• 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 5 - Blame

Book Two: Overgrowth

Chapter Five - Blame

“Fluttershy! Wake up!”

Fluttershy opened her eyes groggily and was met by Rainbow Dash’s face staring down at her, her eyebrows lowered impatiently.

“Rainbow Dash!” Fluttershy exclaimed, throwing her forelegs up and around the blue pegasus’ neck. She’d never been so glad to see her looking so irritated before. “I’m so glad you’re okay!”

Rainbow Dash blinked and chuckled nervously. “Okay? What’s that supposed to mean?” she asked, pushing Fluttershy back down gently and looking into her eyes, hers now full of confusion. Fluttershy was on the verge of tears just from seeing her. “Were you having a bad dream or something?”

“Bad dream?” asked Fluttershy, suddenly remembering what Twilight and Celestia had told her. She felt a cold shiver run down her spine as visions of the changeling queen entered her mind. She quickly shot to her hooves, looking around nervously. She was back in Cloudsdale, and the city showed no sign of a battle having happened. Whatever she’d done with that strange power, it had nullified everything that happened.

Fluttershy turned her head back to Rainbow Dash and nodded. “Yes, a bad dream, and it’s not over yet,” she said, turning towards the front of the city and galloping along the clouds. Rainbow Dash raised an eyebrow and ran after her.

“Fluttershy, hold on!” yelled Rainbow. “We came here to see if Cloudsdale’s guards could come help Ponyville, but something’s not right! The city’s in full lockdown, plus I can’t remember anything that happened after we left!”

Rainbow Dash caught up to Fluttershy and grabbed her shoulder, pulling her to a stop. Fluttershy averted her gaze downward.

“You know what happened, don’t you?” asked Rainbow Dash, softening her tone a bit. “Just tell me... What happened?”

“It was terrible,” said Fluttershy quietly. “The worst thing I can imagine, but somehow, I was able to...” She stopped herself. She knew she couldn’t tell Rainbow Dash the truth. She couldn’t tell her that this was all a bad dream, and that she’d even died while trying to save her.

“I can’t explain everything that’s happening, Dashie... I don’t even really understand it myself!” said Fluttershy, exasperated. “I just know we have to get back to Ponyville as fast as we can. I can’t tell you how, but I know something bad is going to happen to Twilight!”

Rainbow Dash shook her head. “Twilight? She’s been gone for weeks, Fluttershy! Did you hit your head or something?” she said sternly, now becoming more and more frustrated. She clasped her hooves against the sides of her head and clenched her eyes.

A guard approached the two pegasi in a rush and raised his hoof up to Rainbow Dash.

“You okay, miss?” he asked.

Dash glanced up at the guard, a regal looking stallion with a gray mane and pale blue eyes. She recognized him as Radiant Thunder, the guard captain of Cloudsdale’s defense force.

“No, I’m not okay!” yelled Rainbow Dash, raising a foreleg to point at the icy dome over the city. “What in the hoof is going on?”

Radiant glanced up at the sky and shook his head. “You know, I’m actually trying to figure that one out, myself,” he said with a shrug and a chuckle. “I didn’t order any test deployment of our defenses, though I suppose it’s been awhile since we last raised the walls.”

“A test?” asked Rainbow Dash, waving her hoof towards the siege weapons lined up around the square. “For what, all-out war?”

Radiant shrugged again, blushing slightly this time. “It’s a bit embarrassing that this could happen without anyone telling me, but rest assured that I’ll get to the bottom of it. For now, please carry on as if everything were normal. If there was a true emergency, the alarm would be sounding.”

Rainbow Dash sighed as the guard captain grinned goofily. “I give up,” she said. “I don’t care anymore. Look, we’re here from Ponyville, and--”

“Ponyville! We haven’t heard from them in weeks!” said the guard captain, a bit shocked. He placed a hoof to his chin and rolled his eyes skyward in thought. “Well, I think we haven’t, anyway... How are things in Ponyville?”

“You think you haven’t?” asked Rainbow Dash incredulously, placing a hoof against her face and closing her eyes. How can the captain of the guard be this incompetent? she thought.

“Actually,” Fluttershy interjected, “We, uh, were just headed back to Ponyville, so anyway, let’s go Rainbow Dash!” She grabbed Rainbow Dash by the foreleg and pulled, starting to scoot away from the guard, who was now eyeing them suspiciously.

“What do you mean by that, Fluttershy?” demanded Rainbow Dash, stomping her hoof down. “We aren’t going back to Ponyville! Not until somepony tells me what’s going on! You know what happened, don’t you! Why can’t you tell me?”

Fluttershy placed her hoof on Rainbow Dash’s mouth and looked straight into her eyes.

“Please, Rainbow Dash. You have to trust me!” Fluttershy pleaded. Rainbow Dash shook her head, pulling away from Fluttershy.

“You’re acting crazy!” Rainbow Dash yelled. “Just tell me what happened!”

“You died!” Fluttershy yelled back, then clasping her hooves over her mouth.

Rainbow Dash blinked and then stared blankly at Fluttershy. The yellow mare looked like she was about to cry again.

“Whatever,” said Rainbow Dash. “If you can’t tell me right now, I’ll trust you. We should still at least see if some guards can come back with us to Ponyville, or see if they know anything about Canterlot.”

Fluttershy shook her head. “There’s no time. Please,” said Fluttershy, but was interrupted by a group of guards running up to Radiant Thunder, who was still standing to their side.

“Captain!” shouted one of the guards as they all came to a screeching halt and saluted in sync. “The foothills south of the Unicorn Range are on fire and Canterlot is under a protective shield!”

Radiant Thunder placed a hoof to his chin in contemplation, his eyes narrowing as he took in the information. His calm demeanor from just a moment ago had vanished, replaced with a feeling of militaristic rigidity. He turned to Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash, his gaze burning.

“I’m sorry, you two,” he said. “I heard you saying you need assistance in Ponyville, but we can’t spare any guards now. As you just heard, something has come up. This lockdown may not have been a test after all. We’ll be organizing a battalion to fly to Canterlot immediately.”

“Let us go with you!” shouted Rainbow Dash. “Some pegasi from Ponyville that took off at the same time as us were supposed to be going to Canterlot, too! They might be in trouble!”

Fluttershy turned towards the front of the city and looked over her shoulder. “I’m sorry, Rainbow Dash. I can’t go with you. I have to return to Ponyville as fast as I can!” she said, her voice cracking. She took off running towards the city gates, not looking back.

Rainbow Dash held a hoof out towards her as she galloped away, but couldn’t find the words to say. She felt a hoof firmly land on her shoulder and turned her head back to see Radiant Thunder looking down at her.

“Go with her,” he said, smiling. “She needs you more than we do. Besides, military maneuvers are no task for a civilian.”

Rainbow Dash nodded and took off after Fluttershy. She quickly caught up to her, and exchanged a glance. No words were needed, and Fluttershy smiled. They approached the main gates together, the wide doors now open with several confused guards looking out of them at the burning hills in the distance. Fluttershy leapt over the guards and took flight, Rainbow Dash jumping right behind her.

Fluttershy flapped her wings faster than she knew she could, soaring through the air with incredible speed, leaving a trail of pink in her wake. Rainbow Dash gasped and pulled up alongside, glancing over at Fluttershy’s face. Her eyes were locked forward, unblinking, as the two sped southward.

“When did you learn to fly this fast?” asked Rainbow Dash, partially pleased at her friend’s sudden adeptness.

“Since now,” Fluttershy replied, “and it’s not fast enough!” She pushed her hooves forward and accelerated even more, leaving a shocked Rainbow Dash having to do the same to keep up.

Rainbow Dash shrugged and kept flying. “You know what...” she said, “I give up. Again.”

The two Pegasi shot over the mountains and headed southward towards Ponyville at speeds the likes of which most pegasi could only dream of achieving.


Meanwhile...

“Wake up, Twilight!” a voice whispered into Twilight’s ear. She opened her eyes and was met with nothing but blackness all around her. She glanced to her left where the voice had come from, but no one was there. She stood up slowly and looked around, but there was nothing but darkness as far as she could see.

Holding a hoof up in front of her, she realized there was a light coming from somewhere, though. She could see just fine, and judging by the shadows, the light was behind her. She turned around and was met by Pinkie Pie’s grinning face. A horn sat upon Pinkie’s forehead, as naturally as if she’d always been a unicorn, casting a light spell to illuminate the surroundings. Her long pink hair fell straight down from either side of her head, and as Twilight’s eyes followed it, she noticed wings poking out from behind her as well.

“Pinkie, is that you? Am I dreaming?” Twilight asked upon the realization that the pony standing in front of her was an alicorn.

“Oh, it’s me, all right,” said Pinkie, gruffly, “and of course you’re dreaming!”

“Great, that’s just great,” said Twilight, “I don’t have time to be unconscious, the Pinkie from Fluttershy’s dream is --” She was then cut off by Pinkie Pie firing a blast of pink energy from the tip of her horn, knocking Twilight backwards by several feet. She landed roughly on the smooth, glass-like ground.

“I’m what, huh?” shouted Pinkie Pie as she stepped slowly towards Twilight. “I’m mad, maybe? I’m somehow using magic, now, perhaps?” She glared at Twilight as she approached.

“Please, Pinkie!” said Twilight, raising a hoof as she tried to stand back up. “You have to listen to me! We’re all trapped in --” she started, but was cut off by another magical blast, dropping her back onto the ground.

“You’re all trapped?” asked Pinkie, her eyes widening. “I heard all about it when you were talking earlier! Poor you, trapped in those changeling cocoons! Well I’m trapped in this stinking garbage pit of a nightmare fighting for my life!”

“Pinkie, stop!” yelled Twilight, staring at Pinkie as she scooted backwards to try and regain her footing again.

“Oh, I’ll stop! I’ll make sure of it!” shouted Pinkie, her horn glowing brightly with swirling pink magic. “I’m going to stop all of this! This dream, this village, this whole world!”

“Pinkie, please, stop doing this! I don’t want to fight you!” pleaded Twilight, but was met by Pinkie spitting towards her.

“Please, Twilight... you’re not the one who’s the problem,” said Pinkie, the grin returning to her face. “In a way, I should be thanking you. If it weren’t for you, I never would have found out who was behind everything that’s been happening, but now I know. I know who I can direct my anger at!”

“No, Pinkie!” yelled Twilight, jumping to her feet, her horn now aglow with purple energy. “She never meant for this to happen! It’s not her fault!”

“Fluttershy!” yelled Pinkie Pie, her eyes tearing up slightly as she laughed upon merely speaking her name. “She’s to blame for everything! I’ll... I’ll...”

“You’ll what?” yelled Twilight, pointing her horn at Pinkie.

“I’ll kill her!” Pinkie shouted and then let loose with a large, bright blast of pink magic. Twilight responded by firing her own magical beam. The two shots collided in mid-air, exploding in a white ball of light. Twilight jumped to her left and began to gallop as fast as she could, twisting her head all around to look for Pinkie. She was nowhere to be seen.

“Up here!” came a voice from above. Twilight jerked her head upward just in time to see Pinkie flying above her and firing another shot of energy straight down.

I can’t dodge it! Twilight thought. It’s gonna hit me! She clenched her eyes shut and ducked toward the ground. A crackling sound from all around her caused her to open her eyes again and look upward. A dome of pink energy surrounded her and had completely absorbed the blast.

“Just in time!” said a voice right behind her. She turned her head and saw another Pinkie Pie, also with horn and wings, standing right behind her. A pair of colorful goggles and a big grin adorned her face.

“Pinkie! Is it really you this time? From my dream?” Twilight gasped.

“Absotutely-lutely!” said Pinkie with a grin. “We’re gonna have to come up with names for all of us Pinkies, because I get this feeling there’s gonna be more of us.”

“We can deal with that later, Pinkie!” yelled Twilight, pointing upward at the other Pinkie who was circling above them in the air. She fired down another shot, and it was also met by the pink shield, completely nullifying it.

“Oh! Oh!” yelled Pinkie Pie. “If we use numbers, can I be Pinkie Number One?” She bounced up and down happily, completely ignoring the other Pinkie.

“Pinkie!” Twilight yelled, standing back up and readying another shot of energy at the tip of her horn.

“No, wait, I guess I’d be Pinkie Number Two!” decided Pinkie. “The real Pinkie should be Number One, that’s only fair! She was there first!”

“Pinkie!” Twilight yelled even louder, reaching out and grabbing the pink pony’s face and pointing it upward towards the other Pinkie.

“Oh, her?” asked Pinkie, placing her left hoof against the side of her head. “I guess she can be Pinkie Number Three. Or should she be number two since Fluttershy met Pinkie Number One before you did? Oh, it’s so confusing, I’m going to be thinking about this for ages!”

“PIIIIIINKIIIIE!” Twilight screamed, her eyes bulging slightly.

“Sheesh, Twilight, I hear you!” yelled Pinkie, shaking her head and looking up at the flying Pinkie, who was now hovering in one place and staring back down, glaring. She pulled the goggles up onto her forehead and squinted.

“So you’re Pinkie Twilight, I take it.” said the flying Pinkie Pie with a sneer.

Twilight’s Pinkie Pie nodded her head and then gasped, her eyes going wide. She suddenly leapt in the air once and exclaimed “Oh, I know!”

The Pinkie who had been flying landed several feet away from her and grinned. “Good, then you know that I’m --”

Twilight’s Pinkie suddenly shouted “Pinkie Shy!”

Fluttershy’s Pinkie blinked and cocked her head to the side. “Huh?”

“You’re Pinkie Shy!” Twilight’s Pinkie giggled. “And I’m Pinkie Twi! Yes, we don’t have to use numbers!” She nearly fell over backwards laughing.

Twilight’s mouth gaped open. “You... You’re still on that?” she yelled, falling back to the ground.

Pinkie Twi sighed and turned her glance to Twilight. “Really, Twilight,” she said with a shrug, “you worry too much.”

Twilight threw a hoof to the side, pointing towards Pinkie Shy. “Too much? She’s trying to kill us!” Her statement was punctuated by another energy blast from Pinkie Shy slamming into the force field.

“Hey! Stop ignoring me!” Pinkie Shy shouted, her face turning red with anger. Pinkie Twi twisted her head to the side and frowned at her other incarnation.

“Honestly, how can another Pinkie be so cranky?” she sighed with a pout. “It’s no fun at all.”

Pinkie Shy gritted her teeth. “Fun? What’s fun?” she bellowed, scraping her front left hoof across the ground. “I forgot all about it a long time ago!” She began to charge up magic in her horn, which progressively glowed brighter and brighter.

Twilight groaned with frustration and began to charge her horn as well. “I don’t have time for this! Pinkie, got any ideas on how to get out of this place?” she asked, tilting her horn downward towards Pinkie Shy.

Pinkie Twi shrugged. “I dunno, it’s your mind. You tell me!” she responded.

“Wait, what?” asked Twilight, jerking her head around to stare at Pinkie Twi. Pinkie Shy let loose a large beam of energy from her horn at the same time. The beam hit the force field and sparks began to fly through the air. The beam drilled into the forcefield, causing it’s color to begin to fade and flicker at the point of impact.

“Ohhh, I don’t think that’s going to hold up much longer, might want to do something fast, Twilight.” said Pinkie Twi calmly, charging magic into her own horn as well. “I actually don’t know that many spells yet!”

“Do something? Okay, something, something...” Twilight said nervously, looking around. There was nothing but darkness everywhere. “What can I even do? There’s nothing here!”

“Remember when I told you the world had turned bleak and dark, and you made it bright and lively again?” asked Pinkie. “Something like that! How did you do that?”

Pinkie Shy’s beam was drilling further and further into the forcefield, the entirety of the pink dome starting to flicker and fade away.

“I don’t know! I just wanted you to not be so lonely!” yelled Twilight, becoming flustered as she stared at the beam which was threatening to breach their shield at any second. “I don’t want to fight Pinkie Shy! I want to wake up and get back to the mission!”

As Twilight said those words, she felt a warm sensation growing inside her, pulsating outward. She looked at Pinkie Shy, who was bearing down on them, walking slowly as the beam from her horn continued to fire. The forcefield flickered one last time, then shattered like glass, pieces falling and sizzling out of existence as they flew through the air. The beam Pinkie Shy had been firing disappeared as well, and she began to charge towards them, her horn glowing brightly and her eyes wide with rage.

Twilight shouted towards Pinkie Shy, holding her hoof out in front of her. “Pinkie! Stop! I won’t fight you!” she yelled. Suddenly, the black ground exploded with green color, a field of grass spreading outward in a circle from the ground directly in front of Twilight. The sky lightened to a dim blue, stars flickering to life across it.

Pinkie Shy was met by a square section of ground she was standing on firing upward like a pillar shooting out of the ground, raising dozens of feet into the air.

Twilight lifted her gaze toward the sky, in awe at what she had just done. “Just by thinking it? By wanting it?” she said with quiet amazement. She was quickly interrupted by Pinkie Shy leaping from the top of the tall pillar of earth and diving towards her.

“Forgot I can fly!” Pinkie yelled as she shot downwards.

Twilight grinned. “No I didn’t!” she said with confidence. The ground in front of her cracked, and the piece of land she and Pinkie Twi were standing on began to separate and move away from Pinkie Shy. Pinkie Shy frowned and accelerated, flying towards Twilight and firing a shot from her horn directly at her.

Twilight didn’t move or try to dodge. She smiled up at Pinkie as the beam curved around to one side, completely missing. Pinkie stopped in mid-air and growled down at Twilight.

“Looks like this isn’t gonna get me anywhere,” Pinkie said with frustration. “Besides, like you said before, I don’t have time to waste here. I have to find Fluttershy!” She reached her hoof up to her left ear and rubbed against it with a downward motion.

A second later, she vanished.

“What happened?” yelled Twilight.

“Guess she woke up,” said Pinkie Twi. “You better do the same, who knows what she might try to do. Get that communicator back if you can. I’ll let you know when we need to do this again... when it’s time for her to use it.”

“I don’t get it,” said Twilight. “What even happened when she put it in her ear? I thought it would be bad, but I had no idea this would happen.”

“Yeah, sorry about that, I don’t have all the kinks worked out, but don’t you worry!” said Pinkie with a confident smile. “Next time, I’m sure it’ll work!”

“What’ll work?” asked Twilight, but then suddenly felt a hoof nudging her. Her eyes shot open, and she saw Princess Celestia looking down at her. She was awake again, at least within Fluttershy’s dream.

“Thank goodness you woke up,” said Celestia, glancing up towards the door to the jail building. A hoof could be heard loudly banging against it. “We’re out of time.”

Twilight groaned and stood back up, her eyes scanning the ground for the pink Communicator. She saw it lying on the ground a few feet in front of her and stepped towards it. She finally noticed Pinkie Pie was missing from the room, and glanced around nervously as she picked the pink gem up and put it in her ear.

“Where’s Pinkie Pie?” Twilight asked, turning back to Celestia. The princess pointed her hoof upward. Twilight tilted her gaze upward and saw a large hole in the roof where something had blasted through it.

“She woke up about a minute before you, sprouted wings and a horn, and then took off directly through the roof,” said Princess Celestia. “She didn’t say a word to me, but she yelled Fluttershy’s name as she took off. I’m afraid she intends to --”

“She’s gonna kill Fluttershy! She wants to end everything!” shouted Twilight, interrupting the princess. “We have to get out of here! We have to find Fluttershy before she does!”

A groan came from the other end of the room. Applejack woke up and shook her head, looking towards Celestia and Twilight with confusion.

“Pinkie Pie?” asked Applejack with bewilderment. “Took off? Wants to kill Fluttershy?” She stood up and stumbled groggily towards the two ponies in front of her.

“Well, maybe ‘took off’ isn’t exactly --” started Twilight, but was cut off by Applejack.

“She must’a been a changeling this whole time!” yelled Applejack. “It’s the only thing that makes sense. She HAS been acting weird ever since this whole forest business started.” She placed a hoof against her head, shaking it in disbelief.

The banging at the door continued, and Applejack finally took notice of it. She trotted slowly towards the door and opened it. A guard pushed into the room, glancing around and then up to the hole in the roof.

“Captain, Pinkie just took off flying! Through the roof!” he yelled. “What’s going on?”

Twilight decided it would be best to just keep quiet and let them think whatever they were thinking. She looked up at the princess, who nodded her head quietly.

“She’s been a changeling this whole time!” said Applejack. She turned towards Twilight and Princess Celestia and pointed a hoof at them. “And it looks like these two really are Twilight and the princess.”

The guard gasped and bowed to the ground before the princess. “A thousand pardons, Your Majesty! We were only trying to--”

“Protect Ponyville,” Celestia interjected, taking a commanding position finally. “You did exactly what you should have done, and did it valiantly. Worry not, my little pony. We must now work together to stop any further tragedies.”

The guard and Applejack both nodded their heads in agreement.

A second later, two pegasi flew through the hole in the roof and landed roughly on the ground. Everyone jumped back in surprise. Standing in the middle of the room were Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash.

“Where’s Twilight?” asked Fluttershy, spinning her head around until she spotted the purple unicorn. “Twilight! You’re safe!” she said in relief.

Rainbow Dash spotted her as well, and her jaw dropped in shock. “Twilight!” she yelled. “You’re safe?”

“I am,” Twilight responded to both of them. “and I’m glad to see you two are safe as well.” She and Celestia stepped towards the two Pegasi.

“So, now what do we do, y’all?” asked Applejack, joining the circle of friends in the middle of the room. “Got any plans, Twilight? Princess?”

Fluttershy spoke up first. “We have to go into the Everfree... F-f-f-forest,” she said as bravely as she could, swallowing roughly as the words left her mouth.

“She’s right,” said Princess Celestia. “We must find the source of the forest’s growth. Twilight and I will go with Fluttershy. Rainbow Dash and Applejack should stay here and guard the village.”

Rainbow Dash frowned. “Sorry, Princess, but I’m not staying here. If we’re going to go all out, then I’m coming, too!” she said defiantly.

Applejack nodded. “Pardon, but if yer gonna bring someone inta that forest, best to be me or Rainbow Dash than Fluttershy,” she said, glancing at Fluttershy. “Though she does seem... different, somehow.”

Twilight sighed. “Fine. I knew this would happen.”

“Of course!” said Rainbow Dash with a grin. “AJ and I would never let our friends go into that place without us!”

Celestia sighed as well, but nodded her head. “Very well, then. Let’s go! To the Everfree Forest!”

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