• Published 1st Jul 2017
  • 3,066 Views, 66 Comments

A Quest for Love: An Apple-Pear Family Story - Silver_Bolt

A story filled with adventure, tragedy, and most importantly, love. Grand Pear struggles to forget the life he left behind, while Buttercup and Bright Mac make a decision that forever changes the Apple family...

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Chapter 3: The Quest (Part 1)

Chapter 3

The Quest (Part 1)

“All rise!”

Sitting comfortably on the wood floor of the Cutie Mark Crusaders’ clubhouse, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo proceeded to stand up obediently.

“I hereby declare this CMC meeting, adjourned!” With that, Apple Bloom cheerfully slammed the gavel down onto the wooden podium.

“I still can’t believe we have a free day tomorrow,” said Sweetie Belle.

“With the amount of ponies we helped this past week, I can’t believe it either. I mean, we helped six different ponies get their cutie mark in a single week! That’s a new record for us,” said Scootaloo. “You sure we don’t have any appointments set up for tomorrow Apple Bloom?”

Looking through the agenda book on the podium, Apple Bloom nodded. “Yup. Nothin’ for tomorrow or the next day.”

“Well that’s convenient,” Sweetie Belle said with a smile. “Just so happens that my parents are returning tomorrow from their vacation in Manehattan. They planned to meet up with Rarity and I, but I told them that I might be busy. Guess not!”

“You too huh?” Scootaloo said with a frown.

“What’s wrong?” Sweetie Belle asked with concern.

“Eh. It’s nothing really. It’s just that my parents decided that they wanted to spend time with me as well. Guess I’ll be spending it with them tomorrow.”

“Well what’s wrong with that?” asked Apple Bloom while she stepped down from the podium to join her friends.

“Nothing I guess. It’s just that their definition of 'spending time together' usually means doing whatever they want.”

“Wait, you hang out with your parents?” Sweetie Belle asked with a look of confusion, which was immediately met with a glare from Scootaloo.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Nothing, nothing. It’s just… I never seen your parents before so I always thought that-“

“That I was some poor, sad, lonely little filly who doesn’t have any parents? Well gee, that would be miserable now wouldn’t it?”

Apple Bloom looked down at the wood floor, her friend’s words stabbing into her like a knife.

Sweetie Belle swiftly elbowed Scootaloo in the shoulder.

“Ouch! What was that for?” she snapped as she rubbed her shoulder.

With a stern face, she tilted her head towards Apple Bloom, who was still looking dismally at the floor.

Scootaloo placed her hoof over her mouth. “Apple Bloom! I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean-“

“Nah it’s ok,” she said, looking up at her with a smile. “I know you didn’t mean it like that.”

She casually walked over to the door, softly biting her lip as she fought back tears. There were no ill feelings towards her friend. She knew her remark wasn’t towards her, but for some inexplicable reason, the thought of her parents triggered a flurry of emotions that she could feel building inside of her. She just hoped she could at least get through the club house door before letting it all out.

“You two have a fun time tomorrow with your family. I’m going to go back home.”

“Wait Apple Bloom," Scootaloo began, “If you want to hang out with my family tomorrow, then you’re more than welcome to.“

“No, that’s alright. I’ll be busy doing chores anyways.”

But her friends didn’t buy into her charade.

“I’ll be fine, really!” she said with another forced smile. “I’ll see you girls later.”

As Apple Bloom walked slowly back home, she couldn’t help but think about her parents. This was something that she would do from time to time, but recently, she would constantly find herself pondering about them, and Scootaloo’s comment made her think about them even more. She couldn’t explain why her mind suddenly decided to wander like that. For some reason, she had a strange urge to find out more about her parents, an urge that she could feel was tugging inside her heart.

She would frequently hear stories from either Granny or her siblings about cheerful memories involving her parents. Those were bittersweet moments for her. Sure she enjoyed those stories along with the rest of her family, but she always felt a bit left out. She would try desperately to search her mind in hopes to recollect her own memories or events yet she could never do so. Sometimes, she would recall something involving her and her parents, however after thinking about it some more, she would find out that it was only her imagination, a made up memory, much to her dismay. It was a piece that was missing, not only in her mind, but in her heart. The only thing she had to remember them by were old family photos, stories, an incomplete lullaby, and, well, her imagination.

She pondered this as she walked through the endless rows of apple trees, blankly observing the beautiful scenery. Birds danced around the air singing their beautifully crafted tunes, while the sun shined brightly in the cloudless blue sky onto the thick canopy of apple trees, casting shadows and silhouettes across the dusty path that led back to the house. A beautiful day indeed, yet it wasn’t enough to lighten her mood.

“Why is my mind wandering like this?” she asked herself, while that emotional flurry she felt earlier slowly began to calm, instead turning into a burning desire.

She stopped in her tracks, and placed her hoof over her heart, now very confident that she indeed felt something, an indescribable feeling that she had never felt before. It felt sort of like a small flame, gentle and warm. She stood there, closing her eyes, as it lingered there in her heart, feeling her sadness slowly beginning to melt away. But as quickly as it came, the feeling faded.

What was it?

She waited there for a few moments hoping it would come back but it didn’t. Contemplating what had happened, she continued her walk back to the house.

After a few minutes, she finally reached the house and upon opening the door leading to the kitchen, she was greeted with a sweet aroma.

“Hey there Sugarcube!” said Applejack cheerfully, seeing her enter the house. She then opened the oven, the delicious smell becoming even stronger.

“Smells good sis!” Let me guess…”

“Applefritters!” they said together.

“Freshly baked! Although they’re usually fried, I decided to try a new method of preparing them!” her sister said proudly while placing the hot pan on the kitchen table in front of her. “Let it cool for a minute and then…” she began to look around, “let’s hurry up and eat it before Big Mac does!”

“Eeyup! He does have a big appetite!” she said jokingly. “But wait, aren’t we going to eat dinner soon?”

She gave her a little wink. “I think a few before dinner wouldn’t hurt anypony. Just don’t tell Granny I let ya, ok?”

As Applejack took her seat across from her, Apple Bloom couldn’t help but stare at the delicacies lying just a few inches in front of her. She could feel the heat emanating from the pan, accompanied by a sweet, delightful aroma. She could also hear the soft crackling of the pastries as it sat there sizzling on the table.

After letting the fritters cool off for a bit, the two began to eat the freshly made pastries, happily munching away.

“So how was your meetin’?” asked Applejack, taking a pastry from the pan.

“It went really well! We ended up helping six different ponies get their cutie marks. A new record!”

Applejack stared delicately at her.

“What?” she asked as she stared back, her mouth filled with fritters.

“Oh nothing... it’s just that… I’m just so proud of you. You’ve grown so much and have accomplished so many things since you got your cutie mark. I know I said it before but, if Ma and Pa were here, they would be so proud too.”

Hearing this, she looked down at the table, her mind beginning to think about her parents once more. Seizing the moment, she looked up at her sister.

“Hey, Applejack? Could you tell me more about them?” she casually asked.

Applejack happily placed her half eaten fritter down onto her plate and wiped her mouth with a napkin.

“What do you want to know Sugarcube? I have plenty of stories, not as much as Granny of course but-“

“Actually,” she began hesitantly, “I was wondering if you could tell me… what happened to them?”

The cheerful, kind look that Applejack had moments before quickly faded, turning almost instantly into a sad, disheartened one.

“I know it’s a topic you don’t like discussing, it’s just that I feel like I have the right to know. I mean, you, Big Mac, and Granny share all these wonderful memories about them, which I appreciate and all, but I just wondered-“

“But isn’t that enough?” her sister asked her with sorrow in her eyes, a sense of sadness that Apple Bloom had never seen in her before. “All those happy memories and stories we share with you, isn’t that enough for you to know about them?”


“What made you ask this anyway?” she snapped.

“I… I can’t explain it. Recently, my mind has been wandering off and I just can’t help but think about them. I also have this strange feeling in my heart, pulling me towards them. Please Applejack, I just need to know."

But she turned away.

“That feeling you have is just curiosity. Nothing more.”

Apple Bloom stared at her helplessly, an eerie silence filling the kitchen as she waited for her big sister to have a change in heart.

But she soon realized that wasn’t going to happen. “I see,” she said in defeat as she got up from her chair.

“Where are you goin’?”

“I’m going to turn in for today. Not feelin’ so well,” she said sadly, slowly making her way back to her room. “Just tell Granny and Big Mac that I’m not really that hungry.”

“Apple Bloom…”

“Sorry. I just need some time alone.”

As Apple Bloom laid in her bed, staring blankly at the ceiling, she couldn’t help but cry, feeling as if she would never get the opportunity to find out the truth about her parents. But she could feel that peculiar feeling return, this time more prevalent. She laid there, holding her hoof over her heart as that burning feeling began to grow. Rather than ignore it, she allowed it to fill her up with happiness and comfort, a stark contrast to the emotions she had felt before with Scootaloo and Applejack. What it was, she could not explain, however she didn’t care. As that feeling grew stronger, her mind began to fill with stories that her family shared about her parents, like the time when Applejack hid for almost an entire day from Ma and Pa after she almost burned the entire kitchen down trying to make a surprise dinner. Or the time when Pa had to rescue Big Mac after he fell down a well while trying to save his stuffed animal that he dropped, which, funny enough, he still carried around today. But probably her favorite story was the one her sister told her, about the time when their mother sang a lullaby to them when she was a baby. She still remembered that moment, up in the hay loft, the moment when her sister sang that song which carried her away into a deep sleep…

“Apple Bloom?” echoed a gentle voice.

“Apple Bloom?” said another in the same tone.

Those voices. I’ve heard them before.

She opened her eyes slowly, seeing not one, but two figures standing at her bedside. Her eyes still heavy from sleep, she had only caught a glimpse of them, but enough for her to know that she had seen these two before... but from where? From pictures perhaps? Or maybe from town?

She rubbed the sleep from her eyes, before gazing at the stallion with a crimson red mane, fair colored coat, and an old brown hat that looked exactly like her sister’s. To his side stood a mare, who was easily the most beautiful mare she had ever seen, with a gold curly mane, coupled with a freckled face and soft blue eyes that bestowed a sense of comfort as she stared at them.

It can’t be.

“Ma? Pa?” she asked in disbelief.

Without any words, the two nodded their heads, smiling.

“You’re… you’re here! You’re both here!” she exclaimed, jumping from her bed and into their loving arms.

“I… I can’t believe it… how are you here? Where have you guys been?”

But they didn’t say anything, their silence sending an uncomfortable, ominous feeling through her.

“What's the matter? she asked in concern.

With sadness in their eyes, her father and mother gave her a kiss on the forehead, as they hugged her in a warm embrace.

Without warning, her room began to shake violently. The windows began to shatter, picture frames and shelves, which were hanging on the wall, crashed down onto the floor, creating a deafening noise as the walls of her room started to crumble, while the wooden floor beneath them began to break away.

Looking down, she could see nothing but darkness.

“Ma! Pa! What’s going on!?” she screamed, holding them tightly while she shut her eyes.

She couldn't see anything, fear preventing her from opening her eyes. She could feel her parent's warm touch, and at the same time, she could feel herself falling, feeling as if she was being dropped from the peak of a tall roller coaster.

After the feeling had faded, she reluctantly opened her eyes, finding herself sitting on a gravel road that seemed to be somewhere on a mountainside. She frantically looked around, but nopony was in sight. It was just her, along with a fog that quickly began to thicken around her to the point where she couldn’t see what was beyond it. A dreadful howl from the winds echoed down the jagged cliffs and down onto the empty road that she stood on. She cautiously made her way towards the road’s edge, which was just a few yards away from her. She reached the edge, periodically looking around to ensure nopony was sneaking up on her. Looking down into a deep, seemingly endless ravine, she could see something. Lying at the foot of the mountain was a horse carriage that was smashed to bits. The only thing still intact was a single wheel that was slowly rotating in the wind. She had seen that carriage before, but she couldn’t recall where. She quickly turned away from the unsettling sight and began to walk through the fog, which seemingly began to clear with every step that she took.

“Apple Bloom..."

She turned to the gentle sound of her name, seeing her parents standing only a few yards away from her. Suddenly, her father jumped in front of her mother, as if he was protecting her from something.

Confused, she turned around once more, only to be surrounded by a large crowd of ponies.

“Who are you!?” she cried as she quickly backed away.

But they didn’t say anything. With sadistic smiles, they began to slowly make their way towards her and her parents, each one beginning to glow with a strange green aura.

As she stared in horror, the green glow slowly engulfed them and quickly disappeared and in their place stood a horde of black, insect-looking creatures: Changelings.

The Changelings hissed with their snake-like tongues, their sinister eyes glowing as they slowly made their way towards her and her parents.

“Pa!” she screamed as she scurried away.

The horde, however, began to sprint towards her.

As she sprinted towards her parents, she felt a large stone stub her hoof, causing her to tumble down onto the gravel road, the rough gravel sending a stinging pain through her as she laid there helplessly.

“Get away from us!” she screamed as she saw the black mass of Changelings approach her.

She closed her eyes and placed her hooves over her head, bracing herself for her impending doom. She continued to lay there helplessly, eyes closed, waiting to feel a bite or a scratch, but nothing happened. Mustering up a little courage, she opened her eyes and was surprised to see the horde leap over her and charge towards her parents, leaving her unscathed.

“No! Stop!" she cried, seeing her father fight off the swarm that surrounded him and her mother.

She sprang to her hooves and quickly dashed towards them, seeing a few of the Changelings managing to pin her father down onto the ground.

But the harder she tried to run, the farther she got. It was as if she were on a treadmill. No matter how hard she sprinted, she couldn’t reach them. She continued to gallop mindlessly, until she noticed a large shadow beginning to loom over her

She finally stopped and looked up towards the sky, seeing a large dark being with long transparent, insect-like wings that glistened in the sun, and a large crooked horn on its head. Its pale blue mane flowed from its black body with menacing green eyes, accompanied with a mouth filled with sharp fangs and a serpent-like tongue.

“Queen Chrysalis!” Apple Bloom exclaimed.

But the Queen flew passed her, flying to where her parents were. With a distasteful smile, her crooked horn began to glow, a green magic illuminating it.

“Fight all you want!” sneered the queen, “But either way, you’re mine!”

The light from her horn began to shine brighter than before and soon, a large beam of energy shot out towards her parents, creating a blinding light.

“Ma! Pa! No!” cried Apple Bloom, squinting her eyes.

“Apple Bloom! Apple Bloom!”

It was the voice from before, but where it came from and to whom it came from, she did not know.

“Who's there!?” she called out blindly, her hooves out in front of her hoping that she could at least feel the pony calling to her.

“Apple Bloom, please, concentrate on my voice! Concentrate!”

She closed her eyes, obediently focusing on the sound of the mysterious voice until the noises around her ceased.

Opening her eyes, she found herself standing in a cold sweat, back in her room.

“How the hay did I get back here?”

“Because of me.”

She turned to her doorway, seeing a tall, dark colored mare approaching her. Her beautiful midnight blue mane flowed majestically in the air as she smiled gently at her.

“Princess Luna!” she exclaimed, hugging her in relief. “Where did you come from? Wait...” she began to say as she looked around. “Where are my parents?”

“Apple Bloom,” the alicorn began, placing her hoof on her shoulder.

“It was only a dream, wasn’t it?”

“Indeed. Although, you are still dreaming.”

“I am?” she asked as she gazed around her room.

“Yes. You had a terrible nightmare. I had to quickly transfer you into another dream, for it began to severely damage your psyche. It was truly one of the worst nightmares I had ever seen, although I must say, in my many moons, I have never encountered a dream like yours before,” she said as she began to pace around the room.

“What do you mean?”

“What I mean is, your dream, was not necessarily a dream. Rather, it was more of a memory.”

“A memory?” she asked with confusion. “But I was too young to remember my parents. I was only a baby when they-“ she stopped as she looked down at the floor. “Actually, I don’t know what happened to them.”

The Princess of the Night lifted her chin with her hoof and let out a comforting smile. “You are correct. This was not your memory,” she said softly as she looked delicately into her eyes. “This memory belonged to somepony else.”

“Who? None of my siblings, nor Granny, was there during-” she stopped herself once more. “Princess Luna... It can’t be my parents’ memories… can it?”

“It appears that way,” said the princess. She continued to pace around the room as if she herself was trying to make sense of the strange phenomenon that occurred.

She then ceased her pacing and looked directly at her.

“Tell me, have you experienced anything strange recently? Heard anything, seen anything, felt anything?”

“Actually, I have felt something odd,” she began. Lifting her hoof, she placed it over her heart. “Recently, I’ve been having this strange feeling. It feels like it’s in here, in my heart. I can’t really explain it. It sort of feels like a small fire that’s burning, but it doesn’t hurt. It’s gentle, peaceful, and calm, sort of like sitting near the fireplace on a cold winter’s day, and yet it’s more than that. It fills me up with so much happiness and joy and I can feel it pulling at me at the same time. I never experienced anything like it.”

Her answer seemed to have made her even more confused as she stared at the floor, thinking about what she had said.

“It seems as if your parents are calling out to you,” she finally said, still staring blankly at the floor.

She gasped. “So they’re alive!?”

“I am not exactly sure,” said Luna, “But one thing I do know is that this call is an act of love.”


“Yes. Not the love you would find in some mare’s tale or storybook. No. This is a different kind of love, a stronger, more genuine kind. That feeling you have within your heart, is love’s call. Love, unlike magic, is capable of transcending distance, time and space. Although simple, it is very complex as its power is immeasurable.”

“But why do I feel this call all of a sudden? And how come no pony else can feel it, like my sister?”

The princess made her way over to her bedroom window where she contemplated to herself quietly as she gazed at her starry night.

“Tell me, have you been thinking about your parents recently? And not just thinking, but rather, yearning, desiring to learn more about them?”

Apple Bloom nodded.

“A wise pony once told me that love is ever-present; it is always around us, even when we do not know it. It waits patiently, making itself known to only those who desire it. I believe that in your quest to know more about your parents, you inadvertently opened your heart, allowing love to enter. On the contrary, pain, sorrow, guilt, prevent love from entering and prevent it from working fully, as is the case for your family. As I mentioned before, love is always present and is made available for those who seek it. Yes, your family continues to love your parents even till today, but they have ceased to open their hearts, unable to hear love’s call. Unfortunately, they have hardened their hearts, calloused by that tragic night. Indeed I sense it has left a large scar on all of them, especially your sister.”

Apple Bloom had a hard time digesting what she had said. Sure she knew that her parents’ tragedy caused so much pain on their family, but she had no idea the extent of it.

“I… I had no idea they felt that way,” she said with tears in her eyes.

Wiping them away, she looked at Princess Luna, an overwhelming sense of determination gripping her.

“What must I do?”

“It is simple,” Luna said smiling, admiring her courage. “You must answer love’s call. But be cautious little one, for the quest you take, will be dangerous. There will be many obstacles, but you must trust in yourself and in love’s power, to overcome them.”

After saying this, Apple Bloom's room began to illuminate in a white light, slowly growing brighter by the second.

At this, the Princess of the Night began to spread her majestic wings, flying away into the light.

“Princess Luna! What’s going on!?”

“It is time for me to depart Apple Bloom. Remember what I said.”

“Princess Luna!?” she gasped.

She looked around, finding herself lying in her bed, her bedroom window now plastered with Celestia's early-morning sun, its orange light beginning to flood the room.

With her encounter with Princess Luna still fresh in her mind, she quickly jumped out of bed and sprinted down stairs to tell her sister what had happened.

Upon arriving in the kitchen, she found Granny Smith and Big Mac busily preparing breakfast.

“Mornin’ Apple Bloom!” Granny said in a cheery voice. “Yer up early. Why don’t ya help me and your brother out with breakfast? We’re fixing to eat soon.”

“Actually Granny,” she began frantically, “I need to talk to Applejack. Where is she?”

“She’s out in the East Orchard bucking apples. She wanted to get started early so that she could-“

“Okay! Thanks Granny!” she said hurriedly as she bolted out of the kitchen door and out into the cool morning.

“Apple Bloom! What about breakfast!? You didn’t even eat dinner last night!" she heard Granny call out as she galloped through the yard.

“Sorry Granny! I’ll eat later though!” she shouted back as she sprinted towards the east orchard. Although she hadn’t eaten for some time, she wasn’t hungry. The only thing that mattered now was finding more about what she had seen in her dream, and telling her sister exactly what had happened.

She kept replaying the images from her dream in her head, afraid that she might forget it, until finally reaching the East Orchard, where she began to look for her sister. It didn’t take long for her to hear the distinct sound of hooves kicking a tree. She followed the sound and after a few moments, saw her big sister, busily bucking an apple tree.

“Applejack! Applejack!” she called as she ran over to her.

Applejack turned towards her. “Sugarcube! You’re up early. What’s wrong?”

“It’s… It’s…”.

“Slow down Sugarcube,” Applejack said, patting her lightly on the back. “Take a deep breath.”

Taking a deep breath, like she had said, she finally found her voice. “It’s Ma and Pa!” she belted out, “They’re alive!”

She backed away in disbelief. “What in Equestria did you just say? How in Celestia’s name do you know that?”

“I had a dream! Ma and Pa were up in a tall mountain on a road and were in trouble and-“

“What road!? How do you know that!?”

“I told you!” she said impatiently as she stomped her hoof. “I had a dream about them and they were in trouble! They were taken by Changelings!”

“Changelings?” Applejack said with a scoff, turning her back against her. “Now you’re just talking silly. It was a dream Apple Bloom! Nothing more! Now quit bringin’ this up!”

“I’m serious! Princess Luna came to me in my sleep and explained that it wasn’t really a dream I had, it was a memory! Their memory!”

“That’s enough.”

“And that feelin’ I told you about? It was a call from them! Love’s call!”

“I said that’s enough!” she shouted, turning around to confront her with tears in her eyes. “I don’t understand why you have a sudden interest in our parents, but it needs to stop!”

“You may have given up on them, but I won’t! They’re out there! I know it!”

Her sister slowly made her way towards her.

She backed away, not recognizing the pony that was approaching her. She had never seen her sister so distraught before, to the point where she actually feared for her own safety.

“They’re gone Apple Bloom! Gone! They’re never coming back! Do you not understand that? Do you want to know why I went up to that hay loft every day for all those years? Because I was a stupid little filly who waited for her Mama and Papa to come back! I waited and waited, thinking if I waited long enough, I would see them come back over that hill and guess what? They never did!”

She stood only a few inches from her, unable to go anywhere else, her back pinned against the trunk of an apple tree.

“But you?” she continued to say, refusing to let up, “You have it so easy! You were only a baby when they passed! You’ll never remember that tragic night, a night filled with sadness, despair, and mourning! You have cheerful, happy memories about them, nothing that is sad or depressing! Well, how about me!? I don’t have that luxury!”

“A luxury!?” Apple Bloom exclaimed in disbelief, finding an ounce of courage to stand up against the pony that cornered her. “I have no memories of them Applejack! Those memories, that you keep bringing up, are nothing but stories! Stories told by you, Big Mac, and Granny! They’re events that I never experienced! Tell me, how is that a luxury!? Do you want to know what a luxury is? A luxury is actually remembering them, remembering that precious feeling of when they held you, embraced you, hearing their sweet, gentle voices as they comforted you when you were sad or lonely, telling you that everything was going to be okay, or remembering the feeling of when they tucked you into bed and sang you a sweet lullaby. Now that’s a luxury!”

She stared at her with a cold glare.

“It’s time to grow up Apple Bloom,” she said coldly. “Don’t be the same stupid filly I was. They’re gone. Accept it.”

She turned away, her sister's words piercing her heart like a spear.

“She’s right,” she said in a near whisper. “Princess Luna was right. You have hardened your heart."

She galloped away, fleeing from the bitter sorrow that surrounded her sister. She needed to get out of there. If she didn't, that same sorrow would consume her and she refused to let herself go down that path. She continued to run, eyes still filled with tears, through the endless fields of apple trees. She sprinted out through the front gate and onto the dirt road in front of Sweet Apple Acres.

She stopped, and looked back at her home.

As she stood there, silently staring at her home, she knew that after her argument with her sister, that she was alone. There was no sense in telling Big Mac or Granny about her dream. If Princess Luna was right, then they too will react the same. She knew, deep down, that she had to do this without them. It hurt knowing that her family had allowed pain and sorrow to enter their hearts and willingly consume them. She was the only one who truly believed that they were still out there somewhere.

She mindlessly made her way towards town. She was determined to answer love’s call, find her parents, and bring them home. To do that, however, she needed to speak to a Changeling first.

Luckily, she knew of one.

After walking through the bustling streets of Ponyville for some time, she finally reached her destination at the edge of town. She approached a large castle door and knocked loudly, listening to the sound of her knocking as it echoed through the castle corridors inside.

Almost instantly, the large door began to open revealing a short, purple and green dragon.

“Oh! Hey Apple Bloom!” he said happily. “What brings you here?”

“Hey Spike. I was wondering if I could speak to Twilight about something.”

“Yeah sure! What for?”

She froze.

She tapped her hoof on the crystal steps as she started to think of a compelling lie.

“I was just uhh… hoping that Twilight could help me with uhh…”

Spike raised an eyebrow.

“I was hoping that Twilight could help me... write a school report,” she finally said with a forced smile.

Spike let out a smile of his own.

“Oh! Of course! You came to the right place! If anypony knows how to write an A-worthy report, it’s Twilight!”

He then fully opened the castle doors, creating a loud creaking sound that echoed through the hallways. “Right this way! She’s in the library.”

She walked through the castle doors and into a vast, crystalline hallway. Every square inch was covered in shimmering crystal rocks. The floors, walls, and ceiling glistened, so much so that they seemed to be emanating their own sparkling aura.

After walking through the hallway, the two finally reached the doors leading into a large library, filled with numerous shelves that were jam-packed with books.

Upon entering, Apple Bloom could see the purple alicorn busily reading a book while seated behind a large crystal table.

“Apple Bloom!” she said happily, seeing them enter from the corner of her eye. She placed a bookmark onto the page she was reading before closing it. “What brings you here?”

“She’s writing a report for school,” said Spike as he began to pick up books from the table to return back onto the vast shelves.

“Ooo! A report? How exciting! Lucky for you, I’ve written thousands of reports and essays, many of which became published. Just last week, I finished writing one on the theory of inter-dimensional travel while utilizing quantum physics based on simple theories of relativity! Isn't that exciting?” she said with a smile.

She looked at her with a dull face, seeing Spike do the same, her intellectual remark going completely over their heads.

“Yeah… I don’t think Apple Bloom’s report will require anything complex like that,” Spike said rolling his eyes as he continued to carry the books.

“Oh… of course,” she said, blushing from embarrassment. “So what’s your report about?

“Oh. Umm… just a report on Changelings,” said Apple Bloom as she rubbed her arm with her hoof.

“Changelings?” she said surprisingly. “Really?”

“Yeah, you know… basically a report on their recent developments, being that they recently reformed from being creepy insect creatures that fed off love, to beautiful creatures that now share love.”

“That sounds like an interesting topic. Unfortunately, I don’t have any books or scrolls about that since it did just happen recently.”

“I know. I was actually hoping that you could possibly… teleport me to the Changeling Kingdom? So that I could interview Thorax?”

Twilight looked at her with intent. “Hmm," she said as she started to pace around the room. "It just so happens that I just perfected my long-distance teleportation spell with Starlight. However, it would be tricky, being that I’ve only been to the Changeling Kingdom once. Plus, it’s a bit trickier teleporting another pony with me.”

She suddenly stopped pacing and looked directly at her, raising an eyebrow. “Wait. Is Applejack okay with this?”

She started to tap her hoof on the floor once more. Just like her sister, it was difficult for her to lie, especially to her friend, but she knew it was for the best.

“Yeah of course she is!” she said with another forced smile. “She actually suggested that I come to you for help.”

Despite her poor attempt at lying, it seemed to have worked.

“Okay!” she exclaimed happily, “As long as she’s okay with it.”

“Yup. She sure is,” she mumbled under her breath.

“Alright. Now, be sure to stay close to me.”

“How close?”

Before she knew it, Twilight had her in a tight hug.

“Umm… Twilight? Is this necessary?” she asked, barely being able to breath.

“Sorry,” Twilight said, loosening her grip. “It’s just that we have to be careful. Long distance teleportation with another pony can be tricky, as I mentioned before. I just don't want us to be separated."

She then turned to Spike, who was busy placing the last set of books back onto the shelves. "Spike! We’ll be back! Oh and tell Starlight that I’ll be gone for awhile.”

“Yup! Sure thing! See ya guys!” he said happily as he waved goodbye.

Twilight’s horn began to glow with a purple light, a sparkling glow beginning to surround them.

Apple Bloom watched in amazement as the aura soon engulfed them in a sparkling veil. And then suddenly…


Before she even realized, she found herself standing in a near-desolate wasteland, with the exception of a few green trees that were spread throughout the plains, along with some small patches of green grass that were beginning to sprout across the land. In the distance, she could see a blue river, its waters gently reflecting the sun, causing the river to gleam beautifully.

“We’re here!” Twilight exclaimed. “Welcome to the Changeling Kingdom!”

She looked around intently. “So this is it?”

“Yup. Although, it does look a bit different since the last time I was here. It was a barren wasteland, with nothing but dead trees. And there definitely wasn’t grass or a river here before… but never mind that.”

Twilight then turned her attention to a large castle-like structure that sat in the distance.

“That over there is the Changeling nest. Follow me!”

After walking through the wasteland, the two ponies finally made their way to the foot of the nest where they were greeted by two Changeling guards.

They looked very different from their previous forms, as seen in Apple Bloom’s dream. She gazed in awe at these creatures, admiring what love's power had done to them. They still looked like insects, but their bodies had unique, yet beautiful, vibrant blends of colors, along with sparkling wings and majestic horns on their head.

“Greetings Princess Twilight!” the two Changelings said as they bowed. “What brings you to our beloved kingdom?”

“I have a little filly here who needs to speak with your king, Thorax. She’s doing a school report.”

The two Changelings smiled. “But of course! Right this way!”

Apple Bloom followed Twilight and the two guards into the nest. She admired in wonder at the numerous openings and passages that lined the ceiling and walls. It was like a bee-hive, however the passages, tunnels, and openings sporadically sealed itself closed, while another one opened simultaneously. Dozens of Changelings buzzed overhead, busily traversing through the nest's network of tunnels. They seemed to know exactly where and when an opening was going to appear, an intriguing sight to see.

“Be sure to follow us closely,” said one of the Changelings. “It’s very easy to get lost in here.”

“Did you bring a pen and paper?” asked Twilight with concern. “I think it would be a good idea to be taking notes right about now.”

“Oh! Yeah. Don’t worry about it,” Apple Bloom said as she looked around. “I got all of it in my head.”

Twilight, however, was not keen with her answer. “Okay,” she said pettily. “If you say so.”

The two ponies followed the Changelings through an opening, which led back outside and onto a large balcony that overlooked the entire wasteland below. Towards the edge of the balcony was a large, regal, stone-like throne and on its seat was a tall, beautifully colored Changeling, with majestic horns, its purple wings spread out, glistening in the sunlight.

“This here was the throne room,” Twilight said, resuming her history lesson, “It unfortunately blew up after our last showdown with Chrysalis, but I see they decided to make the most out of it! Pretty neat right?”

Uninterested, Apple Bloom began to follow the Changeling guards towards the Changeling king.

“We have guests for you, Thorax,” said one of the guards as they bowed their heads.

“I can see that," he said smiling as he flew down to greet them. "Princess Twilight! How are you? What brings you here?”

“Hello Thorax,” Twilight said happily. “I see you did a little yard-work outside?”

He began to laugh. “It’s funny. After we defeated Chrysalis and transformed, the land around us started to change as well! Before we knew it, trees, grass, and even flowers began to grow. Oh and that river over in the distance was dry, up until recently.”

“Really!?” Twilight exclaimed, “That’s so fascinating! Do you think-“

“Ahem.” Apple Bloom said subtly, clearing her throat.

“Oh! This is Apple Bloom! Applejack’s little sister," said Twilight as she nudged her towards Thorax. “She’s here because she’s doing a school report on the recent events that transpired here.”

“Is that so?” he asked intently. “I’m guessing you want to ask me a few questions?”

“Well, yes your majesty, but-“

“Please, just call me Thorax,” he said with a smile.

“Well, Thorax, I do want to ask you some questions, but not for a school report. I’m actually here for… umm… family business,” she said nervously, knowing that she had to finally reveal the truth.

Thorax quickly turned to Twilight, confused. “What kind of family business?”

“I’m here because of my parents. You see, they disappeared when I was only a baby. Everyone, including my family, believe that they’re gone… for good. But I have reason to believe otherwise."

“What?” Twilight exclaimed. “You mean you lied to me?”

“I’m sorry Twilight, but I needed to talk to Thorax! I knew that you wouldn’t teleport me here willingly, so I sort of… lied.”

To Thorax, she resumed her explanation.

“I had a dream last night. It was very vivid and detailed. It showed my parents. They were traveling on a gravel road, high up in the mountains somewhere.”

She stopped, and closed her eyes, the sounds and images from that dream still fresh in her mind.

“Go on,” Thorax said as he placed his hoof on her shoulder.

She continued.

“I saw my parents. They were surrounded by a large group of Changelings. This was in the past, so this was way before you guys became reformed. Anyways, they attacked my parents and then suddenly, Queen Chrysalis appeared. She said that they were hers, and then she attacked them with a surge of magic. I’m not sure what happened to them exactly. After my nightmare passed, Princess Luna appeared and told me that my dream was a memory, a memory from my parents. She explained to me that my parents were calling out to me.”

Thorax closed his eyes, thinking about what she had just said.

“Apple Bloom,” Twilight began gently, “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because I wasn’t sure if you would’ve taken me here,” she said softly. “It was my idea to come to you. Applejack doesn’t even know I’m here. She's actually pretty upset with me.”

Twilight hugged her tightly. "I'm sorry Apple Bloom. You know that you can come to me for anything right?"

"I know. I should’ve known that," she said with a smile. "Thanks Twilight."

She had always been there for her, sort of like an older sister. She felt foolish for ever thinking that she wouldn't help her.

Thorax, after contemplating to himself quietly, began to speak.

“There was a story that was told to us by Chrysalis herself that she had had, at one point in her life, possession of the strongest source of love that she had ever encountered, so strong that it was able to sustain and feed the entire Changeling colony for many, many years.”

"What was it?” asked Apple Bloom.

“Nopony knows exactly. There were rumors that only a select few knew about this love source, but they were part of Chrysalis's inner circle and nopony knows where they are now. However, after hearing your story, it all makes sense.”

“What makes sense?” asked Twilight.

“You mentioned that you saw your parents on a gravel road, high above the mountains right?”

Apple Bloom nodded.

“Before moving here to this nest, we had another nest. In fact, we have several spread throughout Equestria, but all of them are abandoned now. The area you described in your dream sounded a lot like High Mountain Pass. Coincidentally, we had a nest near there, which, funny enough, is the one we used to live in before moving here. That’s where we heard Chrysalis tell her story about the all-powerful love source.”

“So you think that my parents are this love source? And that they were taken captive there?”

Thorax nodded.

"I have never seen them, nor have any other Changeling to my knowledge. However, Chrysalis did have secret entryways and passages that she alone could access. It’s possible she kept them in one of those secret chambers without any Changeling knowing about it."

“Then what are we waiting for?” Apple Bloom said impatiently. “Let’s get moving!”

“Apple Bloom,” Thorax began, “You should know that, that love source eventually… ceased.”

She shot him a stern look. She knew exactly what he was implying and she refused to accept it.

“No. You’re wrong. If they were truly gone, then they wouldn’t have been able to call out to me!”

“I suppose it is possible…” he began, still filled with doubt.

“I know they’re alive. I can feel it,” she said as she held her hoof over her heart.

“Love’s call,” he said with a smile.

“Wait. You know about it?” she asked with surprise.

“Yes. We Changelings started to experience it after our transformation. It’s truly a beautiful thing.”

She reached out her hoof. “Will you help me?”

Thorax let out a smile and held her hoof tightly. "Absolutely."

“Hold on!” exclaimed Twilight, who had been quietly listening to them talk.

“You’re not planning on taking her to High Mountain Pass, are you? That's all the way in the Smokey Mountains!"

“With all due respect, you have to let her go. She has to answer love’s call. Her parents may well indeed be alive.”

He then knelt down, allowing Apple Bloom to climb up on his back.

“I understand that but it’s dangerous!” said Twilight. “Apple Bloom, you can’t go out there by yourself! You have no idea what’s out there!”

“I do,” she said confidently. “My parents are out there and I’m going to get them back. Besides, I’m not truly alone. I have Thorax!”

“I swear to you, I will protect her at all costs,” Thorax said as he began to stand up with Apple Bloom on his back.

“Apple Bloom stop! You can’t go! Let’s at least talk to your family about this!” cried Twilight.

But Thorax continued his ascent, with Apple Bloom sitting comfortably on her back.

Twilight hurriedly began to fly after them, frantically flapping her wings. “Apple Bloom! Please don’t do this!”

“I’m sorry Twilight, but I have to!"

“Hold on tight!” Thorax said as he began to accelerate into the sky, leaving Twilight hovering in the air as she stared helplessly at them.

With the cool wind rushing across her face, she peered down, the landscape now in clear view, seeing newly grown trees, flowers, and grass that Thorax had mentioned before.

“You’re right! The landscape is changing! It’s beautiful!”

“All because of love,” he said proudly. “Without it, life would be desolate and barren, just like how the landscape used to be before.”

Suddenly, she could feel a familiar sensation quickly beginning to build from within her, its feeling becoming stronger with each passing moment. Holding her hoof over her heart once more, she let out a tearful smile.

“I hear you,” she said as she looked to the Smokey Mountains in the distance. “I hear you... and I’m coming.”

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