• Published 10th Apr 2013
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Libera Mé - EZTP



Set just after the events of season 3, Twilight Sparkle and her friends must rise to a challenging beast the likes of which will test her not only as an alicorn, but as the Princess of Friendship.

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15 Come Get Me

15

Rarity was dreaming of laying atop a shaded cloud watching down over Ponyville, she could see her friends in their homes, feel the warmth of the could under her, hear the gentle rhythms of the town below. It was one of her more peaceful ones.

“I always do enjoy your dreams.” Rarity was startled by the midnight blue alicorn next to her. She wore the black crown and crest of the princess of the night, sported a semi moon cutie mark and a mane and tail that gently flowed with a life of its own.

“Princess Luna?” Rarity shot up rigid at the sight of her.

“Greetings to you Rarity, Element of Generosity, I trust you are enjoying your dream?” Luna did not stand but rolled to her back and closed her eyes.

“Umm...yes thank you. To what do I owe this honour Princess?”

“Can a princess not visit her subjects?”

“Not at all. How may I be of service?”

“Well your dream is what I take interest in...considering what you lay on in the real world.”

“Well one does require the finest of beds after all for her beauty sleep.” Luna stood up and shook her mane back holding her hoof to her height.

“Your bed about yay high, very aggressive, sweet disposition when it wants to have one, need I go on?” Luna raised her right brow and peered at the nervous Rarity, “Two legs, light fur coat, one would consider it a little difficult to miss. Hardly a suitable bed.”

“Oh, you mean Crystal? She’s a friend you see-”

“Rarity...you would not lie to your princess would you?”

“Well one must consider the pre tense of the lie, I find it...” she trailed off seeing luna grin sceptically, “I know it is wrong Princess...I just do not know. I ask for your forgiveness.” she bowed and dared not look up. She saw Lunas hooves stop in font of her.

“Rarity. The beast with whom you lay, I do not see it as an enemy. You ask forgiveness for nothing. Please,” she tapped Rarities chin and the nervous pony looked up.

“Princess, why did you save it? I mean after everything it did...”

“It suffers greatly Rarity. I know that suffering.”

“Does it speak the truth about its condition?”

“I believe if it does we cannot ignore the possibility. For now though I wanted to personally say how proud I am of you, truly the spirit of generosity.”

“Thank you Princess,” she bowed briefly. Rarity was hesitant now, she wanted to know what this ‘suffering’ was, this individual who was ‘not as fortunate’.

“I sense you want to know,” she chuckled seeing Rarities face, “You forget your princess is observant.”

“I do not know Princess. Is this something it should not tell me?”

Luna sighed, “Would you like to know what changed my mind about it?” Rarity nodded, “Fluttershy had shown me it was not as heartless as I thought. However it was that something, that it dreamt that very night, which altered my perspective. I tell you this Rarity because it will not. It will never speak of it, the wound is too fresh. The loss was but season before it came here,” Luna stared out into the expanse of the dreamworld they floated above, “It suffers...”

Rarity did not know what she should say to this, a season was not a long time. For her to imagine losing anypony, no amount of time could be enough. Her curiosity was edging onwards. If it wanted her to know, then it would surely say something. She usually loved peering into the hidden world of ponies, all the gossip and scandal kept behind closed doors. This time was different though, “Princess, I do not want anypony but it to tell me.”

Princess Luna seemed stunned, “That is...surprising.”

“It called me its friend Princess, I shall respect that. If it wants to say something then it will, but I must hear it from my friend.”

“You embarrass your princess,” Luna chuckled.

“It is your duty to see into the dreams of others, it is not mine Princess. Should I ever learn of it, then I will from my friend.”

Luna bowed to Rarity, the shocked mare could not believe it, “I am proud of you Rarity, I shall leave you to your sleep and your monster. Dream sweetly my little pony.”

*

Rarity slowly woke to a nudge from the creatures claw resting on her. She felt the tenderness as it gently run over her coat, the tips stroking at the shape. She was momentarily worried but a quick glance to Crystal belayed her suspicion. They had changed positions, now she was as in the dream. It had moved to lay its back on the couch with one leg raised and the other still on the floor, her atop it not disturbing the gentle breathing.

She was feeling very hot, looking up she saw the creatures head over hers, still resting but sweating. The smell of her salts seeped through and masked any unpleasant odours that might have come. She sat up as the claw pressed harder down, its breathing was erratic and rough as it tried to speak out to whatever phantom plagued its mind. She reached out with her hoof to its forehead but hesitated. She glimpsed back seeing the knife was untouched, the blade glinting in the moonlight. Sweetie Belle was still resting on the sleeping wolf, tucked around her now in a ball. The fire had extinguished and the moons rays drew her attention to Crystal and how she glimmered so beautifully in the eve, the purple hue now faded. A quick groan from the creature seemed to push her forward and she touched its head. Nothing as she expected happened, the breathing eased and the muscles relaxed from their tension.

As she stroked the hair back its breath became level, her bobbing up and down with the inhalations. What the creature had said made her nervous but she did not imagine it was as dangerous as it believed, Crystal would protect them if the story was true. The fur was remarkably soft owing to the bath and fell smoothly in place, short but not bristled. She caught herself stroking the cheek, still without any fur after the ten second remedy. She lay back to the creatures body adjusting the blanket to shield from the cold night, and its claw fell still again.

Seeing it under her now in the moonlight she could only smile. It was a monster but it was not, she wanted to believe its story now. Instead of sleeping in, she would wake up early and try to give it something more edible than those awful spiders. Her heart was beating quickly from the fright but eased as she nestled her cheek and slowly drifted off again.

*

“Hey gals, I said it’s awake!”

Opening its eyes to a familiar pink phantom darting away, the monster stirred from its sleep. To its surprise it was already standing. Now feeling the weight of yesterdays wounds and a pressure on its chest, it staggered for balance. It held the cheek, that was all real. All that had happened was real. It spun to the movement of the phantom slowly emerging from the workshop room. It was accompanied by a familiar sight, the same ones who challenged it in the cell. Absorbing the scene it quickly focused on the one in the middle, the alicorn it had supposedly hurt. She stood proudly bearing that crown with a scowl, it had fallen into the trap. It looked to the side table but the knife was gone, reaching to the sheath it was relieved to grasp the splintered hilt. A feeling of dread overcame it as it looked around the room. The floor had been badly scratched, there were scattered chunks of some sort of serving platter but there was no sign of the Miss Rarity. Closer inspection revealed no traces of her, no blood, nothing. It turned around to the couch where her sister was, the child was petrified. Now it did not care for the five behind it, nothing mattered aside her sister and her. It turned to the five.

“Where is she!?”

Applejack could not believe what she was seeing. The monster was in Rarity’s home, it was a contrast against the scale of the situation. She could not figure out how it got here, or what it was doing. Upon seeing her though its expression softened.

“Did I...walk?”

“No,” Applejack replied, “She’s alright.” It exhaled, breathing sharp and narrow as though it was in shock. The tension in its body faded but the eyes hardened.

“Applejack do not talk to it. It lies. It will trick you. Remember what Princess Celestia said.”

“Twilight you need to ease up a little, don’t go provoking it into a fight.”

“You are not going to escape this time. You will answer for the crimes against the Princesses. Your not so little dog may have escaped but you will not be so lucky. I ask you to surrender now and peacefully return to Canterlot.” Applejack saw it in her eyes, she did not want it to surrender.

“I implore you, do not fight it Twilight!” Rarity trotted up by Twilight, her mascara steaks still showing. Applejack did not understand why she had been crying, but when they arrived it was only in time to see the rear of Crystal smash through the back door.

Rarity had been standing by the monster, her trembling hooves holding its blade high. She collapsed seeing them and let it clatter to the floor. They rushed to her and took her into the next room while Pinkie Pie waited for it to move. She had found it hard to believe all the noise did not wake it. Rarity was in a dazed shock, she could barely speak. The unmoving beast to Applejack was terrifying, the blade did not show an signs that Rarity had used it but she came close.

“I don’t want to fight it.” From Twilight’s tone the truth was very different, “I don’t know what you did to Rarity but we will repair any damage you caused.”

The scene played out as it examined the room again. Crystal had tried to wake it, the pain on its chest was that of the pressure. She had failed and darted out the room through the back, the scarred flooring showing her path. It was a light sleeper and there was only one way this much could have happened without waking it. Miss Rarity was a fool to not use the knife. Crystal had not try to wake it, she tried to hold it down. There had been a close call only the day before yesterday with Applejack, for Crystal to have physically confronted it though, it had lost control moments ago. That was too close a call for comfort.

“I said surrender now monster, or don’t.”

The grimace that peered at them chilled their bones. As it drew its blade the beast moved to step back out into the dawn. Twilights horn immediately shot out a bolt of lightning. It was confusing as the monster stepped forward into its arc, taking the full force of the impact. Twilights confidence failed then as it appeared unharmed, no scaring no shaking, it seemed to roll of the monster to connect to a light fixture and short out the socket. It fell back against the frame holding its weight on the wall. It had not been hurt by the magic, she had not succeeded. It stood again taking a deep breath and buried the knife in the wall. Twilight shot another bolt out but it did not connect. an insulator under its paws and a ground, very clever.

“I surrender...please stop.”

She nearly froze as its eyes settled on her again, there was something new in them that chilled her soul. It moved to step forward but a mumble from Sweetie Belle halted its advance. “Teddy?”

Twilights heart stopped beating realising what had just happened. It was beyond luck the brute was in the way, on a normal pony that would have been a very different outcome. As the claw lumbered over the little face her anger rose. It had seen her shock, it knew it had the advantage. The little filly next to it looked at the blade it held before her. To Twilight’s confusion it sheathed it and stood tall once more. Rarity let out sigh of relief. The face sunk and all trace of hostility vanished as it pulled the blanket up a little and stroked the filly’s mane.

“It’s alright little one. Be still ad silent, okay?” The filly nodded looking up with her mouth hung open.

“Coward!” Twilight had to restrain herself seeing it by the filly.

“Well done Miss Rarity, that was an ingenious tactic.”

“I-”

“To lure me here! See me trapped as I feared. You took advantage of me, pretending to provide shelter, humouring me with this little outfit and your ridiculous stories. No doubt your ‘princess’ here orchestrated the entire thing. I do not know how you scared my hound away, but I am not helpless without it.”

“I didn’t-”

“Neither did I,” its aggression grew with each word, “Not one thing was sincere, I realise this now. As if you would truly be that foolish to risk your family and friendship over some beast.” It pointed to Twilight, “I saw the message you tried to send to her. My only regret was not tearing you apart and feeding you to the fire, as I did it.” Rarity was confused, there was no note, she would never do that. All her work was falling apart now, each push and careful weave unravelling before her.

“What note Rarity?”

The monster spoke, “Come quickly Twilight, have monster, bring help.” Rarity realised what it was doing, it was not a wise decision but the action was profoundly selfless. “Did you send more than one? How did they find me?”

“Lets be honest here, you don’t exactly blend in. I mean how long did you think it would take? Why didn’t you just wear a big sign?” Rainbow Dash mocked it.

“Such bravado Blue. This time I am not restrained.”

Twilight seemed stunned, “Good job Rarity, I knew you were savvy but this is impressive.”

“And now it would appear you have me trapped. Shame your little flicker did not work, were you pivoting your success on that display? Pathetic.” Twilight stomped her hoof and her crown glowed, “Ah yes, your little trinket. By all means, what is the life of a child to one such as yourself.” That wicked grin returned, that cruel toothed curl of its mouth. Rarity did not like this but she understood the point it was tying to make. It seemed to be working. She wanted to say something to stop this but she did not know where to begin.

“Now hold on just one apple picking minute here. We don’t want no filly getting hurt, so you just run along out the back now. You understand?”

“I’m afraid that would be difficult through you all. Now I will step out slowly, do not try anything or it will end...tragically.”

Twilight was clearly infuriated at its smug satisfaction. Rarity saw though that as it stepped out she, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie all smiled. It slowly retreated to the street keeping focus on the surroundings. Twilight gently cantered out through the doorway, wiping the monsters wicked grin away with her own and Raising her hoof high.

“Now!” As it turned to flee the monster was floored by a charging guard from nowhere who quickly wrapped a rope around the leg and dragged it down not allowing it to stand. More guards appeared from thin air wielding ropes and chains and they set about bonding the creature. It was a sight to see this beast struggle. One guard was too slow and it grasped the rope, a sharp tug forcing the soldier to release.

Rarity stood watching this, her body was numb. Moments ago she nearly was forced to strike, if not for Crystal...she did not want to think about it. It would fight now to be free, she had lost everything she worked for. Those cruel eyes held such malice as they saw her.

The scene was chaos with a host of pegasus soldiers surrounding the creature tying it down and holding on for all they were worth. “Don’t give it a moment to breathe!” the captain shouted as they threw rope after the next on top. It struggled furiously spitting and tearing at the bonds. It tried to lunge at them but the opposing side kept it in the middle. It reached for the blade but a shot from Twilights crown threw it to its back. This time it did hurt the creature, to her satisfaction. It rolled over and struggled to rise but she fired another at the leg buckling it instantly. It roared out in anger, the strength fighting the soldiers.

“Twilight, you must stop this!”

Twilight simply looked on past Rarity without a word between them, Rarity was shocked at the change in her. She looked to her friends for support and saw Sweetie Belle emerge to see the chaos. She galloped forward and took the filly inside, shielding her from the scene.

“What are they doing?!” screamed Sweetie Belle trying to see past her.

“Don’t look!”

“Their hurting it, make them stop! Tell them it’s not bad Rarity!”

Rarity tried so soothe the confused filly while the creatures screams grew more faint with every passing second. She could feel it hitting the ground through her hooves, its colossal form shaking the earth as it tried to break free. More guards had arrived and were throwing all manner of restraints on it, more bonds and straps to hold it. Some in the back had a chain with a large clasp, it was meant to hold its head. Applejack and Fluttershy looked to each other, they could not bear what was happening. The creature kicked up dirt and dust against the tide of guards but it was no match for them, they left no chance for it to reach them, pulling from all directions on arms and legs, crippling its stance and limiting its leverage. It powered itself upwards against all the force, an incredible sight to the ponies. Twilight fired on the same spot on its leg, again it fell. Applejack saw the fresh garment was burned open now, the light fur coat was gone and the underlying skin was bleeding from the impact.

“Twilight...”

“I wont let that monster hurt anypony else again Applejack.” Her tone was cold, she still felt the sting of the creatures words that night in the cell. Some of the nearby residents had come to see what the commotion was all about and watched the monster being subdued, cheering on the guards as they fought hard against it. It had fallen silent now, still under the layers of rope that held it. It did not seem tired. The guards with the chain motioned to it but hesitated when it pulled again loosening a rope. Its eyes were fixed on Rarity through the doorway who held Sweetie Belle tightly. On its knees now it called to her amidst a laughter that rang out silencing the cheers. It was cold and hollow.

“Well done!”

“Please don’t fight!” she called back trying to ease the fury, no longer knowing who she was trying to protect, the guards or the monster.

It fell still and the mist around it swirled in the air. The ground where it stood was torn from its struggles, the beautiful flowers and grass now deep gashes. It suddenly fell silent and lowered its head, the same position as it was in the cell. The smell of dew and fresh earth mingled with the chaos mocked Rarities hopes for what the day might have brought. It all became chaotic so quickly, she could scarce believe last night ever happened.

She had awoken to the morning chirping of the birds feeling fresh and happy. It was already daylight but she did not worry. This made convincing it to stay all the easier. She had taken a few minutes to quickly put her morning face on and set about preparing a quick feast for her guests and sister. As she brought the platter to allow the smell to wake them up, she was startled to see Crystal holding the monster down. It did not move but she was growling. Rarity had dropped the platter and reached for the knife. Crystal made no effort to stop her. She held it high, tearing up and ready to strike but her strength was failing. She couldn’t do it.

She laughed through a sob, relieved when Crystal stopped and licked the face. It did not wake up but it was no longer necessary to strike. Crystal looked to the front door and in as instant she spun about and crashed through the back, in time for Twilight and her friends to crash through the front door. She dropped the blade then and without a word they quickly took her to the back where she tried to regain her composure and tell them the wonderful news. She wanted to explain the previous night and what she had learned about this strange creature. Their moments where it laughed and told her the pain it had felt, the bleeding snout, the lapses. She could not begin however as Pinkie subtly observed the creature stirring from its sleep. She had felt terrified when it drew its blade no more than a few hoofs from Sweetie Belle, her sister paralysed with shock on the couch. This monster had seen the young pony and the terror she felt. She had not expected Twilight to fire on it, endangering the filly. From where she stood though she saw it step in front of Sweetie and take that impact. It was no monster. She was terrified now, not for her or the guards, but to loose this trust the creature had placed in her. It had left itself completely vulnerable to her, soul and body, sharing its secrets and self. Now here it was, held down as some wild animal.

The creature let out a long, loud howl which echoed across the town. All the cheers and shouts were silenced by the sound. It sent shivers up Raritys spine and she felt the hair in her mane and coat rise. Crystal.

“Hurry up and clamp it!” the captain barked and the guards moved forwards with the open shackle. Before they could secure it, a massive wolf broke into their ranks tearing the ropes on the left side. The creature smoothly unsheathed the small blade and sliced free of the bonds, each time moving more violently to be free again. The wolf danced around with agility knocking the guards over quickly and breaking off in a dash through the town nearby. The captain pony leapt high avoiding it only to see the creature was throwing off the loosened loops on it.

Twilight was shocked and could not react, the sight of the Crystal no doubt surprising her. Sieving its advantage, the creature spun around and ran after the wolf, the guards clambering to their hooves dazed from what had happened.

“After it!” The creature neatly sheathed its blade breaking into speed to get away from the pursuers. Rarity was relieved and thought she heard a combined sigh from Applejack and Fluttershy. Despite her relief she was worried, it was heading straight through Ponyville market, where the residents were fleeing.

“Not this time!” Rainbow dash chased after it and her friends tried to follow, unable to keep up with her speed. She threw her elements magic at the leg but the beam harmlessly rolled off. “What!? How come Twilights worked?” She flew higher to see the monster close behind the wolf, leading it in a straight line to the Everfree Forest through Ponyville. She scanned the area for something to halt its advance, even change its course and to her relief a cart of apples in the distance was being brought by Big Mac into town. It’ll have to do. She raced far in front of the monster and tipped the cart sending the apples rolling across the cobblestone surface.

“Hey!”

“Sorry Mac.” She waited for the monster but it was not slowing down. Its steps were as beating drums as the paw went straight down on one of the apples, crushing it to pulp. “Oh for ponies sake!” It charged to her and she flew up quickly to avoid it. She knew then she was still afraid, that grip never truly released from her that day. Such anger rose at that point seeing that arrogant stride as it charged away. It was not fast but it was a monster. She was tired of being afraid and she bolted to it, seeing her mark in the centre of its back. She flew faster to it, feeling the sonic rainboom nearly reach. The impact was painful for her, it felt as though she had hit a solid oak tree. All was blurred as she rolled with it to a halt, a great pressure around her neck. As her senses regained she was horrified to find herself in its grasp again, the exact same trick as the arm coiled around her neck. She felt its heated breath over her mane it is panted.

“Blue you are persistent. Cease this foolishness, you cannot win.” She was terrified now, it was going to take her wings. She wouldn’t let it. Many a time had she thought about this moment and what went wrong. A Wonderbolt needed to act and react, so she reacted. She forced her lower legs upwards with all her might and kicked it square in the face. It did not release but tightened so she did it again, on the third it released and she was proud to roll away to her hooves and see it grasp the face in pain. It slowly rose to her smiling and performed a slight bow. She waited for some witty taunt but it charged to her. She dived back as its fist thundered into the ground where she stood, the impact was loud and clear, echoing in the deserted street. It grinned and she felt her eyes widen with the shock. This was something she could not fight the normal way. It was time for, as Rarity would say, a little finesse.

“Rainbow!” her eyes did not avert from the monsters.

“I got this Twilight.” Her friends had caught up now but halted to the scene as the two faced off. She sized it up as it stood tall before her, the claw cracking as it stretched it out. She took in every shape and contour that it could use on her, anything that could strike or block. Minotaurs were slower than this thing, that would not work. Dragons were balanced differently. This was an adaptive situation, she would have to explore this body and see how it operated before she could subdue it. The grimace was no longer amused by this intervention. Its eyes were darting around her as well, paying special attention to her wings once more. The ponies around were hiding in homes or under their stands. She thought one thing to build her courage, I am a Wonderbolt.

With a jolt she dashed forward to it darting to the side to avoid an uppercut, it spun neatly around to meet her kick, grabbing the back hoof and pivoting her over its shoulder trying to send her to the ground. She twisted to let her three free legs take the impact. Her trapped leg was in pain from the torsion but she was still standing. She kicked out to pull it free and spun forward under an overhead throw to kick to the midsection. It grunted with the impact but quickly swung around forcing her to throw herself in a backward flip to safety.

“GO RAINBOW!” an enthusiastic Pinkie Pie called out, “KICK ITS BIG BUT!”

She smiled confidently as the monster growled in anger and came to her now, she danced around it and tried to send a shot to the head. This proved to be a bad idea as it spun to brush her hoof to the side and let the other arm swing around to roughly catch her throat in its claw. She could not reach it as the grip tightened. A flash of light and she felt the claw release. She looked to Twilight, who had used her element of magic again. There was a line of soldiers with her now, Rainbow was glad they were not down here. The monster thrived in a chaotic battle but apparently not as well in a controlled duel. It held it arm as steam lifted off the impacted area. Rainbow knew it by the way its eyes darted between her and Twilight, it was afraid. The monster pulled away into a run and she flew at the beast. It seemed to twist away but caught her as it spun into an uppercut. She felt the blow on her side but recovered to land on her hooves. The monster raised its arm and a light flew over her to throw back a few paces, steam rising from the area.

It appeared to hear something and stood tall, smiling. Rainbow’s confusion was quickly interrupted as a large object collided with her, she tried to move but a tremendous pressure on her chest held her down. Her heart stopped to see large glass teeth bearing at her, with the scent of stale mulbleberry. A flash of light to the wolf did nothing, as the golems it deflected the magic to have to take apart a newly built cherry stand nearby. Darn it Twilight!

Rainbow heard the creatures heavy steps pull away, with a quick call the wolf pushed off her and ran after the creature. She sat up and amazingly the wolf disappeared before her eyes. Twilight fired another magic bolt to the monster but it kicked off to push to the side and disappear in an alleyway, a chorus of screaming ponies as it ran past them.

Rainbow Saw Twilight fly after it with the soldiers and felt somepony’s hooves on her shoulders.

“You alright Rainbow?”

“Fine Applejack.” She took off again ignoring the ache on her chest, racing ahead to stop the rampage. Screams of panic sounded as ponies scattered about trying to hide wherever they could, in barrels, alleys, their homes. Rainbow was caught in the panic helping those who were nearly crushed by falling stands or loose carts. She saw the monster turn wide, not to avoid any obstacles but to shoulder charge a cart tipping over and in the process accidentally save the pony that would have otherwise been caught underneath.

The beasts pacing was sure and fast, dashing to the centre successfully dodging the guards as they swooped down trying to fell it. It made for a fountain and leapt clear past it dragging its paws in the waters and cleaning the apple residue from them. Grabbing a hanging sheet from a washing line it abruptly stopped and spun on its heel to let it blanket the three pegasus guards close after it. They tangled in a mess, flying straight into a stand of vegetables effectively ruining the white sheet.

It continued through an alley forcing the guards to fly higher, Twilight choosing to dive through after it. Rainbow Dash was impressed with her flying prowess, she was never this good during practice. Apparently all her friend needed was some motivation. It turned a sharp corner but Twilight pulled up expecting it to meet her there, it was not foolish. She rose to the rooftops to search for it on the corner. Sure enough it was ready for her. Seeing her having avoided the trap though, it broke into a run over the bridge to her barrier. Her smile of content instantly faded as it pulled through it unaffected. She had spent many hours creating that one, and it merely strolled though to be immersed by the forest foliage. The guards could not see past the dense foliage and were forced to fly under the tree line. They crashed through branches and leaves getting closer to the monster, but as the foliage grew denser they could not keep pace. Landing, they followed on hoof after it, Rainbow Dash and Twilight leading them.

Fluttershy had galloped along with her friends after the creature. As they passed though the town the damage was extensive, she couldn’t believe it done all this. She could see the birds taking flight in the forest trying to escape the creature as it barrelled through. Fluttershy was torn at this point, both happy see it was still alive but sad this was happening. It did not fight though, It had seen her concern and it did not hurt the soldiers. Rainbow Dash was tough but it was clearly trying to scare her off. If it wanted to fight her it would have crushed her the same way it did the golems head back on that day. At the moment she was surprised Applejack and Rarity were relived when it broke free. She knew Rarity very well though, her friend would never do something this sneaky. She would have to ask her about it later but for now they needed to get to the creature before something happened.

Something strange was going on with the soldiers, Twilight noticed the further they went the fewer there were. Some tripped on branches or were caught in vines, their force was dwindling in this pursuit. She could follow the monsters trail easily though with swaying leaves, torn plants and its unusually uniform paw print. They broke to a clearing and Rainbow Dash flew up to gain a better view. Twilight looked around, there were no more soldiers. This was not the forest, the monster had done something and she began to fear the worst. Fluttershy, Applejack, Rarity and Pinkie Pie emerged from the foliage to her relief.

“Where are the soldiers?”

“They’ve been caught up in some kind of netting Twilight.”

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t get it either, but they’re caught pretty good.” Applejack was not panicking with the news. This meant the soldiers were alright and Twilight exhaled with relief, looking to Rainbow Dash high up in the sky. She could not understand it, they had already searched this area but there was no sign of the monster, unless it came back after they were done, very clever. A gasp from Rarity made her look around to where her friend was staring,

“Rarity?” There was nothing there. A movement caught her eye and the the shape of the monster became clear, the new garments it wore hid it nicely amongst the trees and shadows. Twilight had to laugh to herself, Only Rarity could get this carried away to make such a perfect outfit.

“Go!” the monster yelled out turning sharply to avoid them. It ran through more dense foliage neatly tucking through, barely slowing. They all went after it, Twilight parting the brush with her magic. She was so close to getting her wish and Princess Celestia’s answers. The tree’s branches and plants seemed to grow thicker as if trying to slow their momentum. She pushed through, nothing would stop her.

They skidded abruptly to a halt at a break in the foliage. The monster now stood on the edge of a cliff face overlooking an expanse of the Everfree Forest. It turned slowly to them, Twilight could see it was breathing heavily and its head was glistening with sweat. Rarity looked at the outfit and saw no scratches or tearing from the trees and bushes, only the burnt parts from Twilights magic. She was proud of her creation for withstanding such abuse, it already proved better than those old rags it had. She was heartbroken though seeing her friend this badly injured and teetering on the edge of a fall. This area looked familiar to her but she could not remember why.

The creatures mouth was open breathing heavily, the pursuit had made it tired. It took a step back closer to the edge. Twilight had the idea to push, but she knew Princess Celestia would not want her pupil to do that. She would want to see her bring the monster back to Canterlot, to revel in the victory of banishing it back to where it came from. If not that then to place it back in that cell until they knew enough about it. A thought occurred to her though, Then what?

The monster stood straight and tall on the edge, its breathing returning to resting state. From here Twilight saw its expression change, it just had an idea.

“Hold on now,” Applejack called to it, “No need to go do something drastic.”

“Besides, in case you hadn’t noticed, we can fly!” Rainbow added hovering above Twilight and Fluttershy. The creature smiled and closed its eyes.

“Then come get me,” and it fell back off the cliff disappearing from view.