In Search of Sunset: The Mysterious Island

by Jongoji245

First published

One trip to apologize to Sunset turns out to be even longer than expected.

It's been three months since it happened. Three months since Anon-a-Miss made hell out of everyone. Three months since Sunset Shimmer ran away from home. From her family. Further away from Equestria than before.

Knowing the truth too late, but feeling the time is still right, the Rainbooms, now with a human Twilight Sparkle, drag the Crusaders to the last known location to beg for Sunset's forgiveness. But things become awry, and our heroines and two dogs become stranded in a world where gods walk the earth and devils lurk beneath.

Not canon to the Jongojiverse, but part of a different alternate universe that occurs between an alternate version of "Friendship Games" and "Legend of Everfree." A crossover with more monster franchises than what's implied on the poster.

Now with Q&A Blog

Editing/Proofreading Credits
Chapters 1-4: Blazeblast4

One Bad Day, One Bad Dream

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“Then explain this!”

Applejack’s yell echoes through the hallway as she holds her cell phone towards Sunset Shimmer. For the last few weeks, someone’s been posting embarrassing information from AJ’s childhood nickname to something that almost had Derpy commit the unthinkable. All the writing points to a single suspect, the one person who the Rainbooms reformed with the Elements of Harmony, who then helped them defeat a pack of Sirens. The unicorn in human’s clothing gently clutches the device, holding it up to her face as a sense of despair creeps into her.

“But, guys-” Sunset tries to find the best words she can, “I didn’t do this! I wouldn’t do this to you, any of you!”

“But you did!” With disdain, Pinkie Pie swipes her phone back, “You must’ve been pretending to be our friend just so you could cover up your… your… Flank, you secret stealer!”

“No! no...” appalled, Sunset tries to reason with them again, though it appears that she’s losing, “I don’t know how she got this stuff, but it wasn’t me! I’m not this person.”

Rarity is the only one to collect herself, taking a deep breath as she approaches her.

“No, you’re not…” the fashionista places her hand on Sunset’s cheek. The feeling… is as sharp as a slap, “You’re not the person we thought you were! You’re not our friend!”

“No…” Betrayal starts to conquer her mind; Sunset can’t find any better words out of this, “I…”

“We’re sorry, Sunset.” Applejack, along with the other five, turn their backs to her. “But we stood by you, trusted you, let you into our homes. And you… I don’t know what to think of you anymore.”

The trust is shattered, the world she lived in for almost two years against her, Sunset runs out the hallway and down the stairs before slowing to a walk as to look less conspicuous. Not paying attention, she bumps into someone and falls on her knees.

“Oops,” Sunset looks up; Derpy looks at her with a vicious glare, focusing all her mental effort to get both eyes focused on the flame head, “I don’t know what went wrong.”

“I can’t believe she did that.”

Sunset turns around, seeing Lyra and Bon Bon giving her the same glare while conversing with each other.

“Yeah,” Bon Bon leads her equal around Sunset before kicking her with her heel, “Secret stealing bitch.”

“Quite so,” Time Turner walks beyond her, head held high.

“Yeah, thanks a lot.”


“Secret Stealer.”

“Friend Crusher.”

“She Demon.”

Everywhere she turns, the insults are coming back. She tries to walk away, but the students keep cutting her off. She tries to reason with them as she had with her five friends, but the insults drown her saddened voice.


The onslaught silences as every student turn their attention to the schoolmasters. Celestia and Luna part the sea of children, the former crouching to tend to the disheartened teenager. Comforting as it is, the damage is already done. Sunset dashes forward to the exit, her steps echoing through the halls. Disheartened, Celestia takes a deep breath before facing her students.

“Don’t you all have classes?” She asks before walking to her office, her sister following with a glare.

The Rainbooms store their belongings, though Fluttershy does look in the direction Sunset just ran to.

“Uhm, girls.” She turns to her disheartened friends. “Was that really the best thing to do?”

“Yeah,” Rainbow Dash slams her locker, “Serves her right for using us.”

“Rainbow,” Applejack scolds before wrapping her arm around Fluttershy, “Whatever happened then, it’s over. She’s had her chance and she blew it. Maybe with time, she’ll come to her senses, but for now…”

In the blustering, snowy weather, Sunset curls up underneath a bridge, weeping, muttering indistinguishably after what just happened.

“We won’t see her for a long while.”

Feeling a buzz in her backpack, Sunset pulls out her journal. What hope does she hope to achieve at this time? Perhaps a friendship lesson to be had? One better done from the Princess of Friendship herself. She opens the last page she wrote and flips it over.

“Sometimes, all you can do is stay strong. Be yourself. And find your family.”

Strong? Yes. Herself? As she said many a time to her friends… To no avail. These would be the people she would call a family? Sunset scowled at the book, her one link to the world she was born, where she felt superior. She stands up and looks at the cloudy sky.

“You said they would teach me friendship!” She spins and tosses the book a great distance to the wilderness. Angry as three hells and twice over, Sunset grabs her backpack and walks towards the snowstorm, to where not even she knows.

As her prized possession soaks up snowflakes, a small, purple dog sniffs in the distance. He catches its scents, turning his head to the partially covered book. After a few more sniffles, he bites the book and lifts it up with little effort, carrying it to where he came.

The suns sets over the great mountains that house the castle town of Canterlot. High on her tower, Celestia cancels out her magic, watching her younger sibling take over for the evening. She returns to her chambers, lighting up the fireplace with her magic. Celestia takes off her crown, chest piece and slippers, straightening her ruffled coat with her wings. As the warmth of the fire comforts her and the dusk begins to settle, the great Alicorn stretches her wings one last time, laying down as the sandmare takes her to another venture in dreamland.

When she opens her eyes, this venture is less than pleasant. Far less. Her dreams usually involve a pleasant stroll in a sunlit field with all the cake she can eat. This time, she’s in a dark jungle alit in flame. Who could have caused this, she has no clue. But across the flowing river stands a figured dressed in a long cloak. As if it sensed her, the figure turns, showing part of her face in the light.

As she tries to get a closer look, the Alicorn turns her head to her left, noticing water starting to churn. A creature erupts, roaring at the sky. Supporting itself with two muscular arms, the reptile points it's white snout at the tall pony, flicking its forked tongue at the sight of new prey. Yet, Celestia remains motionless; powerful it might appear, she has dealt worse things. The animal approaches her, towering the alicorn with jaws open.

When the jaws close, Celestia saw only darkness. She could be in the belly of the beast, but this is only a dream, one that will go away as her duties return again. Then, the same figure appears again, walking towards the ruler with each step disheartening. She collapses, crying as she holds Celestia.

“Help me, mother.”

The familiar voice and eyes got the alicorn awake, panting like mad. That was no dream, it was a call for help. But how is that possible? Only Luna has the skill to venture every dreamscape. And why now after so long?

It's time for answers.

“OK, Spike, let’s check the list again.”

Spike groans, shuffling his claws to the top of a list spanning over two hundred twenty-seven feet. Three times now have the young Alicorn and Dragon organized and reorganized the entire library in her castle. Though her immense powers allow Twilight to last quite awhile before expiring, Spike is still only a child and has the stamina to match. With a yawn, he inches a dry ink quill to the inkwell.

“All right,” Spike grumbles, trying hard to keep awake. “Let’s go through this… again…”

“Right!” Twilight shouted gleefully, not looking the least bit tired. “‘From Ancient to Modern: The Races of Equestria.”

Twilight keeps her smile while waiting for a scratching sound. Teeth still bare, the pony swivels her ear, still no sound. She turns her head, seeing her companion hunched over, swaying up and down before snoring. In his amusement, Owlowiscious perches on the green spines on the young dragon’s head, relaxing as he is rocked back and forth.

“Spike!” Twilight shouts, getting the dragon alert again.

“Check!” He answers, marking it off for the third time.

“Honestly, Spike,” Twilight turns to vast shelves of literature, “How can I get this done?”

“That was a question I always wanted to ask you since you were a little filly.”

That familiar voice made Twilight turn around. Princess Celestia herself stood at her doorway, keeping her warm smile despite the long journey from her domain. In excitement, the younger Alicorn trots to her former mentor, giving her a bow.

“No need to bow, Twilight,” Celestia lowers her head. “In this domain, I should be bowing to you.”

Though she has been a princess for a while now, it still feels weird that someone more powerful would bow to her. This is her house after all; best to accept the compliment than to rebutt her close friend. Still, there is the question as to why she is at her home.

“So, what brings you to Ponyville?” Twilight asks, levitating a few of her favorite books. Reading is not on Celestia’s list, and the tall Alicorn turns her attention to a special object. The Crystal Mirror; a sight to see, an interdimensional portal to a world dominated by bipedal counterparts of them, with Spike and his kind becoming dogs in that world, and the current homestead of a close friend. Celestia approaches the mirror, watching the surface ripple like a disturbed puddle.

“Twilight, have you received any messages from Sunset Shimmer lately?” She asks, not even turning a nostril from the portal. Twilight draws her ears back a little before lifting the book serving as a key to the gate.

“No…” Twilight flips to the last page she wrote. “The last thing I wrote to her is to find her family.”

“And when,” Celestia turns her head a little, her voice disconcerting, “Was that?”

“I think it was December when she was troubled by this Anon-a-miss person.” Twilight partially closes the book, looking away from the pages. “When I didn’t get a word, I assumed she took my advice.”

Celestia closes her eyes, turning her great body to her protege.

“I’m afraid something happened to her.” Twilight’s eyes widen at this news. “Something terrible.”

“Then we need get there and fast!” Twilight levitating the book to its rightful place, activating the portal once more. “Ready, Spike!”

“And this time,” Twilight, Spike, and Celestia turn to find Rainbow Dash, Pinky Pie, Applejack, Rarity, and Fluttershy, determined to come as the first continues with, “We’re coming too!”

“Right-a-roonie!” Pinkie Pie jumps twice with excitement. “Any friend of Twilight in need is a friend of Twilight indeed!”

As great as that sounds, this determination has been snubbed twice from both Celestia and Twilight. The reason being that any further than Twilight, Sunset, and Spike entering the alternate universe might cause a rift as strong as a black hole. Celestia knew this full well, reaching her full height to answer,

“No. This venture involves Twilight Sparkle, Spike… and I.”

“WHAT!?” Denied a third venture, Rainbow Dash lands on the ground, wings stretched. “We can’t go but Twilight, Spike, and now you can go? What about that whole ‘disturbing the balance’ thing?”

“I am aware of the consequences.” Celestia turns to the mirror. “But where we are going will require my help.”

“Okay…” With an uneasy grin, Twilight gets her older friend’s attention, “Let Spike and I go first just to… coax them.”

Celestia nods. Spike smacks his face a few times, shaking it with a loud sputter before hunching to a sprinting poise. The young Princess and Dragon rush to the mirror, feeling the interdimensional magic pull them across the prismatic tunnel to the light on the other side. The light at the end of the tunnel ever bright, Twilight shuts her eyes just when she nears her destination.


Twilight opens her eyes, Canterlot High is now in her sights, and standing on a picnic blanket at the front lawn, the bipedal counterparts of her friends rushing to hug her.

“We missed you so muuuch!” The human Pinkie Pie cries with delight, hugging Twilight to the point of choking.

“Nice to... see you too, Pinkie.” Twilight pushes them from the embrace. “So, what did I miss.”

The five young women look at each other before parting to Twilight’s left and right.

“Oh, I say about a lot,” Applejack says, looking to her left. In front of the Princess of Friendship and her human friends stood the most unlikely of sights,: another Twilight Sparkle. Unlike her, this duplicate wore a school uniform consisting of a purple polo, skirt, and shoes. Above all, she also wore glasses and her hair in a tight bun. Spike notices the next strangest anomaly: a dog that looks exactly as Spike does.

“Hey, Twilight! I have a twin!” The dog spoke in the exact tone as his dragon counterpart.

“Whoa!” Spike raises a paw. “Dude, that’s creepy.”

Twilight’s mouth is agape while the others look at her. The human Twilight Sparkle raises her hands and wiggles her fingers nervously.


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Aside from the chirping birds and passing cars, there is a long silence among the girls, dragon, and dog. Both pony and person stare at each other, absorbing the differences between them in their academically trained minds. Rarity lets out a cough.

“Twilight Sparkle,” the fashionista addresses to the Princess, waving her hand to the classmate “Meet Twilight Sparkle… Or have you met?”

As much as there is to admire, the alicorn shakes her head, regaining her focus.

“Okay, Twilight, focus.” Twilight mumbles, bringing her fists to her chest. “Have any of you seen Sunset lately?”

The question turned the mood of the conversation a ninety degree turn. The girls slunk their shoulders, Applejack placing her hands in her pockets, Pinkie’s hair deflating quite a bit.

“Well,” Spike the dragon raises his paw, “is anyone gonna say anything?”

Fluttershy picks up the dragon-dog, easing her discomfort while stroking his head. “You might want to come with us.”

Before they could start their walk to the school, another shine lights behind them. What came out from the portal this time brought a shock to everyone except the Princess and the dragon.

“Anyone want to announce this to Principal Celestia?” Asked Rainbow Dash.

Inside the great building, Principal Celestia just finished sorting a set of paperwork. As she prepares to place it in a cabinet, her ears pick up a buzzing sound.

“Principal Celestia, you have guests wanting to see you.”

Hearing “guest” in plural, Celestia walks to the PA and presses the button.

“How many?” She asks, raising an eyebrow.

“Seven, plus a couple dogs.”

Her eyes shifting to her left, Celestia takes a deep breath before sitting on her desk chair.

“Send them in.” Resting her head on her fingers, she watches as each of her best students enter her office. Last but definitely not least, Princess Twilight Sparkle enters, wiggling her fingers nervously.

“Hello.” She greets. The Principal rises from her chair and starts to walk around her desk.

“It’s nice to see you again too, Your-” Celestia turns her gaze to the same unusual sight her native students just saw. Princess Celestia looked just the same as her human counterpart, albeit in a Greco-Roman style dress. The Principal was looking at a living reflection, one who is several times wealthier than her salary could allow.

“Don’t look shocked,” The Princess chuckles, “I imagined myself to be a little bulkier.”

“Ahem,” Now it was Twilight’s turn to introduce the duplicates “Principal Celestia, Her Royal Highness Princess Celestia. Princess Celestia, Celestia, Principal of Canterlot High. Or have you met?”

“Not now.” They order.

“Geeze,” Rainbow Dash leaned into Pinkie Pie, “talk about stereo.”

“I understand that there are many questions for me to answer.” The benevolent ruler lowers her shoulders. “But I have one that needs to be answered. What happened to Sunset Shimmer?”

With another deep breath, Principal Celestia closes her eyes and walks to her desk.

“Cranky Doodle,” Celestia asks with the PA, “are Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo in your classroom?”

“Yes.” He answers, slightly distorted coming out of the radio.

“Can you send them to my office immediately?”


Twilight and Spike became confused; Sunset hasn’t written to them, Celestia appearing at her castle, the rest of the Rainbooms looking worried, and now the CMC? What does all this have to do with Sunset? She hears the door open, seeing three younger, chubbier faces peeking in. This is the first time they see not just two Twilight Sparkles and Spikes, but also their Principal, and the feeling is grim.

“You wanted to see us?” Asked Sweetie Belle, seeing Princess and Principal Celestia give her the look.

“Enter.” The Principal answers. The three Freshmen enter the office, trying to gather what remained of their courage for being in the presence of their siblings and peers. “Want to explain who Anon-a-Miss is?”

The three younger girls gulped, tapping their fingers and looking at each other.

“Uhm… See…” Apple Bloom steps forward, looking at both the Princess’. Waiting too long for an answer, her sister clears her throat. “We’re Anon-a-Miss.”

There are two halves to a person’s mind: a noble side that everyone wants to enjoy. And then there’s a savage anger usually vented in small doses. For the sapient ponies like Twilight, the news of what happened to one of their kind brings despair to them.

“You WHAT?!” Twilight roared. “You’re what Sunset was talking about?! And you!” She points to the others her age. “You didn’t even stop to think that-!?”

“That. Is. Enough.” Princess Celestia put a stop to Twilight’s outburst before turning to the Crusaders. “There is a method to their madness.”

“We… Were jealous.” Apple Bloom continued. “We couldn’t stand being left alone while AJ, Rainbow, and Rarity hung out with Sunset. So we made the account, posted a few things just to, you know, stir things up. But it just got out of control. Then…”

Grim as this is, Princess Celestia keeps herself level before kneeling to their level, placing her hand on the farmer’s shoulder.

“Has anyone seen her since?” She asks, lifting her head to the others.

“We all tried calling her, Your Highness.” Answers Rarity, taking out her phone.

“I sent over fifty!” Pinkie adds, showing her bright screen, however uncomfortable, at the Princess’ face.

“Pinkie.” Princess Twilight mutters.

“But she never called back.”

“We couldn’t even find her journal,” Fluttershy adds, rubbing her arm slowly.

“Journal…?” The human Twilight mutters before flipping and reaching into her backpack. “You mean this one?”

The Rainbooms and Princess Twilight gasped as the sight of the slightly worn, but otherwise still usable journal. Twilight takes a hold of the book, gently rubbing the one clue she has to the disappearance of her friend.

“Where did you find this?” She asks, turning an eye at her duplicate.

“Spike found it last winter.” The duplicate answers before taking off her glasses to rub them. “I started reading it and got confused when I saw my name at the top of every page. Now I know why.”

Rising to her full height, the Princess of the Sun takes the journal from her protege. As she rubs the worn binding, she recalls the memories she had with Sunset Shimmer. Sunset was a toddler when Celestia found her playing in her gardens. Sensing a great potential, and no one to care for her, the Alicorn raised her in her own house, eventually becoming the student she knew before… expelling her. If only she knew of Sunset's intentions, if only…

“Thank you.” She answers softly.

“Now hold on, Your Highness.” Applejack breaks the uneasy silence. “Maybe she wanted to be alone for a while.”

“Oh yeah?” Rainbow Dash crosses her arms. “How?”

“'Cause there's one place we haven't checked.”

“What do you mean she’s gone!?” Rainbow Dash’s exclamation echoes the hollow apartment, stirring a few babies and making dogs bark in protest. Rarity gently pushes the athlete aside.

“Forgive my friend’s brash yell,” She asks before turning away from Rainbow, “but kindly explain where Sunset has gone.”

“Last I heard,” The landlord takes out a file labeled with Sunset’s name on the tab, “she went away on an internship overseas.”

An overseas internship? While they are still in high school? During the school year? The landlord watches the band of girls raise a few eyebrows before he takes a deep breath.

“Singapore.” He adds, though that only made them mumble. With a sigh, he takes out the keys to said tenants apartment. “Look, she paid three months worth of rent before leaving.”

“Thank you!” Pinkie Pie grabs the keys and runs towards the stairs outside the office.

“Pinkie, wait!” Princess Twilight yelps before running after her, the others following soon with Princess Celestia taking her time with a brisk walk.

“Make sure you bring them back! And no running!” The landlord's voice echoes the dorm as the Rainbooms run up the large staircase, make a left turn and make a brisk jog to a room with the number “two hundred nineteen” on the door. In no time at all, Pinkie unlocks the door and jumps inside.

“Sunset! We're here!” The other Rainbooms cover their ears as the shout echoes the hall. The other tenants jeer and curse behind their doors.

“Any louder and you'll wake the whole planet.” Spike the Dragon shakes his head before trotting with his duplicate to the apartment.

While the size of the apartment reminded Princess Twilight of her room while in Celestia’s tutelage, there are several differences nonetheless. The walls are bumpy and eggshell in color, and there is only enough room to fit a full sized bed, a small tv, a restroom, and a small kitchen with a stove, a dishwasher and a fridge for two weeks worth of food if one is a smart shopper. Worst case scenario of rats and cockroaches hiding in the closets and cabinets.

“I’m confused.” The others turn to the human Twilight. “You have to make three times as much rent to stay in an apartment. How can she do that if she lived in a library?” She fidgets her glasses as her brain comes with another question. “Why did she live in a-?”

“With so many questions,” Twilight turns around to Princess Celestia entering the apartment, “you remind me of someone I know.”

Upon looking at her, Princess Twilight couldn't help but giggle before stepping aside for her mentor to take a look around. The tall Alicorn-turned-woman looks inside the bedroom, thinking about how far has Sunset gotten since she left.

“So… Singapore…” With her index and thumbs touching, Rainbow Dash circles her hands. “Any idea how we’re going to go there?”

“I think I have a solution.” Rarity takes out her phone. “Fancy Pants owes me a favor after all.”

Spike the Dragon shuffles his paws before raising one. “What about school? Don't you have finals or something?”

“Nah.” Rainbow Dash flicks her hand at the purple puppy. “We're doing an awesome quest, I'm sure they understand.”

“Says the person with failing grades.” Adds Applejack, getting a scowl from the Athlete.

“I’m afraid Spike is right.” Princess Celestia turns to the humans. “I cannot allow you to come with us.”

“Hey,” Rainbow Dash adds again, “Sunset’s our friend too! We’re going and you can’t stop us!”

While she is in the territory only explored by both proteges, Celestia can tell well enough that the duplicates are as determined as her subjects. At the least, she wouldn’t have to worry about disrupting the balance.

“Then, I won’t.” She takes a deep breath, relaxing her shoulders like she would with her wings. “But please… Consult with your families first.”

As Celestia walks to the window, Rainbow Dash made a jerking motion while mouthing, “Yes!” At the same time, the sun began to set, and Princess Twilight, with the presence of her mentor, pondered where to sleep for the night.

“So,” She eyes her teacher, “you wouldn’t mind if Celestia and I…?”

“Yay!” Pinkie Pie squeezes Twilight. “Slumber party at my place! Sci-Twi included!”

While their spirits are lifted, the Rainbooms are a bit baffled at the nickname, especially on the human Twilight Sparkle.

“Sci-Twi?” She asks, fidgeting her glasses.

“You know because you're Twilight and you're quite a techno-.”

“We get it.” They all respond, stopping Pinkie from getting too far. One by one, the girls leave the apartment. In a short while, only Princess Twilight and Celestia, who continues to look to the West. In her land, she would raise and lower the sun every day. But to her surprise here, the body of ignited gases lowers on its own beyond the horizon.

“Princess Celestia?” Twilight asks, taking a few steps closer.

“It's beautiful and mysterious as so many wonders of our world.” Celestia turns around for the exit. “Come, let us rest.”

While both Twilights and Spikes, Princess Celestia, Fluttershy, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash went to Pinkie Pie’s, Applejack is left with dropping her sister and her friends at their own homes. But the drive is silent, for Applejack kept a furrowed brow as she leads the truck to Scootaloo’s foster home. Apple Bloom taps her fingers, trying to find a way to lighten her sister’s mood.

“So… is there anything I can do while you’re gone?” She asks; it will be a long while and apples need to be harvested and livestock cared for. Applejack pulls the car over before turning her glare at her sister.

“There’s something you can do.” Applejack looks at Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle, making their skin curl. “All three of you.”

The Venture

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As with all voyages, preparing for anything and everything is vital and ships are no exception. And preparation takes time, a factor that isn’t so forgiving on Celestia’s part. What would have taken a full month, two weeks pass. Among the rumbling engines, spinning propellers, and yelling mechanics, most of our heroines, and two canines both true and false wait at a private airstrip for Applejack.

In the meantime, the two weeks have given Rarity time to fashion Celestia in more suitable attire. Instead of her royal robes, the Princess wore cargo pants, a sleeveless shirt, and tennis shoes alongside her silver-streaked suitcase. A veteran of over a hundred wars, she knows how to travel smart with bare essentials plus medical equipment; a fact that’s more to say for Rarity pulling a thirty-two-inch suitcase minus the extended handlebar.

“Here they come!” Shouted Pinkie Pie pointing left.

“They?” muttered Twilight before turning to where Pinkie is pointing. The arriving company is not just Applejack, but the Crusaders as well. “Applejack, why are they coming?”

“They are are going to apologize.” Applejack places her hands on Sweetie Belle’s and Scootaloo’s shoulders. “The whole lot of us.”

“No,” Celestia steps before them, “I’m taking a chance bringing the seven-”

“Nine.” Interrupts Pinkie Pie, shaking her head at Sci-Twi and her Spike.

“Nine.” Celestia clears her throat before turning to Applejack. “I will not allow any more innocents to accompany us.”

“Your Highness,” Sweetie Belle takes a couple baby steps before looking up with sad eyes, “we’re the ones that did it. We made Sunset run away. Please, let us come.”

When the Princess of the Sun keeps a firm stance on her opinion, the three young girls unleash their secret weapon. In sync, they have their eyes wide open; no sclera present, just iris, pupil, and highlights. Its purpose is as clear now as it was back when they were kindergarteners, and soon Celestia is smitten. She exhales through her nostrils and looks at their siblings (or in Scootaloo’s case, role model).

“You three are responsible for their safety.” She asks of them before turning around.

“Now that’s in good order,” With one hand on her suitcase and another pointing to her right, Rarity announces to the crew, “Shall we?”

With a suitcase so heavy, the fashionista made a few tugs before she can lead her friends and sibling down to a private plane. And it took three of them to lift it up the stepladder and push it down the narrow passage to the cabin bin. Even with that load, the aircraft takes off normally. Sci-Twi grips the arm of her chair, all the while being comforted by Pinkie Pie. For Twilight Sparkle and Princess Celestia, this is a whole new experience. While they do have aircraft in Equestria, none have as much thrust as a passenger plane. After a six hour flight, the plane lands in Honolulu, giving the party of thirteen some time to rest before boarding the plane once more on a sixteen-hour flight to Singapore.

Paying their fares, and full of jetlag, the group takes the time to rest at a fancy hotel, another courtesy between Rarity and Fancy Pants. The comfort of the softest silk sheets and fluffiest of pillows is a reward for sleeping on scratchy velvet and hard plastic. To Rainbow's dismay, they do not have access to the saki.

But for one, her business isn't quite over. Celestia takes this one night to arrange a private tour. Sitting across from her on a bar table is a rugged man, not old to say, but his rugged face, bony fingers, and worn clothes are telltale signs that he’s been through many voyages, thick and thin.

"So you expect me to take your little school explorers on my ship?" He says, holding a shot of whiskey.

"Just to visit a special friend of ours," Celestia looks at her small glass. Normally, she would levitate the object to take a sip, but here she has no magic. Instead, she reaches forward, grabs it, and draws it to her lips, "nothing more."

With a raised brow, the captain taps his fingers on the table. "Just know that this won't be pleasant."

"Agreed." Celestia nods, taking a sip.

"You mentioned that you want to see a friend," The captain leans forward, "Just who or what are you wanting to see?"

"Komodo?!" Rarity huffs and puffs as she pulls her suitcase like a draft horse, "I thought she would be at a university or an art studio, not on another island!"

"Who cares?" Rainbow Dash twists her upper body to the fashionista, "As long as I can wrestle some dragons when I get there."

Hearing the mention of fighting made Sci-Twi raise a finger, but stops herself from continuing. Even if they are held at some game preserve, Komodo Dragons are aggressive by nature and have the venomous mouth to match. Excusing themselves several times, they find themselves in the presence of several large tankers at the port. While they do have such steamboats in Equestria, none are so large. Even reading about them when she first visited this world, Twilight couldn’t help but gawk at the size of them and how loud the horns are.

“Wow,” Twilight sputters, “that’s quite a ship.”

“Uh, sugar cube.” Twilight turns to Applejack pointing further down the pier. While still larger than the boats in Equestria, their boat, The Venture, is a pipsqueak compared to the others. And making matters worse, it appears to be in worse condition.

“What a piece of junk!” Rainbow Dash answers.

“Well,” Rarity flips her hair, “beggars can't be choosers on short notice.”

Celestia approaches the captain of the Venture.

“Captain Englehorn,” The captain turns his attention to the Alicorn in human’s clothing, “we are all ready to cast off.”

“Not until we finish with the inspection.” He answers while returning to his checkerboard.

“Oh, darling.” With a gleam in her eyes and a flutter of fake eyelashes, Rarity attempts to sway the captain while holding a wad of bills. “I’m sure two thousand dollars should cover it.”

Turning an eye at the money, Englehorn shifts his head a little to Celestia before responding, “She hasn't paid the first thousand yet.”

Though in a different world, Celestia knows of the lifeblood of every civilization: money. A voyage of this size and short notice requires a great deal of money. However she came to this world, it’s fortunate she has all the money in Equestria and beyond. Shuffling her pockets, she pulls out a chunk of gold the size of a lemon.

“Will this help?” Celestia’s effort entices Englehorn, turning his attention away from his list. Questions flood his head, but he must be professional about it.

“Mr. Hayes.” The person in question, a strongly built man of African descent, arrives in the nick of time.

“Yes, captain?” He asks.

“Finish loading our supplies, we cast off immediately.”

With Hayes giving the orders like wildfire, the crew hastens with loading the boat. The Rainbooms, Crusaders, both Spikes, and Princess Celestia board the tramp steamer one by one. With Rarity’s load so large, three of the crew had to shirk their duties and lift her suitcase to her room; with a ship so small, so too are the rooms and Rarity’s suitcase takes up a third of her space. Worse still, she has to share it with Sweetie Belle. Still, better than what Princess Twilight is getting for living quarters: Choy, a shipmate of Oriental origin, led her and Spike below deck to a room with rows of stinking cages of all sizes. Herself deep down an animal to the humans, Twilight felt nerved at the possibility when Choy beholds her “quarters.”

“This room very comfortable.” Choy points to the shoddy ceiling light, “Plenty dim light.”

As if Discord was involved, the light bulb shorts out. Twilight turns around and when she’s about to take her first step,

“Oh, careful!” Too late; Twilight had already placed her boot firm on a cowpie as wide as her foot. “Camel had bad accident. Stain unremovable.”

While she’s more than willing to get her hands dirty, stepping on excrement is the last thing she has on her mind; at least the stain will be gone when she returns to Equestria. She scrapes the boot at the edge of the cage and steps in just as the horn blows. Deeper into the hellish boiler room, workers feed the fire with coal, exciting the boiling and getting the ship to move. Trying to keep a sure footing on the rocking boat, Twilight finishes with unpacking her journal and clothing.

“My apologies for not being able to offer you a cabin.” Twilight looks up and yelps at the sight of Englehorn looking at her, holding the bars as a crook would. “So what are you, a lion or a chimpanzee?”

“Well…” She would say her true form, but she finds that the captain was making a joke, albeit a cynical one. She continues to unpack when a little shift in gravity causes her to fall and make a large brown bottle roll ahead. With perfect timing, Englehorn catches the bottle with his foot: chloroform; and with a jug like that, it’s enough to knock out a rhino for days. Twilight shifts her head around, finding five more jugs of that size.

“I told you to lock it up.” Twilight looks at Englehorn again, shifting his eyes at a startled Choy behind him. “Do you want to put the whole ship to sleep?”

“Sorry.” He apologizes with a bow of his head. “Lumpy wanted-”

“Lumpy doesn’t give the orders, Choy.” Picking up the jug, Englehorn turns his glare to his subordinate, shoves the jug at him and storms off. From the look on Spike’s face, Twilight knows a lot more about the business this ship makes; something that would wrench her Fluttershy’s hindgut.

At last, the ship reaches open water. No land in sight, just the two blues of ocean and sky. With their belongings packed up, the Rainbooms and Crusaders venture to the deck and take in the splendor of the open ocean. The wind brushing their hair, the sea breeze moistening their skin, and salt wafting their noses, it’s an experience one hopes to enjoy once in a lifetime. Princess Twilight leans on the railing and looks down. Occasionally, a dolphin or two would greet her by jumping along the side of the boat.

“It’s so amazing.” Twilight turns around, seeing her human counterpart standing next to her, fascinated by the aquatic mammals. “I’ve read books about them, saw documentaries on National Geographic, but to see them in person…”

“You never saw an actual dolphin?” Asks Princess Twilight with a raise of her brow, “Doesn’t this world have theme parks or aquariums?”

“We do…” Sci-Twi grabs a small curl on the side of her head and begins twisting it, “I… don’t take the time…”

Intrigued by her silence, the Princess decides to stir up a few questions; not ones for science, but for the sake of comfort. As she does, she looks at the far horizon.

“Pinkie, your Pinkie, told me once about another me living in the city.” The Alicorn in human clothing turns to Sci-Twi. “Did you go to another school?”

“Yeah. Crystal Prep.” Sci-Twi fidgets her glasses, “The top of my class; I could graduate anytime!”

Though her counterpart’s answer sounded joyous, her expression told the Princess otherwise. “Did you have friends there?”

“Well, there’s Cadence, and…” Sci-Twi tries to come up with more, but could only stammer them out. Defeatedly, she sighs. “No, not many.”

“Hey,” Princess Twilight wraps her arm around her counterpart “I’ve been through that too, and take it from me, you won’t regret having such good friends.”

Sci-Twi takes a look at her Equestrian counterpart, slowly drawing a smile. From the looks of her, the young scientist could tell that her counterpart already went through a lot. It may be weird seeing herself outside the mirror, but it’s great that she’s friendly. Though the two talking dogs, not so much. With a nudge on each other's shoulders and a giggle, the two twins just look out the horizon. Sci-Twi takes another breath of the ocean air.

“Well, after this it, finding Sunset is like-”

“Finding a needle in a haystack.” Princess Twilight finished the line with her, getting another cute chuckle from each other.

Princess Celestia, watching from afar, curls a cute smile. Her former student teaching lessons to herself; now that’s a sight worth a smile. When she turns her head, she finds the Crusaders also looking at the open ocean, but more of a slouching pose than a straight one. Suspecting seasickness, she approaches them. Their faces aren’t at all pale, but she can tell of their sadness.

“We’re sorry about Sunset.” Scootaloo, in tune with her best friends, turns her head to Celestia. “We thought that getting attention was…” She didn’t say any further before looking down.

Though anger can be lit in Celestia, igniting it is a slow one. Instead of spreading salt on the wound, Celestia did the exact opposite. Kneeling down, legs crossed, the Princess of the Sun has her head at their level before resting it on the rails.

“For as long as I can remember, some of the worst decisions my world has ever made has been done with the best intentions.” She shifts her gaze at the heavens. “I have made them as well, hard as they may be.”

As the moment sinks in, Celestia turns her head to the trio of young girls, feeling fuzzy inside, the kind of fuzzy she would have whenever she wanted to cheer a filly. Her effort is worth it, getting three warm smiles from them. They turn their heads to the ocean, letting out a relaxing sigh.

“Complements of the chef.” Princess Celestia and the Crusaders turn their heads to the right; the latter three reeling back from the sharp scent of an unorthodox dish. Holding the plates is a cabin boy with light brown hair and small freckles on his face. Although a little frail and has a large yet light bruise on his right arm, his stature reminded them of Button Mash. They wanted to greet him, but the smell of their meal is too strong for even Apple Bloom.

“Kid,” Scootaloo’s eyes tear up while she pinches her nose, “what is that?”

“Lambs brains in walnut sauce.” He answers; Sweetie Belle becomes a more sickly pale than her usual marshmallow color and upchucks off the deck. While Apple Bloom comforts her, the boy places the dish on a small table.

“Jimmy,” the boy turns to Hayes approaching them, “finish serving our guests.”

“Doing it now, Mister Hayes.” Jimmy places the meal on a white table and starts walking to the kitchen when his supervisor grabs him by the arm.

“How about, returning Miss Bloom’s bow first?”

Apple Bloom taps the back of her head; the ribbon that fastened to the back of her head for so long is nowhere to be felt. Somehow, Jimmy managed to pull it off in one piece without having to pull a knot only she knows. Caught red-handed, the cabin boy returns the bow to her and quickly dashes off. Noticing his passenger's baffled looks, Hayes walks a few steps towards them.

“He means no harm, girls. I keep him out of your way.”

“Yeah.” As Apple Bloom unravels her bow, she looks at the general direction the cabin boy went. “What’s up with him?”

“That’s how I found him.” Hayes turns to the same direction. “Four years ago, stowed away on one of the back cages. His arm was broken in two places, wilder than half the animals here.” He turns to the girls once more, with Apple Bloom just about finished tying her bow. “Still hasn’t told me where he came from, but what any place could?”

The following evening, the Venture is still at full speed, dolphins and seabirds have gone to rest. So too have the Rainbooms and their siblings, all nestled in their beds. As with everyday work, everyone works a different shift. For Captain Englehorn, one last job for him is to check the heavens before he returns to the pilothouse, where Princess Celestia, in a chance visit, awaits.

“From the position of the stars,” Englehorn marks their current position: Just sixty miles west of Honolulu, “we should reach Komodo in a week.”

Studying the route closely, Celestia places her finger on the gulf between Sumatra and Java.

“At this point, I want you to turn southwest,” Placing her middle fingertip on the bottom left from where her index is, she continues, “then west-southwest without stopping.”

“West southwest?” With a raised brow and arms crossed, Englehorn voices his concern. “There’s no land for miles and it will take outside the shipping lanes. I won’t sail blind in these waters.”

The concern noted, Celestia reaches into her pocket and places her closed hand on the map. What she leaves behind is another gold chunk the size of a grapefruit.

“I assure you, you have nothing to lose.”

“C’mon, Jimmy.” Apple Bloom begged. “We’re in enough trouble as it is.”

Hoping to lighten the mood of the reason the Crusaders are coming on the voyage, Jimmy invited them to play a few pranks. This time, he leads them to Rainbow Dash’ room, dedicating looking one of the many posters she placed in her cabin.

“Just a little more…” Before he can finish his work, Sweetie Belle grabs him by the shirt and pulls him out of the room. Fortune smiles upon the four children as they run down the slim halls.

“Hi, Rainbow Dash!” Scootaloo greets, just barely brushing her arm on her as she flees.

With a raised brow, Rainbow Dash continues to her room before being taken aback at the sight she sees. Her Wondercolt posters have crude drawings on them, even pictures of fellow members Spitfire and Fleetfoot have mustaches. The one of Soarin, she must admit, looks good with an Irish beard.

Below deck in her living quarters, Twilight isn’t so much in good health. The smell of an unkept cage and the large swaying of the boat has kept her bedside. Lying on her back, it’s the best she can do to keep whatever’s left of her last meal. Though it pains him to not be with Rarity, Spike lies next to her head, keeping it level. Without warning, she feels a bit of pressure on her arm and wakes up. Celestia is sitting next to her pupil, holding her hand.

“How are you feeling?” She asks.

“Not too good, I’m afraid.” Twilight shuffles her shoulders. “I hope we get to Komodo soon.”

Celestia rubs Twilight’s hand for a while, then strokes Spike on the head. Unknown to her, Jimmy climbed down the stairs to make his rounds. Seeing three of his passengers, he keeps to the cages and eavesdrops.

“Twilight, Spike,” Celestia stirs both from their sleep, “where we will be going, everyone on board must swear absolute secrecy.”

Two Days Later, Forty Miles West-Southwest of the Sangiang.

Though the Venture made a good time going past the gulf, at this point of the year, it’s a bad season. A dead heat reaches plagues the tramp steamer. Keeping to their jobs, several of the crew members sweat like pigs and stink of them. While Pinkie Pie volunteers for Lumpy for the day, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Rarity step outside. Not the best decision on a hot day, but it’s better than having cabin fever.

“You know,” her back on the steel hull, Rainbow Dash raises her hand, “why didn’t we just taken a plane to Komodo? Get us there a lot faster.”

“There’s this saying, sugar cube:” Applejack mutters, her Stetson tilted at her face, “it’s the journey that counts, not the destination.”

“What do you think this is, ‘Quest for Camelot?’” Rainbow Dash stands up, walks over to Applejack and lifts her headwear, “We’re just apologizing to Sunset and get her back home.”

“Still, Rainbow dearest,” Rarity adds while fanning herself, “this has given us plenty of time to think of something. We all have a lot to say when-”

“If someone were to tell you this ship was heading for Komodo,” The girls, Fluttershy giving a small yelp, turn to Hayes walking towards them. Him popping his knuckles raises a few red flags, “what would you say?

“I'd say they're full of it, Mr. Hayes.” The girls look to their left, Lumpy walking to them while sketching on a small pad of paper, “I mean we turned west-Southwest last night.”

“Now hold on,” Applejack stands up, raising her arms defensively “We’re not looking for any trouble…”

“No.” The girls turn to Jimmy kicking a small stone, hands in his pockets. “You're looking for somethin' else.”

“What do you mean?” Asked Fluttershy. Hayes and Lumpy give an evil eye before the Cook continued with his little sketch.

“Seven years ago, me and Mr. Hayes were working our passage... on a Norwegian bark.”

“We picked up a castaway,” Hayes added. “We found him in the water. He'd been drifting for days.”

“His ship had run aground on an island way west of Sumatra. An island hidden” - Lumpy flips to the next page - “in fog. He spoke of a huge wall... built so long ago... no one knew who'd made it. A wall 100 foot high... as strong today as it was ages ago.”

“Why on earth would they build a wall?” Asked Applejack, crossing her leg. Lumpy looks at Hayes, who gives him a nod.

“Well, the castaway, he spoke of creatures... neither beasts nor men... but something monstrous, living behind that wall.”

The girls look at each other. Wherever it is they’re going, it appears grim. Fear especially came to Fluttershy as she stares at the open ocean. Rainbow Dash swallowed her fear and decided to break the silence.

“Well, what else did he say?”

“Nothing.” Lumpy stops sketching and began to walk. “When we found him the next morning, he'd stuck a knife through his heart.”

Fear is now grief for the Rainbooms; if this is where Sunset is all this time, then a knife would be quite merciful. As scared as she is, Rarity has had her dealings with scary stories and shakes her head.

“Sorry, fellows. You'll have to do better than that.” Rarity takes out a powder box. “Monsters belong in B movies.”

Rarity walks towards the bow when she is grabbed by the arm. She turns to see that it was Hayes who grabbed her.

“If you find this place... if you go ashore with your friends…” He shakes his head, “You won't come back. Just as long as you understand that.”

Hayes releases her arm and walks towards the pilothouse. Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Pinkie Pie look at Rarity, finding her smug face starting to quiver. The following fear, the story kept them awake. After a rough rocking waking her up, Sweetie Belle notices her sister awake with a cold, icy stare.

“Rarity?” She asks.

“Just go to bed, Sweetie, dearest.” The fashionista turns rolls over, though she still stared at the wall. “Just go to bed.”

With each passing day, the passengers and crew made due with other activities. Applejack, Apple Bloom, and Fluttershy tried their hands at making sailors knots. Already the expert with the rope, the farmers made a few successful knots while Fluttershy had trouble making a knot. But she wasn’t alone; Jimmy kept looking at a book about knots before trying again and again with the process. Noticing his dilemma from following the aged book, Applejack decides to ask.

“You ever consider… getting an education besides sailing?”

“That’s why I bought this book.” Reaching into a bundle of twine, Jimmy pulls out a copy of “Heart of Darkness” and shows it to them. Skeptical as to the quality of the book, Applejack snatches the book away and flips it to the front binding. “Property of the Manhattan Library” it reads… and is well overdue. “It’s on long-term loan,” he adds, getting a raised brow. “What I don’t get is why Marlow keeps going up the river. Why doesn’t he turn back?”

“I don’t want to spoil it for you.” Applejack returns the book to Jimmy and gets back to tie the rope.

Rarity tried her hand at grooming some of the more grizzly sailors, though it became clear that she has no ideal when it comes to hair styling. Pinkie Pie, with Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle’s help, made her fair share of ship labor by improving some of the food, adding spices to the tilapia and icing to the biscuits. There laid the satisfaction outside of getting a haphazard haircut. In the communications lodge, a sailor picks up a set of beeping sounds and quickly writes down the letters the sounds correspond. Below deck the girls and sailors sing a loud shanty, getting the hopes up for both Princess’ on the journey of a lifetime. Celestia, however, notices a strange inertia pulling her weight to the right. She stands up and walks to the stairs.

“Princess Celestia?” Twilight mutters.

Celestia rushes from the cabin, up the stairs, and to the pilothouse.

“Mr. Englehorn, what-”

“Outside.” He orders, bringing the conversation outside his domain. He vents his frustration by gripping the bars. “I have been given orders to port at Java. I’ve warned you about going outside the shipping lanes.”

Realizing another chunk of gold isn’t to convince him, Princess Celestia isn’t one who begs often. Defeated, she lowers her head.

“Then do what you must.” She answers before walking from the pilot house.

While not able to hear what the two just said, Princess Twilight remains outside and looks at the open ocean once more. In the darkness without a moon, it gave her the impression that they reached the ends of the universe. But such ends wouldn’t have a breeze as she soon finds.

“So what’s going on?” Twilight turns to Sci-Twi approaching her.

“I don’t know.” Though Twilight has no control of the stars, her knowledge of astrology, as with many subjects, gives her a good idea of what happened. As she looks ahead once more, something catches the corner of her eye. Wrapped around Sci-Twi’s neck is a device as large as her palm and similar in shape to a powder case. Seeing a light blink, Twilight stoops forward with curiosity.

“Is that a pento-?”

“Don’t come any closer!” Sci-Twi cradles the device, swiftly turning before taking a look again. The light is blinking the opposite direction now, the same direction the Venture is turning.

Back at the pilothouse, Englehorn takes the wheel, gently spinning it counterclockwise.

“Mr. Hayes, check the stars.” He asks, not shifting his gaze from the window. Hayes steps out of the pilot house and looks up at the sky. It doesn’t take him long to return.

“There are no stars, Captain.”

Indeed, the Venture has gone into a fog. On lookout duty, Jimmy turns his attention away from his nightly reading and stands up. Hoping to find any help, Englehorn has the pull’s on the Venture’s foghorn, echoing the ocean scape. No answer as of yet, the renowned captain starts becoming nervous.

“Get me a fathom reading.” He asks of another sailor. Stepping out, he casts a ten-pound weight into the deep, keeping a tight grip as it submerges.

“Fifty fathoms!” He confirms. Both passengers and crew go on high alert as they step outside. “Thirty fathoms!”

“Hart to starboard!” Englehorn turns the wheel clockwise. “We’re getting out of this fog, Mr. Hayes.”

“Twenty-five fathoms!” Confirms another reading.

“We’re shallowing!” Hayes adds, getting the captain on edge before turning the wheel counterclockwise.

“Hart to Port!” Knowing his dilemma, Hayes rushes at his equal.

“Captain, you don’t know what the hell you’re-!”

“Get me another reading!” Englehorn barks out. The Rainbooms and Crusaders look around, though it didn’t do much justice.

“Twenty Fathoms!”

“Both engines at full stop!” Hayes pulls the lever to the middle and dims the lights. “This should stop the ship.”

“Ten fathoms!”

At this close to shore, Pinkie Pie starts to bend and contort in ways unimaginable. Jimmy spins around, looking for any land mass in the deep white void. From the corner of his eye, he turns to the bow of the Venture. A large silhouette is creeping out of the fog.

“Wall!” He screams. “There’s a wall ahead!”

Hayes pulls the engine lever backward. Try as the engine may, the waves continue pushing the Venture forward. The crew and passengers brace for impact when the crashes at the wall. The propellers reach pull power and pull the boat away. But at the same time, the waves push the boat away. Before they have time to react, the steamer slams against a rock. Tilted along the right, Fluttershy loses her balance and just catches the dented railing. She sees that the detail of the rock resembles that of an animal skull.

Gripping along the right side of the boat, the girls look at the splendor that the parting fog beholds to them. For the first time in weeks, they found land. But it isn’t Singapore, let alone any civilized paradise. Beyond the dotted rocks and massive wall lies the tip top of a canopy. Whatever this journey has brought them, they better hope it’s a waste of time. Sunset’s out there, and time will be their enemy.

Monsters Exist

View Online

The collision with the rock has left The Venture with a cut in the massive hull. Crew members of all fields do what they can to stop the water.

“Status, Mr. Hayes!” Englehorn calls while walking towards the breach.

“She’s taken a pounding, Captain!” Mr. Hayes pushes a crewmember aside. “We’re doing what we can, but the water’s breaching too fast!”

“Captain!” Englehorn turns to Jimmy just halfway down the flight of stairs. “You better come up quick!”

As if he didn’t have enough on his hands, Englehorn travels up deck and looks to where Jimmy is pointing at. Under his nose, Princess Celestia, Twilight, and the Rainbooms have taken a small, inflatable motorboat towards the island. Pinkie Pie, Sci-Twi and the Crusaders look back, imagining how the trouble they’ve added now they stole property. While Princess Celestia kept a good vigil, Twilight notices Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, and Fluttershy whispering to each other as the first steered the ship.

“Do you want me to go after them?” Asks Mr. Hayes.

Unnerved at the question, Englehorn steps to the port of the Venture ordering, “I want this ship up and afloat by the next high tide!” He turns to the island again, shaking his head. “We’re leaving Mister Hayes.”

His duty done for the day, Jimmy flips the the last page he read before they reached the fog. Finishing the page, he flips over to the next one, skimming it before his eyes catch an interesting paragraph.

We could not understand because we were too far and could not remember because we were traveling in the night of first ages, of those ages that are gone, leaving hardly a sign - and no memories. We are accustomed to look upon the shackled form of a conquered monster, but there - there you could look at a thing monstrous and free.

The cabin boy partly closes the book, staring at the massives rocks ahead of him.

“This isn’t an adventure story,” Jimmy turns his head to Hayes, “is it, Mister Hayes?”

“No, Jimmy.” Hayes answers, not even turning his gaze from the island, “It’s not.”

Passing through the choppy waters and rocky cliffs that dot the edge of the island, the group of girls and dogs reach the rather peaceful interior. Along the left and right of the river channel they float on, rainforests as far as the eye can see, reaching so high up the cliffs that they disappear into the misty air. While they are in a whole new world, it’s nice to be in a place of peace and quiet; no large crowds, no noisy vehicles. Just calm rivers, green jungles, and chirping birds flying overhead.

Only… These birds aren’t like any they’ve seen. Landing on the raft is a sight that even had Fluttershy jump a little. It’s body is even avian; from it’s snout to the tip of it’s pointed tailfin, it resembled a barracuda with bird legs and leather wings.

“That is one…” Without taking her gaze away from the strange animal, Rainbow Dash turns her head to the left, “ugly ass bird.”

It still tickles Sci-Twi’s fancy, kneeling forward so close, yet the fish-bird feels unnerved. Knowing this, Rarity leans forward.

“It’s not… scared?” Against common sense, the fashionista reaches forward, gently stroking it on the head.

“It doesn’t view us a threat.” Fluttershy adds, reaching out and giving the fish bird consent to perch on her finger. Though it could just as well bite her nose with needle-like teeth, it instead remains just as fascinated with the human as those around it.

“Did we…” Sci-Twi looks at everyone, “just make the discovery of the century?”

“I saw it first, I name it!” Rainbow Dash shouts, pressing her temples while coming up with a suitable name. “Birdusfishius awesomeness… No… Rainbowus fishius!”

Unnerved by the amateur attempts at science, Sci-Twi raises a finger, “One: that’s not how naming things works. And two: it doesn’t even have feathers, in fact, the wings look like those of a pterosaur.”

“Pteracuda!” Pinkie Pie shouts, echoing the jungle. With a pursed lip, both Twilights look at each other before the true human shakes her head.

“Pteracuda it is then.” She confirms with a shake of her hand.

“Oh come on!” Rainbow Dash protests so loud that it echoes the valley. Before she can say any further, her mouth is covered.

“Do you want to wake up the whole island?” Applejack mutters.

While still looking at the so-called Pteracuda, Fluttershy notices something on a sparse hilltop. At best, it resembled a large white tiger with a red face and antlers. But what’s more interesting is the robed figured on the beast. A native perhaps? And if so, where would the person live.

“Girls, there’s-” Before Fluttershy can finish, the boat suddenly chugs to a halt so quick that everyone gets tossed around. Twilight colliding with her human counterpart causes the device to glow before popping the lid.

“No, not again!” Sci-Twi tries to pull it away, but the device aims itself at the princess. Twilight feels a pain in her stomach, as if a knife went in and began twisting. While the other rainbooms pull Twilight away, at the same time a purple mist seeps from her body and gets sucked into a tiny ball of energy before snapping itself shut. As if the ride aboard The Venture made her sick, now Twilight is deathly ill; even her skin became a sickly color. Princess Celestia wraps her arm around her protoge, Spike the Dragon places his paw on her.”

“What did you do?” He asks Sci-Twi.

“It wasn’t my fault,” Sci-Twi lifts the device “this stupid-”

As if things couldn’t get any worse, the center of the boat pops, quickly bringing them underwater. As with the instinct of all land dwellers, they immediately start swimming for shore. Fluttershy and Rarity held both Spikes on their heads, while Applejack pulled the drained Twilight to shore. One by one they reach the grassy shore, but just as Sweetie Belle can feel the shore, something grabs her legs and pulls her under.

“Sweetie Belle!” Rarity cries out before rushing to the water.

Sweetie Belle couldn’t see much as she is pulled quickly underwater, but pushing and scratching the thing entangling her gave the Crusader an idea. Stroking with all her might did little to stop her from getting closer to the creature’s mouth between its tentacles. If there is such a thing as God, she better hope he can forgive Sweetie Belle and her friends for being Anon-a-Miss. But God works in mysterious ways; in the blink of an eye, something massive snatches the squid from below, pulling her so fast, she became unconscious.

Breaching the water is another anomaly the rest of the world has never seen. To the scientifically profound, one can easily call this a plesiosaur, one of many long necked sea-reptiles long extinct with the dinosaurs or so now they thought. But there are quite a few differences; Aside from the four paddles that kept it still in the river, it also has two arm with claws like a bear, and most recognizable is how the head seems to be deprived of any skin, giving it a zombie look. Ink drinking from its teeth, the animal lifts its head and makes another chomp that severs the tentacle that wrapped Sweetie Belle, dropping her to the water again. Asking Rarity to go back to shore, Rainbow Dash makes a swim for the little girl; she didn’t go far when the massive reptile dives again, creating a wave that pushes Sweetie Belle close enough for Rainbow to grab her and backstroke to shore.

“Sweetie Belle!” Rarity calls out again, hoping to hug her sister if Applejack isn’t holding her back.
Rainbow Dash pinches her Crusader on the nose and and breaths into her mouth before pushing her chest a few times. A couple attempts later and Sweetie Belle coughs out water, giving hope to her sister.

“Give her some room!” Rainbow Dash orders, pushing Rarity aside. “Sweetie Belle might have the bends!”

“Okay,” Applejack raises her arms, trying to find the right words, “do you realize just what we got ourselves into?”

“Yeah, we found a MUTO!” Everyone, save for Sweetie Belle, Twilight, and Celestia, is confused at the word “MUTO.” Pinkie Pie pulls down a size chart of the creature they encountered; though only from the top of the head to it’s withers, it’s already big enough to dwarf them. “Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism, I thought you guys would get the joke by now.”

“That wasn’t a good joke, Pinkie.” Applejack grumbles before pointing at Sweetie Belle. “Sweetie Belle almost drowned is not a joke. Hell, this entire voyage is not a joke! What does this have to do with us finding Sunset anyhow?!”

“Yeah,” Rainbow Dash gently lifts Sweetie Belle to her feet, “and we know who to ask.”

Princess Celestia and Sci-Twi laid Twilight in front of a mangrove tree; the purple princess now felt feverish; it’s even hard for her to move. As she stands up, Celestia’s ears pick up a quick rustle of bushes. As if she has a sixth sense, the Alicorn turns around and grabs Rainbow’s incoming fist. Though deprived of her magic in this world, some things still remain such as superhuman strength. A little more pressure sways the athlete, pulling away her hand and shaking it.

“Alright,” Applejack takes a deep breath and crosses her arms, “tell us everything we don’t know.”

Even with said super strength, Celestia is outnumbered eleven to one. She sits down, fists on her knees and answers, “Monsters exist.”

“No shit.” Grumbles Rainbow while applying.

“There are monsters in Equestria, you’ve fought them before. But these…” Celestia raises her arm at the river behind them. “These are beyond harmony. No conscience. No remorse. No reasoning. Just destroy. Long before any of you were born, Starswirl the Bearded, Luna and I rounded them up then sent them away. I didn’t think this is where it would be, but coming here, I could feel it.

“So…” Applejack pinches the bridge of her nose, “What does this have to do with Sunset?”

“She must have felt the same thing as I have, some form of recent pulse.”

“Of course!” Sci-Twi lifts the device at her face. “We can track her magic… If…”

“If?” Rainbow Dash stands up, glaring at Sci-Twi before turning to Celestia “Are you this was a wild goose chase all along!? And you just lead us to the slaughterhouse?!”

“I’m sorry. Believe me I truly am. But if you want to make this worthwhile,” Celestia stands up “get us home with my daughter.”

Everyone is stunned at this news, even Twilight. True she didn’t know that much about Sunset Shimmer before she came to this world, but to think Celestia cared for her like her own. Their objective clear, Sci-Twi lifts the device at her face, seeing a blinking light to her left. With this information.

“Okay, then let’s get going.” Applejack walks over to Sweetie Belle and picks her up. “The creature just fed, he won’t be hunting for a while.”

“With just one squid?” Asks Spike the Dragon as he goes into a trot.

“Well, carnivores don’t eat when they're not hungry.” The other Spike raises a paw at his master. “Sci-Twi does.”

Keeping close to each other, they travel through the green jungles of this uncharted island, where creatures look so different yet act very familiar; namely more fish-birds with beaks like parrots and finches. In time, Twilight regains her strength, yet she feels empty. The only time she felt like that was when Tirek drained her powers in exchange for her friends. Only a being of that caliber can do that, yet a small human device does just the same. Now it’s her turn to ask questions, and so she catches up with Sci-Twi.

“While my power was being drained you said, ‘Not Again.’” Twilight’s question did get her human counterpart to turn her head a little before looking at the blinking device. “What did you mean by that?”

“I made this device to track magic,” Sci-Twi lifts the device “but it started draining magic ever since.”

“So the others don’t have magic either?” She stops and turns around, getting some questionable faces back. “Do you know how to get our magic back?”

“I’ve tried to, but everytime I open it, portals start appearing.” Sci-Twi points the device forward again, turning slightly to her right. Twilight’s brow furrowed; she’s not just looking at a mirror, she’s back at her own past, when she was a bit reckless. Knowledged with the magic of harmony, but reckless.

“Look at the brightside,” Spike the Dog wags his tail, “I can talk!”

But the gesture resulted with a glare from Twilight Sparkle; the dog curls his tail between his legs and draws his ears back before continuing his trot.

“I can tell you right, now: messing with something you don’t know is the worst idea in a long, sad history of bad ideas.” Twilight leans at her counterpart, “Don’t expect results without the consequences.”

The new direction takes them away from the green jungle and to the open plains. There they see more anomalies: deer with rabbit heads, antelope with proportions of elephants, elephants themselves with lower jaws like shovels, and flightless storks feasting on a carcass. They keep to the shore, where is little cover for any land predators, whatever they are. While still in Applejack’s arms, the ill Sweetie Belle slowly turns her head before she screams.

Laying before them are more massive squids, their tentacles just touching the shore. Though the stench is a bit unbearable, the desire for food had Pinkie’s tummy rumble. Reaching to her hair, she pulls out an apron, a cutting board on one hand and a butcher’s knife with the other.

“Well, who’s hungry for sushi?” Pinkie’s offer for them to eat raw, rotting, meat made most of the present company gag, Rarity to almost faint, and Sweetie Belle to upchuck on AJ.

“Really?!” Applejack scolded, putting the weakened Crusader down before walking to shore to wash up.

“Pinkie Pie,” Rarity collects herself before pinching her nose, “you expect us to eat that after God knows how long they’ve been beached?”

“We all need a break.” Rainbow Dash backs away, “just… not a lunch break.”

Both Twilights take a look at the rotting corpses. Some had dozens of pteracudas nipping at their tanned hides. One has another new creature: a wolf with the attributes of a killer whale yanking on the flesh with all it’s might. Downwind, the carnivore is ignorant of their presence. But the way the squids are lined up had them raise an eyebrow.

“They’re not beached,” Sci-Twi backs away, not keeping her gaze from the corpses, “they were cached.”

“Cached?” Asks the young dragon in a nasally tone.

“When a lean season is approaching,” Fluttershy lifts her hand, “an animal would store any caught food for later.”

“Well, aside from Nessie,” Rainbow Dash points to the river they escaped from, “what could possibly eat these mutant squid things?”

The ground begins to rumble, sending the pteracudas to the sky, the whale-wolf to run to the nearby jungle, and the denizens of plains animals to run further away from shore. Being close to shore felt like an aftershock that had them fall on the sand. And to make matters worse, they are dowsed with the rising water. They wipe their eyes and look up, some gasping in terror again.

“That answer your question?” Scootaloo asks with a gulp.

From the torso, this new monster appears as a crab, but balancing on two large legs, the creature turns around, showing to beady, black eyes behind a mouth holding another squid like a closed flower. It’s torso also sports two pairs of tentacles holding a creature with a shark’s upper body and octopus’ lower half. It looks down, tossing the sharktopus aside before starting to bend down. Up close the head is larger than a bus. If she was capable, Celestia can smite the beast with one blast at its chest. All she can do is stand before it, braving death once more as she has all her long lifespan. The creature’s mouth “blooms,” letting out a screech with a rumbling undertone.

Soon after, another roar echoes not just the valley, but the whole island. Far away, the crew of The Venture are astonished at the unusual sound. The two-legged crustacean rises up and turns around. Behind it, and in front of our heroes is another reptile resembling theropod dinosaur with five fingers on each hand. With five rows of spines on it’s back and a massive underbite with a defined “chin,” this animal is more than ready to pick a fight.

Accepting this challenge, the bipedal crustacean, and iguana charge at each other, echoing the valley with their roaring. The walking crab parry’s a claw swipe and pulls the lizard on the legs before he could turn around. Submerged, the hard-shelled beast plunges after him and spreading water all over the shore.

“We have to move!” Orders Celestia just as the waters rise once more. The crab has all four tentacles wrapping the lizard by the shoulders and tosses it again into the depths before the reptile grabs the beast by the head and pulls it under. Though she wants to put her bets on the walking crab cake, even Rainbow Dash isn’t stupid enough to stay and watch the dangerous spectacle.

While they were running, the waters rise once more and sweep them off their feet. The iguana clamps its jaws on the crab’s neck, as tight as it can to end it’s life. But the two-legged arthropod shakes off its adversary, turns around and upchucks a steamy, viscous substance at the reptile’s eyes. Blinded, the animal screams in pain before it is given a smack at it’s side and into the deep blue once more. From the corner of its left eye, the arthropod spots the group of humans and two dogs running as they can to escape and gives chase. As awkward is its walk, the stride it has carries it’s body toward the intruders in two steps. Tipping its head forward, it reaches forward with all four tentacles and grabs Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rarity (with the dragon dog in her arms), and Sci-Twi. Spike tries biting on the tentacle, but that only works so much as a bug bite and gets the two-legged crab to lift them to its mouth and readily accepts its snack.

“Rarity,” Spike wraps his paws around Rarity’s arm “there’s something I always wanted to tell you! Will you-?”

Before Spike can finish, a blue dot of light stabs the crab in the eye before blowing it up with a delayed explosion. It drops its quarry before desperately rubbing the empty socket with a tentacle or two. And if that isn’t enough, a boulder falls on its carapace, getting its attention to the bipedal reptile once again standing by the edge of a cliff. While she stood up, Sci Twi spots the splintered object that removed its one eye and grabs it before Twilight pulls her up. Enraged, the two-legged crab charges forward, lowering its head to push him off. In some odd form of intelligence, the iguana tunnels into the ridge, dirt shooting out like a geyser as can be seen from a safer distance.

“What’s it doing?” Asks Rainbow Dash.

“He’s making that ridge unstable.” Twilight answers.

Indeed, when the lizard digs itself out, the cliff collapses under the walking crab's weight. In one, desperate attempt to save itself, the arthropod wraps the reptile by the arms, doing little if only to take it’s adversary down with it. There is one trick up its sleeve: a series of lights flash from the tip of its tail up to its eyes before arching back and exhaling a green fire that severed the tentacles like a knife through butter. The crustacean falls faster than a rock, making a big wave upon hitting the river. The shockwave made a few large, loose rocks fall off, crushing the walking crab cake. The reptile roars triumphantly before the end collapses under its weight, joining its fallen adversary.

“Well,” - Applejack takes off her Stetson to wipe her brow - “two birds with one stone I suppose.”

The ground rumbles once more before the waters rise.

“You had to jinx it?” Mutters Rarity when the waters rise again. The bipedal iguana surfaces, lets out a howling roar, then dives into the water. As much cause there is to celebrate, survival comes first, and so the small band of settlers brave the jungle again.

Taking note of the chaos in the island, some of the Venture’s crew team starts arming themselves to the teeth. Rifles, automatics, chloroform, even Lumpy packs a steak fork for good measure. They take to the lifeboats, boarding one by one as Hayes prepares to come ashore. That is, before he grabs one of the crew by the shoulders.

“Jesus, Jimmy!” He scolds, pulling away the sailor’s hat that everyone else wore and takes away the rifle from Jimmy’s hand.

“Hey, I need that!” Jimmy tries to reach for the weapon to no avail.

“I’m not giving you a gun!” Hayes keeps the gun out of reach, pushing the boy away.

“You were younger than me when they gave you one!”

“I was in the army.” Hayes leans forward, giving the boy a stink eye. “I was trained. I had a drill sergeant!”

“I wanna help bring them back.”

For as long as he can remember, Jimmy was a thorn at everyone’s side. Yet Hayes seemed to be more of a father figure to him. Even that isn’t saying much given the boy’s stubbornness. With a huff, Hayes gives him the rifle. The boy starts walking to the lifeboat when he is gripped by the shoulder.

“Don’t make me regret it.” He asks of him before joining him. As the lifeboats lower, Captain Englehorn leans forward, gripping the safety rails.

“You have food, you have ammo, you have seventy-two hours. After then, you’re on your own.”

The sun sets in the land time seems to forget, swallowing the jungle in deep, primordial night. Tired, cold, hungry, and many having their own brush with death, the first rescue party found refuge by collecting dead brush and forming a protective circle while Applejack scrapes a couple pieces of flint and making fire before sitting down puffing her cheeks.

“This has gone too far now.” Applejack eyeballs everyone. “First thing tomorrow, I say we make it back to the river.”

“Here… Here…” Rarity shivers.

“But, what about Sunset?” Asks Spike, the dragon curling up into a tiny ball.

“What about her?” Rainbow Dash stands up, throwing a stick in a fit of rage,“We almost got eaten! Eaten!” The athlete sits back down, grabs a couple pebbles and tosses each one into the fire, “She’s dead as far I can tell. We had our chance, we blew it.”

“She’s not dead.” The others look at Sci-Twi fiddling the arrow pieces, “this arrow proves otherwise, we’re not alone on this island. If we find them,” Sci-Twi lifts the device around her neck, the bright light pointing to their right, “we find her.”

“How does a-?”

“Now, that’s enough!” Applejack stops Rainbow from talking any further, turning to everyone else “We’ll look for one more day. But not because of what you said, Twi. Let’s get some sleep.”

“And I know just the song to sing to.” At the same time a mosquito spies the pink wonder, Pinkie reaches inside her hair, pulling out a tiny banjo and begins strumming, “Marsha, Will, and Holly on a routine expedition met the greatest earthquake ever known. It… struck their tiny raft.”

“Pinkie?” Rarity asks as she, like everyone else, notices Pinkie’s skin become pale.

“And… plunged… them…” Pinkie spins around on the rock she sits on; the mosquito that had it’s eyes on her is now filled up with blood as big as a bagpipe. Once more, Rarity gags and vomits behind her. “A thousand…” The loss of blood is too great for her, and Pinkie falls on her back to the fire, dousing it with her life water.

“Eugh! Seriously!” Shouts Apple Bloom in the now pure darkness.

The search party slept like rocks throughout the night. Not a creature in the night stirred them, yet they are lucky not one of them got picked off one after the other. From her sleeping spot, Fluttershy feels a little aching pain in her eye and opens her eye. The darkness of the jungle is giving way to the warm, orange glow of the sun. While this is still unknown territory to her, the caretaker knows her zoology enough to say this: predators favor the midday. As long as she keeps close to camp, Fluttershy can do just fine.

With a sharp piece of rock, Fluttershy marks her trail on each large tree before continuing on. With the passing of a few birds of paradise, the caretaker stumbles upon a sight she thought she would never see. A vast field of flowers of blues, greens, and reds. Untouched by the devastation of man’s handiwork, this beautiful garden in an unforgiving island invigorates the caretaker. Looking ahead, Fluttershy sees more of the land she and her friends must cross, along with a few animals never seen by human eyes, from long necked lumbering reptiles to two headed eagles with wingspans over thirty feet.

Just when she turns around, Fluttershy lets out a little yelp. The same cloaked figure she saw at the river is standing next to her, letting the wind sweep under its cloak. There are additional details she couldn’t see from afar, namely the light blue weaving on the edges of the cloak.

“Uhm. Hello?” Fluttershy asks, getting the figure to look at her. Underneath the hood is a mask of orange and eggshell that covers all but the figure’s straight mouth. “Do you know where there might be a village somewhere?”

But the figure doesn’t say a word, just keeping its silence while looking at the caretaker. At the least the figure doesn’t attack, but at the same time, it doesn’t show a bit of naive curiosity. Though peaceful, the silence is a bit nerving for the caretaker. Fluttershy raises her hands, waving them calmingly before returning to the path she marks. If there is any hope of finding the civilization Sci-Twi is implying, the figure would certainly know.

When she makes another left turn at the tree she marked, she stops. And with good reason; between her and her friends is a large tan, pug-nosed crocodile tearing away at its recent kill. As if rewarding her for caring her children, Nature keeps Fluttershy’s scent downwind. She hides behind the tree she marked: if she isn’t the kind, gentle being everyone knows her as she would curse at the top of her lungs. She’ll have to take another path and moves to her left.

Getting her face to face with another of them. Though the tiny eyes imply a poor sense of vision, the slow hissing at the animal opens its mouth tells her otherwise. In the world she lives in, Fluttershy could tame even the most maniacal of bears with a technique her friends dub “The Stare.” But as she said before with the pteracuda, this creature doesn’t know the fear of man as its persecuted relatives have known elsewhere. Timing it right, Fluttershy rolls to her right and starts running as fast as she could with muddied boots. But with short legs, crocodilians can still run fast by simply bounding, but they still aren’t great at tight turns once Fluttershy makes a sharp right and dives into a hollow log. But the crocodile is as voracious as the kaiju that prowl the island, and just digs its way into the log, much to the confusion of the crocodile feasting on its meal. Fluttershy backs up quickly before she is cornered. Fearing the worst, she closes her eyes, ready to accept the ultimate fate of all living beings.

But her ears pick up a gnashing sound, halting the beast in its tracks. The crocodile is pulled back, whimpering in agony while it tries to keep a hold on the sides of the log to little avail. Fluttershy closes her eyes once again when another, larger predator lifts it’s captured victim off the ground and ends its life with one more bite. The other crocodile doesn’t make a second guess and scurries off ASAP.

“Fluttershy!” Shouts Rainbow Dash. Hearing nothing after that, Fluttershy crawls out of the log.

“I’m over-!” A large growl interrupts her response. Her face gripped with fear, Fluttershy turns around to the large being behind her. Before her stood what appears to be a large, blue Allosaurus with a large spike at the end of its tail and thick hind legs; standing slightly upright, it resembled a kangaroo. Predators would usually finish their meal, but it focuses on the Easter colored girl speaks for itself as its growl becomes faster.

Fluttershy immediately turns tail and runs as she can, not daring to look back as the thunderous footsteps become louder each second she runs. She rushes to her right, running along a ridge where she is at eye level with the dinosaur at a steady trot. Fluttershy eventually returns to ground level, barely avoiding the large feet from crushing her, sliding along a muddy trail to thick undergrowth, scurrying like the rabbits she cares for before lying next to a fallen tree. The thunderous footsteps come to a halt, but the growling still continues. Fluttershy holds her breath, slowly turning blue when the growling stops. She lifts her head to find the dinosaur gone. Now far from her trail, the best Fluttershy can do is to sit and wait.

And that isn’t saying much when the log starts to shake. The caretaker looks down; another one of the pursuer’s kind thrashes its head back and forth against the log in the hopes of getting a snack. Fluttershy grips on the dead tree for dear life. Not saying much for the plant; the rocks that the tree has gripped for centuries gave way, getting her to the level of the dinosaur’s massive toenails. She curls into a tiny ball, too afraid to see a reptile the size of two giraffes to swallow her. In her blindness, she feels the hot breath turn away.

“Up here, you colossal fossil!” Hearing Applejack’s voice filled Fluttershy with hope before seeing her friends high on a ledge, throwing and pushing large rocks on the dinosaur. The beast curls his lip before turning to them, just missing Fluttershy with a sweep of its mighty tail. When one rock hit his eye, the animal roars before slamming his tail, shattering the log, then jumped up and kicked the cliff face with such force it shattered.

“No!” Fluttershy screams in anguish while she sees her friends fall to certain doom.

But luck is on their side when several blue dots collide with the large boulders, reducing them to sand and cushions their fall. But that isn’t saying much as the dinosaur reaches down with jaws wide open. The team scamper off in time before the great set of teeth bites down. Spitting out sand, the carnivore turns his attention to Rainbow Dash and Rarity behind him before slamming his tail on the ground, sending the athlete high in the air. Deprived of her wings, Rainbow screams as gravity takes her to the saw-toothed maw of the animal before another light, green this time, explodes on the side of the dinosaur, wrapping it in a tight bond.

Safe… As long as Rainbow Dash clutches on the nostrils with an iron grip while being thrashed like a ragdoll. Another green arrow explodes around his ankles, toppling the great dinosaur and sending Rainbow Dash to the rocky ground. Bound up and unable to untie himself with tiny arms, all it can do writhe as another blue arrow shoots speeds at the ground behind it and makes a steep slope. The Rainbooms, Crusaders, and Princess Celestia watches the animal slide down and fall off the nearby cliff, echoing the island in a large boom.

“That’s gotta hurt.” Says Pinkie Pie just when the figure Fluttershy met lands in front of them and turns around. Fluttershy and Celestia aside, the others are creeped by the figure just staring at them.

“Uhm, yes.” Rarity breaks the silence. “Thank you kindly.”

The figure just continues to watch them silently. Sci-Twi steps forward, raising a finger.

“Do you. Know of a civilization?” She spoke slowly and clearly. Yet the figure still continues to watch, as if feigning ignorance.

“Let me try, let me try!” Pinkie Pie bounds forward to the figure, staring nose to mask before raising her fist. “Bah weep granah weep nini bong!”

Her attempt at the universal greeting does even get the figure to shift it’s gaze. But what does is a foghorn in the distance.

“Miss Rarity!” Shout’s Hayes from a great distance. Immediately, the figure dowses the ground in smoke. When the Rainbooms sweep the smoke, the figure is all gone.

“Miss Twilight!” Shouts another. Risking the terrors of the jungle once more, they rush through, stepping on bush after push, pushing through branch after branch until at last they reach another river, where another rescue team floats the current of the river.

“Here! Over Here!” They shout. With a turn of the wheel, they come ashore to a shallow pool. Now in the company of armed men, the band of women and dogs can relax unless the next big predator shows up. But the meeting is only sour sweet as Celestia and Mr. Hayes talking with each other.

“Seen enough?” The First Mate crosses his arms, raising an eyebrow.

“Yes.” Celestia reaches into her pocket and pulls out a small chunk of gold, but the first mate isn’t swayed this time.

“We’re taking you all home, right now.”

“Not without Sunset.” Twilight steps forward, Sci-Twi next to her holding the gadget, the light blinking at twelve o’clock. Yet, the first mate holds his ground.

“If Twilight and Celestia are staying, I’m staying too!” Rainbow Dash adds to their defense, followed by the others all the way down to Fluttershy. Still not feeling convinced enough, Applejack grabs a rifle from Lumpy and shoots a bird with good accuracy.

“That good enough for you?” She asks, this time getting a coy grin from Hayes as he turns to his rescue party.

“Anyone else want to stay?” Haye’s question is answered when Lumpy, Jimmy, Choy, Preston, and a few other crew members come to his side. “We have twenty-four hours, pray you keep up.”

Everyone loads up their guns, one of the crew passing one to Rainbow Dash and Apple Bloom, and begins their journey. All except Princess Celestia, standing there as she silently gives them a blessing. Twilight, deprived of her powers and in a dangerous world, turns around and hugs her mentor. This could be the last hurrah for the Princess of Friendship.

They continue their journey through the dark jungle and yellow grasslands, keeping away from the edge of the river. Though they realize the peril throughout the island, for once in a long while, the fact that nothing has attacked them since morning gives them some relief. That is until the shorebirds start to fly when the ground rumbles and the river bubbles. Without question, the armed sailors aim their weapons at the object rising from the water. Over thirty-eight meters tall, it was a crimson beast, save for the edges of bone that surrounds it’s head. Opening it like a flower reveals it’s red, tusked whale head. Knowing a monster when he see’s one, Lumpy aims his rifle, yet the beast is unfazed. Hayes grabs the gun barrel and lowers it; the beast doesn’t show any aggression beneath those relaxed eyes. It shakes it’s body a little, lets out a monotonous rumble, then walks back to the water.

Continuing through the plains, they notice a set of moss covered structures jutting off the ground. Seeing more of them collected uphill made Pinkie shake, contort, and distort in ways the human body couldn’t possibly imagine. To the Rainbooms and Crusaders, they know this well as a “doozy.” And such a doozy is proven correct for over the other side of the hill is a wasteland, a scar in the isle of greenery. Even in the steaming fog, large bones of a couple giant apes dot the area. After staring at the unknown for a while, Hayes takes a look at the still gawking Sci-Twi.

“So, is this the right direction to your friend?” That question got the young scientist to lift her device, seeing the lights point in the same direction they are going. No alternate routes, just straight through the bone yard. “Than that’s where we’ll have to go. Stay close and be alert.”

“Wait, wait, hold up!” Applejack interjects, pointing at Pinkie. “Pinkie just had a doozy. And when she’s a twitchin’, you better listen.”

“And do you have any faster ways?” The girls didn’t bother to answer Hayes. True, there are other wars around a main trail, but as always, going straight through is the fastest. “Then that’s where we’ll go. Stay close and be alert!”

As everyone walks down to the wastes, Rainbow Dash sputters, tapping the tip of the barrel to her shoe and grumbling,

“Sure, we fought a she-demon, blasted three sirens with rainbows, and just survived one day on this God-forsaken rock. How do we know?” Rainbow Dash lifts the gun on her shoulder and walks down, cursing whenever she can behind their backs. Unknown to them, the mysterious figure is watching them, joined by a few more people in yellow markings.

The yellow fog not only obscured their vision but also gave off such a stench that it would make noses bleed. Rarity pinches her nose, but that doesn’t do much when she has to breath. Sci-Twi and Twilight braved the stench, wandering a little from the ground to study the bones of the fallen. Many questions flood their minds. What happened here? How long has this gone on, and how did this not get noticed by settlers from nearby islands? They do discover the reason for the yellow haze: a fissure over several meters wide and several fathoms deep. From the looks of the claw marks at the edge, this is no natural orifice. Lumpy walks over to a similar fissure and tosses his finished cigar. The result is a large explosion that echoes of a volcano.

A few ear rubbings and pressure adjustments, the rescue crew hears an odd noise. A soothing voice, almost like a song. Except for Sci-Twi and the crew of the Venture, this strange tune is awfully familiar. But in this tune, a cruel, crisp clicking sound is heard nearby. Immediately both Twilights, Spikes, and the crew of the Venture hide in the skull of a massive reptile while everyone else hides behind some protruding shoulder blades.

From those in the skull, the being behind the made itself known. From a distance, it resembled a Komodo dragon on the prowl, even flipping its pink tongue evokes the behavior of the world’s largest extant lizard. Though it appears to have no eyes, it does have eyes beyond the white snout just next to the jawline. Like the giant arthropod from yesterday, it balanced itself on two legs. As it emerged from the fog, it carried someone, or something, on it’s back. An anthropomorphic, spiny lizard just nine meters tall, steers the larger beast towards the rest of the Rainbooms and Crusaders.

“I knew this was a no-no spot!” Pinkie Pie mouthed, curling herself as tight as she could as the creature’s hissing gets louder.

With a jerk of the reigns, the two-legged lizard stops and starts to dry heave. Rarity gags again when bones, human bones mixed in bile and bits of cloth. The beast turns around and walks back to the fog. While the two split groups reunite, Sweetie Belle, against her common sense, notices an oddity and starts fishing it out. As the creature moves further, Choy becomes enticed by the sweet music and slowly walks away.

“Is that your civilization?” Asks Hayes, gripping hard on his rifle.

“Not even close.” Rarity answers, stifling vomit from going too far up.

“Guys,” Sci-Twi lifts up her device, which is no longer blinking, “I don’t have a reading.”

Choy’s little misadventure blindly leads him through the haze before his eyes see a silhouette.

“So what?” Applejack motions to her left with her rifle, “Let’s pick up where we left off and-”

“We can’t…” With shaking hands, Sweetie Belle shows the object she found in the bones: a piece of black leather with a few silver studs. Sci-Twi doesn’t understand the significance until she sees the others lower their heads.

Choy continues to approach the silhouette, unaware of a certain danger behind him; one that has big teeth and a bad attitude.

“So…” Rainbow Dash sniffles, trying her damndest not to cry, “Who’s going to tell Celestia?”

Everyone slowly turns their heads to Princess Twilight Sparkle. The one who brought their school together and got Sunset to change her ways. The one who they promised to look out for her and they failed. With a stifled breath, the Alicorn in human clothing accepts the hard decision.

“I’ll tell her.”

While everyone prepares to leave, Lumpy notices they are missing one member when a scream is heard nearby.

“Oh shit, Choy!” Lumpy wastes no times running to the scream, but it is all too late. Two of the lizard men are already tearing the Oriental man apart, scattering pieces of bone and splotches of blood. Gritting his teeth, the cook fires a few rounds on the one on his left, landing a few shots on its skull and scaring away the other with Choy’s right hand. Without a cause and now down one person, the normally collective group of girls get panicky when the ominous song is no longer heard.

“Set up a perimeter!” Shouts Hayes as he loads up his gun. In no time at all was there a defensive ring; one man perches himself on the skull of a massive dinosaur. Vengeance in his heart, Lumpy stands up, pulling out his machete. Breaking the silence are the echoes of clicks and snarls of predatory animals. Whether it was gut instinct or something else, Lumpy raises the long blade and glares at the nothing.

“Death before dishonor.” He mutters before the lizard man with a bloodied maw rushes out of the haze. In an instance, Lumpy spins around and slashes the beast by the stomach.

The boneyard became a war zone as the unarmed seek cover in the bones. From the safe distance in the green, the figure and it’s cohorts see bits of lights in the fog as if it was lightning. From his perch, the sailor is able to mow down hordes of the lizard men before they came too close. But with numbers so great, guns can mean nothing. Lumpy prepares to make another strike when his arm is bitten and torn with great force. But the cook doesn’t give up the fight and punches any incoming intruder before he is overcome, screaming as he is torn apart. After firing her last round, Applejack reaches for some fresh rounds and stands up when she is pounced.

“Applejack!” Twilight shouts before turning to her human duplicate. “You gotta get our powers back!”

“I-I don’t know how!”

“What do you mean you don’t know how?!” Princess Twilight exclaims when a raspy screech is heard. The beast that was on Applejack is now pinned to the ground by a long spear in its chest. The wielder in question slides down, pulls the spear off the corpse and throws it at another. Their ears pick up a loud, sharp whistle before several dozen arrows with blue tips land on the ground and explode. Not long after, ten tribesmen, each adorned with markings as diverse as fingerprints, land in front of them, spears and bows at the ready.

“Looks like the cavalry's here!” Rainbow Dash cheers before the tribesmen continue their assault. For once, the tables start to turn again; it seems that the lizard men seem to fear these tribes folk; natural enemies perhaps. But with every side to a war, there’s always an arms race. Joining the war cries is a raspy screech from the same large, two legged lizard charges forth.

“Incoming!” Pinkie Pie shouts before running aside.

Whether it’s biology or sorcery, bullets seem to not harm it as it barrels to the soldier on the dinosaur skull, smashes it, and catches the soldier with its forked tongue before turning it’s attention to Rarity and Spike and takes chase.

The Fashionista grabs the pup and runs as she can with a long skirt. Some of the lizard men take notice of the fleeing human but are crushed by their larger ally. Disturbing as it sounds, Rarity takes refuge in a ribcage. But age has not been kind as the beast easily parts the bones with its head. Even if he was a small dragon, Spike would singe the legged serpent. Still, it didn't hurt for him to try as he pulled his ears back, opening his mouth like a handheld lighter.

Desperate to save everyone, Twilight snatches the device and pulls the lid with all her might.

"Twilight, don't!" Sci-Twi cries too late. Upon opening, the device, a beam of light shoots out and opens a rift to another world. On the other side, two dragons are fighting for a diamond horde stolen from a diamond dog colony. One of them dodges his rivals fire breath, which shoots through the rift and chars the assaulting beast. Rarity takes this advantage and scurries off.

"Keep firing!" Shouts Hayes before he and a few of his shipmates fire a few rounds at the burned reptile. Realizing her mistake, Twilight tries to close the device, but it’s with Sci-Twi’s combined strength that fully closes the device and the rift. The beast shrugs off the fire and gives one of the shipmates a good smack with its tale into a drove of lizard men. Hayes turns to Jimmy and the Crusaders.

“Jimmy, take them and run!”

“No, I’m not gonna run!” The boy argues.

“Don’t be a damn fool, Jimmy!”

“But-!” Jimmy feels a hand on his shoulder and is spun around.

“Look, kid,” Scootaloo shouts, “I’d like to stay as much as you, but running sounds like a good idea!”

Much as it pains him, Jimmy provided cover fire while joining their escape. For such a large beast, the two-legged lizard is as agile as a jaguar; after jumping a good distance, it scoops up a warrior in it’s mouth, devours him, then slaps its tail to the ground and sending a Venture crewmate flying. But even a large predator has a preference for easier prey such as the old, sick… or young. Rainbow Dash notices it pursuing the four and tries to outflank the creature only to be stopped two of their enemies.

The children were able to reach the fringes of a jungle when the beast jumps at their left and cuts them off with a tail slap. Apple Bloom and Jimmy aim their rifles, though it won’t do them much good. It’s intentions are unclear as it slithers around the kids, keeping them corralled with it’s tail.

“Scootaloo,” Sweetie Belle mutters, her arms close to her body, “remember how I said Diamond Tiara broke your first scooter?”

“Yeah, what about-” Realizing what she’s meaning, Scootaloo turns a glare at her friend, “You little-!”

Just as the beast leans up to take a snack, the mysterious figure slides like a baserunner and shoots an arrow precisely down the creature’s gullet. While not powerful enough to explode it, the creature does perish from internal bleeding, spurting out blood before becoming limp. Before the cloak covers up the figure’s body, the Crusader’s notice patches of tan skin: not Applejack’s but a familiar orange color nonetheless. The figure stands up, turning its masked head to another form of trouble: another one of the lizards, thwacking it’s tail on the soft ground and shuffling it’s shoulders. Apple Bloom readies her rifle when four hairy limbs land around them. Standing above them is a white gorilla, around twenty-five feet tall, laced with scars and a broken jaw, glares at the reptile. Getting the idea, the children join the figure by walking backwards and getting a clear distance from the great ape.

The gorilla grabs a large tree and strips it of its branches. The legged serpent charges forth, the ape doing the same, dragging the tree like a heavy sword. The gorilla batters up and smashes the tree at the reptile; he tries to collect the larger piece, but the predator recovers quickly and pounces at the large mammal. With both hands keeping it from snapping at the gorilla’s neck, the reptile wraps its tail around the waste, twists, then tosses the beast aside before noticing the figure’s white tiger rushing to its master’s aide.

“Nuh-uh!” Scootaloo backs away, “I’m not hopping on that thing!”

“It’s either this thing,” Apple Bloom immediately aims the rifle, eyes becoming pinpricks, “or that!”

The kids turn around and find the lizard approaching them with an open maw before a distant roar is heard. The serpent turns around just as a rock is smashed on it’s face.

“All aboard!” Scootaloo doesn’t have to ask a second time, as the stranger and the children climb on the white tiger and run off.

Happy that the smaller humans got away, the ape turns to the massive lizard, using its arm as a shield against the sharp teeth before it is pounced again. Jaws shaking it like a rag doll, the ape frees itself by punching the reptile in the ribs and starts prying open the jaws. Either it was disgusted or annoyed, the gorilla tears off its enemy's tongue, spits it out and pins the lizard with its feet. Not even minding the lizard clawing its legs, the ape grabs the jaws again and pulls them long and hard before they are torn apart like a walnut. Shaking the limp creature in amusement, it pounds its chest before letting out a mighty roar.

This victory isn’t the same for the others. Out of rounds, spears, and knowing the danger of the device, the Rainbooms, Hayes, and the surviving shipmates and warriors are surrounded by droves of lizard men.

“Think that universal greeting’s gonna work this time?” Asks Rarity, holding onto Spike for dear life.

With all the numbers needed for a feeding frenzy, they still don’t attack. Instead, they stand there, chattering their teeth and making jerky motions. In tune with the beautiful song coming again, they close in on their personal space. To the young princess, this reminds her of how she and her friends were captured during Cadence’s wedding with Shining Armor. But the song in the wilderness, so strange, yet so familiar. But the answer will have to be discovered later as they are lifted off the ground and carried faster than five draught horses pulling with all their might.

For a big cat, the tiger is able to move faster than a cheetah and with great ease across rocky terrain and tangled vines. With a tug on its mane, the figure is able to stop the beast to a sight that had the children gawk. Before them is a wall made of stripped trees woven into a unique vertical; the growth rings show off the pattern of a dotted wall surrounded a few curved rectangles and a crucifix. As they do, the figure grabs the rifles and tosses them to the deep blue river, then gets the beast to move again. Climbing down from the ramparts, the children are beheld a large village arranged in the same pattern as the insignia on the wall.

Up close, they find not just warrior men, but women clad in woven reed dresses dyed in colors from the brightest golds to darkest blues. The children are adorned with camouflage robes; the boys don’t display the markings the warriors have; perhaps in a rite of passage. They stare at the foreigners; the Crusaders and Jimmy expected the warriors to come up, spears drawn at their throats. But they don’t seem to mind when they go back to their daily lives. Some of the younger tribes children trot next to the walking tiger, saying a few foreign words in a happy tone before the figure rubs a boy’s hair. In a short while, the beast takes the four to the part of a shipwreck.

Inside is a stark contrast from what they expect from native. With a small hydro-wheel, the wreck is illuminated with a small light bulb. Two floors high and wide enough to store five weeks worth of food, the walls are adorned with illustrations that hearken a bygone era. One part of the wall is adorned with weapons, including a trident forged from wood layered with sheet metal. After its passengers dismount, the tiger walks over to a large patch of hay and lays down.

“So, when are we going to save Hayes?” The figure doesn’t answer Jimmy’s question, instead a platter of fruit drops down on crude wooden table.

“But what about Rainbow Dash?” Scootaloo asks, though that doesn’t get an answer as the figure passes her and sits down.

“And Applejack?” Asks Apple Bloom; again, no answer.

“And Rarity?” Sweetie Belle adds; but when the figure doesn’t answer once more, the girl adds, “And Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Spike, and-!?”

“Why have you come?” Asks the figure for the first time, the voice feminine standing up in a manner that reminds them of batman. The three girls know from the start, yet they are too afraid of the presence of this person who just saved their lives. Not getting her answer, the figure walks ahead of her “guests and starts brandishing her arrows.

“We’re looking for…” Scootaloo gulps, “a friend.”

“There are many friends here.” The figure answers, not even turning it’s head.

“Yes, but this one’s different.” Apple Bloom taps her fingers. “See, last winter we messed up… Big with Anon-a-Miss.”

The figure stops it’s business and slowly turns around. Seeing the girls through hell already is made worse with their sad faces, especially with Sweetie Belle.

“We were…. We were…” Sweetie Belle’s eyes well up before she howls, “We were jealous that our sisters were hanging out with Sunset Shimmer more and we killed her!”

“We didn’t-!”

“We did, Scootaloo!” Sweetie Belle wails at her orange friend, “We’ve been on the island for nothing! And Rarity, she’s, she’s…”

The Crusader collapses and cries so loud that some of the villagers turn to the source of the sound. Knowing that her sister is in the same situation, Apple Bloom wraps her arms around Sweetie Belle, stifling a few tears of her own before weeping. Scootaloo clenches her shaking fist, trying hard not to cry; she’s never seen her hero cry, but perhaps even idols cry. The figure looks to the right for a while, taking a deep breath before approaching the girls.

“I’m sure that somewhere, somehow, Sunset Shimmer will forgive you.”

The three girls look at the figure, sad and confused.

“What makes you say that?” Asks Scootaloo, almost choking on her sadness.

A long period of silence, the figure grabs her mask and hood and pulls it off. The three girls look like they’ve seen a ghost; one that has first terrorized their school, than saved them from a trio of sly, writhing beasts, and have been driven away by them. Now they are looking at the familiar tan skin and bacon colored hair that has been missing for so long, they thought they’ve given up. She doesn’t look angry, rather, empathetic with calm eyes inside an orange painted mask.

“Because she’s here.” Answers the person they’ve looked for: Sunset Shimmer.

Helpful Nightmares/Hornet's Nest

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The Crusaders continued to look at Sunset like they’ve seen a ghost. His first encounter with her, Jimmy raises his finger and asks,

“Are you Sunset Shimmer?”

Untying a small knot, Sunset took off her cloak. Underneath she also wore a light blue tunic; to her touch, it felt like thin silk. She hangs it up on a protruding branch.

“Yes, I-” Suddenly, Sunset is pounced by Sweetie Belle.

“You’re alive! You’re alive! Thank God, you’re alive!” Sweetie Belle exclaims to the heavens while holding Sunset like a teddy bear. Too much in fact that the exiled Unicorn felt her ribs crack.

“Ah! Ah!” Sunset grabs Sweetie Belle’s arms and pries her away, “Fractured rib! Fractured rib!”

With a huff and a puff, Sunset bops her ribs and gets them back in place with a few loud pops. While she chuffs, Sweetie Belle reaches into her pocket and pulls out the piece of leather.

“We thought you were dead.” Sweetie adds, given Sunset the scrap.

Sunset looks at the piece of studded leather. The memories she had from wearing the jacket, most of which aren’t pleasant.

“It’s quite a conundrum.” Sunset answer before tossing the scrap aside. “Now-”

“What brought you here anyhow?” Scootaloo raises her arms in protest, “First we thought you were in Singapore for some internship, then we thought you were-.”

Sunset cups Scootaloo’s mouth, halting the echoing protest before letting go.

“One, I did stay in Singapore for a week.” Sunset takes a deep breath, “two, I was drawn here.” The girls and cabin boy raising an eyebrow, Sunset sits down, “A while after I ran off, I’ve been getting these... headaches. I thought it just me, but then I had a vision that brought me here.”

“Is that why you never answered our calls?” Sweetie Belle asks. Sunset reaches to her left and lifts up her phone, cracked and inactive.

“I was about to answer the voicemails when the ship capsized.” She puts the phone down and looks at the trio of girls, “Now, two questions.” Sunset raises a finger, “One, was that really another Twilight Sparkle and Spike with you guys?”

“Yep.” They answer.

“Okay," Sunset takes another breath before asking, "and two, why did you guys bring Principal Celestia along?”

The three girls looked at each other before Sweetie Belle asked, “You mean Princess Celestia?”

“Princess?” Jimmy asks while raising his brow.

"Wait," Sunset, also confused, raised both hands, "Princess Celestia's here too?"

“Yes, we felt her magic when you arrived.” Spoke a pair of voices out of nowhere. Confused, Scootaloo raises her finger.

“Your cave has a lot of reverb.” Scootaloo mutters.

“That wasn’t me.” Indeed, when Sunset flexes her index finger at the floor, the Crusaders and Jimmy look down to find a weird sight: two women, twins without a doubt, the size of a doll, stood side by side.

“Well, I’ll be damned.” Apple Bloom brings her finger forward, getting a hug from the twin on her right.

“Awww!!!” Sweetie Belle cooed with her hands on her cheeks, “Tiny little people.”

“So are they fairies or pixies?” Scootaloo asks, her tone a bit skeptical as she scratches her hair.

“We are the Shobijin,” the two girls spoke together. For such tiny people, they are as loud as their larger counterparts, “we help keep peace with the Tagatu and the creatures on the island.”

“Then,” Jimmy kneels down with the Crusaders, “do you know if Mr. Hayes is alive?”

“Yes, he is alive, as are all your friends.” The twins frown, “But they are in grave danger.”

“You guys shouldn’t have gone through Skedar territory.” Sunset adds, standing to her full height.

“Skedar?” The Crusaders ask.

“Those lizardmen from the graveyard.” Seeing the children still confused, Sunset lets the Shobijin climb on her palm and lift them up close to her body, “Come with me, and don’t touch anything.”

Leading them through the village passed the dozens of Tagatu living their lives in peace. The children take interest with their mainland counterparts, giving each of them a small rosette of animal teeth and claws. Sunset amuses herself by rubbing one of their shaved heads.

“We once believed in things that make us go bump in the night. Well, the Tagatu had that feeling too and used to live in fear of everything. Then,” Sunset motions her head to the large gorilla that provided their escape sitting down and checking his wounds, “some nightmares protected them from other nightmares.”

Sunset leads them to a shrine constructed from a cannibalized ocean liner, one in several that were accidentally run aground decades ago. Going through a tear in the hull, the “tour group” stops before another group of Tagatu adorned in blue, priests if to be asked. Walking inside, the Crusaders and Jimmy notice the small stalagmites with white ink painted on them; standing straight in front of them, the rocks formed a gestalt image of one of the many creatures this island contains. Another set of stalagmites displays a long battle between the Tagatu and the Skedar.

“From what I’ve gathered, such creatures have helped the Tagatu for centuries” - Sunset looks at another set of spires at her right, showing a depiction of the mass grave where she saved her guests - “but not without some losses.”

“But if you said the monsters are on our side,” Scootaloo motions to the world outside the village, “why are they trying to kill us?”

“I wasn’t exactly trusted by them either. But when I arrived,” Sunset points behind them, “they were scurrying the place.” The Crusaders and Jimmy turn around, seeing the painting of the white headed, two legged reptile that attacked them, “On this island, gods walk among, and devils creep beneath.”

“And what are they called?” Jimmy asks. The Shobijin each fold their hands and lower their heads, while the Tagatu shudder and mumble.

“The Shobijin and the Tagatu won’t speak their name,” Sunset whispers, “but I call them Skull Crawlers.”

“Because they have a white head?” Asks Sweetie Belle.

“No, because wherever they crawl, they leave death and de- look,” In a sharp change of mood, Sunset pinches her temples, “I’m still a bit scatterbrained after what just happened. You call them whatever you want.”

“I'm fine calling them that.” Scootaloo turns to her friends, “Are you cool with that?”

“Yeah.” Apple Bloom nods at Sweetie Belle, “That seems okay.”

“I like the name.” Sweetie Belle adds, looking at Jimmy who shakes his head as well.

An awkward silence before Sunset places the twins on her shoulders and brings her hands together.


Far away, the same giant blue Allosaurus, humiliated and still hungry, gnaws off its bonds and goes on its way. It’s not long before two odors, one favorable and one heavy enters its nostrils. Believing its gut, the beast follows the smells to the edge of a river. The dinosaur lowers its head at an unusual sight: a volcanic fissure. Though its size keeps it safe, just looking in the hole made it dizzy from inhaling a little too much of the fumes. Ever keeping itself horizontal for balance, it's hard for it to stand still.

“One of my jaunts I keeping finding these fissures.”

The dinosaur looks forward with blurry vision and finds the carcass of a massive water buffalo. Unfortunately, the animal didn’t die of natural causes as a Skull Crawler turns its attention to the larger beast. The dinosaur steps forward and lets out a roar, unknown that another of the two legged beasts are behind it.

“And I guess that's where the rats crawled from.”

Elsewhere in its thorny den, a giant, spiny king cobra of blue and red is disturbed from its slumber as another Skull Crawler spied the limbless reptile.

“For all the trouble you went through, they have troubles of their own. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have survived the night.”

The cobra lifts its head and spreads its hood. But even with a few mock lunges, the Skull Crawler doesn't retreat even if it means a lethal injection of venom.

“They’re crafty bastards, and mean as hell.”

The cobra dodges the Skull Crawler’s lunge and makes a strike before being bitten on the hood. The snake wraps the aggressor and makes several strikes again while rolling around.

On the dinosaur’s part, the Skull Crawler sneaking behind it makes its move, pouncing on the Allosaur and biting it on the back of the neck. The feasting Skull Crawler takes the opportunity to attack. The dinosaur takes notice, bites down on the assailant and tosses it aside. It then shakes the Skull Crawler off its back, grabs it and tosses it in another direction.

“They can handle them if they find them while they’re still small.”

The two Skull Crawlers make a joint attempt to slay the dinosaur before being given a good kangaroo kick to the face. The dinosaur grabs one of the Skull Crawlers by the neck, crunches it and lets out a roar.

“Small?” Sweetie Belle, as horrified as her friends, raises a finger, “They grow?”

“They all grow!” Sunset shouts, arms spread, “We’ve never seen a big Skull Crawler but the Shobijin keep mentioning of a greater evil. It’s out there and it’s waiting!”

“Yes, there is a great evil.” The Shobijin speak, their hands folded. “If it awakens, your friends might be the key.”

“But it wouldn’t matter if they’re killed.” Sunset places the Shobijin on a pedestal and makes her way to the exit, “Better set up a rescue party.”

“We can help you!” Asks Scootaloo, she and her friends walking with her.

“No.” Sunset stops and turns her upper body, “Your sisters risked your lives coming here, I’m not doing the same.”

“We made it this far, did we?” Jimmy asks before raising a finger, “And if you haven’t thrown our rifles away-”

“Jimmy, is it?” Sunset turns around, trying to keep her anger in check, “I lost everything since coming to this place. My home, my friends, everything. I’m not going to lose you again. Not ever. Never again.”

“Sunset,” Before she even finishes her first step, Sunset stops again to listen to Apple Bloom, “Were the Skull Crawlers the ones that got you stranded here?”

Staring into the horizon, Sunset doesn’t say a word. In fairness, how she got to the island in one piece is a blur. But there are some clues that give her chills. One stormy night long ago, a massive, yet slender, object smashes her boat in two, sending her flying into the deep, dark blue ocean. As the waves keep pulling her down, Sunset notices a giant, no a titan, fighting another winged beast. The last she can remember is a sound like a guitar string strummed by a resin glove.

“Bigger.” She answers, finally walking out from the shrine. Leaving the fate of their siblings and friends in the balance, the girls and cabin boy turn around.

“How did you know,” Sweetie Belle notices the Shobijin are gone, “where’d they go?”

One of the priests lights a torch and motions a guard to part a curtain. Silently, he leads the Crusaders and Jimmy further down a dark tunnel. As they go further down, the priest lights torch after torch, illuminating the tunnel and illuminating a fascinating sight. Lining the walls are cave paintings that would make Lascaux jealous. Aside from the creatures they encountered, they also see those illustrated much larger than them. One showed a spiny reptile standing on two thick legs, his back covered in blue dye. Another showed a winged creature flying so fast that the world behind it succumbed to hurricanes. The children then hear singing; while foreign to their ears, they do notice that the song repeats the word “Mosura.” As they continue on, they overlooked one massive painting of a three headed beast so large he could devour the Earth.

A soft light finally reaches them at the end of the cavern for a short while before they are enveloped in shadow. While the priest continues to step forward, Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and Jimmy stood perfectly still, mouth agape. The Shobijin stop their singing and turn around. Behind them, resting on the top of a stone hill is a massive moth of white, black, yellows, and oranges. Gently flapping her wings, she raises her head to an opening above her cave and lets out a “soft” chirp.

A stark contrast to the noble savage paradise Sunset brought them in, the Skedar literally drag the Rainbooms and the remaining sailors and Tagatu to hell. All around them in an inactive volcano, the floor is littered with bones both human and animal. Some of the larger corpses still have bits of flesh on them, which the Skedar constantly fight over; an unfortunate loser becoming the next meal. Worse, the Skull Crawlers taking residence devour many of the Skedar with one gulp. Strange though, the clan does not display interest in having Pinkie Pie for dinner. The Skedar instead shove them into a small cave, give them a hiss and walk away. Rainbow Dash tries to run out, but a Skull Crawler roars at her. The athlete’s skin turned pale while she collects her breath.

“Well, you don’t have to be rude.” Rarity sassed the reptile, who snaps at her before crawling away. All the other Rainbooms, including both Twilight’s and Spikes, watch as this satanic collection of beasts banter and fight for whatever scrap of meat there is.

“Why don’t they just eat us already?” Asks Applejack, fanning herself with her Stetson.

“Well, duh,” Pinkie Pie takes out a hundred-page pamphlet from her hair, “it’s called holding us hostage until the Tagatu rescues us!”

“The who?” Rainbow Dash asks, getting the party planner to purse her lips.

“Oops.” Pinkie’s hair deflates a little.

“No,” Princess Twilight fingers her chin, “it’s something else. Look at how they move.”

“Your Point?” Asked Hayes.

“Their movements look static,” Twilight turns around, “almost robotic.”

“Mind control?” Asks Fluttershy, petting Spike the Dog. Spike the Dragon raises his ears.

“But the only ones who could do that are the-” Twilight stops upon turning around again, staring face to face with the familiar blue girl known as-

“Hello.” Sonata Dusk greets, getting the other Rainbooms, except Sci-Twi, on their feet. Her sisters, Adagio Dazzle and Aria Blaze, soon join her. From the looks of them, they’ve been here for a long while; most of their old clothing has worn down and is replaced with animal hides and have a crown of fish bones on their heads. Adagio’s massive hair is kept together by knitting it with a shin bone.

“How’d you three get here?!” Applejack stepped forward before dodging a swipe from a Skedar drone.

“After you wrecked our show,” Aria twirls her a bit of her hair, “we were recruited by some agency and brought here.”

“Yeah,” Sonata wraps her arm around Applejack, “I remember it like it was yesterday. We came in with helicopters, dropped a few bombs, then got most of us-!”

Adagio cups Sonata’s mouth and continues, “we settled in soon after. These creatures might be dumb as bricks but they make good servants.”

“You’re controlling them?” Princess Twilight asks, getting a very nasty smile in return, “How? We destroyed your pendants!”

“Well, we couldn’t be trusted with all three,” Reaching into her worn pockets, Aria pulls out the ruby charm, fused together, the gem is half the size of a grapefruit, “but it gets the job done.”

“Now, let’s catch up. We never did get to know the rest of your names.” Adagio steps in taking a look at the people she hasn’t seen in a long while, “And what do we have? The Princess, the pink one, the farm girl, the drama queen,”

“I beg your pardon?” Rarity huffed, Spike growling in her defense.

“The animal lover, and” Adagio stops to chuckle at Rainbow, “the rebel.”

Rainbow Dash stands up and runs at the trio. She didn’t come close for one of the sailors grabs her wrist. Rainbow looks at how the sailor has a green glow in his eyes, then looks back and sees Sonata singing the same melody used to influence her classmates.

“But we’re missing someone? What was her name…?” Adagio snaps her fingers before her mind picks up, “Sunset! Where is she?”

“She’s a little occupied.” Rainbow Dash answers, pulling her arm away.

“Really?” Aria Blaze circles around Rainbow, “Doesn’t explain why you look like hell.”

Adagio spots one surprise to her guest list and approaches her.

“Well,” Adagio coos while holding Sci Twi by the chin, “I wasn’t expecting a twin.” She notices the spectrometer around her neck. Seeing her combined gem glowing rapidly, the yellow Siren reaches for the device, “What a funny looking.”

“Don’t!” Sci-Twi pulls herself away, cradling the device while chuckling uneasily, “It’s a sensitive device! Very volatile!”

But that only got the Siren to draw a grin, adding, “Really? Let’s test it out.”

Adagio snaps her fingers, letting two of the Skedar around her grab Sci-Twi and pull her out of the cave. The others rush to protest, but the remaining Skedar growl and gnash their teeth.

“Hey!” Rainbow Dash shouts, “It’s us you want, not her!”

“Well, we would just shoot you,” Adagio shuffles her fingers, “but our employees deserve a much-needed reward. Ciao.”

“Don’t feel so bad, call this a parting gift.” Sonata adds, giving a twirl as she joins her sibling.

“Yeah,” Aria waves at the cavern wall, “they might adorn you on the wall.”

Sci-Twi shivered as she is pulled through the parting ocean of Skedar and Skull Crawlers. Adagio motions Sonata to move ahead, singing and twirling as effortless as a ribbon dancing. The humanoid reptiles clearing enough space for an arena, Sci Twi is pushed to the center and left alone.

However effortless, the Rainbooms, shipmates, and Tagatu grab a few large rocks as the Skedar lick their dripping fangs. One of the beasts takes the first lunge, pouncing on Rarity. Both Spikes dash for the assailant, but are grabbed by another. Rainbow Dash smacks the reptile on the head. In retaliation, the beast slashes Rainbow’s blue jacket. Hayes shoves the beast aside and lands a few punches before he is ambushed by another. Grabbing the man by the shoulders, the Skedar bites down on his neck, holding him down before a spear gets lodged in its throat.

The other beasts turn to the mouth of the cave. Before them is Sunset’s rescue party, who fire arrows at the Skedar with such accuracy as a SWAT sniper. Sunset herself gives a few hand gestures, ordering her men to escort everyone, the two dogs lifted up quickly.

“Wait!” Spike the Dog barks, pushing himself against the tribesman’s grip, “Twilight’s down there!”

Seeing that there is only one Twilight in present company, Sunset looks down at the encroaching crowd of Skedar at the lone Sci-Twi. She knows she can’t take all of them on, not on a rescue mission. But, she does see, to her surprise, the Dazzlings sitting down on makeshift thrones made of animal bones atop a platform of the same material. Assuming they are the masterminds behind the whole deal, Sunset would have a little trouble holding the snake by the head.

“Come on, girl!” Adagio reaches out with her hand, “I won’t stop them until you show us!”

Sci-Twi’s heart pumped faster than a racehorse’, her eyes shrinking as she whipped her head around, seeing the scaly monsters both big and small coming around her. Some of the Skedar started stamping their feet in rhythm, getting faster and louder as everyone else joined in. The Skull Crawlers flicked their tongues and smacked their whip-like tails on the ground. Seeing her “experiment” hopeless, Aria rolls her eyes and starts to raise her hand.

“I don’t think so.” Aria and Sonata turn to their oldest sister. Sunset held a carved tooth against Adagio’s throat, yet the Siren seems unfazed.

“Do that,” Adagio turns her raspberry eyes at Sunset, then to the marching Skedar, “and they’ll have your friend for dinner.”

“Why do you think I’m keeping you alive?” Sunset adds, giving her a little squeeze.

“Because ” Adagio draws a grin, “I know that’s not what you do... Sunset.”

After Adagio stamps her foot, a Skedar drone bursts through the platform and pulls Sunset away. The Siren takes the knife away from her and pulls off the mask.

“I’ve been waiting to do this for a long time,” Adagio rubs the tip of the knife on her finger, “you and your friends.”

While shaking like mad, Sci-Twi shifts her eyes at the platform. Though to her a complete stranger, the Dazzlings and a Skedar holding Sunset at knife point, combined with the stamping, slobbering, teeth gnashing, stomach growling crowd of carnivorous reptiles proved too much for her. She grabs the spectrometer, puts her left hand on the lid and takes a deep breath.

The hellish waste illuminates with a purple glow, and the unbearable heat is soothed by torrential winds. Adagio, Aria, and Sonata turn around, the first so amazed that she drops the knife. With amazing footwork, Sunset kicks the knife to her hand and stabs her captor on the side, then stabs it in the head. She joins the Dazzlings, looking horrified. From Celestia’s position along the riverbank to the Tagatu village, to even the escapees just a distance away from the wastes, they can see what’s going on.

What Sci-Twi hoped with just a few random rifts backfired. Her hands trapped in a glowing orb, she is lifted off the ground; the higher she goes, the bigger the orb grows. Twilight tries to escape, but like a fly in flypaper, it proved fruitless. She was, however, able to turn her head to the others, using all of her strength to pull her arm out.

“Help! ME!”

The orb consumes her, but Sci-Twi can still be heard. The orb finishes its work with blinding light. The spectrometer shoots out at the Dazzlings and Sunset, who look up again. The orb recedes, revealing an orb of violet raven feathers. The ball opens into a pair of massive wings carrying a transformed Twilight Sparkle. Her skin is a darker shade of purple, clothed in an even darker ballroom gown, shoes, and gauntlets. Lighting her forehead is a beam of light shaped into a crooked horn. With a deep breath, she opens her glowing eyes surrounded by a visor of blue fire.

She stares at the four with greater confidence than she ever had before. An impatient Skull Crawler lashes out its tongue, wraps her up, and swallows her whole. While Adagio looked disappointed, Sunset, Sonata, and Aria worry about this newly powered up Twilight. And they’re right, for the reptile swelled like a balloon before exploding. Though fresh meat is now available, the Skedar hold back as Sci-Twi shoots several beams of energy, setting hundreds of the reptiles ablaze. She turns her gaze at Adagio and rushes at her, clutching her throat. One in many a while, the Siren is afraid, especially when Sci-Twi cackles like a witch.

“I can feel the magic coursing through me!” Sci-Twi hisses before looking at her gauntlet, “I can see, no I can feel, what it’s like to have magic!”

The three slowly back away, Sunset grabbing the Spectrometer, while Sci-Twi lifts Adagio higher.

“There’s so much to learn,” Sci-Twi’s arms start glowing, “but I just need one test subject.”

In a blaze of violet fire, Adagio echoes the den with her screams as she is slowly turned into particles. Sunset, Aria, and Sonata are horrified at what she has done. So curious as to the extent of her powers, Sci-Twi brings Aria Blaze to her grasp and is just about to do the same when,

“Twilight, stop!” Sunset shouts; though the deranged Sci-Twi didn’t turn her to dust, Aria was still motionless, no matter how Sonata begged her not to. “Sonata, go! ...Run!”

Her planned test subject gone, Sci-Twi’s happiness becomes anger, raising her wings defensively. “You shouldn’t have done that!”

“And killing two innocent individuals is called science?” Sunset motions her hand at the unconscious Aria, “This isn’t the way!”

“Not the way?” Sci-Twi waves her arm around. “Look around you! All this magic, this island, everything is worth breaking a few eggs! There’s knowledge to learn, and I want it all!”

“You can’t learn everything!” Sunset argues.

“Oh, but I can.” Sci-Twi’s arm glows before looking at the retreating Skedar and Skull Crawlers, “And. I. Will!”

Using as much power as she can imagine, Sci-Twi shoots at the ground ahead of her. A small portal like the one she accidentally made during the Friendship Games grows larger as she spreads her arms. Hundreds of thousands of Skedar and Skull Crawlers are sent falling to their deaths. As she watched Sci-Twi laugh so loudly, Sunset’s vision of the winged scientist starts to morph into a creature hauntingly familiar. Red skin, leathery wings, fire hair and tail, and a Flintstones-esque dress, Sunset became horrified before she started to run. As she retreats into the jungle, she thinks of several questions. Most important among them is how can she be saved again.

Sci-Twi’s little experiment with a massive portal is followed with a massive howl. She looks down, then looks up as a large shadow envelopes her. Not even scared, the sight of the creature excites her.

“Magnificent.” She squeaks as a trumpeting roar echoes the island.

Jungle Rumble

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Hearing the roar further down the jungle got the Rainbooms, shipmates, and Tagatu to stop and turn around.

“Good heavens, what was that?” Asked Rarity, panting like both Spikes.

“I don’t know,” Applejack looks up to flocks of birds flying in their direction in a panic, “but we’d better keep moving.”

Just as they are about to move again, Hayes collapses, trying hard to get up. The bite from the Skedar soaked his shirt with blood and he feverishly looks at our heroines. They look at the Tagatu, who motioned them to continue. Applejack and Pinkie Pie lift the man up and carry him.

“C’mon, soldier!” Pinkie Pie tries her hand at an army general impression, “We’ve been through tighter cracks than this!”

The night sky started giving way to the next morning when they are just a river stream down from the wall protecting the wall. From the top of the wall, Jimmy wakes up and notices another look out waving his spear. The boy stands up and squints, seeing the tiny figures from far away.

“Hey,” Jimmy runs to the village side of the wall, where the Crusaders were trying their hand learning the Tagatu’s culture, “Hey! They’re back!”

The Crusaders immediately run to the wall’s rampart, seeing their siblings and friends running at them. They wave at them, raising their hopes up to continue forward. But the joy is short lived as the valley echoes with thunderous footsteps. Coming around the bend of the riverbank, was a beast far larger than the ones they encountered. Seventy meters tall with a raised head, the bony creature reveals itself to everyone on thick, elephant legs. Along the sides of its white and black body is a pair of red sails ending at the tip of its curled tailed. The creature lets out a loud, trumpeting roar before continuing its slow march. Everyone moves continue to rush at the wall, though Applejack and Pinkie Pie collapse when Hayes began to give.

“Mister Hayes!” Jimmy shouts before running down the rampart.

“Jimmy!” Shouts Scootaloo, running after him though a small break in the wall into the jungle.

“C’mon, Hayes!” Rainbow Dash tries to help Hayes get up, but the first mate pushes her, Pinkie Pie, and Applejack aside.

“Mister Hayes!” The Rainbooms and shipmates turn to see Jimmy and the Crusaders running to them. As the skeletal beast continues its march, they run towards the children, the sailors holding back Jimmy. “Let me go! Mister Hayes!”

“Jimmy…” Hayes finds the strength to stand up, wobbling as the earth shaking monster comes closer, “go… with them. Live… Your-” Before he could finish, he is crushed by a massive foot.

“No!” Jimmy shouts with tears in his eyes. The monster announces itself again with a roar, getting them all to continue running to the wall. Hysterical from what he just saw, Jimmy had to be dragged away. Though it’s clear that the beast couldn’t chase them, it could trap them. Its chest glowed orange, traveling up its elevated neck and the beast upchucked a chunk of lava rock, stopping their tracks with the falling rock creating hot steam in the river. With another upchucked rock blocking their escape, and still powerless, all they can do is wait for their fate.

“Well,” Sweetie Belle gulped, “at least we found Sunset.”

“What, really?” Asked Rainbow Dash.

“Yeah,” Scootaloo looks around, “I thought she was with-?”

They look up at the beast roaring at them, charging up another shot. Then, the sun eclipses at the same time a loud chirp echoes the valley. Everyone looks up; the same giant, yet colorful, moth has taken flight. With a wingspan of over seventy-five meters, the insect is a spectacle that impressed Princess Twilight as it soared towards their adversary, shooting blasts of magic from its feathered antennae.

Accepting the challenge, the dragon cranes its head and fires several, smaller shots. But even for a flying animal so large, the moth is surprisingly agile. Weaving between the shots and diving so fast that the turbulence made our heroes lost balance. The moth dives behind the dragon and grips it by the neck. The wings glow before shooting out magical bolts that trail up and down the beast. The dragon bucked and brashed, but it did no good to the insect gripping on its hide with an iron grip. Still, the moth releases the beast, swooping back and forth and unleashing its magic. Safe, the group turns around, only to stand face to face with Sci-Twi.

“Hi, guys!” Sci-Twi greeted, though her intimidating form kept them silent.

“Twilight?” Spike the dog whimpered. Princess Twilight noticed that Sci-Twi isn’t carrying the spectrometer.

“You used all of it!?” She shouted.

“That’s right!” Sci-Twi says triumphantly, “And I feel great!”

“But… Dearest…” Rarity looks at the direction from where they came, “What happened to the Dazzlings?”

“Well, at least one is still alive.” Sci-Twi notices her friends shocked and appalled and asks, “What? I only needed one specimen.” But the group is still scared out of their wits, even her beloved pet. Furious, she takes to the air. “Fine, I don’t need you! I’ve learned everything on my own and I can do it again,” She looks at the fighting moth continuing its attack run, “starting with that!”

“Sci-Twi!” They all shout, but the winged scientist is already a good distance away. Just when the moth turns to make another attack run, Sci-Twi unleashes her power and burns a hole in its wing. The insect screams in pain and is caught in the mouth of the beast. The dragon shakes the moth like a rag doll before tossing her far into a section of jungle. Shrugging off the attacks, the dragon turns its attention to the wall.

“We gotta help them!” Twilight starts running towards the crash site of the fallen creature.

“What?!” Rainbow Dash stops her, “Without our powers, she will eat you alive!”

“But I’ll try!” Twilight pushes Rainbow aside and continues to run.

“Come on!” Rainbow Dash motions everyone else to follow.

The moth's eyes glow again when Sci-Twi lands in front of it. Sci-Twi figured that gas can’t be used, but bigger creatures make bigger targets. Her hands glow and she aims her charging power between the moth’s eyes. Suddenly, her ears pick up the sound of rustling bushes and she turns her magic away from the moth. Though dodging the powerful attack, the explosion brings Sunset forward on her knees, the device just a few inches from her hands. Sci-Twi turns attention to the defenseless animal again.

“Twilight, stop!” Sunset picks up the device, staggering to her feet.

“Why should I?” Sci-Twi asks, not even shifting her gaze.

"Because I've been where you are, and I've made the same mistake you're making!” Sunset looks to the east, figuratively where it all started, “I put on a crown and, just like you, I was overwhelmed by the magic it contained! I thought I could get whatever I wanted, but I couldn’t!"

The Rainbooms and the Crusaders reach the clearing just when Sci-Twi cackles.

"Oh you're wrong," Twilight shook her head, then looks at Sunset, "unlike you, I CAN have everything I want!"

"No, you can't!" Sunset continues as she and the Rainbooms start glowing "Even with all that magic and power, you'll still be alone! True magic comes from honesty,"

A ray of light shines from Applejack,


Another ray of light shines from Rainbow Dash


Another from the Human Pinkie Pie


Another light from Rarity


One final light from Fluttershy joins the other rays touching the device. Sunset’s magic, represented in a sea green, joins the others.

"I understand you, Twilight," Sunset groans; losing her magic also made her weary, but she keeps the device high in the air, "and I want to show you the most important magic of all:"

Sunset smashes the device on a rock, releasing the magic after so long. Sunset is devoured in a light so bright, the dragon in the distance stops and turns its attention to them. When the light dimmed down, both Canterlot High and Crystal Prep, student and alumni looked in astonishment. Sunset was in an elaborate dress that even Rarity couldn't describe along with a set of gloves and boots. Jutting from her back are rays of light as well as a glowing "horn" on her forehead.

"The Magic of Friendship!" Sunset finished. Seeing their lost friend in such a fantastic form, the Rainbooms and Crusaders looked up with a grin. Not so much for Sci-Twi; the she-demon spreads her wings and charges at Sunset. But her time as a warrior really pays for Sunset, who just hops aside and lets her crash into the jungle. Before any of the Rainbooms can come out, Sci-Twi bursts through the trees, her fists glowing. Using enough power to lift herself a few inches from the ground, the powered up Sunset became as agile as a professional roller skater. Dodging jab after jab, blast after blast, Sunset grabbed Sci-Twi and tossed her aside.

Now the winged girl became raging mad and fired a powerful spell. Just dodging the attack, Sunset had to reach the innocent girl in Sci-Twi somehow. The gloves are off now when Sci-Twi tries again, this time colliding with a spell courtesy of Sunset Shimmer. At first, it would seem that the two are equally matched, but the years since leaving Equestria has made Sunset out of practice and couldn’t keep up with the increasing strength of Sci-Twi’s magic. Desperate, Spike jumps out from the bushes.

“Twilight!” Sci-Twi looks at the jungle floor again, seeing the sad, open eyes of her beloved pet.

“...Spike…?” Sci-Twi whispers, her eyes looking innocent. Somehow sensing weakness, the moths antennae start glowing again. But instead of blasts, four light tendrils shoot out and lasso the dark angel on the arms and legs, canceling her spell. Taking this opportunity, Sunset charges more of her magic. Seeing this, Sci-Twi struggles to free herself but to no avail. With one good blast of energy, Sci-Twi screams in terror as she is absorbed into the light. She opens her eyes, finding herself in a large, white chamber, still afloat, but no land to be seen. In front of her is Sunset floating towards her.

“Take my hand, Twilight.” When she reaches out to her, Sci-Twi curls back like a scared animal. Seeing this, Sunset places a hand on her chest, “Let me show you that there is another way… Just like someone did for me.”

At first ready to strike back, fear and anxiety slowly gave way to grief and sadness. Her wings relaxing and her eyes no longer glowing, Sci-Twi looks at Sunset with teary eyes before slowly stretching a shaky hand and gripping hers. A spark of magic trails Sci-Twi’s arm, and reaches her glowing, spiraled “horn” before the two are enveloped in another light. When it fades, the two gently float down, unpowered and with messy hair.

“Sunset!” The Rainbooms scream before running out and finally hugging her. Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, and Rarity cried while hugging her like a lost puppy.

“We thought you would be gone forever!” Pinkie Pie bawled.

“What happened to the Dazzlings?” Asked Princess Twilight. But Sunset didn’t speak a word but still looking at the ashamed Sci-Twi, her beloved pet standing by her leg. She remembers what happened last night; though the Skedar are savage creatures, they are still innocent beings locked in a violent circle of life.

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry…” Sci-Twi sniffled, “I was so scared, I didn’t…”

WIthout warning, Sunset hugs her and holds her tight, saying, “I know… And take it from my experience the first time around, they’ll forgive you.”

Sci-Twi wipes a tear from her eye and looks at the people around her. The Rainbooms, including Princess Twilight and her Spike, look at her forgivingly. She looks down a little, seeing Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo also looking at her forgivingly, having done a similar sin of their own. It’s with Spike the dog jumping into his masters' arms and giving her a couple of kisses that Sci-Twi starts to warm up. One by one, they each join up in a group hug. The giant moth, on the other hand, lifts its head and lets out a resonating chirp.

“Yeah…” Spike the dragon looks up, curling his tail, “now how are we gonna get rid of that thing?”

Everyone opens their eyes and breaks away from their hug. The monstrous, skeletal looking dragon was two miles away from them, trumpeting at them. Just when it prepared another upchuck, several sparks shoot off its neck. As the beast turned around, the band of girls and two dogs shield their heads as several gold pellets rain down. Applejack picks up a pellet, noticing the damaged lead tip.

The group races through the jungle, up a hill, and look down the river. Lead by Celestia, the rescue boats from the Venture fire thousands of rounds at the beast, but that didn’t do much to even slow it down. The Rainbooms have to decide something and decide quickly. But luck is on their side as streaks various colors course throughout their bodies. With each little flash, the Rainbooms, except for Sci-Twi, sprout ears, elongated pony tails, and, for Princess Twilight, Rainbow Dash, and Fluttershy, wings.

“Yes, yes, yes!” Rainbow Dash squeaks, flapping the tips of her wings. Seeing the dragon enter the water, the Rainbooms’ excitement became determination.

“Alright,” Applejack cracks her knuckles, “let’s send that thing back to the stone age.”

Princess Twilight, Rainbow Dash, and Fluttershy lead the charge, swooping, weaving between the dragon. Twilight fires a stream of magic, leaving a long burn mark along the beasts’ hide. For the flightless Rainbooms, a quick trip to the Tagatu village and back, and Sunset, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, and Rarity come out, armed with long bows and spears.

“You guys know how to handle these?” Asks Sunset.

“Why of course, dearest.” Rarity answers, steadying her arrow. Even being a counterpart to a unicorn, ponying up adds some superior strength and so can fire an arrow at an even longer distance than usual.

Applejack wraps a large jungle vine at the end of one arrow and whistles for Rainbow to pick her up. Aiming so carefully, Applejack shoots an arrow at the dragon’s left foreleg and passes the vine to Rainbow after being dropped off at a riverbank on the right side of the wall. The athlete flies underneath the creature's stomach, wraps around the right hind leg, then the left hind leg, and finally, the right foreleg before Princess Twilight and Fluttershy join her finishing the knot. Picking up Applejack again, the Rainbooms join together and watch the beast topple, landing harder than a full grown redwood. After a long silence, and with a surprising swiftness, the dragon stands up and fires not a fireball, but a stream of energy.

“Oh sh-!” Mutters Rainbow when the giant moth suddenly gets in the way. Flapping its wings, the insect let loose a dusting of old scales, showering the valley like a sandstorm. The blast is dissolved in the mist, turned into a series of lightning bolts that reflect back to the dragon. Enraged ever more, the beast fires another blast of energy, and the result is still the same. The moth turns its head around and lets out a chirp, getting Sunset’s attention and giving her an idea. She takes a few steps back, times the wing beat, and makes a running leap, gripping hard on the left wing.

“Sunset, are you crazy!?” Screamed Rarity when Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash jump on the other wing, “Girls!”

“Oooo,” Pinkie Pie purred, rubbing her fluffy head on the wing, “feels like cotton candy.”

“Well, when in Rome….” Said Applejack, jumping on the left wing.

Seeing the fashionista uneasy, Fluttershy holds Rarity’s hand, calming her long enough to carry her up and place her on the right wing before perching on the left. With a flap of her wings, Princess Twilight flies up and perches on the orange patch of fur on the moth’s head. Making itself horizontal, the moth starts another attack run again, moving so fast that the magic within the Rainbooms streak out as various colors into a rainbow trail. After passing the dragon, the trail mixes into a bright blue and shoots down several rays of light that give the beast such a pounding. Such magic, combined with the insect’s own natural abilities, proved too much for the dragon, and so became motionless under exhaustion. The Rainbooms hold tight as the Moth ascends high into the air, spinning in an aileron roll and sending shockwaves that further harm the villainous creature.

“This! Is! Awesome!” Rainbow Dash screams as the moth now circles the air quickly.

From the combination of loose, reflective scales and magic, the same symbol that the adorns the wall materializes and crashes down. One final roar from the menace and the jungle is silent again. As the victorious moth comes in for a landing at the village, the Rainbooms carefully crawl over to Princess Twilight. As they wait for solid ground, happiness fills them up before they join together in a big hug.


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The past few hours have been dedicated to respecting the loss of innocent lives both native and foreign. To the Tagatu, their burials are adorned with relics from warrior spears to skeletal necklaces. For the lost shipmates of the Venture, it’s their prized possessions. Pinky gave out her favorite frying pan for Lumpy. Jimmy placed Hayes’ soaked hat on his memorial, sniffling while stepping back. The Rainbooms give a few trinkets to the burial sites of Adagio and Aria. Several search parties have tried to find Sonata to no avail; not even the Shobijin could sense her. In the meantime, the twin fairies sang a song of prayer. Though the language is unknown to most, it touched several hearts.

An hour passes and Sunset just about finished collecting her things. Stroking her home, she wonders just how much she’ll miss this world. She continues walking down, where her friends are waiting, while looking at Celestia standing in front of the moth. The creature makes a few chirps, as if it’s actually talking.

“Indeed, she has gone quite far.” Celestia agrees, letting the moth make a series of chirps, “I understand, and I have complete faith in her as I have with Princess Twilight.”

Celestia wraps her right hand around her left, bows, then turns around. As she walks away, the moth makes a few longer, somber chirps. The Alicorn stops, somehow reflecting on what was spoken.

“I am aware, Mosura.” She answers before continuing her walk. With tiny legs, the moth slowly turns around and crawls to her shrine.

With Sunset’s possessions brought on board, including an egg the size of a watermelon, the pair of rescue boats are boarded and the passengers ready to go back to civilization. Sunset walks to the bow, looking around as the people she helped for months, men, women, and children alike gather by the shore. In her silence, she wraps her hand over the other and bows. As the Tagatu do the same, Rarity sheds a tear and so does Pinkie Pie, for she doesn’t have a camera to capture the moment.

With everyone on board not to encounter monsters, and The Venture ready to abandon them in a few hours, the best chance they have is using the fishing routes on the north end of the island, where the waters, while still deep for the motorboats, are too shallow for the island’s aquatic kaiju. Along the way through a tunnel of trees, the Rainbooms and the Crusaders talk with each other.

“Sunset rode a tiger!?” Rainbow hands were shaky before scooching closer to Sunset, “You gotta teach me how!”

“Trust me,” Sunset stands up and laughs, “it’s not as easy as you think.”

She chuckles a little before looking at her old teacher sitting at the stern of the motorboat. Looking at her alone, Sunset notices her friends looking at her and motion her to go up there. Swallowing some courage, she walks over to Celestia and sits next to her. The silence killing them, the Rainbooms and Crusaders take a peek from the corner of the pilot house. Sunset licks her lips and takes a deep breath before looking at her mentor sitting straight with eyes closed.

“I… I am so sorry…” Sunset takes another deep breath, “I am sorry for wasting your time… I... I understand why Twilight is the better one… and why I was so stupid, arrogant, and-”

Celestia immediately wraps her arms around Sunset, holding her tight as she has with many a troubled student.

“I was, and always will be, proud of you Sunset.” Celestia whispers, “I expected too much from you as I have with my other students. It’s an admirable quality when you are a protector of others. But you must realize that while you may be the worst student, it does not mean you are the worst individual in the world. As I have heard from Twilight and have seen just now, you are strong, passionate, and loyal to a fault. These are what I’ve seen in all my students, but only when tempered with compassion and humility can they achieve more.”

Both master and student look at each other at arm’s length. The peepers shed a few tears, Pinkie trying so hard not to break down.

“Just as long as you know,” Celestia rubs Sunset’s shoulder, “you are always welcome at my home.”

“Thank you, Princess Celestia.” Sunset looks up at the canopy, “But after all this, I have a lot to catch up. Besides,” Sunset looks at the peeping Toms, who immediately retreat, “who’s better at understanding magic other than Twilight?”

Just when Celestia curled up a smile, the boats leave the tunnel, warming them with the bright sun. The passengers look at the direction of the sun, staring in awe at the wonderful sight that beheld them. Roaming a clearing next to the river are some of the many animals the Rainbooms have encountered including being closer to the long necked reptiles Fluttershy saw at a distance a while back. One of them, a juvenile, notices the motorboats and follows them at a steady stride. As two larger individuals join it, Celestia wraps her arm around Sunset.

“As you wish.” Celestia and Sunset look at each other, give a smile then look up at the massive creatures approaching them. The juvenile cranes its head a little and gives out a bellow, as does the rest of its kind.

Watching the motor boat enter the lagoon from afar, Sonata sheds a tear before returning to the jungle. The heroines have won and are taking back a friend. The Skedar and the Skull Crawlers are no more… and so are two of her sisters, the only company she had since being banished here two thousand years ago. Alone, with the fixed pendant, she hoped that the island's smaller carnivores would end her to no avail. So she went with plan b. Sonata settles a rock, stands on it, and pulls down an overhanging vine. It’ll take a while, but to be with her sisters again, it’ll be worth it.

That is until the soil gives away, sending the Siren rolling down a slick tunnel. Her scream attracts a whalewolf, but predators don’t value injury as much as food and so scarpers off for easier prey. Reaching the bottom, Sonata slides across an icy floor, hits her back against the wall, and flops her belly. Shaking her head, the blue siren notices a blue gold object deep within the ice.

Two in fact; Sonata follows the two whip like structures, which join into one, turns around and lets out a yelp. Before her is the rest of her discovery: a three headed dragon bigger than the demon accidentally summoned by Midnight Sparkle. However long the beast was imprisoned, it’s done a good deal to him. Emaciated and wings frays, the creature has no chance of moving. Though his body is a golden color, the fact that Sonata’s pendant is glowing rapidly tells her otherwise. Sonata lifts the object and brings it close to the middle head. Seeing it glowing rapidly as an exhausted human heart, Sonata draws a toothy grin.

She might have lost her dear sisters, but she won’t lose herself… Not before them.


With a phone charger she borrowed from Pinkie Pie, Sunset steps into her apartment complex for the first time in a long while. She takes a deep breath and begins to walk towards the stairs.

“Hey,” Sunset stops and turns her tired head at her landlord, “you're five days late on your rent.”

Withholding her frustration, the fire haired girl walks to the land lord, opens her back pack and turns it upside-down. Ten chunks of gold, each the size of a fist, land on the desk with a hard thud. The land lord, as astonished as any man with precious metals, picks one up and rubs it slowly.

“Count it if you like.” She mutters before continuing her journey. One aching climb up a flight of stairs and a brief walk down the hall to the door, Sunset takes out her keys, turns the lock and enters the room. She lets out a huff; though the jungle is dangerous, it's far more roomy, to say the least. Sunset takes a few steps forward when her toe touches something crunchy. With a flick of the switch, she found her small apartment has become even smaller.

Scattered around are cards, baskets of candy, and presents, some as big as a suitcase. Her stomach not in the right mind for candy, Sunset walks to the kitchen; even if most of her food is rotten by now, a little can go a long way. To her surprise, the fridge is already cleaned out and replaced with fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. One particular eye catcher is two bunches of blue berry muffins on the second shelf with a pink card on top. Sunset opens the card and reads,

“I’m sorry for hurting you. If you don't want to forgive me, that's... okay. But at least have these muffins. You must’ve been really hungry after three months.


A warm fuzzy feeling fills her heart, Sunset takes out a blueberry muffin and takes a nibble. The taste of the savory, sugary, and fruity pastry revived her sweet tooth, and she quickly takes a larger bite. As she finishes the muffin, Sunset hooks up the phone to the charger and sits on her bed. A half hour later, her ears pick up several beeping sounds like a bell. She stands up and presses the power button on her phone.

“70 Missed calls, 52 voicemails.”

Entering her password and setting the phone on speaker mode, Sunset scrolls to her list of missed calls. All of her classmates and a few lower classmen from Applejack to Zipporwhill have called her. She flips to her voicemail, places the phone on the edge of her bed and sits down. Taking a small breath, the Unicorn in women's clothing presses the first message with Applejack’s phone ID.

“You have fifty-two voice messages. First message.”

“Hey, Sunset. I’m calling to tell you that I’ve found someone who’s got someone to say. Ahem, Apple Bloom.”

“Uhm, Sunset, I, we, are Anon-a-Miss. See, we were jealous that you were getting all the attention and we… Well…”

“End of Message. Second Message.”

“But Rarity-”


"Sunset, I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!"

Each succeeding voicemail made Sunsets heart wrench. All those days since, all those faces that jeered her, scorned her, broke her down. This sudden change in character, though desperate, is more than just heartfelt that it breaks her heart once more. Holding a pillow as she would a teddy bear, and tears in her eyes, Sunset lays on her side and continues listening to the voicemails. After the seventh message, she starts bawling, letting her sadness take her into slumberland.

The next morning, the school bell rings again, and the student body fills the Commons once more. But the chatter isn’t as loud as it was. The news of the crusade to get Sunset back stifled several of the upperclassmen such as Lyra, Bon Bon, and Derpy. Micro Chips hears the doors open and makes a hissing sound through his lips, almost dropping his glasses.

Standing a few steps ahead of the Rainbooms is Sunset Shimmer. In one of the many presents in her apartment were a new pair of jeans, a blue shirt with a yellow trim, and a new jacket with orange chevrons on the sleeves with a pair of boots to match. The sight of her got the entire student body to stop and stare at the person they’ve driven out since the past December.

Passing through the Crowd, Derpy is the first to step forward. Like a scared puppy, she takes each small step forward. When she is up close to Sunset, Derpy musters all the strength she can to lift both her eyes apologetically. Everyone holds their breath, waiting for a response. As they do, Principal Celestia and Vice Principal Luna step out of the crowd. Sunset spreads her arms and lets her disabled classmate hug her. Hearing Derpy sniffling and her grip tightening, Sunset rubs her blonde hair before looking at the approaching school masters.

“Welcome home, Sunset.” Celestia greets, letting out a small tear, “Welcome home.”


With her sister and Twilight gone on their little expedition, Luna takes the responsibility of raising both the sun and the moon. It's an arduous task that requires two massive meals and lots of bed rest. That fortune comes thanks to their current royal advisor, Kibbitz. Raising the sun once more, Luna lets out a yawn and makes her journey for her bedchambers; sandwiches to eat, daydreams to visit and all.

“Not so easy when I was in your horseshoes.”

Luna’s sleepy eyes widen and she turns her head to the kitchen, finding her one and only sister sitting by the table and eating a grass sandwich. Seeing another sandwich prepared, Luna foregoes sleep just a little longer and joins her sister.

“I trust that Sunset Shimmer is all well?” Luna asks, taking a nibble from her sandwich.

“Yes,” Celestia takes a sip of her tea, “all is well.”

But Luna doesn’t see Celestia even lift up a smile; surely something as important as getting in touch with a lost lamb would get something positive. She puts down her sandwich and asks, “Then what troubles you, my sister?”

Celestia puts down her cup of tea and closes her eyes. With a sigh, she answers, “Two have escaped.”

Luna immediately rises from her seat, wings spread and eyes widened. She’s had her fair share of monsters, and hearing that two have escaped from a place not even possible to escape, let alone find, is bad news.

“Which two?” Luna cocks her head, but Celestia doesn't answer, “Sister, which two?”

Bermuda Air Space, twenty-five miles around Isla De Mona

In blue skies, an F-22 Raptor screams across the Mexican Gulf. A training session, the vehicle isn’t armed; an armed one in international waters would raise a few eyebrows. Adorned with decompression suits from head to toe, the cadet is all more than ready for the demands of the danger zone. Beneath his visor, he notices a white streak in the sky.

“Cadet Mitch to Headquarters, I have picked up an unidentified flying object on my Two, over.”

The Headquarters, stationed near the Bahamas, notices the blip on their radar, and so the communications officer tries to communicate with it per quo.

“Unknown flier, this is the Florida Sea Base, you are flying unauthorized over international waters. Please respond.” The blip continues to go over the center of the radar, not giving a response, “I repeat, you are flying unauthorized over international waters, please respond.”

Again, no response.

“Cadet Mitch, we’re sending an investigation squadron, return to base immediately.” Now the cadet’s frequency is static, much to his worry.

“Officer Soundwave,” standing behind the officer is a broad, middle aged, man, “report.”

“Admiral Considine, sir.” Soundwave stands up, “we’ve just lost communication with the-”

“HQ!” A voice breaks through the static, “H-! -in!”

“Cadet Mitch!” Soundwave tunes into the frequency, headphones pressed against his ear, “What’s your status?”

“- Chased!” More static before the static clears up with a screeching sound louder than two jet engines, forcing everyone to cover their ears. “It’s - it’s bigger than a battleship! Please, send-!”

Static. This time for good. Everyone in the room looked at the Admiral. Something as big as a battleship, flying faster than a supersonic aircraft? And with an engine roar that loud, it’s no joke. The hunt is on.

The Bering Sea, Fifty Nautical Miles South-East from Anadyr, Russia.

Farther north from where the Rainbooms and Crusaders traveled, a Russian submarine, the Balashevo, makes its maiden voyage. The area a subject to nuclear tests in the past, and with rising tensions between the world’s main superpowers, caution is to be made with the vessel in international waters. Five hundred meters below and the submarine makes itself horizontal and continues its voyage. All is well with the crew… until the private notices a blip, a large one.

“Captain, we have another ship near our coordinates.”

Inspecting the larger blip, Captain Kashirin walks away to the communications officer.

“Be ready to send word back home.” He asks.

“Captain, it’s not turning away.” The blip continues to travel horizontally.

“I haven’t gotten a message either, sir.” The communications officer adds.

“Battlestations.” Kashirin turns his cap around and sits on his chair while everyone goes into high alert. The lights change from light blue to deep red. “Torpedo one, fire! Torpedo two, fire!”

The Balshevo fires it’s torpedos into the murky horizon. The crew remains silent, holding their breath as the Private looks at his stop watch, for the average time of an impact these days are a minute or two. Soon enough, the crew grabs a hold as they feel the vibration.

“Torpedo one, direct hit!” The crew hears another boom in tune with the second small blip “fusing” with the larger one, “Torpedo two, direct hit!”

“Captain, it’s still coming!” Indeed, the larger blip turns around and starts coming at them, fast. “100 meters!" The crew then hear a rumbling noise and a set of thuds growing louder in succession, "No, ri-!”

The hull of the submarine is breached, and the vessel explodes faster than the crew can have the chance to escape. The explosion fills the sea with bubbles and dust. Several deep water fish and squids are swept away by a massive creature spinning around. Beneath the moon, beneath the waves, the creature raises his large, saurian head and roars.