• Published 21st Jan 2021
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Mysteries of Equestria - Vertigo22

A collection of various mysteries from around Equestria bundled into a strange little magazine. So come along and take a deep dive into the world of the fortean, dear reader!

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3. The Grotto of Eternal Sunset

Throughout her life, Princess Celestia had dealt with a great number of troubles. From banishing her sister to dealing with the internal strife of the spy she knew only as Youngster, her life was one of turmoil and grief. So it should come as no surprise that she’s been the center of several rumors, legends, and even mysteries.

Normally, I’d go over the various rumors and legends, but I’ve already personally been sued for libel once and let me tell you: it isn’t fun (even if I did win on the basis of dispensing sweet, sweet information to the general public). So instead, I’ll get into the story at hand today: that of what’s become known as the “Grotto of Eternal Sunset”.

This little story springs about twenty years after Princess Luna was banished. Ponies who went into the Everfree Forest would occasionally claim to have come across an area deep within it that was described as being “heavenly” and “unparalleled in beauty”. The distinct fact that always stood out though was that the area was always in sunset, even if it was the middle of the day. Exactly how this is, I must confess I could find absolutely no satisfactory theory on. Most just speculate it’s a magical spell that turns the nearby tree canopies into a sunset-like skybox (for those of you that play those fancy schmancy arcade games).

Anyways, the reason for the existence of this area is simple: the Grotto is (or was) utilized by Princess Celestia as a home away from home; a place she could go to to grieve over the banishment of Princess Luna and think about life. Realistically, it isn’t exactly going to blow anyone or anything away with how revolutionary it is that a beautiful location in nature is a place people go to. Though the Grotto is unique in the aspect of an eternal sunset. Many have wondered if maybe the theory of a magical skybox or something else isn’t the explanation and that the area is literally in a perpetual sunset.

That’s right, some folks out there believe the sun is always setting in the Grotto of Eternal Sunset. Big brain stuff, no? I think so, though is such a thing possible?

Uh, I doubt it?

I mean, unless the laws of everything we quite literally know about is wrong and there’s a tiny Sun floating around in the Everfree that isn’t causing everything in the immediate vicinity of everywhere on Equus to not burn alive, I guess it’s possible! Though otherwise, I doubt it, so why am I even talking about this? Oh right, I’m Bizarre Symbols and I write down my thoughts; that’s why people call me Bizarre.

Well, that and I draw symbols that summon things from Tartarus.

Anyways, let’s continue. The Grotto’s written documentation is really loose; given that the Everfree has a sordid reputation, where its precise location is isn’t known. All I know for certain is that it’s “deep” in the forest. It’s also said to not be that big; light beams in from above and the sky is orange in coloration. There’s also a small river that runs through the grotto with water that’s said to be the clearest on Equus.

In essence: oooh, Heaven is a place on Equus.

So anywayzzle, most ponies who’d stepped into the Grotto say that they felt compelled to leave, like somepony or something was ordering them out; like a strict mother. This is what led to most believing that the Grotto belonged to Celestia and has all but cemented it. Though that leads to a serious predicament. You see, while I’ve stated that it belongs to Celestia…

This has never been confirmed.

Yeah, I know, what a twist, though Celestia has never commented on the Grotto’s existence and nothing even ties it to her. It’s just the sudden appearance of it after Luna’s banishment and the fact most feel a stern mother’s presence. No one has ever seen Celestia near the Grotto and no one has ever found any indication that she created it. For all intents and purposes: Celestia’s connection to the Grotto is in a legend and a legend alone. As such, I’m contacting my lawyer right now.

Yes, Law Firm? Wait, I need to stop writing.

Anyway—I mean with that sai—let’s just get to the point: I found this story to be unbelievably fascinating because it’s quite unlike any I’ve written about. Aside from not involving somepony being run over by a train, mauled by a ten-legged polar bear, or aliens invading Canterlot to probe Celestia and Luna, it’s the tranquil image I get. Sure, I make it sound vague, but come on: the idea of a perpetual sunset is calming!

It was because of this nice image—and my contractual obligation to Enigmatic Equus—that I decided to go on an expedition to find the Grotto myself! So, after telling Daisy that I’d be back in about twenty minutes when I got bored, telling Tom that Josh wanted some sugar for his coffee, and getting my things together, I made my way off to the Everfree.

And sure enough, I got bored really quickly, so I stopped at Sugar Cube Corner and bought donuts. Then, the following day, Daisy and I went to the Everfree Forest together! We grabbed our things and made out into the wilderness, looking for a pretty little Grotto where we could camp.

The forest smelled of trash, death, and Fleshgait. Hastily, we made our retreat and went to a different area. It smelled a fair bit better, so we continued our search there. When the stench of Fleshgait reappeared, we decided it’d be better if we rented a Hot Air Balloon. So, after paying Pinkie Pie in cupcake wrappers, we began our search from above.


Then the local flying ponies caused it to crash into the forest. After a brief hospital trip, I decided to just purchase a blunderbuss and fought off the local Fleshgait, blowing it into Kingdom Come. Wait, does all of these details about a Fleshgait mean I need to edit the previous page? Ah who cares, nobody ever reads this magazine.

N E Ways, once Daisy and I buried the body, we set up our camp about eight-hundred-and-fifty (haha, take that word count editor) deep into the forest. We also mapped our pathway in and marked it with various chunks of Fleshgait. I think some timberwolves ate it, but it could’ve been the other Fleshgaits. I don’t know, but I do know that dead Fleshgait smells about as good as living Fleshgait. The only difference is living Fleshgait moves and dead Fleshgait looks at you with dead eyes, kinda like your mother-in-law. Lucky for me, my mother-in-law lives several regions over because she’s in prison for arson.

Well, once Daisy and I had gotten snuggled in for the night and I shot a Fleshgait, Wendigo, Mothstallion, and Sasquatch, we decided we’d discuss our plans for the following day. We agreed we’d wander around, pretending that we understood exactly what we wanted to do; and so, the following morning, we made marshmallows and made love. Then we went looking for the Grotto.

It didn’t pan out like we wanted.

Aside from Fleshgaits knowing when you killed one of their own because their blood has a certain pheromone in it that attracts them, the Grotto was apparently spotted on the other side of Ponyville, so we had to make our way out of the Everfree Forest with a bunch of foul-smelling bipeds that scream like a Death Metal singer. It hurt my ears almost as much as a blunderbuss going off does. Oh well, not like I needed the one functioning ear anyway!

Once we broke through the forest clearing, I had to explain to Ponyville authorities why I was covered in blood and gore. Surprisingly, they believed me and let me go. Then a Fleshgait screamed and charged at us. We all ran away because I’d run out of ammo.

Then Pinkie Pie blew it away with her cannon.

After all of that, Daisy and I ran through Ponyville, getting more than a few strange looks, and eventually ended up on the other side. We made our happy way into the woods until we found a place to wash the blood off of me. Once that was done, we reestablished camp and went to sleep. Sure, it was only about eleven in the morning, but I was tired from the killing of Fleshgaits—and worrying that my editor would want me to rewrite the previous page. That’s way too much work and dang it, I have arcade games to play.

So at about three in the afternoon when the familiar smell of timberwolf-on-Fleshgait filled my nostrils, Daisy and I got to work looking around. We searched innawoods [Editor’s note: that isn’t a word; quit being denser than Osmium—also, what the heck happened to the tone of this page? Did you just give up?], beneath rivers, in fields of Poison Joke, and through random portals I found in the forest. Most of them led to Mars, but one of them led me into a place called Raccoon City. I gave some autographs and then got shot by a blonde guy.

Once the bullet was taken out, we continued our search for the next seven-and-a-half hours. Nonstop. My hooves ached by the time we settled down for the night, but we found nothing. The effects of the Poison Joke had started to take effect and while I wish I could say I grew wings so I could be like all of those foals that like to pretend their Alicorns, I instead turned orange instead of my natural normal beige coloration. Honestly not the worst thing that could have happened; Daisy turned into a Mapinguari.

Once I wrangled Daisy and got an elixir that fixed our problems, we resumed our search and I realized that I’d been writing all of this down as I explored the Everfree Forest. So I stopped until about three days later when we exited the forest without having seen any sort of Grotto. Indeed, there wasn’t a grotto in sight. I’d wasted about four days of my life looking around a hideous forest, writing down my internal thoughts as I slowly went mad from being out in a disgusting cesspool that’s somehow considered a natural location.

If I’m to be honest: I think this Grotto is a legend that masquerades as a mystery because people like the idea of a heavenly location here on Equus. While there are a plethora of beautiful locations, the Everfree Forest is as wretched as you can get without diving into a portapotty head-first. So I guess the mystery attracts a bit of wonder on its own merits. At the same time, I guess there is a desire to find out whether or not Celestia is even tied to the Grotto. Personally, I doubt it, I think it’s something else; the sunset aspect is likely a long lost magical spell from times of yore.

With that out of the way: please tell me via fanmail what you think the truth to the Grotto of Eternal Sunset is, dear reader, and please tell me how to permanently wash Fleshgait blood out of your fur. I’d really like to stop hearing tapping on my window at three in the morning. Also, be sure to turn the page to read about a fascinating mystery centering on King Sombra.

Editor’s Note: you’re fired, Bizarre.

Author's Note:

This chapter was inspired by no mystery in particular. Though I thought the idea of a place of perpetual sunset was an interesting idea to utilize for what amounted to the final part of the introduction to this story.

Comments ( 3 )

Why isn't there an anthology tag?

Writing about the strange and supernatural can be both fascinating and challenging. It requires a unique blend of imagination, research, and storytelling skills. The writer may find themselves grappling with the task of capturing the essence of these mysteries in a way that captivates readers. However, the allure of exploring the unknown and sharing these enigmatic stories with the world can be a powerful motivator. Despite the struggles, the writer's dedication to their craft shines through, as they continue to uncover and unravel the secrets that lie beyond the ordinary. connections game

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