Applejack, Mane 6, Original Character(s), Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Spike, Twilight Sparkle
• Teen •
Twilight Sparkle has just received a letter from Princess Celestia warning her of a dangerous pony making his way toward Ponyville. She is told to gather her friends and confront him before he does whatever it is he plans to do, but what is it? The Mane 6 must discover the secrets of this mysterious warpony before he brings a terrible future to Ponyville and its citizens.
9741 Read count:
18 Mar 2012 Updated:
25 Jan 2013
1. Chapter 1 by Basil Lecher
2. Chapter 2 by Basil Lecher
3. Chapter 3 by Basil Lecher
4. Chapter 4 by Basil Lecher
5. Chapter 5 by Basil Lecher
Chapter 1 by Basil Lecher
It was strange to see a warpony this far into the east. Most of the land had been kept in a peaceful existence and the few ponies that knew anything of battle were in the guard. This pony was most definitely not a part of their numbers. He drew the gazes of all those he passed who then whispered quietly after he was safely out of sight. Nopony bothered to ask his name nor his business. His armor seemed to be diamond and yet it seemed to have been forged like steel armor. Far more threatening was the sword across his back. It was nearly larger than he was and strange runes of silver and mysterious metals seemed to be weaved into the steel. The rumours spread like wildfire, eventually reaching the ear of Princess Celestia. It was then she turned to Luna for help, she knew this strange soldier from long ago, she had been with him when he fell in battle and then seen him removed from time in the aftermath. From what she could see, the warrior was heading towards Ponyville, why she did not know. She sent a warning to her student Twilight Sparkle, one of warning, telling her to be prepared to meet the stallion and to find out his story. With the letter she also returned the Elements of Harmony to the six avatars. They had to be ready for anything. The rumours had flown fast, but not quite fast enough in this case. The warrior had already arrived at his final destination.
It was Tuesday or maybe Wednesday. Pinkie had no idea and didn’t particularly care. Either day was a good day for a party since they both were just so ordinary without one. She had opened the bakery early that day because she wanted to get everything done super early so she could plan the biggest and bestest party anypony had ever had on that day. This would be a party that wouldn’t be topped ever again until her next party. She was so excited that she almost didn’t hear the bell on the front door ring. “Just a minute.” she called out as she threw another batch of cupcakes into the oven. Pinkie made sure the timer was set and made her way out to the front of the store. She tilted her head when she saw him. She didn’t recognize him under his armor which meant he was new; he was in her store which meant he wanted to buy a snack. This was awesome. “Hi there, I’m Pinkie Pie. I’m the baker, I haven’t seen you before and I know I would remember if I had because you have a very big knife and really shiny armor. My friend Rarity makes very shiny clothes so you should see her if you like shiny things and I know I do. What can I get you?”
“Cake.” he replied with hardly any reaction to her barrage of words.
“Ooh, cake? What kind of cake, we have lots of different kinds. There’s carrot cake, chocolate cake, vanilla cake, angel cake, banana cake, Bundt cake, birthday cake, butter cake, fruit cake which you really don’t want even if mine’s the best it doesn’t mean much, there’s also cheesecake which isn’t really cake since it’s more of a pie because it has a crust you know and I don’t know why they don’t call it cheese pie. I mean, it’s silly to call a pie a cake because if you did that you could ask for an apple pie and get an apple cake and then you’d have something that you don’t want even if it is super-duper delicious and then you’d be unhappy unless you’d known that you’d-“
“Birthday.” he said, interrupting her.
“Ooh, is it your birthday today? I love birthdays and I throw the best parties ever.” Pinkie gasped quite loudly. “I could throw you a birthday party. We could have streamers and games and music and balloons and-“
“It is not my birth day.” the stallion said, emphasizing each syllable. “I must make up for many missed years. Please make the cake as large as you can han dle.”
“Oh, well that might take a while but I think I can make a really super big cake. It might be really heavy and I don’t know if you could carry it all alone. Do you need any help because I could maybe give you some help and introduce you to the ponies here in Ponyville? I know every pony here in Ponyville except you and anypony with you but I’ve met you now sort of except for your name. Mine’s Pinkie Pie, what’s yours?”
“You may call me Court. I do not wish to re move you from your work.”
“Court huh, that’s an odd name. I’ve never been to court but I here it’s not very fun. I bet if I went it would be super fun and everybody would want to show up. I don’t mind helping you, I’ve got lots of time to do what I want as long as I get my chores done early. I’ve already got most of everything cooking so after your cake I can just go help you get it wherever you’re going. Where are you going?”
“Into the for est, how long will the cake take?”
“You don’t mean the Everfree Forest do you? That’s a really scary and dangerous place. I wouldn’t want to go there alone.”
“You will not be a lone. I will be there. How long will my cake take?” He asked again.
“Well I guess you’re right, and you’ve got that big giant knife. Why do you want to go in there though?”
“It is a sword and I must see my girls. How long will my cake take?” He asked a third time, though he didn’t seem bothered to have to repeat himself again.
“Oh you have kids? I want kids, not right now though, maybe someday in the future. They’re hard work but they can be really fun sometimes too. Oh but you want your cake. Well it’s going to be three hours minimum. I don’t know many ponies that live in Everfree Forest though, there’s Zecora and Oaky Oats but they like their privacy and Fluttershy only lives on the edge of the forest so she doesn’t count…you’re shaking your head, why are you shaking your head?” The stallion was looking down and shaking his head.
“It is no good. Three hours is too long. Do you have any al rea dy made?”
“Well I suppose I could use some leftover cake from yesterday and do some stacking but it’s not going to be as fresh and I think fresh is-“
“That will be fine. I am far too late as it is.”
“If you say so, mister. I can do my best in an hour, is that better? So if you want to go and come back-“
“I will stay. Please hur ry.” Court said and stepped off to one side. He then seemed to fade out mentally and stared at the wall. He didn’t move and if she wasn’t looking at him Pinkie might have sworn he had turned to stone.
“Well if you say so mister.” Pinkie shrugged and retreated into the kitchen to make the best birthday scrap cake she could. Except she couldn’t, she’d forgotten to ask for payment in advance again. She checked the number of sheet cakes she had and subtracted a bit since they were old and came up with a total. She popped out from the kitchen and trotted to the register. “Excuse me Court, that’ll be forty-seven bits.” Court turned his head to look at her before stepping back over to the counter.
“Yes, I’m sorry. Here you are.” He pulled out three of the golden coins from somewhere in his armor and set them down. “I believe this will cover it.”
Pinkie looked at the coins and gasped. These were old coins, and really valuable ones to boot. One would easily pay for two of the cakes he was ordering with a few bits change. “Oh this is too much silly. This is enough for six giant cakes and you only want one unless you want six but I can’t make six in an hour.”
“I see, then I have been cheat ed by oth er po nies.” He took two coins back. “Keep the change for your self as a thank you for your ho nest y and your help.”
“Oh sure, I couldn’t cheat anypony out of their hard earned money, but if you want an honest pony you should meet my friend Applejack, she’s pretty much made of honesty or something. I’m laughter so that means I’m made of laughter and…oh you’ve gone.” Pinkie finished as she noticed he had stepped away and frozen in place again. “Oh well, I’ll make your cake now.”
Twilight awoke long before Spike normally did. The baby dragon needed his sleep though sometimes she got really annoyed with how lazy he could act sometimes. Still, she didn’t want to wake him too early so she started on her lists for the day without him. As the time went on, she finally couldn’t wait any longer. She couldn’t let him sleep the entire day again so she called up to him. Twilight heard him grumble and go back to sleep. She called him again with the same result and finally she gave up. She’d have to go up there and force him awake.
“Spike, Spike wake up.” She said, shaking him with one hoof.
“Ohh, leave me alone Twilight. I’m tired.”
“Come on Spike, it’s time to get up. We have to learn about friendship and Rainbow wanted to show off some of her new…what’s this?” She asked, noticing the letter Spike had been lying on.
“I don’t know. Princess Celestia sent it earlier this morning. You weren’t even up. I don’t see why she should bother me so early, it’s not like I even want the sun up so soon.”
“Spike, why didn’t you tell me about this?”
“You were asleep,” he yawned, “so I put it under my pillow so I wouldn’t forget to give it to you. Smart huh?” He grinned and started to drift off to sleep again. Twilight didn’t notice since she was now immediately trying to open the letter. It levitated in front of her as it unfurled and she read the contents with a sense of dread.
“This is not good. Not good at all. Wake up Spike, we have to go warn the others. A new danger has come to Ponyville.”
“Maybe it likes to sleep in too.” Spike muttered into his pillow.
“Now is not the time for jokes, Spike.” Twilight levitated him out of his bed and onto her back. “Wake yourself up quick Spike, we’re getting Rarity first.
“What? I’m not ready? I have to clean myself up.” He cried in alarm.
“Too bad, you should have thought of that before you didn’t give me this letter.”
Rarity might have been the closest but it was this choice that prevented Twilight from arriving at Sugarcube corner in time to stop Pinkie Pie. In fact, if she had only arrived five minutes sooner, she would have run into Court and Pinkie as they carried a giant cake out the front door and to the forest.
Chapter 2 by Basil Lecher
In keeping with my rule for FG, written quickly, basic editing, I hope you enjoy it anyway.
“You know,” Pinkie said, “a lot of ponies are afraid to go in here. Not me though. Me and my friends used to be scared but then we had to come here to face Nightmare Moon and then we had to save Applebloom from Zecora but she didn't actually need saving because Zecora doesn't actually eat ponies. It was all a big misunderstanding and we all were poisoned by the poison joke and now everyone likes Zecora. I even have a song, two songs even. One for Zecora and one for the forest but I don't sing the one about Zecora anymore. Wanna hear the one about being afraid?” Pinkie took a deep breath to begin singing before she was interrupted.
“I see.” Court answered. “I sup pose there are still myths of the dan gers of the for est e ven to day.”
“Myths? The forest is still really dangerous. I mean, there's dragons, hydras, Ursa Majors and Minors, and I heard that there was a cockatrice around here awhile ago too, but I've got my Pinkie sense and you have your knife here so I'm sure we'll be fine.”
“If there are still dan gers like that a round then my girls have not been working hard. I have been gone too long. They al ways nee ded an eye on them.”
“Working hard? Oh, you mean keeping the forest safe. Well that's got to be hard work because the forest is so big and dark and spooky and super weird.”
“Yes. That may be it. I have been gone too long.” He said again.
“Well how long have you been gone?” Pinkie asked.
“Near ly a year. I sent them gifts once each two weeks when I traveled but I could not. They have got ten noth ing from me and that is why I bring them this cake my self.”
“I'm sure they'll love it, but how old are they and who takes care of them when you're away.”
“They are one year old er than they were when I last saw them. I do not know their age. No po ny takes care of them. They can take care of them selves. Be fore I be frien ded them they were thought to be dan ger ous but now they help po nies in trou ble.”
“Oh, Grannie Pie used to tell me stories about that sort of thing. Ghostly spirits in the forest that saved little lost fillies who'd gotten lost in the woods.”
“Yes. They would like o ther fil lies.” He sighed deeply. “They are al ways so hap py to see me. I think they get lone ly here. I will not leave them a gain.” Court lifted his head and walked resolutely forward. Pinkie hopped along behind him, easily keeping up with the other earth pony who, despite showing know signs of trouble with the massive load on his back, was moving rather slowly.
Twilight had been knocking on the door to the Carousel Boutique for several minutes when the door finally swung open to reveal a small, white haired, purple and pink maned unicorn. “Good morning Sweetie Belle, you're up early.” Twilight said to the yawning unicorn.
“Morning Twilight.” Sweetie said. “What are you doing here this early?”
“I need to talk to your sister, may I come in?”
“Yeah. She's in her studio. I have to get ready for school so you-” she yawned again, “you can find her.” Sweetie walked off and Spike finally let lose the yawn he had been trying to hold in.
“School? Doesn't she know it's Saturday?”
“I'm sure she'll figure it out later Spike, we have bigger problems than some filly who can't remember what day it is.” She walked back through the house and opened the door into the boutique where Rarity was measuring out long lengths of silver fabric. “Rarity, it's time.”
“Hardly, darling.”Rarity laughed. “I still have at least seven hours before my appointment at the spa.”
“That's not what I'm talking about.” Twilight insisted.
“Oh.” Rarity shrugged and continued with the measuring. “Then what is it time for, may I ask?”
“To save Ponyville and maybe even all of Equestria.”
“What? Again? Well why didn't you say so? Is it Discord, some new threat to ponydom?”
“No, I just received a letter from the Princess. It says that a dangerous stallion is on his way to Ponyville. She doesn't know when he's going to arrive but that we need to be prepared.”
“Oh my. Well we have to get all of us together to defend against this threat. Now I'm honored you came to me first but why me, wouldn't Rainbow be better at looking for him?”
“Rainbow Dash is good at scouting I guess, but the Princess also said the stallion is wearing diamond armor. You're closest to me and I thought your talent would be great at hunting him down.”
“Diamonds on armor? Talk about tacky. Well it shouldn't be too hard to find him, and I certainly doubt he can be all that inconspicuous with an outfit like that.”
“Well I hope we can put an end to this problem before it gets too out of hoof. We still need to get the others though. Pinkie isn't far, let's get her next.” Twilight said, motioning at the door.
“That sounds good. Let us go.”
The forest was dark despite it being mid-morning and Pinkie was starting to as if they were lost. She decided to bring up the matter tactfully. “Hey Court, are you sure you know where we're going because I've never been in this part of the woods and it's kind of weird to think your lost and I don't think you're lost but I'm lost and if I'm lost then you get lost we'll both be lost and nopony will be able to help the other get unlost.”
“It has been a while. I believe we are al most there. They should have shown up by now but may be they are sleep ing.” Court said, his voice free of doubt though Pinkie was starting to wonder how he was so sure that these girls of his were around here. She was about to voice her opinions when he stopped and spoke. “This is it.” He steeped up to a tree and turned toward Pinkie.
“That's a tree. I don't know many trees except Bloomberg. You know, Rainbow Dash, that's one of my friends said Fluttershy was a tree, Fluttershy is one of my friends too but she isn't a tree she's a pony. I don't know why Dash thought she was a tree because she doesn't look like a tree but I-” Court kicked the tree with a hind leg and a large part of the bark fell off the tree revealing a deep hole. “That's really neat.”
“I will go first. They know me.” Court said as he set down the cake. “Keep an eye on this. Do not let anything get to it.” Court stepped down into the dark hole and disappeared from Pinkie's view.
Pinkie sat outside the tree and hummed to herself while she waited by the tree. She thought Court was strange but that was no biggie, she knew all sorts of strange ponies. In fact, some of her friends would say she was strange but that was just silly. Her song was suddenly interrupted by a muffled but still quite loud shout from Court.
“Discord's black heart!”
“Are you OK?” Pinkie shouted and turned to go down the hole after him when her knee started to get pinchy.
“Stay back, don't come down here.” He ordered and she heard him charging up the dirt stairs. He burst up from the darkness and into green light of the forest floor. His armor and sword were coated in cobwebs and his gray speckled brown coat seemed to have turned nearly fully gray He slammed into Pinkie, knocking her to the ground. He stood over her and snarled. “How long has it been?” He roared. “How long?”
“I don't know. How long since what?” Pinkie said, now overcome by fear.
“How long has it been since the Elements were found and Discord fell?” He shouted and shoved Pinkie into the ground with one hoof.
“It's only been a few months I swear.” Her voice cracked and her eyes began to tear.
“I'm not lying. Me and Applejack and Rainbow and Rarity and Fluttershy and Twilight turned him back to stone with the elements.”
“What? What about Celestia and Luna? They had three of the elements when I was lost.”
“They don't have the elements anymore. Celestia passed them to us to fight Nightmare Moon, Luna, after she was imprisoned on the moon for a thousand years. Please, I'm telling the truth.” Pinkie cried and Court was struck by this. He pulled back and staggered back against a nearby tree.
“A thousand years? Luna? It feels like it's only been a few months since I joined the two on their hunt for the elements.” He shrugged off his sword and it fell to the ground beside him. “A thousand years and I've lost my girls.” He fought the sobs that tried to rise out of his chest and force him to his knees. Pinkie stood up slowly, her body bruised where she had hit the ground. She didn't know what to do. He had hurt her but something was wrong. She had been with Twilight when they had hunted for spells to go back in time, had this pony come forward in time? There was peace after Discord if she remembered her history correctly, a long time of peace before Luna became Nightmare Moon. That meant he had gone forward even further than a thousand years. It probably wasn't a good idea to mention it now though.
Pinkie wasn't sure if she should try to leave now in case he got angry again or try to comfort him. Court was holding his head against the ground and, though he wasn't making a sound, tears fell from his tightly closed eyes. Then something came out of the nearby brush and a quick flash of scales was all Pinkie saw before Court was sent flying into a tree a few yards away with a loud crack and thump as he fell back to earth. Stopping before her was a gigantic snake, larger than any snake Pinkie had ever seen before. “Save me.” she screamed and then it struck.
Chapter 3 by Basil Lecher
“Hey you guys, what'cha doing?” Rainbow Dash flew down from the sky on a fluffy white cloud and hovered above Rarity and Twilight.
“Hello Rainbow Dash.” Rarity replied.
“Rainbow, glad you're here. Princess Celestia has sent us an urgent message. Have you seen Pinkie? She's not at the bakery or at home.”
“Sorry Twilight, haven't seen her. What's the danger?” Rainbow asked as she hopped off the cloud and kicked it away.
“Apparently there's a dangerous pony on his way to Ponyville. The Princess is worried so he must be really bad.”
“Not as bad as his fashion sense.” muttered Rarity.
“Fashion? What's fashion got to do with anything?” Rainbow asked as she did a lazy twirl through the air.
“She's talking about his armor. This pony is stone gray and wears armor with diamonds.”
“Armor with diamonds? That is so cool.” Rainbow said.
“You would think that.” Rarity muttered.
“Hey, it's not just about being cool. If he's got armor that means he's a fighting stallion and no pretty dresses are going to stop him. It's up to action ponies to stop him. You know, like me.”
“Now wait just a minute Rainbow Dash, I for one-”
“Girls, stop arguing.” Twilight interrupted. “We need to find everyone for this and if you keep arguing we won't get anything done. Rainbow, I think you should go get Applejack since you are the fastest. Rarity and I will get Fluttershy. Keep an eye out for Pinkie and we'll meet up in front of the town hall. Spike, you go look for Pinkie.”
“But Twilight,” Spike whined as he got off Twilight's back, “where am I supposed to find her?”
“Try asking around. Ask Mr. and Mrs. Cake, maybe she's with the twins.”
“Alright.” Spike said as he wandered back toward the Cake's shop.
The serpent struck out at Pinkie Pie who dived out of the way and through some of the brush that scratched at her flank and pulled at her tail. The serpent reared back and spat out some dirt. The serpent towered over her and hissed. It's fangs were as long as her legs and she thought she could see the dripping venom. The serpent struck at her again but its mouth closed instead on solid diamond. Court had thrown himself in front of her. The serpent shook him about and then spat him to the side. Court bled from a puncture in his side but the serpent hadn't fared well well either. One of its two long fangs had broken against the hard armor. The serpent whipped around and swung its tail right at Pinkie. Court had moved slow ever since she'd first seen him in the store that morning but he moved faster than she could have imagined and took the brunt of the tail though the end still whipped her across the muzzle.
“Pinkie, get my sword.” Court shouted at her as he grabbed onto the serpent and tried to hold it down as the serpent struck at him and his unprotected head.
“OK, I can do that.” She answered as she ran to where Court had dropped his sword earlier. She tried to lift it but it was too heavy for her so she forced herself under the hilt and lifted it halfway up on her shoulders. “Maybe I can't do that.” She groaned as she fought gravity.
As she tried to lift his sword, Court lost his grip on the serpent and it slithered out of his hold. The giant snake struck at him again but held onto him this time, lifting Court into the air as he waved his legs helplessly. The serpent swung him down and slammed him against a stone with a loud crack, once, twice, three times. Pinkie gave up with the sword, Court needed her help.
“Let him go you big meanie.” She shouted and started throwing rocks at the snake. One lucky throw hit the serpent in the eye. It writhed around and threw Court down at the rock and slithered toward Pinkie. She tried to back up but tripped and cut herself on Court's sword.
A brown blur flew through the air and struck the serpent in the jaw, sending it reeling. It landed in front of Pinkie and she suddenly realized that this brown pony was Court. His armor had cracked and he had emerged. What she had taken for gray hair seemed to be falling from him in chunks and dust. The stallion began to laugh, low at first but it grew in volume. Pinkie scrambled away from him and off of his sword. Now that his armor had fallen away she could see the extent of his wounds. They weren't as bad as they had looked but then even as she watched some of the smaller ones knit themselves together and the larger wounds shrank. The snake finally recovered from the staggering blow it had taken and rose up again.
“Why don't you stay down?” Court growled. He took up his sword between his jaw and spun, releasing the sword halfway through and sending it flying swift and true. It pierced the snake, nearly bisecting it as the sword nailed it to a tree. The serpent hissed and wriggled in its dying throes, Natural instinct forced it to wrap around its enemy in death leading it to continue inflicting grievous, bloody wounds as it constricted the sharp edges of the sword.
“Make it stop.” Pinkie cried, waking Court from his battle rage. “Please.” She begged. She couldn't stand seeing the serpent suffer like this. She didn't know it was dead, all she knew was that it looked like it was suffering. Even if it had attacked her, it didn't deserve this. Court stepped over to block her view and turned her away from the scene. He whispered something she couldn't quite hear and there was a loud bang behind them. She tried to turn to look but Court stopped her.
“It is o ver now. There is no thing to re mem ber here. Let us re turn to town.” Court took a deep breath and placed a foreleg on Pinkie's shoulder. “Please, to day has not been good and we both could use some thing to perk us up and re turn the curl to your mane.” Pinkie hadn't noticed when she'd lost the fluff to her mane, at some point it had straightened out and now hung loose across her shoulders.
“Well girls, I guess this is all we're going to have today. I don't know where Pinkie's gone to so we'll have to do without her for now.” Twilight addressed the other four ponies gathered around her in front of the town hall.
“Oh, I do hope she's alright.” Fluttershy said with a worried expression.
“I'm sure she's fine. Probably just cooking up a party of something as usual.” Rainbow said. She had caught herself another cloud and was lounging on it on her back.
“Ah reckon Rainbow's got a point. You can never tell what that pony is up to.” Applejack added.
“Nevertheless, this is important and she should be here. Unfortunately we can't wait around any longer. Now, the Princess has tasked us with the important duty to defend Ponyville against whatever evil this stallion is bringing along with him.” Twilight began to pace in front of her four friends. “I believe that the best way to do this is to find him before he arrives in Ponyville and stop him in his tracks. If he doesn't get here, he can't bring anything bad with him. Understand?”
“Yes.” chorused her friends.
“Twilight, there's one thing Ah don't understand.” Applejack said. “If this stallion is so dangerous, and it's so important for us ta stop him, why didn't Princess Celestia send us the Elements of Harmony?”
“Isn't it obvious?” Rainbow grinned. “Obviously she knows we're so awesome we don't even need them.”
“I don't know about that Dash, but that doesn't change the fact that right now we need to find this stallion and confront him. Now, Rarity, do your magic.”
Yes Twilight.” Rarity answered and closed her eyes. She turned her head from side to side as her horn glowed blue. Alright, I do believe there are some diamonds in, hmm well all over really.”
“Uh, Twilight,” Applejack whispered, “not to be rude or nothing but how is that supposed to be helpful?”
“Rarity, try to find something that wasn't there before. Gems don’t just appear overnight and I'm sure she's scoured the outside of Ponyville many times. Just keep trying Rarity, try to find a direction where it wasn't as strong before.”
“Yes Twilight, I understand, but you must understand that there are all sorts of gems in this town, most of them in my boutique. Maybe I could have better luck on the outskirts and circling around.”
“Yeah, if he's not hiding in the city already.” Rainbow said flippantly.
“If he'd been that close then the Princess would have said so. Do you know any new ponies in town?”
“Well no.” Applejack answered.
“Not really, but Pinkie's better at that than us. She knows like, everypony in town everywhere.”
“Well Pinkie isn't here so if you could all be quiet while I concentrate, that would be nice.” Rarity said through clenched teeth.
“E-excuse me Twilight.” Fluttershy said, finally speaking up.
“Well, I was just thinking. Maybe-” the rest of what she said was lost in incoherent mumblings.
“What?” Twilight asked.
“Well it's just cause I-and then there’s-” Fluttershy mumbled.
“Oh for Celestia's sake, e-nun-ci-ate.” Rainbow said as she rolled her eyes.
“Why don't I stay here and help look for Pinkie while you go look for the scary big pony and maybe I can see if my animal friends have seen her so I can help without actually going to find him with you.”
“Actually Fluttershy, that's kind of a good idea.” Twilight said, much to the others' astonishment.
“It is?” Fluttershy said and Rainbow echoed.
“Yes. I doubt it's going to take all six of us, or even five, to find this pony and convince him not to come to Ponyville. It's not like we're facing Discord or Nightmare Moon again. Besides, Pinkie usually isn't this hard to find so I'm getting kind of worried. Somepony ought to have seen her by now.”
“You still aren't letting me concentrate.” Rarity complained, emphasizing the last word in a sing song voice. “If you could please just direct me this way I think I may have a fix.” Rarity began walking, her eyes still closed tightly, towards the Everfree Forest. “It's faint but it is new so I believe it might be this way.”
“Alright, Rainbow, you keep a view overhead, Applejack, make sure Rarity doesn't run into anything. Fluttershy, you find Pinkie and maybe ask some ponies if they've seen either her or heard rumors about a gray pony in armor.” Twilight glanced around the town as if to reassure herself that it was still there. Something strange was happening. She wasn't sure why the Princess hadn't sent them the Elements, sure they hadn't gotten them for the dragon but the Princess hadn't sounded half as worried as she did now, and where was Pinkie. The disappearance of her friend now when they needed her most upset Twilight more than anything. She may not have had Pinkie's quasi-magical senses, but she was sure something not very good was happening.
“Twilight, come on.” Applejack shouted back to her and Twilight shook her head to clear out any bad thoughts. It was going to be alright, they'd handled far worse before after all. She galloped after her friends and together they made their way toward the forest. Their direct route would keep them off the meandering path that Court and Pinkie were now following back to the town.
Chapter 4 by Basil Lecher
Pinkie and Court finally arrived back at Sugarcube corner. By this time, Court's coat had shaken off all the gray dust and his fur had taken on a russet hue. Pinkie had kept her change, sulking in her straight haired persona, keeping silent most of the way back. Court too, stayed silent, though for different reasons. Pinkie led him around to the back where she unlocked the back door and went inside. Court began to follow her when she suddenly turned around.
“What are you doing? Don't follow me.”
“I'm so rry, what?” Court asked perplexed.
“I said, don't follow me. Are you stupid?” Pinkie said, getting right up in Court's face. “I want you to go.”
“I am so rry Miss Pie, but I know how you feel. Please a llow me to-”
“Stop that, stop it, stop it, stop it. Why in all of Equestria do you talk like that? Can't you speak like a normal pony?”
Court took a deep breath and then a second. “I apologize if it upsets you, when I am nervous I tend to fall into certain patterns.”
“Nervous? That's the silliest excuse ever like washing your mane or house-sitting for a bear. You've been talking the same all day except for the snake. And let me tell you buster, if there was a time to feel nervous that was it!” Pinkie turned around and began walking back up the stairs. Court sighed and shook his head. “Oh and another thing, why-”
“Pinkie, is that you?” Came the voice of Mr. Cake, followed by the stallion himself as he pushed open the door to the back hall. “Pinkie, some of your friends were, oh.” he said as he noticed Court at the bottom of the stairs, and he said it again when he saw Pinkie's straight hair. “Pinkie, you're friends came by earlier, it seemed important.”
“Well if it was so important then they can come back. I'll be in my room.” With a loud humph she trotted up the stairs and out of sight.
“I don't understand.” Court muttered and turned to leave.
“Hey wait a second son.” Mr. Cake said to him before he could leave.
“Yes sir?” Court stopped and turned to face the man.
“Now I don't know what's gone on between the two of you, but between you and me, you never let a mare go away mad at you. It's just a bad idea.” He gave Court something that he thought was a sly grin. “Here, this will cheer her up.” Mr. Cake ducked back behind the door and then came back out with a plate of cupcakes covered in pink icing. “Just bring these up to her and she'll probably forgive you. It's how I did it.”
Mr. Cake disappeared back into the shop as Mrs. Cake started shouting for him to help her with something. Court looked at the plate and then up the stairs. He wasn't exactly sure what Mr. Cake was talking about but he felt he had to explain things to Pinkie. After what had just happened, she deserved some explanation. She was also one of the new element bearers. That was an unexpected piece of news. He wondered what had changed, but that was a thought for later. He picked up the tray with his teeth and began walking up the stairs.
“Oh come on, can you ponies go any faster.” Rainbow complained as she hovered over the walking Twilight, Rarity, and Applejack. “The clouds are moving faster than you slowpokes.”
“This isn't as easy as it looks Rainbow Dash, and you aren't making it any easier.” Rarity replied, her eyes still closed and her horn barely glowing.
“That's right Dash, we have to be careful. We don't know who this pony is or what he's capable of.”
“Not to mention that this is the Everfree forest and ah shore haven't spent much time in here.” Applejack added.
Rainbow scoffed. “If this stallions as powerful as you think then I can't wait to take him on and show him the ground. Nopony can beat me.”
“Might Ah remind you of the running of the leaves. You didn't do so well if Ah remember.” Applejack said with a grin.
“Hey, you didn't win either.”
“Yeah well Ah-”
“Girls!” Twilight interrupted. “Can we do this later, we're on a mission for the Princess, let's try to act like it for a little while. Rarity, do you think we're getting close?” She asked, changing the subject while Applejack and Rainbow Dash tried to pretend the other didn't exist.
“It certainly seems so. It is so very hard to pick up something like this, after all, it's only a few gems that have moved and though my talent is certainly magnificent it isn't all powerful.”
“That's fine. As long as we're getting close it's good.” Twilight answered.
“Hey I think I see something sparkly.” Rainbow said, suddenly fully attentive. Applejack snickered but Rainbow Dash didn't notice. “I'm going to check it out.”
“Be careful Rainbow, we don't know what he can do.” Twilight cautioned.
“Yeah, yeah, you said that already.” Rainbow Dash said, brushing her off and flying low towards the glint.
Court knocked on Pinkie's door. It was helpfully labeled with her name and balloons. When she didn't answer, he knocked again a bit harder in case she didn't hear him. This caused the door to shake a bit in its frame. Pinkie swung open the door and glared at him. Her strange and sudden hair change still bothered him on some instinctual level. “What do you want now? I told you to go away.” Pinkie shouted at him. Court set down the plate of cupcakes rather calmly despite the circumstances and looked up at her.
“I have brought you cup cakes.” He said before pausing and taking a deep breath. “I wish to talk with you and to tell you a story.”
“A story eh? What sort of story huh?” Pinkie asked as she poked at the plate of cupcakes before picking one up and taking a careful bite. She chewed it slowly.
“It is a story of long ago. The past when Discord still ruled.”
“Uh-huh. Well I'm hanging out with my friends so your story will have to wait.” She turned her nose up at him and turned back to her room. Then she turned back to grab the plate of cupcakes and set it on a table inside. Court finally got to see in and was surprised to see that her friends were, in fact, a bag of flour, some rocks, turnips, and a rather large clump of lint all set on chairs.
“Those are your friends?” He asked, rather confused.
“Yes, and they're perfectly normal unlike you mister changing hair color and creepy healing and time traveling weirdo.”
“I see. Well then I'll tell them as well. I need you to understand. You seem like a nice pony and now that my girls are...gone you're the only pony I even come close to knowing in this town. Discord's beard Miss Pie, please let me try and get you back on my side.”
Pinkie looked at him with a frown and thought for a moment. She turned to look at her friends, then back at Court. “Fine. You can tell me the story, but only because these are good cupcakes. But if they don't like it” she gestured at the inanimate objects on the chairs next to her, “you're going out the hard way.”
Court took a deep breath. It would have to do. “Well this story starts a long time ago. When Discord still ruled the world.”
Rainbow burst through the brush and tumbled onto the path, startling the ponies that had been slowly making their way toward the glint Rainbow had seen. Rainbow's breath was ragged and she staggered to her hooves. “Quick, you have to hurry. Something terrible has happened.” She flapped and got a few feet of air. “Come on, you have to hurry.”
“Are you OK Dash?” Twilight asked quickly.
“Yeah, you don't look so good.” Applejack added.
“What's going on? What happened-Oh dear me.” Rarity said as she opened her eyes and saw the panicked Rainbow Dash.
“It's terrible.” Rainbow said. “Somepony got into a fight with a giant snake, but that's not the worst of it.” The other three ponies finally made their way into the clearing and saw what Rainbow had already seen.
“I think I'm going to be sick.” Rarity said before stepping back into the brush.
“Oh Celestia.” Twilight whispered under her breath. Applejack didn't say anything, she just started taking shallow breaths and stepped further into the clearing. There was a snake that had been nailed to a tree by a large sword, that was probably what disturbed Rarity, but Applejack had seen what Rainbow had panicked over. Amid the torn up bushes, damaged earth, and spatters of blood was the remains of a cake.
“Is this...” Applejack began but she couldn't finish.
“Yeah. It sure looks like it. I'd taste it but...I'm not going to.” Rainbow replied as they looked at the ruined cake.
“Oh no, don't tell me that's a Sugarcube Corner cake.” Twilight exclaimed, she had recovered partially and had stepped in closer to see what Applejack and Rainbow Dash were looking at.
“The platter's got their seal on it.” Rainbow said.
“Twilight poked at part of the cake with her hoof. “This is really stale. Being out in the open like this probably hasn't helped but I'd say this cake is a few days old. When was the last time any of you saw Pinkie?” Twilight asked the pair.
“Well Ah've been kind of bogged down at the orchard so Ah guess I ain't seen her since Saturday.” Applejack answered looking rather nervous.
“Umm.” Rainbow said. “Last Thursday. What? She can get on your nerves sometimes too. I've been doing stuff.”
“This is not good, not good at all. We have to check if the snake ate her. Does anypony know how to do that?” Both Applejack and Rainbow had to shake their heads. “Ohhh,” groaned Twilight, “I shouldn't have sent Fluttershy away. She might be upset about it but at least she'd know what to look for.”
“Ladies?” called Rarity from behind a few bushes. “Ladies if you could come here for a moment. I found something.” The three hurried over to where Rarity stood over the broken armor. “I have found the armor and I must say, it isn't what I expected at all.” The gleam of the solid diamond armor managed to outshine even their worry for Pinkie Pie for a second. “It looks like it's carved from a single solid diamond, but it isn't. This is fake which explains why I had a little extra difficulty locating it.” Rarity said.
“Fake?” Rainbow asked. “How do you fake something like this?”
“Magic.” Rarity said. “It's a conversion spell, possibly transformational. However it must be an incredibly powerful unicorn to do something like this. Especially to keep it diamond after it has broken. I would think even Twilight, no offense dear, would only be able to do something like this if she tried very hard and never stopped focusing on the spell. I don't know a single being who could do something like this apart from maybe a princess.” That gave them all a pause as they suddenly realized what all this meant. Pinkie was missing, possibly eaten, and the most obvious characteristics of the stallion Princess Celestia wanted tracked down were now abandoned here. The sword and armor. The four mares looked at each other with a growing sense of dread. What would they do now?
Chapter 5 by Basil Lecher
"I grew up in a very bad situation. When I was very young I was sold into slavery to a very unkind Unicorn." Court began, but immediately Pinkie interrupted him.
"Slavery, that's illegal."
"Not back then, but this is just a little background for my story."
"Fine." Pinkie said with a haughty sniff. "It's not good yet so do better."
"Yes Miss Pie." Court answered as he continued. "I grew up under my master's control as he practiced his magics. They were strange things that allowed him to make creatures appear from nothing, creatures like you have never seen drawn out from the pits of Tartaurus. His goal was to control them but it took him a lot of time to learn how to manipulate them. When his experiments went out of control he had me kill the creature."
"What?" Pinkie said with amazement.
"Yes, I was his personal exterminator, cleaning up his messes. I didn't know any other way to live. Then, one day, he brought a creature like no other. It was like a dog with the head of a bird of prey. It fought viciously and overcame my master before I could bring it down. It was then that I realized I was free from the pressure that the master had placed upon my mind. I stabbed him with a ceremonial dagger he kept with him. Then I ran. I ran for weeks and started a new life as a traveling mercenary.
Back in the reign of Discord, very few ponies traveled at all, many would spend their entire lives without going more than a few miles from their home so ponies who traveled were not trusted. This was, in part, due to Discord having spies who walked among the ponies, looking for those who would rise up against him. Life was difficult for me but I survived best I could with the odd escort job. My time had made me strong , more so than most Earth ponies, so I was a useful asset to those who needed somepony to protect them from bandits and thieves on the trail. It was after a guard job for a shipment of grain that I found myself in a small town waiting for something new to come along when I first encountered Celestia and Luna.
There were reports about a pair of alicorns in most towns, if they were seen they were to be reported to the law. Discord was nervous and though many people didn't like him, they were loyal out of fear. It was because of this that the two of them kept their horns hidden in their manes. I suppose it was easier than hiding their wings. I didn't think anything of them, just two more ponies in the town and I couldn't have told them from any of the folks who were native to the town. However the regular townfolk were more suspicious. Two young mares traveling on their own was bound to raise some notice and a report went out to the local guard. The capture was planned and executed as they were buying food at a small bread shop. By a stroke of luck, I was also there waiting for my own order.”
“What were you ordering?” Pinkie asked suddenly.
“What did you order?” She asked, tilting her head. As she did her hair started curling at the edge. Court took this as a good sign.
“They were fruit cakes.”
“Eeyuch.” Pinkie made a face.
“They keep for a long time and I'm rather partial to them.” Court said with a small smile. “I say it was lucky, but not for the guards. They were prepared for the two alicorns but not for a pony like me.”
Twilight and her friends were at a crossroads. Applejack wanted to go back to Ponyville immediately but Twilight said they had to make sure they had checked everything before they left. She had caught sight of a hole in a tree that seemed to lead to a cave. “Come on girls, maybe Pinkie is down there unconscious or something. We have to check.”
“I'm not going down there.” Rarity said vehemently.
“I'd rather not go underground if it's all the same to you guys.” Added Rainbow Dash. “Us pegasi are better in the air than in a cave.”
“Just leave them Twilight, if they're too chicken to go down there then we'll just have to do it ourselves.” Applejack said with a glare at the two ponies resisting.
“Alright Applejack.” Twilight said, “I'll go first and light the way with my horn.” The two of them looked down the hole down into the dark of the cave with a lack of enthusiasm. Twilight took a deep breath and started walking down, her horn beginning to glow brighter as she descended into the darkness.
The guards burst into the shop with their weapons drawn. Celestia and Luna were unprepared but they tried to do something. I'm not a unicorn but whatever Celestia used failed. Luna levitated and threw several bits of furniture. This was slightly more effective but not by very much. One guard went down to her barrage and two more fell as I bucked a table through the front door of the shop. “Run!” I shouted to them and they galloped for the backdoor, hoping that there would be one and it would be unguarded.
“Why'd you help them? I mean, I totally get why you did cause the Princess is super nice, well Celestia is and Luna is too though Luna was really mean for awhile when we called her Nightmare Moon but we called her Nightmare Moon because she was evil and-”
“The law back then was a bit corrupt. It wasn't for hunting murderers and thieves, mostly it was for collecting taxes and imprisoning ponies who spoke out against Discord. I had issues with them in the past and so I fought.”
I don't know if there was a back door or if they just made one, I was too busy fighting with the guards to check. Back then, I always fought to kill and, though I regret my actions now, I killed five guards. The remaining ponies fled rather than continue fighting me and I ran into the forest, hoping to meet up with the Celestia and Luna.
The stairway down was thick with dust and the stairs were covered in overgrown roots and weeds. Twilight's horn illuminated a door down at the bottom of the stairs, it was hanging off its hinges and the dirt around it had been recently stirred.
I didn't know where the two alicorns had gone, I didn't realize they had hidden themselves in the sky with their magic and so I wandered the forest paths for hours. Then, out of the woods in front of me stepped a small filly. I asked her where she came from and she just stared at me. We watched each other for a few moments and then she asked for cake. I hadn't planned on sharing and I told her so. She started demanding cake. That was when I realized that I had heard stories from other caravans. Young fillies appearing on the roads, demanding sweets. The other travelers said to always appease them because these were the souls of young ponies who had gotten lost and died in the woods. If you didn't give them cake, they would turn into horrifying plant-like monsters, as twice as big as a full grown alicorn, and slaughter everyone in the caravan.
“That's horrible.” Pinkie said, covering her mouth.
I gave the filly a slice of my cake and three more stepped out from the forest. I shared with them too. That is how I first met my girls.
“Hey Twilight. There's a lantern by that door.” Applejack said as they approached the broken door. “Reckon we should use it?”
“No Applejack, some of these roots might be dry and we don't want to start a fire in a tree we're inside of.”
There were actually about nineteen of them in all, I discovered over time. Even after I started traveling with the Princesses I would still be sure to send packages to them of sweets and odd foods that I discovered. I tried to teach them when I could, to behave, to be more civilized. I was not good at it having not been taught much of that myself. However I finally managed to create a system where travelers would leave them gifts and my girls would patrol the road and kill any threats. This was many years later, of course.
Carefully, Twilight pushed the door open and her light shined bright, illuminating the room. “Oh Celestia.” She whispered.
You saw the entrance to their home earlier, that cave leads to their underground lair. I lived their for awhile and it was a safe retreat for when the Princesses' rebel band needed a place to lay low. We often did. Celestia didn't like my girls, she saw them as monsters but Luna tried to get to know them. She even gave them names, though they always traded the names with each other. I wish you could have seen it though, in its prime. It was like a small castle. In the main room was a large table.
In the center of the cave was a table, broken and rotted through in places.
There were standards handing from the wall and silver candle stands to light everything up.
Filthy bits of cloth hung from the walls, those that hadn't been eaten by bugs were too dirty to be recognized. Twilight kicked a broken metal thing as she stepped further in so Applejack could see as well. It was a broken pole made of silver that had long since tarnished.
And when you entered you would be greeted by all of my girls who weren't out in the woods patrolling the paths.
Skeletal remains lay around the room. They looked like the timberwolves Twilight had read about but these were shaped like ponies, large ones too. Many still had weapons sticking out of them. “This don't look good, Twilight.” Applejack said nervously.
“It's ok, Applejack. Judging by the buildup of dirt and the state of our surroundings I'd say this happened a long time ago.”
“Ah don't know.”
“Trust me. Its obvious what happened. Pinkie was running to hide from the evil stallion and the snake who were fighting and hid down here. Then she went back to town when they left. We didn't see her because we were following a direct line towards his armor and she was avoiding him. Her danger sense probably kept her nice and safe.”
“Maybe we should check the rest of this place first.”
“You're right, then we can go back and find Pinkie.”
“They were my only family. The Princesses and the other rebels were friendly enough, but they weren't family. I should have never left them like I did.” Court frowned.
“I don't know, I thought they'd be taken care of while I was away.” Court shook his head. “I intend to find out.”
“Then what will you do?”
“I don't know, revenge? It's been over a thousand years, whoever did it is long dead.” He stood up. “I hope you are feeling better, Miss Pie.”
“I guess so.” Pinkie said. “Now I kinda feel sad for you. I mean, you're like Luna when she came back from the moon but at least she had her sister. Wait, the Princesses. They'll know you, you should go talk to them.”
“Perhaps someday soon, but I am not ready to see them now.”
“Well then I'll be your friend and help you get used to all the cool things we've got in the future. It's going to blow your mind, it totally blows my mind sometimes.”
“Sounds like fun, Miss Pie.”
“Oh come on, call me Pinkie.”
Back in the forest, Twilight and Applejack came up from the caves. “So, what did you find?” Rainbow Dash asked.
“Was it treasure? I bet it was treasure, I should have gone down there.” Rarity said.
“Dead creatures, looks like they invaded some nobility's hide out and were exterminated. Pinkie's not down there. We should get back to the town and check.”
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.