Mind Games

Caught off guard

Nighttime had fallen over Equestria, but the lights inside Zecora’s hut still shined, as two ponies spoke inside.

“I only collect herbs and roots. I would never steal your fruits.” Zecora tried to explain to Apple Jack.

“Well Ah’m sure you could rhyme yourself out of any other situation, but Ah know for a fact that you stole mah apples!” Apple Jack replied to the zebra.

“And what is your belief, which makes me to be the thief?” Zecora asked.

“When Ah got back to mah farm earlier, ah found TWO apples missing from one of mah apple trees! Ah remember seeing you in mah apple fields last week, and Ah know that there’s just you and a filly living here, so it makes sense that you would take TWO apples.” Apple Jack told Zecora, closely eyeing her.

“Please look around my shack. You will find no apples, Apple Jack.” Zecora responded, gesturing around the room.

“Well don’t mind if’n Ah do.” Apple Jack replied.

However, before Apple Jack could begin ransacking Zecora’s hut, a knocking came at the door. Zecora went to see who else could be there this late, while Apple Jack waited, curious as well. Opening the door, Zecora saw Fluttershy, and another pony wearing a cowboy hat standing in the dark.

“Ah, Fluttershy. What a nice surprise for you to stop by.” Zecora greeted her Pegasus friend.

“Um yes, nice to see…whoever you are. Look, my hopeless friend here got us lost, and we need to find our way to a place called…um…Braeburn! What was it called again!?” Fluttershy told the zebra, motioning back, and yelling to Braeburn behind her.

“Sugarcube Corner I believe. And don’t say it was my fault that we got lost! I was following you!” Braeburn answered, receiving an angry glare from Fluttershy.

“And I was following a bunny that YOU convinced me to follow!” Fluttershy replied.

“Well the little guy seemed like he knew ya, and neither of us are exactly familiar with Ponyville.” Braeburn explained.

“If Sugarcube Corner is your destination, then I’m afraid you have gone in the wrong direction.” Zecora told the ponies, interrupting their argument.

“Yeah, this here is the Everfree forest. Sugarcube Corner is back in Ponyville.” Apple Bloom told the two as well.

“Well MAYBE if you ponies would just put up a sign here or there, then we wouldn’t have this problem.” Fluttershy responded.

“You two are trying to get to Sugarcube Corner huh? Ah’d be glad to take you there, just as soon as Ah find the apples that this Zebra pilfered.” Apple Jack told Fluttershy and Braeburn, continuing to look around the room.

“That’d be greatly appreciated Apple Jack. It’s nice to have a guide that actually knows the lay of the land around here.” Braeburn told Apple Jack, before receiving a quick wing-flap to the face from Fluttershy.

“No problem at all! Just need to find these apples first.” Apple Jack replied, poking her head in Zecora’s kitchen drawers.

“If I may know, why is it to Sugarcube Corner you wish to go?” Zecora asked, as she stepped to the side to allow the ponies to come in.

“We were helping a Unicorn and her pet dragon try to find some of their friends, and they said that one of them might be at Sugarcube Corner. Rainbow Dash was helping us too, but she flew off ahead before we could follow her.” Braeburn told Zecora.

“Ah, I see. Twilight is still trying to set her friends free.” Zecora replied.

“Yeah, Twilight, I’m pretty sure that was her name. I just hope she didn’t have any trouble when that Pegasus and filly went after them.” Braeburn responded.

Earlier, outside of the Royal Palace in Canterlot, just as night had fallen.

“So where exactly am I supposed to meet up with the Queen? I don’t think Captain Spitfire realized that I’ve never been here before. Then again, I didn’t exactly wait to ask her either.” Soarin spoke aloud to himself, feeling lost.

Soarin wandered around the dark grounds for a little while, until he noticed a shadow fly towards the palace above him.

“What was that? Another pony getting evaluated? Maybe they know the way.” Soarin said aloud, before flying after what he saw.

He flew around the towers among the palace, but had lost sight of whatever, or whomever he had seen. However, now he was even more lost, thanks to the night limiting his view.

“Gee, this would be a lost easier if I had a map or something, and if I had gotten here sooner. Guess I’ll keep flying around till I find somepony. Captain Spitfire said that I’d need to go to the Queen’s chambers, so it’s probably close by. Hopefully she’s not asleep yet.” He spoke aloud to himself, before flying around again.

Earlier, around the same time as Soarin’s arrival in Canterlot.

“Where art thou going with that fishing pole?” Princess Luna asked Discord.

“Who? Me? Why I’m just going fishing.” Discord responded.

“There are no fish on the grounds for thou to catch. Also, our night hath already fallen” Luna replied.

“Oh, I’m not going fishing in a pond, I’m going fishing in the clouds. Also, don’t you know that fish always bite more at night?” Discord told Luna, a smile on his face.

“How can’eth thou fish in clouds?” Luna asked.

“Haven’t you ever heard of flying fish?” Discord replied, snapping his fingers to make one appear next to his head. “I’ve heard they’re quite the catch this season.” He spoke again, before disappearing in a flash.

The fish he had manifested dropped to the floor, before flapping its wings, and flying out of a nearby window.

“Sometimes we worry about that creature.” Luna spoke to herself, before noticing a shadow near one of the tower balconies. “Who is still awake during our wondrous night?” She asked aloud, before going to investigate.

Presently, atop one of the towers in the Royal Palace.

“Hmm, it appears our eyes must be playing tricks on us.” Luna spoke to herself.

Luna started to make her way down the tower, till she heard Discord yell in the distance, prompting her to turn her head towards the sound.

“Whoopi! I caught myself a big one!” Discord yelled from a cloud in the distance.

“Perhaps fish of flight do exist in this world.” Luna spoke to herself.

Just as she was about to make her way down the tower again, Luna’s eyes caught sight of a pony flying around outside the windows of the palace.

“Who is this whom trespasses on our grounds?” Luna asked aloud, before disappearing in a flash of magic.

Soarin flew from window to window, trying to see if he could find anypony inside.

“Where is everypony? Did I miss the deadline for the inspections?” Soarin asked himself, before flying to an open window.

Upon flying to the next window, Soarin saw two bright cyan eyes staring back at him. The sight of the sudden eyes scared him, and he flew a little ways away from the window, before turning back to it.

“What doth thou think thou art doing in our night’s sky?” Luna asked loudly in her Equestrian voice.

“Prin…Princess Luna!” Soarin replied, bowing his head while he stayed in the air.

“Raise thine head and answer our question.” Luna told the Pegasus.

“Yes, of course!” Soarin responded. “I was looking for the Queen’s chambers. I was told by Captain Spitfire that Queen Chrysalis wanted to inspect new recruits for the Wonderbolts personally, and that she was going to inspect us in her royal chambers.”

“We were told nothing about the Queen giving permission for the Wonderbolts to begin recruiting once again. Leave our grounds and be gone.” Luna told the Pegasus.

“But, but I…” Soarin started to say, before he found himself trapped in a magic sphere.

“We said; BE GONE!” Luna yelled in her Equestrian voice.

With a stomp of her hoof; Luna used her magic to teleport the Pegasus away, bringing a quiet to the night once more.

“Wonderbolts recruiting again? Ha! The Queen would never allow something like that to happen. We will have to tell our sister of this most humorous joke in the morning.” Luna said aloud to herself.

“What joke is that Luna?” Celestia asked, having snuck up behind her sister.

“EEP!” Luna cried, as she jumped at her sister’s sudden appearance.

“He he, that’s a cute little scream Luna.” Celestia giggled at her sister.

“D…Don’t be silly sister! We are the night! Nothing scares us!” Luna protested.

“Alright, alright. So what was the joke?” Celestia asked.

Luna gathered herself once more, then answered her sister.

“One quite humorous dear sister. We just dismissed a Pegasi wandering the grounds, claiming to have received word that the Wonderbolts were allowed to recruit again, under the guidance of our fair Queen. Ha ha! Most humorous is it not?” Luna told her sister.

“I…suppose so.” Celestia answered, not finding the “joke” all that funny, especially the “dismissing” part. “Have you told the Queen yet?”

“No. We were going to tell thou of it in the morning, when thou raised the sun, and we lowered the moon.” Luna replied.

“And you weren’t planning on telling the Queen?” Celestia asked.

“Of course not. We would not bother her majesty with such trivial matters. Twas surly a jest, that the Pegasi spoke of.” Luna replied.

“And you ‘dismissed’ him for a joke?” Celestia asked her sister, a flat expression on her face.

“His trespassing deemed it necessary.” Luna answered.

“Oh Luna.” Celestia told her sister, bringing a hoof to her forehead. “Very well, but I’m still going to mention it to the Queen in the morning. If nothing else, we can at least tell her a funny joke. Right?” Celestia told her sister.

“We suppose so dear sister.” Luna replied.

Celestia then began making her way back to her room, before Luna spoke to her again.

“Sister?” Luna asked.

“Yes?” Celestia replied.

“What art thou doing out of thine bedroom this late?” Luna asked.

“I was watching Discord fish in the clouds. He he, it is nice to see him like this again.” Celestia answered.

“Pardon sister?” Luna inquired, raising an eyebrow in confusion.

“Oh, it’s nothing Luna. Goodnight.” Celestia answered, before walking to her room once more.

Inside the Queen’s chambers.

“Mmm…love…..mmmm….delicious love….” Chrysalis mumbled in her sleep.

Quiet filled the room, until the sound of a pony appearing from a magical spell broke the silence.

“Mmm…grr…Discord…you better not…” Chrysalis spoke, before a yawn interrupted her sentence. “Be trying to turn my bed into a water bed again.” She finished, trying to go back to sleep.

The pony crept closer to the sleeping changeling queen, until she was a mere hoof’s length away.

“Grr…perhaps you’d like it if I had the princesses turn you back to st…!” Chrysalis spoke again, turning her head towards her intruder, before she found herself being tied in her sheets, muffling her words.

In an instant; Chrysalis disappeared in a red flash of magic, as another flash of magic followed from the pony who captured the Queen. A solitary purple wizard hat floated to the ground, forgotten by the abductor.

Walking by the room, Celestia heard the sounds of magic coming from within the Queen’s chambers.

“Queen Chrysalis? Is everything alright?” Celestia asked, as she opened the door with her magic.

Inside, Celestia found nopony in the room, and an empty, sheet less bed.

“Queen Chrysalis!?” Celestia called out, before spying the lone hat sitting on the ground. “She actually did it…” Celestia spoke softly to herself.

Knowing the urgency of the situation, Celestia quickly raced down the halls, and found her sister once more.

“Sister, what is the matter?” Luna asked upon her sister’s arrival.

“Luna, Queen Chrysalis has been abducted!” Celestia told her sister.

“What!?” Luna yelled in her Equestrian voice.

“I believe that Trixie Lulamoon is behind the abduction. I found her hat in the Queen’s chambers.” Celestia spoke.

“Lulamoon!? Thou meaneth the Unicorn that doth took residence in our old abode!?” Luna asked, still talking in her Equestrian voice.

“Yes, but I’m not sure how she managed to do it. Her magic is far inferior to our own, so it must have taken a great source of magic to pull it off. She’s probably exhausted after using that much magic, so she must still be close by.” Celestia answered.

“Very well! We saw something before we encountered the Pegasi. We thought it might have been the same pony, or Discord, but perhaps it twas Lulamoon!” Luna told her sister.

“I’ll begin informing the Queen’s guards. Luna, start searching the grounds for Lulamoon, your vision at night has always been better than my own.” Celestia told her sister.

“Yes sister! We shall find the Unicorn post haste!” Luna told her sister, before disappearing in a flash of her own magic.

Meanwhile, in the dungeon beneath Canterlot.

Soarin had found himself in a cell somewhere, after he had been teleported by Princess Luna’s magic. He tried kicking at the bars of the cell again, but they wouldn’t budge.

“HEY! Is anypony there!? Let me out!” Soarin cried for help.

Soarin continued to bang on the bars, until he finally heard someone respond.

“Will you keep it down!?” A voice called out from a cell on the other side of the room.

“Hey! Who’s there!? Can you let me out!?” Soarin answered the voice.

“I can’t even get myself out anymore. What makes you think I could help you?” The voice replied.

“Well who are you anyway? Did Princess Luna send you down here too?” Soarin asked.

“Princess Luna? I probably would’ve taken her place on the moon if it was her present with my Queen instead. No, I was sent down here by that other princess, Celestia. I suppose I should be grateful.” The voice answered.

Soarin watched, as a figure in the cell on the other side of the room got up, and moved towards him. When he got close enough to the bar, Soarin could see that it was a changeling whom he was talking to.

“What? A changeling. What are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be with the Queen?” Soarin asked, scared of the creature.

“I was, but my Queen said that I failed her, when really, I had done nothing wrong.” The changeling replied.

“Well that’s not entirely true.” Another voice spoke in the dungeon.

Soarin and the changeling looked to the cell adjacent to Soarin, and saw Discord hanging fish from the ceiling.

“What are you doing down here Discord? Did you upset somepony too?” Soarin asked.

“Oh heavens no. This is where I hang all of my fish after I catch them. Didn’t you notice?” Discord responded, before snapping his fingers and making the fish disappear.

Discord then walked towards the bars of the cell, before his body split into pieces skinny enough to make it through, and reformed on the other side.

“This little guy gave the Queen some bad news, and we all know how royalty gets when they don’t hear what they like.” Discord spoke, poking at the bars of the cell, which emitted a blue zap each time he poked.

“But it wasn’t my fault!” The changeling protested.

“Uh, Discord?” Soarin asked the draconequus.

“Hmm?” Discord replied, his eyes moving from the front of his face, to the back of his head.

“I don’t know a lot about politics, or royalty, but do you think that you could let me out? I’m just trying to figure out where all the other Wonderbolts candidates are here.” Soarin asked.

“Why certainly.” Discord responded, the rest of his body turning in place to line up with his eyes.

Discord walked over to Soarin’s cell, and turned one of his hands into a key, which he used to open the door.

“Gee, thanks!” Soarin told Discord, before flying off down the hall.

“Why did you let him out, but not me!?” The changeling yelled at Discord, whom waved at Soarin flying away.

“Because your predicament is a lot trickier. And besides, there’s a whole lot of chaos going on upstairs, and throwing another confusing chess piece into the mix just sounds delightful!” Discord told the changeling, while tying his body into a pretzel. “Oh, but I’m sure you’ll get out eventually. In about 1000 years or so, or at least before this fan-fic is finished.” Discord told the changeling, before disappearing in his magic.

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