• Published 5th Sep 2012
  • 3,345 Views, 76 Comments

Beyond the Rainbow - SpikeTheMic

Rainbow Dash finds a mysterious creature in the Everfree Forrest

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The Monster in Your Head

Chapter Four
The Monster in Your Head

Rainbow Dash landed with a thud below the dissipating thundercloud above. Oddly enough, the first thing she noticed was not the creature lying by the prized diamond. No, it was the strange atmosphere surrounding the field that really put her on edge.

Everything felt wrong somehow. Sure, the dark supercharged cloud had seemed quite peculiar, but it didn’t compare to the unsettling feeling she felt once she’d actually landed on the dry grass below her. In reality, her natural Pegasi instincts were raising red flags in the back of her mind, doing everything in their power to get her to turn tail and fly away as fast as her wings could carry her.

However, they didn’t account for her intense curiosity at the phenomena. In the end, after a split second battle between the two opposing sides, her desire to retrieve the gem overruled her instincts and she cautiously stepped forward observing the scene more clearly. What she saw made her jaw drop.

Rainbow Dash had seen quite a few odd creatures on her various adventures in the Everfree forest. She’d met everything from a ferocious Manticore, to the Diamond Dog slavers, and even several monstrous Dragons. What lay in front of her was nothing like any of those creatures. It most clearly resembled an overgrown monkey, though noticeably with little to no fur on its body. The only kind of hair it possessed seemed to be mostly formed into a short, messy jet-black mane. It didn’t even appear to possess a tail!

Yet normally, such a thing wouldn’t faze her. She’d just consider it to be one of the possibly hundreds of odd creatures living in the Everfree forest that Ponykind had yet to discover, something much more suitable for an egghead like Twilight to look into.

No what truly shocked her was what it was wearing. It very visibly wore fabric wrapping around its upper and lower half. On closer inspection though, it appeared that the material was split across the middle, revealing the upper half to be teal colored, and the lower, smaller half a color much similar to the jet-black texture of its messy mane. It was obvious then that either this animal was pet to a creature as extravagant about fashion as her friend Rarity was, or that it was one of higher-intelligence.

Despite all of this, Rainbow Dash’s attention instantly focused onto the famed Emerald Crystal as it shimmered in the last light of the setting sun. It was hypnotic to look at, so much so that she almost bumped a hoof into the unconscious monkey lying next to her. Holding her breath, she floated lightly over the creature and dropped down directly in front of the diamond, taking in its beauty at face value.

She could see why Spike wanted it so badly. For a split second, even Dash was tempted to take home the gem for herself. Then she ultimately remembered why she was retrieving the thing in the first place, also reminding herself that she considered gem collecting a hobby belonging to frilly ponies like Rarity, or dragons that ate them as sustenance.

So after a short moment of appreciating the light green gem in front of her, she reached out with her muzzle and retrieved it with her mouth, spreading her wings out wide in preparation for take-off. The strange monkey already in the back of her mind, she felt she was in the clear, and began flapping powerfully sending out wind currents that flattened the grass below her.

It was precisely at that moment that two furless claws grasped her hooves, causing her to almost drop the gem in panic.

An ancient sun-princess sat in the center of a bright room, filled with a variety of magical artifacts and symbols carved into the four walls surrounding her. The room itself had no windows, and with the massive door behind it shut, the only light source was seven separate candles organized around her in a perfect circle. The candles shined a golden light over the arcane shapes surrounding the princess, giving off a peaceful, yet slightly ominous atmosphere. The princess herself had both her eyes closed in deep thought, and her fore-hooves sat over her crossed rear legs in a position of intense meditation.

“Everfree, do you hear me?”

There was no response. The princess’s expression shifted ever so slightly, revealing the tiniest hint of frustration. She quickly recovered; her ten-thousand years of wisdom reminding her of the patience such a delicate act required. Delving deep into the recesses of her mind once again, she repeated her attempt with more vigor.

Everfree, are you there?”

After a moment’s pause, a melodic voice in her head spoke to her.

“… yes my love. What is it that you require?”

Smiling, Celestia continued.

“It has been over three winters since our last conversation. I wondered if you had forgetten my Sister and I after our many failed attempts at contact.”

“Such a thing is not possible. I care dearly for the two of you, I have simply had pressing concerns as of recently.”

“I… see.”

Celestia wasn’t one to often be confused, or mystified. Usually it was she who was the mystical one. Though she shrugged it off when she remembered the entity to which she was speaking to. She’d forgotten how mysterious Everfree could be.

“I sense there is something troubling you. What is it, my love? I am sure I can help put your mind at ease.”

“I felt a great disturbance in Equestria just moments ago. Normally I would have simply asked my sister to investigate or send out the elements to discover and, if necessary, eliminate whatever has caused such disharmony. However, there is… something else; something deeply unsettling.”

“Is it so grave that you cannot call on the Elements of Harmony? Such a thing is surely impossible.”

“I do not doubt the elements, or their ability to vanquish evils which arrive in this realm. However, what I sensed was definitely not of natural origin. I felt the presence of an old foe both my sister and I and the elements have faced on several occasions. I am sure you have heard of him.”

A moment passed with no response, and Celestia began to question whether her connection to Everfree had been lost.

“… Everfree? Are you there?”

“Yes, my love. You speak of the draconequus, do you not?”

The princess was both relieved and surprised at the sudden grave response the entity had given.

“Yes. His name is-“

“I know of his name. Has he once again escaped his stone prison?”

Celestia stopped a moment, considering the increasing emotion present in Everfree’s voice. She even thought she could sense some anger slipping through its melodic words.

“That is actually what is most troubling. We have sent out a squadron of the royal guard to inspect his statue, now located several stories below the castle. It remains untouched.”

“And you are certain you have sensed his presence?”

“I am sure. There is no denying it.”

Another moment passed without communication, to which the princess decided to wait patiently. She knew that the entity must’ve been contemplating her words, deciding the best way to guide her like it always did when she needed it. Finally, after what seemed like twenty minutes, the voice returned.

“…I too sense a disharmony. However it emanates not from the draconequus, but from the forest of my name. It seems that a certain chaos emerald has been reactivated.”

Celestia almost opened her eyes at that. The Chaos Emeralds were legendary among dragons, and even among some ponies, although it went by a different name and the lore usually only mentioned one. She knew the truth about the gem though. She’d spent countless a generation searching for it, only to come up empty.

“I needn't remind you of the gravity of this situation.”

“N-no, Everfree, my sister and I will resolve this swiftly”

“Do so with haste, Celestia, for you know what could be unleashed if we are too late.”

With that, the candles in the room blew out as if a wind had flown in from an invisible window. The sun princess opened her eyes and blinked, confused for a moment before realizing the lack of candlelight. With the slightest effort, she lit her majestic horn with an intense white light, lighting the room as if the sun itself was shining into it. She stood up onto her four hooves and magically poofed the seven candles out of existence, turning slowly toward the entrance of the Spirit room, and thinking gravely of what had to be done.

Rainbow Dash was suddenly overcome with panic. There was only really one response a Pegasi had to any kind of panic: Fly away, as fast as possible.

That was precisely what the rainbow-maned pegasus did. With the Gem safely in her mouth, she took off into the air hoping the furless monkey clinging to her did not have a good grip. She was sourly disappointed when she felt the weight of an average sized pony clinging to her back two hooves.

As she kicked and climbed several hundred feet, she could make out the muffled noises of what sounded like growling coming from the creature. Now even more frightened, the pegasus flew higher and kicked harder, doing everything in her power to relieve herself from the grip of the monster currently hanging onto her from the most sensitive part of her body. Her fear of having her hooves touched only heightened her panicked state.

It was with relief that, after successfully climbing over six hundred feet into the night sky, she began to feel the monster’s grip loosen. With new found determination, she kicked even harder, earning her louder growls from the creature as it realized its end was near.

“Ha! You thought that you could beat me, you furless.. monkey thing! Watch what happens when I-“

At that exact moment, Rainbow Dash looked down at the face of the thing that was barely gripping her back two hooves. There were two things she noticed off the bat:

One, she hadn’t gotten a clear look at the creatures face, and upon closer inspection realized that it more closely resembled a pony’s face than a monkey’s.

Two, she noticed how expressive the creatures features were. And the expression that it was giving her was not the expression of hate and ferocity she’d been expecting. What instead filled the small creature’s face was a look of complete and utter terror.

As if that weren’t enough, she realized that the creature had not been growling at her. In her panic, she’d assumed the noise it was making was one of malice. But now that she had regained her senses, she noticed quite vividly that the sound was actually that of terrified screaming.

… wow. Now I feel like the monster.

As if to finalize the thought, the creature finally lost its grip on the Pegasus’s hooves, its screams of terror rising in intensity as it plummeted to its death.

Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap-

Rainbow Dash hovered there for a moment until the shock wore off; visibly frightened beyond belief, though now for a different reason, the cyan pony bulleted toward the falling body of the furless monkey, praying to Celestia that she hadn’t just accidentally committed murder.

Edited by: Tofty

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