Tricksters and witches
Presently, on the outskirts of Ponyville.
“And that’s about it.” Braeburn told the group, finishing his story.
“So does that mean that you know what’s going on now?” Twilight asked.
“Well, I wouldn’t say that I understand everything, but I at least have a better idea of what ya’ll are trying to accomplish.” Braeburn responded.
“Well at least it’s something.” Twilight replied.
As the group grew closer to the Everfree Forest, they approached the last visible building before the entrance. Strangely though, the lights were still on inside, and a shadow in the window caused the whole group to stop in their tracks.
To their right was Fluttershy’s cottage, and in the window, they could see the silhouette of what appeared to be Fluttershy walking by.
“Is that Fluttershy!?” Rainbow Dash exclaimed.
“It must be! She must have escaped from the Princess’ and came back here!” Twilight replied.
“Well what are we waiting for!? Let’s go see her!” Braeburn added.
The group quickly made their way over to Fluttershy’s cottage, and burst through the door.
“Fluttershy!” They all announced in unison.
A pony sat in the middle of the room, their back to the rest of the group. The pony was pink, with long dark pink hair, and an owl sitting on her back. The owl “hoo’d” to the other ponies, causing the pony it was sitting on to finally turn her head around.
Upon seeing the other ponies, the pink pony jumped up in the air, the owl flying away, and her hair bouncing into bright pink curls.
“You’re back!” The pony cheered, a big smile on her face.
“Pinkie?!” Everypony except for Braeburn responded.
“What are you doing here Pinkie?” Twilight asked.
“Well, I was going over to your house to invite you to your after welcoming-party party, when I opened the door and didn’t find anypony. I looked around your whole house, but couldn’t find you anywhere. That made me really sad, but that’s when this owl showed up! I kept trying to ask him if he’d seen you, but it was like he didn’t know who I was talking about. That made me sad again, but then I remembered that Fluttershy was good with talking to animals, and maybe she would know where you were! So I brought the owl with me, and made my way over here to this cottage by the woods for some reason, but there was nopony here either. That made me the saddest of all, and I came and sat down on the floor here. Until you guys showed up, and I turned around to see all five of you!” Pinkie answered, making a squee sound at the end.
“That sounds like Pinkie Pie alright.” Spike spoke.
“Wait, all ‘five’ of us?” Twilight asked.
“Yeah! You, you, you, you, and her!” Pinkie replied, pointing to each of them, and finally to another pony in the corner.
The group turned to see who the fifth pony was, and discovered that it was none other than Trixie.
“Trixie! What are ‘you’ doing here?” Twilight asked.
“Humph, that’s ‘The Great and Powerful Trixie’ to you, Sparkle.” Trixie replied.
“Come to cause more trouble, huh?” Spike asked, curling his claws into fists.
“On the contrary, Trixie is actually here to take pity on you helpless ponies.” Trixie responded.
“What are you talking about?” Twilight asked.
“Why, it’s about that little yellow friend of yours.” Trixie replied with a smirk.
“You mean Fluttershy?” Rainbow Dash spoke, before rushing over to Trixie. “Where is she, what have you done to her!?”
“Trixie hasn’t done anything to her, but I do know where she is.” Trixie replied.
“Where!?” Rainbow Dash responded.
“Now calm down, Rainbow Dash.” Braeburn spoke to the Pegasus. “Where is she, Miss…Trixie was it?”
“Finally, somepony with at least a little respect. Very well, Trixie will tell you what she knows. She’s been captured by the Princess’ and is being held in the Canterlot dungeons.” Trixie responded.
“What!? Why would the Princess’ do that to her?” Twilight asked.
“How should Trixie know? All I know is she doesn’t seem to be in the greatest of shape, and could use your help.” Trixie replied.
“Well if you know all of this, then why didn’t you save her?” Braeburn asked.
“Please, Trixie isn’t obligated to save anypony, unless it’s herself. I’m just giving from the kindness of my heart, by telling all of you this.” Trixie responded.
“But why now? It’s not like you were very generous before.” Rainbow Dash replied.
“She’s right. What are you after Trixie?” Twilight asked.
“Please, you know a magician never reveals her secrets. Besides, now that you three have Princess Luna on your tail, it would be problematic for Trixie to be seen with you.” Trixie answered.
“How did you know we were followed by Princess Luna?” Twilight asked.
“Sorry, but Trixie doesn’t have time for any more questions.” Trixie replied, her horn beginning to glow.
“Wait, if you know all of this, then maybe you know where Chrysalis is too.” Twilight spoke.
“Oh, that’s a pitifully easy one, Twilight Snarkle. She’s right back where she was banished.” Trixie responded, before disappearing in a cloud of smoke that engulfed the room.
Everypony began coughing from the smoke, which was quickly ventilated from a nearby open window.
“Banished?” Twilight spoke aloud, no longer coughing.
“You mean where she ended up, after Princess Cadence and Shining Armor used the magic of their love to send her flying?” Spike asked.
“I suppose so, but I don’t know where that is.” Twilight replied, before turning to Rainbow Dash and Braeburn. “Do either of you?”
“Nope, no clue Twilight.” Rainbow Dash answered.
“Can’t say that I do either. Queen…I mean, Chrysalis, never told any of us where she came from before she took over.” Braeburn added.
“Well that’s no good. Looks like we’re back to square one.” Twilight replied.
“What about Fluttershy? We know where she is. We should go save her!” Rainbow Dash asked.
“I agree, but perhaps we should get some rest first. It is really late after all.” Braeburn added.
“What!? You heard what Trixie said! Fluttershy’s been put in the dungeons and needs our help! We can’t just leave her there!” Rainbow Dash replied, lifting herself up into the air.
“No, I think Braeburn’s right Rainbow Dash.” Twilight responded.
“What!? Not you too!” Rainbow Dash replied.
“Listen, the Princess’ won’t do anything to her, at least not while Chrysalis is still gone. Also, since we know where she is, then we can come up with a plan to get her out safely. However, we won’t be able to do anything if we’re completely exhausted. We should get some rest.” Twilight responded.
“Twilight’s right. Besides, the Fluttershy that I know won’t give up without a fight. I’m sure she’s just fine.” Braeburn added.
“I…I guess you guys are right.” Rainbow Dash replied, lowering herself back to the ground.
“Good, then let’s get some sleep everypony. I’m sure Fluttershy wouldn’t mind if we stayed here for the night.” Twilight spoke.
“Slumber party at random pony’s house!” Pinkie exclaimed, jumping into the air.
Meanwhile, back at Zecora’s.
“Well, I think it’s time for us to return to Ponyville. Thank you ever so much for telling us all about what’s really happened Zecora.” Rarity spoke to the zebra.
“You’re welcome Rarity. I’m glad my story brought you clarity.” Zecora responded.
“Come along everypony. It’s late, and I do need my beauty sleep.” Rarity spoke to Mayor Mare, while lifting her sleeping sister onto her back with her magic.
“I agree. A good night’s sleep does sound nice.” Mayor Mare replied, letting out a yawn.
The two ponies began to make their way out of the shack, when they were met by the presence of a tall dark-blue pony standing outside the door.
Rarity and Mayor Mare immediately recognized the pony as Princess Luna, and bowed in her presence.
“Seeing you here Princess is quite a sight. What brings you to my abode this late at night?” Zecora spoke to the Princess.
“We wish to know where thou art hiding the treacherous purple Unicorn, and her companions.” Princess Luna spoke.
“Do you mean Twilight?” Rarity asked, raising her head.
“So thou DO know where they are!” Princess Luna replied, her eyes beginning to glow.
“There is nopony here by that name. Now what is the angle of your game?” Zecora asked Princess Luna.
“Thou wishes to play games with us, foul witch?” Princess Luna replied.
“Now that’s quite un-called for Princess Luna.” Rarity spoke up.
“If thou wishes to play games…” Princess Luna spoke. Her body then began to emit a dark blue glow, as she grew taller, gained pieces of light-blue armor, and her eyes began to narrow. “Then we shall play games.”
“What’s happening to her?” Apple Bloom asked.
“I feared that this may happen soon. She has turned to Nightmare Moon!” Zecora spoke aloud.
“This is thine last chance. Tell us where they are, or we shall place you in an eternal nightmare.” Princess Luna spoke, now bearing her former image as Nightmare Moon.
“In case you couldn’t tell, I too am a master of the spell!” Zecora bluffed.
“Thou art as magically inclined as that mad apple pony.” Princess Luna replied.
“Are you talking about Apple Jack?” Apple Bloom asked.
Among the apple trees in Sweet Apple Acres.
“10,120, 10,121, 10,122” Apple Jack continued to count, counting every single apple on her farm. “Ah just know that somepony took two of mah apples, but it looks like they’re all here so far. Best to keep counting ah guess. 10,123, 10,124, 10,125.”
Back in Zecora’s shack.
“We’ve had enough of this. Let’s see if your witchcraft can match the forces of the night!” Princess Luna spoke, as she began to gather her magic around herself.
Realizing the increasing danger of the situation, Zecora decided to take matters into her own hooves.
“You ponyfolk must go! What she plans to do, I do not know!” Zecora spoke to the other ponies in the room.
“But Zecora, what about…” Apple Bloom started to speak.
“FLEE!” Zecora replied, angrily.
Knowing that they would only be in the way, Rarity decided to listen to Zecora.
“Very well, we’ll go. Come along Apple Bloom, we have to go!” Rarity replied, as she levitated Apple Bloom with her magic.
“No! Ah can’t!” Apple Bloom tried to protest.
“Come on!” Mayor Mare called out, as Rarity, with Apple Bloom in tow, came running out.
“Zecora!” Apple Bloom screamed out, as she was taken away by Rarity and Mayor Mare.
Princess Luna’s magic had begun to affect the items in the room, as bottles and ingredients began to spin around the room.
“My future looks quite gloom. I am sorry, Apple Bloom.” Zecora spoke to herself.
Princess Luna’s magic reached its peak, before she released it in a massive orb-shaped shockwave. The orb engulfed the entire shack, and almost immediately, things began to disappear in the shack. Quickly, one after another, items began to disappear in a flash, followed by the shack itself, and finally, Zecora.
Princess Luna returned herself to her normal appearance, before a magical letter appeared before her. She opened the letter, and found it was a message from her sister.
I ask that you please return to Canterlot immediately. I’ve learned of some news regarding the pony that abducted Queen Chrysalis. Please hurry home.
Princess Luna finished reading the letter, before making it disappear with her magic.
“It appears our sister knows of something that we do not.” Luna spoke to herself. She then gathered her magic once more, and made Zecora reappear where she once stood, fast asleep. “Thou should count thyself lucky.” Princess Luna spoke to the sleeping zebra, before disappearing in a flash of her own magic.
Zecora stirred in her sleep, as if she was having a horrific nightmare.