• Published 8th Jan 2012
  • 10,856 Views, 882 Comments

Last of the Dragonlords - Fluttershy20

Fluttershy sets out in search of answers after a dragon attack left her changed.

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Chapter 3

Fluttershy was running through Ponyville, her heart beating against her chest with every stride as she tried to escape the flames. Every building around her was ablaze and every bush and tree had become a mass of flame at a single touch of the fires that had now engulfed Ponyville. She rounded a corner to Sugarcube Corner, hoping to find her friends there. She only found the building ablaze like the rest of the town. But what horrified her more were the three burning bodies that lay outside it. She screamed and ran towards the library, hoping Twilight was there to help her. She passed more bodies, some burning, some not, but all were unrecognisable from their injuries.

“Help me,” a quiet whisper came to Fluttershy. She turned her head and saw a unicorn walking towards her, and the pony was on fire. “Help me…” the unicorn spoke louder this time. The pony’s voice was croaked and damaged, but was still clear enough for Fluttershy to recognise her.

“Twilight!” she shrieked. Twilight took another agonised step and collapsed to the ground, dead. Tears streamed from Fluttershy’s eyes; she wanted to stay and do something but couldn’t. The flames were closing in on her as if they were chasing after her; she was the one who was getting away, and the flames were not going to have that, it seemed. With tears running down her face, Fluttershy ran. She already lost two friends by now. She hoped she wouldn’t be losing any more today.

The moment that thought came to her, a dead pegasus landed in front of her. Fluttershy could see the pony’s tail was still recognisable; a rainbow-tailed pony wasn’t easy to come by. She ran on passed Rainbow Dash’s body, sobbing all the while. Another friend gone.... Fluttershy skidded to an abrupt halt as the sight of an ash pile loomed in front of her. She cried out as she saw, lying a few feet away, the Stetson that Applejack always wore. This sickened her; she had now lost four of her friends, and many others she knew by name. She began praying that Rarity wasn’t dead as well.

She arrived at the Carousel Boutique to find it, like all of Ponyville, burning. Her heart lifting when she saw Rarity, Fluttershy leapt to her rescue – her purple-maned friend was on fire! Trying to douse the flames, Rarity was rolling frantically back and forth on the ground. But it was doing no good; if anything, the fire grew more intense.

“Hold still, Rarity!” she shouted. She tried to beat out the flames covering her friend's body, using only her bare hooves to do it – sadly; this effort had no effect on the fire whatever. With a final, agonised cry, Rarity died. Fluttershy, however, still didn’t stop hitting the flames.

“No!” she choked. “Don’t give up! Please! Don’t leave me alone!” But Rarity was already dead. Fluttershy backed away and started to run once more. She didn’t care anymore where she went. Her friends were dead, her home was in ruins – to her there was nothing left to live for.

Eventually she came to an alley, one with a dead end. She stopped and sat down in the grass, tears streaming down her cheeks, ready to die and join her friends. The flames closed in and she closed her eyes.

A gust of wind from behind her got her attention; she opened her eyes and turned her head around. Her eyes turned to mere dots at what was behind her. An eye peered back at her; it was wreathed in flame with a single black pupil in the centre, a pupil that was shaped like a serpent’s. The eye moved up and a whole head turned so that it faced the cowering Fluttershy. It snarled and showed it’s long teeth.

Tiden er inne for at våres flammer skal herske. Og at verden skal brenne (The time has come for our flames to reign. The world shall burn)!” The creature bellowed and lunged its head towards Fluttershy, who could only scream.

Fluttershy instantly woke up, still screaming with her forelegs flailing about as if she was trying to defend herself. It took a few seconds for Fluttershy to realise it was a dream and calmed down. Her breathing was fast and her heart pounded against her chest she felt herself sweating all over. With a hoof, she wiped her brow and rubbed her back, wiping off the sweat she felt tickling down her. Eventually the breathing slowed down to a more normal pace and she got out of bed. Angel walked up with the stairs with a candle lamp.

“It’s okay, Angel, go back to bed,” Fluttershy said softly. Angel didn’t make a move at first; his face spoke of worry for her. But Fluttershy was insistent. “I said bed, now!” she snapped. Angel jumped back at her outburst and ran back down the stairs. Fluttershy just realised what she did and tried to stop him. “Wait, Angel, come back!” she cried after him, but knew he wouldn’t be back. “I’m sorry,” she whispered softly. It was mostly to herself.

She had never really shouted at Angel in anger before, so Fluttershy wondered why did she tonight? And that dream, was it the nightmare? Or was it something else? She shook her head and decided to wait until morning. She could make it up to Angel by giving him extra carrots tomorrow morning. She then when back to bed and closed her eyes, hoping to get some sleep this time.

Every time she closed her eyes, however, she saw the creature’s burning eye starring at her. She opened and closed them again and again hoping for some better dream, but always the same nightmare recurring. Eventually she was too terrified of sleeping again that she got out of bed, flew through the bedroom window outside, and sat on the grass, watching the stars and the moon, thinking about why she can’t dream anything else. She decided to ask Twilight in the morning about it on their spa visit, but then she remembered Twilight wanted to write a letter about the language she can now speak to Princess Celestia to see what she says about it.

Fluttershy spent the rest of the evening and the early sunrise feeding the animals in her care and other work. When she came to Angel, she said to him, “I’m sorry about last night. I understand if you don’t forgive me, I wouldn’t want to forgive me either.” She bowed her head and waited for a response. Angel ran up to her and hugged Fluttershy, who returned the gesture with a smile and a reward of ten carrots. “Eat it as fast as you like. I’ll be gone a while so I’ll see you later,” she said gleefully and trotted out the door.

Until Fluttershy got into direct contact with the rising sun, she didn’t realise how tired she actually felt. Her mane was a mess, her eyes felt heavy and her coat was extremely pale, mainly due to being outside in the cold, and she was shivering. Nevertheless, she continued on, with her head held high and a good stride in her trot. She soon found herself outside the library, and lightly knocked on the door.

“I’ll be there, just a minute!” a voice called from inside. Fluttershy’s hearing could pick up that Twilight was calling from the second floor. After a minute of waiting, Twilight opened the door and gasped in horror upon seeing the pegasus. “My goodness! Fluttershy, are you all right? You don’t look good at all!”

Fluttershy shook her head. “I’m fine, Twilight. May I come in so we could write that letter to the Princess, please?” But Twilight shook her head and moved so she was behind her friend to push Fluttershy in.

“No!” Twilight exclaimed. “Not in your state! I’ll put you in my bed so you can rest and sleep. When you’re better, then we can write the letter.” She started pushing Fluttershy inside. But the pegasus placed her hooves firmly on the ground in a bid to stop Twilight from moving her.

“No… please… I’m fine, really… you don’t have to do this…” Fluttershy protested. But the unicorn was having none of it and continued pushing her towards the stairs. Suddenly Fluttershy cried out, “Please don’t make me go back to sleep!”

Twilight stopped and looked up to see Fluttershy facing her. Her eyes, despite the fatigue in them, showed complete terror for some reason. Twilight looked confused. “What happened that makes you not want to go to sleep?”

Fluttershy looked away from her and said quietly “I had a nightmare, a really bad nightmare.” She let it all out there and then. “It was awful! I watched Ponyville burn, I saw you, Rainbow, Applejack, Rarity and Pinkie, I watched you all die in agony! I-I tried to help but I couldn’t do anything! I just couldn’t!” Twilight walked up to the pegasus and gave her a hug to calm her down.

“It was just a dream, Fluttershy. Nothing more,” she tried to reason with her. But Fluttershy shook her head.

“No, Twilight, it felt real! I felt everything! My heart in my chest beating, the wind in my mane, the heat on my coat, and the screams of the dying! I felt and heard it all and I don’t want to go back, not again!” She buried her head in Twilight’s chest.

“Have you tried dreaming something else? Because you know we control our dreams, so you must have thought of it.”

Fluttershy nodded. “I’ve tried! But every time I try I find myself back in a ruined Ponyville with this creature looming over me!” Fluttershy cried, sounding even more distressed than before.

Twilight placed her hoof on her chin and pondered this. ‘This is new,’ she thought. She always knew that ponies could control dreams; ponies created the nightmares, so the dreamer would be the ones to get rid of them. But this, this was different, but she knew what to do. She put her hooves on Fluttershy’s cheeks and moved her head so she could look into the pegasus’ teary eyes. Then she spoke. “Now I know what I can do to help you, but I need you to trust me on this. Can you do that?” She smiled at her friend, who nodded slowly.

“Of course I trust you, Twilight.” Twilight smiled and with her magic picked up Fluttershy and carried her to her bed, putting her down and pulling up the bed sheets.

“Comfortable?” Twilight asked, Fluttershy nodded and started to close her eyes. “Now this won’t hurt a bit, but you’ll probably be asleep all morning so you’ll miss the spa date. Don’t worry, I’ll tell Rarity about what happened.” Fluttershy nodded, unable to protest now that tiredness was taking her.

“Tell Rarity I’m sorry, please?” she asked Twilight. The unicorn nodded with a smile, placed the tip of her horn on Fluttershy’s forehead, and activated a spell.

Fluttershy closed her eyes and she saw the great burning eye starring at her again, Fluttershy blinked and when she opened them again, in a split second a ruined Ponyville was gone. In its place, was a large meadow filled with bunnies hopping about joyfully, with birds filling the sky and a giant rainbow on the horizon. Fluttershy squealed with delight and started hopping alongside the bunnies.

“And that’s what happened, Rarity. I left her with a small smile on her face and her legs kicking slightly as if she was hopping,” Twilight finished telling about Fluttershy to the other unicorn, who was concerned by the pegasus’s absence, but calmed a little once Twilight explained everything.

“Poor darling. I just feel awful now for leaving her alone,” Rarity said, her head hanging low.

“Don’t be, Rarity,” Twilight comforted her, placing a hoof on her shoulder. “We all should have realised that she needed to be with somepony, to help her through something like she’d gone through.” Twilight paused before adding, “Has she ever said anything about a dream like this to you?”

Rarity thought for a moment. “Well yes, she’s spoken to me about nightmares and I’ve comforted her sometimes, but never has she, I recall, had anything this… horrible.” The two sat in silence for a moment.



“Do you think Fluttershy has… changed?”

Twilight took a moment to think about this, but eventually shook her head. “I just think that after the dragon incident, she just wants to try and enjoy life a bit more. What makes you think she’s changed?”

Rarity shrugged “I don’t know, I just feel like Fluttershy’s missing something when I saw her yesterday. Something like that.”

Twilight chuckled. “I’m sure that in a few weeks Fluttershy will be just the same pony we know and love, but the question is what to do about that nightmare. Have you heard of a recurring nightmare before?”

Rarity looked confused. “Darling, I don’t understand?”

“I mean the exact same nightmare, over and over, scene for scene.”

“Well… no. Nightmares change every time one way or another, some features are never the same. Why?”

“Because Fluttershy had the same exact dream last night, the same dream over and over again, and I don’t know what to do to help her.”

Just then, a pink pony’s head slowly appeared over the waterline, her eyes narrow and with a serious expression. “You could always ask the Princess for assistance. She’s bound to help Fluttershy and you, Twilight,” Pinkie said, and then disappeared under the waterline again.

“She’s been under that water for the past half an hour. How does she do that?” Rarity said, checking the time. Twilight wasn’t paying attention to Rarity. She was too busy thinking about what Pinkie just said. Asking the Princess? Then it hit her.

“Of course!” she exclaimed, startling the other unicorn. “Fluttershy and I were supposed to write a letter to the Princess about her resistance to fire, but now we could ask her about the nightmare too. Pinkie – if you can hear me – you’re a genius!” She jumped out of the bath and was about to run off. She halted, turned to Rarity and said, “Sorry, Rarity, gotta go, got a letter to write. Bye!” and was gone, leaving Rarity wondering what all this was about.

Fluttershy woke up feeling rather refreshed from that sleep. She stayed in bed, though, and listened to the birdsong outside, intent on enjoying every last minute of relaxation she can get. Her ears picked up the sound of ponies outside talking and laughing about different things. She sniffed the air and smelled an aroma – of soup, she reckoned – coming from downstairs.

She got out of bed and trotted downstairs to the kitchen, and found Spike cooking some soup. “Hey, Spike,” she called. “Is that tomato soup you’re making?”

Spike turned around and greeted Fluttershy with a smile. “Hey, Fluttershy! Yes it is. You have a good nose. I hope you want some; I made it for you especially.”

Fluttershy smiled. “Thank you, Spike. Would you like a helping hoof?”

Spike shook his head. “Don’t worry, go into the living room and relax. I’ll give it to you when it’s done.”

Fluttershy nodded, but she couldn’t help feeling disappointed that she couldn’t assist. “Okay, Spike. If you want any help, I’m just in the living room.” She turned and walked out into the main room, and sat on one of the pillows. She looked around the room, trying to find a book that caught her eye, but ultimately failing. She started tapping her hoof in a tune, hoping that would pass the time.

After a few minutes of waiting, but what felt like hours, Twilight came through the door. “Oh hello, Fluttershy, I’m surprised to see you awake, to be honest. Did you sleep well?”

Fluttershy smiled and nodded. “Oh yes, very well, thanks to you and that spell you put on me.”

“It was nothing, really. Just a nightmare shield spell I learnt when I was younger. I had a lot until I learnt that spell to help me.” She paused, and then started to sniff the air. “Hey, what’s that? It smells delicious.”

“It’s some tomato soup Spike has made for me. I’m sure he’s made enough for both of us… if you would like some that is… I won’t force you,” Fluttershy said, going quieter and quieter near the end.

‘And Rarity thinks Fluttershy’s changed,’ Twilight thought as she walked into the kitchen. “I would love some. I am famished after that trip. Is it ready, Spike?” she asked him.

Spike took a sip and nodded. “Yep, it’s done now, would you like to have some, Twilight?” he asked. Twilight nodded and Spike brought out two bowls, he filled them with the soup and put them on a tray. “Here you go,” he said as he gave the tray to Twilight, who picked it up with her magic, and took it into the next room.

“Say, Fluttershy, since it’s a nice day and all, would you like to go outside and have this?” Twilight asked the pegasus. Fluttershy turned her head to face the window and saw Twilight was right; the day was beautiful indeed, a few clouds here and there but otherwise another clear summer day. So, she smiled and faced Twilight.

“I would love that.” She got up and followed Twilight to the balcony, bringing two pillows so they could lie on the balcony comfortably. Whilst Twilight took the tray and a book she could read.

The two friends sat in silence, save the birds signing in the tree and the occasional sip in the soup. Fluttershy was smiling as watched the clouds, and trying to make out shapes from them. She blushed when she noticed one that looked like a mare and a stallion together, but didn’t tell Twilight, who was too engrossed in her book to notice anything. Fluttershy’s attention turned to a tree about a hundred to two hundred feet away, and thought she saw movement in it. She strained her eyes slightly to see what it was, and her ears pricked up at their tallest, hoping to hear what it was.

An unfamiliar cheeping from the tree came through her ears, and she managed to see what it was, and gasped in her excitement, bringing about Twilight’s attention.

“A Greytit!” Fluttershy bounced with joy. “Those birds are rare. They’re supposed to be only in Trottingham, but no, one’s here, and maybe its friendly!” she shrieked, dancing for joy.

Twilight was surprised, but couldn’t make out anything when she looked at the tree, she noticed her telescope was on the balcony as well and used that instead. Her jaw dropped. A Greytit was jumping about, chirping away and jumping from branch to branch. Twilight took her eye off the scope and looked with her eyes, but couldn’t make out any movement, even when she narrowed her eyes. She looked at Fluttershy, whose head seemed to move with the movements of the bird, her eyes not even narrow. Twilight looked through her scope again, and realised Fluttershy was indeed following the bird’s movements. ‘But how?’ she thought. ‘Why can’t I see it with my own eyes?’

“Fluttershy?” she faced the pegasus. “How can you see that bird with the naked eye, yet I have to use a telescope?”

Fluttershy stopped looking at the bird and noticed that Twilight had been using the telescope to follow the bird, and her smile faded. She knew that saying pegasi just have better eyesight was wrong, since all three sub-species of pony have it the same when it comes to eyesight.

“I… I don’t know,” was all Fluttershy could say.

“Hey it’s okay, Fluttershy, sorry if I seemed a bit forceful.” she apologized. Fluttershy nodded, accepting her apology. A silence filled the air for a little bit.

“What’s happening to me?” she asked the unicorn.

“I don’t know, but do you want to write that letter to Princess Celestia now?” Twilight asked.

“Yes, if anypony knows what’s happening to me, it would be her,” Fluttershy agreed, so Twilight took the plates and the book she was reading and they headed downstairs.

“Right,” Twilight said as they reached the main floor. Spike was busy arranging some books on some of the shelves. “Spike, take a letter please,” Twilight ordered. The baby dragon saluted, jumped off the ladder and took out a scroll and quill appeared from his back. Twilight coughed, and began to word out the letter.

Dear, Princess Celestia.

I write this letter today to ask for your assistance and wisdom in a matter that troubles my friend Fluttershy and me greatly.

As you know, a dragon attacked Ponyville around a month ago, and it was gotten rid of by Fluttershy. That part is true, but some of it I left out. I’m sorry for not telling you the full truth but I wanted to ask her for permission to write this.

You see, Fluttershy technically was killed by the dragon’s fiery breath on that day, but she got back up again, regenerated and frightened the dragon away, since then she had been in a coma like state, until yesterday when she woke up. We were all thrilled to see her awake and alive again, of course, but then things Fluttershy started showing that amazes me and disturbs me at the same time.

She can walk on fire without being burned; she walked into a fireplace and not a single scorch was placed on her body. Her hearing is greatly superior to any other pony I know; she managed to hear my friend Rainbow Dash crashing into the library before we all could. Her eyesight has improved, able to pick up small creatures in trees a few hundred feet away.

And she can speak a completely new language. You taught me some languages of this world, and I have studied many more since then. But never have I heard these words before. Here is some from Fluttershy.

Hei, deres majestet.” It means, “Hello, your majesty.”

Oh, and one last thing. Last night she said she had a terrible nightmare, one that came to her every time she closed her eyes. She claims she watched as Ponyville burned, my friends and I die, and a great monster of some sort was about to eat her.

I don’t know what that means but I’m running out of ideas to help her and we both seriously need you to help us, guide us, about what we’re supposed to do.

I greatly anticipate your response.

Your faithful student, Twilight Sparkle.

And your faithful subject, Fluttershy.

Twilight worded that out without stopping. “Did you get all that, Spike?” she asked once she regained breath. Spike nodded and wrapped it up, took it to the window and blew on it; it burned up and disappeared, on its way to the receiver.

“Now what do we do?” Fluttershy asked. Twilight smiled and sat down on a pillow.

“We wait.”


“Yep. Wait. Should be any minute now,” Twilight responded.

Two hours later and Twilight was still sitting there, tapping her hoof in impatience, whilst Fluttershy read a book on pegasi history. Suddenly Spike’s cheeks puffed out, making him look like he was about to be sick, then he belched out a green flame that warped and became a letter, along with a small note that landed by Fluttershy.

“Finally!” Twilight exclaimed. “I never have seen her reply so slowly.”

“Maybe she was too busy to reply at first,” Fluttershy suggested, picking up the note that came with it. She read it, her eyes widening as she did so. “Twilight, don’t read it!” she cried out.

Twilight immediately stopped unwrapping the seal and looked at Fluttershy with a blank expression. “Why?” she asked.

Fluttershy pointed at the note. “The note says we need all the girls here first before we can open it, whatever it must be about it must be important if we are all wanted,” Fluttershy said.

Twilight still looked confused, but nodded. “Very well, I’ll get Applejack and Pinkie.”

“I’ll get Rainbow and Rarity,” Fluttershy offered. With that, the two mares dashed out the door and went in different directions to find their friends.

A few minutes later the main library had five ponies talking excitedly about what the Princess wanted with the six of them, whilst one pony was standing in front of them all, waiting impatiently for them to be quiet so she could read it out.

“Ahem,” Twilight coughed, trying to get their attention. It didn’t work. Pinkie was making up suggestions about what the Princess wanted.

“Oh, maybe she needs to plan a party for her! Or maybe we are war with the Griffons! Or maybe-”. Her suggestions were cut short by Twilight asking them all to be quiet. At once, the room went quiet and Twilight opened up the letter, her eyes widened as she read it first, then read aloud the second time.

“Dear Twilight Sparkle and friends. I would like to extend to you an invitation to a get-together of some associates of the country and some abroad. I would hope you could all attend; a private train will be waiting for you at the station and will take you to Canterlot tonight. Please pack for holiday provisions, as I might ask you to stay a bit longer. I hope to see you soon.” Twilight finished the letter and looked around the room.

She could see Rarity had a face of absolute glee at this, Pinkie had a sort of disappointed face, probably, she reckoned, because she didn’t organize this gathering. Rainbow and Applejack had looks of annoyance on them; she knew those two wouldn’t like a social gathering of this type like Rarity would, so she understood. And Fluttershy’s face was one of extreme disappointment. Twilight gave her a sympathetic smile, which the pegasus returned slightly.

“Oh this is brilliant!” Rarity squealed. “A gathering of some of the finest ponies in Equestria. Oh I’ve gotta go, I’ve got a lot of outfits to show off.” She jumped up and ran out the door, calling, “I’ll meet you all at the train station, bye!” With that, she was gone.

Applejack sighed. “Well, it ain’t what I’m used to, all those fancy ponies in froufrou outfits, but the Princess wants us to be there and I won’t leave her waiting. I’ll meet ya’ll at the station in half an hour.” She got up and walked out.

“Well, might as well, it might be fun, knowing you all will be there will make it better,” Rainbow said and walked out the door, flying into the air.

Pinkie followed suit a bit later. “A party’s a party, I suppose. Best take some balloons for it, though. See you girls at the station,” she said, and hopped out.

With Pinkie gone, Twilight was left with a rather saddened Fluttershy. Twilight walked up to her and nuzzled her gently. “I’m sure the Princess will say something when we get there,” she reasoned to Fluttershy, who seemed to perk up a bit.

“Maybe you’re right, Twilight,” she said quietly. “I’ll meet you at the train station in half an hour like Applejack said.” Twilight nodded and Fluttershy walked out the door.

She broke into a gallop so she could get home quicker. That entire time running she was thinking about where she and her friends were going, and the more she thought about it, the less it made perfect sense.

The first thing that bugged her was the timing of the invitation. Surely, it should’ve been a few weeks before that invitation should have come, not a night away. Secondly, a train was coming for them tonight, so why did she want them in Canterlot so soon? She wondered why it couldn’t have waited until the morning as the sun was setting at this point and by the time she and her friends made it into Canterlot it’ll be late. Moreover, holiday provisions? It sounded like she and her friends would be staying a very long time, far longer than an overnight trip as it suggested they’d be doing.

And another thing was why Twilight or any of the others hadn’t noticed it? She lost all thought though, when she found her nose meeting the door of her house. She stepped backwards and her eyes wandered about for a moment. She shook her head and straightened out her nose, before proceeding inside.

She opened the door noisily, startling Angel who was calmly eating one of his carrots. “Sorry, Angel, can’t stop. Gotta see a Princess about a party,” she whispered and rushed upstairs.

She went under her bed and found her saddlebags. She got out some outfits she wanted to decide on and have Rarity’s opinion on what might be better looking for her. She got some medicine, a book she was fond of, a blanket that had her cutie mark of three butterflies on it, knitted out for her by one of the orphanage carers the day after she got her cutie mark. And finally, she rummaged through her bed table and found a golden medallion, one with her name on it. One of the carers said she was found with it when she was abandoned at the front door of the orphanage, and since then Fluttershy has thought it as a good luck charm, and something to make her think of what her parents were like.

Smiling, she put it on the saddlebags and trotted down the stairs, checking everything was fine before she set off. She then turned to Angel. “I’m sorry, Angel, but I'm leaving for a little while. Take care of the place for me while I’m gone.” She gave him a light kiss on the forehead and walked out the door, closing it behind her. Angel brushed his head and continued eating his carrot.

Fluttershy was the last to arrive at the station. Everypony was there, looking cheerful, Pinkie seemed to be back at her normal bouncy self, while Rainbow and Applejack looked a little less glum than they did when she had last seen them. “Sorry if I’m late, girls,” she called as she ran in.

“It’s all right, Fluttershy, darling. I just got here myself,” Rarity said, then turned to the train waiting for them at the platform and jumped on. “Coming, girls?” she called to the rest. The rest followed suit and once they were on board, the train was ready to go. With a whistle and a whoosh of steam from the cylinders, the train got on the move. It didn’t take long for Fluttershy to notice that they were the only ponies on this train.

“The Princess did mention this is a private train just for us, Fluttershy,” Twilight said when Fluttershy pointed it out to her. Although Fluttershy took this answer, she still wasn’t completely satisfied with it. The six ponies went to the far end of the train and sat in the seats next to the windows. Five of the ponies chatted excitedly about what would this gathering will be like. Rarity wondered on whom else would be invited.

“I do hope we meet Fancy Pants again. I heard in one of his letters he sent to me he would like to meet us all again,” she said.

“Well I think it’s nice that we’ve been invited by the Princess herself to attend this event,” Applejack stated. “I’ll be sure to thank her when we get there.”

Fluttershy wasn’t paying attention to the conversation at hoof; her focus was on the first stars appearing in the night sky, all the while thinking what would happen when they get there. “Hey, Fluttershy.” A voice broke Fluttershy’s line of thought and turned to see Rainbow sitting next to her, her voice unusually heavy with concern. “Are you all right? She asked.

Fluttershy smiled. “I’m fine, Rainbow.”

Rainbow didn’t seem convinced. “Well, you just seem a bit… well… quiet. Quieter than usual I mean, and a bit… separate, if that’s the right word,” Rainbow said.

Fluttershy could see the point Rainbow was putting to her. She did seem to be isolating herself form the rest by sitting here by herself whilst they all spoke around a set of chairs nearer the back.

“I’m just thinking, Rainbow. Sorry if I worried you.”

Rainbow was intrigued. “Oooh, thinking about what?”

“About why we are going. Doesn’t it strike you odd that we leave in the early evening rather than the heading out in the morning?” she asked Rainbow. The rainbow maned pegasus thought about it for a moment. It seemed to her Fluttershy might be right, but she shook it away.

“I wouldn’t worry about it if I were you, Fluttershy. I’m sure the Princess will explain why we left in such a rush. Anyway what did you bring?” Rainbow said, changing the subject.

“Oh, I brought some medicine, just in case I see an animal that need attention. It also works on ponies as well, what about you?”

“Just a blanket and some comics to read to pass the nights.” Rainbow paused and something caught her eye as she looked past Fluttershy. “Oh look!” She pointed. “We’re here!” All eyes in the carriage turned to the direction of the spiralling city of Canterlot getting bigger in front of them as they closed in.

A few minutes later, the train went into the tunnel and started to slow down as it reached Canterlot station. Pinkie was the first to notice a pegasus guard standing on the platform with a sign saying all of their names in his mouth. The train screeched to a stop and Fluttershy grimaced, since the screeching of the brakes hurt her now sensitive ears. The six ponies got off the train with their saddlebags and provisions and met the guard. Satisfied they were the right ponies, he put the sign down.

“Welcome, ponies, I’m here to escort you all to the palace. Princess Celestia awaits you there.” He turned around on the spot and walked off, the six ponies following him. Fluttershy could start to feel that something else was going on. However, she knew she would have her answers when they met the Princess, and she would see if her suspicions were true or not.

As they walked, they saw the streets were deserted, not a single pony was outside in the warm summer night. They could see lights were on, and noises coming from buildings that seemed to be clubs. It wasn’t long before they arrived at the palace entrance and the guard gingerly stepped out of the way.

“The Princess will be waiting for you at the top of the stairs. Have a nice evening,” he said and opened the doors, gesturing them to go through. Once they were all in the door closed behind them.

“Welcome, my little ponies,” a voice called from the top of the staircase. They saw Princess Celestia standing there with a warm and welcoming smile to them. They smiled and respectively bowed to her as she descended from the stairs to greet them personally. Although she wasn’t looking, Fluttershy had the feeling that Celestia’s eyes were fixed on her.

“Thank you, Princess, for this invite. It would be an honour to attend,” Twilight said, followed by a few, “thank yous” to the Princess from the rest.

“You’re all very welcome. Now these gentlecolts will escort you to your lodgings. I’m afraid, however, I’m going to have to separate one of you from the others for a while.” At this Twilight instinctively stepped forward, but no sooner had she taken that step did Celestia speak again.


In that one word were Fluttershy’s suspicions realised. She noticed that all the attention was now on her; all of her friend’s faces (except Twilight’s) were in shock. Gulping, she took a step out of the group and stood in front of the rather imposing winged unicorn. “Yes, your majesty?” she bowed before her. Looking up again she saw Celestia was smiling at her, and she found it rather comforting.

“Would you please accompany me so we could talk in private?” Celestia asked. Fluttershy nodded, so the Princess turned around and gestured the pegasus to follow. Fluttershy turned her head to see her friends, who looked worried about what this could be about, except Twilight, who smiled encouragingly at her.

“It’s okay, girls,” she said comfortingly. “I’ll meet you back at the room when I’ve spoken to the Princess.” She caught up with the Princess and watched as her friends were led away. They walked up and turned left into the private areas of the palace.

Fluttershy could feel her heart racing; every step seemed was an agony, as Celestia hadn’t yet said a word since leaving her friends. “So, um…” Fluttershy tried bringing up a conversation. “H-how’s Princess Luna?”

Celestia stopped suddenly and turned to face the pegasus. At first, she thought she would get into trouble for speaking, but calmed down again when she saw the smile on the Princess’s face. “She is quite well, thank you, Fluttershy. At the moment she’s touring Equestria and seeing the sights she’d missed for a thousand years.” Celestia turned back around and kept walking, Fluttershy following in her steps.

As they walked, they passed guards and servants who bowed before the Princess and to Fluttershy as well. The timid pegasus just squeaked and hid behind her mane, not used to this kind of attention. She turned her gaze to the stained glass windows that she went past, all detailing the great history of Equestria: its wars, its rulers, and the moment her friends came together in defeating Nightmare moon. Alongside that one was a picture of their victory over Discord; a memory she wanted to forget due to the grief she caused on her friends, and especially to Twilight.

Eventually they arrived at a set of doors that as guarded by two unicorn soldiers. “You are relieved of your duties tonight,” the Princess ordered.

They respectively bowed and walked away; one turned back around and asked, “Would you need anything, your highness?”

“Hmm, I think a cup of tea would be good, thank you. Would you like one, Fluttershy?” She turned to the pegasus, who could only nod in response.

By now, Fluttershy’s nerves were getting to her by this point. ‘What does the Princess want with me?’ she wondered. ‘Is this… problem so important it couldn’t be in front of my friends?’

Celestia opened the doors and Fluttershy gasped as she realised where she was: the Princess’s private chambers. Celestia gestured Fluttershy to enter and she meekly did so. “Please, take a cushion to sit on,” Celestia said as she walked. Fluttershy thanked her and sat on a cushion with Celestia’s cutie mark on it.

“Um… I’m not in trouble… am I?” she asked, just wanting to know if she would be all right.

Celestia gasped. “Of course not, child. If anything I am more worried about you,” she said, comforting Fluttershy greatly.

“So… this is about the letter Twilight sent, isn’t it?” Celestia nodded.

“I’m sorry about the deception I put in there, but I thought you would be more comfortable if your friends were with you. I know sending you up here on your own would be damaging on your nerves, my dear.”

“But was that deception necessary? If you don’t mind me asking, that is?”

Celestia’s smile faded. “How would you feel, Fluttershy, if I said instead that I wanted to see you tonight immediately about this matter?”

Fluttershy looked away in thought. “I guess,” she answered shakily after a while. “… Terrified.”

Celestia’s motherly smile returned. “Then you can see why I did what I did. I hope you and the others could forgive me about it, though.”

“Oh I forgive you, Princess. You did it for me, and I’m so grateful for it. It’s not everyday somepony does something while thinking of me. Rarity will be disappointed, though. Although I kinda thought there was no gathering of posh ponies.”

Celestia grinned. “Oh it wasn’t that obvious, was it?” she asked, followed by a few giggles from both of them. They were interrupted by a knock on the door. “Enter,” Celestia called. A young unicorn mare, about Fluttershy’s age, came in and levitated to them a tray of tea with a sugar cup in case. Celestia and Fluttershy both thanked the mare, who bowed and left without a word, but a big smile on her face. “Her first day here, and she is doing a fine job,” Celestia commented.

“So… um… Princess…”

“Please, Fluttershy, in here,” she gestured with a hoof around the room, “just call me Celestia,” she said with smile.

Fluttershy blinked. “Um… okay… Celestia, so… can you help me?” she asked with pleading eyes.

Celestia smiled sadly and her eyes looked away from her. “I have lived, Fluttershy, for over three thousand years. I’ve seen my country torn by war, chaos and the threat of eternal night. I’ve read and seen many languages that are now from a bygone age.” She paused, leaving Fluttershy on the edge of her pillow, leaning at such an angle that if she leaned any more she would fall flat on her face.

“But I have never seen or heard anything that was described by you or Twilight. I have looked through these books and my memories but not a single word you said has come up, nor has there been any sightings of what happened to you appeared in historical records me or some close researchers have found,” she finished.

Fluttershy ears went down and she visibly slumped. She and Twilight were sure the Princess would know; she was positive they would have their answer by next Tuesday, then they could laugh about it and it would become a memory. But now she was completely unsure of what to do.

“There is one who might know, however,” Celestia said.

Fluttershy’s ears pricked up again and a wide smile appeared on her face. “Really!” she squeaked.

“I think so, his name’s Firewing. A pegasus. He was quite young yet spoke words of wisdom beyond his years. He taught history, geography, and medicine at the School for Gifted Unicorns. He sure put a few scholars at the school in a huff when he corrected them on some moments of the Great War, ones he was found to be right about a couple of days later,” Celestia said with a chuckle.

‘Brilliant,’ Fluttershy thought. ‘Somepony who might know my ailment.’ “Where is he so I could see him tomorrow?” she asked. She quickly added. “Oh, um, please?”

Celestia’s smile faded. “I’m afraid he disappeared one night without a trace. His window was left open and many of his maps were missing. It seemed he just got up and flew away.”

Fluttershy’s now felt more lost than ever. “Was there anything he left behind?” she asked.

The Princess thought for a moment. “There was a bag he must have forgotten in his haste. Inside were a few scrolls and a book, seemed like a diary to me,” she responded.

Fluttershy’s face lit up as an idea came to her; it was a long shot but might have a clue to where he might have gone. “What happened to them?”

“They were placed in the Equestrian Archives, below the library, just in case he wanted to return for them. Why?”

“I just think there may be a clue in those scrolls and book to where he might’ve gone,” Fluttershy said. “I would like to see if I could find him. If you say he’s as good as he sounds then he might be able to help me.”

Celestia thought about this for a moment, making Fluttershy wonder whether she would agree to this. Eventually, Celestia got up, moved to one of the cupboards and brought out a bracelet. It was brown, with a golden unicorn head on its face. With her magic, Celestia placed it on Fluttershy’s left leg and tightened the strap until it was comfortable enough. “The archives are accessible to only a few ponies, myself included. So with this bracelet I grant you permission to gain entrance to the archives.”

“Thank you, Celestia, but… where are the archives?”

Celestia chuckled at something. “The archives are at the Canterlot library. As for that, I’m sure Twilight will point you in the right direction. That was more like a third home to her.”

Fluttershy smiled. ‘That does sounds like Twilight,’ she thought. “Thank you for helping me, Celestia.”

Celestia nodded her head. “You’re very welcome. We will discuss more about this tomorrow I think, when you come back and have told me what you found. But now you must be tired. Come, I’ll take you to Twilight and the others.” She stood up and led the pegasus out the door and through the palace.

It was a long walk from the Princess’s chambers to the tower, so when they arrived, it was completely dark and the moon was coming towards its highest point. Fluttershy looked up and noticed the rather long climb she had to do.

“Good luck, Fluttershy, my dear. I do hope you find something. Remember, report to me on what you found so I can help you,” Celestia said, then turned and walked away.

“Thank you, Princess!” Fluttershy called out before the Princess disappeared into the dark. Even though she wanted to use her wings, she felt too tired to do that. She regrettably had to walk up the long flight of stairs.

When she arrived at the front door, she took a deep breath and braced herself for a torrent of questions that were about to be thrown her way. She opened the door to see her five friends sitting around the table playing blackjack, or so it seemed.

“Seriously, Twilight, I can’t believe you have never ever played blackjack before,” Rarity said when she looked up from her cards.

“I didn’t have time for card games back then, Rarity.”

“Yeah, you were doing eggheady things like reading… and reading… and for a change of pace, more reading,” Rainbow teased.

“Ha ha, very funny, Rainbow,” Twilight scolded.

“Hey, girls,” Fluttershy said, gaining all their attention.

She was asked not a couple, but a torrent of questions from all five of her friends, wanting to know what happened, what she and the Princess talked about, and what the Princess wanted.

“Quiet!” she screamed at the top of her lungs. The room went silent as they looked at her in shock and amazement. She shied away. “Oh, I’m sorry if I was a bit harsh. I’ll tell you if you want to know.”

Fluttershy proceeded to tell them about her talk with the Princess, Rarity groaned and pouted when told that there wasn’t going to be a gathering of high-ranking ponies, whereas Applejack and Rainbow breathed a sigh a relief. She told them about a pegasus that could help her find out what was wrong with her and maybe put her right. She told them that he flew off one night, and the only things that could help her discover where he went were a book and some scrolls.

“And they are in the archives. Celestia told me it’s in the library, so I’m heading there tomorrow,” Fluttershy finished.

Twilight’s ears pricked up at the word library, and then a great smile appeared on her lips when Fluttershy said tomorrow. She squealed in happiness. “Oh, brilliant! I could take you there since you don’t know where it is, so I could show you, it would be a girl’s day out, we could go to the archives, and then we-” She continued on blathering away about what they would do and proceeded to hop around the room in excitement.

“Um… Twilight,” Fluttershy said. Twilight stopped hopping around and stood in front of her with wide, cheery eyes. “I’m glad you’re willing to show me where the library is.” Fluttershy turned her head towards the others. “Are you all going to come?” she asked.

The others put sad smiles on their faces. “Sorry, Fluttershy, but we all decided to explore the town whilst we’re here. There’s so much to see here and well, you know, it’s a library. I’m sure you and Twilight will be fine,” Rainbow said, the others nodded their heads in agreement.

Fluttershy smiled. “Oh that’s okay, I understand.” She let out a long yawn. “Excuse me, I think I’m going to go to sleep.”

Applejack looked at the time. “Well shoot, we best get some shuteye ourselves if we’re starting early tomorrow.” The others reluctantly agreed and went to their separate beds, Twilight waited until Fluttershy was in bed and comfortable before going to place the nightmare shield spell on her.

“What do you think we’ll find there tomorrow, Fluttershy?” Twilight asked.

Fluttershy shrugged. “I don’t know, but we’ll find out tomorrow. Goodnight,” she then closed her eyes, and Twilight cast the spell on her. Once Fluttershy was fast asleep, Twilight walked to her bed and went to sleep, not stopping to think about what might happen tomorrow.