• 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.

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Chapter Three

Chapter Three

*******

“Hey!” Applejack called after the shadowy mare. “Git back here!”

The brown mare continued through the winding sewer maze, artfully avoiding the increasingly frustrated Applejack.

“Are ya scared a me or somethin’?” Applejack asked. Ugh, my mind’s feeling awfully strange for some reason.

“Me? Scared of you?” the mare laughed, her voice bouncing off of the walls of the corridors. Her slitted eyes glowed in the darkness. “Why would I be scared of you? Aren’t you a perfectly nice little farmer mare?”

“Hey!” Applejack yelled as the mare disappeared from view.

“You’re so perfect,” the mare giggled, but with sarcasm dripping off her every word. “You’ll catch me even faster than Rainbow Dash.”

“An’ ya know Ah will! Slow down!” Applejack complained, exasperated. “What’re ya runnin’ from anyways?”

“The most powerful pony in Equestria,” the mare said from behind Applejack. The orange mare whipped around only to see a hazy shadow of the mare she had been chasing.

“Huh? Whaddaya mean?” Applejack asked.

“You aren’t very loved, Applejack,” the mare continued. “Ponies should treat you with more respect, considering all you do for them. You’re the backbone of your group, somepony to lean on. Why shouldn’t you lean on them from time to time?”

“Well... Ah guess,” Applejack admitted, trying to keep track of the misty image floating around her. Unknown to her, darkness was slowly weaving through the air toward her head.

“You have so much wasted potential,” the mare said, her silky voice simultaneously annoying and calming Applejack. “Have you ever tried to do anything you know your friends would reject? Something they would say you couldn’t do?”

“N-Not recently,” Applejack stammered. She shook her head. “Look, Ah just wanna find ‘em and get outta this mess. An’ if you can’t help me do that, then skedaddle.”

Applejack turned to leave, but the mare stopped her. “I know where they are,” she said.

“Huh? Where, then?” Applejack asked. “Did you take ‘em?”

“I can tell you where they are,” the mare began, “but first... I need a favor.”

Applejack thought for a moment. “Name it.”

Applejack’s friends stared in shock and horror at the scene unfolding before them. The sewers slowly faded away to reveal Applejack walking through a hazy illusion, though the unseen barrier remained steadfast no matter how they poked and prodded at it.

The mare led Applejack deeper into the sewers, chatting with her along the way. Applejack’s mind became cloudier as the journey went on. Whatever this mare throws at me, she thought, I’ll smack it back at her so fast she’ll wake up on the other side of Appleloosa.

“I’m in a bit of a predicament,” the mare admitted, pointing toward a large, black void at the edge of the sewer. It was as if the entire world warped out of existence for a few meters, resuming as if the gap wasn’t present. “I need somepony to get across that gap and grab my saddlebags from the other side. Would you be willing to lend me a hoof?”

“Hmm... Ah ain’t sure,” Applejack said, tentatively looking over the edge of the pit.

“You could also prove two things at once,” the mare encouraged. “I’m sure your friends would never allow you to make this jump. They don’t think you could make it half of the way across. But you can show them, Applejack. You can make this jump, and when your friends find you, you will be a hero. To them, and to yourself.”

Applejack recovered her resolve and pawed her hoof on the damp floor. “Ain’t no little crack in Equestria that’ll stand in mah way,” she growled.

“Of course, if you want help, I’d be more than willing,” the mare offered.

Applejack shrugged. “Nah... Ah’ll be fine.”

Rarity watched in shock as Applejack prepared to make the jump. Applejack will have to jump thirty feet or more! Is she insane?!

Applejack gave herself a generous running start of about ten feet before rushing to the edge and taking a leap of faith that ultimately fell short. The orange mare screamed as she fell into the abyss below.

“Toodle-loo,” the mare grinned before vanishing.

A wind started to blow as bits and pieces of the surrounding area were torn off, slowly disappearing into nothingness. Slowly, the sewer revealed itself to be just another island in empty space.

Letters and symbols seeped up from the ground to form the incomplete form of a pony. Verba shook his head. “Tsk, tsk, tsk. Don’t think that’s the way to be the Element of Honesty.”

“Where’d you take Applejack?!” Dash demanded.

Verba turned to face the group. “I didn’t take her anywhere. This Void plays by the Submaster’s rules.”

“Well, who’s that?” Dash growled, trotting up to Verba and staring him directly in the eyes.

“I’d tell you, but I’m not allowed,” Verba shrugged.

Dash grasped Verba by the shoulders and got directly in his face. “I’m giving you five seconds to tell me where Applejack is!”

“I’ll give you that amount of time to find a toothbrush.” Verba broke apart, and, lacking a hoofhold, Dash fell flat on the ground. Verba reconstructed himself a few meters away.

“You’re really asking for it!” Dash seethed.

“Don’t get ahead of yourself. AJ’s fine; she just failed her test, so the Submaster has to place her in holding. She’s only in danger if you all fail,” Verba explained dismissively. “Satisfied?”

“Not until I see her for myself!” Dash insisted.

“For Celestia’s sake, Dash, calm down!” Rarity begged. “Verba has already given us much more information than he should have. As long as we know that Applejack’s okay, we should focus on rescuing her!”

“But we don’t know that she’s okay!” Dash protested. She turned back to Verba. “Give us some proof!”

Verba laughed. “Jeez Louise, you’re less trusting than-”

“Verba.”

Dash jumped at the new voice and swung her head to the side; however, she didn’t see a pony. She saw a hazy, black shape with the texture of thick fog. Its eyes, though, were bright beacons of light.

“That’s enough,” it said.

“Who invited you to the party?” Verba asked coldly. His expression was difficult to place; it could either have been anger or fear.

“You’ve said far too much already; it’s my duty to intervene,” the apparition explained sternly. “Return to the Dissonance immediately.”

“Says who?” Verba challenged. “You’re only here because of my-”

Evanescunt!” it suddenly shouted, thrusting its hazy hoof toward Verba. A powerful blast of humid wind broke Verba into pieces and carried him away.

“I must apologize for my companion,” the apparition said. “He says far too much for his own good.”

“I guess you won’t give us any explanation either, huh?” Dash muttered.

It chuckled. “That would compromise the test.”

Dash slammed her forehooves on the ground. “What test?!

“If you weren’t informed beforehoof, I can’t really be blamed, can I?” the apparition asked. “I can tell you that your friend is safe, at least for now. Only if two more of you fail will she be banished into oblivion.”

“Right, your whole evil speech thing,” Dash growled. “Save it. You’re going to tell me, one way or another.”

“D-Dash?” Fluttershy stammered. “I... I hate to be a bother, but now might not be the best time...”

“Not now, Fluttershy!” Dash yelled, silencing Fluttershy.

“I must say that I agree with Fluttershy,” Rarity protested, stepping between Dash and the slightly amused apparation. “We are above trying to solve our problems with violence.”

“S’not like they’re giving us much of a choice!” Dash argued, glaring at the figure past Rarity.

“If I may,” it began. “If you truly want to fight me, go on ahead. However, it won’t do you any good. I don’t technically exist at the moment.”

“What does that mean?” Dash asked.

“See for yourself,” it said, offering its hoof.

It’s got to be a trap, Dash thought, eyeing the apparition's outstretched limb. Pinkie, however, didn’t see it that way. Slowly approaching the apparition, she inched forward until her hoof met its. It never actually did, though; Pinkie’s hoof passed through the apparition as if it was made of vapor.

“Neat!” Pinkie giggled, pressing her hoof through the apparition’s head.

“That’s enough,” it said, backing away from Pinkie. When she persisted, it vanished and reappeared behind Fluttershy, sending the poor mare straight up into the sky.

Fluttershy squeaked, hovering several meters above the dirt island. It... It can warp?

“A little high-strung,” the apparition observed. It motioned to its body. “This is only a projection. I shall be meeting you very soon, but until then, I would suggest continuing with your tests.”

He turned to leave, but Rarity asked, “Fine, we will. But in the meantime, will you at least be a gentlecolt and offer us your name? There’s really no reason why you should keep it from us.”

“Yeah, who are you, really?” Dash asked.

It paused. “I am the first and only Element of Honesty.”

He vanished.

"But..." Fluttershy breathed. "That's impossible..."

“Applejack is the Element of Honesty!” Dash exclaimed. “He must have a screw loose or something.”

“It didn’t look like it was lying,” Rarity said, confused. “But…”

“Is there more than one set?” Pinkie asked. “Is it from an alternate dimension?”

Rarity shook her head. “If there were, wouldn’t we know about it?” She paused. “Then again… I think there are quite a few things we don’t know.”

“Like why we’re here,” Fluttershy said. “And if Applejack r-really…”

“No,” Dash said, shaking her head. “I know she’s okay.”

“How do you know?” Rarity asked.

“She can’t be just... gone,” Dash murmured, shaking her head. “We’re all best friends, aren’t we? So that means we’d know if any one of us were hurt! I know that Applejack’s alright, okay? She’s got to be.”

“Y-Yeah,” Fluttershy agreed, wiping her eyes. “So what now?”

“I want to find Verba and that other pony!” Pinkie suggested. “Maybe we can finally find out why we’re here, and how to get out!”

“Maybe next time I can force some answers out of them,” Dash growled, turning toward the main island. “They’re not getting away so easily next time.”

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

*******

“Umm…” Twilight began, gazing out of the library’s window into the desert. She had been trapped in one room for hours. Although she didn’t seem to get hungry, thirsty, or the like, it was boring just sitting there, and a little irritating.

A breeze wafted through the air as Obsidian walked into the room. He quietly settled on the couch and gazed at the ceiling, ignoring Twilight.

“Any chance of me getting out of here?” Twilight asked him.

“Unfortunately, I cannot allow you to leave this room,” Obsidian said sadly.

“Obsidian, I’m starting to get a little frustrated,” Twilight said. “You dragged me out of Ponyville to who knows where. This doesn’t look anything like the world I knew, so I want some answers. First of all, where in Equestria am I?”

Obsidian paused, contemplating his answer. “You were not in Ponyville, Twilight. That was an illusionary world conjured by an unknown source.”

“An illusionary world?” Twilight asked, bewildered. “Then…”

“I was trying to free you,” Obsidian began, “and I was successful. I can release you into the real world whenever I please.”

“Then why haven’t you?” Twilight asked. “I could get Celestia or Luna. They’d be able to help find the others!”

“I’m not sure if the real Celestia and Luna even exist. They were supposed to introduce you and your friends to me when you were just fillies. They were supposed to be training you to be an Element of Harmony. You don’t even know the basics and were trapped in a false dimension when I found you. I’m not even quite sure if you’re the real Elements of Harmony, because you aren’t wearing your necklaces,” the stallion explained. “I have no greater ire than taking unnecessary risks. Until I find your friends, you will stay here with me.”

“And just how long will that take?” Twilight asked.

Obsidian chuckled absently. “Anywhere from a couple hours to a century.”

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[Note]: I do not own anything in this story that already belongs to someone else.
This entire storyline takes place BEFORE season two, but AFTER season one.