• Published 20th Jul 2012
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The Conquering of Love - Littlecolt



Twilight finds she and her friends are trapped in their own minds and must escape.

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Overgrowth Ch 4 - The Power of Kindness

Book Two: Overgrowth

Chapter Four - The Power of Kindness

“You’re safe...” said Rainbow Dash, gasping for breath. “Now get out of here!” The blue pegasus closed her eyes, and her raspy breathing stopped.

“No...” said Fluttershy, reaching her hoof out and touching Rainbow Dash’s face. “Not you. Please, not you...” She fell to the ground, pushed her face against Rainbow Dash’s foreleg, and cried out in anguish.

Visions of the past month flashed in Fluttershy’s mind. She saw Twilight bringing Spike to Ponyville Square and leaving to go find out what happened in Canterlot. Are you really gone, Twilight? Forever? Fluttershy thought. It had taken almost an hour for the other Elements, including Fluttershy, to convince Rainbow Dash not to follow Twilight to the capitol. Every pegasus healthy enough to fly was needed to keep watch on the encroaching Everfree. Not even one could be spared. Is it our fault for not going? For not flying when you had to walk? My fault for not stopping you?

Fluttershy felt a chilling cold begin to spread throughout her body. She began to shiver as another vision entered her mind, this time of herself. She saw herself returning to her cottage, even though it was overrun by the Everfree Forest. She had come back to try and find Angel, who she hadn’t seen since the plants began their attack. She exited the cottage and the forest sprung to life, multitudes of sharp vines shooting straight towards her.

She was pushed out of the way by an orange streak. Applejack, who had followed her there without her knowledge, took her place as the vines hit straight on, stabbing into her body in many places.

She couldn’t move for days after that, and she lost her eye. It’s all my fault, Fluttershy thought. I’m such a burden to everyone, I can never do anything right. I cause nothing but suffering every time I try to do anything!

Fluttershy curled into a ball, still clutching Rainbow Dash’s foreleg, shaking and crying. She saw Rarity in her mind, who had secretly set off for Canterlot to try and find Twilight.

She never came back, either, Fluttershy thought, and clenched her eyes shut even tighter. I saw her go, I knew what she was doing. I could have stopped her! It’s my fault! If I could go back, I would do something!

Fluttershy forced her eyes open and looked at Rainbow Dash’s unmoving face, red blood trickling down it. Rainbow had a peaceful smile on her lips still, from the moment she knew Fluttershy was safe. She blinked and wiped away her tears. She could feel a small spark of something, she knew not what, ignite inside of her.

Now I might lose you, too? Fluttershy thought to herself. This can’t happen! I won’t let it!

She stood and looked down at her fallen friend. The cold that had taken over her began to fade away, replaced by a warm sensation. The heat came in pulses, spreading outward from her heart. A soft, yellow glow began to radiate from her, the energy filling her up until she felt it might overflow.

“What’s happening to me?” Fluttershy asked out loud. She turned her head and saw a dragon flying through the air towards her, its mouth opened, ready to breathe fire. She stared at the dragon calmly and uttered a single word.

No.

She spoke calmly, almost as if she was in a trance. Her voice flew from her mouth, loudly and clearly.

Stop.

The dragon froze in mid-air, an unmoving cone of flame erupting from its mouth.

Fluttershy took in her surroundings, combat still raging everywhere else. She couldn’t stand to see any more, and somehow knew that she could end it all.

Fluttershy stood tall, facing the ocean of movement and violence before her. Her eyes took on a pure white glow, and lightning began to fly in the cloud layers above, striking downwards with booming claps of thunder. She raised her hoof into the air and cried out, her voice reverberating across the entire city.

Stop! Everything stop!

Everything stopped. The pigment began to drain out of everything, leaving only Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash as a shining spot of in the middle of a sea of gray.

Fluttershy turned back to Rainbow Dash and ran her hoof gently across her friend’s cheek. “No, not you,” she said quietly as waving golden streams of magical energy flowed from her hoof, enveloping Rainbow Dash’s body. Dash’s eyes shot open, and she gasped for breath, but then became still like everything else. Her charred body returned to its normal blue color, and the trails of blood evaporated into thin air.

“You’ll be all right, now,” said Fluttershy, smiling down at Rainbow. She then lifted her hoof upward, and the rubble that had been piled on top of Rainbow Dash flew into the air. With another swift motion, the building re-formed as if nothing had ever happened to it.

From the single point of color in the city, streaks of golden magic flowed outward in sharp bursts. Everything they touched became whole again, though still frozen in time. Fluttershy didn’t understand how she could perform such feats, but she knew she could, and continued.

The dragon invaders were ejected from Cloudsdale with a single swing of Fluttershy’s hoof. They vanished into thin air.

Go back home, Fluttershy thought. You shouldn’t have to suffer either, you were just angry. It happens to everyone. She smiled, her eyes now glowing brightly, as she looked around at a perfectly restored Cloudsdale, no sign of a battle having taken place remaining.

“If I can do all this,” Fluttershy said to herself, “then I’ll find my friends, too. Twilight, where are you?” She closed her eyes and pictured Twilight. She began to see an image of Twilight and Celestia in a dark, colorless building in Ponyville. The two of them were looking around in confusion. Across from them stood Applejack and Pinkie Pie, both frozen in place.

Take me there, Fluttershy thought, and then she felt the force of gravity begin to vanish from all around her. She opened her eyes and had to blink to make sure she wasn’t seeing things.

The clouds, ground beneath them, and everything as far as she could see, had begun to sink downward into a black crevice. She could feel reality itself folding downward and inward, curling in on itself. She could feel herself and her surroundings flying through the air at speeds even Rainbow Dash couldn’t have matched during their earlier flight. She soon caught sight of Ponyville itself approaching Cloudsdale.

Just seconds earlier, in Ponyville, Twilight and Celestia began to feel themselves move and accelerate. The walls of the jail house fell out from all around them, and they could see Cloudsdale looming on the horizon, approaching with great speed.

“What’s happening?” yelled Twilight, looking up at Celestia. The princess just smiled and breathed a sigh of relief.

“Thank goodness,” said Celestia. “I was afraid we’d lost our dreamer. Instead, they have awakened their power. Their Lucidity.”

Twilight gazed at Cloudsdale as it came nearer. “Lucidity is capable of all this?” she asked with awe.

“And more,” said Celestia. “But for all of this, something profound must have occurred.”

With a flash, everything stood still once more. Twilight and Celestia found themselves face to face with Fluttershy, who was standing on a cloud. More correctly, the ground turned into clouds just a few feet in front of them. Cloudsdale had merged with the ground as naturally as if they had always been joined from the beginning.

Twilight blinked. “Fluttershy... you’re the dreamer?” she said, her voice raising with a bit of shock.

“Dreamer?” asked Fluttershy, not sure what to make of the question.

“But we flew right into that surge of energy!” said Twilight, turning her head towards Celestia.

“Now is not the time to worry about those details, Twilight Sparkle,” said Celestia as she trotted across the threshold onto the clouds. She looked down at Rainbow Dash, who was lying as still as a statue on the ground. She could sense Fluttershy’s energy flowing through Dash’s body.

“Fluttershy,” said the princess, “We need your help. We need everypony’s help. I know this is going to be difficult, but you have to believe what I am about to tell you. Surely what you have just done will lend credence to my words. This is all a dream.”

Fluttershy stared blankly at Celestia for a moment, and then smiled widely. “Oh, thank goodness,” she said with relief, her eyes relaxing. “You have no idea what I’ve been through. It was just awful.”

Now it was Celestia’s turn to blink. “Huh,” she pondered, “must be an effect of the Lucidity. I was expecting more of an outburst such as what happened with you, Twilight.”

“Outburst?” said Fluttershy. “Oh no, that doesn’t sound very nice. I think this way is much better.” She smiled again, and the colors began to return to everything around them.

“There’s more, though, Fluttershy,” said Twilight. “We’re all asleep. The princess and I found a way to travel between dreams. We’ve come here to tell you that the changeling queen, Chrysalis, was actually victorious the night of the wedding. We’re all trapped inside cocoons in Canterlot Palace, and she’s using magic to feed on the power of our love.”

Fluttershy began to shake again, the world lightly rumbling along with her. Her mouth gaped open, but she couldn’t produce any words.

“Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have broke it to you so bluntly,” said Twilight, reaching a hoof out and placing it on Fluttershy’s shoulder, “but we just don’t have time. We have to free everyone from their dreams so we can stop her. We need you, Fluttershy.”

The ground began to shake more violently, and Twilight pulled Fluttershy towards her and onto solid ground. She hugged her friend and closed her eyes.

While Twilight and Celestia were focused on calming down Fluttershy, they failed to notice that Pinkie Pie had begun to slowly slouch downward. A loud cracking sound came from deep underground, and with that noise, Pinkie’s ears twitched, her eyes blinked, and she fell back into reality. She was free from the stasis that had been placed on everything else in the world.

Pinkie looked up at Applejack, who was frozen in mid-stumble above her. Her eyes narrowed and she tilted her head towards Twilight and the others. Her hoof clapped quickly over her mouth as she caught sight of Fluttershy being cradled in Twilight’s arms, Celestia standing behind them and looking down at the shaking yellow pegasus. Cloudsdale stretched out behind them, now just another part of the landscape.

Okay, maybe they aren’t changelings, but they’re definitely up to something! Pinkie thought to herself, trying to sit as still as possible.

“Fluttershy, if we’re going to save everypony, we need all of the Elements of Harmony,” said Celestia. “You have bravely stood by your friends many times in the past, and now we need you again.”

Fluttershy looked up at Princess Celestia and managed to speak, her voice shaking. “B-b-b-but I’ll just get in the w-w-way,” she stuttered. “Y-y-you should c-come back for me later.”

Twilight shook her head. “Maybe if you were having a good dream,” she said, “but we can’t just leave you in this nightmare!”

Dream? Nightmare? Pinkie thought. What’s that mean? This is... a dream?

Pinkie looked down at her hooves. Their pink color began to waver and shake, bleeding away and then back in. Past her hooves, she could see the ground beneath her doing the same thing. She looked up at the three ponies across from her, and immediately noticed a glow coming from Twilight and Celestia.

There’s definitely something weird about those two. Or maybe there’s something else behind this! Pinkie thought. Her gaze locked onto the pink gem sticking out of Twilight’s ear. The light around it almost seemed to pull inward towards it. Somehow, Pinkie knew she had to get it. Something deep inside her burned furiously. That gem! That’s gotta be the key to everything!

“I can’t, Twilight, I’m sorry, I just can’t face those monsters again!” Fluttershy cried, and looked over her shoulder towards Rainbow Dash. A tear fell from her eye, and her voice wavered quietly. “I couldn’t stand to lose any of you again.”

Twilight sighed and shook her head. She placed her hoof under Fluttershy’s chin and pulled her face upward. “Fluttershy, we all feel the same way. We’re all scared of what might happen,” she said, looking into Fluttershy’s eyes. “I don’t want to lose anypony either, but if we do nothing, then the changeling queen wins, and all of Equestria loses.”

Fluttershy felt that same energy rising from inside her once again as she thought of all her friends, all of Equestria, falling under the control of Chrysalis. She felt the same bravery rising up as before, and though she was unsure if she could hold on to the feeling, she knew she had to for now. There was really no other choice. She stood up and wiped away her tears, Twilight standing back up with her. The ground was finally still again, and Fluttershy stood firmly on all four hooves.

“Alright, Twilight. We have to save our friends,” Fluttershy decided. “What do we have to do?”

Celestia stepped back onto solid ground, taking position to Twilight’s side, and faced Fluttershy. Meanwhile, Pinkie Pie grasped her mouth shut even tighter than before, her eyes shaking with anger at the mention of the changeling queen.

She’s involved, too? Now I’m triple confused! thought Pinkie. She stared at the somehow familiar pink gem in Twilight’s ear, her eyes drawn to it seemingly beyond her control, her legs begging her to allow them to vault forward and take it. I need that gem! Somehow, I know everything is hinging on it! I can’t just let them know I’m onto them, though. They must think I’m a stiff like AJ, there.

“The power you have grasped is called Lucidity,” said Celestia. “It allows you to control this world as you see fit. We need you to use it to find a way out of this dream. We had a way to find the exit, but it was destroyed in Twilight’s dream.”

“I used the strange power to find you two, so maybe I can do it. I’ll give it a try!” Fluttershy replied. She closed her eyes and concentrated. “What am I supposed to look for, though?”

“This world is all in your mind. It should all feel the same as far as whether or not you can change it, just like you changed it to meet us here,” said Celestia. “Try to find something out of place. Something you can’t control.”

Fluttershy’s mind immediately locked onto the wildly growing Everfree Forest. Her vision zoomed quickly along expanses of surging vines and roots, zipping past trees and scattering animals, until finally she saw it - a pulsating, heart-like mass of vegetation, from which all of the forest’s growth originated.

“It’s there... at the center of the Everfree Forest. In the castle where we found the Elements of Harmony,” said Fluttershy, her voice shaking. “Something is making the forest grow. I can’t stop it, and I don’t know what it is. The colors are all messed up, or something... I don’t know. Everything looks too real, if that makes sense...”

“The Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters? So it’s there!” exclaimed Twilight. “Just like Rarity’s boutique in my dream! The colors looked out place. We have to go there!”

Fluttershy opened her eyes, her focus shifting as a pink flash shot up into the air from behind Twilight. “Pinkie Pie?” she yelled, startled by what she saw.

“What?” asked Twilight just before being tackled by Pinkie Pie and pinned with her back to the ground. Pinkie’s hoof slid past Twilight’s ear, knocking the communicator onto the ground.

“I couldn’t sit still any longer!” yelled Pinkie, her eyes full of madness as she lunged her hooves towards the pink item she so desperately desired.

“Stop her!” yelled Celestia, ducking to try and intercept the communicator before Pinkie could reach it.

The clouds began to spin and deform, spreading out towards the place where Fluttershy was standing. They wrapped around her and began to pull her back into Cloudsdale. The ground and clouds began to separate with a loud rumble.

“What? No!” yelled Fluttershy, unable to resist the clouds despite her flapping of wings and flailing of hooves.

Cloudsdale began to fly away from Ponyville, taking Fluttershy with it. Fluttershy called out as she was pulled away. “I can’t control it!”

Celestia and Twilight were too busy with Pinkie Pie to respond with anything more than Twilight crying out, “Fly back as fast as you can!”

Twilight pushed her hoof against Pinkie’s face. “Snap out of it!” she yelled. Pinkie stared angrily at Twilight, her frizzy hair straightening and falling as she raised her hoof. The hoof swung down, bashing Twilight across the jaw and slamming her head to the side. She was taken by surprise at not only the sudden attack, but also Pinkie’s strength.

Celestia lunged at Pinkie, grabbing her by the shoulders and pulling her off of Twilight. Pinkie slipped downward and out of Celestia’s grasp, though, then dove across the floor at the gem.

Celestia’s horn glowed as she swung it towards Pinkie, stopping her in her tracks, but not before Pinkie could grab the gem with both hooves. Celestia levitated Pinkie into the air and gave her a good shake. The gem flew from Pinkie’s grasp and slide across the floor as the walls to the jailhouse shot back up from the ground, reforming the cells and hallway around them.

The gem skidded to a stop right at Applejack’s hooves, just in time for her to unfreeze and look around. A look of confusion quickly formed on her face. “What in the name of all things gravy is goin’ on in here?” she asked.

Celestia was holding Pinkie Pie in mid-air, Twilight was laid out on the ground with blood seeping from the corner of her mouth, and Pinkie Pie was flailing her forelegs in Applejack’s direction. Applejack followed Pinkie’s stare downward to the pink gem lying at her hooves. She slid her right front hoof towards it, intending to pick it up.

“Don’t touch that!” yelled all three of the other ponies in the room.

“Why not?” asked Applejack, her one eye now glowing green.

“It’s mine!” yelled Pinkie, continuing to flail her hooves in the air. The gem began to glow brightly in reaction to Pinkie’s words, and shot from Applejack’s grasp towards Pinkie. The dangling pony clutched the gem tightly as soon as it was within reach.

Was that levitation? thought Twilight. How is that possible?

“Pinkie Pie!” yelled Celestia. “You have no idea what you are doing!”

“Save it, your highness!” yelled Pinkie. “I don’t know what you’re up to, but I know this whole mess is all Fluttershy’s fault!”

“Fluttershy?” asked Applejack, standing back up and dusting herself off. “You finally gone and flipped completely? Fluttershy’s been gone fer weeks!”

“Yeah sure,” said Pinkie, sneering at Applejack, whose eye continued to glow a bright green, “maybe so she doesn’t have to live in this mess of a town she’s made!”

“Pinkie, stop!” said Twilight, staring nervously at Applejack’s single glowing eye. “We’ll explain everything, but you have to stop this right now!”

Pinkie turned her head and glared at Twilight. “Not happening, Twilight! I can’t trust you two! That goes for you, too, AJ!” she yelled as she lifted the pink gem to her ear. “I don’t understand what’s going on, or why, or anything anymore! All I know... is this!”

Pinkie slapped the gemstone device into her ear. Pink sparks began to arc between her ears, and the surface of the gem glowed even brighter. A sudden snap of energy shot out from her, breaking Celestia’s levitation. Pinkie remained afloat in the air, her eyes glazed over and glowing white.

Applejack hissed, her eye flashing brightly, and dove at Pinkie. She was met by two beams of white energy firing from Pinkie’s eyes, and was knocked backwards against the far wall. She fell to the ground, unconscious.

“Pinkie! Stop!” Twilight yelled. She took a moment to wipe the blood from her mouth as she rose back to her hooves.

“Connected? No, it’s too soon!” Pinkie shouted in response. She clenched her eyes and pressed her hooves against the sides of her head.

“Pinkie, what are you...” asked Twilight, taking a few steps towards the pink pony, who was now clasping her head in pain.

“Stay away!” Pinkie screamed. Her eyes went wide, shaking with fear as the gem in her ear continued to pulse with pink light. “Who’s there? You can’t control me! I won’t let you!”

A white beam of energy shot from Pinkie’s forehead to Twilight’s horn. Twilight cried out, her eyes becoming wide and illuminated. They both fell to the ground, the energy still arcing between their heads.

Celestia stood over them and shook her head. She glanced over at Applejack, who was still passed out as well.

“We don’t need anyone coming in and seeing this,” the princess decided. She pointed her horn toward the door at the front of the jail house, snapping the deadbolt on it closed. Turning back to the two unconscious ponies on the ground, she pointed her horn towards them and placed it in the path of the beam. With a crackle, her horn was forced out of the stream of magic.

Celestia frowned. “I can’t help you, Twilight,” she said quietly, looking at the pained expression on her student’s face. “Whatever is going on, you will have to get through it quickly. We don’t have much time.”

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