• Published 12th Nov 2011
  • 13,552 Views, 320 Comments

Envy and Arrogance - Mindblower



The Elements are critical to world stability. Twilight and her friends find this out the hard way.

  • ...
11
 320
 13,552

Chapter One

[Note:] This story has a background music system intended to enhance the reading experience. The system is completely optional, so if you do not wish to utilize it, please ignore this note and the prompts that accompany it.

In order to use this music system, follow these two simple prompts as they appear throughout the story:
*******: Open the link in a new tab (on FimFiction, make sure you right-click on the link) and play the music while reading. If there is already music playing, stop it and replace it with the new music.
*******: Stop the music currently playing.

Please make sure the music playing is at a volume that doesn’t distract from the story.

Chapter One

*******

Picking up a pencil between his teeth, an earth pony penned down the final words of his novel and closed the tome that contained it.

He spit out pencil and sighed. Maybe, in a thousand years or so, I’ll get around to editing it. He stood up and opened his tattered curtains, grunting as pale yellow sunlight glanced over his eyes. Squinting, he carefully estimated the position of the sun. Midcentury already? Hmm...

The stallion glanced at the cracked glass for a moment, then closed the curtains again. He ambled to the stairs and descended, deep in thought. Where could they possibly be? It’s not like them to wait this long to meet me. Not in this time of crisis.

Magical text peeled from the wall. It was brightly colored, and vibrated as the stallion approached. The runes danced about the stallion, but he swatted them aside like flies. They lost their luster and faded into ashes at the stallion’s touch.

Surely the new vessels should be here shortly, the stallion thought as he trotted down the spiral staircase. I wonder if Celestia forgot to introduce them to me? That’s very improbable... but then, where are they?

The stallion paused. He shook his head, disregarding a thought. They are well protected from attack. Besides, I would know if they were in danger. Absentmindedly, he gazed out the window at the towers that lazily twirled higher into the desert sky. Soon, however, he recovered himself and continued briskly on his way.

He occasionally mumbled something to himself. Doubts, worries, fears, and hopes all danced about the stallion’s lips as he continued through the structure. All the while, the runes were watching. They murmured amongst themselves, but didn’t usually bother the stallion.

After he had reached his destination, a large, dark room at the bottom of the complex, the stallion paused for a moment to catch his breath. He approached a large, nearly flat bowl in the center of the room. It was about a meter in diameter, and filled with musty, stagnant water.

“Ostendite mihi Harmonia Elementorum,” the stallion said. He waited for several minutes, anxiously tapping his hoof on the tattered carpeting. Finally losing his patience, he shouted, “I said, Ostendite mihi Harmonia Elementorum!

A chattering noise could be heard as rainbow-colored runes started to seep from the walls and floor, drifting to the bowl of water in the center of the room. The water glowed brightly for a moment, but gradually began to display an image. Eagerly, the stallion looked upon the water’s reflection. He arched his eyebrows in surprise, though, at the picture he saw.

They’re still in that puny town? he laughed to himself. That’s an odd style of training if I’ve ever seen one. I wonder what Celestia’s thinking, keeping them confined like that? She promised that she’d raise them to fight off the return of my siblings.

After a few moments, the water vibrated. Sparks shot off the surface of the pool, their intensity seeming to increase. The stallion jumped back and yelped as the bowl erupted in flames. The magical designs that had powered the reservoir scattered about the room, some of them dissolving into ashes.

“Huh?” the stallion asked hesitantly. When the flames didn’t dissipate, he yelled, “Redintegro hoc vox iam!

The flames froze in midair. The runes, in a somewhat orderly fashion, crept back into the reservoir. Within a few moments, the room had been returned to its original state.

I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like that, the stallion thought. He glanced at his scrying glass, but his expression was more curious than frightened. There’s unstable magic in the town. Perhaps I should give it a rest for the time being.

A few hours later, his curiosity eating away at him, the stallion hastily prepared his glass once more. He silently gazed into the waters, his eyes narrowing at what he saw. I was right; the magic is deteriorating, and fast. At this rate...

Some of the runes seeped out of the fountain. Chattering slightly, they swirled around the room. The pony glared at them. “Go if you wish, but that means I’m dealing this Friday.”

The runes abruptly vanished. The mandolin the stallion was carrying slowly lifted off of his back, glowing with magic from an unknown source.

I know I’ll be covering for your foalishness by the day’s end, the stallion thought. The Elements of Harmony don’t take kindly to intrusions.

=====================================================================

*******

Twilight’s eyes creaked open, and she shifted in her soft bed. Sitting up, she rubbed her eyes.

“...promised that she’d raise them to fight off the return of my siblings.”

Twilight jumped, turning to face the wall of her bedroom. Nopony was there. That’s... strange, she thought. She slowly stepped out of bed and touched her hooves to the floor of her bedroom. The sun was peeking in through the windows, its rays glancing off of Twilight’s haphazard bed-mane.

Twilight’s horn glowed as she used telekinesis to levitate a brush to her hair, but a spark of magic ignited and exploded in a flash of light. “Ack!” she yelped, bringing a hoof to her forehead and collapsing.

As the pain faded, Twilight lied on the hardwood floor in shock. My... My magic isn’t really that unstable, is it? But what else could it have been? She glanced nervously at her comb, which had clattered to the floor as she lost control of her ability. Maybe I’ll comb it later.

Thoroughly woken up, Twilight walked out of her bedroom and into the center of her home, heading toward the kitchen.

“Twilight? You awake?” Spike called from near the front of the house.

“Yes, I’m just making breakfast,” Twilight called back, her horn glowing slightly as she used telekinesis to crack eggs and pour milk into a mixing bowl. “What do you need?”

“About time,” Spike called, laughing. “Rarity’s here to see you.”

“Give me a minute,” Twilight called back, looking out the window. The sun was about a quarter of the way across the sky. I guess I slept in.

Setting the mixture on the counter to finish later, Twilight cantered to the front door and let Rarity in. “Hi, Rarity. How are you?”

Goodness, you’re a fright!” the white unicorn exclaimed, glancing at Twilight’s hair. “Did a manticore attack your mane, darling?”

“Oh, I forgot! Sorry about that,” Twilight apologized, hastily attempting to pat down her cowlick with little success. “I just got up.”

“It’s a little late to just be waking up,” Rarity began, “but I suppose I shouldn’t criticize you about that, because I slept in as well. Had Sweetie Belle not been my alarm, I may have slept well into the afternoon.”

“Really?” Twilight asked. “Well, anyway, was there something you needed from me, Rarity?”

“Well, I was in the park looking for inspiration for a dress, you see. Out of absolutely nowhere, Pinkie came barrelling toward me, rambling on about some celebration that she need our help for,” Rarity explained. “She nearly knocked me over.”

“I’ll be over as soon as soon as I have breakfast,” Twilight said, mentally checking if she had anything else planned that day. “Do you know where it is?”

“Over at Fluttershy’s. Don’t be long, darling,” Rarity finished before departing. “And make sure you don’t forget to fix your mane. I won’t have any friend of mine waltzing around Ponyville with such a horrendous hairdo.”

Twilight said goodbye to Rarity and finished making breakfast, putting the leftover batter in the refrigerator. After she adjusted her mane, she grabbed a small pocketbook and quill, recording where she was going in her schedule. She was about to leave, but something occurred to her.

Hmm, Twilight pondered. Maybe I should write down what happened in the morning. It might be worth looking up. She flipped back to the current day in her schedule and found that what she had entered moments before had vanished. Huh? I didn’t use invisible ink, did I? Double-checking that she had written both down, she set the book on the counter and walked outside.

A brisk morning breeze welcomed her, and Twilight inhaled refreshing, cool air as layers of sleep slowly lifted off her pelt. Her ear twitched; Ponyville was unusually quiet. There aren’t any birds singing.

A blue pegasus mare, Rainbow Dash, walked up to Twilight on her way to Fluttershy’s house. “Hey, Twilight. You helping out with the party, too?”

Twilight nodded. “Uh-huh. Hey, Dash, did you notice anything different about Ponyville today?”

*******

Dash didn’t answer. Twilight turned toward her and jumped back in fright. Dash was frozen in place, as if time had suddenly stopped.

Twilight glanced around. Ponyville suddenly felt insufferably hot. She cringed and blinked as sand was thrown into her eyes, carried by the increasing wind that threatened to form into a gale.

Twilight was forced to look at the ground as the sandstorm increased in ferocity. Sand completely blotted out her vision as she felt a gust of wind plow her into the ground. What’s going on?! she yelled to herself, desperately trying to rid herself of the unbearable pain assaulting her from all sides. There was a bright light, then darkness.

=====================================================================

Twilight’s eyes creaked open, and she shifted in her soft bed. Sitting up, she rubbed her eyes.

She slowly stepped out of bed, her hooves softly touching the floor of her bedroom. The sun began to poke through an overcast sky to reach Twilight’s bedroom.

A bright flash of light blasted Twilight onto the floor. Yelping, she braced herself as she was tossed to the side. Grunting in pain, she got up and hurriedly looked around. Ugh... I wasn’t even using magic that time.

Wait, Twilight thought. ‘That time?’ I don’t remember anything like this happening before...

Twilight looked suspiciously at her brush. Maybe it had something to do with- She shook her head, interrupting the thought. Why am I scared of an inanimate object?

She scratched her forehead. Memories slowly started to trickle back into her mind, like water in a leaky pipe. That... That was just a nightmare, wasn’t it? She glanced around. Her surroundings suddenly seemed much less homey.

Maybe I’m just feeling a little Déjà vu. That’s it, Twilight thought as she cautiously walked downstairs. For some reason, every board was creaking as if it was about to snap.

“Twilight? You awake?” Spike called from near the front of the home.

“Huh?” Twilight asked. “Didn’t you hear me?”

“Whatdaya mean?” Spike asked.

“I mean, when my magic malfunctioned and I was blown across my bedroom?” Twilight asked. “Didn’t you hear me yell?”

“No...?” Spike trailed off, walking into the kitchen. “Are you sure you’re alright, Twilight?”

“Are you sure you’re alright?” Twilight answered. There’s no way he couldn’t have heard that. I shook the entire house.

Spike shifted nervously. “Um, w-well, Rarity’s at the front door, but if you don’t want to see her...”

“No, I’ll see her,” Twilight said, pushing past Spike to the exit. Frowning, she paused, hesitant to open the door. Something here isn’t right; I’m just not sure what. It could just be me. Still, though... maybe I should test it, to see if it really was just a nightmare.

“Hi, Rarity. How are you?” Twilight asked, repeating the exact same thing she had said the day before.

Goodness, you’re a fright!” the white unicorn exclaimed, glancing at Twilight’s hair. “Did a manticore attack your mane, darling?”

“Yeah, sorry about that,” Twilight apologized, though she didn’t pay any heed to her hairdo. This is really, really strange. Why did she repeat it just as I remember? “I just got up.”

“It’s a little late to just be waking up,” Rarity began, “but I suppose I shouldn’t criticize you about that, because I slept in as well. Had Sweetie Belle not been my alarm, she probably would have been late for school.”

Twilight stepped back. “Okay, Rarity. I... I think something’s wrong.” She started pacing around the room, trying to make sense of the situation. “This entire day, from the time I woke up until now… it’s been an exact copy of the nightmare I’ve just had.”

Rarity raised an eyebrow. “Twilight? Are you sure you’re not just feeling some Déjà vu, darling?”

“I can prove it,” Twilight stated. She ran upstairs to get her pocketbook, praying that the entries were there. They were, but now they completely covered the pages of her schedule. Every page now said the exact same thing; even the front and back covers displayed the same text she had written in her nightmare.

“You came to my house to ask me a favor,” Twilight began, levitating the book beside her and rushing down to the front door. “Pinkie Pie is arranging a party over at Fluttershy’s, right?”

Rarity stepped back, her eyes wide. “I was just about to say that exact thing!”

“That’s my point!” Twilight exclaimed, her breathing accelerating. “Rarity, something’s wrong. With this entire place. I…” Twilight’s horn began to glow with nervous energy; her eyes were wide with panic.

“Yes, darling, what is it?” Rarity asked, Twilight’s anxiety starting to rub off.

“Rarity, I don’t think we’re in Ponyville!” Twilight whispered.

Waves of dry heat started to ripple through the house. Particles of sand drifted through the air as windows rattled with the force of the wind. Twilight covered her eyes and yelled as a brilliant burst of light from outside blinded her. No, not again!

The tremors stopped suddenly. Twilight rubbed her eyes; it felt like she had stared directly into the sun. The air feels different, she thought. Thicker...? Twilight shifted, getting up and scanning the room for anything that could have caused such a quake. A thin layer of sand covered the floor.

“This has certainly been an eventful morning,” Rarity muttered, getting up and testing her limbs.

“Spike!” Twilight called, rushing into the other room. “Spike?”

He had vanished. Everything was deathly silent. Twilight frantically searched the library, her panic increasing with every empty, shattered room she found. “Spike’s gone!”

“Goodness!” Rarity exclaimed. “We should find the others. I agree with you, Twilight; something is seriously wrong.”

The two unicorns ran outside and were greeted with silence. It was quieter than a graveyard. The sun beat down on them with an unusual amount of heat. The pair stared at the sand dunes that were dotted around Ponyville, though there wasn’t any form of wind present.

“Everypony in the town has... they’ve just vanished,” Twilight murmured.

Hey! Anypony there?” a familiar voice called.

“Rainbow Dash!” Twilight yelled, looking skyward. “Down here!”

The blue pegasus swooped down from high above. “Thank Celestia I found you. I was clearing some rain when everypony just vanished in this gigantic flash of light!”

“We saw it, too. Something is definitely wrong with this town,” Rarity said.

“You’re telling me,” Dash grumbled. “It’s like a desert out here. Literally.”

Rarity rubbed her chin, analyzing the situation. Now that I think about it, Ponyville has been strange lately. I don’t remember seeing Scootaloo when I dropped off Sweetie Belle... Come to think of it, the class looked half empty.

“I’m not sure what’s going on, either.” Twilight paused, biting her lip.

“What is it, darling?” Rarity asked.

She shook her head. “Hmm... Well, you’re going to think that I’ve lost my mind, but I don’t think we’re in Ponyville. Since when has sand just appeared out of thin air?”

“Well, yeah, that’s kinda weird,” Dash admitted, “but that doesn’t mean we’re not, um, here. Weirder things have happened, right?”

“Name one,” Twilight challenged.

Dash scratched the back of her neck. “Well, not off the top of my head or anything.”

“Sorry, I didn’t mean-” Twilight shook her head, trying to formulate her sentence. “From when I woke up until now, everything’s been the same as this dream I just had. I’m not sure that it was just a dream anymore, actually.” She shivered. “Not only that, but everypony besides the three of us has vanished.”

“Make that five!” Pinkie called. The pink earth pony bounded up with Fluttershy behind her. “Does anypony know what’s going on? I was just setting up streamers with Fluttershy when everything went ‘poof!’ There was a big flash of light and a BOOM and then everything went all crazily insanely weird!”

“If we knew, we would tell you,” Twilight sighed.

“There ya are,” a familiar orange earth pony said as she trotted to the group from a nearby street. “Anypony have any idea what the hay’s goin’ on? Half mah crop flat-out disappeared a few moments ago, and what’s left is half buried in sand.”

“Sorry, but I’m stumped,” Twilight admitted. “I woke up about ten minutes ago, just before all this started happening.”

“G-Girls?” Fluttershy stammered, trembling and urgently tapping Pinkie Pie’s shoulder. “We’re n-not alone…”

The group looked in the direction Fluttershy was pointing, but nopony was there.

“Um, Fluttershy?” Dash asked.

“No,” Fluttershy insisted. “Look.

Text and symbols started to drift from buildings around Ponyville, but none of them even remotely resembled characters in the Equestrian alphabet. They glowed and pulsed with a variety of different colors as they piled along the ground. Bit by bit and piece by piece, they began to form a shape; that of a pony.

“Hello,” the shape began as its face was finally constructed. “I’m glad I could finally meet you. Real ponies are hard to come by where I’m from.”

“Wh-Who are you?” Dash asked. She swallowed her fear and asked more confidently, “And what are you talking about?”

I think I know it, somehow, Twilight thought, squinting through the bright yellow rays of sunlight which seemed to be getting brighter by the second. “Who are you?”

“My name kinda doesn’t exist, because I’m really only the shadow of a pony,” the figure stated. It lifted its leg, and the multicolored runes broke off and flew through the group, causing a variety of emotions as they struck the six friends. Sadness, anger, enthusiasm, determination, acceptance, forgiveness, and laughter all bounded through the group as the runes shot through their souls.

Fluttershy yelped as a rune seemingly ripped through her in a burst of icy cold desire. Pinkie giggled as she felt pride stroke her ego. Applejack glared at the runes irritably as Dash sighed in contentment.

“Just tell us who you are!” Rarity snapped, the runes having an effect on her as well.

It rolled its eyes. “Weren’t you listening? I’m not. If anything, I’m-” the figure cut itself off, as if it had bit its tongue.

“Then why are you here?” Twilight asked, though she could hardly keep a straight face through her grin. The runes must be causing all these annoying emotions!

“The Submaster wants to test you, so I’m here to retrieve you. It’s a little below my paygrade, but it’ll do for now,” the figure said. His supposed face shifted in what may have been a grin, but runes tumbled to the ground as he tried to make the expression.

“And what if we don't wanna be retrieved?” Applejack glared.

The figure shrugged, more runes flying off its shoulders and vanishing. “The world is collapsing. You don’t really have much of an option, do you?”

Twilight glanced around. The ground had started to vibrate, dust and particles starting to float in midair. In the distance, pillars of sand had started to shoot up into the sky, though they were rapidly approaching.

“You are the Elements of Harmony... right?” the figure asked.

“That’s us!” Applejack yelled, stepping forward. “An’ if you mess with me or any a my friends, yer gonna be hogtied so fast ya won’t know what hit ya! Now git us outta this mess!”

The figure shuddered as a sickly laughter weaved its way through the air. “Rather arrogant of you, Applejack. We’ll see about that, huh?”

We don’t have many options, Twilight thought nervously as the quaking ground increased in intensity. Houses in Ponyville had started to crack, splitting apart at the seams.

Fluttershy had her hooves pressed tightly over her eyes. “It’s all just a dream,” she muttered, hyperventilating slightly. “It’s all just a dream and when I wake up I will be in my bed in my house with Angel Bunny and all of my friends and, a-and...”

“Why does your ‘Submaster’ want to test us?” Twilight asked.

Part of the figure’s back broke off, and the characters floated in front of its supposed face. “Hmm... Says here he wants you to, ‘Prove that you can defeat your opposites and brave your weaknesses. Only then will I see if you can best the worst and traverse what hurts.’ Simple enough, when you get right down to it. It really just boils down to escaping the void.”

The sand columns were approaching. Far off in the distance, a great tidal wave of sand was rushing toward the group at blinding speeds. The ground was vibrating so rapidly that it was hard for Twilight to keep her balance.

“It isn’t simple!” Twilight argued. “Why is this happening? Why did I have a nightmare about this? Who are you?!” she exclaimed.

“Look, it’s either survive or not. I’m trying to throw you a bone here,” the figure argued. “Look, as soon as he decides if you’re ready or not, you’ll be put right back home. Promise, okay?”

A gust of fiercely hot wind washed over the group. Twilight flinched as sand flew into her eyes.

“Looks like time’s nearly up,” the figure observed, glancing behind itself. The columns were steadily demolishing what remained of Ponyville. The figure offered its hoof. “Last chance.”

Twilight shook her head in agitation, knowing she was running out of time, and fast. “Can you at least tell us your name?” she pleaded.

The figure thought for a moment. “Hmm... I’d have to think about it. In the meantime...” it trailed off, motioning to its outstretched hoof.

Sighing in exasperation, Twilight took the figure’s hoof. Nothing happened. The tidal wave of sand would be upon them in moments, and the columns of sand were mere meters away.

“What are you waiting for?” Rarity asked. “Do something!

The figure’s expression was hard to place, but it may have been smiling sheepishly. “Yeah, well... It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

With that, a column of sand sprang up beneath the figure, shattering it and scattering the runes it was composed of. As a rune flew through the retreating Twilight, a burst of fury surged through her.

“That idiot! He just left us here to... to...!” she seethed.

A rune sailed through Dash, who promptly dove under Fluttershy. “Hide me!”

“Ah think ya’ll are overreactin’,” Applejack yawned. Snapping out of the runes’ spell, she asked hurriedly, “Any ideas, Twi?”

Twilight stared at the tidal wave of sand that was about to bury Ponyville. “...Hold our breath.”

As soon as the desert plowed into them, they heard a light tune, that of a string instrument.

Hmm, my name... a voice echoed through the darkness. I guess you could call me Verba.

=====================================================================

*******

Rarity moaned softly as she regained consciousness. She stood up, testing her limbs. Nothing seemed to be broken, but there were various dark indigo marks on her legs.

She halfheartedly glanced at her surroundings, noticing that her friends were gradually recovering their consciousness as well. She was in a grand hall; a single room of what may have been a castle long ago. Golden sunlight shone from outside, casting a dancing reflection on the aged red carpets and ancient gold thrones. The marble floors and columns only added to the atmosphere of what looked to be one of the most extravagant places in Equestria.

It would have been beautiful; however, the cracked marble floor was covered in sand. The tapestries and carpets were falling apart at the seams. Dust and dirt blew in from broken windows. The one room she had landed in was just that; a single chamber surrounded by the desert winds.

Pinkie rubbed her head. “That was some fall we took, huh?”

“No kidding,” Dash muttered, stretching her wings. “What’s that thing’s beef with us, anyways?”

“Hey, wh-where’s Twilight?” Fluttershy asked.

The group looked around. Twilight was nowhere to be seen.

“I bet it took her!” Dash growled. “Where are you hiding Twilight?!” she yelled at the ceiling.

“I can wait for her, i-if that’s alright with you,” Fluttershy suggested.

“She’s probably just stuck somewhere else in this place,” Rarity assumed. “Chances are, we’ll run into her later. Um... does anypony know where we are, exactly?”

“Beats the hay outta me,” Applejack grumbled. “This don’t look like Canterlot or any a those big fancy palacey things Ah read ‘bout in storybooks. Come ta think a it, this place don’t look like it’s in the finest a shapes.”

“Well, I can agree with you there,” Rarity nodded. “This place looks like it’s been abandoned for quite a while. It’s a little... out of date,” she continued, glancing at the pictures woven into the carpets and tapestries. They depicted grand battles between mages and knights, kings and princes, and incredibly muscular warriors.

“Why is everything so... floaty?” Pinkie asked, staring at the curtains. They appeared to be hovering a bit in midair, as if a wind was blowing when they somehow froze. When she pawed at them, they fluttered a bit before coming to a rest. She tried to grab them, but they turned to dust in her hooves. She tasted the powder for a moment before coughing it out. “Drat! Everything’s so topsy-turvey in this place, I thought it would’ve been sugar!”

“Anypony remember why we’re here?” Rarity asked.

“We have to be t-tested,” Fluttershy stammered, looking to be on the verge of panic. “What’s going on? Please, won’t somepony tell me?”

“If we knew, sugarcube, we’d tell ya,” Applejack said, stretching her neck from side to side.

“Hmm,” Rarity murmured, taking a look around. The door at the end of the hall was open. “Let’s go this way.”

They followed Rarity outside, stepping carefully over rotten fabric and keeping a sharp eye out for danger. When they looked around outside, they found that they were on an island in space, stranded on a giant desert rock suspended in a black vortex. The sunlight that had previously filled the surroundings abruptly vanished as they walked outside. It was replaced with dim lighting from an unknown source in the darkness. The wind that blew through the chamber they had just departed was all but nonexistent outside of it.

Five spindly stone paths wove their way from the island. One was deep purple, the next bright orange, then bright crimson, then light blue, and finally a light pink. Occasionally, a loose rock would break off of one of the paths and fall endlessly downward. Fluttershy resisted the urge to look over the edge to see how far down the fall was, but, in actuality, there was absolutely nothing to see.

“I must be dreaming,” Rarity moaned, rubbing her eyes to make sure she wasn’t seeing an illusion. “Where in Equestria could we possibly be?!

Dash carefully looked over the edge of the island and saw nothing but a dark abyss. “Well, uh... I dunno.”

“C-Can I just stay in the throne room? Where it’s, um... safe? Safer?” Fluttershy trembled.

“C’mon, Fluttershy! We might find candy! Or treasure, or gems, or even buried treasure candy gems!” Pinkie encouraged. “Don’t tell me you’re getting cold hooves now; I’m just getting started!”

Fluttershy paused, looking at her hooves. “Well, um, where are we going first?”

“We don’t have much ta go on,” Applejack shrugged. “Might as well flip a coin.”

“Okay, does anypony have a five-sided coin on them?” Pinkie asked.

“Means it’s yer choice, sugarcube,” Applejack said.

“Hmm... eeney, meeny, miney, moe!” Pinkie galloped off on the light blue path. The rest of the group ran after her, though Rarity practically had to drag Fluttershy onto the spindly path.

As the group moved onward, their destination came into clearer view. As the throne room slowly faded into blackness, a new shape could be seen on the horizon. It appeared to be a slightly blurry castle with various shapes dancing about. Hmm, Pinkie thought, pausing for a moment. It looks awfully familiar...

“Hurry up, girls!” Pinkie called as she ran along the bright blue path. It glittered as she approached.

“We almost there?” Applejack asked. “‘Cause Ah really wanna give that creepy pony a piece a mah mind.”

“Totally,” Dash agreed, jogging toward their destination. “He has serious issues, trapping us here.”

“You’ve got to take this more seriously!” Rarity chided. “It must have something to do with us being the Elements of Harmony; he mentioned that before. We should try to find out what!”

They approached the castle. The hazy image was barely recognizable once they were up close. “Whee! Let’s go!” Pinkie chirped excitedly as she ran into the hazy image.

“Um, is this thing solid?” Dash asked, pawing at the illusion. Suddenly, she felt a stabbing pain in her head. Yelling out in pain, the blue pegasus collapsed to the ground.

You should not have followed her,” a voice whispered in the blue pegasus’s ears. However, this voice sounded nothing like Verba’s.

=====================================================================

[Note]: I do not own anything in this story that already belongs to someone else.
This story takes place BEFORE season two, but AFTER season one.
Please let me know if a link doesn’t work.

Cover image and illustration by Denial.