• Published 25th Oct 2020
  • 16,810 Views, 2,144 Comments

A Witch in Broad Daylight - Epsilon-Delta

Rainbow Dash sets out to defeat the legendary witch Twilight Sparkle and collect the five hundred million bit bounty on her head. The one thing she wasn't counting on was Twilight being less evil than she expected.

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Dash heard the soft jingle of bells. With everything still dead silent from the looming blood moon above, Dash could hear the quiet hoofsteps of the witch even on the soft earth.

She had to run! But would the footage she already had be enough?! Dash needed one shot of that witch’s cutie mark to be absolutely sure. She still had no idea if she’d ever be able to come back here.

Dash compromised by hiding behind the large tree she scoped out before.

Dash unfolded her wings. As quietly and swiftly as she could, she glided over there and hid. Somehow, she summoned the courage to tilt the video recorder around the bend to peek out at the witch. Dash had to be able to see her cutie mark now.

The witch strolled out casually enough, glancing about but missing Rainbow Dash behind the tree. The witch finally turned to the left and Dash got a good look at her flank. It had the same purple star that adorned every volume of The Book of Shadows.

This really, seriously was Twilight Sparkle! Dash’s stupid plan turned out to be brilliant! She’d gotten through the curse and found Twilight herself! Heck, coming here probably broke the curse.

This was it! The single greatest accomplishment of Dash’s life! The exuberance made her forget to be scared.

Twilight stopped at the window Dash had peered through moments ago and whispered something under her breath.

An illusion of Rainbow Dash appeared, holding the camera to the window. Twilight watched as the image took out a few smoke bombs, became briefly surprised that Twilight wasn’t there, and then–

Dash realized what was about to happen next!

As the illusion took snuck off right to the tree Rainbow Dash hid behind, Dash took out her smoke bombs and threw them on the ground.

These were enchanted smoke bombs too, the reason she had negative thirty bits to her name. The entire clearing filled up with smoke in the blink of an eye, not that Dash could see even two feet in front of her right now to confirm that.

She had the footage and got through the curse. She accomplished enough for today! Dash took flight and darted off into the woods.

Only her smokescreen lasted all of zero seconds. Like a knee-jerk reaction, Twilight cast a spell before Dash even took flight. The smoke and the fragments of the bombs flew back together so they were fully intact once again.

With that gone, Twilight had zero difficulties spotting Rainbow Dash. Twilight didn’t even move from that spot, simply cast a spell to bring Dash to her.

Dash was like a tin pony and Twilight the world’s strongest magnet. No matter how hard she flapped, Dash kept moving slowly back towards the witch. She didn't have nearly the strength to escape!

One other idea came to her mind, slightly crazy but just the sort of thing Dash liked.

She turned around and charged at Twilight as fast as she could. Boosted by the spell, Dash flew faster than ever before, pulling back a hoof to try and punch the witch at sonic speeds. If this seriously worked–

Twilight pulled up the ground between them, creating a rock wall that Dash ended up punching. Her blow was met with a loud cracking noise. She seriously thought she broke her leg from the impact! It sure wasn't the rock wall that cracked.

Dash fell to the ground, curled up in pain, unable to move as the witch slowly walked to the other side, bells jingling. Pegasus bones healed quickly, but not nearly fast enough for her to escape.

Twilight looked down at the pegasus without pity, anger, or any real emotion. She cast a second spell.

Whatever she cast, it happened quickly. Her wings went completely numb. Everything around her grew massive. A cold, slimy feeling replaced that of her warm fur.

Two seconds after the spell had been cast, Dash realized she's shrunk significantly. Twilight towered far above her now. She'd been transformed! But into what?

She flailed whatever limbs she now had but none of them let her fly. At least her front right leg didn’t hurt anymore. Dash looked at the green, slimy appendage that was her new leg, three toes at the end of it. Then she figured it out.

“Congratulations, now you’re a frog.” Twilight picked Dash up with one hoof and patted her with the other.

Dash had to do something! Jump? Frogs totally jumped!

Dash tried jumping, but her new legs were too alien, and Twilight's hoof kept her in place. Her attempts to escape were hopeless at best.

Twilight carried Dash back inside with her magic and dropped Dash off in a tank on the far side of the room.

Twilight put her in a particularly slimy part of the tank too. Grossness radiated from the murky water. Weren’t frogs supposed to like slimy water?!

Dash struggled to find out how her new limbs worked as Twilight put the lid on the tank and trotted away.

Dash tried to say ‘buck’ but just ribbitted.

Twilight paced around the room, thinking to herself, giving Dash a moment to look around.

The room was large and filled to the brim with curious objects, cluttered but not exactly messy either. Bookshelves overflowing with all manner of jars and reagents covered the walls completely. The floor itself was clean, only the cauldron in the center sitting there. Dash realized the tank rested on the same shelf as other reagents! That did not bode well.

Only one other piece of furniture decorated the room, a single chair on which a gruesome-looking scarecrow sat. It looked tattered and torn, dressed in barren grey cloth with huge, carrot-sized fangs made of wood sticking out of its mouth.

The only exit Dash found, other than the windows and front door, were stairs that led to the second floor.

Dash tried hopping up to the top of the tank but couldn’t get high enough. Bashing the glass walls didn't work. Bolts held this thing in place.

A few other frogs already lived here, but they all clustered together on the other side of the tank as soon as the newcomer arrived, reminding Dash of her school days. Croaking convinced them of nothing. No way these were all transformed ponies. Nopony else could have had the same idea Dash did.

But then what the crow was she supposed to do? Dash already exhausted every option.

Even if she got out what then? As a frog, she could at best eat Twilight’s prized bug collection.

Dash just helplessly watched Twilight from the tank, worried about what she might do. For the moment, Twilight showed more interest in Dash’s possessions than Dash herself.

Twilight seemed to be under the impression the camera was a sort of weapon. With her eyes narrowed, she pointed it at the chair and ever so carefully pressed the record button. Whatever she expected to happen never came. Twilight stood there, analyzing the camera and chair carefully, but apparently found no effect.

She tried pointing it at Dash and again nothing happened.

With more boldness, she held the camcorder up to her ear to listen to the whirring sound it made. After poking around with it for a moment longer, she managed to open the cassette deck, revealing the film inside.

Dash croaked. That was her only evidence!

Twilight tugged at the film and the camera began pumping out more of it out of control. Twilight tried to make it stop but ended up hitting the fast-forward button. Then the cassette spewed its guts out everywhere.

By the time Twilight made it stop, a pile of tape covered the floor. Worse, just at the end, some of it touched the contents of Twilight’s cauldron and a whole pony’s length of it burned to dust.

The witch looked down at the clump of film, scratching her head at the huge pile of tape that tiny cassette produced, then over at Dash before throwing the whole pile back on top of Dash’s bag. She knew what she did!

“Anyway!” Twilight cleared her throat. “We have more important matters Our priority should be finding out how this pony got here.”


Dash looked around the room to see who she could possibly be talking to. Was it that scarecrow? Sure enough, Twilight kept eye contact with it as she spoke.

“No,” Twilight said to the scarecrow. “If his psychic powers were that intense, he would have used them to escape the magnetization field. He didn’t have a spellbook so he’s not a witch. Maybe they invented a device that disentangles your perception from– no, you’re right that wouldn’t work.”

‘He’?! Come on!

At least now Dash knew that Twilight really was talking to the scarecrow, though it said nothing in return. Whether it could actually talk back or Twilight had simply gone insane, Dash couldn't tell. She also didn’t know which one would be worse.

“Yes. It’s unlikely but still the most probable reason.” Twilight nodded, agreeing with her scarecrow on a course of action at last.

Twilight lifted Dash and carried the frog, kicking and ribbiting, over to that boiling pot. Compared to Dash, it was the size of a swimming pool. Looking down into the steaming, boiling green goop, Dash couldn’t help but imagine her little frog body dissolving in seconds if she went for a swim.

The ancient witch held Dash directly over the cauldron close enough for Dash to smell death with a hint of cinnamon. Twilight took out a needle and poked Dash just deep enough to draw a drop of blood.

She dropped the needle instead of Dash into the cauldron and the whole thing flashed purple. Twilight frowned at the result but took Dash away from the pot.

“No. He’s not immune to curses.” Twilight shook her head.

Could you be immune to curses?

“Oh, also I guess it was female.” Twilight gave Dash’s underbelly a studious glare.

So she could tell the sex of a frog but not a pony?!

Twilight plopped her back down in the frog tank. Maybe Dash should just be thankful she wasn’t stew yet.

“But the only other possibility,” Twilight muttered to herself.

A banging noise on the side of the house followed by a scream interrupted Twilight's muttering. No doubt it was a zombie attack. More of the undead ran up to add to the noise soon after.

The eclipse still had a good fifteen minutes left, Dash remembered. The zombies weren’t gone yet.

A familiar enough sound filled the room– zombies wailing and scraping up against the walls of the house. Dash had fond memories of pretending to be asleep and watching horror movies with the volume way down and this in the background.

But Twilight was a total amateur at this. Her windows weren’t even closed, and her door wasn’t barricaded. In a matter of seconds, zombies were halfway through every window, trying with little success to ram themselves inside. Then Twilight’s door burst open and no less than five zombie ponies pushed through.

“Oh no! This really is the worst-case scenario!” Twilight gasped at the incoming zombies.

Proving she didn’t mean the zombies themselves, Twilight cast a single spell to destroy them all without even blinking. A bolt of lightning shot from her horn to the first, incinerating it instantly, then jumped to the next. Her chain lightning kept bouncing like that from zombie to zombie until none remained. Then it flew off into the woods, out of Dash’s sight.

The noises stopped after that, Twilight having destroyed every zombie anywhere near her home.

“Did you see that, Smarty Pants?” Twilight asked her scarecrow. “Not even a zombie pony should be able to find my house! Does that mean something happened to the curse? It’s the only explanation.”

She waited a moment, though Smarty Pants didn’t appear to respond in any way.

“They're just going to lie!” Twilight shot back at her scarecrow, then frowned before taking it off the chair and laying it on the floor. “Oh, okay. Fine.”

Twilight lifted Dash into the air with her magic, then threw the frog across the room towards the chair. As she flew through the air, Dash started to grow and change until she transformed back into a pegasus, just in time to land right in the chair.

But before she had even the tiniest second to be happy about that, chains magically appeared around her and tied her to the chair.

Dash struggled, but they were too tight.

She looked back up to see Twilight standing over her, scowling down at Dash as if Twilight was the one who should be indignant here.

“Okay, first of all, how can you not tell I’m a girl?!” Dash turned her head to show off her muzzle. “Look at how girlishly flat my muzzle is!”

“Oh. Is that how you tell?” Twilight, quickly distracted, put a hoof on her own muzzle. “You’re actually the only female pony besides myself I’ve ever seen. I had no basis to know the secondary sex characteristics of our species. Interesting.”

Twilight took out a little book to write this down.

“Wait. What? You’ve seriously never seen another mare before?” Dash tilted her head in disbelief. “What about your mom?”

“My what?” Twilight looked up from her writing.

“Your mother?” Dash asked, but it still didn’t click with Twilight. “The person who gave birth to you?”

“Oh. Yes. Hypothetically that happened. Looking at nature it’s really the only plausible explanation for my existence.” Twilight closed her notebook and came back up to Dash. “But that doesn’t interest me. Tell me how you found this place.”

“Heh!” Dash cocked a smile. “Did you honestly think your puny curse would be able to stop the legendary Rainbow Dash?”


“That’s me.” Dash sighed. “Look, I broke your stupid curse. Do whatever you want to me, but I already won!”

“But breaking the curse requires you to be here on two separate days simultaneously,” said Twilight. “That’s impossible which is the entire point.”

“Yeah! Maybe for non-geniuses.” Dash looked over at her bag, way on the other side of the room, and realized she couldn’t do her typical visual aid. “See, there’s a solar calendar but then there’s the older, lunar calendar. Their years aren't the same length, meaning Halloween floats around on the lunar one. Eventually, the two days match up.”

“Hm.” Twilight began pacing back and forth. “Calendars are arbitrary constructs, but I suppose a year is ultimately an arbitrary value of time. Even if I set up something that can’t float, like the first day of spring and the first day of winter, it won’t make a difference so long as there’s one pony stupid enough to think it’s the same day. Curses are largely psychosomatic.”

“Wait, you’re saying you can break a curse just by thinking you’ve broken it?” Dash asked.

“No, but sincerely believing the conditions are met helps supplement an otherwise idiotic plan like this.”

“Hey! Why does everypony keep calling my idea stupid? It worked, therefore it was smart, therefore I’m smart. That’s how it goes.”

“Smart?!” Twilight came stomping over to Dash until the two were face to face. “Do you have any idea what you’ve done, you fool?!”

“What I’ve done?” Dash struggled against her chains to lean forward and glare Twilight in the eyes. “You’re the criminal here!”

“I’m the what?” Twilight blinked.

“The criminal!”

“I don’t know what a ‘criminal’ is.” Twilight tilted her head.

Dash stared at her in disbelief as Twilight looked back with innocent curiosity. Was she being serious here?

“It means you broke the law,” Dash played along. “And as a slayer, I’m here to enforce that law by slaying you!”

The law?” Twilight repeated it like she was unfamiliar with that phrase too. She tapped her chin on her way over to the scarecrow where she had an epiphany. “Oh, I get it! Yes, you must be under the impression I broke a law with my magic powers.”

“Yeah, I am. Because you did.” Dash nodded. “Or are you going to pretend you didn’t?”

“Of course I didn’t.” Twilight rolled her eyes. “You can’t break a law.”

“What?” Dash’s eye twitched. “Are you trying to pull some 4D philosophical chess move on me? Obviously, you can break the law!”

“Do you even know what a law is?” Twilight asked. “A law is just a trend you’ve observed with no exception. You can’t break a law because if you do it wasn’t really a law; you were merely mistaken in thinking that it was. You don’t need to enforce a law, they just are.”

“Holy!” Dash wished so badly she could bury her face in her hoof right now. “I’m not talking about the laws of physics, you nerd! I want to take you back to town where you can have your trial and—"

“A trial?” Twilight blinked. “Like you want me to lift something really heavy or fight a monster or—"

“No! Like with a jury and a lawyer and everything? You’re just messing with me, aren’t you?”

“I’m not.” Twilight shook her head. “I really don’t know what any of those things are. What’s a lawyer? Or a jury?”

Dash wasn’t sure what to make of this. Somepony so guilty couldn't be this innocent. Yet Twilight silently frowned at her like the most ignorant pony alive. She was either just that or an amazing actor.

“Okay, I’ll make this simple with no big words like– like 'criminal' I guess. You created The Book of Shadows, right?” Dash asked.

“Hm?” Twilight thought about that before nodding. “Oh, yes! That was the older version of my spellbook. Seven volumes. You see back then the thinnest mind fibers I could weave into paper were about ten micrometers, limiting the number of spells to approximately ten thousand per book. But with reflexive super-radiation, I can get it down to one micrometer increasing the amount to a hundred thousand! Isn’t that impressive?”

Her short lecture over, Twilight took out her current spellbook, no doubt expecting Dash to be impressed. Maybe somepony more knowledgeable about magic would have been able to make something of that speech.

“Impressive? Do you have any idea how much chaos those caused?” Dash asked.

“No?” Twilight tilted her head.

“No?! The other witches have killed countless ponies and unleashed endless curses on us because of your spellbooks. There was one witch who made it so nopony could eat popcorn and it took us a hundred years to break it! Then another one tried to prove vaccines don’t work by creating a curse that makes vaccines not work, resulting in millions of otherwise preventable deaths. And– okay maybe I should have led with that one. Forget the popcorn thing.”

"I don't know what you're talking about, but it's clearly a lie." Twilight turned her nose up. "A witch wouldn't break her isolation just to go torment somepony like you."

"I don't know what you're talking about," said Dash. "I have lots of evidence that they totally would do that."

“Well I’d hardly say I’ve unleashed anything. Those books were stolen from me by another annoying pony like you,” said Twilight. “I’m not responsible for what you do with something you stole from me. Whatever you idiots are doing with my spellbooks is your own problem. The Book of Shadows is inferior to my current design, anyway, so I don’t even need them back.”

“This isn’t a one-off thing. You made the thirsting cup, the hourglass of doom, the wishing candles, the tarrasque—"

“Tarrasque?” Twilight thought. “I don’t recall that one.”

“The eight-hundred-foot-tall monster?”

“No.” Twilight tapped her chin, still drawing a blank. “That sounds like something I’d remember doing. Though it is an interesting idea. Hm.”

Twilight wrote something down in a notebook. Somewhere in the back of her mind, Dash wondered if she'd made a horrible mistake.

“Okay, so some of that stuff was maybe falsely attributed to you,” said Dash. “But there’s still plenty of horrible things you are responsible for.”

“Everything you listed was stolen from me.” Twilight shook her head.

“And what about the curse of undeath? Are you going to say you had nothing to do with that one?”

“The what?”

“You know that reason there are zombies all over the place?!” Dash gestured to their ashy remains on the floor.

“Oh! That one.” Twilight nodded. “Yes, I remember that now. You really don’t need to worry about it. That curse is hardly a big deal because it only affects you once you die and zombies aren't strong at all.”

“Did you not see those zombies just now?” Dash asked. "You know they never go away, right? Even if you kill a zombie, it just seeps back into the earth and comes popping out of the ground again a few years later. Eventually, we'll have an actual zombie apocalypse where the planet is covered in those things."

“How many zombies can there even be? That would take billions, if not trillions of years.” Twilight rolled her eyes. “I'm sure one of you will figure it out by then. It’d take me under a year to do it. But I’m too busy training to do that.”

“Okay, first of all, more like a few hundred. Second, what the crow are you doing that’s more important than ridding the world of zombies?!” Dash asked.

“You know.” Twilight looked down into her cauldron and shrugged. “Studying.”


“Okay! How about we make a deal?” Dash offered. “You get rid of the curse of undeath, and we’ll call it even. I’ll give up on slaying you and all that. Oh! But you also have to write a note about how I, Rainbow T. Dash, totally defeated you. Also forced you to write said letter before obliterating you.”

Though on second thought, maybe a written statement like that might not fly.

“Actually, instead of the note how about you give me your hat and a liter of your blood. Then we’ll—"

“Why would I agree to that?” Twilight shook Dash’s chains to remind her of the position she was in. “You have zero leverage over me.”

“Well if everypony thinks I defeated you they’ll stop hunting you and start loving me! It’s a win-win,” said Dash. “You know, and also we’ll save a thousand lives and billions of bits each year by getting rid of the zombies. Come on! It’ll be great!”

“Oh no, you don’t.” Twilight narrowed her eyes at Dash. “I’m not falling for that again. I know exactly how you people work. If I help you with this one thing, you’ll be coming back here every time you have a bad hair day. Then I’ll never get anything important done!”

“I’m not asking you for favors; I’m trying to hold you responsible for the things you created!” said Dash. “You know, you’re what we call one of the four sources, one of the things all the chaos plaguing our planet comes from. If you’re going to be making dangerous, magical whatevers, then you’re responsible for keeping them from being used for evil.”

“Like what?” Twilight asked. “Should I create a paradox curse that makes ponies unable to come here ever again unless they do something that’s literally impossible? That way none of my magic can be unleashed on the world? Is that the responsible thing to do here?”

“Oh– well. I mean–" Dash cleared her throat, just now realizing a potential flaw in her plan.

“Uh-huh! That’s what I thought.” Twilight closed her eyes with a smug little smile. “Nothing’s been stolen from me for hundreds of years. Then you show up and make it possible again!”

Twilight swiped her hoof in front of the cauldron, causing it to fly to the side, vanish, and get replaced by another.

“Tons of ponies will start showing up, wanting my magic!” Twilight repeated the gesture, going through cauldron after cauldron. “It’ll take me two years to create another curse that can affect the entire planet. Until then, you’ve greatly exacerbated your own problem! More importantly, all the idiots from the outside will be constantly annoying me and interrupting my training.”

Now it was Dash’s turn to awkwardly look off to the side. When Twilight put it like this, there was a small chance Dash made a mistake in breaking the curse. Dash did kind of just open the gates of destruction here.

“No!” Dash quipped back. “Cause see, if I managed to defeat you once and for all that’ll solve the problem too.”

Twilight just stared at Dash, unamused.

“Well, I could get lucky.”

Twilight continued to stare.

“Like really, really lucky?” Dash felt like even the scarecrow was staring at her now. “Okay, fine! I can’t beat you, but I can politely ask you to turn yourself in which is technically more than anypony else has managed. So– please?”

Dash smiled.

“Turn myself into what?” Twilight asked.

“The police.”

“Police?” Twilight repeated the word to no avail. “I’ve never heard of that type of creature. I need to study an animal for several days before I can turn anypony into it.”

“Are we really back to this again?!” Dash groaned.

“You’re the one who brought up transformation spells,” Twilight reminded her. “If I at least knew what a police looked like, I could create a facsimile of it. Of course, such chimeric imitations don’t really—"

“Hey! I think we’re getting distracted here,” said Dash.

“I agree.” Twilight nodded. “I need to decide what to do with you. If I just let you go, you’ll blab about this to all the other ponies. Then I’ll be swarmed with so many questions and comments that I’ll never be able to sleep! I guess I could just blow you up.”


“Or turn you into a snail or a tree.” Twilight trotted back and forth, listing all the ways she could destroy Dash. “Or melt your face off. Or turn you inside out. Or—"

Suddenly Dash didn’t want to be on-topic. Thankfully, Dash never slept through monster-ed, and they gave plenty of advice for what to do in kidnapping scenarios.

When you get kidnapped, you want to keep the other person talking for as long as possible. The more they talked to you, the less likely they became to hurt you later. You were also supposed to try and get your kidnapper to give you a gift if you could, even if it was just a glass of water.

Already Dash could tell Twilight got easily distracted by the topic of magic. She also knew from experience that the easiest way to get a nerd to share their knowledge was to say something factually incorrect. The urge to fact-check you would be overwhelming.

“Oh! I just realized something!” Dash said. “The secret of your immortality! You stay young forever using transformations spells, right? I’m surprised nopony else ever thought of that.”

Exactly as planned, that stopped Twilight dead in her tracks.

“How uneducated are you?” Twilight raised her eyebrow. “Transformation spells don’t change every attribute. If you’re an old pony you turn into an old frog.”

“Wow! Really?” Obviously, Dash knew that, but playing dumb worked so far.

“If it was that simple, I wouldn’t have had to spend twenty years making reverse aging gummies.” Twilight walked over to a shelf and picked up a glass tube filled with yellow-colored gummies. “I noticed my physical and mental abilities begin to decline around the age of forty, so I made these. Each one you eat reduces your age by five years. I calculated that the optimal age is twenty-three.”

“So let me get this straight.” Dash eyed the bottle. “You invented a medicine that actually makes you younger and can allow you to live forever?”


“And you’re just sitting out here in the woods?!”


“But why?! You could be a millionaire with this alone!”

“A what?”

“A millionaire.”

“I don’t know what that means.”

“You don’t—?! Like getting a million bits?”

“A million bits of what?”

“Of money!

“What’s money?”

Dash glared at Twilight.

“Okay, now I know you’re just messing with me.” Dash threw the bottle back at Twilight. “Do you know how many ponies have tried to not know what money is?! There’s no way you could pull that off!”

“No, I’m being serious! My education was extremely lopsided. If it doesn’t have anything to do with magic, then I don’t know anything about it. I seriously have no knowledge about whatever silly animals or superstitions you’re talking about.”

“I can buy that excuse to an extent, but how the buck can you have never heard of money?"

“I can’t answer that question if I don’t know what you’re talking about,” said Twilight. “Sometimes I think about studying something other than magic, but then I realize that I could just spend that time practicing magic instead. Anything else is just a distraction from training.”

“And what exactly are you training for that compels you to be so idiotically focused on it?”

“It’s just what I— Wait.” Twilight narrowed her eyes and turned suspiciously back to Dash. “Wait! You’re doing it now, aren’t you? You’re distracting me from my training! I need to get rid of you right now before I waste any more of my time!”

“What? Me? Distractions? Nah! I was just interested in—"

“No! I learned this one!” Twilight raised her hoof, a glowing orb of white light appeared in it, heating the entire room until Dash went from shivering to sweating. “Just like I learned how to create a sphere of plasma that vaporizes anything it touches!”

This was it! Dash winced.

Well, Dash technically accomplished something! Maybe somepony else would find this place and defeat Twilight! Derpy would totally figure out it was Dash who broke the curse and Dash would be remembered as a cool pony who got Twilight on the assist!

That wouldn’t be so bad. Yeah! She could easily imagine tons of ponies thinking she was great!

Dash silently accepted her fate.

But it didn’t come.

There was no way Twilight needed this long to vaporize her. Dash opened her eyes to see Twilight frowning slightly, trembling as she held the sphere.

Twilight dismissed the orb with a growl and stomped her way across the room over to her scarecrow.

“Stop that!” Twilight yelled in frustration to her scarecrow. “Why do I always hesitate when I try to hit another pony?! I need to make some sort of neural bypass spell.”

Twilight was hesitant to kill Dash? Did the advice from that cheesy PSA really work? Dash took back all the bad things she said about the educational system! Or half of them on second thought.

“So you’re not going to kill me?” Dash double-checked.

Twilight just grumbled.

“Hey, I’ll take it! But then what?” Dash asked. “Are you going to keep me prisoner?”

“No! I can’t do that either.” Twilight shook her head. “You’ll just constantly annoy and distract me, and I’ll never get any work done! No, the only option left is to curse you.”

Twilight trotted over to her cauldron and swiped once for a new concoction. Twilight dipped her hooves inside of it to bring up a dark, oily substance. She turned to Dash and blew, the oil turning into a black smog that floated around Dash then vanished.

“I’ve placed a curse upon you,” said Twilight. “The curse—"

“La la la la!” Dash shouted.

Dash tried to keep her ears pinned down. Curses were way, way stronger if you knew exactly how they worked and more importantly the condition to be freed from it. If somepony cursed you without telling you what it did, then the effects would be minimal, and any two-bit psychic could dispel it for three bits.

But if you knew about it? Then all manner of insanity became possible, and it could only be broken through the conditions of the curse.

It was some kind of psychosomatic thing Dash hardly understood. Though she was technically already cursed, she'd likely never even notice if Twilight didn't reveal the rest.

Twilight didn’t let her get away with that. She cast a spell that left Dash’s voice silent. She was helpless now!

“You will bear this curse,” Twilight explained. “As soon as you leave you will be unable to find me or my home no matter how hard you look. You cannot speak of me unprompted and will deny you ever saw me if asked. One, and only one, leaf in the forest can set you free of this curse. If you find the leaf, the curse will break.”

Yeah, there was no way Dash had enough luck to pick the right leaf in an entire forest. She briefly tried to think of a way to bring every leaf in the forest to this very spot but drew a blank.

Would she not be able to brag about breaking the curse? That was almost worse than death! No one would know Dash had done this! She’d be forced to tell them she hadn’t!

She needed a plan!

She needed physical proof. Dash wouldn’t need to tell ponies what happened because they could piece it together themselves! But what and how were the problems Dash had seconds to figure out.

“Now take your things and leave.” Twilight returned to her cauldron, setting it back to that misty one she’d started with. “I’m very busy and thanks to you I have to make a global curse now!”

Sadly, Twilight kept watching Dash rather than getting distracted by her cauldron. Dash just needed her to look away for a few seconds to nab something.

“You’re really going to let me keep my stuff?” Dash asked. Had her footage remained intact, that would have been the one flaw in Twilight’s plan.

“I hate ponies stealing from me,” said Twilight. “So I don’t steal from others.”

Dash glanced at the bottle of reverse aging gummies. That was the only thing here she knew for certain nopony else could replicate. If she could swipe that…

“You know what?” Dash tossed the camera to Twilight. “You’re really not so bad. As thanks for not killing me, I’ll let you keep the camera!”

Twilight grabbed the camera and looked down at it, totally distracted just as Dash planned.

“What does it do?” Twilight asked. “You were trying to attack me with it before, right?”

“It like uh— you point it at something, and it makes a recording of past events you can view whenever you want!” Dash grabbed the bottle of youth gummies and stuffed it in her bag. “But you need that tape over there to make it work, and you destroyed it so I can’t use it.”

“Well, that’s silly.” Twilight kept studying it. “Why not just use aetheric imprint feedback as I did before?”

“Cause I have no idea what that is.” Dash put the bag back on. She tried to play it cool through all her trembling. All she had to do was literally walk away.

Or so she thought.

The moment she got her bag on, Twilight lifted Dash and threw her out the door, slamming it shut behind her.

Dash stumbled to her feet and spun around. The tree was nowhere in sight.

So that new curse really did work. Dash wasn't any better off than yesterday. Yet with the curse broken, literally any other pony could see Twilight's house.

The real test was if Dash could still perceive her ‘souvenir’ or show it to somepony else. If not, she was basically screwed even if some other pony did defeat Twilight later.

Feigning frustration, Dash trotted a good distance from Twilight’s house with her head down. It was just past midnight now. At least the blood moon had passed. The crickets chirped loudly, and the rain had long since cleared up.

Compared to the walk here, the return trip was like those kindergarten gremlin-catching exercises. That is to say, no real danger. Yet despite having no serious threats around, Dash’s heart beat even harder than when the dragon zombie was chasing her.

Dash was a good enough distance from Twilight’s house that she felt safe peeking into the bag.

She looked inside.

The gummies were there!

Dash quickly closed her bag, smiling wide.

It actually worked! Now she just needed to get somepony to put two and two together. How hard could that be?

Dash sat down, her smile fading slightly. Knowing her luck, it would be exceptionally hard. Though obviously finding that leaf would be even harder.

No doubt breaking a curse from Twilight herself was something not even an exceptional psychic could do by force. Nopony had ever been able to force their way through the curse of undeath or the curse of Twilight that Dash just broke.

Though finding the exact right leaf in the forest? A powerful enough psychic could certainly manage that much. In fact, a strong psychic could probably just guess what was wrong with Dash without Dash having to outright tell them!

But she would need an exceptional psychic…

Someone like Pinkie Pie!

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