A Nightmare to Remember...

by Gyrofest96

First published

Twilight begins having nightmares of absurd chaos and rampage... Are they just mere dreams? Or visions of a horrid future that could rock Equestria to its very core.

Late in the night, Twilight begins having strange nightmares filled with terror and chaos. Each nightmare seems to heighten her paranoia more than the first. Something just feels off about her dreams, like there's more to it than meets the eye. What's in the dark, lurking in the shadows? There's always something more to it... Isn't there?

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Note: Currently being re-written. Comments/Criticizing is encouraged, as I want to improve on my writing abilities as much as bloody possible. :3

No Time for Dinner...

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Twilight was laying on her bed, reading a story based on astronomy. It was titled Extending Across the Galaxies.

“I really should be getting back to my studies, but Spike was constantly bugging me to take a rest... Can't blame him really.” She was saying aloud to herself, “I have been quite tired lately, and have been getting little rest to make up for it.”

She heard a quiet knock on the door, and her favorite assistant let himself in with a platter of delicious-looking food.

“Figured you must be pretty hungry, so I decided to cook you a little something to tide you over until tomorrow morning.” Spike said with a cheerful smile. “I hope you like it, because as soon as I'm done with the rest of my chores, I'm going to visit Rarity.”

“Thanks very much, Spike! You have no idea how hungry I have been...” Twilight said to him with a sheepish smile.

Twilight was just about to take her first bite when her house started shaking violently. Spike nearly fell down the stairs, but held on to the railing for safety. Twilight was knocked off of her bed when the impact hit the tree house. She slowly started to recover from hitting her head on the hard floor, while Spike came back into the room to check on her safety. She seemed to have a bruise on her head, but everything seemed okay, as she was up and racing for the porch within seconds.

What she saw outside froze her in place. Discord, the bringer of Chaos, was free rampaging throughout Ponyville. Houses around her were in ruins. Masses of ponies scrambling throughout the streets, searching for safety. She started panicking and spotted something colossal in size in the corner of her eye. It was the Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, both charging the direction of Ponyville, followed by a familiar sight. It was Trixie, the stuck-up unicorn who fled Ponyville after being shamed by Twilight weeks before.

She had to assist in the ponies' escape! She grabbed the dazed Spike and threw him onto her back. Twilight busted through the door in time to see the ponies running in fear towards the southern part of town. Trixie and the Ursa family were not far behind. She had to stall them long enough to give the ponies enough time to escape! Just when she thought things could not get worse, the three diamond dogs showed up, likely to steal the large amount of jewels that Rarity owns at her boutique.

"Spike, you need to go, now! I will be okay, just go with the other ponies!" Twilight shouted at him. She didn't want him to go, because she didn't want to be alone in this, but she wanted Spike to be safe.

"But, Twilight! I want to stay, I want to help!" He really didn't want to go, he wanted to make sure of Twilight's safety. She hoped deep down she remained okay after this...

Applejack was galloping off with the rest of the crowd, obviously trying to keep them together. No pony left behind, that was her thing.

"I'm sorry about this Spike..." Spike was put to sleep by Twilight's sleeping spell... He always looked so cute when asleep. "APPLEJACK! Take Spike out of here!"

"Gotcha, Twilight! Stay safe, ya hear?" She yelled back at Twilight. She responded with a nod, and she dashed off with the sleeping baby dragon on her back.

Twilight turned back around, and saw the Ursa family heading straight towards her. Then, the strangest creatures started charging out of the forest towards Ponyville. A blue figure soared high into the sky shouting for all to hear, “STAMPEDE!” The shouts and screams from the ponies grew louder in terror as they ran.

Rainbow Dash and her small crew of Pegasi were attempting to distract Discord, while Twilight was trying her best to toss objects to delay the charging Ursa pack. As she was readying her last spell, the Ursa Major sent a large caravan filled with terrified ponies towards her location. She tried with all her will and might to move, but she couldn't. She couldn't cast her teleport spell...

She cringed in fear and wished in her mind that she could see all of her friends again... She hung her head low in sadness at the realization of never seeing her friends again. Twilight looked up one last time to brace the impact and face death head first...

SMACK.

"AAHHH!" Twilight awoke with a startled visage. She was dripping with cold sweat, and her eyes were bloodshot.

"I should not have been reading that book all night.... I must have dozed off... Some cra-" She was stopped mid-sentence by Spike, who had heard the scream coming from her room.

"Twilight! Are you alright!?" He said a very concerned look on his face.

"Yea, Spike, I'm okay. I just had... a very terrifying nightmare..." Twilight looked down in sadness, for she had never experienced a dream like that before.

"Do you want to talk about it? It may help if you got it off your chest..." He said as he gave her a big hug.

"Thanks, Spike. I really appreciate it, but I don't remember much from the dream..." She was lying. She remembered every detail from that nightmare, it seemed so real... like she was literally about to face death right there and then. But she was glad that it was just a dream, and nothing more.

"Alright, Twilight, if you want to talk about anything, just come see me, I'm here for ya." Spike said with a reassuring smile.

She nodded in return, "I definitely will, Spike. Don't worry." She said as she was trying to put a nice smile to reassure him that she was okay. Twilight went downstairs to grab a nice drink of Apple juice to cool her down, and made her way back up to bed. The rest of the night was easy sleeping for her. Although, something was building up in her mind, something that she couldn't shake. A fear... of the nightmare.

Visions?

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Twilight woke up the next morning with a slight headache, but nothing she couldn't deal with. She sat on her bed and thought long and hard about telling anyone, as she had no idea what to think of what she had dreamed. Was it a vision? Or just a very detailed nightmare... She decided it wouldn't hurt to talk to Spike about it. She sleepily walked downstairs to find Spike was already up, cooking breakfast.

“Hey Twilight! Did you sleep okay after the... dream?” He was asked with a concerned look on his face.

“Of course! Slept like a baby! Still, I wanted to take you up on your offer about letting me explain the dream to you... I feel very... uneasy about the whole thing.” She said hanging her head kind of low.

“Sure! What's the problem?” He asked, bringing a plate of toast and an apple to the side.

“Well... it's a long story, are you sure up for it?” Twilight asked somewhat afraid he would get bored, and fall asleep.

“Yup! Hit me!” He said with confidence. Heh, he might be in for a surprise.

She began with the beginning with her laying on her bed, reading her astronomy book. After bringing her the dinner, (which happened to be the same food that I got for breakfast), the whole tree house started to shake violently. She explained that after falling off of the bed clumsily, she got up and stood out on the porch to be frozen in awe at the sight she was presented with.

Discord was set loose, wreaking havoc upon Ponyville, with the Ursa family charging in after Trixie, who was leading them towards the town as well. She described the disorder panic of the scared ponies running down the street towards the southern part of the town for evacuation.

By this point, she was starting to tear up... but she continued, and explained what happened after she left the house to protect the ponies from the oncoming Ursas. She tried picking up objects with her magic to block the Ursas, but to no avail. She was about to cast one more spell that might have turned the tide, but she was frozen in place when a carriage filled with two terrified ponies was bucked into the air, falling straight for her.

She said that she had never felt so much fear before in her life. She could not move or budge one muscle from her spot. She literally felt as though she was going to die.

“...then when the carriage was a half a second within contact of me, the nightmare ended. I woke up in a cold sweat and as if I had been crying... Spike... the dream... it felt so... REAL!” Twilight by this time had broken down and was crying in Spike's arms.

Spike was rubbing her mane, trying to reassure her. He had never seen so much fear in her eyes, not since the day she missed the jump during the encounter with the Hydra...

“It's okay, Twilight, it's not real. It's just a dream, nothing more... you have nothing to fear.” Spike could tell how much pain Twilight was in... but all he could do right now was reassure her.

“T-Thanks, Spike... I know... it just... I've never been more scared in... my life... Thanks, Spike... I needed that.” She said slowly as she was trying to regain her composure. She gave Spike a big long hug, and he returned the favor.

“Hey... it's what I'm here for! That, and to be your best friend and number one assistant!” Spike said giggling with a wide, happy smile. This caused Twilight to giggle as well. She finally released after a minute of peaceful hugging, and slowly made her way to the couch to enjoy her breakfast that her favorite assistant had made for her. Spike had returned to the kitchen to make his own food. His wasn't too difficult to make, as he had stored a couple of gemstones in the fridge for breakfast the night before.

Twilight was in a good mood again, but was thinking of letting Princess Celestia know. For she knew, like Spike, that she would understand Twilight's fears and doubts. She'll think about it later... for now, she had to buy some groceries from in town. The stock was getting low, and Spike was just about done with the last of our food. That, and she wouldn't mind paying Pinkie Pie a visit, that pony always seems to cheer her up.

She was in the market area when a sudden image popped up in her mind. An image of an unknown pony... a pegasus... Her eyes were wide open for five minutes until one of the nearby ponies nudged her, snapping her out of her 'trance.'

“Wu-AHH!” Twilight jumped back in shock.

“Hey there! What's gotten into ya?” The mare asked.

“I...I'm... okay. I just have a headache at the moment, lot's of things going on right now, bit stressful.” Twilight said, slurring her words, trying to raise her head. Her vision was still blurred, but she caught a fuzzy outline of a pink, fuzzy pony. It took her a second to realize, but Twilight had found the pony she was looking for.

“Pinkie! Hey, could we talk?” Twilight asked after rubbing her head. Pinkie started to notice her discomfort.

“Sure! Follow me! We have cupcakes ready!” She said as she started hopping back to Sugarcube Corner.

Twilight didn't get far until that image that seemed to be burned inside her head popped up again. Except, it was in motion. This time it showed the unknown pegasus from before, in a large chamber, in front of a shrine that seemed to resemble... She flinched at the sight. It was Discord! The Harbinger of Chaos!

Twilight was brought back after wards to a concerned Pinkie.

“Heya there! Everything okey dokey lokey in there!?” Pinkie asked with her head tilted to the right, while tapping Twilight's head with her hoof.

“Huh? Oh yea... I... Pinkie...? I really need.... to... to...” Twilight slurred. She then fell over to the side into the soft grass... putting her to rest.

A New Foe Appears...

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Twilight regained consciousness and found herself on the couch at Sugarcube Corner. Her head wasn't feeling to clear, and it hurt to even move. Once again, it seems the couch was drenched in cold sweat. These... visions have got to mean some-

“Wakey wakey, sleepy head!” said a pink, fuzzy mare who was bouncing right in front of her.

“Ugh...” Twilight was still trying to regain her thoughts. “Where am I?” she asked, trying to remember how she got from being in the market, to this place.

“Silly! You're at Sugarcube Corner! You fell asleep in the middle of the market, and started saying some crazy things!” She said as she was shaking Twilight back and forth like a ragdoll.

“Wa-Wo-Wa-Wo! Stop! It! Pink-ie!!!! I'm... Ok...Ay!!!!” Twilight tried to blurt out, this was not helping her headache.

Pinkie stopped after a minute of shaking, and dropped her back on the couch.

“There you are! What's with you Twilight? You seem mighty sleepy today! You really need to get out more!” She said while still hopping around.

“I don't know... I've been seeing some weird things in my sleep! I just can't get them out of my head! Also.... do you have anything I could eat, I can't think straight! I'm just so hungry!” She couldn't help shouting out. As much as she hated to admit it, she was really hungry. And she couldn't exactly think straight with an empty stomach, let alone a bouncing, shouting pink mare named Pinkie Pie.

“Hmmm... that sounds like tuffy wuffy problem! But I can fix one of your problems! How's about I whip you up a nice batch of cupcakes!

“Oh that would be perfect!” Twilight definitely loved Pinkie's cupcakes, and so did every other pony in Ponyville! At this point, Applejack had walked in to buy some cake for Granny Smith's homecoming party. Granny Smith was down at Appaloosa visiting relatives. Applebloom was not far behind Applejack.

“Well, hey there, Twi'! Whatcha doin' around these parts? Pinkie drag ya down here 'gain?” She said putting a low chuckle at the end.

“Hey, Applejack. Well, yes. I was sorta drag-” Twilight got mid-sentence before Pinkie came hopping in.

“HEY APPLEJACK! HI APPLEBOOM! Twilight here fell asleep in the middle of the market! So I decided to bring her over here to fill her up with sugary goodness! You and Applebloom want some!” she yelled as she pounced Applejack.

“OOF!” was all that she could get out before she went tumbling down. Twilight couldn't help but let out a low giggle.

“Enjoyin' yerself over there, Twi'?” She said with a grin.

“Heh... maayyyb- AH!” Twilight screamed as Applejack pulled her into the group hug that Pinkie had started. Applebloom looked a bit left out.

“Git over here, sis!” She said as she pulled Applebloom into the group hug. They stayed there hugging each other for a good five minutes before separating.

DING!

“Yay! The cupcakes is ready! WOOHOO!” Pinkie and Applebloom both screamed out as they dashed for the oven in the kitchen.

Twilight and Applejack both shared a long laugh as they moved into the kitchen. When the two laughing ponies reached the kitchen, the dinner table was already set up, with Applebloom sitting in her chair, and Pinkie distributing the yummy pieces of cupcakes!

“Mmm-mm!” Applebloom hummed as she licked her lips. This was going to be deeelish! She thought to herself.

“The cupcakes are lookin' mighty tasty, Pinkie! We're definitely goin' to enjoy it!” Applejack thanked Pinkie.

“Agreed! This is very nice!” Twilight said after taking a small bite out of the cupcake. She went for another bite, but started experiencing a very extreme pain in the back of her head.

“Ow.... Ow.. OWW! What... IS GOING ON?! MY HEAD!” Twilight screams while holding her head with her hooves. She fell out of her chair, and hit her head on the edge of the table, barely missing her horn. When she fell onto the ground, her vision was blurry, and she was losing consciousness. She saw Pinkie Pie and Applejack trotting up to her to check to see if she was okay. She could hear muffled shouts of her name. And then... she closed her eyes.

She opened her eyes to see the blurry visage of a light-colored pegasus kneeling in front of a tall statue of something familiar... After a couple of blinks... it came to her. Discord was standing tall as a statue in front of the unknown pegasus. After a closer look at the pegasus, it appeared that it had an injured wing that was wrapped across the body, keeping the wing close to the side.

Then, the pegasus stood up, turned to her. She felt like she should get up and prepare herself. But... she couldn't move, like before, she was paralyzed. She could only move her head and eyes. She could not channel any magic into her horn either. She was defenseless and immobile.

The pegasus started trotting towards Twilight with a growing grin on his face.

“Greetings, Twilight. It is good to finally speak with you...” His voice was deep, and serious. Very serious.

“Who-who are you?! Where am I? How do you know my name?!” Twilight started to panic.

“Those questions are none of your concern. Your main concern is what will become of Equestria when my task is done here.” He replied with an even bigger grin than before.

“Wh-what?! What do you mean?!” She said, nearly in tears, just from intimidation!

“That is up to you to figure out, shouldn't be too hard for you to figure out. This shall be a very... interesting encounter when we meet in person. Until then, I wish you good luck.” He said, turning around, returning to his original position in front of Twilight.

“Wait! Who are you?! Don't just leave me he-!” She didn't get to finish the sentence, as the floor below her disappeared. She fell into a black void. An abyss. She was suspended in free fall for several minutes, left to debate on who that pegasus was, and what he was planning on doing.

Would this tie in with the first nightmare I had?! Could that actually happen to Ponyville? If so... I need to warn the others... But, how do I get out of here!? Her thoughts were answered, as she slowly regained consciousness.

As she awoke, she made letting her best friends and Princess Celestia know about her visions. This was no coincidence. No imagination could create what she saw. No book or pony could even come close to even giving her that vision.

Twilight sat up, rubbed her eyes, and got her friends' attention.

“Girls. We need to talk.”

Bad Blood

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Applejack and Applebloom were both taken back from the sudden question, while Pinkie Pie simply started jumping all over the room, glad to see that Twilight was okay. It wasn't until after Twilight had grabbed Pinkie and told her to calm down, did she finally calm down.

“Pinkie! Applejack! Listen, we need to gather at my library later today for a meeting. I've been having some... strange dreams. But, I'm beginning to think it's more than just a dream...”

Applejack was the first to reply, “Ah hear ya, Twi', but are ya sure ya don't just need some rest? Er maybe go git yer head checked out?”

“I'm sure, I'm okay. I just need to talk to you girls about this. Something is coming... and it definitely isn't friendly. Once I get back to the library, I'm going to write to Princess Celestia about my recent dreams. She might know something about what I have been seeing. But, until then, I will tell everyone when every arrives at the meeting.”

Applejack nodded and was about to speak up when Pinkie, apparently oblivious to the situation, said “A newcomer!? YAY! I can throw the pony a HUUGE welcoming party! It will be the best party ever!” once again, bouncing all over the walls.

“Ah'll take care of Pinkie, you go on ahead, and we'll meet ya at the library tonight.” she said, sighing. This was not going be an easy task. Twilight let out a chuckle at that comment.

“Applebloom? Come on, we have ta' take care of Pinkie before she...” Twilight heard as she was leaving the bakery.

“Ugh... Maybe she's right, I probably do need some rest... Can't now though, I have a meeting to prepare for. That, and I need to write to Celestia.” Twilight thought to herself.

As she was coming up to the market, she had developed a strange awareness of her surroundings. The market was deserted. She looked towards, and noticed the Sun was nearly down. She never really liked the dark. If she was in the Everfree Forest, she would likely be just sitting in one spot and crying. Luckily, she was quite far from it.

However, she saw something speed by an alleyway to the right in the corner of her eye. As in like, she only saw a silhouette of some sorts for a split second. She stared at the alleyway, expecting something to come out, but nothing happened for a full minute. So, she nervously pressed on towards the library.

Once again, she spotted something in the corner of her eye. Another silhouette moved into the cover behind some boxes. She was quite afraid now, and started into a cold sweat. She moved closer to the boxes to investigate this speedy silhouette.

She peered around the corner to find... nothing. Not even a footprint.

Maybe I'm just being too paranoid, I doubt anything would be happening right this instant...

“AAHHHHHHH!”

Twilight switched around to the direction from which she had came from. She then galloped at full speed to help whoever needed it.

As she came up to the scene, panting hard, she noticed it was Applebloom who had screamed. Taking a better look, it was Applejack in defensive mode, with Applebloom hiding behind her. Taking a BETTER look, she saw Big Mac was ready to charge Applejack and Applebloom.

Twilight jumped out to help Applejack. “What's going on Applejack?! Why is Big Mac looki-”

She stopped mid-sentence when she noticed the yellow glow in Big Mac's eyes. “What's wrong with him?!” Twilight shouted in shock.

“Ah don't know! Somethin' has riled up Big Macintosh real good! He looks like he's ready ta' start a war!” Applejack was standing strong, but she really didn't look like she wanted to hurt her big brother, Twilight didn't blame her.

“Now listen 'ere, big brother. Ah don't want ta' hurt ya, but if it means Ah have to protect Applebloom, then prepare for yer beatin'!” She said loud and strong. Applebloom was crying even worse now.

Big Macintosh had an expressionless look on his face, and he made no reply, except the kicking of the ground. He was ready for the charge.

He galloped at full speed, head first. Applejack shoved her little sister out of the way, and dug her hooves into the ground with her head lowered, ready for the charge. Applejack closed her eyes and awaited the impact of her big red brother's oncoming charge...

He should have hit me by now.... Applejack thought to herself. “Big Mac...?” She looked up to see Big Macintosh flailing around in the air like a loon. He was surrounded by purple lights that seemed to suspend him in mid-air!

“Applejack, hurry up and get your rope out! We can tie him down! Applejack!” Twilight yelled as she was clearly pushing her limit.

“Ah... Ah... Ok-kay!” Applejack studdered as she was scrambling to pull it out. She lassoed Big Macintosh and tied him down to the nearest tree.

“Okay, Applejack, I want you to bring Applebloom home, and come back! We need to gather the others as quick as I can. But I don't want Applebloom to get hurt. I'll stay here to check on Big Mac, and make sure he doesn't escape.”

This was going to be one hay of a ride... Twilight thought to herself.

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Applejack was speeding down to Sweet Apple Acres, with Applebloom on her back, still crying.
Applebloom couldn't believe she saw her own big brother charge at her big sister with such lethal force... Neither could Applejack.

Nevertheless, she pressed on. While she was galloping, she caught something move in the corner of her eye. She assumed something was already wrong, and she started galloping even faster, telling her little sis to hang on.

After another several minutes, she had to slow down. Her lungs were burning, and so were her legs. She just wanted to stop for a quick rest, then she saw the silhouette again. This... thing was stalking her, and she wanted to just make it home. That, and she wanted to check on Granny Smith. She may be a tough old mare, but she can't defend herself in a situation like this. She took another deep breath, and pressed on.

She finally came within sight of her farm, when she hard a large moan come from behind her.

“Sis! Behind us!” Applejack switched around, nearly throwing Applebloom off her back, but she recovered herself. What Applejack saw put sheer horror in her face. It was Bon Bon, and Lyra. Except, they weren't themselves. Like Big Macintosh, they had a yellow glow in their eyes, and they were walking straight towards Applejack and Applebloom.

“Sorry Gals, yer' not goin' ta' like how this feels.” She sat Appleboom down, and charged a semi-powerful kick with her two back hooves against their faces. Knocking them out cold. Applejack then turned around, scooped up Applebloom and galloped towards her farm.

She galloped up to the gate, opened it, walked through, and closed it up behind her. She then trotted towards the farmhouse, where Granny Smith seemed to be snoring quite loudly. Applejack sent Applebloom up stairs to bed, where as she decided to bunk with Granny Smith, who happened to be sleeping in her rocking chair in the living room. Once her adrenaline wore off, she realized just how tired she really was. But she couldn't sleep now. She woke up Granny Smith to let her know to keep an eye on Applebloom. She woke up grumpy, but gradually agreed. She then set out to find Twilight.

Friends First, Fashion Later

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Twillight was standing guard over Big Macintosh while he was tied down to the tree. When he was first tied up, he was thrashing around like a mad pony. Now it seems he's calmed down a bit, instead having his eyes focused on Twilight. The unending stare that was being given to her was putting her on edge... not that she wasn't already on edge, but something in those eyes just told her to run. As in, run, keeping running, and don't look back. But, she knew she had to wait for the others. She just hoped that Applejack and Applebloom made it back safe and sound...

Her eyes were beginning to tear up from Big Mac's unnerving stare. She wanted to look away, but she had to keep an eye on him. Big Mac... just wasn't himself anymore. Like... something else had completely taken him over. Something evil... something terrifying... and something with unimaginable power.

She couldn't bare to look at the red possessed pony, and looked away for a mere minute, to dry her teary eyes. When she looked back, she jumped... Big Mac was gone, with the ropes lying on the filthy ground beside the tree. She switched view points all around, her heart beating faster and faster. She was hearing swishes across some bushes, when she looked, it was only a glimpse of a swift silhouette, as it made it's way to another placement of cover.

Twilight was cowering fear, with no where to run. As she was slowly being cornered by the evil silhouette. She looked down and began to cry, as she knew she could do nothing but whimper and wallow in fear. She heard the hooves getting closer... and closer... and clo-

“Twilight! What in the hay has gotten in ta' ya?! Where's mah bro-” Applejack was muffled by the sudden hug of Twilight. She was so terrified, so afraid that she wouldn't see her friends again, and here was one of her best friends. Twilight jumped into Applejack and held onto her as a scared filly would to her mother after waking from a terrible nightmare. The waterfall of tears erupting from Twilight was drenching Applejack's coat, but she stood there and hugged Twilight back.

“H-hey... it's okay, sugarcube... what's tha matter?” Applejack hated to see Twilight like this, but she wanted to know where Big Macintosh was. She began scanning the outlying area, and saw a bush near the tree that Big Mac was tied under rustle. She wanted to explore this disturbance to the nightly peace. But she also had a scared-out-of-her-mind Twilight to deal with.

“Twilight, I know yer scared in all... but we need ta' tackle this together... okay, sugarcube? We cain't just let Big Mac wonder off ta' Celestia knows where!” Applejack pleaded to her fearful unicorn friend.

“B-bu.... Ok-kay... I'm... right behind you, lead the way...” Twilight said shakingly.

Applejack turned and nodded with a sheepish smile. Before Applejack could turn to look at the bushes again, the dark silhouette was already charging her. Applejack sidestepped, dragging Twilight along with her. Big Mac missed both of them, and rammed into the nearby tree. The charge was at fullspeed. So he managed to literally knock himself unconscious. Applejack sighed.

“Ah... brother... always chargin' head first inta' things...” A tear slowly slid down her cheek at the sight of of her unconscious brother. Twilight performed a full body scan on Big Macintosh with her magic.

“He'll be okay, there's a sizable bruise on his head, but no concussion or anything else to worry about. The most he'll get is a severe headache when he wakes up... He'll be alright, Applejack. But let's go ahead and get him to the hospital. We don't want him running off, nor do we want to leave him here lying on the ground.” Twilight explained to her crying worried friend, putting a hoof on her shoulder for reassurance.

“Ah... Okay... let's git 'im out of here...” She said, wiping the tears out of her eyes with her hooves.

They lifted Big Macintosh onto their backs, and started making their way slowly to the hospital.

“Dear Celestia! He's heavier than I had imagined!” Twilight said, already panting.

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Rarity was working on her final orders at Carousel Boutique, while Sweetie Bell was sitting on her tiny haunches, simply observing her sister do boring work.

“Can't I just help a little, big sister?” she said, putting on her best pleeeease face that she could manage.

“No, Sweetie Bell. You've done enough help as it is...” she said to her whining little sister, shooting her a piercing glare, while pointing to the large pile of mess of clothes and dressing mannequins in the corner of the boutique.

Eep!

“Okay...” Sweetie Bell said in defeat, trotting towards the window. She started to stare out into the streets of Ponyville, like she does when she's in her room. She saw a nice little surprise. It was Twilight and Applejack! Wait... something's wrong... She thought as she saw the two carrying a large, sleeping Big Macintosh on their backs.

She was about to go outside to see what was wrong, when she caught a glimpse of a black silhouette galloping swiftly into cover, keeping on the two unaware ponies with ease.

“Whoa... hey, Rarity! Come, quick! I see Twilight and Applejack carrying Big Macintosh! Let's go see what's going on!” Sweetie Bell yelled to her busy sister from the other room.

Usually, she would have shrugged it off, but it sounded like Big Macintosh was in some sort of trouble, plus, she needed a break! A good chat with her friends didn't sound bad.

“Coming!” Rarity yelled back, as she trotted towards the window herself. She looked out the window and let out a small gasp.

“Oh my! Sweetie Bell, I'm going to go see what's going on out there! You stay here! I'll be back soon!” Rarity switched around and rushed for her door.

“But why can't I come?! Their my friends too ya know!” Sweetie Bell shouted at her sister, but to no avail, as Rarity was already charging towards her two best friends and a large, unconscious, red pony.

Princess in Distress

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Rarity galloped at full speed towards the two tired ponies that were carrying a large, red, unconscious Big Macintosh. “Girls, what happened? Is Big Macintosh okay? Are you taking him to the hospital?” said as she bombarding the duo with several worried questions.

“Rarity, stop! It’s okay, Big Macintosh went a little… crazy. We had to knock him unconscious to make sure he didn’t hurt anypony!” Twilight said trying to shut Rarity up, then thinking back to her words, she prepared to see a very confused face on why she had to knock Big Mac out…

“W-what!? What’s wrong with him? Why did you hurt him, Twilight?” Rarity had apparently stopped listening after hearing ‘knock him unconscious.’

“Rarity, we have a issue ‘ere! Just follow us ta’ the hospital, we’ll explain there!” Applejack said as she and Twilight started walking away towards the hospital.

“Ugh, fine! But you better tell me the whole st-WAAAAH!” Rarity screamed in mid-sentence.

Applejack and Twilight turned around in time to see Rarity being carried off within seconds!

“Twi’, watch my brother ‘ere. Ahm goin’ after Rarity, it’s time ta’ see who this pony is!” Applejack yelled back, already galloping for the ‘princess in distress.’

“Will do! Be careful, AJ!” Twilight shouted back, proceeding to levitate Big Macintosh towards the hospital. A fearful thought dawned her as she realized she is now alone with an unconscious, psychotic pony. Who happens to be very strong. She just hopes her magic is powerful enough to hold him down. That, and the fact that there are probably more of those psychotic ponies out there just makes the night even more fearful... *Sigh.* She took a deep breath, and kept on moving. This was going to be one of those nights again...

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Applejack was charging full speed after the noises of the terrified screams of Rarity. The high speed movement allowed her to catch sight of a two silhouettes moving quite swiftly. One was moving on all four hooves, while the other was being carried by the running pony. After a few minutes of chasing, she came to a market. By this point, Applejack was exhausted. She started to think back about leaving Twilight to fend for herself... probably wasn't the best of ideas... Ah, she can handle herself. She is the element of magic, after all. I'm sure she can-

"UN-HOOF ME, YOU RUFFIAN!" A fierce shout erupted into the cool air, interrupting her train of thoughts. She looked up to see Rarity use her magic to throw a large crate at the assailant, sending the surprised pony flying about twenty feet. The pony did not move afterwards.

Another minute of galloping at full-speed, and the two best friends were re-united once more.

"Dear Celestia, Rar'! Ah didn't know ya could be so powerful!" Applejack said, completely astounded by the show of magic.

"Applejack, darling, I may be defenseless when I first get attacked. But that's just me panicking. When I regain my focus, I can be quite powerful..." Rarity said in a 'Oh yeah, that just happened. Deal with it.' tone.

"Ahlright, Rarity. If ya say so..." Applejack said, chuckling.

"Don't doubt my power, Applejack. I may seem like a princess-in-distress, but I am far from that." replied with a slight hint of aggravation.

"Okay, Rar'. Let's just get out o' here. We have ta' check on Twilight an' Big Mac." Applejack resolved, not wanting to spike any arguments in this time of crisis.

"Right, let us depart." Rarity said in a confident tone as they galloped back in the direction of where they last saw Twilight.

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A good twenty minutes in, and Twilight was already exhausted from carrying Big Macintosh using her magic. Carrying her with Applejack was one thing. Using her magic alone, combine that with the overwhelming weight of Big Macintosh, it doesn't help. She decided to take a break under the cover of a large tree. She was in the park. With her last remaining energy, she placed down Big Macintosh against the tree, grabbed some rope that was hanging from the tree. It was likely used from the cutie mark crusaders. Probably seeing if they could get a climbing cutie mark. After she was done making sure the restraints were in good condition, she lazily trotted over to the fountain, and took a couple of sips from the refreshing waters.

"Ahh... that helps." She sighed in relief. This was really turning into a long night... She thought to herself, as she was wiping her muzzle with her hoof. Her thoughts were interrupted as she heard two hooves charging down her direction. She readied a small shovel near her with her magic, but lowered her offense when she saw it was Applejack and Rarity.

"Applejack! Rarity! You two are okay!" Twilight shouted in excitement, galloping towards them, and embracing them in a large group hug. It lasted for a short moment, but she needed the comfort.

"Good ta' see ya Twilight, but do ya mind if we rest here for a few? We're all tuckered out!" Applejack said, panting heavily.

"Of course! I was just stopping here for a short rest, carrying Big Macintosh with magic alone just exhausts me so quickly!" Twilight said, trotting back to check on Big Mac.

"Sorry for leavin' ya like that, sugar cube. Ah had to help out Rarity..." Applejack said, sounding a bit dejected for leaving Twilight to fend for herself.

"It's okay, Applejack. I understand, we both had our priorities. Nothing happened, so no harm done." Twilight replied with a smile on her face.

This cheered up Applejack quite nicely, and the trio sat down near the tree that was holding Big Macintosh. Rarity decided to tell the two how she broke out of the grasp of the assailant, and beat him down. Twilight and Applejack were both impressed by her presentation of magical ability and her determination. Then Twilight and Applejack caught Rarity up with the events from beginning to where she was kidnapped.

"Oh my... so these ponies, including Big Mac, were sort of... hypnotized... or possessed?" Rarity asked, somewhat timid of the fact that her good friends were going to attack her without even thinking of they were actually attacking. Sounded like they were turned feral.

Both Twilight and Applejack nodded.

"It seems so, while we have no idea what is the cause behind this, I have an idea of who it could be..." She said, with images of the pegasus with a injured wing standing in front of a large statue of Discord. She shivered when she remembered the anonymous pony walking towards her. She struggled to regain her thoughts.

"Really? Who is this pony you are speaking of?" Rarity asked curiously.

"I don't know of his name, but I think he wants to release Discord. And I believe he's willing do anything to do it. I've... seen him in my recent nightmares..." Twilight was said as she was starting to sob, remembering all of her very first nightmare. "And it started with me seeing front-seat action of Ponyville getting absolutely demolished by Discord, Trixie followed by the Ursa Major and Minor, Diamond Dogs, and all sorts of creatures that were pouring out from the Everfree forest..." Twilight put her hooves over her face and switched around, trying to hide the tears that were already pouring out from her eyes.

Applejack and Rarity both moved in to nuzzle, hug, and comfort her.

"Oh Twilight, darling, I'm sorry for bringing back such horrible memories..." Rarity said, embracing Twilight.

"No... It's okay... I had to get that off my chest somehow, thanks girls... just listening helps so much!" Twilight embraced both Applejack and Rarity more tightly than ever, and they returned the hug.

I sure hope our friendship can conquer something so evil and so powerful... We did before, but we were so close to losing our friendship! We're stronger than ever right now... But how long will it last? Twilight thought deeply to herself. It was going to be a very busy week for all of the ponies...

A Stallion's Heart and Pride

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After a short while, Twilight was ready to move again, but AJ and Rarity were both sharing ghost stories on the hill off in the distance. At this moment, Big Mac decided it convenient for him to wake up. Just as Twilight began trotting away towards the girls, he began to stir. Twilight saw this movement in the corner of her eye and flinched slightly, as she really didn't like the thought of having to put Big Macintosh out again. Instead of hearing a growl, however, she just heard a low, painful groan.

“Ugh... Ow...” Big Macintosh croaked. He began to train his vision slowly onto his restraints, then swayed towards Twilight, who was merely fifteen feet away from him.

“Uh... Twi'? Why am I tied up? And why does my head hurt...?” He managed to say in a low tone. He wanted to seriously rub his head, but his restraints denied him that ability.

All Twilight could do was jump up in excitement and hug the big red stallion. “Your okay! Oh, thank Celestia! I don't think I could ever knock you out again...” Twilight yelped as she realized the awkward position she had put Big Macintosh in.

“Eeeyup. I'm okay, although my head is hurtin' like buck. Now, could ya untie me and tell me what is happenin'?” He asked calmly.

“Oh! Of course, sure! I'm so sorry!” She said, slowly regaining her composure. Her horn began to glow brightly, and the ropes loosened within seconds.

“Thank ya kindly, Twilight. Now, care to tell me what's happenin' and why I was in such a bad position?” He asked, putting on his signature smile.

“Soon, but first, let's go gather your sister and Rarity, I want them to see that you're okay now.” Twilight said, pointing her hoof at the nearby hill, showing two silhouettes in the distance.

“Ah, alright, let's go then.” Big Macintosh said, nodding in agreement.

They both began trotting towards the hill, except Big Mac noticed something black move at unimaginable speeds beside him. He glanced in the direction of the shadow, but to no avail, found nothing. He picked up his pace to catch up with Twilight, and soon they were all reunited, with no big red stallion threatening them.

Applejack heard hoofsteps, and put a hoof over Rarity's lips to silence her so that she may listen. She tensed up as she heard two pairs of hooves coming towards her. Rarity noticed this movement after being so rudely shut up, and tensed up as well. Their tension eased up immensely, however, after seeing Twilight and Big Macintosh in his normal state of mind... BIG MAC!

“Big Macintosh!” Applejack shouted as she gave her big brother a huge, caring hug.

“Darling! You're okay! Thank Celestia!” Rarity said, giving Big Mac a gentle, but loving hug.

Big Mac was somewhat taken aback from all of this affection, but he didn't mind it, so he returned the hugs.

“Not that Ah don't appreciate all of the caring hugs and all... but can somepony tell me what's goin' on? Mah head hurts somethin' fierce!” Big Macintosh asked inquisitively.

“Ah... well... long story short, you may have went crazy... and almost hurt your little sisters...” Twilight winced at that last statement, and for good reason too. Big Macintosh takes great pride in defending his family, and just hours ago, he was trying to mercilessly pound them.

“Ah... W-what?!” he nearly shouted, smile turning to a gasp, and eyes becoming wider than anything.

“Twilight!” yelled both Rarity and Applejack in astonishment of Twilight's explanation.

Ignoring the girl's outburst, “You weren't in your right mind at the time, and looks like me knocking you out seemed to do the trick. You had sort of... a strange yellow glow to your eyes, and your face seemed... void of all emotions... excluding one: Hate. Do you remember anything before falling into this sort of... trance?” Twilight was now extremely curious, as he might recall some connection he had with his possessor.

“So, those dreams... were true...” Big Macintosh muttered under his breath in fear.

“I'm sorry, what was that?” Twilight asked, almost fearing what she had might have heard.

“During my sleep... I was having a strange dream, I was watching myself pin Applejack... and Applebloom against the wall... I looked like I had so much malice and hate in me... I was afraid of myself...” Big Mac said lowly. He could feel his eyes become moist, and he felt something start to well up that hasn't shown itself in a long time... Tears.

“Oh dear.... I'm sorry for bringing that up... Big Macintosh...” Twilight choke on tears, as her eyes were becoming to become wet aswell. “It wasn't your fault. You were being possessed by something unbeknownst to all of us. Don't blame yourself that something else was going to cause.” Twilight said, giving him a reassuring hug. The other two mares began to hug him as well. They didn't want to see him cry at all.

“Ah... Ah know... Ah'm sorry. Ah shouldn't be beating myself fer this. Thanks girls... for helping me out when I and everypony else needed it the most.” He said, returning the hugs.

“Now that Ah know what's happened so far, do we know what's been causing this?” Big Mac asked curiously, eager to get back at the pony who put the hex on him.

“I have an idea... as I had similar dreams to yours, except I wasn't being controlled, I was simply receiving a glimpse into the possible future... During this time, I met a strange pegasus with a broken wing that was strapped to his body with a large bandage that enveloped his entire torso. The strange pony was standing right in front of a colossal statue of Discord... He had a dark gray coat, while his mane was a mixture of white, gray, and black. His eyes glowed a bright red, and his mood seemed to be very dark... but at the same time, calm. The aura he seemed to emit frightened me to the point of being paralyzed.... I could simply speak and watch as he noticed me. He inched towards me, a wide grin creeping onto his face...” Twilight recollected the dream like it had happened just a second ago in real life, this made her recoil with fear in front of her friends. She put her hooves on her face and began to sob.

“Sugarcube... ya don't have to explain tha whole dern thing to us... Ah think we get tha idea...” Applejack said in a reassuring hug that she gave to Twilight. The others joined in as well, they didn't want to see her in such a stressed out state.

“Thanks... it feels good to get it off of my chest though...” Twilight croaked with a sheepish smile.

They shared a moment of a caring group hug, then Twilight decided to part from the circle.

“I feel better now, I think we should head off to the library and arrange a meeting with the rest of the girls.” Twilight suggested, but everypony could see the tiredness in her eyes.

“Sorry sugarcube, that meeting will have ta wait, Ah'm sure everypony is mighty tired from tonight, we'll let the girls know, but Ah need to check on Applebloom and Granny Smith.” Applejack said sheepishly, trying with all of her might to suppress a yawn herself.

“I agree with Applejack, darling, we all do need our beauty sleep.” Rarity nodded, letting out a yawn instead of suppressing it.

Twilight opened her mouth to argue, but thought better of it, as she was starting to notice her sleepiness catch up with her. She instead just nodded in agreement.

They decided to stop by Rarity's boutique to check on Sweetie Bell. When they arrived, they were relieved to find Sweetie Bell, open the door to give Rarity a huge tackle hug. The shock they got came from the tears that were coming out of Sweetie's eyes, they looked bloodshot red...

“Sis! Oh thank Celestia that you came! Something has been outside for the past few hours, and it's constantly been knocking at the windows! I've been hiding... I was so scared! Please don't leave me again!” She cried out, muffling her sobs into Rarity's chest. This sent a pang of guilt through Rarity, as she realized just how long she had been gone.

“Oh, Sweetie.. I'm so sorry... I'll never do that again... I promise...” she said, letting out tears of her own, as they trotted slowly back to the boutique.

“If those things were banging at the boutique trying to get at Sweetie bell... then that must mean... they'd go for...” She said lowly, but loud enough for AJ to hear.

“SPIKE/APPLEBLOOM!” They both yelled out in unison. Big Macintosh had remained silent and calm until now.

“Applejack, Big Macintosh go back to the farm and check on your family! I have to go check up on Spike! Meet back up at the library later on this evening!” Twilight shouted as she regained her bearings, galloping full speed towards the library, while AJ and Big Mac were doing the same thing towards Sweet Apple Acres.

“Please be okay, Spike...” Twilight muttered as a tear began to appear. This was becoming too stressful for the girls. Memories of Spike and Twilight together began to flash through her mind, causing her mind and body to rush even faster. Her body burned, but she ignored the pain as she wanted to make sure Spike wasn't in trouble.

Back in Applejack and Big Macintosh's mind, they were thinking the same exact thing for Applebloom and Granny Smith.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

At the speed that Twilight was going, she arrived at the library in less than twenty minutes, but when she finally arrived at the door, she nearly collapsed from exhaustion. With her remaining strength, she used her magic to swing the door open.

When she saw the state that the library was currently in, she nearly fainted from shock. The entire library was wrecked. Books were laying in piles all across the floor, making it barely visible.

“Nononononononono....” She thought out loud. She switched her eyes to where Spike usually slept, and let out a loud sigh of relief, as Spike was resting soundly under his blanket. “Oh, thank Celestia... but what could have done this to the library...?” She began to ponder about this subject, but with the adrenaline gone after seeing that Spike was okay, she immediately felt drained of all of her energy. She tried to reach her stairs, but instead made to the couch. She pushed herself onto the comfy couch, and muttered before going into a deep sleep.

“Night, Spike...” was all that was said, as sleep brought her into peaceful tranquility. For once, she slept without dreams.

Pink with Fear

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Big Macintosh and Applejack were galloping full speed towards Sweet Apple Acres, cursing themselves for not heading there sooner. It took them a solid ten minutes to get there at their current pace. While they were both out of breath, they didn't stop long until they finally reached the farm.

When their eyes were finally cast upon the door, they gasped in shock and fear. The door had been thrown off its hinges, several pieces of furniture were thrown over, and all the windows were shattered. The state of their home was not the sight that made them double over in shock. Granny Smith was staring at them, not muttering a word. She had a decent bit of drool seeping from her lips, and her eyes were glowing bright yellow. To increase their horror, she was hobbling in their direction. Big Mac and Applejack, however, both knew Granny Smith wouldn't be able to do much damage at her old age, so they simply tied her down to her chair. After that, they proceeded to trot upstairs to check on Applebloom.

There were two possible situations that could have occurred. One, the monsters found Applebloom and possessed her. Two, Applebloom heard them coming up, and hid in one of her secret places. They were both praying to Celestia that it was the second outcome.

Applejack took lead as she arrived at Applebloom's door. She turned the knob slowly, and...

“GET AWAY FROM ME YOU MONSTERS!” Applebloom shouted as she leaped literally out of nowhere onto Applejack, and proceeded to flail her tiny hooves about like a maniac.

“AB! Applebloom! SIS! STOP! It's me!” Applejack said while holding her little sister's hooves in place to prevent further harm.

“A-Applejack! Big brother! Yer both okay! Ah heard Granny Smith scream, and Ah went to check on her, and Ah saw these black ponies using magic on her! Ah was so scared, so Ah ran back up to my room and hid! Oh, sis!” Applebloom said, hugging her big sister close.

“It's okay, Applebloom.” Applejack said reassuringly while ruffling Applebloom's mane. She looked back at Big Macintosh, who wore a tired, but happy face. He smiled back to her, and nodded, understanding at what she was hinting at.

“Listen, Applebloom, go back to bed, we have to go help Granny Smith get better, okay?”

“O-okay... Be careful, ya hear?” Applebloom said while trotting back to her bed to hide under the covers.

Applejack looked back and said “Of course...” and left the room with a wink.

“Now ta' the next matter of importance: Granny Smith.” Applejack announced to her big brother.

“Eeyup.” Big Macintosh replied solemnly. He wasn't looking forward to this, and neither was Applejack.

They trotted slowly downstairs, and was welcomed again with the site of the drooling Granny Smith.

“Ya know, we could just go see Twi'. She probably has somethin' about this... spell in one o' her books...” Applejack thought outloud. Big Mac pondered about this for a second, and simply nodded. To them, it was a better alternative than having to cause injury to her to knock Granny Smith out of her possessed state.

“Okay, brother, stay here with Granny Smith an' Applebloom, Ah'll go fetch Twilight.” She said turning around to Big Mac. He simply nodded in agreement. Applejack had to admit that she was getting mighty tired, but in Granny's current state and how dangerous this night is, she couldn't really stay asleep in this mess.

Applejack opened the door, and began to trot out into the beautiful, starry night that Princess Luna had seen fit to raise. “If this night wasn't so horrible, Ah'm sure the gang would enjoy this wonderful night...”

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Back at Sugarcube Corner, a certain pink, party-loving earth pony begins to stir from her sleep. She mumbles slightly as she slowly begins to regain consciousness. Pinkie rubbed her eyes with her hooves to get the sleep out. She looked outside the window to see it was still late in the night. Pinkie facehooved when she realized it wasn't even close to morning yet.

She began to lay back into her bed when a loud thud came from the nearby window she was looking out of moments before. When she switched her gaze to it, she went completely bug-eyed. There, floating outside of her window, was a pitch-black pony with glowing, soulless eyes.

Pinkie let out a short gasp, before the creature busted through the window, causing glass to soar the air all around her. She jumped out of her bed in panic, nearly colliding with the wall near her. Her eyes locked with the glowing pair of eyes standing in front of her. It snarled, and open its mouth to reveal numerous amounts of sharp teeth. It bellowed out a loud, ear-piercing battle cry, which was then followed by it charging head first in her direction. She shrieked and hopped out of the way, barely missing the enraged pony. It collided with the wall, except, it just seemed to... explode into black ooze around the room. Pinkie didn't really know what to say that. Then, the impossible was happening. It was merging back together slowly to reshape its pony form.

Only then, could she get a better look at it, it was... well... pure shadow. It seemed to be leaking out black ooze, and its form was somewhat misshapen, likely from colliding with the wall. After a few minutes of standing frozen in fear, she mustered up the courage to move closer to it. While it may have been attacking her, she wasn't really sure of what to make of it. Maybe it was just a figment of her imagination? Her thoughts were however returned to nothing, as fear returned when the creature regained its full form. It shook its head and snarled violently. It turned its head to Pinkie, once again locking eyes with eachother.

Pinkie then thought that since the pony... thing seemed to be okay, she should probably leave, because it didn't look too happy to see her.

“Annnd RUNNING!” Pinkie shouted as she zipped out of her room, leaving a lingering lump of clouds in her place. The shadow pony simply gawked in confusion, before shaking it off and taking chase after the pink pony.

Pinkie was now a great distance away from Sugarcube Corner, and decided to bounce towards her best friend's treehouse where Twilight and Spike were sleeping soundly. She was hoping Twilight would know something about what is going on, that... thing just didn't seem natural to her!

She bounced up to the door, and began knocking on the door repeatedly with her noggin. (What? A pony can't be different sometimes?) She was greeted by a very tired Twilight, who was knocked back a bit by the banging of the pink head.

“Oh, Twilight! Sorry! Here, let me help you up!” Pinkie moved to help the dazed Twilight, but was shoved off by the annoyed unicorn.

“It's fine, Pinkie. Now, what's gotten into you? It's in the middle of the night!” Twilight asked, coming out a little more harsh than intended. Luckily, Pinkie was already busy talking, and therefore, didn't notice.

“Well, I was sleeping, and I woke up in the middle of night on accident, and was about to go back to sleep! I looked out the window, and there was this black pony floating outside my window! And, before I could say anything, it busted through, going WOOSH! Then, it started to look at me, and it looked REEALLY angry! It charged at me, and I hopped out the way in the nick of time! It hit the wall.... are you even listening to me?!” Pinkie said bitterly at Twilight, when she noticed that her pupils had shrank, and didn't seem to be focused on Pinkie. She turned around to see the shadow pony standing five feet away from her.

Twilight then shook herself out of her terrified daze, and pulled the paralyzed Pinkie Pie inside the tree house. She then cast a protective shield around her home, which would prevent any pony from getting in. She peeked out her window, and saw the shadow pony bouncing effortlessly off of the shield as it tried to ram into the front door. Pleased, she turned back to Pinkie Pie, who had shaken herself out of her terrified stupor. Pinkie then hugged Twilight tightly and proceeded to say “Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!” Twilight had ceased to breathe, as she was being constricted of air by Pinkie's impossibly strong hug.

“C-can't...breathe...” she weezed as she was gasping for air.

“O-Oh! Sorry!” Pinkie apologized as she released Twilight. She gasped and welcomed in the new air happily.

“It's... fine. Phew... Alright, Pinkie. You're not the only one being attacked by these... shadows. Applejack, Rarity, Big Macintosh, and I have all been up most of the night fighting off these creatures. I only just got back to check on Spike about an hour ago. We were planning on meeting up in the morning... but seeming as how all of us are seeming to be targeted, this can't wait. But... how are we going to leave with that creature out there? We've only encountered possessed ponies, not pure shadows...” Twilight's voice seemed to fade away as she transitioned into deep thoughts.

“Possessed ponies?! Like... hypnotized ponies?” Pinkie said, obviously afraid of the idea of friends turning on her.

“Yes, Big Macintosh was one of them, we managed to knock him out of his hypnotized state... literally. But we can't just go bashing ponies heads in every time they turn on us, and that shadow probably won't be hurt physically.” Twilight said as she looked outside the window again. It was still there, just staring at her. Apparently waiting for Twilight or Pinkie to make a move outside. And that's when she saw an orange pony with a stetson galloping towards her home. “Well, there goes sitting around here and doing nothing...” Twilight thought begrudgingly to herself.

“Pinkie, follow me. Applejack is on her way here, and that shadow is still waiting outside. We have to go help her.” Twilight announced, opening the door with her magic. Pinkie simply said, “Okey-dokey-lokey! Allons-y!” as she bounced out the front door to face the horror standing outside.

Somewhere in a certain police box, a certain time lord winced in aggravation as someone once again stole his line...

Things Get Serious...

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Pinkie bounced out of the front door with Twilight in close pursuit. Pinkie literally slid a few feet before coming to an abrupt halt. Twilight peered around Pinkie to see why she had stopped, and what she saw froze her in place as well. There, a decent distance away from their protective shield, lay Applejack. She appeared to be unconscious with several cuts and bruises implanted into her body.

Pinkie immediately unfroze herself, and dashed out of the protected area to aid Applejack. Twilight was a bit more cautious on her way out, however. Where had the shadow gone? Had it been satisfied with taking down one pony? Or was it waiting for us...

"PINKIE! WAIT!" This sudden outburst caused Pinkie to look up in time to see the shadow leap out of a bush towards her. She hopped out of the way frantically, dodging the majority of the claws, but rewarding her with a long, but not deep, gash on her side. Pinkie yelped out in pain as she began to rub her side. Twilight had to react quickly to prevent any further harm that could befall her friends or herself.

"Pinkie! Grab Applejack and bring her inside my house, I'll hold this thing!" Twilight commanded.

Pinkie only responded with a nod, and began to shove Applejack towards the protected grounds. Twilight's horn began to glow and sparkle, which in turn surrounded some wooden planks lying against a makeshift shop. The creature leapt into the air, claws ready to pierce and tear. She brought down one of the wooden planks upon the creature's back, only to have it phase right through!

Twilight shrieked as the unhindered creature reached Twilight, implanting its claws into her side. She screamed in pain as she felt the claws dig deeper. She tried to clear her scrambled thoughts, and mustered up enough strength to send another plank flying at the creature, cutting through the front hooves. The claws dissipated for a moment, causing it to tumble to the ground. As it had already begun to regenerate its front hooves, she didn't have much time to act. She heaved herself up, grunting audibly from the wounds she had just received and used her magic to bring random objects to block the path of the assailant as she limped towards the protected grounds.

"It's working... it's slowing down..." she thought as she turned back to see no sight of the dark creature. She tried to hasten her pace to the best of her ability, but she could feel the blood trickling out of the orifices that were inflicted by the creature's claws.

She then heard an ear-piercing howl come from behind her. She flopped her ears down and turned to see many more coming to the lone creature's aid. She didn't hesitate any longer, and before she knew it, she was within the protective borders again. By this time, Pinkie had just laid Applejack onto the couch and had come back outside to aid Twilight. Pinkie nearly fainted at the site of Twilight. It wasn't as bad as it looked, but she was still bleeding somewhat badly, and needed to take care of the wounds.

Pinkie recovered from her initial shock and ran to support Twilight towards the tree house. By this time, Spike had awoken from all of the commotion and was tending to Applejack. When he saw Twilight, his pupils shrank inwards, and he made a mad dash for the bathroom upstairs to get some gauze and medical supplies. Pinkie already had tears in her eyes from seeing her friends in their current shape. Both Applejack and Twilight were injured quite badly, but they would live.

Spike had returned with the medical supplies and gauze, and was already sitting Twilight down. He applied the disinfectant to the wounds first, then gingerly wrapped the gauze around each hole. There were three in total, one on her right side, and two on her left.

"There ya go Twilight... how are you feeling?" Spike asked, concerned for his best friend.

"I have been better, Spike... But I think I'll manage." Twilight said, rising to her hooves slowly. "We need to warn the others... those things are still out there, and it's nearing the morning." By the time she was fully standing, she was panting quite heavily. Applejack was beginning to awake at this point, letting out a sharp cough to indicate it.

"What... What in tarnation' happened?" She groaned. Spike returned to Applejack's aid after hearing her voice. "Ugh... Spike? What am Ah doin' here- TWILIGHT?!" She screamed as she saw the state that Twilight's body was in. Multiple bandages covered her sides, all showing a lot of blood beginning to seep through them.

"Twi', are you okay?" She asked while getting up from the couch.

"I'm fine... Just a bit hurt, is all. I'll be okay. How are you doing, AJ?" Twilight asked with a forced smile.

"Ah'm fine, bit bruised, but I'll hold up. But, sugarcube... You look like yer in real bad shape!" Applejack said concerned.

"As I said, I'm okay," she replied waving it off. "We need to check on the others though... They could be in serious danger!"

Spike nodded and went to check on the situation outside from the window. He turned around with simple confusion on his face and said, "T-they're gone! I don't see anything!"

"What? That's impossible, there were at least twenty out there just moments ago!" Twilight said as she went to look out the window to confirm Spike's statement. She gasped in fear and confusion as she saw nothing out of the ordinary outside besides the toppled over debris outside her protective barrier.

"What is going on? They're all gone!" Twilight thought aloud while frantically searching for any sign of the creatures.

"M-maybe they left?" Spike fearfully suggested. Twilight shook her head, "No, Spike. They had the intent of doing more than just harming, I doubt they would leave after gathering twenty of those things..."

Just then, they began to hear banging from all around the tree house. "W-what's going on?"

"It's those creatures, they're trying to break through my shield!" Twilight replied, her face teeming with worry and fear.

"Can they do that...?" Spike asked, gulping after the question. She shook her head, "I don't think so... but it's possible. Stay away from the windows and the top floor."

Applejack suddenly remembered what she had come here for in the first place and asked, "Hey, Twi', do ya have any spells that could stop Granny Smith from bein' hypnotized?" Twilight stopped for a moment to think.

"Oh, yes I do! It's right over here, in the 'M' section!" She said grabbing a book with her magic. She levitated it in front of her face, and recited, "The Basics of Mind-Controlling." She flipped through it and said, "Yes! This will be perfect!"

"So did ya find it?" Applejack asked curiously. Twilight nodded and replied, "Yup! Doesn't look too difficult, so it shouldn't take longer than a few minutes when the spell begins!"

"Good! But, how do we get there? We're in no shape er form to move 'round too much. Plus, we have plenty o' ragin' creatures bangin' on our shield!" Applejack explaining, wincing every time another blow impacted.

"Oh shoot! I forgot about that!" Twilight sighed while doing a mental facepalm. She closed her eyes and began to focus magic into her horn. It glowed significantly and shot a beam directly above her, passing through her top floor and roof to the shield, aiming to fortify it. The spell lasted a good five minutes, ending with an extremely exhausted Twilight nearly falling. Something had caught her, and before her vision went completely dark, she smelled something similar to cotton candy...

Twilight opened her eyes to see a certain grounded pegasus grinning quite evilly at her. "Welcome back to my domain, Ms. Sparkle, enjoying the party?"