From Savage to Civil

by Discorded SheepcityUSA

First published

While on a wildlife expedition with Fluttershy in the uncharted Windless Woods, Rarity comes across a young Pegasus foal living in the unexplored wilderness. Being the element of Generosity, she feels it is her duty to teach him to be a gentlecolt.

A Pegasus foal that Rarity found in the unexplored Windless Woods appears to be as uncivilized and savage as they come. Seeing it as her sworn duty as the Element of Generosity, she takes him into her home and with some help from Sweetie Belle, tries to teach him the civilized skills needed to integrate into pony society...

Considering that he seems to have the mentality of a Timberwolf, and appears to lack the basic concepts of pony communication and ways of life, this could prove difficult.

Current cover art commissioned by JitterbugJive

Out of Her Element (Revised)

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For the most part, Equestria was a civilized kingdom. Ponies went about their everyday lives in their respective towns and kept to a relatively normal lifestyle of living in their nearly perfect world. However, as peaceful as Equestria was, danger was no stranger to the kingdom of the ponies, as many a time there have been those that threaten the citizen’s way of life. Nightmare Moon, Discord, Changelings; Equestria did have its fair share of baddies.

There weren’t just dangerous creatures living in this land though. There were also many dangerous areas that ponies always fear to tread, such as the Fire Swamps, and of course the infamous Everfree Forest. Over time though, the Everfree Forest has been known to be explored much more recently ever since the Elements banished the darkness from Nightmare Moon’s heart, and ponies have been known to come in and out more often, and even houses a zebra resident.

That doesn’t excuse the fact however, that the Everfree was still a mysterious and dangerous place. The plants, clouds, and animals still maintained themselves without the aid of anypony, and was living proof that Equestria had some strange places.

In a close second, came the relatively unexplored and uninhabited Windless Woods.

“Uuuugh! This jungle is absolutely DISGUSTING!” Rarity wailed. She was doing the best she could to avoid the mud and leaves on the ground, but found her coat still getting dirty. At least the safari hat she wore on her head kept her mane from being tainted.

“Umm, Rarity? If it isn’t too much trouble, could you please try to be a little quieter? I’m afraid that you might be scaring the animals away.” Fluttershy whispered from in front of her. The stallion that was hacking his way through the leaves with a machete in his hooves grumbled. This jungle didn’t have an actual path to walk on like the Everfree Forest did, so he had to assist the mares in cutting a path through so they could do their exploring.

“That’s really just kind of a nice way of saying ‘Shut yer trap.’ Really, if you don’t like the mud, then why’d you come on this expedition in the first place?” the stallion said. He was a muscular-looking, dark-yellow Earth Pony with big, bushy, eyebrows and a brown mane, which was mostly covered by a safari hat, much like Rarity and Fluttershy. His Cutie-Mark was a pawprint with a magnifying glass seeming to observe it.

Trying to ignore how rudely the stallion worded his quetion, Rarity answered.

“Well for your information Mr. Critter, I wasn’t just going to just have my friend saunter off into uncharted territory without a friend’s support…no matter how…unhygienic these dreadful Windless Woods may be.” Rarity said.

The stallion who Rarity identified as “Critter” looked back at her with a still slightly annoyed look on his face.

“Firstly, it is Professor Critter. Second, when I personally asked Ms. Fluttershy to accompany me on this expedition, I didn’t think I would need to listen to some prissy mare whinin’ the entire way through.” Professor Critter grumbled.

Rarity gave an annoyed huff.

“I am NOT whining! I am complaining!” Rarity shouted.

Fluttershy shoved herself in between the two to keep them from killing each other and trying to keep the peace.

“Now that’s enough, both of you! Professor, try to understand that the jungle is a little out of Rarity’s element, so she isn’t as accustomed to this lifestyle as you are.”

“Oh thank you Flutter-“

“And Rarity, could you please refrain from stressing out the Professor? He doesn’t seem to work very well under pressure, and we all need to be as careful and observant as we can be in a place as uncharted as this.” Fluttershy said.

Both Professor Critter and Rarity gave each other a sharp glare before letting out an annoyed sigh.

“Fine.” They said in unison.

Fluttershy sighed in relief and smiled.

“That’s better. Now Professor, how much do you know about the Windless Woods already?” Fluttershy asked, hoping to gain a little more insight on their location. Fluttershy, being quite the animal expert, had been contacted by Equestria’s Wildlife Institute to accompany Professor Critter on an expedition to explore the Windless Woods. Rarity came along because she figured that such a timid and docile mare probably wouldn’t be safe in an unexplored and possibly treacherous jungle without a friend’s support. Twilight wanted to come, but was denied of the opportunity because of her new duties as a royal, and everypony else had their own responsibilities to attend to.

Although, she wasn’t exactly ecstatic about being surrounded by this much dirt, mud, grime, and whatever else this jungle had to try and ruin her clean, alabaster coat.

“I was wondering something as well Professor. Why is this place called a wood when it is clearly a jungle?” Rarity asked.

Professor Critter slashed his way through a few more vines before answering.

“It’s really just a nickname. Kinda like your Everfree Forest, the laws of nature are kinda screwed up around here. Rumour has it that no matter what the weather team of the surrounding town does, no wind blows around here. Nopony knows why, but it seems to just refuse to let wind through.” He explained.

“Well…That ‘s unusual. But the rain still comes in just fine?” Rarity asked.

“The weather is about eleven kinds of screwy in this place. Rain comes in just fine, but no dice with the wind apparently.”

“And…any knowledge on the animals? Are they any more-“ Fluttershy gulped “-Docile than the Everfree’s?” she asked.

“I can’t guarantee that Ms. Fluttershy. This is uncharted jungle we’re dealing with here. Who knows what’s-HOLD IT!” Professor put his hoof to his side to stop the two mares from advancing any further.

“What?! What is it?!” Fluttershy whispered a little loudly.

Professor Critter looked into the air and flared his nostrils, taking in a big whiff.

“Do you two smell that?” he asked. Both mare slightly sniffed the air, which prompted Rarity to cringe in disgust.

“Euegggh! What is that dreadful odor?!” Rarity cried.

Fluttershy, while she also found the smell disgusting, seemed to be more afraid of it than disgusted.

“R-Rarity…t-that’s…” she stuttered.

“That smell…it’s Manticore manure.” Professor Critter said.

“W-What?!” Rarity exclaimed.

“You know, dung. Poop. Feces. Sh-“

“I know what it is!”

Professor Critter looked down at Rarity’s hooves and his eyes widened for a moment before returning to their normal size and he chuckled a little.

“Then I suppose you should be able to recognize when you’re hoof-deep in the stuff then?” Professor Critter asked with a slight smirk.

Almost the second that sentence left his mouth, Rarity looked down at her hooves and her eyes widened in horror. She had indeed found that she had stepped in a big pile of manticore feces. So, she did what would come naturally to her in a situation like this.

“Ewewewewewewewew!” Rarity exclaimed as she hopped out of the offending substance and started waving her forelegs away from her. She quickly opened her saddlebags with her magic and levitated a package of wet wipes and started to furiously wipe away at her soiled hooves.

When she noticed that Critter had a hoof glued to his mouth and was trying not to snicker, it didn’t help her mood.

“This is NOT funny! Do you have any idea how long this will take to get out?! Honestly, for a professor, you are SO immature!” She practically screamed.

“Um no. I’m pretty sure this is-“ Critter was stopped by Fluttershy nudging his shoulder and giving him a stern glare.

“…Nevermind.” Critter grumbled with an angry-looking pout. He then bent his neck down to observe the manticore feces.

“Don’t get that close to it! That is simply revolting!” Rarity shouted.

“Sorry if my job isn’t glamorous enough for you, princess.” Critter said sarcastically as he continued to look at it, to which Rarity gave another angry huff and pushed her mane out of her face.

“Well Professor?” Fluttershy asked nicely.

Critter brought his head back up.

“It’s still fresh. Bastard could still be around here somewhere.” He said with a sort of grim look on his face.

Both Fluttershy and Rarity’s eyes widened.

“Y-You mean it could be w-watching us?” Rarity asked.

“It’s possible, but try to relax for five measly minutes please. These things may have claws and teeth, but we have numbers and a big-ass knife. I think we’ll live.” Critter said.

“Oh, you’re not going to hurt it are you?” Fluttershy asked with a concerned look.

“Not unless I have to. I’m a stallion of science, not a poacher.” Critter said with a hoof to his chest.

Rarity wasn’t fairing very well at the thought of one of those savage beasts hanging around the corner, possibly sizing all three of them up to see who would look the tastiest. She was already not liking how unclean this jungle was, and knowing now that there were manticores here wasn’t calming her down.

“W-Well, I for one think we should move as fast as possible. If there is a manticore around here somewhere, then it wouldn’t make much sense to stick around-“ Rarity was starting to get so wrapped up in her nervous state that she didn’t notice what was crawling its way up her shoulder. Both Critter and Fluttershy stared at what appeared to be a spider the size of a hockey puck sitting next to her head.

“-And I don’t think that ending up as lunch for one of those creatures would do my coat any favors…why are you two looking at me like that?” Rarity asked with a raised eyebrow.

“R-Rarity, keep perfectly still. D-Don’t make any sudden movements.” Fluttershy stuttered.

Rarity stood as stiff as a board. Even though she did what she was told, she could obviously tell that something was wrong. Her eyes slowly shifted to her shoulder, where she saw the huge, eight-eyed bug arachnid staring back at her with a tilted head.

So, she did the understandable thing given her current dilemma.

She straightened up…

Took in a deep breath…

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!” Rarity screamed as she wildly flailed her hooves in the air, throwing the spider to the ground and scurried off into the foliage, leaving the mare to remain terrified and blindly gallop at breakneck speeds deeper into the jungle in fright, ignoring the leaves and vines that scratched at her on her way through..

“Wait Rarity! It’s too dangerous to go by yourself!” Fluttershy yelled after her friend.

“Argh damn it! She’s going to get herself killed at this rate! We’re going to need to go after her!” Critter said, cutting through the vines and leaves at a much quicker pace than before…

Rarity didn’t have the slightest clue where she was going. She just got so freaked out by that titan of a spider sitting on her shoulder. Could she really be blamed for reacting in the way she did though? This jungle was unexplored before today, so for all she knew, that could be some sort of new species of poisonous spider.

Not to mention that thing’s disgusting eight eyes and legs.

“Uggggggh. Absolutely revolting” Rarity said to herself as she shivered. She stopped to catch her breath for a moment. She looked behind her to see if her friend was anywhere near her.

Nothing but trees.

The leaves overhead blocked out most of the sun, which made the forest floor quite dark, which didn’t pose well for the white unicorn.

“Oh what was I thinking, running off like that?...No, scratch that. Why in the wide world of Equess did I ever step hoof into this dreadful jungle?!” Rarity yelled to herself. This was without a doubt the worst possible thing right now. She was in an uncharted jungle, had galloped away from her friend and the Professor, and had no idea where she had gone or how deep into the Windless Woods she had gone.

This did not look good at all.

Rarity sighed in annoyance.

“Well, perhaps I should just stay here and wait for them to come and find me. It’ll be easier for them if I don’t move, and I don’t even know which direction to g-“ Rarity stopped for a moment when she looked up into the distance and spotted some kind of brown blot high up in one of the trees. She squinted her eyes to see if she could tell what it was. From the looks of it, it was some sort of crude structure built in the canopy.

“…There’s shelter here?! I thought this place was uninhabited.” Rarity yelled to herself. She shook her head. “Now Rarity, never question good fortune. Structure means intelligent life. Perhaps whoever lives there can help me find Fluttershy.” Rarity said as she quickly galloped to the tree trunk.

When she finally made it there, she saw that there was some sort of makeshift elevator at the bottom, operated by a pulley system. Rarity inspected it for a moment and saw that the wood looked rather crude and would probably give her a ton of splinters should she step on it. Being precocious, she levitated a rather elegant-looking blanket out of her saddlebags and covered the platform with it before she stepped onto it. She looked at the rope that led up to the treehouse next to the platform. Rarity continuously pulled on the rope, which raised the platform up a little. She kept pulling on the rope, which eventually led to the near-top of the trees where the structure resided.

Rarity hadn’t realized how high up she was until she looked up and all of a sudden started to feel a little nauseous.

“Oh dear…this really doesn’t look safe.” She said before stepping onto the treehouse’s porch and quickly walking into the house so she didn’t have to look at the forest floor any longer than she needed to.

“Umm…excuse me? Is anypony home?” Rarity asked. As she looked around the corner into the treehouse. She received no answer.

The structure appeared to be in quite a wreck. There was a bed pushed off to its side with dirty sheets hanging off of it, there were ripped curtains on the glassless windows, and there was trash all over the floor.

Normally, Rarity would have considered a place in this condition an atrocity, but something seemed…wrong.

She took a few steps forward, the floorboards creaking under her hooves before she heard the sound of glass breaking under them. She quickly backed away in surprise and looked to the floor to see what she had stepped on.

On the floor was a framed picture of a family of ponies. One was a very beautiful pink Pegasus mare with a purple mane and a warm, sophisticated-looking smile. Her companion was a light brown unicorn stallion with a ginger mane and was wearing glasses and a bowtie. The last was an infant Pegasus colt with a color-scheme similar to the stallion, both in mane and in coat, and had a pacifier in his mouth. Something that really drew her in about the young colt was his curious pair of blue eyes, which were also possessed by the mare.

Rarity did a double take on the picture as she looked at it. She definitely recognized those faces from several of the “Canterlot Today” magazines she had in her boutique, she was sure of it.

“Wait a minute…this is…this is Flashbang and Big Bucks.” Rarity said to herself. She’d heard quite a lot about these two. They came from a very rich family due to the family’s specialty in buying out many smaller companies, and lived in Canterlot for a majority of their life. Unfortunately, they decided to go on an air-boat cruise a few years ago and were never heard from again after that.

Rarity looked around at the treehouse around her.

“So…this is what happened to them?” Rarity asked. She picked the picture up in her hooves and continued to look around the treehouse. In the process, she saw something else on the floor under a desk. She moved the desk out of the way and saw that there was a tape recorder with several tapes littering the floor around it.

“Maybe this could shed some light on things.” Rarity said as she levitated the tape recorder to her face. She picked up one of the tapes and put it inside, afterwards pressing the play button. What followed was what sounded like static and a voice.

“This is the audio journal of Big Bucks. I’m afraid that while on our air-boat, we had quite the misfortune fall upon myself and my family. We were heading out on a cruise around Equestria, and while I am not entirely sure what caused it, the ship caught fire. We were forced to crash land in this remote jungle, and we’re currently looking for any other survivors. I don’t really feel that I should be entirely worried though. Surely somepony will notice how long we’ve been gone and come looking for us.”

Another voice chimed in on the tape, a female voice with a hint of an accent.

“Honey, I just got done looking over the crash site…it…it’s not looking good.”

“Urgh…so we might be the only ponies here?”

“I wouldn’t be surprised. Have you actually looked at this place? Almost nothing but plants.”

“I don’t think I’d say they’re the only things here hon’. We haven’t been here very long and…neither of us really know much about the jungle.”

“…I feel that you’re trying to imply something here.”

“Well…I’m just saying that this place may be very dangerous for you.”

“Oh I KNOW you’re not saying what I think you’re saying! You don’t think I can take care of myself, do you?!”

“W-What? No of course not! It’s just…I don’t want you or the baby to get hurt.”

Rarity heard the female voice sigh.

“…I know darling. I suppose it’s only natural for you to be stressed out over this. This is new territory for both of us. But…we’ve made it this far, so there’s no use in slacking off now right?”

“No, there’s not. Moping about this won’t get us anywh-“


“He sounds hungry.”

“I’ll handle it.”

The sounds of hoofsteps were heard for a few seconds before the stallion’s voice was heard again.

“…Looks like this’ll need to wait for another time. I’ll keep these going so I can shed some light on what happened if somepony ever finds us.”

The tape ended with a click, and Rarity looked a little discouraged.

“That poor stallion. He had quite a reason to be afraid. Having his wife and foal with him too.” Rarity said. She picked up the next tape and played it.

“So, it’s been about four months or so since the crash. We’ve looted the crash site for a few necessities and built a shelter up in the trees so that anything in the jungle can’t get to us. Finding food around here isn’t much of a problem; there’s fruit everywhere. But…we’ve noticed some pretty strange things about this place…there’s no wind…anywhere. We’ve managed to keep the rain off of us for the most part, thanks to my wife. Can’t risk our foal getting a cold can we hon’?”

“No. This jungle’ll have to go through me if it wants my baby, and I’ll be damned to Tartarus before I let that happen!”

“I pity the beast that crosses your path.”

“Speaking of which…have you noticed the tracks near the bottom of the tree lately?”

“Wait, what?”

Sounds of shuffling were heard due to which Rarity could only assume was Big Bucks looking down.

“Urggh, shit…Flashbang, we’re going to need to stay on our hooves. From what I can tell, whatever left those things has claws, and in this place that can only mean one thing.”



The tape ended with another click.

Rarity was starting to get a little disturbed by these audio logs. She almost hesitated to listen to the third, and final one.

Nevertheless, she popped the tape in and played it anyway.

“Things haven’t gotten much better for us around here in terms of safety. We’ve been here for about nine months or so now, and nopony’s found us yet. Regardless, we’ve been trudging along and we’re just happy we have each other’s company. Our foal’s getting to be quite a strong little one. I just hope that we’ll be able to get him back home and away from this awful jungle…We’re starting to wonder if we’ll be able to ever go back to Canterlot, back to how things used to be. When everything’s not trying to eat you at every corner. An-Urgh hang on…Flashbang honey, what’s that so-AAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!”


What followed after sounded like some inpony beast roaring a deathly roar, Big Bucks and Flashbang screaming, and the sound of their young foal crying.

The tape ended after a few moments of static.

Rarity was at a loss for words.

“My goodness…that’s…that’s horrible.” Rarity said to herself. She suddenly felt very uncomfortable standing in the same room as those ponies were when they were presumably killed. It made her heart even heavier to think that if the parents didn’t live, then it wasn’t very likely the foal made it either. She looked to the mangled bed in the corner of the room that had bloodstains all over it. Looking at it made her sick to her stomach.

Unfortunately, she was so busy looking at the bloodstains that she didn’t notice the scorpion tail hanging from the ceiling. It was only when she heard a slight growl that she looked up and saw the terror staring back down at her. Clinging to the beams in the ceiling was a very, very skinny and hungry-looking manticore, clearly not the same species found in the Everfree Forest as this one appeared to have bigger wings, but it had the same menacing look about it all the while.

Rarity screamed and made a bolt for the door when the beast pounced behind her and tried to swipe at her.

“Raaaaargh!” it roared.

“AAAAAAAAAAAH!” Rarity wailed as she ran outside and jumped onto the blanket-covered platform, propelling it downward to the forest floor, and landing hard with a loud SMACK!

The manticore wasn’t about to let its target escape and it glided to the ground with its wings and landed right behind Rarity, swiping at her again, this time managing to rip her saddlebags, making all her things fall on the ground.

“Hey! These were hoof-stitched you brute!” Rarity yelled at the beast. The manticore didn’t let up and continued to advance toward the mare, prompting her to nervously back away. She had seen just what this species’ Everfree cousins could do, and she was terrified to think of what this thing would do to her.

“Umm…I take that back. Y-You aren’t a brute. Y-You’re a real…nice…kitty?” Rarity said, hoping to appease the creature.

The manticore didn’t pay it any mind though, and raised his paw up to strike at Rarity again. Rarity flinched and was almost certain that she was going to die right at that moment…


Rarity heard another roar not unlike the manticore’s come from high up in the nearby trees. It appeared to distract the beast from Rarity, and it looked up in the roar’s direction. Rarity looked up too and gasped at the figure she saw holding onto a branch with a wing.

Hanging there was a colt, not that much older than Rarity’s sister. He had a dirty, brown coat and a big mop of messy, ginger hair on his head, which matched the color of his tail as well, and appeared to be very, very angry.

“Grrrrrr….” The colt snarled at the manticore as he slid his way down the tree trunk with his wings hanging onto each side, and landed on the ground. The colt crouched into a fighting position, with his wings flared to make himself look bigger, and his head low to the ground.

The manticore ignored Rarity in favor of the colt challenging him, and also got into a fighting stance. The two slowly circled each other, looking like one could strike down the other at any given moment.

Rarity was about to tell the colt to run for his life, to get away as far as he possibly could from the monster, but looked at him again.

She still had the picture from the treehouse with her and she took a second look at the infant in the picture and this colt.

Then she did it again.

And again…

The resemblance was undeniable.

“…Oh my goodness…” Rarity whispered to herself.

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There almost wasn’t enough room in Rarity’s mind for all the questions she was asking herself about this new development. Clearly, this was the foal that was in the picture, obviously having aged since then. Had he just been living in the jungle since his parents were killed? How did he survive the attack? Why was this manticore glaring down at him like he was a legitimate threat?

These questions were almost immediately shot down though when she saw that the manticore had pounced above the foal, ready to strike him down. Rarity covered her eyes, not wanting to watch the massacre that would surely ensue.

Only to hear the manticore howling in pain.

She uncovered her eyes to not only see that the colt was alive, but also witnessed one of the most hilarious sights she had ever seen.

The colt had the manticore pinned to the ground on his stomach, repeatedly bucking his head with his hind legs, but also biting down hard on the monster’s left wing. The manticore struggled to stand up and growled in frustration at the little pony biting his wing. When he did manage to get to his feet though, the colt didn’t let up on his grip. The ferocious monster, still a little disoriented from the pony’s blows to his head, flailed around uselessly to try and throw him off.

The colt apparently saw what the manticore was trying to do, and wrapped his hooves around the monster’s neck, shifting his weight hard enough so that he steered the manticore head-first into a few trees, drawing blood from the creature’s nose.

The manticore had officially had enough, as he raised his scorpion-like tail up above the colt on his back, preparing to sting him.

Rarity noticed the colt didn’t see the tail creeping up behind him, appearing to try and keep himself focused on keeping his grip on the manticore’s neck, and gasped in fright.

“Look out!” Rarity yelled to him.

The colt’s ears perked up and was given notice of the tail about to sting him. Before it could make contact though, he managed to catch the tail with his wings, stopping it just inches from his face. The colt looked back down at the manticore and snarled again. The manticore did the same, baring his teeth. The colt flinched with a disgusted look on his face, and proceeded to give him a swift kick to the back of the head, knocking him out cold.

Rarity figured it must’ve said something he didn’t like.

The colt hopped off the monster’s back and started stretching his wings out to relax.

“Are you alright darling? Did that ruffian of an animal hurt you?” Rarity asked. The colt quickly turned to Rarity and looked at her with a curious face. He trotted next to her and started sniffing her coat. Understandably, this made Rarity a little uncomfortable.

“Umm, I mean no disrespect dear, but could you please stop that?” Rarity asked. The colt didn’t seem to hear her, and continued his sniffing. He conducted a few more tests, like touching her muzzle, and then doing the same to his own, and scratching his mane and then scratching Rarity’s mane. When he got to her mane though, he coughed slightly, presumably never having smelled hairspray before. He didn’t seem to like it.

He backed away, and looked at Rarity with a tilted head, like he was trying to understand something that he’s never seen before. He stretched out one of his wings, and raised an eyebrow.

Rarity looked at the colt, trying to figure out what he was trying to say.

“Erm…are you asking why I don’t have wings? Darling, I’m a unicorn. Unicorn’s have horns, not wings.” Rarity said. The colt didn’t seem to move from his stance, still with a wing stretched out and a confused look on his face.

“…Can you…even understand me?” Rarity asked. The colt didn’t respond, only blinking a few times.

“Hmm, I suppose that’s a no…Alright let me try to put this in a way you may be able to understand.” Rarity levitated a stick off the ground, which made the colt flinch, starting to look a little on the cautious side, flaring his wings again.

“Calm down, it’s only magic. I’m not going to hurt you.” Rarity said. Although the colt didn’t seem to understand her language, he took a good look at her body language. She wasn’t even attempting to look threatening in the slightest, and even though she was twice his size, he’d probably be able to break her in half regardless.

He decided that she posed no real threat, and lowered his guard.

“Very good. Now, let me explain pony anatomy to you.” Rarity said. She took the stick and started to draw in the dirt with it. The colt looked down at the dirt, curious as to what she was doing. When Rarity was done, there were drawings of three ponies, a unicorn, a Pegasus, and an Earth Pony.

“You see darling, you are a pegasus, therefore you have wings, as well as the ability to fly and walk on clouds.” Rarity said, pointing the stick to the Pegasus, then pointing directly to its wings, and drawing a cloud below the Pegasus.

“While I am a unicorn, so I have a horn and can use magic.” Rarity said, this time pointing the stick to the unicorn drawn in the dirt, pointing at its horn and drawing a slight magical glow on it.

“And those that have neither are Earth Ponies. They have enhanced strength that more than makes up for it though.” Rarity said, pointing to the Earth Pony’s back and head to show the lack of horns or wings, and then drew a cracked rock in front of it.

The colt tilted his head sideways. What was this mysterious white creature that happened to be very similar to him trying to say?

Rarity must have seen how confused he looked.

“You…haven’t ever seen another pony before, have you? No wonder you’re so confused; being isolated for so long.” Rarity said shaking her head. She then heard a slight growl and quickly turned to the motionless body of the manticore, only to see that it was still as the colt had left it; still completely unconscious.

It was only then when she realized that the growling sound wasn’t coming from any sort of animal, but was the colt’s stomach.

As expected, the young pony looked quite hungry, with a sort of pained look on his face as he looked down at his rumbling tummy.

“Oh dear, you sound hungry…hang on a moment.” Rarity said as she trotted over to where she had dropped the contents of her saddlebags due to the manticore’s attack, and mourned over her ripped bags.

“Hmph. I can’t believe that ruffian did that…Oh well. I suppose I could fix these back at camp. Now, where were those cupcakes?” Rarity said to herself as she shuffled through the pile. Eventually she came upon a small, white box with Sugarcube Corner’s logo on it; Pinkie Pie had made sure that her friends had gotten some cupcakes to take with them on the trip. Rarity opened it and found that there was a single, vanilla cupcake with pink frosting left inside.

“Oh dear. I didn’t realize I was so low on food.” Rarity said, turning back to the small pony, holding a hoof onto his stomach.

“Here darling, eat this. It’s the least I can do after you saved my life.” She said, levitating the pastry into his sight. The pony was still a little wary about Rarity’s magic, and he curiously sniffed the cupcake. His senses told him that…whatever it was, was some form of food. He took the cupcake in his hooves and took an experimental lick…

And proceeded to shove the entire cupcake into his mouth, pink frosting getting all around his mouth, which had a big smile on his face. The colt’s tail wagged from side to side, obviously very grateful.

Rarity’s left eye twitched. Even though she started to piece together that this pony had spent pretty much his entire life in the jungle, she couldn’t seem to get over the extremely low level of manners he seemed to possess.

She levitated the package of wet-wipes she brought with her out of the pile and trotted over to him.

“Now do try to have some form of class, dear. Just because you were raised in a jungle doesn’t mean you have to look like it.” Rarity said, trying to wipe the pink frosting off his snout. The colt struggled to get Rarity’s hoof away from his mouth, violently shaking his head and scrunching up his face.

In the end though, Rarity won out, and managed to get the frosting off the pony’s face. The colt didn’t even seem quite sure what just transpired, looking back down at his muzzle in confusion. She didn’t seem to…harm him or anything, just got something off his mouth.

“That’s much better. Now I suppose we should just wait here f-“ Rarity was interrupted by the sound of her own stomach grumbling, indicating that she was also beginning to get hungry, making her blush in embarrassment.

“Oh my. It would seem I’m getting a little peckish myself.” Rarity said nervously.

The colt recognized when another creature was hungry, and was able to tell that this mare was in that state. She had helped him when he had the same problem, and judging from the lack of physical strength on this creature, he could venture a guess that she wasn’t going to last very long in this place without help. He galloped to a nearby tree and grabbed onto the trunk, shimmying up and grabbing onto some branches with his wings to slingshot himself up.

“Wait a minute! Just where do you think you’re going?!” Rarity yelled after him, before he was out of sight in the dense leaves above.

Rarity would have begun to be truly worried if he hadn’t leaped back down about a minute later with a few bananas in his mouth, wagging his tail while he stood in front of the white mare.

“Is that…for me?” Rarity asked, pointing to the bananas. The colt put them at the mare’s hooves and gave her a face that probably meant something along the lines of “just shut up and eat.”

Rarity carefully levitated a banana up to her face and peeled it with her magic, putting it in her mouth afterwards, leaving her with a dazed, satisfied look on her face.

“Mmmm. Oh this is delicious! Thank you very much…oh dear, I don’t even know what to call you.” Rarity said. She looked the colt over a little, trying to think of how she could address the pony. She noticed the way the colt wagged his tail furiously like a dog or a timberwolf cub when he was happy, also keeping his animal-like behavior in mind.

“Hmm…Is it okay if I call you…’Timber?’” Rarity asked. The colt raised an eyebrow and tilted his head, blinking a few more times than usual.

“Umm…is that a yes?...oh dear, communicating with this pony is going to be difficult.” Rarity said.

“Raaaarity!” both ponies heard a voice coming from deep inside the jungle, startling them. The colt Rarity had appropriately named “Timber” bolted in front of Rarity almost immediately and got back into fighting position, preparing for the worst to come.

Unlike Timber though, Rarity recognized that voice. It was usually very soft and tender, but at the moment, sounded panicked and terrified, presumably from worrying over her.

“...Fluttershy? Fluttershy, I’m over here!” Rarity yelled after it.

What Are You?

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“Raaaaarity?!” Fluttershy yelled for her friend. No response.

“Oh no. Oh no. Oh nononononono!”

“Ms. Fluttershy, can you please try to relax? I know this looks pretty bad, but freaking out about it isn’t going to make things any better.” Critter said to his companion who treaded slowly behind him while he quickly cut their way through the dense jungle.

“But what if she’s in trouble? If it was anypony else I probably wouldn’t be as worried, but you saw how she reacted to that spider. A spider! And what if that manticore found her? Professor, Rarity REALLY isn’t used to this kind of place.” Fluttershy said nervously.

Professor Critter rolled his eyes.

“Yeah, that much is obvious. Look, just try not to always expect the worst out of every situation. You said it yourself. We need to keep our heads in this place. Things could go sour pretty quickly if we don’t.” he said.

Fluttershy meekly nodded, and went back to shouting Rarity’s name to get her attention.

“Rarity?! Raaaaarity!” Fluttershy called out.

This time, she got an answer back.

“Fluttershy? Fluttershy, I’m over here!” Rarity’s voice yelled to her. The professor increased the pace of his cutting in the direction of Rarity’s voice.

“Oh thank goodness we found her! I hope nothing hurt-” Fluttershy said.

Professor Critter turned back to Fluttershy and put a hoof over her lips.

“Ah ah ah. Remember what I said about not expecting the worst? I understand that you’re worried about your friend, but we at least we know she’s alive. So please…chill out.” He said before taking his hoof off Fluttershy’s mouth.

“Oh. Okay.” Fluttershy said quietly before they continued to trot through the dense leaves.

Eventually, they made it upon a clearing in the jungle, where Fluttershy ran in front of the Professor to see if her friend was alright.

“Rarity! Are you alright?! Did anything hurt y-EEP!” The next thing Fluttershy knew, there was a very angry brown Pegasus colt about to jump her, baring his teeth and growling, daring the yellow pony to come another step forward. Even though the pony was only half Fluttershy’s size, he looked like he could tear her apart with those teeth.

Fluttershy was sure that he probably would have too if Rarity hadn’t pulled him back by the tail with her magic.

“Timber darling, I’m flattered that you feel you need to protect me, but it really isn’t necessary. These are my friends.” Rarity said, pointing to Fluttershy and Professor Critter, both staring at Rarity and Timber with shocked expressions on their faces. Timber sat on his haunches and stared back, apparently just as surprised as they were.

Who knew there were even more of these things?

“Ummm…Rarity…who’s your friend?” Fluttershy asked.

“Oh right, you haven’t met. Fluttershy. Professor. This is Timber. At the very least, that’s what I’ve started calling him.” Rarity said, gesturing to the inquisitive little colt staring at the two.

Professor Critter seemed to be at the biggest loss for words given this new development.

“What the-wha-wazza…where’d this kid come from? I was so sure this place was deserted.” He stumbled over his own words. How a foal could survive in this kind of environment was completely beyond him, even in his years of experience working with animals and nature. He knew for sure that the jungle was too cruel a place for a child to possibly be able to live, so…how come this one was standing in front of him right now, alive and well?

“Trust me, I was just as surprised as you were. I was just out here trying to find you, when I came across that treehouse up there-“Rarity pointed upwards to the tree where the structure was located, to which both Critter and Fluttershy stared in silence at it.

“Then this manticore came out of nowhere and attacked me! That brute had the nerve to rip my saddlebags-“

“Your life was pretty much about to end as you know it, on the verge of being made into a bloody mess on the forest floor and about to be ingested by a giant cat with wings, and you were worried about your saddlebags?” Critter asked with a deadpan look.

“In my defense, they were made from imported fabric.” Rarity said.

Critter facehoofed.

“Whatever. Continue” he mumbled

Rarity awkwardly coughed.

“Yes well…That was when Timber came to my aid and…did that to it.” Rarity then pointed to the unconscious manticore laying under a tree, making Fluttershy gasp in a combination of fright and concern.

“Oh my goodness!” Fluttershy flew to the animal’s side and started to look it over. When she saw it was still breathing, she let out a sigh of relief, took a bandage out of her saddlebag, and placed it on the cut on the manticore’s nose.

“I would tell him not to pick on things that are smaller than he is…but I think he already gets it.” Fluttershy said, addressing the manticore.

If it was possible for Professor Critter to be any more baffled than he was before, that this definitely did it.

“…A little colt knocked out a huge, raging manticore?...Hehe. Now I’ve seen everything.” He said with a slight chuckle, shaking his head.

Rarity levitated the picture she obtained from the treehouse back toward her, and gestured for Fluttershy and Critter to come look, to which both ponies complied.

“Do either of you recognize these ponies?” Rarity asked.

Professor Critter looked quizzically at the framed photo, letting the ponies’ faces sink in.

“Hmmm…aren’t they those Canterlot nobles that disappeared a couple years back?” he asked.

“They do look pretty familiar.” Fluttershy said.

Rarity nodded and pointed back to the treehouse.

“Indeed they were. I found a few tapes in that treehouse explaining everything that happened, and it turns out that their air-boat crashed here, forcing them to take shelter in there.” Rarity said, holding the picture back up.

“Now look again. Does their foal look at all familiar?” Rarity asked, pointing a hoof to the baby pony. Both Fluttershy and Critter were about to say they didn’t have any idea, but stopped when they looked at Timber, who was still baffled by the sudden appearance of two other ponies. They looked back at the photo, doing a double take as they looked at the features of Timber and the baby. As expected, they looked almost identical.

“…Hooooooly shit...” Critter mumbled.

“O-Oh my…d-don’t tell me that’s…” Fluttershy stuttered.

Rarity put the picture back down and nodded.

“Yes, I have every reason to believe that Timber and that foal are the same pony.” Rarity said.

Professor Critter shook his head in amazement. He had just come into this place to explore and document a few new species. Never in a million years would he have expected something like this to happen.

“…Ms. Rarity, I’m going to need to listen to those audio tapes up there to try and wrap my head around this. I’ll see you two back at camp.” Professor Critter said before trotting over to the makeshift elevator to the treehouse and started to pull himself.

Fluttershy looked over at Timber who appeared to be a little uneasy at her presence, and was refusing to fully let his guard down around the new pony. Fluttershy had never gotten the chance to talk to a pony that was raised up in this sort of situation, and decided to try and talk to him.

“Umm…Timber? Do you…want to talk?” Fluttershy asked gently. Timber backed away from the yellow Pegasus with a slight scowl on his face, accompanied by a small growl. This caused Fluttershy to flinch in surprise. She was usually so good at this, so what did she do wrong?

“Oh my…I don’t think he likes me.” Fluttershy said with her ears to the sides of her head.

Rarity shook her head.

“Oh no Fluttershy, I’m sure it isn’t that. It’s just that I’m the only pony he’s ever met, and he might not feel very comfortable around new ones just yet. Seems he only trusts me right now.” Rarity said.

Fluttershy knelt down to Timber’s eye level, trying her best not to look threatening to the little colt.

“I’m really sorry if I’m scaring you Timber. I understand that you’re only acting this way because you haven’t seen much of our kind, and this must all feel very strange to you, but I promise I’m not going to hurt you.” Fluttershy said as softly as possible, as if she were talking to a little bunny and not a colt that had just knocked out a ferocious manticore.

Timber still didn’t look all that convinced, seeing as he had no idea what Fluttershy was saying, but he was able to put together that she wasn’t going to try anything. Timber was also able to see that this pony was severely lacking in the muscular strength department just the same as Rarity. If a pony like this was going to try and harm him, he figured they must either be very brave, or very stupid. Timber appeared to relax a little, and grumbled something under his breath.

“Is he trying to say something? Fluttershy you can talk to animals; could you maybe give a translation?” Rarity asked.

“O-Okay, I’ll try.” Fluttershy said, trying to listen to the sounds Timber was making to get an accurate translation.

“…It seems he’s talking in Timberwolf.” Fluttershy said.

That slightly disturbed Rarity, although she wouldn’t be surprised if this colt was raised around those beasts, judging from the way he behaved.

“Do you know what he’s saying?” Rarity asked.

Fluttershy’s face looked like she was heavily thinking.

“Timberwolves are very hostile creatures Rarity, so I haven’t been able to talk to very many. You’ll have to excuse me if my translation is a little rusty. But I think he’s saying something along the lines of…Oh my.” Fluttershy mumbled, looking a little worried.

“What? What is it?” Rarity asked, looking just as worried.

“He said…’What are you, and why do you look me?’” Fluttershy replied.

Rarity sighed and kneeled down in front of Timber with a consoling look on her face.

“Timber, I can’t express how sorry I feel for you. Not being among your own kind for so long to the point where you can’t even recognize a pony when you see one. Celestia knows what’s going on in your head right now.” Rarity sighed, shaking her head.

Rarity turned back to Fluttershy with a sad look on her face.

“Fluttershy dear, I think I’ll be going back to camp to fix my saddlebags. I’m still quite miffed that that manticore would do something like this, and I’m afraid I can’t use these in their condition.”

“Are you sure Rarity? Last time you went into this jungle alone…that happened.” Fluttershy said, pointing to the unmoving manticore.

Rarity looked at Timber for a moment. The colt seemed to be able to sense that Rarity wasn’t going to be sticking around for long, and he didn’t look very happy about it.

“Timber…would you like to come with me? I’ll be staying in the Windless Woods for a little while longer, and I sure could use the company of somepony that knows their way around here...and maybe wrestle a vicious beast to the ground if need be.” Rarity asked. Knowing that Timber couldn’t understand their way of speaking though, she also gestured her hoof towards her direction.

That much Timber could comprehend, and he immediately perked up his ears and started wagging his tail to show his happiness. He quickly trotted to Rarity’s side and nuzzled his head under her chin. Rarity awkwardly stepped back, mostly due to the fact that even though she thought the attention was adorable, Timber’s mane smelled terrible, very close to the smell a Timberwolf gives off, and it nearly made her gag.

“Erm…and maybe get you a bath when we get there.” Rarity said, still reeling a little from the smell as they trotted back through the path Fluttershy and Critter had made to get to the clearing, Rarity waving Fluttershy goodbye as they left. Rarity looked back at Timber, who she now noticed was chewing on his wings a little and scratching behind his ears with a hoof.

…Please don’t tell me he has fleas…lovely.’ Rarity thought sarcastically to herself.

She’d need to make that a long bath.

Bath Time

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To say that Timber didn’t like bath-time would be the understatement of the decade. He downright despised it. Everything about this experience felt wrong in every way possible. He was soaked from head to hoof in water and these weird, foamy things that popped whenever he touched them, and there was some sort of new, foreign smell permeating through his coat, mane and tail.

The savage colt squirmed uselessly under Rarity’s magic as she scrubbed away at his coat with a sponge and soap, squirting shampoo on him nonstop.

“BLARGH! BLAAAAAARGH!” Timber growled in frustration at his helplessness of the current situation.

“Oh hush now; this doesn’t hurt.” Rarity lightly scolded as she furiously scrubbed Timber’s coat while he squirmed in the bubble-engulfed washtub in the expedition camp.

The camp was about what you would expect for a group of hiking and researching ponies. A rather large fire pit in the center, several tables all over the site covered with incomplete maps of the area and books that held many of the known species of animals in Equestria, and three tents…

Two rather modest looking ones, and Rarity’s huge, lavish, and very expensive tent that looked more similar to a mansion or castle than a tent. It even had a balcony.

After about a good half hour of bathing, Rarity (now almost soaked completely due to Timber’s struggling and splashing about.) had managed to get that awful smell out of Timber’s mane, and it now smelled more similar to that of lemons. Timber hopped out of the washtub and grumbled something angrily in Timberwolf under his breath.

“There we go. Now doesn’t that feel so much better?” Rarity asked, pleased with her work.

Better? He felt just fine before this mare ambushed him with soap and shampoo. Although he had to admit to himself that he did feel a little sleeker, and his coat looked much shinier, there was one thing that was slightly bugging him.

His smell.

Whenever he faced an animal for a fight, the first thing they would notice and truly be terrified about him was how similar he smelled to Timberwolves, without a doubt some of the most feared creatures in nature. Just the smell of one could strike fear into the hearts of even some of the larger and more aggressive animals.

This new odor on the other hoof, didn’t come across as threatening or dominant in any way.

He didn’t like it.

Timber prepared himself to shake himself dry, but Rarity levitated a towel onto him and started to dry him off properly.

Timber groaned.

“Timber, please. This may be a little new to you, but must you be so difficult? I simply can’t let you go wandering around as dirty as you were. It’s simply unsanitary.” Rarity said, lifting the towel off of him, revealing a now very fluffy and grumpy ginger-maned colt. He gave Rarity an angry pout and a slight glare.

“Oh Timber, please don’t look at me like that. I’m only doing what’s best for you. Honestly, when was the last time you cleaned yourself?” Rarity asked.

As if on cue, a rustling came from behind the trees across the campsite, making Timber tense up a little. For all he knew, it could be more animals looking to harm the white one.

He let himself relax though when he saw it was only the male with the stupid eyebrows and the yellow, winged creature.

Professor Critter trotted into the campsite, took one look at Timber, and brought everything he had in him forward to try not to laugh at how fluffy and ridiculous the savage colt looked right now.

“Rarity, what the hay’d you do to the poor kid?” he laughed, trying not to let much escape from behind his hoof.

Rarity let out an angry huff.

“All I did was bathe him!”

“Are you sure that’s all you did? He looks like a freakin’ stuffed animal they way he is right now.” Critter chuckled.

“His fur’s slight…poofiness, is only temporary. It’ll go back to normal after enough time.”

Rarity was a little surprised that Fluttershy wasn’t jumping in to try and stop their bickering this time. Usually whenever a problem arose between them, Fluttershy was the one to step in and stop it. This time though, there was nothing. Rarity craned her neck to look behind the Professor, only to see a very sorrowful Fluttershy looking at the ground, slightly sniffling a few times.

Critter noticed how Rarity was looking at her and interjected.

“…She heard the last tape.” Critter said.

Rarity put a hoof to her mouth in shock and gasped.

“Oh my goodness Fluttershy I…” Rarity couldn’t even bring herself to finish, given the sad look on Fluttershy’s face when she looked up.

“…Does he know?” Fluttershy asked sadly.

Rarity shifted her eyes back to Timber, who was still sitting by the washtub with his tail in his face, grimacing at the new fragrance.

“Half the time Fluttershy, I almost have no clue what’s going on in that foal’s head. But…I very highly doubt it.” Rarity said with a grim look on her face.

Professor Critter sighed and shook his head.

“It’s a shame. No kid should have to live like this. Can’t even begin to imagine what he’s feeling right now.” Critter said.

“So…what do we do? We can’t just leave him here when we go back to Ponyville. He’s already imprinted on me, and the poor colt would be heartbroken if I just left him all by himself.” Rarity said.

Fluttershy looked up at the sky. What little light that was coming through the canopy was starting to disappear now, indicating that nighttime was drawing near.

“It’s getting dark. Maybe we should all sleep on it and decide what to do in the morning.” Fluttershy suggested.

Critter and Rarity nodded in unison.

“Yes, that sounds like a good idea…blech. Came into this place expecting to just find some rare animals. Didn’t expect to end up finding a missing heir to a multi-million bit fortune that turns out doesn’t understand us. Can this get any more complicated?” Critter asked.

“None of us could have predicted this darling. But, I agree with Fluttershy. We’ve all had a long day, and it is about time for us to retire for the night.” Rarity said. Critter and Fluttershy were departing for their tents, when Critter turned back to Rarity.

“Oh, and Ms. Rarity?”


“…Timber gave ya quite a bit of trouble with bath-time didn’t he?” he asked, gesturing to her completely soaked mane and coat. Rarity looked at the state of her coat, blushed in embarrassment, and let out another huff.

“…Shut up.” She grumbled.

Critter snickered and mentally hoof-pumped before he disappeared into his tent.

Rarity tried to ignore the bubbling anger that was starting to boil, and dried herself off with a towel, trying to get as much water out of her mane as she possibly could. She could only seem to do so much though, as she was denied of her hairdryer out her due to the lack of power.

When Rarity got her mane into what she considered an acceptable state, she turned around to where Timber had been sitting on his haunches before, only to find that he wasn’t where she had left him.

“Timber? Timber where did you go?” Rarity asked, looking around the campsite. She received no answer, nor any sign of the colt’s presence.

“Timber, come on now, this isn’t funny!” Rarity yelled, almost in a bit of a panic. Where could he have gone? Considering how nimble he was in fighting that manticore, she feared he could be in any part of the jungle right now. Her eyes quickly darted around the campsite in search of the colt…

Only to have her ears pick up the quiet sounds of snoring coming from her tent.

Rarity trotted over to her tent and looked inside, lifting the flap aside to get a good look.

The sight inside nearly melted her heart.

Timber was laying sideways on one of the pillows inside the tent, still as fluffed-up as he was when he had been dried off, and in a very restful sleep, making cute snoring noises while he slept. If Rarity hadn’t witnessed this pony tackle a manticore earlier, she never would have believed this was the same colt with the look he had about him now.

Rarity trotted inside, looking down at Timber’s sleeping form and put a hoof to her chest.

“…Poor dear. He really does deserve a good rest after today.” Rarity whispered to herself. Feeling quite tired herself, Rarity laid down next to the little pony, letting him rest his head on her chest. While still in his sleep, Timber nuzzled Rarity’s chest fur with a slight smile on his face.

Rarity sighed as she started to stroke Timber’s ginger mane, careful not to wake him up.

I can’t just leave him here with nopony to relate to. But, if he’s lived here all his life…would he even be willing to leave?’ Rarity thought to herself.


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Rarity had to have slept better than ever before after the previous night. She felt so comfortable that she almost didn’t want to get up. She couldn’t quite put her hoof on it, but there was something about having a foal look up to you the way Timber seemed to do with her, that made her feel that she was truly doing something worthwhile. Sure, being overall generous to somepony always gave her a very good feeling, but this felt especially refreshing. She was basically attempting to teach a pony to…well…be a pony, and that felt fantastic.

Or perhaps it was the fact that Timber had adorably cuddled up to her all night like a foal would with its mother. That wasn’t entirely out of the realm of possibility.

No matter how comfortable she felt right now though, she had to get up sometime today, so it may as well be now.

Rarity stretched out her hooves and shook her head to get out of her dazed, sleepy state, and pulled her pink sleep-mask off of her face.

“Mmmm! Good morning Tim-HUH?!” Rarity looked down next to her, expecting to still find the colt laying next to her like he had the night before, but was nowhere to be found.

Rarity’s mind went into an almost immediate panic and a few beads of sweat began to form on her head. Where did he go?! Why did he get out of bed?! What if some vile creature stole him from her in the middle of the night and she hadn’t even noticed?!

In her panic, Rarity quickly got to her hooves and ran through the flap of her tent and galloped in front of Critter and Fluttershy’s tents, screaming for them to get up.

“Professor! Fluttershy! Get up, quickly!” Rarity screamed.

Both ponies very slowly emerged from their respective tents, Fluttershy rubbing the sleep out of her eyes with a dazed expression on her face, and Professor Critter looking a little irritated with bags under his eyes and having a serious case of bed-head.

“Ugh. You couldn’t wait till the afternoon to have one of your fits? Seriously Rarity, it’s way too early for this.” He grumbled.

“Rarity…what’s the matter?” Fluttershy asked sleepily, her voice laced with a bit of concern.

“Oh it’s absolutely terrible! I woke up this morning and found that Timber has disappeared!” Rarity yelled, pointing to her empty tent. Fluttershy and Critter seemed to perk their heads up and snap out of their morning drowsiness at the thought of the foal going missing.

“W-What?!” Fluttershy stuttered.

“Alright Rarity, just calm down-“ Critter’s attempts at calming the alabaster mare where in vain, as they were interrupted by the mare in question started to frantically shake Critter by the shoulders.

“CALM DOWN?! HOW CAN YOU EXPECT ME TO CALM DOWN WHEN MY FOAL IS OUT IN THE JUNGLE ALONE?!?!” Rarity screamed at the top of her lungs. Rarity let go of Critter’s shoulders, only to hold onto her own and begin to shake.

Critter and Fluttershy to exchange some rather confused glances. Did they just hear that last part right?

“Umm…did you just refer to Timber as ‘your foal?’” Fluttershy asked.

Rarity stopped shaking at the sudden realization at what she had just let escape her mouth and tried to regain her composure, standing back up and taking some deep breaths.

“Erm…did I say that?...” Rarity said before shaking her head. “…No need to worry about it darling. Just a mere slip of the tongue in my panic is all.” Rarity said, trying to reassure her friend she had simply made a mistake.

“…You know it’s alright if you care enough for Timber to think of him as your own. There isn’t any shame in it.” Fluttershy said.

Rarity was beginning to see that her effort had been in vain and let out a big sigh.

“…I won’t deny that I do care for Timber’s well being…I may be becoming a little attached.” Rarity sighed.

“Awww. It’s so sweet that you care for that pony so much Rarity…but…why do you feel so worried about it?” Fluttershy asked.

Rarity visibly deflated, looking not at all like she wanted to answer.

“I-I just...keep thinking…of taking him back home with us…he’s lived here for so long, and he probably has so many friends here…what if he doesn’t want to go with me?” Rarity’s eyes looked like they were starting to fill up with tears and her bottom lip started trembling. “I do want him to come back to Ponyville with me, but I also want him to be happy…I-I don’t know what to do” Rarity stuttered.

“Oh Rarity…” Fluttershy said with her ears folded to her head and a sad look on her face.

Professor Critter had to be in one of the most awkward positions he’s been in for a while. Most of the time, he was used to being smart and sarcastic. This was really not the time for that though. There was a crying mare and her friend that didn’t seem to know how to console her on such a serious matter.

“Ms. Rarity…I can see why you’re worried. Timber may not be ready to leave his home yet, but then again, that colt adores you. I wouldn’t be surprised if he did decide to leave and attempt to be with his own kind. Timber had the guts to save you from a manticore for crying out loud! If that isn’t admiration, I don’t know what is.” Critter said.

Rarity wiped some tears from her face with a hoof and mustered a grateful smile.

“…Thank you Professor. I do feel a little better…is…is my makeup running?” Rarity asked.

Critter looked at the black marks running down Rarity’s face due to her tears and nodded.

“Oh dear. Just give me a moment to take care of this, and we’ll go and look for Timber.” Rarity said, trotting to her tent to fix her makeup, but stopped at the entrance when she noticed something. There were a few indentions in the dirt in front of her tent in two different shapes. One was hoof-shaped, and the others were just simple dots.

“Professor. Fluttershy. Come here. I think I may have found something.” Rarity said, waving a hoof toward her, prompting Critter and Fluttershy to surround the set of hoofprints in the dirt.

“These hoofprints look to be about Timber’s size, but…what are those?” Rarity asked, pointing to the dotted prints. Fluttershy and Critter leaned in to get a better look at the tracks.

“Hmmm…Fluttershy, are you getting the same feeling off of these things?” Critter asked.

Fluttershy nodded.

“I am. These look a lot like Spider-Monkey tracks.” Fluttershy said.

Rarity questionably raised an eyebrow.

“I beg your pardon you two, but these tracks don’t have toes. How can it be a spider monkey?” Rarity asked. Critter trotted over to a desk next to his tent, picked up his field guide in his hoof, and started to turn the pages.

“Not the same species you’re thinking of Rarity. These things are literally Spider-Monkeys. Big, arachnid-like abdomen, eight legs, and a monkey head…and did I mention that these things are enormous? Like…can get to be the size of a pretty able-bodied stallion enormous?” Critter said, making it to a page in his field guide and showing it to Rarity. Inside the book was a black-and-white sketch of a large, vicious, bug-like creature with the head of a monkey that appeared to be in the middle of a loud shriek, baring its fangs.

Just the sketch alone made Rarity feel like she was going to faint.

“A-Are you telling me that one of those monsters actually came into my tent and stole Timber right out from under me?!” Rarity yelled, horrified at the thought of one of those things being anywhere near her.

“But, Spider-Monkeys are usually such docile animals. And when they need food, they usually have a web set up somewhere and wait for food to come to them. They never go out and ambush other animals. This doesn’t make any sense.” Fluttershy said, looking at the picture of the Spider-Monkey in the field guide. She thought that whoever wrote this book was inaccurately depicting these creatures as monstrous, when in reality, that couldn’t be any farther from the truth.

“Look, all we know is that one was here and Timber’s gone. I’m pretty sure he can handle himself, but we’d better follow these things to make sure…Rarity, if you want to sit this one out, I understand.” Critter said, remembering how Rarity reacted to a normal spider earlier the previous day.

Despite Rarity’s disgust at these creatures, Rarity shook her head and put a determined look on her face.

“No! I am going to find Timber if it’s the last thing I do! And so help me Celestia, if one hair is missing off of his cute little head, I will SKIN THOSE MONSTERS ALIVE!” Rarity yelled, already hurriedly trotting past Critter and Fluttershy into the jungle, following the tracks made by the Spider-Monkey.

“Wait Rarity! Wait for us!” Fluttershy shouted after her as she trotted ahead as well.

Critter shook his head and let out a deep sigh.

“Again with this.” Critter sighed as he trotted in the mare’s direction.

The ponies had been trotting through the jungle for about an hour now. They were still following the tracks, and had yet to see any other signs of the Spider-Monkey that took Timber. Rarity was the one in the front of the group this time, determined to find the foal that had gone missing in the middle of the night.

“How dare those monsters take my Timber! They had better not hurt him or they will most certainly regret it!” Rarity had been yelling things of that nature for the past hour as they searched for the colt.

“Rarity, we don’t know for sure if that’s what happened.” Fluttershy mumbled with her ears still folded back.

“Fluttershy, I know it isn’t in a Spider-Monkey’s instincts to just go out and hunt down their prey, but the evidence is stacked pretty good against them.” Professor said, putting a hoof around Fluttershy’s shoulder.

“But Professor…weren’t you the one that told me not to expect the worst out of everything?” Fluttershy asked with a face that appeared to be a mixture of confusion and concern.

Critter took his hoof off of Fluttershy with a very awkward expression on his face. Who would’ve guessed his own advice would come back to bite him in the hindquarters? He started to rub the back of his neck.

“Erm…I guess I did say that.” He mumbled nervously.

“Professor, these Spider-Monkeys…are you absolutely certain they are as docile as you and Fluttershy say?” Rarity asked, still quite worried about how Timber was faring. If these things actually turned out to be as aggressive as that manticore…it was best to find out.

Critter shook his head to recover from Fluttershy sending his own advice right back at him, and took a moment to process Rarity’s question.

“…Not unless they’re provoked. Unless Timber somehow pissed em’ off, he should be okay. I just hope for their sake, they don’t get on his ne-“ Critter stopped midsentence when he looked ahead of the two mares. Acting on his instincts alone, he grabbed both of them by the shoulders and pulled them back toward him.

“Professor what are you-“ Fluttershy was silenced by one of Critter’s hoofs being pressed to her mouth and the sight that he pointed to ahead of them. Where Fluttershy fell silent though, Rarity gasped in fright.

Before them was quite a disturbing sight. In the clearing they had entered, there was a large group of the very same creatures they had been looking for this entire time, the Spider-Monkeys. However, unlike how the field guide depicted them, they looked absolutely terrified and fragile, their spider-like legs shaking and their monkey-like faces having looks that were nothing less of horrified.

And for good reason. In front of them was a beaten and battered Spider-Monkey, huge claw-marks emblazoned on its chest, and a few of its many legs were bending at angles that shouldn’t have been possible. Not far from him was Timber with a few cuts and bruises littering his body, snorting large amounts of air and steam from his flared nostrils with a furious look on his face.

The object of his rage however, was very familiar to them. The very same manticore Timber had fought yesterday was glaring him down once again, appearing to still be ready for a fight. The ponies could tell it was the same manticore from the bandage on its nose that Fluttershy had put there to heal the cut there.

To say the least, Rarity was shocked that Timber was going to have to fight this same monster again in the span of two days.

“Why is Timber fighting that beast again? He wouldn’t just get up in the middle of the night to go and pick fights like this.” Rarity said, trying to figure this out. She started to survey the situation more closely, and judging from the scared faces of the Spider-Monkeys as well as the injured one, she could factor a guess as to what this was all about.

For whatever reason, the manticore was trying to attack the Spider-Monkeys, Timber was trying to keep it away and one of the animals must have been injured in the struggle.

From the looks of things though, Timber had been fighting this thing for hours, and it didn’t look like the manticore was any closer to tiring out. Timber wiped a bead of sweat from his forehead and continued to bare his teeth and snarl at the gigantic feline.

The manticore must have taken whatever Timber said to him as a taunting and lunged toward the colt. Timber slid right out from under the manticore, just barely missing the monster’s claws. Timber came out behind him and was prepared to strike him again, but was halted by the feeling of the manticore’s tail slamming into his pelvis and throwing him across the clearing and right into the trunk of a nearby tree. Rarity swore she could hear the sickening CRUNCH of one of Timber’s wings as it impacted the tree.

“ARRRGH!” Timber roared in pain at the feeling of his wing being crushed between the tree trunk and his own body. The colt fell back to the ground on his knees, holding a hoof onto his broken wing with a hoof. The manticore seemed quite unapologetic for injuring the colt and prepared to strike him again, crouching low to the ground and walking toward him with his huge, bat-like wings flared and teeth prepared to bite.

Timber got back to his hooves and got back into fighting position, fully prepared to continue fighting this monster, even with the condition his wing was in. Even if it meant certain death, he refused to show any sign of weakness, and wasn’t going to let this manticore hurt these Spider-Monkeys again.

Neither party got the chance to attack though, as something else did it for them.

A blast of blue energy struck the manticore in the side, throwing him to the ground, leaving a huge burn mark in his fur where he had been hit, and himself roaring in pain.

“RAAAAAAARGH!” it roared.

Timber looked back to the source of the blast with a dumbfounded and confused look on his face. What creature would dare to interrupt a battle this dangerous? Not even the Spider-Monkeys, who could easily kill whatever they needed to if it was absolutely necessary, didn’t dare to get in the middle of it.

Once he laid eyes upon it though, it made a little more sense.

At the entrance to the clearing was none other than Rarity, her horn glowing its signature light-blue color, with a face that looked almost unrecognizable on such an elegant face. She didn’t look all too different from Timber mid-battle; nostrils flared, teeth bared, and her pupils shrunk down to pinpricks.

DON’T. YOU. TOUCH. HIM!” Rarity yelled.

The Wrath of Rarity

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Rarity was very aware that she probably didn’t look her best right now. As a matter of fact she was so angry and seething that she probably didn’t look too different from the manticore in that sense. Under normal circumstances, Rarity wouldn’t be caught dead behaving in such an unladylike manner.

These were not normal circumstances. That horrible monster had hurt her Timber. A pony that she had started to become very attached to, almost like a mother to her foal. Anything or anypony that would get in her way of making sure that he was treated like a normal pony would truly face her wrath.

And at the moment, this manticore was directly in her line of fire.

The manticore, while injured and clearly in pain, wasn’t going to back down from this new challenger. He took his attention off of the injured colt and directed it instead towards Rarity, who was preparing to blast him again, appearing to be mad as fire.

“Alright you awful, bad-mannered, brute of a cat. Attacking me, I can live with. Ripping my saddlebags; not a problem…but you have officially crossed the line now. For hurting my innocent and sweet little colt…” Rarity’s horn started to grow much brighter with each passing second that she became so much angrier “-I’LL RIP OFF YOUR HIDE FOR THAT!” Rarity yelled at the top of her lungs as she opened fire with her magic on the manticore. The manticore was lucky enough to have dodged Rarity’s barrage and landed behind her, prepared to swipe at her with its claws…

Before it got the chance though, Rarity turned around and blasted the monster in the face with her magic, burning it and making it roar in pain.

“RAAAARGH!” The manticore recoiled in pain and it held onto its burned face for a moment and backing away from Rarity. After a moment of overcoming the pain residing in his nose, the manticore returned to fighting position, still hellbent on ripping Rarity apart; even more now than before that she was really starting to irritate him with her magic.

The manticore charged at her again, fully prepared to attack. Rarity however, managed to use her magic to teleport out of the raging manticore’s path, causing the feline to slam face-first into a nearby tree, slightly dazing him. Once Rarity re-appeared behind him, she used her magic again to blast him right in the behind, inducing another pained roar from the manticore.

The manticore looked back at Rarity, still with an angry scowl on his face, but appeared to be less willing to fight. Clearly whatever witchcraft this white creature possessed was going to best him at every chance he attempted to attack. It’d be pointless to continue this struggle. So with a bitter snarl, the manticore started to limp away from the field of battle, completely defeated.

Rarity’s breathing was starting to return to normal as she began to calm herself when the manticore retreated, all the while trying to contemplate what just happened. The same manticore that she feared for her life facing down the previous day she had just severely injured to the point of giving up. She didn’t quite understand what happened. She just saw him hurt Timber and…she just completely lost her head.

Rarity shook her head of those thoughts and pushed her elegant mane out of her face. “Hmph. The uncivil fleabag had it coming.” She said to herself. She looked behind her to see Fluttershy, Professor Critter, and the herd of Spider-Monkeys all staring wide-eyed at her with their mouths hanging open.

“…Uhhh…” Fluttershy mumbled.

“…Fluttershy, remind me to never piss her off...” Critter said, also in shock at what just happened.

Rarity didn’t pay their comments any mind, because at the moment, there was something much more serious that needed attention. Timber was leaning against a tree now, slightly cringing in pain from his broken wing.

“Oh my goodness, Timber!” Rarity yelled, galloping to his side and inspecting him. His body was quite littered with cuts and bruises from battling with the manticore for so long, and appeared to be very, very tired. Rarity looked at his wing and gasped. It looked like it had been severely broken when it impacted the tree, and was bending at angle that really shouldn’t have been possible.

Rarity almost felt like bursting into tears on the spot, but knew she simply didn’t have the time. Not now.

“Everypony, we need to get Timber back to camp and get him patched up. He’s very, very hurt, and I’m worried.” Rarity said to Fluttershy and Critter as she levitated Timber onto her back.

“How bad is it?” Critter asked.

Rarity craned her neck to look at the injured colt on her back, who was still slightly cringing in pain. “His wing is broken, and he has quite a few minor injuries on him.” Rarity said worryingly. Timber appeared to shuffle and grunt a little though as Rarity started to trot toward camp, almost hesitant to leave.

“Timber? What is it?” Fluttershy asked softly. Timber obviously didn’t answer, but he pointed with his good wing at the injured Spider-Monkey in the middle of the herd that had the manticore’s claw marks on its abdomen, several other members of the herd surrounding it with concerned looks on all of their eight-eyed faces. Timber then painfully groaned something in Timberwolf, resulting in a puzzled look from Rarity.

“Fluttershy? Do you know what he’s saying?” she asked.

Fluttershy looked at Rarity, starting to look very uncomfortable. “He’s saying…he’s saying that he wants us to help that Spider-Monkey.”

Rarity looked at Timber for a moment, then back to the injured Spider-Monkey and his herd. Obviously, she herself couldn’t stick around because Timber needed to go back to camp to rest, but she also wanted to respect Timber’s wishes. From the looks of it, Timber valued the safety of the animals in the jungle more than his own, and wanted to make sure they were cared for.

“…Umm..I’ll stay behind and work on mending the Spider-Monkey’s wounds. You and the Professor go back to camp. I’ll catch up.” Fluttershy said before Rarity even had a second to speak.

“Ms. Fluttershy, I don’t think I feel comfortable leaving you in the middle of an uncharted forest by yourself. That just really doesn’t sit well with me.” Critter said.

Fluttershy apparently seemed to take some level of disagreement with that statement, because she put on a hard stare that made Critter shudder a little, looking directly at him with widened and resolved eyes.

He never would’ve guessed that mares could be this scary.

“Professor, I think it’s nice that you’re concerned about my safety, but Rarity needs all the help she can get right now. Timber is very hurt, and Rarity needs you right now more than I do. I’ll be fine.” Fluttershy insisted, still staring Critter down.

Critter tried to get over the initial shock of Fluttershy giving him that very unnerving stare and took in her words. “…Alright. If you’re so sure. I’ll go back with Rarity while you patch things up here…Rarity, we should probably go.” Critter sighed. He trotted to Rarity’s side, who still had a very fatigued and injured Timber on her back, and trotted out of the clearing with her back to their campsite.

With the clearing now only occupied by Fluttershy and the Spider-Monkeys, she wasted no time in approaching the herd, specifically the one with the scratches on its chest. They all flinched slightly at the unfamiliar presence of a pony that wasn’t Timber, but seemed to relax a little when they saw the kind smile on her face. She looked at the injured Spider-Monkey on the ground, giving off the same smile and spoke softy.

“Now, let’s see what we can do about those scratches.” She said.

For the longest time, nothing but the sound of crunching leaves and the shallow and tired breaths that Timber let out was all that could be heard as Critter and Rarity trekked their way back to camp through the dense jungle. Occasionally, Rarity would turn her head to the foal on her back and looking at him with concerned and saddened eyes.

Seeing him in this state hurt Rarity on an unreal level. Everytime she looked at his broken wing, she cringed. Not so much from how bad the injury looked, but from a sense of shame over the whole ordeal. In a way, she felt like she had failed to protect Timber. Timber looked up immensely to Rarity, and she felt that she had let him down by letting him get hurt like this.

She was starting to tear up again at the thought of what would’ve happened to him if she hadn’t faced the manticore when she did. It would’ve most definitely been worse than an injured wing and…

It was almost too much to imagine what could’ve happened.

Critter looked worriedly at the mare trotting beside him. She hadn’t said a word since they had departed back to camp, and from looking at Timber’s current state, he could factor a guess as to why. While Critter himself was not the best at giving advice, he did consider himself good at lightening the tense mood of situations such as this.

“…Rarity, why didn’t you tell me Fluttershy could be so terrifying?” he asked.

Rarity turned her head away from Timber for a moment to listen to Professor Critter. “What? You’ve never seen her use “The Stare” before?” Rarity asked.

“There’s a name for it?...please tell me “The Stare” isn’t a thing that happens often.” Critter said, with what Rarity could swear was the slightest hint of a whimper in his voice.

“No no. She can’t really seem to control when it happens, but from what I’ve seen, it only happens when she needs to be firm…why? Did she scare you that badly?~” Rarity asked with a slight smirk.

Critter blushed in embarrassment and took his eyes off of Rarity, grumbling slightly. “…I wasn’t scared THAT much…”

“Oh really now? Because you DID just say she was terrif-“

“OH HEY LOOK! WE’RE COMING BACK UP TO CAMP!” Critter interrupted loudly, hoping to take the subject off himself. He hurriedly ran ahead of Rarity, obviously very quick to get back to camp…

But he froze completely at the entrance, his face appearing to be looking very, very scared.

“Professor? Professor, what’s the matte-“ Rarity didn’t try to finish her sentence when she trotted next to him and reached the entrance of their camp. She already knew what was wrong when she set eyes on it.

Their campsite had been raided while they were gone, for now, currently tearing their camp apart, was a pack of large, vicious creatures. Their bright, green eyes glowed in rage as they clawed through their tents and sleeping bags, their bodies were composed of thick logs of wood and bark, and the foul odor they gave off was nearly enough to make both ponies wretch.

Timberwolves. The most feared creatures of the jungle.

Rarity was of course terrified beyond comprehension, but for a brief moment, that feeling faded. That was when she saw one of them, the biggest one of the pack, ripping and tearing apart her elegant and large tent.

Her fear had been replaced by nothing less than pure, unfiltered anger when she witnessed this.

“Ms. Rarity, you’re seeing this too, aren’t you? They seem to be looking for somet-

“WHY IS EVERYTHING IN THIS JUNGLE BENT ON DESTROYING EVERYTHING I OWN?!?!?” Rarity screamed at the top of her lungs. When the surprised gazes of the Timberwolves met hers however, she immediately covered her mouth.

“…Oh dear.” She mumbled.

The Timberwolves gathered closer together, the largest one that was tearing apart Rarity’s tent being in the front. They all glared angrily and snarled at the ponies before them, daring them to try and put up a fight.

“Nice going Rarity.” Critter growled through his teeth.

“Well I’m sorry, but I get rather irritable when my property is being vandalized.” Rarity shot back.

“I hope it was worth the screaming then, because we’re facing down a pack of Timberwolves right now.”

“…Right…let’s see, we’re outnumbered, Timber is in no condition to fight, and these Timberwolves are obviously very angry…what would your observation of this situation be right now?” Rarity asked.

“Hey, guess what? We’re screwed. That’s my observation.” Critter said.

Before either of them could fire off another remark at each other though, Timber looked up and his eyes widened at the sight of the pack of Timberwolves. He quickly slid off of Rarity’s back and started to approach the enraged pack, much to Rarity and Critter’s shock.

“Timber wait! You can’t fight them like this! Please stop!” Rarity yelled after her foal.

“Dangit, Timber you knucklehead! Get back over here!” Critter yelled.

Timber didn’t pay their yelling any heed however, as he continued his approach toward the pack. He finally made it to the largest Timberwolf at the front, looking up at it not with angry and animalistic eyes, but with a sort of look that had an innocent property to it. The kind that any foal would possess.

The Timberwolf looked down at the foal, and its wrathful expression softened once she laid eyes upon him. It knelt down to eyelevel with the foal and appeared to mumble a little in its native language. Timber responded to its speaking with a few mumbles and growls of his own in the same tongue.

Rarity and Timber were quite shocked this. Timber seemed to be just talking to it, and not jumping to fight like everything else he considered dangerous in this jungle. The manticore, Fluttershy and Critter when they first met; this was the first time they had seen him act non-hostile toward a beast such as this.

They were even more shocked when Timber smiled a wide smile, grabbed onto the Timberwolf’s nose, and nuzzled his face on it, appearing to laugh a little. The Timberwolf also pulled off a slight smile and hummed at the affection.

“…I-Is that…?” Rarity stuttered.

“Rarity…I thiiiink we may be looking at Timber’s wolf-mommy right now…” Critter said, truly stunned at the sight of the little foal nuzzling the gigantic beast.

Awkward Sleeping Arrangements

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Seeing a young foal that supposedly was the missing child of Canterlot nobles, Rarity could believe. Also seeing said foal knock out a raging manticore that’s many times his size, was also not entirely out of the realm of possibility. But also seeing that foal cuddling up to a Timberwolf, one of the most dangerous creatures in Equestria?! This colt was just…how could this colt even exist?!

Although, also with the feelings of not believing her eyes in the slightest, Rarity also couldn’t help but feel slightly jealous that Timber was giving all the cuddling to the Timberwolf and not her. She couldn’t really blame him for it though; after all, he had grown up with these animals and he had only just met Rarity.

Still, even if Timber smelled terrible after this, would a simple hug and maybe a nuzzle be too much to ask?

After a few minutes, the Timberwolf stopped nuzzling Timber and looked him over a little. Her glowing, green eyes widened at the sight of the injuries that Timber had sustained from the battle with the manticore, especially his broken wing. She took her sight off of it only for a moment to glare back at Rarity and Critter, letting out a low growl and starting to walk slowly and menacingly towards them. The other Timberwolves behind her followed suit and were preparing to surround them.

“U-Umm, Professor? What’s going on?” Rarity asked with a hint of nervousness in her voice.

“If I had to guess…I think mommy here believes we did that to Timber…and if I had to make another guess, I’d say she’s pissed off about it and is telling her pack to kill us.” Critter responded.

Rarity’s ears folded back and her pupils dilated in fear. “…Oh…”

Before the Timberwolves could move another step forward though, Timber ran in front of Rarity and Critter, flaring out his wings wearing a firm look on his face. He didn’t look like he was in a fighting stance, but more of a authoritative and stern one as he stood before them.

“Rargh! Rargaghrag!” Timber barked to the pack, his Timberwolf mother included. The wolves flinched slightly at Timber’s defense of these creatures, and his mother gave her own response, appearing quite confused.

“Rarg, raghrahra?” she growled in a questioning tone, accompanied by a tilted head. In replying, Timber shook his head and got into a stance that resembled the manticore’s and put on a ferocious face.

“Reoooow!” Timber growled, sounding a little more like a kitten than a manticore. The pack of Timberwolves all backed up in shock as Timber imitated the manticore, appearing to be explaining the situation to them. He then got back into his normal stance and trotted back over to Rarity, pointing a hoof at her.

“Rag! Rarghaghra!” He continued to growl.

Rarity herself, could be considered just as confused as the Timberwolves were; still not being able to understand Timber’s strange way of speaking. “Erm…I’m afraid I’m quite lost right now.” She said.

“You’re not the only one Ms. Rarity…” Critter said as well.

A few more moments of Timber’s explanation to his Timberwolf brethren and mother, and the pack seemed to be less tense then they were before, noticeably easing up a little. Timber’s wolf mother looked back down at her adopted pony son and spoke questioningly again.

“Gragrow?” She asked.

In response to whatever it was that she asked, Timber nodded furiously. “Raragowr” he said.

The female Timberwolf nodded calmly, walked past Timber and up to Rarity and Critter and quietly looked the two over with her glowing, green eyes. She then held out her large, wooden claw to them expectantly, to which Rarity flinched and cringed a little.

“E-Erm I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m afraid I don’t know where that claw has been.” Rarity said with a slightly sheepish smile, obviously a little nervous from close contact with a Timberwolf, especially one of this size. Unfortunately, this statement also earned her an annoyed nudge from Critter.

“Rarity, there’s a freaking huge Timberwolf here that’s willing to play nice. Don’t push your luck.” Critter growled through his teeth. He then reached out and lightly shook the Timberwolf’s claw. “Pay her no mind ma’am. She’s just unbelievably snooty.”

Rarity’s brow furrowed and a slight scowl grew on her face. “Hmph. I haven’t gone anywhere you know.” She said.

Before Critter could voice a sarcastic comeback, a rustling was heard from the trees nearby, gaining the attention of Timber as well as the rest of the pack. They all looked suspiciously toward the trees as the rustling got louder and louder, and several steps could be heard beyond the trees.

Many moments of staring the trees down passed and out of the darkness of the deep jungle came the gigantic form of a spider-monkey with several bandages wrapped around its abdomen. As one could imagine, the Timberwolves were not very friendly in the company of most other animals, so they growled slightly at the sight of the new animal.

The spider-monkey appeared undeterred by the Timberwolves though and craned his head to look behind him. Out from behind him trotted out Fluttershy wearing a slight smile. She then proceeded to pet the spider-monkey’s head, making some sort of purring sound.

“Now you take it easy for a little while and try to keep your distance from those dangerous animals.” She said softly to it. The spider-monkey nodded and took one last look at the Timberwolves, who appeared to still be growling at him, Timber’s wolf-mother included. This earned her a slight tap on the wooden claw from Timber. She looked back down at him in confusion, and saw that Timber was giving her a disapproving stare accompanied by a head-shake. Timber looked back at the spider-monkey and jerked his head towards the trees. It nodded again and scurried back into the deeper parts of the jungle.

“Sorry if I scared anypony. He wouldn’t let me go back through the jungle by myself” Fluttershy said. By now she had noticed the presence of the pack of Timberwolves and let out a small squeak of fear and darted behind Critter, shivering a little.

“Fluttershy, it’s alright. They’re not here to hurt us. They were just looking for Timber.” Rarity said reassuringly. Fluttershy meekly looked back to the Timberwolves, who were all looking at her curiously.

“U-Ummm…nice to meet you.” Fluttershy mumbled, still hiding behind Critter. Critter rolled his eyes at this and trotted back over to the camp, observing the damage that the Timberwolves had caused in their search. From the look on his face, it wasn’t looking good.

“Rrgh. Timber, your family really knows how to tear stuff up. My tent is bucking shredded.” Critter said. Still not being able to really understand the pony language, Timber just looked on awkwardly with a tilted head.

“At least YOU didn’t lose much. My tent was so large and beautiful before! Now look at it!” Rarity wailed, pointing to the shredded mass of fabric that used to be her tent. Critter groaned, still slightly annoyed at how Rarity only paid attention to this frilly nonsense.

“Rarity, these guys also tore right through all our food. We’re not gonna be able to stay here for more than another night.” Critter said. The sheer bluntness that Critter put into his statement made Rarity’s ears fold.

“…You mean…?”

Critter nodded. “Yeah. I have to cut this expedition short. We have to leave tomorrow morning.” He said.

In truth, Rarity should’ve been happy about this. This jungle was very hostile, destroyed a lot of what she had brought in, and worst of all, was nothing short of filthy. But there was one thing that made her very uncomfortable with the thought of leaving.

Whether Timber would come with her or not. Seeing how well Timber had taken to jungle life and his level of affection to his Timberwolf mother made her start to think he didn’t have much reason to leave, and that scared her to death. She really wanted Timber to come back to Ponyville with her, but she also wanted him to be happy. This scenario started to make her believe she couldn’t have both, and she started to tear up at the thought.

“Umm…Rarity, are you alright?” Fluttershy asked concerningly. Not wanting to worry her friend right now, Rarity sucked up her tears and put on a rather fake-looking smile.

“I-I’m quite alright Fluttershy I’m just erm…a little worried about my sleeping arrangements. My tent is well…destroyed and all.” Rarity said, trying her best to sound genuine.

“Oh, I know. Professor Critter’s is destroyed too…but um…mine is still standing. You two could stay in mine with me if you want to.” Fluttershy said, gesturing to her tent, which happened to be the only one still standing.

Rarity’s façade fell almost instantly when she heard that. “You mean…I have to share a tent with HIM?!” Rarity yelled, gesturing toward Critter. Of course, Critter was not pleased with this development either.

“It’s either that, or sleep on the ground. Take your pick.” Critter grumbled.

Rarity blushed a little and puffed out her cheeks. “Mmmph…fine. But don’t you dare try anything mister!” Rarity yelled accusingly at him.

At first, Critter didn’t seem to understand Rarity’s accusations. “Umm, just what are you impl-“ After a moment of letting Rarity’s comment sink in however, his face flushed red. “Oh don’t flatter yourself! I can’t believe you think I’d actually-“ Fluttershy immediately pushed herself in between the two and put them at foreleg length.

“Can you two stop fighting for one minute please?! We’re all sleeping in the same tent and that is final!” Fluttershy yelled firmly. Both Critter and Rarity both crossed their forelegs and pouted, both of them blushing.

“Mmmph…whatever.” Critter grumbled.

“I suppose I don’t have much of a choice.” Rarity also grumbled. She started to trot over to Fluttershy’s tent, but stopped for a moment to look back at Timber, and the pack of his Timberwolf family. Timber appeared to be talking to his mother in a pretty heated discussion.

“Rarghra! Ragrgara!” Timber said. The Timberwolf looked back at Rarity and then back to Timber, with a slightly questioning look.

“Ragreag?” she asked.

Timber nodded furiously. “Ragrar.” He responded. The mother Timberwolf let out a long sigh and nodded a little and gestured back towards Rarity. Timber gave a big smile and galloped toward Rarity, holding onto her foreleg and nuzzling it happily.

Rarity surprisingly looked down to Timber and smiled a little at how he was being so affectionate toward her. “Awww, Timber. Do you want to sleep in our tent with me?” She asked. Rarity knelt down to his level and slightly nuzzled his ginger mane…

Only to once again get a whiff of his mother’s Timberwolf smell that had rubbed off on him.

“Erm…” Rasrity hesitated for a second and then mentally slapped herself.

Rarity, don’t you dare! I know he may not smell his best right now, but Timber loves you unconditionally and…you may not be able to see him after tonight.’ Rarity thought gravely to herself.

Tomorrow was going to be a very difficult day for everypony.


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Canterlot had been mostly asleep for several hours now, a majority of its residents taking comfort under Luna’s moon and taking a long, restful sleep after a long and busy day. A select few though were still wide awake, whether it be for simply not being tired, or having to take their work home, or any other reason.

This was the case in once such, large and luxurious mansion on the northern side of Canterlot. The type of mansion that only very high-up celebrities and nobles could ever hope to live in. It was very lavish and well-decorated by somepony with an obviously very sophisticated sense of style and luxury. The windows were enormous and were very well complimented by the long, flowing drapes of the lavender color, many very expensive and abstract paintings lined the mansion’s walls, and there were several busts of the owner of said mansion’s ancestors on display in the hallways.

However, as rich in luxury as this mansion was, there existed one much more sinister aspect of it.

Throughout the mansion’s hallways in addition to the busts, mounted on the walls, were the many, many varieties of animal’s stuffed and mounted heads, all of them sporting the same expressions they had worn when they had met their maker, Some of them simply giving blank, dead stares to passerby, while some of the more aggressive animals’ heads wore ferocious and threatening expressions. It was these “Trophies’” eyes that burned through the sole of the lone pony trotting through the hallway toward a large pair of double doors at the very end.

“Oooh, I really hate having to look at these awful things.” The pony said to herself. She was a yellow unicorn mare with a blonde mane that came pretty close to matching her coat. This pony’s name was Pansy, and in matching her name was also a flower cutie-mark of the same type that her name described. She looked back and forth at the several animal heads staring her down. Manticores, bears, cockatrices, and even all three of the heads belonging to a Chimera. Their cold, dead eyes all made her shiver and all made her very uncomfortable.

“Nngh, just try to relax Pansy. They can’t hurt you. They’re all…” Pansy gulped “…very very dead.” She mumbled. Finally, she made it to the double doors, opening them very slowly with her light green magic, making their creaking echo throughout the halls.

On the other side of the door appeared to be a large room with several more animal heads mounted on the walls, a full-size stuffed Cockatrice in the corner of the room, a rug made from a bear pelt. On said rug was an enormous armchair, and while it was not visible from behind, sat a pony, apparently a unicorn as it held a glass of wine out to the side with its light blue magic.

Pansy appeared to be slightly more nervous at being in the presence of this pony, as she started to shiver a little and stuttered in between words. “U-Ummm…M-Miss Moxxy? I-I need to speak with you.” She mumbled. The pony in the chair didn’t respond for a moment; instead very slowly getting out of her chair and facing Pansy. The pony Pansy identified as “Moxxy” was a light pink unicorn with a blonde mane. Her body appeared very lanky and thin, but was mostly covered up by a very oversized fur coat, and her cutie-mark was a pawprint with a needle and thread being sewn through it.

The look on Moxxy’s face right now was nearly unreadable, and that terrified Pansy more than anything; not to say that a lot of things didn’t already make Pansy scared to death of her boss, but that was probably one of the most significant.

Moxxy nearly emotionlessly looked at Pansy up and down before speaking even a single word. “….Tell me Pansy…Since when did it become acceptable to approach me in my private quarters…”

“O-Oh w-well I just thought-“ Moxxy covered Pansy’s mouth with a hoof before she could finish her sentence, shaking her head in disappointment as she did so.

“Oh you thought? Well you’re not being paid to think Pansy. You’ve worked for me for quite some time; I thought you would’ve learned this by now…” Moxxy said, slightly lowering her eye-shadow covered eyelids and looking at Pansy in a condescending and firm manner.

As Moxxy lowered her hoof from Pansy’s mouth, Pansy lowered her head in what felt like a mix of fear and slight shame. “Y-Yes ma’am I understand…”

“Oh it’s quite alright darling, we all make mistakes. It is what makes us ponies after all…” Moxxy said, going back to her armchair and taking a sip of her wine. “…Well? Go on. What is it that was so dreadfully important that you had to barge in like this?”

“O-Oh right…Well, I just wanted to let you know that we’re prepared for the hunting operation in the Everfree Forest near Ponyville, and we’re scheduled to leave tomorrow morning…” Pansy said, squeaking a little nervously over words.

Moxxy chuckled a little to herself after taking another sip of wine. “Splendid…” she purred.

“…However…I still think that it’s not such a good idea to be hunting there. The Everfree Forest is a protected area ma’am. It’s very illegal to hunt there…” Pansy mumbled. Pansy heard Moxxy give a very irritated groan at that.

“Urrgh, fucking self-righteous, stuck-up, tree-hugging prickholes…” she grumbled.

Pansy lowered her head again, slightly fearing what Moxxy may do. She knew she wasn’t entirely above “Shooting the messenger”.

“U-Ummm…if you would like me to Miss Moxxy, I could call the whole thing off…”

Moxxy looked at Pansy from her chair with a slightly deadpanned and questioning look. “Who says we’re cancelling?”

“B-But M-Miss Moxxy-“

“Pansy darling, I’m afraid you don’t understand. My business thrives on furs. Furs that comes from where exactly?...Animals. And where do you find animals?...Forests. If I do not have furs, my business will surely go under, and I will be RUINED!...You don’t want that now do you?” she asked.

Pansy furiously shook her head, still feeling slightly afraid. “N-No Miss Moxxy but-“

“But nothing. I couldn’t care less if it’s illegal or not. Order my hunters to operate at night where they will not be spotted, I don’t care. Just make sure it gets done!” Moxxy yelled rather loudly, making Pansy flinch in fright.

“…Y-Yes ma’am…” Pansy mumbled.

Moxxy waved a hoof towards the exit. “Very good. Now please, go on. Leave me on my own for a while. She said. Pansy did as she was told and opened the doors with her magic again, their creaking seemingly louder now than before, and exited the room. Now in the hallway once more, Pansy looked back up at all of the animal heads mounted on the walls and felt a slight tinge of sadness rather than fear this time.

“…It still doesn’t seem right…”

Celestia’s bright, warm sun’s rays sneaked their way through the openings in the Windless Wood’s canopy and all the way down to the jungle’s floor into the tent that everypony had to share that night due to the unfortunate mishap with Timber’s wolf-family shredding all but one of them. To say that anypony was very happy about this turn of events at first would be a complete and utter lie. However, once everypony got settled down to sleep, nopony could be heard complaining.

Except that Timber still smelled of Timberwolf musk and sweat, which was everypony’s only gripe.

When the sun leaked into the tent, it targeted itself onto Rarity’s eyes, making her shuffle a little at the prospect of being awoken.

“Oooh that sun is right in my face. Mmmph…fine fine I’m up.” She grumbled to herself. She very slowly and tiredly lifted her head up to observe her surroundings. What she found was Fluttershy in one corner of the tent making squeaking noises as she slept, Timber rested up against her stomach doing the same thing and…

Herself cuddling up to Critter with her forelegs around him and her head being awfully close to his chest.

The position that Rarity was in right now made her emotions sort of go all over the place. On one hoof, she was horrified that even in her state of sleep that she would even consider cuddling up to somepony with as few manners as him…

…On the other, he was rather good-looking. Although Critter was lacking in the class department, Rarity was seeing that he did look quite handsome. This sort of mindset however is exactly what got her into that situation with Prince Blueblood at the Gala…but Critter wasn’t exactly stuck up like he was. He seemed more like the playfully teasing type.

Rarity blushed a little at realizing the position she was in. Before her was a handsome, sleeping, and completely unaware stallion that would never know if she just took advantage of the situation and nuzzled his chest fur a little and took in his scent.

…Nopony needs to know about this. Just something you can keep all to yourself without the risk of embarrassment…’ Rarity thought to herself.

After a few more moments of consideration, Rarity decided to go for it. She buried her face in Critter’s chest and nuzzled it, all the while blushing lightly and smiling. For somepony that spent so much time in jungles, he sure smelled good. Very warm too.

“You enjoyin’ yourself there?”

Rarity stopped nuzzling when she heard Critter’s voice and she blushed heavily when she realized that she had been caught in the act. She looked up and saw Critter looking back at her with a smug grin on his face, obviously very amused at Rarity’s predicament.

“…….You tell anypony about this and I swear I will rip off your eyebrows.” Rarity grumbled with an annoyed look on her face but still very embarrassed, hence her current blush.

Critter chuckled a little, still wearing an all-knowing smile. “Crystal clear daaarling~” Critter cooed. And then with another chuckle, Critter leaned in and gave Rarity a slight kiss on the cheek, making her eyes widen and her blush deepen to unrealistic levels. After a few seconds of this, Critter stopped and sat back to see Rarity’s reaction, still having the same look on his face.

Rarity’s face was still as red as a tomato, her pupils were dilated, and her left eye twitched a little, all out of complete shock. Given the situation, she did the only logical thing that any civilized mare would do in her situation…

“Ooooh, Rarity did you really have to slap the Professor that hard?” Fluttershy said, holding an ice pack onto Critter’s face where there was a red hoof-mark plastering it.

Rarity wasn’t too far away from them, packing up whatever Timber’s family hadn’t shredded in their search for Timber the day before, which as it turns out, was not a lot. As stressful as this trip was, she did learn a few things from it.

1. Never bring anything in a jungle that you are not prepared to part with

2. Just don’t go in jungles at all.

“Indeed I did.” Rarity grumbled in response to Fluttershy’s question, still trying to hide the slight blush on her face.

Obviously Critter was in quite a bit of pain over the slap to the face, but he seemed to still manage to find room to joke around. “Hehe, I didn’t realize you were so feisty Miss Rarity~”

Rarity’s blush deepened again. “Rrrgh shut up…” she growled. She wanted nothing more than to get the subject off of the dreadful occurrence and just get back to packing up for the return trip to Ponyville. Quite honestly, Rarity wanted nothing more than to get out of this dark and dangerous jungle as quickly as ponyly possib-

Rarity’s thoughts were interrupted by the feeling of something rubbing up against Rarity’s side. She looked down and saw Timber hugging her leg and nuzzling it. From the looks of it, only one night of cuddling wasn’t nearly enough for the wild little colt. Not far from their position was the pack of huge Timberwolves sitting at the entrance to the camp, keeping vigilant guard of the area as to make sure no more animals came after Timber. Their loyalty and dedication to the other members of the pack seemed to be quite impressive.

Although Rarity enjoyed the nuzzling and hugging Timber was giving her, it made her heart ache a little. Today was the day she was going to have to leave, and the fact that she didn’t know whether Timber would be willing to leave the jungle and come back with her to Ponyville or not was killing her with anxiety and dread.

If she was going to talk to him about this, now was as good a time as any.

Rarity knelt down to Timber’s eye level, trying to look as serious as possible but just looking sad in the long run. “Timber sweetheart…I’m afraid that I need to tell you something. It’s…very important.” She said softly to him. Timber looked back at her with questioning eyes and a tilted head, as if to say “What is it?”

“Well…you see darling…I don’t belong in a place like this…I need to go back to society with other ponies…I…I can’t stay here…” she hesitated a little in between her words as she said them. It was hurting to even talk about leaving Timber behind.

Timber’s mouth opened a little, whether from shock or simply not understanding, and his eyes looked even more desperate for information than before. On a certain level, Timber could slightly understand what Rarity was saying. Seemed like all he really comprehended was “Darling”, “Ponies”, and “Can’t stay here”.

“…Timber…if you would like to come with us, then…” Rarity sniffled a little, obviously trying to hold back a few tears. “…It would make me very happy but…I…I just want you to be happy too…If you choose to stay…I understand…” At this point, Rarity was very close to breaking the tear dams, and her sniffling was become much more common.

Timber didn’t look like he was fairing much better. His ears had folded to his head and he was all of a sudden starting to look very nervous and uncomfortable; a little panicky even. He looked at Rarity and said something in Timberwolf that Rarity still could not understand.

Rarity turned around to look at Fluttershy and Critter, who appeared to have managed to get everything packed up and taken to watching the one-sided conversation between Timber and Rarity.

“F-Fluttershy? What’s he saying?” Rarity asked, still on the verge of crying.

Fluttershy cringed a little uncomfortably and hesitated a little. “He…He asked…he asked why you can’t stay here with him…” Fluttershy said reluctantly. She was starting to fear very greatly for Rarity’s well-being regarding this situation, and it was starting to show from the way she was looking at Rarity.

Rarity’s ears folded back and she turned around to look at Timber. “T-Timber I…I’m sorry, but I can’t…I have a life in Ponyville. I have a family and a sister and…I can’t...” Rarity’s tears were starting to flow down her cheeks, making her makeup run for the second time while she was on this expedition. When the circumstances had become this bad though, that was the last thing on her mind.

Timber was also starting to tear up as well. The first creature he had met in his life that was like he was, and had become very close to, was going to leave. He didn’t like the idea of Rarity going away. He wanted her to stay with him in the Windless Woods and everything would be alright. Never would he have wanted to lose Rarity like this. He lowered his head like a depressed-looking dog and sighed deeply.

The look Timber was giving off broke Rarity’s heart. It tore her apart to see him so upset like this. His face showed that he was very conflicted, but she could tell where his heart was set.

“…You’re not going to leave the jungle are you?” Rarity asked. Timber sniffled a little and whimpered as his only response, getting a sigh from Rarity. “…Alright…I’ll respect your decision Timber…” she was starting to whimper in the same way he was. Rarity wrapped her forelegs around Timber and embraced him in a tight hug. Timber hugged back, sniffling and crying even more at this point like a lost puppy.

After a few more seconds of hugging, the two separated and simply looked at each other sadly before Professor Critter spoke up to Rarity. “Rarity…sorry but…we should really be going now.” He said with a low voice and a sympathetic look.

Rarity sighed. “Well…I have to go now Timber…I’ll…I’ll never forget you.” Rarity said with tears still in her eyes before kissing Timber lightly on his forehead and turning back to Critter and Fluttershy. “…Alright…I’m ready…” Rarity sighed. Fluttershy looked like she was about to burst into tears from looking at the scene, and while Critter tried his best to look serious, this entire ordeal made him feel awful inside.

The group hesitantly trotted their way out of the clearing where their camp had been located, their hoofsteps becoming much quieter as they disappeared into the trees out of Timber’s line of sight. The leaves rustled as they trotted out and fell to the ground, floating their way to Timber’s hooves as he watched them leave. He was trying his hardest to suck the tears back into his eyes, but failing miserably. He only sat at the entrance to the clearing, wondering and thinking to himself “Did I make the right choice?” His Timberwolf mother trotted by his side and looked down at him, with Timber also looking back up at her with his bright blue eyes. The two of them spoke to each other in their native tongue in a very low and serious tone.

After many minutes of talking, the Timberwolf appeared to sigh and smile at Timber a little before nodding her head and gesturing it towards the direction where Rarity and her friends had left. Timber also smiled a little, hugging his Timberwolf mother tight at her wooden leg, to which she returned. A few more seconds of hugging later, and Timber darted out of the clearing and into the jungle, leaving the Timberwolf with her pack and without her child. While the Timberwolf appeared to be smiling though, a single tear made out of tree sap fell from her eye and rolled down her wooden face…

“Aaaaalll aboooooard!”
The train leaving the town outside of the Windless Woods had just boarded its final passenger and was going to start making its long journey back to Ponyville with all of its ponies in tow. Three of those passengers included a depressed Rarity, her concerned friend Fluttershy, and a very, very annoyed Professor Critter. The cause of Critter’s annoyance was that there was a colt in the seat behind him that was constantly kicking his seat.

“Mooooom, I’m sooooo booooored!” The colt whined to his mother next to him as he kicked Critter’s seat. The mare that was his mother uncaringly read a magazine next to him and nodded.

“Mhm, that’s nice honey.” She said quietly.

“Mmmph, why can’t that mare get her brat to behave?” He grumbled bitterly to himself as his seat shook from the colt’s kicks. He looked two seats down from him and saw that Rarity was looking sadly out of the window at the nearby town’s landscape as the train made its way down the tracks and towards his destination.

“…How’s she doing?” he asked Fluttershy who was sitting next to him.

“Not good…She looks like she just wants some time to herself right now. I’m a little afraid to talk to her about it. I don’t want her to cry again.” Fluttershy sighed, looking at Rarity who appeared to have chosen to sit by herself for the ride back.

“…This is really eating her up isn’t it?” Critter asked.

Fluttershy nodded. “She was very close to Timber. It must have hurt her so badly to let him go like tha-“

“HEY! THERE’S A KID ON THE ROOF OF THE TRAIN!” Somepony yelled. Nearly everypony shot up at the sound of that and started frantically looking around and trying to see if they could maybe see this foal out the window somehow. Everypony heard hoofsteps banging on the top of the train, quickly making their way above where Rarity was seated.

Rarity had grown quite curious over all the yelling and was about to voice her concerns when a slight tapping on the window glass was heard near her seat. Rarity looked out and gasped at who she saw hanging upside down outside her window from the roof…

Timber was smiling a goofy looking smile as he looked at her through the window and continued to tap on it, appearing to ask to be let inside.

“Oh my gosh! Timber!” Rarity squealed in glee. She quickly opened the window and grabbed onto Timber, pulling him into the train and holding him tight in her arms. A few tears of happiness started to form in her eyes as Timber happily returned the hug.

“Oooh, I’m so happy to see you! You really want to come back to Ponyville?!” Rarity asked loudly and frantically. Timber nodded quickly before nuzzling under her chin and purring like a cat.

Fluttershy and Critter looked at Rarity and Timber with smiles on both of their faces. They hadn’t expected Timber to give chase in the slightest, but all the while, they were happy to see had had changed his mind and to see Rarity so happy after looking so depressed.

“Awwww, isn’t that sweet?” Fluttershy asked, looking at Critter. Critter chuckled a little and nodded while looking at Rarity hugging Timber really tight and cuddling him.

“Hehe…Timber, you may be strong…but wow you are the craziest son of a bitch alive…” he chuckled to himself.

First Encounter of The Dragon Kind

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Having to explain why there was a foal on the roof to the conductor was no easy task as the group got off of the train. It doesn’t take a genius to know that conductors don’t appreciate stowaways on their trains. This was even more difficult seeing as said conductor seemed to be in a rather sour mood today. At the end of it, Rarity did end up getting fined 40 bits seeing as Timber was technically her foal.

When it came down to it though, Rarity didn’t care as much as she should have. Timber was back with her, and that was all she cared about.

Critter on the other hoof, was pretty pissed.

“Woooow, that conductor was an asshole. I can’t believe that jerk LAUGHED at my eyebrows!” he growled as the group left the train station.

“Um well…they don’t look THAT ridiculous…if that makes you feel any better.” Fluttershy said, now sporting a sheepish smile.

“…Well gee thanks.” He said, looking back at Fluttershy with a sarcastic, deadpanned expression.

Rarity ignored the two’s conversation regarding Critter’s eyebrows, and took her attention towards Timber, who appeared to be in complete awe of Ponyville, complete with a slightly dropped jaw. Those big blue eyes of his took in everything the town had to offer in a state of absolute wonder and curiosity. From all of the new ponies he was seeing, to a little colt holding a blue balloon, and especially looking back at the enormous, smoking beast that had several ponies coming out of it that Rarity referred to as “The Train.”

Rarity giggled a little at Timber’s amazement. “Yes Timber, a whole plethora of new things you’ve never seen before. Oh, he’s so adorable when he looks all curious!~” Rarity giggled. Just then, a slight gust of wind flew by the group, nearly blowing Critter’s hat off his head. For unknown reasoning, the wind nearly gave Timber a panic attack, as he had almost immediately tensed up and started barking like mad at the wind.

“RARF! RARFRAFRARF!” Timber barked.

“Timber! My goodness, what’s gotten into you all of a sudden?” Rarity asked him. Another gust of wind passed by and blew in Timber’s face, causing him to growl again.

“Oh my gosh! What’s he getting so worked up about?” Fluttershy asked as well.

Professor Critter seemed to question Timber’s sudden change in mood as well, before noticing more wind passing by them, resulting in another growl from Timber. “…I don’t think Timber likes the wind very much…”

“What? Why would something like that make Timber so upset?” Rarity asked, looking back at Critter with a confused expression.

“Rarity, keep in mind that Timber is from the Windless Woods; you know, no wind anywhere in that place. This is his first time experiencing natural wind, and it looks like it’s making him confused and frustrated.” Critter said. Rarity looked back down at Timber, who was still barking at nothing but air and looking very infuriated. As one could imagine, the sight of a colt barking as loud as possible was going to gather some attention from passerby.

Rarity was starting to become a little self-conscious of all the ponies around Ponyville now staring in her direction. Her eyes darted between all of them and having to take in their judgmental gazes in a slight panic. She smiled a little sheepishly and gently petted Timber’s mane.

“Timber sweetheart…you’re causing a sceeeeeene. Please calm dooooown…” Rarity whispered to him through her teeth while petting him. Timber seemed to relax a little bit at Rarity’s petting and ceased his barking at air.

Rarity gave a sigh of relief. “That’s better darling. Now I know you may be a little confused right now, but let’s give peace a chance, shall we?” Rarity said, still petting his mane. Timber looked back up at Rarity with a dazed look about him and nodded.
“Lovely…Now Fluttershy, Twilight made us promise to see her immediately after we returned to tell her everything about the expedition. Poor dear wanted to go so badly.” Rarity reminded Fluttershy.

“Oh right. Her Princess duties got in the way. Heehee, won’t she be surprised at seeing us back this early?” Fluttershy said with a smile. It had been a couple of days since they had seen their friends, so going to pay them a visit was going to be a nice change from trekking through the cold, dark Windless Woods that they had gone through for the past several days.

“…Oh joy. I’m gonna be pretty much hammered with questions the second I walk in the door of her castle aren’t I?” Critter asked. Both mares looked his way and nodded. “…Yippeeeee.” Critter said with painfully obvious sarcasm.

When the group arrived at Princess Twilight’s castle that she had acquired recently via the Tree of Harmony, Timber was at a complete loss. He looked up at the gigantic crystal tree with widened eyes and an open mouth. In all of his years of living in a jungle that was filled with practically nothing but trees, he had never seen a tree quite as big or as shiny as this one, and overall the castle amazed him without end.

“Heehee, yes darling; my reaction was more or less the same when I first laid eyes on this absolutely divine castle of Twilight’s” Rarity giggled.

Critter however, did not seem as impressed with the place as Timber or Rarity, as he squinted his eyes shut to keep the sunlight reflected off of the crystal structure away from them. “Rrgh, I dunno. It looks like kind of an eyesore. I mean…everywhere else is basically a regular town, and then there’s just this big-ass crystal tree in the middle of everything?” Critter asked.

“It…does seem to look a little out of place compared to the rest of Ponyville.” Fluttershy added.

Rarity only let out a slight huff. “Well, I for one happen to think it is magnificent! Just the luster of these crystals is simply amaaazing!~” Rarity swooned over the enormous crystal castle. She looked at Timber who was staring at his reflection in the crystals and rolled her eyes. “Timber, that isn’t another you. It’s just your reflection.” She said as she trotted up to the door and gave it a knock.

A few seconds of waiting later, the doors open and Timber laid his eyes on without a single shadow of a doubt, the most unholy and ferocious terror he had ever seen in his entire life. It’s cold and unfeeling eyes were green and slitted, it had rough green and threateningly dark purple scales covering the entire length of its body which made it appear reptilian in nature, and had a single, razor-sharp tooth protruding from its mouth. Although the creature wasn’t much taller than he was, its claws that could probably do some very significant damage made it appear all the more threatening to the jungle foal.

For reasons that Timber could not possibly fathom though, Rarity smiled at the creature. “Hello Spike. It’s very nice to see you again” she said rather happily. The reptile now identified as “Spike” blushed a little at the sight of Rarity.

“R-Rarity? W-What are you guys doing back so soon?...Not that I-I’m not glad to see you. I’d uhh…just like to know.” he said with a sheepish smile.

“Long story short?...Timberwolves destroyed all our stuff. Had to cut the whole thing pretty short. Not a good ending to an expedition, but what’re ya gonna do?” Critter said. Spike crossed his arms and shook his head.

“Well that kinda stinks…Anyway, I’m glad you’re back…” Spike said, still blushing a little. He then proceeded to trot up to Rarity and hug her leg. Rarity looked down at Spike, smiling a little and hugging back.

Timber’s ears perked up at this sight and he narrowed his eyes at the dragon. It was obvious to him that this monster was trying to put Rarity into a false sense of security so she’ll let her guard down. Well he wasn’t going to fall for it at all. Timber squeezed himself in between Spike and Rarity to the point where his and Spike’s noses where touching. He growled in a low and threatening tone and bared his teeth at him.

This very obviously made Spike uncomfortable. “U-Ummm…w-who’s the ginger kid, and why does he look like he wants to kill me?” Spike asked, stuttering a little.

“Timber! I understand that meeting new ponies…or dragons in this case, may be a little out of your comfort zone, but Spike is NOT dangerous! Show some manners!” Rarity scolded, now holding Timber back from Spike. This didn’t seem to calm Timber’s nerves much more though, as he was still slightly growling at him.

“Oooh, are you okay Spike?” Fluttershy asked concerningly.

Spike blinked a few times just to make sure that he didn’t just imagine what just occurred. “Ummm…Yeah…I’m not hurt or anything…just reaaaally confused…” he responded. “…And maybe a little concerned for my health…he’s not gonna kill me is he? Cause he seriously looks like he wants to tear me to shreds…” Spike said, noticing the look Timber was giving him and shivering.

“Hehe, never thought I’d see the day where a dragon was scared of a tiny little colt.” Critter chuckled a little. Low and behold though, everypony save for Timber was giving him a disapproving stare that said something along the lines of “Are you kidding me?”

“…Right, right. I’ll shut up…” Critter said, smiling sheepishly.

Rarity rolled her eyes in some odd combination of disgust and slight amusement. “Anyway Spike, I’d much rather explain the situation with Twilight present. Is she home right now?” Rarity asked.

Spike nodded. “Yeah, she’s upstairs in the new royal library helping the Crusaders find some book on fireworks.” Spike said. Hearing the words “Crusader” and “Fireworks” in the same sentence could only spell trouble, and it all of a sudden made the group very nervous.

“U-Ummm…why would they-“

“Cutie Mark Crusaders Pyros.” Spike responded.

Fluttershy’s ears folded at the thought of the Crusaders handling explosives. “O-Oh…my…”

The only ones that appeared to be confused over the matter were Critter and Timber. Critter however, was the only one capable of voicing his concerns over the matter. “Umm…is this a bad thing oooor…?” he asked. Rarity only responded by taking a deep breath and putting a hoof on Critter’s shoulder.

“Critter darling…leeeet me tell you something about my sister and her little friends…”

Wings AND a horn?!?!

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The train to Ponyville came to a screeching halt into the train station as it stopped. Several moments after stopping, several ponies trotted their way out, coughing and hacking as they did so. Behind them, a big trail of smoke started to leak out of the train’s doors. Soon, the source of the smoke revealed itself in a very overdressed Moxxy stepping out of the train, her enormous fur coat slightly getting stuck in the door. As for the smoke, it came from a cigarette that she held tight in her mouth.

Pansy trotted out behind her, also coughing like the rest of the ponies. “M-Miss Moxxy. I-I’m-AGH- pretty sure you’re not supposed to-AGH-smoke on the train…” Pansy mumbled a little hesitantly in between her coughs.

“Hmph. If I need a smoke, I will do so wherever I please.” Moxxy huffed, slightly blowing some smoke from her nostrils into Pansy’s face, making her cough even more.

“Ma’am, t-there were foals aboard…” Pansy said, still coughing.

“And all of a sudden that’s my fault?...Now, I know you’re not questioning me…are you Pansy?” Moxxy growled through her smoke, making a slight scowl and looking down at her assistant. Of course, this made Pansy feel small and powerless compared to her boss and she cowered toward the ground a little in fear.

“N-No ma’am…s-sorry ma’am.” She mumbled. Moxxy seemed to relax a little at this, and her scowl disappeared and her face returned to her usual, high-class, unreadable expression.

“Good. Now, I suppose we should be off to our hote-“


“AAAGH!” Moxxy stumbled back in shock at whatever it was that startled her and fell into a nearby puddle of mud, getting the offending substance all over her fur coat.

The source of the loud screeching was a pink Earth pony with a pink, cotton-candy-like mane and tail, and had a trio of balloons for a cutie-mark. She was wearing an unnaturally wide smile and bouncing around both the fallen and dirty Moxxy, and a very frightened Pansy.

“Hi! You two must be new to Ponyville, cause I’ve never seen you around here before! My name’s Pinkie Pie! What’s yours?~” Pinkie asked with the same, huge smile. Pansy was at a near loss for words regarding how energetic this mare seemed, but that was not what was scaring her at the moment…

What was doing that, was the fact that her anger prone boss was now lying in a puddle of mud with a now very dirty fur coat thanks to Pinkie’s doing.

There was no way this was going to end well.

“U-Umm…Miss Pie…I should probably suggest that you go…”

“Awwww but I haven’t made friends with you y-“ Pinkie was interrupted as Moxxy shot up from the ground, covered in mud, and giving a look of indescribable rage at Pinkie Pie as she was so close to her that they practically touched muzzles. Her quick and angry breathes blew more smoke from her cigarette into Pinkie’s face.


“…Too late.” Pansy mumbled.

“U-Um, I-I’m sorry I made you get your clothes all dirty Miss-“

“SORRY IS NOT GOING TO GET MY COAT CLEAN NOW IS IT?!” Moxxy yelled again, making Pinkie look even more frightened. After a few moments, Moxxy put her hooves to her temples and rubbed them, trying to calm down. “…Just relax. You are too perfect to be angry.” She said to herself. Moxxy then turned back to Pansy, with a slightly watered-down, annoyed look.

“Come now Pansy. Pay no mind to this…mindless buffoon. I need to get my coat cleaned, so we must be off to our hotel at once before the stains set in…Eeeeugh.” She grumbled as she trotted past Pinkie, swatting her tail in Pinkie’s face for good measure.

Pansy hesitated a little, but followed her boss, turning back to Pinkie for a moment and mouthing the words “I am so sorry.” to her. Pinkie now sat by herself wondering what just transpired.

“Wow…I feel kinda bad that her coat got messed up…but…is it just me, or did she come across as viciously racist?” Pinkie asked herself.

“U-Urrrgh! Come ooooon!” Applebloom squealed.

“I-I’m almost there! I-I’m so close!” Sweetie Belle yelled back in response, letting out a pained grunt.

“Well can you h-hurry up? I-I’m not sure how much l-longer I can last down here!” Scootaloo also yelled.

“N-Nnngh, just a little mooooore!” Sweetie yelled again.

“You know, I could just levitate the book to you. It would save everypony a lot of trouble.” Twilight said, looking up at the Crusaders, who had climbed onto each other to try and reach the book on fireworks they so desperately needed in their latest endeavor for their cutie-marks, Applebloom at the bottom, Scootaloo in the middle, and Sweetie Belle making the reach for the book at the top. The shelves in the new crystal castle library were much too high for the Crusaders to reach on their own.

“N-No, i-it’s fine. I think Sweetie’s almost got it.” Scootaloo said.

“U-Uurgh, I am literally INCHES away from getting it! Curse my short little legs!” Sweetie squeaked in anger. She finally made one last reach for the book, and managed to actually get it off the shelf. “I finally got it!” Sweetie Belle said happily with a wide grin.

“G-Good. Cause Ah don’t know how much longer Ah can hold ya’ll u…A-A-Aaaaa…” Applebloom’s nose started to slightly twitch, and she started to draw in very quick breathes. Both Crusader’s eyes widened as they looked down at Applebloom.

“Oh no…” Scootaloo said.

“Applebloom, don’t!” Sweetie yelled, her voice cracking a little.

“AAACHOOO!” Applebloom sneezed, making her lose her balance, in turn making the tower of foals fall over, with Scootaloo landing on Applebloom, and Sweetie starting to fall to the ground.

“AAAAH!” Sweetie screamed as she plummeted towards the ground. However, while she expected to hit the floor, her body made contact with something a lot softer when she finally landed. Sweetie looked up in slight confusion just to see what she landed on, only to see a pair of blue eyes looking back at her. Attached to them was the curious face of a brown colt, craning his head to see if she was safely on his back.

Although a little confused at who this colt was, Sweetie was able to grasp the situation rather quickly; the colt had managed to catch her before she hit the ground.

“Heehee, nice catch darling.”

Everypony diverted their attention to the sound of Rarity’s voice, seeing that she had just entered the room, along with Fluttershy, Critter, and Spike, all of which were looking Timber and Sweetie.

“Oh my gosh, Rarity! Fluttershy! I wasn’t expecting you all back so soon! I missed you girls so much!” Twilight said with a big smile at seeing her friends again, trotting over and giving them a tight hug.

“Oh, we missed you too Twilight.” Fluttershy said with a smile, returning the hug.

The only one that seemed to be left out of this was Critter, and he didn’t appear to be taking it in much stride, as he looked to give a look that was a fusion of slight annoyance and forlornness. “…What? I don’t get a hug?” he asked, slightly looking like he had just been completely left out in the cold.

“Ooooh just come here will you?” Rarity said, laughing a little, also pulling Critter into it. Of course, the fact that Critter was now being hugged by three mares, one of which Critter was starting to admit did happen to look reaaaally attractive all of a sudden, made his face turn completely red.

“U-Umm…yeaaaaah…” Critter said, giving a nervous smile.

After a few seconds, the hug disbanded. “So, might I ask what happened to make you guys have to return so early?” Twilight asked the group.

“That’s…kind of a loaded question. The Timberwolf family of that one sort of cut everything short.” Critter said, pointing to Timber, who still had Sweetie on his back.

Sweetie looked down at Timber, growing a big smile and hugging around his neck. “Heee, thank you for catching me~” Sweetie giggled, nuzzling his cheek and continuing to hug him. Unlike the motherly affection he got from Rarity, Timber appeared a little uncomfortable at the kind Sweetie was giving him. It felt very unnatural and made him feel a little weird in his stomach. He didn’t seem to like it, as he squirmed a little bit.

“Yeah, don’t worry about us.” Applebloom said with a deadpanned expression, still lying on the ground with Scootaloo on top of her.

“Yeaaah we’re just fine.” Scootaloo also said with the same expression and a hint of sarcasm.

Twilight looked at Timber for a moment, trying to process what Critter had said about “his Timberwolf family.”

“…Timberwolf family? mean…you found this colt all by himself in the Windless Woods, one of the most unforgiving and dangerous jungles in all of Equestria?!” Twilight yelled, looking at the group in shock.

“It’s…a lot more complicated than that darling…Do you remember a few years ago? Some Canterlot nobles and their foal disappeared and were never heard from again?” Rarity asked.

Twilight nodded. “Yes yes. Big Bucks and Flashbang. They just left on their air-boat and they never returned. What about them?” Twilight asked.

“Well…I have every reason to believe that Timber is their foal…” Rarity said, trying to read Twilight’s for reactions. It didn’t prove that difficult, because Twilight’s eyes grew extremely wide and her jaw dropped.

“…You mean you might’ve found a foal that’s been missing for ten years and may also inherit a very huge fortune……wait, did you refer to him as “Timber?” Twilight asked with a raised eyebrow.

Rarity smiled a little sheepishly. “I don’t think it sounds THAT bad. I mean…he’s been living with Timberwolves all his life, so it describes his behavior rather nicely.” She said, blushing a little in embarrassment.

“It’s not that…I’m just sort of surprised that you would…give him a name in the first place. He doesn’t really seem like the most “refined” colt that I would’ve thought you’d take a liking to…it’s kind of sweet actually.” Twilight said, smiling. Twilight then felt something poke one of her wings, making her tense up. She looked down and saw Timber, now with Sweetie off his back, poking her wing and looking really confusedly at her.

“Umm…hello there.” Twilight said, lowering her head to Timber’s level and speaking very slowly to him. “My name’s Twilight Sparkle. Can you understand me?” She asked. Timber’s face didn’t change, and he was still touching Twilight’s wing. Timber looked up at Twilight’s horn and touched that with his other hoof as well, still looking at her like he had no idea what on Equestria she was.

“U-Uummm…what’s he doing?” Twilight asked.

“Umm…if I had to guess…I’d say that he thinks you being an alicorn breaks the rules of what he knows about ponies up to this point.” Fluttershy theorized.

Twilight’s ears folded a little and she looked back at Timber. “You… haven’t seen many other ponies have you?...poor thing.” Twilight said with a slightly sad look in her eyes and started to pet Timber’s mane. Timber tensed up a little before he gave a bit of a goofy smile as he let Twilight pet his mane, slightly sticking out his tongue and leaning into her hoof a little more.

“Awwww, can I pet him?” Sweetie asked, smiling a little hopefully.

“Sweetie, he ain’t a dog. He’s a colt.” Applebloom said, with a deadpanned expression.

Looking at how Timber was reacting to Twilight petting him, Timber’s tongue still hanging out and smiling, Scootaloo, stifled a laugh. “Well he’s sure acting like one.”

“Close enough.” Sweetie said. She happily trotted over to Timber and petted him down his back. Timber tensed up again at the new feeling of the filly petting him and his face turned bright red.

“N-Nnngh!” Timber whimpered a little and his wings flew out making a loud ‘pomf’ sound as they did so.

The sight of this made the entire room go completely dead silent as they stared at Timber. Sweetie stopped petting his back and had a rather large blush on her face.

“…Well…this got awkward quick” Spike said, breaking the silence.

Complications Down the Road

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“I am SOSOSOSOSOSOSO sorry! I had no idea that would happen!”

That basically summarized about 90% of anything that came out of Sweetie Belle’s mouth for the next half-hour as the group of ponies made their way back to Carousel Boutique to settle back in Ponyville. Joining them was the Crusaders, who planned on getting back to their original plan of setting off fireworks later that night. The reason they had tagged along was because Sweetie Belle felt that she needed to apologize to Timber…

Over…and over…and over again.

“Wow, you sure talk a lot don’t you?” Critter said, mildly annoyed. Honestly, he didn’t know whether he should interpret this as annoying, or whether Sweetie’s squeaky, adorable voice made up for it. It was almost enough to give the stallion diabetes just from hearing it. But was he going to show it and embarrass himself? Hell no.

“Sweetie, I think Timber’s getting sick of this...” Scootaloo said with a slight deadpanned look, slightly gesturing to the bags that had formed under Timber’s eyes from listening to this. She was honestly starting to get sick of hearing Sweetie’s apologizing at this point too. Honestly though, who wouldn’t?

“Ah dunno Scoots. Can Timber even understand what she’s sayin’?” Applebloom asked.

Overhearing their conversation and hoping to provide some form of an explanation, Fluttershy decided to speak up. “Umm….he understands it to a certain degree…a very little degree…I’m just a little surprised that he could get….” Fluttershy blushed a little in embarrassment. “Umm…THOSE….so early.”

“…Uhhhh what exactly are…THOSE?” Scootaloo asked.

The only response Scootaloo got was a pat on the head from Critter and his two cents. “You’ll find out when you’re older kid…”

Scootaloo’s face scrunched up a little and her face turned slightly red. “Mmmph. I’m almost eleven darn it…”

Rarity seemed to be the only silent one of the bunch at the moment, as she started to consider what went on in Twilight’s library. ‘Oh goodness, I hadn’t thought about this. What am I going to do when he gets interested in fillies? If I lock him in one of my rooms, he’ll probably just break down the door or maybe the window. And he already seems to be getting attracted to Sweetie Belle! Oooh, whatever is a mother to do?!’ Rarity wailed inwardly. This had to be one of the biggest complications that Rarity hadn’t taken into account when she took Timber in. She didn’t know EXACTLY why Timber seemed to be interested in fillies this early on, but from the behavior of some of Fluttershy’s animal friends that she’d seen when they…did the public…she could factor a guess that living around animals and seeing them….also doing the thing…in public…could’ve had some sort of effect on him.

To be frank, she had a lot more to consider too. How was school going to go? Would other fillies and colts treat him like a lesser pony because he acted like an animal? And of course, she’d need to potty-train him, which could be one of the more awkward things to go through, but was without a doubt necessary if she didn’t want Timber soiling her carpet. When were they going to celebrate his birthday? She had no clue about his actual life before the jungle, so this was going to be particularly har-


Rarity’s thoughts were torn from her due to the distraction of a slight nudge from her little sister to her side. It seemed Sweetie had decided to stop harassing Timber with her apologies for the moment in favor of talking to Rarity.

“Hm? Sweetie? What is it?” Rarity asked.

“Umm…me and the Crusaders were gonna umm…get back to preparing for our big crusade later on tonight…you know….fireworks and stuff…sooo…can I stay out a little later with them?....and uhhh….can Timber maybe come with us?” She asked with a hopeful look in her eyes.

Rarity cringed a little at the sound of this. Hearing that the Crusaders were going to be working with pyrotechnics was bad enough. But adding a colt like Timber into the mix just had “Disaster” written all over it. “U-Ummm…I don’t know Sweetie. I don’t know if Timber’s nerves are ready for that.” Rarity answered with a stutter.

Or MY nerves for that matter.’ She thought to herself.

“He lived in a dangerous jungle for ten years! And we’re PLENTY responsible! I’m pretty we can handle a little fireworks! Pleaaaaaase?” Sweetie Belle pleaded, giving her sister a pair of puppy-dog eyes.

“Yeah come oooooon. Pleeeease?” Apple Bloom and Scootaloo also pleaded, adding their own eyes to the barrage. Timber looked at the Crusaders, not quite understanding what they were trying to accomplish by making those weird faces at Rarity. Not knowing what else to do, he also gave Rarity puppy-dog eyes, adding a lip-quiver to it.

Having four little foals making that face at her wore very heavily on Rarity’s resolve; quite honestly, this could break the will of pretty much anypony that has ever lived. “Nnnngh…alright, alright fine. But make sure to come straight home after you’re done…and for goodness sake, don’t set anything on fire please.” Rarity sighed. The last thing she needed right now was her sister getting into trouble, especially with them dragging a seemingly unaware Timber into their antics.

“Eeeee! Thank you Rarity!~” Sweetie squeed, giving Rarity a quick hug before turning to Timber, smiling big. “Come on Timber! Come and see our fireworks set up!” Sweetie grabbed onto Timber’s hoof, dragging him away with her friends over to a hill in the distance as they galloped off, with Timber wearing widened eyes, and a frown that said “Oh no, what have I gotten myself into?”

“…Should I be afraid that they’re messing with that stuff?” Critter asked.

“…Very.” Fluttershy answered with a worried look on her face.

Critter didn’t even want to think about what damage those fillies could do. From the way Rarity had described their “crusading” as they called it, it sounded like staying away from those three would be most beneficial to his health. Trying to get the thought of being covered head to hoof in a cast thanks to those three out, he shook his head.

“Well uhhh anyway, my worries of impending doom aside…I sorta have to head back out to the Institution in Canterlot tomorrow morning…”

Rarity looked at Critter with a frown and her ears folded back. “…Y-You’re leaving?” She asked. Truthfully, it did hurt kind of hurt Rarity to think of Critter leaving. She’d rather gotten used to having him around since the beginning of the expedition, and he had been a pretty big help in providing insight with Timber’s animalistic behavior.

…Wow he seemed to grow on her a lot...

Critter uncomfortably rubbed the back of his head. “Yeaaaah not really looking forward to it actually. I tend to get a lot of crap from my colleagues. Always saying I’m “not serious enough for the job.”…I like cracking a joke every once in a while; is that such horrible a crime?” he asked.

“Oh n-no of course not. Your co-workers just don’t understand your…style.” Fluttershy stumbled a little over her words. She found it a little difficult to accurately describe Critter, actually. He was a standard, stuck up and boring professor that was for sure…

Starting to dread Critter’s inevitable trip back to Canterlot the next day, Rarity swallowed a little and began to think to herself. Critter still had a whole night left in Ponyville…perhaps she could use this to her advantage….

Taking this new enlightenment into account, Rarity smirked a bit. “Well, if you are lacking in a place to stay for the evening, then I would be more than happy to accommodate you.~” Rarity said with an ever-growing smile.

Of course, Critter picked up on this but didn’t quite know what she was implying. The look on her face seemed somewhat flirtatious, but the statement alone seemed innocent enough. Then again, they had been known to tease each other since they met. This was really confusing.

“Umm…I guess I could…only if you want me to I suppose.” He answered, not really knowing what else to do other than agree.

“Heeheee, splendid~ Carousel Boutique is just around the corner; you’ll know it when you see it, trust me….oh and if Opal is asleep, do try not to wake her….believe me when I say that she is far more terrifying when awoken than any wild animal you’ll ever see.” Rarity said, giggling a little.

“…Caaaan’t wait.” Critter said with a slightly nervous smile, trotting back down the road, wondering just what it was he really agreed to, and reminding himself that mares are “Just weird like that”

Fluttershy took notice of Rarity’s smirk almost immediately, which had done nothing but grow larger at the new development. “Um…Rarity…are you trying to get Critter alone with you?”

Inwardly, Rarity was snickering to herself, but on the outside her face grew a slight tinge of red, the smirk staying exactly where it was. “Oh Fluttershy darling, I would never~”

“Alright, Scootaloo. Where does the gunpowder go?” Sweetie said to her friend as she started preparations for their crusade for their “Pyrotechnic Cutie-Marks”. Her current task was to try and find where to lay out the gunpowder that led to the big pile of the fireworks they had managed to get their hooves on in the past week.

Meanwhile, Scootaloo was flipping through the book they had acquired from Twilight on the subject, but seemed to be coming up short. “I don’t know! There’s pages missing from this thing!” Scootaloo yelled, obviously frustrated over the matter. “Apple Bloom, did you mess with this thing?”

“Now why would Ah wanna sabatoge our own crusade Scoots?” Apple Bloom answered back, loading more fireworks into the pile using her back.

“…I don’t know! I just want to know what happened to this book!” Scootaloo yelled.

Scootaloo’s dilemma was soon answered by the sound of crumpling paper near their position. They all turned around to see Timber asleep in a dog-like position in the grass, lightly making snoring noises from his nose. As he slept, he appeared to be chewing on what looked like the pages from the book that Scootaloo was reading.

“Hey! Gimme those!” Scootaloo said, reaching for the pages in his mouth. Upon seeing her friend attempt to retrieve them, Sweetie Belle quickly pulled Scootaloo away from Timber before she did something drastic.

“Scootaloo, be careful! You don’t take stuff from a dog’s mouth! He’ll bite you!”

Apple Bloom facehoofed. “Sweetie, we discussed this already. Jus’ cause he acts like a dog don’t make him one.”

“Well…true…but even still! It could be dangerous!” Sweetie squeaked a little. She knew Timber might not mean any harm, but if she learned anything from some previous encounters with animals, specifically a certain chicken-headed, snake-like creature, it was that animals can be unpredictable. And this colt seemed to be the definition of unpredictable.

Before the debate about whether to attempt a recovery mission for the pages could be decided, a pink hoof slammed down on Timber’s tail, making him immediately shoot up.

“RAAAAAARGR!” He roared in pain, flailing from the sudden sense of agony that now enveloped his tail, making the crusaders flinch in response to the very sudden, and seemingly very rude awakening of Timber.

“Oops. Did I interrupt the new blank-flank’s nap?~” A snide and squeaky voice snickered from behind Timber, which was also the owner of the hoof. The crusaders and Timber all turned their heads to see two fillies standing there. One was a pink filly with a two-toned pink and white mane and tail, accompanied by a tiara, whose hoof still held Timber’s tail to the ground. The filly accompanying her was a grey filly with oversized glasses and a braided mane. Both fillies held malicious smirks on their faces as they stared the group down.

The group, save for Timber, recognized the fillies almost immediately and only groaned.

“And today was jus’ goin soooo well too.” Apple Bloom said a little bitterly to herself.

The Mandatory Villain Song

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Timber’s emotions were already all over the place since he’d arrived to Ponyville. There were a LOT of things that he’d never even seen before in the little town, given that he had been isolated from society for a majority of his life. But one thing so far he had been able to take a big solace in, was that ponies seemed to be naturally nice and non-malicious creatures. This was a far cry from what he was used to in the aggressive and dangerous jungle, but to him this was a good thing. For a while, he was at peace with the fact that he wouldn’t need to fight anything off of him.

But it would seem with the appearance of this pink one that had a hoof holding his tail to the ground, that his perception of all ponies being nice had been shattered. And of course, the pain in his tail, and the fact that he had just been very rudely awoken wasn’t helping his mood.

“Diamond, leave Timber alone! You’re hurting him!” Sweetie demanded, giving Diamond an angry look. To be fair, none of the crusaders had expected any different from Diamond. Being this malicious toward a sleeping colt that had literally done nothing wrong. It was sad, but this kind of behavior is what they had come to expect from Diamond and Silver.

Diamond only rolled her eyes and complied, lifting her hoof off of Timber’s tail. Timber himself wasted no time in quickly pulling his tail back and caressing it gently, hoping to ease the pain.

“Nnnngh…” Timber mumbled as he nuzzled the fur on his tail.

Diamond and Silver of course, didn’t feel any sympathy for the colt, and both let out snide laughs. “Oh I’m sooo sorry. I didn’t mean to do that. Seems I’ve already gone and made the little blank-flank upset~ Hahahaha!~” Diamond snickered.

Silver was going to laugh as well, but before she got the chance, her nose caught wind of probably the most rancid and disgusting odor that had ever entered her nostrils. It was so horrible that it made her nose scrunch up and she gagged. “O-Oh my Celestia what is that smell?!”

Diamond was about to ask what Silver was talking about, but then her own nose picked up on the horrible stench too. As expected, this didn’t sit well with Diamond. Her face turned green and her cheeks were slightly puffed out like she was about to vomit. Both fillies looked around for a moment before identifying the source of the smell…

It was none other than the new blank-flank.

“Oh my gosh, when was the last time you bathed; NEVER?!” Diamond asked Timber with a disgusted look on her face. Timber of course, didn’t respond and only looked at Diamond with a confused look and a tilted head.

“Diamond, stop talkin’ to Timber like that! He JUST got to town; he hasn’t had the time to take a bath yet!” Apple Bloom yelled at Diamond. She had wanted to say that she was shocked that Diamond would harass a colt that hasn’t even said anything to warrant such treatment (or in Timber’s case, say anything at all) but sadly, Diamond was out of control.

“Pffft and here I thought hygiene would be…I don’t know….a big thing on his priority list.” Diamond snickered, getting right into Timber’s face at this point. “But that doesn’t look like the case, now does it, smelly?” Diamond asked in a mocking tone.

Timber stopped rubbing his tail for a moment to look at Diamond. As with any other pony, he couldn’t understand what she was saying, but it sure seemed like she was mocking him just from the way she made those weird sounds Timber couldn’t fully understand. Oh yeah, it annoyed him alright. But his attention wasn’t entirely focused on that…

What he WAS focused on was the shiny object on the pony’s head. It wasn’t quite as sparkly as the castle that he’d met the half-unicorn/half Pegasus in, but it still really caught his attention. It was so shiny that it seemed to beckon him to reach out to it.

“Rooooooogh” Timber said, seemingly in awe, as he reached out to poke the strange piece of headwear.

Diamond caught wind of what Timber was thinking rather quickly and slapped Timber’s hoof away from her. “Hey hey, hooves off! I didn’t give you permission to touch my tiara! Especially not when you smell THIS bad. Who knows where your hooves have been!” Diamond yelled.

The sudden contact mad Timber flinch. Diamond had actually struck him and made an aggressive gesture. In his mind, the first blow usually meant challenge and the desire for combat; and from the mocking tone she seemed to use towards Timber, he was all too happy to know that she was looking for a fight.

Timber sized his new opponent up as he prepared for battle. She appeared to be slightly stronger than the winged, orange pony and the white one with a horn, but looked to be on a slightly lower level than the yellow one with the bow.

This wouldn’t be hard.

Timber crouched low to the ground and let out a low growl to indicate that Diamond should back off. Scootaloo looked at the position that he was in and her eyes widened. She’d seen dogs behave the exact same way before they got ready to fight. “…Well, it’s been nice knowing you Diamond.”

“What? What the heck is that supposed to-“


Diamond didn’t even get a chance to finish her sentence before the colt took a deep breath and let out a gut wrenching roar that wasn’t too different from a manticore’s. It was so horrendously loud and forceful that the sheer force of it blew Diamond and Silver’s manes back and knocked off Diamond’s tiara and Silver’s glasses.

The crusader’s hadn’t been prepared for anything of that caliber either and quickly covered their ears.

“…Dang. That colt’s got some impressive lungs.” Apple Bloom said, seemingly in awe at how loud Timber’s roar was.

It was no surprise that Diamond and Silver were both properly terrified now. They hadn’t expected ANYTHING like this to come from the colt. At most, they’d expected crying or maybe some angry yelling given that he hadn’t actually said anything throughout this encounter. But DEFNITELY not a roar that sounded like some kind of vicious animal from the Everfree Forest and scared them half to death to the point of shivering.

They weren’t touching this one with a ten foot pole.

Diamond and Silver both bolted out of their as quickly as their short, filly legs could possibly carry them. As they ran away, they swiped up the tiara and pair of glasses that Timber had knocked off of them with his roar, and attempted to get as far away as possible. Timber was about to give chase to the two, but Sweetie Belle stopped him from doing so by grabbing onto his tail to hold him back.

“RrRmph! Timber, calm down! She’s not worth it!” Sweetie tried to yell through her teeth, refusing to let go of Timber’s tail. Timber however, was not appeased and he started to bark and growl in Diamond’s direction.

Sweetie needed to calm Timber down as soon as possible, or else there would probably be a case of murder on their hooves. From the hostile way he was growling and barking, Sweetie could tell he wouldn’t hold anything back if he got a hold of Diamond.

So, she did the only thing she could think of.

“There there, just relax Timber…” Sweetie whispered calmly, starting to pet Timber’s back like a dog, being very careful not to touch his wings.

This actually did seem to get Timber to calm down a bit. He tensed up for a bit when he first felt Sweetie touching him, and a slight tinge of red came onto his cheeks. He still might not’ve been used to filly’s petting him like this…

But he had to admit it to himself, it did feel kind of good.

Timber finally lowered his guard and simply let Sweetie continue to pet his back and a little bit of his mane. A slight smile came onto his face as he allowed himself to be petted and ease the stress that had been induced by the pink po-…

…No. He refused to refer to that one as a pony. She seemed to be much too hostile compared to those he’d met thus far.

“I know how bad Diamond can be Timber. Trust me, it’s best for everypony if you tried to just ignore her and don’t let her get to you…” Sweetie said, sighing a bit. She really wished Timber didn’t have to experience Diamond’s bullying. Unfortunately, that seemed to come with hanging out with her and her friends. It seemed that anypony associated with them would suffer Diamond’s harassment.

“…You know what? Maybe now that Timber’s hanging out with us, Diamond’ll leave us alone! I mean, did you see the look on her face?!” Scootaloo exclaimed, snickering a bit at their enemy’s fear.

Apple Bloom only rolled her eyes. “Ah’ll believe that when Ah see it.”

Moxxy had specifically told Pansy to register for only the best hotel room that she could afford. As expected, Pansy was scared to death of disappointing her boss, so she did just as she was told. The hotel room that she’d gotten was nothing less of extravagant. It had an armchair that allowed Moxxy to feel much more close to what she was used to in her mansion, and allowed a very lovely view of Ponyville’s sunset from the large window in the back of the room.

Taking a sip of wine while watching said sunset Moxxy had to admit was rather relaxing.

“Hm. Good. Pansy did something right for once.” Moxxy said to herself. She’d be damned if she allowed her assistant to mess this up for her. She just hoped to Celestia that Pansy managed to get those dreaded mud-stains out of her coat. She had to resort to wearing a spare that she’d brought with her; this one being a bright white with some black stripes going down the back and sides…

Resembling very heavily the white tiger the fur coat came from.

Moxxy thought to herself about what the night would bring as she relaxed in her chair. Since she was operating in a protected area, she’d have to have her hunters, who should be coming in from the train at any moment, operate in the Everfree Forest under the cover of darkness. After her hunters returned to her, she would have plenty more furs that she could sell to ponies that were under the impression that it was just VERY realistic synthetic fur, or simply wear them herself.

An ever growing smile came onto her lips at the thought of it, and she started to sing to herself.

This day is going to be perfect~
The kind of day I look forward to all along.
Everypony will swoon and purr
Say how I look lovely in my furs.
What they don’t know is to what it once beloooonged~

Meanwhile at the entrance to the Everfree Forest, a large group of ponies, seemingly all unicorns stood diligently in front of Pansy, who also happened to be present. All of them seemed to be wearing some form of camouflage clothing and all had hardened looks on their faces, seemingly awaiting orders from Pansy.

Pansy looked out over the crowd of hunters in front of her nervously and cleared her throat. “A-Alright everypony. Moxxy’s ordered all of you to operate under the cover of night. She wants any animals you can get in there, but be on a special lookout for THIS one.” Pansy then showed the group of hunters a picture of an animal none of them had ever seen in their time of working for Moxxy. It was serpentine in body, had dark purple scales, and a bright orange mane and mustache.

“Yes ma’am!” The ponies all gave a stern nod and spoke simultaneously. They then turned around and quickly galloped into the forest, out to please their boss with whatever spoils of hunting the forest would provide.

Pansy stood alone outside the forest for a few moments, staring into the dark abyss that Moxxy’s hunters had disappeared into and gave a sad sigh…

And thus, she started to sing to herself.

This day was going to be perfect.
Not the day that I would end up dreading all along.
But the law we always break,
And the lives of critters are at stake
Maybe I wasn’t meant to be myself at all…

Back at the hotel, Moxxy started to trot around the room, reveling in the abundance of fur that was to come her way, and the authority that she had over Pansy. Honestly, Pansy was a silly girl sometimes. Actually valuing these lowly creatures. It made even more words of music come to mind, and she was not afraid to express her deviousness.

I could care less about your stress
I’ll keep you wake till your body aches
Girl, you get to break only when I saaaay.
Because I’m the one whose better
And you had best know that you’re lesser
For soon all those filthy animals we maaaaaul!

Moxxy extravagantly trotted into her hotel bedroom, where she found among the frilly, green covers and pillows, a large stuffed rabbit sitting there on the bed. Imagining as if it were a real one, Moxxy smirked and levitated the stuffed animal with her magic. She then used it to twist the stuffed rabbit’s head around and around several times, until finally, the fabric could take no more and the head ripped off, stuffing falling out of the area of the neck. Moxxy then let the body of the stuffed toy fall to the ground, threw the head into the air, and shot a light purple laser from her horn directly into the forehead of the decapitated toy. It left a small, smoking hole in it. The sight of it made Moxxy’s smile grow larger and her singing to grow louder.

Run now, critters meet your doom!
For Moooxxy will come for you!
Cause I want all your fur to be miiiiine!

Pansy was trotting her way back to the hotel now, with Moxxy’s usual minx coat on her back, now free of the mud stains that Pinkie had unintentionally caused. The walk back gave her time to think and reflect on what her life had come to. She’d indirectly had a hoof in the extinction of nearly 15 different species of animals by assisting Moxxy for the past few years. To make matters worse, Moxxy overworked her constantly and she was overall not treated very well. To say the least, she felt awful about everything. Her sorrows fueled her to continue her singing.

I would escape, but it’s too late.
My whole world just fades to grey.
Hope? On poor critters Moxxy preeeeys.
I do fear that it’s just too grim,
My chances are far past slim
Just watching while she slays them all each daaaay.
Oh I do so hate this life
Filled wiiiith fear and death’s in rife.
Oooh Pansy won’t you, maybe end this striiiife?!

After Moxxy had finished mangling the stuffed rabbit, she looked back at the window, the sunset finally nearing its end, which meant that her hunters were now without a doubt in the forest.

Finally, the moment has arriiiived.
For me, to take those precious hiiiides.

As Pansy arrived at the door of the hotel, she looked up at the setting sun, dreading the massacre that was going to take place in the forest and that she would learn just how bad it would be in the morning. Just the thought that she’d somehow had a hoof in this, and that she was too afraid to do anything about it made her tear up.

Stop the hunt for goodness sake
Moxxy’s making a mistake
Those poor critters will be-

As the sun finally disappeared over the horizon, Moxxy threw her head back and let out a loud and maniacal laugh.

Mine. All mine…Mwahahahahahaaa!~

Timber's First Fireworks

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When Rarity had warned Critter about the dangers of waking up Opal when he came into the Boutique, she had hoped that he would take this warning with actual seriousness. Opal may look like a harmless house cat on the outside, but she really could be a little beastie when she was irritated.

When she actually stepped back into her home though, it took her less than a fraction of a second for her to see that Critter did not heed her warning.

While Opal appeared to be sleeping peacefully on top of a nearby shelf, Critter laid on the couch, holding a hoof over his face, where there was a long scratch mark over it where Opal had seemingly attacked him.

“…I told you to be careful around Opal dear.” Rarity said, covering her mouth and trying not to giggle at Critter’s unfortunate little mishap with her cat.

Critter on the other hoof, did not seem to be nearly as amused as he held his hoof to his defaced muzzle. “I thought you were exaggerating. That cat is the most vile thing I’ve had the displeasure of going up against…and I’ve been attacked by Cragadiles.” Critter grumbled.

“See darling, this is what happens when you don’t listen to me.” Rarity said rolling her eyes and sitting down on the couch next to him. “How badly does it hurt?”

Critter winced a little as the pain came back to his face. “It’s pretty horrible, but I’ll survive. Cat scratches are nothing compared to being turned to stone by a Cockatrice. THAT on the other hoof, hurts like a motherfucker.”

Rarity’s face turned a little pale at the thought of being turned to a statue by one of those creatures. Twilight had had that happen to her once, and from what she told her, it was utterly a horrible experience. “Goodness…what was that like?”

“Imagine being skinned alive and dunked in a vat of acid, all the while being completely paralyzed and unable to do anything about you predicament at all…now forget it because being turned to stone feels a lot worse. I should know. A Cockatrice did that to me on an expedition once and it sucks. You wanna know the worst part though? My colleagues thought it’d be funny if they didn’t get the Cockatrice to turn me back to normal right away.”

“Oh goodness, that’s just…cruel! Why on Equestria would they do that?!” Rarity exclaimed in shock. She knew Critter complained about his partners before, but she didn’t know it was on the level of letting him stay a rock after a Cockatrice attack.

“So they could doodle all over my stone body with a marker before they captured the Cockatrice and made it turn me back to normal…These are grown stallions…not high school fillies at a slumber party…let that sink in.” Critter seemed to recall the memory with a bit of bitterness and anger in his voice. Not much granted, but it was enough for Rarity to notice that it brought him great displeasure.

“My…seems you went through quite a lot with your colleagues. I recall you saying they don’t respect you?” Rarity asked questioningly.

Critter laid his head back and groaned. “They treat me like a friggin’ joke. So I’m a professor that’s a little more laid back, big deal. It doesn’t mean I don’t take my work seriously. You’d think that anypony with common sense would know that. And yet to this day I have to put up with a whole bunch of crap from the institute and the scientific community and…” Critter stopped midsentence and laid his head in his hooves. “…It just sucks, ya know? Friggin’ hypocrites tell me I’m not mature and then they draw on my face…”

Rarity didn’t think she’d ever hear this coming from Critter in a million years. He’d mentioned to her and Fluttershy that he was not well liked among his peers because he didn’t act like a typical scientist, but had she known it was this bad, she would have given him a bigger break when she was constantly griping in the Windless Woods. “Oh dear….well…it’s their loss if they can’t recognize a genius when they see one!” Rarity said with a hardened look.

Critter immediately shot up at those last few words and looked at Rarity in shock. “…I’m sorry but…did you just say the “G” word?” Critter asked.

“What? Genius? Why indeed I did.” Rarity said with a nod. “Darling, I don’t think I’ve met such an animal expert like you since Fluttershy. It’s quite obvious you know what you’re doing in your work, and I honestly don’t think it’s fair that you don’t get the recognition you deserve!” Rarity declared with shut eyes and her face tilted slightly upward.

Critter was at a loss for words at that. From the time they’d met, Critter and Rarity had been at each other’s throats. And yet here she was referring to him in such high regards.

“…Never knew you thought so highly of me Miss Rarity. Uhhh…thank you.” Was Critter’s only response. For reasons Critter couldn’t quite get, that sentence made Rarity blush.

“Ehe…it was nothing at all darling. I only “call them as I see them” as it were.” Rarity said with the blush still ever-present on her muzzle. “…Say darling, since you’ll be going back to Canterlot tomorrow, do you perhaps want to watch a movie or something?...just while I have you here you know?” Rarity asked with a bit of a nervous smile creeping onto her face.

“Hehe, sure. Just keep me away from any of the Transformares movies and I’m good with pretty much whatever.” Critter responded with a slight chuckle.

Rarity’s nervous smile changed almost immediately into big, completely genuine one at that. She now had Critter to herself. That was a good start. Now she just needed to set the mood, and then hopefully Critter would catch the hint.

Oh this evening is going to be perfect~’ Rarity thought mischievously to herself.

Celestia’s sun had finally set to make way for Luna’s precious night. The sky had gone dark and the bright stars had begun to twinkle in said darkened sky. Obviously the most defining feature of the night was the glorious and luminous moon that shone brightly and reflected across Ponyville’s landscape.

Though, it would have been much more peaceful a night if it weren’t for a select group of ponies.

“Alright Scoots, light it up!” Apple Bloom yelled to Scootaloo as they hid behind a nearby bush with a bit of distance from the bottle rocket they had gotten from the pile of their collected fireworks. The only Crusader that wasn’t behind the bush at the moment was Scootaloo, who held a lighter in her hoof and was trying to light the fuse on the firework.

“Don’t worry Scootaloo, we have full confidence in you!” Sweetie Belle yelled to her from the bush.

“Yeah I can see that from the way you’re hiding behind the safety of a bush.” Scootaloo groaned a little to herself, rolling her eyes.

Timber stood behind the bush and watched Scootaloo try to work the lighter. As usual, he didn’t quite understand what it was these ponies were doing, but it interested him nonetheless. Though Timber didn’t get why they had to wait until sundown to do…whatever this was.

Timber couldn’t dwell as long as he would’ve liked on these thoughts, as he felt a gust of wind pass through his mane and tail, making him flinch a bit and let out a low growl. He’d already dealt with this strange phenomenon earlier today, and it was so unusual and unfamiliar that he was really hating it.

“Grrrrrr…” Timber growled.

Sweetie took immediate attention to Timber’s growling. From what she had seen of Timber so far, he seemed to be easily enraged and confused by some of the simplest things. And if his roar was any indication, he was aggressive too. Sweetie could imagine this would not bode well if she couldn’t get him to relax.

“Hey hey, what’s the matter Timber? You’re not still thinking about Diamond are you?” Sweetie asked him. She looked him over a little to see if there was anything wrong with him physically, and laid eyes on his toned and muscular physique. For a foal, he looked to be very strong, considering all that time in the jungle had forced him to push himself to that extent.

Sweetie quickly caught herself staring at Timber’s muscles and shook her head, blushing a little. What just happened? She didn’t really know but it had to have been embarrassing whatever it was.

Sweetie looked at Timber again, doing her best to not blush anymore, and saw that the wind was making him shiver. Whether it was from rage at the wind or just his own temperature Sweetie didn’t know, but she figured winging it would be better than nothing. “Awww, Timber are you cold?” Sweetie asked, wrapping her forelegs around him and hugging him, hoping to make him feel a little warmer…

Though after seeing how muscular he was, she didn’t know if this was more for her own benefit or Timber’s.

Timber almost immediately stopped shivering and he looked over at Sweetie. He was getting that very weird feeling in his stomach that he had gotten at the library when Sweetie first did this. What was with this tiny pony and hugging? It felt…very weird compared to when Rarity or his Timberwolf mother ever did it.

After a few more seconds, Sweetie let go of him and smiled. “Just so you know Timber…You don’t smell THAT bad.” She said with that blush starting to come back.

Meanwhile, Apple Bloom only snickered as she watched her friend, which of course caught Sweetie’s attention.

“…And just what’re you laughing at?” Sweetie Belle asked narrowing her eyes and giving Apple Bloom a suspicious look.

“Nothiiiiin’~” Apple Bloom said with an eye roll and a big smile. She had a pretty good idea about what was going on with Sweetie, but why actually say anything to ruin the fun?

Before anypony could even get another word in, Scootaloo came charging towards them at full speed and jumped behind the bush to join them. “Alright, the rocket’s lit! Get ready for liftoff!” She shouted as she and the rest of her friends looked on at the rocket with a now lit fuse sitting on the ground, getting ever so shorter as the seconds went by…

Then without any warning the entire bottom of the rocket lit up in fire and shot into the sky, leaving a long trail of smoke in its wake. Soon after it had gained enough altitude, the rocket had disappeared from view almost completely and burst into a big explosion of what looked to be a sort of blue fire. The explosion lit up the entire sky and made a very loud BOOM noise that could be heard for miles.

The fillies all watched it in awe and amazement at the artistry they had just had a hoof in with widened eyes and open mouths. But Timber, having never seen anything such as this, was the most mesmerized out of all of them. The explosion made him flinch a little, but after seeing how beautiful and magnificent this fire in the sky was, he promptly let his guard down to watch.

He sure was glad he did.

“Oh…my…gosh…THAT WAS AMAZING!~” Sweetie Belle cheered after the explosion had subsided, bouncing up and down happily and her voice cracking a little and sounding extra squeaky.

“Ah gotta be honest, Ah almost thought this’d end up with somepony burstin’ into flames, but looks like nothin’ bad happened this time!” Apple Bloom added before looking at her flank and then her friend’s flanks.

All were still markless.

“Awww, dang it. Still no Cutie-Mark.” Scootaloo said grumpily with a slight pout when she took a look at her own flank.

“Mmph. That’s a little disappointing…still, it was pretty cool to watch! Timber sure looked like he enjoyed it!~” Sweetie Belle said, looking at Timber.

Timber had not come out of the trance that the display had put him in and was still staring deeply into the sky. The entire time he was doing this he had not blinked even once.

“...Geez Timber I thought it was cool too but snap out of it.” Scootaloo said, lightly tapping on Timber’s head. This unfortunately yielded no results and Timber did not take his eyes off the sky.

“Sweetie, ya think you can bring our new friend back down to Equestria please? It looks like you’d get his attention the beeeest~” Apple Bloom asked Sweetie Belle with a slight smirk beginning to form on her mouth.

Sweetie found herself blushing again. “W-What are you saying Apple Blo-“


Before Sweetie Belle could even finish her sentence, the entire group of foal’s attention was abruptly turned to something else. From what they were able to hear, it sounded like somepony in the forest was screaming loudly as if they were in pain. Whoever the screaming was coming from had to be distinctly male though it sounded a little flamboyant on a level none of the foals had really heard before.

Of course, the screaming was so loud that it snapped Timber right out of his daze and he quickly shook his head. His ears perked up slightly at the sound of distress and he turned to the forest. From the way he looked at the trees outlining the forest, this place wouldn’t be anything all that different from what he was used to. And now somepony in there was in danger.

So essentially, Timber would be in his element in the Everfree.

Seemingly without a second thought, Timber galloped his way towards the forest, shocking the three fillies that were with him.

“Timber wait! We don’t know what all is in there!” Apple Bloom yelled, quickly running after him.

“Dangit Timber you knucklehead, stop!” Scootaloo also yelled, giving chase to the red-headed colt as well.

“WAIT GIRLS SHOULDN’T WE-“ Unfortunately, Sweetie’s friends were all already in the Everfree Forest and out of her sight, leaving her by herself. “…Tell Rarity what’s happening?...” Sweetie Belle then let out an annoyed groan at her friends inability to wait for her.

“Why does nopony ever listen to me?” Sweetie Belle groaned again; now deciding that she needed to get her friends out of there, followed them into the forest as well. Whatever was making that sound, she just hoped to Celestia it was friendly.


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The Everfree Forest had been known for being very unforgivable to anypony that entered. Most ponies were deathly afraid to enter due to the population of extremely dangerous and hostile predators that dwelled within.

Timber was not most ponies.

He may not have known what the Everfree Forest itself was like, but he already DID know what fighting incredibly dangerous beasts with your bare hooves to survive every day of your young life was like. Anything the Everfree Forest could have to throw at him, Timber will most likely have dealt with it in the Windless Woods on more than a few occasions before.

Of course, this didn’t seem to deter the crusaders from chasing after him.

“FER CELESTIA’S SAKE TIMBER WILL YA SLOW DOWN?!?!” Apple Bloom yelled at him, panting and starting to run out of breath.

“BETTER YET, JUST STOP BEING DUMB AND LET’S GET OUT OF HERE, THIS PLACE IS DANGEROUS!” Scootaloo also yelled out to him, herself also starting to breathe heavily.

Sweetie Belle probably would have said something too if she wasn’t the worst off in the group in terms of exhaustion. If it weren’t for her quick and squeaky breathes and lack of air, she probably would have screamed at Timber to stop running too.

It’d been close to five minutes of nothing but yelling and sprinting before Timber finally jumped into a bush off to the side of the path, no part of him being visible from it. Luckily, the fillies had already seen where he had gone and followed him into said bush.

“TIMBER WHAT WERE YOU THI-“ Apple Bloom’s mouth was quickly covered by Timber’s hoof, Timber himself only looking straight ahead and seeming not to pay Apple Bloom any mind.

Sweetie had finally managed to catch her breath once they had stopped running, and had her own questions to ask about the matter. “T-Timber why the heck would you just go running off after that noise? You don’t even know what’s in he-“


It was that scream again. Still just as loud and flamboyant; only it was much, much closer now than it was before. The girls all shivered a little at the sound of the unknown scream, fearing the absolute worse, given the place that they were in. Timber seemed to be the only one not very deterred by the entire situation.

Timber quickly took his hoof off of Apple Bloom’s mouth and pointed straight ahead to where he was staring. The filly’s gaze followed that of his hoof and they were starting to see just why he wanted them to be quiet.

A few hundred feet or so ahead of where Timber was pointing was a long stretch of river, whose current appeared to be incredibly rough and out of control. This was because inside it was some kind of serpent-like reptile with an orange mane and mustache of that same color, was flailing in distress and screaming in pain. Surrounding the river and the creature was about a dozen or so unicorn stallions and mares, all wearing some form of camouflage, and lighting up their horns. One of them opened fire on the creature with a blast of magic, striking it square in the cheek.

Of course, the creature howled in pain. “OWWW! FOR GOODNESS’ SAKE JUST LEAVE ME ALONE! WHAT DID I EVER DO TO YOU?!?” It yelled, thrashing even more violently. It tried to swing its tail at the crowd of unicorns, but they were much too fast for him and they jumped and ducked out of harm’s way.

“Shit! She didn’t tell us this thing wasn’t feral!” one of the stallions yelled.

“Who cares?! Just hurry up and help us kill it, or the boss will have your head on a pike!” one of the unicorn mares yelled back at him. On that note, the unicorn tried firing magic at the serpent, followed by a few more unicorns doing the same. Several of the magical blasts hit him in the chest and lower abdominal area, starting to knock the wind out of him.

“R-Rgh…D-Dear Celestia, p-please, stop…” The serpent pleaded, appearing to get visibly weaker. From the looks of the damage already inflicted on the serpent’s body, this had been going on for a couple of hours and it didn’t look like he could take much more.

“O-Oh no, this is bad, this is REALLY bad!” Scootaloo exclaimed.

“W-What’re we gonna do? We can’t just go in there n’ attack em, there’s too many!” Apple Bloom pointed out at the unicorns. The other foals surveyed the scene; the odds were definitely against them on this one. There were only four of them and about 12 or so unicorns.

“A-Alright, one of us just needs to go back into Ponyville and bring back he-“

“Uhhhh Sweetie?” Apple Bloom interrupted. “….Timber’s already gone.” She said, pointing to where he was standing not even a moment ago. She looked at the spot and quickly noticed the absence of a certain ginger-maned Pegasus colt that was supposed to be with them.

“W-What?! Where’d he go?!” Sweetie squeaked in distress.

“Uhhh…call it a hunch but….I think he might be up there.” Scootaloo said, pointing to one of the trees looming over the crowd of unicorns. The other two fillies looked up, and sure enough Timber was holding onto one of the branches with his left wing, glaring down at the group of ponies and baring his teeth.

“Grrrrarg….” Timber made a low and deep growling noise through his mouth. It sounded very similar to that of a Timberwolf’s, and was definitely loud enough for one of the ponies to hear.

“Woah woah, hold your fire.” One of the unicorns said, holding up a hoof. This prompted the others to stop firing on the serpent and look up at him in confusion. “…I heard something.” He mumbled, shifting his gaze around the group looking for any signs of a predator. All he was able to see though was the darkness of the Everfree and several trees blocking out any moonlight.

“…I’m not hearing anything; are you just bullshitting us?” one of the unicorn mares asked him with an annoyed expression.

The stallion shook his head. “I’m not bullshitting anypony at all. You know what this place is like don’t you? There’s animals in here that’d tear you to shreds when you least expect i-AAAAAGH!” The stallion didn’t even get the chance to continue as he felt something jump onto his back, kick him in the back of the neck, and start trying to claw at his face.

The other unicorns flinched at his screaming and slightly turned their heads to see what was wrong, only to find Timber violently trying to claw at the stallion’s face, occasionally digging his hooves into the stallion’s eye sockets and seeming to attempt to gouge out his eyes. The stallion screamed louder in agony and started to run around the forest clearing at this. “DON’T JUST SIT THERE AND STARE, SHOOT IT!” He screamed to his comrades.

The unicorns quickly made an attempt to get Timber off of him by opening fire with magic. Lucky for Timber, he was much too small a target for the unicorns to get a proper shot in on him. This resulted in the stallion getting hit much more than Timber did; and when he did occasionally get hit with said magic, Timber would cringe in pain but bared it the best he could. The pain of being struck by magic was unlike anything he’d ever felt before. The closest thing he could think of was being severely burned in a fire, but even that didn’t compare.

And he’d only been hit by one or two blasts. He couldn’t imagine what more than that would feel like.

The stallion screamed even louder than before at being hit in the crossfire of magic. “AIM YOU BONEHEADS, AIM!” He yelled.

Timber looked up at his victim, and then looked at the unicorns trying to hurt him. Whatever this was that they were shooting at him that was causing so much pain was coming from their horns, the same thing Rarity used to make things float in mid-air and also strike the manticore with. If that was the source of this then maybe…

Timber didn’t have time to even consider what was going to happen when he did what he did. He looked up at the stallion he was attacking’s horn, climbed up a little higher onto his head, and bit down on it as hard as he possibly could.

Seeing as a horn tends to be very sensitive for a unicorn, this looked especially painful to the other unicorns of the group. Unsurprisingly, the stallion that this was all happening to was having the absolute worst time with this, screaming to the point where his throat was beginning to hurt.

“AAAAGH! SOMEPONY PLEASE GET HIM OFF ME!” he yelled. The stallion did the only thing he could think to try and do in a situation like this and lit up his horn with magic. The horn began to heat up to a near scalding level and felt like it was going to burn Timber’s mouth if he didn’t do something about this soon.


The unicorns all flinched in a mix of horror and disgust when they heard that sound accompanying the circumstances. The stallion had stopped running and screaming altogether and just stood in the middle of the clearing, completely motionless. Timber hopped off of his back and turned around to the other unicorns, growling…

With the stallion’s dismembered horn held tight in his teeth.

The crusaders who were still watching from the bush were all in shock at this, their mouths hanging open in disbelief and trying but failing to grasp for words. Sweetie Belle seemed to be in the worst shape from seeing this, due to her being a unicorn herself, considered this a pretty grizzly sight to look at.

The stallion then simply fell over, seeming to pass out from the pain, not even letting out an “Oomph” sound or anything other than the thud of him landing on his side. The other unicorns were in a similar state as the crusaders as they had just seen their comrades’ horn being violently ripped from his head, and they all of a sudden felt very uncomfortable and nauseous from it.

“….NOPE SCREW YOU GUYS, I DON’T CARE WHAT THE BOSS DOES TO ME, I’M NOT STAYING HERE!” One of them yelled, quickly running out of the forest in fear. The other unicorns quickly followed that one’s example and ran with him, some of them screaming, and one of them using their own magic to pick up the incapacitated, hornless unicorn and haul him off with them.

Timber started to bark loudly in their direction, dropping the horn on the ground and preparing to chase after them. He was stopped though by Apple Bloom quickly running out of the bush and grabbing onto his tail with her mouth, holding him in place.

“R-Rgr, No ya don’t! Yer not runnin’ off aga-“ Apple Bloom stopped midsentence and gagged a little bit. “O-Oh dear Celestia that smell.” She said, still gagging a little bit from her muzzle getting much too close to Timber’s tail.

Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo followed their friend out of the bush and looked at Timber. “Dude just….you ripped that guy’s horn off…I….dude.” Scootaloo said, still in shock over what had just happened. Sweetie Belle meanwhile, though still very nauseated over what she just witnessed, was more concerned with Timber’s condition.

“O-Oh my gosh Timber, you look hurt, a-are you alright?” Sweetie asked. Timber only cringed a little at the pain of the burn marks he’d acquired during the struggle but said nothing otherwise. Instead he pointed to the serpent in the nearby river that the unicorn’s had been attacking.

The serpent, also cringing slightly in pain, looked up at the group of foals, Timber specifically. “…Did you get those degenerates out of my hair?” He asked.

“Yeah, don’t worry about em. After seeing what Timber just did to that guy, I really don’t think they’ll be coming after you anymore….um” Scootaloo looked at the serpent with a tilted head, not knowing his name.

“Oh yes, how rude of me.” The serpent said, clearing his throat. “I’m Steven Magnet. I tell you, I can’t thank you enough for getting those ponies away from me. I can’t imagine what they’d want me dead for.” He said. Steven’s eyes then quickly shifted to his mustache, hoping to Celestia they hadn’t damaged it.

Unfortunately, half of it had been burned off by the magic that was being hurled at him.

Steven let out an annoyed sigh. “Why is it that I can never seem to keep this mustache intact?” he asked nopony in particular.

“Uhhh….shouldn’t ya just be a LITTLE more concerned that there were a bunch o’ ponies tryin’ to kill ya?” Apple Bloom asked, Timber having calmed down enough for her to let his tail go from her mouth. Not to mention the fact that Timber’s tail was probably the worst tasting thing she’d ever had in her mouth so she wasn’t sure how much longer she could last.

“Oh I am! I don’t know what those ponies could want with me but they DID keep going on about some kind of “Boss” that would do them in if they didn’t kill me.” He said.

The three fillies quickly looked at each other, then at Steven, and then at Timber’s usual confused and unaware face. They were probably going to get in a lot of trouble for going into the Everfree Forest unsupervised, but this was serious.

“….We have to tell Rarity.” Sweetie said with a little bit of a grim look on her face.

“Jeez ponies in horror movies are pure geniuses. Yes, clearly hiding somewhere you can easily get cornered and later on slaughtered by a guy in a hockey mask is the best way to go.” Critter said sarcastically to himself, sitting on Rarity’s couch next to her, the light of the television being the only thing illuminating the dark room.

Rarity meanwhile was wearing an extremely smug smile at her prowess over the situation. For this to work, she would need to keep Critter interested and awake. Given that Critter didn’t seem like the type for a romantic drama, that probably would have put him to sleep within the first few minutes, which would simply not do. So she weighed her options and had decided on a film of the horror genre

It was too perfect. Not only was Critter actually a fan of these movies, but it would also give her the excuse of quickly clinging to him whenever a jumpscare happened.

Though she had to admit, the blood and gore was a little excessive. She felt legitimately sorry for whoever had to clean up the set when filming was completed.

Just as she was thinking this, the killer of the movie smashed through a nearby window and grabbed one of the mares that was in the cabin and drug her outside, kicking and screaming. Rarity had seen that coming a mile away since this was a horror movie, but the suddenness of what had just happened would allow her to continue putting her plot in motion.

“EEP!” Rarity squealed a little and quickly clung to Critter, pretending to shiver a little and act as scared as possible.

Critter of course, took this as expected. Blushing deep and looking nervous as all heck. “U-Umm Rarity, this is like, the fifteenth time you’ve done this tonight. You THAT scared of this?” he asked. Rarity stuck out her bottom lip and nodded, still pretending to be terrified.

“It’s…quite unnerving. Though I do feel a little better when I’m doing this…” she said, slightly nuzzling his foreleg. This wasn’t making the blush on Critter’s face go away anytime soon.

“U-Um, well if this scares you that much, we can just stop watching anytime ya know.” He said, more and more red coming onto his cheeks.

Rarity shook her head and looked directly into Critter’s eyes, hoping to get even more of a reaction out of him. “No I’m…quite alright.” She said quietly. For a few moments, the two ponies simply looked at each other, not seeming to care much about the movie though it was the only source of light in the room right now. The only thing they did seem to care about was staring at the other, tinges of red and pink creeping onto their respective faces as they looked each other over.

Neither pony really knew what was happening anymore as they started to very slowly lean toward each other, eyes closing just as slowly as they did so. They didn’t see anything, but only felt it when their lips finally touched. The ponies now felt like they were in complete bliss as their lips stayed together for quite a long time. Critter wrapped his forelegs around Rarity’s curvaceous body and embracing the mare as he got into the kiss a little more and Rarity was enjoying every second of it.

But this would not last very long, as the front door of the boutique was slammed open and the sound of Sweetie Belle’s incredibly squeaky and loud voice rang in Rarity’s ears.

“RARITTYYYYYY!” She yelled at the near top of her tiny lungs as she ran into the room, followed by Timber, Apple Bloom, and Scootaloo.

Rarity, now caught completely off guard, quickly broke the kiss, pulled away from Critter, and covered her muzzle with a nearby blanket to hide her blush. “S-Sweetie Belle, I am in the middle of something right now, what is it?!” Rarity stuttered a little nervously, hoping that Sweetie didn’t actually catch her doing this.

Critter meanwhile, was trying to recover from his mind going completely blank over what just transpired, only blinking occasionally.

And he also was trying to piece together why he had the distinct taste of marshmallows lingering on his tongue now.

Rage of The Devil

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The very same party of unicorns that had gone after Steven Magnet had long fled the Everfree Forest from the savage little colt that’d brutally injured one of their own. One time was enough to scare them absolutely shitless into abandoning their mission and returning to their boss. Though a lot of them feared that what the boss would do to them if she knew about what happened.

This thought is exactly what kept them from entering Moxxy’s hotel room and just left them standing outside of it, a few of them shivering in pure fear and anxiety.

“We’re only delaying the inevitable everypony, l-let’s just calmly explain to her what went down and maybe she’ll go easy on us.” One of them suggested.

“No offense but, are you out of your fucking mind? Moxxy’s completely unmerciful to ponies that fail her. If we tell her a COLT of all things stopped us, she’ll turn US into throw rugs.” Another one said. While a few of the ponies were talking amongst themselves over what to do, the stallion that had had his horn chomped off by Timber simply stood there, eye twitching a little bit.

One of the mare unicorns of the group looked over at him. “Oh stop being such a baby, it’ll grow back.” She groaned. The stallion though, was not amused in the slightest at the mare’s tone and stared daggers at her.

“Oh that’s sooooo easy for you to say. Did a crazy kid jump on YOUR head and violently rip off your horn? No? Then until that happens to you, don’t give me any crap.” He growled. It wasn’t just the fact that this stallion had been hurt and humiliated on this level that made him angry. It was the fact that he had been hurt and humiliated on this level BY A COLT that really made his blood boil.

A different unicorn stallion out of the group groaned loudly. “If you guys are just going to be wimps about it, I’ll go in and tell her what happened. Are you all satisfied now?” he asked with an annoyed face. The rest of the unicorns nodded before the stallion rolled his eyes and trotted slowly into Moxxy’s hotel room.

It was evident almost the second he entered that he was in over his head.

The room was very dimly lit to the point where almost the only thing that was visibly bright was the embers of Moxxy’s cigarette that she held in her magic. She was sitting in a chair that was faced toward the door as if she’d been sitting there staring at it for hours on end waiting for him to enter. The darkness didn’t make her usual death-glare any less terrifying though. Her chilling, light blue eyes stared right through the stallion, making him shiver with anxiety. It was said that a pony’s eyes are meant to be the windows to the soul. Well, these hunters had seen Moxxy’s eyes several times, and in looking at them, they were thoroughly convinced that there was no soul to be found in her.

Pansy, standing right by her chair looked utterly pathetic in comparison. She always had a look of really uncomfortable anxiety and fear about her, like she never wanted to be in the situation she was in. Looking at Pansy and Moxxy side by side like this, it only made Moxxy look all the scarier.

“You know…” Moxxy said slowly and calmly, lightly dusting off her minx coat. Pansy had gotten it back to her after cleaning the mud-stains out and it looked as elegant as before, if not more so. “It’s never really a good sign when only one pony shows up out of a party of a few dozen.” Moxxy said, smiling a little disturbingly. In the stallion’s mind, this was already off to a bad start. Moxxy only smiles on few occasions, one of the most prominent being when she has a new fur to wear. This was clearly not the case here.

“W-Well ma’am I do actually have something to tell you.” He said, gulping a little.

Moxxy waved a hoof, gesturing him to continue, but at the same time, blowing some of the smoke from her cigarette his way, making him cough. “Well don’t keep me in suspense. Go on, tell me.” She said.

The stallion was still coughing when he tried to speak, but did manage to recover after a few seconds. What was with her and smoking? It almost seemed like she went out of her way to find cigarettes that smelled the absolute worst just so she could blow it in ponies’ faces.

“Y-Yes ma’am. Our team came up short in our hunting tonight. We were on the verge of getting that serpent’s mane that you wanted, b-but…we ran into some complications.”

Moxxy raised a curious eyebrow. “Complications? Don’t tell me some animal got the best of you, that’s what you have magic for. I told you if you ran into any Timberwolves to just blast it non-stop, it will leave you be eventually.” Moxxy said before growling to herself. “Fucking useless beasts. Only there to interfere and they’re not even good for hunting. Nopony wants clothes made out of wood.” She grumbled.

The stallion shook his head. “N-Nothing like that ma’am. It wasn’t animals that gave us problems.”

As Moxxy looked ever more curious, Pansy started to get even more scared. She was secretly happy that the hunters hadn’t managed to get their hooves on that serpent, but she dared not speak her mind in front of Moxxy. “O-Oh? Well then what happened?” Pansy asked.

The pony before Moxxy gulped nervously again. “W-We were ambushed. This insane, ginger colt dropped on one of our hunter’s heads and ripped his horn off with his teeth. I-It was so gruesome it made me want to vomit. W-We had to get out of there for the sake of the rest of our horns, surely you understand.” He said nervously stuttering.

Moxxy cringed only ever so slightly at the thought of a horn being snapped from a pony’s head. The thought was truly unnerving to just about any unicorn; the same with pegasi and the thought of their wings being broken off. Nevertheless, Moxxy managed to keep a straight face. She slowly stood up out of her chair and walked around the stallion, circling him and making him feel even more terrified than he was.

“…So…a group of highly trained and magically skilled unicorn hunters were reduced to being afraid to subdue a child for getting in the way of the hunt, is that what you’re telling me? The reason I don’t have serpent scale boots right now is because of some brat you were too afraid to fight?” Moxxy asked with her usual unreadable tone in her voice. Her tone of voice may have been hard to interpret, but the words she was saying clearly showed her displeasure at this new development.

“U-Ummm….that’s a negative way of putting it but…yes.” The stallion said quietly.

The room was eerily silent for a few moments. The stallion was completely scared out of his wits now as Moxxy stared at him, surely contemplating what she was going to do to him. If Moxxy was not above killing a family of rabbits to make slippers, she would certainly not be above shooting the messenger of bad news such as this.

The last thing the stallion expected was for Moxxy to chuckle.

“Oh I understand you and your comrade’s fear just fine. You witnessed your friend being mutilated before your very eyes, that’s naturally a cause for alarm.” Moxxy said calmy, again chuckling between words.

The stallion was nothing less of shocked at this. Moxxy wasn’t known for being this overly understanding. “W-Wait, really?” He asked.

“Of course, you poor things must have been absolutely terrified.” She said, trotting over the table beside her chair where there was a glass of wine waiting for her. She held her cigarette away from her mouth with her magic and then proceeded to pick the wine glass up with more magic, slowly bringing it to her lips and taking a sip out of it.

While the unicorn seemed to be calming down now, Pansy was more terrified than ever. She knew Moxxy for years now, and her being this calm and collected over something like this could only lead to terrible things.

She really didn’t want to be right here.

Moxxy stopped drinking her wine once the glass was empty and said nothing for a few short moments, her back facing the stallion in the room. “…Of course…you should know by now that I don’t tolerate failure…especially under circumstances like these.”

“Wait wha-“ The stallion didn’t get to finish his statement, or even express a look of confusion. As soon as Moxxy had finished her sentence, she turned around and hurled the glass at the pony with her magic as hard as she could. The glass hit its mark and smashed against the side of his face, leaving shards of broken glass stabbing into his cheek and blood trailing down his wounds. “AAAAAAGH!” The stallion screamed in pain.

Moxxy didn’t seem to acknowledge the stallion screaming whatsoever and simply opened the door to her room and shoved him out into the hallway, making him fall on his stomach. The other unicorns were waiting outside when this happened and gasped in fear as they saw what Moxxy did to this one. Moxxy then trotted outside, now all traces of composure completely gone from her face. Her nostrils were flaring and snorting hot air out of them, her mane was frizzled, teeth clenched, and eyes bloodshot. All of which was in uncontrollable rage.

“LET THIS SHITHEAD BE AN EXAMPLE FOR THE REST OF YOU! IF I HEAR ABOUT SUCH A PATHETIC FAILURE OUT OF YOU AGAIN, I WILL SHOVE ALL OF YOUR EMPTY HEADS UP YOUR OWN ASSES!” Moxxy screamed at the top of her lungs. She slammed the door as hard as possible, leaving the terrified ponies outside. Moxxy, then looked at Pansy, who was shivering in fear at the sight of her.

Even though Pansy had seen Moxxy like this several times over the years, it never got any easier watching every time it happened. Moxxy could be completely calm one moment, and then screaming and yelling the next, especially if things don’t go according to plan. “M-Miss Moxxy, c-could you calm down please? Ponies might file noise complaints against us.” She said meekly.

Moxxy put a hoof to her head and smoothed her mane back out. She quickly then took to returning to her cigarette, inhaling and exhaling the smoke from it. Pansy could never tell what it was about those that relaxed her, but she didn’t want to question her about it for fear it’d somehow set Moxxy’s temper off.

“…I am too perfect to be angry, I am too perfect to be angry.” Moxxy repeated to herself several times, her eye twitching a little. A few more seconds of trying to relax later, and Moxxy exhaled deeply, followed by smoke coming from her mouth. “Well this was a disappointment” Moxxy said with an annoyed sigh. “Whoever that colt was that stopped my hunters will surely tell everypony about them. They’ll be onto us now.”

“S-So…now would be a good time to just call off the hunt and go home, right?” Pansy asked with a hopeful smile.

“Of course not. I will not be undone by a child Pansy, come now.” Moxxy said. “Though, my hunters will need to lay low for a while. Like I said, ponies will start getting suspicious of us. Have them stand down until further notice…meanwhile I’ll see what I can do about our little pest problem.” She snickered sinisterly, a small smirk beginning to grow on her face. “I’ve already got something in mind. It will take a while to fully develop but once it’s ready, the payoff will be glorious~”

Pansy’s ears folded to her head and she swallowed, only imagining what horrors Moxxy had concocting in her head. “O-Oh…”

“And Timber just jumped out of the tree and SNAP! Off with the guy’s horn!” Scootaloo exclaimed, making a motion with her hooves as if she was breaking something in half with them.

Rarity and Critter had been listening to what the Crusaders were telling them for the past half-hour or so regarding what happened in the Everfree Forest. They were absolutely stunned over the entire scenario. The kids having gone into one of the most dangerous places in Equestria by themselves, poachers trying to kill Steven Magnet for some unnamed boss, and Timber behaving much more like a vicious animal than usual to stop them.

“G-Gracious that sounds dreadful! Are you certain you’re all okay?” Rarity asked, very obviously concerned. Unsurprisingly the thought of a horn getting broken off made Rarity a little queasy, but that was the least of her problems right now.

The fillies nodded. “We’re just fine. It’s Timber we should be more worried about. He got hit with some magic by those unicorns and it really looked like it hurt!” Sweetie Belle said, looking at Timber. While all of this was going on, Timber had not made a single sound. Not talking was expected of him since he was incapable of doing so yet, but not even a growl, snort, snarl, or anything passed his mouth. He just sat on the couch staring at the ground with an angry, unblinking stare, contemplating who knows what.

“Those ruffians hurt Timber?!?!” Rarity’s voice increased in volume and she clenched her teeth in anger. Just the thought alone of anypony hurting the colt she’d grown to care so much for made her very close to going over her boiling point and going to hunt down those monsters herself.

Critter flinched a little at how angry Rarity looked all of a sudden. After seeing what Rarity did to that Manticore after she saw it fighting Timber in the Windless Woods, he was fully aware of just how terrifying Rarity could get under those conditions. He quickly took measures to help Rarity relax by gently rubbing her back.

“Rarity you’re entirely in the right to be angry, hell, I’m engulfed with rage myself. As someone that’s a big animal lover, I’m gonna say right now that I can’t stand poachers in the slightest. All they do is kill animals for their own selfish desires. It’s not cool. But we can’t go after them right now. There’s too few of us, and from how the kids are describing, way too many of them.” He said, still rubbing her back and trying to calm her rage. This worked only to an extent, as Rarity did calm down a little, but was still quite angry.

“…Then what do you suggest I do? I simply cannot allow something like this to happen again!”

Critter exhaled a little and thought to himself before answering. “Your friend’s a princess, she could have some guards do some checking around to see if they find anything.” He said. He then seemed to think again for a moment. “Is there anyone else that lives close enough to the forest that could help us keep an eye out?”

Apple Bloom’s ears perked up a little at that, and she saw her chance to make a suggestion. “Oh! Our friend Zecora lives in the forest, she could tell us if somethin’ happens!” She said, smiling.

After a few more seconds of Critter’s massaging and hearing what himself and Apple Bloom had to say, Rarity managed to calm down enough to speak softly. “…Alright, that sounds fine…” she said, looking at the fillies. “But don’t think I won’t be telling Applejack and Rainbow Dash about you going in that dangerous forest alone.” She said.

Scootaloo groaned a little. “Dang it.”

Apple Bloom made a very similar noise and looked at the ceiling. “Rats.”

Rarity rolled her eyes and looked at Timber and Sweetie Belle lastly. Sweetie Belle had a bit of a guilty look about her over this whole thing, while Timber continued just staring at the ground, angrily. Rarity hadn’t seen Timber behave in such a way prior to this and she started to become worried. “…Timber sweetheart?...are you feeling alright?”

Rarity was only met with silence from Timber.

Sweetie Belle started to become just as concerned as Rarity over the matter and her ears folded to her head. “T-Timber?”

Critter looked at how Timber seemed to not even be moving as he sat there, glaring. Whatever happened in the forest clearly had some kind of effect on him. Given what those unicorns were doing, and how he responded, he had a pretty good idea about what it was.

“…I could be wrong, but just hear me out here. Imagine you thought you were a completely different species than what you really are for your whole life. Out of nowhere, something shows you that you aren’t what you thought you were and you’re a different species altogether. Now imagine you and your confused as hell self watching another member of that species doing something horrible. I’d think that’d leave you with a bad impression of said species and possibly yourself.” He said. It wasn’t a certainty, but he wouldn’t very well be able to get a clear answer out of Timber on it, so it was the best Critter had.

Rarity, now more concerned than ever, picked Timber up and hugged him. “Oh my poor colt. Timber don’t get the wrong idea because of what happened tonight. Not all ponies are good, but not all ponies are bad either. With the way you were willing to protect something that you don’t even know, I would say that makes you a very good pony.” She said, lightly nuzzling his cheek.

Timber looked up at Rarity, no longer with the angry look on his face that he’d had before, but genuine fascination. He’d seen ponies do some pretty terrible things tonight, and he had to be as strong and wild as he could be to stop them. But he needed to remember that even though that the world had some ponies like Diamond Tiara and the poachers, there were always ponies like Rarity.

He could admire this very greatly.

“…Rarara.” Timber growled a little as he hugged Rarity back, a smile starting to come to his face.

Rarity had just put Timber and Sweetie Belle to bed after Apple Bloom and Scootaloo went home. Timber was staying in the guest bedroom because after seeing the way Timber reacted to Sweetie Belle rubbing his wings, there was no way she was going to risk those two sleeping in the same room. She just could not allow it at all.

She began to think to herself as she trotted back downstairs of how complicated things had been getting lately. First she finds a feral colt in the middle of a very perilous jungle, then poachers show up seemingly out of nowhere in the Everfree Forest, and things weren’t looking like they were going to get any simpler from here on out.

“Oh goodness Rarity, what have you gotten yourself into?” she said to herself. After she got back downstairs, she looked at Critter, who was now asleep on the couch, a little bit of drool dripping from his mouth as he laid down, snoring a little.

Rarity rolled her eyes a little at this. “Very charming” she said sarcastically. She could seriously not believe that she’d kissed this same stallion only an hour before now. If she was honest with herself, she wished it would’ve lasted longer than it did. Though unlike most times where Sweetie Belle interrupted her during something important, she could not get angry at her for it this time. It was too serious a situation for Sweetie not to tell her.

Rarity started to think about her own feelings though. She started to remember the fact that Critter would have to leave the next morning for Canterlot. The idea of that being only the next day really did not sit well with Rarity at all.

Looks like she was going to have to consider this being yet another big complication.

Then without any warning, she felt a pair of hooves wrap around her and pull her back toward the couch. She squeaked a little and surprised and quickly looked down at her “attacker”, when all she found was Critter looking back at her, smirking a little and a slight tinge of red on his cheeks.

“…Heeeey. That look on your face says everything. You didn’t think you were getting rid of me that quick did you?” He said, still smirking a little.

Rarity, with a similar blush coming to her face, was getting a little flustered and confused over Critter’s statement. “W-What? What are you trying to say darling?” she asked.

Critter snickered a little. “I’m going to be conducting some “extended research” on Timber’s case. From a scientific standpoint, he’s practically a miracle of nature vs. nurture. I’ll be allowed to stay in Ponyville on those grounds.” He said.

“…Are you absolutely positive that research is the only reason you’ll be staying?” Rarity asked, starting to look a little offended.

Critter rolled his eyes. “Well, there may just be a few other…“ Critter stopped midsentence and looked at Rarity, lightly squeezing her belly and nuzzling her mane. “…Determining factors” he finished.

Rarity squeaked a little at Critter’s sudden affection and blushed even deeper.

Things were indeed going to get more complex.

Hairspray is evil

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“Gracious Timber, however you manage to get all these knots in your mane is beyond even me.” Rarity complained, trying to comb Timber’s mane into a manner that was at least somewhat presentable, despite his snarls of protest. No child under her care would be spending their first day of school with a mane that could be mistaken for a rat’s nest. For all she knew, rats actually might’ve spent the night in Timber’s mane at some point when he was still living in the jungle.

The thought of rats crawling around in her own mane suddenly came to mind and it made Rarity cringe in disgust.

“RARARA GRAAAG!” Timber practically roared in defiance. Within the few weeks he arrived in Ponyville, Rarity had unsurprisingly gained an obsession with grooming him and making his mane look her definition of good. It annoyed Timber to no end mainly due to him despising the vile smell of hairspray.

Timber wasn’t the only one that wasn’t afraid to voice his displeasure over this either. Sweetie Belle waited by the front door for Rarity to finish with Timber, impatiently tapping her hoof and carrying her saddlebags for school on her back. “Rarity come oooon! Quit obsessing over Timber’s mane! You’re going to make us late!” she shouted, her voice cracking a little.

“SORRY, COMING!” Rarity shouted back, coming out of the bathroom with Timber quickly. Timber’s incredibly messy and unkempt mane that he’d had before (and seemed to keep resurfacing no matter how much she groomed it) was now toned down a lot and kept neat and tidy. While Rarity was smiling big at her work here, Timber did not look amused whatsoever. His face was contorted into a deep frown and he looked up Rarity with that same frown paired with angry eyes.

“Oh don’t give me that look, you look really handsome~” Rarity said, giggling a little.

Timber groaned loudly and was about to reach a hind hoof up to scratch at his mane. Before he could do this though, Rarity managed to stop him.

“Don’t. You. Dare.” she said with a little bit of a crazed smile and twitching eye. She’d spent nearly an hour trying to get that mane in order and she wasn’t about to let that go to waste now. Not when she had to deal with the awful stench Timber gave off for as long as she had. She’d actually considered wearing a hazmat suit when doing his mane, it was that awful.

“Okay we don’t have time to worry about Timber’s mane anymore, we have to go NOW!” Sweetie squeaked, quickly grabbing Timber’s hoof and running out the door. Timber hadn’t been anticipated this so he slightly stumbled forward and out the door as Sweetie dragged him out.

While Rarity waved goodbye to the two foals as they set off for school, she couldn’t help but have a heap of mixed emotions about it. She supposed it came naturally to every parent to let their child go on their own once in a while, especially where school was concerned. Though she had hoped to get him talking before school started back up.

If only Timber would’ve stopped eating the flashcards. Just because one has the word “apple” on it, does not mean the card tastes like an apple.

Well, at the very least he could read a little. That was SOMETHING.

“You’re worried huh?” Rarity heard Critter’s voice come from behind her. She turned around to see the stallion in question coming down from his room. It was from there he’d been conducting his research on Timber’s state of mind and the progress he’d been making since he arrived in pony civilization.

“Afraid so darling. What gave it away?” Rarity asked.

“I’m just gonna say that faces say a lot. And right now you’re looking like you just got a note saying somepony’s got your cat at gunpoint or something.” Critter responded, descending the stairs and trotting next to her. Rarity didn’t look very amused at his remark at all. “…Right probably shouldn’t have said that. Look, you don’t need to worry about Timber, he’s a tough kid.”

Rarity took in a deep breath and sighed, looking at the dirt road through Ponyville where Timber and Sweetie had just left. “I know, I know. I just can’t help but be afraid for him. With the way he acts, what if the other foals make fun of him? You know how cruel children can be sometimes; I don’t know if Timber could take that.”

Critter’s ears folded in worry over this. He’d always known Timber was a physically tough kid that could put up with nearly any challenge thrown at him in that department. But interaction with “normal” foals? That could actually wind up being a pretty tough problem to get down for him. Not to mention Timber was a little unstable in the anger department.

“Oh jeez...well, try not to worry about it. If anything goes south for him, he’s got his three friends to keep him in check. Everything’ll be okay.” He said, calmly trying to soothe Rarity’s nerves.

Rarity sighed again, trying to get her emotions together. “Perhaps your right. Maybe I’m worrying over nothing.” At that moment, just as Rarity was about to shut the door, a small, grey object zipped right through it and smacked Critter dead in the middle of his face before falling to the floor.

“OW!” Critter yelled, rubbing his face where a big red mark had been left on impact. “Well today’s off to a FANTASTIC start.” He groaned sarcastically.

“Oooh poor dear.” Rarity cooed, looking at the red mark left on Critter’s face. She gave it a quick kiss to hopefully feel a little better. From what she was seeing, it eased his pain a little bit, but it also succeeded in making the rest of his face red for a completely different reason.

Rarity giggled a little at Critter before looking back at the floor to see just what it was that assaulted him. It looked to be just the local newspaper having come in for the morning. It looked like Derpy had missed the mailbox yet again. Though there was one specific thing about the headline of the newspaper that really caught her attention.

The fact that it read “The Devil Comes to Ponyville”

Rarity, interest now caught by the headline, picked the newspaper up in her magic and read it over again to make sure she was reading this correctly. “…Oh goodness.”

“Rgh, what, what is it?” Critter asked, still trying to get over the blush and pain in his face.

“Well Critter from what I’m reading-“ Rarity gave a sharp gasp as she looked at the picture at the bottom of the page. It was a thin and lanky pink unicorn with a flowing blonde mane wearing an incredibly thick coat of what appeared to be fur giving the camera a slight scowl. “Oh goodness gracious, Moxxy’s in Ponyville?!?!” Rarity practically squealed.

Critter looked at the newspaper she was holding and raised an eyebrow in confusion. “Okay uhhh a couple of things I need addressed here. One, who the Hell is Moxxy? Two, why’s she being called “The Devil” here? And three, please for the love of Celestia tell me that coat is synthetic fur. Because otherwise, that’s sick.” Critter said with a look of growing disgust coming onto his face.

“Well darling if you must know, Moxxy happens to be a VERY well-known designer in the fashion world, not that I expect you to keep up with that. Though, while her designs are incredibly fabulous by every meaning of the word, she’s notorious for being…difficult to work with. The nickname came about when Trenderhoof wrote an article about her work and how she came off as…well, bitter, angry, and just a tad rude. Thus, earning her the nickname in the fashion world, “The Devil.” Rarity responded, still eyeing the photo of the famous designer. “I’ll admit the nickname is in poor taste, but it is rather funny now that I look at it.” Rarity giggled.

“Jeez…she sounds like a bitch.” Critter said, trying and failing to figure out how Rarity idolizes this pony if she sounded so obnoxious.

“Critter, I am surprised at you! It’s only natural she’d be a little stressed out with the work she does! She keeps up with so many different fashion lines that the poor thing must be working herself to the bone!” Rarity explained, gasping a little overdramtically. “Why, how would you like it if I judged you on one of your off days?”

Critter flinched a little at that. He’d gotten used to Rarity raising her voice once in a while, but it didn’t annoy him any less. “Okay okay, yeesh, I’ll give you that one. I wouldn’t like it alright? Just pleaaaaase tell me that that fur coat isn’t ACTUAL fur.” Critter said, hoping to get an answer but at the same time appease Rarity.

Rarity rolled her eyes a bit. “What twisted pony would wear a dead animal’s pelt? Moxxy may be ill-tempered, but she’s not EVIL. Don’t be ridiculous.”

Critter only tilted his head a little. “…How do you know that? Have you ever met her?”

“…Well erm…no.” Rarity said, smiling a little sheepishly. “But…she’s in town so I have the chance! Oooh it would work wonders for my reputation if I could impress Moxxy of all ponies with my fashion sense! I need to find something to wear immediately! I’m going to finally get to meet her!~” Rarity squealed, quickly rushing up the stairs to her room to find a proper outfit for a meeting of such high caliber.

Critter, at a complete loss for words over what just happened looked back down at the newspaper’s front page photo of Moxxy scowling. There was something very unsettling about the picture then made him shudder a little. The way she was looking almost looked utterly spiteful, as if she was bitter over existence itself or something. Her bright blue eyes were downright the most terrifying thing about the mare in question. They spoke only rage and malice through them and damn near nothing else. It was the same look he could see when he looked into the eyes of an angry cockatrice, and those things turn ponies to stone.

Critter could feel it in his gut. This was NOT a good pony by any means.

“Oh boy…I just really hope you know what you’re doing, Rares.” Critter said quietly to himself, his face ridden with worry.

As if he didn’t have enough on his mind already.

If it was one of the bigger pony emotions Timber was able to understand right now, it’d certainly be embarrassment. That’d be because while he was walking to school with Sweetie Belle, her friends had caught up with them and were snickering at his manestyle. Timber didn’t like it one bit. Not only did the smell of hairspray (Aka, the worst thing to ever exist in his mind) stick to him, but his mane was now completely stiff.

Not to mention that his friends finding humor in the situation was really not helping.

“P-Pffff and Rarity was styling his mane for HOW long?” Scootaloo asked, trying to contain her laughter.

“Too long; and now Timber looks miserable. He hates the smell of hairspray more than anything.” Sweetie said pointing at Timber. He was taking a whiff of his own tail, gagging and coughing at the smell of it. Was Rarity trying to kill him with it? Would this end up making him drop dead sometime later in the day or something?

Timber shook his head. Rarity was acting as a very loving caretaker. There’s no need to be suspicious. Was Rarity’s obsession with grooming him annoying? Yes, that couldn’t even be put into question. But was it deadly? Not at all.

The group then started to approach the school, along with the other few dozen or so foals doing the same. Some of them groaning and whining, and others of them actually looking very happy to go. Timber meanwhile, didn’t know what to expect out of any of it. All he could gather was that it was a place where foals went, Rarity really stressed him about going, and that was about all he could figure out. As they came closer to the building, Timber saw among the foals was an adult mare with dark purple fur and a two-toned pink mane and tail. Her cutie mark was also a trio of flowers with smiling faces on them. She looked to be happily greeting the foals as they trotted into the schools. This pony looked friendly enough to Timber, sure. But since he’d been living among ponies, he’d come to learn that while a lot of ponies looked mostly harmless, that doesn’t mean ALL are whatsoever.

In other words, in his mind, be suspicious. Always. Letting your guard down could result in death. Predators use the “harmless” look to lure in their prey. That’s how the predatory fanged squirrels got food in the Windless Woods. They looked like they wouldn’t hurt a fly but they have four rows of razor sharp teeth, followed by two fangs protruding from their upper mouth.

Timber was aware ponies weren’t fanged squirrels, but it didn’t stop him from being cautious.

The Cutie Mark Crusaders on the other hoof, were as happy as could be over seeing this pony, all three of them having smiles all around. “Mornin’ Miss Cheerilee!” Apple Bloom greeted her with a cute smile.

The pony Apple Bloom addressed as Cheerilee looked in the direction of her students and gave them a warm and welcoming smile. “Oh good morning girls. Did you all have a nice summer?” She asked with a cheerful tone to her voice.

“Oh yeah, our summer was awesome! I’ve been working on my flying and I managed to hover for a full eight seconds last month!” Scootaloo said happily, obviously feeling very proud of herself over this achievement.

“And we brought your newest student with uuuus~ “ Sweetie Belle gestured to Timber who stood next to them and looked very apprehensively at Cheerilee. Very clearly he was not comfortable yet despite how calm his friends were.

“Oh hello there. You must be the colt Rarity was telling me about. How nice to finally meet you.” Cheerilee smiled and reached a hoof out to him. Timber didn’t waste time in backing away and crouching to the ground, feathers ruffled and pupils dilating. He started to let out a quiet hiss and backed away even further.

Cheerilee flinched a little and withdrew her hoof. “Um…did…I do something wrong or…?”

All three Crusader fillies shook their heads. “No no, he’s just not really trusting of all ponies yet. He hasn’t even said a word since we met him; just these weird animal noises.” Scootaloo answered.

“Except ‘Rarara’ which I’m pretty sure is supposed to mean ‘Rarity’, but with Timber we can never be sure of anything that goes on in his head.” Sweetie Belle added.

Cheerilee’s ears folded and she looked at Timber again, who was still crouching on the ground and hissing, daring her to come any closer. “Oh goodness, Rarity wasn’t kidding was she?” she said with a voice laced in worry. “Well…don’t worry Timber, I’ll try my best to give you the best education possible.” She said, hoping to ease some of his stress. “I’ll be waiting for all of you inside. I know we’re going to get along great Timber, I promise.” She said as she trotted into the school.

Timber wasn’t entirely confident in this ponies’ intentions. While she did seem to want to help in some way, he wasn’t about to let himself get too comfortable by a long shot. If he acted relaxed and this pony actually did try anything funny, maybe he could catch her off guard and easily win. It wasn’t the perfect strategy but it wasn’t out of the picture either…

But just as Timber was trying to relax, the bell to the school rang, indicating all foals should get to class, and startled him. Unfortunately, he hopped right onto Sweetie Belle’s back and started barking loudly at the bell on top of the building.

“RAGRARRRGAR!” He growled at it as loud as he could, any sense of relaxation completely leaving his body. Sweetie Belle wasn’t fairing much better either, as she was now struggling to carry the weight of an out of control colt on her back.

“M-MMMMPH. O-Oh yeah…this ought to be REALLY fun.” Sweetie Belle said, struggling to keep an optimistic smile on her face.