• Published 12th Nov 2011
  • 13,551 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
 13,551

Chapter Seven

Chapter Seven

*******

“Be very still,” Fluttershy said softly as she placed a new rag on Apple Bloom’s head to try and cool her down. Fluttershy had some basic supplies, but no medicine.

“Ain’t a fever supposed to kill the germs?” Applejack asked her. She was brushing Apple Bloom’s hair, which had been strewn out in random directions.

“No, not when it’s this high,” Fluttershy said. “It would only harm her. If we could move her, I would put her in a cool bath, but I’m still not really sure just how sick she is,” she sighed. “We should have been here.”

Applejack put her comb down and looked at the heap in front of her. “Yeah, Ah wish we were. But y’know what, Fluttershy? Focusin’ on the coulda-woulda-shoulda a the situation ain’t gonna git us anywhere. ‘Sides, this’ll all be just another memory once Apple Bloom’s all fixed up.”

Fluttershy nodded. “Yes, you’re right. She’ll be better in no time.”

Rarity was busy washing Apple Bloom’s sheets. Meanwhile, Applejack and Fluttershy had wrapped her in quilts and blankets, something the young mare was very appreciative of. She laid practically motionless in her bed while the two others tended to her.

“Applejack,” Fluttershy began, “do you think I could leave for a minute? I think I might have some herbs that could help Apple Bloom sleep.”

“Sure,” Applejack said.

Fluttershy nodded and left the room. Applejack hummed a tune as she used her tail to brush some of the rubble into a dustpan.

Apple Bloom shifted. “Sis?” she asked.

Applejack barely heard her. “Yes, Apple Bloom?”

“Am I goin’ ta die?” Apple Bloom asked after a while.

Applejack paused, biting her lip. She walked to her sister’s side and nudged her gently. “Ah won’t let it happen, Apple Bloom. Ah swear.”

Apple Bloom dragged the rag, now lukewarm, off her forehead and looked up at her sister with bright eyes, even brighter due to her illness. “If Ah die…”

“Don’t talk like that,” Applejack said, nudging Apple Bloom. “Yer gonna be alright.”

“Listen ta me,” Apple Bloom said weakly. “If Ah die… please, sis, don’t avenge me. Ah came out here ta find you and git revenge on those nasty ponies like the Daymare…” she paused to catch her breath. “But it didn’t do me any good at all. Ah got myself into really dangerous places. Ah’m kinda lucky Ah get to talk to ya now.”

Applejack nodded, a hole starting to form in her heart. Is this the last time I’m going to get to talk to her? She shook her head. No, I’m not going to think like that!

“Jus’ be careful, sis, that’s all Ah ask,” Apple Bloom said. “An’ be careful what’cha wish for, alright?” she asked, smiling a little.

Applejack hugged her sister, disregarding her illness. “Ah will. Forever,” she added.

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

*******

Scootaloo and Dash weren’t actually looking for food. They tried, but failed, to stay on task. Scootaloo just had so much to tell Dash about what had happened, and Dash was so ready to hear it that they, for the most part, just walked around and talked.

“So then, I started to follow this Saphira kid, right?” Scootaloo asked as they cantered around a ruined fountain. “But she just climbs up a tree like that! I still don’t know how she did it.”

Dash thought for a moment. “You think tree-climbing’s her ability?” she asked.

“Yeah, that’s what I thought at first, but the Daymare must have cast a spell on her or something, because trees don’t have anything to do with her cutie mark, you know, the rubber band?” Scootaloo explained. They were nearing the edge of town.

“Hey, you were talking about the Daymare earlier. What exactly is a Daymare?” Dash asked.

Scootaloo’s eyes widened. “You don’t know? Oh, right, stasis,” she realized, remembering Twilight’s brief explanation of where they were for three years. “Well, the Daymare is basically Princess Celestia.”

“What?” Dash asked, passing by a ruined gate that would have said ‘Welcome to Ponyville...!’ had it not been rusted and crushed.

“I dunno,” Scootaloo admitted, stepping over some rocks on a haphazard trail. “It’s just that the Princess went crazy all of a sudden and started attacking all these different towns. We got away, but we came back after it was over to look for you.”

“Wait, you sure you’re talking about Celestia?” Dash asked. That doesn’t sound anything like the Princess. She’s a really cool, fun ruler. How could she turn into something as bad as what the Daymare’s supposed to be?

“Positive,” Scootaloo said, her hooves meeting the soft ground of a forest. “I saw her myself. The only thing different about her were her eyes; they were dragon-like.”

“What?!” Dash said, stopping and looking at Scootaloo. “You’re serious?”

“Yeah,” Scootaloo said, a little startled by Dash’s reaction. “Everything else was the same, I swear.”

Dash paced a minute. “But it wasn’t Nightmare Moon? You’re sure she had dragon eyes, Scoot?”

“I swear,” Scootaloo said, a little frightened now. “You okay?”

But we beat Nightmare Moon! Dash thought. This doesn’t make any sense! Are there more than one? The blue pegasus shook her head. I’ll mention it to Twilight later, I guess. “Never mind.”

“Well, okay. Right, where was I…” Scootaloo paused. “Hey, Dash, I can fly now!”

“Really?” Dash asked. “Show me!”

Scootaloo had to take a running start. She spread her wings, and lifted off the ground with a noticeable amount of effort. Dash followed her high above the canopy of the forest.

Her form’s sloppy, Dash observed, but she’s been practicing. And for not having any help, that’s pretty good. “Nice job, Scootaloo!” Dash said, nudging her friend in mid-air. They landed after about five minutes of playing around in the air.

“I’ve been working hard so I could show you!” Scootaloo said proudly. “How was it?”

Dash looked at the teen pegasus in front of her. Examined her. She came to a conclusion.

“You’re just growing up too fast!” Dash said, pulling her fan into a big hug.

Dash bit back sadness. I’ve always liked her, a little. Like a sister. And now that she’s all grown up... Now I know how Rarity feels. I feel like I’ve missed the greatest years of my entire life. We could have had so much fun together! I’m the only one with any air speed, she could have helped me practice! Ugh... I feel so sad. I missed her first flight!

“Dash, are you okay?” Scootaloo asked, moving in front of her idol.

“Yeah, I’m okay,” Dash said. “C’mon, let’s go back. Rarity’s waiting.”

Scootaloo saw past Dash’s ruse. “Dash, what’s wrong? Are you sure you’re okay?”

Dash nodded and swallowed. “I… I just feel that, all these years, I’ve abandoned you. I just wish I could have been here.”

“Aw, Dash, don’t go all Rarity on me,” Scootaloo said playfully. “We all know you’d never live that down.”

Dash nodded, and laughed a bit. I feel really bad for not being here, but I’ll just have to work through it. I guess there are just some things that you take for granted.

“You don’t have to worry about abandoning me,” Scootaloo said. “Because no matter what happens to you, you’ll always be right here,” she continued, putting a hoof to her chest. “And no matter what happens to me, I know I’m safe, because I’ll always be right here,” she said, tapping Dash on the chest.

Dash nodded. “Thanks, Scoot. That’s what I needed to hear. It’s been rough.”

“I know,” Scootaloo said. “There are a lot of ponies that are counting on you, you know. Don’t worry about just me.”

“Where is everypony, anyway?” Dash asked.

Scootaloo sighed. “Everypony in Equestria had to evacuate to Fillydelphia with Luna. That’s the only safe place anywhere in the world right now.”

“What?!” Dash exclaimed. “There’s no way everypony in Equestria would fit into one city!”

Scootaloo looked away. “By the time ponies started to evacuate… there was.”

Dash’s heart felt like a rock in her stomach. All those ponies… how?

“How could anypony do that?” Dash asked. “Not only would somepony have to be pure evil to do anything like that…” she swallowed. “But the Daymare couldn’t be everywhere at once!”

“It wasn’t just her,” Scootaloo said. “She had help, willing help. One of them is a shape-shifter. One is an assassin. Then there’s Saphira, who’s pretty much useless. And then there’s Nightmare Moon. She might have more; those are just the ones Luna told me about.”

“Wait, Nightmare Moon?” Dash’s mind was practically turned upside down. “But… but…!”

Scootaloo nodded. “Well, I’m not really that sure, but I do know that somehow Nightmare Moon isn’t limited to Luna… she’s been possessing other ponies.” She shuddered. “Some of them I knew. She changes them almost monthly. I think at one point she was Twist. Another…” she wiped her eyes, and blinked. “I don’t even want to think about it. So many were taken, Dash, and killed. I’m lucky we all survived.”

Dash was furious. “That isn’t even supposed to be possible!

“I dunno,” Scootaloo said, wiping her eyes. “It might have just been the shape-shifter. It was scary, Dash. Seeing friends from school having those eyes, that dark body. It’s just so evil. And it’s terrifying, because they… they’re trying to kill us.”

That’s awful! Dash thought. How could anypony do that?!

“We should get back,” Scootaloo said, looking back toward Ponyville.

Dash nodded. How…?

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

“It should be around here,” Pinkie said, feeling along a wall in Sugarcube Corners.

“We already checked here a week ago,” Sweetie Belle sighed.

“Cheer up!” Pinkie said, continuing to feel for something Sweetie Belle didn’t think was there. “If we didn’t check, we would never find anything. Now let’s see... Hmm...”

“But what are we even looking for?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“That’s a good question! I’m not really that sure,” Pinkie said, laughing at Sweetie Belle’s expression. “Just kidding! It should be right around here. Just a few more paces Weast.”

“Weast?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“It rhymes with yeast!” Pinkie chirped, opening the bread drawers. They were actually fairly large, and she had to climb into it to fully look around, eventually disappearing inside. Sweetie Belle heard a tapping noise behind her and found Pinkie stuck in a long-broken oven.

After rescuing her, Sweetie asked, “How’d you get in there?”

“Same way I get anywhere! Jumping!” Pinkie explained. She rubbed her chin. “But it wasn’t in there, so it must be...” She crouched low to the ground as if she was sneaking up on prey, then pounced on a completely unprepared cabinet. She pursed her lips, finding nothing inside.

“Told you,” Sweetie sighed.

“Cheer up!” Pinkie said. “If Weast wasn’t for yeast, then Weast must be for... feast!” She exclaimed, pushing a small green sticker on the wall. Her hoof went through the plaster, and she felt around in the resulting hole.

“What are you doing?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“Hmm…” Pinkie said, deep in concentration. “Ah! There we go,” she said. There was a clicking sound, and the wall opened up into a freezer.

“Huh?” Sweetie Belle said.

“The previous owners installed this for some crazy reason,” Pinkie shrugged. “I thought it might come in handy eventually.”

“Why’s that?” Sweetie Belle asked.

Pinkie shrugged. “Better safe than sorry!”

The great majority of the supplies in the freezer were canned or preserved, but to Sweetie Belle it was a godsend. Her stomach rumbled audibly at the sight of familiar brands, and she turned a slight shade of red. “Sorry,” she mumbled.

Pinkie nudged her. “There’s nothing wrong with being hungry. What did you think would happen, with you being all adventurey adventurous venture-pants?”

“Can we talk later?” Sweetie Belle begged.

Pinkie laughed. “Okie-dokey, lokie. Help me move this food, okay?”

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

Twilight walked inside her house, or rather, what was left of it. Papers were everywhere, books were moldy, spiderwebs were hanging from the ceiling, and the wooden floor creaked when she entered. Just your ordinary, cheesy horror story, Twilight sighed, remembering a few that she had read as a filly.

She made her way across to the bookshelves and started looking through her spellbooks. Most of them were ruined, but she did find one on healing. Looking through it, she quickly saw it was useless; all of the pages had been ripped out long ago. Great, so they ruined my library, Twilight muttered to herself. What’s next?

Twilight noticed a note on a nearby desk with gold embroidery; she had only seen it once before, and that was on the oldest texts Celestia dared to give her. She picked it up using her telekinesis and read it, her eyes steadily widening.

Dear Twilight…

We write this note to thee in desperate times. Our quill is unsteady as We write because Equestria is under attack. The Elements of Discord hath decided to rear their ugly heads for the first time in centuries, and this time it looks like they hath constructed a plan far grander and more detailed than We hath ever known.

Time is short, so although We wouldst give thee a worthy explanation for Our actions, We must cut this message short. We have trapped thou inst thine own mind in order to allow an ancient being to aid thee. If thou readst this, thou hast probably already met him, but please know that he wishes thee the best. As do We.

Please be careful. Thou arest incredibly important to the safety of this world. Discord has decided to strike, and

We have seconds left. Meet Us in Fillydelphia. We can tell thee everything there.

-Princess Lun

It ended there. Twilight gradually deciphered the old language and sat down, pondering the implications.

She didn’t even have the time to write her own name, Twilight thought. Princess Luna… It’s been a while since I’ve seen her.

Twilight put the note on the inside of her crown, along with the best spell she could find to help Apple Bloom. This letter could be really important. I should read it to Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo and see if they know anything. It’s time I received some answers.

The world is in danger, Twilight shivered. The purple mare imagined just how powerful Discord could possibly be. It’s not the first time we’ve saved it, but… It might be our last.

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

*******

A dark turquoise unicorn trotted into a ruined throne room. Her mane was an extremely pale cyan, almost white. It was braided and hung down to her neck. Her eyes were a pale yellow, containing dagger-like slits instead of pupils. Her cutie mark was of a fiendish harp.

She walked up to an important-looking white alicorn that was resting on a wide throne, flipping through a book. She was majestic; her horn and wings several times bigger than an ordinary unicorn or pegasus, and she wore a gold crown on her head. Her cutie mark was of a jewel; an amber sun. Her eyes were blue, dagger-like slits, but one was covered up by her mane, which was flowing with bright green, pink, and blue pastel colors.

“Sister,” the turquoise unicorn said impatiently.

“Yes, Envy?” the alicorn asked.

“Deception wants us to move to the next stage of the plan,” Envy said. Her voice was commanding and strong.

“Oh, already? I thought the Elements would stay in hiding for much longer,” the alicorn said, sighing and flipping through her book impatiently. “It’s about time they reared their ugly heads.”

“Oh, so you heard about that?” Envy laughed. But it wasn’t really a laugh; it was artificial and hollow.

“You expect me to just sit around reading all day?” the alicorn asked, swatting the book aside. “Ugh, books. My time is too important for something so stupid. There’s nothing new anymore.”

“You just can’t read as fast as I can,” Envy said. “If you want something to do, go find a new body. You’ve been hogging that one for the past three years.”

“And there’s a good reason why,” the alicorn said, her dagger eyes darting to her sister’s. “If I let go for a minute, she’s going to attack. She’s waiting for an opportunity, and that’s something I will not give to her willingly. Besides, the body of a goddess is the only thing that I truly deserve.”

“Psh, goddess. Well, if you’re bored, I need help finding a male body. So many females in this world, I do wonder how the population survives,” Envy remarked.

“I thought you preferred the feminine touch, brother,” the alicorn remarked.

“Yes, it is rather… interesting, inhabiting a female form,” Envy said, shifting her weight from one pair of legs to the other in a side-to-side motion. “And it’s also nice having such a wide variety of beautiful bodies. It’s almost as if somepony made entire populations using a template. Anyway, the reason I’m looking for a male body is to advance the plan, and I was hoping you could take a peek inside your Dreamscape or whatever and find me a specimen.”

“So Deception’s target is female again? That’s boring,” the alicorn remarked. “Aren’t there any in storage you could use? Looking through the Dreamscape is a pain and a waste of test subjects. You know how important my project is.”

Envy rolled her eyes. “Arrogance, this is Deception we’re talking about here. I looked in storage, found a perfectly acceptable body, and she turned it away like I pulled it from a dumpster. I wouldn’t be asking you if I didn’t need to; I know how important the Dreamscape is.”

“Fine, then,” the alicorn named Arrogance said. “I will take a look at my extensive reserves. When does Deception need it?”

“ASAP, so you better hop to it,” Envy said. “Meanwhile, I believe that we’re closing in on the Elements. Do you want me to give our troops the go-ahead?”

“Not until you’re there,” Arrogance said sternly. “It may be overkill, but I am not allowing a screw-up.”

Envy shrugged. “It’s not like I have anything better to do, and I’ll enjoy finally looking those brats in the eyes and having them read what Discord really is, written in blood.”

Envy turned to leave, but Arrogance stopped her.

“Don’t go overboard. We need them alive,” Arrogance warned, looking at Envy threateningly.

“Hmph. I was only kidding,” Envy scoffed. But she didn’t look like she was.

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

[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.