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"So what are you going to tell Princess Celestia?" Spike questioned as he rode atop Twilight Sparkle through the main road of Ponyville. The two were headed towards Fluttershy's cottage to talk with her about the recent events that had been occurring with the animals around the outskirts of Ponyville. There had been more and more encounters with monsters lately and the animals around the town had been acting unusual. Unusual was an understatement though. Fluttershy had reported several families of ferrets, snakes and badgers as having gone missing. That wasn't even the most disturbing part though. Members of rabbit, bird and squirrel families had gone missing too, but these hadn't just disappeared. They had been killed.
Twilight Sparkle sighed as they came closer to Fluttershy's cottage. She had been avoiding telling the Princess about this incident until they had some better understanding of what was happening themselves, but the longer they waited the more animals might die and the more Fluttershy would be hurt.
They arrived at the cottage and Twilight knocked on the door with her hoof. The door opened slowly and a distraught looking Fluttershy stood in the doorway. She had obviously been crying. This whole ordeal was taking its strong toll on the poor pegasus pony. Twilight walked in watching as Fluttershy closed the door slowly and mechanically. She was absorbed in her own thought and barely seemed aware of reality.
Twilight came up next to her and nuzzled the pink-haired pony comfortingly. "It's ok Fluttershy. We'll figure this out." Fluttershy simply whimpered quietly, her body shaking out of anxiety.
"Has anyone else gone missing?" Twilight asked. She hated to push Fluttershy like this, but she had to get to the bottom of this and the only way to do that was to collect information.
Fluttershy nodded and walked out of her door signaling Twilight and Spike to follow. The three walked out to where Fluttershy's chicken coop was located. A hole had been ripped in the fence. Twilight looked around. There were feathers strewn all about and there were small paw prints leading up to the coop. Something had come in during the night and had dragged one of the poor hens away.
"It was a ferret," Fluttershy said remorsefully as she stared at the paw prints.
'What in Equestria is going on?' Twilight wondered to herself. Animals killing each other? Things like this just didn't happen. Why was this happening now?
"I see Ponyville's peace has now turned to unease," the two ponies and the dragon heard a familiar voice that they had not heard in some time and turned around quickly to see the hooded form of Zecora standing behind them.
"Zecora! What are you doing here?" Twilight questioned as she approached the zebra. "The recent happenings to surmise, to be done inside would be wise," the zebra replied in her typical rhyming manner. The four friends returned to Fluttershy's cottage and began to talk. Twilight did her best to describe to Zecora what had been happening as of late. She explained the research she had done and how she had failed to find any explanation as to what would cause the animals to behave this way. Zecora silently listened as all of this was explained to her. Once Twilight was done, Zecora told Twilight of the odd happening that had been occurring in the Everfree forest. Monsters had been acting more ruthlessly than ever before. There were also things moving deep in the forest, things that Zecora had never seen the likes of before.
"The strange presence that I can feel may be what is causing things to kill."
Twilight nodded. It made sense. Something was in the forest causing things to go haywire and now it was affecting the animals in Ponyville as well. "What should we do then Zecora?" Twilight questioned the zebra. She had proven extremely wise in the past. Maybe her coming here meant that she knew some way to stop this.
Zecora pulled a book from under her cloak and set it on the table. Twilight looked over the tome. It was in a language that she assumed was the one spoken wherever Zecora was from. It was old and had seen a lot of use. The engraved title on the cover had almost been completely worn to the point of it being unreadable to someone who could read that language. Zecora turned the page of the book with her snout and looked at Twilight. "For those of Ponyville to remain protected, a special ward must be erected."
The four had relocated to Twilight's library, where Apple Jack, Pinkie Pie, Rarity and Rainbow Dash had joined them as well. They sat and discussed the best way to create this ward that Zecora had told them about. It utilized a special ancient magic that, even to Twilight, seemed rather difficult. Yet, how Zecora described it, it seemed plausible that if they combined the efforts of all of the ponies it would be possible.
"So how in the hay are we even supposed ta make this thing Twalight?" Apple Jack had been patiently listening to Zecora and Twilight brainstorm, but she was not seeing this getting anywhere quickly.
"Well, first I need to send a letter to Princess Celestria and inform her of the situation we are in. This is obviously much bigger than Ponyville alone and she needs to be notified immediately."
Twilight began to write her letter, using her telekinesis to write as she thought. She should have told Celestia about this earlier when they had first noticed that things seemed a little unusual. Maybe then not so many innocent animals would have died. Maybe Fluttershy would not be in the emotional disarray she was in right now. When she was done writing she floated the letter over to Spike and watched as he sent it off the the Princess.
Within just a couple minutes of sending the letter a reply had come. Twilight opened the letter.
My dear Twilight,
This does seem quite the predicament. Why did you not mention this sooner? Nevertheless I have faith in the magic that Zecora has mentioned. Use everypony's help and place that ward around Ponyville. I will conduct my own research into what this all could be in the meantime. Stay within Ponyville at all times until I contact you. We must ensure that everypony remains safe at all costs.
Twilight read the letter aloud. Everypony sat in silence for a good length of time. "This sure is a big deal if Celestia er self is lookin inta it," Apple Jack said with a quiver of uncertainty in her voice.
"Well we should make that ward then right?" Rainbow Dash asked as she hoofed the ground anxiously. Even the brave pegasus pony was looking a little worried.
"Woah! Ah! Woah!"
The group all turned to face Pinkie Pie, whose tail was flailing about violently. The pink earth pony was trying to no avail to restrain the unruly tail. Twilight almost instinctively fell to the ground and covered her head with her hooves. It didn't matter if they were inside. If that tail was twitching then something was going to fall and with her luck it would be right on her head. She stood up after a few seconds and watched as Pinkie Pie continued to struggle with her tail. After a few minutes it stopped of its own accord. Nothing had fallen that anypony had seen.
"What was that all about?" Rarity questioned.
"I dunno. I've never felt a tail twitch like that before in my life!" Pinkie Pie said as she scratched her head with her hoof.
"We should get to work before it gets dark," Twilight said as she pulled out a map of Ponyville and lay it down on the table. She marked on the map the six points at which they would have to place special markers. Those markers would form a protective barrier from what Zecora had told them. Once the markers made of certain branches were placed the six points would have to be activated simultaneously. This is where it got difficult. Twilight knew they did not have six unicorns powerful enough in Ponyville to cast this charm, but she had an idea.
Once they had actually gathered enough ponies and created the markers, Twilight gathered up her friends once again. She had told each of them to bring their Element of Harmony with them. Both Twilight and Zecora agreed that if they all activated their elements of harmony at the markers, they would act as a strong enough force to place the ward in effect.
It was getting close to sunset and each of the ponies stood at their designated posts throughout Ponyville. Twilight stood gathering herself and attempting to calm down. She would have to focus everything she had for this. She was going to project her thoughts to all of her friends at once in order to activate all of their elements at the same moment. She had never tried to do this before but she was sure that she had read that spell correctly and was almost positive she could perform it.
Twilight focused hard and her horn glowed. She thought hard and felt as she reached out to her friends' consciousnesses. "NOW!" she thought loudly. Twilight fell backward as a beam of light shot from her tiara upward into the darkening sky, joining five other beams. She watched the beams collide. Once they did, what seemed like a veil began to fall from the convergence point in the sky, forming a dome over Ponyville.
The friends met up at the library once again. They had done it. The ward had been put in place. At least now they knew that everyone would be safe. Twilight had tucked Spike into his bed and had once again joined her friends in the main foyer of the library. She looked at all of them. Something was wrong. Something was missing. "Where's Fluttershy?" she asked.
"Oh! I know! I know! Pick me!" Pinkie Pie hopped up and down enthusiastically. Twilight rolled her eyes. "Ok. Where did she go Pinkie?"
"Yes! She went back to her cottage to check on her animal friends and wooooa!" Pinkie Pie cut herself off as her tail began to flail frantically again.
"Twilight darling, look," Rarity gestured out the window. There was a swirl of light in the dark sky. Every pony rushed outside and stared at the sky. Was this why Pinkie's Pinkie senses were going crazy?
Suddenly there was a loud noise and the swirling light disappeared and all of the ponies stared at what had just fallen from where the light had been. On the ground there was a pile of ponies and clothing. A small rabbit looking thing jumped about excitedly. "We've arrived at the next world!" it said in a sing song voice.
Twilight watched as four ponies stood up and screamed in surprise as they looked at each other. "Ah! Kuro-sama looks weird!" a white unicorn pony with a short yellow mane and tail who was wearing a long white coat said as he pointed at a larger black pony who was wearing an odd red headpiece an black cape.
"Look who's talking!?" the pitch black pony with red eyes yelled back at the white one.
"Huh? Oh my you're right! Syaoran-kun and Sakura-chan too," the white pony responded. To Twilight he seemed more amused then surprised unlike the other ponies.
"Princess...you," a brown pony with a brown mane and a green cloak stammered as he attempted to help a pale pink pegasus pony with light brown hair and a flowing shawl stand up.
Twilight and the others approached the group that had just appeared seemingly out of nowhere. "Ummm hello there," she said as she stepped forward.
The confused group of outsiders looked at the lavender pony. The white pony with the yellow mane stepped forward and greeted Twilight. "Hello. I'm Fai and we're travelers from another country. Where is it we have arrived."
"Oh! OH I know this one too!" Pinkie Pie bounced up and down once again.
Twilight looked at Pinkie Pie and then at the travelers and answered. "This is Ponyville. My name is Twilight Sparkle."
"Ohhhhhhh," Pinkie Pie moaned disappointedly.
"Let's go inside and talk," Twilight said as she gestured back towards the library. These strangers had just appeared at the most inconvenient time possible but she could tell there was something odd about them. She had to find out what. Checking on Fluttershy would have to wait. Twilight was sure that she needed time to herself right now anyway.