AJ's unexpected adventure

by LGHeart

First published

AJ was supposed to meet her friends at the old castle of the sisters, but a couple rushed mistakes turn a simple meeting into something much larger. let's see what heppens.

One night Applejack was supposed to meet her friend for an important meeting to help plan the repairs to Ponyville after Tirek's attack. Twilight had told all her friends to meet at the castle of the pony sisters because it would be the only place that they could all plan the rebuild without everypony trying to bother them.

It seemed like a good idea at first, that is until Applejack got lost and attacked in the Everfree forest because she was late.

Now AJ must quest with her friends, and delve deeper into the Everfree forest than they ever have before. What horrors await these ponies as they go to retrieve Applejack's lost memories.

let's find out.

*Edit* The story has been upgraded to teen because of the because of the rather violent scene that occurs in chapter 10.

Author's note: This will be my first story posted on FimFiction, I hope you all enjoy it! Chapters maybe be few and far between, but I promise this story will NOT die out or get canceled.

Chapter 0: Running out of time

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As my golden mane blew through the rushing wind, ah knew ah was late. My hooves beat again the cold hard ground. Luna's moon was high in the sky, but only the littlest sliver of moon light shone through the crescent moon. Tomorrow was Luna's “new moon” as she called it. After a certain period of time Luna would have a small celebration with the town of ponyville as way to help her get to know her the people. All I knew was that was that quite a few Pegisai were saying that it helped them control the weather better.

The long dirt road beneath my hooves made an eerie crunchin' sound as ah ran from ponyville towards the Everfree forest. Very little light was able to pass through the thick canopy above, makin' this here dark an' spooky forest even more dark an' spooky. Shadows seemed to shift inta new an' more horrifyin' things with each step ah took.

Strange sounds came at me from all directions as ah felt my breath getting shorter and shorter. The path was starting to narrow a little as ah ran as fast as ah could. Ah had to get my flank movin', time was runnin' out an' ah needed ta get to the castle, the others were waitin' for me.

Ah came across a sudden fork in the road. Without thinkin' ah ran down the right path, not even stoppin' to take a breath. Soon ah started weavin' through the path ways, tryin' my darnedest ta get to the castle as soon as ah could.

Without warnin' the path suddenly ended an' I was surrounded by nothin' but bushes, trees, an' darkness. “ahh, horse-apples.”
I turned around, hopin' ah could back track and quickly find my way to the castle, ah noticed that somehow there was no path for me ta follow back. “What in tar-nation . . . ?”

A sudden rustle of leaves put me on edge. Somethin' wasn't right, an' ah had dealt with many things that hadn't felt right with me, but this feelin' of uneasiness was more scary then when Tirek had attacked.

Takin' close note of my surroundin's, light didn't shine through any of the canopy, makin' things darker, the ground was smooth an' soft, a complete contrast ta before when ah was rushing. The trees an' bushes seemed to be shiftin' and movin' because of the slight breeze, an' dark patches could be seen between the trees.

Strange sound could be heard as ah turned to see a pair of glowin' yellow eyes. Chills ran down my spine, my eyes were now locked on the pair of eyes. Ah couldn't seem to move, it was almost like ah was paralyzed with fear, but ah strangely felt calm, or maybe elicit.
Ah could only say one thin' as those pair of eye's leaped toward me, “dag-nab-bit.”

Ah guess that's where the story begins, my name is Applejack an' ah have one heck of a tale ta tell ya'll about.

Chapter 1: Who am ah?

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Pain coursed through my head as ah slowly opened my eyes. Bright light caused me to flinch as ah accidentally looked into the bright light above me.

“Ugh, Where am ah?” ah ask as ah sit up slowly to to look around. My head ached for a second as ah brought sat up, causing me ta flinch an' nearly knocked somethin' over.

“AJ? Your awake!” exclaimed a cyan pegasus with a rainbow mane. She looked tired as if she had been sleeping by my side in that chair.

Ah just sat there looking at her in confusion. Which earned me a slight chuckle from her. “What's wrong cowgirl? Cat got your tongue?”

Ah scrunched my face at her, “sorry ta ask but . . . who are you?”

The rainbow maned mare looked at me in disbelief. She was obviously offended, which ah hadn't meant ta do. Ah felt bad for what ah said, but it was true ah didn't recognize this mare.

Ah heard a clicking noise, and turned to see the door just across from me opening.

“I do hope she'll wake up soon. I really feel bad that-” A white unicorn with a curly purple mane an' tail was saying, but stopped as she noticed me. She had several other ponies with her, one was a yellow pegasus with a pink mane an' tail, another was a lavender alicorn with a dark purple main and two colored streaks in both her mane an' tail.

An awkward moment seemed to stretch out as ah seemed to become the center of attention.

“Hi . . .” ah say in an attempt to break the building silence.

Out of no where ah see a pink streak, an' suddenly ah'm being hugged by a pink mare with a wild mane an' tail, that seemed way to energetic an' happy.

“OHHH, I'M SO HAPPY TO SEE YOUR OKAY!” yelled the pink mare, she was huggin' me so tightly ah could barely breath.

Thankfully the lavender alicorn was able to pull us apart, allowing me to breath. “Pinkie you know what the doctor said.”

The pink mare looked at the alicorn with a smile, “I know but I was so worried because of my right eye, left eye flutter, and poof mane. That usually means something RE~EALLY bad was happening.”

“What in tar-nation . . .” ah shook my head trying to get my thoughts straight. “who are all ya'll?” ah ask feeling a little overwhelmed.

Everyponies reaction was almost instant. Each one of the mares looked at me as if they had just heard something unbelievable.

“Applejack?” the lavender alicorn asked, “what do you mean 'who are we?' we're your friends.”

Ah raised one questionin' eye at them all. “Ah, beg your pardon?” ah ask even more confused.

The rainbow maned mare, who ah had almost forgot was there, spoke up. “AJ you don't remember who we are?”

Takin' a moment to compose my thoughts I asked myself a few questions, 'who are these mares? Where am ah? An' an even better question WHO am ah?' Closin' my eyes ah turned shook my head in frustration, an' turned back to her “sorry, ah can't even remember who ah am.”

A gray unicorn stallion walked past the mares an' walked up to me, his mane an' tale black with white streaks, an' an image of a weird little device. He was holdin' a clipboard in his magic. “You my dear, are Applejack of the Apple family. Your friends here brought you in to the hospital late last night, after you were attacked by something in the Everfree forest.”

Ah blinked as ah looked at myself. Several bandages covered my hooves but nothin' else seemed injured. But the instant ah lifted my hoof to my head ah felt the bandages on my head.

“you had several cuts on your legs, relatively minor one, and a what looked like a large cut on your forehead.” He turned the page, “all non-lethal, but could have attracted some seriously dangerous beasts to you.”

Ah turned ta look at the girls who had moved ta their friend with the rainbow mane. “I guess ya'll saved my life by getting me out of there as quick as ya did. Thanks.”

“Applejack, deary, your our friend.” the white mare said, “Of course we would help you.”

“She's right Applejack.” the Alicorn said with a smile. “we'll always be there to help you then you need it.”

“Well,” ah said with a slight pang of guilt that I couldn't fer the life of me remember who these girls were. “I'm probably going to need it. 'cause I don't even know where my home is.”

The alicorn girl smiled, it was a warm an' welcomin' smile that made me feel like ah was in good hooves. “Sure thing, but first we're going to have to reintroduce you to everypony.”

She held out her hoof in an' gave me that same warm smile. “I'll start. My name is Twilight Sparkle, it's nice to meet you Applejack.”

With a smile o' my own a reached out and shook her hoof, “It's my pleasure Twilight.”

Chapter 2: Family, Nightmares, and the Adventure begins!

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As ah walked down the road with pine trees on one side of me, an' apple trees an' white fence on the other, ah knew that this was goin' ta be awkward. I walked side by side with the yellow mare with a pink mane an' tail, ah think her name was Buttersly or somethin'. She didn't talk very loudly so I couldn't really tell. But at least she seemed to know where my home was.

Ah heard a pair of thunderous hoof beats a bit further ahead. Emergin' from the back of a hill was a big burly stallion with brown mane and tail. Even from this distance ah could tell he was big. His red coat seemed to sparkle as he ran. Which ah thought was weird.

Takin' a step ta the side ah decided it would be a better idea ta get out of his way, 'cause he looked like he was in a hurry.

Lookin' to Buttersly ah watched as she just stood there not even bothered by the fact the stallion was chargin' full speed in her direction. Ah was about to say somethin' when I noticed the stallion slow down and come to a complete stop right in front o' me.

Bein' only a hoof or two way ah could see that he was at least a head taller then me. His Strong defined muscles made him look like he was somepony you wouldn't want to mess with. Lookin' more closely ah could see that the reason ah had thought he was sparklin' earlier was 'cause he had sweat coverin' his cost.

“Applejack, yer okay!” He said in a deep voice that caused me a slight headache. I couldn't help the reaction of placin' my hoof to my head.

The big stallion looked at my forehead an' seemed ta finally notice the bandages on my head an' hooves. It felt awkward as he scrutinized every detail of my body. Ah didn't even know who he was, an' he was lookin' at me like ah was really precious to him. “Sorry fer askin' . . .” ah say as ah push him back ta get a little space. “but are ye' like my boyfriend or somethin'?”

The stallion back off, looking at me with surprise on his face. Ah turned to Buttersly, but she was turned around an' ah couldn't tell what was goin' on with her. Lookin' back an' forth between the two of them ah felt confused. “What? Did ah say somethin' wrong?”

The big stallion looked at me with confusion on his face, an' I heard some deep breaths from Buttersly's direction. Ah looked at the stallion as he nodded vigorously at me. “Applejack I'm yer brother.”

Ah turned right towards the mare to my right. “Buttersly? Why didn't you tell me he was my kin?”

“Buttersly . . . ?” the stallion asked questioningly as ah noticed him turn to face her to. She visibly twitched for a second, then we both heard a little chuckling sound.

Buttersly fell back laughin', not very loudly, but still laughin' none the less. Tears seemed ta be streamin' from her eyes 'cause she was laughin' so hard. She struggled to talk as she rolled on the ground, “I-I'm sorry.” She started ta calm down as she slowly got ta her hooves. “I-it's just that I was so caught of guard by the fact you thought he was your boyfriend. It was so funny I could barely keep myself from laughing. And to top it off you thought my name was 'Buttersly'.”

She started laughing again, but recovered rather quickly this time. “I was kind of nervous being with you Applejack. I didn't know what to expect when you lost your memory, so I guess you miss heard my name earlier. I'm Fluttershy, and that's your brother Big Macintosh.”

Takin' a few deep breaths the mare regained her composure and looked at us calmly. I could see the gears turnin' that head o' hers. What ever was goin' on in that mind ah didn't want to know. But she took a breath an' smiled at me. “I'm sorry I was so shy earlier, I just didn't know what to expect. I've heard some ponies change a lot because of memory loss, so I was nervous around you because I wasn't sure if I was going to be with the friend I knew and loved. But I can see that your at least still the type of girl who knows how to make ponies laugh.”

Big Macintosh stepped up to Fluttershy, “Not cool.” was all he said, but somehow that carried the wait of a full scouldin'.

Fluttershy's ears drooped a little as she let her mane cover half of her face. “I'm sorry, I just didn't get the chance to say anything before Applejack spoke.” My heart went out to the pour girl, she seemed so upset 'cause ah got her in trouble by accident.

“Ah guess she's right.” ah got a weird look from both my brother, and Fluttershy. “She didn't get the chance to explain the situation 'cause ah opened my big ol' mouth an' said somethin' strange. But ah probably wouldn't have said it if ye' hadn't been starin' at me like ya' was.” Ah turned ta Big Macintosh an' hoofed him one shoulder playfully.

“Ah greatly thank ya' Fluttershy, but I think My bro can get me home from here.” We smile at each other for a minute 'fore ah realized Big Macintosh was walkin' already. “See you later, Flutters!”

Runnin' to catch up to Big Macintosh was rather easy to do, it wasn't like he was runnin' or anythin'. His stride was simple yet powerful, yet he seem ta be makin' the slightest sound, the complete opposite of his thunderous approach earlier.

“So . . .” ah said tryin' ta strike up a conversation as we walked along the dirt path. “are you my only siblin'?”

“Eenope.” he said, almost strikin' the conversation down with a single word.

We continued to walk a little further, 'fore ah could think of somethin' to ask him, ah felt somethin' plow inta me. The force pushed me back a little, an' 'cause ah wasn't expectin' it ah was fell back, nearly hittin' my head on the hard ground.

“SIS'! Yer okay.” ah heard a slightly high pitched voice. Ah looked down at my chest an' saw a little filly wit a bright yellow coat, slightly curly red mane and tail, an' bow in her hair. She was a little less then half my size but still felt like she was heavier then she looked.

Her weight seemed to disappear as ah watched her get lifted off me by Big Macintosh and placed ta his side, placin' himself between us. “Applebloom. Be carefull.” he said makin' that same scoldin' tone from earlier.

Ah stood up an' moved over so ah could see the conversation. Big Macintosh was lookin' down at the filly, who ah guess is my little sister Applebloom, an' givin' her a look like he was being very serious. “Applebloom.” He said, “Applejack lost her memory.”

Turnin' ta him ah asked in a serious tone, “How'd ya' know ah lost my memory?”

Big Macintosh turned to me. “It was obvious when you asked if ah was yer boyfriend!”

“Oh, right . . .” Ah said feelin' like idiot. That had happened not a few minutes ago an' ah had almost already forgotten about it. Ah knew ah was blushin' 'cause o' the fact ah made such a huge mistake, an' that my little sis had just heard about it.

Lookin' towards the filly ah couldn't help but be a little confused when ah saw her smilin'. Her eyes gleamed with a deviant innocence which sent warnin' chills down my back. “What's that look for?” Ah ask her nervously.

“No~othin'” she said in a slightly sin' song kind of way. “Ah was just thinkin' 'bout somethin'.”

Before me of Big Macintosh could say anythin', Applebloom ran between us an' off down the road.

“That can't be good.” ah say feelin' as if that foreshadowed something rather scary.

Big macintosh's only response was one thin', “Eeyep.”

“We goin' ta stop her?” ah ask.


Sighin' ah figured that even if ah was to try to stop Applebloom from doin' somethin' ah would probably fail. Might as well just wait an' see what happens, ah'm probably powerless ta stop it anyway.

Turnin' around ah started walkin' down the road in the same direction Big Macintosh an' ah was goin' down earlier. Ah could hear Big Macintosh in close tow behind me

“So is there anyone else ah need ta know about?” ah ask as notice an archway breakin' the long picket fence inta two fences.

Turnin' into the archway, ah notice that to my right was a giant orchard of apple trees, that looked like it was stretchin' on for acres. Right in front o' my face was a big red barn with a picture of ah smilin' sun, farm fields, an' the pink pony that had nearly suffocated me with a hug at the hospital. And to my left was a plain two story home with a front porch an' a apple green elder pony sittin' on a rockin' chair.

“Eeyep.” Big Macintosh said as he walked past me an' over to the house, goin' straight up to the elder pony.

Ah decided to wait back just a little bit as Big Macintosh talked to her. Watchin' carefully ah noticed that the elder pony had stopped rockin' in her chair and she was startin' ta look sad, vary sad.

Guilt seemed ta over take me 'cause ah didn't knew ah didn't know who this pony was, but ah also knew that ah should know who they were.

Soon the Big Macintosh brought the lady over ta me an' we greeted each other with a smile. “howdy.” Ah said trying to act natural, even though ah still wasn't sure what was natural for me.

“Hello deary.” she said with a light tone, but ya' could still hear the shakiness in her voice as if she was upset. “My name is Granny Smith, but ya' can just call me Granny.”

“Sounds good.” ah say.

Granny Smith Smiled at me an' looked back to the house. “Ya' probably should go an' rest while ya' can deary.”

Ah nodded to let her know ah thought that might be a good idea, she then offered ta take me ta my room. She told Big Macintosh he could do what ever he need to do before dinner, then took me to my room up the stairs. It was surprisin' to see that she could traverse the stairs with such ease, especially since she didn't look like she was in such physically good shape.

My room was simple, just a bed sittin' in between a desk an' dresser, the desk of course was sittin' below a window so that ah could get a great view of the field and the sun which was settin' now.

Ah crawled inta my bed, coverined myself with the blankets, closin' my eyes and fallin' asleep with very little effort.

Ah was running. Just running through a dark and unfamiliar forest, but I moved with certainty in every step.

The shadows seemed to shift and move as ah ran on the dirt pathway, makin' the forest even creepier than it probably would have been. Ah could feel my heart beatin' in my chest, my breath felt short and stiff, and my whole body ached.

The various sounds that came from the woods made me scared of every shiftin' shadow and trees as ah past them. This was scary beyond belief.

Suddenly ah found myself with at the end of the path. Takin' in my surroundings ah couldn't help but feel like ah had been there before. A sudden rustle of leaves put me on edge. Somethin' wasn't right, but this feelin' of uneasiness was scary, yet familiar.

Takin' close note of my surroundings, light didn't shine through any of the canopy, makin' things darker, the ground was smooth an' soft. The trees an' bushes seemed to be shiftin' and movin' because of the slight breeze, an' dark patches could be seen between the trees. But still a set of familiar bells were ringin' in my head.

A strange sound could be heard as ah turned to see a pair of glowin' yellow eyes. Chills ran down my spine, my eyes were now locked on the pair of yellow eyes.

Suddenly the wind whipped up a mighty storm an' ah looked up to see the moon high in the sky, full and beautiful. A beam of moon light shot down in front of me. Strange speckles of moon light the glistened and glittered began to gather an' form the image of a beautiful mare.

The mare stood tall and elegant, her dark coat the color of the night sky. Her mane an' tail looked like a starry nebula flowing in a none existent wind. Her horn was protrudin' from her head in a powerful way, much the same way her wings made her presence seem more magnified. And on her flank was what looked like a crescent moon.

“Applejack . . .?” she said in a voice as smooth as velvet. She was obviously confused to see me, but was unconcerned about her surroundings. “Why are thou having a nightmare?”

“Wha-” Ah ask feelin' confused for a second.

Suddenly a coursin' pain shot through my head an' ah heard the wind pick up again. The pain was so intense that couldn't help grab at my head an' close my eyes to keep tears from comin' from my eyes. Ah barely held back a violent scream, the pain bringin' out my most primal of reactions.

The wind died down an' the pain in my head subsided.

Takin' a few deep breaths ah looked up to see the mare lookin' around in confusion, she was obviously distressed but ah couldn't tell why. She turned round an' round lookin' at the foliage. Her horn light up, but nothin' seemed to happen. She got increasingly worried as the light from her horn began to dim.

“Young Applejack,” she said, grabbing my undivided attention, “where are we?”

Ah shrugged my shoulders, not really knowin' the answer myself. “No idea.”

The mare turned on me, her eyes wide in surprise. “Thou should know. It is your MEMORY!” she said her voice becomein' more an' more forceful with each word.

Shakin' the ringin' out o' my ears ah looked at the mare, my temper risin' slightly. “Listen!” ah say, takin' the mare by surprise, she even back up a step. “Ah don't have any memories before this evenin'. Ah woke up with amnesia an' can't remember anythin' 'fore that!”

The mares eyes got wide as she seemed to realize something. She was about to say something, but was interrupted by a deep low growlin' sound.

We both turn to see a dark mist like shadowy figure with the same bright yellow eyes from before jumpin' at us.

The mare reacted quickly and with precision, she erected a force field that surrounded us for a moment of protection. The mare turned to me with a look of worry on her face. “Listen Applejack,” she said as she grabbed my shoulders, “This is a memory projecting itself in the form of a dream. It is one of the only forms of dreams I can not control. Tell me did you lose your memories after being attacked?”

Ah just nodded my head, not really payin' to what she was askin' or sayin'. The shadowy creature was walkin' around our little bubble of safty slowly.

“I feared that might be the case.” the mare said in a somber tone. “this may be the memory of your attack, which might mean only one thing.” she said forcin' me to look at her in the eyes by grabbin' my face in her hooves.

“Applejack,” her voice was commanding an' almost dark. A Moment of silence passed before the mare gulped, “just now I looked deep into your mind and found nothing, not even dormant memories. That can only lead me to conclude that some creature stole your memories. You must-”

A quick flash of light and a shatterin' sound caused us to flinch and fall away from the source of the sound. A small portion of the shadowy creature had broken through the force field that this mare had made. For a moment ah was afraid that it was goin' to seep in and drown us in darkness, but it backed off as if it had a limited reach.

The mare grabbed my face again, this time she was talkin' faster. “You must go search for the creature that stole your memories, otherwise you will eventually die. Only so many creatures can steal memories like this, you must talk to Twilight Sparkle and venture to find your memories Applejack, hurry.”

Ah sat bolt up, my body was in a cold sweat, my sheets where tossed all around as if ah had been strugglin' in my sleep.

But ah knew one thin' for sure, ah had to go find that alicorn and tell her about my nightmare, and maybe start trackin' down a creature that could be responsible for my possible death.

Chapter 3: The Mare from my dream, and the doom she brings!

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Ah ran through town, takin' in the partly destroyed town. Several homes looked partly torn down, while others appeared untouched. “Ah wonder what happened to this place?”


Ah felt ah hoof grab my shoulder, as long heavy breathes were heard directly from my left side. That caused me ta turn right quick, my guard goin' up like steel wall.

Standin' right in front o' me was a mare. She had light pink hair with a lighter pink highlight runnin' down the center with curled tips, her tail, like most ponies, matched her mane. Her eyes were a slightly darker shade o' green, her coat was nice shade o' purple, and right on her flank was what looked like three flowers with smilin' faces on 'em.

“Applejack! I'm so glad to see you. I've been trying to find your sister all day.” She looked tired and worried, but ah didn't want to trust her for some reason.

“Why are ya' lookin' fer my sister?” The mare seemed ta be taken aback by the sharp tone in my voice. She looked notably confused about the fact ah had turned lookin' at her like ah didn't know her, which o' course ah didn't.

“Applejack?” She looked at me questioningly. “Applejack why are you acting like you don't know me?”

ah got the strong urge to turn 'round and buck her, but suddenly the marshmallow unicorn, with the purple mane, that met me at the hospital stepped in between us. Vaguely ah remembered that the mare called herself Rarity.

“Rarity, right?” ah ask just for conformation sake. The mare nods and turns to face the purple flower flank.

“Cheerilee,” she began. Ah took a mental note of the name and stepped forward. Rarity placed her hoof in front of me to keep me from getting' any closer. “Darling, Applejack has recently lost all her memories and couldn't even remember her name when she woke up. She doesn't recognize you at all.”

“Oh!” Cheerilee said as she lowered her head a little, “I'm sorry I didn't know Applejack.” She reached out an expectin' hoof and smiled at me. “I'm Cheerilee. Applebloom's teacher.”

Ah relaxed a little as an' shook her hoof cautiously. Ah still didn't feel like ah like this mare for whatever reason. “Nice ta meet ya'.” ah say, but even ah could hear the tension in my voice.

feelin' Rarity kick my back leg ah flinch slightly. She smiled at Cheerilee, “have a good day miss Cheerilee. Take good care of all the fillies, it is much appreciated.”

Rarity wrapped her hoof around my neck an' pulling me along in some other direction away from the purple mare.

After a while Rarity finally let go of me after we had passed a few fabric shops and walked inta less public area. “Applejack, deary . . .” she said lookin' at me with a little worry, “why were you acting like that with Cheerilee?”

Lookin' at her ah sighed realizin' ah hadn't been very nice to that mare. “Ah don't know, it's just somethin' about her was rubbin' me the wrong way.”

My eyes hit the ground in shame, ah had only just met the mare, an' we obviously knew each other before ah lost my memory. But ah still felt like ah couldn't trust that Cheerilee girl. Ah could feel a hoof slide on ta my shoulder. Rarity was lookin' at me with kind and slightly understandin' smile, her hoof was rubbin' my back gently almost like a mother.

“It's okay deary, we just need to take a step back and breath.” She made a simple gesture and of placin' her hoof to her throat, took a deep breath, lowered her hoof ta the ground as she exhaled slowly, an' smiled at me.

Ah repeated the motion an' felt a little better. The feelin' made me smile at Rarity, “Thank ya' Rarity. Ah probably needed that.”

“It's nothing Applejack.” Her smile turned really sweet, “what are sisters of the elements for?”

Ah was about ta ask what she was talkin about, when my head started hurtin' a little. I flinched slightly as an image of last nights horrifying figure flashed in my mind. Suddenly pain shot through my entire body, it was violent and fast. Every muscle was twitchin' and burnin'.

Fallin' ta the ground ah couldn't stop myself from writhin' in pain.

“Applejack!” Ah heard Rarity yell.

Suddenly ah felt weightless for a second, an' ah suddenly found myself enveloped in a light blue shimmerin' aura. “Hold on Applejack!” ah heard Rarity say.

In a flash of light ah found myself on a hospital bed, my body feelin' slightly stiff but normal again. Rarity was tryin' ta get the attention of a doctor, and bringin' him over ta me.

“Applejack?” the doctor asked, instantly ah recognized him as the one that first met. His salt an' pepper mane and tail were slightly more ruffled than the last time ah saw him. That weird little image was still on his flank. “What's wrong, you seem completely healthy.”

Ah tell him about the sudden pain and that it had already gone. He seemed convinced until I said ah had ta go see that Twilight girl. “you should probably stay a while longer Applejack, you obviously need more care then I first thought.”

“That will not be necessary doctor.”

ah recognized the voice long before ah saw the mare herself. She stepped through the door, her tall elegant figure takin' the breath out of everypony in the room. Her dark blue coat glistened just like her beautiful starry mane, that moon on her flank lookin' just as it had in my dream. “there is nothing you and your staff can do about what is happening to young Applejack.”

The words weighed heavily in the air as the alicorn mare walked carefully towards me. Her slightly darker blue magic enveloped me an' ah could feel myself being lifted out of bed an' placed on the ground. She walked up ta me so close that ah could almost make out every little detail of her coat an' wings.

“Applejack, thou must gather thy friends and travel to find the creature that stole your memories, there you must slay the creature, otherwise you will never get your memories back.” her voice was soft and carin' but still firm an' slightly commandin'.

“Princess Luna, why would we have to do that? We could still try to help Applejack get her memories back some other way.” Rarity didn't seem as intimidated by the mares presence as the doctor. But it was obvious that she held the mare in high regards. “Twilight is already looking into the problem as it is.”

The princess lowered her head slightly as if bowing to the marshmallow pony. “And if this were a regular case of amnesia, that would be the proper course of action. But this in not a normal case. Applejack has had her memories permanently stolen from her, and there are side effects that are deadly. The creature that stole her memories left a part of itself in young Applejack's mind, it will stay there doing what ever it can to continuously keep her from remembering what has been stolen.”

“Forgive me for interuptin'.” ah say gettin' everyponies attention. “But why is my life threatened by all this? It just doesn't make much sense.”

The Mare, Luna ah think her name was, looked at me in an understandin' way. “let us explain. Thou has lost more then just they memories, your nightmare last night has revealed that thou is dying slowly. Your brain and mind are slowly being distorted, and as a consequence they will begin to shut down.
“One there are some symptoms you will need to watch out for. First, old friends you will begin to see as enemies. This will cause you to separate from people who might protect you. Next you will start hearing or seeing things that will make you fear even the smallest of leaves.”

“Oh dear.” Rarity says as she looks at me in a serous way, noddin' at as if she sayin' she will help.

“And lastly,” Luna says as she looks me dead in the eye. “You will start to become numb, not only emotionally, but also physically as well. At that point thous must find the creature before the next day, otherwise your entire body will cease to function, leading to cardiac arrest.”

“WHAT!?” Everypony yelled simultaneously.

“Applejack,” Rarity said, “we must go get the others as soon as possible!”

Ah shook my head in agreement, “Ya know the town, I'll stay and talk with the Princess. Go find the others.”

Rarity agreed with a nod and ran out the door like a mare on a mission, which ah guess she was. Ah turned ta the Princess, her regal features were sharp an' beautiful. “ah need ta know, how long do ah got?” ah ask knowin' full well that ah wasn't goin' ta like the answer.

“Truthfully, I do not know. Each pony is different, but based on the nightmare alone, you may have a week or two at most.” Ah felt my stomach turn inside out as the words hit me like a tone of bricks. “Thou must hurry Applejack, thou does not have time to waste.”

Noddin' turned to the door, but stopped ta turn back ta the princess “Thank ya kindly, ya sure as saved my life.” As ah ran out the of the hospital room ah couldn't help but notice the slight blush on the princesses face.

Chapter 4: Our Journey Begins

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The trees that surrounded me an' the others looked creepier an' creepier then the ones from my nightmare. They all seemed ta have faces with large teeth and crazy eyes. The branches seemed to be reachin' out like some sort of claws tryin' ta grab me.

Twilight was at the front of the group, Pinkie pie was right between her an' Rarity on her left. Rainbow dash stood by me and Fluttershy, who was to the right of Twilight. Each of us was carryin' a pack with a mark similar ta the marks we had on our flanks. Somethin' about this seemed kind of familiar ta me but I had this feelin' ah had to keep myself from tryin' ta remember, otherwise ah might start havin' an episode.

Takin' a deep breath ah started ta recognize where we are. The dark foliage of the trees brought me back ta the nightmare.

Twilight stopped and lit her horn and showed several marks on the ground. “Right about here was where we found you unconscious, Applejack.” Ah could see several claw marks across the ground along with several different markin's an' what looked like bits an' pieces of straw scattered across the ground.

“Can ya' tell where this dang creature went?”

Fluttershy stepped forward lookin' at the ground carefully. “Form what I can see,” she said in a low and cautious voice, but still it she was careful enough ta make sure we all heard her. “You struggled with what ever attacked you for quite a while, but as we all know it somehow won that struggle. From there the creature walked off in that direction,” she pointed a hoof off towards the north west, “we can all follow the tracks.”

Twilight took a moment to examine the tracks. Ah decided that it would be a good idea ta try an' memorize the track while ah could. It had a circular print at the bottom with five smaller circles all on one side of the larger circle and one triangular mark for each smaller circle. Twilight lifted some book out of her pack and started flipping through it's pages.

After a couple of minutes she closed the book and put it away. “No matches, whatever we're going to be facing off against it's not an archived creature.”

“Well no duh, egghead.” Rainbow dash dead pans. “even if you find it, you'll probably be attacked. Then have your mind wiped.”

Ah give her a quick glare, causing Rainbow dash ta flinch and lower her head in shame. “sorry.” was all she could say.

“Just choose yer words more carefully next time, please.” Ah scold.

“Girls.” Rarity said gettin' everyponies attention. “this is not the time. We must start tracking this creature as soon as possible.” Rarity was wearin' a rather interestin' outfit, a simple dress with a unique pattern that if ah had ta guess was suppose ta make her harder ta spot, but it wasn't that effective.

“She's right,” Twilight chimed in, “we have to get moving.” Her horn flared even more and a small sphere of light flouted out of her horn.

“Ooh, You learned a new spell Twi!” Pinkie Pie bounce at the purple alicorn, pocking at the little source of light.

The orb moved swiftly away from the pink mares reach, going high into the canopy. “Careful Pinkie! I can only cast that spell once a day, and the light is really fragile.” Twilight scolded.

The Pink mare just nodded her head and watched the orb carefully descend.

Gathering together letting Fluttershy take the lead this time while Twilight watched made sure the light was at the forefront of the group.

After being forced to walk through some precarious places, like a thin ledge on the side o' a cliff, an' some assorted bushes, some of which had thorns in them. Fluttershy came to a dead stop, causing everypony ta accidentally smack inta each other. “Uh oh.”

“Why'd you stop like that?” Rainbow dash asked, her tone sounded somewhere between upset, and confused.

Fluttershy turned around and apologized. “we may have a slight problem.” her voice was low and shaky making it hard ta hear at first, but we all seemed ta know what she meant.

“OH OH, Let me guess! The tracks just end here right?!” Pinkie yelled, making everypony turn ta look at her.

“no, they-” she didn't finish her sentence, instead she hid behind her pink mane and stepped to the side. What ah saw made my brain hurt somethin' fierce, instead o' one pair of tracks that lead in one direction, there were two.

“Pony-feathers!” Rainbow shouted as she noticed the diverin' paths. “what are we supposed do about that?”

“Only one thin' ta do,” ah say grabbin' everyponies attention, “we gotta slit up.”

Immediately everypony seemed on edge. Rainbow was the only one who didn't seem ta be all upset about it. But it was Twilight who spoke first, “that's the most logical course of action normally, But Applejack this is farther into the Ever-free forest then any of us have gone before. We don't know what's going to happen if we split up.”

Sighin' ah knew this was a failin' idea but it seemed the only way ta find the right path fast enough. Ah had no choice but ta try and convince the others we had ta split up so we could find the right path.

Just as ah was about ta say somethin' ah heard a rustlin' sound in one of the nearby bushes.

“Did ya'll hear hear that?” ah ask as every muscle in my body seemed ta tighten up in anticipation for a comin' battle.

All the others nodded and we all turned ta face separate directions. The rustlin suddenly seemed ta be comin' from everywhere all o' sudden. Wind picked up and the whole place seemed ta be closin' in us. My breathes became shallow and quick as my heart rate seemed ta speed up.

Out of nowhere a loud bang sounded behind me. Ah spun around ready ta fight for my life. Standing there right in front of the eyes of everypony was a horrible, terrifying . . . bunny?

Ah had ta blink several time, just ta be sure ah wasn't seein' things. A small white and gray bunny stood there with cute little eyes, an' long ears was little ol' bunny rabbit.

Everypony let out the breathes that we all hadn't realized we'd been holdin'.

“Well that was anticlimactic.” Twilight said.

“Your telling me deary,” Rarity chimed in, “I thought we were in trouble for a second.”

As if on cue the bunny began ta transform. It grew ta about 20 times it's size, it's teeth became razor sharp, claws grew out of it's paws, and the most terrifyin' thin' about it was that the gray an' white coat it had was turnin' black and shinin' with an ominous glow.

Before anyone could react, the creature swung a mighty big paw with razor sharp claws at Rarity.

Ah reacted without even a single thought and tackled Rarity out of the way. We rolled for a moment before comin' ta a stop.

Ah got up quickly an' saw everypony fightin' against the creature. Twilight and Rainbow dash were flyin' around, dash was physically trying ta beat the snot out of creature, while Twilight blasted it with bursts of magic. Pinkie, somehow, had found several stacks of pies an' was throwin' them at the creature, tryin' ta distract it. But understandably Fluttershy seemed ta be hidin' in a bush.

The problem was that the creature didn't seem ta be fazed by the onslaught, as a matter o' fact it only seemed ta be gettin' angrier. Ah could tell we didn't have a chance against whatever this was.

“Run everypony!” ah shouted as ah grabbed Rarity's hoof and helped her up.

The creature turned ta look at me an' ah could tell in that moment that it had one target, an' ah was it.

“Hurry, get outta' here!” ah shouted as ah turned away and ran for my life.

Chapter 5: Three in two, where to now

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“Celestia's Mornin' light you are some type of fool Applejack!” ah shout at myself as ah bob an' weave through trees running for my life, as some strange creature is chasin' me down.

Ah barely had time to look at my surroundin's as the creature chased me down. Intentionally ah had chosen a slightly narrow an' twistin' path. Ah figured that the creature would have a difficult time chasin' me down that way. At least that's what ah thought before ah started hearin' several of the trees behind me bein' smashed while the loud thumps an' roars could be heard only a few yards off.

Not trustin' myself ta look back an' not hit a tree, ah started runnin' faster. Dodgin' trees left an' right ah knew that if ah stopped for any reason my little adventure would end before ah could ever get my memories back.

Trees passed by without much of a care. It got more an' more difficult ta run as fast as ah could, more trees seemed ta be appearin' makin' it more difficult ta get through um. That didn't seem ta be botherin' the creature.

Finally ah broke through the tree line, only ta end up facin' a stone cliff side richin' high up. On my left ah see trees so tightly packed tagether that ah know ah couldn't get through them. Just ta my right a cliff side, and the ground appeared ta be at least a hundred or two feet down.

“Oh horse apples!” ah say knowin' full well that ah was not goin' ta make it.

As if ta emphasize the point, a loud crashin' sound blared behind me. Turnin' around ah could see the sharp pointy fangs of the creature that had been chasin' me. Gulpin' ah slowly back away from the creature. Ah keep backin up until my back hits the stone wall. Ah was trapped, there weren't no two ways around it. This was the end of my life and ah knew it.

With one deafenin' roar Ah knew my number was up. Ah couldn't bare to watch the end, so ah closed my eyes.

. . .


Openin' my eyes ta take a look Ah saw one o' the most amazin' sights o' my life, or at least that ah can remember. Right before my eyes ah saw the creature with a huge boulder smashed on it's head. Ah let out the breath that ah hadn't realized ah had been holdin'.

Slowly ah walk up ta the creature and tap the side o' it's arm lightly. Ah jumped slightly as ah heard the creature breath suddenly. Lettin' my heart rate settle slightly, ah realized the creature was only unconscious.

Decidin' the alternative was worse then findin' myself lost in the forest, ah start headin' back the way ah came.

For a while ah walked as straight as ah could through the thick forest tryin' ta find my way back ta the others.

Suddenly somethin' caught my attention, a sound o' some sort.


Instantly ah recognized the voice. It was light and melodious with a slight accent ah couldn't quite place. Ah was about ta respond when ah head another mare calling out my name, it was much quieter but still rather sweet sounding, and just like the other voice ah recognized it instantly.

“Rarity! Fluttershy! Ah'm right here!”

It didn't take long 'fore we finally found each other. Ah was so happy to have somepony else with me, this forest was rather creepy.

“Thanks fer findin' me y'all.” Ah look to Futtershy and Rarity, then try lookin' to find the others. “where are the others?”

Rarity was the first to speak up. “We got separated from the others.” She said slightly hidin' her face behind her wonderfully curvy an' purple mane.

My jaw nearly dropped to the ground as ah stared in disbelief. Ah was about to ask how they had all gotten separated when Fluttershy seemed to notice and spoke up. “W-well some trees began to fall, nopony got hurt, but Rarity and I had ended up on one side while Twilight, Rainbow, and Pinkie ended up on the other. Twilight told us just to go on and find you, they would work on finding a way to get back together.”

My nose scrunched up a slight bit as ah tried to think about how that could make any sense. They had to ponies that could fly, why not just fly over the fallen trees while they helped the other by carryin' her over?

Rarity interjected 'fore ah even try an' voice my question. “She told me that we had to get back onto the path, it would be a safer way to travel, most of the creatures do tend to keep from the paths. Twilight insisted sense you were in danger.”

A slight pang of guilt hit me 'cause ah had forced the group to split up just so they could save me. They were good friends to do somethin' like that just to help me. “Ah'm sorry ah worried y'all like that.”

Rarity reacted instantly. “Think nothing of it darling. You are our friend, and we all knew what the Everfree was like.”

*Mean while*

“Rainbow Dash, Pinkie pie, something feels wrong here.” Twilight says as she attempts to teleport some fallen trees out of the way, but for some reason the trees didn't seem to be affected by her magic. “I can't affect the trees, and I get this bad feeling that I can't get my magic to teleport me passed the trees either.”

Rainbow Dash crashed near into the huge mass of trees blocking her path. With a tumble and a groan she fell just to the ground just a few feet away from Twilight's feet. “Yeah and anytime I try flying over the dang thing, I suddenly lose all ability to fly. Way uncool.”

Pinkie pie being her usual self was jumping around on the fallen trees and bouncing around in a way that made her look like she was part mountain goat or something. She was generally just being Pinkie, but that could mean almost anything. She stopped then looked over to Twilight and Rainbow Dash. “Well that would be because of the rune thingies, girls.”

“ 'Rune thingies'?” Twilight asked. “What are you talking about?”

Pinkie bounced down to the ground and pointed at a tree, “These runes silly, they're designed to block magic for all creatures, duh.”

Twilight inspected the trees more carefully and found what pinkie was talking about. Looking from tree to tree, Twilight noticed that all the trees had very old looking carvings on them, most of them she recognized from her when she had to learn about older styles of magic. That had been one of Twilight's least favorite subjects years ago.

Turning to look at Pinkie, Twilight looked astonished. “How did you know that Pinkie?”

“I read about them at your library, duh.” she said with a huge grin. Taking another look at the trees Pinkie examined the markings. “These were made intensionally to prevent anything from using magic of any type near or on these trees.”

For a moment Twilight felt slightly weirded out to be on the other side of a knowledge gap, usually she was the one who knew a lot about magic as compared to most others. “so we just need to remove the markings and we can remove these trees?”

Rainbow Dash finally got up and looked at Twilight, “I doubt it, besides that could take a couple of days, and we don't have that kind of time Twi.”

With a sigh of exasperation Twilight knew Rainbow Dash was right, they would have to move all the trees manually before they could even think about removing the runes so they could be moved. Climbing was a bad idea because of how precariously the trees had fallen on each other, and because of the fact any magic they could try to use would be unable to by the trees only made it harder to get to Applejack, Fluttershy, and Rarity.

“I don't think we'll be able to get to do anything from here.” Twilight says as a wave of dread and gloom hits her. “the best we can do is try and tell them to move on. We're all going to have to split up like this.”

Rainbow Dash's mouth dropped open. “You mean we can't do anything? Nothing?”

Frowning, Twilight looked Rainbow straight in the eye, “With the situation the way it is yes. We just have to wait for the others to get here and tell them.”

“That is so not awesome!” Rainbow cried as she folded her front hooves over her chest.

“I know Rainbow, but we have to keep moving, and that means we're forced to split up to move forward.”

Chapter 6: The promise to Applejack, and the long road ahead

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Fluttershy, Rarity, and Ah where on our way to where Twilight and the others were supposed to be when Rarity stopped. “What's wrong Rarity?” Fluttershy asked as she bumped into her.

A moment later Ah looked at her a little worried myself. Rarity looked as if she was having some trouble with her face or something. Quite a few times she scrunched her nose, looked worried, she seemed highly surprised at one point, and then she was left with a very somber expression on her face.

Rarity turned ta face Fluttershy and me as soon as nodded for some odd reason. “Girls there appears to be a slight problem from Twilight's side of things.”

First thing ah did was look around ta see if Twilight was anywhere near by. Of course she wasn't which made me turn to look at Rarity in confusion.

Rarity obviously noticed as she flipped her mane to get it out of her eyes. “Those trees that separated us earlier appear to have had runes carved into them. The runes keep magic from physically affecting anything, and thus they couldn't remove the barrier. Thus making it unsafe and impossible to follow. Flying over isn't an option because the runes also seem to be affecting Pegasus flight.”

“Oh my.” Fluttershy said as concern obviously showed on her face. “How was Twilight able to contact you then?”

Fussing with her outfit a little, Rarity put on a slight smile. “She was quite clever like usual. She decide to test some things because we were taking longer than she thought it would. Once she got out of the range of the runes, she tested a few things. She found out that physical mean of getting a message out would be impossible. She tried sending us a scroll, only for it to reappear on the outer edge of where the runes field of affect were effective. So she tried something rather interesting.”

“And what was that?” Ah asked.

Lifting a hoof Rarity pointed at her horn. “She had been working on a spell over the past few weeks that worked off the principles of telepathy. She had taken an older spell and started modifying it. She hadn't gotten a chance to test it yet, but used it as a way to get in contact with me.”

“Tall-lep-a what?” Fluttershy and ah ask at the same time.

With a heavy sigh Rarity looked at us. “Telepathy is a way to communicate using your mind. Twilight was trying to make a spell that allowed ponies to do that. She used it to talk to me just a minute ago. The runes actually didn't affect the spell simply because, at least we think, she was sending out something non-physical and the runes weren't designed to block that.”

“Ahh, okay?” I say as tap a hoof to my chin.

“Either way,” Rarity said as she turned to look in the direction we had been walking. “It appears as though we have been separated indefinitely. We should probably find a road and follow it until we can find a way to meet up with the others.”

Ah bit my lower lip. This had not been what ah wanted to happen.

Suddenly something felt off. My head felt light and the rest of my body started to feel heavy. Falling to the ground ah blacked out.

Ah could feel my body twitching as the ground came close to my face. My ears caught the only sound that over took everything else in the forest. “Applejack!” ah heard both Fluttershy and Rarity yell.

Floutin' in darkness was the only thing happenin'. Ah was just floutin' haunted by images that were slowly dissolvin' all around me. Ponies ah seemed ta know an' things that made my heart ache ta see disappear all dissolved around me.

“Why . . . ?” I calmly asked myself in a low whisper.

“Cause ya made a mistake.”

Trunin' around in a fright, ah looked to see who had just answered me. But no pony was around. At least no pony ah could see anyway.

Ah could feel the darkness shiftin' and the world around me fade into somethin' new. The darkness was slowly replaced by green rollin' fields of grass. Hills in the distance helped to create a warm an' gentle breeze that brushed up against my coat, mane, an' tail. Flowers of all kinds were spreed out far from each other, yet they were always just a couple of hoof steps away.

The whole scene was beautiful, and there was just somethin' so calmin' about the place. “It really is somethin', ain't it?” A voice said behind me.

Movin' quickly ah looked deep into the lush green eyes of the last pony ah had expected ta see, me. She stood regally as he mane and tail swayed in the wind, an old hoof woven straw hat firmly held in place by one of her hooves. She had a small smile, but her eyes betrayed the saddened look she had.

My guard went up instantly. This had ta be some type of trick, Ah couldn't be standin' in two places at once. Taking a defensive position, ah lowered my head a little ta try and look threatenin'.

The mare lifted moved her hooves up in a mock surrender, “Wah, there par'ner, ah ain't lookin' fer no fight. Ah just want ta talk is all.”

Slowly ah lift my head, but keep my eyes open for any sign of hostility.

The mare sighs a little and chuckles a little, “Ah guess ah can't blame ya fer not trustin' me. Heck ah probably wouldn't trust me either.”

For a moment my guard drops and ah'm taken in by the hearty laughter of the mare that looked like me.

A smile spread across her face as she looked at me again. Her smile was gentle and welcoming, as was her saddened eyes. “There ya go.” she says as finally notice that my guard had fallen completely.

“W-who are you?” ah ask.

Closin' her eyes the mare sighed lightly. “Ya already know who ah am. Ya just haven't accepted the truth yet.”

Ah could feel my heart beatin' so hard in my cheat that ah thought it would burst out for a second. “you can't be who ah think you are 'cause it's just not possible!” I yell as fear begins ta creep inta me.

Before ah could even react, the mare in front of me jolted forward, right at me. My guard was down and ah had no way of reacting fast enough. In that one moment ah knew there was nothin' ah could do ta stop her.

Then ah felt it the warm embrace of the mare as she wrapped her hooves around my neck. Ah was stunned inta silence as the warmth of her body spread inta me. That's about when ah felt somethin' wet runnin' down my neck and onta my back.

Sobs filled the air as ah realized the mare was cryin'. My hooves moved up to embrace the girl in a hug. “ah'm so, so sorry 'bout puttin' ya through this. . .” she said as a sob brought her to a stop before she could take a breath.

“Ah got ya inta this situation, ah should be the one settin' it right, but ah can't.” She sobbed more as her feelings began ta overwhelm her. “Mah body is yers now, an' ah can't help ya beyond this point. But, ah can at least give ya an option.”

Slowly the mare let me go and stood back. Tears were still streamin' down her face as she looked at me with a determination that could be considered stoic. “Ya can have mah life.”

Ah took a step back, bein' both shocked and appalled.

She stood there as tears continued ta stream down her face. “Tell mah friends it's okay. They should understand that ah wouldn't want ta cause ya any pain, but ah also understand they wouldn't want me gone neither.”

Tears flowed more rapidly as her stoic expression began ta fall. “Take whatever time ya have left in that body oh mine an' enjoy yerself. If ya continue down this path, ya will fade out of existence no matter what ya do. Just, please do yerself a favor and live whatever life ya have ta liv-”

She stopped when ah finally wrapped my hooves around her neck in a tight embrace. We both stood there as still as statues, what felt like hours probably only passed by in a few seconds before ah found the right words. “Thank you for worryin', but ah can't rightly let you do that for me.”

In that one instant the mare began cryin' like a little foal, not 'cause she was in trouble, but cause she knew that somepony was fightin' for her and she knew what the price was going ta be. Ah knew then and there that this was the last refuge that my mind had to keep the me from before the attack had happened. This version of me was the one who rightfully owned this body and it should be hers, but this creature had a way to keep her from it, now it was my job ta get her home.

As soon as ah wake up she will be unreachable and ah will be in control of her body. Ah would remember this and fight like never before. Applejack, the real Applejack needed ta be saved, and ah knew there was only one way ta do so.

Ah pushed Applejack a little just so that we could be face ta face. “This will be goodbye. Ah realize what needs ta happen, now you just stay safe okay!”

The real Applejack's scrunched up as if she was about ta cry again but stopped herself. “Ya bet Ah will par'ner. Just be careful with that body oh mine, okay.”

Ah smiled at her, “Whatever you say, just don't let that beast get ta you before ah can get there on time okay!”

We both nod at each other, and ah couldn't help but notice the determination in them, a determination ta overcome this.

Our hooves lock together in an agreement we both knew the other would keep.

“-ack. . .”

“It's time fer ya get going.” Applejack said as she let go of my hoof and strong breeze came in. Ah watched as she blew away in a storm of leaves, the beautiful leaves of an apple tree.

“Applejack . . .” a voice called out, pulling me back from the rolling fields that were now fading inta shadows.

A single tear fell my eyes as the leaves vanished inta thin air and ah felt consciousness touch me. “Don't worry Applejack. I'll get you back in your body soon.”

Chapter 7: Jackie?

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Every part of my body ached, especially my head, as ah slowly began to open my eyes. The world slowly came back into focus, revealing a regal mare with a purple main and rather silly looking camouflage like outfit on.

“Rarity . . . ?” ah said weakly as ah began to notice our surroundings. Although it was dark, as all get out, ah could easily make out the stone walls with moss, and moisture, along with several stalactites hanging from the ceiling.

“Where are we . . . ?” ah ask, slowly lifting my head slightly.

Rarity knelt next to me her expression slightly worried. “Stay still Applejack. It would be best not to push yourself, deary.”

With a light smile and gentle caress of my back, Rarity's touch seemed to make the pain go away. “Thanks Rarity, but we don't have time to wasting.”

“Applejack are you okay?” for a second Rarity seemed to be surprised, then she got this concerned look at her. She placed a hoof to my forehead. “You don't appear to have a fever . . .”

Swiping the white hoof away from my face ah looked at her like she was crazy. “Ah'm fine Rarity.”

Backing up a little Rarity seemed more surprised at my reaction. “Now I know Something's wrong.” She says with a determined look.

Ah decide it would be best to get up, because at least then we could try and talk face to face more evenly.

As ah slowly got up, pain shot through my body. But I barely noticed the pain as the sound of grass below me caught my attention. Looking down ah noticed the grass bed that was both weaved and lain out below me.

“Fluttershy made that for you.” Looking at Rarity, ah was surprised by the gentle tone she had. She looked down at the little bed and smiled warmly. “After your little episode, we both carried you here. Thankfully we found this cave, Fluttershy grabbed some of the tall grass outside, the moss from the walls, and made the made that bed for you.”

“She did that?” ah ask a little surprised. Wait a minute, this bed was at least big enough for three ponies, if not four.


“What is it Applejack?” She asked, although she was obviously worried about me.

“How long have ah been out?”

For a moment Rarity seemed confused by my question, but she took a moment to think about it. “I believe you were asleep for about two days now.”

My eye widened. “What?!”

Flinching slightly, Rarity backed up a little bit. She was obviously surprised by my little outburst. As a matter of fact she looked kind of scared of me all of a sudden.

I took a minute to steady my breath and calm down. “Sorry Rarity, it's just we don't have time to be wasting.”

With a sudden look of steely determination Rarity stepped towards me, and she was obviously not going to back down this time. “Enough of this Applejack! You must tell me what is wrong with you. You are acting like a wild child.”

This time it was me who was scared, Rarity suddenly had this air about her that made me a little scared. A fire could be seen in her eyes and it was burning stronger then ah could have ever thought. For a moment ah was scared to the point that ah couldn't even speak.

Suddenly the fire in Rarity's eyes seemed to calm and finally fade as she carefully wrapped her hoof around me. “Applejack . . .” a twinge of pain hit me right as she said that name. “You need to trust us if you want our help deary.”

“Um, what did I just miss?”

Rarity and ah turned to the source of the voice, only to see Fluttershy at the entrance. Ah smiled as Rarity put a little space between us. “Actually, yes Fluttershy. Rarity was was just scolding some sense into me.”

A confused looked crossed Fluttershy's face as she set down her bag by the entrance, funny that little detail seemed to slip my sight a second ago. She walked up to me and looked deep into my eyes. Ah thought it was a little odd she would be doing something like that but ah didn't care.

“Applejack . . .” There it was again a slight surge of pain coursing through me, right as Fluttershy said that name. “what happened to you?”

With a sigh ah told both of the girls it would take a little time to explain everything. They sat both took a moment to get comfortable before motioning for me to continue.

Over the course of the next hour or so ah began to explain what ah knew, and some of the things that had happened. But ah at least kept the fact ah thought the other Applejack may have been taken away, and ah might disappear when we rescue her. Both had sat there patiently waiting for me to finish. By the end they almost looked like somepony had slapped them.

“Are you okay?” ah finally had to asked them just to break the growing silence that was building.

“Applejack” Rarity said as jolt of pain hit me again. “Is all that really true?”

Nodding ah knew this was going to be an interesting conversation.

Both girls looked at each other for second before anypony said anything. “Well that certainly explains your accent.” Fluttershy said as if that was the more interesting thing out all the stuff ah had just explained to them.

“Is that really all that caught your attention?!” ah ask in complete surprise.

“Well to be honest with you darling,” Rarity said with a sympathetic look. “At this point our little group of friends always gets caught up in little adventures like this. We've kind of come to expect that things will get complicated sooner or later. With everything you've told us, we just have another reason to move forward.”

“We also respect your decision to help Applejack . . .” Fluttershy said, and yet again a pulse of pain hit me. This one more powerful then the last one. Both girls noticed me flinch from the unexpected ebb of pain, and gave me concerned looks.

“Is something wrong?” Rarity asked.

“Ah'm not sure.” Ah say.

“Maybe I can help Applejack.” Fluttershy offered. Another wave a pain coursed through my body, still more intense then the last one.

Rarity put her hoof over Fluttershy's mouth. Her eyes scrutinized me carefully.

“Applejack.” The pain hit me once again as Rarity watched me visibly flinch even worse then before. She removed her hoof from Fluttershy's mouth, and with a sigh she looked to the ground. “I was afraid of that.”

Fluttershy and ah looked at Rarity, wondering what she was talking about. It was obvious she thought she was on to something.

“What do you mean Rarity?” Fluttershy and ah asked at the sametime.

“I believe that,” She hesitated for some reason, then pointed to me. “It physically hurts you to hear your name.”

This time it was my turn to seem confused. But then something hit me. Is the other Applejack was the real one, maybe the pain could be a side affect due to her presence being completely removed. It was obvious that the girls had seen my realization by the fact they had were looking at me curiously, but they didn't say anything.

“Maybe calling me something different will help.” ah say trying to cover myself.

“That could work.” Rarity says with a slight smile. “What about Jackie?”

We stand there in a semi-awkward silence. But there was no pain, so ah nod. “Jackie works, but you should Probably tell the others about all this. Besides we need to start heading out as soon as possible.”

The girls agreed and we all started packing up what ever stuff we had, all except for Fluttershy who already had her stuff packed up.

As soon as Rarity was finished packing up she cast a spell. Her horn began to glow a rich light blue that caught my eye and ah was wondering what she was doing. But after a few minutes her horn lost it's glow and she looked over to me. “I just let the others know about the situation and the new developments.”

Once we were all packed up Fluttershy lead us into the forest and started to guild us back to the familiar tracks that we were following in the beginning, and with determination in our heart we set out with maybe less than a week left before ah expected to die.

chapter 8: A Wrong Turn, and Bad News

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It was dark and scary, over whelming to say the least. The trees seemed to get more twisted and mangled as we walked deeper into the forest. Some of the trees didn't look quite right, like they were the twisted souls of some unlucky ponies screaming out for help. At least that's how it felt to me as Fluttershy, Rarity, and Ah walked through the dense forest towards are destination.

“Are you sure we're heading the right way dear Fluttershy?” Rarity looked more anxious to me then Ah was. You could just tell by the way she seemed to slow a little with each glance she took, only for her to speed back up again when she realized she was falling behind.

“Yes.” the simplest answer Fluttershy could give. She was walking along keeping her eyes trained on the ground as she walked. It was almost crazy how calm she looked. In the couple of days Ah had gotten to know her, it had seemed like almost anything could scare the poor girl out of her wits. But know she looked almost perfectly at easy in this dark and creepy forest.

Ah however had my mind on other things. Something was starting to bug me about what had happened over the past couple of days. First my attack, which had led to my memory loss. Then there was the fact ah had part of this creature stuck in my head, and it was trying to keep me from remembering things from my past. Next the creature that had attacked me and the rock that had knocked it unconscious, that had just seemed a little bit on the lucky side at the time, but maybe there was something more to it then that?

“Ohh . . . my . . .”

It was then that my train of thought crashed and Ah was pulled back to reality. Fluttershy had stopped along with Rarity right behind her. Both were looking ahead with disbelief and Ah understood why. There was fork in the road, leading to different ways and the tracks we had been following were going down both roads.

Just great, last time this happened we got attacked. But with a sigh I could only hope that maybe this wouldn't be as bad as last time.

“Shouldn't we just follow the freshest set of tracks, deary?” Fluttershy and Ah turned to look at Rarity in surprise. She took notice of our looks at her and looked at us as if she was a little upset. “What? Where you not expecting me to say something smart?”

Ah shook my head 'no' letting my mane sway back and forth before Rarity looked at me with an accusing glare. “Not at all Rarity.” I say with a smile, “Ah just didn't expect advice about this type of thing from you is all.”

Rarity turned her nose up a little, her lips turned down in a slight frown. “I have had to learn some tracking tricks to keep myself safe when it comes to my gem hunting.” Her accent was slightly thicker as she spoke in a frustrated tone. It was interesting hearing how think her accent was getting.

“Alright Rarity.” With a couple of steps ah moved closer to Rarity and placed one of my hooves around her neck. She tensed up a little as her eyes moved to look at me. “Don't forget. Ah lost my memory and ah couldn't have known that before today.”

“Oh . . .” came the deflated word as it escaped passed Rarity's lips. She looked down a little at the ground, obviously beating herself up about the fact she had forgotten. She had probably been to scared by the feeling that the forest had been exuding. “I'm sorry . . . Jackie.”

Ah pulled her closer and gave her a smile. “Hey you're doing fine.”

Slowly Rarity got a gentle smile to grow ever so sweetly. “Thank you . . .”

“Oh, that's so sweet.”

Rarity and Ah turned to look at Fluttershy, a sly smile was draped across her face. That made the heat seem to rush to mine, and before we knew Rarity and Ah had pushed each other apart awkwardly. “Let us never speak of this again.” Rarity said bluntly.

My face got hotter and the best Ah could do was turn my face away and hope it wasn't as red as Ah thought it was. “Agreed.”

My slight embarrassment was suddenly pushed to the back of my mind as Ah spotted something move between the trees. Suddenly Ah felt alert and my every sense was heightened to crazy degree. Although the air was cold their was cold, an almost chilling warmth had settled on the back of my neck. A slight moisture in the air was collecting on the trees and ground making everything slippery. And Ah could swear the iron like smell of blood was gently wafting through the air, it was subtle, but definitely there. That's about when ah heard the gentle chuckle.

Ah took a defensive position ready to bolt for it if ah had to.

“Jackie?” I chanced a glance towards the voice that had called out my chosen name. Fluttershy was looking at me worriedly and Rarity was starting to take notice as well. They were obviously concerned about my actions and sudden change of attitude. “What's wrong?”

Taking a deep breath to calm myself down a little, “I think we may have company.”

The affect was almost instantaneous as Ah saw the both of them change there demeanors. Fluttershy looked worried, and quickly to refuge behind me and Rarity who had taken up a position similar to mine. But something had caught my eye as Ah Rarity took her position. Her eyes seemed to have changed color from baby blue to emerald green, and back again. Ah ignored the odd little detail, Ah figured it was just a trick of the eye.

Shadows shifted behind the trees, setting my nerves on edge. There was more then one enemy this time and that didn't bode well for us.

Ah kept my eyes one the passing shadows, watching as they moved with intent. They seemed to be jumping from tree to tree, but one figure in particular was darker then the rest and almost familiar. My gaze kept jumping and following the figure as if there was some type of force was drawing it their.

Eventually Ah found my gaze locked on a pair yellow eyes, the same ones that had haunted my nightmare from before. They were cold, distant, shining bright with intelligent, and had a look that pierced my mind sending fearful shivers down my spine. The familiar feeling of paralyzing fear began to settle on me again.

Ah couldn't help it, the feeling of helplessness that began to take me over. My hooves began to buckle and fell to the ground with a hollow feeling hitting me like a burst of magic compressed into a tightly packed force filled beam aimed straight for my chest.

“Jackie?!” Ah heard Rarity yell. This broke me out of the feeling just as Ah felt my hope begin to die in my chest, and with a quick turn that hope that had just barely survived died in less then an instant.

As my eye met Rarity's ah felt the cold chill of despair rip through me. Her eyes had gone from their beautiful baby blue into the emerald green that Ah thought Ah had imagined, but the thing that terrified me in that moment was the golden yellow flames that were burning brightly from the corner of her eyes. It was unnerving and scary, in a way it was worse then seeing the yellow eyes because now both were cold and unnerving. But it was worse with Rarity because the gaze was coming from the mare Ah was trusting with my life, not from a dark and unruly beast that Ah didn't even know.

My body was shaking and the feeling of fear that surged through me was causing it to tremble. There were no conscious thoughts running through my mind and the feelings that were piercing me were forcing my body into action.

Rarity lifted a hoof towards me and Ah moved without a thought of what Ah was doing. Ah ran, just ran, the fork in the road had been just to my right and Ah took the first path that had been there. My emotions and the adrenalin that coursed through my system pushed me harder and faster then Ah could have normally done. The ground blurred and the trees seemed to fuse into walls, every moment Ah ran the world seemed to lose more focus.

The fear took over and my mind kick started into a tirade of thoughts and questions, that made me more and more afraid. Each passing moment blurred into the next until eventually the ache in my hooves began to burn until Ah couldn't run anymore. Slowing down into a stop Ah began to calm down, my mind was starting to relax and the rest of my body felt like collapsing.

“Where am Ah?” Ah ask aloud once Ah had calmed down enough to think rationally. My surroundings weren't as dark or frightening as before, as a matter of fact the trees almost seemed to be glistening with heart warming light, a field of flowers could be seen in the distance, and smell of roses began to gently float into the air.

My body moved almost automatically, pulling me towards the light, and it was in that moment that Ah some how found myself in beautiful field of tulips, daisies, and some type of dark green flower. The aroma was overpowering to say the least, each flower was producing a scent that mixed with the others. Roses surrounded the field forming some type of barrier between it and the forest. The suns light lazily drooped out over the mountains, painting a spectacular sunset, where on the other side of the sky the moon was just barely peaking out over the horizon with a few stars.

“Where am ah?” A wind picked up and Ah start feeling slightly woozy. This time Ah could feel the sensation starting to take me over, and Ah could even try to fight back.

It was however a losing battle. My consciousness was fading quickly and my body felt heavy. The sensation was overwhelming and forced my body to start collapsing. Ah hit the ground but Ah was still conscious. My eye lids were lazily hovering open as fought to keep myself awake.

A small patch of dark green flowers hazily floating in my vision, and an unfamiliar smell found its way to my nose. The scent was a light, and sweet, with very subtle hits of something that Ah could only describe as 'sour'. My breaths felt heavy and labored.

Something sounded strange to me all of a sudden. I could barely make out the sound at first, then the sound got sharper and sharper. My blood got colder as the sound drew closer once I realized it was the sound of hoof falls.

“Jackie?!” yelled a frightened voice. It was familiar but my mind was to clouded to realize who it belonged to.

Suddenly Ah felt weightless, and Ah realized Ah was being lifted off the ground in someponies magic. The subtle hints of a dark green aura surrounded my sight. Who was this?

Helplessly ah watched as the field ah had entered slowly became a distant memory. Whoever this pony was they were carrying me away from the field as if they wanted to be as far away from it possible.

“Jackie that field had Asphidil plants in them.” The voice said in sweet yet, knowledgeable kind of way. “They live in remote regions, like this forest, and exude a special form of gas whenever they feel threatened by some creature that happens to be passing by. The gas sends the body into a comatose like state, leaving the mind only partly active.”

Slowly Ah started to realize what the voice was saying. That plant had done this to me, but that didn't answer my question, who is this pony?

Before ah had a chance to continue thinking who it was that was helping me, ah felt the cool ground slowly press itself against my side. “You are lucky that we were there to help you.”

Slowly ah could feel my mind and body beginning to wake up again. “If it weren't for the fact we had been keeping an eye on you and your friends you might not have lived.” another voice said, this one was more masculine compared to the first, meaning ah had two ponies who had just helped me, one a mare, the other must have been a stallion. “The plant would have kept you in that comatose state for quite a while, even to the point that you would have died. They are rather unforgiving little things.”

“But,” The female voice said, and Ah could feel my mind starting to process things better. “You are lucky that the plants do not have a very strong scent, and that the gases effects fade rather quickly. On that note, we shall be taking our leave, but do remember Jackie. You'll have to look past what you see if you want to be able to move forward from this point on.”

My breathing became steady and the muscles in my body finally started listening to me. But before ah had the chance to even look at the two who had stayed out of my vision ah heard the lightest popping sound and Ah knew they were gone.

Ah got to my hooves as quick as ah possibly could, and ah felt as if ah had just woken up from a long rest. But my mind was still filling with questions, Who had those two been? How did they know about me and my friends? How did they know my name? And probably the most important question of all, what had that mare meant when she said 'You'll have to look past what you see if you want to be able to move forward from this point on.'?

Those questions kept running through my head like tornado. That is until Something at the back of my mind registered movement to my left.

Quickly Ah dove towards the nearest bush and hid myself from whatever was on it's way here. My breathing slowed and my whole body became as still as a rock. Slowly the sound of hoof falls started to increase, and a pair of voices started to make themselves known.

A heavy sigh escaped from one of the ponies, “what do you think happened to her Rarity?” One of the voices asked in a quiet almost hushed voice. It was obvious to me who the voice belonged to in that moment.

“I wish I knew dear Fluttershy. But something tells me that we will be hard pressed to find her if we don't do so soon.” The light accent ah had come to know as Rarity's tickled my ears, But ah remained still. The memory of what Rarity had looked like suddenly flouted to the top of my mind.

Rarity passed by the bush ah was hiding in and ah couldn't help but look at her as she passed. Her eyes were still the same shade of green they had been when ah had run from her not a few minutes ago. The flames yellow flames that were emitting from her eyes seemed to defy physics as they flowed outward in a horizontal direction either going to the left or right based on the respective side they were on. She had tied back her mane, probably trying to keep her hair from burning, the natural curl allowed her mane flow like a waterfall down her back.

Shivers ran down my back as she walked past, almost everything about her had seemed to make me scared out of my wits. “I just hope she's okay.” Ah hear Fluttershy say.

My line of sight moved from the frightening mare to look at Fluttershy only to feel an even more powerful fear hit me. Ah almost lost it, my whole mind went blank and the only thing keeping me from running for my life was the fact ah know that ah had to remain still if ah didn't want to be spotted.

There was Fluttershy walking along carefully watching for anything that might jump out and attack, but she didn't look like Fluttershy. Her normally flowing mane looked wild and mussy, the tips of her ears were pointed and split, her eye had gone from their usual light blue to an almost crimson red. Her wings had shifted in form to look more thin like skin, took on a web like appearance, and look much more bony. But the thing that caught my attention the most and had me scared was the fangs that seemed to glisten whenever she opened her mouth.

“Me to, deary. Me to.”

As they both waked past I was stunned, silent, and unmoving. This was dangerous, ah had to get out of here before they could find me. But as ah try to get up and run away from the pair that had just passed me by, something seems to be keeping me in place. 'Why is it ah can never seem to move when ah want to?!'

The thought fade from my mind as ah looked down to see that ah had a bunch of scratches all across my body. “What the . . . ?” It was in that moment ah realized that ah jumped into a thorn bush, Ah was scraped up like there was no tomorrow and several of the scrapes were just barely bleeding. But, ah didn't feel anything, not a single thing.

That's when what Luna said at the hospital came back to me. The signs that ah would be dying soon. The hallucinations that separated me from others, that was supposed to be the next thing to happen to me. “And it has!” Ah say suddenly realizing why Rarity and Fluttershy looked the way they do.

“Emotional and Physical numbness . . .” My body wasn't even registering that ah should be in pain. Ah had jumped into a thorn bush and was cut up, yet I was completely numb to the feeling.

This time when ah tried to move my body cooperated and ah was out of the bush. Ah still couldn't feel the pain as ah stepped onto the dirt path way, yet ah knew ah was supposed to be hurting. But ah still felt worried, scared, and most of all a little relieved. A light chuckle made its way up and ah fought to suppress the urge to laugh. Ah was still scared. That meant Ah still might have a chance here.

My eyes moved down the path that Rarity and Fluttershy had taken. That's when a cold chill hit me, they were heading towards the field!

Kicking it into overdrive ah ran so fast ah bet Rainbow dash would have been impressed. My hooves carried me quicker and quicker towards the other two. Until ah was standing outside the fields.

Both girls were looking up at the now star riddled sky, but they looked unsteady on their hooves. “Get out of there, quickly!” ah yell to them.

Both girls turned and spotted me, just in time for them to fall over.

'Dang it!' ah thought as solutions started to flow into my head, the best course of action seemed like the direct one. Ah just had to go in grab one of them and get back before the flowers could effect me.

That's when things went horribly, horribly bad.

Chapter 9: Things get . . . Interesting

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Celestia watched the Everfree forest and the sun she was carefully gliding into horizon. A strange feeling was starting to well up from inside her, one that filled her with a feeling of dread. Luna had informed her of the mission that was being undertaken by Twilight and her friends to retrieve young Applejack's memories.

But something was bothering Celestia greatly. Maybe it was just her imagination, or maybe it was the thought of the dangers that Everfree forest was going to be revealing on this venture. But either way, she could almost tell something big was going to be happening, and it would be happening very soon.

"Your highness!"

The cry of the guards caught Celestia's attention. Turning so that she could look at the guards, a surprising sight, something she hadn't known in a while over the years, caught hold of her. A pair of guards were escorting in a young unicorn filly. "This filly here was adamant about seeing you. When we told her to come back at another time she handed us this note."

Gently taking the note into her magic, Celestia brought the note into view so that she could read it. The merest modicum of a frown began to form as she read to the end of the note.

"Let her speak with me privately," Celestia commanded to her guards. "She may need to explain how this note came into her possession."

The guards saluted before leaving the room altogether. Celestia took her time before speaking again, she observed the filly. The filly was a light brown unicorn with a light golden mane that was tied into a single braid, a blue hair band keeping the front of her mane in check. Her eye were a soft, almost radiant, blue color, with an almost adult like shine of intelligence.

"Might I ask what your name is young filly?" Celestia asked once she finally finished scrutinizing the filly.

The deadpan tone in the child's voice came through as almost overconfident, or maybe even brash. "Let's not mince words Celly." Shock and surprise took over Celestia as the filly approached with a regal stride. "I'm sure you can already see past my spell, unlike those incompetent guards."

"I'm afraid you may be mistaken about me." Although it would normally be a bad idea to reveal ones hand like that, but under the circumstances felt no need to hide anything.

With a sigh the filly looked up at Celestia with obvious disappointment in her eyes. The fillies horn began to glow a wondrous shade of golden yellow, only a few shades darker than Celestia's own magical aura. The aura quickly enveloped the little fillies body and started reacting as if unraveling a complex spell.

A moment later and the unicorn filly had miraculously changed into an alucorn. Most would thing the filly had cast some spell to make it only look as though she had wings, but Celestia could tell that there was no such trickery. The feeling that touched her the moment the filly had changed was all to real. It was the feeling that all other alucorns have when close to one another.

"Well than," The filly said in a brash tone, "My name is Radiant Lining, and I am here to tell you that a second tier is going to be born soon."

If it weren't for the hundreds, if not thousands, of years of practice at maintaining a stoic expression Celestia probably would have let her jaw drop and her eyes pop out of her skull in surprise. She could only manage to ask one question out of the thousands of questions that were swamping her mind. "Who are you?"

With a simple smile and shake of her head, Radiant Lining turned to Celestia with a smile. "Just a messenger." was all she said before teleporting away in a flash of golden light.

Celestia dropped the note she had been holding in her magic the entire time and trotted out of the throne room. She had to get her sister and go, there was little to no time that could be wasted.

The thumping sensation that reverberated through my body sent chills down my back. It was almost like small little earthquakes were happening, but the feeling was kind of familiar. Ah couldn't exactly understand why the feeling felt the way it did, but it did.

That's when a beast emerged from the other side of the field. It was a large beast at least four times my size, and it's body was almost like the night sky, a somewhat clear dark blue with stars speckling it's body. The head had a long snout and large horns that curved towards the top of it's head. A star marked the spot right in the middle of it's brow. The whole body of the creature was muscular with long tail attached to it.

“What in tar-nation is that thing?” Ah ask as it looks through the field. Jumping just to the left of the entryway of roses, Just barely missing being spotted by the creature as it turned to look in my direction. 'Think before you speak Jackie!'

A loud puffing sound grabs my attention. Taking a quick light breath Ah peak around the corner of rose wall that separated the forest from the field.

Looking in the creature almost seemed to be looking in my direction, but Ah could tell it was looking more downward. Following it's gaze Ah felt my breath catch in my throat. Laying there right in between me and that creature where Rarity and Fluttershy, both were still unable to move because of the gases the flowers have been giving off.

'Not good.' Ah thought as the creature snorted and lowered its head. Pounding a hoof to the groundn, Ah watched as it took a stance and got ready to charge.

This was bad Ah had to do something, but what. How could Ah save them from a raging beast with horn that looked like they could impale me.

The beast charged forward with a look in its eyes that can only be described as a lust for the kill. Ah reacted without thinking and dove into the field, leaving behind the safety of my hiding spot. The beast didn't seem to take notice of my arrival immediately and that's when ah saw my chance.

It was a race to my friends and although the strange creature was bigger it certainly wasn't faster. Jumping into the air Ah leaped over my friends. The beast was only a couple of hoof steps away from the final blow to Rarity's life. Rolling into a tight ball Ah flipped into the air, then in a quick and almost blinding move, Ah curled and extended my hind legs to land on the creatures head.

Although there wasn't much weight behind it, the momentum behind the action forced the creatures head to plummet toward the ground and send the horns straight into the dirt. Ah could only hope that what Ah had done might save my friends lives because Ah didn't have the chance to watch and see what happened.

The follow through with the action came before knew what had happened. My body twisted back into a ball and rolled across the back of the beast. As if ah was possessed by something ah uncurled enough to hit my hind legs and launch me through the air.

A satisfying thud resounded as ah landed on all four hooves with a skid across the ground. Dust and flowers were flying everywhere as ah spun on my hooves to see if my friends were okay.

Ah watched as the bodies of Rarity and Fluttershy, who were falling to the ground after possibly being thrown into the air, landed with a thud a safe distance from the beast. A feeling of relief spread through me as they landed with soft thuds a safe distance away almost right next to opening.

Letting out the breath ah hadn't realized Ah'd been holding and turned just as the creature turn around to see what had stolen it's kill. Dirt was falling in clumps from it's horns, face, and snout. It's already blood red eyes looked even more blood shot and enraged as it noticed me.

In a flurry of rage it stamped it's hooves and charged forward with a lowered head.

Instead of executing the same move as before ah waited until the last possible second and turned on my left hind hoof, then rolled to the side. Unfortunately ah was just a fraction to slow, ah noticed when the bright red liquid was dripping onto the flowers below. Ah had been hit but judging from the blood lose not very deeply.

No pain, no feeling, just the frightening realization that ah was hurt. Ah was looking at the wound for a little too long and realized it almost to late. When ah finally registered the rumbling, grunting, and overall loud sound of the beast running at me. It was too late to get out of the way, the creature was only a few hoof steps away, and closing in fast.

My only chance was another turn and dive maneuver. So Ah readied for action as soon as ah possibly could in the split second ah could get before the beast hit.

It was a split second more than ah had. In one second the beast hit trying to dig its horns into my sides as Ah tried to jump to my right this time. The force of the impact was enough to send me flying into the air. If it weren't for the fact ah couldn't feel anything, Ah'm sure the pain would have been over whelming.

With a hard smack into into the ground and flower, ah realized that ah wasn't spreading around that much blood, only about as much as before the hit. Taking a quick glance at my left side, ah was just able to see the dark green aura the conformed around my torso.

Realization hit me like a tone of bricks. I turned my gaze and saw the beast was standing between me and my friends with a general air of contempt. But ah wasn't paying the creature any attention, instead ah was looking over to where Rarity was and noticed the dark green shimmer of aura surrounding her horn. She had used her magic to protect me.

A deep booming roar came from the creature as it started to trout in my direction.

Ah had to think of something, and fast. For some reason this creature seemed to be immune to the Asphidil plants affects, its strong, fast, and easily enraged. There has to be some way to beat this thing, but how?

That's when an idea suddenly hit me. It would take some work and a little luck on my side, but it may be the only way ah could defeat this thing.

As the beast approached ah readied myself for the battle to come, knowing that it would be a hard battle to win.

As the beast neared it lifted its front hooves and a readied itself to crush me under its weight. Ah took my chance and rolled quickly to avoid the deadly blow. As ah passed under the creatures under belly ah unfolded and bucked my hind legs right in between the beasts hind legs.

The creature let out a cry of pain and anguish. Rolling to my right ah ran towards the rose bush wall that surrounded the field. Ah didn't look back to see if the beast was following me.

As ah jumped through the bushes ah could barely see a thing, but my eyes were quick to adjust. attempting to ignore the slightly shifting shadows ah could see jumping from tree to tree, ah started running from the bush wall trying to find a good hiding spot.

Carefully ah tried my best to observe my surroundings. Clusters of trees were all over the place. My easiest choice was jump into one of the clusters and try and work my plan from there.

Just as ah jumped into one of the nearby clusters of trees the Beast burst forth in a raging roar. Thankfully it seemed to be unaware of my location and started searching for me in a rage. Staying as still as ah possibly could ah waited until the beast passed by me.

Carefully I scanned the area to find whatever ah could to help me. That's when ah saw the perfect cluster of trees right by the brushes that had one little detail that could very well be perfect for the plan.

The Taurus minor was getting more and more angry by the second as it searched for the pony that had caused it to become enraged.

"Hey you overgrown idiot!"

Turning to find out what the sound was, the Taurus became more enraged at the sight of the tan pony with a golden mane and tail, and bandages across its forehead, stood by the rose bushes with a stone in its hoof. "Come and get me you big galoot!" it yelled as the pony threw the rock.

The tiny stone bounced harmlessly off the Taurus's head, but the effect was still enough to send the beast into a focused rage. The pony jumped through the bushes.

Enraged by the ponies taunts the Taurus rushed through the bushes, only to see the pony in the center of the field. A slight bit of glee filled the Taurus, readied to charge in for the glory of the kill.

In a rush of adrenaline the Taurus charged forward, hooves beating into the ground. Knowing this pony was rather tricky and hard to kill, But not caring in the slightest because was too enraged to care. The Taurus just wanted to end this Pony's life by its using its razor sharp horns slice the fool to bits.

At the last minute the pony pivoted and dodged just to the left, rolling out of the way. The Taurus came to a grinding halt turned to see where the pony had gone. Now the pony was standing by the rose bushes again. giving a challenging look at the bull as if taunting it even further.

The Taurus flared its nostrils and pounded the front right foreleg into the ground, glaring at the creature like there the pony's life was forfeit. Smiling the pony jumped through the rose bushes again.

Charging forward the Taurus burst through to the other side of the rose wall.

Instantly the pain that rushed through the Taurus's skull was jarring, it couldn't even register what happened before it went flying through the rose bushes.

Now instead of feeling enraged, the Taurus felt a twinge of fear as the pony came walking out of the bushes looking confident. The beast had lived a good life and didn't want it to end here, so very quickly it decided to do the one thing that had never needed to be done before, run with its tail between its legs.

With a sigh ah thanked Luna's moon, who's light ah basked in, for the luck that gave me what ah needed to pull that plan off.

Walking over to where Rarity and Fluttershy lay unmoving ah picked up Rarity first and took her out the entrance where we had come from and placed her out of the flowers rang. After making sure that there wasn't something dangerous near by ah went back and retrieved Fluttershy.

When ah finally got back, Rarity was slowly trying to get up. "Jackie, darling," her voice sounded a little labored, and she looked tired, but the second she saw me she just about jumped to her hooves with worry. "What happened to you? You ran away from us and your cut and bruised all over!"

It was almost impossible to keep the light chuckle from coming out as ah laid Fluttershy down on the ground. "Ah'm surprised you haven't figured it out yet." ah say as ah explain everything that had happened and what ah had figured out.

. . .

"So it looks like maybe ah have a day or two left before ah could be dead." ah say feeling the weight of my own words hit home. The dark dread that felt like a tree hanging over my head about to crush me.

In the time it had taken to tell Rarity about what had happened Fluttershy had awoken and was now doing her best to treat the wounds ah had gotten from my fight first so that she could treat the worst of it.

"JACKIE!" Rarity yelled as she got up from the sitting position she had taken when ah had started telling her about everything. "I do not ant hear you talk like that again. We will get the horrid creature that has done this to you and right what has been wronged."

The burning flames around Rarity's eyes burned brightly as if ignited by the passion of her words. Flipped her mane causing her tied back hair to rest over her right shoulder. "You will live a long life if we have anything to say about it!"

Ah looked up at her in amazement for a second, something about Rarity in that moment made my heart race a little. She is so determined to save me that she looks like she would be willing to fight for me just to make sure ah got there. In that moment she looked so much more beautiful than normal.

"She's right Jackie," the soft voice of Fluttershy caught my attention. "We all will fight to help you, however we can."

A soft smile spread across my face as ah felt a warm feeling spread through my body, now more determined than before to see this to the end. The only sad thought that ran through my mind at all was the fact ah wouldn't be long for this world no matter how this ended.

Chapter 10: Reunited, Trouble in Harmonies Shadow

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After a time I had gotten used to the new appearances of my two closest friends. Rarity had seemed upset once I told her that her magic looked green to me now. She knew that it wasn't my fault, but I still felt a little bad about it. Even as we walked down back to the fork in the road that we got separated at.
The walk back was awkward and rather uneventful. Keeping my attention on the surrounding area was difficult because every part of my being still wanted to run from my friends. So even though I knew it was my friends I had these conflicting feelings that I had to fight.
Fluttershy stopped her wings flared. I was about to ask what was wrong when she answered before I could ask, "Something's nearby and getting closer."
Instantly Rarity light her horn and got closer to me, her eyes shifting back and forth between the trees. Trusting Fluttershy more than my own senses at this point I got ready for a fight. If I wasn't careful I might injure myself badly if another fight like the last one breaks out.
A hush filled the area as Fluttershy, Rarity, and I stood back to back.
Three shadows jumped out from the bushes and struck. The blinding speed that everything happened at left me completely unable to process what happened. Something hit me before I even knew it was there and Suddenly I was pinned to the ground by the throat.
Looking up, there were a pair of eyes that appeared to have two sets of colors surrounding vertically cut pupils stared down at me. The black looking material looked hardened and battle ready.
"Applejack?" A wave of pain shot through my head as the creature said that name. Great, at least I could still feel that pain.
Feeling the pressure around my neck release a little, an advantage finally showed itself. Acting quickly my hind legs tensed up and I bucked the creature in the abdomen as hard as I could, send the creature flying. Rolling quickly I got back on my hooves. Looking up the creature was holding its stomach in mid flight. Now with a decent chance to see the thing a whole slew of features jumped out at me. The first thing that caught my eye were the thin paper like wings, and the sharp curved horn. The wings seemed to buzz like crazy in such a rapid motion that I wasn't even sure they were actually there. The next things that caught my eye were the dark almost armor like outer shell, the sharp little fangs that poke out just below its upper lip, and the hole filled legs.
“Ow, what'd you do that for?” Stopping in the air and rubbing its stomach in pain. That thing gave me a horrid glare. My mind raced and I lowered my center of gravity to allow for quicker movements. Taking a deep breath to calm my nerves, I exhale from my nose. Aggression flared from the creature's eye as it took notice of the gesture.
“Jackie stop!” The voice that called out to me and got my attention making me completely forget about the fight I was about to engage in. Turning to the source of the voice brought my attention to Rarity, looking at her with confusion for a second she decided to tell me why. “That's Rainbow.”
With a sigh my heart rate began to calm down a little. Turning to the buzzing figure I saw the confused look on Rainbows face. “Sorry Rainbow. I didn't recognize you.”
“How could you not recognize her?” The voice that asked the question sounded familiar but I couldn't seem to place it anywhere, and there was an odd sound that accompanied the voice that I didn't know what it was. The voice sounded creepy with the sound and my curiosity grew, forcing me to turn around.
Earlier I hadn't been paying attention to anything except Rarity, which is probably why I hadn't noticed it before, but there is a skeleton standing right next to her. Caught off guard, I fell back in shock, and started scrambling backward.
“What's Wrong Jackie?” Fluttershy asked. “You look kind of pale.”
My voice was caught deep in my throat. My mind was reeling so fast I didn't know what was going on. I was too focused on the skeleton to even process anything else. It had bleach white bones, a pair of wings, and a horn. An alucorn skeleton standing right next to Rarity, but the worst part were the eye sockets were almost entirely black minus a small glimmer of purple light.
Finally my voice forced itself forward, but it only came out in a small whisper. “s-skeleton. . .”
The reaction from Fluttershy was immediate, but the others seemed to have not heard me. “What was that deary?” Rarity asked as she moved a little closer.
“She sees a skeleton.” Everypony turned to Fluttershy causing her to quickly hide behind her leathery wings.
“Excuse me?” The skeleton asked as it looked at her, or I guess it was looking at her.
“You look like a skeleton to her Twilight.”
Rarity's eyes flashed as she realized what was going on, and at the same time so did Fluttershy and I. “Where's Pinkie?” Rarity asked looking to the skeleton, which I now realized was Twilight.
“Right here.” A low almost monotone voice said right behind me. I jumped probably a foot and spun in the air. Hiding behind Rarity probably wasn't the most grateful of moves, but that's exactly what I ended up doing. Standing right where I was only a moment ago is a pink stallion with long flat tail and mane. He looked sullen and upset, a complete contrast to the colorful balloon cutiemark on his flank.
“Well Jackie?” Rarity asked.
“All I see are a bug like thing with holes in it's legs,” pointing to Rainbow caused a rippling of shock to show on her face. “A skeleton with bone wings, a horn, and dark holes, with small purple sparks, where the eyes are supposed to be.” My hoof migrated to Twilight. “and a kind of creepy stallion.” The last statement seemed to confuse everypony.
“I think Fluttershy and I have some explaining to do about the situation.” Quick to defuse the tension, Rarity spoke with purpose. “But we need to keep moving. I'll explain as we go.”

After a time Rarity and Fluttershy had caught everypony up to date on what was happening. I stayed close to Rarity simply because I felt more comfortable around her than the others. I knew they were still my friends, but they all just made me feel almost scared.
“Wait, everypony.” Fluttershy called out, drawing my attention from the ground to what looked like a cave. Little light was visible in the dark abyss of stone that stood like a glaring monument of despair. “The tracks lead into this cave.”
A light sigh of frustration passed over the rest of the group. Which confused me slightly. “What's the matter with caves?”
“I hate them. That's what.” Rainbow took a step forward, causing me to closer to Rarity unconsciously. The action didn't escape notice as, out of the corner of my eye, I saw that she glanced in my direction. It was only for a second, but I noticed.
Rainbow was looking into the cave with studying eyes. She almost appeared to be deep in thought, her eyes betraying the worry she had. The buzzing of Rainbow's bug like wings was slightly frustrating. Apparently I was seeing her as some type of creature called a Changling, something that they had all fought before. Something from their past that I knew nothing about.
“We gotta go in.” the look on Rainbow's face showed determination and resolve. I was a little taken aback by her words, but I also felt a sense of joy at the fact she was facing a fear she had to help me. No, not me, it was to help her. I had to push those thoughts aside, they weren't going to help me fulfill my promise.
“You don't have to do this Rainbow.” The offer was nothing more to me than giving her a chance to back out and not put herself in harms way. It just didn't feel right having her face her fear on my behalf, especially when I wont be able to thank her after this is all over and done with.
Rainbow quickly rounded on me and got right up in my face. I could see the look in her eyes and the fire that flickered like a bright light that showed no fear. It was a shock to see such a drastic change in her demeanor, to say the least is that it kind of scared me. Wilting like a flower was the best way to describe my actions under her gaze. “I am NOT going to let a stupid cave stop my from helping you App- Jackie! Do I make myself clear?”
Nodding quickly I noticed that everypony was staring at us. Except Rarity, she was holding my in a protective way. “Rainbow she was only trying to be considerate to you and your fear of enclosed spaces.”
Rainbow backed up a little and looked towards the cave. The fear I saw before completely gone now. “AJ-” Pain shot through my head again and I forced myself to keep from reacting to it. “Would have pushed my to face it. Not given me a chance to ditch her. We both pushed each other to the limit and farther still.” The pain started getting more and more intense as she spoke. I couldn't keep from letting out a grunt as she went on.
“She would have taunted me, or even made a bet to push me forward. But she would have never-”
“ENOUGH!” The pain began to dull as silence began to settle. Opening my eye, which I hadn't realized I'd closed, I saw Rainbow being held down in an emerald green aura. Her mouth was being held shut and she was struggling to get free. “Can't you see you're hurting her?!” Rarity yelled.
The stunned looks on everyponies faces, except skeleton Twilight who couldn't make a facial expression, showed shock and slight fear as watched the scene unfold. Rarity moved away from me and took a step towards the now captive Rainbow, who was looking at her with worry in her eyes. “Every time we even speak of the past, or try to use Jackie's other name, we are physically hurting her!”
Rarity took another step forward, causing Rainbow to stop struggling and gulp audibly. “The only reason we could tell her what she saw you as, is because it focuses more on this moment in time. Bringing up the past and what she used to do will only slow us down, and possibly kill her!”
Rainbow was shaking now, the rest of the group didn't dare say a word for fear of getting caught in Rarity's anger. Even from behind I could see the burning yellow flames growing and flaring wildly, her anger acting as a fuel to the embers. “You have to start realizing that you could be speeding up the clock that we have almost no time left on! Now start acting like an adult Rainb-”
Rarity was cut off my a blast of magic bursting between her and rainbow. The flare around her horn dissipated and relieved Rainbow of her confinement. Everypony turned to see where the burst of magic came from. Twilight's horn was aglow with a black corona that made her look more ominous with her skeletal figure. “That's enough Rarity.”
Rainbow quickly moved closer to Twilight, using her as a way to avoid more of Rarity's wrath. “You were going a bit to far.” Twilight said as she flared her skeletal wings in a protective way. Pinkie was standing next to Rainbow he/she looked more upset and was trying to comfort Rainbow who was shaking badly.
Rarity stood without moving, the flames coming from her eyes still burning a bright yellow. Looking around I noticed that Fluttershy was hiding behind me.
“Twilight,” Rarity said her voice was dangerously tense as she spoke, “she was hurting Jackie and possibly could have killed her. I don't think my pointing out that her words were dangerous is that atrocious.”
Twilight didn't budge, “That's maybe true if you were only telling her to stop, but you were using magic to hold her down and frighten her. That's crossing a line Rarity.”
Tension build into the air as the two looked at each other. The atmosphere was palpable enough that you could literally cut into it if you had knife. Something had to be done before somepony did something bad. But, what?
A sudden shock ran through my system. It was sudden and out of no where.
“Jackie?” the soft sound of Fluttershy's voice echoed in the tense atmosphere drawing eyes in our direction. Unable to move, the beating of my heart increased, dizziness began to hit me, and small waves of pain started to pulse from the back of my head. “Jackie! What's wrong?”
The sensation of a hoof touching my back sent a wave of pain crashing through me. Every nerve in my body felt like it was slowly being ripped apart and crushed. Wave after wave of pain pulsed over and over again each one get worse than the last. My senses began to overload causing my body to spasm violently.
A howl of pain escaped my lips as I fell to the ground. My vision blurring for a second. Watching as everypony rushed to my side, my vision began to darken. The rhythm of my heart began to feel wild and erratic, my breaths short and strained. The feeling of having Rarity's magic surround me was the last calming thing that touched me before everything faded to black in a surge of pain.
I was standing in the part of the forest where the attack that started all this happened. But this time something was different about it, I just couldn't put my hoof on it.
Looking up I noticed the sky was visible now, the canopy was wilted and almost completely gone. The sky looked like it was a shattered window just barely keeping itself held together. Each star acted like a point at which a crack could jump to, but the epicenter of the whole thing seemed to be coming from a darkened out black moon with only sliver of light peaking out.
The low growl of a feral beast made its way to my ears, drawing my attention away from the sky. As I turned to the source of the sound a pair of glowing yellow eyes locked on my own. I felt nothing this time, no dread, no paralysis, no fear, nothing.
The sudden movement of the yellow eyes put me on edge. Taking a stance to protect myself, the creature lunged at me with fierce actions. Dodging to the left I just barely missed the outstretched claws that struck at me. Using the momentum of my dodge to turn around quickly on one hoof I quickly faced the shadowy beast.
The shifting black figure seemed to change direction to face me. This time it decided that a frontal assault would fail, so it did something rather unexpected. It dissolved into a mist like state and soaked into the ground. I was momentarily taken aback and had no idea what to do.
That's when the creature stuck, impaling me with a thick gray appendage that shot from the ground with volatile speed. There was no feeling but somehow I knew what had happened. Looking towards my stomach the gray spine that protruded from the ground had hit almost every vital area that it could. But that wasn't the thing that caught my attention the most was the fact that it looked like it was seeping in to body slowly.
My hind legs weren't responding to what I wanted them to do, my guess was that my spine was spit in two now. Every part of my mind was screaming at me that this was it, there was nothing left for me to do. In that moment I knew the end of my life had come, and I accepted it without remorse.
But there was one thing that hit me, a single line that gave a glimmer of hope that things would work out. “One day left huh?” A gentle breeze ruffled my mane, causing me to look up toward the cracked sky as new and more threatening cracks appeared. “I've only had about three days since Luna warned me. Now I have one day to get you home, and I will not fail.”

Opening my eyes to the sight of cool gray and dripping water, instantly I knew where I was. Gently sitting up the surroundings of the cave filled my sights, only Rarity was sitting next to me and she was actually asleep. Her mane pulled back and tied, the flow locks carefully caressing her cheek as she breathes light pushed and pulled her barrel in and out. In the end I decided that she needed to be woken up.
Shaking her carefully she groaned as her consciousness fluttered back from the abyss of dreams and sleep. Eyes fluttering as she looked around and for a moment appeared confused, when she noticed I was staring at her, I found myself coiled in a hug.
“Oh Jackie your awake.” I heard her breath catching in her throat as she pulled away from the embrace. “Your cold. . .”
Not knowing how to respond, I just lifted Rarity's hooves off my shoulders. Placing them carefully on the blanket that had been covering me only a moment ago, I reached out and placed my hoof on her cheek.
No warmth or feeling what so ever. “Jackie?” Looking up to her eyes I saw the deep seated worry that shone in there. But I wasn't able to understand why she looked that way, I couldn't comprehend the worry she had. “Jackie, you're scaring me darling.”
Pulling my hoof away I looked around the cave noticing that it looked rather barren of others. Everything was being absorbed in my mind like a sponge soaking up water, every little detail was getting caught up in my sight and carefully woven into a series of scenarios in my mind. Questions drew forth and I couldn't help but ask them. “Where are the others? Are we the only ones in this cave? Have you or the others found out anything new about the creature that stole my memories? Is there-”
I was cut off by Rarity as she put a hoof over my mouth. She was looking at me as if I was a stranger, like she didn't even know me. Slowly her mouth opened and closed as she tried to form the right words. “Um, the others are in the cave with us, searching for anything of use, while at the same time trying to find out if the creature is actually still here of not. They should be back any minute now.”
Just as Rarity finished her sentence, I heard the clatter of hooves approaching. Not a few seconds later a skeleton turned around the corner with a changeling, Fluttershy, and a pink stallion. As they all came to a stop Fluttershy was the one who looked most confused out of all of them. “Hello.” I said.
“App-er, Jackie you're up?” Twilight said as the clatter of bones came in clicks with every word. Nodding at her I looked her in the eye sockets.
“What did you find?”
She probably was as shocked as the others did by my direct question. “Uh, well yes and no.”
“So you found something your not sure about, or just have yet to explore the whole cave yet because of lack of time.” Placing my hoof to my chin I thought about the general size of the cave and the shape of it so far. It was clear the the whole thing had been carved out a large creature that had claws. The markings I could see on the walls combined with the almost uniform shape with only some varying bumps in the face. It was the only conclusion I could think of that made sense.
“Well I can at least guess this is a creature made cave. But it's to large to be the one we've been following. But that also means the there may be multiple path ways. I'm just going to guess that's why you're being vague.”
Everypony looked at me in a strange way. “Uh, yeah . . . How did you-?” Twilight was cut off as I explained my reasoning behind how I figured everything out.
Silence stretched out as Everypony looked at me. The first to break the silence was Rarity, “Jackie you're acting differently. What happened?”
Drawing in a breath that was used to help me speak longer I looked her in the eyes. “I have progressed to the last stage. I can't feel anything anymore Rarity. Nothing physical, and nothing emotionally. We have to finish this before tomorrow comes.”
The shock of hearing this sent Everypony into a panic.

Chapter 11: Who is This Filly?!

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“I think this has gone on for long enough.” A little filly says as she walks through the little group of ponies that only a moment ago had been acting like a bunch worried children. The young filly was light brown in color with a matching horn, her mane looked golden in color and was slicked back into braid held together with a bight blue band that matched the on on her head that looked like front of her mane in place. Her blue eye shone with intelligence that probably should be far beyond that of a filly her age. But the thing that caught me the most was that she had wings too.
“Excuse me, deary?” The young filly looked to Rarity and bowed the second she was addressed. Her little pack slipped up a little as she did so. This seemed to cause a ripple of confusion to pass through the whole group, Rarity especially. “Uh, who exactly might you by young one?”
Standing tall and addressing Rarity as if she was royalty the filly spoke softly, but her voice carried a weight that brought all attention to her. “I am Raident Lining, and I have been sent here to help you with the problem at hoof.” Her voice somewhat resembled Rarity's in the fact they both had similar accents.
Skeleton Twilight tilted her head in confusion for a second. “Celestia sent a filly to help? That doesn't sound right.” As if in response to her statements, Raident Lining opened one side of her pack and pulled out a rolled up scroll. Noticing the slightly dark golden color of her magic something seemed to ring a bell of recognition in my mind. She lightly floated the scroll to Twilight and let her take it up in her dark gray magic.
Unfurling the letter and skimming over it once, Twilight's skeletal jaw disconnected from its socket and fell to the floor with a clatter. I'm certain this was just my mind showing me something that could easily be a way of saying that Twilight was shocked, but it was rather ridiculous looking. Quickly scooping up her fallen jaw with a bit of magic, Twilight spoke in a slightly hushed tone. “The is hoof written by Celestia telling Raident Lining to help us find the creature, and teach us a couple of things that could help in the fight against it.”
“I call bull on that.” Rainbow said as she looked down at the filly. “Doubt any unicorn filly could help us against something that almost no pony knows about.” With each word Rainbow slowly got closer to the filly, until she was literally eye to eye with her. This turned out to be a bad choice as the filly ignited her horn and flung Rainbow back until she skidded to a halt at twilight's hooves.
“Personal space, darling.” her mocking tone carried more weight then before as she carefully lifted Rainbow back on to her hooves. “I am no mere filly Rainbow Dash and you would find it best to listen to what I have to tell and show you.”
“Alright.” I say grabbing Raident Lining's attention as well as the rest of the groups. “What can you show us Raident?” A smile crept across her face.
“I'm glad to see that you are eager to learn, But there isn't anything I can teach you.”
“What do you mean you can't teach her anything?!” Rainbow was instantly between me and the filly, her voice betraying how angry she sounded.
Raident rolled her eyes and looked Rainbow in hers. “Listen Rainbow Radiance Dash,” Rainbow took a step back, almost backing into me, in complete shook. Taking a quick glance around I noticed that Everypony else seemed confused.
“H-How did you-” Rainbow was immediately cut off as Raident waved a hoof to silence her.
“Know your secret middle name.” A gasp came from my right, most likely Rarity.
Taking a step forward, Rarity spoke with elegance and slight shock. “Rainbow, you never told us your middle name was 'Radiance'. Why have you never told all of us deary?”
“Because my parents and I had it eradicated from from all records years ago.” The look Rainbow gave Rarity was one of surprise before she turned back to Raident. “Only me, my parents, and the judge should know that name. It was even wiped from my birth certificate. This kid shouldn't know that name at all.”
“But I do,” Raident said with a smug smile. “and it's my secret how I know it.” Everyponies eyes were trained on the filly as she took a step forward. “Jackie can't use any type of magic anymore because she can't feel anything. Even the inborn magic that earth ponies have that give them their stamina and strength are locked up and impossible to reach now.”
“Wait, this sounds familiar.” The clattering sound of bones drew my attention towards Twilight. She had her bony hoof held to her chin in thought, “I remember reading that all three races of ponies have some type of inborn magic that they use without even realizing it. It's a rather unpopular theory among many, but it states that if taught right any pony can use magic the way unicorns can. Some have even thought that the arcane arts, such as runes, could be made and used by all the races if they were taught properly.”
Raident nodded, “Exactly! Though it is an unpopular theory, it is true. All races have some type of magic they can use, and I can teach you all how access it manually. You all actually have the ability to use the magic more easily than most because of the fact you are all element wielders. It just takes a bit of emotional control.
“Most ponies don't even realize it but they are always projecting emotions when they do certain tasks. That's one of the ways that ponies can figure out their special talent and get a cutie mark. Their emotion directly links to their talent and even the inborn magic to cause the mark to appear. It's simple really, just a combination of inevitability, emotions, and magic. The emotions you all feel when you use the elements are just one case of magic being brought out. The tree of harmony imbues you all with some of it's magic and causes all of your own inborn magics to bloom. The result as you know is a very powerful spell.”
Raident's wings flared for a second, and a smile warmly crept across her face. “When I apply the same principals, I can easily do things like this.” Lifting a hoof a corona of slightly dark golden light formed around it, then it solidified into a paw similar to a bear's. A collective gasp came from everypony in the cavern.
Following her train of logic made me realize what she was saying was true. I could never use my inborn magic if I couldn't even feel the simplest of emotions. The thing was I should feel frustrated at this but that isn't the case. Not even a mild annoyance was there. This lack of feeling is so strange that it's impossible to describe. But if you were to imagine that all your senses being somehow blocked, and you are left flouting in a void alone for days on end you may come close to what it's like to some degree at least.
No emotion, no magic that's all it boils down to in my case, but . . .
“Teach the others some things they can use.” All eyes fell on me in that instant. “If I can't use this magic that doesn't mean they can't. Besides they are better off if they can use it than they are right now. The more things we can do that could be of use the more likely we can beat this creature that stole my memories.”
“But Jackie darling-” Reaching a hoof out to grab my shoulder I just looked her in the eye.
“No 'buts' Rarity. The more advantages we have the better our chances are, and if that means listening to this little girl than so be it. I don't care if she is an earth pony, pegasai, unicorn, or even alucorn, as long as what ever she can teach you girls can be taught in the next couple hours and we can still make it to the creature.”
Looking towards the tunnel Twilight and the others had come from, my voice lowered down below an audible grumble “I may not have emotions anymore, but a promise is a promise, and I will keep my one and only promise. Even at the cost of my life.”
“I only have one question.” The clatter of bones that accompanied the voice told me Twilight was the one who spoke. Turning my attention to see Twilight looking Raident Lining, something suddenly clicked in my mind, and at the exact same time both me and Twilight asked the same thing.
“Who exactly are you Raident Lining?”
Everypony except Raident looked between me and Twilight. My focus suddenly on Raident's every movement. The little twitch of her wing, and the smile that spread across her face as she looked me in the eye gave her an air of confidence that she could hide anything. “That's my little secret. All you girls need to know is I come from some where vary far away.”
There, that vague statement was hiding something. She was intentionally keeping information form us, information that I could just tell meant she had some stake in what happened next.

Raident was leading the group through the cave. She seemed to know exactly where she was going. As a matter of fact she was avoiding a great deal of dangers that me and the others hadn't even noticed. Including a part of the floor that was ready to collapse on itself because there was another tunnel below that was being eroded by some type of underground river. It was probably part of the river that passed by ponyville and cut into the Everfree forest.
She somehow knew this cave and very well at that.
“How come you know this place so well?” Twilight asks before I could bring the question up myself. It had been a couple hours since Raident had brought up the offer to teach everypony how to use their inborn magic. The crash course had gone over really well, and she was able to teach everypony except me and Pinkie something. She just said that Pinkie didn't need the lessons.
“Secrets.” That was all she ever said anymore when we tried asking her something that may give us a little information about her, or about how she seemed to know about things that should be beyond her scope of knowledge. The others were starting to get irritated by the general number of times she had said that single word since the lesson had started and ended about half an hour ago. I counted 47 time exactly, counting this time as well.
The inside of the cave was stating to get darker as we seemed to decent ever so slightly into the deepest part of the cavern. Twists, turns, and even the diverging paths came and went. It would be easy for any pony to get lost in here if they didn't know where they were going. But that only brought up the point of how this filly that, according to Fluttershy, barely looked older then Applebloom moved with such confidence in this place.
It seemed rather suspicious to me. It was almost like she was right at home here, the way that only somepony who knows every inch of their house might. But that line of thought only left me at another dead end. But one question seemed to be nagging at my mind the entire time. 'Why am I seeing this filly as an alucorn?'
When I thought about it there was at least some reason that the others look the way they do, some little part of their past that was somehow connected to her. Or at least it seemed that way, but then that left the question of why this filly had the minimal change of having wings if it was the first time that any of the group has even seen this girl before.
The sound of growl carried by a light breeze caught my attention. Stopping in my tracks, the others bumped into me. Causing us all to topple over into a pile of ponies.
“Ow,” Rainbow groaned, “Why'd you you stop so suddenly like that Jackie?”
Raident, who had been couple hooves in front of me, smiled at the little display obviously trying to suppress a chuckle.
“Because I heard something that sounded dangerous up ahead.” I say as Everypony starts to climb off of me. Rarity had luckily been at the back of the group, and thus had ended up at the top of the pile.
“I didn't hear anything Jackie darling.” Her voice sounded slightly stained as she tried to help the others untangle themselves from the rest of the pile. Suddenly the breeze picked up again, and with it came the growling sound, only louder. “Oh.” Rarity said as she heard the sound this time. “You mean that growl.”
Raident chuckled at that, her ears perking up as another wave of sound passed by. Her smile faded as her eyes closed. A sigh escaped her lips as her head lowered slightly, “Sounds like a bear of some type, I'd say it's probably a Morphicon. A bear that changes shape and size base on the creature it gets bound to. Rather rare to find them, especially in Equestria's boarders.”
“And it's right in our way.” I say knowing full well what was coming next. “Looks like we got another fight on our hooves right.”
“I'm afraid so m-Jackie.” The near slip would have been almost unnoticeable to the other but not to me. Raident had nearly said something she wasn't supposed to, and I knew it. She had obviously been taken by surprise, by the fact this Morphicon was here.
Rainbow finally got off of me with the help of Twilight and Rarity's magic. She took a step in front of me. “Well we better go kick its butt. We're on a time limit after all.”
Before we could stop her she raced ahead and around towards the growling.

Chapter 12 (short): Really?!

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“Dang it Rainbow!” Raident yelled as she ran after the changeling. Rarity and the others helped me to my hooves before we followed. Our hooves clattered on the stone ground as we rushed to catch up. Rounding a corner every pony gasped in surprise, and I was to busy processing what was happening.
Rainbow appeared to be pinned to the grown, tears streaming from her eyes, and . . . Laughing. A bear like creature about one-eighth her size was resting on her crest licking her cheek and tenderly cuddling up to her.
Raident was standing quite literally in the middle of us and Rainbow. Her back turned to us so that we couldn't see the expression she had. “Well at least it's only a little Morphicon.”
Rainbow was tossing and turning playing with the little bear like creature. It looked pretty young, has light brown hair, that looked soft to the touch, little claws barely sharp enough to leave scratches, and what looked like shimmering golden eyes.
“Just what ever you do rainbow don't-” Picking the little bear up in her hooves and flying into the air she hugged the creature, calling to cute, and giving it a rather innocent kiss on the forehead.
The reaction was instantaneous, as wind picked up and the two were separated in the air. Rainbow was blown back to the ground with a rather soft thud, while the Morphicon was held up by the winds, it's eyes glowing with brightening light, and what looked like red wisps of energy racing around its body.
“-Kiss it.” Raident said as she shook her head.
Suddenly a booming voice seemed to be emanating from the bear, although it wasn't making any noticeable movements. “Recite thy name, than pronounce my own, then the contract will be complete.”
Rainbow looked to us with slight confusion. “Tell it your full name then give it one of its own.” Raident shouted over the wind.
“Oh.” Rainbow said as she turned back to the floating bear. Her back was turn in our direction, and her main and tail were blowing in the wind, making for a rather dramatic looking scene. “My name is Rainbow Radiance Dash, and I name you Bolt Strike Dash!”
Just as she exclaimed the last part, more wind picked up, and the red wisps of energy fully encompassed the morphicon.
Out of pure reflexive movement we all turned away as light burst forth. Waiting a moment we turned to see probably the strangest thing I have seen since waking up in the hospital.
There standing proudly was a thinned down version of the bear Rainbow was playing with, grown to about twice her size, and a pair of large beautiful wings that shone with a rainbow like sheen. Lowering its head it turned to look at Rainbow, and at that moment I think everyponies brains broke at the Morphicon's next word.
“Mommy!” It shouted out as a wide grin spread across its face, and ran towards Rainbow.
Right behind me I heard the sound of Fluttershy admiring the sight before all of us. The Morphicon pounced on Rainbow and started licking her face and over all showering her with affection. “Bolt thinks you're his mother Rainbow.”
“I don't think she hears you darling.” I heard Rarity saying as she tried to recompose herself. “She appears to be too busy trying to guard her face from the onslaught of licks.”
Raident turned around to face all of us. She looked slightly concerned.
“What's Wrong?” I ask knowing that it was probably going to be something foreboding, and or mysterious, considering that she is obviously hiding something.
“I just feel like we're missing something important.”
Just than a tremor shook the cave, causing dust dirt and sediment to fall from the ceiling and walls. Than another tremor, and another, each one stronger than the last.
Immediately the clatter of Twilight's question was cut off as a roar accompanied by a large gust of smelly air. A large bear like creature with snake like eyes, horrid fangs and claws, an extra pair of legs reaching out of its sides, and this strange black and red fur that made the thing look like it was on fire, emerged from a darkened tunnel a little further ahead.
“Get ready for a fight!” Raident yelled out as she got into a fighting stance.
Every pony reacted quickly, readying themselves for combat.
But just then something caught all our attention, as the beast looked at us than lifted its head like it was listening to something. It looked down to us and in a deep voice it spoke to us, “My Master requests that you all follow.”
We all looked at each other, every pony looked like they were confused. I was the only one who was probably going thorough the reasons why whatever the creature that possibly took my memories was doing this? What could the reasons be? And overall why would it lead us right to it?
Before any of us could even try and get some information from the Beast it turned around as started walking back into the tunnel it can from.
We had little choice but to follow as it disappeared into the shadows.
“Should we follow it?” Rarity asked drawing all of our attention. “It could be a trap.”
“We don't have much choice.” Twilight pointed out as she tapped her bone jaw with her skeletal hoof. “Jackie's memories are most likely that way, and we're running out of time.”
“But shouldn't we take some precautions, try and prepare in case it is a trap, darling?” She had a good point, we should be reading in case this is a trap.
“The things I thought you should suffice.” Raident said drawing our attention to her. “Everything I taught you girls should have you prepared for this battle.”
Looking into the girls eyes I could just tell she was hiding something but also telling the truth.
“Let's just get this over with.” I say, knowing one thing and one thing alone. This time I rushed forward toward the darkened tunnel, with everypony scrambling to catch up to me.

Chapter 13: The whos, hows, and whys?

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Running full sprint straight foreword, with the wind whipping through my mane. I just knew this was going to be the end one way or another.
Soon a rather bright light came into sight further ahead, but I had to slow down. Fatigue was beginning to set in ever so slightly. My was stamina draining really quickly despite my still rather toned body. The thought of being tired during this confrontion was not appealing. Whatever strength I had needed to be saved, that way the chances of winning were at their best.
Slowing down to a simple walk so as to conserve energy, I noticed that the light up ahead had this strange flicking affect, as though it were coming from a fire of some sort.
Making my way toward the light, it got larger and larger until it was a towering entrance to a rather large room with a glowing sphere sitting on a pedestal surrounded by a circle of fire. Out of the corner of my eye, the large morphicon sat like a statue watching the sphere intensely, as if it was guarding it. Off to the other side of the round room was what looked like a shrine of some type.
"Welcome to my humble abode." The voice was soft and silky, while remaining deep and clam. My eyes quickly changed direction to focus behind the sphere and fire. There stood a figure I hadn't noticed, it was enveloped in shadows despite the fact that the room was unusually well lit.
Something wasn't right about who ever this was. As it moved around the fire toward me there was nothing coming from it, no shadow, no visible physical form to speak of, and the only things that could be seen were those sharp yellow eyes.
I felt no fear, no paralysis, absolutely nothing. "You're the one who started all this aren't you?" My voice was even and methodically slow.
A simple chuckle was all that I got as a response. It moved toward me and walked just to my side. It only looked forward, as if trying to look into the dark cavern.
"You came alone?" it asked as if surprised. My mind was already calculating what to do. My instinctive reaction was to say no, but if I lied there could be the chance of countering whatever trap it had. The answer was obvious, don't show your hoof to your opponent to early.
"No." the word came out automatically and unintentionally.
"Where are the others?"
"I took off before they had a chance to stop me. They are probably on there way here."
The creature circled me, but I kept my eyes on it. "You have been very useful, my creation."
My eyebrow raised in questioning, drawing the creature to laugh and look me in the eyes. "You really don't know do you?"
"No." that automatic response was rather inconvenient.
"Well then," It said softly moving in to close enough so that it could whisper into my ears. "Shall I explain?"
Forcing myself to nod rather then speak, I watched as an insidious smile seemed to form on the shadowy figure. Backing up it turned to look at the sphere on the pedestal. A small flash of light came and went, and now suddenly I could see something on the inside.
The shadows dissolved and left a green stallion with, a blue main and tail, and legs not unlike those of Winnoa my supposed dog back on the farm, only with long sharp claws. He waved his me forward, and I did so.
Approaching the sphere I noted that it looked remarkably like glass. We kept our distance from the fire. But I could still see white clouds that seemed to be swirling around on the inside.
"This is where everything happens." He gestured to the sphere with his paw. "It's also where you were made."
I was unable to tare my gaze away, something began to take form. Slowly an image of something very familiar took shape, rotating in place.
"It's all really simple actually, all it takes is a little blood, and a specter spell."
Every thought in my head was falling short, as I looked into to the sphere at the mare. . .
"Once the process starts there's no stopping it."
That golden mane . . .
"Simply split the body and mind."
Her elegant orange coat . . .
"And replace it with a substitute."
Those Apples on her flank!
"You are the substitute I made, one that became different through a rather interesting means." Finally finding a way to tare my eyes away I turned to look at the stallion. Only to see something unexpected. Tears.
He was crying, a look of uneasy and sadness was plastered on his face as though he didn't want to be doing this. "It's my only means of survival. I hate it so much, but there's no other way around it. Nothing can change it, no mater what. Not even the Tree of harmony could help."
His eyes closed and tears fell to the ground.
“Jackie!” turning around, my concentration broken. I knew who that voice belonged to.
“You must understand that there is no other way for me.” I heard his voice reach my ears. My thought to scrambled at this point to make heads or tails of what was happening.
Just then Rainbow Dash and the others burst past the wall of shadows and into the room. They all looked around for a moment before catching sight of me and, who ever this crazy thing was. It was Rarity who spoke up first, “Jackie, quickly. Over here!”
Just like a spell being broken, my body was once again doing what I wanted it to do. Before anything else I jumped away and ran to Rarity's side.
The sound of growling at my side. Blot was standing between me and Rainbow his stance ready to strike.
“Who are you?” even though it was meant to be a question, the tone made sound more like a demand. The clatter of bones coming up from behind me was all I needed to know that Twilight was the one who had asked the question. But my eyes never drifted away from the creature standing by the fire, at least now that I was right next to Rarity.
He chuckled, a low almost amused sound that resonated with the whole cavern. Turning from the fire his bright yellow eye's fell on the group. Everypony else seemed to stiffen as they looked into his eyes.
“What the hay!” Rainbow shouted as she appeared to be struggling to move even a little.
“Oh,” the creature said shaking his slightly. “Sorry about that. It's part of my curse. But to answer your question Twilight Sparkle, my name is Glinting, Glinting Smile.”
“Glinting,” My voice seemed to be fading, before it could even get past my mouth. “Explain to me one thing. Why are you doing this?”
Closing his eyes for a moment as he nodded, everypony seemed to find at least some control over their bodies. “Alright as you wish Jackie. I will at tell the plight that comes with being what you ponies might call an Axenorm.”
The sound of stallion gasping in mock surprise caught everyponies attention. “You mean the race creatures that supposedly live over a million years ago that were thought to have died out back before Celestia was born?”
“Ah, Pinkie Pie, your one step ahead of the others.” Glinting said with a smile, “at least let me answer young Jackie's question, alright?” Turning my head to look past Rainbow Dash I could see the pink Stallion who's depressed demeanor seemed a little more upset was looking to the ground. Nodding once I turned my attention back to Glinting.
“As Pinkie said,” he began, “I am a creature that was supposed to predate even your princesses, but that's not the whole story. For you the Axenorm live on even today, the cause of many of your ponies disappearances. A great many of whom don't have been found only to die a few weeks later.
“I am born from that species and hate it so much. We feed off of the memories of other creatures, forced to kill to survive. Ripping the souls of creatures from their bodies and devouring it.” His demeanor was changing quickly from calm to sad, than to enraged.
Breathing through clenched teeth, he tried to speak calmly. “It's disgusting, but if we ever stop eating for to long, our minds shut down and we go on a violent rampage, destroying nearby cities and even killing some who are thought to be immortal.”
“Why not use the the tree of harmony than?” Twilight asked.
Glinting shook his head. “I've tried, it was ended horribly, even making things worse. That stupid tree made the cravings come faster, and they became that much harder to ignore. The worst part is that now only ponies can satisfy our hunger.
“We used to be able to feed from vast varieties of creatures, those days are no more.”
Two shadows of differing sizes began to appear beside him. “I never had a chance. I have to kill to survive and keep from going on a rampage. I've always tried to lessen the blows. To try and give some closure. That's where you come in Jackie.”
Taking a step back, there was something that he had said not to long ago that came to the front of my mind suddenly. I hadn't been paying attention, but now pieces were coming together.
“I use the specter spell to give the body a temporary soul that could give closer to the families and loved ones of those I take.” he was shouting now, the fire behind him becoming more intense, making him appear more foreboding. “The souls stay connected just long enough to give the fake time to accumulate enough energy to act like the original. But you Jackie are different!”
Everypony looked on in horror as the shadows at his side seemed to solidify and take shape. One was the Torus Minor I had fought on the way getting here and the other was that crazy bunny from the start of our adventure. “It may be because of that fact it was the soul of an element bearer, but that matters not. Because I only have two choice now. Either kill you all or ask you to leave. But I have a feeling the former is what's going to occur here.”
With little warming the two shadow creatures jumped forward, and if it weren't for the quick reactions of Twilight and Raident, the whole fight might have ended right then and there. Both alucorns threw up and forced the beasts back for a moment.
A roar resounded from the left side of the cave and suddenly a large paw sideswiped all of us and threw everypony off to the side.
I was the first recover, ready to charge forward.
“Stop Jackie!” Turning I saw Twilight reassembling herself. “Stay back, we can handle this.”
Twilight threw up another barrier just in time to block a blast of fire from Glinting. “Rainbow take Bolt and see if you can stop the big Morphicon, Fluttershy you and Pinkie stop that Rabbit, Raident, you and I need to get the the Torus minor, and Rarity, just protect Jackie for from Glinting.”
Everypony stood and nodded. “Good. Now Break!”
As soon as Twilight gave the command, her shield fell down and Everypony rushed to take care of the task they were assigned.

Chapter 14: Her Death

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Fluttershy was doing her best to do one of the only things she's good at in a fighting situation, hide somewhere. But do to the fact that there wasn't much cover in a round cavern, she was finding it a rather hard feat to accomplish. If nothing else she was at least able to hide behind Pinkie rather well.
Besides Pinkie was doing really well fending off the creature on her own. Somehow Pinkie had found a way to pull out her party cannon and modify it to shoot unlimited pies and the occasional coconut.
Suddenly the rabbit shifted to get larger and the ends of it's hair stuck up on end with an almost metal like quality to it. The pies stopped fazing it and the coconuts began bursting on impact, sending debris all round. Some of it even burned up when it got close to the fire surround that strange strange and ball.
“Um . . . Fluttershy I may need your help with this rabbit.” Pinkie said her usually cheerful tone sounding more worried now.
Fluttershy took as moment, but she soon poked her head up out of her hooves just enough to take a look at that creature as if snarled threateningly. An unsettling feeling shot through the yellow mare's body. She knew instantly that the creature was out for blood.
Pinkie turned around and started pulling things out of her mane to try and distract the rabbit. With each item she pulled, it was quickly tossed to the side. A top hat and microphone, diamond on a stick, discord, a pocket watch, a green eye with blue iris and black pupal, and plush toy of herself.
Reaching in one more time, her eyes widened. “Oh no I'm out.” That didn't bode well if Pinkie's arsenal of random objects was out.
Taking the worried look on the mare's face as sign, the rabbit creature charged forward.
The appearance of a pulsing force behind Pinkie caught both of them off guard. Fluttershy was focusing her energy trying her best to focus on the feeling that came with using the elements of harmony back before they were given up.
The results were showing rather vibrantly, she whole body started glowing a soft pink color similar to her mane. Wave after wave a gentle yet forceful energy began to radiate from her vary presence. Instantly her eye shot open and an Eldrich light shone and a blast of pink shot forward, hitting the rabbit creature.
Both Fluttershy and rabbit creature began to flout for a second, before the rabbit started to turn back in the small creature it should have been. Mean while the yellow mare landed gently to the ground and the glow began to fade.
Pinkie's mouth had not only comically hit the ground, but actually broke into it. She stood there for a moment regarding her friend before said friend turned to her. “O-oh my. . . Was that too much?”
Before Pinkie could answer she was hit in the back of the head by the plush toy of herself. Causing both mares to turn and see that the newly transformed shadow rabbit was shaking it's fist at the duo. It jumped and landed on Pinkie's head, causing her to go off balance for a moment.

Rainbow was flying around the larger Morphicon doing her best to distract it while Bolt flew almost like and expert, doing it's best to target some of the creatures weak points. But Both of them were starting to feel the exertion. As Rainbow was forced to continuously dodge and maneuver she could feel the strain on her body. Although she was an athlete, her best skills were in speed and endurance, and although she had decent maneuverability, it still became tiring rather quickly.
The large Morphicon was flailing about trying to protect itself and hit either of it's opponents. Finally it got lucky and smacked Bolt, sending the young-ling straight into the nearest wall. It pained the larger Morphicon to do so, especially since it what her own child, but there was no other choice.
Bolt lay sprawled across the ground, Rainbow landing next him. He wined slightly and lifted his head to look at her. “Ma ma.”
Rainbow's heart broke, sending a chill up her spine. Her breaths were becoming slightly shallow. Hearing Blot's gentle plea was enough to almost send Rainbow into shock force a whole slew of emotions up.
The feeling of hot air hit Rainbow's back, but she didn't even acknowledge it. Her mind was racing as she looked into Bolt's eye. He looked like he was in pain. The look in his eye's was sad and pleading, almost asking Rainbow to stop the suffering. The wing on his left side was bent in a bad way and front left leg was curled close to the body in a protective way.
Another blast of air forced itself against Rainbow's back. The larger Morphicon was being generous allowing the Rainbow Dash some time. But it was inevitable, it had to kill them, and it was now or never.
Getting into the right position the large Morphicon opened it's maw and moved to devour Rainbow.
“I'm so sorry Bolt.”
. . .
Rainbow turned just before the strike and slammed her hoof into the side of large creatures. Normally she couldn't possible have the kind of reach or strength needed to do such a feat, but in that moment she was calling upon her inborn magic. Extending from her right front hoof was really large scaly red arm similar to a dragons. The force of the hit was amplified ten fold because of this.
For a moment time seemed to be moving at snails pace. The Morphicon was taken by surprise, it's jaw was awkwardly out of place, and the shock in it's eyes was obvious as it noticed Rainbow. The look of pure anger on her face, the cold steely fury, and eyes which literally had fire shining with intensity of Celestia's sun, if not more.
The Morphicon flew a good couple of feet and landed with a skid. Rainbow's breath was labored as she looked at the creature that hurt Blot. Her rage was fueling every fiber of her being, causing her magic fluctuate and become amplified. The long arm began to spread and cover her body, reshaping and forming the body of dragon, long and slender, but very dangerously looking.
A deep growl seemed to be coming from the throat of the dragon. It was the then that the Morphicon looked up and saw the face to true fright . . . An enraged mother.

Twilight was still suspicious of Raident lining, but she wasn't going to let it get to her right now. With a quick glance she could see the progress her friends were making some progress. Fluttershy and Pinkie appeared to be trying to corral the rabbit beast, which appeared to be significantly smaller now. While Rainbow was fighting the Morphicon, her entire body surrounded in some type of aura field that appeared to be shaped like a dragon.
“Twilight need some help here, deary.” At first she thought that Rarity had called to her but when she turned to source of the voice she saw the unicorn filly fighting against the torus minor. Raident was casting spell after spell in rapid fire succession, both with precision and a wealth of accuracy.
Flaring her wings and taking to the air Twilight manuvered herself to be hovering just above the creature and started fire bolts of magic to draw the creatures attention. As luck would have the beast quickly lost interest in the filly and had turned it's attention to defending itself from Twilight's barrage.
Raident smiled and quickly charged at it. Twilight saw the filly running towards the beast. She only had enough time to think, 'she's insane.' before the filly disappeared below the creatures belly. A moment later she slid out of her spot. She came to a stop about three meters away, and turned to watch as the torus collapsed.
Landing gently next Raident, Twilight looked at the torus on the ground in confusion for a second. “How did you do that?”
A sweet smile found it's way to her face. “I hit a nerve cluster located near the fourth rib on the left side. I'm used to taking these things out because that's what we always do for a bit of fun.”
Twilight's brow raised slightly, “We?”
“My brother, sister, and I.”
Just as twilight was about to turn and go help her friends, when out of the corner of her eyes she saw that the torus was getting back up, and quickly. It was the fast Twilight had even moved in her life, in a single instant she had turned, grabbed Raident, threw up an angled barrier, and jumped to the side.
Closing her eyes and burying her face into Raident's shoulder, she heard the thump of something hitting her barrier. A moment later she heard the shattering sound, and a wave of pain shot through her horn and head. Her barrier had broke and if her quick plan had failed she wouldn't be long for this world.
Skidding to a halt she felt the pain of sharp rocks scratching and leaving a cut or two. But she was alive, so her plan had worked the angled shield had forced the torus in the other direction before it shattered to pieces.
Opening her eyes she was the worried look on Raident's face, it was one she knew really well, because she had made that face a few times in her past. It was the face of somepony worried about the pony they cared for.
Twilight didn't have time to question why Raident had that look on her face. She knew that it was critical for her to get up and face the torus before it turned around for it's next charge.
Pain was coursing through Twilight's back and side. Placing the filly to her immediate right she got up and readied her wings to take to the air, only to get a jolt of pain.
“Twilight, deary. Your wing is broken.”
'Just great,' Twilight thought as she swayed on her hooves slightly, the pain of the skid, combined with the massive headache she was getting from having her spell shattered, was affecting her more it really should be. 'What's wrong with me?'
That's when she noticed the slight smell of roses. Rarity had mentioned something about a field with some kind of plant that left any pony unable to move, if they caught the smell. Maybe this beast carries that scent because it goes there a lot.
Twilight was beginning to feel the odds stacking against her, but what could she do? She didn't know any spells that could help and her legs were already beginning to buckle.
Raident stepped in between Twilight and the torus. “W-What . . . A-are-”
Twilight was cut off almost instantly. “I'm going to take care of this thing.” The tone in her voice sounded resolute and dangerous. “No one. Hurts. MY. AUNTY!”
There was no time for Twilight to even try to understand the statement before Raident began to glow that slightly dark golden color. All of the energy gathered at her horn and burst forth in great ball of burning purple fire.
The brightness that came from the fire forced Twilight to close her eyes, that and the affects of the scent were really starting to get to her.
Suddenly her eyes shot wide open as a spell was cast on her. The spell instantly removed the effects of that scent and gave Twilight back her strength. But when she looked up to see Raident, she didn't like what she was see. The little filly looked exhausted.
The sound of a hoof against the hard ground instantly took Twilight's attention. The torus didn't even look scratched. Anger began to fill her as she saw out of the corner of her eye Raident slumped down as if she were highly dizzy.
The anger inside Twilight began to fuel her magic and something sparked inside. Raident had taught her how to harness this and now was the time to do. It would only last a few minutes at best, but she only needed a moment.
Power surged forward and she felt the affects instantaneously as her whole body seemed to change. Her coat color turned creamy white, her wings caught fire, and so did her mane and tail. She quickly took to the air erecting a barrier around Raident, and turned to the torus minor, which seemed confused to be seeing it's prey change in such a drastic way.
Twilight cast a series of spells in rapid succession, each one hitting it's mark, and exploding upon impact. Each shot was damaging the torus greatly, it's whole body being ripped to pieces by each shot. But the final shot had yet to come as Twilight stored more energy into a single blast. The instant she let it go, the creature evaporated into thin air, and twilight gently touched the ground, fading back into her original alucorn state.
She was about to check on the filly, when the piercing scream of Rarity being shot by a blast of magic caught everyponies attention.

Rarity had me stuck in a bubble of her magic, forcing me to stay out of the fight. I was stuck force to watch each of my friends as they fight, but right now my focus was on Rarity who was fighting against Glinting, alone. Rarity was constantly having to split her focus to maintain the barrier, defend from his attack, and try to find a way to counterattack.
I knew that she had to be struggling greatly, especially since she had admitted she's only about average when it comes to using magic. The only assumption I can make is that she must be having a horrific amount of difficulty trying to do this. Every move she was making was a choice between defense and survival, or attacking and risk leaving herself vulnerable. Yet despite that glaring fact she was doing rather well.
The problem didn't come from her, but from the opponent she was facing. He seemed to be vastly more skilled and practiced. He kept her just close enough for his range of attacks to effective, yet far enough to make sure she couldn't get a counterattack to work. Glinting would almost always dodge or redirect Rarity's counter-strike.
Currently Rarity was being forced back as flurry of magic blasts were hitting her shield. She was losing ground with every step back. Glinting's every move seemed calculated and planned as he began forcing Rarity closer to the pedestal and burning fire that surrounded it.
Rarity must have figured out his plan was, probably because of the heat the fire was putting off, because she tried to force a counterattack.
The problem was that Glinting had been wanting her to do that. The second fired a small bolt of magic, he dodge ever so slightly and fire a shot at her in return. Rarity hadn't been expecting the move and got hit right on her front left leg. The shot seemed to take effect immediately and she skidded to a halt about a meter or two behind Glinting.
I could hear the groan even through the barrier she had brought up. Glinting turned and walked carefully towards her.
'Why isn't she moving?' I thought as he came right up next to her. Bending down I watched as he seemed to whisper something into her ear. Then with a scowl he rose and kicked her while she was down.
Some type of reaction began to stir inside me as watched him kick her again and again. After about a half minute being violently kicked, Rarity stopped moving even slightly. Her barrier around me was still holding firm, even when I started kicking it in an attempt to escape.
There was nothing for me to do except was as Glinting lifted Rarity by her mane in his magic. Lifting one of his paws he sliced at her face.
“Stop!” I yelled, there was something happening that I couldn't seem to recognize driving me to try everything I could to get out and help Rarity.
It was obvious he couldn't hear me, there was no reaction even if he could, but there was something in next action he took that basically said that he knew I was watching. Looking to the blood on his paw he brought it up to his mouth, and licked it.
Once more he sliced at Rarity's head and tossed her towards in my direction. She slammed into the barrier, and screamed out in pain. A loud piercing scream that sent a shiver down my spine.
The spell dissolved and Rarity landed right at my hooves. Her face was bloody and cut up, with a large gash on her forehead, and a bleeding wound on her front leg. Leaning down I felt for a pulse, it was weak, and her breathing was short and shallow. Pulling her in closer, I wrapped my hooves around her head. The blood started to cover my coat as I cradled her close.
“It's useless.” I turned to see that Glinting was walking closer, a sad look on his face. “Once I start the process of removing the mind from a ponies body, it can't be stopped.”
Rarity was going to disappear in the same way Applejack did. Her memory gone, and she would die the same way as me. In that instant something snapped deep with me, Rage, anger, determination, and something I didn't recognize flooded me in a rush of emotions.
Glinting look surprised for a second before a smile spread across his face. “I admire your determination, but it is useless. It all ends here!” At his last words I saw just what he was about to do. He quickly pulled some of his magic into a tightly compact sphere and fired it at us.
There was nothing I could do to stop it, but in that moment I didn't care.
. . . Because I'm pissed.
A wave of power shot through my system, and I couldn't help the scream that came next.

Dust filled the air as the blast seemed to have connected. Glinting was smiling, he had won, and all that remained was to capture the others. But that was only what he thought. Until a blast of shimmering golden light shot from the dust and hit him square in the chest.
He flew back, skidding to a halt only about a hoofs length from the fire surrounding the podium that held the glass ball. Groaning as he sat up, there was a moment of complete confusion as he looked towards the dust as it began to settle.
Once the air cleared, and he could see the area a surprising sight caught him off guard. There standing behind a golden field of magic was Jackie her coat stained with some blood, her features showing discernible amount of rage.
Looking at her all wounds seemed to be healed, as was the same with the mare behind her. She features seemed to soften, and her voice was resoundingly calm sounding. “There is only one way to end everything, and I have no qualms with it as long as your actions stop here and now.”
Every pony and creature, expect for Rarity who was unconscious stopped what they were doing to look and see what was happening. Glinting was shacking slightly, the manner of Jackie's stance and her calm speech seemed far more frightening than anything he had even seen before.

Looking down at the Axenorm as he stared me in surprise and fear was gratifying in itself, but there was something that I had to do, and there was nothing that would get in my way. Feeling the energy flowing in me freely I gathered some of it deep from within cast it forward in blast from my forehead. In that same moment another set of shot fired to the left of the first, and Glinting reacted to the first shot before he could think about it.
He jumped to his right only to see the volley of shots that had been fired, perfectly predicting which direction he was heading. Rolling to dodge the first shot from the volley, he got up and ran from the others. Throwing up a barrier to keep block just in case he wasn't able to outrun one of the shots.
Jackie knew exactly what his next move would be and shot two final bolts of energy.
Glinting watched as Jackie's last two shot landed a good distance on either side of him. Now was his chance he had to take it. Lowering his shield he began to focus his magic, prepping it to fire a bolt of lightning.
Suddenly two nets, woven from golden strands of magic shot out from the ground right where Jackie's last two shots had come from. Glinting barely had enough time release his spell when he noticed the net, literally only a hooves away from catching him. He couldn't afford to get caught, so there was only one choice left to him. Turning his head he released the spell and destroyed one of the nets before it could reach him, creating an opening to escape from.
Jumping out of the way of the nets clutches he turned just in time to see a bolt of energy coming his way. There was no time for him to do anything, and thus the shot hit home, the force of which took all the air form his lungs.
Jackie smiled her plan had worked perfectly, and the spell should be taking affect soon.
Glinting got up as fast as he could. Only to see that Jackie had disappeared from the spot she had been at only a moment ago. Looking around Rapidly for any sight of her, he began to sweat. He knew something was off about this, it seemed like Jackie was perfectly predicting his every move and coming up with a counter each time. But how was she doing it?
The feeling of a hoof tapping his shoulder caused him to turn around. Jackie waved for second before she spun around with incredible precision and bucked him in the chest, hard. The force of the impact sent him flying. He couldn't breath or focus, but he noticed Jackie teleport out of sight. Now he knew just how what to do.
'You're not going to win this.' Jackie thought, planning her next couple of moves. 'I know exactly what your going to do at all times.'
Glinting forced himself to turn in mid air and spotted Jackie just as her teleport finished. Acting quickly he shot a bolt of pure energy. There was a moment of joy as Glinting thought he was about to finally get the upper hoof. But that fleeting joy fade as the bolt of energy passed right through Jackie and she faded from sight.
A sudden pain shot through the back Glinting's head. Jarring him for a second or two as he fell to the ground with a thud. Carefully turning over to avoid worsening the pain in the back of his head Glinting tried to catch his breath. Only to find Jackie's hoof fall painfully onto his stomach.
'Gotcha.' he thought. Drawing on his power to fire a close range blast energy.
Jackie didn't even flinch, instead she redirected the blast by erecting a simple shield.
“How?” Glinting asked, starting to get angry. His magic reserve's were running low, that shouldn't be the case, but somehow they were. Had she done something to him?
Jackie looked down without even a hint of sympathy in her eyes. “Your own spell backfired. I'm connected to your mind now. I know your every move even before you do.”
Glinting cursed, how could something like that even happen. “But that's not-”
Jackie interrupted him by applying more pressure to his abdominal area. “It's not nice to interrupt somepony when they're not finished speaking.” She ground her hoof again, harder this time. “Not only can I read your mind now, but I have full access to your inventory of spells and your magic. I've been draining your magic from the moment I cast that first spell, and now, you should be going into full paralysis.”
Glinting tried moving his legs but found that he couldn't even manage a twitch. This couldn't be happening.
“Now it's time to end this road of pain, once and for all.”
Glinting's eyes widened as he saw the look in her eyes. The look of pure determination and conviction.
Jackie took a breath and took all the energy she had gathered and focused it into a single spell. She could her the sound of somepony yelling something, but it was to late. The spell went off, literally, with a bang.

Twilight watched as the flash of light burst from Applejack's head, concealing her and Glinting from all. By the time the flash had dissipated she could see her laying there alone, with no sight of Glinting at all.
A groan caught Twilight's attention, looking towards the source she saw Rarity was getting up, and she looked unharmed. 'What did Jackie do?'
Twilight was about to run to help Rarity, but Raident teleported next her tears streaming down her eyes. Rarity seemed surprised for a second, but her tender side took over rather quickly. She asked what was wrong.
“I thought you were going to die. . .” she cried into Rarity's chest. That seemed to shock her for a second before she suddenly remembered why the little one may have thought that.
Looking ahead and taking a breath Rarity spotted AJ's body lying on the ground. Biting her lip she rubbed the fillies back before getting her attention. “Listen dear I need to check on Jackie to make sure she's okay.”
The filly nodded and moved out of the way to let Rarity move past.
Everypony moved in to check and see if AJ was okay. All of them looking concerned in there own right.
Once Glinting had been defeated, all the creatures that seemed to be tied to him disappeared to. Leaving the whole group alone to gather around AJ's body in worry. “She'll be fine.” Came a rather unfamiliar voice to most of the group.
Everypony turned to she a pair of ponies walking into the room. One was a white pegasis with a golden mane and tail, and bright blue eyes, he was standing with confidence and smile plastered on his face. The other was mare with purple and gold streaked mane and tail, an orange coat, and emerald green eyes.
The mare spoke this time, her voice almost sounded familiar, with a soft elegant tone that was comparable to Celestia's own voice. “Applejack is fine, she should be waking soon.”
As if on cue, Applejack groaned and opened her eyes. Everypony looked to her. “uh, howdy girls, did ah miss somethin'?”
All except Raident, and the two new comers tacked and hugged AJ, a couple of them were crying. Each of them was trying to say something, but it all got jumbled up in a mess of voices.
“Well it is good to see that your quest has turned up a success my friends.” came the familiar voice of princess Luna causing all ponies to turn and acknowledge both her and Celestia's presence as they entered the room.
“Princesses?” Twilight asked in a confused fashion. “Why are you here?”
Celestia pointed a hoof at Raident Lining. “Our young friend there.”
All eye fell on Raident as she walked over to the two ponies that walked in earlier. “Moonlight, Blitz.” She bowed to the mare and stallion respectively. “Sister, brother how are you doing?”
“Were okay, but we've finally come to the end of the story.” The stallion, who's name is Blitz apparently, answered cryptically. “We should probably at least tell our aunts what's about to happen next.”
“Excuse my interruption.” Celestia said drawing the attention of the three chatting ponies. “But I have a few questions to ask.”
“We know.” Moonlight said, her voice sounding almost identical to the princesses. “And you'll get your answers as soon as our mother appears. I believe Raident passed along the message, correct?”
Celestia raised a brow and was about to say something when a flash of light exploded at the top of the cavern.

'I knew how this would all end in my death. We were tied together as one being after all.' Jackie thought as she floated through the ethereal plain. Her spiritual body was floating in a fetal position ever so slowly moving in liner pattern.
'It wasn't my body to begin with. It was Applejack's, and now she will be able to live her life again.'
The ethereal particles began to gather around her spirit. Focusing mainly on her chest, but she didn't notice. 'I have no regrets. Although my time was short, I am happy that she and my friends are safe now.'
although it seemed impossible, a tear began form and drip from Jackie's face. The single tear stopped and began to glow. Drawing more and more particles towards in until a being took shape.
“Young Jackie,” it called out, the voice sounding almost like a mixture a mare's voice tiny bit of gently flowing water mixed in. “look to me young one.”
Jackie uncurled from the fetal position stood with her head down slightly.
“Come now child, why is your head held so low?”
Jackie looked down and let out her breath in a long and heavy sigh. “I-I'll j-ju. . . I just know I'll miss my friends is all.”
The being smiled and lifted her hoof to Jackie's chin, lifting it so that she could look into Jackie's eyes. “Why do you think I am here?”
Jackie blinked, unsure how to answer the question.
The being smiled. “I am a spirit sent by the tree of harmony to give you a gift.” letting her hand drop, the spirit smiled. “Jackie you have proven to be a spirit with an exceptional gift to give to those have lost their way. For this, a gift will be given to you.”
Ethereal particles began gathering surrounding Jackie. “Wait. What's going on?”
The spirit just smile and disappeared leaving only an echo of words in her wake. “A miracle.”

Celestia was just about to say something when all of a sudden a blinding light appeared at the top of the cavern. Slowly floating down, it dissipated the second it came to the ground, leaving body standing there.
All eyes fell on the sight in front of them, one pony was more surprised than the rest as she saw a near identical version of herself standing there.
“What in Tar-nation is going on here. Why is there another me? And why does it have a horn?!”
The second applejack opened her eyes, and a looked around the room, a pair of wings flapping open as she spotted her friends. They all looked normal completely normal. But they were all looking at her like she had grown a second head. She didn't care, all she wanted to do was give each of them a hug.
A tear fell from her eyes. “Girls, it's so good to see you.”
Rarity was the first to step forward, her eye wide with surprise. “Jackie?”
The only response she got was a nod. But that was all it took as Rarity ran over and hugged the mare. Everything was so confusing for her but she didn't care, she just knew that she had the strongest desire to give Jackie a hug.
“Rarity, what in SAM-hill is goin' on here?” Applejack asked pushing past her friends to get a better look at the fashionista.
“I believe we are all asking the same question young Applejack.” Luna said getting every ponies attention.
“And we will answer them all for you.” Blitz said drawing the attention of all. “Now that our mother has finally arrived.”
“Mother?” Raident smiled and nodded at Twilight.
“Yes, Jackie is our mother, princess of life.” A collective gasp was all the reaction that Raident got. “You see she was initially created by Glinting's spirit spell, but she somehow went rouge. She took on an independent life of her own, upon defeating Glinting she sacrificed her spirit and mind to give Applejack, and Rarity their lives back. Because she did that, the tree of harmony decided to give her the gift of a life of her own. She thus became and alucorn category two, an alucorn created and born from a spell.”
“We were sent back to make sure everything happened as it has now.” Moonlight said, a smile adorning her face. “As it turns out, that was good thing because mother had neglected to tell us that we had some pretty key rolls in making sure everything happened as it was supposed to.”
“Either way we have run out of time.” Blitz said slighly upset. “The time travel spell should be wearing off soon.”
“Wait.” Twilight said, “this is so confusing. So your say that your the children of Jackie, a new princess, and in the future she sent you back because of the event's that just happened.”
All three of the ponies looked at each other for a moment, then turned to Twilight and nodded. “Pretty much.”
Jackie pointed to the two older ponies of the three. “Your the one's who pulled me from that field of flowers, that's why recognize your voices!”
“Bingo.” Blitz said, flashing a smile.
All three of the ponies disappeared in a flash of light. Returning to their own time period.
“Well.” Luna said. “That was most interesting.”
Her and Celestia looked at each other then to Jackie “Might I be the first to welcome you to princess-hood young Jackie?”
Everypony looked at she for a second before she shrugged, “Sure, why not?” Turning to Rarity who was right next to her. She pulled the red ribbon from her mane, which seemed to have come with her new body. “Rarity.”
“What is it?” she asked.
“Do you mind if I do something?”
Rarity looked at her for a second before she nodded. “I guess not, deary.”
Carefully Jackie pulled Rarity's mane back and tied it back over her shoulder.
Rarity looked at it in confusion for a second before Jackie spoke. “I just thought you look beautiful with your hair tied like that is all.”
“Excuse me?”
Jackie and Rarity turned to see Applejack standing in front of their friends, all of whom seemed to be snickering.
Jackie walked up to Applejack. They both exchanged glances at each other. Then Jackie extended a hoof. AJ stood their for a second, then smiled and shook hooves. “Thanks fer takin' care o' my body.”
Jackie smiled “not a problem. I think it's time we all went home now.”
“Actually there is one thing we need to discuss before we depart.” Celestia said. “Where will you be staying?”
“I've got a room at boutique.” Rarity offered, drawing attention to her, she was looking to the ground obviously trying to hide behind her newly tied hair.
“I'd like that.” Jackie said smiling.
“All settled then,” Rainbow said “Lets get out of here.”

The end