• Published 15th Aug 2012
  • 18,081 Views, 1,730 Comments

Inner Demons - Azure Sandora

On her 21st birthday, Twilight reads a prophesy that starts a downward spiral into her own darkness.

  • ...

Chapter 9

In this chapter, Zecora makes an appearance. Please comment nicely here, as Zecora is really hard for me to write.

Also, I can handle constructive criticism, my teachers only gave me that, but flames I find inappropriate. So please, no flames.

Chapter 9: Apple Bloom Sees the Bigger Picture

That morning, Apple Bloom got up and went to the stage. She hadn't been here since she heard the news of Princess Celestia. She was beginning to think that Twilight had something to do with it. The way she was acting before she disappeared, the fact that she was the last pony to see Princess Celestia, and right afterwards all of Twilight's friends were acting weird.

Fluttershy forced herself onto her brother, Rainbow Dash was avoiding everypony, Pinkie Pie stayed inside all day, Miss Rarity moved to Canterlot for some reason with Spike, and Applejack was suddenly in a bad mood all the time. This was getting silly to Apple Bloom, who now felt a strong desire to do... something.

She left the stage and walked back to her house. Right on time, she thought, seeing her big sister walk out of the house.

"Applejack!" Apple Bloom called out, running over to her sister.

Applejack sighed and turned to Apple Bloom, "What's up, Apple Bloom?"

"You goin ta the library again?" Apple Bloom asked.

"Yeah," Applejack said, "Somepony's gotta look after it."

"But where's Twilight?" Apple Bloom asked, "She jus vanished out of thin air."

"She's... goin through somethin," Applejack said in a somewhat dismissive manner.

"Well, ya know, it's a holiday now," Apple Bloom said, "Maybe we could hang out today?"

"Ah'm... sorry sis," Applejack said, "But Ah... can't."

"Aw, why not?" Apple Bloom whined, "Ah could go with ya ta the library, then we can-"

"No Apple Bloom," Applejack said quickly, stopping Apple Bloom instantly.

"Huh? But Applejack-"

"No means no. Ah'm sorry, but it jus... ain't a good time right now. Ah'll tell ya what's happenin when yer a little older, but Ah gotta go now," Applejack turned around, "Ah'll see ya at dinner tonight." and with that said, Applejack trotted off, leaving Apple Bloom feeling dejected, and confused.

"When Ah'm older?" Apple Bloom thought, "For Luna's sake, Ah'm already ten!" she walked down the path towards the tree house and saw Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle walking by. They were laughing at something Scootaloo said.

That pissed Apple Bloom off in more ways than one. Not only did it look like they were forgetting about her, but it looked like they didn't even care about what was going on. What about Princess Celestia being turned to stone? How could anypony be thinking about having fun at a time like this?

Apple Bloom's next stop was to see Trixie. She hadn't spoken to Trixie in a while, so this was a good chance to see what she was doing.

When she arrived at her trailer though, something felt odd. The air around the trailer seemed heavy, and Apple Bloom felt a dark feeling, as if she would never feel happy again. She shook it off and knocked on the door.

"Um, Trixie? Are you in there?" Apple Bloom asked.

"Uh... yes! Just a second," she heard somepony say, but was it Trixie? She sounded a little, different.

The door opened, and Trixie was standing there with an odd smile, one that Apple Bloom sort of recognized, but couldn't put her hoof on in.

"Apple Bloom," Trixie said, "What a... nice... surprise. What brings you here?"

"Um, Ah was wonderin how you were doin," Apple Bloom said, "Ah mean, Ah heard that ya were hopin Twilight would teach ya, but then she vanished all of a sudden."

"Yeah, that was sad," Trixie said looking down, but Apple Bloom noticed that she didn't seem too upset or worried. It was almost as if she knew more than she was letting on.

And she still sounded weird! It was like hearing Trixie's voice, but somepony else was using it, and whoever it was, Apple Bloom knew them. But who was it?

"Are you okay?" Apple Bloom asked, "Ya seem kinda out of it, and ya don't sound right."

"It's nothing Apple Bloom," Trixie said with that same weird smile, "I'm just practicing some new spells, is all."

"Oh, so Twilight did decide ta teach ya." Apple Bloom said, suddenly really happy.

Trixie twitched a bit before responding, "Y-yeah, that's... right..." she said.

"So have ya seen Twilight? She's not around anymore, and Ah think somethin's wrong. Mah sistur is acting all funny an spendin all of her time at the library."

"I, uh, no, I'm afraid I haven't," Trixie said, but Apple Bloom was smarter than that.

"You really haven't seen her?" Apple Bloom pressed.

"No, I haven't. She... just dropped off a few spell books and... that was that."

"That wus... that?" now Apple Bloom was REALLY suspicious.

"Yeah, that was that. Look, uh, I've gotta get back to my studies, so I'll talk to you later!" Trixie said running back into the trailer and closing the door.

Okay, so adding to everything else, now Trixie is being weird. What. Is. Going. ON? Why is everypony being so weird, Apple Bloom thought. She was now more confused than ever. Which meant only one pony could help her, though technically this wasn't a pony. She the only pony to ever treat her remotely like an adult.

She needed... Zecora.

The trip to Zecora's place seemed longer than usual, but that was because Apple Bloom was doing a lot of thinking. Lately she had been having really weird thoughts, and truth was, that was scaring her even more than the strangeness going on around her. The fact that she was really wanting to take the search for her Cutie Mark seriously, the fact she wasn't as... sad... as she thought she'd be at Scootaloo shunning her (she was more annoyed than anything), the irritation of seeing everypony acting like everything was okay when things clearly weren't...

And this weird feeling in her chest, like she almost wanted to cry, but didn't at the same time.

There it was, Zecora's hut. It wasn't too far into the Everfree Forest, but it was far enough where she didn't tell Granny Smith about her visits. Lately it had become more dangerous in the Everfree Forest, so Granny Smith didn't like Apple Bloom "playing" inside. She wasn't going to let that stop her from seeing Zecora though. Even if Apple Bloom didn't always understand Zecora, it seemed that Zecora always understood her. She needed that feeling.

Like she filled in a gap in her life she didn't even know she had.

She approached the hut and knocked on the door, "A knock on my door, who could it be?" she heard from inside. A second later the door opened, revealing Zecora, "Why, it's Apple Bloom I see."

"Hi Zecora," Apple Bloom said, apparently sadder then she planned.

"Such a sigh... why Apple Bloom, what seems to be troubling you?" Zecora asked looking concerned.

"A lot, Zecora... a lot..." Apple Bloom said as Zecora escorted her inside. Apple Bloom wasted no time telling Zecora everything that was on her mind, starting with the day she left the Cutie Mark Crusaders, going into how everyone around her was acting weird, and ending with Twilight's disappearance coupled with how angry her sister had been.

"And she won't tell me anything," Apple Bloom said, "She jus tells me not ta worry 'bout it, sayin things like 'you'll understand when yer older'," Apple Bloom sighed, "An now Trixie's bein strange. Ah got this weird feelin when I went ta her trailer, an when Ah spoke ta her. It wus like she wasn't the same pony, like she wus possessed or somethin," Zecora nodded thoughtfully, "Ah don't know whut's goin on wit me, Zecora. Ah never felt this strongly 'bout anything before in mah entire life. Everypony is jus walkin around like nothin is wrong. That wit Princess Celestia bein turned ta stone along wit Twilight's vanishin act-"

"You are thinking the same as me, that Twilight Sparkle is the key?" Zecora asked, surprising Apple Bloom.

"Ah, never really put much thought in it, but Ah guess so. She wus the last pony ta see her. Ah don't want ta think something's wrong, but maybe..."

"It seems, little one, to me, that you are showing signs of maturity," Zecora said with a smile.

"Maturity?" Apple Bloom asked, "As in, Ah'm growin up?"

"The thoughts running through your mind, are truly of the adult kind. Concerning the issue at hand, I fear greatly for this land," Zecora said getting up.

"So, Ah'm not jus bein paranoid?" Apple Bloom asked walking over to Zecora.

"An unrested spirit roams about, of this I have no doubt. Darkness is this monster's friend, and chaos is the it's desired end."

"That's..." Apple Bloom said looking down, "An you think that it has something ta do with Twilight?"

"From the moment she walked through my door, I have always felt there was something more. A shadow was felt pure and strong, I feared her consumption was not long," Zecora admitted.

"But whut does that have ta do with..." Apple Bloom asked herself, then realizing what this meant. Twilight had everything to do with what happened to Princess Celestia, and Applejack knew everything. But then, what should she do about it?

"Zecora, Ah have that weird feelin in mah chest 'gain," Apple Bloom said looking away, "Ah feel like Ah need ta do something, but..."

"I cannot tell you what path to take, that is a choice only you can make," Zecora said nuzzling Apple Bloom in a loving manner, "Follow your heart, for it is brave and true, surely it will guide you."

"Zecora..." Apple Bloom said looking at her friend. She still didn't know what she wanted or needed to do, but thankfully now she wasn't as confused, "Ah'm gonna take some time ta think things through a bit more. Thanks Zecora, Ah feel a lot better now."

"You can always turn to me, for you and I are family," Zecora said, touching Apple Bloom's heart so much, she almost burst into tears.

"Family..." she said, before giving Zecora a hug much like she would have given Applejack or Granny Smith. She then ran over to the door, took one last look at Zecora, before she galloped away, with renewed spirits. She didn't know what she was going to do, but she knew she had to do something. She did know one thing though...

The search for her Cutie Mark would have to wait...

"In the darkness, there is always light," Zecora said to herself, "and I feel hers shines especially bright. A hero will rise in this time of doom, and her name might just be... Apple Bloom."

After she got back, she went back to the stage and decided to finish it.She knew now that there was something important she had to do, but she wanted to make sure that she didn't have any regrets. It only took Apple Bloom three hours of work, before she was finished with the stage. She stepped back once she was done, and looked up at her work. It was probably the finest thing she ever made, and knowing that she made it herself felt pretty good.

"You finished it?" Silver Spoon said approaching the stage as well.

"Even if Trixie ain't havin the show, Ah needed ta know that Ah finished it. That Ah could finish it. Ah owed it ta mahself," Apple Bloom said, fully aware that Silver Spoon was looking at her flank. Judging by her silent sigh, it was still blank, but as weird as it was, Apple Bloom didn't care. Looking up at the stage she finished with her own hooves made Apple Bloom prouder than she ever felt.

"Silver Spoon," Apple Bloom said seriously, "Ah'm goin."

"G-going?" Silver Spoon asked, "Where?"

"Ah think... ta Canterlot," Apple Bloom said, shocking Silver Spoon to no end.

"But why? Going there isn't going to help you get-"

"This ain't about mah Cutie Mark anymore!" Apple Bloom said turning to Silver Spoon, "Silver Spoon, somethin ain't right with Ponyville. Ever since we got that report about Princess Celestia, everything's been strange. Last night, Ah... saw... somethin that made me realize jus how serious this all is, and Ah think Ah'm supposed ta do somethin 'bout it. Ah'm goin, Silver Spoon, whether ya want me to or not!"

"I... understand..." Silver Spoon said, suddenly looking really serious, "Follow me," she said walking off. Apple Bloom shrugged, and followed her.

They walked to Rarity's Boutique, as strange as it was. Even stranger was the fact that Apple Bloom saw Rarity inside.

"But Ah thought she moved ta Canterlot?" Apple Bloom asked.

"That's what I thought too," Silver Spoon said, "But yesterday, I heard my dad talking about something she was doing in Canterlot concerning the Princess."

"Yer dad?" Apple Bloom asked turning to Silver Spoon.

"My parents work in Canterlot a lot. You know how regular transit between Ponyville and Canterlot is shutdown, right?" Apple Bloom nodded, "Well, Miss Rarity came here on what I think is a castle carriage, and it's still outside in the town square. You could stow away in the carriage, and you'll get to Canterlot in no time."

"And Ah'll be able ta get answers from Miss Rarity an Spike," Apple Bloom said. Rarity walked out of the shop and began making her way to the town square. Silver Spoon nodded to Apple Bloom, and the two friends made their way to the carraige.

It was a large carriage, complete with a luggage section. Thankfully there was room for Apple Bloom to fit in. Apple Bloom was about to go into the carriage, but Silver Spoon touched her shoulder.

"Apple Bloom," she said, "You do realize that Canterlot is a long way from Ponyville, right?"

"Yeah, Ah know," Apple Bloom said softly.

"So you know you won't be able to come right back home, right?" Silver Spoon asked.

"That's fine," Apple Bloom said, "cause Ah ain't comin back until Ah get the answers Ah need."

"So you really are leaving..." Silver Spoon said. Apple Bloom turned around and saw that she actually looked sad.

"Silver Spoon, are you... gonna... miss me?"

"Well, yeah," Silver Spoon said as if Apple Bloom asked the most obvious question, "You're the only filly my age I actually feel comfortable with. I hate Diamond Tiara, and thanks to her, every other foal in Ponyville hates my guts. Apple Bloom, you're my... my..."

She was tearing up, and Apple Bloom understood what she meant to say even before she finished it. Apple Bloom hugged Silver Spoon, "Thank you, Silver Spoon, fer bein mah friend."

"Thank you, Apple Bloom, for being my first real friend," Silver Spoon said. The carriage began to move a bit, "Go, Apple Bloom. I don't know what's really going on, but good luck," Apple Bloom nodded and jumped into the luggage section of the carriage, "And you better come back," Silver Spoon demanded.

"Ah will," Apple Bloom said reaching out to touch Silver Spoon's hoof, "Ah promise!"

The carriage began to move, and their hooves separated. Eventually the carriage took to the sky, and Apple Bloom saw Silver Spoon get smaller and smaller. She stayed the whole time, watching Apple Bloom rise higher and higher in the clouds. Her heart was racing as she sat back into the carraige. There was no turning back now. She was going to Canterlot. In the back of her head she knew she would be in a lot of trouble when she got back, but right now she couldn't think about that. She was a filly on a mission, and when you were on a mission like this, it was a lot easier to beg for forgiveness, than to ask for permission.

The ride back to Canterlot was a long one. Rarity had hoped to run into one of her friends while she was there, but unfortunately no one was around. She did hear from Bon Bon though that Fluttershy seemed upset about something. She really wanted to catch up with Fluttershy and ask her what was wrong, but she said she was just going to pick up a few things from her shop/house and head back to Canterlot.

"I sure hope Fluttershy is alright," Rarity said to herself, "I hate knowing my best friend is upset." There were a lot of things about Fluttershy she didn't know, which was unusual for two mares who were that close. Fluttershy always seemed to cling to Rarity, always getting really upset if it seemed like Rarity was ever upset at her for anything. The thing was while Fluttershy said herself that they were best friends, whenever Rarity asked her about her foalhood, Fluttershy would quickly dodge the question. In the end, she knew next to nothing about her friend, which only made Rarity worry even more.

When she arrived in Canterlot, Spike was waiting for her (of course, Rarity thought sweetly).

"Did you get everything you needed?" Spike asked.

"Thankfully, yes," Rarity said jumping out of the carriage, "There was even an old spell book in my closet I had forgotten all about. Hopefully there's something in it that can help."

"Yeah, hopefully," Spike said looking down. Rarity knew what he was wondering, and she hated that she couldn't give him the answer he wanted.

"I'm sorry, Spike, but I didn't run into anyone, so I don't know anything about Twilight," she said sadly.

"It's okay," Spike said with a sigh, "Um, why don't you go inside and rest. I'll carry your bags."

"Thank you, Spike. That's really sweet," Rarity said nuzzling him. She then began making her way back into the castle. At the top she heard Spike cry out in shock at something, but she didn't look back. Knowing Spike, he was probably just shocked by some of the things Rarity brought back with her.

To be young and innocent...

Rarity went into her room and fell down on her bed. Using so much magic at once made her more exhausted than ever. How did Twilight do it? No pony should have been able to use this much magic and still be standing.

There was a knock on her door, "Yes?" Rarity asked, not lifting up her head from her pillow.

"Um, I brought up your stuff," Spike said through the door.

"Great Spike," Rarity said, "You can come in. Just leave the bags by the bed, I'll upack in a bit."

Spike opened the door and walked in, "There's something else though," he said, sounding concerned for some reason.

"Whatever it is, can it wait for a few hours?" Rarity asked. She just wanted a bit of time to rest. Maybe catch up on her beauty sleep...

"I... don't think this can, actually," Spike said. Now Rarity was curious. She slowly looked up from her pillow and got the shock of her life. So much, that she screamed and actually fell back off the bed (not her most graceful moment).

"A-A-A-Apple Bloom!" Rarity cried out, stepping out from behind the bed where she fell. What was Applejack's little sister doing here?"

"Hi Miss Rarity," Apple Bloom said seriously.

"Pardon my french, little one, but WHAT IN THE NAME OF CELESTIA ARE YOU DOING HERE?-!" Rarity screamed, surprisingly Apple Bloom didn't wince.

"Ah'm here cause Ah want ta know whut's goin on!" Apple Bloom said, "Twilight's missin, Applejack's in a bad mood, Rainbow Dash is avoidin everypony, Pinkie Pie won't leave Sugar Cube Corner, Miss Fluttershy almost raped mah brother last night, and you and Spike are here in Canterlot! Somethin's goin down in Ponyville, and ya'll know what it is! In fact, Ah bet ya'll 're the center of it all, seein as how yer wearin that fancy gold necklace right now! Applejack's wearin hers too!"

"Hold on," Rarity said, still stuck on something Apple Bloom said, "What was that part about Fluttershy?"

"Ah saw it last night! Macintosh wus doin some last minute work in the barn, when Miss Fluttershy walked in and began actin all funny. She stopped and ran out of the barn, and neither one of 'em's been right since."

"Fluttershy, why were you..." Rarity asked. She knew that Fluttershy was madly in love with Macintosh, but that wasn't something she would do.

"Don't change the subject!" Apple Bloom demanded, shocking Rarity back into the moment, "Do you know whut's goin on? Whut happened ta Princess Celestia?"

"Apple Bloom, I don't think-"

Nuh uh, you are NOT gonna play the age card on me!" Apple Bloom said walking up to Rarity, who was a little scared now, "Ah may not be as old as ya'll are, but that don't give none of ya'll the right ta keep me in the dark! Everypony is actin like everything's fine, but Ah just got finished talkin ta Zecora, an she pretty much confirmed that Ah'm right! Ah wanna know the truth, RIGHT. NOW!"

This was complicated, Rarity thought. Apple Bloom was still a foal, but she did have a point. With everything going the way it was, Apple Bloom did have a right to know, especially since she wanted to know so bad. She surely didn't have the right to tell her not to worry, not when she should worry, but Applejack would be furious once she found out where Apple Bloom was.

And worst of all, Rarity had no way of sending her home. Even if she sent her home, she'd probably come right back. She had a habit of being rather impulsive and persistent. Just like another pony she knew...

Funny how Apple Bloom and Applejack were so alike.

"Applejack is going to kill me for this," Rarity said to herself, "But since I can't send you back to Ponyville right now, and I definitely don't have the right to tell you no after a speech like that," Rarity sighed, "I'm going to take a chance, and treat you like an adult here."

"R-really?" Apple Bloom asked, clearly shocked by Rarity's reply.

"But," Rarity said holding her hoof up, "I expect you to act like an adult as I tell you the truth. I'm going to warn you, it's not pretty."

"Ah'm ready, Miss Rarity," Apple Bloom said seriously, "Ah won't cry or nothin."

Rarity had to hand it to Apple Bloom, she seemed rather mature right now for a filly at age ten who hadn't gotten her Cutie Mark yet. Rarity escorted to Apple Bloom to the main study, where she dropped the first bomb on Apple Bloom instantly.

"Wait..." Apple Bloom said walking up to the Princess Celestia statue, "Ya mean Twilight did this?"

"It... appears so," Rarity explained, "I don't understand it either, but apparently she cast this spell sealing the Princess away. I've been here trying to undo the spell, but so far I haven't had any luck."

"Is this why Twilight disappeared?" Apple Bloom asked, "Did she... run away?"

"Oh no, not even. In fact, she's still in Ponyville this second."

"Where?" Apple Bloom asked eagerly.

"Well, a week after what happened here, Twilight called us all to her library, and she made a strange request. She asked us to, restrain, ie, chain her in the basement so she couldn't hurt anypony."

"Applejack has been goin to the Library so she could keep an eye on her," Apple Bloom said, surprising Rarity. If only Applejack could see how mature her little sister was being right now.

"Twilight was telling us that she was becoming something, someone else," Rarity continued to explain, "At first I didn't know what was going on, but I found this book next to the Princess," Rarity said using her magic to bring the book over to them, "I marked the page it was on, and well, it's disturbing what it says."

Apple Bloom the first entry aloud slowly, "It's prophesied that on the last day of the twentieth millennium, the Queen of Darkness will be born. In her youth, she will be a natural at all things magical. She will be a pony with a dark coat, and possess powers unlike any other. On the day she comes of age, she'll begin ta awaken to her true nature," suddenly her eyes got wider as a look of realization hit her face, "The darkness in her heart will consume her, and she will use her powers to not only usurp the current rule of Equestria, but plunge the world in an eternal twilight," she looked up at Rarity, "Miss Rarity, Zecora mentioned feelin somethin dark off of Twilight when she met her. Do ya think this book is..."

"Twilight was born on December 31, 2000, the last day on the twentieth millennium in the old Equestrian calendar, which would mark this year actually at the year 20,000," Rarity stated, shocking Apple Bloom.

"Our world is that old?" she asked.

"The new calendar only accounts for the centuries of Discord, Night Mare Moon, and Princess Celestia, but that's besides the point," Rarity said as Apple Bloom nodded in understanding, "The story mentions that she will be a pony with a dark coat, just like Twilight's purple coat."

"Ah always thought she stood out a bit..." Apple Bloom said to herself.

"She's a natural in magic, so much that her Cutie Mark represents magic in general, and I don't know a unicorn as powerful as Twilight. Speaking of her Cutie Mark," Rarity said turning the page, "Looking more into the story I found this," she pointed to the symbol of the Queen of Darkness, which Apple Bloom recognized instantly.

"That's... Twilight's..." Apple Bloom said.

"So at this point, I'm almost positive that the pony in this story is Twilight. As sad as it is, she might be waking up to her true nature."

"Ya mean ya think she really is this evil pony in the book?"

"Well, it's complicated," Rarity said sitting down on a pillow, "I don't think the Twilight I know is a fake persona or anything, but I'd be foolish to not put what that book says into consideration. As far as we know, this may be the real Twilight. Either way, she can't hurt anypony right now. What we need to focus on is waking up Princess Celestia."

"We?" Apple Bloom asked.

"Well, you are here now, and I'd say you passed my little test," Rarity said, "Spike has been working so hard for me this past week, and I want him to get a break, so I was thinking of making you my personal assistant number 2."

"You really want me ta help?" Apple Bloom asked. Truth was, she didn't, but after seeing how well she handled the news, it wouldn't make sense to just send her away. Besides, she was stuck here for now. The least she could do was put her to work.

"Honestly, you haven't left me much of a choice. I am going to have to tell your family where you are though," Apple Bloom looked down when she said that, "But I'll let them know that I'm taking care of you, and that I'll send you home when we've saved the Princess, alright?"

"Well, alright," Apple Bloom said, "Thanks fer treatin me like an adult, Miss Rarity."

"You're quite welcome. But enough of that "Miss Rarity" stuff. From this point onward, I want you to just call me Rarity, alright?"

"Yes Mi- uh, I mean, yes Rarity," Apple Bloom said with a smile, but then got serious, "But, there's one thing that's buggin me. Ya said that Twilight can't hurt nopony in that basement, right?"

"Yes, that's right."

"But if whut that book said is true, an' if she is the pony in that story, would chains really hold her?"

"Honestly Apple Bloom, I don't know," Rarity said looking out the window, "but I pray that they do."

No one was in the library at the time, so no one heard the laughter coming from the basement, the laughter of someone who was happier than they had ever been. Louder, and louder, and louder, until the basement door swung open, and out walked Twilight Sparkle.

"It's finally time," she said gleefully, "My coming out party can finally begin," she began to laugh again. It was too much for her. She was finally strong enough to get out of that basement, which meant she was finally strong enough to exact her revenge.

She walked over to a framed picture of her with her "friends". She picked it up with her hooves, and took a good look at it, "And you're all invited. In fact, I'll invite all of Ponyville, and just make you the guests of honor," she dropped the picture on the floor, and instantly made it burst into flames. She was afraid of this? What was she thinking? If she had known it felt this good, she would have embraced it long ago. But what's done is done, she thought. She had a late start, which meant she had a lot of work to do.

She went up to her room, and looked in the mirror at herself. First order of business, get herself cleaned up from being in the basement for a week, and make good use of that present Rarity gave her.

After all, a queen had to look her best... right?

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