It had come to this. Rainbow Dash couldn't believe it. The end of the world was here, and her own mother had caused it. “Mama!” squeaked the pegasus foal being pulled along by a much more fashionable earth pony.
“You knew this was coming, darling...” The mare's scarf fluttered in the wind.
“Please Mama, don't do this!” the poor filly shook wildly.
“You have to do this, you know that...” The fashionista kept dragging the filly along the ground until they reached a tall building full of other young fillies and colts. “I just don't get it...” the mother muttered. “Why don't you want to go to school, sweetums?” She lowered herself until she was looking directly into her daughter's eyes.
“They're all so stupid and lame, Mama!” Rainbow gritted her teeth and rolled her eyes.
“Oh, come on. It can't be that bad, can it darling?” She lifted her daughter’s chin up with a hoof.
“Maybe...” Dash mumbled, looking away from her mother.
The mare leaned in and whispered, “Are you afraid?”
The filly tried to put on a brave face. “What?! Of course not!”
The mare gently pet her daughter's head. “Rainbow Dash, it's alright to be afraid.”
Rainbow Dash looked down at her hooves and started to walk toward the entrance to Ponyville Middle School. “Alright Mama, if you say so...”
Dash was surprised to feel a huge amount of warmth surround her as her mother hugged her from behind. “I love you.”
“I love you too, Mama.”
Rainbow loved her mama very much, and she was always afraid of being away from her. She had grown up in an apartment in Cloudsdale before, but her mama decided that they needed a change of place.
Dash waved goodbye as she cautiously entered the school. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. Lockers lined the walls and young school foals ran around the halls having fun. One student, however, stood out from the rest of the ponies. A pink earth filly was running around and greeting everypony. Dash then noticed that she was approaching her.
“Hi, I'm Pinkie Pie! You have a really pretty coat and I know we're gonna be super awesome friends!” Suddenly, the pink filly dashed off to say hello to the other students.
“That was... weird,” Dash mumbled.
“Don't worry none about her. She's a good pony, if Ah do say so myself,” an orange country earth filly said, who Dash just noticed was next to her.
“...and you are?” she asked.
“Oh! Ah'm Applejack. And yourself?”
“Well, nice to meet ya!”
“Something wrong, Sugarcube?” AJ rose an eyebrow.
“Nah, it's just that... why are you being so nice to me?” Dash's eyes rose a bit, as if to hide some kind of discomfort.
The orange filly was very confused. Why wouldn't she be nice? In her family it was always taught that kindness is a virtue. “Sweetie, Ah don't think Ah understand... what do ya mean?”
“Well...it's nothing. Do you know where Ms. Bon Bon's room is?” Rainbow looked off to the side.
Applejack knew something was off, but she decided to let it go. No need to butt into another pony's business. “Yeah, that's mah teacher too!” She started galloping down the hall, but stopped when she noticed that Rainbow hadn't moved. “Ya comin?”
The blue filly stared for a moment, but then started galloping as well, passing the orange pony. Someone to keep me on mah feet, AJ thought with a smirk. She dashed forward, keeping pace with Rainbow.
Sweat dripped off of Applejack's neck as she put all of her energy into running. The cyan pegasus was very elegant as she ran, despite her rough and tumble nature. Her breathing was calm and her form was graceful. This kind of running was the type that trained athletes tended to do, not young fillies. Applejack even began to wonder who Dash trained with. All of a sudden, she noticed the blue foal yelping about something, before consciousness quickly fled her.
“Applejack... Applejack... Applejack...” Darkness filled the orange filly's sight. She could feel something malevolent and demonic crawling over her very being. All at once her vision came rushing back, and she saw a hulking, monstrous creature.
It looked a lot like the colossai spoken of in olden pony legend. This couldn't be though; those were just old pony tales, right? Every step the beast took was like an earthquake, thunderous and mad like a hurricane. Yes, a hurricane was the best way to describe this being; it didn't mean to harm others, but it couldn't really help it because of how powerful it was.
It continued to consume her entire body, and her vision began to fade again. She wouldn't let this happen a second time, and fought the entity with all her might. She could feel herself floating, like there wasn't anything around her. As she began to feel herself fade, she heard a voice, “Applejack... Applejack... Applejack...” Was someone calling for her? She had to reach out to this pony.
Her vision came back a bit at a time. The ceiling of the roof she was in was a sterile white. As were the walls. Beds lined the walls waiting for their next visitor. Applejack realised that she must be in the nurse's office. AJ looked around and noticed Rainbow sitting next to her. The cyan pegasus' mouth was cast downward as she muttered the Earth pony's name. Applejack felt a pain in her chest as she looked down at the pitiful pegasus.
“AJ, you're awake!” The magenta-eyed pony hugged Applejack with all of her strength.
The orange filly was actually having a hard time breathing because of this. “Rainbow, Ah appreciate the concern, but could ya loosen your grip a bit?”
Rainbow backed off and smiled at the earth filly. “So you feeling okay now?” Rainbow pointed at AJ's bandaged head and bruised eye.
“Ah feel fine, but what happened?” Applejack wasn't still quite sure whether the dream was real or not.
“Well you kind of... ran into a door.” Dash rubbed the back of her head.
“Really? Okay, that would explain this here shiner.”
Rainbow Dash was about to say something when a voice broke in, “Applejack! Are you okay, darling?!” Dash covered her ears tightly as a white-coated unicorn ran up to AJ.
“Ah'm fine, Rarity. Don't worry about it!” Applejack patted the frightened filly's back, and noticed that Dash was looking at them. “Oh, Rainbow, this is mah friend Rarity, she's a bit of a... drama queen...”
Rarity bowed slightly as she greeted herself, “Oh, I am ever so sorry for not introducing myself earlier! I am Rarity, and I take it you are Rainbow Dash?” The sophisticated filly extended her hoof to shake Dash's.
“Yeah, but how do you know my name?” Rainbow's brow furrowed as looked upon the unicorn.
“Oh, you two are the talk of the school after what happened this morning!”
The cyan filly looked down at her feet. “Yeah, I did kind of goof up, didn't I?”
Rarity stared at Dash, a gasp escaping from her. “Don't be absurd Rainbow! Everyone was very impressed with the two of you! From what I've heard, the captain of the track team, Spitfire, wants you to join! Isn't that just so exciting?” The white filly giggled in girlish glee as she jumped up and down.
“Wait... really?!” Rainbow looked up, a grin adorning her face.
“Of course! A lady wouldn't dare tell such an atrocious lie!” Rarity huffed a bit.
“Wow, this is so rad!” Rainbow Dash couldn't believe that things had gone this well on her first day. Maybe life in Ponyville wouldn't be so bad. She had already made two friends and had been invited to join the track team. She couldn't wait to tell her mama all that she had accomplished!
Dash's thoughts were suddenly interrupted by some of Rarity's gossip. “Did you two hear that Ms. Bon Bon is dating one of the high schoolers?”
Applejack's eyebrows drew together in a scowl. “Rarity, Ah didn't think you were the type to listen to those nasty rumors!”
The unicorn waved her hoof at the earth pony. "This isn't a rumor, darling! I saw her at my cousin Lyra's house!”
Applejack continued to glower at her. “So that makes it alright to tell everypony about it?”
Rarity breathed in deeply. “What?! My dear Applejack, I think you've misunderstood me. You two are the only ponies I've told. I just really needed somepony to talk to about this!”
Applejack raised an eyebrow. “Why in the hay would ya wanna talk about all that mushy gushy stuff?”
Rarity trotted around the room giddily. “You can't be serious! It's a classic forbidden love! The pleasant teacher who falls in love with the rebellious student! It's just like my favorite novel!” Rarity grabbed a sheet off of a nearby bed and draped it over her head. “Oh Miss Bon Bon! I know it's wrong, but I love you! No matter what, I want to be with you! I don't care what anypony thinks, as long as I have you!”
"Rarity Lyra is eighteen ya know. It ain't exactly forbidden." Applejack smirked.
"Oh hush you. You're spoiling my fun, and even so she is still a student. You know as well I do that most ponies look upon that type of relationship with...distane, as it were." Rarity stuck her head up and grinned widely.
"Fine, fine ya know Ah'm just teasing." The orange pony chuckled.
"Hmph! Well it wasn't-" Rarity was suddenly being cradled by the blue pegasus.
Rainbow Dash decided to join in on the fun. “Oh, Lyra my love!” She dipped Rarity and wiggled her eyebrows. “You are more beautiful than the summer and the stars! I would fight an army of manticores for your honor!”
The two kept a steady gaze until Rarity finally fell over laughing. Rainbow soon joined her on the floor. “Oh Rainbow Dash, you are indeed humorous!”
The cyan filly smirked. “You're not half bad yourself.” The two eventually got up and instantly stopped laughing. With horror, they saw their teacher standing at the door.
“Oh... hello Miss Bon Bon...” Rarity's cheeks flushed as Miss Bon Bon began to frown.
“Oh Rarity, I thought you weren't going to tell anypony...”
Rarity looked up at the teacher she respected so dearly. “These two are the only two I've told, and they're very trustworthy. I just needed somepony to talk to about you two!”
Instead of waving it off, Miss Bon Bon pushed the issue even farther. “To make fun of us... Rarity, why would you do this...?”
Rarity tried to come up with something to say when Rainbow interjected, “She just thought that you two were a really cute couple and wanted to talk about it, Miss B. She's just a romantic like that.”
Miss Bon Bon chewed her lip and turned to the cream-colored unicorn. “Is this true, Rarity?”
Rarity nodded speedily. “Yes, I am so sorry for telling somepony without your permission. I hope you can forgive me...” The unicorn bowed her head ever so slightly, begging for her teacher's forgiveness.
“Well, I guess I can understand. You always were one for romance novels... Just don't tell anypony else, alright?”
Rarity smiled brightly. “Of course! I promise I won’t tell another soul!”
The candy colored mare left through the door. “Alright. I'm going to make sure you keep your word.”
Rarity sighed loudly, and then turned to Rainbow. “Thank you so much!” she squealed, embracing Rainbow tightly.
“Augh! Rarity, it's no problem. Just let me go!” Rarity dropped the suffocating filly.
“Oops! Sorry about that, but I owe you so much darling!” Rarity giggled.
“It's no problem Rarity... it was nothing.”
“But it wasn't nothing! Having someone's trust in you destroyed is one of the most dreadful things imaginable!”
Rainbow slumped slightly and in a hushed whisper said, “It really is.”
A tall white mare walked into the room. An air of worldliness and hospitality surrounded her and filled the young ponies with awe. “Are you feeling any better, Applejack?” she asked the injured earth filly.
“A-ah'm fine ma'am!” A deep blush permeated Applejack's coat and her voice squeaked more than she wished it had. The nurse, Redheart, reached her right forehoof to gently feel Applejack's wound. “Are you sure?” Her voice, sweet as honey, made the little fillies' hearts skip.
“Y-yes miss...sorry about causing ya so much trouble...” The orange filly twiddled her hooves anxiously.
“Don't worry about it, sweetie. We all make mistakes. School is over for the day, and I need to know if you have anypony to take you home.”
Rarity stepped up to the nurse. “May we walk her home, Miss Redheart?”
The nurse looked contemplative. “I guess that could work. Make sure to check in with me tomorrow, alright?”
Applejack shook her head rapidly, “Yes ma'am!”
The three fillies decided to visit a local sweet shop in town called Sugarcube Corner on the way home. It was known for having the best desserts in all of Ponyville. Rarity and Applejack had been going there for many years now and were great friends with the couple that ran it.
“Afternoon, Mr. and Mrs. Cake!” Applejack bellowed loudly.
“Why, hello there! How are our two favorite customers?” Mr. Cake asked the two fillies, “Oh, and I see you've brought a friend. What's your name, little filly?”
Rainbow Dash looked up awkwardly, not really used to this much positive attention. Yelling and insults she could deal with. Beatings were something she had gotten all too used to. But compliments and pleasantries would take a lot longer.
“I'm... Rainbow Dash... i-it's nice to meet you,” she replied, her body stiff as a board.
Mr. Cake continued to talk, but something else grabbed Dash's attention. The pink pony from that morning was here. What was her name again? Pinkie Pie? The curly-haired filly had taken notice of Rainbow as well. She smiled and waved at Dash wildly. Something about this pink pony was just so interesting and new to the cyan pegasus.
As she tried to figure out what exactly was so intriguing about this pony, Dash realized that she had at some point walked up to her.
“Hi, what’s your name?” Pinkie asked, bubbly as ever.
“I’m Rainbow Dash! Fastest filly alive!” she boasted, jabbing her hooves in the air.
“Oooh! I remember you from this morning! You're the pretty pretty pegasus!”
Dash's face was even more flushed than it had been back at the nurse's office. “Y-you're Pinkie Pie right?” She asked with a bit of a squeak in her voice.
“Yeah! How'd you know that, Dashie? Oh my gosh! Are you like telekinetic or something?!” the pink earth pony made a multitude of gestures confusing the blue pegasus.
Rainbow blinked as she tried to piece together what the hyper girl had just said. “Am I what now? You know what, never mind. You told me this morning, remember?”
Pinkie gasped, “Oh, duh! Sorry, it's been such a busy day that my Pinkie brain is a bit on the fritz.”
As the two fillies continued chatting, Applejack whispered to Mr. Cake, “Congrats on the kid.”
He smiled warmly at her. “Thank you dear, but it's not really just a kid.”
The orange filly looked confused. “What do ya mean?”
Two more young fillies came down the stairs. Both were gray colored but one was a darker shade than the other. “We adopted three girls actually.” Mrs. Cake walked down behind the fillies.
“Oh, Mom! Mom!” Pinkie Pie ran over to her new mother, jumping up and down merrily. “Guess what, guess what?!” she asked.
“What happened dear?” Mrs. Cake mused.
“I made a new friend! Her name is Dashie!” Pinkie waved at Rainbow to come over.
“Hello Mrs. Cake I'm Rainbow... it's nice to meet you,” she said, somewhat embarrassed by Pinkie's antics.
“Why, hello dearie! I'm glad to see my Pinkie is already making friends!” She patted the cyan filly gently.
“It's no problem. Pinkie's a pretty rad chick,” she replied nonchalantly.
“Wait wait wait! I'm a bird?!” Pinkie exclaimed as she attempted to use her legs as wings which resulted in her falling flat on her face.
“No Pinks, I mean you're a cool girl,” Dash chortled heartily at Pinkie's antics.
Pinkie tackled the cyan filly into a hug. “Thanks Dashie!”
Rarity giggled at the two as she walked up to the other two sisters. “I am Rarity. It is a pleasure to meet you, darlings!” The younger of the two looked somewhat scared.
“She's kind of shy, sorry about that. I'm Octavia and she's Inkamena...though we tend to call her Inky.” Octavia adjusted her bowtie slightly.
Rarity shook the composed mare's hoof. “Your bowtie is just fabulous by the way!”
Octavia smiled demurely. “Thank you. It is very special to me.”
“So are your sisters going to be joining our school soon?”
Octavia lifted a hoof to her chin. “Pinkie already has, but we're not sure if Inky is really ready for something like that.”
The little gray filly in question squeakeloudly in recognition.
“Well I have a sister who is just about her age and she has a lot of little friends her age... maybe we could set up a little play date for them!” Rarity suggested clapping her hooves together in excitement.
“That sounds great! What do you think, Inky?” Octavia smiled at her sister.
The young filly's eyes darted back and forth. “I... don't know. I mean, I'm not that interesting, and I always mess things up and… I don't think it's a good idea...”
Rarity and Octavia exchanged a look, and as they were about to withdraw from the conversation, somepony else stepped in.
“Hey kid, don't be stupid.”
Rarity looked at said pony in shock. Octavia even had the look of a pony intent on murder.
“What do you mean by that?” Octavia asked sourly, the venom hanging from the end of her words.
“She's just a little kid! Little kids make mistakes!” she replied bluntly. Rainbow walked up to Inky and continued, “Those mistakes are just you learning life. It'd be stupid not to try. It'd be stupid not to make mistakes. It'd be stupid not to do this. Don't you understand kid? You're not stupid, I can tell that much. Can't you give it a chance?”
Inky closed her eyes tightly. “You really think I can do it?”
Rainbow put her foreleg around the young filly. “Kid I don't think you can...” Inky looked down as tears threatened to fall from her eyes. “I know you can... you're a pretty chill filly. Heck, you know what? How about me and you practice on being cool?”
Inky smiled ever so slightly. A smile that hadn't graced her face since the death of her parents. “R-really? You'd do that for me?”
“Sure kid! That's what friends do.”
Inky's eyes opened widely. “We're friends?”
Dash nodded wholeheartedly. “Of course! Tomorrow after school I'll visit and we can practice, okay?”
Inky nodded as her sisters looked on, smiles filling their faces. “O-okay!”
Applejack started teetering back and forth and tried to hide it, but a white filly had already noticed. “Applejack, darling, are you feeling alright?”
AJ looked up, a haze filling her eyes. “Ah'm fine, don't worry about it,” she replied blankly.
Rarity looked over at Dash, eyebrows scrunched together. “Dear, Applejack is not feeling well. It’d be best if we leave now.”
As Rainbow walked toward the door, Inky shouted out to her, “What's your name?”
The cyan filly turned her head and bellowed, “Rainbow Dash, the fastest pony in all of Equestria!”
The streets of Lower Ponyville were filthy and decayed. Poor equines who couldn't afford to feed their families begged in shame. Foals felt the sting of autumn's chill, theft was at an all-time high, and more shops were shut down every day. The police force in Lower Ponyville was corrupt, and most folks didn't believe there was anything they could do. The mayor did everything she could to help the area's money problems, but the crops hadn't been prosperous there in years. This was no place to raise a child.
Rarity cut across the train tracks on her way home. The crossing signs began to fall and a ticking could be heard. A locomotive passed before her and the filly couldn't help but marvel at its beauty. Sleek and clean, unlike where she lived.
She had always loved trains. It made her feel like one day, maybe, she could leave this town, too. The train couldn't be seen from where she was anymore. Darkness filled the area and Rarity decided she should get going too.
A loud roar could be heard from the sky. Rain began falling slowly, but surely. She started trotting as if to beat it. It was just her luck that the weather team would decide to schedule a storm that night. She took a sharp left through an alleyway. She took this shortcut home every day, but usually the sun was still out when she made her way there.
Her mother was probably worried, if she was home, that is. She worked two jobs and didn't get much sleep, so Rarity couldn't be too sure she was home. Working as a mechanic at two different shops took a lot out of you. She still had so much life in her though, always cracking jokes and helping her kids with any problems they had.
Her father was definitely scared though. He worked as a waiter and was usually off work by now. He loved to cook and wanted to be a chef one day, though he doubted that would ever happen. His wife kept telling him to take cooking classes, but he said that they didn't have enough money for him to do that. She felt horrible about worrying him, but she had to make sure Applejack got home.
Applejack was one of the only friends Rarity had. Most bullied her in elementary school for coming from such a horrible area, while others found that her love of all things fashion made her shallow and rude. Applejack didn't assume any of these things. She had always seen the goodness in Rarity, who she always said had the generosity of a pony who didn't have much to give. Applejack was one of the few reasons she hadn't been bullied her first two years in middle school. Sweetie Belle would be starting middle school next year as Rarity finally entered high school.
Rarity loved Sweetie Belle, even though the two tended to butt heads more often than not. Her sister wanted to be a singer and wouldn't let anything stop her. Her favorite artist was a singer called Sapphire Shores. Sweetie loved her soft jazzy tunes and desired to make songs like her. Rarity had secretly saved up enough bits to get tickets for Sweetie and her to go to one of Sapphire's upcoming concerts.
Rarity had sold many dresses and hats to older ponies in the upper area near the school. She wanted to become a fashion designer more than anything in all of Equestria. Well, that and find love. Rarity had always dreamed of marrying a prince one day who would take her away from all this. He would be kind and sweet. He would bring her flowers and court her as a lady should be. It would be perfect.
The alleyway was darker then she remembered. A pale stream of moonlight was the only thing keeping it from being pitch black. Rarity didn't care for the dark. She knew that bad ponies tended to hang around dark areas. She suddenly thought she heard something, but knew it was most likely her imagination. Yes, that was it. She began trotting faster, not because she was scared, though. What was there to be afraid of? Her heart wasn't beating a mile a minute because she was scared either, she just happened to find the night time exciting. Her legs didn't tremble because she was scared, she was just tired from a long day is all.
She heard it again and started to run, but it was too late. A stranger had already cornered her. A knife with a dark red glow rose above her.
“No...” An almost mute plea came from the petrified white pony. “Oh, please no, no no no no no!” Her voice became as loud as a chorus, but still no one came. “Please, I don't want to die... Not now...please...!” Tears rained down from the unicorn's eyes, but the stranger didn't care.
The knife plunged down as the filly's screams echoed throughout the night.
“It'll be over soon,” the small yellow pony muttered from atop Ponyville Observatory. She stared down from the railing she was leaning against. It was a long drop. She had tossed a bit earlier to see if it would be a good spot to do it. She had been thinking about it for a while, but today she had finally snapped and decided it was time.
She would end her life here.
She had always been picked on. She was diagnosed with brittle wing when she was just three years old. Her parents had always been supportive of her though, they even moved from Cloudsdale to Ponyville just so that she wouldn't feel like a freak. It didn't work.
All throughout her life she was bullied for not being able to fly. The earth ponies had found it hilarious that she was a cripple, while the pegasi were disgusted with her inability to do anything but flutter. The unicorns had been somewhat less mean, but they just made fun of her behind her back. She had become emotionally unstable from all the abuse and today she had finally cracked.
Three colts decided it would be funny to mess with Fluttershy. She always brought her only friend and pet rabbit, Angel, with her to school. The trio decided to hide the bunny at lunch. Fluttershy started panicking and looked everywhere for her beloved friend. She eventually found him-both of his arms had been snapped like twigs. One of the colts thought it would be funny to beat the rabbit. The poor filly broke down in tears as her pet was brought to a veterinarian. They weren't sure if Angel would make it through the night.
“I thought maybe...just maybe...this year would be different. Maybe this is my punishment for being so weak?” She looked up toward the sky, praying it would hold the answers she needed. She gingerly climbed over the railing. She looked down, making sure she wouldn't fall on anyone when she leapt.
She took a deep breath and began counting down from one hundred in her head. Tears filled her eyes as she looked down.
“Hey, what are you doing up here, dweeb?” Fluttershy flinched and almost lost her grip at the sound of the voice. She turned her head just enough to see who was talking to her. A young griffon girl was looking at her. She didn't seem fazed by what Fluttershy was about to do, but if you looked in her eyes you could see that she was afraid.
“Gilda, I think it's pretty obvious what I'm here to do.” Fluttershy's face contorted in anger, which was quite unusual for her. They had known each other for years. Gilda had never done anything to hurt her, but she had never tried to help the abused filly. The griffon had always pretended like nothing was wrong.
“Shy...you're not seriously thinking about-” Fluttershy growled angrily.
“I'm tired of it! I'm so sick of the pain! If...if I do this...then...then I won't hurt anymore...” The tears the yellow pony had been fighting back had finally spilled. Gilda’s face twitched in fury. She couldn't believe this.
“Shy, don't be an idiot!” Gilda's started to walk towards the scared pegasus.
“I...I am an idiot...aren't I?” Fluttershy's throat was on fire. She had been holding in all this pain and was finally letting it all out. Her grip on the railing began to loosen.
“Shy, wait...for the love of Celestia, please don't do this...” Gilda mentally kicked herself for insulting Fluttershy at a time like this. She tensed up, waiting to see if the pegasus would let go.
“...No one will miss me, you know. I'm just some freak. The world would be better off without me...” Fluttershy replied in a broken voice. She didn't really care what the griffon thought. She just needed to tell someone, anyone, how she felt before it was over.
“That's crap, Shy! You'd be missed!” The griffon balled up her claws. She wouldn't let it end like this.
“That's a laugh,” Fluttershy chuckled darkly at Gilda's comment.
“...I'd miss you...” Gilda muttered quietly, barely above a whisper.
“Yeah right.” The pegasus dismissed her. She was just trying to make her feel better.
“What?! I would miss you!” The griffon's wings spread out in fury.
“Stop lying!” she roared at Gilda as her grip loosened a bit more. The griffon shrunk down. She had never seen Fluttershy so furious before. “You never stood up for me! You just watched them hurt me, and now you expect me to believe that you care at all?! Do I really look that gullible?!”
Gilda choked back her tears. Now was not the time to falter. She had to be strong. She had to be there for Fluttershy. “I...I'm sorry...I was weak...I didn't want to be picked on, so I let them mess with you instead. I should have been stronger. Fluttershy, if you don't do this...I promise I won't make that mistake again. I know you, Shy...You're stronger than you look. You take all that crap they give you in stride. Hell, I can't say I'd do the same. I'd probably just get pissed and beat em' up. So please...don't do this, Fluttershy,” She took a hesitant step forward.
“You...you really think I'm strong?” the pegasus muttered.
“You're a pretty gnarly chick, if I do say so myself.” The griffon smiled gently.
“Okay...” Fluttershy turned around and began climbing over the railing. She would finally have a friend. “Huh?” She heard a creak from underneath her. The railing had broken.
The sorrowful filly's life flashed before her eyes. Her eighth birthday party where her mother dressed up as her favorite super hero, Batmare, just so she'd smile. The time she'd scrapped her knee when she was ten and all the kids made fun of her for crying, except for one griffon who just looked off to the side. When she turned twelve and her father brought her to the pet shop to pick out a new friend. That was the day she met Angel. He acted very persnickety, but Fluttershy could tell he was a loving, if somewhat grouchy creature.
She cried knowing that she'd never see any of them again. Her father would probably start smoking again from the stress. He quit because of how worried Fluttershy was for him. Her mother would stop going out again. She was as shy as the yellow pegasus was, but overcame it so that her daughter would have someone to look up to. If Angel was still alive, he'd most likely become as miserly as he was before Fluttershy got him.
She waited for the pain to come. It never did.
“I gotcha!” Gilda was leaning halfway off the ledge, holding Fluttershy by one of her back hooves.
“G-Gilda?” Fluttershy muttered in surprise. She thought it was all over.
“I'm not letting you get away that easily dweeb.” The sincere smile on the griffon's face told more than her words did. She would be there for Fluttershy from now on, and the yellow pegasus knew it to be true.
Gilda pulled Fluttershy onto the roof. Exhaustion overcame the griffon. She didn't think she'd be able to get to the pegasus in time. She fell hard onto the cold concrete. She looked up at Fluttershy and smiled. She had pulled a muscle in her left arm and her legs were weak from supporting her upper body during the ordeal. Fluttershy was safe though, and she couldn't care less about some pesky wounds. That could be dealt with later. The frightened filly stared at Gilda for a moment before throwing herself at the griffon.
“I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!” she mumbled into Gilda's feathers. Tears soaked her, but Gilda didn't care. She hesitantly put her arms around the pony. The two took comfort in one another in the cold autumn night as rain began to fall. Maybe somepony had finally decided to have mercy on poor Fluttershy.
She had somehow made it home without passing out. She had said goodbye to Rarity and Rainbow Dash before going to greet her family. She heard the screen door close behind her as she made her way toward the living room. The house had a rustic charm to it. Family photos covered the walls and little trinkets were scattered about. Back when her parents were alive, Applejack and her brother, Big Macintosh, used to play cards in the kitchen every weekend. Ever since they had died, though, Macintosh had been distant to the family. He tried to act stoic and calm, but Applejack knew that he was a softy underneath it all.
Granny Smith was in the living room with AJ's little sister, Apple Bloom, sitting on her lap, eating some toast with Zap Apple jam. When it was time for the Zap Apple harvest, Granny and Bloom were always the most excited to get to work. Granny was a bit absentminded, but was an excellent care taker for the five young ponies. Apple Bloom loved to fix things ever since she had found her first hammer in the barn at six years old.
A tiny brown pony named Caramel was napping on the beaten up couch. He had been adopted into the Apple family about three years after Applejack was born. He was a shy pony with low self-esteem. He was always getting down on himself about little things. He loved his siblings and always worried that they didn't like him. His birth parents had deserted him at Sweet Apple Acres some years ago. Big Mac had discovered him in a bushel of apples. He had been a part of the family ever since.
A mischievous little filly with a red mane and a green bandana decided to draw a mustache on Caramel while he was sleeping. She giggled silently in glee at her well done gag. Apple Bumpkin just loved to pull pranks. She had been living with this branch of the Apple Family while her parents were abroad in the Frozen North. They had heard of a new type of apple seed there that could withstand even the coldest of winters. Bumpkin had always loved being at Sweet Apple Acres, so she was ecstatic when she found out that she would be living with them for the next year.
Applejack grinned fondly at the sight of her family bonding. Not everypony got to have such a loving family, and she was thankful every day for having such an amazing one. She walked over to the pullout chair Granny and Apple Bloom were sitting on. The lever didn't work as well on it as it used to, but it was still as comfy as can be. Granny's face was one of pure dread as she looked up at the small orange filly.
“What in the dickens happened to ya'?!” Granny asked.
“Huh? Oh yeah...Ah' kinda...ran into a door and got knocked out...” Applejack admitted bashfully.
“Ya' ran into a door,” Apple Bloom stated dryly.
“Are ya' alright?!” Granny asked, now full of anxiety.
“Yeah...but that's not important right now!” The orange filly shook her head in frustration.
“Make sure ya' at least put something cold on it,” Granny Smith advised.
“Ah' will, but Granny, Ah' really need your help with something first,” Applejack pleaded.
“Alright...but ya' have to put something on it right away, or else your eye will swell up like one of those warts Ah' get durin' the winter time,” the green elderly pony warned. AJ shivered violently. Granny's warts were something she'd rather not think about.
“Ah' will, Granny, Ah' swear.” Granny Smith knew that whatever was bothering Applejack must be serious, because a promise in the Apple household is something that must be honored.
“What do ya' need then?” Granny Smith asked.
“Ah' need to see that old pony tales book we have.”
“What do ya' need somethin' like that for?”
“Ah'...had a weird dream while Ah' was knocked out. It was plum odd. There was one of them there colossai in it. The whole thing just felt so real! It was like Ah' was really there...and Ah' remember ya' use to tell me n’ Big Mac that story about how colossai used to protect ponies dreams before Princess Luna and Celestia started ruling Equestria...and Ah' got to thinkin'...maybe it wasn't just a story?” Applejack looked up, somewhat embarrassed about making such an uproar over something as trivial as a dream.
Granny rubbed her chin in thought. Applejack's dream could have easily been as vivid as it was because of the trauma from the door, but she would at least humor the filly.
“Alright, Ah'll got get the book for ya', but ya' better get the peas from the freezer by the time Ah' get back.” Granny got up and trotted up the stairs to get the book. The stairs creaked a little as she made each step. She would make sure to call a carpenter tomorrow.
She opened the door to her bedroom. It was a snug little place for her to get away from it all. A small fireplace was at the far end of the room while her bookcase sat next to the bed. She had always loved to read ever since she was a little filly. She trotted over to the bookcase and gingerly took out her oldest and most prized possession. It was a tome of pony tales that her parents had given her for her sixth birthday. It was leather-bound and had beautiful watercolor illustrations to accompany the stories.
She brought the book back downstairs for Applejack, who had a bag of peas covering her bruised eye now. Applejack had always been a very true-blue pony. She smiled gently at her granddaughter. AJ reminded Granny so much of her daughter. Tough as nails and hard headed with a heart of gold. Maybe one day she could tell Applejack what really happened to her parents.
“Here ya' go, squirt! Make sure not to wrinkle any of the pages, ya' hear?” Granny went back over to Apple Bloom so that they could finish their toast.
“Got it!” AJ tucked the book underneath one of her forelegs and made her way up the stairs to her room.
Applejack's room was pretty bare bones; nothing was really in there but a bed and dresser. She kept most of her valuables in a locked drawer on the dresser. Her bed was very basic and plain. She didn't care much for appearances and never really got around to making the room into anything special.
She belly flopped onto the bed and searched through the book’s table of contents.
“Windigos...Lord of Mischief...Wereponies...Changelings...inter dimensional beings?” Applejack raised an eyebrow. “Here we go! Colossai...guardians of the dream realm. They were Gigantic hulking behemoths that were created by a being older than Equestria. It is said that they were around during the beginning of the reign of Celestia and Luna. These creatures were cast off by the two sisters into oblivion for transgressions against the entire planet of Equestria. These crimes are unknown to this date to any but the princesses. Perhaps one day we will all know...”
Applejack thought back to her dream from this afternoon. Maybe it really was a colossus that had been in her dream. But if it was, then where had she been brought to in her dream? Then her thoughts turned to the flip-side of the matter. This was just an old pony tale. What if none of this had happened and it was just some story to entertain young foals? Why would the princesses transport the creatures to that dank abyss? It was such a dark and horrifying place. Applejack's fur stood on end thinking about that miserable cesspool from her dreams.
'What could the colossai have done that would've caused the princesses to up and get rid of em'?' Applejack wondered as she went over the story once again.
Rainbow Dashing and her daughter lived in a cozy little cottage by the Everfree Forest. Her filly, Rainbow Dash , was a pegasus unlike herself. She was an Earth pony, but had moved to Cloudsdale for her little Wonderbolt. It had seemed impossible at first, but one of her pegasus friends from high school had given her a cloud walking amulet that she had found in her travels around Equestria.
“And then I met this really cute...um, I mean, cool pony named Pinkie!” the earth mare's little foal squeaked. The filly had been telling her mother about the great day she'd had at school. The older pony was concerned that Dash's first day at school would turn out like it had at Cloudsdale Middle School. The blue pegasus always stood up for what she believed in, and at CMS, if you didn't obey the pecking order, you wouldn't last long. Rainbow refused to succumb to such peer pressure and the heads of the pony clicks wouldn't be having that.
They sent muscle bound meat heads to break the rebellious little filly. Rainbow won most of the fights thanks to her fast reflexes, but the ones she lost usually left her in the emergency room. Eventually Dashing was fed up with that poor excuse of a school and brought her foal to Ponyville for a fresh start in life.
“Oh, does my little Dashie have a crush?” the mother gushed loudly. The little pegasus had always been a romantic no matter how much she tried to deny it. Her mother was perhaps the only pony in Dash's life to know that. The filly once had a crush on a classmate back in Cloudsdale who had stepped all over her fragile heart. Dashing hadn't found out until her little Dashie was crying in despair over how nopony would ever love her.
“N-no...maybe...” Dash puffed her cheeks out in a pout. Her Mama always seemed to know what she was thinking. Maybe it's some kind of mother-daughter mind reading thing? Rainbow Dash pondered.
“Ohh, what's she like?” Dashing inquired euphorically.
“Well...she's really hyper and happy. She has super curly hair. She has really pretty blue eyes and she's just...really nice.” Dash beamed, thinking of the pink pony.
The mother wrapped the love struck filly up in her legs. Dash returned the embrace and gently nuzzled her mother's neck. “My little Casanova, always stealing hearts,” Dashing teased.
“Hey! I'm not some kooky lovey dovey pegasus! I'm tough as nails!” the little filly argued bullheadedly.
The earth mare giggled as she gently ruffled Dash's mane, “Of course you are, sweetie. Now how about me and you watch a movie?”
“Hmm...Can we watch...um...could we maybe watch...Fluffers?” A blush filled the young pony's face.
“Sure honey! You put the movie in and I'll go pop us up some yummy popcorn!” Dashing trotted into the kitchen.
Dash got up and stretched out her limbs until her joints popped a bit. The little blue pegasus looked around at her new home. It was a basic two bedroom cottage that Dashing had found on a visit to her parents in nearby Harkam. The walls were a burgundy color. At least Dashing was pretty sure they were that color. The paint was a bit faded and dim for her to be completely sure.
The filly crossed the living room to the cabinet holding all of the Rainbow family's movies. She pulled out a copy of “Fluffers” that happened to be situated between “Sleepless in Manehattan” and “Batmare Begins”. She popped the disk into the new DVD player the two had gotten as a housewarming gift from a neighbor. Dash was surprised that somepony would be willing to give up something so expensive. Dashing tried to deny the present, but the couple that gave it to them wouldn't have it. Dash stopped paying attention to this as she noticed a gray yellow-maned filly.
I wonder who she is, Dash wondered as she walked back with her mama.
Dashing walked back into the living room with a big bowl of popcorn. “Ready, Sweetie?” the kindly mare asked.
“Yup!” Dash jumped onto the couch and pressed the play button as she snuggled up with her mama.
Fluffers had always been Dash's favorite film ever since she was a small foal. The film was about a small pegasus looking for her mother through what looked like a rustic version of Fancy. The filly always cried watching it. She couldn't imagine how horrible it would be to be separated from your mama like that. The blue pony asked her mama once if that would ever happen to them.
“No...I love you darling, and I would never let you go. Nopony will separate me from my precious little pegasus...” Dashing had told her.
After the movie was over, Dashing tucked in her little Wonderbolt to bed.
“I love you, mama,” the exhausted filly murmured as sleep quickly approached her.
“I love you too, darling.” The earth mare leaned over and gently kissed Dashie's forehead as the little pegasus drifted off into the realm of dreams.
“...and then I made friends with this pony named...um...Carrot...something...Carrot Top! That was it!” Pinkie exclaimed as she ate her hay and oats sandwich.
“That sounds like fun! How about you, Octavia?” Mr. Cake asked.
“It was good,” she said, idly poking at her salad.
“Something wrong?” Mrs. Cake asked worriedly.
“No, I'm fine,” the gray pony said dismissively.
“If there's anything you want to talk about, we're always here, Sweetie.” Mr. Cake smiled gently at his new daughter.
Octavia looked up somewhat angrily. “Please don't call me Sweetie. I'm very thankful that you took in my sisters and I, but that doesn't make you our parents.”
Pinkie jumped up. “Octy what in the hay?! That's no way to treat our new mom and dad!”
“I'm sorry, Pinkie, but as I said before, they are not our parents...they're just our caretakers.” Octavia said coldly.
“They saved us! When our...” Pinkie stopped. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “Octy...”
“You never minded before.”
“That was then, this is now.”
“Oc-Octavia...why are you doing this?” Pinkie's eyes glistened.
“Doing what?” Octavia looked down at the ground.
“You know what!” Pinkie shook her hoof swiftly at the gray filly.
Octavia sighed deeply and looked at her new caretakers. “Is it alright if I go to bed early?”
Mr. Cake just looked shocked. “Y-yes...”
Octavia gracefully pushed her chair back in and trotted upstairs. Inky was on the verge of tears and was burying her face into her stuffed cat Mittens.
Pinkie walked over to comfort her little sister. “You okay Inky?” she asked gingerly.
“Mmhm.” The delicate little filly nodded her head a couple times. Pinkie pat her sister’s head a couple times, and then went over to talk to her adoptive parents.
“I'm sorry for...what happened. I got too angry, I should have tried to be calmer...”
“It's alright, dear. This is a big change and all...just give her some time.” Mrs. Cake smiled at the pink filly.
“Really?” Pinkie asked.
“Of course! Now how about Carrot and I read you two a bedtime story?” Mrs. Cake suggested.
Pinkie gasped in excitement. “That's sounds great!”
The Cake family walked upstairs into Pinkie and Inky's bedroom. It was bare for now, but the pink pony was sure to liven it up in no time.
“Alright, we're going to be reading Filly Red Riding Hood,” Mr. Cake said as he opened up the book.
“Oooh, I love this one!” Pinkie said giddily.
“W-what's it about?” Inky asked timidly.
“It's about a little filly who outsmarts a wolf!”
“Yeah, but don't worry, sis! No wolf will get you while Pinkie's here!”
The young couple smiled at the two sisters, “Okay...Filly Red Riding Hood was on her way to grandma's house when...” Time passed and the two fillies were soon fast asleep. Mrs. Cake slowly closed the door to their bedroom.
Cup Cake sighed. “Do you think we'll be good enough to be their parents?”
“...You're still worried about what Octavia said?”
Carrot hugged his wife. “Honey you're gonna' be a great mother...trust me.”
The two stood there embracing, wondering if they could really raise these three young fillies by themselves.
“Looks like Spike was right about it raining tonight.” The purple unicorn filly was trotting through Lower Ponyville, hoping to get an idea of how bad this area's economy really was for a report she was writing.
“I should get out of here before I catch a cold,” she mumbled to herself. Twilight was Princess Celestia's star pupil, and couldn't stand not being able to study thanks to some illness. She had a reputation to uphold and falling ill would tarnish it. Well, Twilight thought so, anyway.
Twilight decided to cut through an alley, hoping to avoid getting too wet. As the lavender filly ran through the crummy looking backstreet, she heard a voice cry something.
“I don't want to die...not now...please...”
Twilight ran closer in and saw a knife floating above a terrified little unicorn. She wouldn't let this monster harm one of the princess's ponies. As the knife descended, Celestia's protégé shot her own magic forward. The knife flew back, sticking into the stranger's shoulder.
“Dammit!” a deep male voice shouted. The stranger grabbed the knife with his teeth and pulled it out without even blinking an eye.
“W...what in the...” Twilight could only stare at the stallion as he ran toward the two, ready to do away with them. Twilight rushed forward and covered the scared white filly with her body, hoping to somehow protect her from this horrible stallion. Twilight shut her eyes.
The purple filly heard a click and realized that he was going to shoot them instead. Twilight’s horn fizzled as she tried to summon a force field. She had just started studying protection spells with Celestia and wasn't very good at doing this type of magic yet.
“Come on!” Twilight muttered fearfully, but no matter how many times she tried, the field would not come to fruition.
“Say goodnight, girls,” the stallion chuckled darkly as he took a deep breath before pulling the trigger.
A loud piercing sound resounded throughout the alley. All of Twilight's muscles tensed up as she waited for impact. It never came. She opened her eyes slowly and saw the stallion was flat on his face with blood oozing from his back. She tried standing up, but her legs collapsed underneath her. A shadowy figure slowly approached the two unicorns.
“Please...don't hurt us...” Twilight forced her legs to work and stood in front of the white unicorn she had been protecting.
The mysterious figure stopped and said, “I'm not gonna hurt you, sweetie...and neither will that nasty stallion either.” Her voice was calm and somewhat authoritative. She took a couple steps forward so the purple filly could see her. Her coat was a light magenta color and was wearing a police uniform.
“Y-you're a police officer?” Twilight inquired.
The mare nodded her head. “Officer Berry Punch at your service.”
“Y-you stopped him, right?”
“Mmmhmm. No need to worry.”
Twilight sighed deeply. “Thank you...thank you so much!”
“It's no problem. Would you like me to drop you off at your house, sweetie?”
Twilight looked behind her and saw that the little white filly she had protected was unconscious. She must have been terrified.
“W-wait! What about him?” Twilight pointed at the bleeding stallion.
Another police officer showed up. He was a shy looking stallion, but appeared to be very passionate about his job.
“Already got it taken care of,” Berry said, waving at the stallion to give him the go ahead on arresting the bleeding pony.
“Ready to go?” the police mare asked.
They arrived at Twilight's residence about an hour later. She lived in a luxurious mansion in Upper Ponyville.
The purple unicorn stepped out of the police car, carrying the white filly on her back. “Thank you. I don't know what would have happened if you hadn't been there.” Twilight looked back at the kindly mare.
“Don't worry about it! Remember if you ever have any trouble like this again, call me!”
“How can I do that?”
“Just call the local police station and ask for Berry Punch. You take it easy, kiddo.” The mare waited until the two fillies were inside and took off back towards the station.
Twilight's home was very elegant looking. Vases and paintings could be found in most rooms. The living room had a fire place that the Sparkle family would huddle in front of during the winter, usually reading or chatting in the fire’s light. Twilight's horn glowed as Rarity floated onto a couch. The purple unicorn examined the pony to see if she had injuries.
“Where am I?” the white filly asked as she began to stir. She looked around and noticed a lavender pony examining her legs. “A-am I dead?” she inquired.
“Oh, you're awake!” Twilight said cheerfully as she walked in front of the filly.
“Y-you...you saved me!” the filly exclaimed, recollecting what had happened.
“Well, I guess.” The purple unicorn bashfully rubbed the back of her head.
“Um...may I ask your name?”
“Twilight! Twilight Sparkle, and you?”
“I am Rarity...thank you...I...I almost...” She couldn't bring herself to finish the sentence.
“But you didn't, and that's what matters.” A blanket gently wrapped around Rarity's cold form.
The cream colored unicorn smiled slightly. “I suppose. May I make use of your phone? I need to inform my parents of my whereabouts. Actually...where am I?”
“Oh, this is Sparkle Manor!”
Rarity's eyes were suddenly as wide as saucers. “T-the Sparkle Manor?!”
“Yeah. It's not really a big deal, though.” Twilight's cheeks flushed pink.
“Y-yes of course, darling,” she blurted out, trying to keep her composure.
“So, you said you needed to call your parents?”
“Huh? Oh, yes.”
Twilight brought the phone over to Rarity and went into another room to give the filly some privacy.
“Hello?” Rarity spoke into the phone.
“Rarity, are you alright?!” a stressed voice shot out.
“I'm fine, mother. Something happened on my way home and I had no choice but to stay at a friend's abode.”
“Abode, really? You mean their house?”
The filly's face scrunched up sourly. “Yes, mother...I'm sorry about worrying you.”
“It's fine, just make sure to call us earlier next time, okay? Your dads out of his gourde worrying about ya'.”
“I will. Have a pleasant sleep mother. I love you.”
“I...I love you too, Pumpkin...” The mare was shocked that her daughter would actually be affectionate to her. “Are you okay?”
“I'm fine, mother. Don't worry.”
“Alright...See you tomorrow.”
Twilight made her way back into the room. “Everything alright?”
“Yes, dear Twilight. Thank you for the use of your telephone.”
“Don't worry about it! Now, my family won't be back till tomorrow, so you can sleep in one of my brother's rooms if you want.”
“Are you sure? I don't want to impose.”
The lavender filly waved her hoof dismissively. “I insist!”
“Thank you, darling. I suppose we should hit the hay, as it were?”
“Yes, that sounds great right about now.”
The two fillies made their way upstairs, not knowing that a certain pony would be visiting them this night.