• Published 16th Nov 2012
  • 1,921 Views, 24 Comments

Samurai Applejack - A. Tuesday



After being sent forward in time, Applejack must find a way back to her time to undo Sombra's evil.

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Drifting. Motion, but there was no rhyme or reason to it.

Applejack had lost all her memories, and as she floated aimlessly through a colorless void, they all began to come back to her. It felt like what she would’ve called a “rebirth” of sorts, if memories were displayed from a movie projector. The colorlessness of the... nothing she wafted through would rapidly change, and she’d be surrounded by her life in a flash.

It was all coming back to her – everything.

Her first day at school. Her short foray into the cosmopolitan world. The return. The birth of her younger sister. A family reunion where a mysterious lavender unicorn showed up. The defeat of Nightmare Moon. Attempting to harvest the whole orchard by herself. Losing herself to Discord’s chaos. Proving that hard work beats all short cuts.

Everything was coming back from a strenuous flash of amnesia. But, why? Why lose everything?

Applejack felt as if she were floating along on a gust of air. She curled up her forelegs and watched her life pass before her. Had she died?

The memories began to get more recent, she could feel it. A wedding that was crashed. Adventure into the frozen north. A shadow.

No, not a shadow – a being.

Sombra.

His laugh was amplified throughout the void as the image of his shadowy self filled the farmpony’s world. The demonic presence made Applejack’s heart race twice as fast, but she felt an inability to turn away from his green, glowing eyes. They pored into her very soul. She began to wonder if her soul was exactly where she was. No other place provided as much explanation.

The evil former King of the Crystal Empire’s laugh subsided, the eyes ever-unwavering into that of Applejack’s darker emerald ones. His voice boomed throughout the nothingness.

“Young Applejack – what did you think you were going to accomplish?”

The pony in question was still curled up in the fetal position, drifting through the nothingness of King Sombra’s shadowy form. The last memory, the most recent one – the reasoning behind her amnesia and why she was here – was still locked up. The King was holding it back. He spoke again.

“It matters little to me now. What matters now is how great the rewards of success were; something that, unfortunately, you shall never experience, little pony.”

The green eyes squinted, glaring into those of his captive.

“Instead, you shall relive your failure.”

Like fog rolling over a meadow, the final memory lazily wafted onto Sombra’s image. The sky was orange, delivering the rest of the fear that the shadowy form slowly consuming the entirety of the city didn’t already deliver. Applejack looked away from her friends and to a yelling voice above her head. A purple figure flew through the sky, attempting to reach a crystalline heart that fell just beyond his reach.

From the opposite end, the smoky figure of King Sombra raced upwards to meet it, teeth flashing as he licked his fangs, eager to obtain the source of his incoming defeat.

Applejack felt her heart beating in her chest rapidly, sweat beading on her brow. It was almost clearly defined that Sombra would reach the heart before Spike did – or worse, the both of them.

Suddenly, an idea etched itself in her mind. It was a nutty idea, one that would’ve made all of her friends laugh on the spot if it were any other occasion, but this wasn’t just any random instance in her time. Twilight Sparkle was nowhere to be found, so somepony had to think of something.

Time seemed to slow down as AJ looked towards Shining Armor and his wife, Princess Cadence. They both held their breath in fear, but that’s not what Applejack was looking at. She examined Cadence’s form – sleek, slender, and definitely aerodynamic enough to be thrown. At least, AJ hoped so. If the Princess had enough energy to be launched like Applejack intended her to be, she just might be able to beat Sombra to the heart.

Applejack visualized the scenario in her head. It would work. And that was the honest truth.

She had no sooner called out “Shinin’!” when a great force of energy propelled itself outwards from the confrontation behind Applejack. She wheeled around to see Sombra, shifting from just a smoky figure to an actual, material unicorn, shadows filling his body and becoming him. Just before the tyrant became fully materialized, Applejack felt the slightest yank from beneath her hooves.

Looking down, she noticed that there was no shadow beneath her whatsoever.

A gasp came out from her throat as she saw a pony-shaped shadow, complete with tied tail and Stetson hat, being sucked into the form that was King Sombra. The silhouette melded into his armor and the world stopped.

Spike became immobile in his descent, the Crystal Heart remaining still in the air. Sound stopped traveling and there was absolute silence, something unlike anything Applejack had ever experienced before.

King Sombra closed his glowing eyes firmly where he floated, standing atop his shadow platform. He reopened them and stared directly at Applejack.

“Foolish pony,” he stated coldly. “Are you not aware that your shadows contain not only your form, but your mind?”

Sombra’s horn glowed and Applejack found herself engulfed in a fluorescently green and purple field of levitation. Unable to reach the ground, she squirmed as Sombra brought her closer to his face.

“I am the Master of Shadows,” he continued. “They flock to me when my presence is known, when I am powerful enough.”

A weird bubbling, the same color as Sombra’s magic, formed in the middle of thin air. It began to spread apart, revealing the colorlessness that the current Applejack had been experiencing only moments before.

Sombra spoke again, but the memory Applejack’s eyes remained fixated on the portal. “Your essence is honest, young Applejack – but, it is weak. I am too powerful to be stopped. Your thoughts were delivered without haste.”

The portal opened up to maximum capacity, still bubbling but stopping as a large circle, big enough for a pony to fit through, with room to spare.

“And, this time, they won’t be coming to fruition.”

Almost like she was kicked, Applejack was flung through the portal, into the nothingness; everything became nothing. Her entire body stopped functioning as she entered the void, for only a moment; however, it was enough to effectively wipe all her memories.

Now, as the memory dissipated into the image of Sombra’s eyes once more, Applejack realized just where she was: traveling. In nothingness.

In finding her memories, the pony found her voice as well. Fighting back the deafening thumping of her heart and shallow breathing, she said to Sombra, “W-where am I? W-what have you done with me?”

Sombra’s eyes glared into the pony’s soul once more before they disappeared altogether, being replaced by another bubbly, pony-sized circle. Applejack’s form began drifting towards it, seeing the tiled floor that awaited her on the other side, as the King’s final phrase echoed throughout the void.

“The question you should be asking, young one, is when are you?”

Laughter – deep, dark, evil laughter – ensued as Applejack coasted through the portal and felt the effects of gravity hurl her to the ground.

* * *

The smell of smoke hit the air as Applejack came to, coupled with an awful ringing in her ears and pain coursing throughout the entire front of her body. She licked her lips and tasted blood.

Opening her eyes slightly, she found herself to be lying on the tiled floor that she had looked into the portal at. Just within her eyesight, large bars created a large window to the side of the room she was in, where gray smoke drifted up between a reddish-range sky and gray dirigibles, which were drifting through the smoke as Applejack had just drifted through nothingness.

Over to the right of this, a large, black, crystalline centerpiece took up the room. It was arching inwards, and seemed hollow, as if the crystals were concealing something from the rest of the world. As it were, Applejack saw a small silhouette shift around from within, but her vision was still to bleary to make out anything.

“Uhhh…” Applejack groaned, feeling the dull throb of pain wash over her midsection. “W-where…”

“Who is that?”

Applejack’s ears shot up. There was somepony else here.

As her vision gradually got better, the farmpony noticed that the voice was definitely here, but not with her; it was coming from within the crystal structure.

Wanting to get a closer look, Applejack planted a shaky hoof on the ground, using it to push herself up. The soft clop of hooves against tile was heard from within the enclosure, approaching the orange pony just outside. Just as AJ stood, standing straight up, the noise stopped and changed into a gasp.

Applejack looked towards the enclosure. All that she could see was a long, withered mane, purple in hue; a faded version of the color made up her coat that surrounded a lavender eye full of curiosity. A sense of familiarity struck AJ.

The pony from within the crystals stammered out shakily, “A-A-Applejack? Is… is that you?”

The voice was something Applejack didn’t believe. She knew whose voice it was – even if it did sound a bit older – but, there was no way it could be the pony she thought it was.

As if to confirm her suspicions, the pony clarified, “A-Applejack… it’s me, Twilight.”

This couldn’t be Twilight. Applejack’s bookworm friend wouldn’t be locked up in some crystal cage, let alone be much older than Applejack. But here the pony was, a taller version of one of her best friends.

The farmpony couldn’t help but say, “Twi… Twilight? Why are ya so-“

“Applejack…” the older Twilight interrupted, “W-Where did you come from? And, you’re so… young.”

“Twilight…” Applejack replied nervously. “Whattaya talkin’ about? You’re the one who’s… old.”

The one eye that Applejack could see rolled. “Well, three hundred and two years will do that to you. The bigger question is, where did you even come from? And why are you so-“

Three hundred and two years?!” Applejack backed up, wide-eyed. No, it couldn’t have been that long. “I-I was only gone for… for…”

When she tried to think of how long she had been in the void, she found herself unable to give a good timeframe. It seemed like forever, but it also seemed like ten seconds. It had been impossible.

“Why is this a shock to you?” Twilight asked. “I figured you’d be more shocked that I’m still alive, something I barely understand. Though, a pony doesn’t simply skim over three hundred-“

Applejack barely noticed how Twilight stopped dead in her statement. She was too busy contemplating the fact that it had been three hundred and two years she had been in Sombra’s portal. There was no way it had been that long.

“Applejack?”

“Huh?” AJ asked loudly, meeting Twilight’s – three hundred and two years older Twilight’s – worried gaze from within the confines of the crystal structure.

The unicorn said, “You said you were gone. Applejack… where did you go?”

The farmpony tried to regain the ability to speak fluently again. She took a heavy swallow of air, and said, “Well, we were in the Crystal Empire… an’ Sombra’d just come back… and he was gonna grab the Crystal Heart… he threw me in some sorta… portal, I guess…”

Twilight’s one visible eye went wide. Applejack could faintly hear her mutter the word “portal” beneath her breath.

Muffled voices began to speak from far beneath the floor they stood on. The voices seemed a bit frantic, and the stomping of hooves and metallic noises accompanied them.

Twilight shook her head from within the dark crystal enclosure and stated, “This explains everything.”

“What?” Applejack looked up to her friend from between cowering hooves. “What, what happened?”

“Sombra…” Twilight looked away from Applejack through the crystalline opening, the memory of the event seeming to bring back painful memories. “You just came from our attempt at saving the empire?”

Not sure where her friend was going with this, Applejack nodded.

“Applejack, the portal you went through… he must’ve thought that you were the only one who could stop him. He sent you into the future. He sent you here.”

AJ lowered her eyebrows in confusion, lifting a hoof up as if she was about to speak, but couldn’t find the word. “I’m confused, Twi’. Why would he send me inta the future?”

Twilight began to pace from within her prison. “So that you wouldn’t be there to stop him in the past. You obviously had some way to defeat him that he detected. I just wasn’t aware that that kind of magic was that powerful…”

The farmpony thought back to her idea. The one she knew would’ve worked. It would have worked, after all.

“B-but, wait!” Applejack stammered out, “How do I get back? Does somepony need ta make a portal?”

Twilight took a sharp inhale of breath, and began to pace around her imprisonment once more. “I’m… I’m not sure. My mind isn’t what it used to be all those years ago. I’d suppose you’d need to know Sombra’s dark magic, something I haven’t been able to do in a long time. In fact, not since all of you were still here-“

“Still here?” Applejack asked, raising an eyebrow. She took a step forward, cocking her head slightly to the side. “What do you mean, still here? Where are the others?”

The farmpony felt stupid as the words came out of her mouth; she already knew the answer. She didn’t know how Twilight was alive, but a regular pony rarely lived past eighty, let alone three hundred and two.

To reassure her that this was true, sad, lavender eyes looked into emerald ones. “I’m sorry,” Twilight apologized, “But I haven’t seen them since the day you were whisked away. I’ve been locked in the crystal prison for the past three hundred and some years; I should’ve died two hundred years ago like the rest of them probably did. I’m beginning to think this prison has some sort of immortality spell on it.”

The older pony gazed at her friend’s crest-fallen face. AJ saw the news coming, but she didn’t know how to handle it. Five minutes ago, it seemed, her friends were still alive, laughing, talking, being together…

“You’re probably the last Element left, Applejack. Celestia knows I can’t do anything as of late.” The former student let out a small chuckle at that.

And then, she froze.

Applejack shifted her depressed gaze from the floor to Twilight’s calculating face. Her forehead seemed to clench together like it always did when she was thinking. At least there was one familiar trait not left behind.

“Hold on…” the prisoner was saying to herself, “…yes, yes! I think – I think it’ll work! Applejack!”

AJ approached the crystalline cell. “What? What is it, Twi’?”

“You need to get the hell out of here!”

* * *

The noise downstairs increased as Applejack looked to her older friend in shock. “What? But, I jus’ got here an’ – an’ I barely know what’s going on…”

“Applejack, focus.” Twilight’s eyes returned to their normal size and stared directly into AJ’s. “Just know that things… things aren’t the same anymore. Sombra’s security is going to be coming for you. They can hear you. You need to leave.”

“B-but… but how…?”

“Get out through this opening on the side of the palace, and head straight for Equestria. Find the Princesses. They can explain everything that's happened; my knowledge is only so limited. Plus, Celestia was the only other one I know of who could perform Sombra’s type of magic. She can get you home. You can get back home! You can make sure all of this doesn’t happen! But, you need to leave! And, now!”

The frantic nature beneath them was growing in volume. Applejack shakily took some hoofsteps forwards, meeting the edge of the tower and getting a full view of the outside world. She wished she hadn’t.

A dystopian city stretched out before her, going onwards and outwards far beyond the limits of how big Applejack thought the Crystal Empire was, and something inside told her she was looking at what used to be that very same thing. The road structure, all pointing outwards from this one spot – the very spot Applejack stood now, the palace – indicated to the farmpony that this was indeed the same place she had just been over three centuries ago. It was different, however.

The Empire was twice as huge, maybe even more. The circle was no longer perfect at the edges, and the houses weren’t pristine and cleanly made. They were rectangular and dilapidate, throwing up black, choking smoke into the air, touching the edge of about three blimps that hovered around aimlessly. Upon a closer look, Applejack saw that the movement she noticed on the ground were ponies. Crystal ponies.

Chained crystal ponies. Moving in unison.

Slaves.

The slaves that Sombra used to have. The ones he did have.

All the way down there.

“Twilight…” Applejack gulped, “How am I supposed ta escape? There’s… there’s no way down…”

“There has to be!” Twilight yelled, “I know Sombra has pony-powered electricity running into this palace, even up here. Isn’t there an electrical wire somewhere?”

Applejack scanned around, and then saw it – it was just beyond the outside ledge of this room at the top of the tower, descending downwards onto a small metal post in the larger interior of the city. It would provide route for escape, but…

“Twilight…” the farmpony said, “That wire isn’t very thick… and ain’t I gonna be burnt toast in two seconds?”

The metallic noises from downstairs moved to the side, and became less muffled. The odd buzzing and whirring became clearer, but it was still beneath them. It appeared it wouldn’t be that way for much longer, though.

Twilight looked towards Applejack, frantically shouting, “You’re going to have to take the wire! Hopefully it’s covered with insulation so you don’t become burnt toast, but, either way, it’s the only way out! Quick, before the Pegasystems get up here and find you!”

Applejack didn’t even question what a “Pegasystem” was. She looked back to Twilight at the enclosure, who was now at a spot where you could make out her whole face. She resembled Celestia in build, except with a much more hardened and tired face, full of sadness. A glimmer of hope was shining in her eyes, but it was quickly fading away.

“Twilight,” Applejack said again, “I… I don’t think I can…”

“Oh!” The interjection from Twilight was not what AJ had expected. “Don’t go just yet!”

Twilight closed her eyes, gritting her teeth. Her horn glowed faintly, but gradually grew more intense. A slight ringing as magical powers were in use filled the top of the tower.

Suddenly, right in front of Applejack’s eyes, streams of bright color poured themselves from Twilight’s horn and into a small pool just in front of the farmpony. As she watched, the more streams that were put into it, the more definite shape the blob became. Before long, it had extended into a long shaft of sorts, becoming thicker in width at only one point towards an end before thinning out again.

In an instant, the final stream left Twilight’s horn and melded into the blob. The entire creation flashed, a bright ball of light that Applejack actually had to shield her eyes from. When they fell upon the form again, the widened in fascination. A long sword had been crafted from Twilight’s magic, almost longer than Applejack’s body. She could see her own orange reflection in the metallic end.

The sword grew a sheath from the handling end, where it also grew a strap before floating itself over to Applejack and attaching itself to her torso. It fit snugly; the pony could hardly feel the weapon at her side.

After taking a last look at the sword, Applejack resumed eye contact with her friend, who seemed to age another three hundred years in two seconds. Her eyes became even more tired, wrinkles forming just beneath her orbits. Her purple mane faded into a near-gray, even the red streak fading to a shadow of its former self.

"This sword,” Twilight explained, “is made from what may very well be the last shards of pure love and magic in this whole world: my own. It should keep you more than safe from anything, once you know how to wield it properly. Pray to Celestia you won’t have to use it too frequently. Now, go!”

“I ain’t much fer swordfightin’, Twi’…” Applejack replied.

“You will be, Applejack. Give it time. You need time for adjustment. But, you won’t have any unless you go right now! The Pegasystems will be here any moment!”

Applejack realized it wouldn’t be worth it to tell Twilight she couldn’t go down the thin, thin wire another time; the whatever-they-were moved farther up the tower by the moment, and they would most certainly be up there to take Applejack away at any given moment. She also couldn’t find it in her heart to go against the wishes of her friend, who might be the last one of her friends still alive.

The farmpony took a tentative step outside the bars of the tower and stepped onto the thin ledge. She only looked down for a second before forcing herself to look at something else, but that alone was enough to make her heart stop. Swallowing her fear. Applejack carefully walked towards where the wire met the palace.

When an orange hoof met the thick wire leading from the tower down to the Empire below, Applejack took a final look towards her friend. Twilight’s sad eyes looked back.

“Go!” her friend commanded.

“But,” Applejack lingered, “What about you? Ya been locked up here fer how long? I can’t just leave ya here.”

“I’ll be fine,” Twilight hastily re-affirmed, “And, so will you. And that’s the honest truth.” A smile formed on her lips as she said it.

Applejack took a glance down to the city below. She put a hoof on the wire, and looked back one more time to her friend.

“I’ll come back fer ya, Twilight. I promise.”

Twilight didn’t say a word. She looked sadly at her leaving friend. “Go, Applejack. Run to Equestria.”

Applejack swallowed nervously – then, changing her look from that of nervousness to that of determination, pulled down the brim of her Stetson and faced forwards.

Just as the buzzing and grinding and noises of the incoming threat came through the room, AJ took a deep breath and sprinted down the wire.