Mind Games

A new challenger appears

The previous night, inside the Royal Chambers in Canterlot.

“What do you mean they’re still alive!?” Queen Chrysalis yelled at her changeling scout.

“I…I didn’t know that they were supposed to be swept away by the waters my Queen! I…I thought that Princess Luna was just making it rain hard in Ponyville for some reason!” The changeling scout responded, cowering in place.

Chrysalis stomped her hooves on the ground in anger, before her eyes and horn began to glow a bright green. She levitated the changeling up into the air, before yelling at him again.

“Why else would I send her down to flood that pathetic town, if I wasn’t trying to get rid of somepony!?” She yelled.

“I…I didn’t know my Queen! I swear!” The scout replied, still cowering in the air.

“You’ve failed me for the last time! Celestia!” Chrysalis called, before throwing the changeling back at the ground.

The doors to the chambers soon opened, and Princess Celestia stepped inside.

“You called your majesty?” Celestia replied.

“Throw this useless drone into the lowest cell we have, and break off his horn so that he can’t try to disguise himself again.” Chrysalis told Celestia.

“As you wish your majesty.” Celestia responded, bowing, before picking up the changeling with her own magic, and walking out of the room.

“NO NO! I swear I didn’t know my Queen! I promise I won’t let it happen again! NOoOoOoOoO!!” The changeling called out, before his voice was silenced by the shutting of the chamber door.

Chrysalis sat down upon her throne once again, contemplating her next step.

“Hmm, this calls for a change of plans. Celestia? Celestia!” She called out for Celestia, seeing if she was still nearby. “Good. You can come out now.” She spoke to a pony hidden in the shadows.

“You haven’t called upon ‘The Great and Powerful Trixie’ in quite some time Queen Chrysalis. Not since you wanted me to move those barbaric buffalo to the Badlands.” Trixie spoke, as she walked out from a dark corner in the room.

“Yes, that did prove quite useful to me, and you didn’t disappoint. However, now I need you to get your hooves a little dirtier.” Chrysalis responded.

“It can’t possibly be dirtier than moving those smelly beasts around.” Trixie replied.

“There is a young pony and her companion whom have trespassed into my great new world. I need you to find them, and get rid of them.” Chrysalis told Trixie.

“I suppose ‘The Great and Powerful Trixie’ could take care of such a task. Who are they anyway? Since you’ve taken over, I haven’t seen anypony get you this riled up.” Trixie replied.

“Oh, these two, especially the Unicorn, have been a thorn in my side for quite some time. In fact, I believe you’ll know who they are once you see them. I believe she’s an old friend of yours.” Chrysalis responded, a wicked smile on her face.

“Humph, ‘The Great and Powerful Trixie has no need for friends, only loyal, worshiping fans. I’ll see to it that this pony is taken care of.” Trixie replied, before causing an explosion of smoke, and disappearing.

“I won’t let you ruin things for me again Twilight Sparkle. You and your little friends prevented me from taking total control last time. Now, it’s my turn to rule.” Chrysalis spoke aloud to herself.

Back in the present, Soarin sat on the edge of a cloud in Cloudsdale, looking towards the ground below for any sign of Rainbow Dash.

“Gee, Dash has been gone for a long time. I should probably go looking for her.” He spoke aloud to himself, before he stood up, about to dive off the cloud.

“Ah, Soarin. There you are.” Spitfire spoke from behind him.

Soarin almost fell off the cloud, as he regained his composure to address the Wonderbolts’ Captain.

“Captain Spitfire! I didn’t hear you fly over. I wasn’t able to relay a message to you yesterday ma’am.” Soarin replied.

“Never mind that. Where’s Rainbow Dash?” Spitfire asked.

“Well, we received a message from Canterlot yesterday ma’am. They were asking for ponies to help form a search party to check on the ponies down in Ponyville, after a massive rainstorm came out of nowhere.”

“Go on.” Spitfire spoke.

“When we got there, we met up with the rest of the group that showed up, and we eventually found a pony and a small dragon. Next thing we knew, the Gypsy Zecora from the Everfree forest showed up too, and she said that the pony and dragon were the ones that caused the rainstorm, so she took them away. She asked Rainbow Dash to help move one of them, and she’s been gone ever since ma’am.” Soarin spoke.

“Hmm, well that’s unfortunate. We could really use every hoof we have right now.” Spitfire replied.

“What’s going on Captain?” Soarin asked.

“I received a letter from Canterlot that they’re finally giving us the opportunity to start recruiting again, and the Queen herself wants to inspect the candidates before we train them. I was going to have Rainbow Dash escort some recruits down there to get her opinion too, but since she’s not here, I can’t.” Spitfire told Soarin.

“Well, that’s still great news Captain! It’s awesome that the Wonderbolts can finally start recruiting again!” Soarin replied.

“Say, you’ve been wanting to join the Wonderbolts for a while now. How about you go down there to see if you can get the Queen’s permission first. I’d send Scootaloo down too, but you’ve seen her flying skills so far.” Spitfire told Soarin.

“That’s amazing! Thank you so much Captain Spitfire! I won’t let you down! So, where do I need to go in Canterlot!?” Soarin asked, full of excitement.

“That’s the best part, you’ll be reporting to the Queen herself in her Royal Chambers in Canterlot.” Spitfire told Soarin.

“Whoa! Really ma’am!?” Soarin asked.

“Yep, she’s realized that the Wonderbolts are a really important part to the kingdom, and I’m guessing that had something to do with that letter we received as well. I’ve already arranged for you to go and bypass all the guards in Canterlot without any issue.” Spitfire replied.

“Wow! Thanks again Captain Spitfire! I’ll get down there as fast as possible!” Soarin responded, before flying off towards Canterlot as fast as he could.

“Good luck!” Spitfire called out, before flying back to her office. “Sorry Soarin. You were always a great flyer, but we need somepony to be the scapegoat in order for this plan to work.” She said to herself.

It didn’t take Spitfire long to reach her office in Cloudsdale, and upon opening the door, she was greeted by an energetic Scootaloo.

“Captain Spitfire! Captain Spitfire! You received a letter ma’am! I’ve been keeping it safe so nopony could take it!” Scootaloo told Spitfire, a big smile on her face.

“Thanks kid, I’ll take that now.” Spitfire told Scootaloo, before taking the letter and opening it.

“What’s it say!?” Scootaloo asked.

“It’s a request for an airshow by the Wonderbolts. You should start practicing some more Scootaloo. Maybe we’ll be able to include you in this one.” Spitfire told Scootaloo.

“AAAHHH!!! That’d be so awesome!” Scootaloo spoke with a girly scream, before running out the door to go practice.

Spitfire closed the door behind her, and walked over to her desk to read the rest of the letter.

“Heh, good. Looks like those brothers are almost done on their end. Soon, Operation: Stealth Glider will finally put that so-called Queen in her place, and we can end this nightmare.” Spitfire spoke aloud to herself.

On-board the train heading from Appleloosa, Twilight and friends sat and talked, as the train continued along.

“So why is it that blue pigeon back there thinks that we’re friends, or you for that matter?” Fluttershy asked Twilight, whom was sitting across from her.

“Well, it’s kind of complicated I guess you could say.” Twilight responded.

“Well then, how is it that you two seem to know her?” Fluttershy asked.

“We’ve all been friends for a very long time, since I first came to Ponyville. Both you and she, as well as a few others from Ponyville, all helped to stop Nightmare Moon from taking over. We’ve been friends ever since.” Twilight told Fluttershy.

“Hmm, I’ve never even heard of Nightmare Moon before.” Fluttershy replied.

“Well that most likely has to do with what happened while we were gone. About a week ago; Spike and I took a trip to the Griffon Kingdom, and during that time, I believe that Chrysalis returned, and somehow took control of all the ponies in Equestria, altering their memories as well.” Twilight explained.

“Well, either way, I’ve never seen you two before, and I’m quite sure about that.” Fluttershy told Twilight.

“Then why do you still remember Braeburn?” Twilight asked.

“Oh, him? Well, I’ve always know him. We’ve known each other in Appleloosa for as long as I can remember. We first met…umm.” Fluttershy began to speak, before she found herself unable to remember when she met Braeburn. “Braeburn!” She called to him, sitting several seats behind her with Rainbow Dash and Spike.

“Yes Fluttershy!?” Braeburn responded, caught off guard by the sudden yelling.

“When did we first meet each other?” Fluttershy asked.

“Oh! That’s easy! We…uh, we were…” Braeburn started to respond, until he too found himself unable to remember either. “I don’t really remember Fluttershy. I just know that we’ve always known each other, but I never really thought about ‘how’ we knew each other.” Braeburn told Fluttershy, a confused look on his face.

“You see? His memory has been altered to.” Twilight spoke.

“No, I’m pretty sure I met Fluttershy somewhere, I just can’t remember where or when.” Braeburn replied, shrugging his hooves up in confusion.

“Well, so much for being a big know-it-all.” Fluttershy spoke, turning back to Twilight.

Braeburn turned back around in his seat, and continued his conversation with Rainbow Dash.

“So, you said that you really think that Fluttershy is your friend right?” Braeburn asked.

“Of course I do. We’ve always been friends. Ever since we were fillies.” Rainbow Dash told Braeburn.

“Well that just seems downright impossible. I’m pretty sure that Fluttershy has always lived in Appleloosa, and I’m willing to bet that you never left Cloudsdale until you both grew out of being fillies.” Braeburn replied.

“Well I’m telling you that we are friends, but you just won’t believe me. Isn’t there some way to make you remember?” Rainbow Dash asked.

“We’ve been trying to find a way to help ponies remember us, but so far, we’ve only been able to help you remember, Rainbow Dash.” Spike told Rainbow Dash.

“This is SO un-cool. How are we supposed to help the rest of our friends, and stop Chrysalis, if nopony remembers us!?” Rainbow Dash asked, throwing her hooves up in the air.

“Well, all I know is that I’m the only friend that Fluttershy has had for years, and no other pony has been able to win her friendship since. Well, perhaps nopony except your friend over there.” Braeburn replied, looking back towards Twilight.

“What’s it going to take for you to believe me?” Rainbow Dash asked once more.

“Ah can honestly say, that Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy have always been friends.” A pony with a cowboy hat on spoke, popping up between Rainbow Dash and Braeburn, causing them both to fall out of their seats in surprise.

“What’s going on back there!?” Fluttershy quietly yelled back, turning around. “Huh? Apple Jack? What are you doing here? Have you been stalking ponies that you think are going to steal your apples again?” Fluttershy asked.

“Nope, not this time sugarcube. Ah’m just hitching a ride back from Appleloosa, after checking on the apple trees there.” Apple Jack replied.

“Apple Jack!” Twilight called out, running up to her friend again.

“Well well. If it isn’t Miss Cast a huge storm that almost flooded mah apple trees, purple Unicorn again? Have YOU been stalking ME?” Apple Jack asked, an unpleasant look on her face.

“I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that you don’t remember us yet Apple Jack.” Twilight spoke.

“Darn tootin! And ah wouldn’t exactly want to associate myself with somepony who goes along ruining other pony’s apple trees!” Apple Jack responded.

“You’re the only one with apple trees in all of Equestria you mad apple pony!” Fluttershy told Apple Jack.

“You bet’cha! The best apples in all of Equestria come from mah apple trees, and it’s gonna stay that way.” Apple Jack replied, proud of herself.

“Now wait just one minute Apple Jack!” Rainbow Dash spoke to Apple Jack from behind. “How are you going to say you don’t remember Twilight? What about all we’ve been through?”

“Uh, come again? And more over, who are you?” Apple Jack asked.

“Oh come on Apple Jack, not you too?” Rainbow Dash replied.

“It’s okay Rainbow Dash, we’ll figure out how to turn AJ back to normal too.” Spike told Rainbow Dash.

“Now hold on a second, before yall go on with your friendships and forgetting them again. Apple Jack, why in Equestria would you say that Fluttershy and this Pegasus have always been friends? You know as well as I do, that they’ve both never left their homes till they were young mares.” Braeburn asked Apple Jack.

“Well of course they haven’t, but they’ve still always been best friends.” Apple Jack replied, until something clicked in her head, and she realized she made a mistake. “Uh, wait a minute. What did Ah just say?”

“Oh great, is Apple Jack forgetting even more now Twilight?” Spike asked.

“No, I believe that this has to do with Apple Jack’s element, The Element of Honesty. Even if she doesn’t remember who she is, or any other pony for that matter, she still has her element’s traits inside of her.” Twilight explained.

“Well what about Fluttershy? If Apple Jack still has her honesty, why doesn’t Fluttershy have her kind…” Spike began to say, until he saw Fluttershy glare at him. “Uh, never mind. I’m sure we’ll figure it out eventually.”

“Well whatever yall are doing, you can figure it out without me. From the looks of it, we’re almost back in Ponyville, and ah need to get back to mah apple trees in Sweet Apple Acres.” Apple Jack told the group.

“Best to drop her off anyway. We’ll need to stay on the train if we want to reach Canterlot before nightfall.” Braeburn spoke.

“Perhaps we should get off too. There’s still Rarity and Pinkie Pie that we can try to help, and we’ll need all the help we can get if we want to take on Chrysalis." Twilight replied.

“Yeah. I think we almost broke through to Pinkie Pie last time, and when Rarity sees my face, I’m sure she’ll be back to normal in no time.” Spike spoke, to the laughter of Twilight and Rainbow Dash.

Everyone took their seats once more, as the train grew closer to the station in Ponyville. Once it came to a stop, the group said goodbye to Apple Jack, and made their way into Ponyville in search of Rarity and Pinkie Pie.

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