• Published 12th Sep 2011
  • 8,073 Views, 123 Comments

Gaia - Squeak-anon

Fluttershy finds someone in the woods. And finds that things come in threes Sun, Moon, Earth

  • ...

Chapter Four

Twilight shivered in her bed, pulling the covers tightly to her chin. The morning light streamed in through a crack in the curtains. It was oddly quiet outside, the general chatter of ponies and singing of birds usually there to greet her in the morning was nowhere to be heard. The town was silent.

It was this, not any noise in particular but the complete lack thereof that made her decide to get up. For a moment she thought she was dreaming. Then perhaps that she had gone deaf.

Twilight climbed cautiously from bed, the click of her hooves on the wooden floor told her that she could still hear, the sound echoed oddly through the silent library. She felt uneasy.

“Spike?” she asked looking around warily.

The small dragon stirred in his basket at the front of her bed. Twilight prodded him gently.


“...Wah?” he muttered, his eyes fluttering open. Upon waking he quickly pulled his blanket closer to his body. “What’s going on?”

“I’m not sure...” Twilight said quietly. The silence seemed invasive, less a lack of noise and more of a sound of its own, invading and smothering every other sound in the room.

Spike sat up, looking around slowly. “Why’s it so cold?”

“I don’t know,” Twilight whispered. She looked towards the window, the sky was a pale grey, it made the buildings and fixtures of the town look muted and bleached. The trees looked ill, their leaves turning brown on the ends of sagging branches. Very few ponies walked through the square. They looked tired and bedraggled, as though something were weighing them down.

“Something is definitely wrong...” she whispered. “Spike, get out of bed. We’re going to see Fluttershy right now.”

“Huh? But it’s so early. Do you think she’s even awake yet?”

Twilight surveyed the landscape outside. She felt heavy. Something felt different.

“I don’t know, but If she isn’t....I think we’d better wake her up.”


Something tickled the edge of Fluttershy’s nose. She turned, mumbling in her sleep, but it persisted. She twisted and wiggled in an attempt to get it off, but it clung stubbornly, tickling her nostrils. Eventually she sneezed, this knocked what little sleep that was left away and Fluttershy opened her eyes.

A large flower had flown in from the open window and landed on her bed.

“Oh my...” she said curiously. “It’s a bit early for blooms. But aren’t you lovely.” Fluttershy got out of bed and shook herself a bit. The flower was bight yellow with red speckles throughout the center. She picked it up and tucked it under her wing. “Wait till Angel sees you. We weren’t expecting flowers for at least a fe-”

Fluttershy suddenly remembered something.

“Flower!” she yelled. All of yesterday came flooding back. Finding the strange mare in the woods, taking her home, the tea, the bath, everything. She realized that right at this moment the brown earth pony was sleeping on her couch.

“Oh dear.”

Fluttershy still needed to find out where Flower had come from and get her back home as quickly as possible. Once the daily chores were finished she’d head out to find her friends, bring them in and get this sorted out.

She walked softly into the living room. Flower lay softly snoring on the couch, the blanket Fluttershy had given her tucked under her chin to chase away the unseasonably cold weather. Fluttershy made her way to the kitchen, grabbing a pair of buckets, and her saddlebag. Being very careful, she draped them across her back, and headed towards the door, the buckets clicking slightly against her flanks, despite her best efforts to silence them.

Slowly she reached for the door, grabbing the handle in her mouth, she pulled it open. It creaked slightly. Fluttershy froze.

Behind her Flower stirred on the couch, but did not wake.

Being extra careful, Fluttershy stepped outside and closed the door. She exhaled, now all she had to do was finish her chores, then they could get this mess sorted out.

Behind her she heard a buzzing sound, this was odd as the bumble bees shouldn’t have come until at least mid-spring. A small one hovered in front of her nose, zig zagging through the air, she followed it with her eyes, inspecting it closely.

“Oh...hello Mr.Bee.” said Fluttershy. “You’re awfully early, where are you off...” her eyes came across the outside of her house. “to...”

The small hillock that made up her home was covered in flowers. It seemed as though everything had taken the chance to bloom all at once, there was hardly a speck that wasn't covered in colorful blossoms. The speckled flower she’d found in her bed was only one of many growing on her windowsill, vines clung and claimed over the walls and awnings, coiling around everything in sight, the air was thick with the smell of lavender which grew in patches along the ground, stretching all the way into the forest.

Fluttershy stood in awe. This was impossible, she could accept a few early blooms, there were always at least a couple, but she had never seen anything like this even in the most fertile seasons.

Something squeaked at her left hoof. She looked down to see Angel tapping her insistently with a hind leg.

“I know...” she said distantly “This....this is amazing...”

He squeaked a bit more incessantly, pointing towards the door.

Fluttershy came out of her daze. “Oh..excuse me, are you trying to tell me something?”

Angel pointed to the house.

“Yes, it does look beautiful doesn’t it?...it’s very strange though, I’ll have to check the soil...there must be something going on..”

Angel shook his head. He pointed to the house once more, then placed his paws under his head and made snoring noises.

“Flower?” Fluttershy guessed.

Angel nodded enthusiastically.

“Oh! You’re right!”

Angel jumped up and down with joy.

“I can worry about this later, right now I need to finish the daily chores so we can get her home. I can ask Twilight about the blooms while we’re at it.”

Angel slapped his forehead.

Fluttershy ran off towards the forest, buckets clanging as she went.


The thing that wasn’t Mr.Breezy sat in the shop waiting for the sun to go down. It needed to save it’s energy. They would come soon. It would wait till dark, then it would strike, they wouldn’t see it coming, by the time they did it would be too late.

Mr.Breezy’s face smiled at the thought. It had been too long since it could move freely, far too long. It moved Mr.Breezy’s hooves walking through the store, various fans blew softly on their shelves, their gentle breezes ruffling Mr.Breezy’s mane. It smiled.

Soon the wind would stop, and things would be right, like they were before all this.

In the corner of the shop something scurried along the wall.

The thing that wasn’t Mr.Breezy moved faster than than any pony should have been able to. It reached out Mr.Breezy’s hoof, which was vaguely purple and in an instant the small creature was stuck like flypaper.

It raised the poor thing to Mr.Breezy’s eyes, examining the mouse’s struggling form. Slowly, very slowly, its struggles ceased. The mouse lay still, only the occasional twitch signalling it was still alive at all. With a pitiful squeak it began to sink. Purple ooze climbing over it’s body like living quicksand. Then it was gone.

The thing that wasn’t Mr.Breezy smiled wider, it enjoyed the chase. Soon it would have the world as it’s game.

It turned, looking towards the window. A few ponies milled about outside, it knew they could sense that something had changed. But they did not know what was coming, what was already here.

Its eyes locked on one pony in particular as it spied, a unicorn with a purple coat, a dragon riding on her back.

Mr.Breezy’s tongue licked the air. It could feel it, something coming from this one. There was power there. Power it could use, far more than it could gain from the forest.

It began to think new thoughts.

It began to move its plans forwards.

The thing that wasn’t Mr.Breezy slipped quietly out the back door.

The chase began.


Flower opened her eyes, lifting her head from the couch with a yawn. She stretched, getting the cricks and creaks out of her long limbs. She looked around the house. She liked it here, it was warm and inviting. She hadn’t had anything like that in such a long time, she couldn’t remember when. Thinking further, she couldn’t remember the last time she’d gotten a good night’s sleep...It couldn’t have been that long ago could it?

She banished this thought in favor of getting to her hooves. Flower looked around for the friendly mare, the one who had been so kind to her the previous day. She felt the need to do something for her in return, though she wasn’t sure what.

“Ahem,” said a voice.

She looked down to see the small bunny from earlier standing at her hooves frowning.

“Angel!” she said smiling. “Hello, Angel, good morning.”

“Can you hear me?” asked Angel

It didn’t occur to Flower that bunnies shouldn’t talk. She nodded.

Angel tapped a foot on the ground. “Good, then you’ve still got a bit of your old talent.....Do you know who you are?”

“I am Flower,” she said.

Angel swiveled his ears. “Besides that, you don’t remember?”

“Remember what?”

“This isn’t good...” Angel paced back and forth. “This really isn’t good.”

“What isn’t good?”

He stopped pacing and looked at her. “I can’t speak of it, we’re forbidden.”

Flower kneelled down to Angel’s level. “Who’s forbidden?”

“Everyone,” he said swinging his small paws around. “Everything. I can only hint.”

Flower stared at the small rabbit for a few moments. “If it is forbidden...then that means it is not good...Right?”

Angel sighed. “Yes...”

Flower bit her lip. “Have I done something that is not good?”

Angel looked her over. “No...it wasn’t you.” he rubbed his forehead.

Flower smiled. “Then that is good, right?” she got to her feet. “Where is Fluttershy?”

“She’s outside trying to get the chor--”

Angel was knocked off his feet as Flower dashed past him out the door, it banged against the wall as she barreled though. He stood there for several moments, staring at the flower petals that fell from the roof into the doorway.

He squeaked a few times, then hopped after her.

“Wait a minute!”


Twilight walked to the edge of town towards the forest where Fluttershy lived. Spike, who in his humble opinion had been woken up far too early, lay napping on her back.

She noticed that things began to look greener as she progressed and that the heaviness in her stride seemed to fade. Maybe she’d just been sleepy?

No, that wasn’t it, Twilight was a morning person, she’d always been, that might explain Spike, but not her, she was sure of it. Everything was far too strange, she’d never seen Ponyville in such a state and after the earthquake yesterday she was more than certain something was up. She just had to find out what...

A sound in the bushes caught her attention.

Twilight turned quickly towards the treeline. She’d had the odd feeling of being watched since leaving the library. At first she simply chalked it up to paranoia, but the feeling persisted and now she wasn’t so sure.

Seeing nothing she continued down the path, a bit more quickly than before.

A few minutes after she was gone, the rustling in the bushes followed.


Fluttershy hurried from burrow to burrow, dropping food haphazardly in front of each entrance. She needed to get back as soon as possible, there would be little socialization today.

She couldn’t help but notice that the forest seemed to be under the same effect as her house. The trees were blooming terribly out of season and all manner of flowers and fruit blossomed and hung at all angles. Even the animals seemed to be acting unseasonably, she constantly apologized for stepping on a stray tail, or almost bumping into a small creature as they followed her happily from place to place. They were unaware of her hurry and while Fluttershy wished she could stay and enjoy this sudden rush of nature, she knew something wasn’t quite right. Whether it was for good or bad had yet to be seen.

Fluttershy made her way through a mental checklist as she went. She had already made it to skunks and was heading down to raccoons when she heard somepony coming up the forest path.

“Fluttershy!” was the last thing she heard before she was barreled over by an exuberant Flower. Fruits, vegetables and all manner of foods went flying into the air.

“Ow...” Fluttershy said quietly.

Angel hopped up the trail shortly. He stopped before stumbling into the pile of ponies on the forest floor, squeaking plaintively.

“Um...Flower....could you get off of me?” Fluttershy asked.

Flower untangled herself from the forest floor. “Good morning Fluttershy.”

“Um...Good morning, Flower.” she smiled awkwardly.

“I came to help you with your....” She paused looking for the word. “Chores.” She smiled having found it. “To say thank you.”

“Oh,” Fluttershy said, a little surprised. “Really...there’s no need to do that. I don’t mind, always happy to help.” she smiled slightly. Fluttershy was unsure what to say, she was happy Flower was grateful, but this was something she’d always done alone, a morning ritual. Just her and the animals. She also wasn’t sure how much help the mare would be in all honesty, and she wanted to get this done quickly. She opened her mouth to say something else, but Flower beat her to it.

“But...I want to. I want to do something. You have been so kind to me” Flower said with a small smile. “It is only right that I do something in return.”

Fluttershy closed her mouth and thought for a moment. She could tell Flower really did want to help.

She looked at her expectantly.

Fluttershy sighed. What harm could it do?

“Alright, you can help.” Fluttershy relented.

“I am glad!” Flower said with a small jump. “What is it that I can do?”

“Well...” Fluttershy gestured to the borrows behind her. “I’m giving the animals their breakfast. So, you can help me put the appropriate food in front of each borrow...If that’s fine with you.”

“Yes.” She nodded happily. “I can do that.”

“Wonderful.” Fluttershy smiled despite herself and placed a few bags of food on the forest floor. “I’ll take the raccoons, you feed the rabbits.”

“I will do that.” Flower grabbed the food and walked off towards the rabbit borrows.

Fluttershy continued hurriedly around the forest, occasionally checking on Flower to see how she was doing. The brown mare carefully doled out the food grinning as she went.

“Hello little bunny,” she said placing a carrot in front of a young rabbit. It stared at her for a moment, and twitched it’s nose twice. “You are welcome, I am Flower. It is nice to meet you Twitch-Twitch.”

Fluttershy chuckled. “Well...That’s a funny name to give a rabbit.”

Flower looked up, confused. “I did not give it to him. That is his name, he told me.”

“...Oh.” Fluttershy paused. She thought this was strange, but Flower had acted rather odd since they'd met. It was probably nothing. “That's nice.” Fluttershy went back to passing out food.

Flower watched her for a moment as she rushed around the forest. “You are in a hurry?” she asked.

Fluttershy nodded. “Yes,” she tossed a mouthful of acorns towards a crowd of squirrels. “I have some questions I wanted to ask my friends.”

“I can help!” Flower hopped over to Fluttershy, grabbing her saddlebag.

“...Flower? What are you doing?”

The brown earth pony shook the bag back and forth spilling food everywhere.

“Flower!...Oh no...oh dear...oh my...” Fluttershy fretted as animals dashed from all around the forest towards the piles of food. “No! Please...those are for the ferrets...Mr.Bird, don’t eat that it’s not..Wait!...please?...Oh...”

“I will help.” Flower watched the crowd of animals. She bent down to the nearest, a family of chipmunks. “Hello,” she said softly. “Please behave. Fluttershy does not like it when you are unruly.”

The small creatures froze, staring at her for a moment. Then quietly went over to a pile of nuts and began to eat.

Fluttershy watched in amazement. Flower went to every group of animals, spoke a few words, and one by one they ordered themselves in front of the proper food and ate, with no fuss or fight. Flower then turned to Fluttershy grinning. “See? I helped”

“I....I....Um...Flower...How did you do that?” Fluttershy stuttered.

She looked confused. “I asked them. It was not hard.” She turned her head slightly. “Are you happy?”

Fluttershy looked at the animals eating peacefully beside them. “Well...yes bu-”

She yelped as she was pulled into a hug. “Then I am glad.” said Flower.


Twilight walked off the forest path and onto the Fluttershy’s land. The sudden burst of green almost hurt her eyes. As she neared the house the grey, dour atmosphere she’d felt since this morning slowly melted away. She felt lighter and more like her usual self as she progressed, even Spike began to stir on her back.

She paused as she came to the cottage. Her eyes growing wide at the sight. The clinging, climbing vines and flowers that covered the small structure striking them like a psychical blow after the dreary scenery from earlier.

This was not normal.

“Fluttershy!” Twilight called. “Fluttershy are you here? I really need to talk to you. Something’s not right...” She waited but there was no reply.

Spike rolled over on her back, yawning. “Are we there ye-” he paused. “Whoa...”

“I know Spike...Fluttershy’s got a green hoof, but I’ve never seen anything like this...”

“It’s amazing!” Spike jumped off of her back. “How do you think she did it?”

Twilight stared for a while more, her unease growing. “I don’t know Spike, but I intend to find out. She must be feeding the animals, come on, let’s find her.” She turned and headed down the forest trail.

“Alright! Wait up!” Spike ran after her.


The thing that wasn’t Mr.Breeze leered at the purple unicorn from the edge of Fluttershy’s land. It did not like it here. This place was strong, healthy, alive.

Mr.Breezy’s face grimaced. It had gone too far as it was. It would have to wait for her to return to the path. Where it would have the upper hand. Then it would strike.

Then it would be ready.


The animals finished what little food was left, and returned to their borrows in single file. Flower smiled amiably as she watched them go, while Fluttershy looked on in amazement. When the last one had gone into its home Flower turned to her.

“Done!” she said, clicking her forehooves together.

“Um...thanks...” Fluttershy said, unsure of herself.

“You are welcome!” Flower stood up and looked towards the house. “You can look for your friends now that we are done correct?”

This shook Fluttershy from her daze. Flower was right, and she had more questions now than ever.

“Oh...yes, you’re right. Thanks again for your help, Flower...Please stay here at the house. I’ll be right back.” she headed down the path, with Flower in tow. The brown mare looked around the forest for a moment, not making eye contact.

“Um...Fluttershy?” she asked quietly.


“I was wondering...if I could come with you to see your friends...” she shifted a bit on her hooves. “I have not met anyone for a very long time, and I would love to see them.”

Fluttershy hesitated for a moment. She didn’t fancy the idea of taking Flower into Ponyville, if anypony saw her she wouldn’t get a word in edgewise. Not without a large party before hand.

“Um...It would be better if you...”

Flower gave her an imploring look.

“Oh my...Well, I suppo-”

“Fluttershy!” called a voice from further down the trail. “There you are! Thank Celestia I found you.” Twilight raced breathlessly towards them, Spike not far behind. She stopped short when she saw Flower. The purples unicorn looked her over for a minute. “Who is this?”

Fluttershy opened her mouth to respond, but Flower got there first.

“I am Flower!” she walked over to Twilight, looking at her very closely. “It is nice to meet you! What is your name?”

Twilight backed up a few paces. “Um, hello, I’m Twilight Sparkle, nice to meet you too?...” she said, unsure what was happening.

“Twilight Sparkle,” Flower tried the name on her tongue. “Are you Fluttershy’s friend?”

Twilight cast a sideways glance at Fluttershy. “Yes?”

She gasped as Flower leaned over to hug her. “Then you are my friend as well, Twilight Sparkle.”

Spike caught up to the three of them, he froze when he saw the strange mare hugging Twilight.

Flower dropped her immediately, and bent down to examine the small dragon. She looked at him quizzically. “Hello?” she poked him with a hoof. “I am Flower, what are you?”

“Hey!” Spike pulled back in surprised. “Don’t poke me, I’m ticklish!”

Flower looked a bit more closely at Spike, examining him more warily than she had Twilight. “Lizard?” she guessed.

Spike snorted incredulously. “I’m no lizard! I’m a dragon, and the name’s Spike by the way.”

“Spike...” Flower’s face contorted a bit at the sound of the word. “No,” Flower placed a hoof on top of his head. “Lizard.”

Spike was about to reply, but Twilight cut him off.

“Fluttershy, is this a relative of yours?”

“Oh no, she’s not a relative. I found her in the forest yesterday.....I was actually going to talk to you about it...” Fluttershy looked back at Flower. “I was hoping you could help me find out where she came from.”

“She doesn’t know?” asked Spike.

Flower shook her head. “I know!” she stomped a hoof on the ground. “I am home!”

Fluttershy nodded. “I found her in the woods yesterday. She’s be staying with me since then...I’ve tried asking, but she doesn’t seem to know...”

Spike looked toward Twilight, spinning his finger in a circle around the side of his head.

Twilight nudged him sharply with a hoof, then turned to Fluttershy. “I’m sorry Fluttershy, but I think it’ll have to wait for a moment. I’d be happy help you find out later, but right now we have more important things to worry about.”

“Do you mean the early blooms?” asked Fluttershy. “It’s beautiful isn’t it? I wanted to ask you about that as well. I’m a bit worried you see, this isn’t normal.”

“It’s not just that.” Twilight pointed back towards ponyville. “Back in town it doesn’t look like early spring, it looks like late winter! Everything is dying, the trees are wilted....it just feels...wrong. You house must have the only flowers for miles.”

Fluttershy put a hoof to her mouth in worry. “What?...How is that possible?”

“I was hoping you could tell me.” Twilight frowned. “Something is happening. I don’t know what, but I can feel it. Can’t you?”

Fluttershy shook her head. “I’m sorry Twilight, but I feel fine.”

“Hmm, and this is the only place in ponyville that seems to be okay...more than okay in fact.” Twilight looked around the forest. “There must be some correlation...” Her eyes stopped when they landed on Flower. Who was still examining Spike. “You said you found her...Yesterday morning?”

“Oh yes, while I was feeding the animals,” said Fluttershy.

“That was around the same time as the earthquake that hit Ponyville. Tell me, did you notice anything strange?”

Spike yelped as Flower poked him in the belly. Favoring this reaction, she did it again.

“Besides her.”

Fluttershy thought back to the previous day. “Well...besides Flower nothing really. I was having breakfast like I always do. Then I saw something in the bushes, it was a small glass ball. I thought it was pretty, so I went to pick it up. Right after that the earthquake hit, I checked to see if the animals were okay and after that I found Flower.”

Twilight thought for a moment. “You said that right after you picked up the glass ball the earthquake started?”

“Yes, that’s what happened.” Fluttershy said softly.

“What did it look like?”

“Well, it was clear all the way through, with a few green leaves inside. It was lovely. In all the commotion I think I left it in the forest.”

“That might be it! Or at least give us a clue as to what’s going on. You live so close to the Everfree Forest I wouldn’t be surprised if what you found was more than what it appeared to be. Can you take me to it?”

Fluttershy nodded.

As they were about to head off, Twilight froze.

“What is it?” asked Fluttershy.

“Do you hear that?” Twilight’s ears twitched.

Fluttershy strained for a minute, trying to hear anything over the chirping birds andchittering animals. “A....horn?”

“Not just any horn! That’s the Princess’s procession she’s in town!” Twilight spun in place. “Oh my! She probably got my letter! She’ll want a full report, I’m sure of it! Oh, I’m not ready for this! I thought I’d at least get a reply before she decided to come. This is such short notice!” She turned to Fluttershy, shifting back and forth on her hooves. “I need to dash to the library and get some notes. I’ll bring the Princess back, we can work on this together. You might even be able to ask her about Flower. Alright?”

Fluttershy nodded.

“Good, Spike?” Twilight looked down to find the small dragon in stitches from Flower’s constant exploratory prodding. “Go with Fluttershy to find that glass ball, it might be of importance.

Spike tried his best to get away from the curious mare. “Okay! I’m a lizard! What ever you want! Just stop!” Satisfied, Flower sat back on her haunches smiling. “Geeze. Alright Twilight.”

“Good. Back in a second!” Twilight turned, and raced down the path back to town.

“Goodbye Twilight Sparkle! Very nice to meet you!” Flower yelled after her. “She is very busy...” she remarked.


Twilight hurried to the library, her hooves pounding against the dirt trail. She needed to be fast if she wanted to get her notes and catch the Princess in time. Celestia would know how to sort this all out, she was sure of it.

Suddenly, somepony came out of the bushes ahead She almost tripped trying to stop. Dust flying around her hooves as she skidded. She turned to find a light brown earth pony with an orange mane in front of her. She knew him, he owned the fan shop in town.

““What’s your hurry, lassie?” He said slowly.

“Oh, hello Mr.Breezy, I’m sorry, I don’t have time to stop and chat. I need to talk to the Princess. She’ll be landing any minute now. So if you excuse me...”

She tried to go around him, but he sidestepped and blocked her path.

“Aw, now that won’t do, you need to slow down. Enjoy life, it’s far too short you know.” Mr.Breezy smiled.

The hair on the back of Twilight’s neck stood on end. Something was wrong.

“Um...I really need to be going now...Good advice, though. Nice to see you bye!” She raced past him down the trail before he could stop her. She looked back over her shoulder to see him staring after her, that smile still plastered on his face.

As she turned back around she ran into something solid.

She yelled as she bounced off it onto the ground. Twilight looked up to see Mr.Breezy standing in front of her, his smile somehow wider, almost unnaturally so.

“And I really must insist you be stayin’ miss. I really insist.”

Twilight’s blood ran cold. “B-but how is that possi-”

“Shhhhh.” Mr.Breezy put a hoof to his lips. “Don’t look so scared, everything’ll be fine. Just relax.”

Twilight scrambled to her hooves, and tried to run in the opposite direction, back to Fluttershy’s house. But Mr.Breezy reached forward and touched his hoof to her side.

Twilight struggled but found she couldn’t move.

“Everything’ll be fine.” Mr. Breezy said again, his smile growing yet wider, almost splitting his face in half. “It’ll all be over soon.”

His hoof lost it’s shape, and oozed it’s way over Twilight coat, making its way to her torso before she knew what was happening. She opened her mouth to scream, but the stuff covered her face in seconds. Soon she was lost beneath the living ooze, Mr.Breezy’s shape completely melting onto her.

She felt cold. So unbearably cold.

She struggled and thrashed with all her might. She tried to cast spells to free herself, but found she could do nothing.

Twilight began to feel tired, her struggles weakening, but then she thought of Ponyville, of Fluttershy and Spike just a ways down the road. And she renewed her attempts.

Still the stuff slithered and melded around her body, she couldn’t gain an inch.

Soon she found she no longer had the strength to move. All she wanted to do was sleep.

She closed her eyes, and let the darkness take her.


There was a rustle in the bushes. Something stirred for a moment. There was a strange sound, and then silence.

The thing that wasn’t Twilight Sparkle walked out of the woods. It smiled, then turned and headed back towards Fluttershy’s house.