• Published 13th Jul 2012
  • 6,395 Views, 154 Comments

Impressions - Lusewing

When all you want to do is to get back to where you belong it is easy to make mistakes.

  • ...

The door

A short while later, the six ponies were standing around the print that had started all of this. Zecora made sure to also point out the ribbon that had been tied to a tree close by, but none of them could think for what that particular tree had been marked, or how. If it had been a troll to place the ribbon then it was also a mystery how the creature had managed to get a hold of a ribbon in the first place. After all, the material didn't look old or like it had been thrown away. In fact it was hardly frayed at all, and looked to be of good quality.

Rainbow Dash leaned against a nearby tree and crossed her forehooves. "So, now what? Are we going to do something, or just wait 'til the troll fancies a pony snack?" The pegasus hated just standing around. She also hated how she didn't have a clear flight path to maneuver - nor get up any sort of speed - so had to keep spending time walking on the ground when the trees got to thick around her. Fluttershy didn't mind being on the ground and walking normally, but here in the Everfree Forest, she was shaking and keeping close to everypony else.

"Trolls d-don't really e-e-eat ponies, do they?" she asked in the barest of whispers.

"The book just says they push travellers off cliffs, so I'm not sure if they are able to kill without that advantage." Twilight decided against answering such an horrific question, and chose instead to offer a silver lining to their thundercloud. No matter how small.

Pinkie Pie walked over to her pale yellow friend and gave her one of her winning smiles. "Cheer up, Fluttershy. I am sure anypony that likes to decorate trees can't be all bad. Maybe it didn't get along with all the other trolls, so it came to Ponyville to make new friends." Pinkie always knew how to look on the bright side of life and managed to coax a small smile from her pegasus friend. They just had to hope that the party expert was right, though how a troll would go about making friends in Ponyville, without frightening half the residents to pack up and move, was something none of them could quite work out. Well, apart from Pinkie, that was.

Looking around, Twilight noticed Zecora had walked a little away from the group, and was smelling the air with her eyes closed. She, in turn, took a lungful, but found it hard to pick out anything new from the strange smells that made up the forest. It just smelt like trees, rotting leaves and flowers to her.

"Zecora, have you spotted something?" The purple unicorn decided to leave the smelling to someone who was used to the area and its odours.

"It was stronger before What it is, I'm unsure. But a smell that should not be, seems like a good lead to me." Zecora could still not describe what it was she was smelling It was certainly floral, but with a harsh bite to it. Mostly it just smelt unnatural, like a flower that was made by someone who had never smelt one before.

The rest of the group sniffed the air, and Fluttershy let out a very petite sneeze.

"Sorry, it makes my nose itch."

The yellow pegasus took another quick breath and sneezed again. None of the other ponies could smell anything or had any sort of reaction.

"Looks like you will have to keep leading the way, Zecora," said Twilight, as there was no other clue they could follow. "If the smell is still around, after this many hours, then maybe the troll is close by." The purple unicorn suddenly jumped when something grabbed her, but it was only Fluttershy who had been startled by somepony's hooves snapping a twig.

"Relax, Fluttershy. Nothing is going to get you; not while I'm around." Rainbow Dash cleared the floor and flew up as far as the tree branches would let her - which was only about two metres off the ground - but it still gave her a vantage point to see anything coming. "Even with these trees in the way, I will be able to see any troll coming."

Applejack looked around, but couldn't see any signs of damage to the trees or brush around her. She was sure there would be some signs since the damage to her own trees told her that the troll was hardly the most stealthy of creatures.

"Hey, Dash, you think you can check the area for any busted-up trees?" Maybe all they needed was to widen their view.

"Sure thing 'Jack. I will give the place a fly round." Rainbow Dash saluted with one hoof before raced forward...and promptly vanished mid-flight.

The rest of the ponies shouted out her name in shock, apart from Fluttershy, who just screamed. The missing pegasus also screamed at the same time, before she suddenly reappeared and fell to the ground. "There's something there. A wall or something but I flew right through it. What the hay WAS that?!" Rainbow Dash was clearly shaken, though, to be honest, so was everypony in the group. Walking forward, Twilight used her magic to try and find what was ahead of them, and just where Rainbow had gone for that split second. As her magic roamed out in the same direction her friend had flown she suddenly was met with different sensations that made her dizzy. It was like trying to pick up an apple only to feel a wet sponge in its place. Shaking her head, the unicorn ignored the questions coming from her friends and instead focused her magic with her eyes closed. Without the feedback from what she was seeing Twilight managed to 'see' that whatever it was that was in the thorns. It was certainly real and solid. A second scream from Fluttershy snapped Twilight out of her concentration, but this outburst had merit.

"Go away and leave this place. OOOOO!" The voice that boomed in front of them was deep, distorted and like nothing they had ever heard.

Twilight fell back on her rump and pulled away at the sight before her. An horrific creature's head hung in the air without any sort of support at all, and no magic glowed to hold it aloft. Its mane was wispy and white and its skin was green and rubbery with boils and warts.

"I said LEAVE!"

Fluttershy was gone with just a trail of dust marking her path. Pinkie Pie, however, was rolling on the floor laughing, while pointing at the face. She was clearly trying to say something, but it was hard to make out as the pink pony also tried to breathe at the same time. Twilight took a breath and tried to swallow her fear. She looked closer, and realized she could see that the face - or whatever it was - didn't actually move its lips or features; all it did was hover mid air. Taking a chance she tried to grab at the face with her magic, and was surprised to find that it was both light and completely unattached to anything. The face came to rest on the ground with a light thump. Nothing more than a mask.

Twilight looked over her friends, Fluttershy was still missing. "Zecora, do you think you can find Fluttershy before she gets lost? I have a feeling this is going to be easier than I thought it would be." The zebra nodded, and headed off to follow the pegasus' trail. The area grew quiet again as the hoofsteps faded into the forest, but Twilight was sure she could hear movement coming from the brambles - at least, where she could see brambles.

"What in tarnation is going on?" asked Applejack, who could make no sense of any of this.

"I will explain after, if I am right that is," said Twilight. The others noted her tone - she had a plan. "Rainbow Dash, keep high and watch for anything leaving the brambles. You will see it leave at the edges, not in the brambles themselves. Applejack, you're with me. Keep close, I'm not sure what is on the other side." Twilight was about to say something to Pinkie Pie, but as she had just picked up the mask and was pulling faces at it, the unicorn decided to leave her as she was. Two ponies should be enough. After all, if it was having to resort to scare tactics, then it couldn't be that dangerous...she hoped.

As she walked forward with Applejack at her side, she noted her friend had a lasso ready in her mouth. Twilight knew roughly what to expect, but she was still shocked when she passed the bubble wall and saw what was on the other side. Applejack decided to show her shock with a few choice curses behind the rope in her mouth.

They were in a room of some sort, though it looked as if most of the furnishings had been taken down or moved. The walls were painted in a cream colour, while the carpet under their hooves looked like it had been a chocolatey colour, even before all the mud and dirt had been tracked into it. There was a partly open door in front of them, tall enough to let even Princess Celestia pass through it without a problem, but strangely very narrow. Twilight thought she saw something through the gap in the door before it quickly closed, followed by sounds of a locking mechanism falling into place.

"We don't want to hurt you, we just want to talk," shouted Twilight, but she was met with no response.

"Twilight, where in Equestria are we?" Applejack was finding this all very unnerving. She had put her lasso back in place; there was not much point having it out in an empty room.

"I'm pretty sure we are still right where we were. See?" Twilight walked backwards a few steps. To Applejack and her, it looked like the purple rear end was now missing. A fresh batch of laughter erupting behind them let them know that Pinkie could see the missing half. "There is some sort of bubble. A barrier between what we can and cannot see. It is nothing more then a painted picture on either side. So, some of this room is real while the rest is just an illusion. I have seen a few instances of this sort of spell used to hide objects, and once a door, but never something this big."

"Well, ah don't like it" Applejack moved over to one of the walls but before she could reach it her head went through the barrier. Backing up she waved her forehoof in the air in front and saw it vanish.

"What I want to know is how this was all made." Twilight moved over to the door and tried to look underneath it, without any luck. Frowning at the round lump of metal on one side of the door, she guessed that it must be some sort of handle - though how it would be turned without magic she didn't know. The lock seemed to be set into the handle, and it came as a surprise when she found she was able to make quick work of it with her magic. The door, however, refused to move - it was being held in place from the other side.

"I'm sorry if we scared you. We just want to talk." Twilight was becoming more and more intrigued as she looked around the room. There were thin white...things with three holes in a triangle shape around the edges and some sort of glass ball hanging above them that looked like it held bits of metal inside. It could be a light, but she felt no magic stores inside it. Indents on the floor told her there had once been quite a lot of heavy furniture in this room, and she found herself wondering just what they had been.

"Out the way, Twilight." The unicorn stepped aside and watched the earth pony turn around and buck the door with enough force that the hinges gave way a little.

"Wait!" shouted Twilight, who didn't want to scare the creature on the other side into running. Applejack, however, was not really interested in diplomatic relations - they took far too long.

"Just go away." The voice that came from the other side was no longer loud and distorted. In fact, it just sounded like a mare. Twilight pushed Applejack out of the way - or at least she tried to - but thankfully the earth pony complied, but with a look that told Twilight that if she didn't get this over with quickly, then she would do it her way.

"Please, we only want to talk." Twilight and Applejack waited. Just when the orange pony was about to restart her own methods, the voice answered.

"Then talk. What do you want?"

Twilight fumbled, not quite knowing what to say next. Thankfully the situation was saved by a still laughing Pinkie Pie, who had grown bored of the trees outside.

"Wow, this place is amazing. How did you get the walls to do that mirror thing?" Pinkie Pie was still not quite in the room, she was having too much fun standing half in and out of the barrier, before a switch on the wall caught her eye. It was a little hard to reach, but the earth pony was no stranger to being agile on her hooves. Much to her disappointment, no matter how many times she flicked it, the switch did nothing.

Whispering could be heard behind the door and for the first time Twilight wondered if they were not dealing with one creature but more. That could be more problematic. After a little bit of silence there again came an answer.

"I don't know."

That was hardly an informative answer, but at least they were starting to get a bit of a conversation going. Both Twilight and Applejack chose to stay out of the conversation, and let their friend work her 'magic'.

"That scary mask thing was great. Do you have any more of them? I would love to borrow one to use for the next Nightmare Night. Oh, by the way, I'm Pinkie Pie. What's your name?" Twilight might at times worry about her friend Pinkie, but she had to admit that at this moment she realised that she was watching a true master of their art at work.

"Alice." The name was said after another long pause.

"Hi, Alice. You know it's not much fun talking to a door, and I bet you have tons of more cool stuff to see. Can we come in? Please?" There was a lot more whispering from behind the door as well as some banging and a groan.

"You're not going to leave, are you?"

"Nope," Pinkie said with a cheerful smile. Both Twilight and Applejack looked at one another with a mixture of surprise and awe.

"Fine, but I warned you to leave. Stand back, I'm...I'm coming out."


The three mares moved back away from the door as it reluctantly opened.

Author's Note:

Poor little Fluttershy, at least she has Zecora to stop her from getting too lost.