all, they can continue down the other path, can't they?"

Party Favor moved his head to avoid a falling red crystal. "Well, yeah, but it'll take a lot longer for them to get up the mountain."

"Does it really matter, as long as they arrive at their destination safely?"

"Well . . . " Party Favor rubbed the back of his head. "I guess not . . . but I can't just leave them there!"

The crystal laughed lightly. "Sure you can! Who needs them?"

It was that remark that reinvigorated Party Favor. " . . . I do! I need them! And so does Equestria!"

With that, he swatted at the portal, scattering the magic. He then gasped at the sight of a sparkling bluish-white crystal growing off the large red one.

"The crystal lever!" He took hold of the crystal and pulled down on it as hard as he could until it moved. A soft rumbling noise from within the mountain told him that the passage had opened. Then he stood up and ran out of the cave as fast as his legs could carry him.

"I'm here!" he shouted as he returned to where his friends were waiting. "Let's go!"

The others followed him up a crudely-carved stone staircase. "What took you so long, Party Favor?" Sugar Belle asked. "We were worried about you!"

"I couldn't find the crystal," he answered, "and I ended up lost in a scary cave."

"That sounds awful!"

"It was. And then there was a big red crystal that opened a portal back to town. It tried to tell me that you guys didn't need me and that I should just go home." By that point, they'd reached the top of the staircase, and he stepped out into the daylight. "But I didn't listen!"

They continued on the path for a while, until the ruins of a castle came into view.

"There it is!" Starlight shouted excitedly. The group began to run towards it. "It's right over there! All we have to do now is --- ahh!"

The others gasped. "Starlight!" Before anyone could stop him, Sunburst dove over the edge of the cliff after her! After falling a bit, he grabbed Starlight with one hoof and a nearby branch with the other.

But the branch was small, and it quickly started to snap. "What do we do?" Starlight asked frantically.

Sunburst looked up. The top of the cliff was quite far away. He knew he could levitate himself to that point, but not if he was holding Starlight, and the branch wouldn't hold long enough for him to levitate just her to the top. Then he saw Night Glider poised to dive in and realized what had to be done. He looked down at Starlight. "Let go."

"What?! Are you crazy?!"

"No. They'll catch you!"

"How can I tell?"

"Don't you believe me?"

Starlight laughed. "Why should I believe a word you say? You lied to me, Sunburst!"

"I don't know what you're ---"

"When we were foals!" she screamed. "You said we would be friends forever, but we weren't! You left for Canterlot and the old School for Gifted Unicorns without even saying goodbye!"

The branch snapped more, dropping them ever closer to the ground below. "Starlight, that was a long time ago. We really don't have time to ---"

"Of course we don't have time! There's never any time! After you got your cutie mark, there wasn't any time for you to say a single word to me! There wasn't time for you to say goodbye before you left! And there certainly wasn't time for you to write to me or come visit or anything!"

Tears filled Starlight's eyes. "You were my only friend . . . at least I thought you were! How do I know you ever cared for me at all? How do I know you're not deliberately trying to let me fall now?"

Sunburst's ears drooped, and he sighed. "Starlight . . . I'm sorry. I'm really sorry. I did try to keep in touch with you when I first got to Canterlot, but I should have tried harder. I never wanted to hurt you, and I'm sorry I've caused you so much pain for so long."

The branch snapped yet again, dropping them even further. "I'm not asking you to forgive me," Sunburst continued. "All I ask is that, just this once, you trust me."

Starlight stared into Sunburst's eyes for what felt like forever. Here was the pony who'd abandoned her, that she'd spent so many years hating, now telling her to let go and meet certain doom . . . and yet . . . she felt as if she trusted him, as if a trace of their old friendship remained. As a tear slid down Starlight's cheek, she smiled slightly. And then she let go.

She screamed as she fell for a while, but suddenly she stopped. She opened her eyes. Night Glider had caught her.

As Night Glider carried her back up the cliff, the branch broke completely. But before Starlight had a chance to scream, Sunburst used his magic to float himself upward. Soon, they were both back on solid ground.

"Starlight, I . . . "

Starlight threw her front legs around him and buried her face in his chest. "Sunburst . . . I'm sorry . . . "

Sunburst hugged her back. "It's okay." And for a good while, they stayed like that.

"Hey, Starlight," Wishful suddenly interjected. "Why didn't you just use your levitation spell like Sunburst did?"

Starlight didn't answer, but perhaps this revealed lapse in her judgment was what prompted her to immediately use her magic to teleport the entire group to the other side of the gap. The ruins of the castle stood directly before them now.