A slightly-extended version of the 2017 theatrical film.
The first-ever Friendship Festival doesn't exactly turn out the way that Princess Twilight had planned. Based on the theatrical film, with additional scenes. Stand-alone sequel to "A Race Against Time".
After having spent several minutes trying to remove the cast off both of his hind legs, Casey laid back in his wheelchair, and muttered, "I just had to be born as an Earth Pony instead of a magical unicorn."
It had been almost five weeks since a villianous pony known as Rowan had used dark magic to break his legs, and luckily (for Casey), the leftover energy that he had inside himself after having fused together with another Earth Pony helped speed up the healing process.
Unfortunately, now that they were no longer broken, all of his special energy was gone, so Casey was officialy back to his normal self.
At first, he didn't mind not being able to do stuff that Earth Ponies couldn't do, but when it came to his current predicament, some of that power would have been useful.
"Couldn't that magic… at least stayed in me… until tomorrow mor - oh, Starlight, come here for a second!"
A few feet away from him was a light-purple unicorn, Starlight Glimmer, whom he had a sibling relationship with, and she was now making her way over to him. "Casey? I thought your legs were healed already."
"They are, but I'm having some… trouble taking these cast things off," muttered Casey.
As he continued to struggle, Starlight rolled her eyes, and shook her head. "How come you didn't ask Twilight to help you?"
Casey made a gesture behind him, and replied, "I wanted to, but she said that she needed her full 8 hours of sleep since tomorrow is the day… of the… Friendship… Festival… yes, haha, I got - whoa!"
Having tilted back too much when trying to remove the cast off of his left hind leg, Casey was now laying down on the floor, and an amused Starlight asked, "Do you need some help?"
The young Earth Pony nodded his head, and she helped him back up, as well as helping out with removing the other cast, resulting in him now standing on all fours since having been in a wheelchair for almost a whole month.
"Maybe you should also get some rest now," suggested Starlight. "I don't think Twilight would enjoy knowing that her special somepony didn't enjoy the festival due to lack of sleep."
Casey rolled his eyes, and replied, "I don't need to-"
In 3… 2… and 1, thought Starlight, who had a smirk on her face as she watched her friend quickly collapse to the floor, now fast asleep.
The young unicorn looked up, and was surprised to see an approaching Twilight.
"I thought you'd be sleeping right now."
Twilight was about to respond, but after seeing that Casey was knocked out on the floor, a smile appeared on her face. "I was, but a crashing sound woke me up… and now I see why."
As the young princess used her magic to lift him up in the air, Starlight said, "So, the Friendship Festival… hopefully it turns out better than when I first went to the Sunset Festival back in my old village."
"Thank you, Starlight, and I'm positive that it will," replied the Princess of Friendship. "I mean, what could possibly go wrong?"
The next day
While Twilight and Spike were talking to the other alicorn princesses, Casey decide to walk around Canterlot, smiling as he saw how much hard work that his special somepony, as well as what had been done by those that she'd asked for help.
I wonder if the other Twilight is doing the same-
"Oh, hey, there's Trixie!" said Starlight, which caused Casey to quickly shake his head. "What? I thought you want-"
The young pony stepped back a little bit, and replied, "If you'll be happy spending the day with her, Star, that's fine with me… but every time I'm around her, something always happens to me, so I think I'll just hang out with the others."
An amused Starlight rolled her eyes, and she said, "Okay, fine, but next time, try to work on giving a better excuse… name one time that-"
Casey looked at his friend, and blinked a few times before saying, "I got hit in the back of my head by a hospital door twice, and my tongue was stung by a bee during my birthday party, so I don't even want to know what- oompph!"
Suddenly, an air-releasing balloon flew right into Casey's face and before either of them could talk about it, a familiar pink pony that had been running after said object was trying to hit the brakes before she ended up crashing into-
Both Casey and Pinkie rolled down the street as a runaway tire would, and once they stopped, a dizzy Casey said, "Well, now I know how Twilight feels."
"Whoops! Sorry about that," said Pinkie, who was now helping him up to his hooves. "But thanks for catching my balloon!"
Picking up the deflated object off of the ground, Casey handed it over to her, and replied, "You're welcome… so, Twilight put you in charge of blowing up all these balloons, huh?"
The pink pony let out a chuckle, and said, "Um, I think you mean blow air into them, Casey. If I blew them up, they'd all be nothing but a bunch of small pieces."
Casey was about to respond to her, but then, Pinkie cried, "Look, Twilight and Spike are back!"
Well, that's a relief, thought the light-orange pony as he followed Pinkie, not wanting to somehow end up in a wheelchair again.
The young alicorn and little dragon were surrounded by the rest of the Mane 6, and once he and Pinkie had come up to them, Casey asked, "So, how'd the royal princess meeting go?"
"If you'd been here ten seconds ago, you would've heard what she told us after Applejack asked her the same question," replied a smirking Rainbow Dash, and the orange mare turned to look at her. "What? I was kidding!"
Twilight sighed, and she said, "It started off great, but it didn't end so well like I'd hoped… they think I can make this day perfect without their magic."
Casey looked around the entire decorated area of Canterlot, and he said, "Well… you've been doing pretty good so far trying to set this whole thing up."
"This also was your brilliant idea to begin with, darling," addedRarity, while improving one of the decorations on the side of the stage. "And we all know you're up to the task."
Everyone else nodded, in agreement, but Twilight still looked unsure about it.
"But what if I'm not? What if Songbird Serenade doesn't like the stage that is provided for her? Or what if nopony makes a friend throughout the entire friendship festival? How would I continue to call myself the Princess of Friendship if-"
Before she could continue talking about her worries, Pinkie took Twilight's face into her own pink hooves, and said, "Look at me, Twilight… thisis gonna be the biggest celebration that Equestria has ever seen! You cannot fail."
Eventually, she'd pinned the purple alicorn down to the ground. "This day will define who you are! The pressure is intense... it's almost to much for any single pony to handle! Aaaaaggh!"
"Alright, tone it down a bit, Pinkie," said Applejack, bringing the pink pony away from Twilight before she caused her to have a headache. "You ain't exactly helpin' her feel any better."
As Casey helped Twilight stand up, Pinkie rolled her eyes, and she replied, "Well, yeah, but I was getting there!"
Then, looking at Twilight, Pinkie gestured to the other five surrounding them, adding, "You got us to help you out… especially since Casey is no longer in a wheelchair!"
"Gee, thanks, Pi - aaagghh!" said the light-orange pony, who was cut off after Pinkie decided to have all of them give Twilight a comforting group hug.
Then, after they all broke apart, Casey gave his special somepony a warm smile. "You got this, Twilight."
"Thanks," replied the young princess, and soon after that, the rest of their friends did their part in helping her feel better.
[Applejack] It's time to show 'em what you've got
[Rarity] It's time to go and get things done
[Fluttershy] But you don't have to do it on your own
'Cause you've got friends right here to make it fun
Casey smirked at Twilight, giving her an "I told you so" look before they all started to sing along with each other.
We got this You got this We got this together
Suddenly, Rainbow surprised Twilight by taking her and Spike - now sitting on her back - up into the sky, where they watched the Wonderbolts remove all of the remaining clouds in the sky, while Casey headed over to where he assumed they would eventually end up landing at.
Sometimes the pressure gets you down And the clouds are dark and grey Just kick them off and let the sunshine through
And scary as it seems, More help is on the way Cuz friends have friends that wanna help out, too
We got this You got this We got this together
As soon as he caught up to a landing Twilight, the two of them smiled at each other before they went to go and check on the rest of the festival, as well as passing by some of their other friends, such as Zecora, Bulk Biceps, and Dinky.
It's the Festival of Friendship And we can get it done A festival that they won't forget
A party to be proud of A day of games and fun Just you wait and see A magic day in perfect harmony
Then, while Twilight and Spike were with Fluttershy and the rest of the animals, Casey saw that Trixie and Starlight were nearby, with the purple unicorn waving at him.
Fluttershy: You got this
(Bird whistles tune)
We got this together!
After the young pony waved back, his self-made special wristwatch suddenly started to shoot off several sparks of electricity, and he let out a quick yelp of pain.
Then, Casey glared at a sheepish Starlight, but before he could say anything, Twilight brought him over to the next designated area of the festival.
"With friends and family, you are never alone,"
sang Applejack, who was in charge of the food and refreshments. "If you need help we've got your back!"
She gave Spike an assuring pat on the back, but that accidentally caused him to let out a small ball of fire, which caused a giant hole in the middle of Twilight's checklist that Spike had been holding.
"Um, she's got an extra one of those, right?"
A few minutes later, Twilight was helping out Applejack by testing the food while Casey and Spike looked over the back-up list.
You can be honest
Let your problems be known
Apple Family: 'Cause you got us To pick up the slack We got this
Big Mac: Eyup!
Apple Family: We got this together
Then, it was back to the stage where Songbird Serenade would be performing at, and Rarity was adding the finishing touches to the decorations, with a few of them being enjoyed by Spike.
Rarity: Pay attention to the details Every gem even spaced Make the colors perfect
Spike: Taking one or two to taste
Rarity: Inside and out Beautiful throughout Generosity is what we're all about
Spike (muffled): We got this
Rarity: You got this
Rarity and Spike: We got this together
Then, Casey watched as his special somepony flew up into the sky, and a warm smile appeared on his face.
[Twilight] Today needs to be perfect It all comes down to me I don't know if I'm ready For all the things they need me to be
I am the princess of friendship But that is more than just a crown It's a promise to bring ponies together And never let any pony down
Meanwhile, Pinkie Pie was busy with making a cake via a house-sized mixing bowl, as well as desigining her newest party cannon that she intended to use at the festival.
We've got an awful lot to bake Each pony needs a piece of cake Oh, wait! There's something better We can do
We're gonna need some more supplies To make a really big surprise She'll be so shocked - she's sure To love it too
You got this We got this together
After the Wonderbolts had gotten rid of the last remaining cloud, Twilight and Spike joined the rest of her friends while Casey watched from a distance.
It's the festival of friendship Together we are one, a day we will Never forget And now everything is ready So when the day is done
Rainbow Dash: The weather
Applejack: The banquet
Rarity: The style
Fluttershy: And music
All: All will be in perfect harmony!
"Twilight, look out!"
Suddenly, everypony turned their heads in an upward direction, and while Casey ran towards the alicorn princess, Twilight said, "Oh, no…"
SPLAT! SPLAT! SPLAT! SPLAT! SPLAT!
But it was too late by the time Casey had reached her, resulting in both of them being hit by a pink-colored and five-layered cake, and after it melted into a gooey mess, Twilight popped her head out, crying, "Pinkie!"
"Oopsie!" replied Pinkie, coming out of her giant creation, while a candle landed on top of Twilight's horn. "Guess my easy-bake-confetti-cake cannon needs a little more fine tuning."
Before Twilight could say anything else, Applejack asked, "Um, what happened to-"
Her question was interrupted by the sound of Casey trying some of the melted cake, and after licking the icing off of his muzzle, he cried, "It tastes great, Pinkie!"
"Thank you! Glad you liked it!"
Then, noticing that Twilight was now giving him a look that meant "really", a sheepish expression appeared on Casey's face as he blew out the candle, and said, "Um… you got this?"
"Well, what are you waiting for? Make a move already!"
As he looked down at the chess board floating in front of him, Discord rolled his eyes, and replied, "Just be patient, alright? I don't want to mess this up."
His opponent, who was actually a replica of himself, but with glasses, let out a disappointed sigh. "We are playing a game of chess. How could you possibly-"
"Aaaand done! Checkmate!" cried Discord, putting the white King piece in check.
Before his opponent could say anything, another voice said, "It's about time you finished that game."
The voice had come from the muzzle of Beck, a middle-aged, light-green Earth Pony that had the knowledge of a botanist, but was also Twilight's sole prisoner.
"I'm actually going to agree with Plant Pony here," replied Discord's other self, causing the other one to roll his eyes, and create a portal that appeared above him. "Huh… should've seen that coming."
Then, after his other self was sucked into the portal, the draconequs looked back at Beck, who asked, "How come you're not at the, uh, Festival of Friendship?"
A smirk appeared on Discord's face as he replied, "Well, normally, I would be there, but that would leave no one to watch over you… the pony that-"
"Yeah, yeah, your BBFET or whatever the codename is for…" Beck started to say, but when Discord glared at him, an apologetic expression appeared on his face. "Sorry."
"Oh, you have a lot to be sorry for, little pony," replied Discord, speaking in a slightly serious tone. "Let's recap what you did, shall we?"
A mist-like portal appeared beside the draconequs, and it started to show past events that involved Beck, with Discord describing them quickly.
"You captured several innocent ponies, especially the royal ones, as well as attempting to end Spike's life, nearly beating Twilight to a pulp, and causing severe stress to her special somepony that resulted in-"
Beck turned his head away from the portal, and replied, "Alright, I get it… just stop showing that stuff, okay?"
As the portal disappered, another question suddenly appeared in Beck's head.
"What if something bad happened at-"
"-at Twilight's friendship festival?" said Discord, finishing his sentence, chuckling while he began to shuffle a deck of cards.
Then, as he started to prepare a game of 21, Discord added, "I'm pretty sure the worst thing that could happen at the festival - aside from Twilight possibly getting a stroke if I did stuff I would normally do - is somepony not making a friend, which can certainly be taken care of by the princess of friendship since she's done it with characters like me, Starlight, Sunset… you, I guess…"
Before Beck could respond to that, Discord asked, "Are we doin' this game, or would you prefer I go back to torturing you?"
After seeing a red balloon slowly pass by the draconequs, Beck shook his head. "No, I'll play with you… but you mind taking off this straight-jacket first?"
Twilight was about to respond to her special somepony when they both heard several ponies around them speaking in hushed tones.
"Oh, wow… is that her? It is!"
They were referring to the arrival of a cream-colored Pegasus, whose name was Songbird Serenade, that was actually the opening act for the show later in the evening, and she was accompanied by two stallion bodyguards.
"Hiya! I'm looking for the pony in charge? I need to set up for my sound check."
Twilight opened her muzzle to speak, but stopped after the swift appearance of Photo Finish, who took several photos of the pop diva, and once the photo-skilled pony was gone, the starstruck alicorn took a few steps forward.
"Songbird Serenade? Um, I was just going to check up on you… I'm Princess Twilight, and sorry about the mess. I'm usually not so-"
The young princess quickly realized that she had accidentally caused a tiny slob of the pink cake to land on the front of Songbird's outfit, and the amused Pegasus said, "Caked in cake?"
"Heh, heh…" replied a sheepish Twilight.
After one of her bodyguards removed the piece of cake, Songbird looked over at Casey, and asked, "Who might this be, Princess Twilight?"
"Huh? Oh!" said Twilight, now helping her special somepony up to his hooves. "This is Casey, and he is-"
"What's wrong with your, um, watch?" asked Songbird.
A confused Casey looked down at his self-made device, which was setting off sparks as it did earlier, and he said, "It's just a minor malfunction… hopefully…"
Before Twilight or Songbird could say anything else, the sound of a low rumble had appeared, as well the sky changing from blue to a mixture of black and grey.
"Storm clouds? But I ordered perfect weather!" cried Twilight, and as the rest of her friends joined her, she glared at a confused Rainbow Dash.
"Uh, I don't think those are storm clouds," said the blue Pegasus, with a concerned look on her face, and Twilight realized that her friend was right.
Instead of a storm cloud, it turned out to a very giant and unusual airship that had an unfamiliar blue-colored emblem on the front.
"That's not… Elixir, is it?" wondered Casey, and Twilight shook her head.
"No, and his prison ship was definitely stranger than that," replied the young alicorn. "But I thought he was trapped in dimensional limbo… or that place where Evil Stardust got sent to."
Casey gave a small shrug, and said, "Hey, I wouldn't be surprised, Twilight, considering what happened several weeks ago with-"
"Ooh, I bet those are the clowns I ordered!" exclaimed a happy and bouncing Pinkie, but as the airship came closer, knocking down several tall spires while making its landing, her happiness went down. "Or definitely not the clowns I ordered."
Then, once the ship had made a successful landing, the main door opened up just as a platform appeared, with the latter deflating a nearby dog-shaped balloon after falling on top of it.
"Brian! No!" cried Party Favor, a light-blue unicorn that had come from Starlight's village.
As for everypony else, they looked up at the ship's front entrance, and watched as a small creature slowly made its way down the platform, holding onto a mechanical box that had the same symbol as the one on the ship.
Once the box had been set down, all of the ponies saw that the creature was actually a grey, pudgy hedgehog with white hair that resembled a trail of spikes.
After opening the box up, which caused a mechanical megaphone to come out, the small hedgehog brought a microphone-like object to his mouth, and started to speak.
"Ponies of Equestria! We come on behalf of the fearsome, the powerful, the almighty…"
He took a dramatic pause, and pointed up at the airship, which now showed two small banners of the spiked emblem, as well as a giant poster of a white-furred, horned beast that caused most of the ponies to feel uncomfortable and nervous. "... Storm King!"
"The… Storm King?" whispered Casey, and he looked at Twilight, who was just as concerned and confused as him.
As for the hedgehog, he started to conclude his opening speech. "And now, to deliver his evil, EVIL message… put your hooves together… for Commander Tempest!"
He made a gesture up to the entrance at the top of the ramp, and a dark-purple pony slowly appeared through the mist, wearing a black suit of armor, with the blue emblem in the same location where one's Cutie Mark would be.
"Is that a… unicorn?" wondered Twilight.
Casey took a closer look, and said, "I… think so…"
"... but what happened to her horn?" added Spike, also confused.
For some reason, it was broken, but for a moment, she'd been using it to create small sparks of pure raw, electric-like energy, and that caused Twilight to feel even more nervous, even as the other three princesses showed up to get a closer look.
"Tempest, is it?" said Celestia, speaking in a polite but firm tone. "How may we help you?
The dark-purple unicorn had a small smile on her face as she replied, "Ah, I'm so glad that you asked… how about we start with your complete and total surrender?"
This can't be good, thought Casey, with him and Spike sharing a look of concern and confusion.
As for Twilight, who was now walking up to stand beside the other rulers of Equestria, she tried to take a non-violent approach.
"Uh, hi there! Princess of Friendship… not exactly sure what's going on, but I know we can talk things out."
Unfortunately, it didn't seem to be very effective as Tempest gave her response while slowly making her way down. "Oh, goodie, all four princesses… here's the deal, ladies, I need your magic."
Then, for a moment, she stopped moving, and added, "Give it up nicely, please, or we make it difficult… for everyone."
While a worried Twilight started feel her own heart beat faster than usual, a non-fearful Luna replied, "And, why should we cower before you? There's only one of you… and hundreds of us!"
A small chuckle came out of Tempest's muzzle, and she said, "I was hoping you would choose… difficult."
Then, to everyone's horror, several giant and yeti-like creatures began jumping out of the ship, as well as from other smaller airships that were making their arrival, and almost every single pony began running away in fear while the Storm Creatures chased after them.
To make matters worse, Tempest sent an obsidian orb flying in the princesses direction, and Cadence tried to block it with her magic shield, but the orb was stronger.
"I can't… stop it!" cried the Princess of Love, and once the orb broke through the shield, its powerful magic quickly started to turn Cadence into stone!
"Luna, quick!" exclaimed Celestia, looking over at her sister. "Go south! Beyond the Badlands! Seek help from the Queen of the Hippo-"
"No!" shouted Twilight, who had no choice but to watch her former mentor suffered the same fate as Cadence, turning into stone completely.
Meanwhile, Casey was doing his best not to have flashbacks or anything similar to past events since this usually resulted in even worser things happening.
He's dead, thought the light-orange Earth Pony. He has to be-
"Luna!" Casey's thoughts were interrupted by his special somepony's voice, and he saw that Twilight had used her magic to prevent Luna - who'd become a statue, as well - from crashing into several pieces.
Tempest let out a dark chuckle as she saw how easy it was defeating the rulers of Equestria, and it looked to be the same for the last remaining princess, who was too shocked at what had happened to do anything.
So, she sent one more orb in Twilight's direction, and a sly grin appeared on her face once an explosion of rainbows and green smoke was created, which meant that her work was done.
"Easy as pie…" said a satisfied Tempest.
"Oh, I love pie!" exclaimed the small hedgehog from earlier, who was now standing beside her. "Oh, you totally got the last princess."
Tempest was about to agree with him, but as the smoke cleared, her smile quickly turned into a scowl as she realized that the frozen pony in front of her wasn't Twilight, but a cross-eyed Pegasus that had been using a party hat as a horn.
"That's not the Princess!" growled the frustrated unicorn, and she looked back at the hedgehog. "Grubber! Get herenow!"
Not wanting to suffer Tempest's wrath, Grubber quickly ran off in the opposite direction, yelling at several nearby Storm Creatures. "Guys, we gotta get the princess!"
As for Tempest, who noticed that Twilight's crown was near the statue of the cross-eyed pony, she angrily stomped on it with her hoof, causing the small diamonds to scatter away.
fter watching Grubber run off with several Storm Creatures to hunt down the last princess, Tempest turned to the nearest pair of them. "Take the statues of the princesses into the throne room… and be gentle!"
Then, she was about to head back into the airship, but the sight of a purple unicorn fighting against the Storm King's soldiers caught her attention.
Who does she think she is? thought Tempest, now preparing to throw another obsidian orb, and once she saw that the unicorn was distracted, Tempest took her opportunity.
As Starlight continued to fight off against the Storm Creatures, a familiar voice suddenly yelled, "Starlight, look out!"
The next thing she saw was Casey jumping in front of her, kicking some sort of small object into the sky. "Casey, where's Twi-"
Before she could finish her sentence, the young Earth Pony cried, "I need you to go to my world, Starlight!"
"Huh?" replied a confused Starlight. "Why? I can handle myself out here! If this has to do with proving yourself just so you can see
"This has nothing to do with him! Just do it for me, alright?" exclaimed a concerned Casey, talking in a serious tone. "I don't want anything bad to hap-"
The dangerous orb had come back down from the sky, with Starlight about to fire an energy blast at it, but an unfamiliar source of electric-like energy did the job instead,creating an explosion that sent Casey flying off in a different direction.
"I hate explosions like that," muttered Casey, and he started to look for Starlight when he felt somepony grab ahold of him.
"Come on! Twilight's been looking everywhere for you!" yelled Rainbow, who had been the one to save the princess from being turned into stone, and a few seconds later, they were reunited with the others on top of a bridge.
"Where in the hay have you been at?" questioned Applejack, but before he could give him an answer, the eight of them saw a group of Storm Creatures quickly heading their way.
Having had enough of this, Twilight used her magic to fire an energy blast, but one of the Storm Creatures used his shield to deflect it, and this caused the ground underneath to crumble into pieces.
"Aaaaaaggggghhhh!" screamed the group of friends as they all fell into the path of water below, and eventually rose up to the surface.
"You can't be serious!" shouted Rarity, upset at the fact that her mane was now soaking wet. "I just got this to look perfect after having lost it to that stuff Zecora-"
The unicorn's sentence was interrupted by Applejack, who cried, "Uh, I think we got more important stuff to worry about right now!"
Rarity glared at her friend, and yelled, "What could be more important than-"
Her answer came in the form of a nearby waterfall, with no way of avoiding it whatsoever, so before they reached it, she added, "Oh… right… aaagghhh!"
By the time that Grubber and a few of the Storm Creatures had approached the bridge, there was no sign of them whatsoever.
"Oh, boy, this definitely cannot be good," muttered the pudgy hedgehog, knowing that he'd have to deliver the bad news to Tempest.
Looking at the pair of Storm Creatures beside him, he asked, "Alright, which one of you is going down there?"
"Starlight, where are you?" shouted Trixie, who was one of the last remaining non-captured ponies to be running away from the Storm Creatures. "Come on, this is… eeep!"
The azure unicorn immediately stopped moving after seeing a pack of Storm Creatures running towards her, so she decided to do what seemed like a good idea..
"Teleportation spell, go!"
"Transfiguration spell, go!"
"Some-kind-of-helpful spell, go!"
To her surprise, a magical energy blast suddenly appeared, making the Storm Creatures run away in fear, and a smug look showed up on Trixie's face as she cried, "Yeah, that'll teach you not to mess with the great and powerful-"
"Enough, Trixie," retorted an approaching Starlight, who'd been the one to send the monsterous creatures packing. "And do you do that stuff for every spell of yours?"
A frown appeared on Trixie's face as she replied, "Well, of course not, Starlight, that would be ridiculous… I only do it for the most important ones."
Starlight rolled her eyes, and was about to respond when a blast of electrical power sent her friend flying into the paws of the nearest Storm Creature. "Trixie! I'm com-".
"Where do you think you're going?" questioned Tempest, landing directly in front of Starlight, and the unicorn tried to back away, but they were quickly surrounded by a large amount of Storm Creatures. "Just surrender, little pony, or things will also be difficult for you."
A fierce look appeared on Starlight's face as she replied, "I don't think you know who it is you're talking to. I may not be a princess, but I'm strong enough to take down you and every single one of these furballs."
With her broken horn sending off tiny sparks of raw power, Tempest was aboutto fire another blast when she noticed something that made a smirk appear on her face.
"You may be right, but I am the only one who knows how to free you after you've turned into stone completely."
A confused Starlight asked, "What are you talking abo-"
Tempest pointed at the unicorn's left hind leg, and Starlight saw that it was slowly starting to turn into stone, which meant that she would eventually suffer the same fate as Celestia, Luna, and Cadence.
Oh, no, thought Starlight, now looking deeply concerned, and unaware of the fact that Tempest was about to fire an energy blast at her. That must mean the same thing is-
A few minutes after going down the waterfall, the Mane 6 - along with Spike and Casey - eventually reached a part of dry land that they were able to walk onto, but the city of Canterlot was now several miles away.
"Blegh! I hate when that kind of water gets in my muzzle," muttered the light-orange Earth Pony, and was about to join the rest of his friends when he noticed that Twilight was standing by the edge of the river, thinking about everything that had just happened as she looked at her reflection in the water.
"Twilight? Are you okay?" asked Casey, who was also hoping that she wasn't recieving any kind of pain from her previous injuries.
The young princess nodded her head, and he was about to tell her something else when she said, "The… queen…"
"Huh?" replied Casey, watching his special somepony walk over to another side of the land they were on, looking up at the royal Canterlot castle.
"Yeah, the queen!" exclaimed a happy Pinkie, who then became confused. "Wait… what queen?"
As she continued to look at the castle, Twilight replied, "Celestia told Luna to find the Queen of the… Hippos…"
Then, she turned around, with a look of determination. "But Luna can't go... so I'm the one that has to."
"Uh, hippos? Seriously?" said Rainbow Dash, with her eyelids half-closed, in a dry tone.
"I hear that they're surprisngly graceful for their size," pointed out Pinkie. "But they are always hungry."
A nervous Spike gulped, and said, "Hungry?"
"Hippos?" added Applejack, while Rarity and Fluttershy shared a confused look with each other.
Twilight nodded, and replied, "They're somewhere south, past the Badlands."
Fluttershy let out a fearful squeak as she said, "But that means we would have to… leave Equestria."
"I'm not even packed!" cried Rarity, which made Casey and Rainbow roll their eyes.
Looking at everyone in front of her, the young princess said, "I understand that you're scared, and no pony else has to go, but I have to find this Queen. She might be our only hope… to save Equestria."
Then, she began walking away from them, but stopped after Rainbow suddenly flew in front of her.
"Well, you're not getting all the glory… we're in this together!"
A smile appeared on Twilight's face, and she saw that the others were joining her, as well.
"We got your back!" said Applejack.
"Indeed!" said Pinkie Pie.
"I am ready to save Equestria!" said Rarity.
"Yay," said Fluttershy.
"We're all behind you, Twilight!" said Spike.
A surge of happiness spread throughout Twilight's entire body, and it increased after Casey quickly tapped the turtledove necklace that she was wearing. "I already left your side once at a time of need… I'm not doing it again."
Before Twilight could respond to him, a smirking Rainbow said, "You sure you're not saying that just so Kronos can let you see- ow!"
Applejack thumped Rainbow in the back of her head, and replied, "Don't be ruinin' their moment."
While the pegasus rolled her eyes, Pinkie suddenly started to bounce away from them.
"Alrighty, then, which way to the hippos?"
"Uh, south?" reminded Spike, pointing in the opposite direction.
"Then, let's get going!" said Pinkie, who started to head south, with everyone else following her. "Boingy, boingy, boingy… ooh, hey, who's up for a few rounds of 'I Spy'?"
The rest of her friends groaned.
"Ah, come on, it's easy! Look, I spy with my little eye… something orange."
Casey raised an eyebrow, and said, "It's me, isn't it?"
As she bounced in a backwards direction, Pinkie shook her head. "Nope, but you were close… it's you, Applejack!"
Back in Canterlot, Tempest was now in the throne room of the royal castle, observing what remained of the friendship festival.
"All of this power… wasted on parties," said the disgusted unicorn, and a few sparks were sent out from her damaged horn. "When there are far greater uses!"
To make matters worse, a pair of Storm Creatures had no idea what to do with a small bottle of potion that was making a high-pitched sound, similiar to a ringtone.
"Well, answer it!"
One of the two Storm Creatures that had entered the throne room poured a liquid from a tiny bottle into a basin, and once the bottle was empty, a swirl of magical and mist-like energy came out of the basin.
It created a communication portal that would allow her to give a report to the Storm King, who was now being shown in the portal, but unfortunately, he was facing the wrong direction. "Where am I supposed to looking? I can never understand how this spell works… Tempest!"
"Over here, your Excellency," said the commander pony, who was used to the frightening creature shown in front of her not being able to understand the way some things worked. "Turn to your… no, go left… okay, now right… look right… yeah."
The two of them were now facing each other, and after Tempest nodded her head, the Storm King said, "Oh, there you are. Here's the deal, I'm in the middle of a big rebrand here, and so far, the Storm King - that's me - is being described as, um… welll, intensely intimiditating,but you know what? I need to back it up… you know what I need to back it up? A storm, that would be great!"
The satyr-like creature brought into view an object that he was holding, which was an ancient, thin-and-purple mystical staff, and exclaimed, "You promised me magic that could control the elements, and right now, I'm holding onto… what? A branch, a twig, blehh!"
"That would be the Staff of Sacanas, your Excellency," corrected Tempest, also used to her boss acting as if the staff was like something you would find in the desert. "And it will channel the magic of the four rulers of this land… you'll soon have the power of a hundred armies."
A small and hopeful smile appeared on the Storm King's face as he asked, "So that would be a yes on you locking down the four pegacornicuses - whatever you call them."
"Give me three days," assured Tempest. "I'll have everything ready for your arrival."
A frown appeared on the Storm King's face as he gave his response to the dark purple unicorn,with his sinister tone sending chills throughout Grubber's entire body, who had now made his way into the room. "Remember Tempest, only I have the power to make you whole…"
Then, bringing the dark-purple staff back into view, the Storm King added "Make this twig work, and you'll get your reward. Fail me, and your horn won't be the only thing that's broken."
"It won't be a problem," said Tempest, in a serious tone, and a smile flashed across the Storm King's face.
"Great! I'll just power up, grab some… and we'll…" replied the Storm King, but the connection between them was breaking up, so she was unable to hear the rest of what he was trying to say before the portal eventually vanished into thin air.
For a few seconds, there was only silence in the throne room, but then, Grubber found himself being the one to say, "Sorry, bad spell service. You want me to call him back?"
Unfortunately, as the dark purple unicorn walked towards Grubber, she asked, "Do you have the princess?"
"Um, funny story about that, actually," replied the sheepish hedgehog. "She, er, might have gotten away… a little bit."
A frown appeared on Tempest's face.
"Okay, I know you're disappointed, but I got one word for you… sponge cake."
Grubber happily placed the piece of cake in front of her, but that resulted in him getting electrocuted by Tempest's electrical power.
"I need all four of the princesses for the staff to work," growled a frustrated Tempest.
After eating the slice of singed sponge cake, Grubber tried to make her feel better by saying, "Hey, I want the Storm King to fix that crazy horn as badly as you do! It's like having a cracked, chipped tooth… but on your head… and you know you don't look good in that."
With a trail of raw energy shooting out of her horn, Tempest scowled at the pudgy hedgehog, and yelled, "That princess is not going to keep me from getting my horn back! Prepare my ship!"
As the small hedgehog hurried out of the room, the damaged unicorn looked over at the other three princesses of Equestria in the room - Cadence, Celestia, and Luna - all of them now turned into stone, and an unimpressed look was on her face as she said, "Please, how far can one little pony get on her own?
After having walked for several hours, almost everyone was getting a little tired... but it wasn't all because of walking, in general.
"Alright, one last round - I spy with my little eye… something purple!"
All of the ponies (and one dragon) except for a certain alicorn replied, "It's Twilight."
As she continued her backward bouncing, Pinkie gasped, and cried, "Wow! You all got that one right… well, except for you, Twilight, but what matters is - oof!"
Suddenly, the pink pony found herself tripping over a small boulder, and a concerned Twilight asked, "Pinkie! Are you okay?"
"Ab-so-lutely," replied Pinkie. "But, uh, how come everypony but me is upside down?"
Applejack let out a sigh, and she began helping her friend stand up straight.
Then, the orange Earth Pony looked around a few times, and said, "Uh, Twi, ya think maybe it'd be best if we find someplace to rest at for the night?"
"Uh, you do realize that the sun is still up in the sky, right?" reminded a confused Rainbow, and Applejack rolled her eyes.
"I know that, Rainbow, but it don't mean we can't rest ourselves for an hour or so," said the pony who represented honesty.
A scowling Rarity exclaimed, "And just where exactly do you intend for all of us to rest at, AJ? There's nothing around us except for trees and rocks!"
"I can see that," replied Applejack, and she pointed at a nearby cave that was several feet away. "But I also see a place for us to get some rest before we continue on with this here journey, and I'm pretty sure you know that one spell to turn somethin' into somethin' else, Twilight?"
"A transfiguration spell? Yeah, of course," said the young princess, who also looked unsure about this. "But I don't know if every pony wants to-"
Rainbow suddenly interrupted by letting out a loud yawn, and she said, "Now that she mentions it, Twilight, I wouldn't mind gettin' some shut eye for an hour or so."
After they walked inside of the cave, Twilight still looked hesitant, so Casey wrapped a hoof around her, saying, "Besides, we're all going to need energy once we meet those hungry, hungry hippos… am I right?"
A chuckle came out of Twilight's mouth, and Pinkie found herself giggling. "Good one, Casey… ooh, that sounds like it could be a song! Hungry, hungry hip-pos! Hungry, hungry hip-pos!"
Rarity blew out some air from the side of her muzzle as she sat herself down, and muttered, "Just how are we going to get some rest if we're listening to that?"
"I got this," replied Twilight. "Hey, Pinkie, do you mind showing everypony the way you yawn your ABC's?"
Pinkie happily nodded her head, and gave the princess a salute. "Sure thing!"
Then, after Twilight used her magic to turn a stick into a pillow, Pinkie began to yawn a few times before she eventually ended up lying her head on top of the white-and-fluffy object, now sound asleep.
"How'd ya know that was gonna work on her?" wondered Applejack, while the princess began using her magic to turn whatever was around them into pillows and blankets.
"Because it's happened every other time so far," replied a smiling Twilight.
After fluffing up her own pillow several times, Rarity sighed, and said, "Well, it's not exactly a five-star hotel, but I suppose that all of us being together is what matters the most…"
"Thank you, Twilight," replied Fluttershy, a small smile appearing on her face.
Rainbow was about to go to sleep when she began to smirk, as well as saying, "I'm surprised you and Casey didn't decide to keep this cave all to yourselves… we would've understood."
This caused the young couple to start blushing very quickly, but it also allowed Applejack to thump Rainbow on the back of her head.
"Ow!" exclaimed the blue Pegasus, and she glared at her friend with frustration. "How long are you gonna keep doing that?"
"Till I feel like I don't got to do it anymore," replied Applejack.
As her airship made its final preparations, Tempest decided to pay a quick visit to the prisoner that would be with them while searching for the remaining princess.
Once she entered one of the ship's rooms, the dark purple unicorn closed the door behind her, and said, "You know, for someone that will eventually become a statue like the others, I would've figured that you would have at least asked me to help you not become frozen."
"Maybe because I know my friends will find a way to help me," replied a caged-up Starlight, whose entire left hind leg was turned into stone.
A small chuckle came out of Tempest's muzzle, and she said, "Your friends are locked away with the other ponies that the Storm Creatures have captured… and soon enough, the same will happen to the princess of friendship once we've found her."
Starlight remained silent, hoping that wherever Twilight was at, she was safe, but then, she became surprised after hearing what else Tempest had to say.
"I just thought of something, little pony… you must have some sort of relationship with the princess, right? How about you help me try to find her, and I promise not to turn her into a statue, along with making sure that you're still moving by the time this is all over."
The light-purple unicorn shook her head, much to Tempest's displeasure. "There is no way I would ever help a 'unicorn' like you after everything that's happened at your hooves to everypony else I care about."
Tempest's horn started to send out sparks of her raw power, and before firing off an attack, she said, "Suit yourself."
All of the Mane 6, as well as Spike, were now sound asleep, but Casey had been unable to get some rest, so he was now sitting by the cave's entrance.
Part of me wants to ask you for help, thought the light-orange pony, as he looked down at his self-made watch. But the rest of me knows that I can't depend on you all the time… besides, it's my fault that neither of us can-
He turned around, and saw a wide-awake Twilight coming towards him.
"I thought you were asleep…"
After sitting down next to her special somepony, she replied, "I was, but I'm too worried about everypony else back in Canterlot… and how we can convince the queen of the hippos to help us."
Casey nodded his head, understanding what she was saying, and Twilight looked down at his watch. "Do you think he would've been able to help us?"
"I'm not sure, to be honest," replied Casey. "And even if he could, it doesn't matter because Kronos made it clear that I'd have to prove myself in order for us to see each other again."
Before Twilight could give him a comforting response, he added, "It's also my fault that it happened in the first place… if I'd stopped Elixir sooner, or realized that Kronos had been the one to-"
"You don't have to blame yourself for all that stuff," interrupted Twilight, placing a hoof on his shoulder. "Besides, I'm pretty sure that he's happy enough with you being here… just like how I'm happy you're here."
Casey smiled at her, and he replied, "I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather be."
"Good…" said Twilight.
Then, the two of them realized how close they were to each other, but before either of them could do anything, Rainbow muttered, "Uh, if you two don't mind, some of us are trying to get some shut-eye, so could you not flirt with each other until after we've gotten some rest?"
"We're not flirting," whispered an annoyed Casey. "We're having a conversation!"
Rainbow rolled her eyes, and replied, "Okay whatever you two love ponies say - ow! Seriously?!"
Once everypony had gotten a decent amount of rest, it was time for them to continue heading south, but once they were out of the forest, Rarity began to shake her head, not wanting to walk any further.
"What's wrong now?" asked Rainbow, and the white unicorn pointed at what was in front of them.
"That is the problem, Rainbow Dash… a beautiful pony like - I mean, beautiful mares like us should not be walking into the desert!"
While Casey and Spike rolled their eyes, Pinkie Pie started pushing Rarity into the direction that they were heading in. "Come on, this'll be fun! Besides, you did say you were ready to save Equestria, riiiiggght?"
"Well, yes, but… oh, fine," said Rarity, having realized that she wouldn't be able to find a way out of this.
"Besides, the desert looks pretty empty and harmless," added Pinkie. "I mean, what's the worst thing that could happen to us out here?"
After taking a few more steps, Rarity glared at Pinkie, and asked, "Would you care... to ask that question... again?"
"Um… no, not really," replied the pink Earth Pony.
As the blazing sun shined brightly in the sky, not one of them knew how long they had been walking in the desert, or if they were even heading in the right direction.
What they did know is that their hooves were starting to feel sore, their bodies were aching, and their throats were begging for some water.
"Twilight… can you open up… one of your wings, please?" asked Casey, much to Twilight's confusion, so the alicorn did what he asked of her, which created some much-needed shade for the young Earth Pony.
A few seconds later, however, Casey felt the burning rays of the sun across his body, and a frown appeared on his face. "Hey!"
"Saving Equestria! Hahahaha - ooh, look!" cried Pinkie, who was now holding up the skull of an ancient bird to her ear. "Maybe this guy knows where to go!"
A spider crawled out one of the skull's empty eye sockets, and walked across Pinkie's face before jumping off, landing in the sand.
"What's that, friend? We're lost?"
After tossing the skull behind her, Pinkie began laughing again, which eventually turned into coughing, and it was followed by collapsing into a sandy dune, sounding like a deflated balloon.
"We could be going in… circles!" gasped an exhausted Spike, who was slowly walking with a cactus stuck to his bottom. "Endless sand… nothing for miles but sand… and this rock… and this cactus… and this road!"
He let out several coughs, and another grasp before falling down to the ground, with the dragon's eyes reminding Casey of Spike's other self in a world that had a chainsaw-wielding Fluttershy. "This road…"
"A road?" said Twilight, and she took a few more steps forward. "Where there's a road, there's a - gasp!"
The rest of her friends joined her, and they stopped for a moment to admire what was now in front of them.
"Ooh, a city!" cried Pinkie, now back to her usual energetic self. "We are doing it, you guys!"
As she hurried over to her friends, a relieved Rarity said, "You know what they say - where there's a city, there's a spa!"
"Uh, who says that?" replied Rainbow.
Applejack turned her head to look at the white unicorn, and said, "In case you forgot, we're on a mission to save Equestria."
Rarity scoffed at her friend's response, and she muttered, "Well, I am capable of multi-tasking."
Twilight just shook her head, and was about to ask Casey something when she could have sworn that he was moving a little slower to usual. "Casey? You okay?"
"Huh? Oh, yeah, I'm fine," replied the young Earth Pony, and he went back to walking at his regular speed. "I just hope they have some water for us to drink."
Rainbow let out a sigh, and said, "I hope they have some food for us to enjoy… I'm starving!"
"Of course," muttered Casey, rolling his eyes.
Then, just as they were about to head into the newfound city, he asked, "Uh, what's the name of this place again?"
"Welcome to Klugetown…" replied Pinkie, reading the words off the city's welcome sign, and Fluttershy did a nervous gulp.
"I'm not sure if I do feel welcome here."
The group found themselves sticking close to one another as they made their way into Klugetown, which was definitely not a place where ponies like them would want to be alone in, and tried to ignore the looks that they were receiving from its inhabitants (humanoid warthogs, fish-like creatures, and several horned snapping turtles).
"Hey! You with the horn!" exclaimed a cloaked creature, looking at Twilight from behind his merchandise booth with a sneaky grin. "Are you selling?"
The purple alicorn stood closer to Casey after hearing that, and while the two of them hurried away from his booth as quickly as possible, Fluttershy couldn't help but feel a little sorry for the various birds that were caged up, even though they weren't exactly pleasing to the eye.
While Fluttershy let out a small squeal of fear, Rainbow said, "Um, Twilight, I don't see... any type of friendly face whatsoever out here."
Twilight found herself agreeing with the pegasus, but then, she noticed that a nearby street vendor was having trouble loading up a pile of barrels into his cart.
"Oh, here, let me help you with that!"
With a smile, the young princess used her magic to help the horned creature out, but instead of thanking her, he yelled, "Hey! No magic around my merchandise!"
"Alright, this is definitely not Ponyville," muttered Casey. "Any suggestions, Twilight?"
She nodded her head, and replied, "All of us just need to stick together. Also, be careful who you talk to, and try to blend in-"
Before she could finish her sentence, a familiar voice was heard, coming from a few feet away, and Twilight groaned while Applejack rolled her eyes.
"CAN I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION, PLEASE?"
Casey placed a hoof against his forehead, and Rainbow muttered, "Why am I not surprised?"
Turning her body around in a circle, Pinkie continued to yell as loud as possible. "CAN ANYPONY TAKE US TO THE QUEEN OF THE HIP-POS?"
One of the fish-like creatures walked up towards her, and replied, "Hey, if you want somethin', little pony, ya gotta be willin' to give something!"
Pinkie bounced into his arms, with a wide smile on her face. "Well, how about a great and warm hug from a grateful pony friend?"
The creature instantly released her, so she decided to make other offers to more townsfolk.
"A picture of my sister, Maud? How about this comb that I've never used?"
The last one she chose to ask was a hog-like creature, saying, "This breath mint? Seriously, buddy, help me help you!"
Pinkie found herself collapsing to the ground after receiving a blast of the creature's horrid breath, and by the time she had stood up, her friends had already caught up to the energetic pony.
"You can't just take off like that, Pinkie," growled an irritated Twilight. "And there's no reason for you to announce to every-"
"Relax, Twilight, I totally got this!" assured Pinkie, even though they were now being surrounded by a crowd of curious townsfolk.
One of them pointed at Spike, and asked, "How much for the giant gecko?"
"Who are you callin' a gecko?" exclaimed the small dragon.
Twilight stood in front of him, and replied, "Spike isn't for sale! But maybe somepony here could help-"
"Oh, I want that fancy purple hair!" exclaimed a female creature, who was referring to Rarity's mane. "I'll give ya two Storm Bucks for it!"
Rarity scoffed, in frustration, and cried, "Two Storm Bucks? It's worth more than that!"
"How about three?"
The white unicorn's eyes went wide, and she looked at her with disbelief. "That's not even close!"
"Well, that lil' beauty right there looks mighty fine to me," said a rhino-like creature, whose eyes were locked on Twilight's turtledove necklace, but Casey quickly stood in front of his special somepony, and he glared at the sneaky vendor.
"Don't you even think about taking that, pal!"
Unfortunately, it didn't seem like they would be going away anytime soon.
"I want the two orange ones!" yelled a turtle-like creature, pointing at Casey and Applejack.
"Ooh! I call the one that looks like a fluffy marshmallow!" shouted another vendor, pointing one of his claws at Rarity, who now looked annoyed and offended after hearing that.
"I beg your pardon?!"
Then, all of a sudden, an unfamiliar fellow leaped in between the crowd of venders and the group of friends, warning the townsfolk to back away.
"Whoa, ho! Y'all need to back it up, okay? Every single one of you is in serious danger!"
This newcomer was a green-eyed, golden-colored cat named Capper, who wore a shabby deep-red duster coat, and had a curl of purple hair on top of his head, in between his ears.
"None of you touched any of them, right? I mean, just look at those colors! You think that's natural?"
Before anyone could ask what he was talking about, Capper put on a horrified expression as he said, "They've been infected with Pastelus Colouritis!"
The mob of hooligans immediately became shocked and worried after hearing that, but a frowning Applejack said, "Now, wait an apple-pickin' minute, fella! All of us here are-"
She was suddenly cut off by Capper's tail, which he used to silence her, and the cat gave her a look before he continued speaking to the crowd.
"Now, don't worry, as long as no one here is covered in purple slotches, y'all are gonna be fine… uh-oh!"
Capper pointed at the fish-like creature Pinkie had earlier given a hug to, and everyone saw that his arms were covered with several purple slotches.
"W-what do I do?" cried the worried vendor, who was unaware of the fact that Capper had actually placed those splotches there via tail and a puddle of purple liquid, and the cat began to smirk.
"Enjoy your last moments, and don't touch anyone… because parts will fall off."
It took only a matter of seconds for the crowd to disperse, leaving only Capper and the group of friends.
"Well, all right…" said the gold cat, now pleased with himself.
As for the others, Rainbow Dash was the first to speak. "You. Are. Awesome!"
"Ooh, and quite charming!" added a giggling and blushing Rarity, unaware of the fact that Spike was now starting to get jealous, and the little dragon grunted while crossing his arms.
The lanky feline delivered a gentleman-like bow, and said, "Capper's the name… charming's my game… so, to the hippos, then?"
Pinkie started to follow after him, but Twilight stood in front of her, placing a wing by their faces, and whispered, "I don't know if we should trust him."
"Well, we could definitely use a friend out here!" replied Pinkie.
Before Twilight could respond to her, Capper used one of his claws to lower the alicorn's wing, saying, "You know what? Little Cotton Candy Hair is right, and if I do say so myself…"
This town is not a nice place For little fillies all alone There are lots of twists and corners That could lead to the unknown
Let me guide your way And I'll be sure to help you through You could really use a friend out here And luckily for you…
I'm the friend that you need When you're lost and don't know what to do I'm your pal, your amigo Useful and resourceful, too
And my help, you'll concede Is a plus guaranteed You can call and I'll come running Just follow my lead 'Cause I'm the friend you need!
[Earnest Klugetowner] He's a friend
[Scaly Klugetowner] Quite a friend!
[Klugetowners] He's a friend indeed!
So, the group started following Capper, who made sure that neither of them got hurt in any way, as well as protecting Fluttershy from a swarm of bats.
[Capper] You need a bud to spot the danger A pal to stop the creep A chum and not a stranger to assist
You need a bro who is cunning That can help you take the leap A friend who knows what's lying in the mist
Don't fear these darkened alleys They're scary, yes, I know Why, you could use a friend To protect you wherever you go
(to Rarity) And such a dazzling beauty Covered in dirt and muck
But now your fate is changing Now you are in luck
Then, Capper rolled out a red carpet that led to a very tall water mill, and as he sang, the Mane 6 (except for Twilight) found themselves moving along to the tango-like beat.
Even Casey found himself doing it, but a look from Twilight caused him to stop, and he whispered, "Sorry…"
'Cause I'm the friend that you need When you're lost and don't know what to do
I'm your pal, your amigo Lookin' out for friends like you
And my help, you'll concede Is a plus guaranteed
Just call and I'll come running We'll say it's agreed...
After watching the group of friends go through the gates, Capper walked over to a small, cloaked creature that was nearby, and handed him a piece of paper. "Here, tell Verko, 'my place, twenty minutes.' I've got something that will magically erase all my debt."
Then, he went back to join the others, and concluded his song as they all went up to the top of the wooden building.
'Cause I'm the friend you need!
[Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, and Rainbow Dash] He's a friend
Rarity: Quite a friend!
[Ponies except Twilight and Casey] He's a friend indeed!
As the airship made its landing several feet away from Klugetown, Grubber walked over to the imprisoned Starlight, and looked at her with a smile. "Hey, you can do magic stuff, right?"
"Uh… yeah…" replied the unicorn, whose entire lower half was now completely frozen, and Grubber presented her with a slice of sponge cake.
"You think you could turn this into a caramel apple treat for me?"
Starlight just looked at the small hedgehog before giving a shrug that meant "eh, why not", and so, after powering up her horn, she did what he asked, much to Grubber's enjoyment.
"Wow, that's so cool!" He then started to walk away, heading outside to join the other purple unicorn. "I'll try to make sure that Tempest doesn't hurt your pony princess friend that much."
Once Grubber was gone, Starlight let out a sigh of sadness, and looked out the nearby window, hoping that Twilight was safe, along with the others.
"Welcome, my little ponies, to my little manor!"
Twilight, Casey, and the rest of their friends entered Capper's home, with the cat apologizing for the mess since he hadn't been expecting guests.
"Ooh, so many fun breakables," pointed out Pinkie.
As her friends looked around the small place, Twilight naturally walked over to Capper's bookshelf, trying to locate a way for them to find the queen they were looking for.
There's got to be something that we can use to-
"Um, need any help, Twilight?" asked Casey, now standing nearby, and the purple alicorn gave him a warm smile before nodding her head.
As the two of them looked through various books, Capper was listening to Rainbow talk about the importance of her first Sonic Rainboom, but just when it seemed like the pegasus was about ready to do one, the cat quickly shook his head.
"Alright, I didn't mean for you to show me right now, here in my - whoa, hold up now!"
To his surprise, Rarity was using her magic and seamstress skills to make a few repairs and adjustments to Capper's coat.
"Here you go… and I do apologize," said the white unicorn. "If we were back home, I could've done something truly fabulous."
A suspicious look appeared on Capper's face as he turned away from her, asking, "Okay, what's the catch?"
"Oh, n-nothing," replied Rarity, who was being honest with him. "After everything you've done for us today? Consider it a thank you."
At first, Capper was genuinely touched by what Rarity had said, but then, a look of guilt appeared on his face since none of them had no idea what he'd planned to do.
"Oh, uh, you don't have to thank me… really."
"No! My cabbages!" cried a turtle-like vendor, after a pair of Storm Creatures destroyed his cart.
Tempest, Grubber, and a group of the white-furred soldiers were walking through the streets of Klugetown, with the Storm Creatures doing whatever they could to find any sign of the pony princess.
"I don't know anything, I swear!" cried the female vendor that had asked for Rarity's mane, and let out a small sigh of relief as the Storm Creatures walked away from her booth.
Grubber took a look around the city, and asked, "You really think that the princess got this far?"
After taking a quick pause to notice a single strand of mane-hair that was stuck to a nearby piece of broken wood, Tempest gave a small nod of the head. "Oh, she's definitely here…"
A few minutes later, she noticed a group of ruffians gathered in a huddle, and figured that they must have to know something.
"Attention! I believe that a purple pony passed through here sometime earlier today," stated Tempest, in a calm but menacing tone, which caused the vendors to look at the dark purple unicorn. "Tell me where she is-"
"Or something real bad's gonna happen," added Grubber, waving his caramel apple treat in a threatening way, but when one of the vendors made their way towards them, he let out a small squeak of fear before quickly moving away from Tempest.
"You think we're going to fall for that stuff again?" stated the fish-like creature, who had learned that he'd been decieved about the pony colour disease. "I don't know what kind of scam you're pulling with Capper, and the rest of his little pony friends, but somebody has to pay!"
"Friends?" replied Tempest, a little surprised since she assumed that the princess would've been traveling by just herself.
As for the creature, he began to run straight towards her, but the dark-purple unicorn used her hind legs to deliver a solid punch to his chest, and she swiftly pulled him into the air by his tail, which was followed by a powerful body slam onto the rocky ground, delivering a loud thud!
"Ohhhh, Fish Man just got dropped!" exclaimed Grubber.
With a sly grin on her face, Tempest climbed on top of the fallen vendor, and shot out a few sparks from her damaged horn as she said, "Now, then, tell me more about this Capper…"
Twilight let out a sigh of disappointment as she finished looking through yet another book that had no type of information regarding the hippo queen. "Casey, were you able to-"
"Hey, Twilight, I think I found-" The young pony started to say, but the two of them realized that they were almost eye-to-eye with each other, and Casey's body temperature rose up while Twilight felt herself starting to blush.
"Um… w-what were you, er, going to-"
"No, no, you, uh, go ahead…"
Casey cleared his throat, and tried to relax as he replied, "I, um… found this scroll thing inside of a book that looked different than the others, and… I just figured that it, er, might… help… somehow…"
Twilight accepted the rolled-up piece of parchment into her hooves, and she unfurled it in order to take a look.
Then, to his surprise, the young alicorn's face brightened up with happiness, and she said, "This is… it's a map! And it's exactly what we need!"
Before Casey could say something, Twilight gave her special somepony a quick kiss on the lips, and she hurried over to the others while Casey let out a sigh of happiness while tiny hearts appeared around his head. "Wow…"
But his moment of pleasure was interrupted when a familiar voice said, "Well, you two were certainly busy, huh? I mean, judging from that smile on your face…"
Casey turned to look at the blue pegasus, with a frown as he replied, "Seriously?"
As for Twilight, she was now showing the map to her friends, saying that they'd been looking for the wrong queen this whole time.
"Aw, but I wanted to meet the queen of the hippos so badly!" said Pinkie.
Applejack rolled her eyes, and asked, "Well, then if it ain't the hippo queen, Twi, then what-"
Twilight pointed at an illustration on the map, and replied, "We need to find the queen of the hippogriffs! Part pony, part eagle."
While Rainbow and Casey came back to take a look, a sheepish Capper said, "Oh, the hippo-griffs! Well, now, see… the problem with that is no one knows where they are."
"It says here that they're at the top of Mt. Aris," replied a suspicious Twilight.
"You mean the mountain that's right outside the window?" said Pinkie, who was now pointing at said location with her hoof, and everyone else turned to look over at Capper.
The sheepish cat gave them a small smile, and he said, "Objects in windows may be less mountainous than they appear… heh, heh…"
Twilight frowned at Capper, with her trust of him quickly fading away, and she looked over at the others. "Let's get out of here, everypony."
She began to lead them towards the door, but they were stopped by Capper, who quickly jumped in front of it. "Wait! You, um… can't go there by yourselves! You need an… airship!"
He placed a paw on Twilight's shoulder, and gave her a friendly smile. "And lucky for you, I can get you a ride."
But Twilight was no longer falling for Capper's kindness, so she pushed him aside, and said, "I think we can get there on our own…"
Then, the young alicorn used her magic to open up the door, but she found herself taking a few steps after seeing who was at the doorstep.
"Here's Verko!"cried a big and gleeful, coat-wearing naked mole rat, with a smile that revealed all of his yellow sharp-edged teeth, and he pointed a finger at Capper. "These ponies better shoot rainbow lasers outta their eyes if they're going to settle your debt… and today I brought the big cage, so let's load them up!"
After seeing the cage-on-wheels that he'd been talking about, Twilight and the others gasped in shock, having realized what was going on, and Rarity exclaimed, "You were… you were going to sell us?"
Capper had no words to say right now, aside from an apologetic look on his face, and a disappointed Twilight cried, "I knew it! We've got to get out of here."
Everyone else nodded in agreement, but before they could head out the door, a familiar chuckle was heard, followed by the arrival of Tempest, Grubber, and the Storm Creatures.
"Silly little ponies!" said Tempest, with a sinister smile on her face.
"Tempest!" cried the alicorn princess.
"Aaaggghhh!" whimpered Fluttershy, who was now hiding herself from underneath a lamp shade.
The horn-damaged unicorn glanced over at Capper, and said, "Trusting strangers, I see? Big mistake, princess."
"Yep, make that huge!" replied Grubber.
Before Tempest could say anything else, Verko suddenly squeezed her cheeks together with his claws, and began to squish them around.
"Ohhh, you shouldn't have done that," whispered Grubber.
As for Verko, the salesmole simply said, "Oh, look at you with your scowling, and your scary broken horn… so what tricks do you know, my little pony-wony?"
"Not bad!" gasped a now-singed Verko, and he collapsed to the floor… just in time for her to see Casey pushing Twilight out the open window, with the others having already climbed through it.
"Sorry!" replied a sheepish Casey, adjusting his hooves before he climbed out after her, and Tempest gritted her teeth together, in frustration.
"Get her now!"
A few moments later, the group of friends were now running across a jagged elevated walkway, trying to not get hit by the giant wooden water-mill wheel that had come loose after they'd all jumped onto it.
"They're still chasing us!" cried Rarity, who was referring to the Storm Creatures.
Think fast, think fast, think fast, think fast, think - I got it! thought Twilight, and she exclaimed, "We have to get over to the docks!"
Once they got there, they saw a departing ship that looked nothing like one of the airships that belonged to the Storm King getting ready to leave, but luckily, Rainbow had decided to quickly grab ahold of its mooring rope, pulling it taut enough for the others to carefully walk across, as if it were a tightrope.
"Alright, everypony, don't look down now!" said Applejack, doing her best to give words of encouragement, and so far, it was working since almost all of them were now on board, except for Rainbow, Twilight, and-
"Yay!" squealed an excited Pinkie, who had been smiling this entire time, as she bounced off of the dock, and onto the rope, but the next thing they knew, the unexpected addition of weight caused the rope to buckle.
To make things worse, Pinkie had been unable to grab onto the rope, so she was now falling all the way down into the rocky chasm below!
"Pinkie!" shouted Twilight, who was now flying down to catch her before it was too late.
"Aaaaaaaggghhh!" cried Pinkie, with the sharp edges of the rocks getting more bigger with every passing moment, but at the very last second, Twilight had been able to grab onto the pink Earth Pony, and was now making her way back up towards the airship.
Once they had reached the entrance to the ship's dock, Twilight released Pinkie from her grasp, and the two friends landed on it safely.
Then, before the young alicorn could ask if she was okay, Pinkie lifted her head up, and exclaimed, "Best. Escape plan. Ever!"
Twilight's muzzle almost dropped to the ground, and as Pinkie smiled at her, she cried, "What?!"
A pair of Storm Creatures tossed Capper onto the floor of the dock, and the cat looked up to find a scowling Tempest, with a frowning Grubber nearby.
"Now, then… tell me where they were headed."
Tempest's horn started to shoot out a few sparks of power, and Capper immediately stood up straight, holding up his arms in defense. "Okay, alright, there's no need for violence!"
However, before he told them that they were heading to Mt. Aris, one of the newly-placed gold buttons on his left collar flap shined brightly, and Capper remembered what Rarity had said to him.
After all that you've done for us? Consider it a thank-you.
Tempest started to show signs of growing impatient with Capper, who replied, "They were heading east! Yeah, to Black Skull Island… now, then, I'm so glad that I was able to help y'all out, so if that's everything, I'll just be on my way-"
However, the two Storm Creatures blocked his exit path, and a smirking Tempest said, "When I get my princess. But until then, your fate is still up in the air."
Grubber nodded, in agreement, and he cried, "Oh, yeah, you're gonna go in a skiff… which is a boat - specifically, an airboat."
He erupted into a fit of laughter while the Storm Creatures shoved a saddened Capper in the direction of Tempest's airship, which she was now entering, along with a smiling Grubber.
"We make a great team, you know that? I mean, cuz I loved it when you said 'up in the air', and then I told him…"
As the ship they'd boarded on made its way to wherever it was designated to go, Twilight was quietly studying the map while Casey had a somber expression on his face.
"You okay, Casey?" wondered Pinkie, and the young pony nodded his head.
"I'm just a little worried about Starlight," replied Casey. "Back in Canterlot, I told her to go someplace safe, and I'm hoping that she made it there without anything bad happening to her."
Placing one of her front hooves on his shoulders, Pinkie gave him a smile, and she said, "Don't worry, we all know that Starlight's one reaaaallllyy powerful and reeaalllyy magical pony. I'm sure she safely got to that safe place of yours safely."
Casey let out a chuckle, and replied, "Thank you, Pinkie… heh, you sure know how to find a way to put a smile on my face."
"Well, that's what I do," said the pink and happy Earth Pony. "I mean, aside from throwing parties… baking pies… selling Friendship journals… telling the Pillars about the Elements of Harmony… switching places with my human self from time to time…"
Before Casey could give a response to all that, he noticed that a box in front of them was being lifted up, and he gave a small gulp. "This… can't be good…"
The group of friends found themselves looking up at a very large and scowling green parrot, who was accompanied by three more birds of the same species.
"Hey, Captain!" cried Mullet, a green and eye-patch wearing parrot that was also the first mate. "Looks like we got ourselves some stowaways… what do you think we do with them?"
Twilight's nervous feelings grew as she watched a white-feathered bird make her way towards them, and she looked down at her crystal peg leg, hoping that it wouldn't be used on them as a weapon in any way.
"Well, now, let's see here," replied Captain Celaeno, who was now looking through a huge manual-like book that had the Storm King's insignia on the cover. "By order of the Storm King, it says that we're supposed to…"
Then, after swiftly closing the book, a smirk appeared on her face as she added, "Toss them overboard."
The group of friends immediately became worried after hearing that, and as the parrot crew came closer towards them, Twilight was starting to feel like she'd lost her chance to save Equestria from-
"All right, you heard the whistle! That's lunch!" yelled Captain Celaeno, much to the ponies' surprise.
"Say what now?"
As he munched on a cucumber sandwhich, Discord let out a sigh of happiness while Beck's own stomach began to growl.
This would've been the time when Twilight brought me some lunch, thought the Earth Pony. And this day feels really long, for some reason.
"Oh, Celestia, where are my manners?"
Suddenly, Beck found himself looking at a cucumber sandwhich in his hooves, and the draconequs added, "There you go, enjoy!"
Then, Discord resumed with consuming his meal, but stopped again when he noticed that Beck was not eating. "Problem?"
"Uh… this isn't filled with some kind of poison or anything, right?"
"Moi?" said Discord, letting out a fake gasp of shock. "What ever would make you come up with that kind of accusation?"
Beck just looked at the draconequs as if it was clearly obvious.
"Well, I'm pretty you'd do it because you hate me for what I did-"
Suddenly, the Earth Pony was interrupted by the sounds of laughter coming out of Discord's mouth, and once he'd finished, the draconequs began shaking his head.
"Oh, sweet Celestia… you poor, unfortunate soul… I don't hate you! Do you think we'd be having this conversation right now if I did?"
Beck began to feel nervous as he replied, "I'm honestly a little afraid to answer that."
"Oh, for goodness sake," muttered the draconequs. "I can assure you that there's no type of poison whatsoever in your cucumber sandwhich. Savvy?"
Taking another look at what he was holding, Beck decided that he was probably overreacting a bit, so to Discord's pleasure, the former villain began to take a bite of the cucumber sandwhich…
"I never said that it wouldn't blow up," said a smirking Discord.
As for Beck, he let out a sigh, and began to clean himself up. "I blame myself for not anticipating that… hey, this is really good, by the way."
Discord continued to chuckle as he replied, "Glad you think so, but I'm betting that Twilight and the others are probably dining on something way better."
Inside of the ship's mess deck, everyone had taken a seat at the main table, but only a few of the ponies were eating what the parrots called their lunch, which was actually a bowl full of sloppy gruel.
"I think I just lost my appetite," moaned Casey, pushing the bowl in front of him away.
Rainbow, who was sitting at the back end of the table, shook her head as she cried, "Whoa, whoa, whoa! So, you were about to toss us overboard, but then chose to stop for a lunch break?"
From her spot on the far left corner of the table, Twilight gave Rainbow a look that meant "will you please be quiet?", even though the pegasus had no idea what she did wrong.
"The Storm King only allows us one break a day for meals," explained Boyle, a muscular green-colored parrot that had been the first one to find the ponies. "And then, it's back to hauling goods."
Realizing what he meant, Spike said, "So, then, you're all delivery guys?"
A non-amused Capt. Celaeno tugged at the collar of her bland, grey-colored uniform that bore the Storm King's insignia. "And gals… these uniforms aren't exactly doing us any favors."
"Then, can you deliver us to Mt. Aris?" asked a hopeful Twilight, using her magic to help show Celaeno the map, but the alicorn's smile went away after seeing the crew's captain shake her head.
"I'm sorry, but we have to do what the Storm King says, or we suffer his wrath."
Twilight sighed, in disappointment, and muttered, "Right… still going overboard."
"Eh, it's nothing personal," said Lix Spittle, another female parrot crew member. "Pudding?"
Rarity's face lighted up after hearing her say that. "There's pudding?"
Unfortunately, it just turned out to be another bowl of gruel, which made Rarity let out a small groan. "Ohhh…"
"But, you weren't always delivery birds, were you?" questioned Rainbow, who was feeling like there was something missing here. "What about beforethe Storm King?"
A sighing Celaeno got up from her seat to walk towards a nearby black flag that was covered up by a poster of the Storm King, and replied, "Yeah… we used to be much more adventurous."
Then, she lifted up the poster, and revealed what was on the flag - a skull, along with a pair of crossbones.
"Ooh, I met that guy in the desert!" said Pinkie, pointing a hoof at the skull, and the captain lowered the poster back down, re-covering the flag before she went back to her seat.
As for Rainbow, her face was starting to light up with excitement, having realized what the symbol meant. "Whoa! So, you used to be… pirates?"
"Um, we prefer the term swash-buckling treasure hunters," said a sheepish Mullet, whose smile quickly faded away as he resumed eating the meal in front of him.
"So, like I said, pirates…" replied Rainbow, and another parrot pirate squaked in agreement, which then gave the young Pegasus an idea.
After pounding her hoof on the table, she said, "You birds have a choice to make. You can let some boring and old Storm King tell you how to live your lives, or…"
Flying towards the poster, Rainbow tore it down, and as it fell to the floor, she pointed at the pirate flag symbol. "You can be awesome again!"
Oh, no, please not now, thought Twilight, knowing exactly what was about to happen.
"Rainbow Dash, this really isn't a good time for a-"
I know the world can get you down
Rainbow was now standing on top of the far end of the table, and Twilight face-hoofed herself, knowing that it was too late.
And so, the courageous Pegasus began to sing something that would hopefully lift up the pirates' spirits.
Things don't work out quite the way that you thought
Feeling like all your best days are done Your fears and doubts are all you've got
As she walked across the table, Rainbow then pounced on top of a small barrel-cup filled with water before leaping towards a curtain that was behind Celaeno while Twilight now had an eyelids closed-halfway expression since the water from the barrel had splashed all over her face.
But there's a light shining deep inside Beneath those fears and doubts, so just squash 'em
Rainbow removed the curtain that had shown the Storm King's insignia, and it revealed a wall of memories that showcased the pirates' achievments, as well as a hanging portrait of Capt. Celaeno that had her looking like an actual pirate captain.
And let it shine for all the world to see That it is time, yeah, time to be awesome!
Then, Spike and everypony else except for Twilight joined in on the fun, but while most of the crew's spirits were now being raised, the alicorn princess walked away to one of the room's unoccupied corners, choosing to continue observing the map rather than participate in Rainbow's motivational song.
[Spike, Ponies] Ah, ah, ah-ah, awesome! It's time to be so awesome! Ah, ah, ah-ah, awesome! It's time to be so awesome!
However, even though she was singing, Capt. Celaeno did not yet look exactly happy.
You've no idea how hard it's been
This dull routine we've been forced to do
Tossing her bowl of gruel away, the white-feathered parrot walked over to the portrait of herself, and as she found herself admiring it again, Rainbow - after giving Celaeno her old pirate hat - knew exactly what to say to her.
Don't let them rob you of who you are Be awesome, it's all up to you!
To Rainbow's pleasure, Capt. Celaeno removed the faded bandana that she had been wearing, and replaced it with her pirate captain's hat.
I feel the light stirring deep inside It's like a tale still yet to be told!
[Rainbow Dash and Captain Celaeno]
And now it's time to break the shackles free And start living like the brave and the bold!
In just a matter of seconds, all of the pirates had ditched their Storm King uniforms for their own treasure hunter outfits, and even allowed the others to dress themselves up, as well.
However, Twilight was still hesitating in joining them, but that all changed when Casey - who had an eye patch over one of his eyes - placed a pirate hat on top of her head, along with giving her a pleading look that resulted in the alicorn having a smile on her own face.
[All] It's time to be awesome! Let loose, be true, so awesome! It's time to be awesome! Go big, be you, so awesome!
Then, everyone went out to the top deck, and the song continued on, with Rainbow tossing the Storm King's rule book overboard before having a sword-fight with Celaeno, Spike using the larger barrels as a drum set, and Lix helping Twilight out with the map of the hippogriffs, despite Pinkie choosing to quickly add some art to it, while everyone else either sang or danced along.
[Mullet] We used to soar through the clouds in the skies [Lix Spittle] Elaborate schemes we would love to devise [Boyle] We rescued our treasure and stored it away [Captain Celaeno] Saving those gemstones for a rainy day
[All] We see that light filling up our skies [Rainbow Dash] So take the Storm King's orders and toss 'em
[All] 'Cause it's the time to let our colors fly [Captain Celaeno] Hey, scallywags, it's time to be awesome!
[All] Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!
A few moments later, the ship was now cleaned up, its bright and colorful flags had been raised, and all of the pirates now felt like their regular selves again.
"I knew you had it in you!" said Rainbow, who was flying nearby Capt. Celaeno.
"Yeah, I guess so, little pony," replied the white-feathered bird, while standing at her rightful place by the ship's steering wheel.
Even Twilight, to Casey's relief, was starting to feel a little better about their situation… but that all changed in a matter of seconds after Celaeno said, "So, now that you and your friends know what's awesome about us, what exactly is so awesome about you?"
After hearing those words, a smirk appeared on Rainbow's face, and she replied, "Oh, I'll show you exactly what makes me awesome… Applejack, hold my cider!"
Then, the Pegasus took off soaring into the sky while a confused Applejack said, "You, er, weren't drinkin' any cider, Rainbow."
As she watched her friend fly higher up, an excited Pinkie cried, "Rainboom, rainboom, rainboom!"
What?! thought Twilight and Casey, with both of them realizing what this would result in. "No, no, no, no…"
But it was too late, so once the Pegasus had performed her famous Sonic Rainboom, Twilight hung her head down, groaning, while Casey said, "Oh, please don't spin-"
"Aw, yeah! Ha-ha-ha!" cried an excited and gleeful Rainbow, and in a circular motion, she flew all around the ship, creating a rainbow spiral of colors, as well as loud explosions, which brightened up the entire part of the sky surrounding the ship.
The young couple shared the same look of worry with each other, and as Rainbow continued to have her fun, they both hoped that this wouldn't turn out badly for all of them.
Several miles away, on the top deck of Tempest's ship, Grubber was about to consume yet another slice of sponge cake, but he was caught off-guard by the sound of a far-away explosion. "Huh?"
"Oh, no…" whispered Starlight, who was currently in the grasp of a Storm Creature since her frozen hind-legs deprived her of walking.
"Whoa, look at that rainbow!" cried Grubber, now admiring the colorful sight of exploding colors. "That's so cool!"
As for Tempest, the dark purple unicorn let out a chuckle, and said, "Yes, of them to alert us! But I find it just a bit funny that they don't seem to be heading in the direction of Black Skull Island."
She looked over at a nearby Capper, who sheepishly began rubbing the back of his neck. "Oh, um, do you mean, like, ha-ha funny, or something like…"
Suddenly, Grubber felt himself being knocked away by Tempest from the ship's steering wheel, and she quickly changed course, heading in the direction of the rainbow-surrounded ship as fast as possible.
Think, Starlight, think! thought the half-frozen unicorn, hoping that Twilight and the others wouldn't end up being caught.
Soon enough, Celaeno and the rest of her crew had caught sight of Tempest’s ship quickly heading towards them.
“Oh, that can’t be good,” said Casey.
“Secure the rigging, and prepare to be boarded!” yelled the captain parrot, while Boyle led the group of friends into their storage unit below the deck.
Once the hatch was shut, Rainbow did a nervous gulp, and sheepishly looked over at Twilight. “Heh, heh… um, you think she might’ve seen my sonic rainboom?”
The alicorn princess scowled at her friend, and she replied, “Are you kidding me?!”
Before Rainbow could try to defend herself, a harpoon was launched from the side of Tempest’s airship, which caused it to tilt a little to the side as it was brought in.
“Whoa!” All of the ponies shouted as they fell into one pile up against a wooden storage box.
Meanwhile, up on the main deck, Capt.Celaeno and the others remained quiet as Tempest slowly made her way onto the ship, followed by a cake-munching Grubber, a reluctant Capper, and a few Storm Guards, with one of them holding onto a half-frozen Starlight.
I don’t see any sign of them, thought the pink unicorn, taking a look around after she’d been placed onto the ground. So, where are they?
“Where is the pony princess?” questioned Tempest, speaking in her calm but serious tone, and Capt. Celaeno began to go through their log book.
“Uh, let me see… pony, pony, no, princess, princess… sorry, there’s nothing like that on here, we’re hauling only Storm King merchandise.”
Murdoch, the cross-eyed parrot, let out a happy squak while holding up a child’s toy version of the Storm King, and Tempest started to frown in disbelief.
“You all know that, if this ship were to be carrying fugitives… the Storm King would not be very pleased after finding out.”
Seeing that the Storm Guard beside her wasn’t paying much attention, Starlight attempted to move away just a little bit, but it was pretty difficult since her hind legs were frozen solid.
Okay, I’ve got to find a way to-
Ohhh, that can’t be good.
Down below, a worried Twilight looked at the others, and whispered, “We have to get off this ship before they tell Tempest we’re here!”
“Twilight, we helped them get their mojo back!” replied Rainbow. “They’re not just gonna give us up.”
“Well, we wouldn’t have had to worry about this if somepony hadn’t done a rainboom,” hissed Casey, glaring at Rainbow, who did the same to him.
“Hey, I was only showing them how awesome I could be!”
Applejack shook her head, and whispered, “If you two don’t keep ya voices down, we’re gonna get caught anyway!”
A nervous Rarity looked over at Casey, and asked, “Um, Casey, darling, do you think your watcb could take all of us to that lovely place you told Starlight to go to?”
At the same time, Tempest was no longer in the mood for any sort of games.
“I’m going to count to three, and if I don’t see any sign of the princess… well, as they say, a good captain always goes down with their ship. One…”
Celaeno and the rest of the crew started to prepare themselves for a brawl, if that’s what would it come down to.
Looking back and forth between the two sides, an excited Grubber muttered, “Oh, this is so intense!”
Well, they asked for it, thought Tempest, and she opened her mouth to say-
An alarmed Beck almost jumped back a few feet after hearing the draconequs’ scream, and before he could say anything, Discord pointed at something that was near Beck’s hooves.
“You gotta give me $200 bits!”
“What the… no, I don’t!” Twilight’s sole prisoner cried. “You haven’t even passed the ‘go’ square yet with your token! You only landed on it.”
Discord gave him a pleading expression, and he asked, “Oh, come on, Becky, it’s important… I mean, I have a daughter and wife to take care off!”
“You have no such people in your life like that,” exclaimed Beck, and Discord let out a chuckle as he used his bear claw to create a portal right next to him.
“In a parallel dimension, I do!” replied Discord, sticking his right hand into the portal, and pulled out a young pink hat-wearing pony. “See?”
Suddenly, to their surprise, the little pony started to speak. “Huh? What’s going on? Why am I in someone else’s story? Daddy!”
Then, a parallel version of Discord popped out of the portal, and growled at his counterpart while taking ahold of the purple pony named Screwball.
“Give me back my daughter, you handsome rip-off!”
A few seconds later, the two of them were gone, and Beck blinked his eyes a few times before saying, “Uh… okay, here ya go… so can I take my turn now?”
After Beck handed over the owed amount of play bits to Discord, the draconequs nodded his head. “Yes, yes, continue!”
While Tempest was just about to count to three, Twilight was busy bringing over various materials to where they were standing at, and currently using her magic to pull down a nearby lever, much to the confusion of their friends.
“Um, Twi, you mind telling us what-” Applejack started to say, but then, they all heard a creaking sound, and before she could finish her sentence, something from above went straight through the deck’s floorboards, landing into Casey’s open hooves.
“Holy… Celestia, this is hea - wait, Starlight?” exclaimed Casey, who now found himself looking straight at the face of the surprised unicorn.
“Starlight?” repeated the others, but just as she was about to respond, Twilight had finally been able to pull down the lever, which caused the trapdoor underneath their hooves to open, and one by one, they all began falling down to whatever was down below.
“Oh, for CELESTIA’S SAKE!” yelled Rarity, while a nearby Fluttershy used her wings to cover up her eyes, and Pinkie was the only one having a blast.
As for Casey, who was still holding onto Starlight, he just looked at her with surprise and confusion. “What are you doing here?”
“Admiring the way that the wind blows through my mane,” replied Starlight. “I was Tempest’s prisoner this whole time, Casey, what did you thi- whoa!”
The next thing they knew, they were being brought over to an empty Storm King wooden box, along with everyone else, via Twilight’s magic, and Casey noticed that she was also using the rest of the fallen materials to create what looked like an air balloon.
“Where are we gonna get the fire to-” Spike started to say, but once Twilight entered the box, the alicorn squeezed him as tight as she possibly could, making the dragon blow out fire until the air balloon was stable enough to float on its own. “Right… sorry I asked.”
“Heeyew! Good quick thinkin’, Twilight!” complimented Applejack, while her friend let out cries of victorious satisfaction.
Getting up to her hooves, a wide smile appeared on Pinkie’s face as she asked, “That was fun! Can we do it again?”
While Twilight gave her an amused look, Rainbow flew out of the box so that she could push the floating contraption in the right direction. “Ah, yeah! Next stop, Mt. Aris!”
A confused Starlight looked over at both Casey and Twilight, and asked, “So, uh, what did I miss?”
“Well? Did you find anything?” asked Tempest, after Grubber had come out of the bottom deck that the ponies had been in, and the pudgy hedehog nodded his head as he showed her what he’d found.
“Um, looks like some sort of cupcake thing with sprinkles,” He answered. “Oh, and this…”
Grubber handed over a scroll to the dark purple unicorn, and she opened it up to see that it was a map, but with scribbles from Pinkie all over it. “Wow, now that is a work of art right there!”
As for Tempest, she looked over at Capper, frowning as she said, “It looks like they’re heading to Mt. Aris…”
“Really? Heh, heh, that’s my bad, I didn’t, um…” chuckled a sheepish Capper. “I, I’m sorry, I…”
Tempest motioned to the Storm Guards to return to the airship, but right before she and Grubber went after them, her broken horn started to charge up with her raw, electrical power as she prepared to destroy Celaeno’s ship. “Now, then, about your betrayal…”
With Mt. Aris only a few feet away from them, Twilight slowly started to relax. All we have to do now is safely lower this balloon so that-
“You know, there’s something I don’t get, Twilight,” said a confused Pinkie, and the purple alicorn turned to look at her friend.
“What is that, Pinkie?”
The pink Earth Pony pointed a hoof at Starlight, and replied, “How is she still able to stay in here? I mean, her hind legs must weigh a ton right now.”
Starlight frowned at what Pinkie had said, but before she could deliver a comeback, everyone in the crate heard a creaking noise, which was swiftly followed by the young pony falling through a newly-created hole.
“Star - whoa!” cried Casey, grabbing onto the frozen part of her body, but he found himself falling after her, and the same happened to Twilight when she grabbed one of his hind legs, which soon led to everypony else doing the same.
To make matters worse, once everyone had landed onto the sandy surface, Pinkie said, “Well, at least, once we finish, we can still use the balloon to… oops.”
As she watched her creation tumble to the ground in utter destruction, a sad Twilight moaned while Rainbow said, “Nice going there, Starlight.”
“Hey, I didn’t ask to be half-frozen today, okay?” replied a glaring Starlight. “At least I didn’t do something that basically spelled out ‘hey, come and find us, we’re over here’, Miss I-can-do-a-sonic-rainboom.”
“Why, you-” Rainbow started to say, but then, Applejack stood in between the pair, and started to shake her head.
“Alright, simmer down, you two… let’s just focus on findin’ the hippogriff queen so that we can find a way to save Equestria.”
Rarity nodded, in agreement, and she replied, “Absolutely! We’ve come this far, and I’m not ready to give up just yet!”
Ten minutes later
“That is it! I simply cannot even!” whined an exhausted Rarity. “I have nothing… the bad guys have won!” She then collapsed to the ground in dramatic fashion, followed by a squeal after finishing her sentence. “I’m so sorry!”
The reason why she was like was because earlier, they had found some stone stairs that would lead them to the top of Mt. Aris, as well as to the queen of the hippogriffs.
However, like what happened in the desert, they didn’t realize that they would be walking for so long, and almost everyone was exhausted.
“You… are so damn lucky to have a valid reason for using magic,” muttered Casey, referring to Starlight, who was currently levitating herself over the steps since she was unable to walk at a regular pace because of her frozen bottom half.
“Doesn’t hide the fact that I take pleasure in doing so,” replied the pink unicorn, sounding bored out of her mind. “How much longer until we reach this hippogriff city?”
Her answer came from Rainbow, who cried out, “We’re almost there!”
Lifting her head up from the ground, Rarity scowled at the pegasus she envied for having wings, and exclaimed, “Ooh, will you stop saying that?”
“No, seriously - we’re actually here!” replied Rainbow, flying over to the city’s entrance that was at the end of the stone-built stairway, and everyone else quickly used whatever energy they had left inside of themselves to climb the last set of stairs that soon led them to the top.
For a moment, the group of friends quietly admired the sight in front of them. The gates to the home of the hippogriffs were beautiful - two ancient stone columns carved into the winged creatures - and a sense of accomplishment soared throughout Twilight’s body. “This is it!”
One by one, they all walked through the mysterious gates, with a relieved Rarity saying, “Finally! A place where I can rest my hooves…”
However, after she saw what the city was like, a look of uncertainty appeared on the white unicorn’s face. “Um, are you sure that we’re in the right place?”
For some reason, the city was completely deserted - save for them, of course - along with cracked statues, toppled pillars, and untreated weeds that had grown pretty much everywhere. Even all the doors to the beautiful dome-shaped dwellings had been left ajar.
“Hello? Anypony home?” called out Applejack, but no one gave her an answer. “Where in the hay did they all go?”
As for Pinkie, she began to bounce around the entire area, in search of the flying animals. “No hippogriffies here! Or here, or here… or here, or here, or here!”
Then, she stood in front of Twilight, and searched underneath a small pebble. “Wait… nope! This place is emp-ty!”
“But… Celestia… and the map…” said Twilight, who couldn’t believe what was going on. They didn’t come all this way from Equestria for it to just end like this. “This just doesn’t make any sense!”
Spike did a little gulp out of fear, and shuddered as he looked around the deserted city. “Something bad must have happened here… something that turned this place into a ghost town!”
“G-g-g-ghost town?” Fluttershy was not very pleased to hear that, and the pegasus started to whimper quietly.
“Wait!” Everyone turned their attention over to a levitating Starlight, who pointed at a structure several feet away from them. Although it was damaged, it looked like it had once been an amazing castle. “Did you hear that? It sounded like someone was singing, and it’s coming from over there.”
Ahhhhhh, ahhhhh, ahhhhh…
Rarity nodded, in agreement, and said, “It sounds gorgeous.”
So, they all started to head in the direction of where the singing was coming from, and on the way, a curious Pinkie asked, “Hey, Starlight, how does it feel with all of this [tap, tap, tap] being frozen solid?”
“Without this bubble, you mean?” replied Starlight, referring to what she was using to keep her above the ground. “Like I’m carrying a cart filled with some of those stuffed barrel things that Sunburst found Starswirl’s journal in.”
As they continued to make their way into the building where the singing was coming from, Pinkie tried to give the pink unicorn some positivity. “At least you know how I must’ve probably felt when Rowan turned me into a statue.”
“Thanks, Pinkie,” replied an amused Starlight. “Hopefully I can find a way to fix this.”
Pinkie happily nodded her head, and was about to say more when she noticed what was now in front of them. “I hope you don’t got to use a bathroom anytime soon.”
They were now standing in front of a grand water fountain that was placed in the center of the room, and in the middle of a small pound was a large pink lotus flower.
“Oh, I’m definitely going to need a spa treatment by the end of all this,” said Rarity.
Ahhhhhh, ahhhhh, ahhhhh…
Taking a closer look, Pinkie saw that there was some kind of bright shadow-like figure sitting in the flower, and said, “That must be the one who’s been singing this whole time!”
The pink pony started to head down the steps, but accidentally caused a few broken-off pieces to tumble down and drop into the water, causing the mysterious figure to gasp in surprise. “What was that?” Then, it quickly jumped into the water before any of the ponies could say anything.
“Hey, wait up!” called out Pinkie, and without having a second thought, she took a large leap into the water. “Cannonball!”
“Pinkie!” Twilight hurried down the steps, followed by everyone else, and made her way into the pond, but before she could call out her friend’s name again, Pinkie returned to the surface, spitting out a stream of water that fell onto Twilight.
“She’s gone!” Pinkie gave a shrug, not knowing what to do next.
“Oh, now what?” groaned Twilight.
For some reason, the water was now starting to swirl around, creating a whirpool that was quickly being sucked down into some kind of drain, and it was taking whatever was in the water with it, which included all of them!
“I hate epic adventures!” cried Rarity, followed by joining her friends in screaming as they found themselves spinning around in a circle, and soon enough, they were all submerged into deep water.
No, no, no, this can’t be it! Twilight tried desperately to swim around for something that she could grab, but the deepness of the water was making everything for her feel clouded and fuzzy. Got to… use my magic…
“Ahhhhhh!” gasped the alicorn, taking a deep breath of air, and to her relief, an air bubble had appeared around her head.
Lighting up her horn, Twilight saw that everyone else had air bubbles of their own, and she looked over at Starlight, who was inside of a body-sized bubble that wasn’t even created by her. “Somepony else beat me to it.”
Twilight was about to ask another question when she suddenly felt something swim beside her, causing her to gulp. “I hope that wasn’t a shark.”
“M-maybe it was a friendly shark?” suggested Spike, as he swam over to Twilight so that he could grab onto her right fore leg.
Whatever it was, Twilight decided to try and talk to it. “Hello? Maybe you can help us - we’re looking for the hippogriffs!”
Her answer came from a bright and glowing yellow orb that was floating just a few feet away, but close enough to light up the whole area. “How do I know I can trust you?”
A pleading look appeared on Twilight’s face as she cried, “Please! The Storm King invaded our land, and we need to find the queen of the hippogriffs-”
“The Storm King?!” The glowing orb was now only inches away from the group of friends, and to their surprise, it transformed into something that Twilight never would’ve thought she would ever see: a living, breathing seapony!
Wow, she’s pretty, thought Casey, also surprised at what they were all looking at.
“I’m so glad that I saved you guys!” squealed the pale yellow seapony, with aqua fins replacing what would have been her mane, and on the side of her forehead was a small pink flower-like hairclip. “I’m totally taking all of you to see my mom!”
And I thought Pinkie was the only one filled with a bunch of happiness, thought Casey.
The seapony grabbed onto Twilight’s hoof, and everyone formed a chain as they were led down into the watery unknown, swimming past various rocks and schools of fish, before entering a sea cave tunnel that soon led to...
“Aaaaand, we’re here!” sang the beautiful seapony, proudly using one of her fins to present what they were now looking at, and almost all of their mouths dropped.
It’s like a sparkling wonderland, thought Twilight, noticing several other seaponies that swam all around, with a few of them politely waving at the newcomers, and her eyes widened after the yellow seapony brought them over to what appeared to be a palace in the shape of an upside-down flower, which opened up to allow them inside.
“This… is so… awesome!” whispered a wide-smiling Rainbow, with a nearby Pinkie nodding in agreement.
Then, once everyone was inside of the palace, the seapony swam over to a purple throne that was occupied by an older pearly-white seapony, who was also wearing a golden crown. “Mom! Mother! Look what I fouuunndd!”
“Is it another shell?” groaned the royal seapony, as if this had happened several times before in the past. “Because I’m telling you, if it is another shell, I am-”
However, once she noticed Twilight and co., with a smiling Pinkie giving her a wave, the royal seapony gasped in shock before glaring at her daughter. “Princess Skystar, what have you done?You know that surface dwellers are forbidden down here. Guards!”
In a swift amount of time, several royal seapony guards surrounded the group of friends, and once again, Twilight’s happiness turned into fear. Would things ever go their way?
With her guards surrounding the "surface dwellers", the royal seapony was about to finish carrying out her sentence when a worried Princess Skystar quickly shook her fins around, wanting her to stop.
"No, no, no, no! Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, please,it issonot like that!" Skystar then began to swim beside her mother, trying to reason with her. "The Storm King is trying to taketheirhome, too!"
Twilight nodded in agreement, and she gave the white-colored seapony a pleading look. "Please, we're trying to find the hippogriffs. Do you know what happened to them?"
A smirk appeared on the royal pony's face as she replied to Twilight. "Well, ofcourseI know what happened-"
Suddenly, a bright smile appeared on Skystar's face as she swam away from her mother. "Ooh, ooh,it issucha good story!"
"Don't youdaretell them!" exclaimed the royal seapony, but to little avail since Skystar was getting ready to tell the story after having reached one of the castle walls.
"Once upon a time…like, a while ago," said Skystar, who had touched the wall with one of her fins, and it began to light up with illustrations of the hippogriffs, as well as the Storm King. "Theydiduse to live on Mt. Aris, but then, that horned beast showed up to steal their magic!"
While the group of friends started to go"ooh"during Skystar's story, her mother let out a sigh, and shook her head in irritation. "Did I not just say for you tonottell them? But hey, I'm only the queen here, so don't mind me…"
"Yes, Mother,"muttered the yellow seapony, but then, her smile quickly returned. "Now, what Iwouldn'tnormally tell you is… in order to keep their kingdom out of hisevilclutches, their brave and majestic leader - Queen Novo - hid them deep underwater so that he wouldn't be able to reach them!"
While Skystar continued to change around the illustrations to depict the story's events, her mother raised an eyebrow. "Seriously?"
As for Twilight, she was beginning to realize what the story meant exactly, and her response came from an excited Skystar.
"Weare - no, wait, sorry… wewerethe hippogriffs!Ta-dah!" Then, she swam over to the group of ponies, and whispered, "But Itotallydid not tell you that!"
A sigh came out of the older seapony's mouth. "Well, I guess the pearl's out of the oyster now…Iam Queen Novo."
After the queen introduced herself, Twilight's face lit up with pure joy and happiness.We found the queen of the hippogriffs! Now I just have to ask her if-
"Are there any more stories you can tell us with that cool light-glowing thing?" asked Pinkie, pointing at the wall that Skystar had been using.
"Sure! Okay, so this one time, I ran into this pony whose name was Star-"
However, before Skystar could finish the sentence, a confused Applejack said, "Let me get this straight. Y'all just decided to flee and abandon your city after the Storm King showed up?"
Skystar let out a chuckle, and replied, "We didn't flee, weswam… you know, in order to flee!"
"But…how?" wondered Starlight, who had some trouble figuring out in Equestria they were able to completely transform themselves from hippogriffs into seaponies, and Skystar swam back to her mother in excitement.
"Oh! Mother, can we show them?" The princess began to twirl around Queen Novo, with a wide smile. "These are the first guests that we've had in, like,forever!Can we, can we, can we, can we, can we?"
Seeing that there wasn't really much harm to the ponies being in their underwater home, Queen Novo looked up at the giant jellyfish that was above her throne, and she said, "Well, IsupposeI should make sure it still works."
So, the queen swam her way up to the jellyfish, and after giving it a gentle tap, its tendrils parted to give Nova a shiny, glittering pearl that contained a glow which brightened up the entire place.
"Ohhhhh…!"squealed an overjoyed Skystar, watching a swirl of the pearl's magic make its way over to the group of friends, and one by one, they all started to transform into seaponies themselves.
"Thesefinsaredivine!" Rarity was already falling in love with her new appearance.
Just as Applejack had gotten her hat stay on her head, a grinning Rainbow quickly swam up to float beside her. "I'll race you to that corral!"
"You're on!" said the orange seapony, and the two competitive friends rushed off to their destination.
Nearby, Pinkie was happily twirling around in her new body, a wide smile on her face. "Whoo-hoo! Ooh,try it, Fluttershy!"
The yellow Pegasus-turned-seapony let out a giggle, and moved her new tail around just for a moment or two. "Yay…"
"What…" A transformed Starlight was looking at Skystar with confusion since her lower body was now longer showing any sign of being frozen solid. "How?"
Skystar giggled several times for she gave the pink seapony her response. "Well, it's not like we were going to let any of the hippogriffs that got struck by the Storm King's orbs turn into seapony statues…"
"Guys? Um,guys?" Starlight turned her head to look over at Spike, who had the unfortunate outcome of having turned into a pufferfish. "What is-"
"- happening?!" finished Spike, now floating up after his entire body blew up like a balloon, and Starlight sighed before swimming over to deflate her friend.
Casey was excited about his new seapony appearance, as well, and he began to perform all sorts of twirling tricks that came to his head. "Sweeeeeet!"
"Totally…"sighed an agreeing Pinkie Pie.
As for Twilight, the excited alicorn-turned-seapony swam over to Queen Novo, and she said, "This isamazing! With this, we could transform everypony in Equestria into something powerful enough to destroy the Storm King's army!"
Twilight tried to take a closer look at the magical pearl in Novo's fins, but the queen kept it close to herself, along with a frown appearing on her face. "Orit could end up in his greedyclaws!"
"But…" said Twilight, her happiness - once again - starting to turn into sadness.
"Honey, I'm sorry about your home," replied Queen Novo, in a soft but direct tone. "I truly am… but my responsibility is to protectmysubjects, and that means thepearlisn't going anywhere."
Twilight watched with pain and disbelief as the pearl was put back into the jellyfish, and then, she said, "But… we came all this way… you can't just stay down here for the rest of your lives. There's so much you're missing up there!"
"And, we areperfectlyokaywith that!" said Queen Novo, making her decision final, as well as leaving to continue on with her own royal agenda.
Twilight just stayed in her spot, full of sadness and disappointment, while her friends came to join her after hearing what the queen had said to the young princess.
"So, that'sit?" exclaimed Applejack, also full of disbelief. "We came all the way up her fornothin'?"
Casey placed a comforting fin on the purple alicorn-turned-seapony, who turned her head towards him, but just as he was about to try and make her feel better, Skystar told them that she'd just thought of an amazing idea.
"You can allstay herewith us! Ooh, there's so much fun things we can do - we could make friendship bracelets out of shells, and picture frames out of shells, and decorative waste baskets out of shells… oh, I have so many fun ideas that involve shells!"
Then, a warm smile appeared on her face as she added, "Now, I have someonenewto share them with! Well, aside from my friends, Shelly and Sheldon… isn't that right, Shelly? Sheldon?"
Skystar continued to laugh and giggle with amusement as she held up two clam shells that both had a pair of plastic eyes, with everyone except Pinkie looking at the princess with slight discomfort. "Here, want to say hello?"
A wide-smiling Pinkie just nodded her head, but then, Rarity cleared her throat before saying, "Oh, um, that does soundlovely, darling…"
She hated to lower the hopes of the princess seapony, especially after how kind Skystar had been to them. "But you do realize that we can't stay here."
"We've got to get back to our families," added Applejack, who also felt bad for turning down the princess' offer.
"Um… maybe you could bring them down here, too?" suggested Skystar, but after Starlight sadly shook her head, the seapony's happiness started to go away. "Oh, okay… that's fine, ha-ha… I mean, Shelly and Sheldon get jealous anyway."
Then, just like how Pinkie would be when someone turned down the offer of having a party, Skystar began to completely deflate into pure sadness. "I'll just go and, um… tell Mother to change you all back so that you can go home."
As the seapony princess swam hurry, Pinkie - who felt awful, and just hated to see someone like Skystar so sad - looked back at the others. "I know we have to go, but… you saw how disappointed Princess Skystar was! Can't we stay here for just alittlebit longer?"
"I'm sorry, sugarcube, but there's no time to-" Applejack started to say until Twilight suddenly swam in between the two of them.
"Oh, no… no, no... Pinkie'sright!"
Everyone turned their heads in Twilight's direction, and Rainbow, in disbelief, said, "Say what now?"
"Well, wedoneed to still figure out a way onhowto get back, so a few more minutes won't make ahugedifference," reminded Twilight, who turned to smile at her pink-colored friend. "And if there's anyone who can cram a lifetime of fun in the blink of an eye,it'sPinkie Pie!"
Pinkie's wide smile returned, and a confident Twilight nodded her head. "Now, go ahead and show Skystar the best time ever!"
"Iwon'tlet you down!" Pinkie gave the alicorn-turned-seapony a salute, and Twilight began ushering the others towards her.
"Oh, I'm counting on it." After watching them swim out of the seacastle, Twilight turned her attention over to the jellyfish, but then, a familiar voice interrupted her thoughts.
"Twilight? You okay?" said Casey, having noticed that she hadn't followed after Pinkie like everyone else.
"Yeah, great! I'll just wait here in case, uh, Queen Novo comes back from her seaweed wrap and massage treatment," replied Twilight, giving her special somepony a warm smile. "Go on, it's been a while since you've hung out with them all, right?"
A sheepish Casey let out a chuckle before saying, "Yeah, I… guess you do have a point… heh, I wonder how Stardust would've felt about all this."
"I'm sure that it would include a little bit of profanity somewhere," suggested Twilight, and the two of them shared a laugh together before Casey hurried to catch up to the rest of their friends… while the young princess went back to looking up at the jellyfish, which still held the pearl safely inside.
After making sure that no one else was in there with her, Twilight slowly swam up towards it, and took a deep breath while mentally preparing herself for what she was about to do.
This is the only way to save Equestria.
As a heartbroken Skystar slowly made her way to where Queen Novo was at, she muttered to herself, "It's probably for the best."
Suddenly, to her surprise, the two clam shells that she'd shown the newcomers were being help up in front of her, courtesy of a smiling Pinkie.
Hey, now, don't be sad
I know we cannot stay
Then, Skystar turned around to see that Pinkie was not alone. In fact, almost everyone else that she'd met earlier was there, as well!
[normal voice] But we've got a couple minutes And a little time to play
However, Skystar remembered the reasons why they had all come in the first place, and she began to swim away from them again… but Pinkie was not ready to give up so easily.
I know you have important things So it's okay, just go
[Pinkie Pie] But we can still pick one small, little thing To do with you, y'know!
So, before she knew it, Skystar found herself doing all sorts of fun and wonderful things with Pinkie and the others, with a smile quickly appearing on her face.
One small thing
doesn't seem like a lot
One small thing
work with the time you've got!
Soon, one small thing becomes two After two, perhaps another few
Then one small thing is not so small One small thing can be
The biggest thing of all
[Princess Skystar] All right now, since you're here Let's see what we can do
Swim with the flow until you go Together, me and you
Soon enough, the rest of the other hippogriffs-turned-seaponies, along with various oceanic sea creatures, also decided to join in on the fun.
[Pinkie Pie] I've got necklaces for everyfish So what else do ya got?
[Princess Skystar] Well, we could play the bubblefish You'll like this one a lot!
[Pinkie Pie and Princess Skystar] One small thing, it's a good place to start
[Spike, Casey, and Starlight] (Just one small thing)
[Pinkie Pie and Princess Skystar] One small thing, and we don't seem so far apart
[Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, and Fluttershy] (Don't seem apart)
[All] Soon, one small thing leads to more It's so much more than there was before
Just one small thing, and you will see The start of something big for you and me
Even Queen Novo found herself coming out of the sea spa to see what exactly was going on.
[Pinkie Pie] One small thing
[Seaponies] Just one small thing
[Princess Skystar] Or a tall thing
[Seaponies] Just one tall thing
[Fluttershy] Or a sing thing
[Seaponies] Just one sing-y thing
[Rarity] Or a bling thing
[All] Just one bling-y thing
[Applejack] A conga thing
[All] Yeah, a conga thing
[Rainbow Dash] Or a longah thing
[Seaponies] Just one longah thing
[Pinkie Pie] A blue thing, true thing, you thing
[Princess Skystar] A whee thing, sea thing, me thing
[Pinkie Pie and Princess Skystar] So many things and everything until our time is done There's one small thing for each and everyone!
As this was happening, with Queen Novo eventually joining on the fun, Twilight was almost about to succesfully complete her plan, but then, she noticed a jellyfish tentacle swiftly turn in her direction. "Uh-oh."
[Princess Skystar] One small thing, so much we can create You and me, we started something great
It's so amazing, look around At all the happy sights and sounds
One small thing is big, it's true You did this all for us
I just wish there was one small thing An extra special kind of thing
[Princess Skystar and Seaponies] That we could do for you... One small thing!
Once they had all finished with having fun, Queen Novo looked back at the group of ponies-turned-seaponies, and she said, "Well, I guess there isonesmall thing that we can do."
Victory!thought Casey, with the rest of his friends glad at the fact that Pinkie's idea of fun had worked.
RING! RING! RING! RING!
Suddenly, it was like an alarm had gone off through the entire kingdom, and as Novo glared at Skystar, Casey let out a gulp. "That doesn't sound good."
Unfortunately, that wasn't the worst of it… because they had all returned to the flower-shaped castle, and found a struggling Twilight, whose body was tightly wrapped up in jellyfish tentacles, trying to reach for the pearl!
"Ow, ow…"cried Twilight, when the tentacles began to sting her with electricity.
A growl came out of the furious queen's mouth, and to Twilight's horror, she had taken the pearl away just as Twilight was about to grab it. "No,please!"
"All of thisso you could take the pearl?" exclaimed Queen Novo, and she pulled a worried Skystar towards her. "Thisis why we don't bring strangers into our home!"
Then, before turning them back into their regular selves, as well as sending them away from their undersea home, a deep frown of disappointment appeared on Novo's face.
"So… much… swimming," gasped a tired Casey, who was laying back against the shore at the base of Mt. Aris, which was where the group of friends had swam towards after returnig to the surface.
While he slowly got himself back to standing on all fours, Starlight was making her way towards him, using her hooves to dry out her mane. "You okay?"
The young Earth Pony nodded his head, and he was about to ask her the same question when Applejack suddenly exclaimed, "What were you thinkin', Twilight? I mean, stealin' their pearl?"
Casey and Starlight shared a look with each other that meant "this can't be good", and they went over to join the others, who were all focusing their attention on the alicorn princess that was standing a few feet away from them.
"It was the only way to save Equestria!" said Twilight, trying to explain the reason for her actions.
"Except it wasn't!" cried Pinkie, who took a few steps forward. "The queen was going to say 'yes' after realizing that we were ponies worth saving because we did what you told us, so why would… you… wait a second…"
Twilight kept quiet while Pinkie let out a shocked gasp, having realized what her friend's true intentions had actually been. "You never actually wanted us to show her the best time ever. You just wanted us to distract her!"
Applejack, Rarity, Fluttershy, and Rainbow stared at Twilight in shock and horror, while Spike and Casey shared the same kind of look that the young pony had with Starlight, who was now standing in between the purple alicorn and pink Earth pony. "Okay, let's just think about this a little more. We don't actually know that she meant to have us just be a distraction for Princess Skystar and her mother-"
"Open your eyes, Starlight!" exclaimed Pinkie, looking at her in disbelief as Starlight winced at the pony's raised tone of voice. "That's the only reason why she chose to stay behind instead of joining us!"
Before Starlight could give Pinkie a response, Twilight quickly came to her defense. "You leave her alone! And I never would've asked you all to distract them, but this is not Equestria! We can't just go dancing around with con artists, make rainbooms in the sky, and expect everything to work out!"
She and Pinkie were now standing in front of each other while Starlight took a few steps back. "It's not enough; we are not enough!"
"No, Twilight, we stuck together!" exclaimed a dissapointed Pinkie, pointing a hoof at the others before doing it to her. "We were going to get the help that we needed, but the only thing that stopped us was you!"
Frustration started to build inside of Twilight, who just couldn't believe that Pinkie had no idea what she was going through. "Well, I'm doing the best that I can! I mean, it's all on me... and since you've forgotten, let me remind you that I'm the last remaining princess that Tempest needs!"
"I haven't forgotten anything, Twilight Sparkle!" exclaimed Pinkie, while the purple alicorn began walking away from her. "But it looks like you've forgotten what it's like to actually trust your friends!"
That was the final straw for Twilight, now having reached her boiling point, and she walked back to stand right in front of Pinkie. "Well, then, maybe I'd just be better off not having to deal with friends like you at all!"
After Twilight had finished yelling at Pinkie, her horn started crackling with electric-like energy, and sent off a small spark that was almost like the ones that Tempest made with her damaged horn.
As for the pink Earth pony, she looked completely shocked and heartbroken, not having ever imagined Twilight say something like that to her, and slowly lowered her head down while said alicorn quickly realized what she'd just said.
But the damage had already been done, so as regret and pain started to enter Twilight's body, a hurt Pinkie started to walk away from the Princess of Friendship.
"I just can't… talk to you right now."
To make matters worse, Rarity and Fluttershy, as well as Rainbow and Applejack, decided to follow after Pinkie since they figured it was best for Twilight to spend some time alone.
"I… uh… I'll go and try to… get them to come back," said Starlight, once the feeling of shock had went away, and hurried after their retreating friends. "Girls, wait! We can't just…"
As for Twilight, she had lowered her head in shame, and was now walking slowly in the other direction, with Casey and Spike soon following after her in silence, ending up at an edge of a small cliff, where the purple alicorn sat down without saying anything.
While the clouds above seemed to be getting darker, Casey and Spike looked at each other, wondering which one of them should talk to her first, and after the decision was made, Spike began to take a few small steps toward Twilight.
"Twilight? It's… okay… you'll figure it out."
Unfortunately, she didn't feel the same way, and as Twilight spoke, she started to break down into tears.
"No… I can't… there's no chance to save Equestria now. I ruined everything… it's all my fault."
Spike looked over at Casey, who knew that it was his turn to talk, so he walked over to stand next to Twilight, and let out a sigh before doing so. "Twilight?"
The purple alicorn lifted her head up to glance at Casey, and he was about to continue the rest of his statement when, all of a sudden, a cage came down on them from out of nowhere!
"What the - ulp!" Spike cried, now finding himself trapped in the tight grip of a Storm Guard, while the cage that held Casey and Twilight was being pulled up into the hull of Tempest's skiff, but he wasn't held for long after Spike's decision to breath out a blast of fire.
So, while the Storm Guard hurried over to find an area of water to place his burning hand in, Spike looked up at the cage, which was already too far out of his grasp. "Casey! Twilight!"
"Spike! Go tell the other-" Casey started to yell, but then, his watch set off some more sparks of electricity, which reflected off the bars behind him, and he ended up recieving a double dosage of electric pain until the watch stopped malfunctioning, while the young pony collapsed to the floor in exhaustion.
"Casey!" Twilight hurried over to her special somepony, checking to make sure that he was okay, but before she could say anything else, the young princess heard a familiar chuckle that caused her fear to grow.
"Well, look at what we have here." A smug grin appeared on Tempest's face, but it went away once she saw Casey. "The Princess of Friendship, but with none of her… friends… huh… I wasn't expecting to capture whoever he is, as well."
Casey coughed a few times before he slowly got up to his hooves, and glared at the sinister pony. "I do have a name, you know."
"Right, whatever she said just a while ago," replied Tempest, turning her attention back to Twilight, who was now looking at the unicorn with confusion.
"Why are you doing all this? You're a pony, just like us - aaaghh!"
A scowling Tempest placed her front hoofs onto the bars of the cage, giving an angry glare while her broken horn sparked with a small amount of raw energy. "I'm nothing likeyou, princess, and especially not your special someone… I'm more than either of you will ever be."
Casey and Twilight shared a look with each other, both of them confused about
Insert opening notes to "Open Up Your Eyes"
"It's time you learned a lesson," sang Tempest, as she began to walk around the cage, keeping her focus on the princess while preparing to give out a dose of reality.
It's time that you understand Don't ever count one anybody else In this or any other land
I once hoped for friendship To find a place among my kind But those were the childish wishes Of someone who was blind
Neither Casey nor Twilight had any words to say right now; all they did instead was simply listen.
Open up your eyes See the world from where I stand Me among the mighty You caged at my command
Open up your eyes Give up your sweet fantasy land It's time to grow up and get wise Come now, little one Open up your eyes
Then, Tempest began to tell them about a memory from her childhood - a day that started out fun since she had been playing a game with her friends in the Everfree Forest.
We all start out the same With simple naïve trust Shielded from the many ways that life's not fair or just
Unfortunately, the ball had ended up rolling into a dark and creepy cave, and once they arrived at the entrance, her friends decided that it was probably best for Tempest to retrieve it since she was more skilled at magic than they were, along with the fact that she was more braver than them.
But then there comes a moment With simple truth that you must face If you depend on others You'll never find your place
So, Tempest had entered the cave, and was able to find the ball, but just as she was about to leave, a loud roar came from out of nowhere, and the small filly found herself looking up at a dangerous Ursa Minor that was also very upset right now.
She tried to use her magic as a method of self-defense, but just as Tempest's horn was about to fire an attack, the large beast swiped one of its claws at the unicorn filly, resulting in her getting a scar over her right eye, and most of her own horn breaking off since the attack ended up backfiring.
And as you take that first step Upon a path that's all your own
The next day, a scarred and hornless Tempest tried playing with friends, but without her full horn, she was unable to lift up the ball; instead, the small filly was almost about to incinerate it with her new magic power, and her friends ended up running away from Tempest in fear, choosing to play ball instead with a unicorn that didn't have a broken horn.
A few hours later, after being turned away by practically all of the filles in her town, Tempest decided that having friends - and friendship itself - was completely meaningless.
You see it all so clearly The best way to survive is all alone
With a small tug of a nearby lever, and her story now finished, the cage that held Twilight and Casey was brought up to the ship's control room, while Tempest made her way up there by walking up the staircase.
Once they were all inside, Twilight looked at Tempest with pity, and she said, "I'm sorry that you felt so alone."
A tiny smirk appeared on Tempest's face. "I saw the truth. My 'friends' abandoned me when times got tough. Looks like I'm not the only one."
Casey frowned, and he said, "I'm still right here with her."
"I'm well aware of that," replied Tempest, in a dry tone. "But soon enough, you'll end up doing the same as her friends… if you haven't done so already."
Remembering that he had left Twilight's side (for the time being) to somehow end up in Jack's world after their argument-turned-break up, Casey kept his mouth closed while Tempest turned herself away from them.
"I thought so… let's face it, princess… friendship has failed you, too."
The image of a heartbroken Pinkie entered Twilight's mind, and a sad expression appeared on the alicorn's face.
Meanwhile, back at Mt. Aris, the rest of the Mane 6 were all sitting down, hating the unfortunate situation that they were currently in.
"This whole journey was such a mistake," said a teary-eyed Fluttershy. "All we wanted was somepony to help us."
Applejack let out a sigh, and took a look behind her before facing the others. "You think… maybe it's time we talk to Twilight?"
Everyone slowly nodded their heads in agreement, figuring that they'd spent enough time in giving Twilight her space, but just as the orange Earth pony was about to say something else, a familiar voice cried out, "She's… been… taken!"
"What?!" yelled an alarmed Rainbow, as Spike ran towards them as fast as he possibly could, and once he was standing in front of her, the small dragon pointed behind him.
"Twilight's been taken, along with Casey! Tempest grabbed them, and took them on her ship!"
Everyone let out gasps of surprise, now regretting their decision to walk away from Twilight, but a scowl quickly appeared on Rainbow's face, and she turned to face the others.
"We gotta get both of them back!"
However, that was currently easier said than done since Tempest's ship was probably halfway close to Canterlot by now.
"And, we ain't got no way to defeat those monsters," pointed out Applejack, leaving everyone to wonder just how they were all going to save their friend, but before anyone could give a suggestion, a familiar voice came behind them from out of nowhere.
"Well, it's a good thing that I know a group of heroes who can handle this easily!"
Everyone turned around to see a smiling Capper, standing on top of a large boulder, and Rarity raised an eyebrow at him. "Well… look what the cat dragged in - himself!"
Ignoring what the white unicorn had said, Capper continued to speak. "I've seen these heroes handle the roughest towns, get out of any tight situation, and inspire others to join their cause!"
His words brightened up the faces of almost everyone but Applejack, who shook her head as she said, "Now, don't get too excited. He's just talkin' about us."
Her friends let out groans of disappointment, but Capper wasn't done with his speech just yet. "They've even escaped certain doom at the hooves of Commander Tempest!"
Remembering what had happened back in Klugetown, as well as the pirate ship, a pleased Rainbow Dash nodded in agreement. "Yeah… that was pretty great!"
"Still, it's going to take a lot more than just us to stop them Storm Creatures," reminded Applejack.
"I think I may have a solution to that." The orange Earth pony turned around to see Starlight making her way towards them, with a small grin on her face. "I just so happened to come across a group of feathered allies that would be more than happy to help us."
Before any of her friends could ask who she was referring to, said group had appeared right next to them after coming down from a small cliff, and Rainbow's face lit up with even more happiness. "You're all okay!"
A sheepish smile appeared on the face of Capt. Celeano, who was accompanied by the rest of her crew, and she said, "Well, for the most part, anyway… had to do a lot of swimming after Tempest sunk our ship."
Capper made a quick shudder after the light-colored parrot said that. "I hope to never do something like that ever again."
"But, even though we don't have an actual ship with us," continued Celeano. "We're all on-board to help you fight the Storm King, especially since you helped us get back our arrrggghh!"
While her crew gave their agreements, Spike heard a bubbling sound coming from the ocean water behind them, and he turned around to see that something was emerging to the surface, which he quickly pointed it out to the others. "Um, what's that supposed to be?"
Surprise was shown on the faces of everyone as they saw a winged animal come out of the water, and land on top of a boulder, with a wide-eyed Capper saying, "Is that what I think it is?"
After shaking off the drops of water away from her shell necklace that had been a gift from Pinkie, Princess Skystar waved one of her claws at the group, and said, "Hello! Me again… oh, I'm going to get so grounded, but I talked things over with Shelly and Sheldon, and they said that you were just trying to help your friends, so I want to help, too!"
Then, she flew over to the shore, with Pinkie walking towards her, and the two shared a smile as she added, "Cause you know, one small thing can make a really big difference."
Now that it seemed like no one else was joining them, Spike looked at everyone around him, and he said, "So, that's it, right? We didn't make friends with anybody else?"
As for Pinkie, she now had a face expression that was full of determination. "We're coming, Twilight… as soon as we think of a plan!"
The cage holding Twilight and Casey captive was now being wheeled to the royal castle by their fellow ponies, who had chains around their hooves, and on the way there, the two of them started to feel terrible as they saw the rest of their friends either locked up inside of a cage, or being forced to follow orders from the Storm Guards.
I am here and I see your pain
After the familiar singing voice reached her eyes. Twilight turned her head to see that Songbird Serenade had also been locked up in a cage, as well.
Through the storms, through the clouds, the rain I'm telling you you can not escape
Unfortunately, she was interrupted by one of the Storm Guards, who had knocked his fist against the bars a few times before telling the cream-colored pegasus to stop singing, and as Twilight passed right by the artist's cage, the two of them shared the same look of sadness with each other as they realized both were in an unfortunate situation.
Once she and Casey were in the castle, and brought over to the throne room, Twilight turned her attention over to a nearby Tempest.
"Don't do this," pleaded the young alicorn. "Don't give the Storm King-"
"- your magic?" finished a smirking Tempest. "Did you think you'd keep it all to yourself? Time to share!"
Little did the dark purple unicorn know, her boss was currently making his way into the castle while she continued talking to the imprisoned princess. "I would love for everyone out there to know what I can really do."
"Ooh, fascinating!" said the Storm King, who had a wide grin on his face, and Tempest turned around to look at him in surprise. "Tell me, what can you really do with your power, Sparky? Light a little candle with that sparkler of yours?"
Then, as he started to chuckle at his own little quip, Tempest began showing a small sign of feeling embarrassed while Grubber gave a quick pat on the shoulder.
Even Twilight started to feel a little bad for her, but after hearing a chuckle come out of Casey's muzzle, she turned to glare her special somepony, who sheepishly said, "I thought it was funny."
Before the purple alicorn could respond to him, Grubber took a few steps forward, and looked up at his master. "We do your bidding, of course, your Mighty One!"
Then, a few seconds later, he hurried out of the throne room, and closed the doors behind him while Tempest rolled her eyes.
A sly grin appeared on the Storm King's face as he started to approach the cage that held Twilight and Casey. "Yep, bidding's good, I like bidding!"
Then, the white-colored furry creature stopped moving, and took one uninterested look at Twilight. "And, uh, what are you supposed to be?"
"I'm the princess of friendship," replied the young and proud alicorn, with Casey nodding in agreement.
The Storm King started to laugh, and he flashed a fake smile at Twilight before turning it into a frown. "Oh, that's nice… Tempest, why is this one still moving?"
"The princess and her friends put up a bit of a fight," answered Tempest. "But I can assure you that neither her or the other pony will be a problem to you."
"Huh? What do you - oh!" exclaimed the Storm King, who was now looking at Casey. "I almost didn't see you there… so, what… are you, like, the prince of friendship or something?"
The two caged ponies both had a slight blush on their faces, and Casey replied, "Well, no, not exactly… I'm only her special somepony."
"Ugh, what is it with adding pony either before or after something?" growled an irritated Storm King, and he started to walk around the throne room. "And speaking of problems, this place seems a little too… oh, I don't know… cute!"
He turned to look at Tempest, continuing to shout while she raised an eyebrow at him. "I don't like cute! I never did like cute! Doesn't really go with my whole big, bad, powerful-magic-guy thing, does it?"
Then, a scowl appeared on his face as he cried, "Deliver the punchline to me, Tempest, because this has got to be a joke!"
The Storm King slammed the bottom of his staff to the floor in anger, but then, to his surprise, the ground started to shake, and the statues of the other princesses were now glowing.
"Wow! Check out the light show! Hahahaha!" cackled the Storm King, watching with glee as four streams of powerful alicorn magic became absorbed into the staff, despite Twilight's attempt at trying to hold in her magic as best as she could.
Ohhh, this is not good, thought a nervous and slightly fearful Casey, who was also trying to avoid having flashbacks of a previous similar incident that occured several years ago.
Once the staff had reached its maximum capacity for power, an excited Storm King cried, "Alright, let's get this storm started! Ooh, hey that's good - I should trademark that."
Then, he turned his attention back over to Twilight, and said, "Now, about that princess-"
"Don't you even think about doing anything else to her," exclaimed Casey, glaring at the Storm King. "You'll have to go through me first."
For a moment, the Storm King thought about it, and then, he said, "Alright, kid, I won't do anything to her… I'll do something to the both of you!"
With a sinister laugh, he fired a white-hot energy blast at their cage, causing the bars to explode into hundreds of tiny pieces, and had Twilight crashing through one of the nearby circular windows while Casey was flown across the throne room, crash-landing against one of the walls
"Twi… light…" muttered a lying Casey, lowering his head to the ground because of exhaustion.
Meanwhile, as Twilight layed down on the balcony floor while surrounded by debris, the approaching Storm King said, "Not bad! Actually… kind of first-rate!"
He tapped the top of the staff a few times, with a curious expression. "What else does it do?"
"Your Excellency," said Tempest, who was making her way towards him. "You promised to restore my horn, and give it even greater power-"
The Storm King waved one of his paws at her, and he replied, "Yeah, okay, hang on… I want to blast this little pony again."
He aimed the staff at Twilight, but then, his surprise grew even more after noticing that he had switched the sun with the moon, and after returning it back to the sun, a wide smile appeared on the Storm King's face.
"Oh, you've got to be kidding me! I can move the Sun?!" He cackled with laughter, and stepped over Twilight while making his way to the end of the balcony. "Now that's what I'm talking about!"
Twilight looked over at Tempest, who momentarily appeared to have regretted giving the staff to the Storm King, but she went back to being serious, and walked past the alicorn to stand by her delighted boss.
"Time to play!" The Storm King began to switch the Moon and the Sun back and forth several times. "Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday… Day! Night! Day! Night!"
Maybe my own sun and moon idea for the Festival wasn't so great after all, thought a nervous Twilight, who was also wishing that her friends were with her right now.
At the main gates of Canterlot, two Storm Creatures were currently standing in front of it, not allowing anyone into the city, and they had no idea what to think of the cat-like figure that was making his way over to them while wearing a baker's outfit.
"Hey, how are y'all doing this fine evening?" said Capper, speaking in a casual tone. "I'm here to make a special cake delivery for a Mr.The Storm King? I was given explicit instructions to deliver it to this here castle's throne room."
A few feet away from Capper was a wooden cart that was carrying a giant delicious-looking cake, with a dragon-like candle placed at the very top, and it was being pulled by six chained-up ponies that looked sad and miserable.
"Well, alright then," said Capper, after the two Storm Creatures pointed their spears at him. "Can one of y'all be a pal, and make sure to let your boss know that he's not gettin' his 'congrats on subduing defenseless pastel ponies'cake?"
He then turned around, and gave a shrug before walking back over to the cart. "Cause I don't wanna be the one responsible for the big guy missin' his desert, you know what I'm saying?"
The two Storm Creatures looked at each other for a moment, and once Capper was standing in front of a saddened Pinkie, the cat counted down three of his claw fingers, which was followed by the guards making way for them to enter Canterlot.
Pinkie's face lit up with happiness, and Capper gave her a friendly wink before he started leading the ponies into the city. "Thank y'all so much. I'll be sure to put a good word in to your boss once he's done enjoying this special treat."
As they continued to go further into the fallen city, some of the Storm Creatures were giving the pink pony suspicious looks, and a worried Applejack whispered, "Pinkie! Quit looking so happy. You ain't foolin no pony!"
"Oh, okay!"Pinkie then replaced her smile with an over-exaggerated sad face, and a sighing Applejack just shook her head as they entered the main plaza, where a curious Grubber quickly caught sight of the tasty item.
"Well, don't mind if I do!" The pudgy hedgehog jumped onto the back of the cart, and grabbed a fistful of the cake, bringing it to his hungry lips. "Mmmm,that's somegourmeticing… huh?"
To his surprise, Grubber was now looking at something that resembled an eye. "Who puts eyeballs in filling?" Then, the eye blinked, and a scared Grubber quickly backed away from the cake. "G-g-guards!"
Immediately, a group of Storm Creatures pointed their weapons at the halting intruders, and Capper gave a small gulp. "Uh-oh… Plan B?"
"The jig is up!" cried Rainbow, and she kicked the cart behind her, which resulted in the cake exploding into pieces as Celeano, her crew, and Princess Skystar jumped out of it, all heading straight towards the Storm Creatures in preparation of a fight.
The rest of the ponies stood up against them, as well, with Applejack using her lasso to tie one up, and Rarity, assited by Capper, doing the same to two of the creatures with a large ribbon. "Lovely!"
"Surprise!"Meanwhile, Pinkie had given a present to one of the Storm Creatures, but once he opened the gift, the pink pony popped out of it. "Double surprise!"
Then, she tossed a pink cupcake at his head, with the frosting splattering all over the wall behind him, and before the Storm Guard could run away, Pinkie was already tossing multiple cupcakes at him, laughing like a maniac.
When Starlight came across a group of the Storm Creatures, a smirk appeared on her face as she said, "I'm going to enjoy this."
A few seconds later, they were all running away from the pink unicorn, in order to avoid getting hit by her magical energy blasts. "What, leaving so soon? We're just getting started!"
As for Fluttershy, once she had come across a growling Storm Creature, the pony that represented kindness gave him an adorable expression, and his anger turned into surprise. "You...seem tense! Do you want to talk about it?"
It wasn't long before more of them started to arrive, so as she held one off with her sword, Celeano told the ponies to continue on towards the castle. "We'll take care of them over here!"
"Come on!" shouted Rainbow, and the rest of her friends, along with Capper, made their way up the ramp that led to their destination.
However, Fluttershy was still consulting with one of the Storm Creatures, who was now breaking down into tears while the pegasus gave him a pat on the shoulder. "There you go. Let it all out."
"Oops!Sorry, but our time is up. Good-bye!"" said an apologetic Fluttershy, and she hurried after her friends, with the Storm Creature now waving bye to her.
Once they entered the same area where all of the chaos had begun a few days ago, the group stopped for a moment after seeing that it was almost completely full of Storm Creatures, but then, an idea came into Capper's mind, and he looked down at Spike. "Hey, aren't you afirebreathing dragon?"
A mischievous smirk appeared on Spike's face, and a few seconds later, a laughing Capper was using him like a flame-thrower against the Storm Creatures, who all began to run away in order to avoid getting set on fire.
Up on the balcony, as she watched what was happening below, a frustrated Tempest cried, "What?!How?!"
"It's…" A smile appeared on Twilight's face after seeing all of her friends again. "It's the magic of-"
"Yeah, yeah!" exclaimed the Storm King, speaking in a high-pitched, childish tone, and he pulled the two purple ponies into an insincere embrace. "Friendshipandflowersandponiesand…blegghhh!" Then, after letting them go, he stood up straight, and spoke in a menacing tone. "I amsototally over the cute pony thing!" The Storm King raised the staff above his head, pointing it towards the sky. "This endsnow!"
A bolt of lightning was shot straight into the sky, and a mass of black clouds quickly began to hover around Canterlot, followed by an arriving barrel of wind that swiftly turned into a dangerous tornado.
"Move your hooves, ponies!" cried Capper, as he led them away to find some cover, and they watched as the tornado began picking up all of the Storm Creatures, along with random pieces of debris.
After taking a look at how fast the twister was growing and spinning, Rainbow exclaimed, "You'd have to be faster than aspeeding Pegasusto break throughthatwind!"
Then, to everyone's surprise, Pinkie began to place a helmet on, with a sly grin on her face. "Excellentidea, Rainbow Dash!"
Also, Spike took a look around, and confusion appeared on his face. "Wait a second, where did Starlight go?"
"Um, I don't think that your magic is working against these bars," said an imprisoned Trixie.
Starlight rolled her eyes, but continued to fire her magic against her best friend's cage, praying that it would work.Come on… come on!
"Casey?" The young pony opened up his eyes, and lifted up his head to see a concerned Twilight, who let out a sigh of relief. "Are you okay?"
Her special somepony nodded his head, and he replied, "Yeah, I'm just… a little tired."
Then, Casey saw what was happening out on the balcony, and his eyes grew wide. "Um, what did I miss exactly?"
Outside of the castle, lightning began to shoot down from the clouds while the twister kept on spinning, and a triumphant Storm King raised his arms in victory. "Itruly amthe Storm King!Ha-ha-ha-ha…and the entire world willbowto my va va vaVOOM, baby!"
"Yes, you're every bit as powerful as I promised, sire!" called out Tempest, who had also gotten tired of waiting for the Storm King to keep his end of the bargan, and she bowed in front of him. "Now, restore my horn, and I swear to use my magic to serve you!"
But the Storm King instead chose to let out a chuckle, and he pushed Tempest aside while walking away from her. "Who cares about your dinky little unicorn horn?"
Wait, what?Tempest couldn't believe what she was hearing, so after going back to stand in front of him, the alarmed unicorn cried, "But, we…we had an agreement!"
The Storm King rolled his eyes in frustration, and he glared at Tempest. "Oh,getwith theprogram. Iusedyou - it'skindofwhat I do!"
Then, with glee, he fired a magical energy blast at Tempest, who swiftly dodged it, and she began to fire her own energy blast at the Storm King, but it connected with another blast fired from the staff, and while he only flew back a few feet, Tempest had now found herself holding onto the balcony railing for dear life.
However, the strength and power of the nearby tornado was too much for Tempest to withstand, and soon enough, she was no longer able to keep her grip on the railing, but just as she was about to be sucked into the swirling mass of wind, a pair of hooves grabbed one of her own tightly before she was blown away.
"Hold on!" cried Twilight, and Tempest gave her a bewildered look.
"Why are you saving me?" The dark purple unicorn wondered, especially after everything she had done to the princess, who now had a sincere smile on her face.
"Becausethis… is whatfriendsdo." After hearing those words, a touched Tempest slowly began to smile, as well, and Twilight pulled her back onto the balcony, causing them to land on the hard surface.
"Awwwww… isn't that so sweet?Yeah..." The two ponies turned to see that the Storm King had gotten back up to his feet, and he was now aiming the staff right at their alarmed faces. "See ya!"
Back in the main plaza, Murdoch was happily waiting for the go-ahead to push down on the lever that was in front of him, with Capper and Boyle on opposite sides of him.
"You sure about this?" asked the hook-handed parrot, and his answer came from an overjoyed Pinkie.
"Just do it! Thank you!"cried the pink pony, who was currently waiting deep inside of her newest party cannon, and she was joined by the rest of her friends. "I'm excited! Who's excited?Ohhh,I've never been so excited!"
"Y'all ponies are crazy,"remarked Capper, covering his ears after giving the signal to Murdoch, and the non-talkative parrot let out a happysquawkbefore pushing down on the lever, which led to the cannon firing off the five screaming ponies and one dragon through the twister in the direction of the castle.
Up on the balcony, the Storm King was about to fire a blast of magic at the two purple ponies, but at the last second, Twilight's friends all plowed right into him like a cannonball, and he flew across the throne room while everyone else ungracefully landed on the floor.
"Bullseye!"cried an upside down Pinkie, raising her hoof in victory until she noticed the pony that she had crashed into. "Casey! You're okay!"
A dizzy Casey just nodded his head, and as she began to help him up to his hooves, a teary-eyed Twilight hurried into the room.
"Pinkie! You all came back!I'm so sorry, I was wrong to-"
"I'm sorry, too!"interrupted Pinkie, now giving the young princess a warm embrace, and Twilight happily returned the favor. "Friends mess up sometimes, but we should never-"
However, before she could finish her sentence, an alarmed Rainbow cried, "Uh,make up later! This isn't over!"
The staff had been thrown out of the Storm King's grip, and was now tightly wedged in the stain-glass window.
To make matters worse, it was sending out random bolts of lightning, and even a powerful blast straight at the ceiling, which caused chunks of marble and stone to fall and shatter around them, as well as the twister now reaching a very high level of danger.
After they had succesfully gotten themselves out of the way, Twilight looked up at the staff, and then, back over at her friends. "I've got to get control of it!"
"Go! You got this, Twilight!" shouted Pinkie, and Casey nodded in agreement.
Twilight started to make her way over to the staff, but after taking another look at Casey and their friends, the alicorn princess shook her head, and she gave them a proud smile. "No,wegot this…together!"
A few seconds later, with Applejack's lasso being used to keep everyone tethered to the ground, Twilight reached for Casey's hoof, followed by Casey taking a hold of Pinkie's hoof, and so on, creating a chain that took them up once Twilight opened up her wings.
Almost… got… it…thought Twilight, as she stretched her hoof towards the staff, but down below, the Storm King had gotten himself out of a pile of rubble, and a scowl appeared on his face once he saw what the ponies were trying to do.
"I don't think so, little pony!" He growled, and the furry creature began leaping over the fallen pieces of the castle's roof, determined to get the wooden object before Twilight did. "That staffbelongs to me!"
While Twilight continued trying to reach for the staff, Casey started to wonder why this felt oddly familiar, and after going through past memories, the one he had been searching for came back to him.
"Star, listen to me," exclaimed Casey. "The longer this portal is open, the more easier it is for everypony here to end up in here, also!"
"You don't know that," replied Twilight, refusing to let go of her special somepony. "We can figure this out, Casey, so-"
But Casey shook his head, knowing what it is that he had to do. "It's the only way, Twilight! I'm the only one who can close this thing!"
"What are you talking about?"
The young pony looked over at Stardust, who soon realized what Casey's intentions were.
"No! No! [BEEP] no, you are not going to-"
"I have to, Stardust, and you know it… aaaaaggghhhh!" yelled Casey, as his injuries became worse.
"No, Casey! I'm not going to-"
Looking straight into the eyes of his friend, Casey yelled, "Take her, Stardust… take her - aaaaaaggghhh!"
"That'smystaff!"roared the Storm King, bringing Casey back to reality, and the hairy creature took one final leap towards the staff, but Twilight wasn't going to let that happen.
"No!" In a swift move, Twilight grabbed tightly onto the staff, and pulled it out right before the Storm King could take it, but that led to him crashing through the glass, allowing the tornado to suck him in.
However, it looked like Twilight was about to be pulled in next, especially since Casey felt like he was now playing tug of war against the powerful storm.
"I've… got you… Twi-"
Suddenly, a lightning bolt appeared from out of nowhere, and it came straight for Casey, but at the very last second, Twilight released his hoof from her grasp, as well as jumping in front of him so that it would hit her instead.
"No! Twilight!"yelled both Casey and Pinkie, as they watched the young princess get pulled into the vortex of powerful winds, and after a blinding flash of light spread across the sky, the storm slowly started to diminish.
The chain of friends began to make their descent, and once everyone's feet had touched the floor of the throne room, they began to walk over to the balcony, looking up at the spot where Twilight had disappeared.
An emotional wave of sadness swept over them, with a teary-eyed Casey looking down at his turtledove necklace, and after feeling a hoof placed on his shoulder, he turned around to see that it belonged to Pinkie, which led to the both of them sharing an embrace with each other.
Fluttershy could feel the tears wanting to leave her eyes, and Rarity was just about ready to break down into tears at the thought of their closest friend possibly being gone forever.
As for Rainbow, she could feel a deep pain inside of her chest, and with Spike, the small dragon was wiping the tears that were falling down the sides of his face, but then, his eyes became wide after he had taken another look up at the sky. "Wait… is that…?"
When they finished their embrace, Casey and Pinkie noticed that Spike was pointing one of his claws up at something, so they brought their attention back to the clouds, and the two Earth ponies gasped in surprise at what they were seeing, as well as the rest of their friends.
With the staff safely secured in her hooves, a worn-out Twilight was making her own descent to the castle, and once she was standing on the balcony floor, Pinkie cried out for all of them to give the alicorn a group hug.
Nearby, Tempest was standing on top of a small pile of rubble, and a smile appeared on her face as she watched the Princess of Friendship have a loving embrace with all of her friends, realizing that her own belief of there not being any point to friendship is what was actually pointless.
As they continued their group hug, none of them had become aware of the fact that the Storm King, currently hanging onto the balcony's edge, was watching with curiousity.
"What kind of cold, heartless creature would ruin such a lovely moment of friendship?" He muttered to himself, and a sinister grin appeared on his face. "I would… try this one on for size, pony princess!"
In his claws was a spare Obsidian Orb, which he threw towards the group of ponies, but to their surprise, Tempest had chosen to jump over them, and this allowed her to take the hit instead.
"What the-"Before the Storm King could finish his sentence, the cloud of smoke that surrounded Tempest was now covering his own body since the unicorn had begun running towards him, resulting in the both of them quickly turning to stone, and because he was unable to move, the Storm King had no choice but to fall off from his position on the balcony.
As for Tempest, however, she was currently frozen in midair, which was because Twilight had used the staff's power to stop her from falling to her doom, and as the young alicorn brought her safely back down to the balcony, a surprised Rainbow said, "Whoa… I can't believe shedidthat!"
A proud smile appeared on Twilight's face. "I can."
Then, she aimed the staff at Tempest again, and shot a powerful beam of magic, with the frozen unicorn slowly returning to normal.
Once Tempest was able to fully move again, she was first surprised to actually still be alive since she'd assumed that she would be nothing but a pile of broken pieces right now, but as Twilight continued to give her a warm smile, it wasn't long before Tempest did the same, with a thankful expression on her face.
"So, now what?"wondered Fluttershy, and to everyone's surprise (except for Twilight), Tempest gave her an answer.
"Now… we fix everything." Then, she and Twilight walked back into the castle, with the rest eventually following suit, but Pinkie stopped after noticing Casey looking over the balcony, so she began to walk over to join him.
"What's the matter?" Pinkie asked, and a small frown appeared on the face of a confused Casey.
"Is it me, or am I not actually seeing a pile of broken pieces that's supposed to be the Storm King's body?"
Pinkie looked over the balcony, as well, and saw that Casey was right. There was no sign of a broken Storm King statue anywhere.
"Maybe he broke into a bunch of super tiny bit-sized pieces?" suggested Pinkie, but before Casey could give a response, her eyes lit up with happiness. "Ooh,look at those pretty waves!"
What is she tal - oh!thought the light orange pony. Pinkie had been referring to the waves of magic that were suddenly spreading all throughout the city of Canterlot, restoring the damage that had been caused by Tempest's skiff after making her arrival, as well as what had been caused by the powerful twister.
"Princesses!" After hearing Twilight's excited voice, Casey and Pinkie turned around to see that the purple alicorn was happily reuniting with the other three princesses of Equestria, who were all now back to their non-frozen selves.
Casey continued to watch them with his own feelings of happiness, but then, Pinkie interrupted his thoughts by nodding towards Tempest, who was currently standing beside Twilight as she informed the other princesses of what had just happened moments ago.
"They're going to forgive her, aren't they?" His smile turned into a smirk, followed by a soft chuckle, and then, an idea suddenly popped into his head. One that made him start to groan, much to Pinkie's surprise.
"What is it?"
As he saw Tempest shake hooves with the princesses, Casey let out a sigh, and he replied, "I just thought of something that I'm partially going to end up regretting once I do it."
"Ooh, really?"said Pinkie. "Tell me, tell me, tell me!" Casey did, and the pink pony gave a low whistle. "You sure you want to do that?"
With reluctance, Casey nodded his head. "If Twilight can save Tempest's life, and vice versa, then I can… hopefully do something similar."
A few hours later
"This has been areallylong day," muttered Beck, as he layed back against the bars of his cage.
By some miracle, Discord had finally chosen to leave the middle-aged pony alone, surprisingly after Beck had allowed him to win their last game, and now, he had only himself to have a conversation with… until Beck heard the door to the dungeon open, followed by a set of hoofsteps, resulting in Twilight's special somepony now standing in front of his cell.
"Would you… like to… atendthafrendshipfestival?" muttered Casey, but Beck was unable to hear him correctly. "Do you want to… come to…"
The rest of his sentence became hard for Beck to understand, so after taking a deep breath, Casey finally asked his question in an understandable tone. "Do you want to attend Twilight's Friendship Festival?"
Heck, yeah, I would,thought Beck, after hearing him ask that, but this also felt a little unexpected. "Uh, why are you-"
"Let's just say that I… think Twilight would've done something similar since you haven't really… been a terrible prisoner, or anything like that," replied Casey, who was trying hard not to walk away. "And even though you have to avoid… certain ponies… I think you, at least, deserve to come… unless you prefer to just spend the rest of the day in here."
Beck quickly shook his head. "Alright, then, wait for me by the front entrance." With a key, Casey opened up the door to Beck's cell, and as the green pony made his way out, Casey started to walk towards the exit. "There's somepony else that I want to invite."
"Who would -okay, never mind." Beck tried to ask, but the young pony was already out of the room.
As the moon shined beautifully in the night sky, everyone that had attented the Friendship Festival was now gathered around the stage, eagerly waiting to see the performance that almost all had come from many places afar to watch.
"Fillies and gentlecolts!" called out Spike, wearing a pair of shades while standing in front of Vinyl Scratch's DJ booth, with a microphone in his claws.
Grubber was also near the booth, happily chewing up a slice of his sponge cake as Spike continued to give the pop singer her introduction.
"Get ready for a little…Songbird Serenade!"
All of the spotlights shined towards the front of the stage, where the cream-colored pegasus proudly stood with a smile as the crowd cheered for her.
"And now,to celebrate the fact that we're all still here in one piece,"said Songbird Serenade, pointing at a certain group of ponies in the audience. "Give it up forPrincess Twilightand herfriends!"
One of the spotlights made its way over to where Twilight, Pinkie, Rarity, Fluttershy, Applejack, Rainbow, Casey, and Starlight all stood at, with their own new friends - Capper, the pirates, and Skystar - standing behind them, and they gratefully accepted the cheering and applauding that came from the rest of the audience.
From where they stood, the other three princesses delivered a bow to their fellow alicorn, with Twilight was more than happy to return the favor, and then, the audience turned their attention to Songbird Serenade as she began to give her performance.
I know you, you're a special one Some see crazy where I see love
Standing several feet away in the shadows was Beck, who watched with a smile on his face, and his eyes glanced upward for a moment, thinking of his late wife and their son. "You and Carl would've loved to see this, sweetheart."
You fall so low but shoot so high Big dreamers shoot for open skies So much life in those open eyes
There was also another pony attending the festival that preferred to stay hidden away from everyone else, and as he saw how happy Twilight was while she watched Songbird perform, he couldn't help but smile himself.
"See you around, princess," muttered the Earth Pony, and he began to walk away from the plaza since there were other important things that needed to be taken care of elsewhere.
So much depth, you look for the light
Back in the crowd, Rainbow and Celeano had exchanged a hoof/fist-bump before talking aboutawesomestories, Rarity was presenting Capper with a fabulous new coat and top hat that she had created for him, and a giggling Pinkie was sharing a hug with Skystar, who'd let out a surprised gasp after seeing the arrival of someone familiar.
But when your wounds open, you will cry
"Mom!"cried the hippogriff princess, running over to embrace her mother, who had also brought with her a few more hippogriffs that had wanted to attend the festivities.
You'll cry out now and you'll question why
With a smirk on her face, Queen Novo told her daughter that she wassogrounded, and she began laughing while a now-alarmed Skystar's eyes grow wide with worry.
I can see a rainbow In your tears as they fall on down I can see your soul grow Through the pain as they hit the ground
Still watching Songbird Serenade give a beautiful and exciting performance, a pleased Twilight watched the talented pegasus fly around the plaza, and after finding herself turn in a different direction, the young alicorn noticed that Tempest was choosing to stay alone.
I can see a rainbow In your tears as the sun comes out As the sun comes out
So, Twilight made her way over to Tempest, who sighed once she saw the young alicorn from the corner of her right eye. "That's one thing that never changes around here: a party."
"Well, I hope you'll stay," replied Twilight, a warm smile appearing on her face. "More friends are definitely merrier."
"But, um…my horn?" Everything that Tempest had done since she started working for the Storm King were in hopes of getting her horn restored in return. Now it seemed like she would have to live with it for the rest of her life.
"You know…" Tempest turned around to look at Twilight after the princess had spoken. "Your horn ispretty powerful, just like the pony it belongs to."
No one's ever given me a compliment like that before,thought a surprised Tempest, taking another look up at her broken horn before remembering something that she'd said earlier today, and she began to smile.
"Ididtell you that I wanted to show everypony in Equestria what I could do, right?"
Twilight nodded her head, and the young alicorn watched Tempest take a few steps forward, followed by her shooting out a stream of sparkling magic into the night sky.
Then, a set of beautiful and colorful firework explosions began to appear, and the two purple ponies shared the same look of happiness before going back to admiring Tempest's fizzling handiwork.
"Nice touch, Tempest!"called out Pinkie as she bounced over to join them, followed by the rest of the Mane 6, and a sheepish smile appeared on Tempest's face.
"Actually, that's not my real name," admitted the dark purple unicorn, causing Pinkie to suddenly appear right in front of her.
"Oooh! What is it?"
With an assumption that there probably wasn't any harm in telling the now-squealing Earth pony, a slightly embarassed Tempest cleared her throat before whispering a response in Pinkie's ear. "It's Fizzlepop Berrytwist."
Suddenly, while letting out an excited gasp, Pinkie's eyes grew wide as if there were stars in them, along with her smile, and she placed an embracing hoof around Tempest's shoulder. "Okay,that is the mostawesomenameEVER!"
Watching his friend's excitement from where he stood a few feet away, a smirking Casey said, "Well, I guess that now we've reached that part of the story when we...oh...right."
He was going to remind Stardust that this was supposed to be the part when the two of them talked about "what happens now", but that obviously wasn't going to happen since the gold Earth Pony wasn't standing next to him.
And I don't see any sign of Kronos anywhere,thought Casey, who sadly let out a sigh, which meant that he had yet to prove to the elderly being that he deserved to go and visit Stardust's world, and vice versa.
"Hey, Casey, you are not gonna believe what..." An approaching Pinkie started to say, but she stopped after noticing how sad her friend was. "You okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine," replied Casey, trying his best to smile. "I just... miss someone, is all."
"Ohhh..." said Pinkie, and a few seconds later, her face quickly brightened up. "Stay right here!"
Then, she took off running before Casey could say anything, and to his surprise, the pink pony returned before he could even blink his eyes. "Wha..."
"Here ya go! Does this help?" asked Pinkie, handing whatever she was holding to Casey, who couldn't help but smile.
It was a yellow balloon that had been twisted around to resemble Stardust as much as it possibly could, with the mane, beard, and tail having been colored in via black permanent marker.
There was also a white balloon that looked like a speech bubble, with "*~ %" written on it, and Casey couldn't help but start laughing. "Thank you, Pinkie... but, um, what is that, anyway?"
"Well, it's a star-like symbol, a squiggly line, some type of 'a' symbol, a percent symbol..."
Still chuckling, Casey shook his head, and he replied, "Never mind, forget it... but again, thank you."
"Uh-huh, that's what friends are for," said Pinkie, nodding her head. "Oh, that reminds me... when do the rest of our friends get to know your real name?"
The young pony gave her a confused look. "Huh? It's Casey, Pinkie... you know that."
But Pinkie shook her head. "No, silly, the one that's on your birth certificate... you know..."
Then, after finishing her sentence, Casey's eyes went wide, and he quickly shushed her, hoping that no one else had heard. "Pinkie, are you... come on, not even Twilight knows that!"
Pinkie just started to giggle, and replied, "Don't worry, I'm not gonna tell them... but I could tell him-"
"No!" whispered Casey, who had now found one good thing about Stardust not being there. "You can't tell anyone, alright? I'll tell them... whenever I feel good enough to tell them... okay?"
"You can count on me, Casey," replied Pinkie, giving her friend a salute, and as she bounced away, the light-orange pony looked down at his balloon.
A warm smile returned to his face, but then, Casey quickly felt worried after hearing another familiar voice speak.
"Now,thatis a version of Stardust I know can't cause me any trouble."
Letting out a sheepish chuckle, Casey turned to find himself looking at the elderly form of Kronos, who (for once) actually looked rather calm when compared to the other times he had seen him. "You and your friends have certainly been through quite an ordeal the past few days."
"Um… heh, heh,I guess you can say that," said the young stallion. "So, er, what brings you over here this evening?"
The old figure gave a small chuckle and he replied, "I came to tellyousomething actually." Casey now looked even more worried. "Hahaha,no, don't worry, it's nothing like that… but first, let me say that I certainly never expected you out of all ponies to invite Beck here."
"Oh, well… I mean, Twilight would've probably done it if she hadn't been busy with restoring the festival," said Casey, giving a small shrug. "To be honest, I'm still surprised that I actually did it… but if Twilight can befriend somepony like Tempest… I guess that there's no reason I can't take filly steps in doing the same with Beck."
"Indeed, son," agreed a smiling Kronos, and he pointed at the spot in Casey's chest where his heart would be. "From what I have seen, you may not be ready just yet to forgive Beck for what he did against Twilight, but you are willing to make a small attempt at making peace with him."
Casey just gave another shrug, and he started to resume watching the show.
"It's also made me… re-think the decision I made on your recent birthday," added the elderly figure, immediately catching all of Casey's attention. "You still have more to prove, but if you keep on doingunexpectedstuff like that, it'll be done in no time… so, as of now, you and/or anyone else in Stardust's world can visit each other here or there, but only one individual can be in the other friend's world. Is that understood?"
A surprised Casey nodded his head, but it took a moment or two for him to resume talking. "So, all of this was because-"
"Well,that, and because a certain alicorn had a long conversation with me on the night that you'd attempted to remove your leg casts," said Kronos, and Casey looked over at Twilight, who was still watching the performance. "But wait until tomorrow to do any sort of visiting, okay? The night is still young, and you still have somefriendshiptime to make up for."
"I can do that," replied Casey, and Kronos nodded his head. "Thank you… also, uh, do you know how Stardust is, by any chance?"
An amused Kronos nodded towards the balloon in Casey's hooves. "I will only say that he misses you just as much as you do for him." Casey's smile began to grow a little more. "He's also been busy with other events that have thankfully not allowed him to be killed…yet."
A quick laugh came out of Casey's mouth, and the two of them shared a handshake before Kronos started to walk away, disappearing in the blink of an eye as he entered a darkened area, leaving Casey to be happy with the fact that he'd be able to enter his friend's world tomorrow.
Looks like I can write this festival off as a success,thought Twilight, who was so focused on Songbird Serenade's performance that she didn't notice a certain pony stand beside her.
"Wow, Twilight, this all looks amazing!"
The young alicorn absentmindedly nodded her head, and replied, "Thank you, Sunset. Glad you're enjoying it."
Sunset just remained quiet, waiting to see how long it would take for her friend to realize that she was there, and luckily, it wasn't long before Twilight did a double-take. "Wait,Sunset Shimmer? Y-you… you're here! But I didn't send you an invitation… n-not that I ever intendednotto make one out to you! I would've definitely made one, or visited you to give a personal invite... invitation myself, but I just assumed you'd be busy focusing on graduating and stuff at CHS-"
"Okay, slow down there, princess," said an amused Sunset, the yellow unicorn placing a hoof on her friend's shoulder, and Twilight gave a sheepish smile. "You don't see me acting nervous and stuff right now, do you?"
Twilight pointed a hoof at herself. "Me, nervous?No,don't be ridiculous. I'm not like that at all, Sunset… just, um, completely surprised to see you, but in a really good way. So, eh, h-how did-"
"Casey came over to my apartment earlier today to invite me here," answered the redeemed mare, and Twilight looked over at her special somepony, who was trying to stop Spike from tasting Celeano's crystal peg leg. "I figured that-"
Suddenly, her sentence stopped after the two ponies heard another familiar voice speak, and Sunset's eyes went wide. "Well, this is certainly a night of surprises, isn't it, Twilight?"
Princess Celestia was now standing in front of them, and Twilight looked over at her friend, who was now trying her best to not sound nervous. "Principal Cele -oof!"The purple alicorn quickly nudged Sunset in the chest, and her friend corrected herself. "I mean, PrincessCelestia… um, I didn't expect to see you here… well, even though that thisisCanterlot, and your castle's right over there, so why wouldn't I… er…"
To her relief, Celestia let out a soft chuckle, and she said, "Perhaps it would be best for us to finish this conversation at a later moment in the future. I wouldn't want to take away any time from your visit with Twilight."
"I think that sounds just fine, Princess Celestia," replied Twilight, while Sunset just nodded her head, and their former teacher did the same before walking away, with the smirking Princess of Friendship raising an eyebrow at the bacon-haired unicorn.
"You don't act all nervous and stuff, huh?" Sunset gave a sheepish chuckle, and eventually, the two of them both started to laugh at each other's antics.
As she finished up with folding up her apple cider cart, Applejack was ready to drink the last glass of her family's amazing beverage, but before she could grab the handle with her hoof, the voice of Rainbow Dash suddenly cried, "Hey, Coloratura! Nice to see you here at the festival!"
"Rara?"Applejack turned her head in the opposite direction, but the musically talented Earth Pony was nowhere in sight. "Gosh darn it, Rainbow, you know better than to-"
The blue pegasus was already gone before Applejack could finish her sentence, so she decided to return to drinking the cup of cider, but after tilting it so that the liquid would go down her throat, the orange pony saw that there wasn't even any cider inside!
"Rainbow Dash!"yelled an annoyed and irritated Applejack, and she was about to chase her down when a familiar voice suddenly took her by surprise.
"Everything okay, AJ?" asked Coloratura, who was now actually standing behind her closest friend, and after turning herself around, a sheepish chuckle came out of Applejack's mouth.
"I'm doin' alright, Rara," Applejack replied, and the two of them smiled ay each other. "Ah sure am glad you could make it here. How's the life of a…"
"Coloratura!"From out of nowhere, an excited Applebloom was standing beside her big sister, with a wide grin on her face. "I thought I saw you! How've you been? Are you gonna sing, too? Do my sis' letters make it to your place in Maneha-"
Applejack covered the young pony's muzzle before she could finish, and a slight blush appeared on her face as she said, "She's glad, too, Rara."
"I can tell," said a chuckling Rara, while both Applebloom and Applejack gave her a sheepish smile. "So, um, what have I missed that you haven't told me yet in your letters?"
While Twilight began to introduce Tempest to Sunset, a certain azure unicorn was looking at the dark purple mare with annoyance.
"That pony is a show-off… theGreatandPowerfulTrixie's fireworks arewaybetter than the onessheconjured up!"
An amused Starlight shook her head, and she said, "Take it easy there, Great and Powerful, Tempest was only showing Twilight what she was able to do with her magic."
But, unsurprisingly, her best friend was not paying that much attention. "We'll just see what Princess Twilight thinks about itafterI show everypony whatmykind of fireworks can do!"
Then, she pulled out a rather large firework from her cart, and it had to be lit… until now, that is. "Get ready to see something amazing, Star- oh, no."
Unfortunately, Trixie had forgotten to place the required stand underneath the rocket-shaped firework, which meant that it toppled over to the ground after she had lighted it, and was now speeding towards the pony that had just arrived to stand beside Twilight.
"Casey!"cried the young princess while watching her special somepony suddenly be taken up into the sky by Trixie's newest explosive, and her eyes grew wider after it was blown up, resulting in the creation of fireworks that were almost as impressive as the ones Tempest had done moments ago.
Pinkie was now standing on her hind legs near Twilight, prepared to catch a now-falling Casey."I got him, Twilight, don't worry, I got him - oof!"
The soot-covered pony crash landed into Pinkie's open hooves, and as their heads spinned around in a dizzy fashion, everypony else looked over at Trixie, who gave a sheepish smile."Ta-da…"
Now that the festival had reached its conclusion, almost everypony had gone back to their homes, and at the present time, Spike was informing the Storm Creatures - who had all given apologies for their actioms - as to what areas needed to be cleaned up, while Twilight stood on top of the stage, proud of the fact that her first Friendship festival had been a success despite on what it took to get there.
I wonder if I should have the second one next year,thought the young alicorn, unaware of Casey walking towards her.Maybe in a few months? Oh, what if I-
Suddenly, her ears caught the sound of slow music playing from out of the speakers, and she turned around to find Casey standing up on his hind legs.
"Can I have this dance?" Twilight looked at him curiously. "It'll be fun, I promise."
His girlfriend gave him a smile, and nodded her head as she also brought herself up to her hind legs, with Casey placing one hoof on Twilight's back while she did the same to his, their other hooves holding onto each other outward. "And now, we just kinda sway back and forth like this…"
"I am familiar with the routine," replied a smirking Twilight, with a sheepish Casey thinkingOf course she does, and the two of them began having their slow dance together. "Did Stardust teach you this, too?"
Casey laughed at the possibility, and shook his head. "I don't even think he would, had I asked him. This was actually something that my father would do with my mother in the house whenever he thought the moment arrived… guess I must've paid more attention than I thought."
He smiled while remembering past memories of his parents, and then, he added, "Guess there are some things you don't know about me yet."
The young stallion took a moment to twirl his special somepony around, and chuckled after bringing her back to him, while an amused Twilight said, "Well, I can't wait to find out what they are."
Casey continued to smile, but before he could say anything, they were interrupted by an approaching Princess Skystar, who'd been watching from afar. "Oh mygosh, that was soromantic! I justloveseeing princesses dance with their handsome prince!"
A slight-blushing Twilight started to giggle while a sheepish Casey said, "I'mnota prince. How many times do I have to keep saying that?"
As the hippogriff princess gave a shrug, Queen Novo suddenly landed beside her daughter, and said, "Skystar, leave these two alone, please."
"What? I was only having some fun," replied Skystar, while Twilight quickly began to feel guilty after remembering what she'd tried to do with their pearl.
"Queen Novo, your Highness, I amso sorryfor everything that I did back in your undersea home," apologized the young princess. "My friends were completely innocent; it was all my idea-"
To her surprise (and relief), Queen Novo shook her head, a small smile appearing on her face. "I understand why you did that, honey. I should've been more helpful in assisting all of you considering the lengths that were taken to meet with us… also, perhaps it's better for ustoknow what we'd be missing out on."
Twilight was perfectly fine with getting that exacr response from the queen of the hippogriffs. "Still, if there's anything I can ever do to show how sorry I am, I don't have any problem with-"
"Well…" Novo brought one of her hands to her chin, an idea forming in the queen's mind. "I think there is actuallyone small thingthat you could do. Princess Celestia told me that you have a fondness for literature?"
The next day
For the moment, Twilight couldn't remember the last time that a sight had left her speechless. "Oh… my…goodness…"
She was currently back inside of Queen Novo's undersea castle, in seapony form, and standing in front of the doorway that led to a grand library, which contained many shelves that were completely filled with books Twilight had never seen before.
I could learnsomuchvaluable knowledge in here,thought a thrilled Twilight, and she began to make her way into the room, but all of a sudden, a pair of royal seapony guards blocked her from entering, leaving a confused Twilight to turn her head towards Novo.
"Oh, this is what therewardwill be, Twilight, after you finish completing theone small thingthat I want you to do."
Twilight nodded her head once she understood what Novo had meant, and the purple seapony replied, "Well, what is it, your Highness?"
You have got to be kidding me,thought the Princess of Friendship, whose eyelids were half-closed, looking very unamused as she started washing the large stack of dirty dishes.
"Aw, don't be so glum, Twilight," said Pinkie, who had just finished hanging out with Skystar, and was currently placing the now-clean plates onto a table placed beside her. "Think of all those books you'll get to read once you're finished with this."
Twilight let out a sigh while scrubbing hard at one of the dishes. "Yeah, I know, but… what if Novo decides to have me do something else that's worse than this once Iamfinished?"
"Relax, Twilight, you know that's not gonna happen," assured Pinkie. "Besides, it'll go much faster and be more fun since I'm staying here to help."
As an example, the pink seapony took a nearby soap-covered sponge, and Twilight watched one of her closest friends create a beard-moustache combo, as well as what appeared to be a pointy triangular hat.
"See?" said Pinkie, and it only took a few seconds for the two of them to erupt into kind-hearted laughter.
After taking a deep breath, Casey nodded his head, with a look of determination. "I just hope not too much time has passed."
He entered the powered-up Crystal Mirror, which would take him into the library in Stardust's dimension, but instead of walking out, Casey found himself crashing right into one of the bookshelves, and was now lying on the floor, with several open books all around him.
"I've never come into this worldthat waybefore," muttered the young pony, eyes spinning around in a circular motion, and he slowly began to stand up.
"Are you okay, Casey?"
Casey shook his head a few times until the feeling of dizziness went away, and then, he immediately began to smile widely after seeing who was now standing in front of him. "Twilight!"
"Oh, how I've missed seeing you,"said the young stallion, giving Twilight's counterpart a warm hug, but a few seconds later, he quickly backed away with a sheepish smile. "Oops,heh, heh, sorry…. I, uh, just haven't seen you and Stardust since my, er, my party a few weeks ago… well, for me, I mean, since I'm not sure how much time has passed for you guys."
Twilight's counterpart couldn't help but chuckle as she replied, "It's only been about a month, more or less… glad to see that you're not in a wheelchair anymore!"
"Y-yeah, great, thanks," agreed Casey, rubbing the back of his neck with a forehoof. "A month, huh?" The girlfriend of Stardust nodded her head. "Well, glad that you still look the same… no, wait! Sorry, I… meant to say that you haven't aged a bi -gah,no, that wasn't it, either… okay, I'm glad that you're still just as beautiful as my Twilight is - wait, that wasn't right, I meant to-"
"Casey, just relax," said Twilight's amused and flattered other self, placing a hoof on his shoulder that made Casey close his mouth. "It's great to see you, too."
Casey let out a sheepish chuckle, and he was about to apologize again when a certain thought appeared in his mind. "Oh, hey, is Stardust here, by any chance?"
Unfortunately, the young alicorn shook her head, and she said, "Jack is out with Spike and Starlight right now over in the Crystal Empire. But I'm sure I could convince him to-"
To her surprise, Casey shook his head, and he replied, "No, er, you don't got to do that, Twilight. I just came for a quick visit. Could you let him know that I stopped by, though?"
"Of course," said Twilight, as the light-orange pony began stacking up the books that had been knocked down into a neat pile on the desk. "So, what's been new in your world?"
"Quite a lot, actually," answered Casey, and once he was done with the books, the young pony added, "I'll just, eh, be goin' back there myself now. It was great to see you aga -oof!"
Before he could finish his sentence, Twilight's counterpart placed an object into Casey's hooves, and the purple alicorn said, "Happyreallylate birthday, from the two of us… we've been pretty busy ourselves over here."
It was a journal that looked similar to the one used by Sunset Shimmer, except the cover symbol was different, and to Twilight's amusement, Casey gave his best friend's girlfriend athank youhug before asking, "How many of these things do you own?"
"Just a few," answered Stardust's special somepony, and Casey let out a chuckle before thanking her again. "You're welcome… and tell me that I said hello."
"Yup, sure will," said Casey, choosing to politely shake her hoof, and after they said their goodbyes, the young Earth Pony made his return back home, where he found himself doing the same thing from earlier, so there were now several fallen books laid out around him. "Well, it'ssomewhatof an improvement from earlier."
As a row of stars spinned around his head, Starlight entered the room after having heard a crashing sound, and she looked at him in amusement. "You okay?"
Casey gave her a nod, and brought a hoof to his head. "I'm going to be needing a helmet one of these days."
Later that evening, with some help from her magic, Twilight carried down a dinner tray of food to the dungeon, where Beck was quietly humming a tune to himself until his nose caught the delicious and warm smell coming from the prepared meal.
"Just make sure you don't eat it all so fast," cautioned the young alicorn. "Wouldn't want you to have any bad dreams or something."
Beck scoffed at Twilight, and pointed one of the plastic utensils at her. "You have no reason to worry, princess, I've already had my own share of nightmares… so, um, what's going on for you tomorrow - same stuff as always?"
"Guess you'll have to wait and see after I come by in the morning," replied Twilight, and Beck rolled his eyes in annoyance. "Trust me, it'll be worth the wait."
Beck just gave a small annoyed shrug before returning his attention to the meal while Twilight went back upstairs to find Casey reading the thick notebook that contained an abridged informative version of Stardust's history.
"So, how is he doing?" wondered Twilight.
Closing the book, Casey shook his head, and he replied, "He wasn't there when I went. But now, I'm able to talk to him the same way you and Sunset keep in touch with each other… so I think I'll be good for now."
Then, after letting out a yawn, the young pony bid his girlfriend good-night, sharing a quick kiss with her before walking to his bedroom while Twilight started to find her own book to read, but just as she had been able to locate one, there was a knock at the front door.
"Coming!"Teleporting herself downstairs to the main entrance, Twilight opened up the door, and became surprised after seeing who it'd been. "Good evening, Tempest! Come in, I was just about to-"
"Oh, no thank you, princess," replied Tempest, shaking her head. "I just, um, came by to say thanks again for helping me learn a valuable lesson… and to give you a farewell, for now."
"Huh?" Twilight took a closer look outside, and saw that Tempest's skiff was currently parked a few feet away. "Oh, where are you going?"
The dark purple unicorn sighed, and gestured behind her, saying, "I have a lot of, um, apologies to make now that the Storm King's gone. Also, I kind of owe the pirates and Capper a ride back to where they came from since Ididblow up Celeano's ship, so…"
Twilight chuckled, and smiled as she replied, "Well, then I hope everything turns out just fine for you, and you're always welcome to stop by anytime for a longer visit whenever you feel like it."
"Thank you, pri - I mean, Twilight," said Tempest, offering the alicorn a hoofshake since she wasn't yet used to giving out hugs, and that was just fine with the Princess of Friendship, but before she could say anything else, a loud voice was suddenly heard throughout the castle.
"Ow, ow, ow, my tongue! Celestia damn it!"
A smirk appeared on Tempest's face, and she said, "Your special somepony, I presume?"
"No, that's my pri - uh, guest," replied Twilight, who also realized that her castle apparantly had thin walls now.Why do I feel like Discord had something to do with it?"Good luck again on your journey, Tempest. Safe travels!"
Then, she teleported away to the dungeon so that she could check on Beck while a chuckling Tempest closed the door on her way back to the ship, which made its depature a few moments later.
The End… ?
"Ha-ha-ha-ha!"giggled Flurry Heart as the baby alicorn flew around the hallways of the Crystal Castle. "Wheeeee… eh?"
Suddenly, she brought herself to an immediate stop, and tilted her head when she noticed that there was an unfamiliar cloaked pony standing in front of a certain door.
However, just as the infant pony was about to catch his attention, a familiar voice caused her to turn around. "Flurry Heart, slow… down, please."
A tired Sunburst made his way over to Flurry, and after taking a few more breaths, the orange unicorn said, "It's time for you to go to sleep, too, so -oh,I see… you were thinking of your aunt Twilight?"
He was referring to the fact that Flurry was nearby the door that led to the room where celebratory statues of the Mane 6 were placed, and the baby alicorn quickly forgot to take notice of the unknown pony no longer being there after hearing the Princess of Friendship's name.
"Well, the next time she's here, I'm sure she would love to let you see what it's inside," added Sunburst. "The door can only be opened by her magic, after all - Flurry, wait!"
Having grown tired of waiting around, Flurry took off flying in the direction that she had come from, so Sunburst quickly went after her, and once they were gone, the shadow-like pony floated back down to the ground from his spot on the ceiling.
"Only her magic, huh?" A sinister grin appeared on his face, and eventually, he disappeared in a swirl of black, magical smoke. "Interesting…ha-ha-ha-ha-ha… ha-ha-ha-ha!"